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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    How did Target really feel about Mike Melgaard posing as a Target customer service rep on Facebook and caustically replying to angry messages left by haters opposed to Target's gender-neutral product labeling?

    The retailer issued a pretty dry statement after AdFreak broke the story yesterday. ("Clearly this individual was not speaking on behalf of Target," it said.) But behind the scenes, the brand was apparently loving it—at least judging by this Facebook photo that Target posted on Thursday evening.

    The photo showed a couple of toy trolls. The caption read: "Remember when Trolls were the kings of the world? Woo hoo! They're back and only at Target stores."

    Not only was this a clear reference to Melgaard's antics, but Melgaard himself responded in the comments—under his own profile—writing, "Target. Seriously. You are AWESOME." (With almost 2,500 likes, that is the most-liked comment on the photo.)

    Following Melgaard's expert trolling, Target's post is pretty devious as well. And it confirms Melgaard's earlier hunch that, yes, Target's PR people are smart enough to know that a guy like Melgaard is their friend, not their enemy.

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    New parents eventually get so sick of advice, they'll want to wipe their baby's butt with it. And now, infant feeding brand Tommee Tippee has made that possible—with a limited run of baby wipes made from actual parenting advice.

    The new Advice Wipes—made from a recycled mix of parenting books, magazine articles, printed-out blog posts and more—aren't available for sale to the public (yet—they might be someday). Rather, they've been made in a limited edition for special distribution as part of a new campaign from McCann themed "#ParentOn," which aims to give parents the confidence to put away the baby books and trust their instincts when it comes to raising their kids.

    Check out the brand's new video about the Advice Wipes here:

    An established baby brand in the U.K. that is looking to expand further in the U.S., Tommee Tippee came to McCann with Eric Silver when he arrived earlier this year as North American chief creative officer. (Silver + Partners had picked up the brand earlier.) It's been a while since Silver was a new father—his daughters are 16 and 14—but he's still plenty familiar with the pressures of modern parenting, which Tommee Tippee is trying to ease.

    "One of the lines we used early on with the client was, 'Humans were having babies for 200,000 years before the first baby book was written,' " he says. "We're saying to new parents, 'You got this. You know what you're doing.' "

    Not only weren't there baby books in prehistoric times, there also wasn't an Internet half a century ago (when Tommee Tippee was founded) to amplify the pressure on parents, as the brand's #ParentOn site reminds us.

    "When questions were raised on how to raise a child, you just figured it out," says a post on the Tumblr-like site. "There was parent and child. There was instinct. And there was Tommee Tippee. For 50 years we've made products that are smart and simple, innovative and intuitive. For 50 years, we've helped parents parent the way they were made to."

    The site also includes this anthem spot:

    The baby-products industry in many ways is invested in making parents feel insecure—so the products can be the antidote. And while a handful of brands, including Similac and Plum Organics, have acknowledged that fact, and turned it on its head, the Tommee Tippee campaign is one of the first to say parents can really do just fine on their own.

    And it does so with an approachable, fun-loving vibe—and with elements like the Advice Wipes that could get some buzz. Says Silver: "We thought it would be funny to take all that advice and actually wipe a baby's ass with it."

    For more about the avalanche of advice doled out to new parents, check out the Tommee Tippee infographic below, based on the brand's survey of 1,000 U.S. moms:

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    Darrell Hammond out, Norm Macdonald in.

    Wieden + Kennedy shook up the musty image of Col. Harland Sanders in its first work for KFC back in May, with Hammond being memorably off-kilter—both reverent and tongue-in-cheek—as the chicken chain's founder. But now, the campaign gets even more ambitious in its oddness, and stakes much more meta territory, by replacing Hammond with Norm Macdonald, who claims in four new ads that Hammond was an imposter.

    Check out the spots here, which sell the new $20 Family Fill Up meal:

    The campaign risks being confusing by swapping in one former Saturday Night Live star for another. But KFC is clearly embracing the idea of keeping viewers off balance as a way of commanding their attention, even if it means polarizing them.

    Macdonald, whose style of humor has always veered toward the self-conscious, gives an amusingly knowing performance, even offering a little shrug when he says he's the "real Colonel Sanders," as if to acknowledge the whole charade is a bit ridiculous. That vibe extends to the stock quotes in the press release.

    "Other than not quite looking like him, his voice being different, and his inability to cook the world's best chicken, we thought Norm was the perfect choice to play the Real Colonel. I think the fans will agree," says Kevin Hochman, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S.

    And yet, while taking the founder down a notch, KFC also continues to raise him up.

    "I was blown away when I learned that Colonel Sanders didn't even start KFC until he was 65. That's a whole lot of legend to fit into a couple decades, and it takes a strong work ethic, the kind you don't see every day, to do it like he did," Macdonald says in the press release. "He never gave up, never accepted less than the best and never held back an opinion. Plus he looks great in white."

    It's a curious mix of serious and smart-alecky, and clearly not to everyone's taste. But Greg Creed, CEO of KFC parent company Yum! Brands, said at a conference in May that it's better to provoke people than have no effect on them at all.

    "So far the response has been about 80 percent positive, 20 percent hate it," he said at the time of the Hammond work, according to Food Business News."But you know what? That's better than 100 percent being indifferent. And that really is what's important … we had lost relevance in the U.S.—60 percent of millennials had not eaten KFC."

    He added: "I am actually quite happy that 20 percent hate it, because now they at least have an opinion. They're actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate; you cannot market to indifference."

    So, if you hate Norm's ads, that's OK. KFC won't mind a bit.

    Client: KFC

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin / Karl Lieberman
    Copywriter: Jon Marshall
    Art Director: Helen Rhodes
    Producer: Jennie Lindstrom / Endy Hedman
    Social Strategy: John Dempsey
    Strategic Planning: Britton Taylor / Lizzie Hanner / Matt Hisamoto
    Media/Comms Planning: Alex Barwick
    Account Team: Jess Monsey / Jesse Johnson / Andrie Wheeler
    Business Affaires: Connery Obeng
    Project Management: Chenney Gruber
    Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

    Production Company: Smith & Jones Films
    Director: Ulf Johansson
    Executive Producer: Philippa Smith
    Line Producer: Justine Madero
    Director of Photography: Andrejz Sekula

    Editorial Company: Joint
    Editor: Steve Sprinkel
    Post Producer: Lauren Pullano
    Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy

    VFX Company: The Mill
    VFX Supervisor: Phil Crowe
    Flame Artist: John Shirley
    VFX Producer: Anastasia von Rahl

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

    Mix Company: Lime
    Mixer: Loren Silber
    Producer: Susie Boyajan

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    Kudos to Procter & Gamble brand Lenor (known in the U.S. as Downy) for managing to eroticize fabric softener in surprisingly poetic fashion.

    Each of these four long-form ads from Grey Dusseldorf delivers a cheeky ode to a different type of garment—skirts, trousers, shirts and scarves.

    The first may be the wittiest, but overall they feature some of the richest copy in recent years, full of little twists and turns perfectly juxtaposed with a wildly varied montage that splices contemporary footage with older live clips, stills and cartoons spanning the better part of a century—not to mention a few much older works of art. (Modern highlights include a nod to the No Pants Subway Ride, and a sideswipe at Americans for misusing the word "pants" altogether.)

    Even when the prose does get a bit purple, it stays oddly delightful. That's in large part because, despite reveling in its own wordplay, it hews pretty closely to a truth-telling tone—not in a myopic, product-peddling kind of way but in a broader, clever and observational sense. 

    "So let's not skirt around the subject," explains the voiceover in a quirky Icelandic accent that doesn't hurt the work's charm any, either. "You turn heads, drop jaws and make grown men speechless. You help us in our search for Mr. Right, but locate so many Mr. Wrongs."

    In other words, it doesn't always take the most progressive tack, but the whole thing is credible and entertaining enough to make you feel like Lenor doesn't just want to reach into your pocket and pull out the cash (along with whatever blue lint it can find).

    Rather, it wants to share the secrets to a life well lived. Because what is doing laundry about, if not the meaning of existence?

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    To introduce AXA's Victory bicycle lock, TBWA\Neboko scoured the streets of Amsterdam looking for other companies' broken bike locks, and used pieces of them in this memorable poster and billboard campaign (which even has its own making-of video).

    The cracked, bent bits of metal form letters that spell out AXA's message about Victory—that it's "The lock that should've been on your last bike." A sleek, shiny new Victory lock plays a key role in this found-object alphabet, serving as the "O" in the Dutch word for "lock."

    "Holland is the country of bikes," explains agency art director Rogier Verbeek. "Almost everyone has a bike. Or had one. Because a lot of them get stolen." More than 300 get pinched there every day, "so if you own a bike, you probably also know the feeling of having your bike stolen," Verbeek adds.

    Using the remains of rivals' broken locks to create the typography was a no-brainer, Verbeek says. Often, such pieces are "the only thing left when your bike is stolen," he says. "Since Amsterdam is full of bikes—and people stealing them—they weren't that hard to find."

    Alas, Verbeek speaks from experience, as his own bicycle—not protected by an AXA lock, he concedes—was stolen while he was working on the Victory poster.

    "It got stolen from in front of the agency," he says. "I was pretty bummed, since we were working on this campaign. It was a nice bike and my kid's seat was on it. Hope the current owner gets himself a better lock."

    As far as Verbeek knows, no cycling enthusiasts or typography fans have stolen the poster from public display, "but it would be great if someone did."

    Client: AXA
    Advertising Agency: TBWA\Neboko, Amsterdam
    Agency: TBWA\Neboko
    Art Director: Rogier Verbeek
    Copywriter: Matthijs Schoo
    Graphic Designer: Reza Harek
    Photographer: Paul Theunis

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    Meet Plip and Plop, the anthropomorphized piles of feces who star in this ad for Dude Wipes. After exiting a giant butt crack with some unsavory jets of brown liquid and plopping into a pool below, Plip and Plop let us know what's up. If you want a clean butt, you need to use Dude Wipes. Your asshole will thank you—as he does in this highly sharable video.

    And young dudes probably will share it, because it shows grown men dressed as turds and falling into a pool in the name of a product hilariously called Dude Wipes. Dude Wipes are exactly what they sound like: baby wipes in masculine packaging that aim to protect the fragile male ego from the shame of purchasing pre-moistened toilettes with a picture of Winnie the Pooh on the box.

    There's nothing unique about the wipes themselves, but sometimes you have to sell the category in order to sell the product. Coincidentally, America is pretty sold on the category right now, with adults are creating a huge boost in baby-wipe sales as popular opinion shifts to suggest mere toilet paper isn't enough.

    According to Mintel, wipe sales grew 23 percent from 2008 to 2013. But this sudden uptake in butt-crack hygiene is also clogging sewage systems across the nation, as lazy-ass Americans have taken to flushing their non-flushable wipes right down the crapper.

    So, if you require a refreshing Dude Wipe to tame the devilment of Plip and Plop, toss it in the trash after your done. Don't let it dance around in the pool like the unnamed wipe in this ad. Remember, dudes don't let dudes flush their Dude Wipes.

    0 0

    Robert Frost has been frightening lit majors for years. For the rest of us, however, the American poet's thoughtful 1916 masterpiece "The Road Not Taken," with its quiet lines about paths diverging in a yellow wood, hasn't been the stuff of nightmares.

    Until now.

    Director Lloyd Lee Choi employs Frost's contemplative stanzas to striking effect as the voiceover in this two-minute trailer for Until Dawn, a horror/survival game dropping next week for the Sony PlayStation 4.

    "Until Dawn is based around choice and consequence as you play through the story, and I immediately thought of the Frost poem and how interesting it could be under darker circumstances," Choi tells AdFreak.

    The creepy spot, filmed in the wilds of Vancouver over two recent steamy summer nights, plays out like a scene from a fever dream—or a horror flick. A young woman dashes from a cabin into the misty forest. Clearly running for her life and immensely afraid, she must choose between two paths that wind through the twisted trees. Both are fraught with peril. Will she confront the lurking terrors that wait along these roads, or perhaps work out an entirely unexpected route to salvation?

    As she mulls her options, Frost's words—"And sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveler, long I stood/And looked down one as far as I could/To where it bent in the undergrowth"—take on an eerie menace. The poem becomes a kind of inner monologue, giving voice to the women's tortured thoughts as she struggles with a decision that could spell life or death. (In this context, it sounds almost like something by Edgar Allan Poe.)

    "I love the poem's message, that you construct your own life narrative in retrospect, and really, the choices you make are the only ones you know," says Choi. "In some ways, you're fooling yourself thinking the other path could've led to a better life or result. It's kind of dark and bittersweet, that your life is what it is, completely out of your control, and is in some ways fateful."

    Choi, whose work ranges from Cornetto's sweet lesbian love story to this viral shaggy-dog tale for Chevrolet, handles PlayStation's hair-raising scenario with much aplomb. The filmmaker wisely keeps his heroine center-frame, providing an emotional focus for viewers throughout, with the night terrors glimpsed briefly for maximum impact.

    "Looking over to our main villain was always amusing, and frightening, as he waited around set," recalls Choi. "He was the nicest guy with a looming physical presence. And after the first few takes, he would ask under that mask, 'So, was that OK?' I imagined a sequel, where we find out he's actually a really nice dude who's just been misunderstood, and he's just angry because his mask is too tight and he can't take it off."

    Mofilm, a content-sourcing company based in London, invited directors to pitch ideas for the project, and Choi's concept won out. So far, the trailer has been released on GameStop digital properties, and will appear on PlayStation's blog and YouTube channels. It could also run in European cinemas.

    While scouting locations for the film, Choi recalls meeting another traveler who was pursuing a surprisingly similar path. "We came across a half-naked man with a chainsaw yelling at us in a menacing voice," he says. "And I thought, 'This can't be happening!' "

    The punch line? Says Choi: "He was filming a lumberjack workout video."

    Client: Sony Computer Entertainment America
    Agency: Mofilm
    Account Director: Carter Hahn
    Account Manager: Garrett Black
    Production Company: The Herd Films

    Starring: Debs Howard
    Villain: Carson Bradshaw
    Voice-over: Steve Bailey

    Director: Lloyd Lee Choi
    Executive Producer: Jordan Barber
    Cinematographer: Devin Karringten
    Production Designer: Caitlin Byrnes
    Art Director: Rebecca Wass
    Casting: Rena Kawabata
    Production Coordinator: Madeleine Davis
    Gaffer: Kyle Pigeau
    Editor: Lloyd Lee Choi
    Sound Design: Kirby Meador
    Colourist: David Tomiak
    Hair/MU: Siobhan Uy
    1st AC: Nick Malcolm
    2nd AC: Evan West
    Key Grip: Ritchie Lyon
    Best Boy: Teo Jara
    Swing: Travis Briggs
    Swing: Marc Beaudet
    Balloon Tech: Shayne Zwickel
    Craft Services: Emily O'Brien
    BTS Photographer: Lu Zhang

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    3M, which makes lots of different kinds of random, practical objects like sandpaper and stethoscopes, has now combined a bunch of them into one highly impractical but somewhat entertaining object—a Rube Goldberg machine.

    The video below, by Shinebox in Minneapolis, makes the manufacturer the latest in a long line of brands (e.g., Honda, Red Bull, Panera) to create one of the iconic contraptions as part of its marketing. 3M's angle? Building the machine using its own products, from welding helmets and plastic sheeting to, naturally, 25,000 Post-it notes and many rolls of tape.

    Tempting as it is to groan at the reprise, cascading devices do have an intrinsically sticky appeal, at least in terms of viewer impulse control—it's hard to peel yourself away when you're wondering what will happen next.

    In this case, the big finish comes in the form of brightly colored streamers made of Post-its. That sets up the tagline, "Science. Applied to life," which, for all its approachable gravitas, feels ultimately anti-climactic. The most powerful emotional appeal the brand can conjure is a bunch of bits of neon paper flying through the air.

    That's probably because all the other fascinating stuff it can do requires the audience to think way too hard. And the interlocking products also risk unintentionally suggesting that 3M's varied businesses might encumber it (a notion its CEO dismissed as recently as March, in the midst of launching this new push to rationalize and modernize its public image). A Rube Goldberg machine may be functional, but it doesn't exactly scream efficiency.

    So, maybe the company is better off adhering to more useful displays of its technology. Or it could just copy GE—another hard-to-describe conglomerate—and rely on a mishmash of esoteric art projects, pop sci-fi references and insane product demos with Jeff Goldblum.

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    Still obsessed with YouTube views as the key metric for knowing whether a video really connected with your audience? Not so fast, says ad agency Solve, which embarked on an experiment recently to see whether it could make literally the most uncreative video go viral.

    The Minneapolis agency created a four-minute video that was completely blank—no images, no sound, no title, no description. (A title, "The Blank Video Project," was added after the project ended.) The only thing it had was a click-through URL to the agency's website, solve-ideas.com. Solve promoted the video as pre-roll to U.S. viewers using YouTube TrueView In-Stream advertising. Viewers could skip it after five seconds. Solve was charged if a viewer watched at least 30 seconds.

    In the end, the video generated more than 100,000 views for an investment of just $1,400—or a remarkably affordable 1.4 cents per view. The ad was served 227,819 times, meaning about 46 percent of viewers watched for at least 30 seconds. Solve says viewers on average watched 61 percent (or 2:26) of the video, and 22 percent made it all the way to the end—seemingly solid engagement metrics. Nearly 1 percent even clicked through to the website. The video did not earn any likes, shares or new channel subscribers, however.

    The engagement data is a bit baffling. Solve speculates that many of the plays were inadvertent—that people had the video open in the background, or thought it was loading. Solve also acknowledges that the cost of 1.4 cents per view is considerably lower than average, since the video was served to the general YouTube population rather than a specific audience, which costs more to target.

    Still, the experiment does show how cheaply you can buy 100,000 views with even the mostly flatly uninteresting content.

    "Among many marketers and agency peers, 'views' have become the holy grail," Solve CEO John Colasanti tells Adweek. "Views offer a seemingly simple and easy way to measure the power of content. This is a false indicator of success, particularly when a video receives a high number of views, but a low level of likes. Often the video didn't truly go viral; the view metric was purchased."

    Better metrics to track, says Colasanti, are likes and shares, particularly on a per-view basis. "Tracking clickable calls-to-action, measuring deeper online behavior and conversion are also critical to monitor," he adds.

    YouTube declined to comment on the Solve experiment. But the video site has also been downplaying views in the way it judges video engagement. This was most evident in March 2012, when it completely changed its system for how it recommends videos to users—shifting to recommend videos with long watch time instead of a high view count. (The Solve video had impressive watch time, too, though—so that metric evidently isn't always an indicator of great content either.)

    Still, Solve's point is simple: Stop fetishizing views.

    "Creative effectiveness has always been difficult to truly measure," says Colasanti. "Many marketers are looking at views as a quick, easy indicator of content power. On its own, it simply doesn't work as an absolute and critical metric for measuring and comparing creative effectiveness."

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    Kyle Chandler's got one more inspirational speech in him, and we'd all better listen up.

    The Austin-based actor reprises his best role—as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights—in this great spot for the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. We don't want to spoil the ending, so just watch it first:

    It's a delightfully meta bit of work—his annoyance is our annoyance—and hopefully it's effective.

    Seriously. Please. It's 2015 and going to the movies is expensive, especially if you're going out in cities like New York or Los Angeles or even Austin, where the Alamo Drafthouse was founded. So, when you've shelled out $10, $12 or even $15 dollars to see the latest flick and someone in the audience is texting away, distracting you from the experience you've paid for, it's obnoxious in the extreme.

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    The Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta, has created an epic commercial about how cool it is to ride the bus. But it's like flashing back to a trip you've taken before.

    Everything seems eerily familiar: the slow-motion footage of riders outrageously gleefully to find themselves on the bus; the tongue-in-cheek voiceover extolling the vehicle's "amenities"; the epic music cues; and especially the hirsute driver, with those shades, just too damn cool for their own reflections.

    The two commercials below share those similarities. One is the Edmonton Transit System's "ETS Cool Bus," which went viral this week. The other spot, Midttrafik's "The Bus" from Denmark, was a huge hit in 2012, when it won the Epica d'Or in film at the Epica Awards and a gold at Eurobest.

    Both clips are amusing and do a great job of portraying bus travel as convenient and desirable. Still … are the spots too close for comfort?

    The 2015 ETS spot:

    The 2012 Midttrafik spot:

    ETS rep Jennifer Laraway tells Adweek that Edmonton has always acknowledged that "part of our inspiration came from the Danish video." Indeed, a Facebook post from May, when "ETS Cool Bus" launched, notes that the spot mirrors "a similar campaign in Denmark for a manufacturing company of buses." Laraway says that ETS will soon clearly credit its Danish source on YouTube and Facebook.

    However, she hastens to add that while the Midttrafik ad served as a departure point, "we wanted ours to focus on actually taking the bus and the rider benefits of doing so. For example, you'll notice our campaign has several distinctions, such as safely being able to text (we have a provincial law here that it is illegal to use a handheld device while driving), reading, personal climate control, and references to our monthly transit passes."

    What do the makers of the original "Bus" ad—who hadn't seen or heard of the ETS spot until we brought it to their attention—think of all this?

    "We are a bit surprised, I must say," says Ronni Madson, vice president of M2 Films in Copenhagen, which produced "The Bus" for Midttrafik. "But we are trying just to be humbly flattered."

    Midttrafik rep Britta Charmig suggests that, in some ways, the ETS commercial—created by Studio Post—stretches the definitions of inspiration and homage rather far. "Most scenes, the slow-motion effect and the cool bus driver have been directly copied," she says.

    Still, the Danes aren't getting too melancholy about the situation. "We are proud that we have made a film that has inspired others to do almost exactly the same," says Charmig. "It proves that the idea was good and makes us sort of first movers in good and funny bus ads."

    "They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I suppose I am flattered on behalf of our team," adds Mads Munk, owner and founder of M2Film. "Maybe I should give up my job heading up a company who come up with original ad campaigns and become a cool bus driver myself!"

    0 0

    If "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" taught me anything, it's that getting loaded from strange fumes is probably unhealthy, but possibly lucrative. British food design firm Bompas & Parr evidently learned the same thing, because its latest zany bar gimmick is a place called Alcoholic Architecture, where the signature cocktail is an atomized cloud of liquor that you drink by breathing.

    What would you charge for that, I wonder?

    Anyway, the booze cloud is made up of a 1-to-3 ratio of spirits to mixers, and special protective suits are required to protect your mucus membranes from overexposure to it. This all sounds (and is) incredibly unsafe, but openly taunting death is a hallmark of debauched London hedonism.

    "One of the frustrations of doing things like flooding buildings with booze that people have to boat across before drinking it is that they are so short lived," Sam Bompas told Fast Company. "We always wanted to open a bar, and Alcoholic Architecture is the bar from our wildest fantasies, made into reality."

    The bar's other drinks and spirits are more traditional, taking their theme from an old monastery neighboring the bar, although they do serve Buckfast, which is the Scottish version of 4 Loko. I wonder if Bompas and Parr have been to the Heart Attack Grill. Something tells me they'd like it.

    0 0

    Stunts designed to impart a message about body image have been so commonplace that many of them fade into the background. But this one, from a group called the The Liberators, is undeniably powerful—almost iconic in its simple, visceral message about loving one's body.

    A young woman named Jae West walked into London's Picadilly Circus one Sunday and began to undress. She then put a sign in front of her, put a blindfold on and stood nervously with her arms outstretched.

    Check out the video to see what happened next.

    In a blog post, West said she had suffered from an eating disorder through high school and into her early 20s. But then one night she watched Amanda Palmer's TED talk, "The Art of Asking," in which Palmer talks about how she had stripped naked and let her fans draw and write anything they wanted on her. 

    "That night as I was going to bed, the idea of linking the vulnerability of nudity with self-esteem issues in a public setting came to mind," West writes. "Just the thought of looking down at my body and seeing it covered in love hearts from other people brought tears to my eyes. It was a reality check of how harsh we can be on ourselves, we really can be our own worst critics. The unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves can cause us to reject the love that others openly give because of a feeling of unworthiness."

    She was scared to go through with it—she admits to feeling "an overwhelming sense of vulnerability" right beforehand. But she knew she had a potent idea.

    "I knew this was a global concept that many people could relate to," she writes, "so putting myself in that situation really was a stand for everyone out there that has been confronted with self-doubt in relation to the way they look."

    Check out her full essay here, and the Palmer TED talk below.

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    A new hybrid-electric Audi is just like that time Bob Dylan shocked audiences by playing an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, says Audi.

    This new video from the automaker, a sponsor of the 2015 festival, interviews a mix of historical figures, like documentarian Murray Lerner, and modern musicians, like Courtney Barnett, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists—artists who were part of the lineup at Newport this summer, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of famous Dylan's 1965 show.

    So, what exactly are the differences between a Fender Stratocaster and an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, you might ask? It doesn't matter, because when you're driving around in your sweet $40,000 car, you'll feel like a pioneer and a rebel cranking out creamy licks on your finely tuned instrument.

    It also may be worth noting that while it's widely believed audiences booed Dylan's decision to go electric, that account is also disputed—other theories include that crowds were upset by bad sound quality, or the shortness of his set. But that's nowhere near as good a story.

    To be fair, the clip does include some charming rumination on music and its evolution. But the implicit message—"Don't hate progress. Buy an Audi"—isn't the most compelling song. Especially when other car marketers are making the case that fuel-efficient alternates can literally run on cow crap.

    Client: Audi
    Spot: "Plugging In"
    Executive Producer: Joseph Assad
    Director: Phil Pinto
    Narration: ​Holly Laessig
    Agency: PMK•BNC/Vowel
    Production Company: One Thousand Percent
    Producer: Tyler Byrne, Kristopher Rey-Talley & Rebecca Assing
    Director of Photography: Sam Wootton
    2nd Unit Director: Antonio Santos
    Associate Producer: Victoria Lada
    Editorial: One Thousand Percent
    Editor: David Yoonha Park & Ryan Dickie
    Post Producer: Kristopher Rey-Talley
    VFX Company: Motion Atelier
    Nuke Artist: Paulo Dias
    Titles/Graphics: Wax Magazine
    Animation: Konrad & Paul
    Sound Designer: Colin Alexander
    Mixer: Greg Tobler

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    After two decades of supporting its gay employees internally, Procter & Gamble publicly came out in support of gay marriage late last year. The packaged goods giant reiterated that position with a tweet in June celebrating the Supreme Court's decision guaranteeing a nationwide right to same-sex marriage:

    The company has been slower, however, to feature gay couples in its advertising—sitting by as Honey Maid, DirecTV, Hallmark and other brands lead the charge in normalizing images of such families in ads. And in fact, P&G appears to have hedged its bets recently when it did finally produce a commercial with a gay couple for Tide laundry detergent.

    The spot, which you can see below, was created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York for the North American market, but so far it's aired only in Canada. This delighted P&G's Canadian execs, who told Marketing magazine back in January, after it started airing, that they were excited to get the spot first.

    "We're addressing the diversity, the different kinds of families that love and use Tide everywhere in Canada. We want to reflect this in who we talk to and the way we talk to them, so that they feel included in the messaging," said Manon Lapierre, a rep at P&G in Montreal. "In this particular ad, it's a way to talk to gay couples and gay consumers out there. Hopefully they feel we are talking to them directly."

    But it wasn't as delightful for those who want to see P&G air ads with gay families in the U.S. In fact, a petition has even been launched at Change.org to get the Tide spot airing here.

    "On the heels of the Supreme Court's historic decision in favor of gay marriage, please join us, as well as P&G stockholders, and even members of the Gamble family, in asking Procter and Gamble to 'turn the Tide' and bring this long-overdue message of consumer inclusion to U.S. airwaves," the petition says. "Let them know that our money spent as LGBT and LGBT-friendly consumers is worth their money spent as advertisers (a fact that Tylenol, Chobani and Wells Fargo have successfully capitalized on recently). Tell them that their courage will not only generate greater sales, it may even save lives."

    In January, Lapierre said P&G was "evaluating the spot for potential rotation" in the U.S. Seven months later, it seems P&G is still trying to decide what to do.

    "We are happy to see such a positive reaction to the commercial," Anne Candido, a rep at P&G in Cincinnati, told Adweek this week. "We're evaluating this ad along with others we have planned for potential rotation in the future."

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    These sensationally shaggy spots for Dollar Beard Club ooze boastful bro attitude thicker than a Brooklyn hipster's facial hair. The company, which is 100 percent real, provides members with low-cost monthly shipments of balms, waxes, shampoos and oils—everything guys need to make their whiskers more wondrous.

    Using the sharp humor of Dollar Shave Club's viral videos for inspiration, Beard Club's fuzz-faced co-founder and frontman, Chris Stoikos, pulls no punches during his parodic pitch. In fact, he physically assaults any dude caught shaving in his immediate vicinity, proclaiming that Beard Club members "sure as hell won't be receiving any fucking razors from us to demolish your manhood."

    In the brand's first ad, which launched in June, Stoikos explains: "Finding the time to go out and buy your monthly beard supplies is just too tough. I get it. You have a beard. You're probably too busy doing stuff like riding your motorcycle or swimming in a box full of women."

    A new spot (below) targets the Canadian market with lines like, "The only blades this country uses are the ones you lace up." It shows Stoikos playing hockey (with shaving-cream cans for a target), showering with two hot gals and hanging out with a lion.

    There's a method to his marketing madness. "By making your customers feel like they are part of something bigger than the company, you build trust and respect, which ultimately leads to loyalty," Stoikos tells Entrepreneur.com. He adds, "Our bodies are no different than cars. To get the most mileage out of them, you need to treat them right and maintain them routinely. I am utterly shocked at how many entrepreneurs I meet that fail to see this."

    Oh, I think they're starting to catch on. No doubt some wily business-folk will soon launch the Dollar Bald Club, serving both Beard and Shave Club members' needs as time takes its inevitable toll.

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    Peyton Manning is back to shame more lazy people into earning their Gatorade with sweat, and this time he's brought his brother with him.

    In a new reality-style ad series from TBWA\Chiat\Day, Peyton, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, and Eli, quarterback of the New York Giants, play coach to college students who are foolishly trying to use money to get drinks out of a Gatorade vending machine. Rob Belushi, who starred as the convenience store clerk in a similar series last year, returns here as a deadpan janitor.

    Despite the possibility that everything is staged, the reactions of the kids, when it dawns on them that the two adults hovering over him are actually football stars, are pretty priceless. And it's refreshing to see an automated dispenser that refuses to comply, no matter what you do. (The kids are advised that they have to "Sweat it to get it," but that doesn't seem to work, either.)

    Some other spots show Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt putting other students through the wringer in various ways.

    The concept first launched last August. The "Sweat it to get it" tagline is still charmingly snide, but seems to cut out a significant portion of the population who drink Gatorade only to recover from hangovers—unless that counts as hard work, which it should.

    Regardless, the Mannings can't easily beat their ridiculous rap bit for DirecTV—at least not by sitting back and letting everyone else do the heavy lifting.

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    What's inspiring about a dusty patch of ground in Venice, Calif., populated with a few scraggly weeds and hemmed in by a chain link fence? Plenty, according to the team at 72andSunny's in-house creative residency, 72U.

    The six-member group looked at the forlorn piece of property and saw an opportunity for a community gathering spot and open-air workspace. Using crowdsourced info, they spent eight weeks creating a 1,500-square-foot pop-up park with free wi-fi, portable desks, fences that convert to tables and art installations. The space on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, meant to "inspire and connect the community," its designers say, will be open for nine months.

    It's the latest project from 72U, which gathers creative thinkers from outside the traditional ad world, tosses them together for three months and challenges them to create art-meets-technology-meets-culture concepts. Other fruits of the program's labor include a Craigslist-style interactive music video and two four-story murals about privacy in the digital age.

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    Advertising has a new pint-size star this morning, as London agency adam&eveDDB has rolled out an excellent new commercial for John Lewis' home insurance unit featuring an amusingly passionate little ballerina who careens around her home, putting all her family's possessions in jeopardy.

    The little girl is fantastic, throwing herself into the role with abandon, with perfectly serious facial expressions and comically reckless ballet moves. But she's not the only all-star presence. The spot is set to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer," which is clearly perfect for this, and was directed by Blink's Dougal Wilson, one of the great talents on the British ad scene, whose credits include Wieden + Kennedy's stunning Lurpak work as well as adam&eve's "Monty the Penguin" spot for John Lewis.

    Wilson gives this new spot a real '70s, lived-in vibe, which makes it feel somehow timeless, even though it's tongue-in-cheek. The details and pacing are great (the spinning glass is a great ending), as are comic touches like the fourth-wall-breaking brother on the stairs.

    The tagline is, "If it matters to you, it matters to us."

    "The advert is heartwarming and features an iconic song, but most importantly it reminds viewers that John Lewis Home Insurance can offer peace of mind, allowing them to enjoy family life," says Margaret Burke, head of marketing for financial services at John Lewis. "Knowing that they have protection in place, they can simply let life happen. Our campaign encapsulates this perfectly."

    "Every little girl has been that little girl, and every little boy has done something similar," adds Rick Brim, executive creative director at adam&eveDDB. "You would be hard pushed to find someone who can't relate to this scene."

    The 90-second spot will hit TV in the U.K. on Saturday and also run in cinemas. Check out the behind-the-scenes video below.

    Client: John Lewis Home Insurance
    Client: Margaret Burke, Head of Marketing, Financial Services at John Lewis
    Project: "Tiny Dancer"
    Agency: adam&eveDDB, London
    Chief Creative Officer: Ben Priest
    Executive Creative Director: Richard Brim
    Copywriter: Jo Cresswell
    Art Director: Sian Coole
    Planner: Tom Sussman
    Media Agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD
    Media Planner: James Parnum
    Production Company: Blink
    Director: Dougal Wilson
    Editor: Joe Guest @ Final Cut
    Postproduction: MPC
    VFX Supervisor: Tom Harding
    Executive Producer: Julie Evans
    Postproducer: Hannah Ruddleston
    Colorist: Jean Clement-Soret
    Soundtrack Name and Composer: "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John
    Audio Postproduction: Anthony Moore @ Factory

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    Grandma used to wear a flimsy plastic shower cap, and when she stepped under the shower it sounded like angry rain on a tin roof. And her hair always got wet anyway.

    That's a throwback image, to be sure, but it points to a modern problem for women who are trying to keep their freshly blown-out 'dos intact. The lowly shower cap has been stuck in time, says Jacquelyn De Jesu, an art director who launched a startup called Shhhowercap. To fill a void she saw in the market, she developed a sleek turban-like shower cap that's waterproof, noise reducing and machine washable.

    De Jesu says she wanted a product that actually worked—hers is made from nanotech fabric and has rubber grips for a secure fit—and wasn't hideous or bedazzled. "I needed a shower cap, but I wouldn't buy one," says De Jesu, a veteran of Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO Chicago. "It's like needing a car, hating all the cars you see, and just deciding to walk."

    She figured there were plenty of other gals in the same boat, especially with the explosion in popularity of Dry Bar and other salon services. When she found little branding in the category, she decided to self-fund Shhhowercap. (She didn't fully give up her day job—she's still working as a freelance art director for Huge, 360i and other agencies.)

    Marketing kicks off with a website and colorful photos starring Instagram influencer Taylor LaShae, and will continue with digital content and social media that intends to wipe out the stigma of Great Aunt Helen's coif protector. "No one wants to be caught in one, no one wants to admit they use one," De Jesu says. "Maybe that will change."


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