Articles on this Page
- 03/08/16--03:36: _This Agency's New W...
- 03/08/16--05:52: _Michael Phelps Retu...
- 03/08/16--06:13: _Kraft Mac & Cheese ...
- 03/08/16--09:13: _Darkly Comic Campai...
- 03/08/16--16:51: _Blackboard Co. Want...
- 03/09/16--07:32: _A Little Girl's Dee...
- 03/09/16--08:04: _Ad of the Day: Jona...
- 03/09/16--08:57: _Meet the Mysterious...
- 03/09/16--10:17: _Hotwire Urges You t...
- 03/09/16--10:32: _Screaming Newborns ...
- 03/09/16--13:29: _What Michael Phelps...
- 03/10/16--08:33: _Ad of the Day: Mill...
- 03/10/16--09:26: _W+K Ads Show How St...
- 03/10/16--10:32: _BMW Imagines the Ca...
- 03/11/16--07:09: _Ad of the Day: Hein...
- 03/11/16--07:39: _Harlequin's Latest ...
- 03/11/16--08:30: _A Giant Chocolate H...
- 03/11/16--09:35: _Toy Blocks Suddenly...
- 03/11/16--10:46: _How a Brewer Helped...
- 03/14/16--04:59: _Solve These 3 Bruta...
- 03/08/16--16:51: Blackboard Co. Wants to Be the Biggest Small Agency in America
As a rule, agency websites are pretty wretched—full of self-congratulation, jargon, "creative" headshots and pompous meditations on proprietary philosophies and processes. But Zulu Alpha Kilo's is the absolute worst—in a good way.
The Toronto agency launched a new website this week that's intentionally awful, as it parodies the "sameness" of every agency website. The page is strewn with insufferable garbage, from inspirational posters to founder bios. (The shop's actual founder is Zak Mroueh, whose first name is where "Zulu Alpha Kilo" comes from. But here the fictional founders are Frank Zulu, Marcus Alpha and Katherine Kilo, all of whom are morons.)
The centerpiece of the site is this video, which shows the agency at its most ridiculous:
There's plenty more to explore, though, with multimedia easter eggs planted throughout. A particular favorite is the client section, which profiles four fake accounts—Plan C Condoms, Glen's Pet Supply Store, La Poubelle and Cravers + Chocolate. Case studies for each are rife with clichéd modern marketing techniques, featuring pranks, cynical awards bait and dumb trademarked agency processes like "Holist-i-think" and "Result-a-Breakthrough." (The writeup of the Plan C Condoms campaign—the gray box here shows an excerpt—is particularly spot on in capturing the gleefully evil obliviousness of so many targeted ad strategies.)
"Every agency website essentially says the same thing. So we decided to poke a little fun at the sameness of the industry with our mocku-site," says Mroueh.
The agency says it's using the new site "as a chance to create entertaining content, albeit fictional." All production was handled through Zulu's content creation division zulubot. The only "real" part of the website (apart from a lawyers' note) is the fairly hidden "Contact" section, where the agency admits: "What you just read wasn't the real Zulu Alpha Kilo. If you'd like to know what really sets us apart, please get in touch. We promise Frank Zulu, Marcus Alpha and Katherine Kilo won't be there.")
Zulu Alpha Kilo is pretty adept at industry takedowns, having produced the viral "Say No to Spec" video last year, decrying the standard practice of agencies producing work for free during pitches.
Check out some "inspirational" wall papers from the fake site below.
Michael Phelps has been an Under Armour endorser since 2010, but of course, he's only truly in the spotlight quadrennially, during the Olympics. Now 30 years old, the world's greatest-ever swimmer is making one final Olympic push—for the Rio Games this August.
Under Armour is celebrating its hero's last stand with a beautiful and brooding ad from Droga5 that focuses on Phelps's intense training regimen—in other words, everything he's been doing while outside the spotlight to prepare for those precious moments in the pool.
The most decorated Olympian of all time—with 22 medals in three Olympics, including 18 golds—Phelps certainly looks the part of the aging veteran in the new ad, even sporting a bushy beard (that has to slow him down a few milliseconds in the water, no?). But he's clearly not giving his post-30 body a break.
The ad, part of Under Armour's ongoing "Rule Yourself" campaign, shows Phelps swimming with resistance, lifting weights, carb-loading, taking ice baths, getting barked at by his coach, having restless sleep, and generally looking both determined and haunted by the task ahead of him. (He even undergoes something called "cupping therapy," which looks painful and frankly kind of medieval.)
The soundtrack is "The Last Goodbye" by the Kills.
The training shots are mixed with more elegiac imagery. Phelps is seen looking into a backyard pool strewn with leaves, clearly taking stock of a long journey about to come to an end. Another, recurring shot shows him hurtling down a glowing swim lane that's surrounded on both sides by darkness—an impressively moving nod to his brutal, solitary hours of training.
"It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light," says an onscreen line at the end.
The new spot will be introduced Tuesday at an Under Armour event in Baltimore—which is both Phelps' hometown and home to the sports brand's global headquarters. (We'll have more from that event later today.) It follows several other recent spots in the campaign, including one with the United States women's gymnastic team.
As a bit of bonus footage, Under Armour filmed Phelps and his fiancée, Nicole Johnson, watching the spot for the first time. Check out that footage below.
If you were among the junk-food fans anxious that a more natural Kraft Macaroni & Cheese would be less tasty, lay your worries to rest: You might already have tasted it and not been the wiser.
In a ballsy, brilliant bit of marketing, Kraft hoodwinked millions of consumers into taste-tasting an updated version of its classic product. After announcing plans last year to remove artificial coloring and preservatives from its recipe, some worried that it would ruin a beloved (if questionably neon) meal. So Kraft rolled its upgraded version recipe out to shelves in December ... without telling anyone.
Three months later, a new campaign—created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky and starring comedian Craig Kilborn—celebrates the fact that Mac & Cheese lovers have gone on loving the product because they didn't even realize it had changed. (For reference, the new version contains spices like paprika, annatto and turmeric to replace dyes like yellow 5 and 6.)
The 45-second faux-epic TV spot breaks the news with a string of jokes about all the types of people—and animals—that missed the switch. The "sneaky moms" line in particular rings like a subtle allusion to a 2011 viral video featuring indignant kids who thought their mother had eaten all their Halloween candy—a gag made famous by Jimmy Kimmel, who launched his late-night talk show back in 2003, shortly before Kilborn quit The Late Late Show.
Some cracks are more obvious. The brand and its agency couldn't resist a dig at millennials, which is amusing but low-hanging fruit. Others are counterintuitively clever, even self-deprecating: Obviously the dogs didn't notice the difference between old and new Mac & Cheese; they're not exactly known for the nuance of their palates. And some are just funny—like the guy who claimed he's working from home but isn't.
The tagline, "It's changed but it hasn't," works oddly well. It's the kind of obnoxious non-statement that should be avoided. On repeated listening, it gets even tougher to swallow—grating, even. But given the iconic status of Kraft's golden goo, the brand is right to trade on familiarity while signaling that it's improved its product.
While "all-natural" labels (not exactly what Kraft is claiming here) are famously meaningless, the company's change followed consumer uprising about the artificial dyes in the meal, led by controversial food blogger Vani Hari, as well as the rise of "healthy" competitors like Annie's Homegrown, which chipped away at Kraft's market dominance. (Founded in 1989, Annie's launched its first national advertising campaign last fall. It was created by Fearless Unlimited, a new shop founded by CP+B namesake Alex Bogusky, the Kraft agency's former wünderkind).
Overall, Kraft's approach is a fresh and topical way to serve a message that boils down to a basic point: "Look how much people love our product." As for sales of the new version, an exec in the behind-the-scenes video below says the conglomerate has moved 50 million boxes in the relevant period—"the same as always."
Complete with wide-eyed testimonials, this peek behind the curtain rounds out a campaign blitz that includes print and additional digital components, emphasizing that people "just didn't notice" the swap (including a tweet that claims "55,000 more people tweeted about squirrels" than the new recipe). That observation is consistent with independent (and anecdotal) taste tests conducted last June by the Huffington Post, which managed to get its hands on a box of the new stuff.
Client: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
Campaign Title: It's Changed. But It Hasn't.
Chief Creative Officer: Ralph Watson
Executive Creative Director: Adam Chasnow
Creative Director: D'Arcy O'Neill
Art Director: Tyler Gonerka
Writer: Emily Salas
Director Of Video Production: Kate Hildebrant
Integrated Producer: Jamie Slade
Production Company: Hungry Man, LA
Director: Hank Perlman
Director of Photography: Eric Steelberg
Line Producer (Production Co): Caleb Dewart
Executive Producer (Production Co): Mino Jarjoura, Nancy Hacohen
Editorial Company: The Now Corporation, NY
Editor: Owen Plotkin
Assistant Editor: Jessica Dowling
Editorial Executive Producer: Nancy Finn
Post Production Company: Art Jail, NY
Lead Compositors: Steve Mottershead, Ben Vaccaro
Executive Producer: John Skeffington
Post Producer: Adriana Wong
Graphics / Animation Company: Art Jail, NY
Mix Company: Lime Studios, LA
Audio Engineer: Mark Meyerhaus, Peter Lapinski
Music Company: JSM Music, NY
Executive Music Producer: Joel Simon
Telecine Company: Art Jail, NY
Colorist: Steve Mottershead
Account Director: Evan Russack
Account Director: Kelly Olech
Content Manager: Ashley Huehnerfuss
Group Director, Strategy: Kaylin Goldstein
Business Affairs: Katherine Graham-Smith
Traffic Manager: Tito Texidor, Laura Crow, Katie Hare
For International Women's Day, the Young Minds for Gender Equality Foundation (YM4GE) is offering us a practical, immediate solution to the pay parity problem: The Business Bulge, a pair of underpants that provide women with enviable endowments for professional settings.
In a promotional video by DDB New York, styled like a dull investors presentation, a character named Clark Hoffman presents The Business Bulge's benefits.
"For every dollar a man makes, a woman makes only 70 cents. And we're talking about people doing the same job, here," he begins. That gap hasn't changed in 10 years. Why? Is it capability? He wonders. Work ethic? Charisma?
We're all on the edge of our seats now. "There is only one difference," Hoffman concludes. "Women make less than men because men have more volume in their pants!"
This insight is stated with triumphant vigor, the kind perhaps shared by the CERN scientists who finally saw evidence of The God Particle. "That's responsible for 22 cents on the dollar!" he continues, thrusting a finger toward his slide, which—awkwardly enough—highlights a man's comfortably padded business (circled in case it isn't obvious).
The Bulge promises to infuse billions of dollars into the workforce.
"Women, you want to make as much as a man? Wear that to work. You just go ahead—you slip it under your workplace attire, and you are ready to go," Hoffman proclaims. And don't discriminate (ha!): Wear it to job interviews. Meetings. Presentations. "We have got you covered," the hopeful CEO beams. "With this, women will be able to receive the respect and salaries they deserve!"
Hoffman, whose showmanship is clearly wasted on these drab corporate settings, concludes with a gorgeous tagline: "Remember: A Bulge in your pants means a bulge in your wallet."
The website, GetaBulge.com, states its purpose plainly: "The Business Bulge is a fictional product. What's not fictional is the fact that in 2016, women still earn less because of their gender. That's not just wrong. It's embarrassing. Politicians aren't addressing the problem, and CEOs need a reason to act."
A more serious video features Hoffman at his desk providing straight, serious facts about the pay gap and its impact on the economy. In the background is a mannequin in professional female attire with a budge clearly in view.
"When we pay women equally, there's evidence to show that the economy grows. So closing the wage gap isn't just good for women; it's good for everyone," Hoffman emphasizes.
"Only 34 CEOs out of the Fortune 500 companies are women. So that's 466 men running the show. If you want to make a change, that might be a good place to start," he adds.
Hoffman transitions from one point to the next with scene cuts that feature the product—a spinning mannequin in well-hung, flesh-toned underpants (notably seamless, making them perfect for pencil skirts; it's the little things that count).
The pay gap is a lot more complex than even Hoffman can highlight: SmartAssets recently reported that, in cities like Detroit, Kansas City and Indianapolis, women in tech are actually paid equally if not more than men. (Detroit wins the most cookies, with 122.8 percent higher pay on average.)
In cities like Washington, D.C., and Detroit specifically, women hold 40 percent or more tech jobs—which suggests that the more women work in tech, the smaller the pay gap gets. Consider this in the context of Silicon Valley, which is basically running the global tech show: At a company like Twitter, only 13 percent of women hold tech roles, compared to Facebook, which hosts 16 percent.
Silicon Valley arguably attracts more millennial talent than any other promised land in the world (barring entertainment meccas). For reasons like this, The Business Bulge is especially young adult-focused: In addition to weird videos for social sharing and the tongue-in-cheek website, celebrities and influential organizations—like the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Organization and Chelsea Film Festival—are also helping raise awareness. A hashtag, #stopdickingaround, encourages people to talk openly about both the campaign and its theme.
"YM4GE's goal is to empower millennials to turn their ideas into action, and harness real world solutions for women empowerment and the achievement of gender equality," says Gerardo Porteny Backal, co-founder and president of YM4GE. "We are so excited DDB was able to create a campaign that flips the status quo in a way that is culturally relevant and resonates with our audience using a language they understand."
And while we may laugh at DDB's "solution," it isn't all that weird. There's a bizarre cottage industry of faux-penis products meant to "help" women stand a little bit taller—usually by encouraging them to stand while peeing. These range from the decidedly subtle Go Girl to the flagrantly phallic (and golden!) Shenis. Sadly, these products aren't make-believe—although their existence stretches the bounds of reason plenty more than the Business Bulge does.
"It's a ridiculous solution to a ridiculous problem, and that's what we want to convey," says chief creative officer Icaro Doria of DDB New York. "We are inspired by YM4GE's vision to empower both young women and young men equally to become the leaders of today. The goal of this campaign is to generate more conversation around pay equality for women in the workforce, help consumers learn more about the problem and find ways to tackle it."
This marks DDB's first pro-bono (pun!) effort for YM4GE, and was produced by Hank Perlman, who directed many of ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" ads.
Below are more ads in which Clark Hoffman earnestly pitches The Business Bulge to people of different professions.
For, well, you:
So what are you waiting for? Give the lady in your life the tools she needs to succeed. She'll thank you for it, probably once she's slapped you.
Agency: DDB New York
Chief Creative Officer: Icaro Doria
Creative Director: Bruno Oppido, Thiago Carvalho
Art Director: Rachel Newell
Copywriter: Tyler Kirsch
President & Chief Executive Officer: Chris Brown
Account Director: Hollie Doran
Agency Producer: Ed Zazzera, Amanda Van Caneghem
Social Strategy: Chiara Martini, Robin West
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Hank Perlman
Managing Partner / EP: Kevin Byrne
Producer: Caleb Dewart
DOP: Cale Finot
Production Designer: Paul McConnell
Production Supervisor: Sherra Fermino
Editorial Company: Cosmo Street Editorial
Editor: Tom Scherma
Assistant Editor: Dave Otte, Chrissy Doughty
Producer: Viet-An Nguyen
Executive Producer: Maura Woodward
Who (l. to r.): Co-founders Clark Evans and Jeff Nixon with media director Tracy Arrington
What Full-service advertising and content company
Where Austin, Texas
Austin has its fair share of digitally savvy agencies. Blackboard, founded in 2009 by former GSD&M execs Clark Evans and Jeff Nixon, is a 14-person shop that brings big-agency results to brands like Tillamook, Dell and Pabst. "We like to think we're the biggest small agency in America," said co-founder and owner Nixon. A few years ago, for Pabst, the shop created a colorful, out-of-home campaign based on an online contest asking beer fans to draw pictures using the brand's logo—and it's still running today. Currently, Blackboard is working on a new content program for lighting manufacturer Sylvania after winning social, creative and media-buying responsibilities last year. "Our leaders have been transforming large brands on a global scale for decades—we're able to bring that same experience to our clients today, but in a much more intimate, focused and collaborative environment," said Nixon.
This story first appeared in the March 7 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Greenpeace brings a young girl's undersea imagination to life in "The Little Explorer," a short film that tackles the topic of destructive fishing in the Arctic.
Using materials she finds around the house—including tinfoil, bottle tops and paper plates—our curly-haired heroine constructs an elaborate (and adorable) deep-sea diving suit. Her living room is transformed into an aquatic wonderland beneath the polar ice floes. She watches wide-eyed as Greenland sharks, Beluga whales and sea butterflies sail past the windows of her cardboard submarine.
But suddenly, the scene is torn apart by mysterious tremors, and we're left to ponder the horrifying net results.
Crafted with great style by London agency Don't Panic and director Simon Mitchell, "The Little Explorer" does a fine job of capturing this brutal reality through a child's eyes. Seven-year-old Emily Dante gives a charming, relaxed performance, providing a relatable center for the showy visuals.
She was cast, Don't Panic creative director Richard Beer tells AdFreak, because she radiated "just the right blend of innocence, imagination and defiance."
In the first few seconds of the clip, as the Little Explorer constructs her suit, we hear a countdown in the background, suggesting that she plans to travel into space. So when her ocean fantasy begins, it comes as something of a twist—which is exactly what Greenpeace intended.
"It's the classic childhood dream—to explore strange new worlds, to boldly go where no one has gone before," Beer says. "We wanted to cheekily subvert that dream to draw attention to something closer to home. We're all for the exploration of space, but perhaps we should focus a little more on saving our own planet instead of destroying it."
The video will be pushed globally through Greenpeace Facebook pages and on YouTube. It's a fitting follow-up to the client-agency team's animated PSA "Everything Is NOT Awesome," also for the #SaveTheArctic campaign, which won Silver Lions in the Film and Cyber categories at Cannes last year.
That earlier effort focused on a specific target, Lego, which at the time had partnered with petroleum giant Shell, an arrangement it soon discarded. "Everything Is NOT Awesome" drove home its message with instantly recognizable imagery, such as interlocking Lego bricks and Shell's logo.
In "The Little Explorer," the threat of trawl fishing is more nebulous, and required a markedly different approach, which Beer explains in detail:
"We didn't think that pure CGI would be the most effective way to bring the beauty of the Arctic to life, so we combined two elements: first, good old-fashioned childhood imagination, in the form of a whole aquarium's worth of cardboard fish, foil narwhals, paper jellyfish and countless other amazing Arctic lifeforms built by Anne Gry Skovdal, our art director, and her team; and second, in-camera projections of real footage of Arctic life, which needed no amplification or enhancement."
He adds: "We used some great effects from The Brewery to show the threat of a trawling net intruding menacingly into Emily's fantasy, but that was the only few seconds of CGI we needed. Sadly, we really did destroy all of Anne's good work with an actual net that we dragged through the set."
In real life, such potentially destructive endeavors, taken to their logical extreme, could wipe out entire species, and forever lay waste to explorers' dreams. Says Beer: "No one's going to dream about the wonder of Arctic sea life if it's all been ripped away."
Agency: Don't Panic:
MD of Don't Panic: Joe Wade
Creative Director of Don't Panic: Richard Beer
Project lead: Nisha Mullea
Creative: George McCullum
Creative: Alistair Griggs
Creative: Morgan Fiebig
Creative: Eva Steiner
The Little Explorer: Emily Dante
Director of Photography: David Wright
Art Director: Anne Gry Skovdal
Director: Simon Mitchell
Producer: Charlie Miller
After an impressive and very interesting 10-year run, Jonathan Goldsmith is saying goodbye to his iconic Dos Equis ad character, the Most Interesting Man in the World—appearing in one final ad, which broke today, in which he makes a suitably grand exit.
The character, however, will live on—as the Heineken brand prepares to introduce a new Most Interesting Man later this year.
"From superheroes to superspies, our fans are accustomed to and enjoy different takes on the same character. We know 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' will continue to endure and grow, as the character's story is bigger than one individual," Andrew Katz, vp of marketing for Dos Equis, said in a statement.
He added: " 'Stay Thirsty' isn't just a tagline. It's a mindset Dos Equis embraces daily to connect with our consumer and inspire everything we do."
As for Goldsmith, 77, he gets one last parade past his numerous and varied admirers as he prepares for his most interesting trip yet—a mission to Mars. There's also one final amusing voiceover line, which we won't reveal here—as it's just better to hear for yourself.
The 60-second spot from Havas Worldwide launched Wednesday on YouTube and will air on TV just once—during Thursday's matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers on TNT. That game will see another kind of farewell—it's the last match-up between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
The final Goldsmith spot also comes with a special auction. In early April, the beer brand will give away the character's worldly possessions on DosEquis.com, including the tuxedo he wore to his final masquerade, his Spanish guitar and mariachi suit, and even the astronaut suit from his last visit to space, in 2010.
Client: Dos Equis
Agency: Havas Worldwide, New York
Chief Executive Officer: Andrew Benett
Chief Creative Officer of the Americas: Toygar Bazarkaya
Chief Creative Officer of North America: Jason Peterson
Group Executive Director, Managing Director: Jason Musante
Executive Creative Director: Jim Hord
Group Creative Directors: Keith Scott, Paul Johnson
Creative Director: Paul Fix
Associate Creative Directors: Matthew Hock, David Fredette
Global Chief Content Officer: Vin Farrell
Headd of Content, North America: Dave Evans, Sylvain Tron
Executive Producer: Jill Meschino
Junior Producer: Alex Zubak
Director of Broadcast Business Affairs: Cathy Pitegoff
Senior Broadcast Business Manager: Deborah Steeg
Senior Talent Specialist: Yvette Aponte
Junior Talent Specialist: Amber Canyon
Global Chief Revenue Officer, Global Chief Marketing Officer: Matt Weiss
Group Account Director, Co-Head of Account Management: Chris Budden
Account Director: Jamie Sundheim
Account Supervisor: Wendy Hu
Account Executive: Jenny Maughan
Chief Strategy Officer, North America: Tim Maleeny
Brand, Digital Strategy Director: Maggie Gross
Senior Strategist: Stacey Kawahata
Director of Social Marketing: Larry Lac
Social Strategist: Rachel Korenstein
Social Coordinator: Katie Campo
Production Company: @radical.media
Director: Steve Miller
Director of Photography: Bryan Newman
Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
Producer: Barbara Benson
Editing Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Jeff Ferruzzo
Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
Postproduction: The Mill
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Angus Kneale
Creative Director, Visual Effects Supervisor: Jeff Dates
2-D Lead: Michael Smith
3-D Lead: Tom Bardwell
Executive Producer: Verity Grantham
Producer: Clairellen Wallin
Colorist: Tom Poole, Company 3
Music: Beacon Street Music
Composers: Beacon Street Studios
Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
Sound Design: Yessian
Sound Designer: Weston Fonger
Executive Producer: Marlene Bartos
Audio: Sound Lounge
Partner, Mixer: Tom Jucarone
Have you ever been eating your favorite snacks and thought, "Boy, I sure wish this thing I'm eating was INSIDE this other thing I'm eating, like Dexter-meets-flippin'-Frankenstein!"?
Well, there is someone who's happy to oblige. A mysterious YouTuber who simply calls himself "The Food Surgeon" takes a scalpel and tweezers to his favorite snacks (mostly candy) and performs acts of surgery as if on an operating table—replete with scrubs and gloves and dramatic, super-creepy lighting.
With videos like "Reese's Peanut-Butter-Ectomy with Oreo Cream Transplant" and "Strawberry Seed Extraction and Nutella Augmentation," he's definitely taking a page out of a plastic surgeon's playbook, attempting to modify, combine—and perhaps improve—the innate aspects of foods so many of us blindly accept as unmutable.
The videos are oddly fascinating, and funny, with a mildly ASMR feel. And with millions of views and almost 70,000 subscribers, this guy is certainly on to something.
His YouTube description reads, "A culinary practitioner not qualified to perform surgery of any kind." AdFreak caught up with the Food Surgeon via email to try to understand the man behind the scalpel.
AdFreak: So, you don't have a medical background, correct?
The Food Surgeon: Correct. I have no medical background, nor culinary background.
What inspires you? Do you watch other YouTubers—or medical dramas?
I'm definitely inspired by other quality YouTubers, including Chef John of Food Wishes. I love his focus on the food, and the way the food looks as opposed to the appearance of the person cooking the food. My film style is heavily influenced by PES, who makes amazing stop-motion films. Check them out!
You prefer to be anonymous. Why is that?
I think it adds to the aura of The Food Surgeon. The focus is on the food, the sounds and the sights. I want it to remain that way.
What is your method for selecting the foods you choose to perform surgery on?
I often find inspiration while browsing isles in the grocery store. To be considered for an operation, the food item must be dissectible in some form or another. Though delicious, a square of fudge would make for a boring operation for lack of internal variation. Though my most popular videos are candy related, I am the food surgeon and not the candy surgeon, so diversity is important.
The videos are executed quite nicely. How hard are they to make, and have you ever had to do several takes?
Every single video has required multiple takes. I'm only working with one camera, so I often reshoot the same scene multiple times from different angles. Each video takes about six to eight hours to create, which includes production and editing.
Have you ever attempted a food surgery that went horribly wrong?
Yes. For instance, during the Cookie Reassignment Surgery, one of my patients crumbled in my hands as I attempted to extract its raisins. When this happens, I simply eat the patient. Yum.
Do you get much feedback from the ASMR community?
I do get some, yes. I don't cater to the ASMR community, but I do realize that they make up a good portion of my fan base. Since that's the case, I often publish my videos to the ASMR subreddit forum and ask for feedback.
What does the future hold for you? Will you ever attempt to delve into savory foods?
Expect to see more dissections, more candy transplants, and more bizarre food creations. I have a couple of ideas for savory food surgeries, but it's hard to say when I'll have the time, or appetite, for them.
YOLO advertising tropes are going strong: In a perfect example, a new set of ads from online travel agency Hotwire urges you to take a trip ... because you might just get hit by a bus.
In an ad titled "Near Death," one of four new 30-second spots by San Francisco agency Heat, a man steps absent-mindedly into oncoming traffic, screams when he realizes his error, and flashes forward to a nude beach in Monterey that he's always wanted to visit—replete with general awkwardness, well-placed accessories to ensure modesty, and confusion about where to put sunscreen.
Watch it spoiler-free here:
All's well that ends well for the dreamer. The driver slams on the brakes in time, and our hero lives to sunbathe—and tan the parts he maybe shouldn't—another day.
With the tagline "Be slightly adventurous," launched last year by Heat, the campaign conveys a cheeky, free-spirited, live-for-now appeal to millennial values that's increasingly popular among brands. Competitor Travelocity launched its own such campaign less than two weeks ago, under the banner "Wander Wisely." However is a bright-eyed twentysomething to choose?
That said, this is also the kind of strong comedic writing that helped the agency—purchased late last month by Deloitte—win honors like Adweek's Breakthrough Agency of the Year in 2015. The other ads are solid, too, while targeting different demographics.
Channeling the TV series True Blood, the second ad features a woman in a checkout line, fantasizing about meeting a handsome vampire while vacationing in New Orleans.
In the third, a family road trip turns a pair of bratty teens into a wholesome American brother and sister duo.
The best, though might be the fourth, wherein a couple forgo a backlog of laundry for a trip to New York, and follow a group of gaudily dressed revelers into a banging dance party. It's a little more realistic, and subtle—with a visual punch line that viewers will miss if they blink. Those characteristics pay dividends in humor.
Alas, the laundry will still be there when the party people get home.
Spot: "Near Death"
Executive Creative Director: Steve Stone
Creative Director: Mike Duckworth
Associate Creative Director: Nichole Geddes
ACD/Copywriter: Mary Unger
Senior Producer: Monica Wilkins
Director of Production: Brian Coate
Director of Client Service: Aaron Lang
Account Director: Olivia Balicki
Account Manager: Sarah Behrens
Business Affairs: Julie Petruzzo
Production Company: Knucklehead
Executive Producer: Cathleen Kisich
Director: Rob Leggatt
Edit and Finish: Hutch and Co Technologies
Editor: Jim Hutchins
Assistant Editor: Patrick O'leary
Online Artist: Austin Hickman-Fain
Executive Producer: Jane Hutchins
Colorist: Ricky Gausis
Color assist: Dimitri Rajapakse
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
Associate Producer: Rebecca Boorsma
Audio Record and Mix: One Union
Engineer: Eben Carr
Producer: Lauren Mask
VO: Tom Kane
A crying baby is more likely to inspire angst than pleasure. But maybe in an effort to Pavlov us into thinking otherwise, U Supermarkets (or Système U) is hoping the distressing din will drive French customers to shop thoughtfully.
At the start of "La Vie en Rose," directed by Fredrik Bond for TBWA\Paris, a mother gives two energetic huffs and pushes out a spankin'-new human, whose first cry joins others in the maternity ward. As the ad progresses—and the screams build—it becomes easier to identify a melody: Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose," which the ad calls "France's iconic anthem of optimism."
In addition to this weird feat, the ad has the Birdman-like effect of appearing almost entirely as if were shot in one take. We travel through the maternity ward (which, even for a maternity ward, seems crammed with babies) and air ducts, into an elevator and ultimately land in the backseat of a car, where two lovestruck and sobbing parents coddle their inexplicably still-naked progeny.
"For happier generations tomorrow, let's shop responsibly today," a dissonantly calm voiceover says.
"La Vie en Rose" went live on Sunday across national TV here in France. Fun fact: We had to watch it at least 10 times to review it, and we don't even want to know how many times the creative team had to.
You may never get accustomed to the minute-long choir of crying (which can put people off baby-making just as much as the imagery warms hearts). And even if the connection between newborns, "La Vie en Rose" and grocery shopping feels tenuous, the ad's subtle emotional impact is difficult to shake off, partly because, apart from short-lived relief from the medical team at the start, no other adult you see ever smiles.
It's almost eerie. The strolling new mothers in the hallway look more pensive than joyful, the people in the elevator are clearly annoyed, and in one odd nursery shot, a row of adults stand behind new children like stoic soldiers while a doctor cradles another in front of them. Even at the end, the parents in the car could easily be mistaken for grievers if they weren't clutching their own miracle of life.
Paired with the nostalgic "anthem of optimism" and the tagline's call for "happier" generations, we're left with something more complicated than joy, fear, chagrin or gratitude—a mixture of all four that's probably truer to the notion of parenthood than most ads are willing to convey. One way to describe it would be a sense of looming, terrible responsibility.
From there, it gets easier to connect with the insight: When you become a parent, priorities change, and it does pay to be thoughtful when nourishing your family.
"This year's communication is developed through the prism of future generations," says the brand in a statement. "Better shopping ensures a better future for all of us, and especially for our children. This universal message reaffirms U's vision of a trade that benefits all—a vision that takes its full significance in the long run."
U Supermarkets is the fourth-largest food retail group in France, and prides itself on responsible trade between clients, partners and farmers. Like Italian retailer Benetton, it's hoping to build an identity on messages that are more about our role in the community than about buying their stuff.
In December, it launched #GenderFreeChristmas, an ad about supporting gender neutrality with toys, also by TBWA Paris.
Client: Sandrine Burgat, Laurène de Demandolx and Delphine Desmeulles
Agency: Luc Bourgery, Philippe Senejoux and Marianne Durand
Executive Creative Directors: Faustin Claverie and Benjamin Marchal
CEO Else: Maxime Boiron
TV Producer: Caroline Petruccelli
Production: Sonny London
Director: Fredrik Bond
VOP: Ryley Brown
Producer: Alicia Richards et Helen Kenny
Post production UK: Nineteen Twenty London
Post production Paris: Else
Color grading: Didier Lefouest @ Digital District
Head of music and sound: Olivier Lefebvre
Sound Director: Thomas Anduze
BALTIMORE, Md.—Michael Phelps and Under Armour were, in a sense, born at the same moment.
The performance sports apparel brand was founded here in 1996 by Kevin Plank. Right around that same time, Phelps—then an 11-year-old kid from the Baltimore suburbs—began to train under coach Bob Bowman at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
The rest is history.
At 15, Phelps became the youngest swimmer ever to set a world record (in the 200-meter butterfly). Three years after that, in Athens, he won his first eight Olympic medals, including six golds—beginning a run that has netted him a record 22 Olympic medals in all, and a staggering 18 golds. If he makes this year's Olympic team (which isn't a given), he will almost certainly add to that total in Rio, which he firmly says—and you can believe him this time—will be his last Olympics.
Under Armour's growth, of course, wasn't as meteoric. It takes more time for companies to rule the world. But in the sports apparel business, UA is now a solid No. 2 to Nike, and gaining all the time. It had sales of $3.96 billion in 2015, up 28 percent from the year before, and forecasts sales of $7.5 billion by 2018.
UA attributes much of its success to innovation and a singular vision. But much of it can also be credited to the brand's endorsers, and how they're framed in the advertising. This is a company that chooses wisely, and then frames an athlete's image carefully, focusing on the journey, not the destination.
In 2013, it took a chance on Stephen Curry for less than $4 million a year, after Nike balked, and now has him locked down through 2024—in what may prove to be the best signing since Jordan and Nike. UA also hit the jackpot with golfer Jordan Spieth, signing him to a 10-year deal shortly before he won two majors last year and rocketed to the No. 1 ranking.
Phelps is a little different, of course. He's not an athlete who's in the spotlight every day, or every month. He mostly gets attention quadrennially, during the Olympics. But UA is clearly going big with Phelps this year, ahead of what should be a closely watched and hopefully heartwarming trip to Rio.
A UA endorser since 2010, Phelps got a hero's welcome when he arrived at the brand's Locust Point headquarters here in Baltimore on Tuesday. He spoke to the media, offered a glimpse into his workout routine and raved about his new Under Armour ad from Droga5—a beautiful, haunting 90-second tribute that shows Phelps at his most raw and solitary, summing up his decades of cold pools and sacrifice out of the spotlight.
"For me, it's without question an honor to have my own spot," Phelps, 30, told Adweek as he reflected on his place in the UA advertising pantheon, which has famously included stars like Curry, Misty Copeland, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. "To have a spot done like this one was, it's remarkable. It shows the raw things I've gone through to get to the point where I'm at. And that's something a lot of the public hasn't seen."
He added: "It brought tears to my eyes, it brought tears to [fiancée] Nicole's eyes. My mother, without question, tears—multiple times during the commercial. And the music makes it, too. I think it's a deep commercial, and it's really incredible how they did it."
It really did make Phelps cry, too. In a sly bit of in-house content creation, UA filmed Phelps and Nicole watching the ad for the first time. She is practically weeping by the end, and Phelps himself wipes away a tear. Check out that footage here:
Asked if he thought Under Armour could equal or surpass Nike in terms of exciting advertising, Phelps said no one should underestimate Plank, the former University of Maryland football captain who started Under Armour from nothing.
"I was telling Kevin while I was here, I'm amazed at how much they've been able to do, even just in the last year," Phelps said. "Kevin is literally one of the biggest visionaries I've ever met in my entire life. For him, the sky is the absolute limit. I'm sure he will do everything and anything to get to No. 1, if he's not there now."
As for Nike? Well, Phelps says he's never even tried on one of their sneakers.
"For me, growing up in Baltimore, Under Armour is the sports line. It's what I grew up with my whole life," he said. "I don't know another brand. To be honest, I have never worn a pair of Nikes in my entire life. I couldn't even wear Nikes when I was with Speedo, before Under Armour. I've literally never tried on a pair of Nike shoes." (He later backtracks on this a little, and admits to having worn them on the podium when Nike was a team sponsor. But he insists he's never done so recreationally.)
Asked whether he has an expanded role with UA during this Olympic year, Phelps said just wants to do anything he can to help Plank succeed.
"I think if you ask all the athletes—we'll do anything we can to help promote his brand," he said. "They don't have to ask me to put on a shirt. I walk out of the house every day in shorts and a T-shirt, or a sweatshirt and sweats, a pair of sneakers. It's every day. You can wear a quarter zip to dinner, you can wear a polo to dinner, you can wear a button-down to dinner. They have literally everything. It's comfortable, and it's what I live in."
He added with a smile: "I'm a good shoe salesman, too. I know all the shoes. You have any shoe questions?"
It's been a long four years since London 2012, the last time Phelps was squarely in the public eye—and, in his own estimation, underperformed at the Games because of a lack of motivation. (Most gallingly, he was out-touched at the wall in the 200-meter butterfly final, losing by 5/100ths of a second. Phelps is normally the guy who out-touches his rival, and that loss clearly still bothers him—he mentioned it several times on Tuesday—even though he did win six medals, including four golds, in London.)
The new Droga commercial certainly reintroduces Phelps to the public in style. But the backstory is different this time. Phelps, who will soon be married and is expecting his first child in May, says he has never been so happy in his life, or so committed to swimming—and it is showing in his performances. This isn't the ambivalent Phelps of London. It's the legendary champion giving everything for one last chance at glory.
That's a story UA can squarely get behind, and may help explain why the brand released the new spot so early—a full five months before the Games kick off in August.
"As marketers, we've seen a lot of film," says Adrienne Lofton, UA's svp of global brand marketing. "And when we saw this [new spot] out of the can—rough, color not done—we all got the chills. From Kevin on down, we were blown away, because it represents Michael and everything he's done in his career. It allows us to honor him, and take a moment and say: No matter what, pre-Rio, he never stopped working. He never stopped pushing."
In addition to the new Phelps spot, UA took the opportunity on Tuesday to unveil its official 2016 Olympic uniforms for USA Gymnastics and USA Boxing, which which it has sponsorship deals. (Overall, the company says, it is outfitting some 250 Olympic hopefuls in 19 sports from 32 countries.)
Check out the Team USA uniforms, and some UA outfits for other countries, below:
Don't tell millennials your wise old fable about making a fortune through capitalism. They value more intangible things—like guzzling soda made by one of the world's biggest corporations.
Given the source of the message, the logic is a little bizarre in this new commercial for Coca-Cola-owned Sprite, airing regionally in Latin American markets. But it's delivered in a fun, quirky and likable style by creative agency Hello and MJZ directors The Perlorian Brothers (who are on a roll after also making those sublime Klarna "Smoooth" ads.)
The campaign introduces a new tagline, "Born to RFRSH," which replaces the 10-year-old "The way things are" and aims to reflect the change in teenagers over that time.
"This is a more participatory, more collaborative, less ironic teen who exists with a wealth of information so broad that it feels that everything's been written in the world and everything's been said," said Guillermo Giménez y Brotons, director of integrated marketing at Coca-Cola Latin America.
Teens now find their individuality in remaking the world, not reflecting it—in accepting things "not as they are, but as each of these teens redo them in their own way," he adds.
Agency: hello (agencyhello.com)
Creative Team: Ricardo Armentano, Walter Aregger, Hernan Ibarra.
Agency Producer: Gustavo Orueta-Chacho Verni.
Directors: The Perlorian Brothers
Production House: MJZ.
President: David Zander
Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins, MJZ. Flora Fernandez Marengo and Majo Garofali, Labhouse
Line Producer: Chris McBride, MJZ. Agustin Ortiz Byrne, Labhouse.
Postproducer: Gala Gonzalez Costes.
Cinematographer: Sebastian Pfaffenbichler
Production Designer: Rodrigo Martirena
Editor: Emiliano Fardaus
Client: The Coca-Cola Company: Luis Gerardin, Selman Careaga, Guillermo Gimenez y Brotons, Ismael Pascual, Roxana Paciente, Juan Carlos Mallet, Diego Bracamontes, Maria Belen Colombo, Maria Muchinik, Barbara Dominguez Cossio, Natalia Londono, Monica Alvarez de la Mora
Imagine doing the thing you love the most. Then imagine you can't do it anymore, because of a debilitating disease.
That's what happened to the two multiple scelorisis sufferers featured in a new campaign from the National MS Society. With a little help from virtual reality tech—and their friends—both got a fresh taste of their old passions.
Created by Wieden + Kennedy, one two-and-a-half minute ad features Steve Bettis, a San Diego resident who started surfing when he was 9 years old, and who continued until after he was diagnosed with MS in 2006, at age 57.
Early in the clip, he introduces himself, now wheelchair-bound. Later, pro surfer Robert Weaver shows up at his home with a VR headset and 360-degree video he shot riding the waves—and Bettis gets closeups of the ocean in ways he hasn't experienced in 10 years.
In the second commercial, professional dancer Amy Meisner, diagnosed in 1997, gets a chance to "return" to the stage when LaTonya Swann, winner of BET's reality competition Born to Dance, visits with a VR setup and a clip that captures their joint trade.
Gimmickry aside, it's easy to root for both Bettis and Meisner, who are appealing personalities in their own right. At the beginning of his spot, Bettis talks about how discovering his condition struck him with disbelief, but how he still repairs surfboards as a hobby—and ultimately remains upbeat and practical about his fate.
Meisner choreographs for people with disabilities. In other words, both found ways to stay connected to their craft, even without the help of VR headgear. But the tech-driven payoffs in both ads are incredibly poignant—like the huge smile on Meisner's face as she moves her arms along with Swann's own choreography, which manages to be totally heartbreaking and truly beautiful.
Overall, it's also a more striking use of VR than other recent efforts depicted in advertising. Samsung, for example, recently used its headgear to help millennials overcome their fears. The argument worked well enough—one young man with a fear of heights couldn't even climb the stairs to a rooftop without clinging to the rail for dear life. VR simulations helped ease that fear.
But these MS ads somehow pack a bigger punch—perhaps because of the severity of the physiological betrayal, and the emotional robbery involved: Bettis and Meisner lived what they loved as fully as they could and lost the ability to do it fully. The genuine empathy shown by their non-disabled counterparts also lends emotional heft.
Thus, the tagline of the videos is particularly apt: "Together we are stronger." In that spirit, a campaign website invites MS sufferers and their families to share their own personal stories about overcoming the disease, using the hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS.
Client: National MS Society
Project: "Together We Are Stronger"
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples and Mark Fitzloff
Creative Directors: Caio Lazzuri and Ashley Davis-Marshall
Copywriter: Ryan Niland
Art Director: Danielle Delph
Executive Producer: Patrick Marzullo
Business Affairs: Teresa Lutz and Brian Cook
Project Manager: Carolyn Domme
Art Producer: Grace Petrenka
Studio Manager: Amy Streger
Studio Designer: Leslie Waara
Motion Designer: Daniel Moreno and McKay Marshal
Motion Producer: Sarah Gamazo
Strategy: Hailey Marsh
Account Management: Dana Borenstein and Virginia Mendes
Production Company: Tool
Director: John X. Carey
Executive Producer: Lori Stonebraker / Josh Hamilton
Line Producer: Joshua Greenberg
Director of Photography: Hilary Spera and Chris Saul
Editorial Company: Joint
Editor: Peter Wiedensmith / JB Jacobs
Post Producer: Catherine Liu / Nathanael Horton
Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy / Alex Thiesen
TV VFX Company: Mission Control
VR VFX Company: Luma Pictures
Telecine Company: Company 3
Telecine Artist: Sean Coleman
Telecine Producer: Matt Moran
Music and Sound Company: Joint
Sound Designer: Noah Woodburn
Producer: Sarah Fink
—Print + OOH
Photographer: Danielle Levitt
Re-toucher : Frazier Goodbody
Content Type: Virtual Reality Experiences
Production Company: Tool
Director: John X. Carey
Executive Producer: Lori Stonebraker / Josh Hamilton
Line Producer: Joshua Greenberg
Director of Photography: Hilary Spera and Chris Saul
Editorial Company: Luma Pictures
Editor: Faraz Abbasi
Post Executive Producer: Jay Lichtman
Music and Sound Company: Q Department
Behold, an AI-powered wheeled wonder straight out of William Gibson's wet dreams (or maybe his nightmares). In fact, BMW's Vision Next concept vehicle isn't so much a car as a high-tech traveling companion, attuned to owners' needs and desires, designed to provide maximum comfort and highly personalized rides.
"The driver is in constant communication with the vehicle in an intuitive and natural way," says BMW. "At the same time, the vehicle expands the driver's range of perception and transforms him or her into the 'Ultimate Driver.' "
After a few rides, the dashboard AI—which resembles an outsized diamond and really is named "Companion"—gets to know its operator, enabling it "to always provide the right recommendations to meet personal mobility preferences, both during driving and outside the vehicle," the automaker says. (For example, it might remember your favorite routes and stops along the way, or the ideal cabin temperature.)
With a car like that, who needs friends? Love ya, metal buddy!
Carbon fiber was used for the side panels, with interior furnishings made of recycled or renewable materials.
Oh, the car is a shape-shifter, too—not on the order of Optimus Prime, but when users toggle between self-driving ("Ease") and manual ("Boost") modes, physical changes take place in the cabin.
In Ease mode, the steering wheel and control console retract, the seats turn toward each other (creating a roomy "lounge" effect), and the windscreen allows web browsing and movie viewing. When Boost is selected, driving line, steering angle and speed are projected on the display. (Other drivers will know which mode you're in, based on different colors displayed through the headlights, tail lights and grille.)
BMW also fitted the Vision Next with something called "Alive Geometry," a system of 800 interactive triangles that facilitate visual communication and extra closeness between the car and its passengers. For example, in Boost mode, the triangle shapes change color on the dash to indicate danger ahead.
Of course, the sleek, shiny, hyper-aerodynamic vehicle looks like the last word in James Bond cars. Alas, there are no ejector seats or hidden machine guns. Here's hoping those come standard on at least one of the three additional futuristic models BMW will be previewing later this year.
BMW's concept vehicle follows six months after Mercedes-Benz debuted its own concept car, which morphs while in movement.
As for how these amazing machines would be advertised in 2036, well, can't you just picture them roaring through sun-kissed snow, or traversing sun-soaked beaches as bikini babes frolic in the surf? Or perhaps a night ride among shimmering skyscraper-canyons with '80s tunes blaring on the soundtrack? How about racing along sky-high mountain roads while majestic whitecaps break far below?
Sorry, Companion. Some things never change.
Yeah, pranks are a bit passé. But a good one is still plenty entertaining, and this Heineken stunt from Publicis Italy is worth it—because the victim, who awesomely thinks he's the one being secretive, is so amusing to watch.
The setup is simple: Simone, a huge soccer fan, usually watches UEFA Champions League games with his buddies at home. But suddenly he finds himself in possession of a single ticket to the A.S. Roma-Real Madrid match on Feb. 17.
What should he do? Take the ticket and enjoy the game in person, or stick to tradition and watch at home with his three friends? For Heineken, this is "The Dilemma."
Unlike some stunts, this one just feels real. And the guy's reactions are very funny.
"With thousands of people watching, the whole thing was orchestrated around an entirely unaware guy," one of the Publicis creatives tell us. "One take at Olympic Stadium right before the Roma vs. Real Madrid match, no chance to make the second attempt—and not a single actor, all for real."
The victim was a good sport about it in the end, even letting the brand share his personal Facebook page as extra proof of the ad's authenticity.
Marketing Director: Floris Cobelens
Group Brand Manager: Cristina Gusmini
Brand Manager: Marta Grassi
Executive Creative Director, Western Europe, CEO: Bruno Bertelli
Executive Creative Director, Italy: Cristiana Boccassini
Executive Creative Directors, Milan: Luca Cinquepalmi, Marco Venturelli
Associate Creative Directors: Bruno Vohwinkel, Aureliano Fontana, Polina Zabrodskaya
Art Director: Laura Aondio
Copywriter: Francesca Vitello
Strategic Planner Department: Bela Zieman James Moore
Account Department: Lorenza Montorfano, Giada Salerno, Maria Elena Gaglianese
Executive Producer: Silvia Cattaneo
Production Company: Bedeschi Film
Director: Giovanni Fantoni Modena
Director of Photography: Amilcare Canali
Executive Producer: Federico Salvi
Music: Universal "Fan for Life," Universal "Creative State of Mind"
If you're an overworked office drone in need of steamy relief, romance publisher Harlequin reminds you that you can carry all the fantasies you need for just such an emergency ... in a conveniently purse-friendly book.
In this new ad from BBDO Toronto, a woman confined to an office cubicle gets swept away by a cast of dashing characters as soon as her supervisor gives her leave.
It all starts with a dapper billionaire, who appears at her side as she rises from her desk. But as they promenade out, they're joined by a parade of hunky archetypes—the cowboy, the fireman, the navy seal, the surgeon, the barbarian and more—each with his own business-casual damsel in distress.
It might not be the most progressive ad, but it suits the product, and mixes in enough tongue-in-cheek humor to make for a fun little ride. The heroine gleefully ribs the clichéd tropes of the genre, especially the sexual tension—imagine pulling in and pushing away men so ripped they induce vertigo. It may be a little tacky, the ad tacitly acknowledges, but that doesn't mean it can't make for a good time.
In the end, they all blow out of the lobby, into the elevator and presumably off into the sunset. "Romance when you need it," reads the on-screen tagline (imagine its cooing voice).
A handful of print ads feature similar male leads, baring abs and striking seductive poses. Because sometimes, everyone needs a little pick-me-up—some more literally than others.
Client: Harlequin Enterprises
Vice President, Single Title Marketing: Stacy Widdrington
Creative Director, Romance Fiction: Tony Horvath
Director, Digital Products: Farah Mullick
Director, Romance Publicity, Partnerships, Events: Michelle Renaud
Product Manager, Retail Marketing: Shana Mongroo
Agency: BBDO Toronto
Senior Vice Presidents, Executive Creative Directors: Denise Rossetto, Todd Mackie
Vice Presidents, Associate Creative Directors, Art Director: Linda Carte
Vice Presidents, Associate Creative Directors, Copywriter: Irfan Khan
Broadcast Producer: Jennifer Morrison
Account Director: Paul Forrest
Account Executive: Zach Kula
Production Company: Partners Film
Executive Producer: Gigi Realini
Producer: Andrew Sulliman
Director of Photography: André Pienaar
Post House: Saints Editorial
Executive Producer: Michelle Rich
Editor: Griff Henderson
Assistant Editor: Tim MacLennan
Audio House: Ricochet Post
Executive Producer: Mary Beth O'Dell
Audio Production Manager: Mike Rosnick
Which came first, the 30-foot-tall chocolate chicken or the 200-pound candy egg?
Both appear in VCCP's wacky Easter-themed campaign for Asda. Apparently believing Brits' teeth aren't bad enough already, the U.K. supermarket chain will be stocking 20 million (!!) chocolate eggs and assorted other treats for the upcoming holiday. To get the word out, client and agency hatched a plucky campaign anchored by the minute-long clip below:
Whoa, that bird was pretty mellow about folks taking her picture—unlike King Kong, who exhibited a famously fowl reaction to the paparazzi in similar circumstances. Wonder if Tom Jones' wailing on the soundtrack fried her giblets? Ah well, it doesn't show. After all: "She always knows her place. She's got style, she's got grace—she's a winner."
"We have Framestore in London to thank for the amazing looking hen," Andy Booth, VCCP creative director, tells AdFreak. "Making the surface look like real chocolate was a challenge. Our measure was, 'Would we actually want to eat it?' If not, we weren't there yet."
Bringing the puce poultry convincingly to life also created challenges.
"Not only did we have to consider the way a real hen would move, but also the sheer size and weight of ours and how that would look," Booth says. "Our start point was the way dinosaurs carry themselves in films like Jurassic Park."
During the shoot, the cast reacted to a 30-foot-high stick that stood in for the hen, which was added later in production. Glue Factory director Gary Freedman captures just the right sense of cheek in the spot, which is supported by digital, out-of-home, point-of-sale and social elements (the latter hashtagged #GiantHen, naturally).
There's even a BBC-style "online news hub" for the campaign, which features, among other hard-hitting journalistic content, this interview with an irate Easter Bunny:
"We thought the client may be nervous about the Easter Bunny being portrayed as being so upset about the arrival of the hen as a competitor," says Booth, "but they embraced it all wholeheartedly."
Yeah, it takes a courageous client to put a guy in a rabbit suit and let him rail against a giant chocolate chicken.
"People have quickly taken the giant hen to their hearts," Booth says. "In the first 24 hours alone, the spot had 650,000 views on Facebook and the #GiantHen tag had 3.9 million impressions."
As for sightings of a Loch Ness Henster, well, some might cry foul, suspecting a hoax, but it's tough to argue with footage like this:
Now, a fight to the death between choco-Henny and Jackpotjoy's 50-foot-high Thames-punting rubber duck would be a smashing development. But it probably won't come to pass. (That duck's yellow.)
Project: Chocolate Hen
Creative Agency: VCCP
Creative Director: Andy Booth
Art Director: Elias Torres
Copywriter: Dan Glover-James
Planner: Laura Kinzett & Sarah Mason
Account Team: Toby Thorpe & Victoria Thorniley
Agency Producer: Alessia Small
Media Agency: Carat
Production Company: Independent
Director: Gary Freedman | The Glue Society
Producer: Jason Kemp
Editors: The Play Room
Audio post-production: Wave
There's something especially sinister about using a banal toy, like a wooden block, to illustrate cancer. But this is the approach World Child Cancer takes in "The Big C." Directed by Steve Cope, with masterful use of sound design by Munzie Singh Thind of Grand Central, the ad takes you on a journey from safe harbor to looming horror in 30 seconds.
It starts in a cozy living room, where a blonde British girl is playing with blocks. The scene oozes comfort and security; a tea kettle whistles in the background, and the girl knocks her blocks over, sending them tumbling down with a satisfying muted clatter.
But one block keeps going.
It finds its way to the stairs, its size expanding as the sound it makes grows thicker and more threatening. The nicks and dents it leaves in the walls and bannister pay witness to its transformation from a small, cheerful object to something very dangerous.
Following a sharp turn, the stairs go from wood to concrete, lined with dingy walls. What kind of family has a basement like this?! But the block keeps going, finally landing with shuddering finality on the dusty carpets of a house that can best be described as a shanty, where another girl, this one Indian, is playing with blocks. She looks up, runs over and gazes shyly up at the object, which towers over her with a single scarlet letter: C.
"In the U.K., a child diagnosed with cancer has an 80 percent chance of survival. In Bangladesh, it's only 10 percent," a narrator says, flashing the World Child Cancer tagline: "Let's help even the odds."
"The complexity on this project came from ensuring that the sound of the wooden block grew bigger—to match the visuals—but in both a seamless and believable way," says George Castle, who worked with Thind on sound design at GCRS. "I'm very proud to have worked on this piece, not just because of the level of craft involved, but also because it's such a worthwhile cause."
"As soon as I saw the storyboard for this, I knew we had to create something extremely special to work with the beautifully simple visual idea," says sound designer Thind. "Ultimately what I wanted to achieve was giving the audience goosebumps, immersing them in the story."
Cope and Thind have a shared history of using sound design to tell stories with socially important and emotional messages. In 2014, they collaborated on "Sensory Overload" for the National Autistic Society that hypnotically showed us what sensory overload feels like.
For all the medical advances we've made, we're nowhere near resolving the ravage of cancer, especially in countries with less access to resources. And the obliviousness of both children, notably the one who is doomed, makes the ad persuasive: It's easy not to think about "children somewhere else" when they're an abstraction, but not when you can see they are exactly like the ones we encounter every day, including our own; they need champions fighting in their corner.
Childhood cancer has generally been a quiet subject, but has started to attract public awareness, in part because of strong efforts like this one to highlight its uniquely tragic quality: Cancer in general is monstrous, but worse still when it affects children.
Client: World Child Cancer
Title: The Big C
Art Director: Mick Brigdale
Copywriter: Kevin Baldwin
Account Director: James Page
Production Company: 2AM
Director: Steve Cope
Executive Producer: Nick Crabb
Producer: Kirsty Dye / Alice Morris
Production Manager: Gareth Crothers
DOP: Denis Crossan / Clive Norman
Sound Company: Grand Central Recording Studios
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Offline Editing Company: Stitch
Offline Editor: Phil Currie
Post Production Company: Big Buoy
VFX Supervisor: Jim Allen
Post Producer: Barney Wright
Grading: Mark Meadows @ Smoke & Mirrors
CGI: Smoke & Mirrors
Can this guy take a punch from a pro boxer? And just as important, wouldn't you like to watch this guy take a punch from a pro boxer?
If you would, here's the video for you.
Ad agency Mechanica created it for Gulden Draak, a Global Beer brand whose current campaign is titled "Hail to the Conquerors" and involves helping real people conquer a challenge through a combination of in-bar and digital media.
Mechanica produced bar coasters for Gulden Draak that encourage drinkers to reach out to the brand on Facebook (using the #HailtotheConqueror) and say what they need to conquer. The brand is then helping some of people do so—and posting the results as Facebook videos.
This is where "Nate" comes in. He always wondered whether he could take a punch from a pro boxer. So, Gulden Draak found a pro boxer up in Portland, Maine—Russell Lamour Jr., aka the Haitian Sensation—and got Nate into a ring with him.
See how that went in the video:
"Gulden Draak [Golden Dragon] is a true Belgian ale from the Steenberge Brewery in Ghent. It's aggressively smooth, and at 10.5 percent alcohol, really strong. So we played into its challenging nature by inviting people to 'Conquer the Dragon.' Basically daring people to try it," says Ted Jendrysik, creative director at Mechanica.
"The campaign is really a social media initiative on beer coasters, asking people to tell us what fear they would like to conquer. If you're selected, then Gulden Draak will actually help you do it. Like they did for this poor bastard—I mean, brave soul. More videos are planned to follow based on people's submissions, all of which will be promoted on Facebook to serve as a standout message for a unique beer."
Nate could presumably also now use an ice-cold bottle of Gulden Draak to ease the swelling on his bruised face. In the meantime, check out the coasters below.
Client: Gulden Draak/Global Beer
Campaign Title: Hail to the Conquerors
Execution Title: Punch
Creative Directors: Ted Jendrysik, Mechanica
Copywriters: Ted Jendrysik, Jim Garaventi, both from Mechanica
Designer: Pete Whitten, Mechanica
Account Service Supervisor: Ryan Lee
Planner: Laura Brockway
Production Company: p3, Portland, Maine
Director: Brian Chin
Executive Producer (Production Co): CJ Lampman
Producer (Production Co): CJ Lampman
Line Producer: Christopher Davis
Director of Photography: Morgan Myer
Postproduction: p3, Portland, Maine
Editorial Company: p3, Portland, Maine
Editor: Morgan Myer
Sound Design Company: p3, Portland, Maine
Sound Designer: Morgan Myer
Visual Effects Company: p3, Portland, Maine
Visual Effects Editor: Nathan Gilliss
Real-time marketing around random holidays is usually a snoozefest. But Pizza Hut is going all in for Pi Day, honoring the famed irrational number by running an intriguing contest.
It got a well-known "genius" mathematician, John H. Conway of Princeton University, to come up with three difficult math problems. They hit the Web at 8 a.m. this morning on the Pizza Hut blog. The first person to post the correct answers in the comments section of the blog post will win 3.14 years of free Pizza Hut food.
Without further ado here are the problems:
I'm thinking of a ten-digit integer whose digits are all distinct. It happens that the number formed by the first n of them is divisible by n for each n from 1 to 10. What is my number?
Our school's puzzle-club meets in one of the schoolrooms every Friday after school.
Last Friday, one of the members said, "I've hidden a list of numbers in this envelope that add up to the number of this room." A girl said, "That's obviously not enough That's obviously not enough information to determine the number of the room. If you told us the number of numbers in the envelope and their product, would that be enough to work them all out?"
He (after scribbling for some time): "No." She (after scribbling for some more time): "Well, at least I've worked out their product."
What is the number of the school room we meet in?
My key-rings are metal circles of diameter about two inches. They are all linked together in a strange jumble, so that try as I might, I can't tell any pair from any other pair.
However, I can tell some triple from other triples, even though I've never been able to distinguish left from right. What are the possible numbers of key-rings in this jumble?
Go over to the Pizza Hut blog to post your answers, geniuses.
"Pi may be irrational, but free pizza is anything but," Conway said in a statement. "I'm eager to challenge America with these problems and find the next great pizza-loving mathematician that can solve them."
"In celebration of National Pi Day, which pizza companies worldwide have sort of adopted as their own special holiday, Pizza Hut is marrying math and pizza in a one-of-a-kind challenge to find our most math-inclined fans and reward them with our great-tasting pizza," added Doug Terfehr, senior director of public relations, Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut guesses that 3.14 years of free pizza is worth about $1,600 in gift cards. For more about the Princeton professor, check out the 2015 book, Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway.