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CANNES, France—Procter & Gamble's empowering feminine-care ad campaigns for women were lauded in a big way here Tuesday night, as Always' "Like a Girl" and Whisper's "Touch the Pickle" campaigns both took home Grand Prix awards at the Cannes Lions festival.
"Like a Girl" topped the PR Lions category, while "Touch the Pickle" won the Grand Prix in the inaugural Glass Lions contest, aimed at celebrating work that illuminates gender issues. In essence, it's a victory for the same brand—as Whisper is simply the name under which Always products are sold in a number of countries, including India, where the "Touch the Pickle" campaign ran.
—Glass Lions Grand Prix
The "Touch the Pickle" campaign, by BBDO India, aimed to remove the stigma around menstruation in Indian society. It included a viral film, celebrity involvement, a TED talk and comic books about the subject.
BBDO India also won a regular Glass Lion for another P&G campaign—"Share the Load" for Ariel Matic laundry detergent.
—PR Lions Grand Prix
The "Like a Girl" campaign, by Leo Burnett in Chicago, Toronto and London, included a viral video that later aired on the Super Bowl. Its goal was to change the phrase from an insult to an expression of strength and confidence.
"Like a Girl" also won a Glass Lion—one of seven Glass Lion winners in addition to the Grand Prix. (Unlike most other categories at Cannes, the Glass Lions don't include gold, silver and bronze awards. They are simply called Glass Lions.)
See below for other notably winners from the two categories.
—All Other Glass Lions Winners
• Leo Burnett Beirut for Kafa's "Vote For Us. We'll Vote For You"
• Notable in Montevideo, Uruguay, for Urufarma's "Feliz Día Hombres"
• Droga5 New York for the National Women's Law Center's "The Equal Pay Back Project"
• FCB Inferno in London for Sport England's "This Girl Can"
• BBDO India in Mumbai for P&G/Ariel Matic laundry detergent's "Share the Load"
• Impact BBDO in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for UN Women's "Give Mom Back Her Name"
—Other U.S. PR Lions Winners
• Volvo's "Interception" - Entrant Agency: Grey New York - PR Agency: Waggener Edstrom New York (gold, silver)
• States United to Prevent Gun Violence, "The Gun Shop" - Entrant Agency: Grey New York / Grey Activation & PR New York (gold, silver)
• Burger King's Proud Whopper - Entrant Agency: David Miami - PR Agency: Alison Brod Public Relations New York (gold, silver)
• Adobe's "Photoshop Murder Mystery" - Entrant Agency: Edelman San Francisco - PR Agency: Edelman San Francisco (gold, silver)
• General Motors' #Technologyandstuff - Entrant Agency: Fleishman-Hillard St. Louis - PR Agency: Fleishman-Hillard Dallas (gold, silver)
• The ALS Association's "The Ice Bucket Challenge" - Entrant Agency: The ALS Association Washington - PR Agency: Porter Novelli New York (gold)
• Toyota's "Mas Que Un Auto" - Entrant Agency: Conill Saatchi & Saatchi Miami (silver)
• Oscar Mayer's "Wake Up & Smell The Bacon" - Entrant Agency: Olson Engage Chicago / 360i Chicago - PR Agency: Olson Engage Chicago (silver)
• GSK's "Horse Sells Nasal Strip to Humans" - Entrant Agency: PHD New York - PR Agency: Weber Shandwick New York (silver)
• Doctors of the World's "More Than a Costume" - Entrant Agency: Publicis Kaplan Thaler New York (silver)
• Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence's "The Unforgotten" - Entrant Agency: FCB Chicago - PR Agency: Current Chicago (silver)
• Paramount Pictures's "Zoolander Returns to the Runway" - Entrant Agency: WME/IMG New York - PR Agency: Catalyst Public Relations New York (silver)
• American Egg Board's "Wake Up to Eggs With Bacon" - Entrant Agency: Edelman Chicago / Grey New York - PR Agency: Edelman Chicago (silver)
• Mexico Board of Tourism's "Los Cabos Reselfies" - Entrant Agency: Lapiz Chicago (silver)
• Dove's #Speakbeautiful - Entrant Agency: Edelman New York - PR Agency: Edelman New York (silver)
• Elder Heart's "Mission 22: War At Home" - Entrant Agency: CP+B Miami (silver)
• Newcastle Brown Ale's "Band Of Brands" - Entrant Agency: Fast Horse Minneapolis / Droga5 New York - PR Agency: Fast Horse Minneapolis (silver)
CANNES, France—Apple and TBWA\Media Art Lab won their second Cannes Grand Prix in three years here tonight, topping the Outdoor Lions category with their iPhone 6 billboards featuring photos taken by actual iPhone users.
Apple found photos it liked from 162 users from around the world and created outdoor boards of their work. In all, the campaign featured more than 10,000 installations in 73 cities in 25 countries. Apple called it "the largest mobile photography gallery in history."
Check out the case study below for more.
Grey New York and The Community won gold and silver for the U.S. for campaigns that have already been honored in other categories. Grey won for its States United to Prevent Gun Violence client, while The Community won for its Buenos Aires bike ads—which took home the Press Grand Prix on Monday.
Agency and client also won a Grand Prix in Press in 2013 for their ads on the backs of magazines showing their covers at iPad size.
—Other U.S. Outdoor Winners
• Grey New York for States United to Prevent Gun Violence (gold, silver)
• The Community Miami for the Buenos Aires Public Bike System (gold, silver)
• Red Fuse Communications New York and Y&R New York for Colgate (silver, two bronzes)
• R/GA New York for the Ad Council's "Love Has No Labels" (silver)
• Alma DDB Miami for Green Works (bronze)
• BBDO New York for Snickers (bronze)
• David Miami for Burger King (bronze)
• Conill Saatchi & Saatchi Miami for Toyota (bronze)
• AKQA San Francisco for Jordan Brand (bronze)
Poo-Pourri's marketing team would like you to know its odor-trapping spray isn't just for poo. You can use it to save water, too, by not flushing your pee.
To make its case, the company is out with an ad featuring a foul-mouthed octogenarian who spouts a steaming stream of double entendres about urinating.
It's trying for the same kind of willfully gross irony as the brand's popular past ads with their fancy British accents. But the randy granny might not be as charmingly refined as the well-dressed socialite, or as ridiculous as Santa Claus caught on the throne.
So far, a good number of YouTube commenters just seem baffled. That's understandable, given graphic phrases like "Nothing beats ripping off my knickers and feeling that wet heat between my legs." Or maybe it's the over-the-top delivery that doesn't quite find the tension between classy and crass that made the brand's "Girls Don't Poop" spot work so well.
Still, the water conservation theme is timely, given the high-profile drought in California. And at least nobody can say the woman isn't enjoying her golden years.
Concept: Nicole Story
Writer: Nicole Story
Production Company: Objects of Affection
Managing Director: Peter Bray
Account Manager: Bryce Engstrom
Executive Producer: Katie Schwarz
Director/Director of Photography: Jacob Schwarz
Casting Director: Christian Busath
Project Manager: Shayla Jenkins
Camera Assist : Tyler Stevens
2nd AC: Shane Rickard
Script Supervisor: Ryan Powell
Production Designer: Chloe Huber
Production Sound: David Adamic
Associate Producer: Whitnie Schwarz
Makeup and Hair Artist: Danielle Donahue
Editor: Ryan Powell
Graphics and Special FX: Tyler Stevens
Creator of Poo~Pourri: Suzy Batiz
Yesterday we saw a skin cream specially designed to give you wrinkles. In that same vein, check out the spot below for "The Wrinkler," a product that will help you look 20-30 years older than you actually are, without the hassle and expense of moving to Arizona and letting the sun bake you into a husk.
At first I thought this was an unprompted homage to the "varicose veins" ad from Ren & Stimpy until everything fell into place at the end. I really like the approach, for the record, and wish more ad parodies would attempt it.
For more information and pictures of people who look like Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, check out The Wrinkler's website.
Creative Director, Copywriter: Dean Hacohen
Creative Director, Art Director: Hank Kosinski
CANNES, France—Another female-empowerment campaign has triumphed at Cannes, with the Media Grand Prix going to a fascinating Vodafone app from Y&R Istanbul that lets women in Turkey call for help simply by shaking their phones.
Instructions of how to find the app were embedded in videos specifically targeting women—a gender-specific approach designed so that men never get the message. More than 250,000 women have downloaded the app, Y&R says, or about 24 percent of all women in Turkey who use smartphones. It has been activated over 103,000 times.
"This is a proud win for us," said Y&R global chief creative officer Tony Granger. "Our agency in Istanbul took on a tough social issue that, given the nature of domestic violence, demanded innovative thinking. They came up with an idea that was a perfect melding of creativity with connectivity. We are proud to win this Lion, and even prouder that we have been able to help women in danger of being abused."
The campaign also won a gold Lion in the category. This is the fourth Grand Prix of the 2015 Cannes festival to go to a women-focused campaign. Three separate P&G campaigns for Always and Whisper scored Grand Prix—in PR and Glass, as well as the Health & Wellness portions of the Lions Health mini festival.
The U.S. won four gold Media Lions on Tuesday, led by three campaigns that have already won big in other categories: Leo Burnett and Starcom Mediavest Group's "Like a Girl" for P&G's Always; Grey and Grey Activation & PR's "The Gun Shop" for States United to Prevent Gun Violence; and The ALS Association's "Ice Bucket Challenge."
The fourth gold went to Wieden + Kennedy and Mindshare's "Risk Everything" for Nike.
See all the U.S. winners below.
—U.S. Media Lion Winners
• Procter & Gamble #LikeAGirl - Entrant Agency: Starcom Mediavest Group Chicago / Leo Burnett Toronto, Chicago, London / Holler London - Media Agency: Starcom Mediavest Group Chicago (gold, bronze)
• States United to Prevent Gun Violence, "The Gun Shop" - Entrant Agency: Grey New York / Grey Activation & PR New York (gold)
• The ALS Association, "The Ice Bucket Challenge" - Entrant Agency: The ALS Association Washington (gold)
• Nike "Risk Everything" - Entrant Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland - Media Agency: Mindshare Portland (gold)
• Unilever "Speak Beautiful" - Entrant Agency: Mindshare New York - Media Agency: Mindshare New York (silver)
• Taco Bell "Taco Bell Blackout" - Entrant Agency: DigitasLBi San Francisco (silver)
• DPA "Adoptable Trends" - Entrant Agency: Dieste Dallas (silver)
• Under Armour "I Will What I Want" - Entrant Agency: Droga5 New York - Media Agency: Optimum Sports New York (silver)
• The Clinton Foundation "Not There" - Entrant Agency: Droga5 New York (two bronzes)
• Allstate "Social Savvy Burglar" - Entrant Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago - Media Agency: Brand Networks New York (bronze)
• Allstate #SendBadLuck - Entrant Agency: Lapiz Chicago / Leo Burnett Chicago - Media Agency: Tapestry Chicago (bronze)
• McDonald's "Bluebird" - Entrant Agency: OMD New York / DDB Chicago / Leo Burnett Chicago - Media Agency: OMD New York (bronze)
• The Coca-Cola Company "Drinkable Advertising" - Entrant Agency: Ogilvy New York - Media Agency: Starcom Mediavest Group New York (bronze)
• Chevrolet "Technology & Stuff" - Entrant Agency: Commonwealth/McCann Detroit / Fleishman Hillard Detroit - Media Agency: Carat Detroit (bronze)
• Burger King "Proud Whopper" - Entrant Agency: David Miami - Media Agency: Horizon Media New York (bronze)
CANNES, France—Training Uber drivers in first aid and getting Snapchat to connect bullied teens with counselors are two of the five winning campaigns at this year's Future Lions student ad contest, sponsored by AKQA.
Google, Heineken and the WWF were the brands chosen by the three other winners, as this year's students were again challenged to connect an audience of their choosing to a product or service from a global brand in a way that wasn't possible three years ago. This year's specific theme was "Make Your Move," urging students to think ahead and create ideas that shape the future.
Check out all five winners here:
1) Entry Title: chromebook_type
Team: Elton Rhee, Ludvig Pehrson and Louis Meyer
School: Miami Ad School, San Francisco and Europe
Summary: Google recently invested in SpaceX's ambitious plans to deliver microsatellites across the globe and provide internet to remote areas of the world. But a quarter of the world's population lacks electricity, meaning they still can't access the internet. The chromebook_Type laptop would bring us one step closer to a world where knowledge is accessible to everyone, everywhere. Every key on the computer's keyboard is installed with a Piezo-Electric nanogenerator that harvests energy from the pressure of typing, making it a completely self-powered laptop.
2) Entry Title: SafeStamp
Brand: Heineken International
Team: Divya Seshadri and Meghan D. O'Neill
School: Miami Ad School, San Francisco
Summary: After a few drinks, people tend to feel invincible – and tend to believe they're more sober than they actually are. So instead of a traditional wristband or ink stamp when patrons enter bars or clubs, they'll get a Safe Stamp to ensure they know when they're not sober enough to drive. The SafeStamp is a flat microchip capable of measuring blood alcohol levels that sticks to the skin using temporary tattoo paper, and glows blue when it reaches the legal driving limit.
3) Entry Title: UberFIRST-AID
Team: Andrea Raia, Andrea Zanino, Pierpaolo Bivio and Francesco Sguinzi
School: Fondazione Accademia di Comunicazione, Italy
Summary: In large cities, the average response time for emergency services is more than seven minutes – which can be the difference between life and death. With the rapid growth of Uber fleets in major cities, Uber cars can arrive at a person's location in about three minutes. This program would provide Uber drivers with certified first aid training and equip them with lifesaving first aid kits. When 911 receives a medical emergency, the closest Uber car is notified. Once at the scene, the driver can provide first aid until the ambulance arrives.
4) Entry Title: Snaphelp
Team: Yusol Shim
School: KyungHee University, Bigant Academy, South Korea
Summary: Bullying is a serious problem that can lead to depression and suicide, and young victims are often too intimidated to tell their parents or school authorities. Snapchat could offer a secure and accessible platform to help bullied children. Snaphelp connects children with professional counselors on Snapchat, allowing them to speak freely about their situations and get the help and guidance they need.
5) Entry Title: Treeprint
Brand: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Team: Cheryl Seah Su Yin
School: LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Summary: Rainforests are an important wildlife habitat, and deforestation is having a significant impact on animal populations. To inspire a human connection, the Treeprint app would use the iPhone's fingerprint sensors to match users to the tree whose rings most closely resemble their fingerprint using the International Tree Ring Databank. The app provides detailed information about the unique tree including location, deforestation threats, and wildlife that call it home. Users can donate to WWF seamlessly using their Apple ID.
"The up-and-coming generation has unprecedented power to shape the future, as this year's Future Lions winners demonstrate," said Rei Inamoto, AKQA chief creative officer. "These students boldly made their move with ideas that have limitless potential for both brands and the public."
For the second straight year, the Berghs School of Communication was named school of the year with more shortlisted finalists than any other.
This is the 10th year of the Future Lions. More than 1,800 students from 60 countries participated. Entries are judged by AKQA's Future Lions Council and guest judges from Google, which co-sponsors the contest.
CANNES, France—The most low-tech product imaginable, a simple lump of iron, won the Grand Prix in the Product Design Lions contest here tonight. But while it looks unassuming, this fish made tens of thousands of Cambodians healthier.
As the case study below shows, Geometry Global in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, approached the problem of iron deficiency in Cambodians by trying to find ways to more iron into their diet. One way, they found, was to simply put a piece of iron into skillets and pans while cooking. But Cambodians were reluctant to do so … at first.
Check out the video for more.
Meanwhile, R/GA won three Product Design Lions for high-tech work for Hammerhead, Diagenetix and Equinox. (Unlike most categories at Cannes, this one does not award gold, silver and bronze prizes. They are simply called Design Lions.)
Check out all the winners below.
—All the Product Design Lions
• R/GA New York for Hammerhead Navigation
• R/GA New York for Diagenetix's BioRanger
• R/GA New York for The Pursuit By Equinox
• AIAIAI Copenhagen / Kilo Design Vlaby for Aiaiai's TMA-2 Modular Headphone System
• Maruri Grey Guayaquil in Ecuador for Panasonic's ACH2O
• Grey Group Singaporefor Talwar Bindi's "Life Saving Dot"
• Publicis Colombia Bogotá for Cirec Foundation's "Funtastic Hand"
CANNES, France—A remarkable Soundcloud campaign from Grey Germany, marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, picked up the Radio Grand Prix here tonight on an impressive night for the WPP network.
Soundcloud's Berlin headquarters are situated where a portion of the wall once stood. So, Grey embarked on an "acoustic reconstruction" of the wall through Soundcloud itself:
The agency created a seven-and-a-half-minute sound file that was designed in such a way that the wavelengths of the different sections created a visual image of the wall itself, including its watchtowers.
Check out more in the video below.
Six U.S. campaigns won Lions, led by Popclik work from Bravo/Y&R, which won gold and silver. The rest of the U.S. winners all won bronze Lions.
It was a good night for Grey, which also picked up the Grand Prix in Design, bringing its Grand Prix total at this festival to four.
—U.S. Radio Winners
• Bravo/Y&R Miami for Popclik (gold, silver)
• DDB Chicago for Mars (bronze)
• Havas Worldwide New York for Dos Equis (bronze)
• Wieden + Kennedy Portland for Old Spice (bronze)
• VML Kansas City / Ketchum New York for Wendy's (bronze)
• Twofifteenmccann San Francisco's Pandora Thumbmoments (bronze)
CANNES, France—A year after she was a no-show at Cannes Lions, the festival awarded one of its top prizes Gisele Bundchen's Under Armour campaign, with Droga5 picking up the Grand Prix in the Cyber category.
The supermodel, who backed out of a mcgarrybowen main-stage commitment last year—to be replaced by Rob Lowe (whose ads, alas, have not won anything)—was one of many stars of UA's "I Will What I Want" campaign. But her portion of the campaign was the most digitally innovative, featuring a website that pulled in real-time social-media insults about her to emphasize that she uses her strength and will to block out noise from even her most nasty detractors.
Droga5 said the Gisele campaign led to 1.5 billion media impressions, $15 million in earned media, an average of four minutes spent on the site at the campaign's peak, a 42 percent increase in visits to UA.com and a 28 percent sales increase for the brand. The campaign won two gold Lions and four silvers in addition to its Grand Prix.
This is the first Cannes Grand Prix for Droga5 since 2012, when it took home the Grand Prix for Good for assisting Help Remedies in producing an adhesive bandage that could save someone's life. Droga's most celebrated year at Cannes was 2011, when it won three Grand Prix—two for its Jay Z "Decoded" work and one for Puma.
The win marks the fifth Grand Prix at this festival for advertising that celebrates women, following three P&G's feminine-care campaign that topped the PR and Glass Lions as well as Lions Health and the Y&R campaign that took the top prize in Media.
U.S. agencies, which often dominate the Cyber category, did very well again this year, winning a total of six gold Lions, 20 silvers and 20 bronzes.
The U.S. gold winners were the The ALS Association for "The Ice Bucket Challenge," Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for Adobe's "Dream On," The Martin Agency for Geico's "Unskippable" preroll ads, and R/GA for its Hammerhead bicycle navigation gadget.
See all the U.S. Cyber winners below.
—U.S. Cyber Winners
• Droga5 New York - Under Armour, Gisele Bündchen, "I Will What I Want" - Grand Prix, two golds, four silvers
• The ALS Association Washington - "The Ice Bucket Challenge" - Gold
• Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco - Adobe's "Dream On" - Gold, silver
• The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. - Geico's "Unskippable" - Gold, silver, bronze
• R/GA New York - Hammerhead Navigation - Gold, silver, two bronzes
• BBDO New York - American Red Cross & Bitly - Hope.Ly - Two silvers, two bronzes
• Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco - Reebok's "Be More Human" - Two silvers
• Grow in Norfolk, Va. - EA Sports Madden Giferator - Silver, two bronzes
• Droga5 New York - Newcastle Band Of Brands - Silver, two bronzes
• Pereira & O'Dell San Francisco - Intel + Dell's "What Lives Inside" - Silver, two bronzes
• BBDO New York - Foot Locker's "Horse With Harden" - Silver, bronze
• Grey New York - Volvo's "Interception" - Silver
• Wieden + Kennedy New York - Squarespace's Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes - Silver
• TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles - Gatorade's "Made In NY" - Silver
• Mother New York - James Patterson's Self-Destructing Book - Silver
• BBDO New York - Autism Speaks - The Mssng Project - Silver
• R/GA New York - Ad Council's "Love Has No Labels" - Three bronzes
• Ogilvy New York - IBM's "Play!" - Bronze
• David Miami - Burger King's "Proud Whopper" - Bronze
• R/GA New York - Samsung Holiday Dreams - Bronze
• Dieste Dallas - DPA's "Adoptable Trends" - Bronze
• DigitasLBi San Francisco - Taco Bell Blackout - Bronze
As it begins streaming all 180 episodes of Seinfeld today, Hulu—which has exclusive SVOD rights to Jerry Seinfeld's iconic TV series—is celebrating by re-creating Seinfeld's apartment for fans in New York.
From today through Sunday, Hulu is operating Seinfeld: The Apartment, a pop-up installation in New York's Meatpacking District. Built with help from Magnetic Collaborative, it features original items from the Seinfeld set, including the diner table and booth, the New Jersey Devils jersey worn by Elaine's then-boyfriend David Puddy (Patrick Warburton) in Season 6's "The Face Painter," and the Superman figure Seinfeld kept in his living room. There are also re-creations of iconic props from the show like the Festivus pole and the Pez dispenser.
Seinfeld also donated a canvas brick wall signed by the cast and crew after the show's finale. Among the scrawled messages: "Jerry — There's a spot open after Conan — think about it," from Rick Ludwin, the NBC executive who developed the show and later oversaw late-night programming.
Fans can have their photo taken in re-creations of the set for Seinfeld's stand-up comedy scenes—complete with microphone stand and brick wall—that bookend the show and George's photo shoot from Season 8's "The Package."
But the exhibit's centerpiece is its meticulous re-creation of Seinfeld's 129 W. 81st St. apartment from the show (the kitchen includes more than 20 cereal boxes).
"It just takes you back. The re-creation of Jerry's apartment is fun. It's a fun environment," said Warburton, who was on hand for a preview of the exhibition. "I love that the show has the legs that it has. I love that it's part of the fabric of all of our lives. And it's still relevant today, because the show itself wasn't about a time period—it was about quirkiness and human nature and the way we all deal and interact with each other, the way we all navigate certain situations from Jerry's comic perspective."
Hulu landed Seinfeld right before April's NewFronts in a multiyear deal worth as much as $180 million. Similar to when Friends debuted on Netflix in January and attracted a younger audience that hadn't seen the show during its initial TV run, Warburton said he's prepared for a new generation to see him for first time when they begin streaming episodes on Hulu. "That's great. They'll be like, 'He sounds like that guy from Family Guy,'" said Warburton, who voices Joe Swanson on that show.
With Seinfeld: The Apartment, Hulu hopes to replicate the fan frenzy that surrounded last fall's Central Perk pop-up store, which opened for a month in New York in honor of Friends' 20th anniversary. But while that was in operation months before Friends episodes debuted on Netflix, Hulu hopes its own installation will encourage fans to head home and start streaming.
Airbnb is celebrating Pride Month with a powerful ad about LGBT couples traveling, and the extra care that can require.
The 3:30 spot from Molecule in San Francisco features interviews with a diverse group of couples talking about topics like weighing which locales are LGBT friendly, and what the consequences might be if they're not—ranging from concerns about legal repercussions to not wanting have to explain to a young son why his two moms were posing as sisters.
It's a beautiful set of portraits about love, including historical perspective on challenges in decades past from an older couple and various interviewees' hopes for the future—both resonant messages at a time when there's been progress on equal rights for same-sex couples but acceptance of LGBT people is far from universal.
"We look forward to a world where all love is welcome," reads the tagline.
It might be worth mentioning, though, that the ad also sparked one popular comment thread on Airbnb's Facebook page calling out the company for not making it easier for hosts to indicate LGBT-friendly listings.
Airbnb initially responded with the sort of non-answer that makes brand social media presences seem obnoxious and pointless—"Thank you for your feedback Tod. Airbnb is an open community where everyone is welcome to travel and where our hosts can #HostWithPride."
In fairness, in a response to another commenter, Airbnb did say it would forward the idea to developers—who will surely get right on that.
Production Company: Molecule, San Francisco
Directors, Creative Directors: Mohammad Gorjestani, Malcolm Pullinger
Line Producer: Courtney Harrell
Director of Photography: Andrew Droz Palermo
Sound Design and Mix: Joel Raabe
Editor: Ashley Rodholm
Colorist: Ayumi Ashley
Music Composition: Keith Kenniff
CANNES, France—Saatchi & Saatchi celebrated the 25th anniversary of its esteemed New Directors' Showcase here Thursday morning with a screening of 14 films by young directors, plus a special collaborative piece by 25 much more famous talents.
The NDS usually opens with a theatrical stage piece. Instead, this morning's event led off with 25x25: An Experiment in Film, featuring 25 minute-long videos all strung together, made by 25 directors who first made their mark at the NDS. The directors included such famous ad names as Noam Murro, Ringan Ledwidge, Daniel Kleinman, Jonathan Glazer, Michel Gondry, Traktor, Dougal Wilson, Fredrik Bond, and Jake Scott.
That piece is not online yet, but the other 14 films are. All of them are pretty great, but we've chosen our three favorites below. And below those, you can check out the 11 others.
Production Company: Felt Soul Media
• Photographer Ben Moon and his dog Denali had an incredible bond that became almost spiritual when each suffered life-threatening illnesses. This film by Ben Knight captures that connection brilliantly.
Production Company: Helo (fly Helo)
• An unseen narrator, voiced by Nick Offerman, reveals the inner thoughts of a saloon full of lying, cheating sexual deviants in this comical Western comedy.
Production Company: Alfred ImageWorks
• It's 2150. Johnny is a space delivery man bringing packages to aliens all around the universe. But things go horribly and hilariously wrong on a visit to this poor planet.
—Here are the 11 other films from the showcase:
Chandler Levack & Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux
Pup "Guilt Trip"
Maria Takeuchi and Frederico Phillips
Young Replicant (Alex Takacs)
Flying Lotus "Coronus, The Terminator"
Dent de Cuir
DyE "She's Bad"
Klangkarussell "Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)"
Siska "Unconditional Rebel"
Factory Fifteen: Jonathan Gales; Paul Nicholls; Kibwe Tavares
The Bug "Function / Void"
A$AP Rocky "L$D"
Most ad people believe Cannes is about unleashing creativity. Rita Alberti thinks otherwise.
The Hungarian copywriter and her art director partner Adam Moroncsik are the brains behind "Lion Leash," a line of accessories designed to help prize winners as this year's festival hang on to their awards, no matter how forgetful or harried or drunk they become. (Do people at Cannes drink alcohol? I'll have to look into that.)
"Both of us have attended Young Lions and Eurobest as young creative competitors," Alberti tells Adweek, "and this year, we've decided to do something unique in Cannes." There are three handmade "leash" styles to choose from, even a headband, for creatives with absolutely no shame. (Which would be all of them.)
This fun and timely self-promotion addresses a real problem, Alberti says, as winners really do tend to lose their Lions at parties, in taxis, and, well, just about everywhere amid the chaos and clamor of Cannes. "We would like to get the attention of the global ad industry! We even got the attention of John Hegarty," Alberti adds.
Alberti and Moroncsik have asked event organizers to present a Leashed Lion at one of the award ceremonies, "but haven't got any answer yet," she says. "Maybe on Saturday for the Film Lions? Just imagine how fun would it be if a winner wore the trophy as a backpack."
Some folks at Cannes need to be on a shorter leash, that's for sure!
Catch New York combed through social media for guest photos taken at Loews Hotels and Resorts and integrated the candid, unsolicited images into the chain's new "Travel for Real" ad campaign.
Mostly quiet, mildly quirky moments abound. They include shots of a tattooed dude playing banjo in his suite (with the headline, "Everyone needs to find their rhythm") and a kid with cucumbers on his eyes kicking back in a swimming pool ("Everyone needs to soak it all in"). The work is breaking now in magazines like Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler and Wired, as well as in airport displays and as online banners.
Building on 2013's "The Room You Need" campaign, this new work puts guest visits in an even "more emotional and personal" context, says client CMO Bruce Himelstein. #TravelForReal is the hashtag. (All subjects and image posters were duly compensated for the use of the photographs.)
"These are real-life images of actual guest experiences, licensed by Loews," agency chief creative officer Doug Spitzer tells AdFreak. "The vast majority were taken by guests themselves, and while there are a handful of images capturing events such as weddings that may have been taken by professionals and subsequently posted on social media, none were commissioned by Catch nor by Loews. We loved the opportunity to break this boundary and sideline the pros that we are usually so excited to work with."
He adds, "We started our search on Instagram using Loews Hotels hashtags and location tags, but our search grew much wider than that, spanning all of social media. To this date, we have reviewed more than 35,000 images, where we have found just about everything you can possibly imagine."
Ultimately, he says, "anyone considering staying at Loews can be sure that what they are seeing is real, not the creation of a talented pro. There are no tricks, wide angle, Photoshopped shots—like people rightfully complain about on social media. 'Travel For Real' is the real deal, through the eyes, and lenses, of our guests who loved the time they had at Loews."
Fair enough. It's certainly a different approach for the hotel category, where the imagery is usually so manicured. I do wonder if the premise isn't somehow neutered by the fact that most people flipping through magazines might assume these are professional shots—if they give the matter any thought at all.
"That did occur to us," Spitzer says, "and that's why we ended up giving every source credit, so you could actually look at their other photos and see their lives outside of their Loews travel."
The imagery is appealingly on brand, evocatively portraying the luxury chain as an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation in a stressful world. Though if you wind up in the room next to Banjo Boy, you won't get much peace. Dude looks like he could play all night.
Client: Loews Hotels & Resorts
Agency: Catch, New York
Partner, Chief Creative Officer: Douglas Spitzer
Creative Director, Art Director: Rich Corrigan
Copywriters: Will Woods, Rich Corrigan, Douglas Spitzer
Designer: Maggie Mai
Producer: Kim Schulster
Production Artist: Elvin Garcia
Managing Director: Jason Dorin
Account Director: Isabelle Aylwin
Media Director: Stephen Wraspir
Chief Marketing Officer: Bruce Himelstein
Senior Vice President, Marketing: Jim Cone
Vice President, Public Relations: Sarah Murov
Senior Director, Marketing Communications: Piper Stevens
Director, Brand Marketing: Lacey Tisch
Director, Internet Marketing: Jacob Messina
CANNES, France—The Cannes Lions festival needs to increase its engagement with delegates who are on their second and third visits. Agencies looking to recruit young people here should focus their efforts in the Palais, where such people are most energized. And companies looking to host (or attend) a great party should think about moving away from the Croisette—and don't even think about going to the yachts.
Those are some specific insights gleaned by MindShare and Lightwave this week purely from biometric data they gathered from festival attendees. Some 100 people participated in the program, wearing Apple Watches (linked to an iOS app) that measured things like heart rate, location and movement. Those people were asked a few simple questions at the start: whether they worked for an agency, brand or tech company; their age; and how many times they have been to Cannes Lions.
More than 20 million data points were gathered from the 100 people over three days. The data was then analyzed and presented at a Thursday session titled "The Pulse of Cannes," led by Jeff Malmad, the head of mobile and Life+ (the wearables unit) at Mindshare North America, and Rana June, CEO of Lightwave.
The program primarily measured three things: engagement, energy and emotional indicators. Engagement is when accelerometer activity is decreased but heart rate is increased, indicating that a person is physically still and focused, but excited. Energy is increased accelerometer and increased heart rate. Emotion is decreased accelerometer and fluctuation in heart rate.
Here are some findings of the experiment:
• Tech company people generally did not frequent the Carlton Hotel or the Gutter Bar
• Agency and brand people spent most of their engaged time at the Palais and in areas off the Croisette—most likely, meeting spaces.
• Participants as a whole did not make it out to the yachts on the jetty and spent most of their time at the Palais and at meetings around town.
• Participants age 18-28 were most energetic and engaged around the Palais, and were most excited along the main beach leading toward the Carlton Hotel and Gutter Bar.
These are some insights from the data:
• The age results showed a significant dip in engagement from attendees after the first year, though it picked back up again after three years. Thus, the festival might develop content to specifically engage second and third timers.
• Agencies and companies launching Young Lion recruiting initiatives should focus on the Palais, where young people were at their highest energy levels and we saw the highest engagement.
• The majority of activities moved off the Croisette and not to the yachts. The most engaged attendees overall were just off the main drag, likely in agency and partner meeting spaces.
Malmad and June presented the data together, suggesting this is just the beginning of a technology that has the power to revolutionize people's lives in a way as fundamental as electricity did—and of course, impact marketing along the way.
Malmad said biometrics creates what he termed "the algorithm of you," which will soon lead to better consumer and brand experiences. He gave examples of how biometrics could make things like driving, shopping and vacationing all easier, more rewarding and more relevant to one's physiology.
Addressing agencies directly, June said it's up to creatives to bring the promise of biometrics fully to life by dreaming up exciting applications for it, using tools like those from Lightwave and Mindshare.
"We create the current. You can be the Edisons and the Teslas of this new bioreactive world," she said. "We hope we are creating a kind of biometric Photoshop, and that this data becomes a new color to paint with."
And along the way, she added, it might just make for a better world.
"When you realize you're having a similar experience as someone else, it creates an empathy, a universality," June said. "Biometric data and these sensors can actually bring us closer to understanding each other.
A new company is hoping to put an end to obnoxious banner ads by letting viewers choose images they want to see instead. But ultimately, you'll have to pay for the privilege.
Adieu, a browser extension that aims to outbid brand marketers for ad space when viewers load a webpage, is the first product from Fair Tread, a digital media company founded by Matt Mankins, formerly chief technology officer at Fast Company.
A trial comes with a $2 credit. Afterwards, users have to cough up $5 for about 500 blocks. (Adieu says most people will use less than $3 a month, but it's easy to imagine heavy browsers burning through much more). Upload images you'd like to see instead—e.g., family photos or your calendar—or pick from a collection offered by the company.
It's an intriguing idea, even if it's not entirely clear why people would want to pay to see something other than an ad—and have to think about what that something is—rather than paying to see nothing at all. (You could just upload a gallery of white space, I guess.)
The promised benefits include faster browsing and stopping marketers from tracking your behavior. But the company is also pitching the product as a more ethical (and less shortsighted) alternative to free ad blockers. "By using Adieu, you're contributing to a fair Internet that rewards good content," reads the promotional copy.
Unfortunately, the idea runs up against some of the same fundamental issues as other micropayment models. Viewers don't necessarily know if content is good—i.e., worth buying—until they're already on the page (fee paid to replace it with a picture of a cute kitten), a consideration that creates an extra hurdle. And lots of people really just don't want to pay for news content, now that they expect to get it for free.
But kudos to Adieu for trying, and for a Grade A multilingual-layered pun of a brand name.
CANNES, France—It's just advertising. It's not like we're trying to save the world.
Tom Sewell, chief innovation officer at mcgarrybowen, remarked Friday here at the Cannes Lions festival on how many times he's repeated that old cliché in his career. And then he introduced a project for Verizon that could conceivably do just that—keep the human race from being wiped from the face of the Earth.
It's called Apophis 2029. The Verizon-branded mobile app, coming this fall, gamifies the process of "characterizing" real individual asteroids. This process determines what they're made of, which helps NASA know how to deflect any that pose an actual threat to Earth as so-called "city killers" or worse.
Friday's presentation on the Innovation Lions stage featured Sewell and three others—Tyler DeAngelo, the agency's executive creative director, who initially envisioned the project; Francesca DeMeo, an asteroid researcher at MIT who needs help crunching massive amounts of data she already has on specific asteroids; and Jason Kessler, an executive at the NASA Asteroid Grand Challenge, the 2-year-old program focused on finding asteroid threats to human populations and figuring out what to do about them.
At its core, Apophis 2029 isn't just a game but a giant crowdsourcing initiative that rests on one important insight—that humans are still better than computers at characterizing asteroids, largely because that process relies on pattern recognition, at which the human eye is adept. Getting people in large numbers to help with that pattern recognition can help NASA understand certain asteroids, and reduce the threat they pose.
To get people involved in large numbers, then, mcgarrybowen decided to make a game—which it wanted to be fun, addictive and playable in short bursts. And over a period of about two year, Apophis 2029 was born.
For NASA and MIT's DeMeo, the project seemed like a promising way to enlist so-called "citizen science" to address a real problem.
"Crowdsourcing, of course, has been done before in science," DeMeo said. "What's unique about what we're trying to do here is use the science aspect—the crowdsourcing and public input—and combine that with a game. So, it becomes more than just a homework assignment. This is play with an exciting scientific twist to it."
The gameplay was introduced Friday. It features one screen with a "match three" type challenge on the bottom (similar to Candy Crush), where eliminating tiles allows you to shoot or deflect asteroids above. Then, when you match special NASA tiles, the game flips to a second screen, where you're asked to match a pattern from an actual asteroid (visualized as squiggly lines in a taxonomy DeMeo invented) to known asteroid patterns.
Thanks to the central limit theorem, if enough users match one asteroid with one particular pattern, it's guaranteed to be the correct one. And bingo—that asteroid is characterized, and the data filed away that can be called on if it becomes a threat.
While any smartphone user on any carrier will be able to play the game, the data will be delivered to NASA through Verizon cloud servers. Sewell said the project is a great fit for Verizon because it allows the client to be involved in—and embody—technological advancement, not just talk about it in its advertising.
"We're bringing consumers in and letting them be participants in what this brand can stand for in fundamental ways," he said. "I don't know of a better way to participate emotionally with the brand than in solving some of the world's biggest challenges."
As with anything grandiose at Cannes, it's natural to be suspicious about the hype around Apophis 2029—even to wonder if it's just a gimmick. But Kessler's involvement helps give it credibility. And at the session, the agency also played a video of U.S. astronaut Cady Coleman endorsing the game.
"The actual data that NASA gets is so important," she said. "Understanding what kinds of asteroids are out there is a problem NASA can't solve alone. And right now our computers are not smart enough to able to characterize these things quickly enough for us. So we need the citizen science crowdsourcing aspect of putting this on a game platform that everyone can play. … I will play this game, even if I have to have my 14-year-old son teach it to me."
The game will go into testing this summer and should launch this fall. It remains to be seen whether it will become popular enough to be useful to NASA. But the potential upside is clear. (Paging the Titanium jury.)
"We're going to be training, essentially, an army of people," said DeMeo. "Imagine the day when we do discover an asteroid in our path, and we have thousands of people out there who know how to interpret the data. I just think that's incredible."
CANNES, France—Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein told some great stories from their 30-plus years together at a seminar before an adoring crowd at the Palais here Thursday. And true to form, it was a funny and honest talk, with the creative partners recalling almost as many failures as successes—punctuated by an abounding gratitude for what they've accomplished, and the people they've met along the way.
They began, for example, with the topic of getting fired—something Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has endured many times over the years.
"The last time I was on this stage, I was here with Joel Ewanick, my client at GM," Goodby said. "We were both fired within months. He used a really bad word that starts with M and has a lot of letters in it. That got back to Dan Akerson, the CEO of GM, and that was a really bad thing," he added with a chuckle. (The word was motherfucker, and it was hardly the only profanity uttered in their 2012 seminar, which was lively—apparently too much so.)
Not that getting fired is always the worst thing in the world. But it can be frustrating when you feel like you're doing good work for a client.
"We've done some of our best work before being fired. It's just a rotating thing," said Silverstein. "The new CMO comes in. It doesn't matter how good you've been. You're on the chopping block."
The pair then told three funny firing stories.
"I met the new CEO. It wasn't even the CMO," Silverstein recalled. "I thought, of course we're going to continue with them. We did great work. And the first thing he said to me was, 'Thanks for destroying my company.' So, we didn't continue with that guy."
"We lost it after doing this wonderful spot [with Kevin Bacon]," Silverstein said. "And I've never seen another spot from this company. So you never know what's going on in the world." The Logitech spot was actually a tie-in with Google TV, which Silverstein jokingly dismissed. "Who has a Google TV out there? I don't think it worked. And who has the Logitech mouse? I hope Google's not in the audience," he added with a laugh, "because we are available for work."
Goodby then ran an NBA spot from GS&P, which never aired, that used CGI to show a LeBron James jersey getting unburned—celebrating his return to Cleveland. "It certainly had something to do with us not getting any more assignments from those people," he said. "I think the mood of it was just not right. If you're a basketball fan, I think you enjoy it."
In the case of Adobe, GS&P actually turned around what seemed to be a broken relationship.
"In this case, we quit. If you can't get fired, you might as well quit," Silverstein joked. "We weren't doing any good work for them. The process was broken, and it was frustrating. They had this product, this great brand that we knew we could do something for. I always say that I called the client and said, 'I quit.' But actually Robert [Riccardi], our partner, went in person—and the CMO threw a stapler at him. But then I got a call from Shantanu [Narayen], who was the new CEO of Adobe, and it all turned around."
He then showed "Dream On," the Adobe spot that won gold and silver Cyber Lions here earlier this week and is in the running in the Film competitions, too.
"I'm not saying you should quit, but sometimes you've just got to," Silverstein said. Goodby added, "And then sometimes good things happen."
The pair told all sorts of other stories, reflecting in particular on early work they loved, beginning with Electronic Arts and the famous "Can a computer make you cry?" print ad, which focused on the game developers themselves.
"We said, 'Let's make these guys into rock stars,' " Goodby said. "For the first time, these guys became stars. And they flocked to EA to work for them, which was a big part of their success. I went to the 25th anniversary of Electronic Arts a couple of years ago, and people came up to me, the engineers, and said, 'I work here because I saw that ad and I wanted to be a part of that.' "
After a slide titled "99% of winning is just showing up," Goodby told the story of scoring the top prize—along with $100,000—at the Kelly Awards in 1996 for the Porsche campaign that included the famous "Kills Bugs Fast" ad. But the GS&P creative who showed up at the ceremony wasn't allowed in because he was underdressed.
"We won $100,000, and Wieden + Kennedy went up and got our award," said Silverstein, adding jokingly: "And I think they kept the $100,000."
Goodby also told the story of the time Erich Joiner, at the time a GS&P creative, and the photographer John Claridge managed to crash a Porsche 996 while on visit to Germany to photograph it.
"They had one of the four prototypes of the 996 in the whole world, so this is a very expensive car," Goodby said. "I got this call from the guys, who said they had crashed the 996—and that I had to tell the president of Porsche about that. So I called up the president of Porsche, Rich Ford, who said, 'Is anybody hurt?' And I said, 'No, I don't think so.' And he said, "Oh, OK. Well, that happens all the time, don't worry about it!' "
—Norwegian Cruise Line
They also ruefully recalled the infamous all-agency cruise that GS&P took at one point in the '90s after accepting a barter agreement one month when Norwegian Cruise Line couldn't pay its bill. The agency staffers got notoriously rambunctious on the trip, to put it mildly.
"We had to write letters of apology to the cruise line and give some free cruises to a couple of people," Silverstein said. "We were terrible. There were chairs thrown off. Food fights. We had six special rooms, and we had this brilliant idea that each room would have its own special liquor concept. It will never happen again. We burned the film that we had."
Goodby added: "I was in my cabin, and this guy appears in a white Norwegian uniform and hands me an envelope. I open it up, and it's from the captain. And it's a form letter, and it says, 'The captain requests the pleasure of your company in his cabin to discuss …' And there's a blank, and it says, '… the behavior of your company.' "
At least they did some great work for the client along the way.
Goodby, of course, is perhaps best known for writing "Got milk?" in the early 1990s, and he told the origin story of the line—and the surprising negative reaction from some staffers to winning the account.
"People wonder whether 'Got milk?' was written on a napkin. Everybody says that. It never was," Goodby said. "It was a meeting with the client, and one of our planners came up to me and said, 'We're going to talk about what happens when we run out of milk. What should we call that?' And I said, well, why don't we call it 'Got milk?' And she said, why don't we call it, 'Got enough milk?' And I said, no, call it, 'Got milk?' "
"I thought it was the stupidest fucking line I'd ever heard," Silverstein interjected. "I thought, that is so Goodby. That is so esoteric. This is the best part, though. Mike Shine and John Butler, who used to work for us, came into my office and said, 'You guys have sold out. Milk?! You guys are gonna pitch milk?!' "
The pair soon left to start up Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, which of course has gone on to great things of its own. "They went off and killed it in their own agency," Goodby said. "It didn't hurt them to not like milk."
Then they showed the "Got milk?" ad that started it all:
They also talked at length about the Budweiser frogs—and how the agency's attempt to kill them off, at the client's request, actually extended the campaign.
"I thought maybe there could be a couple of animals that wanted to kill the frogs because they were jealous of them, and that we could do something on the Super Bowl," Goodby said. "I suggested that we do it with raccoons."
"Thank God we didn't listen to you," said Silverstein.
"But we did like 65 of those commercials afterwards because it was so much fun to see Louie the Lizard be crazy," said Goodby.
Silverstein then reflected on the lack of great campaigns these days. "As an industry, we're making a whole bunch of one-offs," he said. "Interesting. Brilliant. But there's something about a campaign that's lasting and interesting and has an arc. Why are we watching great shows on HBO? Because there's storytelling and an arc and we get to know these characters, and you push it. I wish we'd get back to some of that."
While they showed mostly older work, at the end they did screen this year's "Emily's Oz" spot from GS&P's New York office—one of our favorites as well. "We're really proud of this," Goodby said. "It was done by Paul Caiozzo and the New York staff, and it's terrific stuff."
Above all else, Goodby and Silverstein come across as humble, self-effacing leaders—proud of their successes, if always a little wary of them, but just as proud of their staff, even when they leave—as often as not, to start their own places.
Looking back on their career, Goodby even said flatly that a lot of their success came simply by chance.
"You walk into the right room at the right time. You meet somebody. Somebody introduces you to somebody else," he said. "As I tell people, it's not a complicated business. If you have great clients and great people and you put them together, great stuff can happen. That's still true. And we've been incredibly lucky to meet great people throughout the years."
"It's shocking to us," Silverstein added. "We're only doing this because this is what we know how to do. And we care about doing a good job, and the craft, and treating people with respect. And then you realize, Oh my god, these people are coming into your office every day and they have families and they have to put the kids through school. And you go, Holy shit, we're just a bunch of idiots!"
Said Goodby: "One time I made the mistake of telling the company, 'We're just making this up as we go along.' And [former GS&P president] Colin Probert said to me, 'Don't say that anymore! It's scaring people!' But it's all too true …"
Lots of marketers are surely hard at work on celebratory responses to today's Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. But YouTube, long a supporter of gay rights, moved the quickest this morning with a new #ProudToLove spot that's perfect for this historic day.
The video site has the added cred of being an actual vehicle for messages of tolerance, personal confession and love. Which is why the first part of this video includes clips played through the familiar YouTube interface, reminding us that gay people have often turned to YouTube to broadcast their struggles for acceptance—and their moments of transcendence when it happens.
The spot, directed by Scott Chan of Whirled, nicely mixes the personal and the political, the public and the private. And the result, while not groundbreaking, is a great emotional tribute on a day that is—one that looks to both the past and future at a moment when the country changed forever.
Adrien Brody has starred in dozen of films, and 12 years ago he took home the ultimate acting prize—the Best Actor Academy Award for The Pianist. (At 29, he was the youngest ever winner of that prize, and remains the only man under 30 to have won it.)
But he wants to direct a feature. And for practice, he's turning to advertising.
After dabbling in the ad space a few years ago, Brody, now 42, has signed with Smuggler for commercial directing projects. He also recently directed four Dodge spots as part of Wieden + Kennedy's "Dodge Brothers" campaign. (Those ads were produced by Caviar, though Brody got the job separately and was never repped by Caviar.)
We spoke with Brody about the Dodge work, how his acting influences his directing, and what his future holds behind the camera.
Adweek: The Dodge work isn't the first ad campaign you've directed, is it?
Adrien Brody: I've been keeping it under wraps. I directed several spots beginning about five years ago. One was really a wonderful, anthemic piece I did for Chrysler called "Arrive in Style." They gave me a tremendous amount of creative freedom with that, and I thought it would always be like that. I had a similar experience as an actor with films, doing independent movies and realizing they're not always so free spirited, and you don't always get the same degree of creative freedom.
The impetus to direct was to have more of my vision as a storyteller infused into the work, and into my own work, where there are limitations as an actor. As you know, the ad space does not necessarily offer that consistently. You have to choose your partners, and I think you also have to develop a degree of trust.
So the Dodge work came from your relationship with Chrsyler.
I kind of stepped back for a while and just focused on my acting work and some producing work, and then recently got back in touch with my friends at Dodge, and we bid for this "Dodge Brothers" campaign, which we got. And it was a tremendous amount of fun, and again I had a lot of leeway within the parameters.
Even though I aspire to direct a film, this is a wonderful tool for me to … I don't know, "experiment" isn't the right word. You know, it's not dissimilar to independent filmmaking, where you have certain constraints, and then you have to surmount those and tell the story that you feel you can tell best. And that comes from experience, and working with actors, and selecting the right actors. And picking the battles to ensure that you have the ammunition to deliver the product that they're really looking for.
Working with Dodge and Wieden + Kennedy, that's pretty good company in which to experiment.
They were super. I'm very friendly with Olivier [Francois], who is their head marketing guy, and he's really championed my work. He was the one who enabled me to do the "Arrive in Style" spot. I flew myself to Detroit on a crack-of-dawn flight and pitched their entire boardroom my vision for a spot they wanted to do, by myself, and won over their trust. Then, I did not have a directing reel. I shot that first commercial with six different formats. We shot everything from a Phantom to Super-8.
Olivier is a pretty experimental guy. He's got that independent spirit.
Yeah, I know. And it's wonderful. He is excited about something innovative.
Tell me a little bit about the Dodge shoot. What was the most fun part of it and what was the most challenging part?
Working with kids is pretty exhilarating. Helping to guide them, and create that comfort zone for them to not act. To just kind of find themselves within the period, and find the freedom with the action, and not feel confined. That's something that not all directors know how to do. And by being an actor, and by knowing what I need, and having had to find that at times without that guidance—it allows me to nurture a performer in a way that is very helpful for them, for their own growth, and also for the production.
And the challenges?
We had a few logistical obstacles that Wieden + Kennedy and I were really collaborative on, and those guys are great, and we solved the puzzle. That's the hands-on experience I crave. I've spent a lifetime on film sets anyway, so it's not new to me, and that process of having to fix stuff and make things work has always been a communal effort. It's not just in the director's hands or the producer's hands or the actor's hands. You really have to work with people, and hopefully you can align that vision and try and fix it. Sometimes you fail, and you learn to overcome obstacles and limitations. And having done many independent films, that's a big part of making something great, making something special.
When I heard you had directed this, what came to mind, for me, was King of the Hill. I lived in St. Louis for a while, and I'm a big A.E. Hotchner fan. You were working with kid actors, and obviously Jesse Bradford was a kid in that movie.
Yeah, he was wonderful in that.
Does your experience doing period pieces help you with something like Dodge?
Yeah, perhaps. There's actually another film that I have been contemplating lately that's really interesting to me. I had done a film of that era, my first film, when I had just turned 14, I believe, and I was the lead of the film. It was called Home at Last. My character, who was an orphan at the turn of the century, was very inventive and had a lot of will. It's a similar characteristic that we wanted to portray for the young Dodge Brothers.
So, did you handle some of the casting of the kids for this?
Absolutely. I was there for all of it. The young nemesis—he was so wonderful, and I wanted to cast around him. We found the brothers we liked, but there was some flexibility there, because there was nobody that had what this kid had. I'll give you a quick example. The casting director came in the room and said, "I don't know, this kid is really a character. He bumped into me in the hallway and he said, 'Hey, watch it!' And I said, 'What do you mean?' He goes, 'You pushed me!' And I go, 'No, I didn't.' And he goes, 'Yes, you did!' " I said, "He's hired." That was before he came in the room.
He was just so full of personality. I thought he would actually be more trouble than he was. I was like, "I love him, let's give him the job." Because he was just so real and full of life. That's the beauty of that age, actually, is that there is a lack of inhibition that kind of kicks in during adolescence, when we all transform. And that's a perfect age to be given some freedom as an actor, and kind of play a character, because you can really go with your imagination, and really don't give a shit about—you don't fully grasp what the responsibilities are. You're just having fun with it. He was wonderful.
You say you want to bring your own artistic vision to directing projects. Do you think you have particular style or aesthetic that you're drawn to as a director, or are you open to working in different styles?
I'm very experimental. However, I do definitely have something that I gravitate toward. I think partially that stems from the imagery that I was steeped in. My mother's work, as a photographer. Sylvia Plachy. She's an amazing, gifted and highly acclaimed photographer.
How do you feel like her work affects your vision?
She, first of all, gravitates towards a complexity, and a very symbolic and almost haunting imagery. There's some kind of poetic, rough softness to it, and a harshness as well. She's largely in black and white, but there is the story behind the story—the subtlety that exists within the fragility of the moment that is not a very fragile moment, so to speak. The tone of her work is fueled from her own struggles in coming to America, and being a refugee, and seeing war in Hungary, and loss. There's a degree of that that I think is also supported in my acting work, as well.
I'm also a product of my environment, and I do like a degree of action. And cars—I love drag racing, and I love cars. I can shoot the hell out of sheet metal, and doing the action running footage, and all of that. It's an interesting combination. So, aside from the filmmakers that I've worked with, who have also taught me so much, my mother's work has given me, I guess, a great artistic integrity to experiment in a commercial sense—to make sure that it's in there, regardless of how much I'm being asked to remove it. It's part of me, and part of the way I want to set the camera, or how I want to get close up on an action, or on someone's reaction. It's going to be there. And I'll work until I find that.
Do you have any other directing projects lined up?
Nothing at the moment. I hope I can do a feature. Working in the ad space is a wonderful way to really hone your technical skills, and put together teams of people that you get to spend several days with. It's a real amazing luxury to work with a good DP, and you get to know if you like their vibe, and if they work at a pace that you like, etc. When interesting opportunities arise in the ad space, I definitely will make myself available to do it.