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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    The latest baby-food ad to make the rounds isn't what you'd expect. No perfectly tidy nurseries or matching outfits for JCPenney portraits here. Plum Organics' #ParentingUnfiltered campaign is about real family life—messy, frustrating and somehow wonderful just the same.

    We see scenes familiar to any modern parent—pumping milk at work, crying over an iPad, a somber goodbye to a pet goldfish, late nights and tired eyes. It finishes with the copy, "If it feels like parenting isn't always perfect, you're doing it right."

    Refreshingly, it's neither mom- nor dad-focused (dad's not the caricatural buffoon, for example), and there are same-sex couples and people of color. Along with the spot comes a hashtag, a website and heavy Internet marketing, including partnerships with popular parent bloggers.

    It's Plum Organics' first national campaign, says Neil Grimmer, CEO and co-founder.

    "When we first launched seven years ago, our marketing strategy was super scrappy, focused solely on grassroots, word of mouth and PR. We're still that brand at heart," he tells AdFreak. "So as a concept, Parenting Unfiltered came very naturally to us. ... The baby industry has done a wonderful job of setting up an expectation that everything is beautiful and rosy and majestic, and then you actually get into your own life and it's messy and raw and not always pretty. Parenting Unfiltered is about not only acknowledging but celebrating the complicated reality that is parenting."

    This spot comes in the wake of Similac's wildly popular campaign addressing heated parenting topics, including the ever-volatile breastfeeding vs. formula and SAHM vs. working-mom wars. Both ads have minimal product inclusion. (Blink, and you'll miss the container of Plum Organics puffs on the kitchen counter.)

    "The campaign approach is very Plum in that it's really speaking to our fans at an emotional level. As a lifestyle brand, we don't feel it's necessary to lead with a product-first campaign strategy," says Grimmer. "The ultimate goal is to be thought of by our consumers as a trusted source and friend, so when they're in the baby-food aisle and it comes time to make that purchasing decision, Plum is that friendly face on the shelf."

    It's also reminiscent of Coke Argentina's beautiful ad highlighting the agony and ecstasy of early parenthood (toddler destruction throughout, yet unbridled joy when the starring couple find out they're expecting baby No. 2).

    It's a continuation of a slow but lovely trend of brands portraying the beautifully real parts of parenting.

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    If you're a cleaning brand, you'd better have your house in order—which means making your social media feeds as spotless as possible. French brand Spontex has done just that on Twitter, with a whole feed of white space.

    Actually, though, the brand somehow hid images in that white space, which you can discover by clicking on the tweets. (Try it on the embedded posts below.) A fun idea from ad agency Kids Love Jetlag in Paris.

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    Riding the viral success of numerous other evolution videos, a genre that started with "The Evolution of Dance," Breathless Resorts has scored a hit with "The Evolution of the Bikini"—an obvious crowd pleaser starring model and Vine star Amanda Cerny.

    Vine stars are the new it thing in branded tie-ins, but there's nothing new about scoring hits for your brand via hot girls in bikinis. The almost two-minute clip, by digital creative agency Forge Apollo, covers the bathing suit's evolution from the 1890s to 2015 while it slowly uncovers Cerny in a through-the-decades striptease.

    Her rack has already racked up 3 million views on YouTube and half a million more on Facebook. And as an extra bonus, you almost get to see Cerny topless. But the piece is more than pandering—it actually hits on the unique selling proposition of Breathless Resorts.

    You see, Breathless Resorts occupies an interesting space in the resort market. It is an all-adults escape that is intended to save your vacation from the tyranny of other people's children, while also saving those in monogamous relationships from the sort of talk they'd have to have before heading off to other adults-only places like Hedonism Resorts—designed for swingers.

    But that doesn't mean they still can't imagine the sort of naughty adult fun that might happen at a resort called Breathless whose the advertising involves a woman almost going topless. The vacation possibilities, like the ad, will be too titillating for many to ignore.

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    Zoom zoom, bitches!

    Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul contributes an awesome voiceover to "A Driver's Life," the first spot in Mazda North America's new "Driving Matters" campaign.

    Created by WPP's The Garage/Team Mazda and directed by RSA's Jake Scott, the initiative seeks to forge an emotional link between the Japanese nameplate's vehicles and the sheer joy of driving. That's hardly new ground for an automaker. And the minute-long commercial's rhyming narrative—which recalls car-related milestones in one guy's life—is far from cutting-edge. (Too bad they didn't try anagrams.)

    Still, it succeeds. Its low-gear sentimentality never gets mawkish, and Paul deserves much of the credit. His nuanced cadences elevate a story that starts at "16, wide eyes, driver's license took two tries" and moves through "First drive, fast livin'—hit the garage door … was forgiven" en route to "Mid-size, family cruising … a sing-along of her choosing."

    Paul gives the script an amazingly emotive read, his sometimes ragged inflections rising and falling in perfect harmony with the images on screen. Note the actor's soulful whisper on the romantic lines about "a passenger with green eyes," and his poised elation for a sporty red Miata that "reminds you of when you were you."

    Mazda's 15-year-old "Zoom Zoom" slogan—iconic for some, irritating for the rest of us—zips by at the very end.

    This initial ad in the new campaign (which follows the 2-year-old "Game Changers") has proven popular, with nearly 1 million YouTube views in five days. "It all comes down to the fact that driving matters to our customers, and it matters to us," says Russell Wager, vp of marketing at Mazda N.A.

    In Breaking Bad's epic finale, driving clearly mattered to Paul's Jesse Pinkman, though the violent but lovable crystal meth cooker wasn't flooring a Mazda at the time.

    Print work and credits below. Click to enlarge.

    Client: Mazda Motor of America
    Campaign: "Driving Matters"
    Spot: "A Driver's Life"

    Agency: The Garage/Team Mazda
    Chief Creative Officer: Harvey Marco
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Steve Morris
    Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Melissa Webber
    Copywriter: Erik Moe
    Director of Content Production: Tom Anderson
    Senior Producer: Chrissy Hamilton
    Group Account Director: Stephanie Kendrick
    Account Director: Dave Brown
    Planning Director: Ben Chung
    Business Affairs Director: Bart Kias

    Production Company: RSA
    Director: Jake Scott
    Director of Photography: Chris Soos
    Executive Producer: Tracie Norfleet
    Producer: David Mitchell

    Editing Company: Cut+Run
    Editor: Steve Gandolfi
    Assistant Editor: Sean Fazende
    Executive Producer: Carr Schilling
    Head of Production: Amburr Farls
    Managing Director: Michelle Eskin

    Animation, Visual Effects Production: Jogger
    Creative Director: David Parker
    Animation, End Tag: Golden
    Creative Director: Jake Banks

    Colorist: Siggy Ferstl @ Co3
    Finish: Jogger
    Audio Post: Eleven Sound
    Mixer: Scott Burns
    Music Company: Human    
    Sound Design: Eleven Sound
    Sound Designer: Scott Burns

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    The young Swiss-German directing duo of Kyra Buschor and Constantin Paeplow is famous for the hilarious "Rollin' Wild" videos—showing how tough life would be for animals if they were completely round. "If all animals became round overnight, would their daily life still run that smoothly?" the directors asked.

    The original "Rollin' Wild" video (comprising four short clips) got the loudest applause at the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase in Cannes last summer, and the directors have vowed to continue the series. And now, they're doing so for brands.

    Three new short films show spherical ducks, robins and a hedgehog navigating the world poorly in ads by adam&eveDDB for Genius Foods in the U.K., whose bread apparently won't make you feel bloated. They're pretty funny—and part of an integrated campaign that brings the visual style to all platforms.

    The concept could work for plenty of brands. Hopefully the Imodium people are watching.

    Via The Inspiration Room.

    And here's the original "Rollin' Wild" video:

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    Vodafone New Zealand is out with a heartwarming ad that tells the story of a mailman who finds and befriends a lost pig, then goes on a mission to reunite it with its owner.

    It's a path fraught with people who don't know anything, except that pigs taste pretty good (truth). Eventually, thanks to Vodafone's mobile network, the pig's knight gallant is able to track down its home—though the story doesn't end there.

    The mailman's escape might not be very smart, because doesn't the woman already have his name and number, and all the necessary info to brand him a pig thief?

    But ethics aside, the subtitled and punctuated oinks are pretty great, and Piggy Sue the Vodafone pig is definitely way less annoying than her American cousin Maxwell the Geico pig, even if she doesn't actually have a Buddy Holly soundtrack.

    Client: Vodafone
    Creative Agency: FCB New Zealand
    Executive Creative Director: Regan Grafton
    Group Account Director: Karla Fisher
    Head of Content Production: Pip Mayne
    Planning Director: Simon Bird
    Account Director: Dave Munn
    Public Relations: Angela Spain
    Public Relations Director: Joanna James
    Producer: Amanda Langkilde
    Regional Creative Director: James Mok
    Senior Art Director: Freddie Coltart
    Senior Copywriter: Matt Williams
    Senior Planner: Hilary Dobson
    Recording: Hammond Peak
    Producer: Pen Cooper & Sarah Yetton
    Music Production: Liquid Studios
    Composer: Peter van der Fluit
    Sound Production: The Coopers
    Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper
    Online Editor: Nigel Mortimer
    Editor: Bernard Garry
    Postproduction House: Blockhead
    Colorist: Ben Eagleton
    Production Company: Revolver
    Production Designer: Margot Wilson
    Managing Director: Michael Ritchie
    Executive Producers: Michael Ritchie, Pip Smart
    Director of Photography: Nicolas Karakatsanis
    Director: Steve Rogers

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    Retargeted banner ads are the sledgehammer of the Web, bashing you again and again with the same random product you looked at once, whether you like it or not.

    But 3M figured it could use the retargeted banner's weakness as a strength. If the same banner comes up again and again, the company figured, why not make it a Post-it note where you could jot down info that might be useful later—when the ad pops up again?

    Proximity Russia did just that in a recent campaign. Check out the case study below. It seems like ad-blocking software, but it's not. 3M simply used retargeting technology and gave it an interactive spin.

    The agency collaborated with several banner networks to get the Post-its on top websites in Russia. Clicking on the banners led you to a Post-it page, where you could create more stickers, edit or delete them all.

    Client: 3M
    Marketing Supervisor: Sergey Smolentsev
    Marketing Coordinator: Yulia Smirnova
    Agency: Proximity Russia
    Creative Director: Andrew Kontra
    Senior Copywriters: Polina Zabrodskaya, Anna Migaleva
    Senior Art Director: Fernando Muto
    Business Development Director: Mikhail Vdovin
    Digital Director: Alexander Makarovsky
    Senior Account Manager: Polina Zvereva
    Digital Production House: Indee Interactive
    Producer: Alexey Zinchenko
    UI Designer: Egor Bernikov
    Coders: Arina Vernidub, Andrey Zakurdaev, Oleg Nikanorov

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    If you're a word freak, you got a kick out of new spots for Scrabble and GE this week, along with a Mazda commercial that was all about the voiceover. Vodafone delivered an adorable animal spot. And Plum Organics rounded things out with another honest ad about parenting. See all the ads below, and vote for your favorite.

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    Putting a hot dog and potato chips on your cheeseburger is the ultimate expression of American-ness, according to Carl's Jr. So, this 72andSunny ad for that monstrosity—an official menu item called the Most American Thickburger—celebrates that patriotism to a ridiculous degree. And Samantha Hoopes in a stars-and-stripes bikini is just the beginning.

    People are making fun of this particular cheeseburger, of course. Check out Jimmy Kimmel's takedown below, in which he imagines the craziest item on the Carl's Jr. menu—and introduces a memorable new tagline for the place.

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    How can marketers with modest budgets—local home renovators and heating-system installers, for example—create "epic" advertising without going broke? Brazilian agency AlmapBBDO suggests tapping into the royalty-free video and image library of iStock by Getty Images. And it offers three amusing and effective spots to illustrate its point.

    Almost everything about the mock ads below—for faux clients Lewis & Sons Heating Installations, Miracle Mike Contractors and Cosmo Cable and Satellite Services—is loathsome, from the cheesy, throbbing music cues to cheap-jack logos and annoyingly pulsating phone numbers.

    In each case, however, the iStock visuals—of a tornado destroying a house, a snow-capped mountain range and a satellite orbiting the earth—are, well, epic.

    "Creativity and visual accomplishment doesn't have to come with a heavy price tag," notes Andy Saunders, svp of content at Getty. Saunders says the campaign is designed to communicate the "quality, diversity and strength" of imagery available to advertisers at affordable prices through iStock.

    Indeed, the images are so compelling, it may take a few beats before the commercials' less-impressive aspects—and the fact that they are parodies—even register. (Though the absence of breathless testimonials from client CEOs is a dead giveaway.)

    Getty's stock has risen with AlmapBBDO before, notably in "85 Seconds" (which used 105 archived clips to tell a decades-spanning love story) and "From Love to Bingo" (conveying the saga of a single life using disparate 873 stills). Also, for Getty's 20th birthday, agency and client showed famous faces aging through the years to demonstrate that great visuals are timeless.

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    In response to the mundane ease of modern travel, Hendrick's Gin has developed the world's only flying cucumber—a 130-foot dirigible that clips along at the civilized speed of 35 mph, just slow enough not to blow off your steampunk hat.

    They are whipping out their big cucumber in 13 cities across the nation and giving a very small number of lucky gin lovers a brief yet glorious ride on the airship. They will be in New York on June 14, just in time to coincide with England's National Cucumber Day.

    If you are wondering why a cucumber, Hendrick's Gin is flavored with both cucumber and rose—you know, a phallic symbol and a yonic symbol infused into one gin (it would be a lot harder to make a rose-shaped airship). And if you're wondering why anyone in their right mind would build a blimp, you simply have to look to the history of gin itself.

    Though the brand was created in 1999, Hendrick's is sold in an old-fashioned apothecary bottle, and the visual essence of the brand seems quite nostalgic for the time when gin was the most popular drink in England, consumed at a rate of two pints per Londoner per week—you know, right before it was blamed as one of the main causes of crime and became strictly regulated with the Gin Act of 1751. But oh, to go back to the gay times of the gin craze! Back to 1785 and the first crossing of the English Channel by hand-propelled balloon.

    So, sign up for this very limited engagement and what will probably be your only chance to sip "dirigible-inspired" cocktails in an actual dirigible.

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    Jason Sperling's new book, Look At Me When I'm Talking To You, gives brands new rules for fostering loyalty with consumers in an attention-scarce world. And the RPA executive creative director leads by example with a unique media plan for its release.

    Beginning June 25, Sperling will publish the book on Instagram—one illustrated page a day for 160 days at @lookatmebook. As a sneak peek, there are already some excepts posted. The idea is to reach people where they already consume media, rather than force them into a different pattern of behavior—a key point of the book as well.


    - "Look at Me When I'm Talking to You" examines the obstacles that collectively threaten our industry's future and offers up new rules for getting attention in an attention scarce world, inspiring care amidst consumer apathy, and fostering loyalty from an increasingly discerning and departing audience. It offers proven strategies for connecting with today's fickle, fleeing, over-stimulated audience. It has 20% more humor than most marketing books, and 100% more pictures. ---------- It's getting harder for books to break through, as well. So in the spirit of disrupting prescribed models and in the hopes of being my best example, Look At Me When I'm Talking to You is going to be the first-ever book released on Instagram. Yes, INSTAGRAM. The home of selfiers and humblebraggarts will now become a home of authors, too. It will unspool page-by-page for the next several months, with a bite-sized portion every day. And because it's being released on social media, it will be a "collaborative" book, combining my thoughts, your comments and consumer perspectives. ---------- Look At Me When I'm Talking to You will launch on June 25th. Read it daily by following @lookatmebook.

    A video posted by by Jason Sperling (@lookatmebook) on

    Sperling joined RPA in 2010 from Media Arts Lab, where he creatively led Apple's worldwide "Get a Mac" campaign. He has also worked on brands including Honda, Pixar, ESPN and Suzuki. We spoke with him about the book, the Instagram idea and more.

    What inspired you to write a book in the first place, and how long have you been working on it?
    I hate that I'm in a career where most people avoid and detest the bulk of what we create. I want to be proud of what I do and what I make, and of my industry as a whole. So I guess this book is manifestation of that frustration, with some practical tools to help people make things that transcend the usual, expected fare.

    The inspiration for the book's idea comes from being immersed in this "mess of opportunity" every day, as well as from watching the way the industry change so drastically since I first got into advertising. It comes from the day-to-day trials and frustrations of trying to create content and social objects that people will willingly engage with. And it comes from the constant strategizing of how to stand out, stand apart and increase our chances of success.

    In 2014, I was scheduled to do a presentation at the Creative Conference in Mexico City. It was canceled, but I was left with a presentation I didn't want to see go to waste. So I stole moments over the next year writing it, sometimes in the passenger seat on a family road trip or in the bleachers during a kid's baseball game (don't judge me). And as you might expect, I would read through it every so often, think it was complete shit, put it down and then pick it back up a few weeks later and keep going.

    So many marketing books are dismal. Why is this one different?
    I feel the same way! They're usually so "Well, duh, of course" and filled with lots of catchphrases that are basically the same thing we've heard a dozen times before. Or they're filled with philosophy or generalizations that make for a great read but there's nothing to glean.

    I hope what makes this book better is the awareness of what makes most marketing books so bad. I wanted this to be fun to read, and be more conversational, but still be insightful. And why can't there be a marketing book with pictures?!

    It was also important to me that this be written with a creative bent, but for the subject matter to be broader than just a creative person's perspective of the business. I wanted to take into account all sides of the industry—media and technology included—to fully explain the forces re-shaping our industry.

    Lastly, I wanted this to be a marketing book that practices what it preaches. It's easy to launch philosophy salvos on blogs and in regular books, talking about what works and what doesn't. But when has a book actually demonstrated the things it was suggesting?


    - Some things about me: ---------- I'm an habitual over-sharer. ---------- I wet my bed until the age of 11. ---------- My go-to karaoke song is "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield. ---------- I love brilliant ideas, brave work and being the underdog. ---------- When I was a student at UCLA, I called about a job listing for marketing and selling condoms. It turns out it was for a different employer and they happened to be looking for a creative intern. The rest is history. ---------- I was fortunate to spend years working on a brand like Apple, and then doubly fortunate to help bring Apple's "Mac vs. PC" television and digital campaign to life (FYI, there are 230 more Mac vs PC ads that never made it to air.) It was declared Campaign of the Decade by Adweek and Top 10 of the Century by AdAge. ---------- Currently, I serve as Executive Creative Director at RPA Advertising, working primarily on Honda North America. In the few years I've been here I've recreated my favorite movie, Ferris Buehler's Day Off, for the Super Bowl, developed a massive digital campaign to help save the American drive-in movie theater, and worked on too many social media campaigns to mention. Fortunately, Forbes took notice of them in December 2014 and said, "Honda has become one of the most prolific and effective social media practitioners in the auto industry." ----------- I call Los Angeles home. I have a beautiful wife, three amazing kids and two mutts. ---------- Thank you RPA Advertising for supporting the launch, and Bill Westbrook and Marsha Rybin for the necessary kick in the pants. And of course thanks to Nik Piscitello for the brilliant illustrations. ---------- Twitter: jasonsperling_

    A video posted by by Jason Sperling (@lookatmebook) on

    What are the big themes of the book?

    It talks about how consumer disenchantment has turned into disengagement, and suggests ways to build brand attraction in an age of brand aversion. It factors in the democratization of creativity, the proliferation of media channels, social media and mobile technology, and suggests ways for creating attention in an attention-scarce world and care in the midst of consumer apathy. And I share a story about selling my dad's dirty magazines door-to-door. That's not so much a theme of the book as it is a theme of my life.

    You talk about new rules for attraction in the world of advertising and branding. What are some of those rules, and who's doing it well?
    One of the rules is to "Serpentine, serpentine" (borrowing from a scene in the comedy film The In-Laws). I think we're in a world now where people expect marketing to be predictable, pushy and manipulative. They're looking to shoot it down the moment they're exposed to it. They want to hate it. They want to avoid it. To get around this gauntlet of cynicism and the reflexive need to turn us off, we need to always be moving in unexpected ways—through the content we create, the canvases we use in unintended ways, or with the context in which our work is seen.

    I think the Honda Type R experience was a great example of serpentining consumer expectations: an unexpected twist on a familiar consumer experience, and simple yet impactful interactivity that allowed people to toggle between two really engaging, overlapping story lines.

    There are also rules for what not to do in the book. One rule is, "No quickies." The possibility of hitting the content lottery and creating something that goes viral is a powerful aphrodisiac. But in today's fragmented media world, where every little bit of brand equity counts, we need to build deeper connections, establish brand loyalty and maintain continuity of message across everything we create. It's not an anti-awesome-work idea, it's just saying the work needs to be smarter and more strategic than ever. In the case of Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial, it made for a funny spot, but it did nothing to position Kmart away from its competitors or engender brand loyalty with consumers. Sales were going down before it came out, and continued to go down after.

    You're releasing the book page by page on Instagram. Where did that fanciful idea come from, and do you realize you won't make a lot of money that way?
    I never assumed a niche marketing book would earn me a Scrooge McDuck money pool. It was more of an itch I needed to scratch. And it was more important to me that people read it than it was to write it and have it sit on sub-page 17 of an e-book store.

    The Instagram idea was a reactionary thing. I gave the book to several people to read, and after several weeks, no one, not one person, had started to read it. Could be I have crappy friends, but I actually think it was the big, imposing stack of papers filled with heady thoughts that impeded them. That led to the "a-ha" insight/connection that these days people are ingesting content in small, mobile-sized chunks. So, why can't a book be built that way? And since a good portion of the book is dedicated to breaking through and connecting with people in unexpected ways, it would be great for the book itself to exemplify the thinking.

    How has your particular career path informed the way you see the challenges facing brands today?
    Not sure my particular career path informed my viewpoints. Everyone in advertising faces the same thing, no matter where they've been. It's diabolically tough today with technology and consumer mind-sets being what they are, and the media and content explosion is making it harder for brands to get seen and break through. And then knowing that the increasing rate of innovation will cause even more flux … it makes the head spin. But it makes the wheels spin, too. And it demands smarter, more unexpected solutions. If you happen to marry a smart agency with an extremely savvy client (I like to think I found that match), then you're in good shape.

    Will your next book be published on Snapchat?

    Book: Look at Me When I'm Talking to You
    Author: Jason Sperling
    Illustrator: Nik Piscitello
    Animation: Cameron Sperling
    Sr. Editor: Wendy Sandoval
    Pre-launch: begins 6/1/2014
    Book launch: 6/25/2015

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    You can't keep a good King down.

    Burger King's creepy, plastic-faced King character, who was sidelined from TV ads four years ago, will return Monday night in prime time in a 15-second commercial for a Chicken Nuggets deal—his first appearance in a BK spot since February 2011.

    The ad, created by Pitch Inc., isn't much to look at creatively. But it affirms BK's commitment to the character even after his long absence from TV.

    "The King has been breaking status quo for decades and has earned his space in pop culture. He conveys the confident and bold spirit of the Burger King brand, which you can see comes to life in everything we do," BK CMO Eric Hirschhorn tells AdFreak.

    The King hasn't been totally AWOL. He did, oddly enough, walk in with Floyd Mayweather and his entourage at last month's big boxing match against Manny Pacquiao. That appearance cost BK a cool $1 million, Fortune reported, though it didn't go over well with domestic violence advocates who oppose any deals with Mayweather, given his history with women.

    Client: Burger King
    Agency: Pitch, Inc.
    Chief Creative Officer: Xanthe Wells
    Exec Design Director/Creative Director: Helena Skonieczny
    ACD/Copywriter: Heather Parke
    ACD/Art Director:  Kimberly Linn
    Account Director: Audrey Jersin
    Account Executive: Christina Gocoglu
    Director of Broadcast: Julie Salik
    Production Coordinator:  Ivana Banh
    CFO/COO: Pej Sabat
    Chief Strategy Officer: Sara Bamossy
    Jr. Strategist: Lexi Whalen
    President: Rachel Spiegelman
    Editorial Company: Bicep Productions
    Editor: Nate Connella
    Asst. Editor: Gary Burns
    Editorial Producer: Esther Gonzalez
    Animation & VFX:  Terry Politis
    Color:  Bob Festa, Company 3
    Audio Post Company: Bicep Productions
    Engineer: Luis Rosario
    Production Company: Woodshop
    Director: Trevor Shepard
    Executive Producer:  Sam Swisher
    Producer: Ursula Camack
    Director of Photography:  Tom Lazaravich
    Music:  Motive Music Sound
    Composer:  Jeremy Adelman
    Producer:  Samanta Balassa

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    Costa Rican drivers are getting an eyeful when they pass this billboard for Republica Parrillera Pilsner beer. Looking at the front of the billboard, nothing seems amiss. But when viewed from behind … well, yeah, that does look like a giant penis, doesn't it?

    As always with such placements, there's debate over whether this was intentional or a mistake. Proponents of the former say it's brilliant marketing, as drivers who approach the ad from the back are probably fairly likely to check out the front of the ad as they pass—behavior that precious few billboards provoke. Those who think it's a mistake can't fathom the kind of balls it would take to put a giant dick on a billboard.

    Via AgencySpy.

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    Protein World continues to kick sand in the face of its critics.

    After generating controversy and much attention for its brand in Britain this spring with its "Beach Body" campaign, the nutritional supplements company is exporting the incendiary advertising to New York.

    A huge billboard with swimsuit-clad model Renee Somerfield has risen in Times Square, with its tagline, "Are you beach body ready?" casting a shadow across 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Digital ads are planned for "every New York subway entrance," boasts marketing chief Richard Staveley, along with placements "on 50 percent of all of the New York subway's rolling stock. It will be an unmissable blanket coverage of Renee and yellow."

    A few months back, the company reveled in the largely angry response the ads generated in England. Amid accusations of fat-shaming and perpetuating unrealistic body types, some of the street posters were defaced, and a Change.org petition collected 70,000 signatures demanding the company remove the campaign. Parodies popped up in cyberspace and the physical world, with Carlsberg's "Beer Body" spoof—complete with one of its bottles rocking yellow swim trunks—among the cheeky best.

    Ultimately, elements of the Protein World initiative were banned by Britain's independent Advertising Standards Authority, "due to our concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims."

    Through it all, the client maintained an unrepentant, in-your-face attitude. Its Twitter feed denounced England as "a nation of sympathizers for fatties," and CEO Arjun Seth compared those who vandalized the bikini-beach posters to "terrorists."

    Of course, stirring up a shitstorm was—and is—the goal. And following its craptastic performance overseas, we should fully expect this calculated exercise in trolling to reek of success stateside.

    "It's a big middle finger to everybody who bothered to sign that stupid petition in the U.K.," Staveley says of Protein World's incursion into NYC. "You could say that the London protesters helped pay for the New York campaign."

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    Corona Extra's new campaign from SapientNitro agency The Community will resonate potently in certain parts of the country—the ones that were blanketed by snow for months on end this past winter.

    The spots are narrated by Winter, who writes letters of complaint to Summer, which end up being more like love letters. The approach is sort of hokey, and there's nothing particularly breakthrough about the imagery, either—it's a step above stock. And yet the elements combine into a surprisingly evocative snapshot of the season, and a dreamy reminder of how it's all the more magical because it's long awaited and short lived.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    The copy is playful, and the gruff voiceover has just the right amount of charm. The product is nicely incorporated, too, and is cast as the beer of Summer. Indeed, the tagline, "Always Summer," suggests it's beyond Winter's reach entirely. That's a fun twist on the brand's "Find Your Beach" idea. And it's nice to see actual beaches in the brand's advertising at a time of year when you don't just have to imagine them.

    The best Winter can do is bring the ice.

    Client: Corona
    Agency: The Community
    Chief Creative Officer: Jose Mollá & Joaquin Mollá
    Creative Director: Rodrigo Butori
    Art Director: Aaron Willard
    Copywriter: Aaron Zimroth, Matias Blazevic, Ibon Iraola
    VP of Integrated Production: Laurie Malaga
    Senior Producer: Julio Rangel
    Account Director: Maryanne Dammrich
    Account Associate: Daniel Gergely
    Account Executive(s): Sophia Gonzalez
    Account Coordinator: Erika Rivera

    Production Company: Partizan
    Director: John Dolan
    Director of Photography: Alex Lamarque
    Executive Producer: Sheila Stepanek
    Head of Production: Jennifer Gee
    Producer: John Benet
    Offline Editing House: Beast Editorial
    Online Post House: Vapor Post
    Editor: Rob Watzke
    Assistant Editor: Evelina Gokinayeva
    Producer: Mary Stasilli

    Music House: Circle of Sound
    Composer: Circle of Sound
    Producer: Guillermo De La Barreda
    Color Correction/VFX: Vapor Post
    Audio Mix: Elastik Music
    Producer: Luli De Oto
    Mixer: Gustavo Briceno

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    People aren't the only ones complaining about potholes in Panama City. The potholes are complaining!

    With so many streets in Panama City damaged, local agency P4 Ogilvy & Mather placed special devices in potholes that automatically tweet nasty messages at the Twitter account of the Department of Public Works whenever cars drive over them.

    A quick glance at the @Elhuecotwitero Twitter page shows the campaign in action—scores of tweets per day asking @MOPdePanama for answers.

    The campaign was done on behalf of a Panama TV station, which said potholes are a major concern of its viewers. And it seems to be working—at least, it got the attention of the minister of public works, who appeared on the TV station Monday to address the issue, which he blamed on a mix of poor construction and the failure of talks at approve money to fix the roads.

    See public works minister Ramón Arosemena address the issue here:

    Client: MEDCOM
    Agency: P4 Ogilvy & Mather, Panama City, Panama
    Chief Creative Officer: Edwin Mon
    Associate Creative Director: Alejandro Blanc
    Creative Director: Osvaldo Restrepo
    Digital Creative Director: Alberto Lam
    Copywriter: Edmar Quiros
    Head of Art: Roberto Perez
    Art Director: Edmar Quiros
    Designer: Franklin Lu
    General Account Executive: Monica Urrutia
    Digital Account Manager: Luis Gonzales
    Executive Producer: Benjamin Liao, Belisario Alvarez, Monica Crespo
    Production Company: VFX Panama, SAKE Argentina
    Music: Salmon Osado
    Sound editing: Manuel Trejos
    Post Production: Marcos Ruiz
    Additional credits: Francisco Hernandez MEDCOM Digital Media Director

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    Visual effects studio The Mill and Hollywood director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious 3-6) have collaborated on the latest film in Google's Spotlight Stories—a series of immersive movies made uniquely for mobile. This one is groundbreaking because it combines live action and computer graphics in a 360-environment—and it required a completely new kind of camera rig that The Mill invented to give Lin the 360-degree live-action shots he needed.

    The film, titled HELP, features aliens in a cityscape. But the narrative unfolds differently for every user, as you watch it on your mobile device—and move the device around to see different parts of the scene around you. (In this way, it approximates virtual reality.) The film is available for free with the new Google Spotlight Stories app via Google Play (and will be soon be on iOS via the App Store).

    You can see a linear version of part of the film here:

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    As you can see in the behind-the-scenes video below, The Mill developed a proprietary software solution called Mill Stitch that takes images from multiple cameras and "stitches" the output into a continuous 360-degree view. This helped the director and cinematographer see the entire world they were filming as it happened. The Mill then combined the live action with the vast CG environments in postproduction.

    Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) unit is behind the Spotlight Stories program. (Yes, the group's tagline really is "We like epic shit.")"Collaborating with Google's ATAP team of experts and with such an acclaimed live-action director as Justin Lin allowed The Mill to flex its creative and technical muscles to solve new and complex challenges," says The Mill CEO Robin Shenfield.

    "It's been, to say the least, a colossal learning experience and given us very valuable insight into the technical and creative challenges involved with new immersive and VR filmmaking. It's a perfect fit for us to be at the epicenter of a new format and pioneering a new way of telling stories."

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

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    Exercise has been the most natural area for branded applications of biometric data. But now, Mindshare and Lightwave are joining forces to show marketers a world of possibility beyond that—in a partnership that kicks off this month with a group experiment at the Cannes Lions festival.

    The two companies will give out 35 Apple Watches at a Cannes session on Monday, June 22. The watches will constantly measure the biometric data of the users, such as heart rate and temperature, along with other data, such as location. Mindshare and Lightwave will gather that data for three days—and then analyze it, including live visualizations, at a second session on Thursday, June 25, during the Innovation Lions mini-festival.

    The goal of "The Pulse of Cannes" is to get the industry buzzing about the potential of the technology to do more than count steps or calories burned. Indeed, the partnership between Mindshare and Lightwave is about using sensor data through biometric applications to give consumers better experiences across all sorts of situations. For Mindshare clients, this will bolster what the agency calls adaptive marketing—allowing them to tailor their activities to meet customers' interests and needs based on data.

    "We imagine a future where where, based on who's in the room at the time, we know what music people danced the hardest to, and so the playlist is dynamically updated to reflect those songs. Or the lighting in the room is affected by your mood," says Lightwave CEO Rana June. "We've never seen this at scale, so it's a little hard to imagine. But we really think, now that the Apple Watch is out, that this is really going to change the way we think about sensors in our daily life."

    Lightwave pioneered a technology platform that uses sensor-equipped wristbands to draw real-time data from people in specific situations. At South by Southwest in 2014, it organized a "bioreactive concert" for Pepsi, deejayed by A-Trak, that visualized the audience's reaction to the music in real time—even unlocking prizes when the crowd got particularly wild. It did another DJ project with Google in December, and has also worked with Gatorade.

    Jeff Malmad, the head of mobile and Life+ (the wearables unit) at Mindshare North America, said Lightwave was ahead of any other potential partner in the space.

    "What we talk about all the time here is that the ultimate wearable is your smartphone. And the ultimate companion is the smartwatch and wearable. We equate that to Batman and Robin. Batman's the smartphone, Robin's the smartwatch," Malmad said. "Being able to get the data from the watch and the phone simultaneously and create better and more adaptive experiences is something that's just going to grow in importance for brands. And that's why we partnered with Lightwave, because they're the ones that can help us make that a reality faster than anybody else."

    Mindshare and Lightwave have two client programs in the works. They wouldn't disclose the companies or even the categories yet, though June promised they are "by far the coolest programs that we've ever done."

    For now, they want to galvanize Cannes delegates and show them that the power to target marketing messages in real time using biometrics has never been greater.

    "We've all seen a lot of stuff in this space that is very basic," said June. "And that's great. The foundation of it is going to be the simplest use case of it. But we are now entering a time when things that were the stuff of dreams for marketers are starting to happen."

    She pointed to the accelerometer inside mobile phones as a simple example. "It's a very inexpensive sensor. I have my phone, and I turn it from portrait to landscape mode. That is a use of an accelerometer that is very simple," she said. "But the idea of using accelerometers at scale—then you know how hard people are dancing at a concert, or how much they're cheering for their team, all these kinds of more human insights. It's not about quantifying our experiences. It's about what makes us human."

    Location is another big one, she said. And even more interesting is when you start to combine location with accelerometer data, plus heart rate, temperature and so on.

    "The accelerometer is measuring motion, but as it turns out, when people are very engaged in something, they actually tend to be very still, because they're focused," June said. "So when we're looking at these insights, it's actually more interesting for us when there's no accelerometer data than when there's lots of it. We've never been able, as as an industry, to look at these kinds of things across daily life."

    Or say you're at a sporting event. "We're noticing that the temperature outside has risen two degrees, and we know there's a lot of physical activity and that this is actually creating an uncomfortable environment," said June. "That is not the same as targeting someone who's on a workout. It's about a broader experience. Let's say a beverage brand is able to distribute a drink. There's just a lot of opportunities that are created by having an extra layer of intelligence that's very actionable."

    Malmad gave another example.

    "I did a ton of working out this morning and I didn't drink enough fluids. And later in the day I happen to be in a location that's very hot," he said. "The messages that could be delivered to me, based on opting in, could be very, very informative, as it relates to optimizing my energy level. What should I be eating? What should I be eating less of to get me a better overall workout, or just a better overall experience through the day? Stuff like that we couldn't do before. But now, with opting in and being able to target the messages to people in real time, it's never been more powerful."

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    During the Oscars, PetSmart and Christopher Guest launched a pretty excellent campaign themed around Best in Show. Now, they're back with more.

    The new material from GSD&M is particularly reminiscent of Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as Meg and Hamilton Swan, who, in the movie, love J. Crew (and other clothing catalogs). But the man and woman in this latest ad, "The Avant Guardians," are more haute, if equally insane, describing themselves, and their dog, as "fashion forward."

    That's to say, in keeping with the Best in Show tradition, they ridiculously project all kinds of human qualities on their coddled shih tzu, Ford (presumably a nod to Tom Ford). And because it's Guest-directed, the delivery is awkward in a perfect kind of way, with the actors ping-ponging between nonchalant and over the top, making crazy eyes and stammering out too-enthusiastic punch lines.

    It almost makes it easy to forget that it's a sales pitch. Then again, that's pretty easy to do when you're basically just copying a classic … even if by inbreeding.

    Client: PetSmart
    VP Marketing Communications: Shane McCall
    Director, Traditional Creative: Valerie Lederer
    Assoc. Creative Manager, Traditional Creative: Tara Niederhaus
    Dir., Marketing Strategy and Nat'l Promotions: Debbie Beisswanger
    Creative Manager- Store Environment: Chris Windsor
    Project Manager, Salon Strategy: Megan Mouser
    Titles: "The Avant Guardians" :15/:30; "Nooks and Crannies" 2:18
    Agency: GSD&M
    Group Creative Director/Art Director: Scott Brewer
    Group Creative Director/Writer: Ryan Carroll
    Assoc. Creative Director/Art Director: Ross Aboud
    Assoc. Creative Director/Writer: Kevin Dunleavy
    Art Director: Morgan McDonald
    Writer: Scott Chalkley
    Agency Producer: Abigail Hinojosa
    Associate Agency Producer: Adriane Weist
    Business Manager: Lindsay Wakabayashi
    SVP/Managing Director: Scott Moore
    Account Director: Sabia Sidiqi
    Account Supervisor: Ben Creasey
    Account Manager: Nadia Elias
    Production Company: GO
    Director: Christopher Guest
    Managing Director: Gary Rose
    Executive Producer: Adam Bloom
    Executive Producer: Catherine Finkenstaedt
    Line Producer: Mark Hyatt
    DP: Kristian Kachikis
    Editorial: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Gavin Cutler


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