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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Actor and comedian T.J. Miller was "dumb, and not in a funny way," in the big-screen flop Yogi Bear in 3D. And he's game for trotting out the memory of that critical drubbing if it means driving viewers to a presumably better use of their time—his hosting gig at the 21st annual Critics' Choice Awards.

    The show, airing live Jan. 17 on A&E, Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, launches the year's award-season broadcasts, so expect a steady stream of Hollywood backslapping to follow. And Miller, currently hot for his role on HBO's biting satire Silicon Valley, shows off his self-deprecating loveable loser persona in several promos from L.A.-based Stun Creative.

    He's hapless but in a funny way. (He wore cut-off tux pants under that sophisticated black tie, execs at Stun say, and destroyed about 50 champagne glasses in his attempt to serve a cocktail).

    For those interested in the awards themselves, which combine movies and television for the first time into one three-hour self-congratulatory extravaganza, the year's most nominated film is Mad Max: Fury Road, and on the TV and streaming side, FX's Fargo and Amazon's Transparent lead the pack.

    There's a whiff of controversy over the 11th hour addition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a best picture nominee. The film didn't screen in time to be considered, but the Broadcast Film Critics Association took a member poll and decided to tack it onto the list of 10 already nominated pictures.

    Will that help the show's modest ratings? Maybe. Miller could also be a draw, especially with the young techy crowd. Though he didn't fare too well in 2010's Yogi Bear, he's on a roll these days. He won a Critics' Choice Award himself last year for best supporting actor in a TV comedy, and his mouthful-of-food acceptance speech at the dinner event might have paved his way as a newly minted master of ceremonies. 

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    If you want to pay $48 for a bag of flour, head to northern Canada. It might even come with the same cheesy smile that your local grocer promises in its own ads. 

    A new public-service campaign uses dark humor to raise awareness of a serious issue: skyrocketing food prices in Nunavut, the large but thinly populated territory that, on a world map, juts out of the top of Canada into the Arctic Ocean. 

    Three parody commercials by Calgary agency Wax for a fictional supermarket called Way North highlight the problem with the obligatory bad jingle and footage of grinning store workers shilling goods at costs so outrageous they seem impossible.

    The problem is, those price tags are real.

    In Nunavut, a week's groceries can cost the equivalent of about $430 (in U.S. currency) for a family of three. Food prices on average cost 140 percent more than elsewhere in Canada, according to one advocacy group. A government study from 2013 clocked items ranging from 20 percent to 287 percent higher than the rest of the country. 

    The region is primarily home to indigenous Inuit, who earn an average income equivalent to about $14,000. Coupled with high prices, that often means people don't get enough to eat; indeed, 70 percent of pre-schoolers in the area suffer from this problem, according to 2007-2008 research.

    The reasons for the crisis are complex, but key causes include the region's remote geography: Food must be shipped in by plane or boat, driving prices up. Traditional diets, reliant on hunting, have waned as caribou populations change their migration patterns due to climate change, and Inuit lifestyles are increasingly less nomadic and more entangled in settled cash economies.

    Meanwhile, the problem of exorbitant grocery costs—too familiar among victims to even be called sticker shock—persists, despite efforts by the Canadian government and private citizens alike to mitigate them. Last year, one group of good Samaritans from Ontario gathered 60 boxes of food to send north, only to stall upon discovering that shipping costs would amount to about $8,500.

    The new ads, and their relatable message, seek practical assistance—in the form of increased pressure on lawmakers, and additional donations—from Canada and the U.S. alike. With their surreal twist on familiar tropes, and copy like "Just like your budget, these potatoes are about to get mashed," they certainly succeed in getting the point across. 

    In fact, the biggest problem might be that the numbers seem totally unbelievable. Then again, the campaign is smart to bank on that; in one of the better applications of Instagram in advertising, the Way North account features pictures of real items ... and their astronomical price tags.

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    Bro bro bro bro BRO! That word will be lodged in your brain but good thanks to its unholy repetition in The Martin Agency's latest work for Geico.

    A 30-second "Flextacular" spot presents two dead-eyed dudes who pump iron and discuss how switching to Geico can save you money on insurance. They pepper their patter with words and phrases like "brofessor," "brotein shake" and "Teddy Brosevelt." 

    Political humor—cool! ("Teddy Brosevelt" was our 26th president, after all.) 

    Folks who can't get enough might want to check out a companion series of short "Brocabulary" clips—with retro music and grainy VHS effects that are more distracting than endearing (check out the YouTube playlist below). Or you can order T-shirts that show "Brosevelt," "Edgar Allan Bro" and others lifting weights. 

    The whole "bro" thing feels a bit played out—Organic Valley's great "Save the Bros" campaign was a year ago now—but the agency believes the approach is timeless enough to connect. If nothing else, the creative team deserves kudos for tossing out restraint and indulging in gratuitous goofiness. 

    Martin has been expanding Geico's reach of late by adding online content to what would normally have been one-off commercials. For example, last month's "Spy" spot, part of the long-running "It's What You Do" campaign, launched with a series of "Momversation" clips that extended the scenario online. 

    "We look for 'extra content' opportunities where they make sense," group creative director Steve Bassett tells Adweek. "If we feel a particular spot has a social hook just waiting to be unleashed, we jump on it. It's not a new strategy for Geico. From the Cavemen to the Ickey Shuffle to Caleb the Camel, when an idea has the potential to spark something special on social media, we stand by with very big blankets ready to fan the flames."

    Talk about bromide for the masses! (Extra points for using a real word.)

    Client: Geico

    Agency: The Martin Agency
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    Group Creative Director: Steve Bassett
    Group Creative Director: Wade Alger
    Creative Director: Neel Williams
    Associate Creative Director: Justin Harris
    Executive Producer: Brett Alexander
    Broadcast Producer: Brian Camp
    Junior Broadcast Producer: Coleman Sweeney
    Group Account Director: Brad Higdon
    Account Supervisor: Josh Lybarger
    Account Executive: Allison Hensley
    Account Coordinator: Allie Waller
    Business Affairs Supervisor: Suzanne Wieringo
    Financial Account Supervisor: Monica Cox
    Senior Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz
    Vice President, Marketing: Ted Ward
    Director, Marketing Media Advertising: Bill Brower
    Sr. Mgr., Broadcast, Outdoor, Print & Sports Marketing: Melissa Halicy
    Marketing Supervisor: Mike Grant
    Marketing Buyer: Tom Perlozzo
    Marketing Buyer: Brighid Griffin
    Marketing Coordinator: Julia Nass
    Senior Project Manager: Jason Ray
    Project Manager: Stephanie Burdette

    Production Company: Dummy
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Director of Photography: Ramsey Nickell
    Executive Producer/Line Producer: Eric Liney
    Production Designer: Patrick Lumb

    Editorial Company: Arcade
    Editor: Dave Anderson
    Assistant Editor: Andrew Balasia
    Managing Partner/EP: Sila Soyer
    Producer: Gavin Carroll

    Editorial Company: Running With Scissors
    Assistant Editor: Drew Neuhart

    Telecine: The Mill
    Colorist: Greg Reese

    Animation/VFX: The Mill
    Producer: Colin Blaney
    2D lead: Keith Sullivan, Jeff Butler

    Audio Post Company: Rainmaker Studios
    Engineer/Mixer: Jeff McManus

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    Meet Will Perkins, a cardigan-clad Milwaukee resident who loves all-day breakfast at McDonald's so much that he's composing power ballads in its honor.

    Thanks to the parody mavens at Jingle Punks, we can watch Will's bedroom performances through a throwback-style website called Will's Universe (aptly hosted on Neocities, which, if you ever saw a Geocities site in your life, should tell you what to expect).

    Jingle Punks, a New York-based music and marketing studio, built its rep on clever spec ads and music-based satire. The firm did an orchestral cover of the Meow Mix theme that was a huge viral hit, and has worked with brands like Pepsi, Yahoo, Three Olives vodka, the NFL and Jack Daniel's, on the basis of its unsolicited ads and digital shorts.

    Jingle Punks doesn't count the Golden Arches as a client, but is obviously making a stab at some new business with Will's earnest low-tech odes to hash browns and Sausage McMuffins. ("Will" is actually a Punks employee who's reportedly been waiting "his whole life" for all-day breakfast at the burger chain, and wanted to express his devotion in song.)

    The videos easily stand on their own, with Will's Labyrinth movie poster and circa-1985 computer as props. But the site has more to give, like creepy Ronald McDonald wallpaper (shown below) and links for making blowtorches out of strawberry Pop-Tarts.

    Plus, if you'd like to sign up for the local adult soccer league, Will has you covered.

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    Heathrow Airport has gotten Stephen Fry, a well-known British person, to take the piss out of British manners.

    The video below functions as both a guide to etiquette and a guide to British humor, as Fry, rather dryly, clues us in on the art of queuing (waiting in a line), talking almost exclusively about the weather, being awkwardly polite by suggesting others go first, cheering when glass breaks, and tutting (making a little disapproving sound).

    Fry could probably fill 60 more videos on this topic, but it's a nice start. So whether you're arriving at Heathrow to experience the majesty of the country side, the majesty of Her Majesty, or Llanfair­pwllgwyn­gyllgo­gery­chwyrn­dro­bwll­llanty­silio­gogo­goch, you'll have a head start on understanding the peculiarities of this insular island culture. 

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    Taco Bell said Thursday that it is returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013 with a 30-second spot in the first quarter of the Feb. 7 game. The ad will unveil one of Taco Bell's "biggest product launches to date," the fast-food chain said.

    But good luck getting much more info from the press release, which has been heavily—and comically—redacted. (See the whole release below.) So many key details have been blacked out that you can probably just go ahead and play Mad Libs with it.

    This much we do know: The new menu item is described as a "food innovation" and seems to be a combination of (unknown) food items; it might be made available to certain fans before the game; the spot was made by Deutsch LA; and fans wanting to know more should follow the Feed on Taco Bell's website, Ta.co.

    Taco Bell's most recent Super Bowl spot was a :60 on the 2013 telecast, featuring octogenarians partying all night to a cover of the Fun song "We Are Young," sung in Spanish. 

    Click the image below to enlarge.

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    Sweat. It's the reason men have never quite reached their full potential ... until now, Old Spice's latest campaign proclaims. 

    Its new line of body wash and antiperspirant comes with a new spokesman, who can't be called the brightest, but at least he seems aware of that. Created by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., two new ads offer a fresh, self-deprecating twist on the absurd bravado that has defined Old Spice's advertising since Isaiah Mustafa first rode in on his white horse almost six years ago.

    This guy, though, has much better modes of transport. 

    In one commercial, he crests the oceans on the back of a whale, volleying tennis balls served through its blowhole, while paparazzi snap photos. Meanwhile, a voiceover of his inner thoughts waxes philosophical on how far is too far in terms of pushing himself. 

    In the second ad, he finds himself past that limit, having built a rocket car without any working knowledge of engineering. "The most valuable lesson I have ever learned is that if you fill your brains with knowledge, then there won't be any room for dreams," says the hero in what is arguably the campaign's best line. (In a self-mocking twist, it also feels a bit like a piss-take of W+K London's classic "Impossible Dream" spot for Honda.) 

    The delightfully tongue-in-cheek macho idiocy is cleverly written, on-brand and appropriate to the product line, called the Hardest Working Collection. Even its tagline, "Legendary Protection for Legendary Men," can't help but evoke Barney Stinson, Neil Patrick Harris's slick—but goofy—playboy persona from How I Met Your Mother (who happens to love all things legendary.)

    The work also joins a canon of other ironically suave men in advertising, which includes the extraordinary male lead in W+K Amsterdam's "Legends" campaign for Heineken, and Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man in the World," created by Havas (formerly Euro RSCG) and the godfather of modern man-vertising.

    Old Spice's Legendary Man is foolhardy, but brash and charming enough to earn his place in the lineup. Though now that Mustafa and fellow Old Spice spokesman Terry Crews have buried the hatchet on their rivalry, we can't help but wonder how the new kid on the block would fare against either of them.

    Client: Old Spice

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Jason Bagley | Craig Allen
    Copywriter: Nick Morrissey
    Art Director: Matt Sorrell
    Additional Creative (on Whale only): Jarrod Higgins
    Senior Producer: Lindsay Reed
    Producer: Monica Ranes
    Account Team: Liam Doherty | Michael Dalton
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff | Joe Staples
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks/Revolver
    Director: Steve Rogers
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Executive Producer: Holly Vega
    Producer: Pip Smart
    DP: Mandy Walker
    Production Designer: Leon Morland

    Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Gavin Cutler
    Asst. Editor: Brendan Hogan
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld

    VFX Company: The Mill | LA
    Executive Producer: Enca Kaul
    Senior Producer: Dan Roberts
    Production Coordinator: Kris Drenzek
    Creative Director | Shoot Supervisor | 2D Lead Artist: Tim Davies
    3D Lead Artists: Tom Graham
    3D Lead Artists: Phill Mayer, Hartwell Durfor, Kenzie Chen, Yorie Kumalasari, Brett Angelillis, Mike DiNocco, Katie Yancey, Blake Guest, Jenna Kind, Monique Espinoza, Steven Olson, Milton Ramirez
    2D Artists: John Price, Robert Murdock, Don Kim, Dag Ivarsoy, Jeff Langlois, Ashely Forbito, Adam Lambert, Daniel Thuresson, Tim Robbins
    Art Department: Brett Lopinsky, Laurence Konishi, Kelsey Napier
    Head of 3D: John Leonti

    Sound Design
    Company | Sound Designer: Mackenzie Cutler | Sam Shaffer
    Company | Sound Designer : Barking Owl | Michael Anastasi

    Final Mix
    Studio: Lime Studios
    Engineer: Samuel Casas
    Assistant Engineer: Mark Nieto
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

    Color Transfer
    Company: The Mill | LA
    Artist: Adam Scott
    Color EP: Thatcher Peterson
    Color Producer: Antonio Hardy
    Color Coordinator: Diane Valera

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    Probably after seeing his Rocky IV nemesis Sylvester Stallone in all those Warburtons ads, Dolph Lundgren (or, if you prefer, Ivan Drago) has signed up for a commercial project of his own—the promo below for the TV show Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel.

    It's a pretty good role for him, because while the Swedish actor is known mostly for his imposing physique, he's actually one of the smarter celebrities around.

    "Nobody knows that I studied chemical engineering," he says in the ad, "or that I've got an IQ of 160. Or that I'm in Mensa." (All of which is true, by the way.)

    Not than Lundgren is all nerd, either. 

    "Dolph Lundgren put me in the hospital for four and a half days," Stallone said on The Tonight Show this week, referring to their Rocky IV bouts. "It was unbelievable. He hit me so hard in the chest that the next thing I knew I was on a low-altitude flight to intensive care at St. John's Hospital surrounded by four nuns."

    The new season of NatGeo's Emmy-nominated Brain Games series, hosted by Jason Silva, premieres Feb. 14. 

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    Brands can be very responsive to people on Twitter, particularly if you are a person named Kim KardashMolon.

    A few hours ago, this user messaged Totinos, Applebee's, Jake From State Farm, Barbasol, Taco Bell and Virgin America. "Happy Thursday to my brand family!" she wrote. "I'm never alone thanks to you." In short order, all of them responded—except for Virgin America—and started bantering with each other.

    As you can see, the back-and-forth got pretty funny. Does this happen every Thursday? 

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    People will do anything to protect a legacy. And Belgium is taking that to the next level.

    The country is extremely proud of its creative reputation. In four years, it has won 78 Cannes Lions, which is bananas for a country with a population of just 11.2 million. But young people are losing interest in advertising careers, which means there's a crisis coming. 

    "The number of students in creative fields has actually declined," says Greet Wachters, manager of Creative Belgium. "Those who opt for creative studies don't always end up looking for work in agencies." 

    In 10 or 20 years, there might not be a sufficient number of creatives to pick up the slack, adds managing partner Isabel Van den Broeck.

    To resolve the problem, Creative Belgium partnered with the Centre for Reproductive Medicine of Brussels and ad agency Air to come up with something smart, creepy, and only vaguely eugenicist: "Ad Babies," an appeal to today's creatives to donate sperm—and eggs!—to ensure Belgium's creative future. 

    A few top creatives were asked to share their soldiers first, including Happiness Brussels chief creative officer Geoffrey Hantson, who's won 33 Lions; Air creative director Dieter De Ridder, with 10 Lions; and Naïm Baddich, Iwein Vandevyver, Dieter Vanhoof and Kwint De Meyer, who've won six Lions each. They appear in print ads (shown way below) that read, "Are you in the creative industry? Become a donor." 

    In the video, watch as each navigates the situation with humor (like when Baddich finishes monkey-spanking and tries high-fiving everyone) and awkwardness (Vandevyver's priceless silence) while maintaining a valiant sense of fealty, not unlike the Knights of the Round Table. 

    As Hantson puts it while passing a vial of his sperm across the table, "One small drop for me, one giant drop for Belgian creativity."

    But if the whole thing seems like a joke, it isn't. 

    It's a pretty legitimate concern: In Western Europe, Belgium tends not to be taken all that seriously as a market. Big companies usually split their Belgian budgets with France and the Netherlands, which means Belgium often has little to no budget, and more to prove in terms of creativity. Bear in mind they're also straddling three, sometimes four languages, but none of the populations are large enough to compell big brands to target them all, and well. If Belgium's managed to survive as a unique ad culture, it's strictly because it's worked so hard to stand out.

    It is weird watching an industry peer's sperm pass from hand to hand. But for those who doubt the feasibility of this master plan, science somewhat backs it up.

    "A recent study on creative behavior among children indicates that creativity is indeed partially hereditary," says professor and doctor Maryse Bonduelle of the Centre for Medical Genetics. (Research also indicates that experiences and tendencies can slide down the gene pool—so if Daddy was a creative, maybe Junior will feel an affinity to the field.) 

    In the end, you can't guarantee a future generation of Lions winners, but you can boost the odds. "The more creative parents there are, the more chance of creative kids," says Van den Broeck, ever the pragmatist. Adds Wachters: "That's one of our ambitions—to guarantee a continuous inflow of creative talent." 

    Creative sperm is now available at Jette hospital for lucky Belgian ladies looking to raise a tortured—but well compensated—commercial artist. Both women and men are invited to become donors, or just members, of Creative Belgium. Every little bit helps.

    And if you've won a Lion recently, keep an eye out at parties for shifty figures looking to swab you for DNA. 

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    True to form, Lemmy is back for an encore.

    Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, the iconic hard rocker who led British band Motörhead for five decades before passing away last month, returns in the commercial below for Finnish dairy brand Valio.

    Naturally, he milks it in his trademark sublimely surly fashion, tossing in a saucy ad-lib and big smile in the spot, created by Hasan & Partners: 

    Pure Lemmy! If the milk were spiked with a nip of vodka, maybe he would've given it a try.

    The ad was shot shortly before Lemmy's death in Maunula, Finland, near Hartwall Arena, where Motörhead performed after the shoot. It's a tribute both to Lemmy and to a classic Dairy Nutrition Council of Finland commercial from 20 years ago. The original (which you can see below) doesn't feature Lemmy, nor offhand profanity, but it does project the same cheeky outsider vibe.

    Both spots were directed by Markus Virpiö, and Valio also created a website to honor heavy metal's fallen Ace of Spades. 

    "For a couple of years we've had this idea with Valio that we could remake the iconic Finnish milk ad, but with Lemmy," Jussi Lindholm, chief creative officer of Hasan, tells Adweek. "Valio's portfolio is so broad that there is probably a product even Lemmy would like." 

    Here is the original ad: 

    In December, with Motörhead playing in Finland, the timing was right, and irrepressible Lemmy brought his own special flavor to the proceedings.

    "We didn't write 'you asshole' in the script," Lindholm says. "It wouldn't have made the original planned edit. It was a point in the shoot that made the entire crew laugh. The smile on his face was so genuine that we felt it was something we should share with the world." 

    After Lemmy passed away, they hatched a plan. 

    "We came to a conclusion that definitely we shouldn't do things in the way we originally planned," Lindholm says. "Instead, we should took to heart the instructions given in Motörhead's Facebook announcement where they stated that we should honor the great man and share stories and memories of him. So from this perspective we changed the angle of the video to be more of a tribute to Lemmy instead of it being too commercial." 

    The work held special significance for Lindholm, a self-described "massive Motörhead fan."

    "This project meant the world to me," he says. "I was heartbroken when I read the news that he was no longer with us. The film is a beautiful memory of a magical moment that we wanted to share with others." 

    We can picture Lemmy grinning and rasping, "Hey, assholes … well done."

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    Here's a touching illustration of how social media can combat the effects of bullying. 

    More than a year ago, a little girl reached out to advocacy group The Bully Project after catching flak at school for wearing glasses. With the organization's help, she posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a sign about her experience—and received millions of shares and messages of support. 

    A new minute-long Ad Council PSA captures her story. The spot is everything it should be—simple, sweet and meaningful. Internet bullying has been getting a lot of attention, as it should—but it's also good to show how online tools can help ameliorate the problem. 

    The video is aimed specifically at parents: The girl's mother is featured helping her daughter navigate the issue and absorb the resulting support. But anyone in similar straits might also be reassured to see they're not alone, that it's OK to ask for help, and that their own story might even have a happy ending.

    Plus—as if the kid herself weren't enough to convince viewers that bullying is evil—there's a shot of her hugging a cute dog in a lavender sweater, whose worldly posture and steady, reproachful gaze makes it pretty clear that would-be detractors should go take a good long look at themselves in the mirror. 

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    The Chevrolet Malibu is the Folgers Crystals of automobiles—people think it's amazing partly because they don't know what it is—in this latest "Real People, Not Actors" spot from Commonwealth/McCann. 

    With cameras rolling, Chevy stripped the branding off the vehicle and invited regular people to explore it. The first three people who pipe up in the spot wonder aloud if it's a Lexus, an Acura or a BMW. Later, they peg the price of the car at between $50,000 and $80,000.

    Don't they feel foolish when they learn it's a Malibu, and it starts at $22,500?

    The "Real People, Not Actors" campaign has been really well done, from the focus-group ads we covered last year to the three entertaining Silverado spots that launched last week. The genius is that the ads seem to authentically capture honest reactions, uniformly positive, about Chevy—though of course there's plenty that's been edited out.

    Chevy credits the campaign with helping the nameplate to increase retail sales every month since March 2015. "We now have a great opportunity with the all-new Malibu, Cruze and the rest of the Chevrolet lineup to continue to evolve our storytelling and move from shifting to reinforcing perceptions about the products and the brand," says Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Marketing.

    "Unbranded" is the first ad for the 2016 Malibu. It debuts Friday night in theaters—a 45-second version will run immediately after the lights have dimmed and before the previews begin—which Chevy claims is a "first-to-market use of advertising."

    Check out the three recent Silverado spots here: 

    Client: Chevrolet
    Spot: "Unbranded"
    Agency: Commonwealth//McCann
    Creative Chairman: Linus Karlsson
    Chief Creative Officer, North America: Gary Pascoe, Andreas Dahlqvist
    Executive Creative Director-Copywriter: Duffy Patten
    Executive Creative Director- Art Director: Bob Guisgand
    Associate Creative Director- Art Director : Gary Wise
    Associate Creative Director-Copywriter: Scott Lenfestey
    Executive Producer: Kelly Balagna
    Senior Producer: Chris Ott
    Account Director: Jacqueline Redmond
    Director/MAKE: Zach Merck
    Executive Producer/MAKE Founder: Dana Locatell
    Supervising Producer/MAKE Partner: Tim Mack
    Executive Producer/Final Cut: Eric McCasline
    Editor/Final Cut: Adam Rudd
    Editor/Final Cut: Richard Learoyd
    Editor/Final Cut: Chris Amos

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    A Thai company has apologized for producing an ad for a skin-whitening product that featured a woman in blackface and suggested people with dark skin are losers.

    The company, Seoul Secret, pulled the ad off YouTube on Friday, Reuters reports. The ad showed two women side by side, one of whom suddenly becomes dark-skinned, much to her evident distress. "You just need to be white to win," said the tagline.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    This isn't the first time the issue has come up in Thailand, where a pale complexion is  associated with a higher social status. But Seoul Secret denied any intention of being racist.

    "Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages," Seoul Secret wrote on Facebook. "What we intended to convey was that self-improvement in terms of personality, appearance, skills, and professionally is crucial." 

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    The combined disposable income of LGBTQ Americans is $884 billion annually. And BVW Jewelers of Reno, Nev., wants a taste.

    Its most recent ad shows two women kissing on the Crystal Peak Toll Bridge after one of them proposes. Breaking somewhat from more recent LGBTQ-targeted advertising (covering everything from marriage to travel), the ad is set to rock music. And one of the actresses, Gina Tarantino, has trendy art school hair.

    Expect to see it during local airings of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and at the Sparks IMAX and Century Summit Theater—though in the latter's case, only for movies rated PG-13 or higher, because the beginning includes a flash of Tarantino's underwear.  

    The ad itself looks great, with clean visuals and spectacular wardrobe/makeup choices, but the music clashes with everything else in a way that's tough to reconcile. The tempo and volume work only at the start; once the proposal happens, it's jarring. We understand the choice, but that doesn't mean it works.

    Otherwise, it's pretty classic in the sense that it wouldn't stick out at all if Tarantino were a man. That's kind of the point here, but it didn't escape University of Nevada, Reno professor Sheila Peuchaud, who observes that it still plays to stereotypes of gay relationships, and features two attractive white women.

    Still, she also acknowledges that this is by design: "If you're going out on a limb, you're going out on one limb at a time."

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    "Hunger keeps inventing new problems" is the first part of the tagline for Snickers Crisper, a new product extension from the Mars brand. But it's probably more accurate to say that BBDO keeps inventing problems which it then attributes to hunger, and which then get solved with Snickers products.

    With this new Crisper campaign, the agency hopes to extend that so-far winning formula and build on the stellar year it had on the main Snickers brand in 2015.

    The "You're Not You When You're Hungry" ads for the flagship brand have skillfully and comically played off issues of identity—which often translate wonderfully into visual punch lines. This new work, by contrast, mostly has fun with words rather than visuals.

    The hyperbolic hunger scenarios in two new ads include a classroom setting and a job interview, where the famished folks act like complete knuckleheads. To describe what ails them, the ads blame combinations of hunger symptoms—the guys are "Confoolish" and "Dimpatient," respectively. (In this way, the new ads are linked most directly to the recent product packaging that replaced the word Snickers with hunger symptoms.)

    Frankly, the results are fine, but not as rich as the always entertaining "You're Not You" work. The two TV spots are part of a campaign that broke Sunday on the Golden Globe Awards. 

    "Snickers is all about satisfying hunger, and we're excited to do that in a new and delicious way with Snickers Crisper," Allison Miazga-Bedrick, director of the Snickers brand, said in a statement. "Crisper delivers a new snacking option with a combination of textures [including crisped rice], so it only made sense to highlight combinations of hilarious hunger symptoms in our supporting campaign as well."

    Fair enough, but the wordplay feels a bit like old news. Meanwhile, we'll have to wait and see what's in store for the main Snickers brand. With the energy BBDO brought to it last year, it wouldn't be surprising to see another strong year ahead.

    Client: Snickers
    Titles: "Figure Drawing," "Internship"

    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Directors: Peter Kain, Gianfranco Arena
    Creative Directors: Matt Herr, Justin Bilicki
    Executive Producer: Amy Wertheimer
    Music Producer: Melissa Chester
    Business Manager: Paul Cisco

    Account Director: Josh Steinman
    Account Managers: Tani Corbacho, Nick Robbins
    Account Executive: Jocelyn Choi

    Production Company: Smith and Jones
    Executive Producer, Line Producer: Philippa Smith
    Director: Ulf Johansson
    Director of Photography: Andrzej Sekula
    Producer, Director, Woodshop: Trevor Shephard

    Editorial Company: No6
    Executive Producer: Cornia Dennison
    Producer: Malia Rose
    Editors: Jason MacDonald, Ryan Bukowski

    Telecine Company: Company 3
    Telecine Artist: Tim Masick
    Producer: Rochelle Brown

    Conform, Finish Companies: No7. MPC
    Conform Artists: Ed @ No7; Marcus @ MPC
    Producer: Bindy St. Leger

    Visual Effects Company: MPC
    Sound Design Company: Brian Emmerich
    Mix, Record Company: Sound Lounge
    Engineer: Tom Jucarone

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    In China, this PepsiCo video about an actor who portrays a "Monkey King" is an absolute beast, racking up, by some accounts, more than 20 million views in two weeks across various versions and platforms.

    Created by independent shop Civilization Shanghai as part of Pepsi's "Bring Happiness Home" campaign, the six-minute mini-epic is all about legends—the kind that stretch back for centuries and, more significantly, those produced and shared over several generations by modern media. The video ties in with the Chinese Year of the Monkey, which officially begins Feb. 8.

    The actor in question, Zhang Jinlai, was born into a theatrical family. His father, grandfather and great granddad won fame for portraying magical monkeys on tour and in stage and film performances of a traditional tale known as "The Monkey King" or "Journey to the West," which dates back to the 16th century.

    One of Zhang's older brothers had prepared to follow in their footsteps, but succumbed to leukemia, so Zhang took on the role. He appeared in a 1986 TV version of the story that apparently aired for decades in China, fusing into the nation's popular culture as indelibly as Star Trek or Star Wars in the West.

    Civilization's Andrew Lok, who directed the film, explains the concept in a blog post:

    "2016 is the Year of the Monkey. So there will no doubt be a bevy of marketing campaigns showcasing the Monkey King or 'Journey to the West.' How can PepsiCo's 'Bring Happiness Home' celebrate the Monkey King, this mythological simian symbol of irreverence and fun (personality traits rarely found in the heroes of traditional Chinese literature), in a very PepsiCo manner? Believe it or not, it was easy. Because the core values of Pepsi-Cola, youth and irreverence, are the very qualities the Monkey King naturally embodies."

    Lok cultivates a leisurely pace, but the narrative never drags or outstays its welcome. Propelled by straightforward storytelling and a pleasingly meta sensibility, it fuses a classic fable of freedom and magic with pop-culture icons—the '80s TV show and its most famous cast member—that themselves have become, for contemporary viewers, the stuff of legend.

    Consider: Millions of Chinese across a broad age spectrum fondly recall Zhang's performance. They can remember exactly where they were when the program was broadcast, just like Western consumers of a certain vintage will never forget the theater where they saw first saw Star Wars, or who they watched the movie with. The Monkey King series with Zhang became an important part of people's personal history, a powerful symbol of their youth and cultural identity.

    The brand film taps into such potent nostalgia with a story that also touches on timeless themes like family loyalty and duty to one's profession—ideas that really resonate in China.

    To its credit, Pepsi shakes the tree gently, with the product absent until the end. This allows the brand to share in the cultural experience, generating abundant interest and good will.

    Client: PepsiCo
    Agency: Civilization Shanghai
    Creative Directors: Alex Xie, Stephen Zou, Miya Wang
    Copywriter: Miya Wang
    Art Directors: Stephen Zou, Andrew Lok
    Agency Producer: Guo-Jun Yu
    Client Management: Grace Dong, Abby Yu
    Production Company: NUTS Film
    Film Director: Andrew Lok
    Assistant Film Director: Ling-Song Yu
    Cinematographer: Ke-Nan Qi
    Post Production: NUTS Film
    Editors: Didi Xu, Yin-Jian Lu, Shao-Hua Huang
    Producer: Didi Xu
    Colorist: Ying-Jie Zhang
    Music & Sound Design: Allen Zhang
    Client: Danielle Jin, Shine Wei, Lia Pan, Yumiko Wang

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    If you like absurd cartoon supervillains, here's a campaign for you.

    Mobile game maker Supercell and New York agency Barton F. Graf 9000 are hyping strategy game Boom Beach with a series of ads featuring Dr. T, a smack-talking mad scientist who could be a character straight out of a Pixar movie. And in a nice twist, all the offline ads point to a development that's happening this Friday in the game itself. 

    In Boom Beach, players battle against each other and computer-controlled opponents to collect resources. Gaming website IGN describes it as a modern version of smash fantasy title Clash of Clans, which is also published by Helsinki-based Supercell and advertised by New York-based Barton F. Graf. 

    Dr. T is already a fixture in the game, but throughout the campaign he's been teasing an upcoming super weapon he plans to use on players. Come Friday, they will be forced to reckon with the new threat—suspected to be a giant crab, thanks to the detective work of one impatient fan.

    Check out the intro ad here:

    In another commercial, we get a look at Dr. T's existing arsenal, which includes a turtle wielding a crowbar.

    In another, it becomes even clearer that Dr. T isn't the brightest of villains when he throws sand at the camera lens, an ineffectual twist on the old grit-in-the-eyes sneak attack.

    A bevvy of other ads—including Dr. T's song—appear on the Boom Beach YouTube account.

    The campaign launched on Christmas Day and included air time on ESPN during the NBA's Wizards-Cavaliers game. In one print execution, Dr. T does admit a weakness … for blackberry licorice. But the most absurd, and therefore arguably best, piece—featured at the top of this post—is of Dr. T lying on his side in a classic Playboy pose, with just the word "Hi." 

    Whatever the outcome of the attack, hopefully Christoph Waltz will narrate the battle in a post-mortem ad, as he did for its sister game Clash of Clans. After all, not many people can actually make retellings of gameplay entertaining.

    Client: Supercell
    Brand: Boom Beach

    Agency: Barton F. Graf
    Chief Creative Officer: Gerry Graf
    CEO: Barney Robinson
    Chief Strategy Officer: Laura Janness
    Executive Creative Director: Ian Reichenthal
    Creative Directors: Matty Smith and Joey Ianno
    Copywriter / Art Director: Owen Weeks, Chris Sheldon, Chase Kimball
    Head of Integrated Production: Josh Morse
    Producer: Cameron Farrell
    Account Director: Kate Faux
    Account Supervisor: Kimmy Cunningham
    Strategy Director: Sean Staley
    Brand Strategist: Kirk Luo
    Print Producer: Wayne Treptow
    Project Manager & Print Producer: Daniela Contreras
    Lead Designer: Matt Egan
    Junior Designer: April McMullan
    Head of Business Affairs: Jennifer Pennant

    Animation Production: HouseSpecial
    CD / Director: Kirk Kelley
    President / EP: Lourri Hammack
    Producer: Karly Richter
    Art Director: Alan Cook
    Editor: Cam Williams
    Flame Artist: Rex Carter
    Technical Director: Patrick Van Pelt
    Animation Lead: Greg Kyle
    VFX Lead: Karl Richter
    Lighting Lead: Matt Reslier
    Compositing Lead: John Corbett

    Audio: Heard City
    Audio Engineer: Evan Mangiamele

    Sound Design: Trinitite
    Sound Designer: Brian Emrich

    Music: Butter Music + Sound
    Composer: Andrew Sherman
    Producer: Ryan Faucett
    EP: Ian Jeffreys

    Print Production: Box Graphics
    Box Co-Founder and Head of Production: Suk Choi

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    If you thought ad awards were all about the money—well, it seems you were right.

    In a cheeky stunt, Canadian agency Rethink is crowdfunding a campaign whose credit list is for sale. For just $1, you can add your name to the campaign's credits as a member of the "Creative Team." For $10, you get a writer or art director credit. For $25, creative director. For $50, executive creative director. For $100, chief creative officer. And if you pony up $1,000, you'll be listed in the credits as "The Chosen One."

    Rethink will then enter the campaign, called "One Dollar One Show," in this year's One Show. If it wins anything (and that's a big if—considering the work is tail-eatingly solipsistic, pretty cynical, and openly contemptuous of standard awards show etiquette), everyone who paid up will legitimately be able to call themselves One Show Pencil winners. 

    The campaign launched on Indiegogo with a goal of raising $500 (the cost of a single One Show entry). It blew past that goal in just a couple of days and now has its sights set on bigger targets. If the campaign raises more money, it will be entered in more categories at The One Show. If it raises $10,000, it will be entered at D&AD as well. And if it raises $15,000, it will be entered in the Cannes Lions festival. 

    Check out the FAQ below, which is pretty amusing. 

    Told about the campaign, The One Show vowed to join in and raise even more funds—with a twist that's just as circular as One Dollar One Show itself. 

    "This is a fantastic campaign," Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Club, the nonprofit that produces The One Show, tells AdFreak. "As such, we are prepared to match however much is raised for the One Dollar One Show campaign, and invest the proceeds into a program that will benefit the entire industry, one that is near and dear to us all: The One Show." 

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    I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, and he's gotta be fast, and he's gotta be fresh from the fight ...

    Oh, and he'd better not be drunk off his ass!

    "Holding Out for a Hero," Bonnie Tyler's raucous '80s rock ballad, powers a new spot that launches Heinken's global "Moderate Drinkers Wanted" campaign. 

    In the minute-long ad from Publicis Italy and MJZ director Nicolai Fuglsig, millennial women belt out the tune in clubs, on city streets and in subway cars as they search the night for a sober—or at least not utterly wasted—Mr. Right. 

    The work, which breaks in 30 worldwide markets this week, stems from a study of 5,000 premium-beer drinkers between 21 and 35 years old. That research found responsible drinking carries cool cachet with the millennial crowd; two years ago, Heineken explored responsibility in a more general way in its "Drink Less, Dance More" campaign.

    "Responsibility is becoming an active and attractive choice for a motivated generation who want to stay in control," says Nuno Teles, CMO of Heineken USA. "Drinking responsibly enables millennials to shape their own reputation and to make the best of every opportunity that comes their way." 

    Of course, grown men should act responsibly simply because it's the right thing to do, not because women tell them to. At any rate, there will be way more puke-free seats on the subway for us all to enjoy if both sexes show some self-control when they brave the beery bedlam of a night on the town.

    Client: Heineken
    Agency: Publicis Italy
    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Nicolai Fuglsig


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