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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Science recently confirmed what we previously had only suspected—that alcohol, in the right amount, does tend to produce the most creative thinking. Professor Jennifer Wiley and her team at the University of Illinois at Chicago pegged the ideal blood alcohol content for creativity at 0.075 percent. That level is known as the creative peak, and may well be the ideal state for problem solving, inventing and general "out of the box" thinking.

    Using that data, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Copenhagen office has come up with the perfect beer for creatives—an IPA called The Problem Solver.

    There's nothing too special about the beer itself. Instead, it's the label that will help you reach the magical 0.075 percent mark—it shows you how of the much of the bottle you need to drink to get there, based on your weight (see below).

    It's a fun idea—though absurd to think creatives will stop drinking after half a bottle.

    CP+B says The Problem Solver is currently served during after-hours workshops at the agency, at a local Copenhagen beer store and at a new initiative called "The Problem Solvers," in which community and charity groups are invited to the agency to brainstorm ideas over a beer.


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    Who wants to watch 10 minutes of industrial product testing? If Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are doing it, the answer is millions.

    The co-hosts of Discovery Channel's MythBusters filmed two long-form Corning videos recently, in which they look at the history of glass and the 163-year-old company's mastery of it—and perform eye-opening tests on the strength and flexibility of the brand's products. The result? More than 1 million views on each of the 10-minute videos—some 2.5 million views total to date—with almost no paid outreach.

    "I've always been a proponent of long form. There is no reason to be afraid of it if you've got a great story to tell," said Michael Litchfield, creative director at Doremus.

    This agency and client have known that for a while—their 2011 video "A Day Made of Glass," at 24 million views, may well be the most-watched b-to-b corporate video ever. This latest work, titled "The Glass Age," seeks to reinforce Corning's status as an innovator and thought leader—and show off present and future applications of its products like the ultra-strong Gorilla Glass.



    COPYWRITING: Litchfield took a script to Corning, then to Savage and Hyneman, who were excited by it. (Litchfield and Savage have a similar tone of voice, it turns out, so the script didn't change much in the final production.)

    While talking about the history and physical properties of glass, Savage and Hyneman also get to break the stuff in different ways—simulating cell-phone drops and shooting ball bearings at windshields at 120 mph. (Spoiler: Gorilla Glass, which is used in some cell phones on the market but only in prototypes of windshields to date, performs way better than regular glass.) They also explain what Gorilla Glass is, exactly. And in the best moment of all, they show slow-motion footage (100,000 frames per second) of a tadpole-shaped section of compressive-strength glass exploding.

    Overall, the videos are a nice mix of talking and doing. "I felt it important that we put in a little something for everyone," said Litchfield. "Some people respond really well to the history, and others respond really well to smashing windshields."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Litchfield co-directed the videos with Drew Takahashi. They filmed for three days at Goal Line Productions in Pleasanton, Calif. There was one day of prep, one day of shooting with Savage and Hyneman, and one day of doing re-takes and pickups of some of the close–up shots.

    The sets are mostly dark, and Savage and Hyneman wear dark suits. "MythBusters has an element of chaos, and I wanted the opposite: a minimalist aesthetic," said Litchfield. "The dark, infinite-space set was all part of striving for beauty through minimalism. And with little else to distract, glass can really stand out. Lit well, it can look gorgeous."

    On-screen animation from Spy Post helps to tell the history and science parts of the story. Perhaps most remarkably, all the tests went according to plan. "I cannot begin to tell you how much of a relief that was," Litchfield said.



    TALENT: Savage and Hyneman were a perfect fit—they've done all sorts of scientific tests on Mythbusters; they're personable; they have a built-in audience.

    "They are not shills," Litchfield added. "They wouldn't lend their voice to a brand that they did not respect or believe in. And I believe their fan base knows this, too. That all adds up to an authenticity that is immediately baked in to the final product."

    SOUND: The music was challenging, as the story goes in lots of directions—"everyplace from whimsy, seriousness, curiosity and all parts in between," Litchfield said. The resulting musical bed is a mix of library tracks from Music Orange and some original custom music. For sound design, the live action was recorded on set and enhanced slightly in post.

    MEDIA: The only paid media has been the first 10-minute film running as YouTube pre-roll. Litchfield said the pre-roll has gotten a remarkable 39 percent completion rate—meaning that many viewers watch all 10 minutes of it.

    THE SPOTS:



    CREDITS
    Client: Corning Inc.
    Director of Corporate Marketing & Branding: Lisa Burns 
    Agency: Doremus, San Francisco
    Chief Creative (Co-writer/Art Director/Co-director): Michael Litchfield
    Agency Producer: Stacy Leigh Bailey
    Account Director: Kimberley Britton
    Production House: Non-Lethal
    Executive Producer: Adam Savage
    Executive Producer: Jamie Hyneman
    Line Producer: Tim Rayel (and Sandra Kimberly)
    Director: Drew Takahashi
    Dir. Photography: Scott Sorenson
    Postproduction: Spy Post San Francisco
    Creative Director: Darren Orr
    Producer: Lori Joseph
    Editor: Alan Chimenti 
    Animation Team: Spy Post & Odd Fellows
    Colorist: Chris Martin
    Music/Score: Music Orange


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    Videos of dogs eating with human hands are nothing new, but Freshpet is taking the joke to its extreme with a holiday spread featuring 13 dogs—plus a token cat.

    The meme is natural comedy, and the corporate production raids the tradition while bringing in wardrobe, writing and camera-ork touches that you might not get from homemade versions.

    The dinner guests are all impressively well-mannered—except for the sullen teenage retriever, and the drunken auntie bulldog, and the kleptomaniac collie, and also just about everyone else.



    The only problem is, for some inexplicable reason, the cat is at the head of the table (though it certainly would have been best at any kind of power games needed to claim the seat).

    In any case, it's clear that the Internet's obsession with videos of cute animals has been a huge boon to pet food marketers—or really, any brand shameless enough to jump on the bandwagon.


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    'Twas the night before Christmas, and inside the jail, Randy the "Party Santa" sat drunken and pale. Earlier that night, after drinking whiskey and rye, Randy tried to drive home, and got a DUI.

    Such is the fate of the flask-toting star of this holiday-themed print ad from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. With his scraggly beard, ample chest hair and a cigarette protruding from his pouty lips, the dude looks more like a '70s porn actor gone to seed than St. Nick.

    It's the department's second controversial effort in recent weeks, coming on the heels of its "Don't Jerk and Drive" commercial, which addressed safe driving on icy roads. Deemed offensive by some, that spot was, um, yanked from the airwaves. Now, some South Dakotans are objecting to "Party Santa," saying it might actually encourage rowdy holiday behavior among its youthful target audience.

    John Snyder, marketing director at 605 Magazine, which is running the ad, begs to differ: "People constantly say it's funny, but they get the message … it comes back down to trying to get people to be responsible on the roads."

    Ah well, whether the creative approach is naughty or nice is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

    Instead of cookies and milk, maybe I'll leave a glass of water and some Alka-Seltzer for Kris Kringle this year.


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    Spoofing your own ads. It's what you do.

    The Martin Agency's work for Geico has often been hilariously self-aware. The whole "So easy, a caveman can do it" thing was advertising about advertising. And the "Everybody knows that" campaign figured you surely already knew the pitch verbatim.

    For its latest spot, Geico goes back and spoofs itself—specifically, the famous "Hump Day" ad with Caleb the camel. That spot was incredibly popular (it was Geico's most viral ad ever), but as you can see below, that might not be a great thing for camels generally.



    CREDITS
    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
    SVP/ 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

    Camels:
    Animation,VFX, Conform: The Mill
    CG Leads: Kevin Ives, Sandor Toledo
    Lead Compositor: Randy McEntee
    Executive Producer: Colin Blaney
    Producer: Sumer Zuberi
    VFX Supervisor: John Leonti


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    Costa Rica is pulling out all the sloths to boost tourism. The Central American nation hired 22squared for its North American advertising, and the agency put together a digital campaign that features a music video with animals singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

    The Internet seems to love sloths, so it's the headliner of the video now on YouTube, which also features a lip-syncing macaw and turtle. The Mill was the team behind the computer effects in the video like the animated singing mouths of the animals. 

    The campaign launched this month is called "Save the Americans," a play on the save the animals message. Costa Rica is spending about $3.3 million on TV, print, outdoor and digital promotion, and it has a website savetheamericans.org, where about 30 videos like the one below will be posted.


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    Breaking a bottle over somebody's head is one way of using beer to deliver a message. Now, Andes has developed a less violent option.

    Just scan the QR codes—remember those?—on an Andes label to download an app that lets you record a short video and assign it to that bottle. Give the bottle to someone, and they can play the video by scanning the same code. The messages live in the cloud, and they self-destruct once they're played. (Not that you'd record anything actionable at a party or bar, where you might get wasted and decide to try this whole bottle-video thing.)

    "Message in a Bottle" is the latest in a series of innovative ideas for the Argentinian brewer from Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi. Depending on your level of alcohol consumption, you may recall campaigns featuring wacky gimmicks like a teletransporter and friend recovery unit. Such efforts fuse advertising and technology in silly but creative ways to give users a novel experience in the offline world.



    For this latest installment, Del Campo launched a pair of amusing ads to illustrate that "It's easier to say it with Andes." Messages range from "I only married you to get citizenship" and "I've been stealing your wifi for a year" to the revelation that your mom and best bro are hooking up.

    Actually, you may have to bop yourself in the face a few times with a bottle to process that one.


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    Tis the season to pile into the family room and argue over what to watch on Netflix.

    R/GA Los Angeles runs with that general theme—sweetened significantly—in its new Netflix campaign, themed "Watch Together," featuring unstaged and unscripted spots filmed inside real people's homes during movie night.

    The focus here is on children, which makes the arguing more adorable and the whole concept of movie night more magical. It's less about Netflix's particular content, even though specific movie titles are mentioned—and more about how watching movies at home brings families together, and gets them talking. "The movie is just the beginning," on-screen text says toward then end.

    Epoch Films directors The Mercadantes handled the filming. The spots are running online, and :30s and :60s will appear on network and cable through the end of the year.



    CREDITS
    Client: Netflix
    Agency: R/GA, Los Angeles
    Creative Directors: Zach Hilder, Will Esparza
    Associate Creative Directors: Tim Blount, Gerard Seifert
    Junior Art Director: Kristina Litvin
    Senior Producer: Diego de la Maza
    Head of Production: Kat Friis
    Business Affairs Manager: Joanne Rotella
    Account Director: Shane Chastang
    Production Company: Epoch Films
    Director: The Mercadantes
    Director of Photography: Daniel Mercadante
    Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan
    Line Producer: Michaela Johnson
    Editorial Company: No6
    Editor: Kyle Brown
    Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
    Post Producer: Kendra Desai
    Assistant Editor: Andrew Manne
    Visual Effects Company: Brewster Parsons
    Lead Flame Artist: Chris Moore
    Executive Producer: Jason Cohon
    Visual Effects Producer: Zack Whitley
    Sound Companies: Barking Owl; Lime Studios
    Creative Director: Kelly Bayett
    Head of Production: Whitney Fromholtz
    Sound Engineer: Rohan Young


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    More top publishers are opting into programmatic ad networks to sell premium advertising.

    Varick Media Management recently signed exclusive deals with Time Inc., News Corp., American Media Inc. and Wenner Media and will help them sell ad units that feature photography, videos and other types of media for their websites.

    "There still is a large segment of the market that views programmatic as the remnant stuff," said VMM vp of product strategy Jim Caruso. "But it can be used as a holistic part of your strategy."

    Currently, real-time bidding programmatic rules the market, making up $9.25 billion out of the $10 billion industry. But, direct programmatic buying is taking over more of the space, growing 850 percent in 2014 to make up $800 million of the pie.

    One of the benefits of going programmatic is that publishers can access data that they wouldn't get via traditional ad buying, Caruso explained. VMM can combine its data with publisher first-party data to guarantee better hit rates for key audiences. Not only do people get the right ad at the right time, they see high impact creative that can be targeted across a media company's family of sites.

    "I think that everyone should move to automation because it's more efficient," Caruso said.

    Patrick Dolan, evp and COO of the IAB, added that programmatic marketplaces aren't really about what type of ad content is being sold, but about the process. He isn't surprised by the growing number of media companies shifting to automated buying.

    "Adoption of these transactions and strategies will continue to grow in the coming year and the (IAB) Programmatic Council will continue its focus in these areas," he said.

    Altimeter analyst Rebecca Lieb said that it was natural that publishers would want scalable and more efficient ways to purchase premium inventory, but cautioned that not everyone views programmatic as favorably as VMM does.

    "As in the physical world, terming something premium implies there's a level of thought and manual attention that's almost antithetical to the concept of 'programmatic,'" she said. "Definitions of these terms vary, of course, but there's no doubt that 'premium programmatic' is a trend still in its very early stages of development."


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    Can't we all just get along? McDonald's thinks so—and pushes global harmony hard in its new brand campaign, which refreshes the long-running "I'm lovin' it" tagline by putting more focus on the lovin'.

    The animated launch ad from Leo Burnett is called "Archenemies," and features pop-culture foes suddenly finding peace. We get cameos from Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West; Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner; Pacman and Ghost; Batman and the Joker; Bears and Packers; etc.—all of whom are in a remarkably forgiving mood. (Even Democrats and Republicans are seen embracing, so, you know, don't take the message too literally.)

    "Choose Lovin', " says on-screen text, followed by "I'm lovin' it."

    McDonald's has never really leaned that hard into the idea of love—not like Coke has done lately with happiness, for instance. It's often focused on the "I'm" and "it" parts of the line instead of the "lovin' " part. But the brand thinks the time is right for a shift.

    "We recognize, and our customers do too, all the negativity that surrounds daily life and we are choosing to celebrate lovin' more," it says in a statement. "McDonald's is in a unique position to use its scale to bring back the positivity with more uplifting content and conversations in the lovin' spirit."



    More than anything, "Archenemies" feels like Oreo's "Wonderfilled" launch spot from a couple of years back—just with more subdued animation and a cute though not-quite-as-catchy tune. (Here it's the 2010 track "Love Is Endless" by Mozella.)

    Of course, McDonald's carries a lot of baggage that can get in the way of this message of love. (Put more bluntly, a lot of people hate McDonald's.) But the brand feels like it's on to something here. The refresh will include new uniforms, new packaging, new signage in restaurants and a new focus on being more responsive in social media—which is in line with the transparency campaign it's been running lately.

    "Each day, we hope to do our part to put just a little more lovin' in the world because a little more lovin' can change a lot," the brand says. (This doesn't mean always being sappy or soft-sell, either. Another newly released spot, for the Big Mac, posted below, immediately takes a playful dig at vegetarians—and couldn't be more product focused.)

    Can "I'm lovin' it" really become "We're all lovin' each other"? It's a gamble for a brand with so many haters. But bringing the tagline into better focus could unlock some interesting creative ideas. Here's hoping they're wonderfilled.

    CREDITS
    Client: McDonald's
    Agency: Leo Burnett
    See full credits at the bottom of this story.

    The Big Mac spot:



    McDonald's U.S. CMO Deborah Wahl explains the brand refresh:



    In-restaurant signage:



    New packaging:



    CREDITS
    Client: McDonald's
    Agency: Leo Burnett
    Campaign: "A Little More Lovin' Can Change a Lot"
    Spot: "Archenemies"
    Chief Creative Officer: Susan Credle
    Executive Creative Director: John Hansa
    Creative Director: Tony Katalinic
    Interactive Creative Director:
    ACD/Copywriter: Jonathan Fussell
    ACD/Art Director: Robin Laurens
    Group Executive Producer: Denis Giroux
    Senior Producer: Bridget Rose
    Account Director: Jennifer Cacioppo
    Account Supervisor: Jennifer Klopf
    Account Executive: Krystle Wahnschaffe
    Planning Director: Sarah Patterson
    Strategist: Claudia Steer
    Production Company: Buck TV
    Buck Executive Creative Director: Ryan Honey
    Buck Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
    Buck Sr Producer : Nick Terzich
    Buck Coordinators: Kaitlyn Mahoney, Anica Cramer
    Buck Creative Director: Josh Harvey
    Buck ACD: Jenny Ko
    Buck Animation Designer: Ariel Da Costa
    Buck Designers: Yuki Yamada, Gunnar Pettersson, XoanaHerrera, Jenny Ko, Kenesha Sneed, Trevor Conrad, Joe Mullen
    Buck Animators: Ariel Da Costa, Esteban Esquivo, Tak Hosogane, Nick Petley, Daniel Couthino, Chris Anderson, Moses Journey, Justin Mays, Alex Perry
    Music: "Love Is Endless" Performed by MoZella written by Maureen Anne McDonald and Tim Myers
    Music Company (editorial, FX, 5 notes): Comma Music
    Audio: Another Country, John Binder


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    The checkout screen at the gas station knows more about you than you think.


    Illustration: Shaw Nielsen

     

    As the gas station clerk scanned each of the snacks I purchased during a recent road trip with my family, the screen recommended various other items based on my demonstrated preferences. This seems simple and normal to most of us. However, when you take a step back and think of all that is going on behind the scenes—and screens— it's amazing. The screen is connected to the point of purchase, which is tied to an algorithm that generates recommendations based on inventory and pricing systems that take into account what is in stock and within my reaching distance. I didn't have to get out of line to grab the items I might have otherwise forgot, and the store's sales go up, all in seconds.

    What has traditionally been among life's more mundane routines, paying for gas and snacks is now a moment that matters. Behind the curtain is a CMO who has connected seemingly disparate systems and data to create a customized experience for me, rather than a mundane transaction.

    I've been to enough industry conferences in the past 24 months to know that most CMOs and their agency partners are scrambling to implement data systems and customer intelligence solutions to fulfill this new job description. Whether it's a new mobile app, a multichannel content strategy or a cloud-based analytics suite to measure campaign performance, CMOs are trying to figure out how it all fits into the marketing mix and how to raise top-line sales.

    It's not enough to focus on the big picture and rely on other teams to cover off on what used to be called "below the line" activities. Today's CMO has to have a handle on everything that touches the marketing cycle. CMOs need to know if and what traditional advertising, digital advertising, social media and mobile marketing their customer is exposed to. They need to understand analytics, psychology and media planning and buying. They also need to have a basic understanding of IT and how to fit all these dissimilar nodes of information together to paint a complete picture of their customers.

    One common mistake organizations make in generating these moments is to appoint separate roles to govern the digital aspects of marketing, from the operational level on up to senior executives with titles like Chief Digital Officer and Digital CMO. The fact is that today nothing in marketing should lie outside the digital domain. Traditional marketing efforts around creative strategy, broadcast, print and direct mail are infinitely more effective when informed by the same insights that drive your digital strategy.

    The insights CMOs gather from one discipline should inform the other. Where do those insights come from? Data.

    Every marketing initiative a CMO executes has to be bound by and grounded in data, and the modern CMO should be at the table with the CIO and other key stakeholders including legal and risk management to ensure their company uses consumer data effectively and responsibly. This is a task of increasing importance and difficulty. Marketers often grab for the first tool they can find to solve a problem without due consideration for long-term issues like security, compatibility and consumer trust. Compounding the issue is the fact that many marketing and sales tools are immediately available through my cloud, allowing them to be adopted without a capital expenditure or lengthy deployment process.

    That convenience is seductive, but if CMOs are not careful and don't optimize for the consumer experience, the cost vs. benefit balance can be thrown out of whack and lead to long-term consumer pain. Also, data from these discrete systems can also turn out to be incompatible or inaccessible. Lastly, cost will be the least of your problems if data security becomes an issue. The old adage, "hurry but don't rush," must become a key CMO mantra.

    Wherever you look, the walls between IT and marketing are coming down. CMOs who separate marketing from consumer activity, online media from offline, or a cash register from the consumer do so at their own peril. Successful CMOs are the ones who transform those once overlooked moments—like a gas station checkout—into something customized and personal, a moment that matters.

    Frank Holland is corporate vice president of advertising and online business for Microsoft.


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    TurboTax aired a surprisingly entertaining ad on last year's Super Bowl, with Wieden + Kennedy and director Bryan Buckley teaming up for an amusing metaphor about how the game—for most fans—is like high-school prom. Now, client and agency are getting dolled up for a second date at the big dance.

    The Intuit-owned online tax preparation service just launched its 2015 brand campaign, again through W+K. It will feature a 60-second spot on the Feb. 1 Super Bowl telecast. But before heading to Arizona, the campaign creative is taking an early trip to New Orleans—for Mardi Gras.

    The 60-second "Mardi Gras" spot below broke during the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. It uses one long, absurd, interconnected scene to show how TurboTax guides you step by step through all the tax-relevant milestones that happen during your year. Two other Mardi Gras spots, "Statues" (:30) and "Loud Noise" (:15), have also rolled out.



    The Super Bowl spot will not be the "Mardi Gras" execution but something entirely new.

    Last year's TurboTax Super Bowl spot used the voice of John C. Reilly. This new campaign subs in William H. Macy as the voiceover.

    TurboTax Online sales were up 14 percent in 2014, the company says, while the do-it-yourself tax category itself grew 6 percent. TurboTax is choosing high-profile telecasts to get its message heard. It's also planning to advertise on the Goldes Globe Awards this Sunday.

    The TV work is supported by radio, digital and social advertising throughout tax season.



    TurboTax's 2014 Super Bowl spot:



    CREDITS (Mardi Gras spots)
    Client: Intuit TurboTax

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Dan Kroeger / Max Stinson
    Copywriter: Darcie Burrell /Brooke Barker
    Art Director: Chris Taylor
    Producer/ Assistant Producer: Endy Hedman / Julie Gursha
    Account Team: Courtney Nelson / Vanessa Miller / Alexina Shaber
    Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz
    Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins / Nathan Goldberg
    Project Management: Liza Robbins

    Production Company: Biscuit
    Director: Noam Murro
    Executive Producer: Colleen O'Donnell
    Line Producer: Jay Veal
    Director of Photography: Simon Duggan

    Editorial Company: Rock/Paper/Scissors
    Editor: Stewart Reeves
    Post Producer: Leah Carnahan
    Post Executive Producer: Dave Sellars

    VFX Company: The Mill
    2D Lead: John Shirley
    3D Lead: Robert Sethi
    VFX Producer: Chris Harlowe
    VFX Coordinator: Karina Ford
    Flame: Brad Scott / Trent Shumway
    Nuke: Becky Porter / Anthony Petitti / Mike Simons
    CG: Steven Olson / Mike DiNocco / Carl Harders / Nathaniel Morgan / Danny Yoon / Matt Neopolitan / Margaux Huneau / Anthony Northman / Alberto Lara
    DMP: Jiyoung Lee

    Sound Company: Barking Owl
    Songs: "Statue" (Original Music)
    "Noise" (Original Music)
    "Shrimp" (Original Music)
    "Wedding" ("Le Tourbillon" by Jeanne Moreau)
    "Mardi Gras" ("Mack the Knife")
    Producer: Kelly Bayett

    Sound Company: Barking Owl
    Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
    Producer: Kelly Bayett

    Mix Company: Lime Studios
    Mixer: Loren Silber/Zach Fisher


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    Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

    Specs
    Who Dao Nguyen
    New gig Publisher, BuzzFeed
    Old gig Vp of growth and data, BuzzFeed
    Age 41
    Twitter@daozers

    What do you do as publisher?
    Publishing is literally the act of making information available to the public. For a purely digital operation like BuzzFeed, what we take publishing to mean is the entire technology platform. It's how we make information available to the public—all the tools that our editors and creative [workers] use to make content, how it appears on the site and how it is distributed on the Internet through social networks.

    What were you doing before?
    I ran growth and data at BuzzFeed, which means I was working within the technology team to increase our audience and manage the data. I'm bringing the knowledge that I have gained about how content moves on the Internet, the importance of data and how online video is consumed and shared on the Internet. I also used to be the CEO of Le Monde Interactif in Paris. I'm bringing my experience managing a large organization and thinking about how organization and strategy help shape and contribute to the success of a company.

    What content does well on BuzzFeed—besides cats?
    (Laughs) Basically content that stirs an emotion does well. It can range from a funny list about kids to an insightful commentary on current events to investigative stories about an injustice or a heartbreaking situation. It can be a list, it can be a long-form story, it can be an essay, but if a story stirs an emotion then it drives sharing.

    Most people don't recognize BuzzFeed for its long form.
    There are a couple different kinds of long form. One is our feature stories, which have wide ranging topics such as a story about retirement homes to an essay about a 33-year-old who had a stroke to a profile of a woman who pretended to be a teenager for almost 20 years. The other kind of long form we do is investigative reporting. Mark Schoofs, who is our investigative editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner, and his team have broken so many stories this year. Alex Campbell spent six months on a story about abused women who are sent to prison after their abuser hurts or kills their child. That story was incredibly heartbreaking, but we hope to shed light on these laws that are being used in unintentional ways. A top NSA official was fired after our reporting of conflicts of interest between her job and her family's business.

    What sets BuzzFeed's branded content apart?
    We have an in-house creative team that works with advertisers to build content that delivers their message in a shareable way. When advertisers run campaigns on BuzzFeed not only do they get paid media, but they get earned media from the sharing of this content on social and having additional readers being driven back to it. We've found there is a lift in intent and brand affinity if people are driven to content by their friends. We use a combination of creativity and data to optimize the content we create.

    In true BuzzFeed fashion, what are three things we don't know about Dao?
    One, despite working at BuzzFeed, I have very little knowledge about pop culture. For example, I did not recognize Kanye West when he came into our office last year. Second, my full first name is Phuong-Dao. It means fragrant peach blossom in Vietnamese. Third, my mom is a Buddhist nun. She's 80 so she doesn't live in a temple full time, just half of the week. It's hard to be truly mindful all the time, but I do try to live in the moment.


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    For all the griping and joking about the alienating effects of smartphone technology, it's worth remembering that ubiquitous mini computers can actually help people socialize—even people who struggle with basic forms of communication.

    Samsung is capitalizing on research that suggests kids with autism like interacting with digital devices, by teaming up with South Korean universities to develop a free Android app designed to help children on the spectrum learn how to better make eye contact, and recognize facial expressions.

    Ad agency Cheil Worldwide helped create the educational game, titled "Look at Me." After eight weeks of testing, 60 percent of the children showed improvement in making eye contact, according to a survey of parents. (The case video doesn't say how many children were tested, but does include enthusiastic general testimonials from psychology experts.)



    The app's use of a smartphone camera to address children's health makes it slightly reminiscent of the U.K. public service campaign launched last month to teach parents how a flash picture could help identify a dangerous form of eye cancer.

    Samsung's work suffers from the notable distinction that it comes from a marketer, rather than a nonprofit—while the consumer tech giant claims the point isn't to promote its products, that is, of course, in part, exactly the point.

    Still, the brand deserves credit for devoting resources to addressing a real problem—in Canada, Samsung has partnered with Autism Speaks to give away 200 tablets with the app preloaded to families of children with autism. (The advocacy organization also has more information on autism and smartphone apps, generally.)

    Though with 60 million people suffering from autism worldwide, Samsung could probably still afford to donate a few more.


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    "What happens when you put a girl in front of a boy and ask him to slap her?"

    Domestic abuse is a longtime problem in Italy. A 2012 United Nations report called it "the most pervasive form of violence" in the country. Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta called it femicide—the killing of women at the hands of current or former lovers.

    Online Italian newspaper Fanpage.it addresses domestic violence in the video below, but it features an unlikely group of people—children. Six boys between 7 and 11 years old are interviewed. They obediently give their names and ages, and say what they want to be when they grow up, and why.

    The interviewer then introduces a pretty girl named Martina, and it's obvious all of the boys are slightly enamored. They're asked to tell the interviewer what they like about her (her shoes and her hands!). They make funny faces at her, caress her (this includes gentle arm and face touching).

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Finally the interviewer says: "Slap her. Hard." What happens next is fairly predictable, but pretty remarkable nonetheless.

    The video (a project by Ciaopeople Media Group) has been viewed almost 33 million times on Facebook in three days. It's heartwarming and contains a powerful, effective message addressing a serious problem. It's just the kind of thing I'm happy to see go viral.


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    Advertisers once again are bringing out all the digital bells and whistles for the Super Bowl, the biggest marketing event of the year.

    But after last year's Samsung-powered selfie with Ellen DeGeneres at the Academy Awards, JCPenney's mitten stunt last year and Oreo's hit "You Can Still Dunk in the Dark" tweet during 2013's Big Game, the stakes are higher than ever for brands hoping to cut through the noise at next month's event.

    Already, marketers are trying to up the ante by staffing social media command centers and crafting posts to be sent out across their social accounts leading up to the game.

    All that is unlikely to give brands a head start, however, according to Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i.

    "The success that has happened with all Super Bowl advertising [comes from] being unexpected," she pointed out. "The challenge for brands today is to figure out their way of doing so, but copycats—by definition—are expected." To Hofstetter's point, Oreo sat out the 2014 game completely after its success at the 2013 game.

    While social efforts like those of Samsung and Oreo may appear as though they are created instantaneously, Victor Pineiro, vp of social media at Big Spaceship, noted that social strategists often map out potential Super Bowl moments long before kickoff.

    "Once that's decided on, [the brand] brings in the entire inner agency team, and we all treat it like a campaign," he said. "That's based off of a [structure] a lot more like a traditional campaign."

    To execute real-time social pushes, command centers—where brands brainstorm about social posts with their agencies to try to win the most mindshare during the telecast—have become de rigueur.

    One marketer particularly bullish about this approach is Anheuser-Busch, which will set up four social media outposts across the country during the Super Bowl after having tested a similar arrangement last year.

    "Having a war room is one of the basic things to be able to do real-time marketing at such an event," said Lucas Herscovici, A-B's vp of consumer connections.

    Meanwhile, Nissan, which last advertised during the Super Bowl in 1997, will return to the event this year with two "listening rooms" for monitoring what consumers are saying about the company.

    "The most important thing is that we want the messaging that is out there to be very authentic and very organic," said Fred Diaz, svp of U.S. sales and marketing and operations at Nissan North America.

    Command centers don't work for all marketers, though.

    After setting up its social monitoring post last year, Toyota this year is switching up its strategy by pushing out content prior to the event.

    As Florence Drakton, manager of Toyota's social media strategy and operations, explained, "Instead of being on standby during the game in hopes that there are moments of interest that warrant engagement, our goal is to create one from the outset."


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    To celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015, Gatorade put together quite the impressive highlight reel, featuring 50 memorable sports moments from the past half-century—all in 60 seconds.

    The spot, from TBWA\Chiat\Day, broke on Christmas Day and will continue airing through next Monday's college football championship game.

    Directed by HSI's Brendan Malloy and Emmett Malloy, it opens with footage of the 1965 Florida Gators football team, the birthplace of Gatorade. From there, it counts up to 50—the players are heard chanting as they do push-ups—with a different sports figure or moment seen on screen, relating to each number.



    It's pretty hypnotic. In fact, it's hard to take it all in, which may actually help keep people engaged over multiple viewings. And speaking of which, we get to see Michael Jordan no fewer than four times, as befits the brand's first sports endorser. He gets Nos. 23 and 45 (his two NBA jerseys), as well No. 6 (NBA titles) and No. 38 (his points in the famous "Flu Game" in the 1997 finals).

    See the spot above, and a chart below (from Gatorade's YouTube page) explaining each number.



    CREDITS
    Client: Gatorade
    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day
    Chief Creative Officer: Stephen Butler
    Executive Creative Director: Brent Anderson
    Creative Director: Renato Fernandez
    Creative Director: Gustavo Sarkis
    Creative Director: Mark Peters
    Associate Creative Director: Doug Menezes
    Executive Producer: Sarah Patterson
    Integrated Producer: Garrison Askew
    Executive Project Manager: Karen Thomas
    Project Manager: Mark Diaz
    Managing Director: Peter Ravailhe
    Brand Director: Sarah Lamberson
    Brand Director: Simon Nicholls
    Brand Manager: Robyn Morris
    Associate Brand Manager: Ralph Lee
    Sports Marketing: Erika Buder
    Account Group Assistant: Samantha Sabine
    Group Planning Director: Scott MacMaster
    Planning Director: Martin Ramos
    Senior Planner: Rebecca Harris
    Planner: Matt Bataclan
    Director of Business Affairs: Linda Daubson
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Laura Drabkin
    Talent Payment Manager: Mirielle Smith
    Senior Traffic Manager: Jerry Neill
    Production Company: HSI
    Directors: Brendan Malloy and Emmett Malloy
    Executive Producer: Roger Zorovich
    Producer John Hardin
    DP: Tim Hudson
    Stock Footage Research : Stalkr
    Editorial: Whitehouse Post
    Executive Producer: Joni Williamson
    Producer Jonlyn Williams
    Editor: Charlie Harvey
    Assistant Editor: Devon Bradbury
    Post EFX: Carbon
    Executive Producer: : Marlo Baird Kinsey
    Creative Director: Chris Noellert
    Flame: Chris Moore, Pete Mayor, Michael Vaglienty
    Graphic Design: Ryan Wehner
    Associate Producer: Nick Vassil
    Music: Beacon Music
    Sound Design : Barking Owl
    Final Mix: Lime Studios
    Mixer: Rohan Young


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    There's nothing in the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" rules that says the consumer-made ads have to be good. But they do—according to the judging criteria—have to be original.

    One of the 10 finalists unveiled today may have a bit of a problem in that department. That's because the plot of Jason Johnson's "Trouble in the Back Seat" is very similar to that of "Drama Queen," a well-known ad from director Rogier Hesp (produced by TWBA/PHS Helsinki) that won the Young Director Award at Cannes in 2010.

    In both ads, after parents get pulled over by the police, kids in the backseat hold up "Help!" signs, pretending they've been kidnapped. (In the Doritos ad, a brother and sister are mad at Dad for not handing over his chips. In Hesp's spot, which advertised the Young Director Award itself, the girl in the backseat is simply "Born to create drama.")

    Adweek wrote about the "Drama Queen" ad when it was made, as did many of the ad blogs. The YouTube version has 4.5 million views. It's not obscure.

    See both ads below.



    According to the "Crash the Super Bowl" rules, "originality and creativity" are supposed to count for 40 percent of the judging score. ("Adherence to the creative assignment" counts for 30 percent, and "Overall appeal to the general public as a Doritos Super Bowl ad" counts for 30 percent.) Doritos picked the 10 finalists, meaning the brand either didn't know how similar "Trouble in the Back Seat" is to "Drama Queen"—or didn't care.

    It might be a coincidence. Johnson talks about his inspiration for the ad in the video below, and certainly doesn't mention an industry-targeted Finnish spot from five years ago:



    Still, it could be awkward for Doritos if one of its in-game spots is deemed to be a rip-off by ad people. And that could happen. Doritos will air two of the 10 finalists on the Super Bowl. The brand will pick one, but the other—the grand-prize winner—is meant to be selected by public vote.


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    Stop the presses. Justin Bieber is making a Justin Bieber face in ads for Calvin Klein, and people are losing their minds.

    "Is he actually hot in these pictures?" some people are asking. "Will he ever be as hot as Marky Mark?" other people are wondering. "Can we please bring back David Beckham?" further people are begging (even though Beckham's underwear pics were for H&M, because Beckham was too good for Calvin Klein).

    In any event, these topics—surprise, bargaining, regret—are apparently the relevant considerations when weighing the cultural significance of Justin Bieber wearing C.K. jeans and underwear. (Dutch model Lara Stone also appears in the campaign, but most people seem more interested in Bieber.)





    He, reportedly, has been teasing the idea that he might appear in C.K. ads for some time now—almost a year, which has only stoked the fires of frenzy among people looking for a chance to freak out over Justin Bieber taking off his shirt.

    "This is so dumb, why are we even talking about this?" was the majority response—31 percent, or 13,200 votes—of a highly scientific BuzzFeed reader poll about the new ads, as measured at 11:24 p.m. on Tuesday night. "I, like, don't hate it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" was the runner up, with 20 percent. "No no no no" followed at 19 percent.





    The photography—and/or Photoshopping—certainly has some aesthetic appeal, for people willing to embrace or at least overlook the fact that it's Justin Bieber making a Justin Bieber face. On the other hand, Calvin Klein probably likes the fact that Justin Bieber's face comes with 59 million Twitter followers, many of whom like Justin's Bieber face, and might want to buy Calvin Klein jeans and underwear after looking at it.

    So, all in all, it seems like a pretty good plan.


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    Let's kick it and rip it. Woo!"

    Say hello to Captain Risky, the freakishly foolhardy daredevil who stars in 303Lowe's superbly silly campaign for Australian insurance company Budget Direct.

    And, oh my, the careless Cap does take his lumps. Whether he's jumping a gorge Evel Knievel-style in a rocket-powered jalope, testing a jetpack, practicing his kung-fu kicks or platform diving into a tiny splash pool, you can be sure things won't end well. Budget Direct then explains that it doesn't insure Captain Risky in order to keep its prices low.



    "We think it's very clearly comedic, stupendous, ridiculous, parody fun," client marketing chief Jonathan Kerr tells Mumbrella."We're quite comfortable that people understand him as kind of a metaphor and not someone to be imitated."

    Of course, while the campaign is Australian, the buffoonish brand ambassador is American. "When the daredevil character came up as the lead element, immediately it felt it was quintessentially American as a character, a genre," Kerr says.

    That detail is spot on, as are so many elements of the Captain's bruising debut, available in 90-, 60- and 30-second iterations. Dig those '70s-throwback titles and that disco-thump theme song, with its slinky "He's Risky!" chorus mixed way down low.

    This work takes risks. Viewers reap the rewards. Woo!

    CREDITS
    Client: Budget Direct
    Campaign: Captain Risky
    Agency: 303Lowe, Australia
    Executive Creative Director: Richard Morgan
    Copywriter: Sean Larkin
    Art Director: Adam Whitehead
    Head of Business Management: Tony Dunseath
    Business Director: Sophie O'Sullivan
    Head of Strategy: Jon McKie
    Agency Producers: Amanda Cain, Sean Ascroft
    Director of Marketing & Digital: Jonathan Kerr
    General Manager New Customer Acquisition: Paul Duggan
    Campaign Manager: Jenni Osborne
    Director: Hamish Rothwell
    Production Company: GoodOil
    Producer: Sam Long
    D.O.P: Crighton Bone


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