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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Ever stared out over the horizon of your lunch plate and been spellbound by the glory of your turkey sandwich? No? Well, Hillshire Farm wants to be your first.

    The meat seller is out with a pair of new spots from new agency Young & Rubicam in New York that emphasize, according to the agency, the brand's "farmhouse roots." That's a new tack for Hillshire, which last year, to the dismay of fans, shifted away from its rah-rah "Go Meat!" campaign, created by TBWA\Chiat\Day, with a relatively bland spot featuring improv comedian Wendi McLendon-Covey. (That ad, also from TBWA, has since been pulled from YouTube, but you can see it here.)

    The first of the Y&R spots plays up the brand's attention to detail in the preparation of its turkey. "The meat is silky and swimming in pan-roasted juices," says the voiceover, as a chef sharpens his knife. It "turns a mere sandwich into something, wait for it … mesmerizing." The second ad, which broke this week, focuses on the brand's process for making its hickory-smoked sausage. "This tree is going to make someone a wonderful meal someday," the spot opens. Mmmm, tree. "It will turn pasta into a rustic feast, or bring inspiration to a quiet stew," the voiceover explains, as the commercial goes on to enumerate the range of other dishes—gumbo, pizza, tacos—its tree helps to make.

    Call it mass-produced food porn for the natural enthusiast. Overall, the intimate style of the film work, coupled with arboreal landscapes and emphasis on craft, make a clear appeal to consumers who are increasingly seeking healthier, less processed foods amid a nationwide boom in farmer's markets. As for whether or not the copy is convincing enough to achieve that mission, we'll leave up to you.

    Client: Hillshire Farm
    Agency: Young & Rubicam, New York

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    Partners + Napier in Atlanta recently gave its copywriters license to spice up the signs next to its parking spots, warning people not to use them unless they have business with the agency. The signs humorously presume all sorts of excuses and shenanigans on the part of the offenders—they're cheap, they're lousy drunks, they're shopaholics, they're greedy fools who couldn't resist the "aroma of deliciousness" coming from a nearby eatery. One sign even pegs them as lazy jerks who would race handicapped people to the closest spot to the building. "Have you no soul?" it asks. "If you are willing to park here, what else are you capable of? … Now that your car's been towed and you can't get around, you're handicapped. And like a cane upside the head, you're gonna get hit with a fine. This one's for all the grandmas out there." Good to know your agency's up for a little caning when the situation calls for it. They also wrote some fake parking tickets. See those, and more signs, below. Via Ads of the World and Business Insider.


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    Uptight about making that perfect Martha Stewart Thanksgiving dinner? Relax. Imperfection can be as appetizing as those unsprayed apples and papayas at Whole Foods.

    That's the underlying message in the first work for the grocery retailer from Olson in Minneapolis, which picked up the store's Midwestern account (covering seven states, including the metro areas of Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Iowa, and Detroit) earlier this year. The holiday campaign's whimsical graphics and typography befit Whole Foods's eclectic image. One animated spot focuses on a Thanksgiving shrimp dinner after the host's pup eats the turkey before it could be served. In another, a mistake with a recipe turns dinner into a feast of side dishes. The campaign uses the theme "Come Together," and the end thought of each TV spot is that you don't need to throw a perfect party when you can throw a great one. Experience trumps perfection here, a fitting commercial subtext for one of the country's destination venues for organic food.

    The handcrafted approach, which carries through print, digital and Facebook efforts, helps distract from the "Whole Paycheck" jokes dogging the upscale retailer. While that's certainly critical in the current recession, it's also a more suitable attitude in connecting with a new generation of affluent consumers who wear eco-responsibility as a badge of status. The pitch is true to the brand's positioning around authenticity and provenance: Shiny, Photoshopped produce wouldn't work for an organic brand, and this campaign carries nice details throughout the work, like the imperfections in the paper used as a backdrop.

    Client: Whole Foods Market
    Agency: Olson, Minneapolis
    Head of Broadcast: Joel Dodson
    Agency Producer: Henni Iwarsson
    Creative Director: Jeff Berg
    Executive Creative Director: Mike Fetrow
    Chief Creative Officer: Dennis Ryan
    Copywriter: Monique Thomas
    Art Director: Jesse Mitchell

    Production Company: Brand New School, Los Angeles
    Art Director: Kris Wong
    Executive Producer: Jason Cohon
    Producer: Madison Brigode
    Associate Producer: Jessica Knowles

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  • 11/08/12--03:44: Portrait: Hush

  • Specs
    Who Standing: creative partner David Schwarz (left), creative director Jodi Terwilliger. Sitting: creative partner Erik Karasyk (left), head of production Ryan McGrath
    What Design company
    Where Brooklyn offices

    Hush not only heightened the competition on the court at this year’s U.S. Open, it gave Ogilvy & Mather client IBM a competitive edge in showing what it can do with predictive analytics technology and data. Using a 15-foot screen, the design shop created an interactive experience using seven years of grand-slam data to help analyze real-time strategies that players needed to defeat their opponents. It was also a lot of fun: Tennis fans could virtually whack tennis balls, see a geo-tagged Twitter feed that responded to tweets at the Open, check the arrival of the No. 7 train, or order a Spicy Tuna Roll from the food court.

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    Here's a successfully creepy spot from Deutsch LA for Assassin's Creed III on PlayStation's Vita handheld. Because when you're bored and disgruntled from your commute, what you really want to do is knife somebody! If you like playing video games. Or if you are a sociopath. Either way. The fact that people actually dress like that probably doesn't make the ad less disconcerting.

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  • 11/08/12--11:41: Ad of the Day: Sony Xperia
  • Over the weekend of Oct. 26, when audiences in Sweden flocked to see the new James Bond film Skyfall (yes, you heard that right—they got the latest Bond movie two full weeks before the U.S. did), one group of fans entered Stockholm's Filmstaden Sergel unaware that they were being filmed for a secret-agent-themed Sony marketing stunt.

    Swimming inside the free sodas being handed out by the theater's entrance, the electronics company had surreptitiously hidden several Xperia Acro S smartphones—a new waterproof model. Before the start of the film, audience members were told by a disembodied voice that they might be one of the "lucky devils" with a prize in their soda. Some unseen force then called the hidden phones, resulting in several confused Swedes pulling Xperias out of their ringing drinks. (And kudos to the local office of Crispin Porter + Bogusky for thinking to attach the phones to the soda lids, thus avoiding the nightmare scenario of people plunging their hands into sugary soft drinks. Gross.)

    So, apparently, Sony Xperia Acro S phones really are waterproof. But that's not the big takeaway from this stunt. It's the fact that, in Sweden, you not only get to see James Bond movies before anyone in America, but there's always a chance you might find a fancy new smartphone in your soda.

    Let's all move to Sweden.

    Client: Sony Mobile Nordic
    Nordic Marketing Communications Manager: Martina Johansson
    Nordic Public Relations Manager: Erik Yström
    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Sweden
    Executive Creative Director: Gustav Martner
    Creative Directors: Jonas Wittenmark, Tobias Carlson
    Art Director: Jonas Wittenmark
    Copywriter: Tobias Carlson
    Junior Art Director: Jakob Eriksson
    Junior Copywriter: Elof Ivarsson
    Client Service Director: Kristian Jörgensen
    Business Director: Therese Olander
    Content Supervisor: Karin Branmark
    Agency Producer: Annika Andreasson
    Event Agency: Grandins Flying Circus
    Production Company: Vidiots

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    The Most Interesting Man in the World is a man of few words—except when he's recording his outgoing voicemail message. Then, he (or possibly a parrot who sounds just like him) sets up elaborate automated prompts to direct his friends and fans to the most interesting information he can provide.

    Dos Equis has put up a mural of the Most Interesting Man on the side of Diablo's Cantina in Las Vegas. "Looking for an interesting time?" it asks. "Call 1-888-790-7665." Doing so leads the caller to the Man's voicemail, where different prompts lead to various jokes about bachelorette parties, out-of-control blimps, blackjack-playing otters and low-fat blueberry muffins.

    Below, check out the full voicemail transcript from the writers at Havas Worldwide (formerly Euro RSCG) in New York.


    AGE GATE: Hello. You have reached the Most Interesting Man in the World. My answering machine is currently locked, and requires a password to access. Lucky for you, the password happens to be your age. Enter it now, then press pound.

    IF OVER 21: Well, it seems everything is in order here. Again, you've reached the Most Interesting Man in the World. But I am not here right now. I am not even recording this message. The voice you are hearing belongs to a parrot who has learned to mimic my every vocal nuance and has taken the initiative to set up my voicemail.

    IF UNDER 21: Oh no, I'm sorry, but it seems the password you entered is incorrect. I wouldn't feel right filling your young, impressionable mind with stories of moonlight jungle safaris and underwater boxing matches. Until next time, my friend. [Call ends]

    —If you wish to reach Diablo's Cantina, press 0.

         And by the way, if you go to Diablo's and see a one-eyed bush pilot named Crusher sitting at the bar, tell him that quilting club has been cancelled this week. [Call is redirected to Diablo's]

    —If you want to speak to me directly, press 1.

         Say what you have to say, then press 1. [Caller makes statement, presses 1]

         Anything else you want to get off your chest? Go ahead. Then press 1. [Caller makes statement, presses 1]

         Hmmmm … interesting. I hear that you, like me, are a person of actions rather than words. Our chit-chat would be a waste of valuable time. Instead, allow me to respond by karate chopping a stack of cinderblocks. If this goes awry, we may get disconnected. [Sound of cinderblocks being broken, then caller is returned to the main menu]

    —If you are calling for advice, please press 2.

         If you need advice about a woman, please press 1.

              Please state the full name of the woman who is currently perplexing you, then press 1. [Caller states name, presses 1]

              [Man chuckles] Ahhh … that name takes me back. Talk about a …  firecracker. My advice: Go ahead and ride the wave, but hold on tight. [Man chuckles]. Are there any other women you would like advice about? If so, say their name and press 1. [Caller states name, presses 1]

              Hmmmm. Yes, this name is also familiar. We met tracking a herd of red stags across the Nicaraguan countryside some years back. We wined, we dined. I won't bore you with the details, but lets just say, keep an eye on her, my friend. [Call ends]

         If you are calling from an out-of-control blimp and need emergency landing advice, please press 2.

              Now, I could tell you how you to land the blimp. But if you figure it out yourself, you'll feel a much greater sense of accomplishment. All I'll say is: Relax and be yourself. You'd be surprised how much out-of-control blimps respond to confidence. Now, hang up and take the controls. [Call ends]

         If you can't find your wallet, press 3.

              You left it in the silverware drawer at home. [Return to main menu]

    —If you are calling about a bachelorette party, please press 3.

         I do not perform at bachelorette parties. If you wish me to reconsider, press 1.

              The answer is still no. [Return to main menu]

    —If you are calling about renting the otter that I have trained to play blackjack, press 4.

              Sorry, but having mastered the game of blackjack with considerable ease, the otter is now off trying his luck on the world poker tour. Assuming he doesn't go bust, I expect his return by year's end. [Return to main menu]

    —For my easy, low-fat blueberry muffin recipe, please press 5.

         That was a test. You have failed. Please try again. [Return to main menu]

    —Whatever you do, I urge you, do not press 6. [Caller presses 6]

         Under no circumstances should you press 6 again. You are toying with forces you do not fully understand. [Caller presses 6]

              Congratulations my friend. Your daring and bravado will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. However, I was not joking. Pressing the number 6 sets in motion a super collider, accelerating protons to near the speed of light, and smashing them into each other. Suffice it to say, there are probably going to be a few scientists that need my help. Next time, please, trust me. [Call ends]

    —To hear some on-hold music, please press 7.

         Very well. [Away from the mic] Javier, Ramon—show this caller some real on-hold music. [We hear the clatter of instruments, then a band playing an extended set of salsa music, as if the Most Interesting Man has a live band just waiting to play on-hold music.] [Return to main menu]

    —If you are one of the several people who left their bathing suits at my home during my recent Lunar New Year barbecue, please press 8.

         Not to worry. I have given your suit to my regular courier. We have triangulated your position, and your suit is on its way to you. Excuse me Javier, aye yay yay. Ah, oh dear, I'm so sorry. The pigeon with your bathing suit … It just got a role in an upcoming spy move … quit his job and few off to L.A. with your trunks. I'm so sorry. [Return to main menu]

    —If you are a woman who has not heard from me in a while, press 9.

         First of all, my apologies, señorita. I never meant to hurt you. Our time together was brief, but it was sweeter than the honey of a high-fructose Indonesian sugar bee. Remember the rush of cage diving with great whites? [Man chuckles] That was, in my estimation, at least the third most exhilarating thing we did underwater that day. Anyway, I think the time has come for us to part ways. It's not you, it's me. Right now, I need some space in order to train for the one-armed rowing championships. I hope you understand. If hearing this message again would comfort you, please don't hesitate to press 1. [pressing 1 replays the message]

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  • 11/09/12--06:59: Ad of the Day: John Lewis
  • The holiday season in Britain doesn't really start until department-store retailer John Lewis releases its Christmas ad. Today, it did just that—adding another chapter in a long list of sentimental favorites.

    This year's spot, from adam&eveDDB, is pure fantasy, starring a countryside snowman who will travel to the ends of the earth—or at least, to London—to show the depths of his love for his snowwoman. And by love, we mean buying her some expensive and pretty-looking stuff. Set to an ethereal version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power of Love," sung here by Gabrielle Aplin, the commercial doesn't skimp on the treacly tugging of heartstrings. The snowman, who is somehow ambulatory and can also change his facial expressions at will, encounters all sorts of obstacles on his quest, from rivers to mountains to the frightening bustle of the city. But he's undaunted, and returns to bequeath his beloved with the most romantically sensible gift he can find—a good set of hat, scarf and mittens.

    The commercial is actually quite a departure for the retailer, whose renowned Christmas spots—typically set to an interesting cover verson of a well-known song—are almost always rooted in reality, telling slice-of-life tales about human love and the joy of giving. Last year's spot was particularly successful, with a great story and a nice little twist at the end. By comparison, this year's entry feels a little flat—with emotions that come off as cool and constructed as the snowmen themselves. As these spots always are, this one is nicely shot and composed, yet it can't escape feeling generic—an overly simplified fable that fails to match the more nuanced and touching work from years past.

    Everyone in Britain wants a truly great John Lewis ad for Christmas. Unfortunately, this time, they'll have to wait until next year at least.

    Client: John Lewis
    Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB, London
    Creatives: Frank Ginger, Shay Reading
    Executive Creative Directors: Ben Priest, Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp
    Production Company: Blink Productions
    Director: Dougal Wilson
    Editorial: Final Cut
    Editor: Joe Guest

    See the John Lewis spots from past Christmases below:

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    Barton F. Graf 9000's latest spots for Little Caesars are so splendidly, self-consciously stupid, I want to punch myself in the face and watch them all day long. Check out the kid in "Mime." He's a mime on the right side, a regular kid on the left. He's a half-mime, and he talks using only half of his mouth. Awesome! It's such a kooky concept and so perfectly executed, it makes me hate mimes only half as much as I used to. "Stargazing" (posted after the jump) features a father and son scanning the heavens with a telescope when Junior gets a hankering for some pie. The kid spies an impossibly cheesy man-in-the moon—the dude looks like a puffy golf ball—who nods knowingly in the firmament and proclaims that it's "Pizza tiiime!" Ol' crater face delivers the line in such a moronically memorable, sing-song fashion, I'll be mimicking his delivery whenever possible. "Hey, co-workers, it's … weekly meeting tiiime!""Hey, wife, it's … marriage-counseling tiiime!" The ads tout the chain's Hot-N-Ready service (no need to call ahead, so it's mime-friendly), and I will never, ever get tired of them. Pizza tiiime! Huh. You know what, I'm sick of this stuff already.

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  • 11/11/12--21:01: First Mover: Nancy Tellem

  • Specs
    New gig President, entertainment and digital media, Microsoft
    Old gig President, CBS Entertainment Group

    Tell me about the new gig.
    After the number of years I’ve been in traditional media, this really allows me to explore the next iteration of television. We’re dealing with a console that has 70 million connected boxes globally. Xbox is really something in the living room that nobody else has. People assume that Xbox is really focused on gamers, when you have all the different social aspects of Xbox Live.

    What’s different about producing video for consoles?
    We’re setting a strategy overall when you’re looking at the videos, not just of producing for the console itself, but of partnering with others. We’d talked for many years about multiplatform development. You have the SmartGlass technology, which allows you to sync with cell phones and tablets for a second-screen opportunity.

    I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about second-screen lately. What do you want to do with it?
    A perfect example is Game of Thrones, where they have cast information, maps, additional narrative that they couldn’t deal with or address in the time allotted for the narrative itself. It can go in so many different directions. From a sports standpoint, as my kids are watching a game, they’re doing fantasy football and tweeting. There are so many aspects to watching content.

    Speaking of technology, why isn’t there more immediate return on all the investment that’s been made in 3-D gaming?
    Right now it’s a little bit cumbersome with glasses, but as you get toward seeing 3-D without having to have special glasses, and with easier monitors, I don’t think it’s going away. I just think everyone jumped into it very quickly.

    You were involved in the creation of The CW, right?
    During my time at WB, we merged with UPN and created The CW. I was strategically involved with that. The way the audience was consuming content was changing—the importance of CW.com as a choice; the importance of the DVR and the audience seeing what they wanted to see when they wanted to see it; and then seeing how the 18-34 generation was interacting with content.

    That brings us pretty neatly back to the Xbox. What are some of the hallmarks of that next generation?
    When you look at the types of series that are being produced, we are really at an exciting time with the talent involved in television. I hear that a lot from the writers and producers—now they can have a direct relationship with the consumer. Particularly with the real-time response to the content and all the avenues to make it.

    I know a lot of writers love the opportunity to explore a show’s mythos, rather than just having an A plot and a B plot.
    Once you kind of embrace the power of it, it enhances their task in some respects. Feedback used to be a thing where you’d put a series up, look at the ratings and figure out when they tuned out and when they didn’t. But now everyone has a tweeted opinion and a response on Facebook. It’s very much like the evolution of the casual game.

    Are you guys interested in other avenues for distribution? DVDs and so forth?
    As far as the type of programming we’re trying to produce, whether you’re looking at series, reality, whatever, the ease in which you access the content is extraordinarily important. You can pull whatever you need from the cloud. It’s more about the audience and the consumers taking control over the form. Before, the network was telling you what to watch and when to watch it. This shift really changes the way you pursue content creators. 

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  • 11/11/12--21:02: The True Believers
  • Craig Shapiro became a Silicon Valley man of means in the last half decade investing early in successful startups like Facebook and Mob.ly. As tech excitement and investor dollars shifted East, he decamped to New York City in early 2011. After hunting down a Manhattan apartment in the East Village, he launched a seed pool for startups called Collaborative Fund while getting to know digital Gotham.

    Through a community work space in Brooklyn’s tech boomtown in the Dumbo neighborhood, he soon met Cameron Koczon, founder of Brooklyn Beta, which hosts three-day conferences featuring DIY-minded speeches from founders of promising startups. The two entrepreneurially focused young men (Shapiro is 35; Koczon, 30) became fast friends, sharing a like-minded philosophy that startups can leverage personal values as competitive weapons in the marketplace. Their relationship helped spawn the Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp, which recently wrapped its first 12-week accelerator program. It’s the latest New York incubator for aspiring digital entrepreneurs, building off the momentum of local successes like Dogpatch Labs, which produced the hit music site Turntable.fm, and TechStars, which nurtured the 2012 home-relocation sensation Moveline.

    With Shapiro as a key adviser and conduit to venture capitalists, the camp is run by Koczon’s team at Fictive Kin, a small digital company that produces apps such as Gimme Bar and Teux Deux. With partners Chris Shiflett and Tyler Mincey, Koczon chose five startup teams from some 300 submissions, awarding each $25,000 in seed money from nine local tech-oriented sponsors.

    The Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp can best be described as a program for tech entrepreneurs crossed with angel investors searching for the next big thing. The teams in the inaugural session varied greatly, ranging from a practical B2B marketplace for fashion manufacturing called Maker’s Row to a video-making mobile app/website dubbed Sticker FM. Through the 12 weeks, they would venture into Manhattan, Queens and various Brooklyn neighborhoods for evening meetings to critique each other’s work. The end goal: two days of demos before an audience of New York’s biggest tech players. Their mission would be to collect the handshakes, business cards and requests for meetings with VC players to obtain funding to keep going after burning through the $25,000 in seed money.

    Would any of the campers stand a chance at becoming the next New York tech darling, like Foursquare, Fab or Etsy? The program was supposed to end on an evening with each group making a final pitch to a crowd of potential investors. But just as each of the teams evolved over 12 weeks, the camp itself pivoted. Ever lurking in the background, plotting the final twist is Shapiro, propelled by the feeling that the startup bubble will soon lose air, if not burst. “It’s made for a lot of excitement, but it hasn’t created a lot of sustainable businesses,” he says, echoing a growing consensus. “In 2013, the pendulum will be moving back toward the middle after a period of overexuberance.”

    In other words, the time is now. The rush was on to a conclusion no one expected.

    Weeks 1 and 2
    Putting Ink to Paper

    The five teams—each with three members—met a week earlier for a casual, meet-and-greet dinner. On July 18, they’re getting down to brass tacks, congregating in Long Island City at a corner bar called La Familia. In the bar’s back room, they sit on cushioned benches arranged camp-style in an imperfect circle and consume sandwiches, beer and wine. Gruff-voiced and thickly bearded Ivy Leaguer Koczon sips a whiskey and soda as he holds court, immediately establishing himself as the group’s head coach.

    A self-described “Airbnb hobo,” Koczon regularly visits cities around the U.S. and Canada for entrepreneurial brainstorming retreats and hackathons. Though probably more a Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker type than John Wooden, he fits right in with these tech types. During one camper’s overly hurried presentation, Koczon comments, “I felt like you were racing ahead of me, and I am out of shape and have bad knees.”

    In the first order of business, all five groups are asked to sign the Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp contract, which takes a 6 percent stake in return for the $25,000 investment. (Other financial details were not disclosed.) In the dimly lit back room, the 15 entrepreneurs put ink to paper. Along with Maker’s Row and Sticker FM, the teams introduce themselves. Calzone is a social calendar mobile/Web app, Skillcrush is a Web destination enabling digital-code novices to build websites, plus there’s a yet-unnamed mobile app for fans of farmers markets. “We have some name ideas, but we want to be patient and make sure we pick the right brand,” says John Ford, one of the app’s developers.

    After the introductions, Koczon shifts the discussion to digital creativity. “Let’s use collective wisdom,” he says, encouraging the teams to embrace “a ‘slash-purpose’ mentality,” a code-referencing credo meaning Web products that inspire users and beget business. “We have some really smart people,” he goes on. “We can help each other iterate and change our products for the better.”

    Tech startups tend to work within a culture based on change. All the campers have either launched other startups or left promising careers to become entrepreneurs. Fashion-minded Maker’s Row was born after Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez suddenly scrapped their e-commerce venture Brooklyn Bakery, filling out their team after meeting Scott Weiner through an online tech talent board. Targeting a fragmented fashion ecosystem, their concept aims to unify large manufacturers, small artisans, suppliers and retailers in one digital destination. “We were working so hard to get Brooklyn Bakery off the ground,” Burnett says. “And then Tanya comes to me and says, ‘Hey, this is a huge problem that we can tackle.’ So we pivoted.” But would their new plan stick?

    Closing the Long Island City meeting, Koczon cheers them on. “We want five incredible products,” the San Diego native says. “Each one should be a hit. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.”

    Weeks 3 and 4
    Tweaking Prototypes

    On Aug. 1, the teams meet at Sticker FM’s warehouse space in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. The dog days of summer have arrived, and it’s muggy. “Want a beer?” Igal Nassima, 32, a Sticker FM co-founder originally from Turkey, asks campers gathering on the rooftop. “It’s co-o-old.”

    After a few drinks and some chitchat, the campers head downstairs to the bare-bones warehouse space for updates on their progress and pinpointing their next moves. The hosts go first, with Nassima and partners Paul Christophe, a Texan, and Avery Max, a native New Yorker, taking the stage. With Sticker FM, they explain, groups of friends create 10- or 20-second videos on their smartphones or computers to post message board-like threads but for mobile or Web.

    Several campers from other teams laud the playfulness of Sticker FM’s design, which lets users scroll from left to right while watching vids. “The videos will be fun vignettes between you and your friends,” Nassima explains. Yet his group needs to attack a basic problem that befuddles all the teams—ridding their products of glitches. “The prototype is done,” Nassima says, “but now we need to rebuild it in HTML5.”

    Next to present is Skillcrush, a three-woman team looking to teach Web newbies how to code their own sites. “We all come from the news industry where technology has become a disruptive factor,” says co-founder Jennifer McFadden, 40, who has worked in product marketing for The New York Times and is an adjunct journalism professor at the City University of New York. “And those people who have some technical understanding have had a much better chance of keeping their jobs over the last couple of years.”

    Like Sticker FM, Skillcrush hopes to progress from prototype to finished product during the three-month camp. During their presentation, partner Adda Birnir, 27, forecasts the venture’s next steps. “We are still trying to figure out things like if we’ll have price add-ons for certain education features,” she says. “There’s a million questions.”

    Week 6
    Campers Talk Tough Love

    On Aug. 15, everyone meets at Skillcrush’s West 27th Street headquarters in Manhattan. Another typical tech workspace, it’s an open room with six-foot-long track lighting. Out the window, the top of the Empire State Building glows green and yellow as dusk nears.

    During Maker’s Row’s 20-minute presentation, Burnett and Menendez describe how their online hub will unite fashionistas with designers, highlighting how their site makes it possible for both brands and consumers to design products like watches and handbags. They have also developed a directory for suppliers. After the show-and-tell, everyone in the room applauds. “A week ago, we got destroyed,” 27-year-old Burnett says afterward, explaining that the campers can be especially harsh in their design and developer criticism. “This felt good.”

    Next up is the team behind the still-nameless app for farmers market devotees. The group involves early thirtysomething brothers John and Glenn Ford, at the moment working in Wisconsin, where Glenn lives. “They are pushing out [mobile code],” says their partner Josh Stewart, 33, who demonstrates for the campers how the app is evolving into a photo-friendly, Instagram-like social tool for aficionados of fresh produce.

    Pretty pictures of blackberries and peaches appear in a mock-up of the app appearing on a drop-down projection screen. Stewart points to just-implemented interactive features, including users’ ability to “like” a picture. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. “Who goes on their phone to look at pictures of fruit?” asks Ryder Ripps, a member of the three-man team Calzone. “That’s freaky.”

    Calzone is up next, presenting the latest iteration of their social calendar, according to Ripps, “that doesn’t suck.” A few weeks ago, the concept seemed all over the place. Now, it becomes clearer that Calzone can be useful for social networking through a so-called “smart” digital calendar. Camp coach Koczon says he thinks their project can be “like Tumblr for events,” adding, “You got a lot set up. What is this? Only Week 6? What you have left to do, that’s nothing.”

    Weeks 9 and 10
    Progress and Secret Chats

    It is now early September, and the teams are finishing product development and starting prep for their final demos with the first round to be held at the Brooklyn Beta conference in just three weeks. The groups are quickly evolving. For example, Calzone has changed its name to Webe.at, and Maker’s Row now has close to 1,000 directory listings. “The factories have been excited about it,” says Burnett—excited himself that they seem willing to pay to be included.

    Meanwhile, the budding entrepreneurs don’t know that Koczon is powwowing with Shapiro about upping the Collaborative Fund’s involvement. “I keep tabs on where they are with the camp,” Shapiro says, explaining that he wants Koczon to be the program’s lead voice. “I try to respect them and do not want too many cooks in the kitchen.”

    Shapiro wants to keep his presence at a minimum—for now at least.

    Week 12
    Prepping the Pitch

    The demo days are bearing down. “We are all in the death-by-1,000-paper-cuts phase,” says Skillcrush’s Birnir.

    Having put away the polos and shorts and now clad in long sleeves and pants, the campers ruminate on how to write and develop narratives for two-minute videos to be presented at the Brooklyn Beta conference one week from now. Skillcrush wonders if it should target its online service to women, to which Coach Koczon offers a blunt reality about how investors might view a female focus. “They are 28 to 30 guys that went to Ivy League schools, and they are perfectly nice people—it’s just that they are a really homogenous group that decides what goes to market,” he explains.

    The biggest news on this night is from the guys behind the farmers market app. Stewart and the Ford brothers have finally settled on a company name: Farmstand. The owner of Farmstandapp.com is willing to sell the URL for just 50 bucks, and the Twitter handle @farmstandapp is available for free. They’re so ecstatic that they gave the Seattle-based URL owner a 100 percent “tip” as they finalized the online transaction. “Getting the right brand name is the hardest part,” Stewart points out.

    Having arrived in New York, partner John Ford reads aloud the copy for his team’s demo, referring to “tomatoes in your local supermarket that are from hundreds of miles away and taste like cardboard” and using buzz phrases like “CSA” (community-supported agriculture). Fellow campers call out the Farmstand crew. “You don’t want to be negative and talk down to your audience,” says Shiflett, a camp co-leader. “You also want to relate a little bit to the mind-sets of people who maybe aren’t yet using farmers markets.”

    Demos, Oct. 10-13
    Brooklyn Beta

    It’s harvest time for the summer campers, and each group gets set to unveil its digital crops before a packed house of around 300 at the Brooklyn Beta conference. Their demos are not the main attraction at the three-day confab, featuring events ranging from a speech by Internet guru Seth Godin to a performance by indie singer-songwriter Ted Leo. Each day at 2 p.m., one or two of the summer camp groups will present as part of the mix.

    The showcase takes place at The Invisible Dog Art Center, located in a defunct belt factory. So it seems apropos that Maker’s Row goes first, with team members hopping on stage wearing branded T-shirts to explain how their website can help the garment industry. Their video features colorful footage from inside manufacturing operations, boasting how their site has already signed on 1,000 factories. The crowd applauds. Offstage, Burnett beams. “It’s been under wraps for so long that it feels really good to get it out to people,” he says.

    Skillcrush, Sticker and Farmstand are also rewarded with audience approval—and feelings of relief that the big moment has finally come and gone.

    The final presenter receives what is probably the greatest ovation. It’s the guys from the social calendar product, Webe.at, who present a fun video about “blowing up calendars” that ends with a space shuttle playfully bursting through their brand name. The pitch kills it for twentysomething founders Ripps, Jules Laplace and Jonathan Vingiano. Minutes later, an investor hands them his card and says he wants to talk.

    Weeks 13 and 14, Postscript
    A final surprise: The $50,000 pivot

    Ten days after Brooklyn Beta, the campers learn that a second scheduled day for demos has been cancelled. Some are relieved while others are surprised.

    Here’s what happened. Putting the five groups on stage one after the other for a big VC audition would have made for an entertaining show, Koczon explains, but it also would have been a disservice to the teams. So he opted for scheduling individual sitdowns, so the campers wouldn’t have to compete against one another for cash. The first demo day was primarily about the teams unveiling their products to the public. The second demo was to be only about raising funds.

    But Koczon’s thinking was evolving as his first incubator program wound down. “If you show them all off at once, if you are an investor, you couldn’t help evaluate all of them at once,” he figures. “I’d rather them get evaluated against everything that’s going on in New York City. All our products are great.”

    The campers, ultimately, cheer the move. Merely an adviser up to this point, Shapiro is now officially the camp’s principal investor. He liked what he saw so much that he anted up $50,000 for each group, enabling the teams to continue tweaking their products and go-to-market strategies for several more weeks without worrying about funding.

    “I knew early on that I was going to invest, though what the mechanics were going to look like were still being figured out,” he says. “And they also wanted to make it a big reveal later in the program. That way, the groups during the summer and early fall would stay hungry and clearly focused on the product.”

    So what are the startups doing with the cash? Generally, gearing up to compete like mad in the coming year.

    “It has already allowed us to hire extra people, which will get us to market faster with a better product,” says Kate McGee, 27, co-founder of Skillcrush. “The money wasn’t something we were expecting, so we are really excited.” 

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    Putting the wild in wild postings, Gyro's Denver office recently made clever use of outdoor faucets around town to promote the drag-themed theater show Drag Machine at the city's Off-Center theater. The play is about a group of drag queens who use a time machine to take the audience through a brief history of drag. The posters feature the actual cast members—though not, of course, the actual cast's members. Also, the faucets may not be anatomically correct. Two more posters below.

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  • 11/12/12--10:56: Ad of the Day: Apple
  • Anything you can do, I can do better—or at least as well. And I'll take up less room doing it.

    Apple released its second and third TV spots for the iPad mini on Sunday. Following the earlier dual-piano spot, the new ads show off the newer and more diminutive Apple tablet as an e-book reader and photo viewer—functions that might presumably feel like trouble points to anyone wondering if the smaller, 7.9-inch screen is limiting in any way.

    Not in these ads it isn't. "Photos" gets its point across quite literally through the music—"Two of a Kind" by Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer—as we see a regular iPad and an iPad mini sitting side by side. Through the course of the spot, the familiar disembodied hands load and manipulate photos on both tablets, linking the images together to form the kind of simple and delightful visuals for which Apple ads are well known. The second spot, "Books," likewise pairs a regular iPad and an iPad mini, this time both with e-bookshelves loaded up. The devices open pairs of books whose titles are in some way counterbalancing: The Sun Also Rises and The Valley of the Moon; East of Eden and How the West Was Won; Moby Dick and Gone Fishing. The message couldn't be simpler: The mini runs the same apps in the same way as the regular iPad, and looks just as great doing so.

    These spots are funny, though. Usually, comparison ads rate a product against a competitor's device, not against one from the same brand. Since we're more familiar with the former setup, subconsciously we tend to expect the Apple spots to tell us which product is better. But of course, they don't—the products are equally good, the ads say. (They leave it up to you to decide which fits your needs more effectively.) The effect of this lightly jarring realization is to reinforce the sense that there's something special about these machines—they're special enough, anyway, to be unexpected even in the advertising.

    And there's a simpler gut reaction, too. Comparing oneself to oneself is super arrogant, even solipsistic. And yet, in these spots, it works. Of course they leave out the competition. Through comparison demos of two of its own products, Apple leaves viewers with the lingering sense that the iPad is actually beyond compare.


    Spot: "Photos"
    Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
    Chief Creative Officer: Duncan Milner
    Executive Creative Director: Eric Grunbaum
    Creative Directors: Simon Cassels, Jon Lancaric
    Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Kevin Butler
    Art Director: Melinda Keough
    Executive Producer: Mike Refuerzo
    Agency Producers: Hank Zakroff, Mallory Gordon, Tessa Kocourek, Christina Villaflor
    Production Company: Green Dot Films
    Directors: Mark Coppos, Rebecca Baehler
    Director of Photography: Fernando Cardenas

    Editorial Company: Nomad Editing
    Editors: Eric Kissack, Jenny Mogen
    Postproduction Company: D-Train
    Lead Flame Artist: Ben Gibbs

    Spot: "Books"
    Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
    Chief Creative Officer: Duncan Milner
    Executive Creative Director: Eric Grunbaum
    Creative Directors: Simon Cassels, Jon Lancaric
    Art Director: Luke Martin
    Copywriter: Chris Trumbull
    Executive Producer: Mike Refuerzo
    Agency Producers: Hank Zakroff, Mallory Gordon, Tessa Kocourek, Christina Villaflor
    Production Company: Green Dot Films
    Directors: Mark Coppos, Rebecca Baehler
    Director of Photography: Fernando Cardenas

    Editorial Company: Nomad Editing
    Editor: Jenny Mogen
    Postproduction Company: D-Train
    Lead Flame Artist: Ben Gibbs

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    British supermarket chain Asda stirred up some controversy with its new TV spot in which a mom literally makes Christmas happen by herself. The company even apologized for it last week. Well, kind of apologized. While Asda did say it didn't mean to offend anyone, it immediately pointed to the "hundreds of positive comments" about the ad on its Facebook page, which is hardly an act of contrition. I wasn't too shaken by the ad, which has the same ratio of multitasking-supermom to slackjawed-clueless-dad as every ad I've ever seen in my life. But I'm almost happy people were offended. This sort of thing probably is sexist, both to women who don't want to be seen as domestic workhorses forever and to men who want a little credit for competent parenting.

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    It’s a statistical fact that, given the double-digit population growth of Latinos and Asians in the U.S., non-Hispanic whites will almost certainly become a minority population by 2050. And if that’s news to marketers at this late date, it shouldn’t be, says Teneshia Warner. As a consultant who has created diversity-oriented marketing campaigns for the likes of Hennessy, Procter & Gamble, KFC and Disney, Warner has much insight on marketing to the multicultural masses. In her new book, Profit With Purpose (Paramount Publishing), Warner argues that it’s time for a more sophisticated approach to the demographics of color. Stranded in a Florida hotel room as Superstorm Sandy lashed the East Coast last week, Warner spoke with Adweek.

    Adweek: Let’s face it: For many brands, “multicultural” marketing tends to be an afterthought.
    Yes, you’re right. Marketers before really have taken a simple approach—like translation or putting an African-American person in the commercial. But the diversity conversation is evolving, and it has to evolve so that marketers aren’t thinking about it from an obvious point of view.

    What are you suggesting?
    Marketing has to evolve into a cultural competency. Brands have to ask themselves, how do these consumers understand their cultural experience? How do they live? What do they value? The big thing is not looking at multicultural marketing as an add-on to the general strategy. It should be thought of within your general marketing.

    Can you point to any big brands that have really done that?
    When Disney was thinking about how to drive meaningful engagement with multicultural audiences, they developed the Disney Dream Academy. It selects 100 multicultural students from across the U.S.—students who’d probably fall through the cracks otherwise—and provided them with a three-day leadership program to help them align their goals and objectives with real-life experiences. For example, a student who wanted to be a designer got to work with Disney’s costume designers. That program was a perfect example of a brand that brings its purpose to life in a way that connects meaningfully with a multicultural audience.

    Much of the do-good marketing I’ve seen takes the form of a tax-deductible donation or a photo op. Progressivism is never going to replace the bottom line, right?
    What’ll have brands engaged more and more is when they realize the new consumer expectation is that companies profit in purposeful ways.

    Have you worked with a brand that’s profited, as you say, purposefully?
    The “My Black Is Beautiful” campaign within P&G got started by African-American women inside P&G who felt like there was a lack of positive images of themselves in mainstream media. The campaign resonated as authentic because it could be mapped back to the employees. Consumers said, “This brand really understands me.” That drives brand loyalty.

    How much of what you’re saying is driven by generational change and the kind of broader awareness that social media has given young people?
    A large part of it. We’re seeing the tanning of America. Younger consumers, many of whom are multicultural, have more tools to share their ideas, what they stand for and care about—and what they think of your brand. Marketers have to figure out ways to support what those consumers stand for and engage them in their communities. Every brand should challenge itself to have a one-on-one relation with each multicultural consumer. Today, that’s possible.

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    IDEA: Four ads—with talking turtles, worker ants, mythical dwarf-like creatures and reptilian humanoids—all packed into one 30-second ad? You're going to need some bubble wrap for that. Yet BBDO in Toronto delivers it all in one piece in its latest amusing spot for FedEx. The ad aims to raise awareness of FedEx offerings beyond its core strengths. "FedEx Canada is known as the gold standard in urgent and international shipping," said BBDO group account director Steve Groh. "We want people to be aware of the other stuff—freight, small business and less-than-urgent." The ad's first three scenes focus on those three areas, with the twist being that each segment, beginning with the second, opens with characters watching the previous scene—or "ad"—on TV. The spot wraps with a fourth scene in which two humans remark on all three ads and their "gimmicks" before revealing a gimmick of their own—as a flick of an alien tongue and swing of a dinosaur tail suggest these guys aren't human after all.

    COPYWRITING: The agency wrote a handful of scripts. "This was the most ambitious by far, the one that scared us the most, and the one the client loved the most," said executive creative director Peter Ignazi.

    The writers went back and forth on some of the creatures. But in all cases, they slyly reflect the services they're discussing—the turtles talk about non-urgent (i.e., slower) shipping; the ants want to haul freight; the dwarves are small-business men (in addition to being diminutive themselves). The writers had fun with the dialogue, too. "My favorite line is when the one turtle says to the other, 'Don't be so quick to judge,'" said Ignazi. "It's the little, subtle things we hope people will get. One of the ants is called Anthony. Anywhere we could inject a little humor, we did." The spot wraps with the FedEx logo and tagline, "Solutions that matter."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The Sons and Daughters directing team known as Peter Martin filmed the four scenes over two days in Toronto. The first scene was shot with animatronic turtles on a turtle-size set; the ant scene has CGI insects (from Aardman Animations) set against a human-size warehouse; the final two scenes are live action. There are lots of little visual jokes. "Tortoise beats hare!" reads a framed newspaper clipping in the turtles' office; the ants display a "Best Picnic Spots" map on the wall; and the dwarves have a circular door and medieval weaponry as decorations. "These ads get a lot of airplay and a lot of sharing online, so it's good to give people little things to see the next time," said Ignazi.

    TALENT: The first two scenes lean on voiceovers—as younger workers chat with their superiors about shipping options. "You have to play in stereotypes to communicate stuff this quickly," Ignazi said. "You have the gruff, older, seasoned guy who's been around for a while—an Ed Asner kind of guy for the turtle. And you have the newbie who needs to learn that FedEx is the answer to whatever the problem is." The voices are more blue-collar in the warehouse than in the office. The dwarves are normal-size actors in makeup and prosthetics who "had to look good in big ears and beards," said Ignazi. The humans in the final scene are "nondescript white-collar guys who roll up their sleeves and tape boxes," he added. "Nothing really special. Just great actors."

    SOUND: The sound is mostly ambient office noise, except for the dwarf scene, which has ethereal flute-like music playing. The major sound challenge was to match up the voiceovers to the animatronics and animation in the first two scenes.

    MEDIA: National TV and online.


    Client: FedEx
    Spot: "Gimmicks"
    Agency: BBDO Toronto
    ECDs: Peter Ignazi, Carlos Moreno.
    Copywriter: Sean Atkinson
    Art Director: Shawn James
    Agency Producers: Anna Tricinci, Dave Medlock
    Production Company: Sons & Daughters
    Director: Peter Martin
    DOP: Barry Parrell
    Production Designer: Noel McCarthy
    Executive Producer: Liane Thomas
    Producer: Jeff Darragh
    Editing: Posterboy Edit
    Editor: Brian Williams
    Asst. Editor: Steve MacGregor
    Editing Executive Producer: Michelle Lee
    Color: Alter Ego
    Colorist: Eric Whipp
    VP, Group Account Director: Steve Groh
    Account Supervisor: Jaya Gothi
    Account Executive: Christine Michalejko
    Animatronics: Legacy Effects
    CGI: Aardman Animations
    VFX: Ring of Fire
    Sound Design: Grayson Matthews
    Casting: Powerhouse

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    Starting Wednesday, a walking, talking, pants-less billboard named Mark McIntyre will begin hitchhiking mostly naked across Canada. He will make the journey from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Truro, Nova Scotia, to raise money and awareness for "below-the-waist" cancers, as well as money and awareness for underwear brand Stanfield's. It's an updated version of a stunt that Toronto agency John St. created for Stanfield's in 2010, when McIntyre, a testicular-cancer survivor, spent 25 days live-streaming video of himself hanging out at home in his underwear. That effort handily succeeded in its goal of collecting 50,000 Facebook likes (for the campaign site, not the brand itself) in exchange for a $50,000 donation from Stanfield's to the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as a lot of chuckling press coverage for the cause and the advertiser.

    This time, supporters can like Stanfield's Facebook page to see McIntyre's progress. There, they can also offer him rides, and vote to give him benevolent gifts like boots and sadistic challenges like swimming mostly naked in icy water. The weather forecast for Vancouver on Wednesday doesn't look great—misty and 40s, or pretty cold for no pants. If McIntyre makes it to Truro within 21 days, Stanfield's will donate $20,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society. He apparently gets to hold a sign that says "I'm doing this for charity," which seems kind of like cheating. It also makes sense, though, because without it, nobody in his or her right mind would pick up McIntyre at all. The campaign is called the "The Gitchhiker," because, for people who speak Canadian, "gitch" is apparently a common slang term for underwear. Also because people who work in advertising love puns at least as much but probably more than people who write headlines for the New York Post.

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    A year ago today, a 13-year-old boy uploaded a hilarious video of his cursing father chasing their dog Fenton—who himself was chasing a pack of deer—through London's Richmond Park. The man's incessant screams of "Jesus Christ!" became a meme, and the audio was soon grafted on to all sorts of other videos. Now, British telecom EE has jumped on the Fenton bandwagon. Its new spot has a pretty basic premise: that everything on YouTube looks stunning through the company's 4G network. To demonstrate this, they reshot the Fenton video (comically, they're calling it a "remastered" version) as a Hollywood blockbuster-style chase scene—with sweeping, panoramic vistas and a whole herd of animals joining the run, including an elephant, an ostrich, a unicorn and a dinosaur. (In fact, a Fenton Jurassic Park spoof was almost certainly the inspiration.) EE brand director Spencer McHugh tells Marketing Week: "As there is arguably no YouTube video more epic than 'Fenton,' we wanted to make it even more epic by creating our own remastered version—so it can be enjoyed on the go on superfast 4G, in all its epic glory." The spot was done by digital agency Poke and Passion Pictures.

    Via Unruly Media.

    The original video:

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  • 11/13/12--12:22: Ad of the Day: Red Bull
  • What is the correct way to drink a Red Bull?

    It's simple: First, get your celebrity skydiving buddy to jump out of a helicopter. He'll parachute down to a retired Marine base in Irvine, Calif. After landing, he'll jump on a pad that's rigged to trigger a complex and never-ending sequence of mechanical gadgets and non-mechanical humans—specifically, all of your other successful sports pals, performing a few totally whatever stunts like motocross backflips and stunt driving and jumping hurdles.

    Eventually, just when you might be getting a little tired just from watching it all unfold, a couple of mechanically rigged pickaxes will sort-of-but-not-really automatically break the solid block of ice in which you keep your Red Bull adrenaline juice chilly and fresh, so now you can crush that sweet can in one gulp to refuel, and now you're definitely not tired anymore, you are pumped up and ready to get into a helicopter and jump out, too, because you are hard-core like professionally hard-core snowboarder Pat Moore.

    At least, that's the way it's done in this new six-minute Red Bull video. The ad features a cavalcade of Red Bull extreme-sports endorsers linking up inside a Rube Goldberg machine that seems even more ridiculously elaborate than most Rube Goldberg machines, which are all the rage. It was created with the help of Adam Sadowsky of Synn Labs, a Los Angeles-based creative collective that saw some members split off to launch a competing venture earlier this year but has historically been responsible for other high-profile branded Rube Goldberg stunts like OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" video (funded in part by State Farm). The Red Bull production required some 100 workers over 17 days to set up, according to Gizmodo. Twenty-three NASA aeronautical engineers, mechanical engineers and former Disney engineers worked with Sadowsky and the athletes, per Fast Company. In addition to Moore, the video features the likes of cyclist Danny Macaskill, runner Lolo Jones and drifter Rhys Millen. The video's title, "Kluge," which Merriam-Webster defines as "a system … made up of poorly matching components," is decidedly apt.

    Long and clumsy as the contraption is, it's also plenty entertaining, and a nice addition to the brand's portfolio of sponsored content (which includes, of course, Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking freefall from the edge of space last month). Still, it loses some of its cool factor by virtue of not being single shot. Or, as one YouTube commenter said, "you could just open the fridge."

    That's kind of missing the point, though—as much as it's about Red Bull selling more soda, it's about Red Bull proving it's not just making advertising. It's helping pull off crazy stunts that are much cooler.

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    Wake up and marvel at the campy capering of a little night music from Rhett & Link.

    The comedy duo, best known for making awesomely bad local commercials, are back with this epic four-minute "spot the differences" video, with visual effects by Studio229, for SleepBetter.org—a sleep information and advice site created by pillow and bedding maker Carpenter Co.

    And frankly, the ad is the stuff dreams are made of.

    The outrageous action—featuring superbly silly songs by sandmen, tooth fairies, burglars and monsters hiding beneath a bed—takes place in four rooms of the Higgenbottom house as family members nod off. The video is a split screen—compare what happens on each side, and spot the discrepancies in sets, props and wardrobes for a chance to win $4,000 and client products.

    The monsters—in a single, tacky, four-legged costume shared by both Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal—steal the show: "We're gonna eat you like we ate your neighbor Nathan/He tasted like waffles, gummy bears and turkey bacon." The tooth-fairy number has some bite, too: "Whoopdee freakin' doo, look who lost a tooth today-yay!/You've done nothing, but you expect to be paid." The song is hypnotic, and may send people scurrying to buy it over at iTunes or Amazon.

    This beats the stuffing out of Louis Vuitton's spot-the-difference ad, which put me to sleep in no time. With Rhett & Link, you'll be up half the night hitting replay. The making-of clip is no snoozer, either.

    Video is best viewed in HD and full screen.

    Client: SleepBetter.org
    Conceptualized, Written, Directed, Produced and Performed by Rhett & Link
    Assistant Director: Michael Alan Hoy
    Director of Photography: Alexander Alexandrov
    Visual Effects and Post: Studio229
    Line Producer: Christian Nurse
    Production Design: Rachel Kondrath, Nick Nakahara
    Art Department: Rachel Gold, Keith Patterson, Chris Cook
    Wardrobe: Melis Kuris
    Wardrobe Assistant: Meagan Judkins
    Gaffer: Eric Bader
    Best Boy: Eric Clark
    Camera Assistant: Joel Gerlach
    Makeup: Hillary Lowe
    Production Assistants: Joe Bassa, Brandon Scullion
    Behind the Scenes: Jason Inman

    Left Monster, Sandman, Tooth Fairy, Assistant Sandman, Burglar: Link Neal
    Narrator, Right Monster, Tooth Fairy, Assistant Sandman, Burglar: Rhett McLaughlin
    Lacey: Olivia Allchin
    Tommy: Maximus Smith
    Grandpa: Danny White
    Mom: Deanna Smith
    Dad: Gavin Dunne, Amra Ricketts


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