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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Last year, The Martin Agency positioned Benjamin Moore with the line "Paint Like No Other," laying it on thick in ads starring a pair of ventriloquist's dummies.

    Now, with those creepy puppets gone, client and agency return with a different approach, posing the question "Is It Still Paint?" in the anthem spot below:

    So, we saw colorful paint cans stacked like a cityscape, a Close Encounters-type UFO, a game-show sendup, shocked folks at a 3-D flick and a weightlifter.

    And then there's the narration: "What if there was a paint that made you look at paint differently—question everything you know, and what you don't know? What if it's built with better ingredients? Given superpowers? And even a secret base to test those powers? … It makes you wonder: Is it still paint?"

    Broad strokes, wouldn't you say? A second ad follows the same formula, focusing on the paint's asthma and allergy friendly properties:

    There's nothing to sneeze at in either spot, visually. Pulse Films directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace (aka thirtytwo) apply a nice even coat of flowing images throughout.

    Of course, the product in question is still just paint, and it remains a tough mission to try to challenge that perception and turn it on its head. For many of us, paint will always be a commodity. When shopping for magenta (because we have no taste whatsoever), we seek out the hue, not the brand.

    Does making advertising that stands out means the paint will, too? We're skeptical, but if you disagree with our conclusions, feel free to brush them aside. 

    Client: Benjamin Moore
    CEO: Mike Searles
    VP - Marketing: Jim Ricci
    Director – Brand Management: Chris Connelly
    Sr. Manager – Media: Deb DeHamilton
    Sr. Brand Manager: Harriette Martins

    Agency: The Martin Agency
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    Creative Director: Vanessa Fortier
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Dave Gibson
    Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Mauricio Mazzariol
    Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Justin Harris
    Executive Producer: Christina Cairo
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Beata Mastalerz
    Junior Broadcast Producer: Sara Montgomery
    Group Account Director: Rich Weinstein
    Account Director: Allison Oxenreiter
    Account Executive: Hill Shore
    Business Affairs Supervisor: Juanita McInteer / Alice Isner
    Senior Project Manager: Courtney Faudree Hurd
    Digital Designer: Lauren Erickson
    Digital Executive Producer: Kim Zaninovich
    Digital Producer: Betsy Wishart
    Technical Director: Jeremy Misavage
    Senior Developer: Alex McCallum
    Senior Art Producer: Wylie Moran
    Junior Print Producer: Jamie Dollins

    Production Company: Pulse Films
    Director: thirtytwo
    Producer: Shirley O'Connor
    Executive Producer: Hillary Rogers
    President of Commercials: Kira Carstensen
    Director of Photography: Reed Morano A.S.C.
    Production Designer: Philip Ivey
    Service Production: Batch Film
    Line Producer: Iris Weber

    Editorial Company: Final Cut, USA
    Editor: Jeff Buchanan
    Executive Producer NY: Sarah Roebuck
    HOP NY/Producer: Jen Sienkwicz
    HOP LA: Suzy Ramirez
    Cutting Assistant NY: Geoff Hastings
    Assistant LA: BettyJo Moore

    VFX: The Mill
    Producer: Dan Love
    Shoot Supervisor: James Corden
    Creative Director: Tony Robbins
    2D Lead Artist: Krissy Nordella
    3D Lead Artist: Greg Gangemi
    2D Artists: Tony Robbins, Blake Druery, John McIntosh, Mina Mir, Antoine Douadi
    3D Artists: Lauren Shields, Nick Couret-Chailloux, Sean Dooley, Xuan Seifert
    Matte Painting: Cedric Mernard
    Motion Graphics: Laura Nash

    Telecine: The Mill
    Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
    Colorist: Fergus McCall

    Original Music and Sound Design: Q Department

    Audio Post Company: Significant Others
    Engineer/Mixer: T. Terressa Tate
    Audio/Finishing Producer: Alek Rost

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    Bollywood's King Khan goes ape over Frooti, one of India's top-selling mango-juice drinks, in this ludicrously loopy commercial.

    The cray-cray starts when Indian megastar Shah Rukh Khan climbs some steps in a nondescript airplane-hanger-sized room and pushes open a mysterious gray door marked "Life." Inside, gray-clad office-drone types chant "Chase the mango, choos the mango." That's the campaign's slogan, excising the "e" to create a play on words, because, for Indian audiences, the word "choos" means "to suck." (No jokes, wisenheimers!)

    A giggling kid dressed like a monk shows up with a mango-hued pooch. Khan licks a doorknob. Then, he sips from a vial marked "The Frooti Life" and explodes in a spray of powder. Frenetic dancing begins on a huge, stylized set decorated with giant bottles, SUV-size paintbrushes and, for some reason, a humongous screw. Of course, the dancers wear giant mango slices around their necks.

    By this point, the minute-long ad is only half over:

    Agencies Sagmeister & Walsh and SpecialGuest collaborated with director Karim Charlebois-Zariffa of 1stAveMachine on the commercial.

    "We all have a version of the 'gray world' in our lives where we feel that we need to meet decided-upon expectations," Aaron Duffy, SpecialGuest founder and executive creative director, tells AdFreak. "This Frooti film is a call to action to break those expectations and be confident about trying a different path. Drinking Frooti is about doing what you most feel like doing rather than choosing what everyone else is doing."

    The clip comes a year after the same agencies and production house helped Frooti rebrand with an even wackier ad that showed tiny people struggling to create the fruit drink. By comparison, Khan's adventures seem almost restrained. (He'd probably start seeing tiny people after a second sip from that vial.)

    Khan, who also appeared in the earlier spot, was cast because, in addition to being one of India's most beloved media personalities, "he has given many speeches at universities about his belief of following your heart and never living other peoples dreams," says S&W creative director Jessica Walsh. "Considering his own mantras are so in tune with this campaign's message, he was the perfect fit."

    Khan's charisma shines throughout the spot, which is compelling and mildly subversive without going totally over the top. (Note that Khan stands among the chanting, gray-clad group in the opening sequence, advising himself to cut loose a bit.)

    Besides, the zany visuals—like an episode of Club MTV if David Lynch directed—are well worth the trip.

    Client: Frooti
    CMO: Nadia Chauhan

    Agency: Sagmeister & Walsh
    Partner/Creative Director: Jessica Walsh

    Creative Partner: SpecialGuest
    Founder/Executive Creative Director: Aaron Duffy
    Business Lead: Ashley McGee
    Executive Producer: George Roca

    Production: 1stAveMachine
    Director: Karim Charlebois-Zariffa
    Executive Producer: Sam Penfield
    Producer: David Marks

    Indian Production Service: Flying Pigs Productions
    Executive Producer:Salil Khurana
    Producer: Suhana Sharma
    Associate Producer: Arti Gupta
    Line Producer: Sachin Singh
    Production Designer: Twisha Pal
    Wardrobe Stylist: Edward Lalrempuia

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    Here's the funny thing about Dick & Jane books: We're aware they existed but don't actually remember reading them as kids (probably because their social high point was between the 1930s and 1970s). If they remain impactful today, it's probably more because of the spin-offs they inspired than because of the originals ... which is amazing when you think about it.

    This time, the nostalgic throwback us being used to encourage more women to run for office. For organization She Should Run—whose title lends itself suspiciously perfectly to a Dick & Jane tribute—ad agency Geometry Global created a downloadable PDF called See Joan Run.

    The 14-page book follows a woman called Joan—whose name carries extra weight for Mad Men lovers—in a world full of Dicks (we liked that joke, and also has Mad Men echoes). One of our favorite passages follows thus:

    Bob says, "There are too many Dicks in office."

    "Run, Joan, run!" says Sue.

    The rest follows Joan running, winning and encouraging other women to run. The last few pages include facts about women in office—when women run, they get elected at the same rate as men do, but fewer than one-third of elected American leaders are women—and how you can help change the ratio (for example by sharing the book). 

    Per a 2013 study, the US ranked 98th in the world for the percentage of women in its national legislature—down from 59th in 1998. At the current rate of progress, "women won't achieve fair representation for nearly 500 years," said Cynthia Terrell, chair of FairVote's Representation 2020 project, at the time the study came out.

    This is a shame for all of us. Women elected to key national leadership offices yield better economic performance for ethnically diverse nations—sometimes up to a 6.8 percent rise in GDP growth compared to nations with male leaders only.

    Similar findings were found in a 2015 MSCI study of company boards: Generally, companies with strong female leadership at the very top saw a return on equity of 10.1 percent more per year, versus 7.4 percent for those without. Companies that lack board diversity also suffer more governance-related controversies.

    These stats have been floating around for a while, though, so if a simple-as-dirt nostalgia-driven storybook is what's necessary to galvanize more ladies (and hopefully dudes), we're all for it.

    You can download the book, tell a woman to run (at the bottom of the page) or make like Shonda Rhimes and tweet all about it. An accompanying letter to influencers also provides useful stats and even a script for spreading the word:

    She Should Run claims that, since the campaign went live, it's enjoyed 2.1 million impressions across 11 countries and a 300 percent rise in nominations. That's a start ... and it's certainly better than investing in The Business Bulge.

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    The shower is a great place to think deep thoughts—or thoughts that seem deep in the moment, anyway. And Axe is capitalizing on that theme in a new campaign that naturally called "Shower Thoughts." 

    In the first video, a dude ponders the real meaning of haters calling him short—because when you stop and think about it, it's really a compliment. To support his logic, he conjures a scene starring none other than basketball legend Muggsy Bogues, who at 5-foot-3 is the shortest player ever to make the NBA. 

    Bogues, challenged by some clueless street ballers, takes them to school—vindicating shower guy and every other short man ever (though perhaps not petite Randy Moss).

    Axe cooked up numbers to back its shower premise, hiring research firm Kelton to conduct a survey that found 91 percent of American men ages 18-34 agreed that showers make them feel more relaxed, while 78 percent said they think most clearly in the shower. 

    Generate, a division of digital content studio Defy Media, created the ad with Mindshare Entertainment, the branded content arm of media buying agency Mindshare. Designed to promote the brand's "Axe Black" body wash, the series will include two more videos. One will feature singer and YouTube personality Chester See, musing on the virtues of the tuba. The other will include Pretty Little Liars actor Brendan Robinson, talking up the importance of style.

    If the initial release is any indication, it's a serviceable approach, so long as it sticks with the tongue-in-cheek idea that a lot of shower brainstorms belong down the drain. (The Bogues argument, amusing as it is, probably wouldn't hold up in a court of law.) 

    And with Axe, it's always worth praising an approach that's not leering—in the interests of discouraging a backslide from its increasingly refreshing messaging.

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    Do you enjoy faking orgasms in public places, or telling friends you see dead people? If so, New York City's Tribeca Film Festival has the ad campaign for you! 

    Created by J. Walter Thompson, the push celebrates the event's 15th anniversary with a mix of experiential, digital and traditional components. 

    The feature presentation is a machine called the ReActor. Combining voice and facial recognition technology with motion sensors, the unit records people acting out scenes from famous movies, and sends participants YouTube links of their best performances to share with friends. 

    How awesomely obnoxious does this get? Watch the video below to find out: 

    Well, that was just like watching When Harry Met Sally or The Sixth Sense. Or not. Who wouldn't want those clips flooding their email?!

    The machine is also a critic, awarding high-scoring amateur thespians tickets to the festival, which runs from April 13-24. 

    "Aside from being good, plain fun, the ReActor is a living representation of the kinds of things you will see at the festival," Bari Komitee, Tribeca's vice president of marketing, tells AdFreak. "Tribeca has been at the forefront of interactive storytelling—from immersive experiences to virtual reality—for a number of years. We wanted to get the community excited about what they can be a part of during the festival, and the ReActor sets the stage for that." 

    Starting next week, the ReActor will travel around New York City, visiting various festival theaters and local attractions. Mostly, however, it will pass judgement on folks' acting chops at the Tribeca Film Festival hub, located in Spring Studios at 50 Varick St. in Manhattan.

    Check out the festival's new print work below. 


    Client: Tribeca Film Enterprises dba Tribeca Film Festival
    Break Date: March 25, 2016
    Exposure: Digital, Video, Cinema, Print, OOH, Experiential
    Project Name: Tribeca Film Festival 15th Anniversary campaign and Tribeca ReActor

    Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
    Head of Art & Design: Aaron Padin
    Creative Director: Greg Erdelyi
    Art Directors: Itai Enselberg, Katie Bourgeouis
    Copywriter: Kate Delaney
    Designers: Soyeon Yoo, Emely Perez
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Brent Choi
    Planner: Matt Baker
    Head of Production: Jennifer McBride
    Executive Producer: Mary Ellen Verrusio
    Producers: Liam Golding
    Executive Digital Producer: Zeynep Cingir
    UX Designer: Jen Lash
    Digital Producer: Nick Orsini
    Director of Music: Paul Greco
    Project Manager: Juliana Orozco
    Art Buyer: Suzanna Shields
    Account Team:
    Oswaldo Barbosa – Business Director
    Haley Rankin – Account Associate
    Client Team: Andrew Essex and Bari Komitee

    Director: Andrew Hines
    Production Company: Current
    Post-Production: The Mill
    Editing House: J. Walter Thompson
    Music House: J. Walter Thompson

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    It's hard to do good pharmaceutical advertising. You have to talk about illness or debilitation, and mention a sometimes comically lengthy list of side effects. The FDA is looking over your shoulder. It's not the sexiest category. 

    But of course, those challenges can also be what makes it fun.

    As part of our CMO Report on pharmaceutical advertising, Adweek looked back at some of the more notable creative executions in pharma over the past 15 years. 

    Zoloft (2001)

    Agency: Deutsch

    Adorable ads about depression and anxiety? The Pfizer brand proved it was possible with one of the most visually memorable and skillfully art-directed pharma campaigns ever. The ads, illustrated by Pat Smith, were endlessly parodied—a sure sign they connected culturally.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Cialis (2003)

    Agency: Grey

    No pharma product's visual branding is as instantly recognizable as the Cialis bathtubs. The Eli Lilly brand has been using them since its 2003 launch to emphasize the idea of relaxing and taking your time—a warmer, gentler image than Pfizer's competing E.D. pill, Viagra.

    Vytorin (2006)

    Agency: DDB

    This ingenious campaign paired foods and family members—who look disturbingly the same—to explain that your cholesterol level is partly about what you eat and partly about genetics. One of the most clever and artful pharma campaigns ever.

    Rozerem (2007)

    Agency: Cramer-Krasselt

    Abraham Lincoln, a talking beaver and a deep-sea diver appeared as visions to an insomniac in Takeda Pharmaceuticals' quirky effort for its sleep medication. Turns out they're characters from the dreams he hasn't been having, since he's been up all night.

    Lipitor (2008)

    Agency: The Kaplan Thaler Group

    Dr. Robert Jarvik, a pioneer in the making of the artificial heart, starred in ads for Pfizer's cholesterol drug between 2006 and 2008. The campaign was eventually scrapped under pressure—because Jarvik was neither a cardiologist nor licensed to practice medicine—but it remains one of the most memorable pharma endorsements in history. 

    Epanova (2014)

    Agency: DigitasLBi

    Two talking dead fish starred in AstraZeneca's playful and informative campaign about managing triglycerides (while quietly pushing Epanova medication). The work won the Grand Prix in Pharma at last year's Cannes Lions Health competition.

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    Eating Domino's pizza renders folks insensibly slack-jawed and incapable of coherent speech in "The Mouth Boggles," a strange and silly U.K. campaign from Iris Worldwide.

    Ads show people in different situations making cooing, mumbling and squawking noises. Their mouths stretch and distort in cartoonish ways, as if the footage had been run through a face-swapping app.

    Who wouldn't want to order a couple of Fiery Hawaiian pies after watching this?

    A voiceover explains: "Domino's. So mouth-bogglingly tasty, you just can't …" before the narration itself trails off into gobbledygook.

    Though it probably won't provoke fits of laughter, the spots, directed by Sam Hubbard at Somesuch, are amusing and memorable. Social extensions include a Snapchat push with custom "Lost for Words" lenses allowing users to create their own wacky lip service for the brand, plus a Giphy channel for those who feel like sharing GIFs that celebrate the product. (Of late, Domino's social menu has featured its award-winning "Emoji Ordering" system and related promos.)

    "At Domino's we have a passion for creating great digital experiences that tap into culturally relevant phenomena, experiences and behaviors which we believe increases the accessibility and shareability of our content," says Nick Dutch, head of Domino's digital marketing in the U.K. "We're really excited about the way our core idea can be so well interpreted and executed across all the different channels and platforms."

    Fair enough. Plus, the less actually said—in understandable speech—about the taste of Domino's, the better. 

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    Spotify's new brand campaign from Wieden + Kennedy sings a number of different tunes—employing everything from '80s nostalgia to present-day political anxiety—as it mines the app's data to tell stories about how its users enjoy particular tracks.

    The campaign features three new TV spots, including—perhaps most notably—one with Falkor, the dragon-dog from the 1984 fantasy film The NeverEnding Story.

    The point of the ad is simple: "The NeverEnding Story," the song by the English pop singer Limahl, is streamed at least once every day by someone in the world. In the spot, Falkor remarks on this oddity, as does Atreyu, riding on his back—except Atreyu is no longer a 12-year-old boy but a 44-year-old man. 

    That's because W+K New York got Noah Hathaway to reprise the role. And in fact, that's Alan Oppenheimer doing the voice of Falkor, as he did in the original movie.

    Check out the spot and a behind-the-scenes video here:

    Two other spots focus on other other random data tibdits. The first is that the Flo Rida track "My House" keeps popping up in Spotify users' playlists about moving. The second is that Pope Francis has a rock album. 

    Those info-nuggets are amusing communicated in unexpected ways:

    The ads, directed by Tim Godsall of Anonymous Content, begin airing Monday on TV, in cinema and online. Digital and out-of-home ads drive to custom playlists available for free to all Spotify and non-Spotify users. Those playlists are available at NeverEnding80s.com,MovingUpToCanada.com and RockingNuns.com.

    The OOH includes a life-size mural of Falkor hand painted in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

    The idea to focus on the Spotify stories behind the songs, not just the songs, came from a need to start a conversation beyond hard-core music fans. Thus, the message is: If you don't use Spotify, you're missing out on a fun, collective experience—as well as great music.


    Client: Spotify
    Chief Marketing Officer: Seth Farbman
    Vice President, Creative, Brand Strategy: Jackie Jantos
    Global Brand Director: Alex Tanguay
    Global Creative Director: Alex Bodman
    Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing: Amy Ferris
    Head of N.A. Consumer Marketing: Marian Dicus
    U.S. Marketing Manager: Alexander Cole

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
    Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
    Creative Directors: Erwin Federizo, Brandon Henderson
    Art Director: Jed Heuer
    Copywriter: Will Binder
    Creative Tech: Craig Blagg
    Senior Producer: Orlee Tatarka
    Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski
    Account Team: Casey Jennings, Molly Friedman, Kerry O'Connell
    Head of Art Buying: Deb Rosen
    Art Buyer: Ali Berk
    Head of Project Management: Yann Samuels
    Senior Interactive Strategist: Tom Gibby
    Senior Social Strategist: Jessica Abercrombie
    Group Media Director: Ryan Haskins
    Business Affairs: Sara Jagielski, Keri Rommel, Lindsey Timko
    Broadcast Traffic Supervisor: Sonia Bisono
    Print Producer: Jeannie O'Toole
    Retouching: Chris McClelland, 150 Proof
    Studio : Tara Kennedy, Chris Kelsch, Nathan Dalessandro
    Creative Services Director: Chris Whalley
    Studio Manager: Jill Kearton

    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Director: Tim Godsall
    Executive Producer: Eric Stern
    Directors of Photography: Andre Pienaar, Darko Suvak

    Editorial Company: Final Cut
    Editor: ("NeverEnding"): Michael Dart Wadsworth
    Editor ("Nuns" and "Moving"): Jeff Buchanan
    Assistant Editor: Spencer Campbell
    Post Producer: Jamie Nagler
    Post Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck

    Visual Effects Company: Method Studios
    Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
    Senior Producer: Heather Saunders
    Lead Flame Artist, Creative Director: Tom Leckie

    Music Supervisor: Beth Urdang

    Mix Company: Sonic Union
    Mixer: Steve Rosen

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    How do you make a sitcom like Friends, which went off the air 12 years ago—a year before YouTube even existed—seem relevant to YouTube users today?

    If you're Netflix, which recently acquired the rights to stream all 10 seasons (that 236 episodes), you launch responsive preroll ads that take a user's search terms and dig up particular scenes from the show that are somehow related.

    See how the clever campaign, from Ogilvy Paris, worked in this case-study video:

    Ogilvy says it tagged thousands of YouTube's top searched videos in creating the campaign, and claims it's the first of its kind in the category.

    Ogilvy Paris has a history of doing novel campaigns for Netflix, including this one from 2014 that brought GIF to out-of-home ads.

    Client: Netflix
    Project: The Friendly Preroll Campaign
    Agency: Ogilvy Paris
    Directeur Général: Philip Heimann
    Executive Creative Director: Baptiste Clinet
    Creative Director: Nicolas Lautier
    Creative Team: David Martinangelus (ACD), Erika Reyes & Mateo Fernandez (AD)
    Business Director: Anne-Sophie Carbo
    Account Supervisor: Nadia Lasfar
    Head of Strategic Planning: Alexandra Mimoun
    Strategic Planner: Amélie Delacour
    Head of Integrated Production: Antoine Bagot
    Production Company: Fighting Fish
    Media agency: Google

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    Lil Dicky, the rapper, wants you to wrap your dick.

    The YouTube star, whose raunchy comedy helped catapult him to chart-topping fame, anchors "The Big Talk," a new four-minute Trojan ad from agency Colangelo urging condom use.

    In a bit that seems like a cross between Woody Allen and Seth Rogen, Dicky—nee David Burd—waxes neurotic about a friend who had unprotected sex in a bar bathroom.

    It's a solid fit, thanks to Burd's past subject matter and teen audience. His first hit was "Ex-Boyfriend," a hand-wringing rap that includes a lengthy verse about being boggled by the size of a girlfriend's former lover's own member.

    He's also no stranger to advertising. Dicky happens to be an alum of San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. He also recently licensed a song to Old Navy for this ad.

    In the Trojan spot, there's no shortage of homage to the brand. It's not just a PSA. But Burd's deadpan wit defuses a serious topic—protection against STDs—while driving home the importance of the point, even as it plays on fear and stigma to move product.

    In fact, his wry kicker might best sum up the light, self-deprecating tone of the whole piece: "It's so cool to be the guy who's the face of a condom." 

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    You never know when old friends might show up—25 years later.

    It was one of the most memorable ads of the '80s, for better or worse—Billy Dee Williams, the Star Wars actor, cracking open a can of Colt 45 and talking in a super-suave (yet oddly rushed) manner about how the malt liquor "works every time," by which he may or may not mean getting his female companion quickly wasted by the brew's notorious 5.6 percent alcohol content.

    Williams starred in the campaign from 1986 to 1991. Now, the 78-year-old is returning as the face of the brand—and so is the controversially cryptic tagline. The 15-second teaser below just went live on YouTube, and heralds an upcoming TV, print and online campaign. 

    "I've enjoyed my long association with Colt 45, and it's my pleasure to once again support this iconic beer," Williams said in a statement. "I've always found Colt 45 to be a high quality and deeply satisfying beverage. This new campaign gives me the opportunity to speak to a wider audience and remind people that this classic product is here to stay."

    "Billy Dee Williams played a major role in the success of Colt 45," added Dan McHugh, chief marketing officer of Pabst Brewing Company, which owns Colt 45. "He is the definition of class, style and charm. Everyone wants to drink a Colt 45 with Billy Dee."

    No creative details of the upcoming campaign were available. 

    Here's the original spot mentioned above: 

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    Customers at Arby's new Times Square location recently got a big surprise when they went to refill their sodas: an impromptu performance from Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah.

    The SNL star, who has appeared in his share of satirical ads, quite literally popped up behind the screen of Pepsi's Spire dispenser to entertain unsuspecting customers in a stunt produced by Pepsi's agency partner Mekanism (which also created the fan-made intro to Beyoncé's Super Bowl XVLII halftime show). 

    The event was part of a larger push by PepsiCo to introduce the public to its interactive Spire, the "next-generation soda fountain" it launched in 2014.

    "I heard about the project," Pharoah told Adweek, "and was like, 'It's just me messing with people?' I love doing that, so I agreed."

    A camera on top of the soda machine allowed Pharoah to interact with customers from the comfort of a studio. 

    "They gave me wigs and things," he said. "I just freestyled, and we got some good footage." 

    Pharoah said the act of making a real ad wasn't unlike shooting spoofs for SNL. "I was just doing characters," he said. "It's basically the same thing for me."

    PepsiCo vp of marketing Todd Kaplan called Pharoah "a great comedic talent" and said the brand's "always looking for people to engage with consumers." 

    "We've been rolling [Spire] out to a number of customers throughout the country," Kaplan said. "Arby's is one of our crucial customers, and [we knew] it would be a great place to showcase Spire and generate some buzz with Jay."

    Pepsi chose to promote Spire with a stunt rather than a traditional campaign because, as Kaplan explained it, "This sort of content really speaks to the true essence of Spire: It's a surprise and a delight, and the nature of the content showcases the tech and the engaging aspects of the machine. It really brings a smile to your face as you're trying new things and raising your flavor."

    Kaplan added, "You never know what you're going to get with real consumers, so it was great getting real reactions."

    But will Pharoah work with the brand again? "We'll see what happens," he told Adweek. "Like I said, I love Pepsi."

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    The war for equality advances in fits and starts. And for those who aren't in the line of fire, it's easy to assume the work is done with a few high-profile protests and major court rulings. But that isn't really true. Many of the battles that have yet to be won are insidious and hard to see. 

    That's the subject of "The Obstacle Course." Created by TBWA Paris for Inter-LGBT, the ad starts out like a common nightmare: You're a kid back at school, and everyone is staring at you in the long, leisurely silence before inevitable attack.

    You get up and run, and time flies by—but the onslaught never stops. 

    Among other enemies, you'll find yourself on the ground surrounded by boys at camp, the subject of cruel inside jokes during a game of Spin the Bottle, the reason for your mother's tears, and the recipient of many knowing—or downright reproachful—stares.

    Along the way, you will be kicked, muddied and generally forced to survive on your own.

    "Until society progresses, we will keep moving forward," the ad concludes, even as, exhausted, our protagonist continues to run.

    The ad is distressing in part because it never loses its sense of dreamy surreality. Anyone who's ever been excluded or marginalized will find something to identify with—and once inside, the tight contours of a life spent navigating social spaces not intended for the "different" become both tangible and oppressive. 

    "The Obstacle Course" was directed by Ben Briand of Moonwalk Films, and comes just in time to draw awareness, and hopefully support, for the France's Pride Marches, which take place in June.

    Client: Inter-LGBT
    Agency: TBWA\Paris
    Advertiser managers: Aurore Foursy and Jérôme Beaugé, chairpeople, Amandine Miguel and Clémence Zamora-Cruz, spokespeople
    Project initiative: Sylvie Fondacci and Nicolas Rividi
    Agency managers: Anne Vincent, Laure Lagarde, Isabelle Dray, Christophe Moiroud
    Executive Creative directors: Benjamin Marchal and Faustin Claverie
    Creative director: Marianne Fonferrier
    Artistic director: Sébastien Skrzypczak
    Copywriter : Stéphane Kaczorowski
    CEO \Else : Maxime Boiron
    TV Producer: Évelyne Lebervet
    Production: Moonwalk Films
    Director: Ben Briand
    Producer: Alexis Bensa
    Production coordinator: Angelina Coisne
    Executive producer: Stéphane Floch
    Location manager: Julien Lebourg
    Editing: Night Shift – Philippe Joubert
    Sound: \ELSE
    Head of Sound and music : Olivier Lefebvre
    Music artistic director: Philippe Mineur
    Sound producer and director: Fabrice Pouvreau
    Sound designers: Fabrice Pouvreau, Anaïs Khout
    Original music by: Jean-Pierre Taïeb
    Released by: Cutting Edge

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    Those little red dots over your apps, a subtle vibration, that ringtone from last summer. Our phones are the most attention-craving objects we own, and our brains are hard-wired to leap to attention for every beckon they shoot out way. 

    This is most annoying while driving, especially for passengers. So, with help from Clemenger BBDO—the geniuses who gave us the masterfully emo "Mistakes" PSA from 2014—the New Zealand Transport Authority has launched "Hello." 

    Featuring a longing-infused cover of the Lionel Ritchie classic, the spot provides a windshield-facing view of a series of drivers and passengers. Between them, the driver's phone makes its little siren's call ... and just before he or she reaches reflexively downward to check it, the passenger slyly slides a hand, palm up, over the phone—resulting in an unexpected and slightly creepy hand-hold. 

    The gag is devilishly good. Any kind of unexpected physical contact is always a bit weird, but contact that's implicitly also intimate adds extra lulz. Some passengers get more into it than others; the last guy, who closes his eyes and really feels it, is the best example.

    It also nicely drives home the tagline: "Put me first. Drive phone free."

    "We're never without our phones; it's the first thing we look at when we wake up in the morning, and the last thing we look at before we go to sleep," says creative director Emily Beautrais of Clemenger BBDO. "We live in a time where the majority of young people say they 'can't function' without their phones. Asking them to put it down at any time is a big ask."

    And while the ask might make us feel uncomfortable, it's one of those instances where politesse should be overruled by your desire to stay alive.

    "Research suggests driver distraction is likely to be a factor in 20-30 percent of crashes. However, the majority of young people still admit to using their phone for unnecessary tasks when they're behind the wheel," says Adrian Stephenson, adviser for NZTA Senior Education. "While lots of overseas campaigns still use shock tactics, we realized we needed to take a different approach with young people if we had any hope of getting their attention." 

    Research also shows that passengers do feel uncomfortable when drivers use the phone. " 'Hello' makes that discomfort visible without a heavy, judgmental tone," Beautrais adds.

    We're feeling it. Our only critique is small: It could be said that the agency subtly amped up the creepiness by playing on feelings of homophobia or physical desirability. It probably wasn't intentional—this is more about the awkwardness of finding a warm open hand where your phone should be—but it's worth noting, because tolerance for low-hanging comedic fruit has worn thin (and rightfully so). And frankly, it's more a good problem than a bad one to be in a cultural position where we have to update our sight gags because people want to be kinder.

    "Hello" launched in New Zealand on Sunday online and across social networks. There will also be radio support; we're eager to see (or hear) how they manage that.

    Client: New Zealand Transport Authority
    Agency: Clemenger BBDO
    Executive Creative Director: Brigid Alkema
    Creative Director: Emily Beautrais
    Creatives: Steve Hansen, Emily Beautrais
    Agency Producer: Marty Gray, Jen Gasson
    Agency Sound Creative: Mike Gwyther
    Group Account Director: Linda Major
    Account Director: Bethany Omeri
    Account Manager: Matt Barnes
    Principal Scientist (NZTA): Paul Graham
    Principal Advisor (NZTA): Rachel Prince
    Senior Education Advisor (NZTA): Adrian Stephenson
    Managing Partner: Matt McNeil (OMD)
    Senior Account Manager: Katy Baker (OMD)
    Account Manager: Georgia McNaught (OMD)
    Director: Ric Cantor
    Executive Producer: Matt Noonan
    Producer: Stu Giles
    DOP: Crighton Bone
    Editor: Luke Haigh
    Sound Design: Paul Stent
    Music Arrangement: Jim Hall, Franklin Rd
    Vocals: Age Pryor

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    Some agencies are scared of the future. Happy Medium can't wait to get there already.

    The Des Moines, Iowa, shop is celebrating its fifth birthday this year, but wasn't satisfied with that. Instead, the agency is fast-forwarding 45 more years and imagining what things will look like on its 50th birthday. That meant doing a whole futuristic photo shoot and video, as well as a BuzzFeed-style quiz about what tomorrow might bring.

    However else the agency business might evolve between now and 2061, it looks like office attire and makeup will soon be quite a lot more colorful. (Sorry, plain-T-shirt-wearing creatives—you'll have to spice things up a bit.)

    Here's the photo of agency founder and CEO Katie Patterson:

    "With our fifth anniversary on the horizon, I began to think about how far Happy Medium has come and what the future will look like based on the achievements thus far," Patterson tells AdFreak. "We have grown from an agency of one, focusing on media buying, to today spanning across digital, creative, design, social media, public relations, advertising, UX and SEO, as well as creating our own products. I knew I wanted to celebrate that growth in a big way, and as we as a company reflected back, it was only natural to look to what's ahead, and our Fast Forward campaign was born."

    Patterson worked with the agency's leadership team and creative director on the concept. "Each team member was allowed to pick their own look entirely, from clothing and accessories to hair and makeup, with help and input from a stylist who developed an inspiration board," she says. "As a group of creatives, it was fun to see the variances across each employee and how the individual personalities shined, even looking ahead to the unknown."

    Check out more photos below, and start thinking about how your agency can prepare for 2061. Those 45 years will go by in a flash.

    Account Coordinator Andrew Rubenbauer

    Account Coordinator Jill Patterson

    Account Director Kristen Walker

    Art Director Doug Choi

    Communications Director Alison Monaghan

    Creative Director Nick Renkoski

    Executive Assistant Sydney Pickett

    Media Coordinator Nicki Mittelbrun

    Media Director Julie Welch

    Office Manager Lauren Reuland

    Senior Product Engineer Kodie Grantham

    Social Media Strategist Grace Wenzel

    Social Media Strategist Tabitha Jamerson

    Visual Designer Sarah Fisch

    The agency team 

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    "A" is for AIDS. "B" is for bloodshed. "C" is for child brides.

    A new ad imagines the alphabet as a set of abbreviations for all the awful consequences of not being able to read. Then it sets the whole thing to a singsong melody, with cartoonish little sculptures illustrating largely macabre subjects. 

    The spot promotes Project Literacy, a global initiative spearheaded by publisher Pearson, and clocks in at a jarringly twee two minutes—with a plucked ukulele accompanying sweetly sung lyrics like "I hate to see those babies die." (Because "I" is for infant mortality.) 

    "K," meanwhile, is for Kalashnikov. Naturally, a little boy wields the rifle. There's some overlap in the profiles of the victims; certain types of violence and inequality particularly target women and children. 

    The video recalls, first and foremost, the Edward Gorey picturebook The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which taught the alphabet, letter by letter, through the depiction of the deaths of children. The new spot's trinity of nursery music, dark subject matter and simple illustrations also can't but evoke "Dumb Ways to Die," the viral train safety PSA for Metro Trains Melbourne from McCann Melbourne that swept Cannes Lions in 2013.

    But there's little humor in this video, titled "The Alphabet of Illteracy" and created by agency FCB Inferno, with help from artist Wilfrid Wood. The jokes are limited to depressing sight gags, like an overweight pink man chomping on a donut and sinking his end of a seesaw while a skinny black child starves and dangles in the air on the other end ("M" is for malnutrition).

    In fact, you'll find a plethora of upsetting details, sometimes particularly clever in their conception: For "Radicalization," a snake slithers its way into the ear of a young man. 

    Overall, it nets out as a powerful piece of work, even if risks seeming goofy—especially on repeat viewings. But the content is so horrifying that it seems more likely to engender discomfort among the audience—though at nearly 3 million YouTube views, it's drawing plenty of praise from commenters.

    Whether it's likely to spur action, and how much literacy can actually do to cure the many societal ills listed here, are different questions. But it certainly makes its point memorable ... even if it might ruin the alphabet for anyone exposed to it.

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    Pepsi is tapping into its healthier side—sort of, maybe—by transforming its two-liter Pepsi Light bottle into a two-kilogram dumbbell. 

    While Pepsi Light is calorie free, it's not generally the kind of beverage the fitness community goes nuts for, which makes the packaging a little confusing. The design is cool and functional, but it might have made more sense for Gatorade (a PepsiCo brand). 

    Also, we weren't entirely sure this wasn't an early April Fools' joke, but we're told Brazilian agency AlmapBBDO created the packaging and distributed the bottles to gyms. 

    We recommend drinking the Pepsi Light, then refilling the dumbbell with water—or sand, marbles or just something else—to avoid the Pepsi fountain you can expect when opening a bottle after doing a couple sets of overhead presses or squats. 

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    The branded April Fools' pranks are coming later this week, but Jurys Inn Hotel Group swears this one isn't a joke—well, not an April Fools' joke, anyway. 

    Hate getting out of bed? Now you can take your duvet with you, and wallow in its marshmallowy comfort all day, thanks to Jurys Inn's duvet "suit," dubbed the "Suvet." 

    The U.K. hotel chain says it made the Suvet for the move to daylight saving time on March 27. The stylish, inviting garmet is being billed as the solution for Britons who don't want to get out of bed after the country springs forward. 

    Jurys Inn surveyed some 2,500 Brits and discovered 56 percent already face a daily struggle to get out of bed. The top three reasons were lack of sleep (42 percent), temperature outside of the duvet (40 percent) and fear of the working day ahead (31 percent).

    What's more, 28 percent claimed the sheer comfort of bed makes it impossible to get up in the morning, so what else was left to do but to figure how to take the bed with you? 

    Alongside agency Citizen Relations and Wendy Benstead, costume designer to the stars, Jurys Inn whipped up the two suits you see here. With extra-wide shoulders to ensure personal space, a snood-like collar that functions as a pillow, and slim fit pants, the Suvet is ideal for helping the 43 percent of Brits who said they nap on public transport, and the 22 percent who actually own up to snoozing at work.

    "We pride ourselves on giving guests a great night sleep using dream-inducing bedding, so we thought this would be a fun way to give consumers the chance to take the comfort of our beds literally anywhere they go," says Jurys Inn marketing chief Suzanne Cannon. "If there is enough interest in this prototype, we will definitely consider putting a limited-edition run into production. After all, who doesn't like the thought of a duvet day, every day?"

    Do you hear that? If you want a production run of the Suvet, you'd better start forwarding! (And just imagine all the fashion options when they start making covers for them.)

    More delightfully weird photos below.

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    Given the times we live in, we prepare for the worst when we see articles about police running social experiments. Thankfully, the New Zealand police weren't up to anything sinister when they hired a child actor to pose as a homeless boy for an ad. It's just a recruitment video.

    "Hungry Boy" is part of a series that illustrates different aspects of police work and interaction with vulnerable communities. In this installment, they had a boy pretend to eat out of a public garbage can in central Auckland, and filmed him for over 35 minutes to see if anyone would stop and help him.

    The question posed by the ad—"Do you care enough to be a cop?"—is a totally different tone for police recruitment than we're used to seeing, and it threw us off a bit, in a good way.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    The stunt is a bit reminiscent of this 2014 campaign from Norway, where a boy sat freezing on a bus-shelter bench. Overall, New Zealand police estimated that about 500 people saw the "homeless" boy on the street, and maybe 10 or so made any effort to help him.

    Not a great percentage, but it's a start.

    What's odd is that, while passersby were predictably rude while he was scrounging, a few people offered help when he retired to a nearby park bench. We're not clear on the psychology (if any) behind that, but it caught our attention. 

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    Some advertisers have grown increasingly inventive with print media in recent years.

    Motorola, you may recall, created a button that let readers change the color of cellphones shown on the printed page, while the CW embedded a live Twitter feed in a magazine ad to hype its shows. And in 2014, a Nivea print campaign, harnessing solar energy to recharge mobile phones, won Adweek's Project Isaac Gravity Award honoring the year's coolest concept in media, marketing and technology.

    Now, Porsche roars into the mix with what it's calling "the world's first interactive hologram print ad" (though, of course, there have been similar efforts).

    Working with ad agency Cramer-Krasselt, the automaker is running a special spread in about 50,000 copies of Fast Company's April issue for a select group of affluent subscribers. One of those pages includes a small acetate prism, along with directions for assembly. 

    Placing the prism atop a tablet computer—while it runs a video from 911hologram.com—brings shimmering 3-D footage of the latest Porsche 911 to life:

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Pretty cool! Perhaps not "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi" cool, but impressive nonetheless. 

    More than 150,000 prisms have been created, including 100,000 glass versions that will be distributed mainly via direct mail. 

    "At the core of the brand is fascination. That's what every Porsche created was designed to inspire," Marshall Ross, C-K's chief creative officer, tells Adweek. "This [hologram ad] was designed to create the same thing. We want the audience to leave with a feeling of intrigue and curiosity."

    Ross says the client loved the idea of touting Porsche innovation through an innovative ad format. Plus, the media coverage should increase the bang for the buck.

    "We try to build share-value somewhere into every campaign," he says. "Porsche is outspent by pretty much all its competition. So work that gets shared—by fans, by loyalists and, yes, by the media—is invaluable to us, and an important measure of our success." 

    Of course, putting together the project was no easy task.

    "Traditional video images won't work to create the hologram effect in the prism projection," Ross says. "So there was an incredible amount of trial and error involved in just producing the video."

    The prism's size and angles were rigorously tested and tweaked over several months to ensure the best viewing experience. "We maximized the size of the prism within the constraints of the publication's page size and affixed it to the insert so it was secure yet easily removable without tearing," Ross says.

    C-K collaborated closely with Fast Company's printer, Quad Graphics, "sending numerous prototypes to test binding so there were no [unwanted] surprises in the finished piece."

    The hologram has barely hit the road, but C-K and Porsche are already revving up an encore that will take the form of an LED-powered ad that will appear in May issues of Inc. magazine. "The LED will provide specific details about the car's new technology," Ross says. "So this is another example of 'walking the walk,' using technology to tell a technology story."

    For the upcoming spread, "There'll be four touch buttons on the page," he says. "And each will illuminate a transparency, allowing the reader to see below the metal [of the car] to the new advancements." 

    With both its hologram and LED ads, Porsche seeks to break down the "wall between print's normal passivity and people's desire to interact," Ross says, adding new dimension and value to a tried-and-true medium.

    Client: Porsche
    Product: 911
    Project: Hologram print and video
    Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago
    Chief Creative Officer: Marshall Ross
    Group Creative Directors: Ned Brown, Bill Dow
    Creative Director: Rick Standley
    Senior Art Director: Brian Steinseifer
    Art Director: John McKenzie
    Copywriter: John Doessel
    Executive Producer: Scott McBurnie
    Print Production: Sharon Potter, Rene Camadeca
    Group Account Director: Chris Hanley
    Strategic Planning: Sarah Stahurski, Cara MacLean
    Account Management: Julie Richardson, Christina Clark

    Production House: Bent Image Lab                 
    Executive Producer: Derrick Huang
    Producer: Paul Diener       
    Director: Chase Massingill              
    Sound Designer: Drew Skinner                   
    3-D Lead: Mike Senften                 
    Design, Animation: Toros Kose                        
    Compositing, Animation: Jeff Billon                           
    Additional 3-D, Animation: Krysztof Pianko 
    Printer: Printing Arts    


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