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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Is Santa Claus a hipster? He's got the unkempt mane and alternative lifestyle down pat. Yet he seems too obsessed with consumer goods and fourth-quarter commerce to qualify.

    It feels like hipster humor played out years ago. Still, there's much to enjoy in "Hipster Santa Goes South," an affable two-minute spoof from Door Number 3 that celebrates the holidays and the independent Austin, Texas, agency's 20th anniversary—which happens to be today, Dec. 9.

    "We thought about throwing a party," says agency president M.P. Mueller, "but creating something fun to share beat out warm beer, flowery speeches and tepid toasts."

    Bill Wise—a bespectacled, middle-aged dude rocking a plaid scarf, matching sneakers and just a smidge of facial hair—plays Kringle. His laid-back, cranky delivery really scores as he bikes around East Austin, quipping about "free-range reindeer" and his sled running on "penguin tears and pure Santa sweat." At one point, he informs a young passerby, "I made my list, I checked it twice—you still have to move back to California."



    "Bill generates one-liners like he's just picking dog hair off his pants," says Mueller. "He could make a sudoku tournament funny." (Wise most recently played Uncle Stevie in Richard Linklater's Boyhood.)

    Hipster Santa even has some helpful advice for folks planning to make him a snack on Christmas Eve: "If you're leaving milk and cookies, I'm lactose intolerant—make it soy, gluten free. And as far as fruitcake bars are concerned, I'm into cleanses, but just not this time of year."

    This schtick—directed in suitably casual, faux-doc style by Steve Mims—rates a six-pack of PBR at the very least. Though purists say that a different hipster is more emblematic of the season. Ho!

    CREDITS
    Agency: Door Number 3
    Executive Creative Director: M.P. Mueller
    Copywriters: Bill Wise, M.P. Mueller, Steve Mims, Karen Reiner
    Art Directors: Ines Morel, Sally Robb
    Director, Editor, Cinematographer: Steve Mims
    Production Artist: Nicole Eckles
    Production Coordinator: Melissa Hilgendorf
    Sound: Alex Herrera
    Gaffer: Kakii Keenan
    Assistant Camera: Christian Benavides


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    If 'tis indeed the season to be jolly—and being jolly involves either putting on some clothes for charity, or taking them off—then today is your lucky day!

    Save the Children, which created Adweek's No. 2 ad of 2014, is wrapping up the year with another wild production, though this one considerably less bleak. The charity teamed up with British comedian Harry Enfield to parody Southern Comfort's infamous beach spot from the "Whatever's Comfortable" campaign.

    In the perfect spoof from Contagious London and director Paul Weiland, Mr. Enfield strolls down the beach in the dead of winter wearing not much more then a smirk and some back hair, then dons a jumper (or "sweater" for you Americans) and a Save the Children collection bucket.

    All this to promote Christmas Jumper Day, which takes place Dec. 12. Take a look below at this uncanny spot, which may or may not inspire you to break out your trimmer.



    CREDITS
    Client: Save the Children
    Agency: Contagious London
    Creatives: Mary Wear and Paul Weiland
    Director: Paul Weiland


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    It's that time of year again—agency holiday card season.

    The pressure is high to come up with the funniest or coolest concept. Or maybe all you really need is lots of holiday spirit, staffers willing to dance around and enthusiastically lip sync (and do vodka shots), and decent skills in choreography and camerawork.

    School Editing combines all those things in the video below, which seemingly was shot in one take at its offices. And while there's not much to the concept, it sure is fun to watch.

    You can add "Don't Believe in Christmas" by the Sonics to your holiday playlist, too.


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    When we introduced the skip button on YouTube's TrueView advertising four years ago, I'll admit that I wondered whether people would choose to watch ads. Even though I've been a marketer for more than 20 years, I'm also a consumer. And if an ad isn't relevant or entertaining—fast forward, skip, click, close.

    And, as always, brands are stepping up their game. They're making ads so good that people are choosing to watch and share them, and the best ads out there today are also some of the best content.

    Brands are making content people want to watch, and consumers are choosing to watch more, dramatically more, every year. Case in point: People watched more than 1 billion minutes of the top 10 videos on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard this year, and the views for those ads are more than double what we saw two years ago when we launched the Ads Leaderboard. This is the new golden age of advertising, and it's unfolding on YouTube.

    • Watch: The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2014

    The question is: What are brands doing differently? How are they capturing our attention? As part of our annual Ads Rewind video, we ranked the top ads of the year using an algorithm based on views, sharing, and watchtime, then took a look to see what the videos had in common. Five themes emerged that show how brands are breaking the traditional ad mold and creating content that people are excited to watch.



    From 30 Seconds to 3 Minutes

    For decades, advertisers have kept it short. As TV spots shrank from 60 seconds to 30, from 30 seconds to 15, advertisers adapted. In the context of interruption, brands must be brief. But when viewers choose to watch an ad, they'll give brands much more than 30 seconds of their time.

    The top 10 videos on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard in 2014 averaged three minutes in length. The Nike Football "Winner Stays" video, which earned the No. 1 spot with nearly 100 million views, clocks in at 4:12. With the advent of consumer choice, brands are getting more time with consumers than ever: more than five times the duration of a typical TV spot.

    From One Moment to Many

    Brands have always used cultural events to connect with audiences. Now, each of these big moments is split into hundreds of digital moments—and most are happening before and after the event: fans researching players for a fantasy draft, sharing videos to get psyched before a game, seeking out highlight videos after. This opens a bigger window for brands to engage fans around these events.

    And brands are taking advantage. The top 10 Super Bowl and World Cup ads featured in the Rewind video this year earned a remarkable 14 million hours of watch time—that's 1,600 years of football content. But more important, fans watched three-quarters of those hours before or after the events themselves, using YouTube to extend the shared experience of the events.

    From Reflecting Social Norms to Defining Them

    Where yesterday's ads reinforced social norms, today's popular ads challenge them. Some of the most successful ads on YouTube this year weren't afraid to hit a nerve. For example, when Always called out the phrase "Like a Girl" in its 2014 video, it earned 300,000 likes, shares and comments in 30 days on YouTube alone, driving the view count to nearly 60 million in the first month.

    Save the Children's "Most Shocking Second a Day" video earned 21 million views on YouTube in just five days. The YouTube audience is eager to engage. If your content echoes their passions or frustrations, they'll take action—share your ad, contribute to your cause, and start a movement around your message.

    From Storytelling to Storybuilding

    Succeeding on YouTube doesn't require reinventing the wheel with each video. In fact, quite the opposite. Many brands are finding success building on existing, successful storylines. Evian, for example, launched "Baby & Me" in 2013 and it was a top trending ad on YouTube for almost a year. The brand followed it up in 2014 with the Spider-Man-themed "The Amazing Baby & Me," which drove deeper engagement with all of the existing content. In fact, Evian saw a fourfold week-over-week increase in views of the original spot after the sequel was released.

    Brands like Evian have created a beloved storyline that fans eagerly tune into. With each new video, it isn't just telling a story, it's building on the "Baby & Me" story. Fans rally behind the stories and characters they know and love, watching and sharing both old favorites and new hits.

    And Brands Don't Have to Do It Alone

    YouTube has a huge ecosystem of passionate communities built around channels and creators. From BuzzFeed to Bethany Mota, creators know what works on YouTube and, more important, what will resonate with their unique fan bases. Many brands are successfully partnering with these creators to make content that consumers are choosing to watch.

    Purina Friskies, for example, saw an opportunity to work with BuzzFeed, known—among other things—as a best-in-class cat video curator and creator. Together, Friskies and Buzzfeed created arguably the best branded cat video of all time, "Dear Kitten." And sure enough, it connected with the BuzzFeed audience; "Dear Kitten" is now the most-watched video on the BuzzFeed channel, which boasts nearly 4 million subscribers.

    We created the skip button on YouTube to give consumers a choice. But skip button or not, all ads today are skippable. Users can always change the channel, hit pause, open a new tab, or pick up their smartphones. We live in a world of choice, and 2014's most successful brands respect that.

    The YouTube Ads Leaderboard is a great reminder that advertising is a craft, and the goal of both the Leaderboard and the Ads Rewind video is to celebrate those at the top of their craft. I predict that in 2015, the best brands will continue to rise to the top not from market muscle, but because consumers chose to put them there.


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    Classroom lockdown drills—at my first grader's school and every other school in America—have become the norm since the tragedy at Newtown, two years ago this Sunday. The powerfully sad PSA below from Grey Toronto, unveiled today, takes place during just such a lockdown—and highlights a depressing statistic: There have been nearly 100 school shootings since Newtown, yet there has been almost no movement on gun control.

    The end line nicely captures what has changed since Newtown—the level of fear in classrooms with young children. A 60-second version of the ad will air in digital and broadcast media leading up to the anniversary of the Newtown massacre.



    "The inconceivably tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook woke up millions of Americans to our country's pervasive culture of gun violence," Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in a statement. "We do not send our children to school to learn how to hide from gunmen, nor should we expect sharpshooting to be a job requirement for educators. For far too long, our lawmakers have asked children and teachers to stand up to gunmen because they are too afraid to stand up to the gun lobby."

    Watts adds: "You may not have heard about all of these shooting incidents on the national news, but when a lockdown is announced over a school intercom—for whatever reason—it strikes fear across the community. We will not allow the constant threat of gun violence at our schools to become the new normal—it's time our elected leaders take a stand for the safety and future of our children."

    CREDITS
    Client: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
    Agency: Grey Toronto
    Chief Creative Officer: Patrick Scissons
    Copywriter: Patrick Scissons
    Agency Producer: Erica Metcalfe
    Account Director: Darlene Remlinger
    Production Company: Untitled Films
    Director: Phil Brown
    Director of Photography: John Houtman
    Executive Producer: Lexy Kavluk
    Producer: Trudy Turner
    Editing: Griff Henderson, Saints
    Audio: Roc Gagliese, Nathan Handy, Eggplant
    Colorist: Wade Odium, Alter Ego
    Online: Marco Polsinelli, Topix VFX
    Casting: Jigsaw Casting


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    It's been a good year for YouTube—ad world highlights included a hamster eating tiny burritos, a devil baby terrorizing pedestrians, and strangers making out.

    The video site's annual Rewind supercut, created with Portal A, has now been unleashed, featuring references to those moments and many more, reenacted by an international who's who of creators native to the platform, with cameos from personalities whose audiences stretch deep into old media.

    Kid President crashes John Oliver's set and Freddie Wong sits in for Conan O'Brien, while the Gregory Brothers, Rhett and Link and Bethany Mota deliver nods to hits like Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," Nikki Minaj's "Anaconda" and Frozen's "Let It Go"—mashed up by DJ Earworm. Epic Rap Battles of History drops a bucket of ice water onto Smosh, who pass the favor on to TheFineBros, and so forth.



    That's just scraping the surface—viewers from around the world will recognize countless other faces who are stars in their own right.

    In other words, it's a giant ad for YouTube—the site wants to remind you it's where pop culture lives now, big or small, definitely remixed. If you want to dig deeper into the players and scenes, there are links in the credits at the end of the clip, and interviews with creators in the behind-the-scenes video. You can also go back and check out the Rewind videos for 2013, 2012 and 2011 below.

    But be ready to (re)discover what the site is really about—being a total time suck.



    CREDITS
    Client: YouTube
    Agency: Portal A

    Previous YouTube Rewind videos:


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    If you see this suburban family at your local Kmart, you'd better get out of their way.

    Mom just got an email confirming their online holiday order is ready, thanks to Kmart's free in-store pickup service. Now, nothing's going to stop them from busting mad-ass moves as they strut across the parking lot and through the automatic doors to collect their discount merchandise.

    The spot, by FCB Chicago, really shouldn't work as well as it does. I expected it to fall flat, but it didn't. Once the beat kicks in, the frenetic pace never lets up. The overblown earnestness of the actors—conveyed mainly through popping and locking, or something, and pouty hip-hop poses—is infectious (and a little bit frightening).



    Mom's frenzied hair flips and hyperactive hips reach a Miley Cyrus level of insanity. Dad's all about the cool hand-jive. (Pump it, Pops!) And that baby, rocking those shades, looks—as one YouTube commenter succinctly puts it—"fly as hell." At last, a tyke capable of taking out this little monster in a rattle battle.

    Clothes, housewares, rotating disco-ball light—it really doesn't matter what they bought. Let the ominous thump of DJ Milad's "Just Got a Check" serve as a warning: There's gonna be manically choreographed, bass-heavy bopping in the aisles, bitches!


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    Like it or not, you can't escape holiday cheer everywhere you go. Maybe you've already taken care of your shopping, too. But have you ever heard Christmas music coming from the very machines responsible for draining your bank account in the name of joy?

    Holiday shoppers at German supermarket Edeka have. In the stunt below, checkout clerks are seen scanning items so their registers beep and chirp just the right notes to play "Jingle Bells"—complete with a beatboxing percussion soloist. 

    The video, titled "Kassensymphonie" ("Checkout Symphony"), was done by Jung von Matt and has already amassed over 11 million views on YouTube. It's not the only viral hit for this client/agency combo, who also did the incredibly weird "Supergeil" video earlier this year.



    CREDITS
    Client: Edeka
    Agency: Jung von Matt/Elbe, Hamburg, Germany
    Creative Director: Robert Herter
    Art Directors: Thimon Machatzke, Max Pilwat
    Copywriters: Anna Lichnog, Kyra Nenz


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    It hasn't been the best year for the image of police officers. But the police force in Lowell, Mich., is ending the year on a high note by handing out Christmas presents to people they pull over for traffic violations.

    Videographer Rob Bliss, who also worked on the famous "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman" video, helped to produce this new spot—which is part of Christian network UP TV's "Uplift Someone" campaign this holiday season.

    It's professionally done, with all the prank-stunt trimmings. The officers chat with the drivers about what they and their kids want for Christmas, and the info is secretly relayed to co-conspirators at retail stores, who quickly buy the stuff and get it over to the cars. (It must have been a little odd for the drivers to just sit there for minutes on end, but they all seem happy enough by the end.)



    Cops in California's Plumas County did something similar earlier this year, handing out ice cream to drivers at traffic stops. That effort got a mixed reaction—some people flatly feel that police shouldn't be putting resources into pranks like this. But it will take a special kind of grinch to hate on the new video, particularly at a time when positive images of police are pretty sorely in demand.


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    The worst thing about going to the movies is having to sit upright for a few hours to watch the film. Everyone knows lying down is the ideal viewing position for anything on a screen—or anything at all, for that matter.

    No stranger to putting dream-like imagery in its advertising, Ikea moves even more directly into the bedroom with its latest stunt.

    Moviegoers in the Russian town of Khimki are being treated to quite a surprise this month. After purchasing their tickets, patrons are led to a theater that's been completely gutted and transformed into a giant bedroom, entirely outfitted with Ikea furniture.

    Take a look-see at the video, which has some time-lapse shots of the construction and lots of shots of glee on people's faces. The stunt runs through Dec. 14.

    This is cool and all, but does Ikea make toilets too?


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    Creatives often wish their :30s could be :60s. Here, oddly enough, it's the opposite.

    DDB Chicago covers a lot of ground in its 30-second "Never" spot for State Farm, as we follow a young man from his single, partying days through major life changes and into a previously unimaginable existence with a wife and kids in the suburbs. It's a quietly epic tale that, in the end, didn't need an epic length.

    "We had planned to film a :60 version of the spot with added scenes to fill it out, but what we discovered, to our surprise, was many of the added moments in the :60 actually fit in the :30," said DDB chief creative officer John Maxham. "We also realized the quickness of each scene added to the humor, so we ended up scrapping the :60 altogether."

    The finished spot is well paced, charming and funny, and positions State Farm, said Maxham, as "a company that helps people with all those unexpected twists with solutions for your life, not just your stuff."

    COPYWRITING: In each scene, our hero vows "never" to do something, only to do it immediately in the following scene.

    "I am never getting married," he says at first, after spotting an attractive girl at a pool party. In the next scene, he's ring shopping. Other things he promises never to do, then does: having a kid; moving to the suburbs; getting a minivan; and having a second kid. In the final scene, with his wife and daughters snoozing on him in front of the TV, he offers a twist on the theme, saying: "I'm never letting go."

    The script came from experience—copywriter Chad Broude, 28, and art director Brian Boord, 33, "are at the age when they're constantly faced with life's biggest moments," said Maxham. "Both guys were in the process of planning a wedding when they wrote the spot, and what seemed like only a short time after their party days when they swore they would 'never.' "

    The creatives did two or three drafts of the script. "We like to keep scripts simple and then work with our director, Matt Aselton, to workshop the beats in callbacks and on the shoot day," Maxham said.

    The spot ends with on-screen text, the logo and a male voiceover: "For all the nevers in life, State Farm is there."



    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Aselton shot over three days in Los Angeles, getting footage for this and several other ads that will break soon.

    "We wanted the spot to feel real and relatable. The set designs were supposed to mature with our characters," Maxham said of the art direction.

    Getting the child actors to stay quiet during the couch scene was a challenge. "Almost every take had some funny quip from the kids, which didn't make the cut," said Maxham. "Whenever you shoot a spot like this, the biggest challenge is deciding what to leave on the edit room floor."

    TALENT: "It was a bit of a juggling act finding the perfect couple and two people that would age well," said Maxham. Once casting was complete, Aselton got the best out of the actors. "Matt always brings that intangible instinct of getting great performances," Maxham added.

    SOUND: The original soundtrack by Elias Music has a bouncy, roguish feel to it. "We did try to create a sense of mischievousness," said Maxham, "something that paralleled the uncertainly of our hero's bold dialogue."

    MEDIA: "Never" broke on NBC's The Voice. More spots will roll out over the next six months to broaden consumer awareness of all the ways State Farm can help beyond auto and home insurance.

    THE SPOT:



    A second spot in the series broke this week:

    CREDITS
    Client: State Farm
    Spot: "Never"
    Agency: DDB, Chicago
    Chief Creative Officer: John Maxham
    SVP, Group Creative Directors: Barry Burdiak, John Hayes
    Creative Director, Art Director: Brian Boord
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Chad Broude
    Chief Digital Officer: Joe Cianciotto
    SVP, Group Strategy Director: Gustavo de Mello
    SVP, Group Business Director: Penn French
    EVP, Director of Production: Diane Jackson
    VP, Executive Producer: Scott Kemper
    Executive Producer: Kent Smith
    Production Business Manager: Ryan Hentsch
    Director: Matt Aselton, Arts & Sciences
    Editing: Arcade Edit - Geoff Hounsell, Editor; Sean LaGrange, Asst. Editor
    Finishing: Filmworkers Club - Rob Churchill, VFX Artist
    Music: Elias Music​​


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    The best Skittles advertising has always been about anatomical oddities. The examples are endless: the sheepboys, the guy with the living beard, the man whose touch turns everything to Skittles, the angry piñata man.

    Now, BBDO Toronto and director Conor Byrne take the theme to its logical conclusion with this amusing short mockumentary about a man who—thanks to a run-in with a rainbow—is completely made of Skittles.

    Byrne won a Cannes Lions Young Director Award this year for his great short film Foureyes, and he gets the tone just right here, with the actors registering the perfect balance of awkwardness and mock awe. The spot nicely tracks the traditional arc of overcoming adversity—in absurd fashion. As the hero says at the end: "I am a man made of Skittles, and there is nothing wrong with that."



    CREDITS
    Client: Skittles
    Spot: "Struck by a Rainbow"
    Agency: BBDO, Toronto
    Executive Creative Director: Carlos Moreno
    Associate Creative Directors: Chris Booth, Joel Pylypiw
    Producer: Aimee DeParolis
    Director: Conor Byrne
    Production Company: The Corner Store Films
    Executive Producer: Susi Patterson
    Producer: Tyler Byrne
    Director of Photograph: Robert Scarborough
    Editing Company: Saints Editorial Toronto
    Editor: Griff Henderson
    Assistant Editor: Sara Windrim
    Audio: Greyson Matthews, Toronto
    Postproduction: The Vanity, Toronto
    Transfer: Alter Ego, Toronto
    Casting Director: Michael Stevenson


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    The ivory trade isn't just killing elephants. Humans are the victims, too, because poaching helps to fund terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab and Boko Haram.

    That's the message of Last Days, a three-minute film by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, best known for the features Zero Dark Thirty and Hurt Locker. Produced in conjunction with WildAid and Annapurna Pictures, Last Days ranks among the year's most provocative PSAs. Its atmosphere is heartbreaking, and there's some disturbing imagery.

    Bigelow uses simple, cut-out-style animation to tell a complex story in reverse chronological order. We start at the end of the sordid tale, in an exotic boutique that sells trinkets. A question flashes on screen: "When you buy something made of ivory, where does the money go?" The ivory is traced back to its source—slaughtered African elephants—in painstaking detail. At one point, dark, indistinct figures pack tusks into shipping crates stamped with the word "Coffee" on their sides. These crates resemble coffins.



    "To make a feature film about such a topic would likely take years, during which more elephants would die," says Bigelow. "So instead, I approached a team of fellow filmmakers and we made Last Days as an animated piece, which we thought would give it a broader audience."

    In a jarring sequence, animation gives way to security-camera footage from the 2013 Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi, Kenya. We're told that al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attack, makes $600,000 a month from illegal ivory. Later, we see the mutilated bodies of elephants, bloody tusks freshly hacked from their faces. Though animated, this segment stands as a shocking testament to senseless slaughter.

    "An elephant disappears every 15 minutes," said Bigelow, and they could be extinct in the wild in little more than a decade. "It is our hope that this film helps to bring an activist into existence at least that often." There's also a website to visit for more information.

    Tying the murder of elephants to terrorism and human suffering is a powerful way to build empathy. This approach clearly illustrates cause and effect, and suggests all living things share a deep connection. By butchering another species, or allowing such horrors to take place, we ultimately brutalize ourselves. Each rifle blast and machete stroke makes us less human.


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    It's no secret that scent can be a powerful emotional trigger. Air Wick uses that to memorable effect in this new long-form ad from Droga5—by capturing the scents of home, infusing them into customized candles and sending them to a U.S. serviceman overseas so he can feel closer to his wife and six children at home in North Carolina.

    The spot doesn't skimp on poignant moments, or patriotic themes. Apple pie and a baseball glove are among the scents packaged up and sent to Kearen Feller, who hasn't seen his family in 11 months while stationed at Qatar Air Force Base.

    Air Wick doesn't actually create customized scented candles. The point of the film is a broader one—simply to show the role scent plays in triggering homey memories.



    CREDITS
    Client: Reckitt Benckiser/Air Wick
    Campaign: Home is in the Air

    Agency: Droga5 NY
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Creative Director: Tim Gordon
    Senior Copywriter: Tara Lawall
    Senior Art Director: Devon Hong:
    Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Executive Producer: Adam Perloff
    Broadcast Producer: Leah Donnenberg
    Senior Print Producer: Joni Adams
    Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
    Group Strategy Director: George Bennett
    Senior Brand Strategist: Will Davie
    Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy
    Communications Strategist: Bryn Little
    Group Account Director: Olivia Legere
    Account Director: Lauren Solomon
    Account Manager: Brett Niebling

    Client: Reckitt Benckiser
    SVP, Global Marketing & Digital Experience: Laurent Faracci
    GM Marketing US: Chris Tedesco
    Marketing Director, Air Wick: Tiffany Mclaud:
    Senior Brand Manager, Air Wick: Gary Rizzo:
    Brand Manager, Air Wick: Matthew Davis:

    Production Company: Über Content
    Director: Keith Ehrlich
    DOP: Jackson Hunt
    Executive Producer: Steve Wi
    Producer: Tracey Karka

    Editorial: Cosmo Street
    Editor: Mark Potter:
    Assistant Editor Jon Allen
    Executive ProducerMaura Woodward
    Producer: Heather Richardson

    Color Grading: Moving Picture Company
    Executive Producer: Adina Birnbaum
    Colorist: Adrian Seery

    Post Production: Switch FX
    Executive Producer: Diana Dayrit
    Producer: Cara Flynn
    Flame Artist: Andrew Rea

    Music: Zeitlin Music
    Composer: Roman Zeitlin

    Sound: Sonic Union
    Mixer: Rob McIver


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    When Ronald McDonald got his big makeover in April, he promised an all-out clown assault on social media—in an effort to broaden his audience, which had previously been family focused.

    Well, here's his first truly wild Instagram post. While currently touring Asia, Ronald just posted footage of himself skydiving in Dubai. Check out the video below—it's like something the King would have done back in BK's Crispin Porter + Bogusky days.

    Ronald quietly opened the Instagram account in early October.

    Check out more of his posts here.
     

     


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    Skype wants you to know it isn't just good for keeping in touch with geographically distant friends and family—it's a practical tool for important professionals doing good work.

    A new ad from the Microsoft-owned chat service and agency Pereira & O'Dell goes behind the scenes with two journalists—Anna Therese Day and Gianlucca Panella—who have covered war zones like Gaza, South Sudan and Syria. Now, Day and Panella are in the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati, drawing attention to the low-lying country's fate as one of the early casualties of rising sea levels caused by global climate change.



    CNN,Mashable and Al Jazeera have already picked up the pair's editorial coverage, which sees residents displaced from their homes, groundwater polluted by ocean water, and Kiribati's government struggling to find a future home for its population. Skype is a relatively small part of the actual narrative—it's a technological aside on the modern process of producing news from remote locations.

    The insertion of the brand where it doesn't entirely belong can't help but feel a little forced (and doesn't really distinguish the product from competitors). At the same time, it adds volume to a story that's not top of mind for most people—Kiribati's inhabitants number only about 100,000. And the fact that it's facing crisis at all is pretty clear evidence that industrialized nations, largely responsible for carbon emissions, don't really care that much.

    CREDITS
    Client: Skype, Inc.
    GM, CAS Audience Marketing: Angie Hill
    Director, Audience Marketing: Jackie Lee-Joe
    Creative Director: Matt Sedik
    Senior Campaign Manager: Vanessa Boutwell
    Campaign Manager: Benjamin Lazarus

    Agency: Pereira & O'Dell
    Chief Creative Officer: PJ Pereira
    Executive Creative Director: Jamie Robinson
    Creative Director: Jonathan Woytek
    Associate Creative Director: Michael Gurman
    Senior Art Director: Ben Sweitzer
    Senior Copywriter: Gabriel Miller
    Senior Copywriter: Simon Friedlander
    Art Director: Myray Reames
    Copywriter: Demian Kendall
    VP, Director of Production: Jeff Ferro
    Executive Producer: Bill Spangler
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Joanna Topetzes
    Senior Integrated Producer: Jason Mar
    Co-Director of Client Services: Ivy Truong
    Senior Account Executive: William de Ryk
    Strategy Director: Molly Cabe
    Strategy Director - Media and Distribution: Jasmine Summerset
    Media Strategist: Noel Aragon
    Media Strategist: Katie McKinley

    Production Company:  Station Film
    Director: Peking
    Executive Producer: Caroline Gibney
    Producer: Sarah McMurray

    Editorial and Post: Umlaut Films
    Editor: Jonathan Flookes
    Executive Producer: Gina Locurcio
    Producer: Kelly Gibbs
    Assistant Editor: Peter Geiger

    Sound Mix: One Union Recording Studios
    Sound Mixer: Eben Carr

     


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    We haven't heard much from Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves, in years. But no, they haven't gone out of business. Quite the opposite. They've been working on some stunning new designs and even cozier fabrics—and they're making a big, comfy marketing push this holiday.

    Looking for a blanket that looks like a tuxedo or an evening gown? You're in luck! Are you an elderly person who wants to see people's faces when you dress up in a board-shorts or bikini blanket? You jokester—they've got that, too!

    With a new belt and fitted cuffs, the Snuggie has never been better. And the ads are as campy as ever—though they may never do anything as wretched as these old holiday spots.


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    Nowhere is the world more carefree than inside stock photographs. The sense of normalcy they communicate is so pervasive, it's become cliché. Which is why it's such a stroke of genius that Isobar Poland is developing a stock-photo bank using only models who are cancer patients or survivors.

    Life for them, of course, has been anything but carefree. Thus, their involvement in the "Photos for Life" project is joyfully defiant on a few levels. It shows cancer isn't a death sentence—indeed, that patients and survivors are just as capable of the most stereotypical happiness possible. And it lifts the gloom from the disease and bathes it in ridiculously perfect lighting.

    Prices start at $75 for use on the web and in magazine, or as little as $8 for personal use. All profits go to the Rak'n'Roll Win Your Life! foundation to finance therapy for cancer patients. More images below.

    CREDITS
    Agency: Isobar, Poland
    Managing Creative Director: Maciej Nowicki
    Senior Copywriter: Jan Cieślar
    Senior Art Director: Rafał Ryś
    Photographers: Paweł Fabjański, Łukasz Ziętek, Jacek Poremba, Karol Grygoruk
    Production Company: ShootMe
    Production Company Producer: Michał Majewski
    Graphic Designers: Adam Zawiasiński, Bartłomiej Bednarski
    Programmer: Piotr Budek
    Account Manager: Aleksandra Matuszewska
    Integrated Director: Ewa Rzewuska-Wolska


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    Technologies evolve, but love is timeless.

    That's the message of Apple's quietly poignant 2014 holiday commercial, which broke Sunday. And indeed, exactly one-half of the ad is about non-Apple tech from 60 years ago—namely, the Voice-O-Graph machine, which allowed people in the 1940s and '50s to record their voice directly to vinyl records.

    Over the course of the ad, a woman finds a way to take a song recorded on a Voice-O-Graph in 1952 and update it touchingly for today—as a Christmas present for her grandmother.

    It's a throwback, for sure. But in some ways the Voice-O-Graph, cutting edge for its time, is the ultimate Apple precursor—technology that put people in control, letting them create professional-looking records of their own. (It's made a retro comeback lately, too, with Neil Young recording an album this year in Jack White's 1947 Voice-O-Graph machine.)



    Too often in recent years, Apple has made the product the hero, rather than the people who use it. This ad (much like Apple's great 2013 holiday spot, "Misunderstood," about a seemingly sulky teen secretly cobbling together a family movie) puts the focus back on the creativity of the user—suggesting that tech is a supporting player, and has been for generations, in the endless story of love.

    It's not (only) the toy, in other words. It's what you do with it. Whether it's a Voice-O-Graph or an iPhone, that's a worthy message for any holiday season.


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    Sometimes, it's the unexpected things that happen on a commercial set that send the most powerful message of all.

    Case in point: the Joyful Heart Foundation's "No More" campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. The pro-bono effort, backed by Young & Rubicam in New York, began late last year with foundation founder Mariska Hargitay directing fellow actresses, actors and celebrities in talk-to-the-camera spots. It accelerated in October, as the NFL, reeling from domestic violence issues, contributed star players like Eli Manning to the cause.

    Now, the campaign has rolled out a slew of new 30-second videos. And unlike the talky earlier spots, these ads focus on the moments when words fail. They are outtakes, essentially—unplanned moments where the on-camera talent was at a loss for words. And they make for some pretty powerful spots.

    Check them out below, featuring stars including Hilary Swank and Hargitay herself.



    CREDITS
    Agency: Young & Rubicam, New York
    Director: Mariska Hargitay
    Editor: Steve Jess @ Wax
    Writer/Art Director: Rachel Howald
    Mix Engineer: Brian Goodheart, Sonic Union


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