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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Hand sanitizer is flying off the shelves in the U.S. because of the flu outbreak. In Chile, they're worried about more subversive germs. Print ad for Dettol by Havas Worldwide in Santiago. Via Copyranter.

    See a larger version on our Facebook page.


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    Disney tricked out an entire London street with cool 8-bit props to promote Wreck-It Ralph, its feature-film-length chunk of nerdbait whose retro visual style was reflected by the sculptures in Disney's exhibit. Sculpting in 8-bit can be tricky, and the necessary lack of detail can make it hard to tell what things are sometimes. So I'm glad sculptor Aden Hynes kept things simple—water flowing from a pipe, pigeons, a car—to draw in people who might not ordinarily respond to old video-game graphics. Maybe once they clear all that stuff out of there, they'll pave everything with yellow bricks when it's time to shill Oz: The Great and Powerful. More images below.

    Via Laughing Squid.

    Photos by Michael Reeve.


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  • 01/18/13--09:22: Ad of the Day: Nike
  • Lots of people don't have much use for Kobe Bryant, but his new Nike spot really is one of the most enjoyable ads he's ever done.

    The Los Angeles Lakers star has been in commercials since Roman times, or so it seems, and has always been bankable as an endorser. The balancing act is to mute his arrogance while amplifying his playful side, which is not always easy. Pairing him with the impish Lionel Messi in the Turkish Airlines ad (102 million YouTube views and counting) was a stroke of genius. Messi is just as ruthless an athlete as Bryant, but is more naturally likable, and gave Bryant license to stand down and act like a fool. It helped that Leo is an ocean and a professional sport away from Kobe, and no threat to his kingdom.

    The Nike spot gives Kobe back his muscle, but keeps things playful—not so much through the athlete himself, who appears for only a handful of the 60 seconds, but through an amusing montage of mini sequences and props that celebrate Bryant's world and his omnipotent place in it. By humorously overselling its star, it accomplishes the old trick of portraying him as both king and jester—the one who knocks and the one who takes his knocks (on his own terms). The lightheartedness humanizes Kobe, even as he's still officially cast as superhuman. It's tribute and mock-tribute in one.

    "This is how the world works," says the already hyperbolic first line of (female) voiceover, against a beautiful shot of a lit-up neon blue-and-green basketball hoop against an immense starry sky. "The sun shines. The grass grows. Kobe Bryant arrives to practice at 3 … the other 3." (A sledgehammer smashes a clock, turning 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.) The voice continues, with visuals matched to each sentence: "Chickens bock bock bock. Broccoli can fight cancer. Rice provides energy. Kobe eats rice, broccoli, chicken. And the world turns." They're almost non sequiturs, not quite random but wonderfully helter-skelter.

    "Earthquakes shake. Bakers bake. Kobe Bryant shakes and bakes defenders. Philosophers ponder existence. Scholars read. Kobe Bryant takes everyone to school." Kobe is immortalized as a metal bust, but also as a goofy food portrait of rice and veggies (superhuman, human). Some other nice touches: Kobe's shoes slithering like snakes; Kobe being the only player in focus in the court scenes; the footage of a 360-degree dunk from his high-school days; and the split-flap departure-board style on-screen copy at the end (which also seems random, but again, somehow works).

    The tagline is, "Count on Kobe," meaning both the player and his lightweight Kobe 8 System sneakers.

    Yes, it's Kobe Bryant's world—other players just live in it. That's been true on the court this season, despite the Lakers woes. And it's been true in advertising lately, too.

    CREDITS

    CLIENT: Nike
    Project: "Count on Kobe"

    AGENCY
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
    Copywriters: Edward Harrison, Brock Kirby
    Art Director: Sezay Altinok
    Producer: Chris Capretto
    Account Team: Jordan Muse, Rob Archibald
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman
    Agency Executive Producer: Ben Grylewicz

    PRODUCTION
    Production Company: Elastic
    Director: Angus Wall
    Executive Producers: Megan Meloth, Jennifer Sofio Hall
    Line Producer: Tom Meloth
    Director of Photography: Larry Fong

    EDITORIAL
    Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Angus Wall
    Post Producer: Cristina Matracia
    Post Executive Producer: CL Weaver

    VFX
    VFX Company: A52
    VFX Supervisor: Pat Murphy
    Flame Artist: Pat Murphy
    VFX Producer: Jamie McBriety
    Titles/Graphics: Elastic

    MUSIC + SOUND DESIGN
    Music+Sound Company: Search Party
    Composer: Philip Glass
    Sound Designer: Brian Emrich
    Song: Pruit Igoe
    Producer: Sara Matarazzo

    MIX
    Mix Company: Lime
    Mixer: Rohan Young
    Producer: Jessica Locke


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    The star of Taco Bell's upcoming Super Bowl spot certainly has "lived más"—for 87 years and counting.

    The fast-food chain on Friday released "Grandpa Goes Wild," a 54-second teaser for its big-game spot, introducing its main character, octogenarian Bernie Goldblatt, who appears as exceedingly young at heart as the company's burrito-eating clientele.

    Riding a souped-up motorized mobility scooter into an empty football stadium at night, Bernie grins at the possibilities—then proceeds to trash the place by doing donuts on the field and knocking over water coolers, yardage markers and a tackling dummy. Not since the old Six Flags spokesman Mr. Six has an elderly man (well, his stunt double) shown such verve in a commercial. And Taco Bell promises he's got "something even wilder up his old-man sleeve for Game Day."

    Indeed, the Goldblatt character will also be the star of "Viva Young," Taco Bell's 60-second Super Bowl spot, set to air during the third quarter of the Feb. 3 game. That spot will feature a reworked version of the fun. song "We Are Young," sung in Spanish.

    Deutsch/LA created both the teaser and the spot.

    "Our hope is that our consumers will see themselves in this ad," Brian Niccol, chief marketing and innovation officer at Taco Bell Corp., said of the Super Bowl spot.

    "They tell us that Taco Bell is about memories and experiences, and things they like to share with their friends. We believe that advertising on the world's biggest stage, the Super Bowl, was the ideal way to share these experiences with our fans, while also providing further context into the mind-set of Taco Bell and what it means to 'Live más.' "

    This will be Taco Bell's first Super Bowl commercial since 2010.

    UPDATE: Looks like Bernie's been tweeting since before Christmas.


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    A dog lover last year with its generally well-received "Mr. Quiggly" spot, Skechers is suddenly into cats for this year's Super Bowl.

    The spot, scheduled to air during the two-minute warning before halftime, will feature a man in Skechers GOrun 2 shoes chasing a cheetah, judging by this just-released teaser.

    Siltanen Partners created the spot and the teaser.

    Like the cheetah, which is the world's fastest land animal, Skechers GOrun 2 sneaker is lightweight, sleek and fast, the company said. This will be the second straight Super Bowl with a cheetah. One spot last year showed a cheetah (briefly) racing a Hyundai.

    Skechers's "Mr. Quiggly" spot in last year's game, which featured a French bulldog outrunning some greyhounds, finished at No. 3 on the USA Today Ad Meter.

    That was a marked improvement from the company's first two years on the game, when it aired underwhelming spots starring Joe Montana (2010) and Kim Kardashian (2011).


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  • 01/20/13--21:03: Agency of the Year: PHD
  • When PHD pitched Unilever’s media business last year in a highly competitive review, the agency’s worldwide chief Mike Cooper hoped his company would win a couple of the marketer’s big global brands.

    The Omnicom Media Group agency managed to surpass Cooper’s wildest dreams, landing 90 percent of Unilever’s plum global communications planning assignments for 16 megabrands and besting other shops including Initiative, MPG, Naked, VivaKi and incumbent Mindshare.

    If it was an unexpected prize to even those within the walls of PHD, it also was public validation of the agency’s founding philosophy in a year in which it proved a serious contender for mammoth global assignments. And PHD’s rivals might not have seen it coming. After all, PHD’s business model has always been driven more by planning than leveraging scale.

    “Accounts like Unilever are a big transformational milestone for PHD,” says Omnicom Media Group chief Daryl Simm. “Over time, PHD has been seen as our ‘other’ media company. No longer. It is one of our media networks.”

    Simm adds, “PHD has its roots in strategic thinking, planning and a deep understanding of brands as a starting point. They have a strong belief in the heavy lifting of media strategy and planning.”

    Case in point: The agency recently launched Source, a Web-hosted planning system that acts as a live collaboration tool for thousands of PHD employees using game mechanics. In development for nearly two years under the direction of Mark Holden, worldwide strategy and planning director, Source was a major factor in the win of Unilever’s global communications planning.

    “The appointment was the result of a very rigorous process in which we evaluated the full proposition that the agencies offered us, including tools, talent, innovation, structure and other aspects,” says Luis Di Como, Unilever svp, global media. “PHD’s full proposition was excellent, and we are looking forward to equally outstanding results.”

    If the Unilever assignment showed what PHD could do on a global stage, the agency’s regional operations performed in their own right, contributing to a 13 percent gain in global revenue to $775 million for 2012.

    In the U.S., the agency revamped its top ranks, tapping Monica Karo, former president of integrated accounts at corporate sibling OMD, as CEO. (OMD was Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year last year.) Steve Williams, CEO of OMD U.K., was named president of PHD, New York, while Craig Atkinson, president, chief digital officer of PHD U.S., added additional responsibility as COO. Since those changes were implemented last May, PHD’s U.S. operation has won each of its last five pitches, including The Economist, Swatch Group and Sleep Number.

    “For a number of reasons, PHD came out on top,” says Mike Bills, CMO at Select Comfort Corp., the manufacturer of Sleep Number beds. “There was Monica’s presence and participation along with some of her best and brightest on her senior team. There was the cohesiveness of their offer, how integrated it was. There was their strategy, their thoughtfulness and their understanding of our business. They came to the table with a deep understanding of who we were, what we did well and what was unique about our brand proposition.”

    In Europe, where the media business has struggled with stagnation or declines amid the Eurozone crisis, PHD last year enjoyed 33 percent growth, picking up global and regional assignments like Sony mobile, Bentley and Unilever. After a review, the agency retained its Cadbury business in the U.K. and Ireland even as Aegis won the bulk of parent Mondelez’s Western European business. PHD’s Asia Pacific region kicked off 2012 by winning the media assignment for ANZ Bank in Asia following a five-month pitch, and closed the year with 102 new assignments.

    In Latin America, the agency won dairy producer SanCor Bebé and spirits distributor Cepas, as well as Applebee’s in Puerto Rico. At Cannes, PHD’s Peru office took home a Gold Lion for its work on the Peruvian sports magazine El Bocón.

    Over the last year, PHD’s work has generated significant results for its clients across the globe. In Peru, the media are known for their sensationalist coverage of tragedies. So right after a violent event at a soccer game, PHD had El Bocón eliminate all coverage of soccer to drive home the message that violence could well make soccer disappear. It was an example of owned media generating national earned media through extensive coverage (or in this case, noncoverage). A whopping 150,000 copies of El Bocón sold out immediately.

    Meanwhile, for McCain Foods in the U.K., PHD had to convince Brits that a new frozen baked potato was as good as the real thing. The campaign last winter, which earned a Silver Lion at Cannes, used 3-D bus shelters where freezing commuters could warm their hands, catch a whiff of oven-baked spuds and get a coupon after the push of a button. Sales were 30 percent above forecast while McCain achieved an 8.5 percent share of market just eight weeks after launch.

    In another challenge, PHD won a Bronze Lion for Aquafresh’s new toothpaste for children. To launch the product, the agency introduced characters dubbed “the Nurdles,” who appeared on television every evening at 7:58 in a 90-second video airing in a kids program. Moms took to Facebook to chat about the product. The result: Aquafresh snagged a 5.2 percent share of the kids toothpaste market.

    PHD’s other Bronze Lion this past year was for Monteith’s, a New Zealand-based cider brand trying to break though an increasingly cluttered category. The company wanted to emphasize its use of fresh fruit as opposed to the concentrated syrup favored by its competitors. PHD had Monteith’s place twigs from apple trees into the packaging. Following subsequent buzz via TV, radio and social media, Monteith’s ran ads “apologizing” for twigs that had mysteriously found their way into the packaging. Following the campaign, 12-packs of Monteith’s sold out while the brand’s cider sales surged 32 percent.

    Cannes also proved to be an opportunity for PHD to showcase thought leadership. At a packed session at the festival, PHD unveiled Overthrow, a book it produced with Adam Morgan, founder of U.K. consultancy eatbigfish, detailing 10 case studies of challenger brands. Overthrow was as much a client manifesto as a positioning statement for PHD.

    “Our heritage goes back to 1999—we have always been a challenger brand,” says Cooper, the global CEO since ’07. “We launched as a strategic planning-led media agency when everyone else was talking about scale and buying—gorillas with calculators. Our different heritage and culture is very important, a major point of difference. If you don’t have that, you have to artificially create something.”

    That culture not only helps PHD win new accounts, it also enables the agency to retain business when there’s a changing of the guard at its clients. “One of the things that makes PHD special and great at what they do is they know that a big part of being a good agency is understanding the core values and goals of the company they work with,” says Pamela Levine, who joined HBO as head of marketing in October 2011, inheriting the relationship with PHD that stretched back to 2009.

    “Even before I came in from the film side, they had already done their homework on me, on all the campaigns I had done at 20th Century Fox films,” Levine adds. “They really know we want things that will have an impact and stand out, and find places where we can have a very strong presence.”

    Pictured above: Daryl Simm, Chairman and CEO, Omnicom Media Group; Monica Karo, CEO, PHD U.S.; Mike Cooper, CEO, PHD Worldwide; Mark Holden, Worldwide Strategy and Planning Director.


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    The biggest night in Gildan's marketing history will be a one-night stand—at least when it comes to the theme of its ad.

    The apparel marketer just released the teaser below for its debut Super Bowl spot, and it features a scruffy young man trying to make a graceful exit after waking up in a stranger's bedroom after a night of debauchery.

    The full spot won't be released until the game, but the company gave Adweek a synopsis. As the man make his getaway without waking up the girl, he realizes he's left behind his favorite T-shirt. He weighs the pros and cons of going back to get it. The spot ends with the line: "It's about time you had a favorite T-shirt."

    The ad is aimed at consumers 17-30. It was created by ad agency DeVito/Verdi, which is also making its Super Bowl debut.

    The Gildan brand is moving beyond tourist T-shirts and sweatshirts and into the consumer arena, with Gildan T-shirts, underwear and hoodies now being sold at retails chains including Kmart, Kohl's, Shopko, Target and Walmart.


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  • 01/22/13--02:37: The Spot: 'Mayhem' Forever
  • IDEA: Two and a half years after it was born, Allstate's "Mayhem" campaign is now going into labor. As mayhem personified, Dean Winters has played dozens of mischievous roles, representing unexpected dangers from which Allstate protects you. In this latest spot, he's a frantic woman about to give birth in a speeding car as her husband races to the hospital.

    Creative directors Britt Nolan and Mikal Pittman were thrilled when copywriter Brooke Anderson and art director Greg Nobles brought them the concept—and almost shocked they'd never considered it. "We're always looking for 'Mayhem' to embody the most true vulnerabilities in the world," said Nolan. "With this idea, I said, 'I don't even care what the script is like. We're doing that.' "

    COPYWRITING: Winters is in the car's backseat, legs in the air. "I'm having a contraction!" he screams—twice—at the husband, who is weaving through traffic. Then he says, calmly, to the camera: "We're in labor. The book says we should stay calm. But this is our first kid, and we've chosen to panic." "Gun it!" he shouts at the husband. To the camera, slyly: "For the baby." Husband barrels through an intersection, causing two other cars to collide. "Outta Mommy's way!" Winters shouts. Then, calm again: "So, get an Allstate agent and be better protected from mayhem like me." He then pops a water balloon—seems his water has broken.

    The script ended up getting pared back as the balloon visual precluded more dialogue. The spots often have a core laugh line—here, it's "Outta Mommy's way!" "We find ourselves falling in love with a repeatable line, but we avoid stating that as a formula," said Nolan. "When we brief it that way, it's limiting. Sometimes a great spot can be more visual."

    TALENT: Winters improvises during the shoots, but more with his physicality than his dialogue. "He's not ad-libbing in the moment, but he's definitely open to new lines being thrown at him. Or he might have an idea for something that's better than what we've written," Nolan said. A great physical comedian, Winters often throws in unexpected movements that give a spot the extra kick it needs.

    He also, crucially, plays funny and menacing equally well. "We wanted someone who wasn't going to read comedy at first glance, so people could get to know the campaign and maybe like it more the more they saw it, instead of being broad comedy that wears out and gets old," said Nolan. He's played a lot of bad-boy characters, like on Oz and Rescue Me. And he was so funny on 30 Rock. Nobody had used him in a role that combined the dry humor with the bad-boy thing. We brought him in for a read, and he was really dead on. And he's come to really take ownership of the character. At this point he's really in tune and cares a lot about what the character would and wouldn't do, how he would and wouldn't behave. "

    Wardrobe and makeup round him out. He has worn the same black suit in every spot, which is then accessorized. (In this one, he simply has a pillow with him.) He also always has little cuts and bruises—applied each time by the same makeup person. "We give him different types of contusions and abrasions, without going too far," said Pittman. "But you should write that we actually beat him up," said Nolan. "We kick his ass the night before."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Mike Maguire, new to the campaign, filmed "Labor" in a single day in Vancouver. (The agency has also shot in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Calgary, and has used two other directors, Phil Morrison and Romain Gavras. The campaign is up to about 45 spots in total now.) Visually, the goal is realism. "If we overdramatized the danger, it would feel like we're trying to scare people," said Pittman. "'Mayhem' is just trying to remind you of the realities."

    This extends to the color grade and effects. Everything should be as neutral and practical as possible to embody the honesty and trust that's so key in insurance ads.

    SOUND: The same brief music track closes out all the spots. More important is sound design, which often paces them. In that regard, the new spot is almost like labor itself, said Pittman. "It goes through some contractions, which then subside," he said. "There's moments of calm and moments of intensity. The sound design helps that."

    MEDIA: "Labor" broke on the Sugar Bowl and is running on national broadcast and cable, and online.

    THE SPOT:

    CREDITS:
    Client: Allstate
    Campaign: "Mayhem"
    Spot: "Labor"
    Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago
    CCO: Susan Credle
    ECD: Charley Wickman
    CDs: Britt Nolan, Mikal Pittman
    CW: Brooke Anderson
    AD: Greg Nobles
    Agency Producer: Bryan Litman
    Production Company: The Directors Bureau
    Director: Mike Maguire
    Editing Company: The Whitehouse
    Editor: Matthew Wood
    Sound Studio: Another Country
    Sound Designer: John Binder
    Visual Effects: Mass Market
    Colorist: Billy Gabor/Company 3
    Account: Jason Georgen

    The Burnett creatives pointed to two other Mayhem spots that are among their favorites: "Blind Spot" and "GPS." Those are two that we hold up as the standard of truth for this campaign—something anybody can relate to," said Nolan. Those spots are posted here:


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  • 01/22/13--04:02: Ad of the Day: Booking.com
  • A crappy hotel room will cast a pretty dark cloud over a vacation. Don't get a crappy hotel room.

    Priceline-owned accommodations site Booking.com is launching its first-ever TV campaign—a paean to the moment of relief, which can then manifest as elation, when a traveler opens his or her hotel-room door for the first time and realizes, after the long slog to get there, that it's totally posh and comfortable (rather than say, roadside-motel seedy with stains on the bedsheets). Created by Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, the campaign is titled "The Delight of Right"—meaning, the delight of getting the hotel room right—and will start out airing on cable and broadcast in the U.S.

    The company already has strong roots in Europe. It's booked more than a billion nights for guests since launching in 1996, lists some 265,000 properties worldwide, ranging from bed-and-breakfasts to treehouse hotels, and offers customer service in 41 languages. But it's looking to gain share in the U.S., where it's highly rated among consumers (per J.D. Power & Associates). U.S. workers' typical two-week vacation allotments, smaller than in other markets, raise the stakes further on getting the hotel choice right, Booking.com CMO Paul Hennessy said, leading the brand to focus its messaging on the site's ability to help users feel secure in their decision, aided by photos and reviews for each location.

    The spot itself, directed by Traktor, is nicely put together, and gets just far enough beyond cheesy to turn the corner into charmingly goofy. The decision to hammer viewers over the head with the brand name by using it as substitute adjective for a certain curse word should be a lot more annoying than it is—the fact that it's vaguely explicit makes it just self-deprecating enough to not be too abrasive. A lot hinges on the solid casting, too, in particular the exaggerated facial expressions—the extra-bored look on the teenage daughter's face as the family shuffles down the hallway; the eye-popping effect the giant lobster has on the guy who's ordered room service; the terror in the dweeb's face as he and his girlfriend wind through the jungle, some cousin to a velociraptor screeching in the background.

    Hopefully, for that couple, whatever that monster is, it's not aggro enough to join them in the bungalow.

    CREDITS
    Client: Booking.com
    CEO: Darren Houston
    CMO: Paul Hennessy
    Brand Director: Cort Cunningham

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Bernath & Eric Quennoy
    Creative Directors: Mark Bernath & Eric Quennoy
    Copywriters: Rick Chant, Zach Watkins
    Art Director: Barney Hobson
    Head of Broadcast: Erik Verheijen
    Agency Producer: Tony Stearns
    Planners: Martin Weigel, Richard Oldfield
    Group Account Director: Jordi Pont
    Account Manager: Bastien Laurent
    Project Manager: Jackie Barbour
    Business Affairs: Michael Graves, Emilie Douqué

    Media Buy: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

    Production Company: Traktor
    Director: Traktor
    Director of Photography: Stéphane Fontaine
    Head of Production: Rani Melendez
    Executive Producer: Richard Ulfvengren

    Editing Company: Final Cut London
    Editor: Edward Line
    Executive Producer: Michelle Corney

    Audio Post: Wave Amsterdam
    Sound Designer/Mixer: Alex Nicholls-Lee

    Music: Massive Music
    Artist / Title: Various tracks
    Music Company: Massive Music
    Music Producer: Mr. Tommy Zee

    Online/VFX: Glassworks Amsterdam
    Flame: Morten Vinther
    Executive Producer: Jane Bakx

    Telecine: Finish
    Colorist: Paul Harrison
    Executive Producer: Fi Kilroe


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    Time out, Guinness. While I come down on the side of liking the brewer's new cinematic, Peter Thwaites-directed "Clock" spot, I'm fearful that the brand's countdown to self-parody has begun. The gorgeously photographed black-and-white clip from London agency AMV BBDO is the latest entry in the "Made of more" campaign. It focuses on a tower clock that speeds up people's dull days, slows down precious moments so they can be savored, and reverses the temporal flow to avert disasters. "Clock" is extremely well made, and I can understand why it's gotten mainly positive reviews. It's gloriously high-concept, a world away from timeworn, by-the-numbers beer advertising. Even so, it feels a tad too similar to Guinness's "Cloud" spot from last year in theme and approach. In both, the central sentient object snuffs out a fire, and that particular good deed seems more appropriate for a cloud laden with rain than a clock. (At least this is a benevolent timepiece, not like those evil Diesel wristwatches giddily ticking down the seconds to their wearers' demise.) One worry is where Guinness goes from here. Do we get a wishing well that make everyone's dreams come true as it provides water to fight fires? Also, I dislike that the clock narrates its own story. It's a goofy idea to start with, and veers perilously close to spoofery with each heartfelt, over-annunciated line. The cloud had the good sense to keep its fluffy trap shut.


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    Advertising creatives are a generally evil bunch, so it's nice they now have a place to confess their sins: The Creative Confessional. Scroll through to read the various revelations of bad behavior—everything from typographical cheating to full-on homewrecking—and click under each entry to "Absolve" or "Condemn" the confessor. Spend a few hours on the site, and then, of course, bill the time to the client. Via Adrants.

    UPDATE: Freelance creatives David Ma and Nick Hugh Schmidt are the conniving brains behind the site.


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    Kate Upton is everywhere and nowhere for Mercedes-Benz as it prepares to air its 60-second Super Bowl spot on Feb. 3.

    The automaker on Saturday released its official 40-second teaser for the ad, with no sign of the swimsuit model at all—even though she will star in the finished spot, created by Merkley + Partners and director Dante Ariola.

    The teaser shows a mysterious wind blowing into an old New Orleans cafe, which causes a jukebox to fire up and begin playing "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones. A dog barks. The temperature rises. A cup of coffee boils. A busboy drops a stack of plates. And a Mercedes headlight flickers to life.

    "A powerful force is undeniably present. What it is won't be revealed until the Super Bowl," says the description on the YouTube spot.

    Apparently aware that the teaser campaign for a Super Bowl spot with Kate Upton should actually show Kate Upton, Mercedes released a second teaser on Monday titled "Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion."

    The title is misleading. Upton mostly stands by—in a small black tank top and jean shorts—while some guys in football jerseys wash the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA. This second teaser leads to Mercedes-Benz USA's CLA website, where the first teaser is prominent.

    The Super Bowl spot, shot partly at the Napoleon House in the French Quarter of New Orleans, is expected to air in the fourth quarter of the game.


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    Tide will take a surprisingly forgiving attitude toward stains—admitting, probably comically, that some are worth keeping—in its 2013 Super Bowl commercial from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.

    The Procter & Gamble laundry-detergent brand will not unveil the spot until the Feb. 3 telecast. But it is beginning to tease it—first with the mock infomercial below pitching "Tide Stain Savers," a fictitious product that helps you keep only the stains you want when doing your laundry. (For example, One guy keeps a stain that looks like the Eiffel Tower because he always wanted to go to France.)

    The teaser is now posted to all of Tide's online channels and will have a short run on the NFL Network.

    The finished spot will likewise feature a new stain worth saving, Tide tells Adweek. It will also feature, in some form, both teams that are playing in this year's Super Bowl, the 49ers and Ravens.

    In addition, the brand will run a social-media campaign on Facebook and Twitter called "Save it? Or wash it in Tide?" It will post images of stains and ask users to vote to keep or wash each one.

    Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, which is Tide's lead agency, created both the teaser campaign and the in-game ad—a :30 due to air during the third quarter.

    This is Tide's first Super Bowl spot in five years. Its previous ad, featuring a talking stain that distracted a boss during a job interview, was well received and made Adweek's list of the seven most underrated Super Bowl spots of the past seven years.

    Tide's 2013 Super Bowl teaser:

    Tide to Go's 2008 Super Bowl spot:


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    Drama is good for Super Bowl commercials. It's less good when you're shopping for a car.

    Cars.com is vowing to bring some extra drama to the Feb. 3 broadcast with its 30-second first-quarter commercial. The ad is the company's sixth straight Super Bowl spot, though its first from new lead agency mcgarrybowen in Chicago.

    The plot has not been revealed, although Cars.com has confirmed it will take place in a car dealership.

    Two teasers have been released. The first shows shoppers at a dealer saying how surprised they are that there wasn't more drama involved in shopping at Cars.com. The other (posted below) shows a mock focus group testing Cars.com advertising—a scene that suddenly becomes unexpectedly dramatic, much to the chagrin of the focus-group leader.

    The campaign, themed "Why drama?", will live online at cars.com/whydrama.

    "With a brand-new campaign, we wanted to build excitement for our ad and save its reveal for the Super Bowl," said Linda Bartman, Cars.com's chief marketing officer.

    "We have heard from car shoppers that buying a new car can be overwhelming, and sometimes even stressful, so our new campaign shows how dealers help car shoppers have a drama-free buying experience by using Cars.com. … As has been the case for the last five years, the Super Bowl remains the perfect place to tell our story to an unprecedented audience."

    Along with mcgarrybowen, other agencies on Cars.com's integrated team include Avenue (B2B), Edelman Digital (social), OMD (media buying), Optimum Sport (media buying), Prometheus (media buying) and Piston (digital).

    DDB Chicago was the previous lead creative agency on the account.


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    Quick-witted, energetic and amusingly excessive, Wieden + Kennedy's TV campaign for the Dodge Dart has quietly become one of the most entertaining on the air. Now, agency and client are bringing some of that fresh perspective to the social space with the Dodge Dart Registry, an online program that lets friends and family buy bits and pieces of the vehicle for you—much like a wedding registry allows them to buy you housewares.

    It works like this: You sign up for the program, configure and customize a Dodge Dart (choosing from 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim options, three fuel-efficient engines, three transmission choices, safety features, aerodynamics, etc.), and set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise to fund it. The site then itemizes components of the car—like a steering wheel, shifter, seat or engine—and allows friends, family or anyone to sponsor the parts. Once registered, you can connect to Facebook and Twitter and spread the word about your registry, and thank people who have bought items off it (all the while communicating and sharing features of the vehicle through social channels).

    "The registry is designed to make the process of configuring and buying a new Dart more social than ever, in a way that has never been done before," says Oliver Francois, chief marketing officer at Chrysler Group LLC. "Now, 'New Rules' transcends not only how we design, build and market a car, but redefines how consumers can purchase a new vehicle by mobilizing friends and family to help."

    The registry is powered by RocketHub, a crowdfunding platform. It's being promoted with a new 30-second TV commercials, titled "How to Change Buying Cars Forever" (below), which broke this weekend during the NFL's NFC Championship Game. It might not actually change car buying forever, but it's a welcome experiment that adds to the Dart's growing reputation as one of the most nimble and fun auto brands on the market.

    Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Dodge
    Project: Dodge Dart Registry

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman
    Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Joe Staples, Michael Tabtabai
    Copywriter: Derek Szynal
    Art Director: Gianmaria Schonlieb
    Agency Executive Producer: Ben Grylewicz
    Executive Producer: Corey Bartha
    Broadcast Producer: Jennifer Hundis
    Director of Business Affairs: Amber Lavender
    Business Affairs: Connery Obeng
    Project Management: Tamar Berk
    Account Management: Thomas Harvey, Account Director; Lani Reichenbach, Management Supervisor; Kyleen Caley, Account Supervisor
    Planning Director: Amber Higgins
    Senior Interactive Strategist: Zack Jerome
    Director of Digital Production: Pierre Wendling
    Executive Interactive Producer: Patrick Marzullo
    Creative Technologist: Nilesh Ashra
    Head of Motion: Michael Gersten
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Adam Nikolaidis
    Motion Designers: David Mellor, Albert Yih
    3-D Designer: Greg Radich
    Studio Artists: Curtis Pachunka, Hillary Carey

    Digital Production Company: Ignition Interactive
    Executive Creative Director: Chris Eyerman
    Senior Producer: James DeMello
    Senior Developer: David Benjamin
    Technical Director: Matthew Goshman
    Developer: Jason Hughes
    Designers: Dru Bramlett, Andy Burdin
    Web Copywriter: Spencer Donald

    Development Partner Company: Rocket Hub
    Executive Director: Alon Hillel-Tuch
    Technology Director: Vlad Vukicevic
    Lead Developer: Tom Davies
    Developer: Andrew Harricharan

    Editorial Company: Joint Editorial
    Editor: Nicholas David
    Post Producer: Yamaris Leon

    Visual Effects Company: Wieden + Kennedy

    Sound Designer: Charlie Keating

    Mix Company: Joint Editorial


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    Amy Poehler is landing all the prime gigs this winter.

    The Parks and Recreation star, who co-hosted the Golden Globe Awards with Tina Fey earlier this month, will star in Best Buy's Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 3, the company said Wednesday.

    The 30-second spot, from ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was filmed in Los Angeles recently by Bryan Buckley (at center in the photo below)—one of the most seasoned Super Bowl directors and an Academy Award nominee this year for his short film Asad.

    The spot will air in the first quarter of the game. No details of the plot were revealed.

    "Amy Poehler's Golden Globe performance left us all wanting to see more of her," said Scott Durchslag, senior vice president of digital and marketing for Best Buy and president of BestBuy.com and e-commerce. "We are thrilled to feature her in our commercial this year and bring the public another dose of her unparalleled humor. We know people have high expectations for these ads, and Amy delivers a whole new dimension of entertainment."

    This will be the retailer's third consecutive Super Bowl commercial. Its 2011 spot starred Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. Its 2012 spot celebrated tech innovators and starred Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, camera phone creator Philippe Kahn, Words With Friends creators Paul and David Bettner, and others.

    See both of those spots below.

    Best Buy's 2012 Super Bowl spot:

    Best Buy's 2011 Super Bowl spot:


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    Netflix is subtly seeding some sly marketing on its website to promote the 14 new episodes of Arrested Development it produced. For example, if you search for "blue" on Netflix, you'll see subtle blue handprints on the screen—a reference to an episode from the second season. (Clicking on them takes you to the Arrested Development page.) Also, Netflix has added a handful of fake streaming titles to the site—my favorite of which is Families With Low Self Esteem—that claim some connection to the show. It's not a hard sell, but the program's demographic wouldn't respond well to that anyway. Season 4 of Arrested Development comes to Netflix in May.


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    The Harbaugh brothers may not have seen it coming, but Visa did. Back in the fall, the company broke two ads from TBWA\Chiat\Day advertising its Visa NFL Fan Offers program. The focus of those ads? The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

    It's a nice bit of good fortune for a brand whose Super Bowl campaign stumbled just a tad two years ago, when one of the four men lauded in Visa ads for never having missed a Super Bowl ended up missing it due to illness.


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    Audi is letting viewers choose its Super Bowl ad this year—or rather, the ending of it.

    Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco has created three different endings to a 60-second spot about a teenage boy on prom night. This Friday, from midnight to midnight ET, viewers will get to see all three versions and vote for their favorite.

    The winning spot will then run on YouTube before the game and air in the first break after kickoff. It will advertise the automaker's new 2013 Audi S6 performance sedan.

    VB&P created a vampire-themed Audi spot for last year's game, in which the S7's LED headlights proved to be a real downer for bloodsuckers at a party. See that spot below.

    Audi's 2012 Super Bowl spot:


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  • 01/23/13--11:25: Ad of the Day: Manwich
  • These are very, very simple 15-second Manwich ads, but DDB West shot them like a boss. The casting and direction (by Lena Beug of Moxie Pictures) are truly incredible, and it doesn't hurt anything that Ron Swanson himself (fine, his name is Nick Offerman) narrates them.* "Who is manlier?" I ask you. No one. That is who.

    Part of what makes these so good is that they have an odd spirit-of-the-1980s thing going on, even though they're about current video games and texting and so forth. The gaming spot, in fact, in which the kids appear to be holding something that looks like an Xbox controller, includes no less a personage than the stately lava lamp (which, by the way, will set the house on fire shortly after the spot ends, so eat your sandwiches quick, kids!).

    The texting ad features what appears to be a baking-soda volcano. I don't have kids myself, but haven't those gone the way of the dodo and the coat-hanger solar system?

    The tagline is: "Hold on. It's Manwich."

    It's the simultaneous appeals to nostalgia and contemporary life that make these spots good. And honestly, that's how you have to sell a product like Manwich. It's been around since 1969, and it's one of the ConAgra foods that's culturally homeless. ConAgra is a company, after all, that sells no fewer than three different kinds of candied popcorn: Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock and Crunch 'n' Munch. (Why does it not also own Cracker Jack? Would that comprise an unlawful trust?)

    So, now there's clearly a target Manwich consumer, just like there's a target Slim Jim consumer. (He watches UFC and doesn't put down his video-game controller for anything, not even a Manwich.) These little 15-second slices of the Manwich eater's anachronistic life are, like the Manwich itself, surprisingly filling.

    *Note: The agency would not confirm it is Offerman doing the voiceovers, though it certainly sounds like him.

    CREDITS
    Client: Manwich (ConAgra Foods)
    Advertising Senior Vice President, ConAgra Foods: Dave Linne
    Agency: DDB West, San Francisco
    Chief Creative Officer: Lisa Bennett
    Director of Content Production: Frank Brooks
    Senior Producer: Rob Lee
    Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Travis Parr
    Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Nikki Baker
    Group Account Director: Kristin Barbour
    Account Supervisor: Annalisa Dreese
    Director: Lena Beug
    Production Company: Moxie Pictures
    Producer: Karol Zeno


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