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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Does Brian Wilson know who Lorde is? Or why there's a tiger on his piano?

    This lavish video boasts an array of stars performing Wilson's 1966 Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows" to help launch BBC Music, described by the company as "an ambitious wave of new programs, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives."

    Karmarama created the clip, which features luminaries representing various generations and styles. The Impossible Orchestra, as it's called, features Wilson, Lorde, Elton John, Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl, Jake Bugg, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin and many more. Kylie Minogue floats in a soap bubble. Baaba Maal rides by in a balloon. Alison Balsom sits perched in a gilded cage.

    The extravaganza debuted yesterday during a pan-channel BBC broadcast, and the video's nearing 800,000 YouTube views already. The song also benefits BBC's Children in Need charity, is available for download and streaming and was released as a physical CD single in the U.K.

    "One of the things that interested me most about this project was the idea of bringing together so many different styles of music," says Ethan Johns, who produced the tune. "To make so much diversity work within one piece of music was quite a challenge."

    Naturally, the initiative's been compared, favorably and otherwise, to other musical megastar team-ups, such as the 1997 Children in Need reboot of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," which was a global smash. (Elton John is the only star from that outing to appear in "God Only Knows," by the way.)

    One story in the Guardian brands the new effort as "not quite a perfect day," noting, "There's something self-aggrandizing about this—but with the amount of music the BBC covers, perhaps it is deserved?" Coverage elsewhere on the site disdainfully notes that "God Only Knows" arrives just as "the corporation's battle to retain the television license fee [is] getting almost tougher by the week."

    Tough crowd.

    BBC Music director Bob Sherman explains the project, and the song choice, thusly: "Everybody gets the significance of 'God Only Knows.' And that's what we're trying to do with BBC Music. We're trying to make it feel like it's an all-encompassing brand for everybody." That quote comes from the "making-of" clip, in which Queen guitarist Brian May—whose trademark fret runs on "God Only Knows" are a highlight—seems to offer a slightly different take, calling the song "quite enigmatic, really."

    Some view the CGI effects and costumed theatrics as overkill, but I'd say the grand scale fits the message, which is quietly captured in the closing bars of the performance. Wilson sits alone at the piano, sans tiger or bombast, just looking into the camera and singing his brilliant song. A single feather drifts onto the keyboard, like a celestial seal of approval, reminding us that music is a blessing capable of lifting us up to a higher plane.


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    Google has been running a lovely ad campaign promoting its rebranded mobile app. But some of the best executions have been pretty hard to find—because they've been woven into the fabric of New York City.

    72andSunny created the wonderfully site-specific ads below, working with a variety of organizations and proprietors to bring little mini-installations to life. While the reach is probably fairly low, the playful factor is high—and it's great to see a giant company doing such joyfully detailed work on the ground.

    "Google search has always been about inspiring curiosity and enabling discovery," a Google rep tells AdFreak. "This is the inspiration behind encouraging New Yorkers to re-look at familiar landmarks—both big and small—in a new light. By pairing interesting questions with visually intriguing placements we hoped to cut through all the sights and sounds of the city that compete for attention."

    She adds: "Our outdoor campaign aims to spark curiosity about the breadth and depth of New York, and the types of information you can ask of the Google app. Where possible we tried to make the work feel as natural to the environment as possible—from custom bowling balls in Brooklyn Bowl to cappuccino cups in Cafe Reggio."


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    If diamonds are forever, it's probably best to get one you won't mind looking at for a while—for example, one that isn't tainted by a history of human rights abuses.

    Forevermark, the De Beers brand that bills itself as committed to responsible diamond sourcing, wants to provide your guiltless engagement ring, and it's pulling out all the stops to woo you with a new campaign called "Promise."

    Directed by Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed Black Swan and is now perhaps best known as Mr. Natalie Portman, the centerpiece 60-second spot (which will air on TV in 30-second and 15-second cuts) offers a black-and-white take on a whirlwind romance (distinctly less twee, though perhaps only slightly more highbrow, than KFC's recent colorful fantasy).

    Millepied's ad is packed with the sort of clichés you'd expect from a brand whose business depends on propping up the idea of everlasting love—or at least, love that lasts long enough to be worth baubles that can cost a couple dozen grand. In it, a man and woman meet by passing each other on the street. Sparks fly. He saves her from getting hit by a car door. It rains. The sun comes out. There is lots of spinning, and a voiceover with lots of talk about promises.



    Before they part, the man gives the woman an engagement ring, making the whole thing the shortest courtship ever, or maybe it's a time-tested couple role-playing to keep things fresh, or most likely, just a grand metaphor for romance.

    Regardless, it's part of a new campaign that also includes print and digital executions that continue the brand's "The center of my universe" line, which has in past years unsurprisingly yielded some of the sappiest advertising in the universe, of course shot in the Hamptons. Indeed, Forevermark hopes to reach men and women of means, be they engaged or already married. (Because gents, remember, when you're in the doghouse, nothing says "I'm sorry" like a responsibly sourced piece of diamond jewelry.)

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/8/14)
    Facebook Likes: 86,600
    Twitter Followers: 2,630
    Pinterest Followers: 694

    De Beers has for years promoted all of its products as conflict-free, and tightened its sourcing practices to weed out stones of dubious origin. But Forevermark is happy to lay out in more detail how the sub-brand's vetting goes beyond broader and less-stringent industry standards. (The Kimberly Process, established in 2002, for example, has in recent years come under fire for whitewashing a diamond trade still riddled with issues like violence and smuggling.)

    The hope: With a Forevermark diamond, you'll be less likely to see it as a gaudy and shameful indulgence down the line. The popular association between love and diamonds, though, is itself a fabrication of the De Beers machine. In 1947, a copywriter working for the brand's agency coined the slogan "A diamond is forever" to help bolster demand in a softening market. Fast forward a few decades worth of advertising, and now the symbolism is taken for granted (even as it's widely acknowledged that the high prices of diamonds are themselves the result of market manipulation, not true scarcity).

    In other words, if you want to put the money toward a down payment on a house, or your future kid's college fund, that's cool, too.

    FAST FACTS
    • Last year, consumers across the globe dropped $79 billion on diamond jewelry.
    • The 2006 film Blood Diamond made buyers anxious about where their rings came from. De Beers created the "responsibly sourced" Forevermark brand two years later.
    • The size of the marking etched on a Forevermark diamond is 1/20th of a micron deep.
    • The perceived scarcity of diamonds is a myth created by decades of De Beers marketing. If diamonds were used solely by industry, they'd be worth between $2 and $30 each.
    • While Forevermark might seem designed for American buyers, the U.S. market is actually shrinking. Forevermark has staked its future on India and China.
    • De Beers' 2013 operating profit came in at $1 billion—double its earnings from 2012.


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    Nestlé's Fitness cereal brand, which last year brought us the tweeting bra, has upped the ante with the hidden-camera bra. Watch below as a woman walks around London capturing footage of men and women furtively (they think) checking out her boobs.

    It's a fun little social experiment—and one, predictably, that has caused a bit of a flamewar in the YouTube comments. But it turns out the point of the video isn't really to comment on objectification at all. Nice work by McCann Paris.



    Also, check out the behind-the-scenes video here:



    CREDITS
    Client: Nestlé Fitness
    Agency: McCann, Paris
    Creative Director: Sarah Clift
    Art Directors: Kate Pozzi, Sarah Clift, Caroline Gozier
    Copywriter: Kate Pozzi
    TV Producers: Sasha Mantel, Arnaud Lemens
    Social Strategist: Mariam Asmar
    Account: Cédric Vanhoutte, Cynthia Decant, Laurie Chappel, Leslie Adam, Julie Colombani
    Production Companies: Outsider; The Corner Shop
    Director: Ellen Kuras
    Producer: Mel Nwanguma
    Director of Photography: Ellen Kuras
    First Assistant Director: Julian Higgs
    Costume Designer: Lydia Kovacs
    Editing: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Ted Guard
    Postproduction: MPC
    Music: Human


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    Today, everything's an ad. Or a game. Sometimes both.

    Agency TrojanOne in Toronto created this mall installation in Canada for Mattel's Pictionary. A display that initially appears to be a poster is actually a video screen. It springs to life with an interactive Pictionary challenge illustrating the tagline, "See what happens when you take the time to play."

    It's a fun variation on an ambient theme that's been executed in different ways elsewhere for various products, services and causes. Some of these campaigns have been out of this world, others can seem sinister or invasive, while one heartfelt effort is blowing folks away.

    Here, a bright, inclusive mood really resonates, and it's hard not to be drawn in by the video's infectious high spirits. In a world where everything, it seems, is an ad or a game, it's comforting to know that you can win a ginormous teddy bear sometimes.

    Via Ads of the World.



    CREDITS
    Client: Pictionary, Mattel Canada
    Agency: TrojanOne, Toronto
    Chief Creative Officer: Graham Lee
    Executive Creative Director: Gary Watson
    Art Director: Graham Lee
    Copywriter: Gaby Makarewicz
    Consumer Engagement Team: Imran Choudry, Danielle Minard, Kristyn Turner
    Digital/Agency Production Team: Mark Stewart, Garrett Reynolds, Kevin Burke
    BA Recruitment: Justin Orfus, Moira MacDonald
    Agency Producer: Laurie Maxwell
    Production Company: studio m
    Executive Producer: Mike Mills
    Line Producer: Jonny Pottins
    Director: T.J. Derry
    Cameras: Dave Derry, Jon Staav, Bruce William Harper
    Editor: Jesse Manchester, studio m
    Color Grade: RedLab
    Music, Sound Design: Imprint Music


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    You're lost somewhere on the planet and freaked out for a second. But then, you remember. Uncle Google can lead you home. Or can he? What if you're in the Arabian desert?

    Well, now you're in luck. Google strapped its Trekker camera to the lovely hump of a 10-year-old camel named Raffia and went and mapped the Liwa Oasis area of Abu Dhabi. The journey is documented in the video below.

    So now, if you're in Liwa and your phone has service, you can get your bearings. Or you can just check it out from the comfort of your couch.

    Take a look at this fascinating clip of a camel making history. 

    Via The Verge.


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    Remember Finland's horrifying "Monsters" PSA from a couple of years ago, where grownups were shown literally as frightening beasts, because that's how kids see abusively drunken parents?

    The same children's charity and ad agency—Fragile Childhood, and Havas Worldwide Helsinki—are now back with a follow-up alcohol awareness spot that's just as heartbreaking, though with less of an explicit horror-movie vibe.

    The new PSA—which really is incredibly shot, with amazing set design and art direction—imagines a world where orphanages are reversed. Parents are the orphans, and children visit them to pick out who they'd like to take home.

    Though, of course, in real life they can't.



    The concept is maybe a bit muddled—using an orphanage theme obviously brings to mind issues of adoption first, not alcohol use. But it's a visually outstanding piece nonetheless. While less overtly nightmarish than the earlier ad, there's an extremely unsettling vibe underneath the beauty here. And according to the advertiser, there's a good reason for that.

    "It is still not widely understood how much harm drinking problems at home cause to children," Fragile Childhood says. "For example, previous research has shown that every fourth Finnish child has suffered some harm because of parent's alcohol usage. Research carried out among Finnish teenagers aged 12-18 years shows that children think their parents ought not to drink at home and that they are much nicer when sober."

    CREDITS
    Client: Fragile Childhood
    Agency: Havas Worldwide, Helsinki
    Production Company: Sauna International
    Production Company: Studio Arkadena


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    You'll want to wipe that smile off his face.

    Lowe Campbell Ewald's chilling new public-service campaign for Haven, a Michigan nonprofit that assists victims of rape and domestic violence, strips away the "Mr. Nice Guy" veneer to reveal the threat lurking behind the disarming grins and sweet talk that abusers use to confuse and control their victims.

    "I'll be really nice," begins a happy-faced dude in the spot, below directed by Oscar winner Angus Wall. But he turns out to be anything but. His mood swing is understated and utterly convincing, especially in the Ray Rice era, when heroes can be revealed as villains in the few seconds it takes for a surveillance camera to capture their shameful acts.



    "This highly emotional approach will resonate with our audience," says agency creative chief Mark Simon. "Our hope is that it reaches those who are suffering and provides them with the knowledge that help is out there."

    The tagline is "Live without fear," yet for a campaign all about escaping terror, there's plenty of it here. Still, the message—across all media—is powerful. One print ad entwines the phrase "I'm crazy about you" with "You crazy bitch," while a bus-shelter poster (perhaps the campaign's best execution) features the headline "I Love You"—which, upon closer inspection, is actually composed of hundreds of tiny threats like "You're gonna pay for this" and "If I can't have you, nobody can."

    By focusing on the mind-set of perps, Haven puts the blame in the only place it belongs. "It is the choice and actions of the abuser that causes abuse," says Beth Morrison, the organization's CEO. "The victim is never at fault."



    CREDITS
    Client: Haven
    Agency: Lowe Campbell Ewald
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Simon
    Group Creative Director: David Bierman
    Art Director: Kelly Warkentien
    Copywriter: Nancy Wellinger
    Producers: Mary Ellen Krawczyk
    Account Executives: Joe Gaulzetti, Nicole Reincke, Alyssa DeYonker
    Production Company: Elastic
    Director: Angus Wall
    Director of Photography: Eric Treml
    Executive Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall
    Line Producer: Shanah Blevins
    Editing House: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: David Brodie
    Audio Mix: Lime


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    It's nothing fancy—just some particle boards and nails. But it ought to keep out those bloodthirsty zombies.

    Yes, just in time for this weekend's return of The Walking Dead to AMC, Century 21 (with help from the little mad scientists at its social agency, Mullen) is auctioning off a "Home Zombie Proofing Kit" on eBay.

    Here's part of the description on eBay.

    • Strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds or prying dead fingers.
    • Sealing prevents edge swell from liquid damage or tainted blood.
    • Galvanization guaranteed to outlast even long-lasting outbreaks.
    CAUTION: Loud noises caused by installation of Century 21 Zombie Proofing Kit may attract more zombies.

    Bidding goes until next Wednesday, with all proceeds donated to Easter Seals.


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    What do Godzilla, Jimi Hendrix, the Wizard of Oz and Selena Gomez have in common?

    While the obvious answer would be "absolutely nothing," it turns out they're all featured in this 60-second spot from eBay that kicks off the company's new "Shop the World" global brand campaign.

    The ad, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, opens on a city being ravaged by a Godzilla-esque monster. Oh, maybe it's an ad for that Godzilla movie with Bryan Cranston? Nope. OK, now there are a bunch of cars fleeing the destruction, and we zoom in on a white Fiat that somehow gets transported to a foggy country road. It's a Fiat ad! No, it's not. Now we've jumped to a bunch of marathon runners on the Golden Gate Bridge. We zoom in on one of the runners' FuelBands or FitBits or whatever it is, and suddenly it's being worn by a different woman running on a wooded trail. It's a wearable-tech ad! Again, no.

    The melange continues: A chandelier moves from a fancy ballroom to some hipster apartment. A smartphone being displayed on an giant outdoor screen pops up on a beach. Dorothy's ruby slippers (what is Dorothy doing here?) turn into a woman's red sequined handbag. Jimi Hendrix's white Strat ends up in the hands of some kid (who must have a very generous allowance). And so on.

    Meanwhile, in the background, Selena Gomez repeatedly implores us to "Come and get it, na na na na." Come and get what, Selena?!



    The concept behind the spot—that you can buy pretty much anything on eBay, whether it's a pair of shoes you saw in a movie or a guitar just like the one played by your favorite musician—is actually very straightforward. The execution, however, is not.

    The eBay plug at the end makes it clear what this is advertising. But by that point, are you a bit too perplexed to care?

    CREDITS
    Client: eBay
    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners


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    By now, we’ve all seen the ads and read the glowing magazine profiles about the world’s most luxurious airline, Dubai-based Emirates: the flat beds in private quarters, the lobster and champagne, the Zen-like shower spa, the polished staff that caters to your every need. As the 30-year-old company brings glamour, service and comfort back to air travel, it continues to expand aggressively into key global markets threatening to leave U.S. carriers in its wake, forcing them to rethink their service offerings, marketing strategies and their very business plans.

    Business travel, upon which all the airlines depend, is booming. The Global Business Travel Association reported that business travel originating in the U.S. grew 7.1 percent to $72.8 billion in the second quarter and is on track to jump 6.8 percent to $292.3 billion for all of 2014. Currently, the U.S. accounts for just 7 percent of Emirates’ business, but the company aims to make America one of its top three markets, says president Tim Clark, who told the World Routes Strategy Summit in Chicago last month that he is scouting new cities to add to its network of nine U.S. ports of call. Meanwhile, Emirates is fast expanding its fleet as it shoots for 70 million passengers per year by 2020, versus 40 million today.

    Emirates’ slick marketing efforts, aimed at not only business travelers but also the everyday flying public, are at the heart of its grand plans. To make the brand more accessible to the average flier, the airline and agency StrawberryFrog came up with the current “Hello Tomorrow” push. Launched in 2012, the campaign “portrays a multicultural, tech-savvy company aimed at worldly consumers,” explains Scott Goodson, CEO of the agency.

    No images of actual aircraft appear among the stories of people of different backgrounds crossing each others’ paths. “Our consumer studies showed that frequent travelers are most passionate about getting to know new people, not so much about what they eat on the plane or how big their seat is,” says Goodson.

    Top of mind for today’s generation of travelers is adventure, points out Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ svp of marketing and brand. American newlyweds who “used to honeymoon in Florida or Mexico are now considering destinations in the Indian Ocean like the Maldives or Seychelles,” he notes.

    Still, Emirates’ ad budget in the U.S. is a fraction of its rivals. Last year, the carrier spent just $2.4 million on TV spots, compared to United’s $24.8 million and Delta’s $15.9 million, per Kantar Media. Sponsorship of sports tournaments is where Emirates has focused its marketing muscle. As a partner in the FIFA World Cup, Emirates invested some $100 million over four years, joining other blue-chip sponsors Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Sony and Visa. The airline enlisted Impact BBDO to showcase soccer superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé in a popular spot set aboard an Emirates cocktail lounge.

    The airline’s stylish flight attendants, with their red hats, white veils and tan suits, are a big part of its marketing strategy, even showing up at the sports events Emirates sponsors. “Our Cabin Crew members are our most recognizable brand ambassadors—their uniforms are instantly identified with Emirates, which is a brand visibility boon at televised live events,” explains Boutros.

    Because of their perpetual financial pressures, marketing by U.S. airlines tends to focus on the practical. But for Emirates, advertising creative has much less to do with the size of the seat or the vintage of the champagne. “Our brand positioning celebrates an open and global mind-set, curiosity and an energy to embrace opportunities,” says Boutros. Importantly, the airline also sees itself as a cultural ambassador. “Emirates connects cultures and creates meaningful experiences that are shaping the world,” says Maurice Flanagan, the airline’s founder and recently retired vice chairman. “We invite travelers to try the unfamiliar, create new ideas and form new visions.”

    Despite being famous for its luxury, the reality is, that’s only part of the Emirates story. While premium seats at legacy airlines are far more profitable than economy seats, the opposite is true at Emirates. Its profits are in the back of the plane—not the front—according to sources, making filling those seats a priority. (While a first-class, round-trip ticket from New York to Milan on Emirates goes for $6,900, an economy seat is reasonably priced at $800.)

    The rise of Emirates has rivals stateside plenty worried about their global hegemony. Until recently, Emirates flights from New York, Boston and other U.S. cities have stopped at Dubai International Airport, which made it easier for North American and European airlines with direct flights to compete. But this month, it introduced the New York to Milan route, signaling a battle royale with legacy carriers like United, Delta and American (not to mention Alitalia), which reap 40 percent of their profits from premium travelers. And Emirates, which is wholly owned by the oil-rich government of Dubai, is just one of a handful of well-financed Persian Gulf airlines, including Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, with an eye on the U.S.

    “Full-service legacy carriers in the U.S. and Europe are facing serious disruption, with fierce competition from Gulf-based carriers on long-haul routes and pressure from low-cost carriers on short-haul routes,” notes Raymond Kollau, founder of the aviation news site Airline Trends. “Their margins are getting squeezed on both sides.”

    The Internet is making a tough situation even tougher. Along with finding the lowest available fares for a given seat, seasoned travelers are using sites like SeatGuru and Routehappy to discover and compare all the products and services offered on competing business- and first-class flights.

    By now, most airlines have upgraded long-haul business class with flat-bed seats and other amenities, shrinking the comfort differences between business class and first class but keeping the huge difference in price. (A long-haul business-class ticket averages $10,000 and a similar first-class ticket runs about $20,000, per Atmosphere Research.) Squeezed legacy airlines are also replacing many of their first-class accommodations with business-class seats, points out Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a research consultancy catering to the airline industry. Delta offers only business class and coach on long-haul flights, while United is rumored to be phasing out its first-class service on longer flights, and American Airlines is getting rid of first class on 50 of its jets.

    Meanwhile, Emirates’ business plan flies directly against that trend, as it grows first class and focuses on luxury that goes far beyond a seat that turns into a bed. Demand for the 14 first-class seats on each of its Airbus A380s outstripped all other offerings last year, according to the company.

    As Mike Crump, partner at the design firm Honour Branding, which counts airlines among its clients, puts it, “Emirates and a few other airlines have responded by heavily investing in services that take their inspiration from luxury hotels around the world. These innovations help build their brand equity.”

    And that they have. Emirates this year was rated the most valuable airline brand worldwide by the U.K. consultancy Brand Finance. In 2013, it was named the world’s best airline by Skytrax, based on 19 million customer surveys. Emirates’ first-class lounge at Dubai International was also ranked the world’s best in the 2013 World Travel Awards, which are selected by travel agents.

    Contrast that with premium long-haul travel elsewhere. United’s BusinessFirst, for instance, provides flat-bed seats, multicourse meals, extra storage and free on-demand entertainment. In addition to promoting those services to corporate travelers via TV, digital and billboards, United features the service as part of its general market “Flyer Friendly” campaign, notes Mark Krolick, managing director of marketing and product development.

    For its part, Delta’s customer research indicates that long-distance travelers care more about getting a restful sleep versus niceties like gourmet meals and entertainment. “Based on that insight, our BusinessElite full flat seats have direct aisle access and premium bedding branded by Westin Hotels,” a company rep says. And rather than targeting corporate customers, Delta advertises premium and coach offerings across market segments. “People travel in different ways for different reasons, buying a business class ticket for work, for instance, but not for family vacations,” says the Delta rep.

    Carriers that still operate first class on long-haul flights are reconfiguring their aircraft to compete with Emirates. For instance, American Airlines and British Airways are reimagining how the galley in the Boeing B777’s business and first-class cabin could become a lounge for passengers after regular meal service is completed.

    But industry insiders note that the newer global carriers have an edge when it comes to luxury travel, stocking their fleets with new, custom-designed A380s and B377s that seat 350 passengers and have room for whatever amenities the airlines can dream up.

    And the dreams get bigger and bigger all the time. Crump’s firm helped design Etihad’s new A380 first-class, three-room apartments—yes, apartments—dubbed Residence class. It’s little wonder Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi, beat out Emirates as the world’s best airline, best cabin crew and best first-class service in the 2013 World Travel Awards.

    Those dreams may be limited only by the routes the airlines can secure. Fliers already know by way of advertising and word of mouth that Emirates and Singapore Airlines offer a superior experience—they just don’t happen to travel to every destination in the world. (Just last week, some of Emirates 3.6 million Facebook fans debated that very point.)

    So, the airlines scramble to add the most popular routes, introduce the next fabulous service—and beat the other guy. Brand loyalty seems, at best, ephemeral as these carriers try to one up each another. As Kollau points out, “These customers will vote with their wallets every time new routes are added by these best-of-the-best carriers.”


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    As wooing goes, Andrew Robertson’s efforts to seal the deal with David Lubars was not particularly auspicious. In 2004, the newly named BBDO global chief stepped up his efforts to recruit the Fallon chief creative officer, but not only did Roberston show up late for lunch, he came without wallet or phone, sticking Lubars with the bill as well as a used-up phone battery. Not easily put off, Lubars signed up with Robertson and began a working relationship that has seen the transformation of BBDO into a world player with an expanding global client roster and a creative reputation matching that profile. BBDO has been saluted as the most creative network eight years in a row by the Gunn Report and is a five-time winner as Cannes Network of the Year. At this year’s Clio Awards, BBDO won 59 prizes, including a Hall of Fame Award and a Grand Clio. Robertson and Lubars, now BBDO’s global CCO, spoke with Adweek about the ups and downs of their decade together and lessons learned.

    Adweek: How difficult was it to change BBDO’s culture?
    Robertson: It’s always hard, but we were clear in what we were doing. The focus is on the [BBDO mantra]: “The Work. The Work. The Work.” We articulated three core pillars: We would secure an unfair share of exceptional talent and leverage them as widely as we could across brands, communication forms, cultures and countries. Then we had to get offices to realize the full value of being part of a network and use network contacts, talent, knowledge, experience and ideas to build local as well as international business. Those foundations are fixed; everything else can and will change from day to day, place to place.

    Lubars: It’s not an assembly line here. Our biggest mandate is to work like a global boutique. Obviously, there’s discipline and rigor, but a lot of it is a purposeful chaos and eventually magic happens. Sometimes people come here and it takes a while to get used to it because it’s not ordered. One of the things Andrew and I are best at is we’re very self-aware of the limits of our competencies. It’s good to know what you’re not good at. We have extraordinary people and we’re humbled to have them.

    Adweek: What was it like shaking up BBDO’s traditional creative operations?
    Lubars: We had a vision of what the future might look like. We mapped it out and it became a place where the cement never hardens. There are always new ideas—it’s media agnostic. It wasn’t even more specific than that; it was just a feeling that something new could happen. I relate to fast, nimble, flat. The day we become a big giant agency is the day we’re not unique, we’re another big agency. So it’s not just cool, it’s imperative that we operate like a global boutique.

    Adweek: What are some of the lessons you’ve learned over the past 10 years?
    Robertson: Those core principles we stand for, we bang away at those every day in every office, on every job, for every client. We’re committed to doing the best work and it’s not an empty promise. Saying it is easy—doing it is tough. The second thing is people. You need really high-impact players to be able to deliver that work. Everyone here is a practitioner. 

    Lubars: We don’t have overhead here. Everybody’s attached to business.

    Adweek: How do you two work together on new business development and client handling?
    Robertson: We don’t work on every pitch and client together, but we work on a lot of them. If we’re working on a pitch, we’ll put together the team that’s going to run the business and then what we do is guide, supplement and add value. We don’t substitute for it.

    Lubars: And when you wake up at 2 a.m. because your mind is still going and you’re checking emails, you find that Andrew is also up and sending you one.

    Adweek: Anything over the past 10 years you would have done differently?
    Robertson: Lots of things. Most often, it’s not moving fast enough. There’s a great quote from General MacArthur: “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: too late.” The absolute low point for me was November 2009, when I had to go to Detroit and tell 486 people we were closing because we saw no future working with Chrysler. That was a horrible time because they were really good people who’d been working like crazy for years on those brands.

    Lubars: That was a terrible punch in the guts for us.

    Adweek: How has David’s role changed with the worldwide expansion of his duties?
    Lubars: I’m here to help the network, but I’m not a hood ornament. I don’t think my role has changed. My best contribution is having my hands on the work. I go where it is, where people need me.

    Robertson: The leadership he provides is by example and that’s the way to lead a global creative function.

    Adweek: What are the things you are most pleased with over the last decade?
    Robertson: We’ve come closer than others in delivering on our promise of being the network producing the best work that works best. What I’m proudest of is we’ve managed to keep totally focused on that and to keep working at it every day.

    Adweek: What was it like living through the Publicis- Omnicom merger negotiations?
    Robertson: It wasn’t that tough because John [Wren, Omnicom CEO] and Randy [Weisenburger, CFO] did a good job of making that process an enormous amount of work for a relatively small number of people [at headquarters] and not just allowing but forcing the rest of us running divisions and networks to focus on doing that. We were extremely well insulated from all the hard work.


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    Specs
    Who CEO David Campbell
    What Marketing experience developer
    Where Charlotte, N.C.

    When the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 and resultant financial woes sent the country hurtling into recession, Boxman Studios CEO David Campbell, a real estate developer, had to quickly construct a new career for himself. He was awed by images of homes created out of shipping containers that he saw online—and recognized the enormous potential of the idea. He mulled a business creating temporary jails and dorm rooms out of the metal boxes, but with the growing popularity of pop-up shops and experiential marketing, he ultimately decided to take the concept in a different direction. His 40 employees have now built pop-up experiences for brands like Samsung, Nike and Hyundai, allowing their imaginations to run free as they create spaces like a multi-story PlayMaker’s Club game-day hangout and an out-of-home abode at a Google TED talk. “We play with Legos, just life-sized,” Campbell said.


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    Have you ever wondered how a goat would interpret '80s rock ballad "Simply the Best"? Of course you have.

    The cute beast in this Norwegian commercial for goat cheese sticks pretty close to the classic version by Tina Turner, though it does change the line "You're simply the best" to "I'm simply the best." That's a bold creative statement. For a goat. And decidedly on brand.

    Some silly billies at Try/Apt in Oslo devised the 30-second spot.

    I kept expecting the wooly warbler to get even more anthropomorphized and maybe bust some moves, like Three's famous dancing pony. Alas, this goat isn't much of a hoofer. (I'm also surprised there's no horn section.)

    That's one crazy kid, but way saner than Mountain Dew's Felicia, who, you may recall, got everybody's goat last year.


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    What do you get when you talk to a group of teen and tween girls about gender roles and stereotyping? A lot of surprisingly insightful opinions.

    This past spring, in the midst of heated public debate surrounding Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign, women's lifestyle site SheKnows released a video asking 9-year-old girls what they think bossy means. It was fresh and inspiring, and became the impetus for SheKnows' latest project, called Hatch—a program that empowers kids to use media and technology in positive ways.

    SheKnows just released the video below, featuring girls talking about gender roles and the pro-female advertising movement and what all of that means to them.



    The video is fun and endearing, but also full of great little insights. They weigh in on everything from the Always #likeagirl campaign to the effects of media on girls to social mores. Among their notable remarks:

    • "I think most toys are geared towards girls or towards boys. Girls plays with dolls, and for guys, it's like, building things."
    • "Usually girls' dolls look a certain way. I don't think they consider that sometimes girls have short hair."
    • "You don't have to have pink toys if you're a girl … That was the olden days. Now it's 2014. Catch up, people."

    In an interview with AdFreak, Samantha Skey, chief revenue officer of SheKnows, explained the motive behind creating these kinds of videos. For one, SheKnows has a large readership of moms who are stressed about integrating tech into their kids' lives in a productive way. They want their children to be tech savvy, but they're concerned that the messages they're receiving aren't positive.

    "We're focusing on digital storytelling and teaching kids to make a good video," Skey says. "Eight- and 9-year-olds are really contemplative about the topic when posed to them in this context. Kids can talk about social issues sometimes more easily when they're on camera. The girls were really willing to have these conversations, and the filming was a useful device for them to think about their points of view and articulate them clearly."

    "Why do they think science is for boys? And why blue? And dragons?" asks a little girl on the video.

    Girls are paying attention, their parents are spending the money, and they're willing to support brands that empower their children. "Catch up, people."

    Check out some more Hatch videos below.


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    In 1984, Peugeot introduced its 205 GTi with a wild, James Bond-esque commercial in which the car was seen being chased down a snowy mountain by an attack helicopter dropping missiles.

    Thirty years later, the car maker has finally gotten around to making a sequel vehicle, the 208 GTi. And so, it's upgraded the classic commercial as well—beginning with footage from the original and then taking the stunt driving to ludicrous lengths, with help from some digital trickery.

    The spot was produced by agencies BETC and Havas Düsseldorf, and directed by the Andy's through production company WIZZ.

    Do not try this at home, or anywhere else.



    Here's the original spot:



    CREDITS
    Client: Peugeot
    Brand Management: Guillaume Couzy, Stéphane Levi, Nathalie Le Maitre, Joanna Boutté
    Agency: BETC
    Agency Manegement: Henri Tripard, Julien Grimaldi, Thomas Boutte, Fabien Idoux
    Chief Creative Officer: Rémi Babinet
    Creative Director: Vincent Behaeghel
    Traffic: Céline Laporte
    Strategic Planning: Maria Galleriu, Jean Allary
    Creative Team (Havas Düsseldorf): Marcus Herrmann, Oliver Hilbring, Stefan Muhl
    TV Producer: Thibault Blacque-Belair
    Production Company: WIZZ
    Sound Production: Gum
    Directors: The Andys


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    Billy Eichner's persona on his show Billy on the Street is so memorable that as soon as fans saw the Burger King ad below, they immediately thought of Eichner—and began lobbing insults at BK and calling the agency behind it lazy.

    Man on the street characters are anything but new, but Eichner's scream-filled spin is a fresh take that has endeared fans and celebrities alike. The BK spot, with its own shrieking spokesman, might not hit exactly the same notes, but you can understand the grumbling.



    Also, the BK spot just isn't that funny. Eichner's show isn't hilarious because of the format; it's hilarious because of Eichner himself. The BK spot isn't on YouTube. But of course, in the the Internet age, any imitation will be discovered—and ridiculed—eventually, whether it's a sketch show celebrating its 40-year run or a 15-second spot.

    Burger King did not immediately respond to AdFreak's requests for comment. But as you can see, McDonald's has already weighed in.

     
    Check out some of the other tweets below.


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    KFC may be going through tough times, but that won't stop the ubiquitous chicken chain from putting out a new ad about how everyone loves its its fried fare. Or at least, how suburban families, cutesy women who wear mostly pink, middle-aged cowboys, little girls in bumblebee outfits, bodybuilders, hippie chicks, weathered fishermen and prep school teenagers—all of varying racial make-up—do.

    In the 30-second commercial below from FCB Chicago, one such group gathers around an enormous dinner table that seems to have an endless number of sides. They pass around a bucket of the Colonel's chicken and grin, while the peace-and-love classic "Get Together" by the Youngbloods plays as the soundtrack of a spot that might best be described as a grab for a bucketful of demographics.



    Nonetheless, it's a happy little image—the kind of upbeat charm that is a frequent motif in KFC's marketing, alongside a certain amount of quirkiness that's recently seen consumers graced with merchandise like real fried-chicken prom corsages and a computer keyboard that features facsimiles of fried chicken instead of letters. That's not to mention twee romances in the U.K. (a step up from odious British chicken musicals of years past), and the simmering nostalgic love stories of the American South.

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/13/14)
    Facebook Likes: 35 million
    Twitter followers: 652,083
    Instagram followers: 147,417
    Vine followers: 23,700

    While chicken is generally experiencing something of a golden age in the U.S., overall fried chicken consumption—including from major restaurant chains—is reportedly down. KFC is wrestling with rising competition from Chik-fil-A, which recently surpassed it in total sales despite having fewer than half as many domestic locations. Popeye's is also gaining ground. And KFC is also suffering the effects of a tainted food scandal in China, parent company Yum! Brand's most profitable market.

    Still, KFC remains the second largest fast food chain worldwide by sales, behind McDonald's. Given how much better most things taste breaded and fried, it's easy to see why.

    CREDITS
    Client: KFC
    Agency: FCB, Chicago
    Todd Tilford, CCO
    Ivo Knezevic, EP
    Chuck Rudnick, GCD
    Gabriel Schmitt, CD
    Gustavo Dorietto, CD
    Matt Hartwig, PBM
    Ben Gladstone, SVP, Group Management Director
    Alex Jokanovic, Account Director
    Alicia Caillier, Account Executive
    Shannon Balmat, Assistant Account Executive
    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Scott Vincent, Director                                                                                 
    Kevin Byrne, Managing Partner / Executive Producer                              
    Dan Duffy, Executive Producer / Director of Sales
    Mino Jarjoura, Executive Producer
    Nancy Hacohen, Executive Producer
    Craig Repass, Producer
    Postproduction: Lord+Thomas                                                                                               
    Jackie Moorman, Editor
    Celena Mossell, Senior Post Producer


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    Fancy yourself the outdoorsy type, eh? You've got all the slickest gear for the rugged lifestyle you live every day. Maybe you even have a gnarly beard and a Clif bar in your pocket. 

    Well, what if next time you went shopping for gear you were immediately put to the test?

    Shoppers in Korea faced this challenge in a terrifyingly hilarious stunt by The North Face and South Korean agency Innored titled "Never Stop Exploring."

    Unsuspecting customers at this pop-up North Face store were startled when the floor below them slowly began to disappear, and they were forced to grab on to the walls, which happened to have rock-climbing holds attached to them. Then, a perfect North Face item descends from the heavens, just out of their reach, and a 30-second timer appears.

    Totally freaked out, they are given a choice. Watch the video below to find out how these sudden extreme-sports participants fare.


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    Already known as the wedding capital of the world, Las Vegas is about to host a lot more weddings. And Las Vegas tourism couldn't be happier.

    After Nevada legalized gay marriage last week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and agency R&R Partners—creators of the famed "What happens here, stays here" campaign—quickly rolled out a full-page ad in USA Today celebrating the momentous occasion.

    "This is an historic day for Las Vegas and the great state of Nevada," the LVCVA said in a statement. "As the 'Wedding Capital of the World' and one of the top destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visitors, Las Vegas welcomes LGBT couples wishing to legally recognize their relationship. There is simply no better destination to host a fabulous wedding followed by a one-of-a-kind honeymoon."

    The ad points to a new microsite, lasvegas.com/gaytravel.

    See the full newspaper ad below.


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