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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Online printing company MOO.com does some pretty great self-promotions. And its latest one is particularly inspired—a set of business cards for famous fictional alter egos like Walter White/Heisenberg, Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman.

    The "Double Lives" collection promotes MOO's new square business card, which appears to be perfect for meth makers and superheroes.

    See more over at The Drum.

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    Host Whoopi Goldberg brought the funny all evening long at Wednesday's 55th Clio Awards in New York. But it was Jerry Seinfeld who brought down the house with a brilliant, hilarious speech about why he loves advertising—which ended up being a blistering anti-advertising rant that comically eviscerated the business.

    "I love advertising because I love lying," Seinfeld began. And he only got more brutally honest from there.

    "I just want to enjoy the commercial. I want to get the thing," he said. "We know the product is going to stink. We know that because we live in the world, and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, 'Hey, maybe this one won't stink.' We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful. But we're happy in that moment between the commercial and the purchase. And I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy."

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Seinfeld also mentioned the debacle that happened at the 1991 Clio Awards, when greedy attendees rushed the stage in a mad grab for Clios they hadn't won. That's his favorite award-show story, Seinfeld said, because it's so honest.

    There were roars of laughter—because of course, Seinfeld is hardly an innocent party when in the ad game. He's done plenty of lying and duping over the years, most recently for Acura, and was getting an Honorary Award for that work last night. (He also thanked Ogilvy & Mather and American Express for getting him into the business to begin with.)

    But while most attendees agreed the speech was the highlight of the night, there may have been a few hurt feelings here and there. As an award winner said in his speech later in the night, "Apparently everything I do is meaningless. But it was Jerry Seinfeld who said it, so I suppose that makes it OK."

    Via Clios.com, which just unveiled a new blog this week. (Disclosure: Adweek and the Clio Awards are both owned by affiliates of Guggenheim Partners.)

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    Usually if something sounds too good to be true, you can bet dollars to doughnuts there's going to be a catch. Well, what if I told you there's an ad featuring an Irish dude dressed in a homemade Batman costume busting moves to a karaoke track of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in a shop that sells fancy tire rims?

    "Aww, hell no, Alfred! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," you'd say.

    Well, lo and behold, fake Irish "Billie Jean" Batman.

    In the ad below, for Kingdom Alloys, an Irish purveyor of alloy tire rims, this joker dances around and air-humps to a slightly off karaoke version of MJ's classic track. The punch line/tagline borrows the lyric "Don't think twice," which appears on-screen as the fake caped crusader stops dancing and turns away, leaving us wishing for more. 

    At the risk of tossing some guano in the punch bowl, it's hard to imagine DC Comics liking this as much as we did. The advertiser knows this, saying in the YouTube description: "Our Look-alike character is dressed in a custom 'fan-made' Costume, to resemble that of the film version. We are NOT affiliated with, DC comics or any other entertainment company or their affiliates. The music used is a 'fan-made karaoke' version to resemble that of the real version of the track. We are NOT affiliated to any music entity or label."

    So, take a look at the most absurd minute of advertising you'll see today before it gets cleansed from the Internet.

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    This lunatic British ad admits dealing with life insurance can be "a bit of a nightmare." How much of a nightmare? It feels like having your nice bubble bath interrupted by a screaming pig-faced beast who sprays you with tap water and beans you with you own rubber ducky.

    Frankly, the anti-bubble-bath sentiment expressed by that thing is offensive to me. Don't bath-shame, ugly.

    Fortunately, the beast has some kind of heart attack or asthmatic seizure, and—well, just watch for yourself. I haven't exactly worked out the details, which is OK, because I don't think the agency creatives that made this hurt themselves thinking about them, either.

    Credits below.

    Client: Beagle Street
    Managing Director: Matthew Gledhill
    Agency: The Corner London                              
    Creative Director: Tom Ewart                    
    Copywriter: Robert Amstell                       
    Art Director: Matthew Lancod                                  
    Planning Director: Neil Hourston
    Planner: Ollie Gilmore                                                  
    Business Director: Fleur Andrews                           
    Account Director: Tenzin Pooch               
    Agency Producer: Daisy Mellors
    Assistant Producer: Lauren Gray                             
    Media Company: MEC                                  
    Production Company: Colonel Blimp                     
    Director: David Wilson
    Production Company Producer: Sam Levene                                                     
    Editor: Max Windows at Stitch
    Postproduction House: Finish                                                  
    Postproduction Producer: Fi Kilroe
    Audio Postproduction: Sam Ashwell at 750mph      

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    Twenty years from now, I'll be a silver-haired fox and speak with a British accent, judging from this "Future Self" campaign created by Publicis Conseil and Jam3 for European telecommunications giant Orange.

    Upload a photo of yourself, and the software creates an interactive 3-D model of how you might look two decades hence. You can ask questions of your future self using your computer's microphone or keyboard.

    Of course, these are canned responses, but most of the exchanges I sampled were amusing, and a few even felt kind of profound. When I inquired about my (his? our?) finances in 2034, Future Dave explained that money as I know it no longer exists, that it's been replaced by a system of commerce in which nobody feels short-changed.

    The initiative marks Orange's 20th anniversary, and it's designed to position the marketer as hip and innovative with the millennial crowd. (Yeah, I'm sure the whole emphasis on aging will have exactly that effect.)

    It's livelier than Merrill Edge's somewhat similar "Face Retirement" campaign, and more fun than this site, which emphasizes an aspect of the future I'd just as soon ignore.

    Credits below.

    Deputy Director of Communications: Béatrice Mandine
    Brand Director: Thierry Marigny
    Head of Corporate Communications: Anne Imbert
    Corporate Communications Manager: Joanna Gaumet
    Corporate Communications Assistant: Charlie Lévêque

    —Publicis Conseil
    International Creative Director: Steve O’Leary
    Copywriter: Méric Settembre
    Art Director: Thomas Bernard
    Worldwide Account Director: Cécile Lejeune
    International Account Director: Guillaume Foskolos
    International Account Executive: Laëtitia Mulinazzi
    Digital Strategic Planner: Benoit Candelle
    Creative Technologist: Julien Chaillou
    Digital Consultant: Paula Petrucci
    Special thanks: Benjamin Sanial, Isabelle Appé

    —Digital production – Jam3
    Creative Director: Adrian Belina
    Executive Producer: Graham Budd
    Producer: Sumit Awjani

    —Video Production
    Producers: Pierre Marcus, Thierry Delesalle (Prodigious)
    Director of Photography: Joël Labat
    Postproduction: Reepost
    Sound Design Videos: Pink Factory

    Benjamin Euvrard, Ingrid Morley-Pegge, Benjamin Dumont, Charly de Witte, Romain Grandsire

    —Sound Design: Apollo Studios
    Executive Producer: Bénédicte Leclere

    —Website: futureself.orange.com

    —Media Plan: banners (Le Monde, YouTube, Le Bonbon, Orange.fr, Dailymotion, Deezer, Vice...)

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    Droga5 has won raves for its Newcastle Brown Ale work, which skewers beer-marketing clichés. Now, the agency is bringing a similar sensibility to another Heineken-owned brand: Strongbow Hard Apple Cider.

    The new "Cider at Its Bestest" campaign shows how the drink is best poured over ice. It launches with the 60-second spot below, featuring an image that will be familiar to booze-ad watchers everywhere: a horse running in slow motion on a beach. (In fact, a Clydesdale did just that in the very first ad for Bud Light—then called Budweiser Light—in 1982.)

    But this Strongbow horse—well, let's just say he's not your typical excessively slow-moving quadruped. And he won't elicit the typical (glazed-over) reaction from viewers, either.

    "With cider brands trying to out-refresh each other, we went better than best, to bestest," John McKelvey, creative director of Droga5 said in a statement.

    "The overall campaign explores the absurd notions of making the best even more desirable. In this case it meant enjoying a Strongbow with your horse that only runs in slow motion. That's the bestest," added creative director Hannes Ciatti.

    An additional 15-second spot, "Three Sunsets," will debut later this fall. The campaign will include a mix of traditional and paid media, digital, PR and experiential marketing.

    Credits below.

    Client: Strongbow, Heineken USA
    Brand Director: Alejandra De Obeso
    Global Marketing Manager: Olivier Darses
    Senior Director, Portfolio Brands: Charles Van Es
    Chief Marketing Officer: Nuno Teles
    Agency: Droga5, New York
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Creative Directors: John McKelvey, Hannes Ciatti
    Copywriter: Molly Jamison
    Art Director: Eric Dennis
    Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Broadcast Producer: Verity Bullard
    Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
    Digital Strategy Director: Dan Neumann
    Group Account Director: Dan Gonda
    Account Director: Nadia Malik
    Production Company: Rattlingstick
    Director: Hamish Rothwell
    Director of Photography: Ben Seresin
    Executive Producer: Joe Biggins
    Producer: Sam Long
    Editing: Workpost Editorial
    Editor: Rich Orrick
    Assistant Editor: Adam Witton
    Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Postproduction: The Mill
    Head of Production: Sean Costelloe
    Producer: Alex Fitzgerald
    Colorist: Fergus McCall
    Flame Artist: Nathan Kane
    Music: Human
    Founding Partner: Marc Altshuler
    Producer: Jonathan Sandford
    Sound: Sonic Union
    Studio Director: Justine Cortale
    Producer: Pat Sullivan
    Mix Engineer: Stephen Rosen

    0 0

    Remember the old basketball game HORSE? The one where you and a friend take turns trying to make baskets, and whoever doesn't make one gets a letter, and if you get enough letters and spell HORSE first, you lose? Or something like that?

    Well, Foot Locker and BBDO New York recently invited people to play HORSE with Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden, aka an actual NBA player.

    Before you (rightfully) say, "Wow, that sounds like a terrible idea. Obviously the regular human is going to suffer an embarrassing loss," understand that Foot Locker has a very loose definition of the word "play." In this case, the game of HORSE did not involve two people actually interacting on a basketball court. Instead, people were asked to share videos of themselves making crazy shots (presumably after at least 100 failed attempts) using the hashtag #HorseWithHarden, which Harden would then try to replicate.

    The actual "games," recapped in the YouTube video above, aren't especially riveting. What is riveting is watching Harden interact with the nameless hype man in the video who was apparently hired by Foot Locker to make loud noises and be a general annoyance to everyone. You'll remember the sound of his grating, high-pitched shout-squeals long after you remember why you were watching James Harden play HORSE in the first place.

    You know that FX series You're the Worst that everyone seems to really like even though the promos looked terrible? That show is probably about this guy.

    Client: Foot Locker
    Title: "Horse with Harden"

    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director: Chris Beresford-Hill
    Executive Creative Director: Dan Lucey 
    ACD/Art Director: Jesse Snyder
    ACD/Copywriter: Tim Wassler

    Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
    Associate Director of Digital Production: Joe Croson
    Lead Producer: David Martinez
    Shot Producer: Eric Bloom
    Associate Producer: Courtney Fallow
    Production Supervisor: Michael Gentile

    Account Director: Janelle Van Wonderen
    Account Manager: Nick Robbins
    Assistant Account Executive: Samuel Henderson

    Senior Digital Strategist: Rhys Hillman

    Production Company: The Kitchen
    Director: Lawrence Chen
    Line Producer: Jonathan Hsu
    Director of Photography: Tinx Chan

    Live Broadcast Switcher: Marcus Taylor
    Live Editor: Keith Vogelsong
    Event Recap Video Editor: Nick Divers

    Music: Apollo Studios

    0 0

    Who Co-founders and co-CEOs Mark McDonald (l.) and Josiah Humphrey
    What App development company
    Where Headquarters in Melbourne, Australia

    Mark McDonald and Josiah Humphrey were barely teenagers when they went into business together selling SEO services, deepening their voices over the phone to sound older and more authoritative. It was the beginning of a beautiful millennial partnership. Three years ago, the duo—then 19 and 20, respectively—created Appster, a development company that has created apps for Jägermeister and Coca-Cola and now has a staff of more than 100 people in three countries. “We want to be a development hub for the greatest ideas in the world,” Humphrey said. For startup client Bluedot Innovation, Appster created a geo-location payment platform accurate up to two meters from the source. Nine months later, Bluedot is valued at $7.5 million. And Appster itself is projected to hit $100 million in annual revenue in the next four years—not bad for a couple of twentysomethings.

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    How can a brand get that coveted millennial nod? It's all about talking to them in their own language. 

    "Ever since youth culture became a defined concept, marketers have been using the unique values of youth as an ‘in’ to young consumers,” according to a study from Havas. But in the 1950s and ‘60s, that essentially meant being against authority and the establishment. But that, the study says, is no longer true of the younger generation. Millennials “have less of an interest in rebellion and revolution” and tend more toward problem-solving, the study notes.

    They also have a different relationship with their products and the brands that create them, said Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of agency Moosylvania. “This is a group that will adopt brands,” he said. “If you can create a friendship with these consumers, you really take it to the next level. They will go to great lengths to support you.”

    In its study, Hashtag Nation, Havas notes that this loyalty aspect is very good news for marketers: “Today’s youth are significantly more apt than their elders to recognize—and value—the role brands play in their lives.” But this can be a tricky relationship to maintain, the study notes, as 40 percent of respondents ages 16-24 complain that brands don’t take them seriously enough.

    “Brands also need to recognize that they’re now dealing with a generation of consumers who are much savvier than their parents were at that age,” the study concluded. “Young people have an innate understanding of marketing and of their value as consumers. And they’re significantly more likely than older generations to believe they have the capacity to help a brand succeed or fail. And why would they think that? Virtually every day they see some evidence of the power of ordinary people to effect change, whether it’s using Twitter to foment a rebellion in the Middle East or using social media to compel a company to behave better.”

    In its 2015 study, Moosylvania benchmarked qualitatively what brand characteristics mean the most to millennials.

    Initially, Moosylvania's Cohen said, marketing “was all based on sort of this militaristic approach: Here is your target, blitz them with media. And now what we’re finding is they don’t want to be blitzed.  … The tonality has to be in the zone of what’s on this page making people look good, keeping them entertained,” he said. “It’s all about this friendship piece.”

    And how can marketers move into the friend zone? “There’s a lot of personal interaction with this demo. They’re going to look at any kind of social endorsement. TV still has a place, as do magazines.” And, he said, millennials love experiences, whether they’re in-store or app-based or video or experiential.

    Innovation in this space is helping some new names into Moosylvania’s top 50 millennial brands for 2015. Macy’s was one of them. “Macy’s is doing all sorts of predictive analytics,” Cohen said, adding that Ralph Lauren is doing same. He added that their marketing is “very personalized and about making you look better, making you feel better.”

    The Yahoo/DigitasLBi/Razorfish/Tumblr study included a list of tips for content marketers trying to reach this dream demo:

    1. Set the mood. Give them a repository for a particular emotion, or bond over a universal human experience.
    2. Help them escape by giving them a glimpse of the good life, inspiring them, and “reinforcing the millennial values of embracing life and finding happiness along the off-roaded path to adulthood.”
    3. Fuel creativity and play with absurdist mash-ups, artistic installations and carefully curated memes that are the tight fit for a brand’s attributes.
    4. Spotlight pop culture, especially using nostalgia nods, superfandom and celebrity musings.
    5. Help them succeed with how-tos, lifehacks and any content experience that makes them feel smarter.
    6. Help them discover things and see topics in a new light, which “taps into millennials’ desire for discovery.”  

    Infographic: Carlos Monteiro

    0 0

    Robert Senior doesn’t like to dwell on the past, yet many of the challenges he’ll face as Saatchi & Saatchi’s next global CEO date back several years.

    The churn in the New York office’s top ranks, for example, began in 2010 and continued this year. Likewise, the shop’s shortcomings in big pitches has recurred since 2009. Inconsistency in the agency’s reel is another chronic problem, though certainly that’s common among most global shops.

    In his first interview since Publicis Groupe named him to succeed Kevin Roberts starting Jan. 1, Senior acknowledged those hurdles and said he was prepared to make changes when the time was right. “The market has changed visibly, palpably in the last 12 to 15 months,” Senior said. “So, you’ve got to remain nimble, you’ve got to remain agile in your mind. What was it that General Eisenhower said? ‘Plans are useless. Planning is everything.’”

    There’s a lot to process: Saatchi New York has had three CEOs in two years (Mary Baglivo, Durk Barnhill, Brent Smart) and three creative chiefs in the past four (Gerry Graf, Con Williamson, Jay Benjamin), though Baglivo and Graf served eight and two years, respectively. And since last year, brands that collectively spend $240 million in media annually—Miller Lite, Pillsbury, Kool-Aid, Capri Sun—have left, though Saatchi added a significant client in Walmart. (Other wins included Charter Communications, Tecate and Vita Coco.)

    This year, the shop also pitched two big accounts: Procter & Gamble’s Duracell and Microsoft (with several sister shops) but in each case failed to close. Same goes for Pizza Hut last year and in 2009. The New York leadership turnover may have been a factor.

    “To win new business on a consistent basis takes a cohesive leadership team and I’m not sure they have it,” said marketing consultant Avi Dan.

    When asked about the turnover, Senior said that it reflected the high expectations that global leaders have for New York and their willingness to change course when results don’t materialize. He also praised current business and creative chiefs Smart and Benjamin, both of whom he had a hand in selecting.

    As for client erosion, Senior turned philosophical. ““I don’t want to spend any time or energy drawing up faux theories about the past,” he said. “I would sooner stare at the future through the lens of realistic optimism and belief, work with like-minded people and see what we can do together.” 

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    When it comes to popularity, notably among millennial consumers, golf has gone from scoring birdies to tallying triple bogeys over the last decade, driven home by NBC earning the worst overnight ratings ever for its recent Ryder Cup broadcast.

    Many lay the blame on the flameout of golf’s former golden boy Tiger Woods. But it’s not just television broadcasts that young adults are tuning out—they aren’t hitting the links themselves, either.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods has blamed golf’s millennial problem for lagging sales. Meanwhile, brands are working to appeal to millennials. Golf Digest did a redesign, putting celebrities with youth appeal like Jimmy Fallon on the cover. And G/Fore has put a sexy spin on golf apparel.

    Might digital media be in a position to save golf from an indifferent Gen Y, which sees the pastime as too slow, too difficult and too expensive?

    Over the coming winter, the Professional Golf Association will try to flip the script, overhauling its Web properties while taking a hard look at its digital game overall.

    “We can’t hide from millennials not playing the game as much as they could,” said Kevin Ring, CMO of the PGA. “We have to find ways of growing and evolving our social channels and digital platforms. We are in the middle of a transformational moment.”

    The association points to emerging young stars like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler—with social media followings in the millions—as marketing assets. The PGA could use a social boost. The association has only 155,000 followers on Instagram. This compared to Major League Baseball, which, even with Gen Y issues of its own, boasts 1.2 million.

    Ring aims to make the sport more tech-savvy, implementing promotions like one this past summer during the PGA Championship that let fans decide online where pin placements were. But the marketing chief admitted he is still searching for the answer.

    “Is it Instagram? What new digital thing haven’t we thought of yet to engage millennials with the game of golf where they feel it’s authentic and where their friends are getting involved in it?” he said.

    Liz Eswein, executive director of social agency Laundry Service, suggested that golf courses themselves are a natural for share-worthy photos via social media. “They need to hit on the passion points,” she explained. “They’ve got to figure out how to tell a story about these [young adults] that connects emotionally.”

    Matt Rednor, creative agency MRY’s chief innovation officer, had some far more radical advice. “They need to digitize the course,” said Rednor. “Maybe lights go up so you can see the putting line to help you make it. The clubs could show you how to swing better, so it’s like there’s a coach with you.”

    But does a centuries-old sport really require a tech-centric makeover to survive in a digital age?

    “Gorgeous advertising isn’t going to fix the brand—it’s just going to cover the blemishes,” said Thomas O’Grady, chief creative officer at Gameplan Creative.

    After the spring thaw, it will be worth keeping an eye on whether the embattled sport can get itself out of this sand trap.

    Said Ring: “We have to stay up to speed with what’s going on—if not one step ahead of what everyone else is doing.”

    0 0

    Once again, Apple is the butt of Samsung's jokes. This time literally.

    Does the iPhone 6 have a tendency to bend in your back pocket when you sit down? Would the Internet lie about such a thing? Samsung gleefully embraces the "Bendgate" scandal in this two-minute video, "Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Endures the Gluteus Maximus," which delivers exactly what the title says. You'll marvel, or not, as the Samsung phone survives stress tests set to a techno beat. Robotic buttocks, sporting blue jeans (of course!) and equal to the weight of a 200-pound human being, pose the biggest challenge, smooshing the handset repeatedly.

    One day, when the machines rise up against their masters, this denim-clad butt-bot will crush us all!

    The clip has more than 2 million views on YouTube, and its entertainment factor is awfully high. Though, as other commenters have noted, the only thing this demonstration proves is that Samsung continues to define itself largely in relation to Apple, slinging mud and hoping it'll stick to the rival brand.

    I'm pretty flexible, but after a while, that strategy gets to be a bummer.

    0 0

    Feeling a little down? Don't worry. Ikea's new piece of furniture thinks you're amazing.

    The Swedish retailer has introduced a prototype of a mirror in Britain that looks you up and down and (thanks to Kinect technology and some "complex coding") gives you a robo-compliment, which people appear to be as thrilled to receive as the real thing.

    This "Motivational Mirror" is based on scientific information, commissioned by the retailer itself, which found:

    • 49% of Brits receive no compliments in an average week.
    • 43.6 million people in the U.K. are self-critical of their appearance.
    • 33% of the nation feel they look their worst before 9 a.m. on a Monday morning.

    But this mirror tries to fix all that.

    Ikea also did research into which specific compliments people would like to hear. Among the top choices were "Your eyes are mesmerizing," "Have you been working out?" and "Your skin is glowing"—all of which are incorporated into this mirror's uplifting robo-repertoire.

    The retailer demo-ed the mirror in its Wembley store to "raise awareness of how simple solutions in the home can make our daily routines better," according to a statement.

    "We all know how that first look in the bathroom or bedroom mirror can determine whether we have a good or bad day," says Myriam Ruffo, head of bedrooms and bathrooms at Ikea U.K. and Ireland. "That's why we thought—wouldn't it be great if the mirror actually told you something positive for a change!

    It is a little funny that Ikea is trying to jump into Dove territory. (And yes, the inspirational talking mirror idea has been done before—most notably by the all-female Austin band The Mrs., but also by other marketers.) Still, no real harm done, I suppose?

    Just as long as they don't mass produce this thing. (Worst actual bedroom mirror ever.)

    0 0

    You're asking for trouble if you visit a ouija board reader. But these poor Brooklynites got even more than they bargained for.

    Thinkmodo, the agency behind the Carrie and Devil's Due virals, returns with its latest sadistic horror-movie stunt, using a fearsome combination of terror—remote-controlled planchette, dead person under the floorboards, woman who can pop her eyes out of her skull—to psychically torment some innocent folks.

    The reactions are priceless, and of course that's what these videos are all about.

    Via Unruly.

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    You're familiar with the joke at this point. Someone is super hungry, turns into a celebrity, eats a Snickers and goes back to being a normal person. Punch line: "You're not you when you're hungry."

    Now, though, London agency AMV BBDO has made perhaps the best ads yet in the global Snickers campaign, by tapping one of Britain's most beloved wonky comedians, Rowan Atkinson, better known as Mr. Bean, as the celeb.

    If you're unfamiliar with the work of Mr. Bean, well, first of all, shame on you. But in fact, these hilarious spots might actually serve as a suitable intro to the absurdist comedian's work. Watch below as the awkwardest man alive tests his mettle as a ninja.

    Needless to say, his ninja friends don't like him when he's hungry. 

    Via Ads of the World.

    Client: Snickers
    Agency: AMV BBDO, London
    Executive Creative Directors: Adrian Rossi, Alex Grieve
    Copywriter: Richard McGrann
    Art Director: Andy Clough
    Agency Planner: Will Whalley
    Agency Account Team: Katy Davis, Dhane Scotti, Chloe Harding, Anna Ohrling
    TV Producers: Rebecca Scharf, Nikki Holbrow
    Production Company: Rattling Stick
    Director: Daniel Kleinman
    Production Company Producer: Johnnie Frankel
    Postproduction: Jungle
    Chief Sound Engineer: Owen Griffiths
    Film Editor: Eve Ashwell, Cut and Run
    Media Planning: Mediacom
    Media Planner: Amanda Zafiris
    Media Buying: ZenithOptimedia

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    IDEA: Vanguard Pictures won plenty of fans with its first two, unbranded Nitro Warriors films—see them here and here—exquisitely made stop-motion shorts that showed toy cars in wonderfully frenetic car chases. Among them was Mattel's Hot Wheels brand itself, which loved the way the films showed off its miniature vehicles.

    So, Hot Wheels officially got on board with the just-released third installment, Nitro Warriors: Dare to Connect—a wild three-minute film that follows two Hot Wheels cars careening on the brand's iconic orange tracks through fantastical alien landscapes.

    COPYWRITING: Vanguard's Paul Greer wrote and directed the new film. "I drafted the original concept, inspired by Hot Wheels TrackBuilder, showcasing the limitless possibilities of a boy's imagination through play," he said. "This served as the general vision and then translated into a storyboard. Every shot was outlined."

    The film opens with two Hot Wheels cars self-generating from mystical glowing balls guarded by a roaring dinosaur head (the epic imagery isn't exactly subtle) and zipping off for the world's craziest ride.

    They race through mountains and deserts; into and out of a raceway oval with three tiers of Hot Wheels cars watching as spectators; into the clouds, though a heavenly loop, down again and over to a high-rise building, rippling with electricity, where a winged gargoyle breathes out another mystical ball, which ends up being the finish line.

    There's no explicit Hot Wheels messaging beyond the logo, which appears at the beginning and the end, and of course the cars themselves.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: It took Greer six months to produce the film, including two and a half months of actual filming at a rate of one to three shots per day at a studio in London. (Each shot in a stop-motion film can involve between 50 and 250 actual photographs. There are more than 25,000 photos in this piece.)

    Almost everything was filmed in camera; CGI was used mostly to "paint out" rigs that held the Hot Wheels tracks in place.

    The visual look, helped by the surreal matte-painting backgrounds, is "dreamlike—half real, half fantastic," said Greer. He used neodymium magnets in the cars and flat metal rods in the track to keep the cars in place in shots where they're upside down. The camera also moves in more than two-thirds of the shots.

    "We had reconstruct traditional camera rigs and developed remote speed controls to help us maintain perfect control. A lot of stop motion films automate this. We don't, as we want to have manual control," Greer said. "The human element adds something special, the slight imperfection. We also wanted the camera movement to be as graceful as a Hollywood movie. To do this, we hired a physicist to help us develop this work."

    The Hot Wheels cars featured are all 2014 models. "It was like Christmas Day when we had over 500 cars and countless track sets arrive at the studio," said Greer. "Suffice to say we didn't do any work that day."

    SOUND: The music is by Audiomachine, which often does music for film trailers. Sound design was also crucial, particularly the sound of screaming engines. "I wanted it to feel real and not 'mini,' with a sci-fi edge," Greer said.

    MEDIA: This film is being released on Hot Wheels' and Vanguard Pictures' online channels and will be entered in a series of film festivals.



    Client: Hot Wheels
    Writer/Director: Paul Greer
    Production Company: Vanguard Pictures
    Animation: Allan Canfield, Brenden Kent, David Smith
    Lead Animator/Assistant Director: Victoria Smith
    Technical Engineering: David Smith
    Miniatures & Modeling: Geoff Cartwright
    3D Sculpture Designer: Ian Pickering
    Sculpture Paint Finishing: Tom Gaw
    3D Print Services: 3DPrintUK
    Set Design: Elena Lanzoni, Abby Louise Price
    Design Assistants: Louise Fairnie, Allan Canfield, Victoria Smith
    Visual Effects: Composite London (Janusz Murawski, James Knopp, Jonson Jewell)
    Digital Matte Painter: Lisa Ayla
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Andy T
    Sound Design: Peter Rolls
    Music: Audiomachine

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    Jack Link's Beef Jerky likes to make mischief, but it has a serious side, too.

    Take, for example, this new faux-oil portrait of Sasquatch, the brand's longtime mascot. Instead of chucking obnoxious millennials into mud piles—as he does in much of the brand's advertising—he's sitting in a plush chair, wearing a three-piece suit.

    Carmichael Lynch got artist Jason Seiler to create what it calls a "digital painting" to celebrate the agency's (and sister PR shop Spong's) 10 years of working for Jack Link's. It's the picture of dignity, too, except for the fact that Bigfoot is still badly in need of a haircut—that is to say, he still looks like the byproduct of a drunken one-night stand between a Klingon and a Wookie.

    Still, the fruitful relationship between Jack Link's and Carmichael Lynch has included the familiar "Messin' With Sasquatch" campaign, where salty beef snacks drive teens and 20-somethings to brazenly (some might say, stupidly) play pranks on a testy yeti. It's also produced, more recently, the brand's "Hangry" effort, which charmingly imagines vicious animals that exist inside any person who hasn't had enough beef snacks.

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/7/14)
    Facebook Likes: 1.56 million
    Twitter Followers: 17,200
    Instagram Followers: 2,235

    Unsurprisingly, Jack Link's irreverent "Feed Your Wild Side" platform aims to attract 18- to 49-year-old dudes, and the brand has been expanding its sponsorship slate to help reach that target. Now, Jack Link's sponsors the Seattle Mariners, which this year joined the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Red Wings on the brand's roster. It has also partnered with the Boy Scouts and GoPro, and tied Sasquatch into college sports with a campaign around the Big Ten conference.

    Last year, it showed up at Comic-Con, backing Seth Meyers' Hulu cartoon The Awesomes, and since 2012 it has served as the title sponsor for a show on the Outdoor Channel called Jack Link's Major League Fishing. Because what better way to pass the time while waiting for a catch than to gnaw on jerky?

    The company's recent market blitz extends beyond just branding, though. Based in Minong, Wis., Jack Link's in early 2014 announced plans to buy Unilever's meat-snack business in Europe (where it may soon be doing more in-store cardboard cutouts of women wearing nothing but bags of beef jerky).

    Founded in 1986, Jack Link's has since become the best-selling beef jerky around the world. And while absurd and amusing advertising like beef-jerky mosaics of President Obama and Mitt Romney during the 2012 election has helped drive that success in the U.S., by far the brand's most impressive effort came in 2013, when it air-dropped thousands of packets of beef jerky over a baseball complex in Nebraska—crossing the line from public relations into true public service.

    Now, someone please get Sasquatch a razor.

    Fast Facts
    • Jack Link's makes 100 different kinds of meat snacks, sold in 40 countries.
    • Meat snacks are a $2 billion industry in America.
    • Jack Link's is the official protein snack of the Boy Scouts of America.
    • For true connoisseurs, Jack Link's makes small-batch, "handcrafted" beef jerky.
    • For 2014's Beef Jerky Day on June 12, the brand created "Meat Rushmore," a 13-by-17-foot Mount Rushmore in New York's Columbus Circle.
    • For the man who has everything: A Jack Link's "Adventure Pack" comes with nine meat snacks, a hat, sunglasses and a Sasquatch bumper sticker.
    • Jack Link's jerky-making process dates to the 1880s, when Chris Links came to Wisconsin from the "old country" and brought his sausage recipes.

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    Americans sure have some interesting regional accents. Whether you're from New York, Baltimore, Philly, Chicago, Houston—dialects are fascinating, ya know?

    So, there's this character on YouTube named Pittsburgh Dad, who's been starring in his own Web sitcom since 2011, in which he mostly sits in front of a camera and watches his terrible sports team lose or The Price Is Right. His comedy hinges on his Pittsburgh accent almost as the punch line itself, which we're sure is funny to someone. 

    So, now Pittsburgh Dad is promoting a local beverage brand, Turner's Iced Tea. He's done a 30-second spot, but really, it's the extended cut below where you get to enjoy his Pittsburghese in all its glory. So, Pittsburghers, is this guy actually funny or not?

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    You'll laugh! You'll cry! You may cringe a bit, too.

    Barton F. Graf 9000's first campaign for Tomcat mouse-killing bait takes an off-off-off-Broadway approach with the introduction of "Dead Mouse Theatre." Essentially, it's a pair of hands manipulating a couple of fake mice with X's for eyes. Add some funny character voices and some atonal singing, and you've got some pretty amusing ads.

    Rather than emphasize the kill, the mini-plays find entertainment value in the dead critters themselves, answering a teaser question from a perky male announcer at the beginning of each ad: "What will we do with all these dead mice?"

    At their best, these ads feel like a cross between two old Saturday Night Live staples: The Mr. Bill Show and Leonard Pinth-Garnell's Bad Conceptual Theater. At their worst? Well, fringe theater still beats typical rodent-killer advertising. Oh, there's also this Tumblr page.

    The tagline, enhanced in the ads by a cat screech, is, "Tomcat. Engineered to kill."

    Client: Tomcat (The Scotts Miracle Grow Co.)
    Agency: Barton F. Graf 9000, New York
    Chief Creative Officer/Founder: Gerry Graf
    Executive Creative Directors/Partners: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal
    Art Directors: Jerome Marucci, Ross Fletcher
    Copywriters: Steve McElligott, Nick Kaplan, Mark Bielik
    Head of Integrated Production: Josh Morse
    Producer: Cameron Farrell
    Senior Strategist: Deepa Sen
    Account Director: Jennifer Richardi
    Account Supervisor: Kimmy Cunningham
    Production Company: Rattling Stick
    Director: Ringan Ledwidge
    Executive Producer: Joe Biggins
    Producer: Patrick Bailey
    DOP: Ray Coates
    Costume Designer: Rosa Dias
    Production Designer: Simon Davis
    Set Designers: Nigel Howlett, Nick Abbott
    Puppeteer: Andy Heath
    Editorial: Work Editorial Inc.
    Editor: Mark Edinoff
    Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Senior Producer: Sari Resnick
    Assistant Editor: Adam Witten
    Finishing: The Mill
    VFX Producer: Rachel Trillo
    Telecine: Fergus McCall, Mikey Rossiter
    2D Leads: Chris Sonia, Keith Sullivan
    2D Assists: Emily Bloom, Molly Intersimone, Anne Trotman, Antoine Douadi, Dae Yoon Kang, Liz Berndt
    3D Animation: Aran Quinn
    Audio: Heard City
    Audio Engineers: Philip Loeb, Evan Mangiamele
    Music: Butter

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    Droga5 was just 2 years old in 2008, with nothing like the profile it has now, when it teamed up with Sarah Silverman for "The Great Schlep," encouraging Jews to visit their grandparents in Florida and get them to vote for Barack Obama.

    "The Great Schlep" won millions of views along with a slew of ad awards. (Talking to Adweek earlier this year, Silverman called the reaction to it "a big beautiful surprise.") Now, she and the New York agency have reunited for another hilarious political campaign, the "Equal Payback Project," aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women.

    The project, benefiting the National Women's Law Center, which advocates for equal pay, is essentially a giant fundraiser, with a ludicrously lofty goal of raising almost $30 trillion—a figure calculated by multiplying the 69 million working women by the amount ($435,049) each one stands to lose, on average, to the wage gap over the course of her career.

    Silverman explains the project in the amusing video below. But then, realizing that goal is unlikely to be met, she embarks on an even more drastic plan to get the money she deserves.

    Video is probably NSFW due to lots of fake male genitalia.

    "It's insane that equal pay is still something we're fighting for in 2014," says Karen Short, creative director at Droga5. "More than 50 years have passed since the Equal Pay Act, and the typical woman is still making only 78 cents to a man's dollar. We want to breathe new life into an old issue still relevant to the modern working women. It's a wake-up call for us to take charge of our financial fates."

    "Equal pay may not be a sexy issue, but it's an important one," says Casey Rand, Droga5 creative director. "And it is absurd. Young women need to know what's at stake. And we knew that to get them to engage, we'd need to play up that absurdity."

    The video points to EqualPaybackProject.com, which goes live today and will collect donations through the end of the month. It's powered by Tilt, a crowdfunding platform, and was funded by The Ipsos Girls' Lounge.

    The idea and original script for the video came from the creatives at Droga5; Silverman worked on the script, too, after signing up for the project.

    "The wage gap is stubborn, it's persistent and it's outrageous," says NWLC co-president Marcia D. Greenberger. "We're thrilled that Sarah Silverman is bringing her prodigious talents and brand of irreverent humor to bear on a very serious issue for women and their families. We hope she opens hearts and minds—and a few pocketbooks—to provide the resources to close the wage gap once and for all."

    See some infographics and posters from the campaign, along with credits, below. And check out our Q&A with Silverman from earlier this year on the joys and terrors of politically charged advertising.

    Client: National Women's Law Center
    Campaign: Equal Payback Project
    Agency: Droga5
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Vice Chairman: Andrew Essex
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Creative Directors: Casey Rand, Karen Land Short
    Art Director: Sean Park
    Head of Integrated Production: Sally­-Ann Dale
    Senior Producer: Anders Hedberg
    Broadcast Producer: Bill Berg
    Executive Technology Director: David Justus
    Senior Interactive Producer: Laura Bruskin
    Interactive Developer: Phillip Pastore
    Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
    Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy
    Communications Strategist: William deLanoy
    Head of Accounts, General Manager: Susie Nam
    Account Director: Amanda Chandler
    Account Manager: Belle Bonar
    Associate Account Manager: Jonathan Weiss
    Co-Writer/Comedian: Sarah Silverman
    Production Company: JASH
    Director: Ruben Fleischer
    Director of Photography: Jonathan Hall
    Executive Producers: Daniel Kellison, Doug DeLuca, Mickey Meyers
    Producer: Nicholas Veneroso
    Associate Producers: Chelsea Gonnering, Skyer Predergast
    Editing, Postproduction: Droga5 Studios
    Editor: Matt Badger
    Crowdfunding campaign powered by: Tilt
    Music: Jingle Punk


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