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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Fans of Coca-Cola—and the Mad Men finale—are getting a nice treat today. The soda company just announced that it has remastered and color-corrected its famous 1971 commercial "Hilltop" for 4K television.

    Sarah Traverso, director of multimedia production for Coca-Cola North America, wrote about the remastering process in a blog post:

    On March 25, I got a chance to work on perhaps Coke's most iconic commercial—the 1971 classic, "Hilltop." Filmed in Italy, the spot celebrates the diversity of cultures from all around the globe by showing people coming together to sing a song of unity. It was so popular that its soundtrack, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," became a hit single. The original 35mm footage on which the commercial was filmed sits in a vault in the Library of Congress, where American culture is preserved.

    So what was I doing with the original footage almost 45 years later? Technically speaking, I was remastering the 35mm film for 4K Television, and color-correcting it. In layman terms, that means I was preserving an iconic gem for a new generation.

    Coke uploaded a version of the remastered spot to YouTube. Unfortunately, it's not the 4K version—in fact, it's not even 1080p. But it's nicely cleaned up and a good deal better than the versions that have been floating around YouTube for years. (The original footage sits in a vault in the Library of Congress, and Coke hasn't announced plans for how and when it might use its new 4K-ready version.) 

    See the new upload here: 



    In terms of quality, it rivals the footage that Matthew Weiner used in the Mad Men finale (when, spoiler alert, Don Draper had his breakthrough and went on to creative direct the classic spot at McCann). Coke clearly gave Weiner access to the original 35-millimeter film, though neither he nor the company has spoken in detail about that process—other than to say Coke didn't know much about how the ad was going to be used in the episode. 

    In her blog post, Traverso adds:

    I cannot even begin to explain what an honor this was for me. Sitting in a dark color-correction bay, I got chance to really study the footage. And even though the color might have needed some updating, I marveled at how this commercial continued to resonate with me and the world around me. I was reminded of how truly ahead of its time it was … and still is.

    Forty-five years ago, Coca-Cola asked the world to come together on a hilltop in Italy. Today, as I sit in a dark room polishing this gem, I am reminded of our company's incredible advertising history. I feel inspired by my forebears. It has been an enlightening day for me, and I am humbled by the small role I get to play in all of it. I only wish I could share this moment with some of the original creatives.

    The remastering of old ads remains very rare. Among the few recent examples are this Pabst Blue Ribbon spot with Patrick Swayze and Gatorade's classic "Be Like Mike" ad. 


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    This GapKids ad, posted to Twitter on Saturday, ignited claims of passive racism from some viewers, who objected to what they characterized as a black girl being used as an armrest by a white girl.

    This particular tweet storm was notable also for the backlash to the blacklash, with lots of other observers saying the racism claim was a wild overreaction. These two tweets nicely sum up the opinions of both sides:

    Gap, meanwhile, seems to have admitted some culpability by issuing an apology to the media which reads: "As a brand with a proud 46 year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we've offended."

    The brand adds: "This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique."

    However, as of this writing, the image has not been removed from Twitter.

    The sensitivity around the photo was nicely summarized by Zeba Blay, writing in the Huffington Post, who didn't personally find the image racist but is empathetic to those who were angered by it. 

    "It's a shame that these four little girls have been caught in the crosshairs of this heated debate, but the fact that so many people have protested the ad speaks to a reality that cannot be ignored," she writes. The reality is that there are so few positive, powerful representations of black women and especially black girls out there that, frankly, it's unsurprising that the photo would touch a nerve." 

    Meanwhile, Twitter user @MatthewACherry dug up an older Gap ad (see below) that shows the opposite scenario—a black girl resting her arm on the head of a white girl, in almost exactly the same pose. "Does the @GapKids pic on the left make the pic on the right okay? Let's debate," he wrote. 



    The four kids in the new ad are part of a cirque troupe called Le PeTiT CiRqUe, and the ad is part of a joint campaign between Gap and Ellen DeGeneres's ED brand. DeGeneres interviews the girls in the video below—which is, perhaps coincidentally, also a little odd. The black girl doesn't speak at all, and generally seems glum throughout the video.

    There are surely perfectly innocuous reasons for this. But taken together, the photo and video are a reminder of how easily ad imagery can be met with negative interpretations—and how some better editing might save plenty of headaches at launch. 


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    If you're afraid of heights, Converse's new mobile game is not for you. 

    A new ad for the footwear brand features climbers Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov, who've made headlines in recent years for the videos and photographs they've shot from the top of some of the tallest buildings in the world, like Shanghai Tower. 

    To promote the Chuck Taylor All Star II line, they've scaled Moscow's Mercury City Tower, an 1,112-foot structure, and turned the trip into an interactive mobile game. Players can follow cues to drag, scroll and press on screens to get a first-person view of the ascent—framed as an escapade—and ultimately see stunning views of the city below. 



    The "Wear Tests" are part of a larger "Chuck II: Ready for More" campaign, wherein the remodeled versions of Converse's classic shoe are subjected to what basically amount to demonstrations of how cool they are—that is to say, how good they look in a range of creative (or in this case, dangerous) scenarios. 

    The first video in the series saw Spanish artist Francisco de Pajaro turning an abandoned hotel in Croatia into a giant playground for his popular "Art Is Trash" characters, created with found objects. A second featured punk duo Ho9909 ("Horror," stylized) in a music video probably best described as neon demonic, for their new song "Blood Waves." 

    All appear under the Chuck II's "Ready for More" tagline, which tries to package intense individuality, a tricky proposition for any mass brand. But in the context of this series—which includes a fourth video not yet released—it's a solid stand-in for thrill-seeking, not a bad position for a lifestyle brand that's putting out fairly entertaining content. 

    The overt play for creative luster lacks some of the intimacy and immediacy of Converse's Valentines video about artistic couples. Then again, that had the advantage of being one of the few good things to ever come out of an awful holiday. And nobody was at risk of falling to their deaths, which, in a way, makes it kind of dull by comparison. 


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    Domino's won't stop until its customers are able to simply think about Domino's pizza and suddenly find themselves magically munching on it. 

    The pizza chain isn't quite there yet. But today it's taking another step toward making its customer interactions friction-free by introducing a "Zero Click" ordering app. 

    It works like this: You download the app and link it to a Domino's pizza profile, where you have a standard "Easy Order" saved. When you open the app, it automatically orders your pizza, with no clicks required. You have a 10-second countdown window, in case you mistakenly opened the app, to avert the order. 

    The app, from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, follows other Domino's innovations like voice, smart watch, car, TV and tweet and text ordering with an emoji.



    Domino's is quite proud of its digital ordering innovations. In its fourth-quarter earnings report last year, the company said it generated more than 50 percent of U.S. sales from digital channels by the end of 2015, thanks to tech innovations. (The company hasn't revealed exactly what percentage of sales come from each specific innovation, and how many people are still ordering the old-fashioned way.) 

    On the other hand, some of these ease-of-ordering innovations—whatever their actual business results, which appear strong—are a bit gimmicky. Saving you a single click once a week (or however often you order pizza) isn't going to buy you a whole lot of extra time in life. (And when your kid opens the app by accident while playing Angry Birds, you're going to lose quite a bit of time explaining things to the delivery person.) 

    Even the quote in the "Zero Click" press release is on the goofy side—suggesting Domino's is having fun, with a wink, as much as it's actually trying to improve your life.

    "We think about how to make digital ordering better all day and all night," Dennis Maloney, chief digital officer at Domino's, says in the release. "Zero-click ordering is a dream come true for us. I'm not saying the idea came to me in a dream (and I'm not saying it didn't), but I challenge someone to dream up an easier way to order."

    Still, if Domino's is not just selling convenience, by also playing an elaborate PR game around the idea of convenience, it does have the overall effect of making the brand look fun, socially engaged and forward-thinking. 


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    I admit I was fooled. Sort of.

    When I saw Thor Björnsson (aka, the Mountain That Rides, aka the Strongest Man on Earth) selling his new sparkling water called HeavyBubbles in the spot below—released on April Fools' Day—I thought it was a prank by HBO.

    I expected they might actually start releasing limited-edition dumbbell water bottles.



    But it turns out the whole high-production value prank was created by SodaStream, which released an extended video (below) explaining the connection later in the day. It also came with a new SodaStream tagline: "F**k plastic bottles."

    I think part of the reason it fooled me is that it's not an entirely implausible concept. Water is heavy, and we cart an increasing amount of it home from the store. In fact, Pepsi Light tested (though didn't release) tested its own dumbbell bottle recently.

    It also helps that Björnsson is legitimately charming when he's not gouging out eyes on Game of Thrones. The hilarious spot features the Icelandic superman hawking his product to an adorable admirer, wavering between his homicidal onscreen persona and his pleasantly chipper off-screen self.



    Some April Fools' pranks are elevated higher than a quick Photoshop of a nasty Cheez Whiz flavored milkshake. Some are actually clever, playful advertisements in disguise that hit on a product benefit, but with an absurd enough premise that there's only one day they could be released without mucking up the entire brand ethos. This was one such ad.

    SodaStream's everyday slogan, by the way, is "Set the bubbles free," voiced by a woman who sounds like she just spent the whole afternoon lounging around a million-dollar pool.

    But it wouldn't be amiss for SodaStream to keep Björnsson around for another few spots. There's something about the world's strongest man being into sparkling water that delights and surprises, especially when he is also fond of smashing through walls—including the fourth one. 


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    Submitted for your approval, "We're Being Watched," a Twilight Zone-ish slice of sci-fi paranoia from RPA, promoting the 17th annual Newport Beach Film Festival.

    With dazzling visuals and sharp direction by Jogger, the short film packs a trippy punch as it explores the increasingly voyeuristic nature of our always-on multiscreen world.

    There's an awful lot going on in less than two minutes of running time, and the action kicks off with a late-night hookup at an isolated house. As a young couple get hot and heavy, X-Files-type music builds in the background, and the camera pans across the room to reveal a child's huge, wide-eyed face—about the size of a door—calmly observing every move.

    Then things really start getting weird. Check out the clip here:



    That giant finger nails it at the end! (Please, no cracks about heavy-handed metaphors.)

    While its themes aren't exactly new (Twilight Zone and various speculative fiction outlets have told similar tales), "We're Being Watched" does more than riff on classic motifs. This isn't one of those kids-watch-their-dolls-act-out-stories-in-a-dollhouse scenario. Here, the entire cast is on equal footing—each an observer and a subject in his or her own right. And RPA takes the premise to its logical conclusion by bringing the characters together in a maze of amusingly existential overkill from which there's no escape.

    In other words: We're all watching each other at all times!

    "At its core, the idea seems fairly straightforward," RPA copywriter Joshua Hepburn tells AdFreak. "We're watching a film where people are watching each other in a little house. Then, you watch it a few times, and various layers present themselves. Who does the house belong to? Are they in the same space? It becomes apparent you have no idea who is doing the actual watching."

    The complex shoot took place from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following morning, and posed many challenges for the creative team.

    "We had to get crafty in order to get everything we needed for post—like sticking GoPros on every ceiling to create the 'micro people,' providing reference for every move," says RPA creative director Scott McDonald. "It was more or less an editor's nightmare—and an effects artist's omniscient dream."

    Hepburn recalls that the absurdist finale, with the bathtub man apparently poking himself in the head with his own finger, "was a bit of a process. Earlier in the day, we used this giant foam creation made out of an inflatable pool toy to physically poke his head and make a splash." When that visual proved too silly, the crew had to improvise. "The actor created his own reaction" sans finger, Hepburn says. Later, "a real finger was shot against a green screen at several angles and comped in to create the effect."

    RPA's print ads for the festival, running from April 21-28, hyper-focus on the "watching" theme by presenting what appears to be a human iris. If you look closely, however, it turns out to be something else entirely. (Click the image to enlarge.) 

    In crafting the campaign, RPA kept its thoughtful, artsy target audience in sight at all times.

    "The film festival audience actually thinks about what it is taking in," and that goes for NBFF advertising as well as the work screened at the event, McDonald says. "[Festival] promos might seem a little eccentric compared to others, but truthfully, NBFF is like any other smart brand, trying to appeal to their best customers." (RPA has produced some gems for the client, including the gruesome "Mandible" horror sendup from 2013, and the following year's unsettling but campy "Bedtime Story.")

    This latest work, however, ups the intellectual ante. Perfectly suited to promoting a film festival, the campaign also excels as a pure content play, challenging folks to question their daily experience and, perhaps, see things in a different way.

    "Ultimately, we want the viewer to create their own meaning," Hepburn says. "That's part of the fun—the ambiguity, knowing people will get something different from the story."

    CREDITS
    Client: Newport Beach Film Festival
    Director of Marketing and Public Relations: Todd Quartararo
    Campaign: "We're Being Watched"

    Agency: RPA
    Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer: Joe Baratelli
    Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director: Pat Mendelson
    Vice President, Creative Director, Art Director: Scott McDonald
    Copywriter: Joshua Hepburn
    Senior Vice President, Chief Production Officer: Gary Paticoff
    Vice President, Executive Producer: Selena Pizarro
    Senior Producer: Kay Lynn Dutcher

    Music Track: "A Serial Universe"
    Composer, Sound Design: Peter Lauridsen

    Production: Jogger
    Director: Jogger
    Creative Director: David Parker
    Director of Photography: Alice Gu
    Executive Producer: Rich Rama
    Producer: Geno Imbriale

    Editing Company: Cut+Run
    Editor: Lucas Eskin
    Executive Producer: Amburr Farls
    Senior Producer: Remy Foxx
    Assistant Editor: Lauren Brown

    Visual Effects: Jogger
    Visual Effects Producers: Nancy Hwang, Ben Sposato
    Visual Effects Production Coordinator: Erica Cruz
    Flame Artists: Shauna Prescott, Gavin Camp, Cole Schreiber

    Color Services: The Mill
    Senior Colorist: Damien van der Cruyssen

    Title Design, Animation: Laundry!
    Creative Director: P.J. Richardson
    Executive Producer: Lindsay Bodanza

    Audio: Lime Studios
    Audio Engineer: Matt Miller

    Key Art, Program Ad Photography: Karel Polt, Asher Hung, Candela Rebot


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    Last summer, Omnicom's BBDO scored a significant healthcare win by picking up lead creative duties for insurance provider Humana just a month after the client—which had been the world's fourth largest health insurance company—agreed to be acquired by Aetna for $37 billion. Analysts expect that deal to close later this year. 

    "Start With Healthy," BBDO New York's first campaign for Humana, debuted Tuesday night. The TV spots demonstrate why the account is so important: The company that most effectively simplifies healthcare options for older Americans will be a big winner in the market moving forward. 

    The first ad, "Birthday," tells the story of a man who gets exactly what he wants for his 67th—but only because he's been taking care of his health. 



    The campaign marks an attempt by Humana to position itself as more than just a wellness company by demonstrating how it can directly improve the daily lives of its customers—via slice-of-life vignettes appealing to its core demographic of middle-aged and older Americans. 

    "What sets this work apart is the focus on what better health through Humana enables our health plan members to accomplish," Mark Mathis, director of corporate communications, tells Adweek. "Humana understands that people, especially the boomer generation, want to grow, not fade, stay relevant, useful and influential." 

    The next spot "Carnival" illustrates the challenges faced by a woman making the most of her golden years by traveling cross-country to spend time with her grandchildren (and trying to keep up with their ferris wheel hijinks).



    As Mathis puts it, " 'Start with Healthy' reminds people what having health really means—the ability to take fuller advantage of the opportunities life brings you. The takeaway from these messages is that great things are ahead of you when your health is ready for them." 

    He positions the campaign as part of a larger effort to raise awareness of the Humana brand and portray the company as a sort of life partner rather than a faceless bureaucratic behemoth. 

    BBDO's work will include social, mobile, digital, broadcast, event, print and direct marketing efforts, with additional collateral rolling out throughout 2016. 

    CREDITS
    Client: Humana
    Agency: BBDO New York

    Jody Bilney: SVP, Chief Consumer Officer
    Jennifer Bazante: Enterprise VP, Marketing
    Jeff Stern: Director, Enterprise Marketing & Marketing Strategy
    HT Thomas: Director, Brand Communications & Advertising
    Sean Lilly: Marketing Strategy Consultant

    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director: Tim Bayne
    Creative Director: Mike Boulia
    Writer/CD: Mandy Hoveyda
    Art Director/CD: Jackie Leak
    Executive Producer: Diane Hill

    Senior Producer: Angela Narloch
    Music Producer: Julia Millison
    Business Manager: Claudia Emerson
    Sr Account Director: Peter Mccallum
    Account Director: Tim Vanderper
    Account Manager: Cara Roberts
    Account Executive: Daniela Saborio
    Group Planning Director: Annemarie Norris
    Group Planning Director: Katie Ryan

    Production Company: The Corner Shop
    Director: Ellen Kuras
    Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi
    Producer: Gustav Geldenhuys
    Director Of Photography: Ellen Kuras

    Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
    Producer: Jenny Greenfield
    Editor: Ted Guard
    Assistant Editor: JK Carrington

    Telecine: Company3
    Telecine Artist: Tom Poole
    Producer: Clare Movshon

    Conform/Finish: Method
    Conform/VFX Artist: Chris Hunt
    Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
    Producer: Brad Wood


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    Here's an interesting campaign from Swedish agency Akestam Holst that turned commercial radio in Syria into a personal media channel for refugees looking to contact their moms back home on Mother's Day.

    The client, Refugee Phones, provides donated smartphones to refugees. But often, the phone connections back in Syria are poor, and many Syrians don't even have phones—so refugees have trouble calling their families.

    For Mother's Day in Syria on March 21, Akestam Holst worked out a hack by recording Mother's Day greetings from refugees and then repackaging and running them as "radio ads" in Syria on a station popular with mothers—where, hopefully, the moms heard them.

    Some 150 spots were broadcast in all. Check out the case study below.



    CREDITS
    Client: Refugee Phones
    Agency: Akestam Holst
    Radio Production: Flickorna Larsson


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    Kevin Spacey is an accomplished thespian whose talents extend to the possibly related realm of staring contests. In a fun (though tenuously branded) E*Trade campaign from R/GA, the House of Cards star challenges you to a staring contest—which lasts through three separate ads running in successive pods on Hulu's new drama The Path, starring Aaron Paul.

    Check out the three ads below. It would have been nice if at least one of them ran longer than 15 seconds, which barely registers on the scale of proper staring-contest scoring. But then, that didn't fit the media buy—or maybe Spacey just isn't as good as he says he is (his painfully watery eyes aren't encouraging in that regard).
     

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.



    CREDITS

    Client: E*Trade
    Kyle Okimoto: Head of Marketing
    Rich Muhlstock: COO Marketing,  SVP Branding & Acquisition
    Wylie Kain: VP, Head of Branding
    Evan Katz: Senior Marketing Manager

    Agency: R/GA, New York
    Nick Law: Global CCO
    Taras Wayner: SVP, ECD
    Michael Lowenstern: VP, Digital Advertising
    Lee Margolis: Executive Creative Director
    Steve Giraldi & Peter Unger: Assoc Creative Directors
    Andrea Messer & Jason Burke: Sr. Art Dir. & Copywriter
    Kat Friis: Group Director, Film Production
    Brian Schierman: Sr. Film Producer
    Michael Stoopack: Managing Director
    Julie DeAngelis: Account Director
    James Hogan: Account Supervisor
    Emily Chen: Campaign Producer
    Stephen Bernstein: Director, Business Affairs
    Maureen Doyle: Business Affairs
    Mairead Murray, Coordinator, Business Affairs
    Dylan Viner: Group Strategy Director
    Amy McEwan: Strategist

    Production: Radical Media, New York
    Steve Miller: Director
    Frank Scherma & Gregg Carlesimo: Executive Producers
    Frank Dituri: HOP
    Matt O'Shea: Line Producer

    Editorial: Cutting Room, NY
    Merritt Duff: Editor
    Megan Katuran: Assist Editor
    Melissa Lubin: Exec Producer

    Post: Light of Day, NY
    Colin Stackpole: Executive Producer
    Pete DeAndrea: Flame Artist

    Audio: Sonic Union, NY
    Michael Marinelli: Audio Engineer
    Justine Cortale: Sr. Producer

    Shot on Location at Newark Symphony Hall, Newark, New Jersey


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    Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is a legend.

    In China, they mostly love him—he's made a concerted effort, with Nike, to reach out to his Chinese fans over the past decade. And the Chinese have responded with adulation all but unmatched for American sports stars.

    Now, with Bryant's last game fast approaching, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai have created a stirring 60-second tribute commercial. And it's all about that love—which Bryant says might actually be a bit misguided.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.



    "Kobe has an intimate relationship with the Chinese ballers, so he knows exactly how to teach and motivate them," says Terence Leong, creative director of W+K Shanghai. "Together with Nike China and Kobe, our team crafted the script and made sure the film was just as provocative as the man himself. It was an intense and uncompromising process because Kobe was just as demanding on the creative team as he was on the Lakers."

    W+K creative director Azsa West adds: "[Kobe] chose to focus on becoming a legend rather than being a hero. When it comes to winning, Kobe is willing to push himself to risk everything. Because standing back and doing nothing, that's real failure. This philosophy is very Nike 'Just do it,' and Kobe is the perfect person to deliver this spirit of Nike."

    CREDITS
    Client: Nike
    Campaign: "Kobe Last Season"
    Spot: "Don't Love Me, Hate Me"
    Launch Date: 7 April 2016

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai
    Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo
    Creative Directors: Terence Leong, Azsa West
    Copywriters: Nick Finney, Wei Liu
    Senior Art Director: Shaun Sundholm
    Senior Designers: Patrick Rockwell, Will Dai
    Integrated Production Director: Angie Wong
    Assistant Producers: Yuan Fang, Jiji Hu
    Offline Editor: Hiro Ikematsu
    Business Director: Dino Xu
    Associate Account Director: Jim Zhou
    Account Executive: Shawn Kai
    Senior Planner: Paula Bloodworth
    Digital Strategist: Bill Tang
    Project Manager: Nicole Bee
    Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan

    Production Companies: Elastic TV; Lunar Films
    Director: Biff Butler
    Line Producer: Kelly Christensen
    Director of Photography: Rachel Morrison
    Executive Producer (Elastic): Belinda Blacklock
    Managing Director (Elastic): Jennifer Sofio Hall
    Executive Producer (Lunar): Ken Yap
    Post Producer (Lunar): Jeff Tannebring

    Editing: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editors: Biff Butler, Alyssa Oh
    Post Producer: Christopher Noviello
    Executive Producers: Angela Dorian, Linda Carlson

    Postproduction: a52
    2-D Visual Effects Artists: Michael Vaglienty, Adam Flynn
    Smoke Artist: Chris Riley
    Conform: Gabe Sanchez
    Rotoscope Artists: Tiffany German, Cathy Shaw, Robert Shaw
    Colorist: Paul Yacono
    Design: Pete Sickbert-Bennett
    2-D, 3-D Animation: David Do, Steven Do, Claudia De Leon, Sam Cividanis
    Senior Color Producer: Jenny Bright
    Producer: Drew Rissman
    Head of Production: Kim Christensen
    Deputy Head of Production: Carol Salek
    Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent

    Original Music, Sound Design, Mix: Lime Studios
    Original Music: Andy Huckvale
    Mixer: Zac Fisher
    Assistant Mixer: Kevin McAlpine
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan


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    A billboard for a gym in England has upset passersby with its scientifically unprovable claim that when aliens invade our planet, "they'll take the fat ones first." 

    Even in this comic context, fat-shaming people into joining a gym is a crappy tactic to use—one that is disappointing but not surprising. And of course, the gym, Fit4Less, has refused to take the billboard down. 

    What's curious, though, is that this isn't the first gym to post a fat-shaming alien billboard!

    Indeed, in 1999, a gym in San Francisco used the same tactic in a billboard from Grey. At the time, the health club, 24 Hour Fitness, also refused to take down the ad, saying it wasn't meant to be offensive and that "we all know how hard it is to lose weight. Sometimes humor helps make things easier, and can even be motivational." 

    Adweek covered that ruckus, and spoke at the time to Alan Randolph, creative director at Grey, who said: "We certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I mean, I'm no physical specimen either."

    Here's the earlier billboard:



    Fit4Less is making the same argument that 24 Hour Fitness did. "If we are going to reach more people as a sector, then we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously and realize that if we want to attract normal people, then we need to be willing to poke fun at ourselves. Our messaging is designed to do exactly that." argues Jan Spaticchia, CEO of Fit4Less parent company Energie Group. 

    So, here we are, two decades later, with basically the same tactic and the same reaction.

    But let's unpack this for a second: Sure, yeah, aliens probably exist, and maybe they'll come to Earth. I can suspend my disbelief. But you cannot tell me that you know aliens will want to eat humans and that the humans they will want to eat the most will be whatever these gyms define as fat.

    Nope. I draw the line there. 

    Top photo courtesy @natharvey77 on Twitter.


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    What do you look like as you get increasingly buzzed from alcohol? Many of Marcos Alberti's friends now have photographic evidence.

    "There is a saying about wine that I really like and it's something like this: 'The first glass of wine is all about the food, the second glass is about love and the third glass is about mayhem,' " the Brazilian photographer tells AdFreak. "I really wanted to see it for myself if that affirmation was, in fact, true."

    Alberti started inviting friends to his studio and photographing them before having any wine—and then after one, two and three glasses. The results are, let's say, amusing.

    "The first picture is taken right away when our guest has just arrived at the studio in order to capture the stress and the fatigue after working all day long, and from also facing rush hour traffic to get here," Alberti says. "Only then can fun time and my project begin. At the end of every glass of wine, a snapshot. Nothing fancy—a face and a wall, three times."

    Check out loads of the pics from the series below. 


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    Volvo's new XC90 T8 hybrid is more than just a potential getaway car. It's a twin-engine thief that steals power from other vehicles.

    At least, that's how the seven-seat SUV is portrayed in this inventive "Highway Robbery" stunt crafted by Grey New York. Over the course of a two-day shoot on a busy roadway in Southern California, the team employed a tricked-out peristaltic pump and "road-mat" to harness the momentum of passing traffic and generate electricity for charging the XC90 T8.

    Check out the stunt here:



    "It takes a very integrated team to pull something like this off," Andreas Dahlqvist, Grey New York's chief creative officer, tells AdFreak. "It's more like an inventor's workshop process than your regular campaign development."

    After the idea was approved, "it took around four months to find the perfect location and fully develop the technology," he says. "We evaluated and tested a bunch of existing technologies that would allow us to capture the power from the road, but none of them really suited our purposes."

    Most of those early attempts required cars to slow down drastically before their energy could be captured—and that simply wasn't going to happen on a busy West Coast highway.

    "We ended up developing our own proprietary hydraulic system from scratch, and it proved to be incredibly efficient at generating electric power," Dahlqvist says. "We were kind of blown away that this type of system had never been developed for commercial use before, given how well it worked."

    Grey also used a small billboard to flash real-time lines of copy at cars as they passed and unknowingly provided the XC90 T8 with power. Some were brand-specific—such as, "Thanks for the extra miles, Jeep"—while others simply proclaimed, "You've just been robbed." (Wonder what motorists made of that one.)

    The unusual campaign serves notice that "Volvo is focused on innovation," says Dahlqvist. "We wanted this launch to also represent that, not only talk about it," and hopefully spark social sharing and consumer conversations.

    At this point, Grey and Volvo are building quite a rap sheet. Previously, they "hijacked" rivals' commercials on the 2015 Super Bowl, inviting fans to tweet using the hashtag #VolvoContest whenever another carmaker's ad ran during the game. That campaign, which gave folks the chance to win a new Volvo for family or friends, snared the Grand Prix in Direct at last year's Cannes Lions festival.

    Hey, if vehicles can be our best friends and our safety nets, why not our partners in crime, too?

    CREDITS
    Client: Volvo
    Spot Title: Highway Robbery
    Agency: Grey New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Dahlqvist
    Executive Creative Director: Matt O'Rourke
    Group Creative Directors: João Coutinho, Marco Pupo
    ACD/Art Director: Rodrigo Burdman
    CD/Copywriter: Natalie Rose
    Copywriter: Jason Goldshteyn
    Agency Producer: Stephen Samelko
    Agency Music Producer: Ben Dorenfeld
    Production Company: 1stAveMachine
    Director: Bob Partington, Jordan Fein, Hunter Baker
    DP: Hunter Baker
    Post Production: 1stAveMachine
    Editor: Colin Laughlin
    Sound Mix: Gramercy Post


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    Adolf Hitler's notorious autobiography/fascist screed Mein Kampf (translation, My Struggle) was published in Germany this year for this first time since 1945—after the Bavarian government's copyright expired. 

    Predictably, its appearance caused much Sturm und Drang. It also generated a powerful response from the Berlin office of Ogilvy & Mather, which produced a competing book, Mein Kampf gegen Rechts (My Struggle Against Racism), in an effort to combat right-wing extremism and intolerance. 

    Ogilvy's effort spotlights 11 diverse individuals who have fought against xenophobia and injustice. They include concentration camp survivor Mosche Dagan, former Afghan refugee Wana Limar (now a host at MTV) and Irmela Mensah-Schramm, who has dedicated her life to removing Nazi graffiti wherever she finds it. 

    The latter, a white-haired granny, cuts an especially memorable figure in the project video below, proclaiming "I want to destroy hate" while brandishing a spray-paint can in one hand and a brush in the other. 



    It's sobering to consider that Mensah-Schramm has removed more than 100,000 images of Nazi slogans and hate propaganda in the past 30 years, a fact that underscores the need for more ammunition in the struggle against bigotry and ignorance. 

    "Due to the immigration of refugees, we are facing in Germany a growing right-wing extremism and an open everyday racism," Tim Stuebane, executive creative director at Ogilvy Berlin and leader of the book project, tells Adweek. "In the last election, a new right-wing party shot from 0 to 24 percent. All this is very painful to see. We had to do something against it, but what? Then we learned that Hitler's Mein Kampf would be republished. We thought—absolutely the wrong signal at this point of time." 

    Reclaiming the conception of the words Mein Kampf

    The project seeks to "reclaim the conception of the words Mein Kampf from the Nazis [and] create a spectacular trigger for PR and social media to talk about the current situation of society in Germany" and elsewhere, Stuebane says. 

    Those missions have been largely accomplished. Clearly, Ogilvy's book touched a nerve in Germany. The first printing of 11,000 volumes nearly sold out, with 1 euro from every sale supporting Gesicht Zeigen, a nonprofit group that fights for social justice. Copious media coverage has spurred a broader conversation, which Ogilvy hopes will turn Mein Kampf gegen Rechts into Unser Kampf gegen Rechts (Our Struggle Against Racism). 

    Stuebane calls on people working in media to join the cause. Their power to inform and shape public opinion, he says, could prove invaluable. "Imagine doctors watching an accident, doing nothing," he says. "That's [the same thing as] communication professionals [silently] watching the rise of right-wing populism. It's our duty to do something against it." 

    Indeed, there's an urgent need for more voices of sanity to rise up and drown out the din of fearmongering that rings louder than ever these days. 

    Seven decades after Hitler's demise and the defeat of the Nazis, the struggle continues. 



    CREDITS

    Campaign: Mein Kampf – gegen Rechts
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Berlin
    Exec. Creative Directors: Tim Stübane, Birgit van den Valentyn
    Creative Directors: Björn Kernspeckt, Sebastian Kraus, Daniela Schmidt, Stese Wagner
    Art Directors: Matthias Bauer, Philipp Bertisch, Andreas Richter, Stephan Westerwelle, Joschka Wolf, Collja Lorig, Michael Mogk
    Copywriters: Janne Sachse, Anke Roell
    Client Service Director: Stephen Kimpel
    Account: Iskra Velichkova, Carsten Kaiser, Patricia Podewin
    Editor: Lutz Meier
    Art Buyer: Martina Diederichs
    Photographer Dominik Butzmann
    Agency Producer: Georg Ilse
    Postproduction Press: Simon Geis/vividgreyde, Schröderstraße 9, 10115 Berlin
    Film Production: Tony Petersen Film GmbH, Brunnenstraße 181, 10119 Berlin
    Regie/Director: Florian Baeker
    Social Media Strategy: Rochus Landgraf
    Programmer: Robert Georgi
    Publishing House: Europa Verlag, Berlin/München/Wien
    Publisher: Christian Strasser
    Public Relations: Claus-Martin Carlsberg, Barbara Stang
    Ogilvy Public Relations: Anna-Karina Berels, Anna-Lena Daniels, Laura Kolb, Julia Steckel
    Media Planning/Buying: Mindshare/Christian Scholz, Dietmar Birkner/Kinetic Worldwide Germany GmbH


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    The week's almost over. Have you wept at your desk yet? If not, have a gander at this powerful animated short for Scarlett Contra El Cancer, made by New York City animation company The Studio—with music by Hook+Line.

    Clocking in at nearly three minutes, the short stars a sad little girl who is recovering from a cancer-related amputation, and ends up overcoming her despondence through ballet. With lovely artwork (especially the background), smart pacing and a song that challenges Sarah McLachlan's ASPCA commercials for Most Emotionally Torturous, this ad says a lot about adversity, struggle, grit, and ultimately, kindness.



    That last element is the most important, since it ties into Scarlett Contra El Cancer's mission to help children with cancer in the U.S. and Latin America. Part of this mission involves empowering children through media representations they understand, and this project knocked it out of the park.

    CREDITS
    Production: The Studio
    Director: Alison Abitbol
    Executive Producer: Mary Nittolo
    Producer: Jenna Gabriel
    Creative Director: Mary Nittolo
    Art Direction: Alison Abitbol, John Holmes, Juan Mont
    Early Concept Development: Mike Ocasio, John Holmes
    Narrative: Paolo Cogliati, Alison Abitbol
    Modeling: Juan Mont
    Animation Red and Blue World: Juan Mont, Adam Rozanski, Victor DeRespinis
    Character Animation and Compositing: Juan Mont, Hee Jin Kim, Mike Sime, Ozan Basaldi, Jackie Garbuio, Eric Kilanski, Adam Rozanski, Victor DiRespinis
    Matte Paintings: Alison Abitbol
    Rigging: Malcolm Carrott
    Lighting: Mirelle Underwood
    Editing: Jackie Garbuio, Malcolm Carrott, Adam Rozanski
    Character Development: Alison Abitbol, Mike Ocasio, John Holmes, Adrian Mateescu, Juan
    Music: Hook+Line
    Songwriter/Vocalist/Producer: Abby Diamond
    Co-writer/Producer/Mix Engineer: Kyle Patrick
    Violin: Bryan Senti
    Cello: Yoed Nir
    Mastering Engineer: Joe LaPorta
    Special Thanks: Grace Ramirez, Antonio Navas, Solange Rivero, and of course Scarlett


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    SK-II, a Chinese skin care brand, took over a so-called "marriage market"—where Chinese parents go to post elaborate personal ads for their daughters—to stand up for all the "leftover" women who aren't married, and are treated shamefully, after age 25.

    A "sheng nu," or "leftover woman," is a derogatory term for an unmarried woman over 25. The film shows the pressure these women face from their parents and society—and often, themselves—to marry young, and then leads up to the poignant moment where they stand up to their parents' pressure.



    Last year, Prestige International skin care brand SK-ll launched #changedestiny, an ongoing global campaign to inspire and empower women to shape their own destiny. This year, they've continued the theme with "Marriage Market Takeover," created by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors in its first ad campaign in China.

    It used to be that female beauty marketing was all about fear—fear of living up to an ideal, where the product was positioned as the solution that would make you feel better about yourself. But that philosophy has changed thanks to mountains of marketing that have made the point that looking good and feeling good are two different things. This campaign is another milestone on the road to turning around the very meaning of the beauty, and this time, it's international.

    The marriage market is a place where Chinese parents essentially advertise children as marriage potential, listing their height, weight, salary, values and personality. In some cases, women are unaware that their parents have listed them on the market.

    SK-II took over a traditional marriage market and created a huge, beautiful, night-lit installation created with its own version of "marriage ads," which were actually messages from hundreds of independent women saying they want to be in control of their own destiny, and could actually be happy without being married.

    We get to see the wonderful reactions of the parents who, earlier in the film, were downright harsh—calling their daughters unattractive or worse, while sitting right beside them. After reading the display, they change their tone, moved by the words and beautiful photos of their daughters presumably wearing SK-II products.

    If any were still backwards curmudgeons, we didn't get to see them in the film.

    This is a powerful message, and one that's needed in many places. When I lived in Japan, unmarried women over 25 were still called "Christmas cakes," a reference to being discounted after Dec. 25. In Russia, I understand they're called "old maids," no food analogy.

    But with women delaying marriage the world over to focus on education and careers, the stigma is going to fall. It'll only be a matter of time, and some well-placed messaging.


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    As Kobe Bryant prepares to play his final NBA game this Wednesday, the tributes to the legendary Los Angeles Laker keep pouring in, including from brands. And while some of the Kobe commercials are sober and serious, others recognize the guy's decent comic timing and history of amusing ads—and are going for laughs. 

    The best of the latter category will almost certainly be this new Apple TV spot from TBWA\Media Arts Lab, costarring Creed actor Michael B. Jordan. The setting, once again, is a Hollywood movie-production trailer—just as it was in the previous Apple TV spot which broke a few weeks ago, starring Alison Brie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. 

    The plot soon becomes clear: Jordan is preparing to play Bryant in a movie. But the two begin to disagree, to say the least, about whether the biopic is about a rising star who never stopped rising, or an aging athlete suffering an inevitable decline. 

    Check it out here:



    This could be the most laugh-out-loud commercial Apple has ever made. And it's very skillfully done—celebrating Bryant's larger-than-life career, while at the same time, hilariously cutting him down to size. The Apple TV product features are seamlessly presented, too, making for a very entertaining 60 seconds. 

    Jordan shines in the role of dedicated thespian oblivious to the traditional coddling of the biopic subject—no surprise there, given he's one of the great talents of his generation. But Bryant also acquits himself well. He's done comic spots before, of course, and generally does well when he has someone to play off—as in the hugely popular Turkish Airlines spot with Lionel Messi, which is one of the most-watched ads ever made. 

    Apple, too, has found fertile ground in this series of spots. This is a brand whose products used to be the only celebrity stars in its advertising ("Think Different" aside). But clearly it's loosened up a bit, and learned to play off pop culture more—a wise move in pushing a product that brings all manner of pop culture to the user. 

    CREDITS
    Client: Apple
    Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab


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    Ikea Belgium wants to save what it considers the dying art of photography ... by creating an app that only lets users snap one picture. 

    Titled "Klikk" (or "Click," in Dutch), it aims to force would-be photographers to focus carefully on composition, timing and light—rather than rattling off a bunch of shots, then picking the best one and using ready-made filters to smooth out the flaws. 



    DDB Brussels designed the app to promote Ikea's 2016 Art Collection, a limited run of 11 posters featuring works by a range of professional photographers, including Mandy Barker, Bobby Doherty, Jill Greenberg, Annika Von Hauswolff, Chad Moore, Rankin and others.

    To incentivize use of Klikk, the marketer will select one Belgian consumer's photograph to print on a 12th poster, to give away as part of the collection. The winning photo will be printed and distributed on Ikea.be, and about 1,000 Ikea clients will be able to order the poster for free. 

    It's an intriguing idea, made less pretentious by the crowdsourcing element—but DDB confirms the winner won't be paid for the use of his or her image, which raises questions about whether exposure alone is sufficient compensation. (Hint: It almost always isn't). 

    Anyone skilled enough to nail a perfect shot without any tweaking after the fact is likely to deserve the cash, especially considering that even professional photographers routinely use retouching or digital manipulation in their own work (Greenberg, for example, is famous in part for it).

    Plus, hand-wringing about the adverse effects of Instagram on fine art seems a little 2012, or like crying over spilt milk. Point-and-shoot cameras didn't ruin professional photography—though increasingly sharp smartphone cameras haven't done any favors for traditional brands like Canon, Nikon and Sony.

    They have made for some pretty impressive iPhone 6 ads, though.

    CREDITS
    Client: Ikea
    Agency: DDB Brussels
    CD: Peter Ampe & Odin Saillé
    Concept: Bjorn Conradi & James Boomsma
    Art director & copy: Silke Beurms & Tom Meijer
    Copy Fr: Jonathan d'Oultremont
    Strategy: Dominique Poncin / Maarten Van Daele
    Account team: Francis Lippens, Kaat De Brandt & Maria-Laura Laubenthal
    PR – Press Coordinator: Kenn Van Lijsebeth
    Digital Producers: Renaud Goossens
    Design: Sven Verfaille
    Web development: Quentin Gyselinck
    App development: Augmented Studio
    Art buyer: Brigitte Verduyckt
    Video Production Company: Caviar
    Director: Frieke Janssen


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    Prankvertising, which was all the rage a few years back but lately has been on the wane, returns with a vengeance in this potent drunk-driving PSA for nonprofit We Save Lives. 

    Created by Bravo/Y&R Miami and Paraná Films, the three-minute web video, "Reflections From Inside," features footage shot in two disparate locations—the men's bathroom of a bar in Los Angeles, and the RMC Correctional Facility in Lake Butler, Fla.

    Yes, previous ad pranks have surprised folks in public restrooms. And several have used mirrors as primary props. Ultimately, however, those stunts were revealed as brand builders, touting high-tech wares, horror movies and the like. 

    Here, the tipsy bros gazing into the bathroom glass to check their look are in for a seriously sobering experience. 

    Watch the clip below: 



    As in most prankvertising, nothing is quite what it seems. Though the man in the mirror, Kris Caudilla, really is serving a 15-year sentence for the vehicular manslaughter of a police officer, he doesn't actually interact in real-time with the bar patrons. 

    Live broadcasting from prisons is prohibited, so the looking-glass footage was shot in advance. Through clever editing, however, Caudilla appears to have conversations with the guys he urges to avoid driving drunk and find safe transport home. (Neither agency nor client would disclose whether the patrons were warned in advance that something strange might happen at the bar.) 

    "We started by reaching out to about 10 corrections departments across the country" and searching through DUI manslaughter cases, agency creative director Federico Hauri tells AdFreak. "Our outreach led to a dialogue with Kris Caudilla, and it soon became clear that he had deep regrets and remorse that he felt would be important to share." 

    Indeed, Caudilla adopts the perfect tone; he's low-key and genuinely affecting as he tells his story: "One night, I was drinking out with friends … got in the car, drove … killed somebody. The man I killed was a police officer. He had four children, a wife, and I took him away from them. I made the choice to drink. I made the choice to get in the car. You don't have to make that choice."

    The mirror serves as a potent reminder that every day, for the rest of his life, Caudilla will have to face the horror of his actions. 

    "He was perfect—so natural," says Candace Lightner, founder of both We Save Lives and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "I was a bit concerned about how my victim followers would feel when they saw this video, but they have been phenomenal, even sharing and commenting."

    Another inmate considered for the video was nixed because "the prison wanted us to get permission from the victim's family before they would allow us to film the convicted driver," Lightner says. "I talked to the family at length, but the mother wasn't amenable—completely understandable."

    The men's-room scenario "grew out of an insight that most people drinking and driving think it will not happen to them," especially men 25-34, Hauri says. "We thought it would be very powerful for our target to see a real-life example of someone who was convicted of DUI manslaughter." 

    This marks the second time in recent weeks that prison inmates have appeared in provocative PSAs. It's less intense and polarizing than the Polish Red Cross campaign in which convicted murderers are seen taking first-aid classes while in prison.

    Still, We Save Lives tells a compelling story in a powerful way. Hopefully viewers will take time for some serious reflection and make smart choices when faced with situations where they might be tempted to drive after having a few too many. 


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    Just in time for 4/20 (the unofficial holiday for lightin' a blunt), French biscuit maker Granola is taking on the munchies.

    "Late Night Drama" is an ad for Granola Night Assistance, which will enable late-night fridge-rovers to score a Granola bar, wherever they may be, between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. through the month of April.

    Created by agency Marcel, the operatic ad features youths engaging in nighttime shenanigans of varying weirdness, only to be stopped in their tracks by the dreaded rumbly in their tumblies. Trippily enough, the ad reveals that the background music is sung by a cartoon stomach on TV ... just before a disembodied hand of God penetrates the night sky to offer our hungry heroes a giant Granola bar.

    No, we're not high. But the creative team probably was!



    "Big nights call for big munchies," the ad concludes, before pushing #NightAssistance, which will be available throughout the French market. (This might not seem like a big deal to you, but finding food in France at night is like pulling teeth out of the mouth of a live shark. While stoned.) 

    It's not totally clear how #NightAssistance works—probably because it isn't nighttime yet. There's a section on the website where you can find Granola bars for sale based on your city and what day it is, as well as a "talking" stomach that you can chat with, which so far has just said things like, "Go back and live with your mom." (We're assuming he'll be more useful when night falls.)

    The film was directed by Trevor Clarence of Blue Production, and will be supported by Facebook and Twitter activations. 

    CREDITS

    Mondelez - Granola – Clients
    Bertrand Goursolle (Marketing Director)
    Matthieu Guignard (Marketing Manager)
    Violaine Menard (Senior Brand Manager)
    Charlotte Duplantier (Brand Manager)
    Thomas Thibord (Brand Manager)
    Marcel – Creative agency
    Pascal Nessim / Charles Georges-Picot (CEOs)
    Anne de Maupeou (Creative Chairman)
    Dimitri Guerassimov / Fabien Teichner (Chief Creative Officers)
    Jeremie Bottiau (Creative Director)
    Geoffrey Masse (Art Director)
    Nicolas Mouquet (Copywriter)
    Olivier Sebag (General Manager)
    Benjamin Taieb (Associate Director)
    Vanessa Peronny (Account Executive)
    Barbara Cruchet (Project Manager)
    Ghislain Tenneson (Head of Planning)
    Leoda Esteve (Strategic Planner)
    Jeanne Neuschwander (Account Executive)
    Raphael Catherin (Social Media Manager)
    Lionel Bui (Digital Creative Director)
    Samantha De-Biaisi (Digital Art Director)
    Louis Da Silva (Technical Director)
    Renaud Cacciani (Technical Project Manager)
    Cedric Gagnaire (Technical Project Manager)
    Charles Coulais / Paul Vanlerberghe / Ando Razafimandimby (Developer)
    Vadim Vichniakov (UX designer)
    Nathalie Roland / Mélanie Colléou (PR Directors)
    Prodigious – TV production
    Elodie Jonquille (Tv Producer)
    Blue - Production Company
    Trevor Clarence (Director)
    Kasia Choppin (Producer)
    Your Girlfriend – Executive production company
    Linda Boggle (Exe. Producer)
    Medialab & One More – Post production company
    Agnieszka Kozbial (Post-producer Director Medialab)
    Benjamin Darras (CEO / Executive Producer One More)
    Prodigious – Sound & music production company
    Brice Davoli (Composer)
    Boris Nicou (Sound & Music Producer)
    Carat France – Media Agency
    Aline SCAULTZ (Associate Director)
    Marion LE BAIL (Senior Consultant)
    Ludovic HILAIRE (Deputy Managing Director)
     

     


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