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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    The new Droid Turbo is so fast that when James Franco falls off the roof at a party, he can use the Motorola phone to find the nearest safe landing, calculate the best route there and text his date to meet him at the bottom—all before he crashes through an awning into a dumpster and dusts himself off.

    So says this Verizon ad from mcgarrybowen, which features James Franco because James Franco is a cool guy everybody knows. He's great with the ladies, too. The whole reason he goes over the edge in the first place is to rescue the red scarf of a damsel, because that's the kind of guy James Franco is. He succeeds, obviously. If you get a Droid Turbo like James Franco, you'll be great with the ladies, too.

    That is unless maybe you're the James Franco who's married to novelist Gary Shteyngart. Or the James Franco who's lobbying for a movie starring James Franco to get an Oscar. Or the James Franco who's getting punched in the face, or directing a jeans commercial, or talking about how great it is be James Franco in an ad for Motorola rival Samsung's Galaxy tablet.

    Or, if you're the kind of James Franco who's not into selling out, you could be the James Franco who posts an Instagram of yourself holding an iPhone 6 the same day your Motorola campaign launches. Oops.

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    It's an accepted truism that the food in fast-food ads looks nothing like the food in real life. But can it be made to look that way? Is it possible to transform a regular McDonald's burger into food-porn perfection using only a couple of iPads and an iPhone?

    That's the challenge the guys at DigitalRev TV set for themselves. And they do a pretty decent job of replicating actual McDonald's product shots. Though you wouldn't want to run extreme close-ups of their creation, like they do in France.

    Check out the process below, and skip to 3:00, where the action really starts.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    John Wall's new Adidas shoe just dropped at Foot Locker. And according to this new ad, it might just be the beginning of something both great and terrible.

    "The Process" from BBDO New York is actually a pretty astute analysis of a pro athlete's stereotypical rise to fame, stagnation, bad financial decisions and downfall. In fact, it's quite a bit darker and more cutting than you'd expect, but Wall's reactions on each step of the twisting path are just about perfect. 

    Here's hoping this ad doesn't end up proving too prophetic for the 24-year-old Washington Wizards standout. Still, that wings place does look pretty awesome, so it might all be worth the risk.

    Client: Foot Locker
    Campaign: "Process"
    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director: Dan Lucey
    Executive Creative Director: Chris Beresford-Hill
    Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
    Executive Producer: Anthony Curti
    EVP, Worldwide Senior Director: Troy Tarwater
    Director: Janelle Van Wonderen
    Account Manager: Nick Robins
    Assistant Account Executive: Sam Henderson
    Senior Planner: Brit Browning
    Production Company: O Positive
    Director: Jim Jenkins
    Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella
    Executive Producer: Marc Grill
    Line Producer: Marc Grill
    Director of Photography: Eric Steelburg
    Editorial Company: McKenzie Cutler
    Editor: Ian McKenzie
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Assistant Editor: Nick Divers & Mike Leuis

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    Is the time ripe for a sitcom starring a bunch of grapes?

    The VIA Agency's new campaign for Welch's mimics/spoofs the prime-time sitcom format to deliver the message that grape juice has heart health benefits, just like wine. These aren't animated pieces of fruit or actors in purple costumes. They're real Concord grapes, just hangin' on the vine, making with the breezy, brand-centric banter.

    According to VIA, the "Just Hangin' " idea "opens up huge possibilities for the development of episodic video content across our digital and social channels, and allows the brand to react and produce content quickly to maintain relevance with current events. We are essentially giving each grape a personality and a voice."

    Lead grapes Tina, Phil and Merlot (he's French) are appealing, and the theme song's pretty fresh. Given the sorry state of network TV, these grapes just might get picked up. Hopefully the fickle public won't sour on the concept.

    This first spot breaks nationwide later this week. Welch's and VIA will continue the development of the grape characters in TV and digital into next year. Welch's previous ads featured food historian and Food Network star Alton Brown.

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    Case study videos. I could watch them all day long. They're my favorite form of media entertainment—apart from sitcoms starring Concord grapes, that is. These days, advertising case studies are so creative and well produced, they're often more enjoyable than the crappy campaigns they show off. And dammit, they deserve an award show of their own.

    Which brings us to this spoof video from Rethink Communications introducing the Caseys, honoring excellence in advertising award show submissions. "Cannes, One Show, the Clios. These shows celebrate the very best in creativity," the voiceover begins. "But none of them celebrate what we do best as advertising professionals—the case study video."

    Rethink's self-deprecating satire is right on target. Outlandish (but colorful!) infographics flash across the screen, along with footage of earnest, eager agency staffers dying to put some gold on their cold, empty mantlepieces back at home. "The countless hours of nit-picking and favors you've asked for will all be worth it," the narrator says, "because now, you can win an award for that thing that won you an award."

    Some categories include Best Use of Making-Of Footage, Most Innovative Use of a Single Tweet, Most Impressive-Looking Numbers and Best Use of British—because a high-class English accent makes claims like 400 trillion campaign impressions seem plausible.

    Hmm … are we sure this is parody?

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    Canadian agencies sure are good at doing videos excoriating the ad business. Just in the past week we've seen:

    • John St.'s hilarious takedown of real-time marketing with Reactvertising
    • Zulu Alpha Kilo's obscene '60s adman visiting a modern agency
    • Rethink's piss-taking idea to honor case studies with awards

    Now, here is Toronto creative agency Union to add an amusing entry to the list—featuring its twisted take on employee appreciation day. You see, Union was shortlisted for Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year awards, but that success didn't come easily.

    We'll let agency principals Lance Martin and Subtej Nijjar explain:

    As Union explains on its website:

    This business of advertising isn't easy. There are people who put their blood, sweat and tears into the campaigns they produce. That's why, when an agency like Union gets shortlisted for Strategy's Agency of the Year awards, the painstaking time and effort that goes into the creative product is worth celebrating. And the shop knew just what gift to give its staffers for a job well done.

    Check out more amusing videos made for the Strategy event here.

    Agency: Union Advertising Canada
    Executive Creative Director: Lance Martin
    President: Subtej Nijjar
    Art Director: Ryan McNeill
    Copywriter: Dave Pigeon
    Director of Integrated Production: Jennifer Dark
    Integrated Producers: Grace Lee, Kyle Trotter
    Production House: Union Advertising Canada
    Director: Kyle Trotter (Union)
    Director of Photography: Adam Crosby
    Production Coordinator: Elli Weisbaum
    Visual Effects, Animation: Adrian Stiegler
    Editor: Kyle Trotter (Union)
    Audio Post Facility: Silent Joe
    Audio Director: Trevor Allan
    Audio Engineer: Spencer Sunshine
    Audio Producer: Jane Heath
    Actors: Union staff, Willie Faraks aka The Wolfman

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    IDEA: Shooting a commercial is hard enough. But shooting one entirely underwater? Are you crazy?

    Brazilian agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi decided it was doable, and would be a great way to advertise Skol's new Beats Senses beer. The idea was simple: The Beats Senses bottle has a deep blue color, and so a party scene underwater would be the perfect way to advertise it.

    But the production of the 60-second spot was, of course, anything but simple. From the set design to the lighting to the camerawork and talent, the creatives knew they were in over their heads—and they required some ingenious techniques to bring the concept to life.

    COPYWRITING: There isn't much to the script. More of a short music video than a plot-driven ad, it opens with pulsating house music, as sound waves from an audio speaker ripple through deep blue water.

    It turns out we're at a dance party—except everyone is submerged. "The first time I read the script and understood they wanted to do an underwater party, I thought, 'Wow,' " said director Jonathan Gurvit. "This is a unique opportunity to create a magical space with a unique environment that makes you want to be there. Yes, a party is a party, but what if we add some characters and details so visually amazing that makes it hard to forget?"

    As the spot progresses, we see a guy passing out beers by floating them to friends. Everyone is dancing, not at all weighed down by the water around them. There are a few particularly eye-catching moments—one woman in roller skates is "walking" a shark on a leash (we later see a jellyfish floating around); another man is busting moves in a bizarre suit festooned with lights.

    At the end, a man and woman float above the crowd, come together and kiss. There is no dialogue or voiceover. On-screen text at the end reads, "New Skol Beats Senses. Blue on the outside. Mysterious inside."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The agency shot inside a special diving pool in the Ibirapuera district of São Paulo, building a structure 15 feet down that anchored the sets. The director used a regular camera with a special case to shoot underwater, along with some waterproof LED lights, and some disco lights that needed their own cases.

    Divers with oxygen tanks were always positioned just outside the frame, ready to assist the actors. "We had many people submerged at the same time, very deep, and everyone with weight on their bodies so they could move and dance without naturally going up to the surface," said Gurvit. He communicated on set by using something familiar to synchronized swimming teams—an aquatic speaker.

    TALENT: Casting was one of the most important jobs, and the sessions were themselves held underwater. "I met a lot of young guys with a unique talent to hold their breath underwater," Gurvit said. "I searched for all kinds of people. Normal people. Divers. Swimmers. Synchronized swimming girls. People who would be five meters underwater with their face relaxed, just happy, having fun and without hesitating." They also had to look like the target market—young party types.

    SOUND: The music is the Tropkillaz track "Baby Baby." "I thought it had good power and a crescendo that could work out well to generate a music video clip rather than a beer spot," said Gurvit.

    MEDIA: The spot is airing nationwide in Brazil on both broadcast and cable television. The campaign will also include digital media and promotions around the idea of unveiling the mysteries of the night.


    Client: Ambev (Skol Beats Senses)
    Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
    Spot: "Underwater"
    Executive Creative Director: Fabio Fernandes, Eduardo Lima
    Creative Director: Theo Rocha
    Creatives: Theo Rocha, Rodrigo Visconti, Pedro Hefs
    Agency Producers: Victor Alloza, Renato Chabuh, Gisele Campos, Maira Massullo, Rafael Paes
    Account Supervisor:s Marcello Penna, Ricardo Forli, Rafael Cappelli, Marcela Paiva, Bárbara Gomes
    Media: Fábio Freitas, André Cais, Bruno Storace, Ricardo Barros, Vivian Simões, Thalles Reis
    Planners: José Porto, Guilherme Pasculli, Victor Marx, Felipe Santini, Livia Pinheiro
    Production House: PBA Cinema/Produtora Associados
    Director: Jonathan Gurvit
    Executive Producer: Mayra Gama
    Production Designer: Muriel Rañi
    Cinematographer: André Faccioli
    Executive Producer: Mayra Gama
    Producer: Luiz Armesto
    Editor: Rami D'Aguiar
    Finalizador: André Baltrusaitis
    Postproduction: Clan VFX
    Sound House: Tesis
    Sound Design/Arrangement: Leandro Beraldo, Silvio Piesco
    Voiceover: Carolina Manica
    Music: Tropkillaz "Baby Baby"

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    Agencies have taken manyapproaches to creating memorable gun-control ads. Grey Toronto's latest work for Moms Demand Action, opposing an open-carry gun policy in Kroger supermarkets, is thought-provoking—and notably restrained by category standards.

    A pair of minute-long radio spots use actual recorded phone calls in which Kroger employees try to explain why people can openly carry firearms in the store, but pets and kids' scooters are banned. This approach could easily have veered into mean-spiritedness, but the conversations never make the employees sound foolish. These folks are, after all, not the policy makers.

    Print ads effectively illustrate the same theme. They use the headline, "One of them isn't welcome at Kroger. Guess which one." A schoolgirl with an ice-cream cone, a teen carrying a skateboard and a big shirtless dude are shown beside men and women toting scary-looking firearms. (The print ads are variations on earlier Moms Demand Action efforts.)

    "We wanted to pick a campaign that would give us the opportunity, frankly, to do more brand damage by running ads," says Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. "They may at first sit back and allow the brand damage to occur, and then realize, 'Oh, wait, we're alienating most of our customer base, which is women and mothers.' "

    A spokesman for the chain, which operates more than 2,400 stores in 31 states, told the Huffington Post:"Kroger's policy has been and continues to be to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping in our stores." Kroger has also blasted the Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety, which is funding the campaign, as "a national political organization that is attempting to use retailers to further their agenda."

    The ads were timed to coincide with Kroger's investors meeting last week in Cincinnati. (Moms Demand Action claims Kroger pressured local radio stations to pull the spots. Neither Kroger nor iHeartCommunications, formerly Clear Channel, immediately responded to AdFreak's requests for comment.) The radio spots continue to run in other markets through November.

    For me, this campaign strikes the perfect tone, chastising Kroger without going over the top or employing gory scare tactics. The work is designed to make the audience think, to question the status quo—and I believe it succeeds. Even the employee in the "Scooter" radio spot sounds thoughtful in the end. As she struggles for words, you can almost hear her mind working, perhaps mulling the irony—some would say absurdity—of the store's position.

    CREDITS (radio and print)
    Campaign Title: "Choose One"
    Agency: Grey Toronto
    Chief Creative Officer: Patrick Scissons
    Writers: Patrick Scissons, Graeme Campbell
    Art Director: Logan Gabel
    Agency Producers: Vikki Kuzmich (print), Erica Metcalfe (radio)
    Account Team: Laura Rovinescu, Darlene Remlinger
    Production Companies: The Field (print), The Eggplant (radio)
    Producers: Cherie Sinclair (print), Adam Damelin, Roc Gagliese (radio)
    Photography: Eden Robbins, Hardave Grewal (retoucher)
    Sound Engineer: Nathan Handy

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    With Posh Spice and one of the world's most famous footballers as parents, it's no surprise that the Beckham children aren't your average kids. Brooklyn, 15, is currently dating movie star Chloë Grace Moretz. Cruz, 9, plays for Arsenal's junior team. And Harper, 3, has already been spotted front-row at New York Fashion Week.

    But it's Romeo, age 12, who's just claimed the title of buzziest Beckham thanks to his starring role in "From London with Love," a short film for Burberry's holiday campaign.

    For his directorial debut, Burberry's Christopher Bailey, who holds the dual roles of CEO and chief creative officer (a rarity in the fashion world), went all out. Inspired by the "golden age of cinematic musicals," Bailey brought in a corps of 50 dancers and Tony-nominated choreographer Lynne Page to help tell the story of a romance (between British models Hannah Dodds and Anders Hayward) in which young Romeo plays Cupid, with the help of some magical fairy dust he keeps in a Burberry gift box.

    Good luck following an actual narrative—you'll be far too dazzled by all the beautiful people dancing around in Burberry coats against the backdrop of snowy London to pay attention to much else (save for Romeo, of course).

    Having landed his first Burberry campaign at age 10, Romeo is already a veteran of the brand. And it's no mystery why he's such a Burberry favorite (apart from his famous pedigree, of course). He's absolutely adorable. It appears he's inherited quite a bit of talent from his parents, from his impressive screen presence (he actually manages to hold his own against the dancing and sparkles and costume changes and snow) to his fantastic dance moves to his ability to pull off a child-sized trench coat.

    Bailey and Burberry have already helped launch the careers of A-list models like Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse. In a few years, little Romeo could be the next Beckham to become a household name.

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    GoldieBlox is back with a charged ad aimed once again at tackling sexism in children's toys.

    The spot, which is structured much like Apple's famed "1984" commercial, features young girls decked out in all manners of glitter and pink (you know, "girly" things) lining up to grab perfect Barbie-like dolls while a "Big Sister" drones, over and over: "You are beauty, and beauty is perfection."

    What is it about Orwellian spots and hammers? Why is smashing things to smithereens so satisfying? Anyway, you can guess the ending.

    This time GoldieBlox taps Metric's "Help I'm Alive" for its soundtrack, which is a little on the nose since the chorus of the song says hammer a bunch of times. Though the company must have been pretty careful with its song choice after what happened last time.

    While the spot—from production company Society and director Megan Griffiths—certainly isn't perfect, it's still such a thrill to see advertising that's so passionate about throwing entrenched gender norms out the window. 

    Via Time.

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    There's enormous pressure on John Lewis and adam&eveDDB to deliver an incredible Christmas ad every year—Christmas, after all, being Britain's version of the Super Bowl when it comes to advertising.

    This year, they've waddled in and scored a major hit.

    The new spot, "Monty the Penguin," which broke online Thursday and will air on British TV starting Friday, is almost perfectly constructed. It tells the story of friendship between a little boy, Sam, and his penguin friend, Monty. They play together all year, but as the weather turns cold, Monty starts to get sad—and only Sam realizes what the problem is.

    The ad really has everything—a wonderful premise; a character that ties perfectly into the season; great CGI that brings Monty to life; charming and hilarious vignettes that develop the story line quite impressively; a fantastic soundtrack (John Lennon's "Real Love," as sung by Tom Odell); and a lovely ending that really caps things off.

    The spot cost £1 million (about $1.6 million) to make, John Lewis says, and is part of the company's overall £7 million ($11 million) investment in the Christmas campaign. And it's worth it. This is John Lewis's most heartwarming Christmas spot since 2011, when the retailer set the bar for holiday storytelling with this 90-second gem.

    As is required these days, the campaign is way more than the spot. Merchandise will include a children's book called Monty's Christmas (with a portion of proceeds going to Barnardo's, the children's charity); an audio app version of the book narrated by Dermot O'Leary; the "Real Love" single by Tom Odell; and an in-store space called Monty's Den, created in partnership with Samsung.

    "At John Lewis, this time of year is all about helping our customers create their dream Christmas," said Craig Inglis, Marketing Director at John Lewis. "We hope this uplifting tale of Sam's love for his friend Monty will remind people of the magic of Christmas through a child's eyes and inspire them to think how they can make the festive season extra special for their friends and loved ones."

    By the numbers, last year's extravagant animated John Lewis film, "The Bear and The Hare," has been its most popular. But "Monty the Penguin" looks set to easily surpass it. Within 24 hours of launch, last year's ad clocked up 200,000 shares. The new spot, within just four and a half hours of launch, has generated almost half of that, with 73,871 shares in total, according to Unruly Media.

    UPDATE: You can often gauge an ad's broad popularity by how quickly the parodies start coming out. In this case, we got the first spoof within hours—and it's painfully hilarious.

    Client: John Lewis
    Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

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    Today in amusing Canadian agency videos, we have this one from Cossette—in which marketing people all over the country ask the same bewildered question: "What the fuck is going on at Cossette?"

    It's a good question, as it turns out. And kudos to people from rival agencies who make cameos here, including Carlos Moreno and Peter Ignazi of BBDO and—at the very end—Geoffrey Roche, who founded Lowe Roche. Other folks making appearances include the Trailer Park Boys, Chris Van Dyke of School Editing and Ted Rosnick of RMW Music.

    Also, Cossette's Dave Daga gets points for allowing himself to be hit in the balls.

    The video, which was made for Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year event, is NSFW, mostly due to language, though there a couple of unsightly visuals too.

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    This year's John Lewis Christmas ad was released today, and it's super good—it'll be hard for anyone to top. And in one of the quickest turnarounds ever, Redshirt Films has made a pretty funny spoof of the adorable spot featuring a boy and his penguin.

    We won't spoil it, but let's just say the creators shine a light on the terrible practice of enslaving these poor little creatures with tiny minds who are forced to perform tricks and act as "fluffy hot water bottles for spoiled rich children."

    Take a look below at this scathing send-up of the instant classic.

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    IDEA: It's hard for TV manufacturers to advertise picture quality in commercials. Viewers, after all, will be watching the ad on their own TV sets, not yours. Many marketers settle for telling you how great it is, or offering metaphors for it. But Vizio is trying a different approach, with delightful results.

    "Rather than focus on how to demonstrate picture quality, we focused on what happens when you have amazing picture quality. You stare at it," said Steve Yee, group creative director at David&Goliath. "Then we stared at our tagline, 'Beautifully simple,' and it came to us. Let's do a single take where no one pays attention to the chaos happening in the room because they are so captivated by the television."

    Three ads do just that, featuring slow-motion 270-degree pans around people's homes, showing them glued to Vizio's P-Series Ultra HD TVs as pandemonium erupts around them.

    COPYWRITING: In one spot, a family is unaware that a tree has fallen into their house, though firefighters are already sawing it to pieces. In another, a turkey dinner is scavenged by dogs and a kitchen has caught fire, as the cook is transfixed by the TV in the next room. (A third ad, "Pillow Fight," is coming soon.)

    The writers wrote dozens of scenarios. "What we discovered worked best were scenarios that started with a truth—then we pushed it to an absurd level," said group creative director Ben Purcell. "We thought of things that have happened in our own lives. One of us had a dog that ate the cake at a birthday party. That led to a list of possible scenarios we could all relate to."

    There is a brief voiceover near the end: "With four times the resolution, nothing is more captivating. Ultra HD from Vizio." The company logo appears on screen along with "Beautifully simple"—a line that Purcell said "has been a great filter for the work. Everything we do and say must reflect that."

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: MJZ director Dante Ariola shot the ads in four days in Prague. They built a house, then destroyed it, for "Fallen Tree." The other two spots were filmed in a studio.

    "For such a simple shoot, it was quite technical," said Purcell. "We had to build the sets to exact specifications so that when the camera rotated and shot at 220 frames per second, the story could be told in 30 seconds." Most of the action was in-camera, he added, but "there were certainly things dialed up in post," including more mayhem at the turkey dinner.

    Yee added: "We put a lot of attention to details that went airborne—sawdust flying out of the tree, feathers flying out of the pillows, and the turkey bits violently flying all over the place. Not only did it pay the benefit of high definition, it also made the scenes really fun to watch."

    Asked for some fun stories from the set, Yee said: "Trying to shoot the dogs eating the turkey was really challenging. Not because you're trying to get the dogs to shake their heads violently as if they were ripping into a turkey. What made it challenging was the communication. We would send comments to our director, Dante, who then gave direction in English to his Czech assistant director, who didn't speak English very well, who then communicated the direction to the dog trainers, who spoke another language. It was a bad game of international telephone."

    The aesthetic, wardrobes and camera moves are all, in keeping with the tagline, beautifully simple.

    TALENT: "Prague was full of people with great faces," Yee said. "They basically had to look stunned, which is harder than you'd think. But as long as you could look excited and amazed, didn't have any missing teeth, and looked like you lived in the U.S., you got the part."

    SOUND: Opera music gave the spots just the right tone. "If the music didn't go far enough, it would seem sad that someone lost their house, or their dinner was destroyed," said Purcell. "But since it is over-the-top, it adds levity."

    MEDIA: National cable and online.


    Client: Vizio
    Agency: David&Goliath
    Founder & Chairman: David Angelo
    Chief Creative Officer: Colin Jeffery
    President: Brian Dunbar
    Group Creative Director: Ben Purcell
    Group Creative Director: Steve Yee
    Copywriter: Patrick Que
    Art Director: Allen Yu
    Director of Broadcast Production: Paul Albanese
    Group Account Director: Jennifer Mull
    Account Supervisor: Kammie Dons
    Assistant Account Executive: Karolyne Crowe
    Planning Director: Kristen Knape
    Director of Business Affairs: Rodney Pizarro

    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Dante Ariola
    President: David Zander
    Sr. Executive Producer: Scott Howard
    Producer: Natalie Hill
    Director of Photography: Philippe LeSourd
    Production Designer: Floyd Albee

    Editorial: Spinach
    Editor: Adam Bright
    Assistant Editor: Michael Weiss
    Producer: Jonathan Carpio
    Post-Production: Method
    VFX Supervisor: Rob Hodgson
    Compositing Supervisor: Dominik Bauch
    Tracking Supervisor: Messrob Torikian

    Executive Producer: Stephanie Gilgar
    Senior Producer: Pip Malone
    Coordinator: Karena Ajamian
    Original Music: Human
    Audio Mix: Margarita Mix, Santa Monica
    Mixer: Nathan Dublin

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    John Wall and Romeo Beckham. A hilarous ad agency video. One of the most delightful airline spots we've seen in a while. And a brilliant beginning to the Christmas ad season in the U.K.

    Check out our picks for the week's best spots below, and vote for your favorite.

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    There's literally nothing better than pizza. So, it stands to reason pizza brands shouldn't really need to advertise. But if you're a brand trying to rise to the upper crust of pie purveyors, you might as well go super weird. 

    Totino's just teamed up with Tim & Eric (aka, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) and released "Pizza Freaks Unite," which is arguably the weirdest ad for pizza since Pizza Hut Japan's "Pizza Cats."

    If you're not familiar with Tim & Eric, the duo first entered the comedy universe on Adult Swim, and have since been responsible for Old Spice's Terry Crews spots and most recently GE's loony-toon Jeff Goldblum ad.

    The super odd, lo-fi psychedelic gems from Totino's—and agency Zeus Jones—feature Tim & Eric dancing around with their friends to an infectious jingle: "Totino's, Totino's, how did you know? Totino's, Totino's—everybody's talkin' 'bout Totino's, Totino's Hot Pizza Rolls! Burritos, burritos ..." It's actually amazing how good the song is despite the awkward and clumsy production and bad-on-purpose, Sid-and-Marty-Kroftt-on-even-more-acid aesthetic.

    So, without further ado, here's easily the strangest thing you'll see today, and below it, a 30-second cut. "Fun harder," indeed.

    Client: Totino's
    Agency: Zeus Jones

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    Perfectly coiffed former Growing Pains patriarch Alan Thicke rolling around on a luxurious king­-size bed: dream or nightmare? It's for a good cause, so be a sport and play along.

    Thicke certainly does. The 67­-year-­old actor, talk show host, reality star and Paula Patton ex­-father-in-law is working hard to sell that piece of castoff furniture. He lolls about on his high-thread­-count sheets, eating donuts and reading fake books. While mostly horizontal, he even tags the footboard and autographs some head shots. "Nobody asked for these—I just like signing my face," he says.

    You want to own that beautiful mahogany frame (not mattress), you say? You're in luck. Bidding happens online Nov. 22.

    The stunt, found at AlanThickesBed.com, is a fundraiser for Canadian nonprofit resale chain ReStore, and proceeds from the auction will go to Habitat for Humanity. The videos come from JWT Canada, which plans a social media campaign that will follow the bed from Los Angeles to Toronto.

    Credits below.

    Client: ReStore/Habitat for Humanity
    Agency: JWT Canada
    Chief Creative and Integration Officer: Brent Choi
    Creative Director: Ryan Spelliscy
    Art Director: Dan Bache 
    Copywriter: Henry Park
    Senior Producer: Shelby Spigelman
    Account Team: Lezlie Grossman, Kathleen Dusk, Corrine Luxon, Victoria Radziunas, Melanie Reiffenstein
    Client Team: Rob Lee, Lisa Bogart, Joanna Dwyer
    Digital Design Team: Patrick Schroen, Bruno Medugno
    Director: Only Child (Mike Andrews, Daniel Mabe)
    Director of Photography: Roman Jakobi
    Production Company: Descendants TV 
    Executive Producers: Tasha Litt, Gerard Cantor
    Producer: Anton Laines
    Postproduction: Alter Ego, AXYZ   
    Editing House: Saints Editorial
    Editor: Raj Ramnauth
    Executive Producer: Michelle Rich
    Colorist: Clinton Homuth        
    Flame Artist: James Andrews, AXYZ
Producer: Karen Huybers

    Music: Silent Joe
    Creative Director: Trevor Allan
    Producer, Music Supervisor: Jane Heath

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    John Lewis may have won Christmas with its penguin ad, but Mother London's holiday spot for British pharmacy chain Boots is an impressive stocking stuffer in its own right.

    Director Noam Murro's low-key, naturalistic approach really scores as we follow some folks who wake up very early on the day after Christmas and make preparations for a special celebration of their own. The muted documentary style lets the tale shine without reams of tinsel or the glare of too many holiday lights.

    "This Christmas, we want to inspire our customers to celebrate the special people in their lives," says Andy Ferguson, director of marketing at Boots, "not just by giving the perfect gift from Boots, but by sharing the reasons they matter for the whole nation to see."

    Boots invites viewers to share stories of those they love using the #SpecialBecause hashtag, and there are campaign elements prepped for digital, direct and outdoor media. The centerpiece 60-second spot, produced by Biscuit Filmworks, is already running online, and breaks Sunday on ITV's telecast of Downton Abbey.

    Sure, there's some sentimentality—this is a British holiday ad, after all. Still, it's mainly a realistic people story that expands on themes from Boots' 2013 Christmas outing. In a way, this new spot recalls A Charlie Brown Christmas—without the religious message—by transcending commercialism to reveal the deeper meaning of the season.

    Client: Boots
    Agency: Mother, London
    Producer: Emily Marr
    Creative Director: Chaka Sobhani
    Creative: Richard Tahmasebi & Pilar Santos
    Sound Design: Anthony Moore
    Audio Postproduction: Factory Studios
    Editor: Neil Smith
    Editint Company: Work Post
    Postproduction House: MPC
    Production Manager: Kate Taylor
    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Producer: Charlotte Woodhead
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
    Director: Noam Murro

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    Are you up for some BGCP3TV in HD?

    Los Angeles Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have each shown, separately, that they can anchor comedy. In State Farm's Chris and Cliff campaign, Paul showed that he's perhaps the NBA's most gifted endorser. And Griffin? Well, he's done so much comedy that he has his own section on Funny or Die.

    Now, they've teamed up for an interesting project from Wieden + Kennedy in New York and Jordan Brand—a pair of five-minute videos that are full of quirky comedy sketches. Both are pretty amusing—not surprising, since Neal Brennan, co-creator of The Chappelle Show, served as director and co-writer on these.

    Griffin and Paul are launching new shoes a month apart, but these sketches are a whole lot more entertaining than some action footage would have been.

    W+K's Eric Helin wrote some sketches, as did Brennan. There wasn't too much improvising—most of what you see was on the page, though Griffin and Paul made it their own. "I've worked with a ton of athletes and can honestly say Blake and Chris are among the best," said Gary Van Dzura, creative director at W+K. "They're natural in front of the camera and have a great comedic timing."

    "Pretty much what you see is what you get," Brennan added. "They're friends who clearly spend a lot of time together. They like and respect each other and are used to making jokes all day. I was also amazed at how quickly they were able to memorize the material."

    Asked if there was a limit to how goofy he wanted the sketches to be, Brennan said: "One of the sketches that got cut out was super crazy. But I don't think anybody really thought of them as crazy/not crazy. At least I didn't. I just thought of them as tonally correct and funny/not funny. The Ohhh Bros. sketch is about guys whose lives are ruined by reacting to basketball plays. That's pretty crazy."

    Client: Jordan Brand
    Project: BGCP3TV in HD
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
    Executive Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman, David Kolbusz
    Creative Directors: Gary Van Dzura, Jimm Lasser
    Writer: Eric Helin
    Art Director: Erwin Federizo
    Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski
    Producer: Orlee Tatarka
    Account Team: Jerico Cabaysa, Price Manford, Heather Morba, Cory McCollum
    Business Affairs: Sara Jagielski
    Production Company: Go Film
    Director, Co-Writer: Neal Brennan
    Executive Producer, Chief Operating Officer: Gary Rose
    Executive Producer: Adam Bloom
    Line Producer: Marc Benardout
    Director of Photography: Chuck Ozeas
    Editing Company: Starch Media
    Editors: Bijan Shams, Scott Ashby, Jeremy Hsu
    Post Producer: Susan Applegate
    VIsual Effects Company: Stardust & Elastic
    VIsual Effects Lead Flame: Alex Frisch
    Telecine Company: MPC
    Colorist: Ricky Gausis
    Mix Company: Eleven
    Mixers: Jeff Payne, Ben Freer
    Producer: Susanne Hollingshead
    Song: "Junkyard" (Original Composition)
    Artist: James Poyser

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    Who Peter Gary, founder, CEO What Full-service ad agency
    Where Boca Raton, Fla.

    Pinnacle has bucked the headwinds of Florida's recent economic downturn, with the 3-year-old Boca Raton agency becoming a rapidly expanding shop that's already outgrowing its new 11,500-square-foot space. Pinnacle's roots are in the automotive retail category, where founder Peter Gary got his start, and the agency has built the South Florida Hyundai Dealers Association into the carmaker's No. 1 U.S. performer in 2013, posting 382 percent growth over the past three years. Among the agency's other auto accounts is JM Lexus, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., dealership that Pinnacle just won. The shop also works for local restaurants, retailers, real estate concerns and sports-related clients like the Florida Panthers ice hockey team's IceDen training facility and Florida Atlantic University's athletics programs.


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