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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Morris the Cat, whose 9Lives cat food ads from the '70s and '80s are all over YouTube, shakes off the cobwebs and joins the 21st century in the brand's new campaign—becoming the first cat to wear goofy smart-cam glasses in "Cat's Eye View," a sort-of-ARG interactive experience from agency EVB.

    There's a video trailer below, but the full experience is at 9lives.com/CatsEyeView, where a short introductory video that introduces Morris's wearable technology and invites you to join him on a journey around the house.

    You can guide Morris through a series of interactive prompts that show him doing typical cat things: watching goldfish, ruining black dress pants, unraveling toilet paper, and so on. The game has a few Easter eggs in it, too, like coupons for 9Lives and a downloadable poster of Morris in his dorky Internet glasses.

    It's a game in the same way that later sequels of Final Fantasy were games—mostly cut scenes with moments of brief, fleeting control for the viewer.

    The peek into Morris's life is cute and fun, though. And since cats are total jerks in real life, Morris's sardonic running commentary is familiar and not grating.

    Campaign poster and credits below.

    Client: 9Lives
    Campaign: "Cat's Eye View"
    Agency: EVB 
    Executive Creative Director: Steve Babcock
    VV/Group Creative Director: Patrick Maravilla
    Associate Creative Director: David Byrd
    Art Director: Tyler Jensen
    Senior Copywriter: David Satterfield
    Logo Animation: Kevin Brown
    Senior Interactive Producer: Kevin Turner
    Senior Film Producer: Jamie Shuster
    Production Company: Every Day Is Like Sundae
    Director: Simon Mowbray
    Executive Producer (Production Co): Blythe Dalton Klippsten
    Producer (Production Co): Tina Starkweather
    Director Of Photography: Simon Thirlaway
    Post Production: Ntropic
    Editorial Company: Ntropic
    Music Company: Ntropic
    Composer: Aaron Robinson
    Sound Design Company: Lime
    Sound Designer: Matt Miller
    Visual Effects Company: Ntropic
    Visual Effects Editor: Simon Mowbray
    VP/Director of Account Management: Kathleen Foutz
    Account Manager: Laura Miley
    Director of Technology: Ken Goldfarb
    Web Development Company: Black and Red Inc.
    Lead Developer: Phillip Epstein

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    Dragan Trenchevski, an industrial designer from Macedonia with maybe the coolest name ever given to a person, has come up with a prototype for an Electrolux Mobile Kitchen, which is basically a laptop with a hotplate built into it—so you can easily cook while looking at recipes online.

    Well, it's a bit more upscale than that. The Mobile Kitchen is a touch-screen laptop that includes a four-tier induction cooktop, a cutting board and, one would imagine, a friendly reminder to wash/wipe off your hands before touching the screen. It's just a poop sock away from being complete enough for Google to install in every programmer's workstation.

    Obviously, any commercial release of such a product would have an uphill battle convincing people that just keeping their laptop or tablet in the kitchen is too inconvenient. But as a one-off novelty, it's pretty cool.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    If you like your bottled water to come with actual water in it, this might not be the brand for you.

    The anti-sugar crusaders at indie brand Fred Water are now selling empty versions of their eye-catching flask-shaped bottles, encouraging consumers to fill and refill them with free water instead.

    Before you start freaking out about the nasty cancer-causing chemicals that might leach into your drink from reusing a plastic bottle, Fred reassures you its bottles are BPA and phthalate free.

    "With the popularity of its water flasks at an all-time high, the company wanted to make an even bigger impact on its core mission: shifting consumers off sugar and on to water, and reducing its impact on the environment," Fred says. "As a result, the company decided to sell its refillable flask empty, and remind consumers again that while Fred Natural Spring Water is delicious and good for the body, refilling with free water hydrates you just the same."

    Founded in Brooklyn, Fred also describes the bottles as "pocket-friendly," claiming that unlike those evil round metal SIGG bottles, which can cause injury if you fall on one, its flat water bottles are flexible and safe. In other words, stop carrying around that heavy artillery, and cushion your clumsiness with Fred.

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/14/14)
    Facebook Likes: 8,700
    Twitter Followers: 2,500
    Instagram Followers: 3,800

    At $9 for an empty 13.5-ounce flask, it might sting your wallet a little—but if you're the bottled-water drinking type, only in the short term. Compare that to $25 for a 20-bottle case, or $0 for drinking tap water (excluding tax dollars).

    Fred is also meant to appeal to your environmentally friendly sensibilities, because recycling is good for everybody in the long term, and gives you warm and fuzzies for feeling like you're making a difference now (also because, if you're going to buy bottled water anyway, Fred might as well make a buck off it).

    Of course, if you're the type of person who tends to get distracted by activities less dull than keeping track of your water bottle, you will within a day or two lose your $9 plastic container, and be annoyed. Because it's not expensive enough to really warrant much attention.

    Now, if only someone would design a $60,000 water bottle, that's the kind of thing you'd never leave behind.

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    People have a hard time sitting through five seconds of pre-roll on YouTube. How will they react to almost six hours of it—much of which is intentionally, preposterously, stultifyingly boring?

    Virgin America is about to find out.

    The airline today breaks a curious new online campaign from ad agency Eleven in San Francisco. And the centerpiece is a strange, Warholian Web film depicting—in real time—the experience on a typical rival carrier (here it's called BLAH Airlines, and yes, it has a website) during a 5-hour-and-45-minute flight from Newark to San Francisco.

    The passengers are mannequins—they're so bored, they can't even move a muscle. And indeed, BLAH is the antithesis of Virgin. The seats are cramped, the lighting is harsh, there's scant entertainment and no real food.

    "The passengers have no choice but to be on 'autopilot' to get through the tedious journey," says Virgin. "Just trying to watch the video is downright painful—and that's the point. If you wouldn't sit through the entire film, why would you pay money to experience it in real life?"

    Yes, the film is boring. But it's also quite fun to skip around and see just how the Eleven creatives filled all that dead air. (Alright, much of it is actually dead air.) The client and agency deserve a lot of credit for going with such a peculiar idea—and then really committing to the details, knowing almost no one will sit through the whole thing.

    We reached out to Bryan Houlette, creative director on the Virgin America account at Eleven, and asked him a few questions about the creative process for the campaign.

    Adweek: Where did the inspiration for this idea come from?
    Bryan Houlette: Today, most of the options for flying—besides Virgin America—are pretty bland, lack personality and rarely have the latest in amenities. Yet people fly them because they're tied to mileage programs and feel like they have to. It's almost like they're traveling on autopilot—without realizing they don't have to get on that boring flight.

    We wanted to recreate the feeling of what it's like to fly on autopilot and then remind people there's a better way to fly. So we created a film that shows what's it like when you're on a "blah" flight, from takeoff to landing. We called it BLAH Airlines flight 101, and we made it the length of an actual cross-country flight.

    Was it weird creating such a large amount of intentionally boring content?
    It was never really weird, but rather a challenge to see if we could also make it funny. And in the end, that's where all the fun happened. It was a nice mix of being really weird and comical, for a real long time. It's the kind of thing where you want to turn away, but you're oddly drawn into the boredom.

    Do you expect the film to become a cult favorite of sorts?
    Man, we hope this could become a cult favorite. It seems to have the right ingredients. Especially for the right audience. But you never really know, nor can you hold your breath. In the beginning, when we started shopping the idea around, we had a lot of really positive reactions to the idea. And that was a good sign, which made us think, maybe this could be something big.

    The nice thing about doing the film as preroll is it gives the viewer the option to watch as much of it as they like before opting out. It will be interesting to see how that performs ... and if there's someone out there who's willing to sit through 5 hours and 45 minutes of preroll. If so, we'd like to meet that person.

    Client: Virgin America
    Agency: Eleven Inc.
    Chief Creative Officer: Mike McKay
    Creative Director: Bryan Houlette
    Senior Art Directors: Sarah Worthington, Bryan Houlette
    Senior Copywriter: Aryan Aminzadeh
    Copywriters: Jon Korn, Kevin X. Barth
    Head of Integrated Production, Executive Producer: Anastacia Maggioncalda
    Producer, Live Action: Lindsey Wood
    Producers, Digital/Social: Michael Phillips, Amanda Punzalan
    Activation Strategy Director: Fiona Su
    Director of Social Media: Maura Tuohy
    Director of Client Services: Rob Garnett
    Account Management Supervisor: Lily Byrne
    Account Manager: Meghan Kemp
    Director: Shillick
    Print Photography: JUCO
    Print Post: DMAX
    Executive Producer: Josh Ferrazzano
    Producer: Bo Clancey
    Directort of Photography: Peter Thompson
    Video Postproduction, Sound Design: World War Seven
    Editor: Kevin X. Barth
    Visual Effects Artist: Sean Pfeiffer
    Additional Visual Effects: Sean Addo
    Colorist: Robert Crosby
    Additional Editing: Penny Krueger, Nick Brown
    Additional Sound Mixing: Matt Wood


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    Raw footage of 38-year-old motorcyclist David Holmes smashing into a car at 97 miles per hour, as captured by his GoPro helmet camera, is being used in a British road safety ad with the permission of his mother.

    "I know he rode fast that day. He loved speed but he also loved life," she tells the Telegraph."This hasn't been an easy thing to do, but I just hope that somebody benefits from the warning; that people slow down and take time to look for bikes. I'm not a perfect driver. I've done silly things sometimes, and I've been lucky to get away with them. David wasn't lucky. The driver wasn't lucky."

    The ad interlaces the crash footage and an interview with his mother about the incident. The crash video isn't graphic. It is chilling, though. The absolute and permanent stillness of the final image is intense without trying to be, which is rare in advisories like this. It also provokes that uncomfortable contradiction about things like this needing to exist even though they shouldn't have to exist.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    For a few lucky listeners, using Pandora can get you a personal concert with one of your favorite artists.

    The Internet streaming music service today breaks the new ad below from twofifteenmccann. It features a handful of users who were suddenly invited, via FaceTime, to a one-on-one live-streaming performance by Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale immediately after giving the rock band a thumbs-up on Pandora.

    It's the second execution in a campaign launched last month with a similar video featuring electric violinist Lindsey Stirling.

    It's a clever way to amplify one of the category leader's core features—the algorithm that extrapolates an individual listener's tastes based on which songs he or she gives thumbs-up or thumbs-down ratings using the site's buttons—even if the campaign's title, "Thumb Moments," is a little wonky (perhaps too reminiscent of the old Steve Oedekerk series).

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/15/14)
    Facebook Likes: 7.07 million
    Twitter followers: 267,000
    Instagram followers: 25,600

    Moments are fast becoming a theme in Pandora ads. Earlier this year, a pair of twofifteenmccann spots freeze-framed and zoomed in on intimate scenes powered by Pandora. Here, it's smart to get the concept out of the way, and keep the focus on the music, and the audience.

    Aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, the buy behind the overall campaign (including other concerts in the series) will put $5 million into digital video (including YouTube and Viacom properties), native ads (via Nativo and Outbrain), as well as media on Facebook and Twitter.

    Of course, with more than 76 million monthly users on Pandora—the largest of its class—and only half a dozen or so viewers per concert, the odds of getting a seat seem pretty long.

    • Prior to founding Pandora in 1999, Tim Westergren played keyboards in a rock band and scored music for films.
    • Westergren pitched his idea 348 times before AOL and Best Buy signed on in 2003.
    • Pandora hands over 60 percent of its revenue to pay the royalties on the tunes it plays.
    • Pandora Musicologists evaluate every song they listen to by using up to 450 different musical characteristics.
    • A quarter of Pandora's 76.4 million monthly visitors are Hispanic.
    • Traditional radio runs roughly 25 commercial spots per hour. Pandora runs three to four. Pay $4.99 a month, and you don’t have to listen to any.

    Client: Pandora
    Spot: "Thumb Moments With Bush"
    Agency: twofifteenmccann
    Chief Creative Officer: James Robinson
    Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Quentin Shuldiner
    Copywriter: Kyle Davis
    Senior Art Director: Alper Kologlu
    Senior Producer: Vera Kacurova
    Director of Integrated Production: Alex Spahr
    Management Supervisor: Hannah Schaefer
    Account Executive: Anne Cathcart
    Managing Director: Kelly Johnson
    Production Company: Skunk
    Director: Greg Brunkalla
    Managing Partner: Matt Factor
    Executive Producer: Shelly Townshend
    Head of Production: Jeanne Stawiarski
    Line Producer: Christopher Cho
    Director of Photography: Jason McCormick
    Production Designer: Jason Kisvarday
    Editing Company: Beast
    Editor: Doug Walker
    Assistant Editor: Nicole Salmeri
    Executive Producer: Jon Ettinger
    Mixing Studio: One Union Recording
    Mixer: Eben Carr

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    It was 1958 when J. Walter Thompson's Donald Gilles came up with the line, "Have a break. Have a KitKat." Fifty-six years later, JWT London has found a fun new way to illustrate the line—with a half-finished billboard.

    Awards bait? Sure. A creative wank? Perhaps. But you have to admit, it's clever.

    Via Ads of the World.

    Client: KitKat
    Agency: JWT, London
    Copywriter/Art Director: Jeremy Carr
    Designer: Mark Gardner
    Account Supervisor: Antony Hill
    Account Manager: Rachel Vares
    Project Manager: Rachel Clutterbuck

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    There are ads where you can't quite believe the premise, and this is one of them.

    How did the Fiat 500X SUV come to be? Well, it seems a little Fiat accidentally swallowed a little blue pill—and quickly grew bigger. Seriously, that's the plot of this commercial from The Richards Group. It's even odder because it's so nicely shot. (It was reportedly filmed in Pitigliano, Tuscany.)

    Says the YouTube description: "The Fiat 500X is bigger, more powerful and ready for action. In this official Fiat 500X commercial everyone who comes into contact with the 500x gets a little excited and you will too."

    Or you could be left wondering what you just saw.

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    If it's more comedy you want from your billboard, Sprite is happy to oblige.

    Ogilvy Kenya recently put up "Bill the Billboard" at a busy intersection in Nairobi, and programmed him to endlessly crack jokes. He's sort of an outdoor version of the famous Pringles banner ad from 2009, offering seemingly stream-of-consciousness quips to keep viewers entertained.

    The jokes aren't exactly side-splitting, and the case study's boast that Bill is the "first ad ever with mental issues" isn't exactly P.C. But at least he's a little different than your typical boring digital ad.

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    A world without glass would be pretty soulless.

    That's the main takeaway from these new TV ads that Doremus and sister shop DDB produced for O-I, the world's largest manufacturer of glass packaging (mostly bottles, but other packaging too). They're part of O-I's ongoing "Glass Is Life" campaign, which began three years ago with a business-to-business focus but now targets consumers.

    Doremus, a b-to-b specialist, is something of a glassvertising expert, too—having made the awesomely peculiar "Brokeface" campaign for Corning's Gorilla Glass NBT. But the agency doesn't have a presence in Latin America, so it turned to Omnicom Group sibling DDB Colombia for help, and together they've created five fun, memorable ads.

    The basic premise is that plastic and aluminum are no substitute for glass, whether you're toasting at a bar, serving up water to a bikini-clad babe or desperately trying to push an SOS message out to sea.

    The ads first appeared online and will extend to TV this week in Colombia and Peru.

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    Just when you thought Taylor Swift couldn't get any more respect from millennials, here she is proving again that she lives in a reality only believable in a Disney movie.

    Swifties around the world may spend their inheritances on Diet Coke after seeing this magical ad conjured up by Droga5, featuring the incomparable Swift sitting in her living room enjoying her beverage of choice (coincidentally, the one she's paid to love). The spot also gives a sneak peek of a track from her new album, 1989.

    After each sip, she remains unfazed and giggly as adorable kittens appear exponentially. That's right, she's not completely freaked out, as any normal person would be when they need to fill the bathtub with cat food and convert their bedroom into a litter box.

    We're told the ad also features "a cameo from Taylor's own kitten, Olivia." Yes, Taylor Swift is so popular, her cat's appearance in an ad is considered a cameo. (Cameow?)

    "As a longtime Diet Coke fan, Taylor is a natural example of who we're celebrating in the 'Get a Taste' campaign. It's all about passionate fans who simply love the delicious taste of Diet Coke," says Andrew McMillin, vp of Coca-Cola Brands North America. "The spot with Taylor is lighthearted and fun, bringing together two of her favorite things—kittens and Diet Coke. And it genuinely shows, from Taylor's perspective, what her life would be like if it tasted as good as Diet Coke."

    I'm going to let you finish your Diet Coke, Taylor, but I am also going to call the ASPCA when you're done.

    Client: Diet Coke
    Agency: Droga5, New York

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    Chanel No 5. makes you irresistible. At least, if you're Gisele Bündchen.

    The supermodel stars in this new three-minute ad for the brand, a sequel of sorts to Chanel's 2004 love story starring Nicole Kidman. Baz Luhrmann, who directed the first clip, returns for this one, making for an unsurprisingly lush visual style.

    The sequence is relatively coherent for a luxury fragrance ad, if still pretty tortured.

    Bündchen—last seen kicking a punching bag for Under Armour—plays a woman of means, who lives in a glass house on the beach. She surfs. She models. She has a young daughter, and drives a classic roadster. She has a dapper suitor who's head over heals for her. She loves him, too. Do they find each other in the end? Watch and see.

    The whole thing is drenched in atmosphere. So much so that it turns the upbeat Grease hit "You're the One That I Want" into a maudlin ballad, albeit beautifully arranged and performed by Lo-Fang.

    Social Media Profile (as of 10/16/14)
    Facebook Like: 13.76 million
    Twitter followers: 5.6 million
    Instagram followers: 1.82 million

    Of course, it wouldn't be Chanel marketing without the classic bottle, which makes its cameo. But high-dollar productions are also a key part of the brand's image. The Kidman ad reportedly cost $42 million to make. In 2012, Brad Pitt babbled on camera for 30 seconds to the tune of $7 million. Bundchen's video broke 1 million YouTube views in 24 hours, and while not all the comments are glowing, the fantasy Chanel is selling clearly has power.

    "In a way, Gisele became the script," Luhrmann said at a press conference on Monday, according to Vogue U.K."I knew her when she was quite young and starting out, and she's evolved so much in both her life and work. The film reflects that—this woman has a child, a real job and then she has this relationship. Gisele is the Chanel woman now."

    Fast Facts
    • Perfumer Ernest Beaux presented Coco Chanel with 10 candidates for her first perfume; Coco chose the one numbered 5.
    • In the time it takes you to read this sentence, four bottles of Chanel No. 5 will be sold in the world.
    • Introduced in 1921, Chanel No. 5 was the world's first synthetic perfume.
    • Coco Chanel was raised by nuns and took a Nazi officer as her lover during World War II.
    • Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume to be advertised on the Super Bowl.
    • Marilyn Monroe caused a scandal in April 1960 when she said the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No. 5. The truth was that Monroe's favorite perfume was Floris.
    • Brad Pitt's 2012 spot for Chanel No. 5 was such a critical bomb that Saturday Night Live spoofed it.

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    IDEA: Even for a company known for great design, Squarespace 7 was a revelation. The elegant upgrade to the website maker's interface, called a "UX dream" by Wired, completely does away with the backend, allowing users to edit in WYSIWYG format.

    In fact, it's so different from Squarespace 6 that the company felt like it was starting from scratch—and wanted its ads to do the same. So, it brought in SpecialGuest—a new creative agency founded by Aaron Duffy, known for his own impeccably designed ads as a 1stAveMachine director—for a campaign embodying Squarespace's love of design while suggesting it's completely up to you what you do with it.

    A launch spot does this by showing how people's ideas and passions can be translated for the web, while two short films tell the stories of celebrity Squarespace users—the climber Alex Honnold and the musician St. Lucia.

    "With Squarespace 7, it was like starting with a blank canvas. That was a good creative seed for the launch film," said Squarespace chief creative officer David Lee. "We also have a very eclectic and fantastic set of personalities and brands that utilize Squarespace. We wanted to wrap all that up into a concise campaign."

    COPYWRITING: The 65-second launch spot shows writers, photographers, artists, hat designers, musicians and more practicing their craft in real life, and juxtaposes that with how they might design their websites—in the process showing off the software's creative tools. There is no dialogue.

    On-screen copy at the end says: "Introducing Squarespace 7. Start here. Go anywhere."

    The focus is partly on the technology and partly on the people. "The thread I often think of is: How is technology more human, and less techy?" said Duffy, who served as executive creative director.

    The Honnold and St. Lucia spots are mini documentaries with their subjects speaking in voiceover and footage of them in action. Both use to Squarespace to speak for themselves, countering what the media might say about them.

    They're different people, "but Squarespace is perfect for both of them," said creative director Jonathan Emmerling "in the sense that everybody wants to have great design, but not everybody knows how to achieve it. Squarespace helps close that gap."

    ART DIRECTION: The launch film is very much about framing set pieces of action. The camera remains still in almost every shot, often looking down from above, with only the occasional subtle zoom in or out. Visually, it's clean and simple, but not overly rigid—the vignettes flow freely enough to imply a great range of possibilities for the user.

    The carefully considered use of white space is reminiscent of how Google brings web pages to life in its ads—perhaps not surprisingly, as Duffy has directed a lot of Google work, including the famous "Parisian Love" spot. Here, online and offline seamlessly mix together, implying that you really can show the world the real you with a Squarespace website.

    TALENT: Honnold and St. Lucia were chosen from what Lee said are a great number of brands and celebrities that use the platform. They won't be the only two—Squarespace is planning more such spots.

    "We have a very, very deep bench," Lee said. "We pick people who we feel have an interesting story. And it can't just be about their website. We try to curate a set of collaborators to tell very different stories."

    MEDIA: The online spots are being cut into :30s and :15s for broadcast and will air during the World Series. The Honnold spot will also likely run in cinemas.


    Client: Squarespace
    Chief Creative Officer: David Lee
    EP: Richard Minkoff

    "Squarespace 7: Start here. Go anywhere."

    Agency: SpecialGuest
    EP: Cheri Anderson
    ECD: Aaron Duffy
    CD: Jonathan Emmerling
    Art Director: Jesse Packer
    Producer: Barry Gilbert
    Lead Compositor/Animator: Gerald Mark Soto
    Additional Compositor: Lu Liu
    Editor: John McSwain
    Sound Design and Audio: Color, NY
    Original Music: "It's All the Same" by MPSO
    Color Grading: Ricart & Co

    Production Company: 1stAveMachine
    EP: Sam Penfield
    Co-Directors: Jonathan Emmerling and Karim Charlebois-Zariffa
    Director of Photography: Zak Mulligan
    Live Action Producer: Garrett Fennelly
    Production Designer: Alexandra Schaller

    "Squarespace Presents: St. Lucia"

    Agency: SpecialGuest
    EP: Cheri Anderson
    ECD: Aaron Duffy
    CD: Jonathan Emmerling
    Art Director: Jesse Packer
    Producer: Barry Gilbert
    Editor: John McSwain
    Sound Design and Audio: Color, NY
    Original Music: "Elevate" by St. Lucia
    Color Grading: Ricart & Co

    Production Company: 1stAveMachine
    EP: Sam Penfield
    Director: Jonathan Emmerling
    Director of Photography: Tucker Bliss
    Live Action Producer: Garrett Fennelly
    Production Designer: Adam Pruitt
    Wardrobe: Becky Vanderway

    "Squarespace Presents: Alex Honnold"

    Agency: SpecialGuest
    EPs: Cheri Anderson, Sam Penfield
    ECD: Aaron Duffy
    CD: Jonathan Emmerling
    Post Producer: Barry Gilbert
    Live Action Producer: Garrett Fennelly
    Editor: John McSwain
    Additional Editor: Chelsey Blackmon
    Sound Design and Audio: Color, NY
    Original Music: "Daybreak" by Panam
    Color Grading: Ricart & Co

    Production Company: RXR
    Director/Photographer: Jimmy Chin
    Consulting Director: Jonathan Emmerling
    DP: Dirk Collins
    Camera Operator: Robert Frost
    Line Producer: Shannon Ethridge

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    A lavish celebrity fragrance spot. A six-hour preroll ad. A great pop-up store stunt. An ad remake with some crazy stunt driving. And a hilarious spot about the most nondescript product imaginable.

    Those are your choices for the week's best ad. Check them out and vote below!

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    Rob Lowe keeps sinking in DirecTV's campaign.

    Having already been introduced to Creepy Rob Lowe and Less Attractive Rob Lowe, now we get to meet Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe. Like his fellow lesser Rob Lowes, Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe has cable instead of DirecTV—which obviously explains the fanny pack, hiked-up pleated khakis, lisp, agoraphobia and weirdly winged hair.

    "Don't be like this me," suave Hollywood actor Rob Lowe says at the end, leaving his ungainly doppelgänger cringing at a urinal.

    With at least two more spots from Grey New York are on the way, it begs the question: How low can Lowe go?

    Client: DirecTV
    Agency: Grey NY
    Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Executive Creative Director: Dan Kelleher
    Group Creative Director: Doug Fallon
    Group Creative Director: Steven Fogel
    Agency Executive Producer: Andrew Chinich
    Agency Producer: Lindsay Myers
    Agency Music Producer: Zachary Pollakoff, Amy Rosen
    Account: Chris Ross, Beth Culley, Anna Pogosova, Aaron Schwartz, Meredith Savatsky, Eddie Mele
    Strategy: Michelle Leo
    Production Company (location): MJZ LA
    Director: Tom Kuntz
    Producer: Emily Skinner
    Production Supervisor: Daniel Gonzalez
    Director of Photography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
    Editorial Executive Producer (person & company): Sasha Hirschfeld, Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor (person & company): Gavin Cutler, Mackenzie Cutler
    Assistant Editor (person & company): Ryan Steele & Mike Rizzo, Mackenzie Cutler
    Mixer + Sound Designer (person & company): Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler
    VFX (company): Method Studios, NY
    VFX Supervisor (person & company): Jay Hawkins, Method Studios
    VFX Producer (person & company): Carlos Herrera & Christa Cox, Method Studios
    Casting (OCP): Francine Selkirk, Shooting From the Hip
    Casting (VO): Nina Pratt and Jerry Saviola, Avenue 3 Casting
    Color: Tim Masick, Company 3

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    Does McDonald's put horsemeat in its burgers? What about pink slime? Would you feed McDonald's food to your kids?

    So many questions. But now, taking its cues from a well-received transparency campaign from McDonald's Canada, the chain is responding to whatever hate its American critics want to throw at it. And it's hired former MythBusters host Grant Imahara to be your third-party, completely unbiased, totally trustworthy, quasi-celebrity McMyth investigator.

    Imahara's first three videos have already dropped, where he visits a Cargill plant and answers the following: Is McDonald's beef real (and are there eyelids in there)? Why are the patties frozen (when fresh should theoretically be much tastier)? Why are the burgers so cheap (you get what you pay for, right)?

    It's everything you'd expect from a hard-reboot, Domino's-style brand turnaround. What I most admire is that they're letting the comment feed on YouTube be just as brutal as it wants to be. And man, is it brutal. It's hard to tell the legit processed-food concerns from the horsemeat crazies.

    Though honestly, that's good for Micky D's. The more they can discredit the really nutty folks by letting them be themselves—and there are some excellent conspiracy theorists blowing up the feed—the less McDonald's itself actually needs to say.

    That said, I'm probably not going to bite the bullet like Imahara and munch a Big Mac anytime soon. But those sodium acid pyrophosphate fries, man. Who can resist those fries?

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    Homeless signs have been a font of ideas for creatives, but rarely has the focus been on the fonts themselves.

    The Arrels Foundation in Barcelona has created Homelessfonts—typefaces based on the unique handwriting of the homeless people it helps. Each font comes with the story of the person who penned it and their personality. After all, few things are more personal than our handwriting.

    The work not only helps fund the foundation, it humanizes the homeless and lets people see them as unique individuals, not as an amorphous problem. The video about the process is moving, but moreover, the fonts are actually good. The glyphs were captured with fat Sharpies on poster board and then transformed by volunteer typographers.

    If you are a typographer, you can donate your time and expertise to help create more fonts. If you just like the concept, you can download a free app to use the fonts in social media (be a nice person and make a donation, too). And if you're a brand, you can purchase the fonts and the stories that come with them for professional use at surprisingly affordable prices.

    Samples of the scripts as they might appear on packaging are included, so you can see just how beautiful and unique the font—and the people behind them—truly are.

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    The Slow Mo Guys are shifting into the fast lane.

    As part of YouTube's ongoing effort to introduce its popular channel stars to a wider audience, Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy are appearing in a multimedia push that includes TV, print, billboard and online ads. The campaign, breaking now in the U.K., is tagged "You make every second epic," and also highlights Vice News and beauty vlog Zoella. (In the U.S., YouTubers like Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan starred in similar ads earlier this year.)

    "YouTube stars are not only entertaining us through their quirky videos and updates, but building long-lasting relationships with their fans," says Ben McOwen Wilson, who oversees partnerships for the Google-owned service.

    The 30-second Slow Mo Guys teaser shows highlights from some of their nearly 100 videos shot at 10,000 frames per second. Watermelons and paintballs explode in plumes of color, and a teacup tossed through the air disgorges its contents in caramel cascades. This sampling merely hints at the channel's treasure trove of dazzling footage, which has garnered almost 430 million total views and 4.5 million subscribers in the past four years.

    It feels right that the Slow Mo Guys were chosen to take part in YouTube's mainstream crossover push, because their oeuvre encompasses elements of old and new media. Free and Gruchy condense the frantic, silly vibe of shows like You Can't Do That on Television and America's Funniest Home Videos into highly shareable bites. They add dashes of Bill Nye-style scientific curiosity and genuine artistry (some of their slow-motion work is amazing). Even their goofy Brit-bro personalities are in sync with the times, reminding viewers that these are average Joes using technology to create amazing stuff.

    At times, the guys present serious, brand-centric material, including a couple of clips that showcase General Electric's cutting-edge tech. Such efforts are informative and boast hypnotic imagery, but the real fun comes from their sillier escapades. You'll gasp at the epic cuteness of dogs and cats frozen in mid-air, striking impossible ballet poses. You'll cringe as milky puke sluggishly slithers from Gruchy's twisted, lactose-tortured lips. You'll jump in your seat when dozens of mousetraps dance in an insanely prolonged (and painful) chain reaction.

    These are awesome time wasters. No matter how slow the antics, the minutes fly by.

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    If you're LeBron James, hell yes you can go home again.

    The playbook calls for high drama as the King returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years and a pair of championships in Miami. And this stirring spot from R/GA for Powerbeats2 wireless headphones from Beats by Dre delivers.

    Intensity always runs high in this brand's sports-themed ads, but it's off the charts in "Re-established 2014," the campaign's 150-second centerpiece.

    A shirtless, extremely determined-looking James pumps iron in a gym that bears his name at St. Vincent-St. Mary, his high school in Akron, Ohio. Images of his beloved hometown and personal flashbacks flit past. All the while, Hozier's rock-gospel anthem "Take Me to Church" swells on the soundtrack. In a voiceover, James' mom Gloria says, "This is the city that raised you. I'm so proud of you. Welcome home, son."

    The clip is nearing 4 million YouTube views just two days after it was posted.

    Shorter edits focus on different aspects of the big guy's love for Akron, including one with James' unequivocal commentary: "I mean everything to this city, and the city means everything to me." He's got the words "Akron Est. 1984" tattooed across his left shoulder, so I'm inclined to believe him. (The four-time NBA most valuable player no doubt has some fondness for Beats as well. As a shareholder, he reportedly made $30 million in June when Apple acquired the company for $3 billion.)

    Just a year ago, his warm and fuzzy feelings for balmy South Beach were on display in this Nike commercial. We'll find out if James can still take the heat on Christmas Day, when the Cavs make their first visit of the season to Miami.


    Client: Beats by Dr. Dre

    Head of Global Marketing: Omar Johnson
    Vice President, Global Marketing: Jason White
    Senior Marketing Director: Kevin O'Connor
    Director of Advertising: Diallo Marvel
    Executive Producer: Kerli Teo
    Broadcast Producer: Ana Julfayan
    Postproduction Producer: Cindy Chapman

    Agency: R/GA
    Creative Directors: William Esparza, Zach Hilder
    Associate Creative Director: Lauren Smith
    Senior Art Director: Rance Randle
    Junior Copywriter: Kervins Chauvet
    Global Account Director: James Stephens
    Account Supervisor: Marco Koenig

    Production Company: Sword Fight
    Director: Nabil Elderkin
    First Assistant Director: Giovanni Cotto-Ortiz
    Director of Photography: Danny Hiele
    Executive Producer: Justin Benoliel

    Editing Company: Spot Welders
    Editor: Leo Scott
    Executive Producer: Carolina Sanborn
    Post Producer: Brittany Neff
    Assistant Editor: J.C. Nunez

    Visual Effects Company: Shipping + Handling
    Visual Effects Supervisor, Lead Flame Artist: Casey Price           
    Executive Producer: Brigitte Stanovick                                       
    Flame Assistant: Lauren Riedel

    Sound Company: 740 Sound
    Sound Artist: Rommel Molina

    Sound Company: Innercircle Sound
    Sound Engineer: Josh Eichenbaum

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    If you're the type of jet-setter who flies a seaplane to a Scottish estate so you can put on a tuxedo and have a drink with a handful of your posh friends, David Beckham would like you to buy some of his new whisky.

    The recently retired soccer icon stars in this glitzy launch ad for Haig Club, a single grain scotch that Beckham produced with liquor giant Diageo and American Idol creator Simon Fuller. Filmmaker Guy Ritchie, a friend of Beckham's—who directed him in this H&M ad last year—directed this one, too (and makes a cameo as the fisherman under the bridge).

    It's worth watching mostly for the gorgeous scenery (shot in the Scottish Highlands, at locations like Glen Affric). The people are pretty, too. Alt-J's "Left-Hand Free" serves as the soundtrack. The storyline is thin, leaving you free to focus on the lush trappings—not unlike a fashion or perfume ad. That's all the more appropriate, given that the bottle looks like it should hold something you splash on your person, not pour down your gullet.

    Regardless, you should also be ready to drink it at the Great Wall, Easter Island, the Egyptian pyramids and Antarctica, among other places. In other words, get your travel budget in order—and don't forget to bring your point-and-shoot camera, because everyone still uses those.


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