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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Absolut Vodka's #AbsolutNights campaign centers on archetypes that don't get much attention in traditional advertising—including a widow, a woman attracted to other women and now a transgender person.

    The newest ad in the series, titled "Darla," features a guy at a music festival who runs into an old friend, who's gone through gender reassignment and renamed herself. As they run the gauntlet of cool music festival stuff, Darla explains her experience in a teachable moment that honors the campaign's tagline, "When was the last time you were true to yourself? Sometimes being open to new possibilities is all it takes." 

    Reaction to this ad has been mixed, to say the least. The most mature response came from Unicorn Booty, whose editor-in-chief both slagged the ad for being a "typical cisgender redemption story," which it totally is, and cautiously applauded it for being "one of the few [ads] from a major company that even acknowledges trans existence." 

    Unicorn Booty's response is a fair one, we think. Considering who Absolut's preferred demographics are, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the ad's protagonist is a cisgender guy who's cool enough to accept his trans friend. But now that we know brands are open to speaking to the trans community in a way that isn't crass or insulting, we should definitely ask more of them. 

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    If you were on the fence about whether to become a pro surfer this summer, Coors Light is out with a new campaign that might make you wonder why you ever hesitated.

    The ads, created by 72andSunny, combine a couple of themes that are currently popular among marketers—appealing directly to millennials' perceived appetite for adventure, and the use of 360° video.

    In the first ad, pop on a virtual reality headset (or just spin around with your cursor on the video's desktop version) for a stunning view of the ocean, shot at surfing hot spot Ship Stern Bluff in Tasmania, Australia, from the perspective of a dude or dudette catching a huge wave. Twist the camera to see the water towering above—imposing enough to be thrilling, beautiful enough to put a smile on your face.

    Naturally, there's a cold beer waiting for you onshore.

    "Every climb deserves a refreshing finish," reads the copy. "We all have mountains to climb; what's yours?" This is welcome clarification for a mixed-sporting metaphor that would've felt wonky if the footage weren't so charming. 

    It's masterfully paced, with a slow crescendo in both the visuals and the soundtrack, building to a clear, splashy high point and making otherwise boring sports footage come across as surprisingly satisfying. 

    Two more clips—one for whitewater kayaking, shot at Behana Gorge in Wooroonoran National Park in Queensland; the other for downhill biking in nearby Cairns—offer similarly fun rides, though the cycling spot is probably the weakest of the three (a precipitous drop in the kayaking clip, meanwhile, is simply too good). 

    The campaign genuinely capitalizes on the 360° perespective. Many of the moments are exciting from any direction, making this a far better application of the technology than, say, inviting viewers to turn and face a Holiday Inn shower head just to avoid looking at Rob Riggle yammering in a yellow raincoat.

    Other marketers have illustrated how VR footage can be useful for populations that can't be where they want to, for reasons ranging from illness or work obligations. But Coors Light's treatment captures how, for a broader audience, the technology can be a window into new experiences.

    Whether that's enough to sell more seltzer beer to twentysomethings isn't clear, but there are worse ways for a brand to package its lifestyle. And while spurring adventure might be its purported goal, the approach also promises that, soon enough, nobody will ever have to go anywhere or do anything for kicks. 

    Popping on a VR headset is way easier—and much dryer—than actually learning to ride waves.


    Client: Coors Light
    Chief Executive Officer: Gavin Hattersley
    Chief Marketing Officer: David Kroll
    Senior Director Marketing: Elina Vives
    Director of Marketing: Ryan Marek and Brendan Noonan
    Associate Marketing Manager: Jen Naye Herrmann

    Agency: 72andSunny
    Chief Executive Officer, Founder: John Boiler
    Chief Creative Officer, Co-Founder: Glenn Cole
    Executive Creative Director, Partner: Bryan Rowles
    Executive Creative Director, Partner: Jason Norcross
    Creative Director: Jed Cohen
    Creative Director: Galen Graham
    Lead Designer: Anthony Alvarez
    Sr. Writer: Alberto Garcia Orte
    Jr. Designer: Chris Ruh
    Jr. Writer: Matt Fink
    Executive Film Producer: Jim Haight
    Sr. Film Producer: Perrin Rausch
    Jr. Film Producer: Jamie Glass
    Group Brand Director: James Stephens
    Brand Director: Andrew Krensky
    Brand Coordinator: Anthony Fernandez
    Business Affairs Director: Christina Rust
    Jr. Business Affairs Manager: Noah Winter
    Group Strategy Director: Matt Johnson
    Strategist: Eddie Moraga

    Production: Unit 9
    Executive Producer Unit 9: Luca Delaurentiis

    Production/Editorial/Visual Effects: Rapid VR
    Director: Dave Klaiber
    Executive Producer: Susannah Dilallo
    Producer: Rita Gagliardi
    VR Technician: Dan White
    VR Assistant: Bek Hawkey

    Music: South Music
    Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
    Head of Production, Partner: Dan Pritikin

    0 0

    As if self-checkout and bagging our own groceries at the supermarket weren't humiliating enough, now we're expected to harvest our own vegetables in the produce section! 

    Supermarket chain Zona Sul recently transformed shelves at its Rio de Janeiro-based flagship store into vegetable gardens, encouraging customers to dig into the soil to pick lettuce, basil, peppers and scallions. 

    "We mainly wanted to reach Zona Sul customers who shop for vegetables in other locations, such as street markets or vegetable-specific stores," Fábio Onofre, creative director at agency WMcCann Rio, tells AdFreak. "Those are the customers that still think they can find fresher food elsewhere. This way, we could truly show them that at Zona Sul, everything is really, really fresh."

    At first, some shoppers were unsure how to react, "thinking it was just a special display that shouldn't be touched, but they eventually came around and picked what they wanted," Onofre says. 

    Leveraging word of mouth and free media, the stunt, which took place in April, helped the store in Rio's Barra da Tijuca neighborhood enjoy a 30 percent uptick in customer preference—and a nearly 20 percent surge in vegetable sales in recent weeks. Now there are plans to expand the concept to other locations. 

    "There was this senior lady who enjoyed it very much and said it reminded her of when she was young and had her own veggie garden before moving to the city," Onofre says. "Nowadays, it's harder and harder for people to have that experience, so it was great seeing people getting their food straight from the earth for the first time."

    Fair enough. But if they ever make us fish in wading pools or slaughter cows in the aisles, it's time to head for Whole Foods.


    Client: Zona Sul
    Agency: WMcCann
    CCO: Washington Olivetto
    Creative VP: Guime Davidson
    Creative Director: Fábio Onofre, Nicolás Romanó
    Creatives: Gabriel Gil, Bruno Mukai
    Account service: Gabriela Arroyo, Suzana Machado, Isabela Fogaça and Gustavo Tupinambá
    Production VP: Marcelo Hack
    Graphic Production: Reginaldo Barbosa
    Designer: Bruno Mukai
    Project Manager: Karina Rios
    Client approval: Alexandre Alves

    0 0

    Jonathan Goldsmith's Most Interesting Man in the World might have said adios (and flown off to Mars), but Dos Equis is hardly finished with its "Most Interesting" theme.

    The Heineken brand just released two new ads, starring sportscaster Erin Andrews and actor Luis Guzmán, who are not the most interesting people in the world—but rather, the 5,008th and 8,507th most interesting, at least according to the comic spots. 

    The 15-second ads, by Havas Worldwide New York, point to DosEquis.com, which in turn points to the "Dos Equis Interesting Index," an algorithm built for Facebook that lets fans gauge their own interestingness, based on their social posts.

    As part of the summer campaign, and in preparation for the brand's 120th anniversary, Dos Equis has also refreshed its logo and packaging, prominently featuring a coin evoking the Centenario, a Mexican coin first minted in 1921 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mexico's independence.

    And yes, it seems we will eventually meet Goldsmith's replacement, as the new ads "build toward the announcement of Dos Equis' next "Most Interesting Man in the World," according to the brand. 

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    At first blush, wooden planks might not seem like the most exciting of topics. But a new campaign for Humboldt Redwood manages to make them surprisingly fun. 

    Agency barrettSF created four 30-second TV commercials for the California-based company. Each stars Timothy McTimber, a talking redwood puppet. (His middle name is Sempervirens, after the tree from which he's made.) 

    His ventriloquist is a builder. Together, they admire the various redwood features of a home—a wall, a deck, a post and a beam. 

    The wood is gorgeous, but it's McTimber's goofy musings that make the spots work. In his debut spot, he argues that, before TV, house dwellers were simply left to stare at their walls. (Why he seems to think this is no longer a satisfying way for us to pass the time isn't clear.) Our ancestors, he goes on, would be impressed by the quality of these particular walls, which seems like a fair assumption (though it's safe to say they'd be way more impressed by virtual reality).

    The second ad, focused quite literally on flooring, is perhaps the best, adding—spoiler alert—a dachshund to the mix for further comic effect, which is rarely a poor choice.

    The deadpan gag continues in similar fashion through the remaining ads. The sarcastically defiant naming convention—"Just a Wall," "Just a Deck," "Just a Post," "Just a Beam"—also serves as an effective foil for messages meant to articulate exactly the opposite, a kind of bait-and-switch that's easily forgiven in exchange for ha-ha's. 

    Here, you'll see a post wearing a tuxedo, which gives McTimber amusing anxiety:

    And here, as his master admires a beautiful beam, we witness more of McTimber's neurosis:

    The voice actor, comedian Ross Brockley, gets outsize credit for his on-point delivery. It's not his first work for Humboldt Redwood—barrettSF brought him back after he voiced a more straightforward spot (about—surprise!—decks) for the brand in 2013. But in the new ads, he nails the oddball persona to match the puppet's Snidely Whiplash mustache and googly eyes. 

    Aimed at homeowners and their contractors, the spots will run on cable. The tagline, "Real. Strong. Redwood," reinforces the product benefits, complementing a character who keeps the message from being entirely forgettable. 

    It only makes sense that the spokesperson for a redwood company would be a talking plank, and boring in the best way possible.


    Agency: barrettSF
    ECD: Jamie Barrett
    ECD: Pete Harvey
    Copywriter: Peter Henningsen
    Art Director: Byron Wages
    Managing Director: Patrick Kelly
    Account Supervisor: Michael Reardon
    Executive Producer: Frank Brooks
    Associate Producer: Charlotte Dugoni

    Client: Humboldt Redwood
    Director, Marketing: Jessica Hewitt
    Marketing Associate: Jessica Chandler
    Marketing Associate: Amber Lucas

    Production Company: MJZ
    President: David Zander
    Director: Mike Maguire
    Sr. Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins
    Line Producer: Tracy Broaddus
    DP: Barry Peterson
    Production Designer: Michael Broaddus

    Editorial: Arcade
    Editor: Sean Lagrange
    Assistant Editor: Brian Meagher

    Music: Tone Farmer

    Audio Mix: One Union Recording
    Engineer: Eben

    0 0

    From price gouging to tax evasion, the pharmaceutical industry has made some pretty hefty missteps in recent history. With that in mind, drug maker Pfizer has set out to repair its sector's crumbling reputation.

    The spot, "Before it Became a Medicine," opens on a young father popping a pill in his bathroom, then takes the viewer on the drug's lengthy journey from a scientist's idea to prescription. Along the way, we witness eureka moments, trials, failures, success, and ultimately, a fabled cure. 

    The 60-second spot—from agency HealthWork (a joint venture between Omnicom's BBDO New York and CDM)—follows bad press for Pfizer and the pharma industry as a whole. But in a space where commercials are usually sterile, it's surprisingly thoughtful and inspiring. 

    "Before it Became a Medicine" is part of a broader initiative called "Driven to Discover the Cure." "We are taking the opportunity to tell our story of how we bring new therapies to patients and our drive to develop the cures that people and their families need," a Pfizer rep tells AdFreak. "Our hope is that if more people understand what it takes to bring a new medicine to patients, that together we can create a better environment for discovering treatments today and in the future." 

    Five Pfizer scientists are featured in the TV ad—all cancer and vaccine researchers. In addition, Pfizer's stories of discovery includes a mini documentary about Bob Abraham, group lead of the Oncology-Rinat R&D at Pfizer, and Matt Hiznay, a lung cancer patient. See that spot below, and more about the campaign at Pfizer.com/discover.

    Additionally, it's been a scant week and a half since the popular publication (and ongoing art project) Humans of New York raised an impressive $3.8 million for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The photo series was a poignant reminder that science, and the resources that fund it, saves lives. In its own way, Pfizer underlines the same point here.

    0 0

    State Farm is still there ... but it's no longer simply "like a good neighbor." 

    In a new campaign by longtime lead creative agency DDB Chicago, the insurance giant debuts a new pitch and a new brand platform: "Here to help life go right." Late last year the company sought a new creative direction, launching a review in which DDB successfully defended the business. 

    The classic tagline, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there," which debuted more than 40 years ago, "always will be part of the State Farm DNA," the brand says. But while that line focuses on how State Farm can help when things go wrong, the new work is meant to highlight the ways State Farm can make things go right. 

    The launch spot, which will break Thursday night during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, is very different from past campaigns starring The Coneheads, the iconic Jake from State Farm and a series of emojis. Visually it's much more cinematic than typical State Farm ads, and it focuses on real-life situations in which insurance coverage can play a crucial role.

    The ad reminds viewers that State Farm does more than help people recover from events beyond their control. " 'Here to help life go right' is centered on the idea that as good neighbors, State Farm is also here to help people live and plan for the lives they've envisioned—whether it's helping to fund a college education or build for retirement," the brand says. 

    Even in an ideal world, the copy implies, State Farm would remain an essential partner.

    "Being a good neighbor is about being 'here' in all of life's moments," said the company's chief agency, sales and marketing officer Rand Harbert. "Technology has had a dramatic impact on the way customers interact with businesses, but it can't replace the value of human connections. Relationships are more important now than ever." 

    The campaign was led by DDB Chicago, which collaborated with "a variety of supporting agencies." State Farm's creative roster also currently includes FCB, Alma, InterTrend, OMD, MCM, The Marketing Arm and Translation. Its in-house creative department also worked on the campaign.

    The theme of strengthening communities through personal connections with State Farm agents will continue in future chapters of this campaign, which will be featured prominently throughout the NBA Finals. (State Farm is an official partner of the NBA.)

    0 0

    Boy, Elizabeth Banks can sure get inside your head.

    The actress returns for a self-consciously wacky house party in Pereira & O'Dell New York's latest work for Realtor.com. In new ads, she invades the homeowner fantasies of prospective buyers, to tout the client's site. 

    Tagged "Dream home. Find home. Own home," the new work is much sillier than last year's "Real Estate in Real Time" push, which also starred Banks, and was created by the same client-agency team.

    One spot takes place in a "Dream Bathroom," with Banks popping in for a chat with a hairy dude who plays paddleball while a floating razor gives him a shave: 

    "Not only is dreaming about your next home a good thing—being able to find that dream bathroom or dream closet in a home for sale is a reality with Realtor.com," Andrew Strickman, head of brand and creative at the company, tells AdFreak. "Every spot we shot focuses on that core message and that core benefit."

    Next, Banks takes her schtick outside, for a commercial on a guy's "Dream Deck," where snacks, beers and puppies rain down from fluffy clouds: 

    We wonder what Freud would make of these dreams? Well, sometimes a deck is just a deck.

    Strickman says the ridiculous tone of the latest spots was designed to reach a broad audience. "The home search process can begin in your early 20s, and certainly last well into your later years," he says. "Thankfully, Elizabeth appeals to millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. She's a smart, hilarious everywoman whom people immediately relate to." 

    Upcoming digital components include an eight-episode faux talk show with Banks interviewing assorted "dream pals" from her own dreams, a series of vignettes for Instagram and Facebook, and a "Home-blebrag Video Generator." These elements target millennials, "who make up the largest proportion of first-time homebuyers and need the most information as they begin their search," Strickman says. 

    That content drops soon, and you can preview more Banksian footage in the behind-the-scenes clip below, which includes scenes of a T-Rex riding a treadmill (that's why dinosaurs went extinct, by the way) and a human-size fork (with eyeballs, naturally): 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    There's also a Q&A with Banks here: 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    "Wanting to find and live in the home of your dreams is a universal truth," says Dave Arnold, executive creative director at Pereira & O'Dell. "We were given a lot of creative freedom to bring the work to life." 

    Realtor.com's competitors have been busy bringing their campaigns to life as well, with recent efforts running the conceptual gamut from Zillow's emotional reflections on the meaning of home to the National Association of Realtors' breezy tie-in with Modern Family's Realtor dad, Phil Dunphy (actor Ty Burrell).

    "Our research has shown that even with the crowded category, our message and our brand have been able to rise above, in part because of this humor"—first employed, with far greater restraint, in the brand's previous ads with Banks, Strickman says. 

    Indeed, the actress' charm and star power, channeled here in expert fashion by Dummy Films director Harold Einstein, could help Realtor.com's kooky campaign stand out from the crowd.

    That said, the two spots released so far feel like a crowded house, crammed with visual jokes, repartee and brand messaging. It's tough to take it all in on first viewing, or even fully figure out what's going on. 

    Still, we prefer Banks' dreamy pitch to the laser-shooting-eyeball approach of Vancouver real-estate agent Patricia Houlihan. Now that's the stuff of nightmares.


    Company: Realtor.com
    Head of Brand and Chief Creative: Andrew Strickman
    Director of Brand Marketing: Roop Ghangas

    Agency: Pereira & O'Dell, N.Y.
    Executive Creative Director: Dave Arnold
    Creative Director: Jake Dubs
    Creative Director: Sara Worthington
    Copywriter: Michelle Lamont
    Art Director: Alex Parodi

    Head of Content Production, New York: Tennille Teague
    Producer: Gabriela Tamariz

    Managing Director: Cory Berger
    Account Director: Annika Roden
    Senior Account Executive: Rosie Boskett
    Account Coordinator: Riley Alexander

    Brand Strategy Director: R.G. Logan
    Associate Communications Strategy Director: Ashley Wells
    Senior Strategist: Justine Sarfan
    Senior Communications Strategist: Charley Cobbins
    Senior Communications Strategist: Breanne Brock

    Business Affairs
    Business Affairs Director: Russ Nadler

    Company: Dummy Films
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney

    Company: Arcade
    Editor: Jeff Feruzzo
    Editor: Dave Anderson
    Editor: Ali Mao
    Assistant Editor: Laurel Smoliar
    Post Producer: Gavin Carroll
    Exec Producer: Sila Soyer

    Color & VFX

    Company: The Mill
    Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl
    Producer: Veronica Ware

    Coordinator: Carlos Zalapa
    Coordinator: Samantha Hernandez

    Creative Director: Corey Brown
    Creative Director: John Leonti

    2D Lead: Tara Demarco
    2D Lead: Tim Rudgard
    2D Lead: Keith Sullivan

    2D: Jeff Langlois
    2D: Kelsey Napier
    2D: Tom Van Dop
    2D: Tim Crabtree
    2D: Heather Kennedy

    3D: Erik Zimmerman
    3D: Christina Ku
    3D:Mike Garcia

    Design: Clare Carrella

    Company: Heard City
    Engineer: Phil Loeb
    Engineer: Dan Flosdorf

    Music Company: Search Party Music
    Producer: Meghan Currier
    Executive Producer: Winslow Bright
    Performed By: Chris James 

    0 0

    The past couple of years have given us numerous disruptive examples of advertising in the feminine care space, including comical ones from HelloFlo and the award-winning inspirational video from Always. Bodyform joins the fray with its latest spot, and it's pretty badass.

    The brand, which sells pads in all shapes and sizes, approaches the theme of "Blood" in an unexpected way—showcasing a veritable army of women pushing past their physical limits in activities like boxing, ballet, swimming, surfing and soccer, powering through their own bruises and bloody knuckles. 

    It's accompanied by quick cuts, a powerful soundtrack, and the copy, "No blood should hold us back."

    Created by London agency AMV BBDO, this is a great, unexpected and galvanizing piece of work, light years away from the classic "women prancing on the beach" ads for which this sector—so precious it won't even illustrate the actual color of blood (maybe for good reasons)—is known. 

    The spot launches as part of Bodyform's Rev.Fit campaign, a partnership between the brand and U.K.-based universities to broaden education about menstruation and its effect on women's bodies. 

    Client: Bodyform
    Agency: AMV BBDO, London
    Creative Directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
    Copywriter: Caio Giannella
    Art Director: Diego de Oliveira
    Agency Planner: Sophie Lewis, Pippa Morris
    Agency Account Man: Sarah Douglas, Tamara Klemich, Anna Holloway, Bogi Horvath
    Agency Producer: Edwina Dennison
    Art Producer: Kirstie Johnstone
    Partnerships Director: Matthew Harrington
    AMV Pulse: Bill Dunn, Gerard Crichlow
    Media Agency: ZenithOptimedia
    Production Company: Stink
    Director: Jones + Tino
    Post-production Company: MPC
    Photography: Adam Hinton

    0 0

    If you believe nothing is good enough to give Dad on Father's Day, Century 21 has the perfect gift idea for you: Why not give the big guy a parcel of land in Nothing, Ariz.?

    After all, he's got plenty of sweaters, ties and cologne already. And when you ask Dad what he wants for his big day, the dude always makes with the awe-shucks routine and mumbles, "Nothing." So getting stuck with a piece of bone-dry, ghost-town real estate in a sweltering desert, 120 miles from Phoenix, would serve him right! 

    MullenLowe created the cute campaign, explained in the sand-choked video below:

    Sure, it's a bit of a fixer-upper, but those tumbleweeds and cattle skulls are retro-Western chic, and the buzzards keep the place clean, we'd imagine. (Hey, it's less threatening than Walter White's house, people!)

    Certificates for plots in Nothing, Ariz., are valid for only 24 hours—so if Dad doesn't like his gift, he won't have to go through the trouble of taking it back. (While visiting the site, you can even go the Harvey Nichols route and pick up a little Nothing for yourself.)

    Best of all, sending Dad a deed is easy—and it's free! That's right, you won't have to pay something for Nothing—which leaves more cash in your pocket for therapy to work on those daddy issues.

    0 0

    In eyebrow-raising Twitter fodder this week, the French former professional soccer player and coach Raymond Domenech tweeted, "#JeNeSupportePasLesBleus," which translates to "I can't stand the Blues."

    This was weird—especially in advance of the Euro 2016 event, which France is hosting this year. "The Blues" is a nickname for French national sports teams (because, you know, of the blue uniforms). But it refers most often to the national soccer team ... which Domenech used to coach. 

    Later the same day, Buzzman CEO Georges Mohammed-Chérif shared the same sentiments on his Facebook page: 

    OK: A polarizing hashtag proclamation from Domenech, then a super-stylized portrait from a guerrilla agency head? Something else is going on here. 

    A campaign video, diffused soon after this sly social push, elaborates. Domenech appears in the first scene, vehemently saying, "I have never supported the Blues." Other well-known French faces follow, including rapper Oxmo Puccino, soccer player Frank Leboeuf and journalist Laurence Ferrari, their disdain for the "blues" melting into an intolerant din. 

    As the video progresses, it becomes clear that the blues they're referring to have nothing to do with soccer.

    Les Bleus isn't just a sports reference; it's also the term for bruises. Created for the nonprofit group Elle's Imagine'nt, this is actually an awareness push for a disturbing statistic: Over the course of the Euro 2016, 10 women in France will likely die as the result of domestic violence. 

    This statistic stems from a European Counsel study that found that, every two days in France, a woman dies under the fists of a partner (who is a man in 98 percent of cases, per the European Commission). The study adds, "Domestic violence is the principal cause of death and disability for women between 16 and 44 years old—before cancer, car accidents and war." 

    That's an ugly fact, uglier still because it isn't often reported, nor is it something we can visibly see—and yet, for the figures to be so significant, its victims or perpetrators must often brush by us, entirely unremarked upon, in the streets or in common company. 

    While the work here is female focused, Elle's Imagine'nt also provides stats on domestic violence (both psychological and physical) toward men: In 2008, about 110,000 victims were male, per the National Observatory of Delinquency. 27 were killed as a result (fewer, but no less significant, than the 157 women killed that year), and only 5 percent of affected men file complaints. 

    Elle's Imagine'nt acts as a place of shelter, psychological support and legal, administrative and social aid for women experiencing domestic abuse. In the case of "Je Ne Supporte Pas Les Bleus," created by Buzzman (natch!), it hopes to raise both awareness and funds to help rebuild broken lives: The video concludes, "You, too, can challenge domestic violence." 

    We're often asked for our money, but the world is filled with more causes than we can see to. What wins our support is what seizes our surprise—and snags our emotions—long enough for us to act. The approach here, timed in advance of Euro 2016, does this quite nicely, and also targets patriotic sports fans—a broad group that may not often be addressed by the typical domestic violence fare.

    It's an unpleasant, but not unwelcome reminder that even during a period of unifying sports jubilee, balls aren't the only things likely to get kicked around this month.

    0 0

    Here's a nifty bit of tech-fueled out-of-home advertising from Snickers and BBDO New York, extending the candy bar's Marilyn Monroe-themed Super Bowl campaign.

    In April, the agency set up a digital board in New York City showing the famed actress with her skirt blowing over a subway grate—a reference to the famous scene from 1955's The Seven Year Itch, which was also the theme of the brand's Super Bowl spot in February.

    But this billboard also had a sneaky facial recognition camera to gauge the reaction from passersby. And we all know it's rude to stare, right? Check out the video to see what happened when folks lingered a bit too long:

    It's a fun interactive execution, even if, conceptually, it's a bit at odds with what the whole "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign is about. (Here, Marilyn gets grumpy at being gawked at, not because she's hungry.)

    It's timely, too. Monroe, who died in 1962 at age 36, would have turned 90 on Wednesday. 

    Client: Snickers

    Agency: BBDO New York
    David Lubars: Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide
    Greg Hahn: Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York
    Gianfranco Arena: Executive Creative Director
    Peter Kain: Executive Creative Director
    Scott Mahoney: Creative Director
    Dan Oliva: Creative Director
    Joey Henson: Copywriter
    Jimmy Morrissey: Art Director
    David Rolfe: Director of Integrated Production
    Amy Wertheimer: Group Executive Producer
    Alex Gianni: Executive Broadcast Producer
    Neely Lisk: Executive Producer
    Koji Yahagi: Director of Photography
    Jeff Reagan: Production Assistant

    Kirsten Flanik: Managing Director
    Susannah Keller: Global Account Director
    Joshua Steinman: Account Director
    Tani Corbacho: Account Manager
    Jocelyn Choi: Account Executive
    Annemarie Norris: Group Planning Director
    Alaina Crystal: Planning Director
    Sean Stogner: Senior Communications Planner

    Celebrity Talent and IP Rights Acquisition: Brad Sheehan, The Marketing Arm

    Experiential Production Company: Pearl Media
    Anthony Petrillo: Executive Producer
    Daniel Odham: Producer
    Jennifer Ohs: Creative Technologist

    Editorial/Post Production: EG+
    Renee Haar: Director of Post Production
    Amy Feldman: Post Producer
    Tim Jansen: Editor
    Harry Nelson: Assistant Editor
    John Cabrera: Audio Engineer

    0 0

    It's a real pin that looks like a virtual pin that looks like a real pin.

    In a bit of reverse engineered skeuomorphism, Pinterest has taken its virtual "Pin" button, which was always visually modeled after a physical pin, and actually made it a physical pin—for an intriguing campaign in Brazil that lets people pin items in stores and save them immediately to virtual inspiration boards on Pinterest itself. 

    Agency DM9DDB created the technology and tested it in a campaign for Tok&Stok, Brazil's biggest design furniture store. 

    The biggest challenge, of course, was how to get the pins to know who is pressing them, and thus to whose Pinterest boards the furniture items should be posted. To solve this, the pins use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to connect with a "PinList" app that the shopper must download to his or her phone. This technology helps the pin locate the nearest person and connect with their app.

    It's explained in more detail in this video:

    "The innovation is in the app's easy and intuitive use and all the technology backing it up, so that you don't have to leave the app open or pair your cellphone's Bluetooth with the physical button," says Igor Puga, vp for integration and innovation at DM9DDB.

    E-commerce has tried so hard to mimic the in-store experience; it's fun to see the reverse happening (even if these real-world Pinterest buttons are awfully big, and look kind of goofy when sitting on every item in the store).

    "Pinterest has become a source of inspiration in the decor segment with 10 million ideas in Brazil every month. Tok&Stok has been so innovative in combining the process of discovery with saving what you find," says Mariana Sensini, managing partner of Pinterest in Brazil.

    Client: Tok&Stok
    Title: PinList
    Agency: DM9DDB
    Chief Creative Officer: Aricio Fortes
    Executive Creative Director: Paulo Coelho
    Digital Interactive VP: Igor Puga
    Creative Director: Adriano Alarcon, Carlos Schleder e João Mostério
    Content Coordinator: Pedro Baptista
    Community Manager: Thiago Martinez
    Art Director: Daniel Lobo
    Designer: Daniel Matsumoto
    Illustrator: Big Studios - Rafael Nakahayashi and Rodrigo Alves.
    Project: Eduardo Martin, Fernando Tolusso, Rafael Gomes
    Account: Marcelo Passos, Claudia Almeida, Tania Pena, Beatriz Rodrigues, Thais Moura
    RTVC: Fabiano Beraldo, Juliana Henriques, Ana Lucia Marques
    Production: Clariana Regiani da Costa, Nereu Marinho
    Digital Production: Bizsys
    Approved by: Flavia Lucena

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    MTV has a crazy plan for getting young voters excited about the 2016 election cycle: Talk about the issues.

    This week, the network is launching "Elect This," a sweeping new campaign to drive millennials to the polls in November, and serve as a sort of energizing antidote to the personality-driven insanity of the current political landscape.

    An anthem spot features a hodgepodge of images capturing various hot-button topics relevant to its audience, including gun control, student debt, immigration reform, LGBT rights, the economy, health care and the war on drugs.

    A call-and-answer chant serves as the soundtrack, repeating the campaign's title and crescendoing to the spot's capstone, a brief clip of Leonardo DiCaprio addressing the United Nations on climate change this spring. "You are the last best hope of Earth," he says—a slick bit of editing that repurposes a message meant for international delegates as a rallying cry for the people who will inherit the planet.

    A second ad launches the campaign's "Infographica" series, which will visualize statistics on similar themes, like the fact that 83 percent of millennials support background checks for gun ownership.

    Two more spots, meanwhile, debut the campaign's "Robo-Roundtable" feature, which satirizes public conversation around particular subjects, like marijuana legalization, in short clips starring a group of animatronic pundits with computerized voices who quote chatter from Twitter in their debates.

    And PSA trots out the obligatory parade of celebrity supporters, from Common to Melissa McCarthy to the Gregory Brothers to Alessia Cara to Carmelo Anthony to Sasheer Zamata.

    Overall, it's an approach meant to energize voters age 18-35, 92 percent of whom MTV's research found agree that the 2016 election "is like a bad reality show," and 74 percent of whom are embarrassed by it, which may in fact be the only reasonable response to the current state of affairs.

    The network is essentially a fixture in youth politics. The new work builds on its history of advocating for political participation, most notably with the long-running "Choose or Lose" campaign, which MTV launched in 1992 and scrapped in 2011 for its "Power of 12" tagline, meant to amp up a demographic left cynical following the 2008 election.

    The new tack makes a fair amount of sense, given the circus-like atmosphere of the current presidential field, and MTV's research—87 percent of 18-29 year-olds agreeing that this election cycle is really important to their generation (up from 75 percent in 2012), but 69 percent of 18-34s saying they're already exhausted by it.

    Whether it's enough to effectively spur enthusiasm, or action, remains to be seen. A melodramatic punch line cut from the speech of a goateed middle-aged actor to a body of professional diplomats doesn't exactly scream a departure from the status quo (even if the speech itself was a good one)—and the onus still falls on viewers to take up the civic mantle by educating themselves and taking action (which is more work, it turns out, than firing off a clever tweet).

    Or to put it differently, a video about a stoned parrot, funny as it is, might spur conversation—but doesn't quite constitute it. 

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    Social media has not been kind to this Twentieth Century Fox billboard for X-Men: Apocalypse, which shows the titular villain, Apocalypse, choking Mystique, with Rose McGowan urging others to yell at Fox about using imagery of a violent act against a woman to sell the movie. 

    Well, Fox has now apologized and removed the billboard, admitting in a statement that "in our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse, we didn't immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials." 

    Generally, when apologies are made for boneheaded moves like this, they sound phony and ultimately self-serving, but Fox seems pretty genuinelt contrite here. That's almost worse, in a way, because who knows how many executives, male and female, saw this image and approved it, not expecting any blowback for Apocalypse and his impossible cheekbones attacking Jennifer Lawrence?

    Wasn't there any other picture they could have used? Or even better, an image of Apocalypse choking Cyclops? No one likes Cyclops.

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    It's been more than six years since Old Spice advertising started getting very peculiar indeed, with help from Isaiah Mustafa and, particularly, Terry Crews. But Wieden + Kennedy Portland has now outdone itself in the oddities department, taking two strange Old Spice spots from last year and remixing them, with help from video artist Nick DenBoer, into—in the brand's own words—a "horrifying mutant nightmare abomination."

    It's as over-the-top as a commercial can get, and some might say the brand officially jumps the shark here by fully crossing over into self-parody . (There's even a shark in the spot.) But W+K tells AdFreak it's proud of this deviant monstrosity.

    W+K creative director Jason Kreher says the idea for the remix came about when the agency team was looking over some contracts and realized they still had usage rights for a couple of 2015 commercials.

    "We'd all seen Nick's work from Conan, but right during this period of time he released The Chickening, which is amazing," Kreher says. "We worked with him for about three weeks, and every version got better and funnier and weirder. He is obviously a video genius, but he also composed the song. … The stuff he was able to create using assets from just two commercials seemed impossible."

    Check out the original two ads below. 

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    The wireless wars have been getting notoriously dirty, and now Sprint has come up with the most deviously clever attack yet—signing up Paul Marcarelli, who worked for years as Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" guy, as its own spokesman.

    Sprint crows in the press release that "its fastest and most reliable network ever can lure away even the most iconic people in wireless." Below is the 30-second spot, from Deutsch, introducing Marcarelli as a Sprint customer. It broke Sunday night during the NBA Finals.

    The national TV ads also will run on cable and broadcast, supported by print, digital, out-of-home and radio. Marcarelli is also on Twitter as @ThatWirelessGuy.

    "I've watched with interest as each of the wireless carriers claims to be the most reliable or the fastest," the actor said in a statement. "But what I've found is … the 'better' that some other national carriers claim about reliability is really less than a 1 percent difference. Does anyone even really notice a difference of less than 1 percent? But when it comes to saving money … Sprint is by far the best choice for consumers. You get a highly reliable network and save 50 percent off most of the rates other national wireless carriers charge. Now that is noticeable."

    It's a deliciously nasty move from Sprint. But what most viewers might not realize is that Marcarelli's decade as Verizon's "Test Man" character was fairly traumatizing for him personally, as outlined in a fascinating 2011 profile of him in The Atlantic.

    We learned in that piece that Verizon made him sign a draconian contract that restricted his creative and financial opportunities, and prohibited him from discussing his experiences with others. It also, when the time came, fired him via email. Marcarelli, who is gay, was also harassed for years by a bunch of kids driving by his home at night who would scream homophobic slurs and "Can you hear me now!?" at him. Worried about losing his ad gig, he declined to file police reports about the incidents.

    Not to say switching to Sprint is officially revenge, but it might not have been that difficult for Marcarelli to embrace a Verizon competitor. 

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    The gifts parents give their children last a lifetime. It's a familiar trope, but one illustrated to poignant effect in a new six-minute animation from Google Spotlight Stories, the tech company's 360-degree film group.

    Titled "Pearl," the unbranded video follows the life of young woman and her musician father, as she grows up, and he grows older. Set entirely in their hatchback, it opens on the car, sitting forgotten somewhere on the family property. The protagonist rediscovers it, along with an old tape recorder left inside. She punches the play button, and so begins the flashback to her years as a little girl, spent largely in the back seat.

    Her dad, then young himself, punches the record button, and while cruising down the road, kicks off an upbeat folk tune that anchors the remainder of the clip. Titled "No Wrong Way Home," it follows them as they drive around, busking for money, and living out of their car.

    It's a lifestyle that has its highs and lows—and eventually the father settles down, and makes way for Pearl to act like a teenager, moping around in the backseat, starting her own band, getting into trouble with the law for setting off bottle rockets in a parking lot garbage can with her friends. But all that time spent singing alongside her dad has paid off.

    In the end, she finds success in her own musical career; taking the car out on tour; breaking down on the highway, and later reviving it, so she can drive her father to the big, glitzy concert she's playing. As he sits in the back seat, eyes filled with wonder, their roles are reversed—a nod to what he's sacrificed, to the circular nature of the parent-child relationship, and to the inevitability of the old giving way to the new.

    It's a magnificent piece of storytelling, with a beautiful sentiment at its heart. There's no shortage of rich detail to catch on repeat viewing; with deft and frequent cuts among different eras and memories, it warrants the attention to subtle changes in props and scenery. That's served by the 360-degree—or virtual reality—technology that the clip is designed, at least in part, to promote.

    But that is also, to some degree, extra eye candy—geek-fodder for the creative set; the story's focus remains, as it is should, clearly on the characters, throughout. The audience is, still in this case, voyeuristic—unlike in the sort of innovative first-person storytelling demonstrated, surprisingly enough, by Coors Light in its recent sports-adventure vignettes from 72andSunny.

    Google's approach here may also slightly problematic, in a handful of more substantive ways. First, there's the depiction of the car as the girl and her father's "home" (as it's described on the video's YouTube page; one scene finds them celebrating Christmas in it; naturally, she gets a miniature guitar). In the degree to which that's a literal, rather than spiritual interpretation of the automobile's role, the story is romanticizing what's essentially hardship—living in a hatchback is no picnic, and while it is arguably a choice for the dad, it's less so for his daughter.

    There's also a risk of tone-deafness on that topic, given the housing woes in the Bay Area, which has found low-income families—and even the occasional engineer—living out of their cars, a state of affairs fueled by the new tech boom, of which Google is a shining symbol.

    And while themes of going, or being, "home" run throughout the music and the animation, there's also the question of what "home" means in a world that's implicitly—in what is, at its core, an ad for the company's experiments—careening towards a techno utopia of Google's making. Presumably, the dad eventually got a job writing code or selling ads, so his daughter could pursue her own dream.

    And the image of young man taking his hands off the wheel while driving, so he can strum the guitar—or of letting his toddler bounce around between the front and back of the without a seatbelt—could just be a warm homage to a more carefree time, when such behaviors were commonplace, or it could be a subtle sales pitch for a future world, wherein, say, cars drive themselves, and nobody has to worry about getting into accidents, because the computers are just that good.

    Those criticisms are, by and large, nitpicks, and in a sense highlight the the underlying tensions that help make the video feel less like advertising and more like art. Oscar-winning director Patrick Osborne (who won in the Best Animated Short Film category for his 2014 film Feast) had a fair amount of leeway in pitching the story, reports Fast Company—and a film that didn't take any risks, or deal with any difficult subjects, would be decidedly boring.

    But the result is still a fairly happy-go-lucky, if at moments heart-tugging piece of propaganda. In fact, things turn out relatively well for the dad—at the end of Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," upon which Google's story is loosely based, all that's left of the titular tree is a stump. 

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    Ted Cruz failed to take down Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, but maybe Terry Cruz Crews can get the job done.

    With elements of the current election cycle often compared to the zany, low-I.Q. future America depicted in the 2006 satire Idiocracy, it's perhaps no surprise that Crews may soon reprise his character from that film—pumped-up, machine gun-toting, R&B belting President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho. 

    In Idiocracy, Camacho, a former professional wrestler and porn star, presides over a failing, fervently anti-intellectual U.S.A., where commercialism and the cult of personality reign supreme, and society teeters one flush away from the sewer. 

    Now, the film's writers, Etan Cohen and Mike Judge, are prepping a series of anti-Trump spots starring Crews as Camacho. The clips will break once Fox clears the rights for the character's appearance, according to an interview with Cohen in BuzzFeed.

    It all began a few months back, when Cohen noted that current political events—mainly Trump's rise to become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee—echoed aspects of the movie, with reality and satire converging faster than he dreamed possible.

    "I never expected #idiocracy to become a documentary," he tweeted in February, setting off a mini media frenzy that culminated in a "Movement to Classify Idiocracy as Documentary" group on Facebook—and possibly a wave of outrageous ads with Crews chewing up (or more likely blowing up) scenery as his unhinged presidential alter-ego.

    "This is what satire is for … to be able to hold up a mirror and say, 'This is crazy'," Cohen tells BuzzFeed. "Idiocracy was like that, but this all of a sudden felt like a very immediate need for the true meaning of satire and what it can actually do."

    Such spots would mark Camacho's third term, so to speak, counting his original Idiocracy appearance and a series of election-cycle spots that ran on Funny or Die in 2012. Here's one of those 2012 ads for posterity:

    In that effort, scripted by Judge, the character proclaimed, "I have traveled back in time from the future to address your stinking ass!"—promising Americans "hoap" for a better tomorrow. His proposals ranged from a jobs-creation program, where all citizens would work at the U.S. Mint, printing up enough money to make everyone rich ("Everybody's gonna be million percenters!") to a taxation scheme covering defecation ("When you're squattin' on the stool/You put some fool through school!"). 

    Then there was the notion of building a giant wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. Oh wait, that was Trump. Never mind. 

    "They both seem to be intent on destroying the world—but maybe Camacho more accidentally [than Trump]," Cohen says.

    Hey, we'd cast our ballot for campy Crews/Camacho in an orange combover any day!

    For his part, Crews seems on board with the 2016 parody ads, but hints, in character as Camacho, that they won't be anti-Trump. "I INTERRUPT INSTAGRAM TO BRING YOU THIS VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE," he wrote Sunday on Instagram."I am NOT Anti-Trump, Pro-Hillary, Anti-Bernie, Pro-Trump, Anti-Hillary, Pro-Bernie, or AntiPro-any write in candidate, regardless of what you read on the Internet. I firmly believe NO government can solve my problems, and I choose no political affiliation because I like THINKING FOR MYSELF. I am PRO-CAMACHO." 

    Given the current political climate, a Camacho commercial flight seems especially apropos, as a total descent into inane meta-parody may well be the only hoap for the Republic.

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    After 13 years playing for the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz will retire at the end of the 2016 baseball season. And he's contemplating some unusual plans for his next career. 

    In a thank-you ad from Red Sox sponsor JetBlue, the designated hitter and nine-time All Star finds work at different children's birthday parties—whacking the literal stuffing out of their piñatas. 

    MullenLowe created the 45-second commercial, which serves its purpose well. Ortiz, aka Big Papi, creams each papier mâché animal with a single swing as kids and parents look on in horror, and candy rains down on distant neighbors. 

    It's a fun, simple spot, briskly paced and well acted, with nice little touches. The casual, self-satisfied manner in which he snatches and gobbles a cupcake while swaggering out of an event he's just ruined perfectly sums up the self-deprecating gag about the challenges he's looking forward to taking on next. 

    Then again, if he were to wear a blindfold like everyone else, it might be a little harder—even for him.


    Client: JetBlue
    Agency: MullenLowe

    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
    Executive Creative Directors: Tim Vaccarino, Dave Weist
    Creative Directors: Amy Ferguson, Julia Neumann
    Copywriter: Chris Gilbert
    Art Director: Dan Pappas

    Execkutive Director of Integrated Production: Liza Near
    Director of Broadcast Production: Zeke Bowman
    Producer: Matt Polski
    Senior Digital Producer: Louise Lloyd Owen
    Production Supervisor: Kristine Ring-Janicki
    Senior Art Producer: Jessica Manning
    Senior Production Artist: Julie Sforza
    Project Manager: Christina Gratton
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy

    Account Management
    Executive Director: Drayton Martin
    Account Director: Molly Bluhm
    Account Executive: Beba Rivera

    Group Strategy Director: Ellie Gogan-Tilstone
    Senior Strategist: Mike Patrick

    Senior Vice President, Group Digital Director: Jade Watts
    Associate Digital Media Supervisor: Tracy Barahona
    Associate Media Director: Kelly McGowan
    Digital Media Supervisor: Shoshana Levine
    Senior Media Planner: Lauren Meyers

    PR, Social
    Senior Vice President, PR Account Director: Jaclyn Ruelle
    PR Account Supervisor: Brittany Topham
    PR Assistant Account Executives: Kelsey Labrot, Meg Weldon

    Production Company: Arts & Sciences
    Director: Matt Aselton
    Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
    Producer: Zoe Odlum

    Editing: MackCut
    Editor: Ian Mackenzie
    Assistant Editor: Mike Leuis
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Producer: Sabina-Elease Utley

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole

    Animation, Graphics: Method
    Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
    Visual Effects Producer: Matthew Engel

    Sound Design, Mixing: MackCut
    Mixer: Sam Shaffer

    Music: Storefront Music


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