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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Inspirations for company names can be as varied as the founders themselves. The infographic below, by 7Brands, collects the stories behind 35 of them—including Cadillac, Reebox, Lego, Pez, Toyota and many more.

    Ad agencies, of course, are notorious for going the law-firm route and being named for the partners. But there are many exceptions, of course. For a refresher, have a look back at our fun feature on the 40 strangest agency names.

    Click the infographic to enlarge.

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    At the corner of Grand and Varick streets lies One Hudson Square, an Art Deco factory-turned-office building that won landmark status last year. It's also home to Horizon Media—one of New York's largest media agencies and an Adweek 2014 Media Plan of the Year winner.

    Since moving onto the 16th floor four years ago, the agency has taken over the two floors below. The 250,000-square-foot space accommodates a staff that has swelled to over 1,000 employees. Horizon, whose clients collectively spend more than $4.7 billion in media annually, in the last year has added Turner Broadcasting and Burger King to its roster, which also includes Geico and Corona.

    We decided to take a look at Horizon's digs as the shop comes off a strong year. In the video above, CEO Bill Koenigsberg and chief talent officer Eileen Benwitt share some of their favorite spots in the office, which is sure to please yogis and movie buffs.

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    Droga5 likes building elaborate, full-scale sets for its Motorola spots rather than relying on computer effects and camera tricks. This approach seems especially apt in "The Maker," a minute-long clip touting a site that lets users customize their Moto X smartphones.

    Moto Maker is a site that lets users trick out their handsets in various colors and designs. Options include metal accents, wood tones (like teak and bamboo), laser-etched signatures and, for a limited time, football leather. (Motorola asks that "you resist the urge to spike your phone," which is probably always good advice.)

    The spot shows the same guy in two rooms separated by a wall: on one side, he's clicking away on a computer to detail his Moto X. On the other, he's running around a fanciful laboratory, where he employs robotic arms, chemicals and laser beams to tailor his phone. Director Vesa Manninen of Reset Content injects the proceedings with whimsical charm—and the impressive visuals are on par with previous entries in Motorola's "Choose Choice" campaign.

    The overarching strategy of "The Maker" is itself a smart choice, since the term has taken on heightened significance with the emerging Maker Movement. Letting users make creative decisions to suit their interests and personalities, even on a limited basis, is a decidedly cool selling point that Apple can't claim.

    The dude in the commercial was wise to scuttle his "Panda King" imprint in favor of the more practical "Ben's Phone." Going with the bamboo finish, however, is so 2013.


    Client: Motorola
    Global Brand Director: Barry Smyth
    Brand Marketing Manager: Katie Cowan
    Brand Marketing Manager: Magno Herran

    Agency: Droga5 NY
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer                                           
    Executive Creative Director: Neil Heymann                                  
    Senior Art Director: Andrew Wilcox                                                     
    Senior Copywriter: Lincoln Boehm                            
    Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Senior Broadcast Producer: David Cardinali
    Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
    Senior Brand Strategist: Zack Cohn
    Group Brand Strategy Director: David Gonzales
    Global Business Director: Bryan Yasko
    Account Director: Brian D'Entremont
    Account Manager: Stephanie Thiel

    Production Company: Reset Content
    Director: Vesa Manninen
    DP: Chris Mably
    Managing Director: Dave Morrison
    Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
    Head of Production: Amanda Clune
    Line Producer: Ayelet Weinerman
    Editorial: Whitehouse Post
    Editors: Shane Reid 
    Assistant Editor: Devon Bradbury                 
    Executive Producer: Lauren Hertzberg
    Producer: Nick Crane

    Postproduction: Method NY
    General Manager: Stuart Robinson
    Postproduction Producer: Carlos Herrera
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Alvin Cruz

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Tim Masik
    Producer: Rochelle Brown

    Music: MassiveMusic North America 
    Executive Producer: Keith Haluska
    Creative Director: Elijah B Torn

    Sound: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tom Jucarone

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    Wherever you travel around the world, you'll always find Canadians gathering together, sharing stories and racking up an impressive bar tab. But this batch was especially lucky.

    Last week, Air Canada dropped by "Canada Night" at London's Maple Leaf pub to surprise a bustling crowd of ex-pats with a holiday gift they certainly couldn't have expected.

    Organized by agency JWT Canada, the stunt took place Nov. 27 and sparked some fantastic, emotional responses from the unsuspecting Canadians who'd gathered together that night. And while these holiday videos often feel staged, everything from the crappy hand-held camerawork to the off-key anthem singing make it clear that this one's legit.


    Agency: JWT Canada
    Chief Creative and Integration Officer: Brent Choi
    Vice President, Creative Director: Gary Westgate
    Vice President, Associate Creative Director: Don Saynor
    Vice President, Integrated Broadcast: Andrew Schulze
    Art Director: Alex Newman
    Copywriter: Patrice Pollack
    Producer: Caroline Clark
    Brand Engagement Director: Victoria Radziunas
    Account Team: Scott Miskie, Gavin Wiggins, Lindsay Hill
    Client Team: Craig Landry, Selma Filali, Dani Bastien, Annie Couture, John Xydous
    Production Company: The Solidarity Union / Soft Citizen
    Executive Producer: Rob Burns
    Director: Shaun Anderson
    Producer: John Scarth
    Director of Photography: Byron Kopman
    Editing House: School Editing
    Editor(s): Chris Van Dyke and Brian Wells
    Editor Assistance: Mark Lutterman, Nicole Sison, Steve Puhach, Drew MacLeod and Lauren Piche
    Editorial Producer: Sarah Brooks
    Online: Online: Fort York VFX
    Audio: TA2
    Audio Director: Steve Gadsden

    Media Agency: Mindshare

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    McVitie's Victoria, the British biscuits brand, has been using puppies, kittens, tarsiers and owls in ads over the past year. Now, Grey London expands the baby-animal menagerie dramatically for McVitie's first Christmas ad in 30 years.

    The 60-second ad shows a family's understandable surprise when Dad opens a box of McVitie's Victoria biscuits and a bunch of adorable animals crawl out of the pack. The interlopers include an Alaskan Malamute puppy, a micro piglet, a Persian kitten, a baby rabbit, a duckling, a ginger kitten, a Pug puppy, a baby hedgehog, a baby reindeer and a tiny narwhal hiding in the punch bowl.

    Turns out they're talented animals, too, as they join together to sing a Christmassy rendition of the '80s hit "Only You" by Yaz (or Yazoo, as they were known in the U.K.).

    The spot breaks Thursday night on British TV. As in past ads, the baby animals are meant to reflect the cuddly, snuggly feeling you get when you open a box of McVitie's.

    "We're delighted to introduce the latest additions to our McVitie's Sweeet family, and hope that it brings chocolatey cheer to biscuit loving households across the UK for the festive season," says marketing director Sarah Heynen.

    Cient: McVitie's
    Marketing Director, United Biscuits: Sarah Heynen
    Creative Agency: Grey London
    Creative Director: Hollie Newton
    Copywriter: Hollie Newton
    Art Director: Hollie Newton
    Account Team: Nicola Wardell, Kate Ilott
    Agency Producer:  Thea Evely
    Assistant Agency Producer: Jen Gillen
    Creative Producer: Lucy Dunn
    Planner: Daniel Sherrard
    Media Agency: MEC
    Media Planner: Nicola Tracey
    Production Company: Smuggler
    Director: Randy Krallman
    Editor: Mark Edinoff at Work
    Production Company Producer: Gustav Geldenhuys
    Designer: Chris Chapman
    DoP: Jean Noel Mustonen
    Postproduction: Framestore
    Soundtrack Composer: Vince Clarke
    Audio Postproduction: Wave

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    So, you're a werewolf, and it's your night to howl. Your drink of choice would be … a Bloody Mary? A piña colada at Trader Vic's? A Coors Light, aka the Silver Bullet? Nah, too risky.

    Actually, a martini made with Three Olives Vodka should hit the spot, according to the stylishly offbeat "Werewolves of London" campaign from The VIA Agency.

    The wolf's-night-out narrative unfolds across several short clips, and there's a three-minute music video of popular YouTube chanteuse Masha Shirin performing the 1978 Warren Zevon classic—all bathed in cool nocturnal hues and directed with great sophistication by Anthony Mandler (who also directed VIA's work for 1800 Tequila starring Ray Liotta).

    The story's simple. A lycanthropic lothario—you know the type: a real alpha male, pretending to be something he's not (in this case, human)—prowls chic London bars looking for … well, a bite, I suppose. When our lupine ladies' man finally does take someone home, there's a subtle sort-of twist … but the evening's denouement isn't actually revealed.

    The dapper dude's dual identity is well handled. We catch quick flashes of his fangs and wild facial hair—in mirrors, or just his mind's eye—that clue us in to his true nature. And his eyes have a tendency to glow. (Too much vodka will have that effect. Tomorrow, he'll be reaching for the hair of the dog.)

    Masha's slinky, subdued rendition—half spoken, half sung—helps create a sultry/spooky atmosphere, though I miss the familiar "Aaahoo!" howling from Zevon's original.

    Greg Smith, CCO at VIA, says the work is designed to take "the typical Three Olives Vodka drinker to the extreme, creating a protagonist whose polished exterior belies the beast within."

    Of course, we can't take that notion, or the campaign's story line, too literally. If we did, it would mean our classy canine cruiser plans to ply unsuspecting women with vodka and then tear them limb from limb. (That's what werewolves do. Along with shedding all over the sofa.) Even seeing the wolf as a metaphor, the ads come a little close to objectifying women as prey.

    Either way, there's an un-P.C. tension that, for better or worse, should help Three Olives stand out among more typically watered-down, night-on-the-town spirits advertising.

    Client: Three Olives Vodka/Proximo Spirits
    SVP of Marketing: Elwyn Gladstone
    Brand Director James Bruton

    Agency: The VIA Agency, Portland, Maine
    Chief Creative Officer: Greg Smith
    Executive Producer: Mary Hanifin
    Creative Director: Ken Matsubara
    Creative Director: Ian Dunn
    ACD, Art Director: David Grindon
    Sr. Writer: Kristen Kriisa
    Group Strategy Director: Jason Wright
    Brand Planner: Lyndsey Fox
    Producer: Dustin Levine

    Production Co.: Believe Media
    Director: Anthony Mandler
    EP/Production Co.: Liz Silver
    Director of Photography: Dave Devlin

    Post Production Co.: PS 260
    Editor: JJ Lask
    Asst. Editor: Matt Posey
    Sr. Post Producer: Laura Patterson
    EP/Post Production: Zarina Mak

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole

    VFX: eightvfx
    VFX Artist: Yannick LeBlanc

    Music: Jared Gutstadt and Jingle Punks

    VP/Music Supervisor: Jesse Korwin
    Dir. of Licensing: Shota Ike
    Vocalist: Masha
    Werewolf of London: James Lee Taylor

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    The sleigh is overrated.

    Santa Claus ditches it entirely in Expedia's touching Christmas campaign from 180LA, choosing instead to fly coach around the world and ending up at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where he delivers presents to some very special kids.

    As seen in the video below, Santa traveled 19,602 miles over seven days (49.7 hours of flight time), going from the North Pole via Anchorage through Honolulu, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, Dublin, New York City, and finally to Memphis, where he hands out gifts—and also donates all the points he earned on flights to St. Jude, which is the selling point here.

    "Santa flies around the world every year for children, so we loved the connection of giving him travel points to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," says Vic Walia, senior director of brand marketing at Expedia.

    "More people travel during the holidays than any other time of year. We hope this campaign will encourage people to donate their Expedia+ rewards points to St. Jude, considering how quickly they can add up during this busy travel season."

    More at Expedia.com/Santa and the hashtag #SantaFliesCoach.

    Client: Expedia
    Spot: "Santa Flies Coach"
    Senior Director, Brand Marketing: Vic Walia
    Brand Marketing Manager: Jessica Eichner
    Media Director: Elizabeth Dorrance

    Agency: 180LA
    Chief Creative Officer: William Gelner
    Creative Directors: Dave Horton, Matthew Woodhams-Roberts
    Art Director: Chelsea Cumings
    Copywriter: Trey Tyler
    Head of Production: Natasha Wellesley
    Executive Producer: Erin Goodsell
    Producer: Amber Schaefer
    Head of Account Management: Chad Bettor
    Account Director: Brooke Stites
    Account Manager: Mackenzie Walen
    Account Coordinator: Chase Pritchett

    Production Company: Ghost Robot
    Directors: Dave Horton, Nick Bentgen
    Director of Photography: Nick Bentgen
    Executive Producers: Mark DePace, Zach Mortensen

    Editorial Company: Melvin
    Editor: Dave Groseclose
    Producer: Brian Scharwath

    Company: Therapy Studios 
    Executive Producer: Joe DiSanto, John Ramsay
    Senior Producer: Allegra Bartlett
    Flame Artist:  Wren Waters
    Flame Assist: Geoff Stephenson
    Recording Studio: Eleven Sound
    Mixer: Ben Freer

    Original Music by human

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    Designers always eagerly await Pantone's December announcement of its Color of the Year, predicting which hue will be ubiquitous in the year ahead. The 2015 Color of the Year, unveiled Thursday, is Marsala—a deep reddish brown. And it has some critics seeing more red than brown.

    "It's a color that makes you want to go to Olive Garden or order Tampax in bulk," says New York Magazine's The Cut blog in perhaps the most scathing critique.

    And for its part, Olive Garden seems elated.

    Not all of the reaction to Marsala has been negative, but it does feel muted—perhaps appropriately so—compared to previous COYs like Tangerine Tango (2012), Emerald (2013) and Radiant Orchid (2014).

    Marsala, meanwhile, is "a naturally robust and earthy wine red," Pantone says.

    The executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, further elaborates:

    "While PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid, the captivating 2014 color of the year, encouraged creativity and innovation, Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors."

    Pantone's lead agency, experience design firm Sub Rosa, created the brand's overarching "Make It Brilliant" platform—and did the creative for the Color of the Year campaign, including all of the images here.

    "To bring the color to life, Sub Rosa was tasked with creating a series of images that were as bold and exciting as the color of the year itself," the agency tells AdFreak. "To do this they created a print and social campaign that makes Marsala the star. The creative team worked closely with Pantone to ensure the tone and energy would drive the mood of an imagined 'place.' Sub Rosa organized this story through food, drink, cooking and friends coming together at various stages of an evening meal: appetizers, dinner and dessert."

    "In each vignette, Sub Rosa meticulously planned details to create multiple layers that speak to the broad design audience. As this party moves from appetizers on the deck to dessert by the fireplace, Sub Rosa played into varying elemental associations and feelings that Marsala evokes by appropriately adjusting the character and contents of each 'room.' "

    So, what do you think of the choice of Marsala?

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    Yet another heartwarming Christmas ad makes our list of best spots this week, but it's hardly the only minor miracle on the list. Airbnb and Canon both made exquisitely crafted spots, and Arby's turned in one of the more amusing apology ads in recent memory.

    Check out the five spots below, and vote for your favorite.

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    Nick Offerman loves whisky, his guitar, woodworking and horseback riding. But he's man enough not to mix his favorite beverage with the last two—and quite upset that he doesn't have three hands so he can mix the first two.

    In this rather silly but resoundingly masculine ballad, Offerman offers us a slim glimpse into what companies like Diageo mean when they say "responsible drinking"—in this case, no power tool lacerations or horseback riding injuries. The dangers are believable but far enough away from the reality of drinking and driving, and other ways you're more likely to kill yourself drinking, that we can all still enjoy the video.

    Diageo's portfolio contains over 100 Scotch, Irish, Canadian and American whiskies. This video focuses on Scotch whisky, as Nick is shown amid Oban distillery barrels in Oban, with a bottle of Oban 14, cutting peat in traditional fashion from the Scottish soil, roaming about old castles with his guitar, on a boat presumably on his way to the isle of Islay, and then on Islay, drinking Lagavulin outside Lagavulin.

    From manning the helm of Movember to his role as Ron Swanson, Offerman has created a brand for himself as a latter-day Hemingway—a real man's man who in real life is a master carpenter, boat builder and apparently a lover of fine Scottish whisky on the smokier side. The most interesting man in the world finally has some competition—from a real man.

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    It's not like Lego hasn't done great ads with girls over the years. In fact, it was ahead of its time. (Everyone has seen the famous "What It Is Is Beautiful" print ad from 1981 by now.) But lately, the brand has let toy rivals like GoldieBlox lead the way in messages of girl empowerment.

    Lego retakes that space with confidence, though, in the 60-second spot below from Union Made Creative and director Brigg Bloomquist—a lovely meditation on moms and daughters and the independence that both inspires and is reinforced by imaginative play.

    "I don't always want you to help me," a girl says in voiceover, seemingly addressing her mom. "Do you know why? I want to figure it out on my own. Even when it doesn't turn out the way I want, I know it's not wrong. Because you taught me how to think. And how to dream. I'm about to make something that I know will make you proud."

    The ad nicely flatters parents—suggesting Lego is the choice of smart, creative kids who've been brought up well—while also recognizing that girls play with Lego differently than boys do. Lego research has long indicated that boys tend to build in a "linear" fashion, replicating what's on the box, while girls prefer a more personal approach—creating their own story-filled environments and even imagining themselves living inside them.

    The theater-show theme fits that perfectly. And while the visuals are perhaps a bit vague here and there, the spot's message is clear and uplifting.

    Now that Lego is talking to girls again, how about another great holiday ad like last year's?

    Client: Lego
    Spot: "Inspire Imagination and Keep Building"
    Brand Managers: Erin Fortier Reed, Jennifer Paoletto
    Lead Model Designer: Erik Varszegi
    Art Director: Laura Norman
    Agency: Union Made Creative, Culver City, Calif.
    Chief Creative Officer, Founder: Keith Cartwright
    Copywriter: Whitney Ruef
    Art Director: Lydia White
    Producer: Charity Bustamante
    Production Company: GO
    Director: Brigg Bloomquist
    Line Producer: Greg Jones
    Director of Photography: Pablo Berron
    Production Assistant: Shawn Davis
    Postproduction: Cut and Run

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    Ladies and gentlemen, now appearing in the center ring … a sad-ass clown with a heavy case of unrequited love.

    The unhappy hero of this bleak but beautiful 75-second ad for Danish flower-delivery service Interflora tries letters, balloons and gifts to charm the object of his affection—an aerial artist who is apparently the shining star of this particular show. But something goes wrong every time, and she barely knows he's alive.

    Brandhouse in Copenhagen created the spot, with lots of deft touches that underscore the clown's despair, such as the moody interplay of muted light and shadow, and shots of shabby wood-paneled circus trailers.

    "The idea was to find the most heartfelt situation with the deepest possible feelings," agency creative director Mikkel Elung tells AdFreak.

    "We needed to find a person who would have the most difficulties in expressing his love. And we couldn't find a better character than a clown who is in love with the beautiful circus ballerina. They are miles apart in every possible way, and traditionally they are not meant to be together, which increases the drama."

    Shot in dull hues by Bacon director Martin Werner—with a downer soundtrack by Louise Alenius—the cinematic effort oozes melancholia (this is Denmark, after all), but it's also memorably affecting.

    "We think there is hope," says Elung, "we just stop the story before it becomes advertising. The idea is to tap into every human's experience with how difficult it can be to express your feelings to the love of your life." What's more, he adds, "it's a tribute to real life and to the ones that keep trying—and a reminder that Interflora is here to help."

    If roses don't do the trick, maybe the clown can take voice lessons and impress her with an aria or something. (That worked out great in Pagliacci. Didn't it?) Or if he really can't stand the pain, ol' baggy pants can always quit the Big Top, hit the highway in his comically small clown car and work birthday parties instead.

    Actually, according to Elung, the clown was spared an even crappier fate in the final edit. "We had planned to incorporate an elephant in the commercial. It was on set, and we got a lot of footage of it," he says. "But in all the usable scenes, it had a tendency to poop, so we ended up cutting that out."

    Client: Interflora
    Agency: Brandhouse
    Creative Director: Mikkel Elung
    Art Director: Sigurd Bjerre
    Copywriter: Simon Kragh
    Director: Martin Werner
    Production Company: Bacon
    Producer: Malene Dyhring
    DOP: Lasse Frank
    Editor: Rasmus Gitz-Johansen

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    Data storage and cloud computing company EMC, which sponsors Formula 1 racing, recently sent an 18-wheeler careening over a racecar in an epic, world-record setting jump … because awesome.

    It's one of those records you have to see to believe because large trucks are not known for their grace, outside of Jean-Claude Van Damme videos, or their jumping capability.

    EMC is a technical partner for the Lotus F1 team. And it's made a ton of pretty videos about its role in designing the E22 car that meets the new F1 regulations and the technical services it provides the team. It's pretty good content.

    But the big rig jumping over an F1 car? That's been viewed 10 million times in just a few weeks. Not to mention there's a behind-the-scenes video where you learn fun facts like how they gutted the interior of the semi to make sure it wouldn't catch on fire, and get to watch the door fly open on the big rig while the driver, who is in some awesome space-age bungie harness almost falls out.

    You can even see stunt driver, Martin Ivanov, spin the F1 car out after the jump and say it was scary. But also, joy and happiness.

    EMC is no stranger to the world record breaking model of viral advertising. In 2011, it fit 26 people inside a Mini Cooper. In 2013, it sent Parker Liautaud on a record-breaking walk—he became the youngest man to walk unsupported 397 miles to the South Pole.

    Neither of those stunts received nearly as many views. I guess it just goes to show that when it comes to world records, not all are created equal.

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    When Freshpet in September decided it wanted branded content, the pet food purveyor hired ShareAbility, a production house focused solely on producing YouTube videos, instead of going the traditional route of calling an agency.

    At the time, a clip of an adorable 5-year-old, dubbed by the Internet as the Apparently Kid, was going viral and ShareAbility quickly snagged him for a one-off Freshpet video. The promo, which was released in mid-September, has been viewed 3.5 million times and shared more than 35,000 times on social media, while daily traffic to Freshpet has increased 416 percent.

    ShareAbility and Freshpet now are expanding their relationship with a longer-term video strategy, including a Dec. 15 holiday-themed clip.

    Increasingly, marketers like Freshpet are going directly to online production houses to produce Web video content. ShareAbility estimates that about 70 percent of its work comes directly from marketers and projects up to 90 percent next year.

    "The Internet has changed everything in terms of how consumers find, curate and watch branded content, and this is putting tremendous pressure on traditional ad agencies," noted ShareAbility CEO Tim Staples. "Succeeding at YouTube requires an expertise that most general ad agencies don’t have, and the smart ones are not willing to risk a $50 million account for a $500,000 piece of content."

    Summer with Cimorelli

    Erika Trautman, CEO of Rapt Media, a technology platform that creates interactive Web videos, agreed, saying many of the production companies it works with have seen a marked increase in direct brand projects.

    Typically, these simple concept ideas are not related to a broader campaign, meaning they don’t need the full strategy and cost of hiring a traditional agency, explained Altimeter analyst Rebecca Lieb. As an added bonus, digital studios are adept in turning things around quickly and know what’s viral. "It's about hiring execution," she said. "Agencies do a lot of strategy and ideation, which is sometimes not what you need. Sometimes, you just need to get stuff done."

    But, while digital production house Content and Co. is confident they have the finger on what’s hot online and can produce more effective content, it does acknowledge that agencies are necessary when it comes to executing a full campaign.

    For instance, Content and Co. came up with a five-episode scripted Web comedy for Subway featuring YouTube a cappella group Cimorelli called Summer With Cimorelli. While Content and Co. handled the production, it relied on Subway’s agencies for in-store activations, broadcast spots and other means. Each episode’s views ranged from 650,000 to 1.3 million, and sources say the series is in development for a second season.

    "Where the production companies can fall short is if the brand is in need of a greater strategic vision, including distribution and how you’re going to get in front of your target audience," said Rapt Media’s Trautman. "I have seen production companies lose business because they can't compete at that level."

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    Those who were disappointed that Paul Rosolie wasn't completely and totally eaten alive by the snake on Discovery Channel's Eaten Alive last night got a consolation prize—this comical ad for 1-800-Contacts, which aired on the telecast and did show a guy properly (if cartoonishly) devoured by a snake.

    The plot of the ad, by Pereira & O'Dell, was a total coincidence. And in fact, the company originally planned to break the ad in January. But after hearing about the Discovery special, it was moved up to Sunday's broadcast—and the agency tells us the voiceover was even tweaked to tie into the show (specifically, the part where the snake-eaten dude murmurs, "I hope this makes me famous.")

    1-800-Contacts also had some fun on Twitter last night.

    Client: 1-800-Contacts
    Agency: Pereira & O'Dell
    Chief Creative Officer: P.J. Pereira
    Vice President, Executive Creative Director: Jaime Robinson
    Creative Directors: Jason Apaliski, Robert Lambrechts
    Art Directors: Tim Delger, Brett Beaty
    Copywriter: Katie Brinkworth, Simon Friedlander
    Account Director: Ashley Brown
    Associate Strategy Director: Molly Cabe
    Strategic Planner: Beth Windheuser
    Vice President, Media Strategy: Joshua Brandau
    Vice President, Production: Jeff Ferro
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Elisa Moore
    Director of Business Affairs: Jaime Szefc
    Production Company: Epoch
    Director: Phil Morrison
    Director of Photography: Reed Morano
    Executive Producer: John Duffin
    Producer: Phillip Rose
    Editorial Company:
    Arcade Edit
    Editor - Greg Scruton
    Assistant Editor - John Gallagher/Ryan Andrus
    EP/Managing Partner - Damian Stevens
    EP - Nicole Visram
    Producer - Gavin Carroll
    Visual Effects, Timber
    Jonah Hall & Kevin Lau - Creative Director's / Partners
    Chris Webb - EP
    Damian Stevens - Managing Director/Partner
    Michael Theurer - Head of Production
    Chris Homel - Lead Smoke Artist
    Austin Hickman-Fain - Assistant Smoke
    Emily Avoujageli - Producer
    Music: Future Perfect
    Executive Producer: Maxwell Gosling
    CG Animation: Laundry
    Creative Director: Anthony Liu
    Creative Director: PJ Richardson
    Executive Producer: Michael Bennett
    Producer: Kirsten Collabolletta
    Art Director: Anthony Maiuri
    Modeling/Texturing/Lighting: Herman Kim, Yang Liu
    3D Animation: Herman Kim, Yang Liu
    Compositing: Ted Gore, Yang Liu
    Sound: 740 Sound,
    Sound Designer:
    740 Sound, John Martin
    Executive Producers:
    Scott Ganary
    Mix: One Union

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    If you're excited by rumors of a Salt-N-Pepa reunion album, you'll thoroughly enjoy this Geico ad where Salt, Pepa and DJ Spinderella don their famous jackets and tell everybody to push it.

    Divorcing the song from its sexual connotations, the ladies are now here to help anyone who needs some encouragement with their pushing. They help a man who tries to pull open a door that needs to be pushed. They help a lady in an elevator who needs to select a floor. They show up at a Lamaze class, then on a football sled, and finally they dance after a poor man trying to mow his lawn.

    It's pure silliness. But it certainly is memorable. And since Geico doesn't have to use its ads to tell you what it does (save you 15 percent on car insurance, as everybody knows), it might as well have fun with it.

    Also, you're not going to be able to push "Push It" out of your head for the next few hours.

    Client: Geico
    Vice President, Marketing: Ted Ward
    Manager, Broadcast Production and Agency Relations: Amy Hooks
    Marketing Planner: Amy Ruddell
    Marketing Coordinator: Katherine Kalec
    Marketing Coordinator: Tom Perlozzo 

    Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    SVP/Group Creative Director: Steve Bassett
    SVP/Group Creative Director: Wade Alger
    SVP/Creative Director/Art Director: Sean Riley
    Senior Copywriter: Ken Marcus
    VP/Agency Executive Broadcast Producer: Molly Schaaf
    Bid/Prep/Shoot/Edit Producer: Alex Scheer-Payne
    Vfx/Finishing Producer: Sam Tucker
    Agency Junior Producer: Emily Taylor
    Business Affairs Supervisor: Suzanne Wieringo
    Senior Integrated Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz
    VP/ Group Account Director: Brad Higdon
    Account Supervisor: Parker Collins
    Account Executive: Meg Ingraham
    Senior Project Manager: Jason Ray    

    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Director: Wayne McClammy
    Director of Photography: Bryan Newman
    Executive Producer Mino Jarjoura
    Producer: Nate Young

    Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Ian MacKenzie
    Assistant Editor: Nick Divers
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfield
    Editorial Producer: Evan Meeker

    Telecine: The Mill
    Colorist: Fergus McCall

    Audio Post Company: Rainmaker Studios
    Engineer: Jeff McManus

    Push It:
    Conform: Running With Scissors
    Conform Artist: Chris Hagen
    Executive Producer: Scott Friske
    Producer: DeeDee Ray

    "Push It"
    Cheryl "Salt" James Wray
    Sandra "Pepa" Denton
    Deidra "Spinderella" Roper
    Door Guy – Sergio Cilli
    Elevator Woman – Suzy Nakamura
    Lamaze Wife – Chala Savino
    Lamaze Husband – Lonny Ross
    Lawnmower Guy – Mike McCafferty
    AVO – Jon Curry
    Music – "Push It"

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    Is giving to others the greatest gift of all?

    Even the sourest Scrooge might admit the idea has merit after checking out JCPenney's #JustGotJingled campaign from EVB and Victors & Spoils.

    In the video below, JCP staffers approach customers and offer them the chance to "buy" presents for their fellow shoppers. The givers get to choose the lucky recipients (who must be strangers) and tell them they can pick out gifts for themselves from any department in the store. JCP picks up the tab—and there are no price limits or any other restrictions. The recipients are, understandably, surprised and incredulous at first. But once the offer sinks in, the smiles spread—and in some cases, the tears begin to flow.

    "We didn't want to follow the obvious formula of a retailer surprising people with free gifts to prove that they are generous," says Debra Berman, JCP's chief marketer. "We wanted to go deeper with a pay-it-forward idea and prove that people—specifically, our customers—are generous, and when given the opportunity, they would make amazing things happen."

    The video was filmed last month at stores in Illinois and Indiana. The most expensive items given away were sofas and a wedding ring, though some folks picked out relatively inexpensive, functional products like jeans and shoes. "Even small things like that received a big reaction," says Berman, "because they were things the receiver really needed."

    Yes, grinches, it's mainly a feel-good marketing ploy from a struggling retailer. Still, the emotions on display are genuine, and the video goes a long way toward capturing the true spirit of the holidays. (There's also a website where JCP has begun sharing random acts of kindness gleaned from social media.)

    The effort lacks the scope of TD Bank's #MakeTodayMatter campaign, which funded local activists' efforts to help their communities. Even so, #JustGotJingled is poignant in its own right. "The idea of having to give something to a complete stranger can be very scary," Berman says. "And it's that vulnerability that made this experiment so real and interesting. It brought out emotions in both the giver and the receiver."

    It's pretty clear that the givers feel they've received something wonderful, too.

    Suck it, Harvey Nichols!

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    If you're apartment hunting for a three bedroom/two bath/one Burger King, this might be the spot for you.

    Spanish agency La Despensa equipped a tasty pad in downtown Madrid with a BK kitchen and menu counter for a stunt touting the arrival of the chain's home delivery service. You've got familiar brand signage, colorful meal displays and even some guy named Michael, dressed in a BK uniform, ready to take your order.

    Because the agency listed the unit on local real-estate websites for roughly half its market value, "we had around 800 calls in five days asking to see the place," La Despensa creative director Luis Monroy tells AdFreak. Hidden cameras recorded the reactions of prospective tenants, who seem amused and pretty psyched about the experience.

    "It took around three days to assemble the restaurant after weeks of searching for the perfect place," Monroy says. "Can you imagine what it's like to carry up all the kitchen tools, digital screens for the menu board … and the bar of 300 kilos to the third floor with no elevator?" Members of the marketing team, production company and agency all pitched in to help with the heavy lifting.

    Of course, authentic BK cuisine was served. "It is a much more complete experience with a Whopper in your hands," Monroy says. Soon after it finished the video, La Despensa (which translates to "The Pantry"—perfect, right?), the apartment, which really had been on the market, was snapped up, "unfortunately without the restaurant, and at a higher price."

    This well-done prank manages to stay on-point and satisfy without seeming overcooked. And that's kind of rare in this category.

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    Facebook, at long last, finally seems to be getting the hang of the whole advertising thing.

    In addition to the pleasantly whimsical "Say Anything Better" ads, which have been rolling out in recent weeks, the social network has been working on a cute series of tutorials called "Just In Case Studies"—which use quirky storytelling to explain how to accomplish various technical steps on the Facebook app.

    Four videos have been released so far. The best of the lot is "How to Block Someone," which shows a girl doing just that with her boyfriend after a painful breakup—though it doesn't exactly go as planned. Like all the videos in the series, it's quietly amusing, relatable, nicely shot and charmingly self-conscious—with a voiceover that's just as halting as our heroine.

    The tutorials, made by Facebook's in-house creative studio The Factory, also include "How to Edit a Post," "How to Share With Just Friends" and "How to Untag a Photo." They're not ads, per se—but they have the same bemused tone as the "Say Anything Better" spots.

    And that's a good thing.

    0 0

    If you take a flash photograph of a child, and one of his or her pupils looks white in the resulting image, it can indicate an eye tumor. In the U.K., a series of ads uses reflective ink to illustrate that warning sign, in the hope of teaching parents how to recognize it.

    The ads, located at doctors offices and day care centers, feature kids who actually survived retinoblastoma, a rare but potentially fatal form of eye cancer that in most cases affects infants, toddlers and young children. If you snap a flash picture of the poster, you can see what to watch out for in pictures of your own kids.

    Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, aka Chect, is the nonprofit group behind the campaign. Agency Wunderman created the ads. There's also a social component—Fast Company has more details on the awareness push and the production process.

    It's an incredibly smart, simple use of media, given how many people carry smartphones, and the fact that early detection can save a child's life or eyesight.


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