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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Yo, grinches. I challenge you not to tear up, just a little, as you watch "The Other Letter," a holiday video from Ikea created by McCann Spain.

    Young children are asked to write two letters saying what they want for Christmas. The first is addressed to the Three Kings—rather than Santa, because this is Spain—and predictably, the kids ask for material stuff like toys and games. The more creative requests include a Wii gaming system, a piano and a unicorn. (Sounds like my Christmas list, actually.)

    Next, they're asked to write a wish list addressed to their parents. At first, the kids seem perplexed—their confused reactions are priceless. Ultimately, they compose letters that are completely different from their Three Kings requests, with lists that reflect the deeper meaning of the season. "Imagine," says one of the kids' moms, "you want to give them the best you can, and the best is yourself!"



    The campaign uses the hashtags #LaOtraCarta and @LaOtraNatividad and includes "The Other Christmas," a moving 60-second spot (see below) directed by Primo's Felipe that employs a lighter touch to deliver its message.

    Sure, the approach is manipulative, and the theme is perhaps only tangentially connected to Ikea. Even so, it's a potent stocking stuffer, and a worthy addition to the furniture chain's year-long stream of offbeat and memorablebrand content.

    Another great takeaway from the video: Kids don't really need unicorns to be happy. That should come as a relief to parents, as feeding and stable costs can really add up.


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    Facebook wants you to know that a lot happened in 2014, and people shared it on Facebook.

    The social network is out with its year-end video looking back at major events. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral hit from the summer, leads the clip. That's followed by nods to Maya Angelou, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, who all died in 2014. Sports makes for a big theme, with highlights from the World Cup, the Sochi Olympics, the Super Bowl and Derek Jeter's retirement.

    Education rights activist Malala Yousafzai won a Nobel Peace Prize. Jews and Arabs expressed their love for one another in an online campaign. Protestors around the country demonstrated against the police shooting of Mike Brown in Missouri. The European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet. Facebook helped raise money to fight ebola.



    Overall, the approach is fitting, given Facebook's outsized role in the modern media economy. And the video's not a bad cheat sheet for some of 2014's grabbiest headlines. (For more on which topics earned the most chatter on the platform, see Facebook's microsite.)

    The video is also a little socially awkward. YouTube's annual recap, for example, was more like fresh entertainment—remixing pop culture references with different talent to offer something new, if derivative.

    This feels, by contrast, rehashed and self-promotional. But nostalgic and connected are better words in status updates.


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    Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

    Specs
    Who Pierre Lipton
    New gig North American CCO, 360i
    Old gig New York CCO, M&C Saatchi
    Age 42
    Twitter@pierrelipton

    Who is furthest along in the race among traditional, digital and media shops to be all things to all marketers?
    I wouldn't say digital over media or media over search because they're all pieces of a gigantic puzzle, right? But it will be won by agencies that truly have those capabilities as opposed to those who rely on vendors.

    What’s the biggest challenge of your new job?
    Time. It's just not having enough time in the day.

    What do you hope to accomplish in your early days?
    I'm really trying to immerse myself in our clients’ business needs and also understand the different players here and the different talents. I want to make sure that all the disciplines are working together really, really well. That’s a big part of my job because I feel like epiphanies can come from any department if we’re all talking together in a really efficient way.

    What about in a year’s time?
    Creating amazing work in lots of different disciplines or types, if you will, for lots of different types of clients.

    What inspires you creatively?
    A simple thought. I call it the hidden obvious. It’s so simple that you feel like you’ve come up with it yourself, but of course you haven’t. The best work has that in it. [Also], things that are beautifully crafted. I love the craft that goes into making the work.

    How did a literature major at McGill end up in advertising?
    My uncle was in advertising. He was vp of research at FCB in New York. While I was growing up—I didn’t know it at the time—my uncle was basically lying to me throughout my entire childhood and pretending that he was a creative. Every time I visited him he’d tell me a long story about how he invented Tony the Tiger the week before, or Snap, Crackle and Pop. Anything that I was familiar with. He’d tell a very long story about how the meeting went and how he came up with the idea of something like the Kool-Aid man, which had been created years before. So, he romanced the industry in this really long and drawn out way over years. It was kind of a seed that was in my mind for a long time.

    What other jobs did you have?
    I managed restaurants. I sold real estate. I have a master’s in acting. I sold death and dismemberment insurance over the phone. So, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. But once I did, I went to night school at SVA for about three years while I was managing two restaurants. I never thought that I’d break into the business. And my teacher, Sal DeVito—based on an ad I did on my own for the ACLU—hired me. Eventually, that ad ran and it got into The One Show. So, my first print ad was in The One Show. It was kind of a really, really lucky break.

    So, how long have you been a Jets fan?
    Too long. I’m a Jets and Mets fan and I’ve turned into a Nets fan because I live in Brooklyn. But it has just been miserable.

    What keeps you rooting for them, seemingly beyond reason?
    When you’re born a fan, it’s in your blood and there’s no way you can switch allegiances. It’s just not right. It’s just who I am. It’s like the same reason that I’m half French, half Ukrainian Jew. I can’t change that. It’s just who I am.

    You have a motto?
    Personally?

    Yes.
    Let’s go Mets!


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    If you thought "Don't Jerk and Drive" was less about sharply turning your steering wheel and more about fulfilling personal urges while on the road, you're not alone (pun!).

    South Dakota's attempt to reach out to young men (oh man) who tend to overcorrect by jerking the wheel when they hit icy patches—causing car accidents—had more than a few state residents clutching their pearls. In response, officials pulled the campaign from TV.

    "I decided to pull the ad," Trevor Jones, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said in a statement. "This is an important safety message, and I don't want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road." (The YouTube version and microsite are still live, for now.)



    The campaign, from Lawrence & Schiller in Sioux Falls, was apparently getting great visibility—outperforming previous public safety campaigns 25 to 1 in terms of driving traffic to the DPS's social media channels, according to the Argus Leader.

    Maybe it's the DPS who overcorrected here.

    Via Time.


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    When was the last time you saw a movie studio focus its social media efforts for a new release around LinkedIn?

    20th Century Fox, with help from Trailer Park, embraces the career-focused network in a contest around Taken 3, through which you could win a personalized video endorsement from Liam Neeson.

    If you don't remember the scene in the first Taken when Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) brags about his "particular set of skills" to his daughter's kidnappers, you should know it's become a sort of catchphrase for the series. Thanks to Mills' particular set of skills, which involve contract negations (torture), international relations (yelling at people in other languages) and transportation logistics (smashing your car into an airplanes), he was able—spoiler alert—to rescue his daughter in Taken but not his ex-wife in Taken 2, whom he must now avenge in Taken 3.



    No one really cares about Neeson's character in the contest. The point is, you have a chance to have Liam Neeson's face and unforgettable brogue grace your LinkedIn profile, giving you infinity cool points forever. Or until Neeson gets embroiled in some Hollywood scandal and you quietly remove his recommendation.


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    One of the great ads of the past decade was the 2009 Johnnie Walker spot, filmed in a single take, with the brilliant Robert Carlyle telling the brand's history while strolling in the Scottish Highlands. Now, the whiskey brand and BBH have crafted another captivating single-take spot—a year-end meditation that looks forward, rather than backward, by showing a man walking through his dreamlike vision of 2015.

    Conceptually strong, it was also intriguing executed—it was filmed like a stage play, but on a moving set, which allows the hero to walk through the scenery of his future while the camera essentially stays in place.

    "New Year's Eve is a cultural moment we could leverage both strategically and creatively," said Gerard Caputo, group creative director at BBH New York. "It felt like a great opportunity to remind people that we should actually be looking ahead and celebrate the things to come."



    COPYWRITING: The voiceover copy came first. "The first step of a new year," says a male voice. "We'll all take one. But where will a step take you? How high could you climb? And how far? A step can be a difficult thing. It requires courage and spirit. But if you follow it, imagine the places you'll go. The new year begins with the next step. How far will it take you?"

    The hero is seen first at a 2014 New Year's Eve party. The lights suddenly go down, and he begins walking to the right (as the rolling sets roll left). He strolls down a street with neon signs in Chinese; enters a mens' wear store; exits an airplane; walks across a conference-room table during a meeting; and eventually leaps through darkness to a 2015 New Year's Eve party.

    "Each scene was written to symbolize key moments we all hope to experience as we look forward to a new year," said BBH copywriter Mikio Bradley. "All of us want to experience new cultures, travel, make career moves, take more risks."

    The camera pans up to the sky, where fireworks pop. "Here's to 2015," says on-screen text. "How will you #KeepWalking in 2015?"



    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor, who direct together as Us, filmed in Romania on a set that took three weeks to build. "The timing had to be absolutely perfect," said Caputo. "They had a 40-meter set moving down an 80-meter track, with an 8-meter treadmill running through the middle of it."

    They did some 50 takes in three days. "It really didn't start to come together until the final takes," said Bradley. "[The directors] have learned that patience is key, and with each take the film builds. So we had faith they would get it."

    "It was our intention to make it look like a stage play," added BBH art director Klara Lindberg. "We wanted people to feel like they could be watching the story unfold live."

    TALENT: The actor's name, coincidentally, is Oliver Walker. "Given the amount of takes we would need, it required great acting ability as well as the physicality to do it over and over," said Lindberg. "After the first day, we realized how lucky we were to find him."

    SOUND: The soundtrack, by Human, is quietly inspiring and builds to a crescendo. "It really helps convey the emotional power of what we were going for," said Bradley. "The sound design is there to accent the scenes and help communicate where he is on his journey. We wanted the ending to feel upbeat and celebratory."

    MEDIA: The spot rolled out online Dec. 4. It will air on TV from Dec. 22 through early January.

    THE SPOT:

    BEHIND THE SCENES:

    CREDITS
    Client: Johnnie Walker
    President, Diageo North America: Peter McDonough
    Senior Vice President, Marketing: Alex R. Tomlin
    Brand Director, Scotch: Brian Radics
    Senior Brand Manager: Jason Fournier
    Senior Manager, Consumer Planning: Alina Koyfman
    Associate Brand Manager: Milly Shome
    Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
    Chief Creative Officer: John Patroulis
    Group Creative Director: Gerard Caputo
    Creative - Copywriter: Mikio Bradley
    Creative – Art Direction: Klara Lindberg
    Head of Integrated Production & Technology: Carey Head
    Head of Content Production: Kate Morrison
    Senior Content Producer: Abbie Noon
    Associate Producer: AJ Gutierrez
    Head of Account Management: Armando Turco
    Account Director: Miles Burton
    Account Manager: Heather Livengood
    Strategy Director: Mark Aronson
    Head of Business Affairs: Sean McGee
    Business Affairs: Shaunda Slade
    Production: Academy/Reset
    Director: Us
    Managing Partner/EP: Dave Morrison
    Executive Producer: Jeff McDougal
    Head of Production: Amanda Clune
    Producer: Medb Riordan
    Director of Photography: Alex Barber
    Production Designer: David Lee
    Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Ted Guard
    Assistant Editor: JK Carrington
    Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
    Producer: Jenny Greenfield
    Telecine/ Post Production: The Mill
    Colorist: Fergus McCall
    Producer: Alex Fitzgerald
    Flame Artist: Richard Lyons
    Original Music: Human
    Composers: Human
    Executive Producer: Kit Winter
    Audio Mixing: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tom Jucarone/ Rob D.
    Producer: Mike Guillo


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    Cards Against Humanity always does something fun on Black Friday. This year, it sold boxes of bullshit—actual bullshit—to 30,000 people, many of whom were surprised to receive a box of bullshit.

    It was pretty clear on the site that the offer was $6 for "literal feces, from an actual bull," and an FAQ clarified in the clearest way possible that there was nothing in the box except bullshit (no hidden cards like the one inside the box lid of The Biggest Blackest Box collection). Still, a surprising number of conspiracy theorists still thought perhaps there would be a surprise hidden within the poop.

    But as the unboxing and fecal smashing below clearly shows, it was just actual shit from an actual cow on a Texas cattle ranch.



    The metaphor here is pretty clear. CAH hates Black Friday and thinks it's all a bunch of bullshit, so why not sell actual bullshit when so many people are selling bullshit disguised as deals? In fact, CAH has made shitting on Black Friday part of its promotional calendar several years running. Last year, it actually raised its prices by $5. In 2012, it tried a pay-what-you-want model for the whole holiday season. So, sending cow shit through the mail must have seemed like a natural evolution.

    If you got in on the promotion, which sold out in two hours, rest assured: You not only learned a valuable lesson, you did your part for charity. Profits from this bullshit sale are fittingly going to Heifer International.


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    It's that time again, when we take stock of the year—to revisit all the moments that passed, some we remember, some we've long forgotten. All of our favorite sites are releasing their year-in-review videos, and we are getting nostalgic.

    But here's one that will catch you a little by surprise, and give you a whole new perspective on how 2014 unfolded for millions of people.

    Via Ads of the World.



    CREDITS
    Agency: N=5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Creative Director: Lukas van de Ven
    Art Director: Ed van Bennekom
    Copywriter: Jasper Diks


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    Field Notes, the paper products and accessories brand best known for its stylish notepads—designed by Aaron Draplin, whom you'll remember from yesterday—attempts to convey the intensity and magic of the written word in this holiday film appearing on its website.

    The moody 80-second clip began as a purely creative project "about remembrance and family," says director Matthew James Thompson, before he pitched the project via production house North of New York to Field Notes as a piece of branded content. "I shot on a 5D using only natural light over Fourth of July up in Maine," he tells AdFreak. "I wanted to keep it extremely natural, like a video diary, so I kept everything very small and non-invasive."



    Quick cuts of children and grownups—running, laughing, just being themselves—are mixed with shots of stormy seas, late-night drives and fireworks to create an evocative montage. The spot's impact is greatly enhanced by poetic copy penned by Thompson's friend Adam Cote, a copywriter at Arnold, and delivered in understated, thoughtful tones by Irish-born actor Jarlath Conroy:

    "Let us never forget the sprawling genius of a midnight dream, and how silly it seems in the light of day. Let us never forget the mundane and the beautiful. Let us never forget why we write. To remember what happened … what could have happened … what didn't happen. We write to find out how it ends. So let us keep writing. And let us never forget how it feels to hold life in your hand."

    Some might find the emphasis on physically writing stuff down old-fashioned. But of course it's on point for Field Notes, and really resonates if one views the clip as an invitation to seek deeper meaning, instead of hastily tossing off tweets and posting images willy-nilly. Beyond its branding purpose, the director sees the film as an homage to heartfelt handwritten composition, and he hopes to inspire viewers to grab their pens and capture life's special moments before they pass by.

    CREDITS
    Happy Holidays from Field Notes Brand, Coudal Partners and the Draplin Design Company.

    "Write" was produced by North of New York for Field Notes Brand
    northofnewyork.com
    fieldnotesbrand.com

    Executive Producer: Harrison Nalevansky
    Director: Matthew James Thompson
    Copywriter: Adam Cote
    Voiceover: Jarlath Conroy
    Editor: Matt Schaff of Whitehouse Post
    Music: Justin Hori for Squeak E Clean Productions
    Executive Producer for Squeak E Clean Productions: Carol Dunn
    Sound Design: Josh Wilson

    Special Thanks:
    Explosion Robinson
    Whitehouse Post
    The Knight, Lively, Bessey and Thompson families


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    Specs
    Who Managing partners (l. to r.) Sky Gellatly, Lisa Chu, Coltrane Curtis
    What Brand solution agency
    Where New York

    Since 2004, Team Epiphany has mixed experiential, social, influencer and public relations services for clients including Heineken, Cadillac and Incase. With offices in New York and Portland, Ore., Team Epiphany boasts a 70-person staff that excels in blurring tactics. To promote Cadillac’s ELR coupe during the 2014 New York Auto Show, the agency picked four popular Instagramers, gave them a car for two weeks and sent them on the road to document their travels. The photos were displayed in a gallery at the auto expo, which actually led to two car sales. That approach to off- and online marketing appears to be paying off—Team Epiphany’s revenue is up 30 percent year over year and is expected to reach $15 million for 2014. “It’s really great to activate on the ground but know that we’re creating assets that we can then amplify socially and digitally,” said managing partner Coltrane Curtis.


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    Some 74 synchronized devices, from a two-inch watch screen to a 65-inch curved Samsung TV—and everything in between—make an animated dream come alive in Samsung's lovely holiday spot.

    R/GA created the ad, which was one enormous exercise in timing. It required the agency—and production company 1st Ave Machine—to build not only the dreamscape itself, but a special program to synchronize all the devices within it. They also had to precisely time the camera's movement so that, after all the hours of preparation, all they had to do was hit start and let everything play through.



    Check out the making-of video below to see some interesting footage of the storyboards, hear from the director and muse about whether multiple screens truly add to the dreamlike quality of the adorable cartoon.

    Either way, the story of a little girl chasing her stocking through a dream world is cute. And besides, the message is clear: Samsung would like you to dream about a nice Note or Galaxy this holiday.



    CREDITS
    Client: Samsung Telecommunications America
    Chief Marketing Officer: Todd Pendleton
    Sr. Director, Digital Marketing: Colleen McDuffe
    Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing: John T. Field

    Spot: "Samsung Holiday Dreams"

    Agency: R/GA
    Group Executive Creative Director: Al Patton
    Creative Director: Qian Qian & Tristan Kincaid
    Associate Creative Director, Copy: Emily Zaborniak & Ethan Schmidt
    Art Director: RG Lacandola
    Group Account Director: Helder Santo
    Account Director: Joshua Lanz
    Account Planner: Sarah Vining
    Head of Production: Dave Kalvert
    Senior Producer: Ashlye Vaughan
    Producer: Sherilyn Ferdinand, Production
    Producer: Adam Becht, BTS Video
    Sound: Michael Fueser
    Director/DP of BTS Video: Andrew Dowd
    Lead Editor, BTS Video: John Gramglia
    Asst. Editor, BTS Video: Kristen Zephyrus
    Technical Director: Michael Piccuirio
    Lead Product Architect: Aaron Ambrose

    Production Company: 1st Ave Machine
    Directors: Ben Steiger Levine, Martin Allais
    EP/Partner: Sam Penfield
    Producer: Jil Hardin
    Associate Producer: Christina Jang
    Production Supervisor: Lucy Sheridan
    Production Coordinator: Karen Berkowitz
    DP: Khalid Mohtaseb
    PD: Marcos Lutyens

    Editorial: 1st Ave Machine
    Post-Production EP: Garrett Braren
    Head of Production: Lisanne McDonald
    Post Producer: Mike Sullo
    Visual Effects Director: John Loughlin
    PreVis 3D: Dan Bollwerk
    PreVis 2D: Chris Russo, Beryl Chen
    Smoke Conform: Phil Akka
    TD: Christina Caravella

    Original Music and Sound Design: Human


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    So, you hate focus groups. Understandable. They can make a mess of anything. In fact, they can even hate Christmas.

    Ogilvy & Mather in Paris put together this entertaining little (fake) hypothetical experiment called "Ho Ho No Go," where the concept of Christmas itself is pitched to a group of random strangers. Let's just say they don't react too positively. Yet the roundtable does shine a light on how bizarre the holiday is as a marketing concept. 

    Take a look below, and have a very Merry Sparktazzle.


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    Employees at Baltimore agency Exit10 get pelted with snowballs in slow motion in this flaky and—let's be honest—rather painful-looking holiday video. No one got hurt during filming. Not much, anyway.

    The idea "came out of that dark place where all holiday video concepts come from," says Eric Hartsock, Exit10's managing partner and creative director, "meaning, the small conference room the creative team refuses to leave until they come up with something that sticks."

    The team used a Phantom Micro camera shooting 1,500 frames per second to capture the action in super slow-mo, so we get to see the staffers' cheeks wiiiiggle and jiiiigle with each icy impact. "The lights were blinding—you need a ton of light to shoot 1,500 fps," Hartsock says. "So literally no one could see the snowballs coming." No computer effects were employed to goose the visuals, either. Those gummy bears flew around for real!



    All 17 agency employees took part, including Hartstock. He's the dude with the cheese puffs who gets popped around the one-minute mark. Now that's leading by example—Martin Sorrell should be so bold. "It must have been a bit cathartic to hurl snowballs at your coworkers," says Hartsock, "because no one resigned immediately after."

    In this industry, they're probably used to taking it on the chin.


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    The Grammy Awards will make even a long-maned, bearded, hard-rock dude head bang to Taylor Swift, according to this new ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day.

    It's a preposterous conceit, even if Taylor Swift's long hair at last year's Grammys show generated the illusion of impressive head banging skills. Hard-rock dudes do not head bang to pop-country music. At least not in public places—even while wearing earbuds.

    At the same time, the idea that a fictional hard-rock dude could do so, if he wanted, because nobody would be able to tell what he was actually listening to, is kind of clever. It certainly makes for a fun visual juxtaposition.



    A second ad makes a much more reasonable case—that the Grammys make a lot people over-emote while singing Lorde at karaoke, because Lorde proved at last year's show that emoting really hard is the correct way to sing Lorde.

    Regardless, Macklemore's bus crashing performance for last year's show, while of dubious authenticity, was definitely more charming, mostly on account of Macklemore's enthusiastic dancing.


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    Hootsuite knows how to celebrate the holidays. On the heel of its great Halloween ads, the social media aggregation site has now rolled out a simple, awesome Christmas ad playing off its owl mascot. The brand explains:

    This year for the holidays we wanted to do our own take on the popular yule log videos. This is Hootsuite's Holiday Owl, 40 minutes of pure, cute, heart-warming Holiday owl perched by a roaring fire.

    And there you have it.

    If you're really into the Hootsuite owl, you can also check out the whole Owly family.


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    Holiday safety is the theme of the latest "Dumb Ways to Die" video from Metro Trains and McCann in Melbourne, Australia.

    Tangerine Kitty, which sang on the iconic original PSA from 2012, performs a version of "Deck the Halls" here. The lyrics warn against overloading electrical sockets to power festive lights or nibbling on toxic mistletoe. ("Christmas is a time to cherish/Don't be dumb or you will perish!") The song is available to buy on iTunes, with proceeds benefiting the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal.

    This is just the latest extension of a campaign originally designed to promote rail safety. Other permutations include a Halloween safety video, a game for iPhone and iPad, and (unrelated) ads for a life insurance company.



    Most of these iterations have proven popular to varying degrees. Still, I wonder if the inspiration has begun to wane—"Deck the Halls" treads familiar ground—and if these incautious cartoon cuties might be wearing out their welcome.

    Overkill … now that's a dumb way to die.

    CREDITS
    Client: Metro Trains
    Agency: McCann, Melbourne
    Production: Airbag Productions; Electric Dreams
    Recording Artists: Tangerine Kitty with members of the Salvation Army Choir


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    Apple is back to take you behind the scenes of its sweet holiday ad about a musical recording that spans generations.

    Singer-songwriter Dana Williams, who stars as the granddaughter in the commercial, recaps its premise—she finds a vinyl copy of the Gershwin standard "Love Is Here to Stay" that her grandmother cut for her grandfather in the early 1950s, before he went to war in Korea. Then, Williams overdubs new guitar parts and harmonies using Apple's GarageBand software, to make a nifty holiday present for her grandmother.

    Musician Rhiannon Giddens, who is best known as the lead singer of folk band Carolina Chocolate Drops but is now promoting her upcoming T-Bone Burnett-produced solo debut, plays the part of the grandmother in her younger days. (The old photo in the ad is actually of Giddens.) The Voice-O-Graph booth she used to create the faux-vintage record is the one at Jack White's Third Man Records in Nashville—in the video, a parade of execs from the label discuss the device's significance as a novelty in the '40s and '50s. (Not to mention the present—Neil Young just recorded an album in it, and you can too, if you go down to Third Man's digs in Music City, as White reminded Jimmy Fallon's audience this year.)



    Williams, meanwhile, also explains that she uses Garage Band to record almost all of her music (don't mind the fancy mixer, monitors and racks full of outboard processing gear in the background while she talks about how simple the software is) before the video proceeds to wax philosophical on old technology and new technology.

    While that juxtaposition—and the point that the tools play second fiddle to the message regardless—are spelled out well enough here, that idea was pretty clearly illustrated in the spot itself. But name-checking everyone there would've probably ruined the vibe.


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    Carnival Corp. wants the public to select its first Super Bowl spot from among rough cuts of four commercials produced by new agency BBDO in Atlanta.

    The spots are "Getaway," which is about a woman fleeing life's stresses; "Cruise Virgin," in which people recall their first cruises through lots of innuendo; "Message in a Bottle," featuring memorable crusing moments; and "Mystery Spot," which reminds people just how "special" the sea can be.

    Consumers can watch the ads and vote for their favorite at carnivalmarketingchallenge.

    BBDO worked with cinematographer Wally Pfister, whose résumé include films like Transcendence, the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception (for which he won an Oscar).

    The selected spot, which will air on the game Feb. 1, is a major part of the cruise company's first corporate multi-brand initiative covering its nine global brands, which represent an estimated half of the industry's business. Its cruise lines include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises and Seabourn.

    Consumers who vote for their favorite creative concept also have a chance to win a grand prize of a yearly cruise for life.


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    It's tough to make babies the star of car commercials, seeing as they're a long way from driving age. Not that advertisers haven't tried. Now, Hyundai jumps in with perhaps the oddest baby-themed car ad yet—and certainly the most high-tech.

    Meet Exobaby, the nameplate's new, clearly-intended-to-be-viral hero.

    Thanks to a fancy robotic exoskeleton, this technological toddler has "amazing abilities that ordinary babies can never perform," Hyundai says. He's a minor Lee Majors, zipping around his home like a $6 million baby—part human, part cyborg, all impervious to danger. He probably drinks Evian. Some of his skills, like Blind Spot Detection, seem car related. Others, like Bath Evade, don't. But when he parallel parks into his bed, the message is clear.

    "Oh, let's be honest," says the movie-trailer-style voiceover. "The baby in the suit is you in a new Hyundai!"



    Oh, let's be honest. The ad is weird. But knowing how people feel about babies—and how cartoonishly overproduced this thing is, seeking the broadest possible appeal—it may well reach millions. (If it does, it would be the second straight hit for the brand from The Viral Factory, whose June film "The Empty Car Convoy" has topped 11 million YouTube views.)

    Just wait until Honda's Asimo sees this kid. He'll crush him like a bug.



    CREDITS
    Client: Hyundai
    Agency: The Viral Factory


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    Periods can be confusing, and not just for those of us who only paid attention to the sex-talk part of 9th grade health class. Sketch comedy troupe Hammerkatz highlights that confusion hilariously with this parody tampon commercial.

    While typical feminine hygiene ads shirk from much descriptive (or accurate) language, and generally rely on blue liquid on a maxipad to do the talking, a few brands have made strides over the years—like the charming and funny Hello Flo work.

    This parody, by contrast, "brought to you by the all-male advertising team at Tampax," is retrograde in the extreme—frank and mostly wrong, but sometimes funny. And also kind of gross. See for yourself!


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