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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    In another crazy viral Kickstarter phenomenon, Mathew Inman, creator of the popular webcomic The Oatmeal, fully funded his Kickstarter for a game called Exploding Kittens in just 20 minutes on Tuesday.

    In less than an hour, it was 1,000 percent funded. And within just seven hours, it was 10,000 percent funded with over $1 million raised. The Kickstarter is now more than $2 million past its $10,000 goal with 29 days to go. Holy cow. That's even faster than Reading Rainbow reached $1 million.

    It's yet another example of cat-loving Internet denizens making something go viral. But it's also a lesson in how The Oatmeal's online marketing chops and powerhouse social media presence translated into serious Kickstarter gold—a phenomenon we've seen for a number of niche marketers.

    Because it's not the video of still-frame drawings and Inman talking over some cheap needle drop that made this campaign explode. It's not the rewards, which are little more than various versions of the card game.

    Nope, it was the day Inman spent updating his social networks with cute image macros of exploding kittens to reward and thank his "Precious Oatlets" for their loyalty in funding the game—while making those of us who hadn't clicked feel left out. Eventually he even sucked me in when an atomic blast of a kitten exploded across my Facebook page bragging about reaching the million mark.

    Let's face it—it's hard to resist atomic bomb kittens.


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    Katy Perry will be Pepsi's top act for the Super Bowl halftime show. But how much better would it be if Craig Robinson and the Nasty Delicious were the headliners?

    Pepsi might not want you to ponder that specific question. But the soft-drink brand has gotten the former Office star and his real-life band involved in its "Hyped for Halftime" campaign. Robinson, 43, stars in a new three-part online comedy series (the first part, below, was released Wednesday) in which a male friend turns into a fairy godmother and tries to get Craig to Arizona.



    Ad agency The Brooklyn Brothers created the series with Pepsi, in partnership with Comedy Central. The Brooklyn Brothers have worked with Robinson before, having created an amusing episodic 2012 campaign for New Era caps starring Robinson and Nick Offerman as Chicago White Sox and Cubs fans.

    Robinson and the Nasty Delicious will deliver a live "halftime" performance on Key & Peele's Super Bowl Comedy Special on the night of Saturday, Jan. 31. And you have to figure they'll be in Glendale, Ariz., the following night in some capacity—maybe as an opening act.

    Meanwhile, here's more from the "Hyped for Halftime" campaign:


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    Ready for more screaming, twitchy muscles, explosions and horrifying hallucinations? Good, because Terry Crews just made another Old Spice commercial.

    The ad, by Wieden + Kennedy and directors Fatal Farm, continues the brand's "Get Shaved in the Face" campaign for its electric shavers, which Crews helped to introduce early last year in a murderous spot with Little Terry Crews. This time around, we catch Terry right in the middle of a nightmare—and when he wakes up, it only gets worse.

    We caught up with Kate DiCarlo, Procter & Gamble's communications manager for beauty care, and Jason Bagley, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, to chat about the spot and Terry's popularity as an Old Spice spokesman. Check out that Q&A below.



    AdFreak: How does this spot evolve last year's "Get Shaved in the Face" campaign?
    Kate DiCarlo: "Nightmare Face" brings back Terry Crews to continue the "Get Shaved in the Face" story. This time around, we wake up in Terry's nightmare, which revolves around unruly face hair and a familiar face as his wife. Even if it takes a lot of yelling, we're here to remind guys about the importance of keeping their scraggly hairs in check by using Old Spice Electric Shavers. We want them to know that we have a variety of options that they can choose from, depending on their shaving needs.

    Why do you think Terry has such longevity as an Old Spice spokesman?
    DiCarlo: Terry is a long-time fan favorite, and we're always thrilled when we find another opportunity to work together. There's no one else out there like him—with that explosive personality, impressive yelling power and manly chest muscles. Our fans are always asking what's next for Terry and Old Spice, and so we're excited to give them more of what they're wanting, while also helping them shaverize their beards, which results in more handsome face parts.

    Fatal Farm handled the direction, editing and visual effects. What do they bring to the table?
    Jason Bagley: We love Fatal Farm and have worked with them in the past on various projects. We love them because they take absurdly ridiculous and ultimately profoundly stupid humor as seriously as we do. Stupid humor is serious business, and they are seriously smart about stupid things.


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    There's a brave niche approach in advertising where you show your audience just how much people despise your product. Laphroaig scotch has been doing this for while, turning its polarizing taste into a selling point. Now, Pizza Hut Australia is doing something similar.

    The chain recently introduced a new pizza with Vegemite filling in the crust. Vegemite, of course, is the dark brown, salty yeast extract paste that Australians love and the rest of the world knows about because of a 1980 pop song.

    To promote the pizza, ad agency Host Sydney went to a backpackers' hostel, found a bunch of foreigners and got them to try it. Having clearly never tried Vegemite, their reactions range from curious to, eventually, utterly revolted—making for a hilarious and remarkably patriotic commercial.

    Your move, Marmite.


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    Those of you who've been pining for another episode of Shit Girls Say are in luck: Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey's amusing Web series, based on the popular Twitter account, just did a spot for haircare brand Aussie—in the same style as their unbranded videos.

    Sheppard directed the ad and is also the star, donning a wig and narrating common hair woes. (We're told mcgarrybowen was the agency.)

    "I can't get it wet!" he complains. "This looks stupid." "Does this look dumb?"



    Aussie recently conducted a #hairprobs survey, which found:

    • Women run late an average of one day per week due to hair drama.
    • One third of moms (35 percent) say their hair requires more time than their kids in the morning.
    • 40 percent of women under 40 cried at least once over their hair in the past six months.
    • Seven percent of women admit to avoiding getting intimate altogether to preserve their hairstyle.
    • Women spend 20 minutes per day on their hair, translating to a full work week each year.

    If you think most of these stats are hard to believe, I'm with you. Who are these people?

    Stats aside, the video itself is fun—relatable and entertaining. It ends with Aussie encouraging women to #DitchtheDrama and their complex hair routines (with a shampoo plus conditioner combo product and a dry shampoo) in exchange for "fully living life."

    Which also means not crying over your hair or having it stop you from having sex, probably.


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    This Audi spot from Venables Bell & Partners presents a pint-size rebel with a full tummy who's eager to cannonball into a pool even though a sign clearly says, "Wait one hour to swim after eating."

    Will he or won't he? What's your guess, people?

    The spot morphs into an engaging slice of excess that delivers on its premise with good-natured absurdity and considerable charm. (Audi is sitting out the Super Bowl this year, for the first time in seven years, but it's not inconceivable that this ad might have been under consideration for Big Game play at some point.)



    Of course, lots of brands, particularly automakers, like to position themselves as great fits for iconoclasts. That's how this spot rolls, but it doesn't take itself too seriously.

    After all, Audi—the Volkswagen-owned luxury brand—usually isn't top of mind among folks who like to swim against the tide. (A rebuilt '68 Mustang is a whole other story.) And disobeying a sign at a public pool isn't all that rebellious, is it? (There's some extra irony when the message "The world is full of rules. Be the exception" flashes on screen at the same time small type cautions viewers to "Always obey speed and traffic laws.")

    The kid will probably grow up toiling in a cube just to keep up the payments on his Audi A7. At least he can look back fondly on that time at the pool when he made a big splash.

    CREDITS
    Client: Audi of America
    Spot: Swim
    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Executive Creative Director: Paul Venables, Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Tyler Hampton, Lee Einhorn, Erich Pfeifer
    Art Director: Ryan Mclaughlin
    Copywriter: Cam Miller
    Director Of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
    Agency Executive Producer: Mandi Holdorf
    Account Director: Justin Pitcher
    Account Supervisor: Krista Muir
    Group Strategy Director: Orit Peleg
    Project Manager: Talya Fisher
    Production Company: Arts & Sciences
    Director: Matt Aselton
    Director Of Photography: Crille Forsberg
    Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
    Producer: Zoe Odlum
    Editing Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Geoff Hounsell
    Music: Elias Arts
    Composers: Jonathan Elias
    V/Fx: The Mill
    Senior Executive Producer: Chris Harlow
    V/Fx Supervisor: Gareth Parr


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    Gerry Graf has made more than his share of Super Bowl commercials over the years while working at agencies like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi.

    He's been away from the game for half a decade while building his boutique, Barton F. Graf 9000, into a not-so-little creative powerhouse. But now he's back, as Barton F. Graf is handling one of the most notorious Super Bowl advertisers of all: Go Daddy.

    We chatted with Graf on Thursday about the high and lows of making Super Bowl ads, and how you always care what the viewer thinks more than you want to.

    It's been a few years since you worked on a Super Bowl spot.
    Yeah, I think it's been five or six years. The last time I was on was with Miller High Life [in 2009], when I was at Saatchi.

    Have you missed being on the game? The whole circus around it, and the pressure?
    Nope. Not at all. I did not miss it at all. And it's silly pressure, too. All these millions of dollars invested, and it's like this has to be the best spot in the world, and you have to score high on all these stupid polls where retired schoolteachers from Arizona are voting for USA Today. It's just a lot of unnecessary pressure.

    Does it affect your ability to do good work in that situation?
    Not the ability to do good work, but it's always a fight to sell good work. Usually throughout the year you're trying to break through and do something new and different that stands out and gets noticed. And the Super Bowl always feels like a popularity contest. It's like if you look at the movies that win the Academy Awards and then the ones that win the People's Choice Awards—the quality is a little dumbed down.

    How many Super Bowl spots have you worked on total?
    A lot. I don't know, maybe 10?

    Is it a different experience every time, depending on the client, your agency colleagues, the brief?
    It's usually the same experience. The first thing is that you can't really sell too hard or be too specific, I feel, on the Super Bowl. You're mostly talking on the high brand level. What is Bud Light saying about its beer? Nothing. It's just, "People like to party with Bud Light." Or with Doritos, it's, "They taste good." That's the most that people say. "They taste so good that you'll walk through a glass door." I like playing in the specifics of things, but in the Super Bowl you have to be more high-minded.

    And then every single time, somebody at the agency or client says, "This has to be great." Which always makes me laugh. And I'll say out loud to them, "Oh, good! OK, this one has to be great. Can you tell the ones that don't have to be great throughout the year? Because I'll go home at 6 o'clock when I'm working on those." And then you have people who say, "This has to be big." And I don't even know what that means.

    Also, there are always more people who are decision makers. It's always, always a battle not to get your idea dumbed down or made a little more safe. There's a lot more fighting to keep the integrity of the idea solid.

    Do you have a favorite Super Bowl ad you've done?
    I have two. My favorite was the Miller High Life one-second ad. It really kind of made fun of everybody else who was doing these big, ridiculous spots and spending $3 million for 30 seconds. It was really dead on the strategy of Miller High Life, too, being about blue-collar values. It came out right in the middle of the recession, so we could be topical at the same time, posing the question of, "In these times, who has $3 million to waste on a stupid commercial?" And then we had a really good time with the media people trying to figure out how to buy one second. Which you can't. You can get five seconds, and we faded in and faded out. It was a blast.



    That was a regional spot, right? Because A-B has the exclusive rights to national beer marketing on the game.
    Yeah, we bought 60 percent of the country through local markets. We were the little rebels. We snuck in the back door. And we had a nice PR coup. We premiered the one-second ad on The Tonight Show the Thursday before the game. Everybody made their salary that year.

    And your second favorite Super Bowl ad?
    The monkey's always going to be special to me, too. The E*Trade monkey—again, in a much more low-fi way, referencing the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

    You and I hung out at Mackenzie Cutler on the night of the 2003 Super Bowl, where your "Desert Island" spot for FedEx aired. You were pretty nervous that night.
    [Laughs] Yeah. You want to pretend that if you think it's great, it's great—and what other people think doesn't matter. But it does.

    So, you'll probably be nervous this year too, with Go Daddy.
    Yeah. I will. I'll try to stop myself from going online and seeing all the comments and stuff. But that'll last for, I don't know, half an hour.

    So, what can you tell us about the Go Daddy spot?
    Just what's already been out there. We made a conscious decision not to do the babes and that kind of thing. And they've been [transitioning] for the past two years a little bit. Before, I think everybody knew Go Daddy, but they didn't know what Go Daddy did. Oh, it's Danica Patrick's car sponsor. Oh, it's the girl with the T-shirt. The past two years, I think they've been doing good stuff.

    Bar Refaeli making out with the nerd guy—that was one of my favorites when that came out. It didn't make the top 10 of anything, but I thought that was nice and smart, because they did something in your face that explained what they did. We wanted to continue that. And we're playing with Super Bowl clichés. There seems to be five puppy ads every year. So, we're going to go hang out and play in that area.

    I assume we shouldn't expect quite as sappy of an ending as Budweiser.
    Yeah, it's not going to be sappy. And it really ties directly into Go Daddy and gets a little more specific than most Super Bowl spots into what the company actually does.


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    Covering up bad prison tattoos for social rehabilitation isn't an obvious charity, but it's the primary function of the Freedom Tattoos project, a service provided by Poland's Pedagogium The College of Social Sciences and ad agency Isobar Poland.

    The tall and short of it is that they help integrate ex-cons back into society by covering up prison tattoos with professionally done, aesthetically pleasing ones.

    An American audience may be likely to blow this off, thinking that said ex-cons made a rational choice to get those tattoos in prison and thus deserve no sympathy. But the video from Isobar addresses this in a lovely way. The ad is a montage of two women getting their bad tattoos covered, as a voiceover observes: "If they decided to get tattoos, then it means that they wanted to express something."

    Finally, someone gets it.

    The ad casts what Freedom Tattoos does as an extension of its subjects' personal growth, rather than a matter of hiding their mistakes. Not only is that a smart move, it's a more accurate and inspiring mission statement.



    CREDITS
    Client: Pedagogium The College of Social Sciences
    Agency: Isobar Poland
    Managing Creative Director: Maciej Nowicki
    Senior Copywriter: Jan Cieślar
    Senior Art Director: Rafał Ryś
    Account Manager: Agnieszka Gilewska
    PR: Monika Witoń
    Production: Film Fiction


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    How would you feel if, during high-tension moments in your favorite movies, the cameras cut to slow motion and the lead actors turned to stare right at you?

    Now you might find out, thanks to a new campaign by from Fox Entertainment's movie channel, FXM. Production company Imaginary Forces took key frames from films that are slated to air on the network, and then used 3-D animation techniques to manipulate the characters' faces so they'd be looking at the camera.

    The 10 spots, which are 20 seconds each, are loosely tied together under FX's "Fearless" positioning, which the behind-the-scenes video says allowed Imaginary Forces to "get strange" in its approach to teasing the network's programming.



    Some of the cuts are more effective than others. Daniel Craig's scene from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is particularly eerie. Will Ferrell's from Step Brothers is particularly funny. None actually captures fear quite as well as Kevin Bacon's in X-Men: First Class. Jesse Eisenberg's in The Social Network might take the cake for most creepy (or maybe it's just the whole idea of Facebook ruling the world that's still unsettling).

    Regardless, it's a nifty experiment. As for whether it'll make you want to watch any of the movies again—let's just say Bruce Willis's character in the Sixth Sense is still dead.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    CREDITS
    Client: FX Networks
    Designed and Produced by: Imaginary Forces
    Creative Directors: Tosh Kodama, Peter Frankfurt
    Art Director: Dan Meehan
    Executive Producer: Ben Apley
    Head of Production: Claudina Mercado
    Producers: Terry O'Gara, JJ Gerber
    Designers: Tosh Kodama, John Kim, Ryan Massiah, Kina Choi
    Junior Designer: Wes Yang
    Design Intern: Ryan Massiah
    Animators: Dan Meehan, Kina Choi
    3D Model Builders: DeAndre Moore, Jamin Joseph-Lackie
    Compositors: Orlando Costa, Sam Cividanis, Ben Hurand
    Editors: Ryan Hensley, Kina Choi
    Illustrator: Alejandro Lee
    Inferno Artist: Rod Basham
    Photographer: Ryan Speers
    Coordinators: Nicole Zschiesche, Dominick Guglielmo
    Copywriter: Kyle Barron-Cohen
    Music Company: Easy Feel
    Composer: Mark Share


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    The new Apple Store in China unites ancient and contemporary design elements to striking effect—its modern steel-and-glass exterior draped by a simple yet elegant mural that contains the text, rendered in traditional Chinese characters, of a 2,000-year-old poem.

    "The lines in calligraphy need to have life in them," artist Wang Dongling says of his creation in the new two-minute Apple video below. "They need to have aesthetic feeling. They need to have a kind of magical energy endowed by nature."

    Sounds like something Steve Jobs or Jony Ive might have said about the look and feel of Apple's products. So, Wang's vision seems well suited to the iconic brand, which opens its newest store tomorrow in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, situated on West Lake.



    Despite its vintage, the poem, "Praising West Lake in the Rain," has a distinctly modern flavor: "Shimmering water on sunny days/Blurred mountains through rainy haze/West Lake is like the beauty, Xizi/With light or heavy makeup, always beautiful."

    Indeed, our fascination with beauty, whether it exists naturally or created by our own hand, has endured for thousands of years, and to a large extent informs developments in present-day technology. The West Lake Apple Store motif spans the ages, embracing our infatuation with the constantly evolving forms and functions of beautiful things.


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    Amid all the dubious tweets and outright fails from advertisers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this past Monday, here's a little gem from Starbucks that flew under the radar.

    "It's time to look at things differently. Again," says the copy on the newspaper version of the ad, which ran in The New York Times. The brand also posted versions of the ad to Twitter and Facebook. A rep at one of Starbucks' agencies said it was done in-house by the marketer. "But we all are big fans of it," the agency rep said.

    Simple, classy and powerful.


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    One of the great mean-spirited pleasures of multiplayer gaming is knowing that whenever you finally seize the day and blow your enemy to smithereens, he or she has to watch it on instant replay.

    But who does the difficult work of chronicling that demise and then shoving it in the person's face? Have you ever thought about that?

    No, you haven't. Because you're selfish.

    But Call of Duty has. Randall Higgins (played in 72andSunny's ad below by Rob Huebel, late of both Amazon's Golden Globe-winning Transparent and, of course, Adult Swim's offbeat drama TV parody Children's Hospital) is just such a "killcameraman." And he has a lot to say about his difficult, underappreciated (again: we blame you) job, taking time out of his busy schedule to walk us through the new DLC pack, Havoc, that's coming out for Activision's new Call of Duty game, Advanced Warfare.



    We broke down the way the DLC rollouts work back in October—it's a great way to keep consumer dollars coming in without requiring them to sign up for a service (which is a hard sell to the generation that loves CoD). And this one sounds fun: exo-suited zombies, murderous clowns and a nuclear reactor are just a few of the attractions.

    Also there's a gun called the Widowmaker ("They don't call it the Friendmaker for a reason," Higgins observes). And there's that cool Raconteurs song, too.

    Anyway, think of somebody besides yourself for once. Like Randall.

    CREDITS
    Client: Activision/Call of Duty
    Agency: 72andSunny


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    Parenting today comes with more than the stress of kids. It comes with the derision of your fellow breeders when you choose a path that goes against their deeply held beliefs. And it's going to happen. No matter how closely you choose your friends, someone—even if it's just another parent at the playground—is going to judge you harshly for your choices.

    Similac shows us what happens when our beliefs clash through an ad that's a little bit funny, a little bit moving, and a lot true. It's all about an (almost) all-out playground brawl. It's strollers versus baby slings, breast-fed versus formula-fed, stay-at-home versus working mom, plus yoga moms, lesbian moms and stay-at-home dads.

    When they meet at the swings, the insults start flying. But when one of those stroller moms (who don't care about bonding and cuddling with their baby, so they push their child away from them in a stroller instead of wearing them in a wholesome fashion) steps off to step up to the fight, the stroller goes tumbling down the hill. And all the parents go tumbling after.

    Similac then reminds us that no matter what our beliefs, we're parents first, and welcomes us to the Sisterhood of Motherhood.



    It's no surprise Similac would want to diffuse the tension between the nipple Nazis and the lazy formula feeders. Breast-feeding advocates have cast formula companies as villains who put profits before health and whose irresponsible advertising tricked a whole generation of mothers into not even trying to breastfeed.

    And, well, that's a bit true. There was a whole generation who was told that formula was better, healthier and safer, and now science tells us that was a rather big lie. But it is also true that even breastfeeding mothers will supplement with formula every now and then, and that many mothers who formula feed tried to breastfeed but were unable to for various reasons. And they really don't like the added guilt that comes from unavoidable choices. I mean, c'mon, don't we have enough guilt as parents anyway?

    Here's the short manifesto on the Similac site:

    "We believe it's time to embrace mothers who choose to embrace motherhood. Time to put down the fingers and the subtle suggestions. Because no two of us are the same, but we're all in this together. The sisterhood has only one rule. Nourish each other the same way we nourish our children. And, just like the sister who's got your back, we're there to help you get through the first few days and months of motherhood with confidence—and zero judgment. The way it should be."

    Still, Similac is an odd peacemaker. Certainly, many will ignore this message due to the source. Note that comments are disabled on the YouTube video. But it's still a message we modern parents need to hear. And with almost 3 million views in just a few days, it seems a lot of other parents agree. So, let's give each other a break out there.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for pregnant yoga.


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    Toyota is out with one of its two Super Bowl ads, and it's going hard for the inspirational route.

    As promised, actress and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy stars in "How Great I Am," a minute-long spot set to Muhammad Ali's classic speech before his 1974 title fight against George Foreman. The ad was originally scheduled to air pre-game, but Toyota said Friday that it's been moved to a slot in the first quarter.

    The commercial shows quick cuts of Purdy, also a Dancing with the Stars contestant, training on the slopes, performing in a ballroom and posing for a photo shoot, using special prosthetic legs for each task. When she falls, she gets up again, and back to work. Naturally, she drives a Toyota.

    "To say I'm honored to be in this spot airing during the game would be an understatement," Purdy said in a statement. "All my life I've been faced with choices, and I've been determined to be bold through every one of them. I have a great relationship with Toyota, and to be in an ad that encourages others to persevere and be bold in their own lives is something that is hard to accurately put into words."



    The automaker joins what appears to be a growing number of marketers featuring handicapped athletes in ads. Earlier this month, Gatorade released an commercial in which it treated sled hockey players to a game with NFL pros. Guinness's tribute to friendship, by way of wheelchair basketball, earned a place as one of Adweek's 10 best ads of 2013.

    Purdy's story is moving, and certainly worth showcasing. The soundtrack, a tour de force in its own right, makes for a great counterpoint. What it has to do with Toyota isn't entirely clear. But it's safe to say the brand's execs want you to think it's great, too.

    CREDITS
    Client: Toyota
    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles


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    One of the better ads airing on Super Bowl Sunday won't be from a marketer paying $4.5 million for 30 seconds, but from the network broadcasting the game.

    NBC Sports has cast Nick Offerman, the breakout comedy star of the network's own Parks and Recreation, to headline a campaign urging Americans to "get more Nascar in your life." And Offerman kills it in a 60-second mock music video that will air as the first spot after the final whistle in the game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

    NBC is releasing just a 30-second teaser (see below) on Monday morning. But Bill Bergofin, senior vice president of marketing for NBC Sports, gave Adweek an exclusive preview of the Offerman spots—which includes an extended two-minute version, as well as the :60—in which he plays everything from a driver to an official breaking up a brawl to the guy waving the checkered flag.



    The actor (who owns his own woodshop in real life) was a natural to tout NBC's return to broadcasting Nascar this summer. He has drawn raves for his comic portrayal of Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson, a staunch libertarian who keeps a sawed-off shotgun on his desk and believes the park system should be privatized like Chuck E. Cheese's.

    "We just felt like he was the perfect character to carry the message," said Bergofin.

    The ads were created by NBC's in-house unit led by chief marketing officer John Miller, with help from Hungry Man (and director Dave Laden).

    In the teaser, called "Gut Check," Offerman declares that only Nascar can save "soft" Americans from themselves. 

    "If the founding fathers saw us huddled in our little cocoons, texting each other smiley faces, they'd hang their powdered wigs in shame," he says. "When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there's trouble afoot."

    On Wednesday, NBC will post the two-minute video, called "America Start Your Engines," in which Offerman hilariously raps about the "bad-ass" appeal of Nascar in Nanny State America.

    "Sure, everybody at Nascar gets a trophy. As long as they win the f**king race!" Offerman says, as he leans out the window of a race car.

    On Super Bowl Sunday, NBC will show "Gut Check" during pre-game programming. Then it will lead in the first commercial pod after the game with a 60-second version of "Start Your Engines." Among the lyrics:

    Welcome to the place where we speed all day
    Where we bump and grind in a non-sexual way
    Where scores are settled, and we break the rules
    And everybody's got a set of badass tools
    Get some Nascar in your life
    Hello glory, goodbye strife

    NBC is also planning a non-Offerman spot called "Fan for Life" for Sunday's pre-game. All the spots will air on NBC, NBCSN and other networks in the coming weeks. NBC hopes Offerman's videos go viral the way its "Coach Ted Lasso" promos for the Premier League soccer with Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis did.

    Taking over from ESPN, NBC Sports has agreed to pay $4.4 billion over 10 years to air the second half of Nascar's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, according to SportsBusiness Daily. Fox Sports has rights to the first half of the Nascar season.

    CREDITS
    Client: NBC Sports Agency
    John Miller - CMO
    Bill Bergofin - SVP Marketing/ECD
    Lorin Finkelstein - VP Brand/Co-ECD
    Lindsay Davenport - Producer

    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Allan Broce - EP/CD
    Dave Laden - Director
    Eric Schmidt - DP
    Erin Sullivan - Producer
    Craig Repass - Line Producer

    Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
    VFX: The Mill
    Music: Beacon Street


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    The year was 1994. Ace of Base saw "The Sign." O.J. Simpson's white Bronco sped down the freeway. And of course, this thing called the Internet was a tiny baby. And Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric were desperately trying to figure it out.

    A now-famous Today show clip from '94 features Gumbel and Couric cluelessly talking about the Internet. They can't seem to grasp the concept of an email address or the @ symbol.

    "Katie said she thought it was 'about,' " says Gumbel.

    "Or 'around,' " adds Couric.

    "I've never heard it said, I've only seen the mark," continues Gumbel. "What is 'Internet' anyway? Do you write to it like mail?"

    "Allison," Couric asks her producer, "can you explain what 'Internet' is?" 

    Fast-forward to today, and BMW is using the amusing clip—followed by Gumbel and Couric talking today, just as cluelessly, about the futuristic i3 electric vehicle—in its 2015 Super Bowl ad from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, released Monday morning:



    As an added bonus—and arguably the gem of the campaign—BMW has given us outtakes from the shoot, featuring Couric, and the curmudgeonly Gumbel actually cracking a smile (and a couple of funny jokes) every now and then:



    In the behind-the-scenes clip below, Gumbel gives a little insight into his perspective. "People are inclined to ask, 'Aren't you embarassed by that clip—are you angry about that clip? I say, 'No! I'm not at all! I'm amused by it.' I watched The Jetsons years ago, so I kind of thought we'd be in a jetpack, ya know, flying over things ... I guess one day we'll get there, but for the time being, the electric car is the way to go."



    It's a fun enough campaign. And to be fair, I've also found myself thinking about the enigmatic "@" symbol of late, as you can see from this tweet just last week:


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    If you've spent more than three seconds on the Internet, you know it can be a pretty horrible place, swarming with cyberbullies and trolls who've turned comment sections into rotting hate-fests and people's own personal social pages into sources of despair.

    Coca-Cola hopes to change all that—or at least, steer things in a different direction—with its 2015 Super Bowl campaign.

    The soft drink company revealed Monday that it won't be unveiling its 60-second in-game spot, by Wieden + Kennedy, until it airs nationally on the game. But there will be plenty of teasers released this week—starting with the four below—as the brand preps a message of "optimism, uplift and inclusion" for Sunday.

    Three short teasers airing on TV and in cinemas will feature snippets from the :60 and introduce the #MakeItHappy hashtag. You can see those teasers here:



    In addition, four longer online videos will roll out this week starring teens and celebs who've experienced online negativity (racecar driver Danica Patrick and football player Michael Sam will star in two of these) or who are devoted to spreading happiness online (Kid President stars in the one of these, which is posted below—the only one released so far).



    "It's bold and brave, and intended to disrupt the complacency that's set in around online negativity," Jennifer Healan, Coca-Cola's group director of integrated marketing content, said in a statement about the campaign. "Our goal is to inspire America to become a collective force for positivity."

    "Coca-Cola has always stood for optimism, uplift and inclusion… and these core values have been a common thread in our advertising through the years," added Andy McMillin, vp and general manager for Coca-Cola Trademark Brands.

    Targeting online hate is an interesting evolution of Coke's "Open happiness" idea. And interestingly, it's a space in which McDonald's is also starting to play. The fast-food marketer, which is also expected to advertised in some capacity on Sunday, recently mentioned online negativity as one topic it's planning to address in its current refresh of "I'm lovin' it."

    For Coke, focusing on anything negative—even while positioning itself as the antidote—isn't without its risks. It makes for some pretty dark, un-Coke-like broadcast teasers. And it begs the question: Can a 60-second spot really have any impact on hater culture online?

    Coke says it's invested in the issue, though, and is taking real-world steps to address it. The campaign includes a partnership with DoSomething.org before and after the Big Game to spread the message of making the Internet a happier place.

    "We're all surrounded by stories of online negativity, and it's a concern that only continues to grow within society," said McMillin. "We hope this campaign inspires people across the country and around the world to show more positivity in their online actions, and to stop and think before posting a negative comment."

    The 60-second in-game spot—Coke's ninth consecutive appearance on the Super Bowl—was shot in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Shanghai.


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    We've already seen Newcastle Brown Ale dig into Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" campaign this year. And now, Hidden Valley Ranch hopes to do the same with popular YouTubers,

    the Holderness Family.

    Penn and Kim Holderness are former TV news anchors who became an Internet sensation with 2013's "Xmas Jammies" video, which has been watched nearly 16 million times online. The family's videos put obnoxious twists on popular songs with personal anecdotes. Most recently, they parodied Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" song with the Thanksgiving-themed "All About That Baste."

    This time, the Holdernesses are preparing for their own Super Bowl party. But instead of watching the game with friends, the parents are dealing with a regular Sunday night, which means getting the kids ready for bed and eating dinner with child bibs on.

    "All the guys who aren't dads get to laugh at ads," raps Penn.

    And indeed, their friends are watching the game with lots of food—including, of course, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. But luckily, there's a twist, as the friends' party goes astray and the Holderness Family (and the brand) get to save the day.



    As other brandshave done, Hidden Valley is trying to make product placement not feel like product placement (while, of course, spending much less than producing a TV ad). But in this case, the video is very clearly an ad for Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. And how you feel about it might depend on how you feel about this family in general.

    The ad is part of a bigger partnership between the Holderness Family and SheKnows Media, a women's lifestyle media platform. The campaign is one of the first projects to come out of SheKnows Media's SK Studio, which creates branded content for advertisers. SheKnows Media claims to reach 84.5 million monthly users.

    In conjunction with the video, Hidden Valley Ranch is also sponsoring a piece of content called "It's Sunday Night."

    It's not clear how many videos the Holderness Family will create for SheKnows Media (or if they will be sponsored), but the publisher claims its partnership with the YouTube group is about finding a fit for its content.

    "We gravitated toward the Holderness Family for their humorous approach to creating videos that are highly relatable and reflect their everyday lives," SheKnows Media's chief revenue officer Samantha Skey said in a statement.


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    Sports Illustrated has reversed its call and will run an NFL-themed domestic violence ad from advocacy group Ultraviolet on its website Thursday, three days before the Super Bowl.

    The 15-second video shows a football player in full gear brutally tackling a young woman wearing street clothes and a knitted cap. "Let's take domestic violence out of football," a voiceover says. On-screen text refers to "55 NFL abuse cases unanswered," and the ad closes with the hashtag, #GoodellMustGo, a swipe at league commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Ultraviolet flew banners with that hashtag above the recent AFC and NFC championship games, as it had at various NFL contests this season during the Ray Rice controversy.



    Last week, SI rejected Ultraviolet's advertising—which includes an online banner as well as the video—but upon further review, and following inquiries from other media, gave the OK, calling its initial refusal a "misunderstanding." (Apparently, SI initially evaluated just the banner, which it felt could be misconstrued as editorial content. The banner and video together, however, were subsequently deemed acceptable.)

    "We are thrilled that public scrutiny has persuaded Sports Illustrated to reverse their decision," says Ultraviolet founder Nita Chaudhary. "We cannot allow the issue of domestic violence to be swept under the rug."

    Ultimately, the SI drama generates extra exposure for Ultraviolet's edgy play and further deflates the NFL on the eve of the Big Game.


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    Sara Heffernen's "Graphic Design Pun Cards" make gentle sport of designers' compulsive, perfectionist tendencies, while being dad-jokey enough to elicit groans from the rest of us.

    Having said that, "Bad Kerning Can Never Be Justified" is legit funny and two levels beyond what this kind of humor usually is, and "Keming" isn't far behind, even if it does kind of tell the same joke. The others are more of a spectrum; either you're grinding your teeth in response to the no-no's on display, or at the low-hanging punnery.

    You can find the entire collection here. Sara should consider a line of T-shirts, and maybe opening a typographer's version of Spencer's Gifts to sell them in.

    Via Design Taxi.


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