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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Amazon will air its first-ever Super Bowl ad on Feb. 7, Adweek has confirmed, and it has recruited Alec Baldwin for his first Super Bowl campaign since Hulu in 2009.

    The company released a teaser Wednesday, in which the actor is seen planning an epic Super Bowl party with legendary NFL quarterback Dan Marino. Amazon's wireless speaker and voice command device, Alexa of the Amazon Echo, makes a cameo as well.



    Leo Burnett Toronto created the campaign, which is using the hashtag #BaldwinBowl. Baldwin and Marino will star in the gameday spot as well as the teaser. It's not clear if any other stars will join them in the Super Bowl spot. 

    "Echo has had an amazing reception from customers over the past year—they love it," Neil Lindsay, vp of Amazon Devices, said in a statement to Adweek. "We thought the Super Bowl was a great chance to tell even more people about what Echo and Alexa can do, and have some fun while doing it."

    No other details were available.

    Baldwin, 57, last starred in a Super Bowl commercial in 2009, when he played an alien in a well-received Hulu spot who had arrived on Earth to turn human brains to mush—and then eat them—using massive amounts of TV. 

    • For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


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    Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage app doesn't just simplify the home financing process. It can start a chain reaction that could brighten the prospects of the entire American economy, according to the online mortgage lender's first-ever Super Bowl commercial, which rolled out Wednesday. 

    The 60-second spot, from Fallon in Minneapolis, begins with a female voiceover: "Here's what we were thinking: What if we did for mortgages what the Internet did for buying music, plane tickets and shoes?" 

    It then goes on to describe a kind of snowball effect, wherein more and more people get Rocket Mortgage home loans, and then have to fill those homes with stuff, boosting sales and improving the finances of the stuff makers, who then get their own home loans through Quicken, and so on and so on. 

    This is just the American way, the spot says at the end. 



    The ad will air during the first half of Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7 and is part of a larger "Push Button, Get Mortgage" campaign that also included two previous30-second spots. Quicken describes Rocket Mortgage as "the first end-to-end, completely consumer-driven online and on-demand mortgage experience." 

    "There's no better place to communicate how Rocket Mortgage will help Americans reach their homeownership goals, and in turn impact the entire economy, than during America's favorite game," Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer for Quicken Loans, said in a statement. "It's always been our mission to help Americans buy the home of their dreams utilizing the easiest mortgage process possible. Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage technology was developed with that mission in mind." 

    The ad also embodies its own patriotic message. In tandem with the Super Bowl spot, Quicken is launching the Rocket Mortgage "Push Button, Get Stuff" Sweepstakes, giving away hundreds of American-made items from, and inspired by, the commercial.

    The prizes will include a living room package, a Viking Range, KitchenAid mixers, Blendtec blenders, Shinola bikes and more. And one winner will receive a $100,000 grand prize to help pay off their mortgage or buy a new home. 

    • For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


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    The City of Brotherly Love looks hip, inviting and postcard-perfect in a scenic new tourism ad ... that is, until a skyscraper-size Benjamin Franklin starts pounding the pavement to do Godzilla-style battle with an equally ginormous Philly cheesesteak. 

    Are they jousting? Hugging? Why does one of our Founding Fathers have laser beams shooting out of his eyes? 

    Molten cheese is spilled, but otherwise this looks more like a slow dance than a battle royale. Maybe that's why no one watching this scene from street level seems alarmed. Out-of-towners are simply curious about the statesman-versus-sandwich rumble, and locals take it in stride. This must happen often. 



    "The challenge in developing a spot that broadens people's perspectives about what makes Philly great was having a bit of fun with the two things the city is most famous for—cheesesteaks and history," says Steve Red, president and chief creative officer of Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners, which made the ad. 

    The tongue-in-cheek spot is the first TV ad from Visit Philadelphia in five years, and will air on broadcast and cable stations this month, in July and September. The city has set visitor records in recent years—with a major assist last fall from Pope Francis—and wants to keep the momentum going with "Philazillas."

    Its accompanying tagline, "There's more to a legendary city than its legends," speaks to both the cheesesteak's Philly roots and to Ben Franklin's decision to settle in, develop and eventually die in the city. (Who knew they'd be rivals?) 

    Out-of-home ads in New York and Philly will support a 30-second spot, and the minute-long version will appear on social media and various digital platforms.

    CREDITS
    Agency: Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners
    Chief Creative Officer: Steve Red                             
    Executive Creative Director: Steve O'Connell
    Vice President, Group Creative Director: Todd Taylor                   
    Vice President, Group Creative Director, Copywriter: Ryan Scott
    Managing Partner: Carla Mote                            
    Senior Account Manager: Erin Prosser
    Account Manager: Michelle Mitchell
    Producer: Nick Pitcavage
    Client: Meryl Levitz, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Philadelphia
    Talent: Ward Larkin (Ben Franklin), Jeff Wilkerson (Cheesesteak), Menah Kennedy (female lead), Chadwick Rawlings (male lead), Brooke Behmke (cab driver)
    Production Company: Durable Goods
    Director: Greg Bray          
    Visual Effects: Alkemy X
    Editorial: Chip Schofield                                                            
    Music, Sound, Mix:  MilkBoy
    Composers: Tommy Joyner, Jaime Lokoff, MilkBoy
    Audio Engineer: Cody Cichowski, MilkBoy

     


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    What's just as important to advertisers as the Super Bowl? The Puppy Bowl, of course. 

    The Animal Planet event has now run for 11 "seasons," and this year's sponsors include Bissell, Geico, Dairy Queen, Disney's Zootopia, Hershey, Pedigree, Sheba, Subaru and The Secret Life of Pets. 

    All of these brands want to make the most of their furry opportunity, and Bissell tapped Olson in Minneapolis (the same agency behind the recent Marhsawn Lynch Skittles home shopping stunt) to make canine magic happen. 

    At 3 p.m. on Feb. 7, the company will do just that ... with some help from a tower of champagne glasses filled with gravy, an oversized sloppy joe with a 24-inch bun, a four-tier red velvet cake frosted with mashed potatoes and a whole bunch of spaghetti and meatballs. 

    What could possibly improve that combination? Toilet paper from heaven, thrown in just for fun. Here's the 30-second promo clip, which debuted this week: 



    "The Puppy Bowl is a national treasure at this point, but the client wanted to have a big, exciting second screen expansion to help it reach its donation goals," Olson group creative director Matt Pruett tells AdFreak. Bissell aims to raise $100,000 for its Pet Foundation, which helps place rescue animals in new homes.

    Here's the deal: After the puppies are "released" and the event begins on PetHappens.com, Bissell will respond to viewers using the hashtag #PetHappens in social media by releasing more "people food" into what was once a perfectly white room. Then staffers will use the brand's own products to return the space to its pristine state once the damage has been done.

    Long after the last scrap of meat has been sprayed and wiped away, any post that bears the hashtag will trigger a $5 donation to the Pet Foundation. (The campaign officially ends March 31.) To create the teaser, Olson's team turned the six rescue puppies loose in a controlled environment and gradually added more treats to the mix while filming the inevitable mayhem.

    "We had a side-plate of spaghetti, which we hit with five gallons of sauce that we literally just poured in through a tube in the wall," says Pruett. He's confident the campaign will be a success and, more important, that everyone had a good time at the shoot. "Because these are puppies, they're going to tell other dogs about it for the rest of their lives," he says. 

    A representative from the American Humane Association was on hand to make sure the event was compliant with relevant regulations—and all evidence suggests the puppies involved were, in fact, good boys and girls. 


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    If you're attacked by a bear while changing a tire on an icy road, McDonald's suggests hiding in your car, closing your eyes and going to your happy place—which might include dreaming of a fast-food sandwich.

    So says one of three new ads from TBWA\Paris promoting the burger chain's new "American Winter" line as a sort of extreme comfort food.

    A second ad finds the same character—a young man—post-mauling, wandering a snow-clad forest. After a classic slapstick mishap with a log bridge over a frigid river, he returns to the same fantasy—a warm ski-lodge, with a roaring fire, where the number of blonde models has doubled to two since the first commercial.

    The third ad captures his inept spear-fishing, at the expense of his left foot—before he reaches the same escapist resolution (he didn't really want to eat raw trout, anyways—and it's pretty clear this guy doesn't know how to start a fire).



    Overall, it's a fun little storyline, (perhaps thankfully) absent much discussion of the details of the food itself (the American Winter burger includes bacon, and ground meat and lettuce, and can't really be that different from the standard offering, after all). 

    As silly a sequence as it may be, the details of the execution are solid—down to the hero's oafish grin as he transports himself out of his various predicaments, and the high-powered activities of the otherwise clichéd ladies at the lodge (reading two books at the same time, playing speed chess, dancing upbeat to harp music).

    There may also be traces of The Revenant in the conceit. Only this guy—like most modern softies—wouldn't last long in the harsh American wilderness. (Any ad that subtly insults its audience earns extra points.) That said, should you find yourself in such dire straits, it's probably best to dream about any number of other meals you probably won't get to eat—starting with, say, a ribeye.

    CREDITS
    Agency: TBWA\Paris
    Clients: Xavier Royaux, Camille Lopéo, Sarra Fetni
    Agency:  Luc Bourgery, Matthéo Pressmar, Camille Favriau, Agathe Bruneau
    Executive Creative Directors: Benjamin Marchal,  Faustin Claverie
    Copywriter: Stéphane Kaczorowski
    Art Director: Sébastien Skrzypczak
    TV Producer: Benoit Duchemin
    Production: Moonwalk Films
    Director: Ben Gregor
    Food Director: Maud Poilpré
    Food Production: Else


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    Saatchi & Saatchi is getting awfully regular at crafting goofy, effective spots for Fiber One.

    Following its pregnant man and rubber biscuit ads from last year, the New York agency has squeezed out another winner. In the loopy 40-second ad below, we learn why "Being Irregular Is the Worst."

    Opening on a funeral scene, the voiceover begins, "Yeah, we know that feeling. You're so bloated, you've started wearing sweatpants … everywhere," as the camera pulls back to reveal a bearded middle-aged mourner wearing baggy pink sweats with "Hot" emblazoned across the derrière.

    Next we're told, "When it finally happens, it's always the worst possible time," and we meet a bride in the stall of a hotel toilet. (She's mortified, because her mother-in-law and other guests are hovering just outside.) Later, we score some workplace-bathroom humor when a cube-drone emerges after 47 years of … effort. 



    "Our main source on content is our consumers," Erica Jensen, marketing manager for Fiber One tells AdFreak. "They share with us lots of information on the challenges and the circumstances they face. Because brands in this space have traditionally played it very coy, there's plenty left for us to say. So as long as we're willing to confront symptoms and situations in a frank but sympathetic way, there's no limit."

    The spot's tone is sitcom-silly enough to grab our attention and amuse, while persuasively delivering Fiber One's craptastic brand proposition. And we mean that in a good way. 

    So, what's next for the campaign? According to Jensen, "We have reams of unused jokes ready to go."


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    Donald Trump's support among blue collar voters doubles when Ted Cruz attacks him in ads, but those same attacks boost Cruz's support among middle-class men. And while Trump's ads don't help him much, they do drive voters away from Cruz.

    Those are some of the findings in a study by insights platform Qualtrics, which recruited more than 1,200 people to try and determine whether ads from the two leading GOP candidates are working, with the Iowa caucuses just days away.

    Qualtrics and partner Evolving Strategies showed participants three ads: one promoting Trump, one attacking him and one promoting Cruz. After each ad, respondents were asked a series of questions, including their pick for the nomination.

    Cruz's challenge to Trump during the recent Fox Business Network debate—using the term "New York values"—was only modestly successful, the study found.

    "The ad based on that challenge works for middle-class men," said Evolving Strategies founder and chief science officer Adam Schaeffer. "But the bad luck for Cruz is his ad causes a huge backlash among blue collar voters [those with a high school degree or less and a salary of less than $90,000] while boosting their support for Trump by 18 points from 45 to 64 percent. Most of this movement comes from a shocking 34-point boost in Trump support among blue collar men."

    The study also found that when middle-class voters see Cruz's positive ad on immigration and economic populism, Trump support drops by 10 points and Cruz support jumps eight points. "Cruz would be wise to find new lines of attack while pushing out his positive ads," Schaeffer said. "Heading into Iowa, Sen. Cruz is in trouble."

    Below are the three ads tested by Qualtrics and Evolving Strategies, neither of which is affiliated with Trump's or Cruz's campaign. Each ad is followed by an infographic showing how study participants reacted to it.

     


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    Wieden + Kennedy is doing a fun little real-time Twitter stunt for Old Spice today.

    It began with the brand asking a simple question:

    Fans who replied were in for a surprise, though, as Old Spice has been creating custom Twitter accounts for their future selves—and then having the future selves comically answer the questions. (The future selves also have futurey names and profile pics.)

    The whole thing has that freewheeling, crazy vibe that comes with churning out absurdist content on a tight deadline. Check out some the present-self/future-self interactions below. 


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    Well, we predicted it. Death Wish Coffee Co. has won Intuit QuickBooks' annual "Small Business, Big Game" contest and will get to air a commercial on Super Bowl 50—the only small business advertising nationally on the Feb. 7 telecast.

    Intuit's agency, RPA, created the spot, which you can see below. It presents an eye-catching scene of fierce Vikings on stormy seas as a metaphor for the strong coffee's powerful punch.

    Prettybird's Isaiah Seret directed it; Oscar winner Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi) was the cinematographer. Irish actor Diarmaid Murtagh plays the lead role. MPC New York handled visual effects.



    "It's incredibly gratifying to create a Super Bowl spot for a small business—the unsung heroes of the communities where we live and work every day," RPA chief creative officer Joe Baratelli said in a statement. "And Death Wish Coffee has an incredible brand personality and a great team driving the company. We were able to create a spectacle of Vikings sailing to battle to show off the fiercely caffeinated coffee and ultimately help QuickBooks with its mission of fueling small business success."

    The spot will air during the third quarter. 

    • For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.

    CREDITS
    Client: Intuit 
    Brand: QuickBooks 
    Title: "Storms A-Brewin'" :30  

    Agency: RPA
    EVP, Chief Creative Officer: Joe Baratelli
    SVP, Group Creative Director: Adam Lowrey
    SVP, Group Creative Director: Nathan Crow
    Copywriter: Eric Aldama
    Art Director: Lauren Geschke
      
    SVP, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff
    VP, Executive Producer: Carolyn Casey
    Assistant Producer: Namrata Abhyankar
    Associate Director, Business Affairs: Jennifer Ross
      
    EVP, Management Account Director: Tom Kirk
    VP, Account Director: Hope Bubnar
    Account Supervisor: Robin Boden
    Senior Account Executive: AJ Puzzo

    Production Company: Prettybird
    Director: Isaiah Seret
    Co-Founder/Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
    Vice President/Executive Producer: Ali Brown
    Head of Production: Tracy Hauser
    Director of Photography: Claudio Miranda
    Producer: Julie Sawyer
      
    Service Production Company: Unit + Sofa
    Executive Producer: Fady Salame
    Executive Producer: Martin Sobotka
    Line Producer: Tereza Kalova
      
    Edit: Exile
    Editor: Matt Murphy
    Executive Producer: Carol Lynn Weaver
    Producer: Brittany Carson
    Assistant Editor: Tara Wall
    Assistant Editor: Dustin Zimmerman
    Assistant Editor: Ryan Seegers
        
    VFX/Finishing: MPC NY  Managing Director Justin Brukman
    Executive Producer: Camila De Biaggi
    Managing Director: Justin Brukman
    Head of CG: Victoria Osborn
    VFX Producer: Bindy St. Leger
        
    Music: Extreme Music   
    Composer: Thomas Bergersen
    Composer: Nick Phoenix
    Title: Protectors of the Earth
    Publisher: Two Steps from Hell
        
    Telecine: MPC LA
    Color Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
    Colorist: Mark Gethin
        
    Sound Design: Machine Head
    Executive Producer: Patty Chow Dewey
    Creative Director/Sound Designer: Stephen Dewey
    Additional Sound Design: Kip Smedley
      
    Mix: Lime
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
    Engineer: Loren Silber
    Assistant: Mark Nieto
      
    Music Supervisor: Jon Oda


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    It's no igloo, but finally there's an Airbnb apartment specifically made to Netflix and chill.

    Available in New York for a paltry $400 a night (almost the same price as a Sofitel when you book at the last minute!), the Netflix & Chill Airbnb Room was created as an art project by ART404 and Tom Galle.

    "With this project we bring the famous 'Netflix & Chill meme' to life and offer it as an IRL experience that people can rent for a night," the post reads. "The room is designed and equipped to experience 'Netflix & Chill' the best way possible." 

    The apartment comes equipped with a bed outfitted in Netflix sheets and an appropriately chill minibar at arm's reach, containing enough alcohol to keep Roger Sterling burrowed there for at least a week. 

     
    And of course, there's Netflix service itself: An HD projector connected to an Apple TV lets you binge-watch whole hours away, lulled by the vibrations of your favorite sitcom with help from the surround-sound speakers around the bed. 

     
    Oh, yeah. There's also a view, and rooftop access. But who cares?

     
    There's just one rule in this incubator for the battered modern soul: Couples only. "We can't allow you to have additional guests over the apartment, and that is a serious request," the creators write. "This is an exclusive experience for two people only."

    Book it while it's hot. Much like the Boutique Winter Igloo for 2, we don't know how long it'll be around. (But unlike the aforementioned igloo, it's certainly easier to replicate at home.) 


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    After 50 years of sporting an oft-criticized combo of thin waist, thin limbs and large breasts, Barbie finally has a new body. Actually, a few new bodies.

    The new Barbie Fashionistas line features different body types—curvy, tall, petite—as well as varied skin tones, face shapes, and hair colors. A far cry from the Barbie of yesteryear. And from a societal standpoint, Mattel's choice to evolve Barbie's figure to include more realistic depictions is a monumental one for a couple of reasons.

    It's a smart marketing decision amid the movement toward body acceptance and female empowerment, as successfully implemented time and time again by the likes of Dove,Aerie and Always, to name a few brands.

    Also, it is finally an acknowledgement by the company of the criticism Barbie has been getting for a while. In recent years, concerned parents and non-parents alike have been loudly crying foul at Barbie's design flaws; in a society plagued by body dysmorphia, eating disorders and negative body image, aren't these unrealistic dolls irresponsible at best?



    When we all thought Mattel was covering its delicate plastic ears, loudly singing and counting dollar signs, perhaps they were actually listening (or at least finally conceding), as evidenced by the copy on the cover of this week's Time magazine: "Now can we stop talking about my body?"

    This launch comes after Mattel lost a long-time contract with Disney Princess—a $500 million business—to Hasbro, effective Jan. 1 of this year. It was a huge upset in the toy industry, especially with the Barbie brand waning while the Disney Princess brand has been growing year after year. Mattel needs a big win; could this new line of Barbie be it?

    Some are dubious, questioning whether Mattel's iconic doll might lose all of the brand equity built up over the last half century. Or if it's kowtowing to an overly sensitive society. Others are applauding the move, calling it long overdue.

    And some are just wondering when a Ken with #DadBod is going to make an appearance.

    UPDATE: Also check out this mini-documentary from BBDO about Barbie's evolution, directed by Rory Kennedy in her first-ever commercial. 


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    Attention, Black Ops fanatics. "The Replacer" is back, and once again, he's fully prepared to step into your shoes.

    After a three-year absence, actor Peter Stormare returns with a vengeance as the dark-suited tough-guy who replaces average Janes and Joes in their daily routines, allowing them to jones on the latest installment of Activison's first-person shooter, part of its iconic Call of Duty franchise. 

    The DLC pack for Black Ops 3: Awakening drops next week. Stormare shows up in this new four-minute romp from 72andSunny and director Jason Woliner, quipping in his patented gravelly tones and replacing folks left and right. 

    "I take care of those pesky day-to-day distractions that come between you and your Call of Duty duties," he explains with an edgy, I'd-just-as-soon-kill-you delivery that has come to define his character in three previous amusing online films. 

    Thanks to the Replacer's skills, an ambulance driver, a dog walker, some dude meeting his girlfriend's parents for first time, and a dad in the middle of a "birds-and-bees" talk with his son are among those who get time off to play Black Ops. During the discussion about sex, well, Stormare fires up some porn on a tablet and assures his young charge, "This all you'll need to know." While walking the dogs, our hero relieves himself against a tree and asks passersby if they'd like to buy one of his pooches.



    "With Black Ops 3 and the return of the Black Ops sub-franchise, we realized there was a lot of nostalgia and great memories for us to tap into," says Todd Harvey, svp of global consumer marketing at Activision. "The Replacer is one of the most-beloved characters in all of Call of Duty marketing. It felt natural for us to revisit him." 

    The Replacer first rode to gamers' rescue in an awesome 2013 spot touting Black Ops 2: Revolution. He returned a few months later with J.B. Smoove as his sidekick to plug Black Ops 2: Uprising.

    Back then, the Replacer idea "was new, entertaining and actually made a statement beyond the Black Ops and the DLC pack," Frank Hahn, group creative director at 72andSunny, tells Adweek. "It was a testimony to what it's like playing Call Of Duty." It was also easier to invent schtick for Stormare's character this time around, Hahn said, "because we were leaning into an old concept. But we had to beat the original." 

    Whether the team succeeded is, of course, a matter of opinion. Stormare certainly performs with the trademark intensity that made him a scene-stealer in Fargo and other films. Also, his adventures remain amusingly varied, with some cool surprises along the way. In the best bit, he replaces a certain taciturn NFL star (hint: It's not Tom Brady) at a press conference, pointedly ignoring questions from the media as he snacks from a candy bowl.

    "When we contacted Peter to ask him to continue the Replacer series, he was so excited that he announced his comeback on his own social channel with a short video," says Hahn. Stormare's high spirits, and hijinks, continued on set, notably during the scene where he replaces a Teppanyaki chef. "He burned his hand on the hot plate, and he ate raw meat," Hahn recalls. "On the other stories—I'll remain silent." 

    Ah, the joys of an actor's method ... and madness!

    As far as Hahn is concerned, Stormare will always have a role to play if the series continues. No matter what twists and turns future episodes may take, "You cannot replace Peter; he is unique."

    CREDITS
    Client: Activision
    Chief Executive Officer of Activision Publishing: Eric Hirshberg
    Chief Marketing Officer: Tim Ellis
    SVP, Global Consumer Marketing: Todd Harvey
    Consumer Marketing Director: David Blaser
    Consumer Marketing Manager: Andrew Drake

    Agency: 72andSunny
    Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
    Group Creative Director: Frank Hahn
    Creative Director: Tim Wolfe
    Lead Writer: Jc Abruzzi
    Lead Designer: Warren Frost
    Junior Writer: Matt Meszaros
    Group Brand Director: Mike Parseghian
    Brand Director: Simon Hall
    Brand Manager: Brian Kim
    Brand Coordinator: Will Nader
    Senior Art Producer: Sabrina Bajaj
    Senior Art Producer: Kacey VanDenBosch
    Chief Strategy Officer: Matt Jarvis
    Group Strategy Director: John Graham
    Strategy Director: Daniel Teng
    Strategist: Jake Watt
    Business Affairs Director: Jana Nauman
    Business Affairs Manager: Kelly Ventrelli
    Jr. Business Affairs Manager: Ashley Pesses
    Senior Producer: Dave Stephenson
    Production Coordinator: Ian Donnelly

    Production:
    Director: Jason Woliner
    Executive Producer: Michael Sagol
    Executive Producer: Jasper Thomlinson
    Executive Producer: Darren Foldes
    Head of Production: Kelly Bowen
    Producer: Eric Escott


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    P&G's Always scored a smash hit with "Like A Girl." Now, that women's empowerment campaign has a new parody—about the expectations society puts on hamburgers.

    Ground meat purveyor Schweid & Sons is out with an video—from Night Agency—that cribs its format from "Unstoppable," the second big commercial in the Always effort to break down limiting definitions of femininity. In the the butcher's spot, titled "Make Burgers Great Again," goofy guys lament the state of affairs at cookouts, and smash cardboard boxes with phrases scrawled on them meant to symbolize the limitations they've experienced while trying to, say, stack hot dogs on top of hamburgers.

    That might make the new spot sound like it's in poor taste. In a way, it is—the issues Always has been tackling are real, and worthy of the attention they're getting, and more. But there's also a decent amount of melodrama in the original—which is still designed to move product—so it's fair game for skewering, and Schweid & Sons brings plenty of its own self-deprecating humor to the table.



    Some of the jokes are a bit broad, and perhaps dated. It's likely to be an instant winner among anyone who's ever tried to put mayonnaise on a burger in America (New York and other Meccas of food snobbery, where the topic is a lively debate, probably do not count). But other irresistible highlights include one man's gripe that society tells him he "can't drink grease," or another dude's assault on a stack of boxes while wielding a spatula and tongs.

    The best parts, by far, feature the only woman, "Natalie," who refuses to participate—the ad's nod to the idiocy of its own conceit when compared to the substance of the original.

    Overall, the gag evokes parodies of Dove's "Real Beauty" advertising. Schweid & Sons might feel like it's trying a little too hard at moments, but the overblown stupidity is part of the comedy, too. And its biggest problem is probably more of a business one, namely the degree to which it piggybacks on another brand's message.

    Then again, at least it's not objectifying women.


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    We haven't seen a government social-media account this fun since the TSA's Instagram (which, among other quirky wonders, features a ninja star collage).

    The Mumbai Police joined Twitter in December under the handles @MumbaiPolice and @CPMumbaiPolice. And with help from digital agency Trivone—which is managing the account for three months before handing it over to fully trained police officers—they're addressing issues like cyberbullying, drugs and traffic safety.

    That isn't unusual; it's even expected. But what makes the accounts so awesome is their use of emotive pop-culture references, smart wordplay and well-considered hashtags. 

    A number of the tweets have already gone viral, and the police force enjoys over 50,000 followers across both accounts. One typical example is the image above, which builds on the Be Like Bill meme currently taking over all your social networks.

    This is heartening in a city like Mumbai, where the prevalence of organized crime makes offenses difficult to control, and people—particularly women—don't always feel comfortable approaching law enforcement. To demonstrate their goodwill, they've organized crowdsourced campaigns around cyber-safety, and earlier today held an open Twitter chat where users could ask questions about the law or local issues. 

    But a social-savvy (and hopefully more accessible and accountable) police department is just the most recent example in a constellation of Indian communications that highlight the country's social evolution. In January, an Indian retailer aired an ad with a more modern take on arranged marriage, and in June of last year, another retailer broadcast the country's first ad featuring a lesbian couple.

    Check out few of our favorite Mumbai Police department tweets below, and you can find others here.

     
    On being careful with your personal details:

     
    Why take selfies when you can be "safie"?

     
    All it takes is a smiley to soften a threat:

     
    On not being a creeper:

     
    And the drug puns! Such delightful drug puns!

     
    Humanizing the force:

     
    And to sign off nicely, a reminder that we're all in this together:


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    Celebrities doing weathercasts is nothing new, but Skittles got into the action Thursday by recruiting Broncos star DeMarcus Ware to offer a real forecast for Super Bowl Sunday—and his prediction included a Skittles-branded rainbow over Santa Clara, Calif., for the Feb. 7 game against the Carolina Panthers.

    The linebacker, 33, did the forecast on Denver's Fox31. See it here:



    The stunt comes with an actual weather-related contest that Skittles is organizing for game day. If a rainbow does actually appear over the Bay Area that day, fans who have used the hashtags #SkittlesRainbow and #Contest in the days leading up to the game will be eligible for free Skittles.

    And if you're wondering if Skittles is favoring the Broncos here, think again. "Fans in the Charlotte area would be advised to keep an eye on their local newscasts today. You never know when a rainbow might pop up," the brand tells us.

    Skittles will also air a 30-second commercial from DDB Chicago, starring Steven Tyler, during the game. Olson Engage organized the weathercast stunt. 

    Olson is fond of getting quirky TV appearances for Skittles endorsers. Last fall it got Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch to do a five-minute segment with Allison Waggoneron shopping channel Evine—in which the pair chatted about the glory of Skittles, and Lynch tried to sell you 36 packs for $14.86.


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    Subaru's hilariously human-seeming dog family, the Barkleys, were a big hit when they drove onto the scene two years ago in ads from Carmichael Lynch. And now they're back for more low-key comic hijinks.

    The first new spot, a :60 titled "Puppy," is the best of the lot, showing a tired Mr. Barkley driving around at night with one of his pups, trying to get him to sleep. It's one of those themes that just instantly connects with parents—McDonald's did a memorable take on it with its wonderful drive-through ad back in 2010.

    The Subaru spot is great, too, taking its time in slowly building the humor, with some great facial expressions from the doggie driver. 



    Four 30-second spots are amusing as well. 

    In one, the Barkleys drive their Subaru Legacy on a back road and pull over to get help from their smartphone's voice assistant. But their limited language doesn't get the job done. In another, Mr. and Mrs. Barkley enjoy a nice dinner out, and spring for valet parking. But after dinner, when they emerge from the restaurant—clutching their doggie bags—they find that the valet has been having a bit too much fun with their Subaru Forester. 

    The final two ads deal with a bad hair day and a problem with the windshield wipers. 



    All five spots will air nationally in the coming weeks, including Feb. 7 during Puppy Bowl XII on Animal Planet—marking the sixth year for Subaru as the event's official auto sponsor. (The campaign will also run the same day on Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl, where the valet spot could get a standing ovation.)

    The stereotype of Subaru drivers as dog owners is backed up by the data. Over half of Subaru owners do indeed have a dog, the automaker says, and dog ownership among Subaru drivers actually grew by 49 percent between 2008 and 2013.

    The ads come at a good time for fans of dogs in commercials, too, given Budweiser's decision not to produce a third straight puppy spot for the Feb. 7 Super Bowl, following the smash hits "Puppy Love" and "Lost Dog."

    "Since we introduced the lovable Barkleys to the world in 2013, consumers have been patiently waiting for the next round of creative to see where their journey would take them next," Subaru of America vp of marketing Alan Bethke tells Adweek. "With the new 'Dog Tested. Dog Approved' campaign, we hope drivers everywhere will enjoy and relate to the latest escapades of the Barkley family, while seeing a bit of themselves along the way." 

    CREDITS
    Client: Subaru of America

    Vice President, Marketing: Alan Bethke
    National Advertising Manager: Brian Cavallucci
    Advertising Production Specialist: Michelle Shoultes

    Agency: Carmichael Lynch
    Executive Creative Director: Randy Hughes
    Copywriters: Nick Hart, Nick Nelson
    Art Director, Associate Creative Director: Michael Rogers
    Head of Production: Joe Grundhoefer
    Executive Senior Producer: Brynn Hausmann
    Business Manager: Vicki Oachs
    Account Management Team: Brad Williams, Paula Weisenbeck, Greta Hughes, Allie McConachie, Robert Ar
    Project Management: Kelsey Doherty

    Production Company: Skunk
    Director: Brian Lee Hughes
    President: Matt Factor
    Chief Operating Officer, Executive Producer: Shelly Townsend
    Executive Producer, Head of Production: Jeanne Stawiarski
    Line Producer: Geoff McClean
    Director of Photography: Jason McCormick

    Editing House: Drive Thru
    Editor: Mick Uzendoski
    Smoke, Flame Artist: Derek Johnson
    Producer: Beth Wilson
    Telecine: Company 3 / Sean Coleman
    Audio Mix, Sound Design: Sister Boss / Carl White
    Postproduction Audio Producer: Sister Boss / Annie Sparrows

    Original Music: "Puppy," by Echo Boys "Buster Naptime"

    On-camera Talent: The Barkley Family


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    Joe Craig, a British writer and children's novelist, just demonstrated his mastery in adapting long-form copy to the medium of Twitter ... by recounting the apparently true tale of a very awkward moment in his life. 

    The whole thing could have been condensed into one tweet, but where would the fun have been in that? No, Craig shows us that it takes a master writer to keep 'em hanging on your every short, sweet, character-limited messge.

    Here's the story, with some notes on craft below.

    The beauty of the whole thing is how Craig uses breaks between tweets to create dramatic tension. For example: 

    "The boot light came on. I was staring into the face of a woman!" 

    "The woman was naked." 

    "On top of the woman was a man. Also naked." 

    Instead of stringing those into one tweet (there was plenty of room), he keeps up the tension and keeps us in the mind of his character—a hero rescuing a trapped woman—until the last possible moment of realization: He is actually ruining "happy fun times" for some poor couple who are so desperate to bang that they have laid back the seats in a Renault Clio.

    And when we think our protagonist has reached his lowest point, that surely his awkward embarrassment cannot be exceeded, his dog makes things worse by jumping into the boot with the two naked strangers—an act which, in his efforts to avoid confusing his pet and muddying its training, Craig actually rewards. 

    What's key is dropping all those details at their own pace, taking a tweet pause where he would have taken a real pause if addressing a live audience, and giving us time to wonder in between. It isn't hard to see that, by following this method, you too can turn Twitter into a storytelling medium par excellence.


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    The breathless Tesla spec ad parade continues.

    In 2014, there was the car-as-kid's-spaceship spot, made by fans. Last year, we learned that Teslas are actually made of fireflies, in another video created independently from the brand. And now, a new team of filmmakers—again, working on their own—has cast the electric auto company as a hero riding into a bleak, colorless, oil-soaked Dust Bowl dystopia.

    Onshore rigs, filmed in black and white, pump at the earth, while churning dark smoke into the sky. A madman raves about a world powered solely by electricity. Gas trucks float skywards, upside down, as if gravity ceased to exist. Peons with bent backs and tired legs lug jugs of oil, their bodies soaked in soot.



    All the while, a shiny white Tesla Model S rides into town, and pops the handles out of its doors—like some returning God presenting itself on the altar. In awe, a worn-out worker leaves her cans of fuel in the dirt, and climbs in. The camera cuts to color, as the Tesla winds through a golden field filled with windmills, and drives off into the sunset.

    In other words, the ad, titled "Not a Dream" and created by writing/directing duo the Freise Brothers, has a high melodrama factor (suffice to say it's also drawing comparisons to Mad Max). But in a powerful twist, the voiceover—purple at first blush—and the entire concept turn out to be based on actual words from Nikola Tesla, the engineer and inventor after whom the car brand is named.

    If the voice actor's delivery leans towards overwrought, it makes more sense after the reveal—evoking an image of a scientist barking into an old-time microphone.

    It's also a little odd that the ad presents the population (presumably future Tesla drivers, and the target market) as dirty, impoverished and beleaguered. But that's clearly a metaphor for the broad effects of a charred environment.

    And at least it's honest—the only way the unwashed masses are getting in a Tesla today is if someone with a lot more money gives them a ride. (To be fair, the company is developing two vehicles it plans to sell for somewhere around $30,000. Models currently on the market run in the $70,000 to $140,000 range, if purchased new.)

    As with previous fan-made work, the automaker has promoted this ad on Twitter—the brand's proven willingness to amplify the platform is a clear incentive for shoestring filmmakers seeking exposure to churn out these rah-rah pieces, a dynamic that some critics fear devalues ad work more broadly. (The Freises, identical twins Adam and Nathan, shot the spot on DSLRs, with a rented Tesla and help from friends, and created the visual effects—like the floating trucks—themselves in 3ds Max and After Effects).

    As for the idea itself, Tesla's words are certainly moving, and seem incredibly prescient. In its original historical context, the quote that served as inspiration isn't quite as appropriate—or optimistic—as the version delivered by the voiceover, which actually appears to abridge and combine a couple of quotes from the inventor.

    A small portion of the message—about machinery forgoing coal, oil and gas power—seems drawn from a 1933 newspaper interview, relatively late in Tesla's life, about using the sun as a source of unlimited energy. But most of the ad's copy comes from a 1905 article in which Tesla fantasized about wireless electricity, endlessly beamed 12,000 miles around the globe, as a means to world peace. (Last year, Japanese engineers managed to get enough current to power an electric kettle 170 feet.)

    "It is not a dream, it is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering, only expensive—blind, faint-hearted, doubting world!" he wrote for the periodical Electrical World and Engineering. "Humanity is not yet sufficiently advanced to be willingly led by the discover's keen searching sense. But who knows? Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted, be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence—by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the heartless strife of commercial existence. So do we get our light. So all that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed—only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle."

    That rousing speech, bitter and frustrated, came after funding dried up for Tesla's ambitious Wardenclyffe project—a failure interpreted as Tesla's worst, and one that sparked a nervous breakdown. By his standards, a limited-range electric car, marketed as a pricy mass consumer product, might seem fairly prosaic. Then again, if the Tesla car really is an intergalactic spaceboat of light and wonder, that might be another story.

    CREDITS
    Director, Story, VFX, Edit, Sound: Freise Brothers
    Cinematographer: Christian Evans, Freise Brothers
    Actors: Giles Ashford, S. Hong
    Music: Diana by 'Sonic Architect' Tony Anderson
    Nikola Tesla Narration: Jonathan David Dixon


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    Feeling perhaps that their previous advertising efforts were too subtle, PETA's new "Last Longer" spot shows people having sex to highlight an upside to the vegan lifestyle: Avoiding various health risks that lead to erectile dysfunction. 

    The spot is filmed in split-screen, showing the dissolution of a meat-eating couple (one of whom possibly dies after being hit by a falling air-conditioning unit) on one side, and a vegan couple in the throes of rather explicit passion on the other. Each couple is helpfully labeled, although we're sure the vegan couple would have told us eventually. 



    This ad pushes PETA into full-blown morality play territory, and the usual defense—that they're being controversial in the service of important issues—holds less water every time they do stuff like this. (While many vegans will argue for the sex benefits of their diet, just as many sources point to research indicating that soy, a common vegan staple, is linked to erectile dysunction anyway. If you're worried about the working condition of your magic stick, the things people do seem to agree on is generally avoiding high-cholesterol foods and eating more fruit.)

    If PETA is comfortable being seen as a mishmash of self-righteous propagandists, then so be it, but they're officially hurting their cause at this point. And their patently absurd claim that they wanted to run this on Super Bowl 50, but were turned down, doesn't help either. 


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    Facebook says it has hired former Crispin Porter + Bogusky CEO Andrew Keller as its new global creative director for Creative Shop, its in-house creative team. Keller, who left CP+B last summer after five years as CEO, will report to chief creative officer Mark D'Arcy.

    In the newly created role at Facebook, Keller will work on building partnerships with global creative agencies. According to Facebook, he will also be a creative strategist, helping build campaigns for the social network's agency partners.

    "Advertising at its best sparks a conversation, builds a relationship and creates value," Keller said in a statement. "Over the last few years, Facebook and Instagram have changed storytelling forever by bringing people and brands closer together in new ways. I'm excited to join The Creative Shop team and to be partnering with the industry to continue this evolution of storytelling."

    Keller was "phased out" at CP+B last summer after the agency eliminated his roles—executive creative director and CEO—following the appointment of Lori Senecal to the role of global CEO at CP+B.

    "At Facebook we're committed to being the best creative partner to the agencies and clients we work with around the world," D'Arcy said in a statement. "Part of that commitment is investing in world class talent within the The Creative Shop. Andrew Keller has been a driving force in reinventing the advertising industry for almost two decades—he's a builder and is enormously respected."

    Keller isn't the first agency creative to head for the tech world. Last year, former global chief creative officer at Rosetta, Lars Bastholm, joined Google to take on a similar role with its in-house creative team, The Zoo. Shortly before that, former TBWA ecd Rudi Anggono joined the same team at Google.


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