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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    It can be tough to get your work featured in the advertising magazine Lürzer's Archive. But René Schultz and Casper Christensen found a way around that.

    The Danish art directors, who were looking for a job, went ahead and created their own physical replica of the creative magazine, filled it with their own work, and sent it to agencies. See how they did it—and whether it worked—in the video below.

    As you might have guessed, the whole thing came full circle when the prank was written up in Lürzer's Archive itself."Of course I was delighted with this gem," writes Lürzer's editor Michael Weinzettl. "They copied the magazine to perfection."

    UPDATE: And guess who did this 10 years ago!


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    YouTube censors who greenlight nudity as long as it's artistic must have spent a fair bit of time on this video from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris—advertising an art show about the influence of the Marquis de Sade on representation of sexuality.

    That's because almost every frame could be age-gated.

    It was made by video artists David Freymond and Florent Michel. "In the end, it doesn't come off as something pornographic or obscene. It's rather beautiful, very aestheticized, like a painting by Renoir, Courbet, or a Rodin," Emmanuèle Peyret writes in Libération, per Artnet."In brief, another artwork amid those already inhabiting the museum."

    Video contains nudity and is NSFW.


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    Every day is a bit spooky when you're dealing with clients. But this Halloween, ad agency Mistress has made a little chart you might find useful—how to tell whether your client's double-speak is a trick or a treat. It's notoriously hard to tell sometimes.

    Top photo via Flickr.


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    It's common practice to haggle for a better price at a car dealership. But at a grocery store? In American supermarkets, at least, it just doesn't happen. Until now.

    Car shopping site Edmunds.com, which is dedicated to hassle-free—and haggle-free—car buying, shows the absurdity of haggling in an amusing stunt (via Publicis Kaplan Thaler in New York) where it set up hidden cameras in a grocery store and had the cashier start bargaining with customers over the cost of items.

    Edmunds.com found in its research that 83 percent of shoppers hate haggling, yet it's still the way most cars are purchased. And the customers here are clearly uncomfortable, though mostly because the clerk announces outrageously high prices for most things.

    Credits below.



    CREDITS
    Client: Edmunds.com
    Agency: Publicis Kaplan Thaler, New York
    Media: UM, San Francisco
    PR: MWW


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    In recent years, BBH London has focused on family relationships and offbeat stories in its KFC ads, with the product almost as a side dish and strong storytelling as the main course.

    That trend continues in "Fans," a new 90-second spot in which we meet two young boys in Scotland who root for opposing soccer teams. (OK, football teams.) One is a fan of Stirling Albion. The other likes Dunfermline. It's a conflict on par with Scottish succession.

    On this particular Saturday, the teams are playing each other, and the kids head to the game—one accompanied by his dad, the other by his mom. It can only end one way, with surprising emotional ramifications for both children.



    The commercial is expertly shot by Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo. It has a documentary/indie-film vibe, owing to location filming and the fact that the two boys were "street cast" from local football academies.

    The central conflict is the kind of silly yet semi-serious problem lots of parents can relate to. And the twist ending doesn't feel like too much of a stretch. (Indeed, BBH often handles such tricky reveals quite skillfully.)

    On the downside, a couple of wee lads are going to have tummy aches tonight.

    CREDITS
    Client: KFC
    Marketing Director: Meghan Farren
    Marketing Manager: Jeff Singer
    Senior Brand Manager: Maria Dogin
    Agency: BBH, London
    Creative Director: Hamish Pinnell
    Strategist: John Jones
    Strategy Director: Debra Ladd
    Business Lead: Sian Cook
    Team Manager:  Helen Campbell-Borton
    Team Director: Leo Sloley
    Producer: Jodie Sibson
    Assistant Producer: David Lynch
    Production Company: Academy Films
    Director: Peter Cattaneo
    Producer: Juliette Harris
    Director of Photography: Florian Hoffmeister
    Postproduction: The Mill
    Editing: Nik Hindson, The Assembly Rooms
    Sound: Dan Beckwith, Factory


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    Everyone knows that if you tell people what you wish for when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake, it's not going to come true. Unless, of course, you wish that you could eat a giant piece of cake in two minutes.

    Old Navy turns 20 this year, and to celebrate, it's sharing the fun with a giant machine that takes your selfie and converts it into a giant balloon portrait. Yes, if you happen to be in New York's Times Square on Wednesday or in Los Angeles on Saturday, and you tweet a birthday wish with the hashtag #Selfiebration, you could see your mug rendered in blue balloons. 

    It might not be quite as sophisticated as the Grand Prix-winning MegaFaces Pavilion from the Sochi Olympics, but the Selfiebration Machine is a neat contraption consisting of almost five miles of wire and 1,000 balloons custom-made to withstand the city elements. It will generate two selfies per minute, and 1,000 selfies per day. 

    My wish is to install this thing in my living room. 

    Via Design Taxi.


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    Fred Savage will soon be the new voice of Honda. But he's not exactly a voiceover specialist (that's Daniel Stern you're thinking of, Wonder Years fans). So, Honda agency RPA came up with a fun way to help him practice—by having Fred narrate your home videos first.

    Anything you've got, feel free to throw at him. Babies, animals, vacations, weddings. Whatever you have documented on film, Savage wants to describe in his presumably dulcet tones. Just tweet your video with the hashtag #HondaPromo to get on the actor's radar.

    But are his tones dulcet? RPA says, actually, that Honda is hiring Savage because his voice stands out and doesn't feel like a traditional car spokesperson. So, we'll just have to see how that goes. It's a more reasonable option, anyway, than the plea from someone on Twitter to "bring back Burgess Meredith."

    We'll update this post when Savage's first videos come in.


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    Activist T-shirt maker FCKH8 asked the world a question. What makes you more uncomfortable: the way society fucks women, or a little girl saying the work fuck? And it turns out that for a lot of people, the answer is watching a little girl say fuck.

    Even though that's the point, and the complainers say they get that's the point, the hilarious part is they just can't get over it. So, of course, they're already crying about child exploitation. Though, if you watch the video, it's pretty clear that these little girls are not shocked by their own potty mouths. In fact, they seem to be having way too much fun. Kids, after all, love breaking the rules.

    Still, can't FCKH8 make its point (and sell its shirts) without cursing? Sure, but would people watch? The statistics are old; little girls saying the F-word is pretty much the only new thing in this video. Besides, it was created by a company called FCKH8, not SCREWH8 or DARNH8. They're so comfortable with the F-word they slapped it right in their name.



    What I also love is that I think most people who are complaining never got to the end of the video. I say this because there is a 12-year-old boy dressed in a princess costume at the end (making a really good point about how sexism affects men), and not a single YouTube commenter has yet suggested he's going to turn out gay. (UPDATE: The video has actually been removed from YouTube now, but is up on Vimeo.)

    Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'm less concerned with the swearing, and more concerned with the loss of innocence that results from telling these 6- to 13-year-olds that between one and five women will be raped in their lifetime and then having them count off and wonder if they're going to be the one. Yes, "fuck" is a sound we've deemed "bad" to say. Rape is a horrific concept that little girls shouldn't ever have to worry about.

    And I guess the fact that they will have to worry about it is kind of the problem. Certainly before age 13 these girls will already know about how they're supposed to dress to avoid it, and how they should always walk in groups and not go out too late at night and how to avoid those "rapey" looking alleys and such. You know, the terrifying advice we all give our girls in the hope that it will keep them safe.

    Because really, as much as we don't want little girls saying fuck, I think we can all agree that we'd much rather create a world in which no one fucks them.

    Video producer Mike Kon (yeah, a guy made this) agrees with me, saying, "Some adults may be uncomfortable with how these little girls are using a bad word for a good cause. It is shocking what they are saying, but … the big statistic that one out of five women are sexually assaulted or raped is something society seems to find less offensive than a little four-letter word, and we love how these girls draw attention to that imbalance."

    Speaking of imbalance, one point of amusement: FCKH8's own press release about the video censored the F-word. C'mon, FCKH8, if the little girls can say it, so can you.


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    Halloween is like Christmas for candy brands, and Snickers usually swoops in, batlike, with some fun and spooky advertising (most notably, perhaps, BBDO's truly odd "Grocery Store Lady" spot from 2010).

    And this year, it's a Spanish-language Snickers spot that's giving people chills.

    Everything about the ad is great—the premise, the visual effects, the guy at the end bellowing about his TV show. A real treat from LatinWorks.


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    Heeeeeere's … Ikea's parody of The Shining!

    BBH Singapore reimagines the creepy hallway scene from Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror classic in this spot-on 90-second Halloween ad. Instead of a haunted hotel, however, the little kid peddles around a spooky Ikea store late at night. Nice touches include eerily flickering lamps and ghostly diners in the kitchen display, and the word "REDRUG" above, yes, a red rug. It goes on a tad too long, just like the movie it's based on.

    The point of the spoof is that Ikea stays open late (until 11 p.m.) for your shopping pleasure, and it's also part of a social media contest to win gift cards. So, when you chop down your door in an axe-wielding frenzy, you can get a replacement for less at Ikea.



    Ikea has done plenty of scary-good promos lately, from hilariously pitching its 2015 catalog as "cutting-edge" technology (also by BBH Singapore) to inviting shoppers to spend a night in one of its stores to challenging them to climb this amazing outdoor apartment/wall.

    Assembling its furniture, of course, remains a frightening experience.


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    Craigslist might be best for making a couple bucks off that one-wheeled leopard-print bicycle your ex left behind, and it's just that kind of random human curio that makes the classified site the inspiration for—and theme of—this new interactive music video created by 72andSunny's in-house creative school 72U.

    Set to the song "Catch a Break" by the group Superhuman Happiness (founded by Stuart Bogie, who's played with the likes of Arcade Fire), the project's website is designed to look like Craigslist, with sparse blue links. When clicked, they lead to various pop-ups—150 in total—emulating the kinds of posts found on the real Craigslist.

    The point, according to the agency, is to capture the human experience, and illustrate how "all of your life—heartbreak, happiness and surplus appliances—can be contained in a message board like Craigslist."

    That might be a a stretch, but the fake ads at least do a pretty good job of capturing the often-weird spirit of the iconic site (if not the heights of glory and depths of shame found in its finest, most insane postings). The ads range from emo, to desperate, to pseudo-philosophical, to touching, to ridiculous, to name just a few.



    Perhaps best (that is to say, most true to Craigslist form) is the legal category—one post, titled "Free Divorce Advice," wonders "Where are all the almost single ladies at?" Another, titled "You pay I counsel," reads, sic, "I just got paralegal very professional master certificate from university. I sue to make you feel so good. Forget about about wife, husband, car, work. Why worry? Relax time. It’s gonna be good. You pay in form of gold watch, expensive jewelry, deli meats, credit card, or traveler check. No American Express. NO AMERICAN EXPRESS."

    72U's seven-person team created the website with a budget of less than $1,000, and the video will launch in a not-at-all-spammy way with 275 real Craigslist posts in 11 categories in 25 cities. Whether it fits the song, we'll leave to you—the "Haiku" link pops up parts of the lyrics, pieced together after the jump.

    And if you don't have the patience to play with the interactive site (coded for Google Chrome), there's a static demo version of the video below, which includes the obligatory strange geek salute: a GIF of a man humping a robot before they both explode under the header "When will humans be able to love machines?"—posted, naturally, in the biotech and science section.

    LYRICS:
    Landlord's knocking, you know you ain't catching a break today
    You've grown tired of the bottle and you wish you could fake today
    Your weak heart beats fast and you want to wait today
    You replay the past trying to get it straight today
    Let the water wash away
    So you'll leave right away
    If you can't catch a break
    Look up all of a sudden they're pulling the bait away
    Because they love to collect while they always hate to pay
    Osama can't be the only one who prays
    Drawing lines between our between our minds and yesterday
    We need you right away
    If you can take a break
    La La La la [etc.]
    Don't you run away
    You might catch a break
    When you're cast away
    From your holiday
    Keep your heart at bay
    You might catch a break
    You won't run away
    When you catch a break


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    Esquire recently asked three ad agencies to help with its male mentoring initiative. Today, Barton F. Graf 9000 unveiled its campaign: a political initiative to establish mentorship of children as a legal excusal from jury duty. The idea is that more mentors would mean better guidance for at-risk youth, and eventually, reduced crime rates and the need for fewer jurors in the first place.

    The proposed Mentor Act is explained in a print ad in Esquire's October issue. The ad itself could be mailed to state representatives, and it also points to TheMentorAct.org, which features a powerful film—directed by Michael Bonfiglio of Radical Media—asking prisoners who their mentors were. The bill can also be sent to lawmakers directly from the site.



    "Ultimately, The Mentor Act aims to use the same court system that convicts people to help children avoid committing crimes and entering the court system in the first place," say Barton F. Graf and Esquire, which are "already beginning talks with state politicians to adopt this bill and hope to move the bill forward on a state-by-state basis."

    The other two agencies that got involved in the Esquire project are Makeable and 72andSunny. The former built a campaign around the website webuildmen.org, while the latter made ads with the theme "F*ck off, I'm helping." See three of those ads below.

    72andSunny's work for Esquire:


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    Marty McFly and Tony Hawk both drove demand for hoverboards—but alas, supply has been nonexistent, as both of them had to rely on camera trickery and special effects. 

    But now, finally, we're getting a glimpse of the first prototype of a functioning hoverboard. Hendo is the company producing this miracle of engineering, and it's launched a Kickstarter that lets you help bring it to market.

    What's cool is you can support it by donating and even buying the development kit and experimenting with "The Whitebox"—a floating box that uses the same technology as the hoverboard. They've also drawn up plans for hoverparks, which are coated with hoverboard-friendly material so you can float around and try to be the first to pioneer a new sport.

    Take a look at the pitch video and also check out the fascinating Kickstarter page.


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    Few design projects seem to require as much deep thinking as a corporate logo (some would say overthinking—remember Twitter's tortured explanation for its new logo back in 2012)?

    One of the most basic decisions for any logo, though, is color. And if you think color choice isn't really that important, well—someday you're going to be beaten up by a psychologist.

    The infographic below explains a bit more about logos and their color—as well as the cost, value and evolution over time of some well-known corporate marks.


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    One of the best things about Between Two Ferns is how the guests have to plug their projects in the least comfortable way possible—indeed, while getting showered with insults.

    Brad Pitt is the latest victim, sitting down with Zach Galfianakis to discuss acting, handsomeness, his wife and his ex-wife (well, the character she played on Friends). But he does manage to get the job done—plugging both his new movie and his Make It Right charitable organization.

    He gets away mostly unscathed, too.

     


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    The great thing about video games is you can do all kinds of cool, crazy, dangerous and impossible things without actually having to do them.

    Instead, you just sit on your couch with your buddy pretending that NBA star Kevin Durant is on your basketball team, or that you're a capable rock climber and base jumper, or you are racing an all-terrain-vehicle past some kind of very angry elephant, or you are on some distant desert planet having a Star Wars style laser fight with a bunch of robots.

    So continues PlayStation's "Greatness Awaits" campaign, which has previously shown a man in a purple suit waxing philosophical before diving into a battle royal; other men trying to kill each other with medieval weapons while singing Lou Reed's "Perfect Day"; and an oil painter recreating "Washington Crossing the Delaware" with a relatively famous gamer and in-game heroes as the characters.



    Sony created the new ad, "Friendly Competition," with the help of creative crowd-sourcing company MOFILM (also behind such charming commercials as Chevy's low-budget Oscar flick). Hollywood producer Jon Landau, whose credits include Titanic and Avatar, executive produced the new spot, which certainly delivers plenty of epic special effects (created with L.A.-and-Vancouver-based Zoic Studios).

    And that's important. Without the flashy explosions, you might realize you won't actually find yourself riding a land speeder a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, and that really would ruin all the fun.

    CREDITS
    Client: PlayStation
    Agency: MOFILM
    Executive Producer: Jon Landau
    Executive Agency Producer: Kristen Roland
    Executive Creative Director: Tim Roper
    CEO: Jeffrey Merrihue
    Senior Account Director: Gabriela Merrihue
    Account Director: Carter Hahn
    VFX Company: Zoic Studios
    VFX CCO: Chris Jones
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ian Unterreiner
    Executive Producer: Matt Thunell
    VFX Producer: Nate Occhipinti
    Editor: Dmitri Gueer
    Production Company: Don’t Panic Productions
    Producer: Melissa Panzer
    Director: Jonathan Barenboim
    Writer: Michael Zunic
    Audio House: Eleven Studios
    Sound Design: Henry Boy
    Color: Dave Hussey @ CO3
    Media Buying Agency: Carat


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    Being a little kid is the best. Everything is new and different, the world is your oyster, and you don't even know it. And your first snow day ... wow, words can barely express the magical bliss for a toddler.

    GoPro does it again, this time with a perfect vignette of a California brother and sister's first snow day in Vermont. First, we see Quincy rollicking around having an amazing time, and then Stella, who looks to be just old enough to talk, gets on a camera-mounted sled, and we experience her mind being blown on her first ride down a hill. Her reaction is truly priceless.

    You'll want to watch it "again."


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    IDEA: Lumber Liquidators isn't exactly known for beautiful, romantic advertising. The hardwood flooring specialty retailer is much more versed in transactional, price-focused messaging. (Just look at the website, which is a smorgasbord of sale pricing.)

    A new spot for its high-end Bellawood brand, though, is a revelation—a gorgeous, nuanced, ethereal ad showing everything a floor endures over the years. It's a very different look from the client, though according to CMO Marco Pescara, it's still all about value.

    "Bellawood as a product stands for the highest-quality hardwood flooring. Lumber Liquidators as a retailer delivers the lowest prices. They work together to support our brand position of value: getting the best hardwood flooring at the lowest price possible," he said.

    Bellawood is about beauty and durability, and the new ad, from Richmond, Va., agency Big River, communicates both to the company's female target.

    "We didn't want to simply explain the science," said Pescara. "Our objective was to appeal to our core customer by making her feel and see how Bellawood can be a part of her everyday life. Showing instead of explaining. Big River did a great job of making that happen."



    COPYWRITING: The ad presents a series of slow-motion scenes, showing how much a floor has to withstand from a busy family—tricycle wheels, roller blades, smashed bowls, dropped food, high heels, skateboards, chair scrapes, candle wax and more.

    There is no dialogue or voiceover.

    Inspired by a recent viral NPR video, the agency envisioned that the storytelling would be percussive and driven by sound design. "The script was called 'Beats,' " said Big River chief creative officer Kai Fang. "We wanted to look at all the different things that hit the floor in the life of a family, and that would create a musical score and a beat."

    But director Ruben Latre helped evolve the concept, going for a more emotional rather than technical execution. "People don't necessarily buy the facts. It has to awaken something in them emotionally," Fang said of a high-end product like Bellawood.

    Text at the end reads, "Bellawood. Prefinished hardwood flooring." There is no tagline.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Latre shot for four days, mostly in a home outside Richmond but also in a studio to get certain close-ups. The home was large, perfect for the camera to roam, and was entirely relaid in Bellawood flooring (to the owners' delight, presumably).

    The agency loved Latre's reel. "He specializes in this overcranked, slow-motion kind of look. It's very cinematic, romantic and moody," Fang said.



    The director, meanwhile, said he was drawn to the open-ended plot. "I thought of it as a great chance to play, to bring all the mischief I used to create as a kid onto the screen," he said. "The agency gave me a lot of freedom on the shots, which is not always the case. I really appreciated that, and I think it allowed me to push myself even more."

    TALENT/SOUND: The budget was limited, so the agency cast local, non-union talent—and the lack of speaking roles eased the burden. Still, the characters manage to feel timeless. "It's a little bit of the family we all wish we had," said Fang.

    There is some sound design to punctuate thing like the breaking objects, but the soundtrack—a piano-based orchestral piece—is very much on top.

    MEDIA: The spot has been cut into 60-, 30- and 15-second executions. (There is also an 80-second director's cut.) "The media buy is a smaller subset of our overall spend as an added layer of branding," said Pescara.

    THE SPOT:

    CREDITS
    Client: Lumber Liquidators
    Chief Marketing Officer: Marco Pescara
    Creative Director: Angel Gonzalez
    Director of Marketing and E-Commerce: Colby Walker
    Marketing Traffic Manager: Katie Allen
    Agency: Big River, Richmond, Va.
    President and CEO: Fred Moore
    Chief Creative Officer: Kai Fang
    Broadcast Producers: Dee Briggs
    Design Director: Geoff Stone
    Account Director: Daniel Riddick
    Copywriter: Elizabeth Daniel
    Production Company: TradeMarky Films
    Production Company: Hostage Films
    Director: Ruben Latre
    Executive Producer: Mark Meyers
    Line Producer: Amanda Ricks
    Executive Producer: Melissa Beth
    Editor: Ruben Latre


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    The industry is rapidly changing, but one thing remains the same: Literally the only thing that gets agency people to fill out their timesheets consistently is free beer.

    The latest example comes from Minneapolis, where Colle+McVoy has built a wondrous machine called the TapServer—a "multi-keg beer deployment system" that uses RFID and custom-written software to verify whether you've stopped being a lazy git, finished your timesheets and earned your free pint. (According to the agency, the technology used includes "several Arduinos, a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi." For all we know, so could the beer.)

    Check out more pics below. And yes, similar things have been done before, including the beer fridge at JWT agency Casa in Brazil that unlocks only when timesheets are done.


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    Don't you hate it when you're just trying to get your car washed and some freaking weirdo with a wood axe pounces on your hood and starts banging on your windshield?

    Ford jumps on the prankvertisingbandwagon with this new Halloween ad featuring people who thought they were on their way to a test drive. Instead, they get ambushed by creepy Halloween masks among the squeegees.

    As a commercial, it's more cute than scary, and even the drivers and passengers seem at least as amused as disturbed. Thankfully, the car brand doesn't appear to have put any kids through the wringer—a surprise haunted house is all in good fun, but it would totally not be cool to ruin one of the few entertaining parts of getting shuttled around in the backseat all the time.


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