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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    It's easy to get disillusioned with advertising after, say, your first few months on the job. But what's not to like, really? You get free food, and free drinks, and free rides, and lots of other free stuff. Interns, in particular, love those kinds of things. And staying late.

    And in fact, at Leo Burnett Toronto, everyone feels that way—like they're fresh out of school, in their early 20s, pumped to come into work every day and make something that matters.

    If you've forgotten what that feels like, watch the video below, which Burnett made for Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year event last week, which also featured those great Zulu Alpha Kilo and John St. videos. Great cameo in the Burnett video from CEO and chief creative officer Judy John at the end, too.

    Note: There's a bit of swearing in here that you might not want to play loudly at work.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

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    The rate of U.S. military veteran suicide is truly horrifying. Research suggests roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day, or one every 65 minutes. The goal of Mission 22—a collaboration between Elder Heart, the veteran nonprofit group, and ad agency CP+B—is to lower that number through awareness and outreach. And this Veterans Day, CP+B has released a unique radio ad as part of its efforts.

    CP+B took audio recordings of a veteran who took his own life, Clay Ward, in which he talked despairingly about PSTD and edited them—reordering his words into a message of hope instead of frustration. The result is the radio ad you can listen to here:

    It's a striking piece of audio. And while CP+B was well aware that digitally reconstructing Ward's voice—putting words in his mouth, essentially—was a provocative thing to do, the agency proceeded with the blessing of his widow, Sabine.

    "She was incredibly grateful to be able to participate, because it's a way to bring some meaning and purpose and hope to other families, to avoid the tragedy that she and her family have experienced," says Henry Gonzalez, group account director at CP+B Miami.

    CP+B executive creative director Gustavo Sarkis says the agency worked with audio postproduction house Heard City in New York to painstakingly deconstruct and reconstruct the recordings. The result is noticeably choppy at times—but in a way that is good, Sarkis says, because it feels like a broken life being put back together.

    "There are some discrepancies here and there of tone, and we had to really work on it to make it sound as nice and smooth as we could," Sarkis says. "But at the same time, we thought it was good that you can notice that it's been patched together piece by piece, because that is what the message is all about."

    Having this message come from a veteran is also important.

    "A lot of soldiers with PTSD, they talk about it, they verbalize it publicly with family and friends," Sarkis says. "We thought, 'What if we gathered recordings from these soldiers and transformed them into a positive message of hope?' And soldiers, military people, veterans—they're much more likely to listen to other soldiers."

    The radio spot aired earlier this fall on a few local stations in Texas, where Ward grew up. It will be airing today on several Miami stations (790 The Ticket, Magic 102.7, Lite 101.5 and 104.3 The Shark) thanks to donated media from Entercom.

    Ward's story was also told earlier this year in a Memorial Day print campaign from CP+B that featured a war photographer's shots of the homes where veterans committed suicide. The photo at the top of this story is from that campaign, and shows the swimming pool where Ward shot himself to death in 2013.

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    Granite Bay, Calif., resident and senior citizen Randee Reidy is raising a stink over a recent ad for Procter & Gamble's Gain laundry detergent that associates grandmothers with a stink that's slightly more literal.

    The ad, which appeared in the Sacramento Bee, claims Gain makes clothes smell "garden-fresh, not grandmotherly." It included a side-by-side photo comparison of a bag of potpourri, captioned "Smells like Mee Maw," and a bottle of Gain, which apparently "Smells like Yee Haw!"

    As a grandmother—whose grandkids call her mee-maw—Reidy was offended twice over.

    So she started a grassroots campaign to shame P&G, sharing her feelings with the editor of the Sacramento Bee, her local congressperson, state senator and even Hillary Clinton.

    It didn't help that Reidy initially thought the bag of potpourri was actually a bag of garbage. "It doesn't really matter whether it's a bag of garbage, laundry or potpourri," she tells the Huffington Post."It indicates that grandmothers smell and the smell needs to be fixed somehow by using Gain laundry detergent. That's why it's offensive to me."

    P&G aubsequently apologized to Reidy and released this statement. "The ad is offensive and does not represent the views of P&G or the Gain brand. This was developed by a local agency and only ran in the Bay-area Sacramento region, and we are working with the agency to stop any future running of this ad."

    The effort invites plenty of other jokes (which we won't get into here), but Reidy's outrage is understandable. Insinuating that a "grandmotherly" smell is universally unpleasant is not only unkind but lacks smarts ... especially when the proposed alternative is smelling like whatever "Yee Haw!" is.

    The complete ad appears below.

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    The notion of marriage as a powerful covenant between two human beings shines through in "Vows to Protect," Mullen Lowe's new digital campaign for MassMutual.

    The initiative seeks to sell financial products and services to recently wed LGBT couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision legalizing gay marriage. Yet it manages to transcend that mission, serving as a heartfelt testament to devotion and long-term commitment.

    In the four-minute anthem spot, we meet five diverse same-sex couples who discuss what their vows mean to them. Speaking directly to the camera, they share hopes, goals and aspirations in frank and moving terms.

    "We knew the couples and their stories needed to be front and center," agency group creative director John Wolfarth tells AdFreak. "We were asking these people to share their feelings and fears. We didn't want anything staged in their responses, and we reciprocated that honesty in the simple, clean set and shooting style."

    As directed by documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys), the simple setup and low-key approach allow the subjects' personalities to shine through. "There are no air quotes around our marriage," says twentysomething Peyton at one point, and the spot closes with middle-aged William's memorable line: "It's love. And isn't that what you want to support?"

    "Every couple showed us this was an issue they'd clearly been thinking about for a lifetime," says Wolfarth. "And they delivered more insightful content and soundbites than we could hope for—from a childhood story about growing up in an observant Muslim family, to ongoing workplace discrimination, to wedding planning scams."

    This is a purely commercial endeavor, aimed at married same-sex couples. It's not an attempt to convince social conservatives to support a more progressive point of view. But the spot packs more punch than any number of social-issues PSAs we could name.

    The subjects are instantly relatable and command respect. They're doing their best to form relationships and families in a frequently harsh world. Their stories are universal to the human experience. With a history of outreach to the LGBT community, which lends legitimacy, MassMutual's brand stands to benefit from this targeted effort to provide information and support.

    Other campaign elements include a website and upcoming clips that focus on the individual couples.

    "There's been plenty of discussion about giving the LGBT community the right to marry, but no one has really talked with them about what it's like to be married," says Wolfarth. "One of the biggest reveals was that, despite all the buzz about marriage"—and especially in light of continued discrimination and hostility in some quarters—"the journey for LGBT equality isn't over."

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    Here's a refreshingly honest Christmas ad from from Australian, in which supermarket chain Aldi acknowledges that we aren't all swimming in hugs and beautifully wrapped presents.

    The stress of the holidays takes center stage in this minute-long spot by BMF, in which revelers scramble to decorate, shop, cook and otherwise get in the spirit of the season while battling time constraints and equally desperate hordes.

    It's no great insight that the run-up to Dec. 25 is filled with grueling social chores, but the commercial scores extra points for packing in a range of probable headaches—like the awkward office holiday party, or the overeager child. (British grocer Waitrose, by contrast, offered a far more relaxed take on the culinary traditions of Christmas this season, which, while charming, is perhaps less credible.)

    Mostly it's a nice alternative to the more treacly—or even pleasantly heartfelt—fare that gets thrown at us all season long. 

    With everyone tied into the same holiday tropes, Aldi inevitably runs up against other marketers' jokes—the woman who got the iron as a gift could take some cues from Jeff Golblum, for example, but at least her face isn't suffering from the after-effects of feigned gratitude.

    At the end, the writers surrender to good feelings: A hostess breathes a sigh of relief while lugging a turkey to the family table, closing the ad on a warm note. It's an understandable concession, even if somebody's still going to have to do all those dishes. And it's really the only way this spot could end—very reminiscent of this Morrisons ad from 2012, which is classic of this particularly storytelling.

    But at least nobody's getting shanghaied by an overbearingly upbeat stuffed fox.

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    Mr. T—or, as his friends know him, Lawrence Tureaud—has appeared in quite a few ads since Rocky III opened 35 years ago.

    Why? He can still move product and cause controversy. For example, a 2008 U.K. Snickers campaign imploring viewers to stop being "a disgrace to the man race" ran into opposition in the U.S. over charges of homophobia. That was only one of many spots that made use of the actor's tough guy archetype to sell everything from cereal and iced tea to the infamous Flavorwave "oven."

    In his latest commercial appearance, however, the aforementioned T is learning to better manage the rage that made him famous with the help of Fairfield Inn & Suites and its creative agency of record, mcgarrybowen.

    In the first spot, Mr. T answers the perennial question "What do you want, fool?" with a demure explanation: He just wants to be a nicer guy and a more efficient representative of the Marriott brand. This campaign is really all about Fairfield's new customer satisfaction guarantee, appropriately promoted by a newly rebranded Tureaud in the anthem spot "Becoming Mr. T."

    The full campaign, which launched on Monday, also includes an extended series of teaser spots and extras. In the clip below, for example, our hero sticks to the Gawker principle: He's a full 20 percent nicer!

    Here's an example of the 15-second briefs encouraging viewers to check out the full story while revealing that Mr. T has not lost his power to make a big first impression.

    Mcgarrybowen Chicago group creative director Lee Remias co-led the campaign with fellow gcd Kevin Thoem. He tells Adweek, "Our idea was to take someone and transform him/her into the embodiment of the Fairfield 100% Guarantee, which is all about making guests the number one priority and making sure they are completely satisfied."

    "Mr. T's no-nonsense personality made him the perfect candidate to transform into Mr. Guaran-T, a more caring character," Remias says, adding, "Plus, people love Mr. T. He's iconic. And the pun didn't hurt either. Using Mr. T's transformation from rough and tough to empathetic and caring helped bring the spirit of the Fairfield Guarantee to life."

    On that front, this behind-the-scenes clip reveals that Tureaud's bark may be a bit more intense than his bite.

    The Mr. T character is undoubtedly part of the pop culture "zeitgeist," even if he hasn't felt particularly relevant for some time. But the act of recycling icons that have outlived their expiration dates still works wonders for other brands—and this campaign packs a slightly stronger punch than many competing chains' ads.

    As another ubiquitous '80s icon might have put it, nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

    Client: Fairfield Inn & Suites
    Agency: mcgarrybowen, Chicago

    Chief Creative Officer: Ned Crowley
    Group Creative Director: Kevin Thoem
    Group Creative Director: Lee Remias
    Associate Creative Director: Rob Neveau
    Associate Creative Director: Ryan Carter
    Producer: Mike Dahl
    Director of Content Production: Steve Ross
    Director of Broadcast Business Affairs: Joann Baker
    Senior Business Manager: Kiki Powell
    Talent Supervisor: Rachel Franker-Groth
    Group Managing Director: Lisa Groot
    Account Director: Elizabeth Sandoval
    Assistant Account Executive: Madeline Gorman
    Music Producer: Brandy Ricker

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    If you're still obsessed with millennials, you've way behind the curve.

    Taxi Canada and BBDO Toronto both explain that you need to walk back to the very beginnings of life—newborns, fetuses, fertilized eggs, even sperm itself—to start building brand connections as early as possible, at least according to the parody videos below.

    "We want to take these attitudes out of the vagina and into the real world," a Taxi guy says, in one of the more memorable lines, after showing a "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" recording that becomes a crass product pitch when played backwards.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Not to be outdone, BBDO introduces ScroTech (below), which uses uses beacon technology to beam signals to "men's nutsacks," leading to plenty of positive (brand) penetration.

    Both videos were made for Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year event last week, where it's become tradition for agencies on the shortlist to present humorous takes on the industry.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

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    At first blush, it might look like a trio of neatly stacked compartments of fat, salt and calories. But the new Pizza Hut Triple Treat Box is actually a miniature cardboard taboret.

    Doesn't that sound better?

    The chain's holiday-themed packaging stunt, which looks like a wrapped gift, contains two pizzas, bread sticks and an oversized chocolate chip cookie, all for $20. It's a limited-time, while-supplies-last deal, debuting for hectic year-end schedules and out-of-town guests, provided no one's too concerned about eating their greens.

    The product launched this week. Next Monday, a TV spot will begin airing, and it puts former USC quarterback Matt Leinart and a well-known pop star in the same improbable pizza-night scenario.

    Leinart tosses a football outside the family home, while the singer—OK, it's Michael Bolton—hides out in the kitchen's pantry. When the Triple Treat Box arrives, a reindeer shows up in the hallway ... and Bolton bursts into "Jingle Bells" with a couple of backup singers.

    What happened to Leinert? No pizza for him?

    Then come the leggy dancers in Santa suits, who materialize out of nowhere, likely to provide a distraction so Bolton can put the moves on Mom. Mistletoe moment denied!

    This isn't the first time Pizza Hut has gotten creative with its boxes. Just months ago, it transformed them into film projectors for a summer promotion in Hong Kong (detachable lenses, QR codes and smartphones were involved).

    Pizza Hut promises more ads with "an assortment of celebrities" yet to come.

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    If you could drink a Slurpee out of anything, would you choose a plastic cup modeled from the soundwaves of a radio ad?

    To celebrate Australia's Bring Your Own Cup Day—a 7-Eleven promotion that lets customers put their Slurpee in unusual containers, like teapots and buckets—Leo Burnett Melbourne recorded Slurpee radio spots that featured sounds like mating blue whales and cheering soccer fans. Then it designed 3-D printable drinking vessels based on the waveforms (the visual representations of the audio) of the commercials.

    Consumers can use the designs to print their own cups, or compete for a brand-made one on Facebook.

    It takes creative license to turn acoustic phenomena into a functional cup. Regardless, this is a nifty way to give radio promotions some immediacy for listeners, and build social buzz around the campaign.

    Though a drinking cup in the actual shape of two mating blue whales probably would've been fine, too—and definitely would have been simpler. 

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    Xbox is celebrating the launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider in the U.K. by punishing eight Lara Croft fans with a sadistic stunt—forcing them to stand on a billboard in London for 24 hours and pelting them with harsh weather conditions, as voted for by the public.

    The stunt just kicked off a few hours ago and is streaming online at survivalbillboard.com and on Twitch. The eight contestants, who were chosen from thousands of applicants, are standing on tiny ledges in the air and being subjected to arctic cold, strong winds, snowstorms and intense heat—with the people watching choosing the order of the punishments.

    The last one standing wins a trip inspired by Rise of the Tomb Raider.

    The campaign began in October with call-for-entries ads outlining the contest's "Terms & Horrible, Horrible Conditions," and warned interested parties to expect anything from hypothermia to hallucinations. The final eight include survivalists as well as hardcore and casual gamers.

    The work was created by m:united\McCann, m:united\Momentum, m:united\CRAFT, m:united\MRM, media agency EMT and PR agency Edelman. It ties into the game nicely, as Rise of the Tomb Raider features much more hostile landscapes than earlier incarnations of the franchise.

    More pics below.

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    We wrote about a Kia ad recently in which Blake Griffin was "in the zone," which turned out to be literally a heavenly place, a fantasy mind-space in the clouds, where he was the most relaxed he could be. But this new Samsung ad from R/GA does Kia one better, showing an ordinary man who has found "the sweet spot," where all of life is charmed, and eventually is enhanced by a very special Samsung audio speaker.

    The man's name is Edwin Balldinger, and he's about to enjoy a day unlike any other, where everything mysteriously goes his way. And to cap it off, an unlikely delivery turns his home into an aural paradise.

    The spot is written in that posh, eccentric style seen most recently in Design Army's Wes Anderson-like optometrist spot. Chromista director Marcelo Burgos does a fine job with the absurd premise, weaving touches of humor into the dreamworld that give it its charm.

    Just not totally sure that's the perfect hair.

    Client: Samsung
    Agency: R/GA, New York
    Director: Marcelo Burgos, Chromista

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    After more than two years, Pepsi is reprising its Uncle Drew campaign, starring Kyrie Irving. This time, he's schooling younguns and old-timers alike in an intense game of H.O.R.S.E.

    The fourth video in the hit series, themed around an NBA point guard dressed up like a cranky old man who plays basketball like the young pro he really is, launched Thursday and has already generated over 1.6 million YouTube views.

    The preceding video launched in October 2013, and the first two—including the wildly successful original—rolled out in 2012. At this point, the element of surprise is more or less gone. But there are subtle differences from previous installments, and the end result is entertaining enough.

    True to form, the new clip opens with Drew waxing philosophical on basketball, this time in Miami Beach (prior stops include Chicago and Bloomfield, N.J.).

    Die-hard basketball fans may get a particular kick out of watching Irving and his posse—including the golden-age alter egos of comedian J.B. Smoove and former NBA star Baron Davis—play dominos and debate the merits of historical figures like Bob Cousy, Earl Monroe and Calvin Murphy.

    The trash-talking eventually leads to the heart of the seven-minute clip. Rather than take on younger, more spry street-ballers in a pickup game, Irving sets off to settle a beef with "Skinny Walt," played by NBA free agent Ray Allen.

    It might drag on a bit at moments, but in its defense, there are some pretty spectacular victory dances.

    Client: Pepsi
    Agency: Davie Brown Entertainment
    Chief Executive Officer: Lewis Henderson
    President: Tom Meyer
    Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director: Marc Gilbar
    Executive Vice President: Brad Groves
    Agency Producer: Ben Greenberg
    Account Director: Abby Jackson
    Account Manager: Erin Stover

    Production Company: O Positive
    Director: Jonathan Klein
    Executive Producers: Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill
    Producer: Jason Reda
    Director of Photography: Brian Murray

    Editing Company: RPS
    Editor: Neil Meiklejohn

    Mix: Beacon Street Studios
    Mixer, Sound Designer: Mike Franklin
    Assistant Mixer, Assistant Sound Designer: Aaron Cornacchio
    Executive Producer: Erin Reilly

    Music: Beacon Street Studios
    Finishing: A52

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    Stubbornness is praised in this touching spot for the American Cancer Society, where a twitchy, nervous kid in a tux and Converse All-Stars picks up his prom date, who would have the right to be even more nervous than he is.

    Along with stubbornness, the ad lauds courage among the things that give human beings an advantage over cancer, and leads to increased survival rates. The girl attending prom despite her treatment is meant to symbolize this, and does a really nice job of it.

    The tone of the ad—by DDB Chicago and Central Films North director Rodrigo Garcia Saiz—inspires us to cheer for her, rather than pity her, and her date's obvious stomach butterflies make another entry point for empathy.

    The ad is part of the ACS's "Advantage: Humans" series. Another video, "Anger," appears below. "Courage," above, is also available in Spanish.

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    In this fun, snarky Office Depot campaign, McCann New York turns boring old office supplies into amusingly pointed workplace-themed holiday gifts.

    Let's say one of your co-workers is constantly stealing your pens to take notes during staff meetings. (Not me, obviously. I'd never do that.) Perhaps a certain cube-mate blasts music nobody else in the department can stand. (Hey, everyone in my department loves Slayer! Don't they?) Or maybe a colleague gets weird whenever somebody tries to shake his or her hand. (Keep your germy paws off me, dammit!)

    Now, thanks to Office Depot's Co-Worker Collection, you can bestow upon such folks a festive package like "Stop Stealing All My Pens" pens, "Keep Your Death Metal to Yourself" headphones or "No Longer Avoid Shaking Hands" hand sanitizer, among many other holiday delights.

    Of course, the products are run-of-the-mill. But the comical stickers on the products are real—available in stores and to print out from home if you order online.

    It's a cute concept with a smidge of edginess. And its real-world applications put a fresh spin on the familiar office-humor advertising meme. Best of all, the complaints to HR—and resulting harassment lawsuits—will be the gifts that keep on giving, long into the new year!

    See more spots from the campaign below.

    Client: Office Depot

    Agency: McCann New York
    North American Chief Creative Officer - Eric Silver
    Co-Chief Creative Officer - Tom Murphy
    Co-Chief Creative Officer - Sean Bryan
    Group Creative Director - Steve Doppelt
    Group Creative Director - Daniel Rodriguez
    Copywriter – Sarah Menacho
    Art Director – Mikey Harmon
    Co-Head Account Management - Neil Frauenglass
    Group Account Director - Dina Hovanessian
    Account Executive - Christopher Alexander
    Senior Project Manager - Matt McLaughlin
    Executive Strategy/Analytics Director – Christine Villanueva
    Chief Production Officer - Nathy Aviram
    Senior Producer – Dave Herman
    Business Affairs - Erin Levine
    SVP, Executive Music Producer - Eric Johnson
    Junior Music Producer - Michael Ladman

    Production Company: OPC TV Inc.
    Director: Max Sherman

    Editor: Colin Loughlin
    Editorial Company: CRAFT
    Music Company: CRAFT
    Mix Studio: CRAFT
    Graphics: CRAFT

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    Paris agency BETC and client Canal+ have teamed up for a number of animal-themed commercials over the years, from their famous directing bear to their ballsy unicorns. But this latest creature could be their most impactful yet.

    That's because he seems to crash into everything, when he's not tearing things to shreds, pulling his owner down the sidewalk, or scratching his anal glands in front of dinner guests. Yes, the wild boar (is that what it is?) in BETC's Christmas ad for the French pay-cable network is one crazy beast—and its owners' patience is wearing thin.

    Check out the spot here:

    The message is amusing enough, though pet-adoption agencies might feel aggrieved that the spot casts animal adoption in a poor light—unless they're actually happy that it fundamentally warns people not to blithely give pets as gifts.

    With Canal+, these owners could have gotten their pig fix just by watching Babe.

    Client: Canal+
    Client Management: Julien Verley Guillaume Boutin Audrey Brugère Anne Laine Jordane De Villaret Elise Lacroix Coline André
    Agency: BETC Paris
    Agency Management: Bertille Toledano Guillaume Espinet Christophe Neyret Elsa Magadoux Mathieu Laugier Mathilde Lancon Jérémy Taffin
    Executive Creative Director: Stéphane Xiberras
    Creative Director: Olivier Apers
    Art Director: Marie-Eve Schoettl
    Copywriter: David Soussan
    Agency Producer: Isabelle Menard
    Production Company: Control Films
    Postproduction: Mikros
    Sound Production: Schmooze
    Director: Joachim Back

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    Friday's terror attacks in Paris produced an avalanche of empathy online, and proved once again the power of simple images to unite people in times of crisis.

    From Facebook's feature allowing users to overlay profile pics with a filter of the French flag to a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist's #ParisIsAboutLife sketch, the most affecting responses were simple and visual. And none was more compelling than Jean Jullien's sketch combining the Eiffel Tower and the peace symbol—an image made in just minutes on Friday that soon rocketed around the web, becoming a symbol of hope and defiance amid the grief.

    It was made by 32-year-old French designer and illustrator Jean Jullien, who tells Wired that he started on the sketch within about a minute of hearing news of the attacks. (He was on holiday at the time, not in Paris.)

    "It was done on my lap, on a very loose sketchbook, with a brush and ink," he says. "I didn't do any sketches. It was a reaction. The first thing that came to me was the idea of peace, that we needed peace. I was trying to look for a symbol of Paris, and obviously the Eiffel Tower was the first thing that sprang to my mind. I just connected both of them. You know, there wasn't much work process behind that. It was more an instinctive, human reaction than an illustrator's reaction."

    Jullien posted the image to Twitter,Instagram and Facebook on Friday with the caption "Peace for Paris." It quickly went viral. As of Monday morning, it had been retweeted almost 60,000 times, liked 160,000 times on Instagram and liked 24,000 times on Facebook. Instagram itself shared the image on its own account, crediting the artist—in a post that has 1.4 million likes.

    "We need symbols to express what [we] cannot say," Steven Heller, author of a number of books on design, told Fast Company."Images define and describe tragedies and other monumental happenings. It is as common as graffiti for an image to emerge in response to tragedy."

    Jullien has become famous from the image, although that is little solace.

    "As of today, and in the light of the event, I can't really have any positive thoughts," he tells Wired. "I'm sort of almost embarrassed to be getting that much exposure as a result of such a tragic event. However, it really shows that this is how we communicate not just as humans, but as a society. It can break down barriers. Sometimes it is difficult to shed light on what is true or not, but I think people have an instinctive sense of how to use these forms of communication. In cases like this, the things that need to spread, spread. And this seems to have been a very positive use of this form of hyper-communication."

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    In this stirring two-minute PSA for The Children's Society, a hand-drawn height chart on the wall of a suburban home marks milestones in a young person's life. When the entries take an unexpectedly dark turn, however, we realize something's gone tragically wrong for teenage Emily.

    London ad shop VCCP Me created the spot to raise donations to help The Children's Society fight child sexual exploitation. The team drew inspiration from "a face-to-face briefing with the Metropolitan Police on the issue and the book Girl for Sale by Lara McDonnell, a victim of the Oxford child sex ring," agency creative director Michael Quinn tells AdFreak. "It made me angry that this is happening right now—young lives being destroyed."

    The film derives considerable power from the contrast between the goings-on in a typical middle-class house (the family playing video games, Mom preparing dinner) and Emily's private suffering. Note also the toys in her bedroom, remnants of a childhood lost, another counterpoint to the cycle of exploitation that's tearing her apart.

    "Everyone thinks that this only happens in underprivileged areas or to other people's children," says Quinn. "They stick their heads in the sand and ignore it. So putting it in a mundane, ordinary, everyday setting was key. Could this be happening in my street? Right now? To a happy family? That, to me, is very frightening."

    As for the wall chart, Quinn says this use of "a universally recognized symbol of loving family life" is designed to drive home the message that "some children are groomed into abuse when the rest of the world doesn't realize what's happening. They are groomed, robbed of their innocence—and trapped."

    The chart seems an especially apt metaphor. Every kid deserves the chance to mature and flourish in a safe, nurturing environment. Here, Emily's growth has been cruelly stunted, her sense of self diminished by abuse and despair.

    Project name: Growing Pains
    Client: The Children's Society
    Creative agency: VCCPme
    Creative director: Michael Quinn
    Art director: Brett Gascoigne
    Copy writer: Tom Young
    Planner: Chloe McMahon
    Production company: Mustard London
    Director: Sam Miller
    Executive producer: Matt Hichens
    Editor: Quin Willliams @ tenthree
    VFX: Electric Theatre Collective
    Music: Deborah Burrett
    Sound design: Ben Leeves/Aaron Taffel @ Grand Central Studios

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    Moms are a huge, powerful consumer target, and Müller Yogurt USA's newest spot, "Sanity Is Served," is targeted directly at them. But it seems to be leaving them divided.

    In the ad, directed by Society's Rachel Goldenberg, we see actress Allyn Rachel play a mom who suffers through a series of frustrating events—kids running around the kitchen, a ruined blouse, the thwap-thwap-thwap of a child kicking a seat, a science project on a paint-splattered couch. She copes just fine, by cracking open a pack of yogurt.

    Rachel deadpans, "This is me not starting happy hour the second they get on the bus. … This is me not dropping the kids off on a little place called 'the side of the road.' … This is me not telling Skylar that he was an accident."

    The "Escape with this product for a break" schtick is a common one for brands. But this one, sort of a modern-day "Calgon, take me away," feels a little like it's pandering—similar to those pastel pink graphics on Pinterest that refer to wine as "mommy juice." Though I do claim solidarity with any mom who has mourned the loss of a throw pillow at the hands of a toddler with a marker.

    I personally would prefer—and I'm sure this seems formulaic—some nod to this stressed-out mom at least liking her kids, not just trying to self-medicate so she doesn't murder them.

    It's notable that the spot is getting mixed reactions on Facebook—everything from "So funny! I feel her frustration" to "This is encouraging stress eating.. And 'an accident'? What a message to send to your audience."

    Smartly, though, Müller is responding to a lot of the positive comments on Facebook, which has the effect of burying the scathing ones.

    Client: Müller
    Director of Marketing: Brian Hannigan
    Senior Marketing Manager: Katie Corsentino

    Production Company: Society
    Director: Rachel Goldenberg
    Executive Producer: Harry Calbom
    Head of Production: Rebecca Parenteau
    Production Supervisor: Ashley Holloway
    Assistant Coordinator: Sarah A. Miller
    Consultant: Esther Johnson
    Director of Photography: Andrew Davis
    1st Assistant Camera: Nito Serna
    Production Designer: Celine Diano
    Set Dresser: Aimee Athnos
    Gaffer: Nikolas Smith
    Key Grip: Rob Exner
    Sound: Chris Powell
    Key Costumer: Jane Johnston
    Hair / Makeup: Carleigh Herbert
    Food Stylist: Eugene Jho

    Editorial Company: The Academy
    Editor: Josh Snyder

    Editorial Company: Milkhaus
    Editor / Colorist: Dave Krahling
    Composite Artist: James Durée

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    Here's a Christmas commercial that's sure to bring a smile to your face.

    Dick's Sporting Goods has released a minute-long ad, directed by Derek Cianfrance, about a special gift for a local family man who is also a kids' soccer coach.

    The commercial is another winsome piece by Anomaly, focused on a love of the game that fuels everyman athletics (as opposed to the pro-level endorsements and flashy gimmicks common in the category). This time, that small-town mythology comes with an especially touching twist ending.

    The result is shamelessly manipulative in the best possible way. It's deliberately unpretentious and ultimately incredibly sweet. And though the payoff is broad, the gift's specificity keeps the ad feeling credible but relatable (perhaps in part because the family is reportedly a real one).

    This is an appropriate follow-up to Dick's father-daughter basketball spot from last year, even if it isn't quite as heart-melting. Then again, that'd be a pretty tall order ... so this year, quietly charming might just have to do.

    Client: Dick's Sporting Goods
    Agency: Anomaly
    Chief Creative Officer: Mike Byrne
    Creative Director: Seth Jacobs
    Copywriter: Dan Shapiro
    Art Director: Chris Araujo
    Head of Broadcast Production: Andrew Loevenguth
    Senior Producer: Amy Bonin
    Business Affairs Director: Annemarie Cullen
    Business Affairs Executive: Carla Curry
    Music Producer: Jonathan Wellbelove
    Account Director: Ji You
    Production Company: @radical.media
    Director: Derek Cianfrance
    Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
    Line Producer: Alex Orlovsky
    Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Jeff Ferruzzo
    Editorial Assistant: Matt Ferran
    Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
    Producer: Fanny Cruz
    Finishing: Arcade Edit
    Flame Artist: Tristian Wake
    VFX: Method
    Colourist: Tom Poole, Company3

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    Despite the enormous popularity of its first two puppy-based Super Bowl commercials, Budweiser won't be unleashing a third come February.

    Ads starring the Labrador pup from Anomaly, Bud's lead creative agency, topped USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter in each of the past two years. But the brewer is relegating the little scamp to the sidelines for CBS's Feb. 7 telecast of Super Bowl 50.

    Why? The puppy spot in this past Super Bowl simply didn't sell enough beer. So said Anheuser-Busch vice president of marketing Jorn Socquet in a statement sent to Adweek.

    "Budweiser aired two very different spots in last February's Super Bowl, and we learned that content focused on the quality of our beer was most effective in generating sales," he said. "Starting with our 'Brewed the Hard Way' ad in last year's game and throughout 2015, our marketing has featured a bold, confident voice that speaks directly to Budweiser drinkers, and sales trends have improved as a result. We'll continue this tone in Super Bowl 50, and we're excited to explore new creative territory."

    Here's the 2015 Bud Super Bowl ad "Lost Dog":

    Naturally, Budweiser's iconic Clydesdales "will most certainly make an appearance," he said.

    Last month, Adweek ran a poll asking readers if the puppy should return to the big game in 2016, and three-quarters of respondents voted for more puppy love.

    Industry experts, for the most part, agreed, noting that recurring motifs have generally worked well in Super Bowl ads through the years. (Plus, why take a chance on an unproven concept with up to $5 million riding on each 30-second ad placement in the game?)

    "The commercials that usually win the popularity contests are the ones that have recurring characters and an ongoing story," Scott Davis, chief growth officer at brand consultancy Prophet, said at the time.

    Still, there were voices of caution and dissent. Edward Boches, an advertising professor at Boston University, former chief creative officer of Mullen Lowe and occasional columnist for Adweek, said Anomaly would have to put a dynamic twist on the puppy concept to extend its popularity.

    Mark Hunter, currently executive creative director at SapientNitro, who served as creative chief at Deutsch L.A. in 2012 when Volkswagen returned to the Super Bowl for a second straight year with a Star Wars-themed ad, discouraged Bud from letting out the dog for a third run.

    "I would move on," he said. "This year's was not as good as 2014's, and if you're not careful, the whole thing becomes a parody of itself."

    Here's the 2014 Bud Super Bowl ad "Puppy Love":


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