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- 08/01/16--03:51: _Ad of the Day: Marc...
- 08/01/16--04:25: _Dinosaurs Dance to ...
- 08/01/16--07:33: _Corn Dogs Beat Down...
- 08/01/16--07:45: _Deep Breaths, Every...
- 08/01/16--23:39: _How Droga5 London W...
- 08/02/16--02:20: _Ad of the Day: Mini...
- 08/02/16--03:07: _Snack Brand Reaches...
- 08/02/16--11:56: _3 Agency Interns Ha...
- 08/02/16--18:47: _Hitman's Latest Cam...
- 08/02/16--20:17: _The Search for Extr...
- 08/02/16--20:50: _Ad of the Day: How ...
- 08/02/16--21:35: _Miller Lite Is Surp...
- 08/04/16--08:52: _Ad of the Day: Whir...
- 08/05/16--06:23: _Voiceover Narrator ...
- 08/05/16--06:43: _Maya Angelou Illumi...
- 08/05/16--07:46: _Merlee Jayme Talks ...
- 08/05/16--08:37: _To Support All Athl...
- 08/05/16--08:58: _Ad of the Day: This...
- 08/05/16--09:15: _There's (Literally)...
- 08/05/16--09:39: _Flo? Whoa! Progress...
- 08/01/16--23:39: How Droga5 London Will, and Won't, Be Like the Mothership
- 08/02/16--20:17: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Suddenly Has a New Logo
One of the last places you'd expect to see 13th century Venetian explorer Marco Polo would be in a pool with a bunch of kids during a round of the modern-day water game Marco Polo.
But that's exactly where he appears in Geico's latest goofy commercial from The Martin Agency, which juxtaposing the surprise of the off-kilter visual gag with the obviousness of what the the insurer emphasizes as its competitive edge—lower rates for consumers.
The theme of the new mini-campaign is, "It's not surprising."
In the spot, the famous traveler stands, in full period garb, chest deep in a backyard pool, completely baffled while a handful of children swim around him yelling "Marco" and "Polo." His ineffectual attempts to bridge the gap are entertaining enough.
"Excuse me," he says in Italian, "I am Marco Polo." Alas, it's to no avail.
But the ad's true highlight is its llama—apparently Polo's ride to the party (which is in itself a bit of a surprise—it made it to South America sometime in the past 700 years, too). It stands outside the pool, peering over the edge at the commotion, face permanently fixed in a state of bored indignation.
That's a more subtle role than many of Geico's animal figures, who often stand front and center in its ads—earlier this year, an obnoxious talking alligator showed viewers how to properly dodge a lunch check, building on a long, amusing history of using animals to help sell its policies. This aloof, understated approach works well, and in the end, even the hapless Polo catches on to the rules and joins the fun, making for a charming little last shot.
Of course, perhaps most surprising of all is how calm parents and Geico customers Amanda and Keith are about the oddly dressed old man with the pack animal crashing their family afternoon. Then again, maybe saving $645 on car insurance when they have three kids to raise—the new campaign also notably shows actual Geico customers and their actual savings—might well have the same effect on them as popping a couple of Valium.
Vice President, Marketing: Ted Ward
Director, Marketing Media Advertising: Bill Brower
Sr. Mgr.,Brand Team/Media Advertising/Sports Marketing: Melissa Halicy
Brand Team Senior Supervisor: Mike Grant
Brand Team Planner: Brighid Griffin
Brand Team Planner: Tom Perlozzo
Brand Team Coordinator: Julia Nass
Brand Team Coordinator: Tim Ware
Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
Group Creative Director: Steve Bassett
Group Creative Director: Wade Alger
Creative Director: Sean Riley
Senior Copywriter II: Ken Marcus
Executive Producer: Brett Alexander
Broadcast Producer: Brian Camp
Associate Broadcast Producer: Coleman Sweeney
Junior Broadcast Producer: Sara Montgomery
Account Director: Ben Creasey
Account Supervisor: Allison Hensley
Account Executive: Jon Glomb
Account Coordinator: Allie Waller
Business Affairs Supervisor: Suzanne Wieringo
Financial Account Supervisor: Monica Cox
Senior Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz
Project Manager: Karen McEwen
Production Company: RadicalMedia
Director: Steve Miller
Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
Head of Production: Frank Dituri
Producer: Jonathan Dino
Editorial Company: MackCut
Editor: Ian MacKenzie
Assistant Editor: Mike Leuis
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Producer: Sabina-Elease Utley
Sound Design: Sam Shaffer
Editorial Company: Running With Scissors
Assistant Editor: Drew Neuhart
Telecine: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Flame Artist: Chris Hagen
Flame Assistant: Paul Widerholt
Post Producer: Katherine Leatherwood
Audio Post Company: Rainmaker Studios
Senior Sound Designer: Jeff McManus
Executive Producer, Owner: Kristin O'Connor
General Manager/Scheduler: Clinton Spell II
The Aardman studio, known best for creating Wallace & Gromit, made the rollicking cinema commercial below for the NSPCC's anti-sexual abuse "Pants" campaign in the U.K. The ad is a four-minute music video for a song, produced by Adelphoi Music and voiced by X Factor's Peter Dickson, urging children to speak up if someone tries to touch them inappropriately.
Man, it sucks that they waited until after Jimmy Savile's death to make this.
Anyway, the NSPCC's Peter Wanless says he's proud of Aardman's "child-friendly and catchy animation," and seems especially proud of the fact that it avoids "scary words or even mentioning sex."
He's right that the song is catchy enough—in a "Dumb Ways to Die" sort of way—and that Pantosaurus will reach kids in certain age groups. But Patton Oswalt's rule about "clean filth" applies here: Sexual topics sound creepier when cheerful euphemisms are employed.
It doesn't really help that the song, while good, sounds like something those Weebl and Bob guys would have done.
Director: Lucy Izzard
Producer: Jason Fletcher – Bartholomew
Production Manager:Danny Gallagher
Storyboard / Animatic: Rob Richards
Design: Lucy Izzard, Magda Osinska
Flash Animators: Charlie Miller, Andrew Fossey, Lucy Izzard
Compositors: Jon Biggins, Bram Ttwheam
Music Production: Adelphoi Music, Max De Lucia, Ashley Bates
Editor: Dan Hembery
A horned, hairy monster represents a pre-teen's ravenous appetite which, left unchecked, swells to Godzilla-esque proportions in the first-ever ad campaign for Foster Farms Corn Dogs. On the plus side, that furry freak is a beast on the soccer field (we'd pick him for our team any day!)—and the middle-schooler jonesing for a snack never once morphs into Marilyn Monroe:
"We talked to working moms across the nation about the ever-present growling rumble that a 12-year-old boy's stomach makes when they're hungry," says Franklin Tipton, partner and creative director at Odysseus Arms, which developed the integrated push that breaks today across TV, digital, mobile and local activations.
"The idea of an appetite appearing suddenly, growing rapidly, all fussy and monstrous, only to be dispatched by seven grams of protein [from a Foster Farms Corn Dog], nailed what the moms felt about feeding young boys."
Emmy winner Dave Laden's work on silly spots with various varmints for Snapple and Yelp made him the perfect choice to direct, and here he captures just the right self-consciously corny tone. Legacy Effects built two suit sizes for the shoot, and some scenes were achieved using green-screen techniques.
"The Monster Appetite was tricky to style," says Tipton. "Too scary and it leaned toward unappetizing. Too silly or goofy and the idea becomes too juvenile." Ultimately, the look suggests an escapee from Maurice Sendak or The Muppet Show, with, according to Tipton, a yellow/brown hue designed to mirror "the texture of the [product's] cornbread coating."
Dude's so adorable. Couldn't you just eat him up?
Client: Foster Farms Corn Dogs
Foster Farms Marketing Director: Jonathan Swadley
Integrated Marketing Director: Ira Brill
Creative Agency: Odysseus Arms
Design Director: Libby Brockhoff
Creative Director: Franklin Tipton
Managing Director: Eric Dunn
Art Director: Rachel Ngun
Executive Producer: Cherie L. Appleby
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Dave Laden
Managing Partner/Executive Producer: Kevin Byrne
Producer: Caleb Dewart
Director of Photography: Chrisophe Lanzenberg
Editorial: Final Cut
Editor: Paul Zucker
Assistant Editor: Dillon Stoneburner
Executive Producer: Eric McCasline
Production VFX: Significant Others
Executive Producer: Alek Rost
VFX, Flame Artist: Dirk Greene
Producer: Garrett Braren
Sound Mix: Beacon Street
Composer: Andrew Feltenstein
Mix Artist and Sound Design: Rommel Molina
Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
Props/Monster Design: Legacy Effects
Production Designer: Alan Scott
Design and Build: Theodore Haines
To celebrate its 70th anniversary in Uruguay, McCann Montevideo has created I CANN Eau de Créativité, a limited-edition fragrance meant to, well, boost creativity.
"In our research, we determined that creativity is completely emotional and with no logical process," explains Leándro Gómez, McCann Montevideo's CEO and general creative director. "We also learned that scents are a powerful medium to convey emotions—in fact, 75 percent of our emotions are connected to scents that immediately take us back to very specific moments of our lives."
Here's the introductory video, which is basically just the creative campaign, set to the music of "Faded" by Alan Walker. It's fair, but perhaps mean, to wonder whether the video itself represents the results you can expect from the fragrance.
The unisex fragrance includes "citric fruit notes," kind of like CK One for creatives, with clear instructions for application: It can't be opened until a big idea has been found.
This way, the perfume's (hopefully pleasant) smell will be associated with the peak creative moment, resulting in olfactory magic that's more Pavlovian than pheromone-based: If you associate the scent with creative success early on, it stands to reason that, later, when you need a boost, the scent alone may drive you to eureka.
Wearers must repeat this "proper application"—first the idea, then the scent—at least three times to successfully link the smell to the creative epiphany. (It's unclear whether the ideas have to be vetted for spritz-worthiness first. Probably best not to overthink it.)
As for its name, I CANN is meant to suggest that anyone can develop and express their creative power.
"What brands say is important, but more important is what they do. For this reason we wanted to create something special that would reflect McCann's mission: To make brands play a meaningful role in people's lives," Gómez continues.
The release of the perfume is just one of many internal boosts that McCann is effecting worldwide of late. Some continue down the path of fashion: McCann London released its own sneaker, inspired by its art deco-style building. Others are experimental—McCann Japan hired its first robot creative director this year. Still others are quite classic human plays: McCann New York hired fresh talent to bring both startup and production strength to its arsenal.
We'll see whose approach scores more Lions candy. Guess it never hurts to have an extra olfactory boost.
Below are shots of the print work, featuring McCann Montevideo creatives.
Agency: McCann Montevideo
Creative direction: Leandro Gómez Guerrero
Copywriters: Leandro Gómez Guerrero, José Majó
Art directors: Gerardo Podhajny, Michel Donatte
Project manager: Sabina Ricagni
Production: Natalia Azzato
Video Edditing: Franco Ricagni
Photographer: Punchi Barriola, MAGOYA
BALI, Indonesia—David Kolbusz has a "No assholes" rule when it comes to judging ad awards, and it's worked out pretty well for him lately.
The creative chief at Droga5 London has been judging Branded Content & Branded Entertainment for the Clio Awards here in Bali this week. And it's been an altogether pleasant experience, as the jury—which included U.S.-based judges PJ Pereira of Pereira & O'Dell, Jim Elliott of Arnold and Justine Armour of Wieden + Kennedy—has been top notch, debating the work with insight, humor and great taste.
It's the second straight positive judging experience for the Canadian-born Kolbusz, who was also on the Titanium & Integrated jury, led by his old boss, Sir John Hegarty, at Cannes earlier this summer.
"Awards are brilliant when you've got a good jury, and they're terrible when you've got a terrible jury," he tells Adweek over beachside beers here at the Ritz-Carlton, shortly after finishing judging by helping to choose a Grand Clio for the category. "When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's wretched and hurts the industry. It just depends on who you get in a room, and the decisions they make."
This year's Branded Content & Branded Entertainment jury proved well up to the task, having a lively chat on their final day together and debating longer than usual as they obsessively fine-tuned their ranking of top winners (which you'll be able to see Sept. 12 at clios.com). It's an important process, Kolbusz says, because awards do—for better or worse—help point the way forward for the industry.
In Branded Content, he adds, there's been a noticeable backlash away from the sometimes opportunistic embrace of social good and toward things that are more purely fun.
"There's a renewed enthusiasm for the craft of entertaining," Kolbusz says. "A lot of the things that were moving forward [in the jury room] were things that people were delighting in, just for the sake of it. Last year, at one of the shows I was at, it was all social good. It felt like the jury was sending a message. But it feels like the pendulum has swung."
The Clio jury endeavored to award brilliant pieces, plain and simple—something that, for whatever reason, doesn't always happen. Kolbusz points to the 1995 Cannes film jury, for example, which disastrously chose not to award a Grand Prix despite having at least one true masterpiece in the mix.
"You go back and see that one of the golds that was deemed unworthy was Levi's 'Drug Store.' And you go, 'Fucking hell,' " he says. "Apologies to anyone on that jury, but you fucked up. That's a great film, and to this day remains a great film, and one that is still referenced and one that is still fresh. That was a massive fuck-up."
Leading a Startup
It's this full-throated, often obscenity-laced passion for the work that makes Kolbusz such a fun guy to listen to. Of course, he's done plenty of remarkable work himself—from the Orange spot "Dancers" at Mother London a decade ago; to the famed "Three Little Pigs" for the Guardian in 2012 (a Grand Clio winner in Film and Adweek's Ad of the Year, which landed Kolbusz and his BBH London colleagues on our cover); to the "ShottaSoCo" Southern Comfort campaign last year at Wieden + Kennedy New York, from which Kolbusz decamped in October to join Droga.
It's that talent and great range that Droga is counting on to give its London outpost the creative spark it needs in a newly resurgent U.K. market, following a management reshuffle less than two years after the office's 2013 opening. Things have been fairly quiet since Kolbusz's arrival, but that's about to change. With a slew of projects in the pipeline, we should soon see hints of what kind of agency Droga5 London intends to be—how it will be like the New York mothership, and yet completely its own thing.
"If you look at New York's [awards] performance this year, it was mostly for stuff like Hennessy and Under Armour—big, sweeping, beautiful brand expressions. None of it's that self-referential," Kolbusz says. "That's a willful act of the Droga folks in New York, to try to do something quite different from what everyone else is doing. The London office is going to do that in our own way—but in a way that's different from how New York does it, too. You don't want to be a 'Me too' brand."
The two offices are, of course, at very different points in their respective journeys.
"We should be really different in what we produce," says Kolbusz. "It's a different set of individuals, and there's going to be a different alchemy. [New York] just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. They're looking to figure out what their next 10 years looks like. We're trying to go, 'What is our first iteration going to be?' "
Having run large creative departments at established agencies for years, Kolbusz is galvanized by leading what's essentially still a startup—and all the possibilities that entails. (He took the job, which was just too tempting, after strongly considering moving to Los Angeles and becoming a director.) The rank-and-file creatives he's overseeing at Droga5 London are ready to produce great things, he adds, judging by what they do in their spare time if nothing else.
"One of the things we're very conscious of is, we're quite a young agency," he says. "We've got an entire shop full of makers—people who go home and write stuff, and film stuff, and create ideas for products and fashion lines. We're going to try to build a lot of that into our offering, and not just create traditional marketing but also products and experiences."
It's appropriate that Kolbusz has been judging Branded Entertainment this week, because that word—entertainment—has been a touchstone for him lately.
"There was a period of time when I was like, 'We're not going to be an advertising agency, we're going to be an entertainment agency,' " he says. "Not entertainment in the traditional sense—light entertainment, soft-shoe numbers and Judy Garland-esque vocals—but entertainment as in, anything we do on behalf of a brand should surprise and delight the audience. The work we do doesn't have to conform to a particular form. It doesn't have to be a television ad or an online experience. It can be whatever we want it to be, as long as it charms people. That's going to be one of our pursuits."
Kolbusz doesn't have many examples, yet, of what this flexible, nonconforming work will look like. But he does point to the "Commiseration Burger" the agency made this summer for U.K. burger brand Rustlers, which humorously suggested (rightly, as it turned out) that English fans be "realistic" about their team's chances at Euro 2016.
The campaign included a big musical anthem but also, notably, a special burger that came with mayonnaise and ketchup packets so fans could paint a patriotic St. George's flag on the sandwich. "It was product development that was intended to sell a brand message," Kolbusz says. "That was really simple, and done really affordably. That's an interesting thing for us."
Droga5 London plans to explore these kinds of unconventional avenues for clients, and for itself as well—where possible, it's interested in creating in-house brands and products, too.
"We will do work for clients, of course, but we're also thinking of ourselves as our own client. Let's see if we can make money by doing interesting work for ourselves, and play around with the notion of what a typical agency is," Kolbusz says. "[The creatives] are hungry and curious, and it doesn't all begin and end with television. Television is nice, and it's fun, and we can all do a passable spot in our sleep. But there's something interesting about pushing the boundaries a bit and going, 'What's going to be the thing you don't expect, that scares you or makes you uncomfortable, or amuses you in ways you didn't know were possible?' "
For Kolbusz, London is the perfect place for such an experiment. This is his third tour in the British capital—after starting his career at TBWA Toronto, he was at Mother London from 2003 to 2007, and at BBH London from 2010 to 2014. In between, he was at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for three years, and right before Droga, he had his 18-month stint co-leading W+K New York's creative department.
"New York is this unbelievable smorgasbord of opportunities to experience culture and art. But they're rarely shared experiences," he says now, nine months after leaving. "There's so much going on in New York, and it's incredible. But you don't talk to someone and go, 'Oh, did you see that thing?' 'Yeah, yeah, it was great.' 'And what about this thing?' 'Yeah, it was great.' I guess it's community. In London, it feels like there's more of an artistic community, whereas in New York it feels like a collection of amazing things and you might happen to catch the same thing as someone else. Art and culture is so important to who I am. I feed off it. I have to live in a city that has lots of it. Otherwise I go a bit nuts."
Settling in again in his favorite city, Kolbusz, now 40, is fully focused on another big part of his job—nurturing young creatives and getting them to perform at their best.
"It's all the more important now that you work with the younger generation and have more of a reciprocal, collaborative relationship with the work," he says. "What you bring to the party is drilling taste into them, and strengthening their barometer, and letting them know why something works or doesn't work. And from them, you get the youth, the energy, the sense of what the younger generation is going to be interested in."
While admitting that "the older you get, the less spongelike you become," Kolbusz says it's important to him to have a working understanding of everything the kids are doing these days—if only so he doesn't make the mistake of killing something because he doesn't get it.
"I haven't run into a situation, though, where I'm like, 'We can't do this idea,' and the team is like, 'You don't understand,' " he says. "I'm an overcommunicator, though. I can communicate what I don't like about an idea, and why something isn't working for me. And I'll use too many words. They'll get an understanding of how I feel about a thing, and they'll argue back if they feel like there's something valid there. And I like it when people argue back. It makes you question your own taste and opinion, and it can consequently make you more sure of your position—or poke holes in your wall of defense."
But while elements of his job are similar to what he's done in the past, the fact is that growing an agency essentially from scratch is new territory for Kolbusz. And he advises that it will still be a while before this one's DNA is readily apparent.
"I've never done this before, worked at an agency this small and tried to build something," he says. "You're not going to really get a sense of what Droga5 London is for another year and a half, two years. If you think about it, in life, if you move to a new city, it takes 18 months to settle in. There's this statistic—if you're dating a person, it takes 18 months to experience real, empathic, genuine love. There's something weird about this 18-month thing. We've done stuff I'm already proud of. But the stuff that feels like it will really be of the Droga5 London brand, that's probably a year and a half away."
—The Clio Awards will be announcing this year's gold, silver and bronze winners on clios.com on Sept. 12. The Grand Clio winners will be revealed at the Clio Awards ceremony in New York on Sept. 28.
Rejecting derogatory labels and refusing to let other people's prejudice hobble your success is the theme of BMW Mini's Olympics push from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners.
Expanding on the auto brand's "Defy Labels" mantra, the work celebrates diversity and individuality by introducing us to eight U.S. athletes heading to Rio. They appear in a 30-second TV spot that broke Monday, and Serena Williams gets the last word on the only label that matters to those competing in the Games:
"The campaign targets the Mini mind-set," says Tom Noble, head of marketing at the brand. "It's about people who think independently. Our fans are people who appreciate design and also appreciate individuality. What we do know is that the Olympics indexes highly with our fans. They appreciate sports, and there are a lot of sports during these Games which are unique and different, only coming around every four years, and so this is a good platform to reach our audience."
In a series of expanded online interviews, the longest topping out around two minutes, the competitors tell their personal stories.
Williams discusses what representing the U.S. means to her and delivers a message to youths in her old neighborhood. Of course, the story of her rise to superstardom from the public tennis courts of Compton, Calif., is pretty well known. (In fact, she shot a similar "Defy Labels" interview for Mini back in January as part of the auto brand's Super Bowl campaign.) Her presence, as always, carries impressive gravitas, and her relaxed, approachable vibe strikes the perfect chord:
Meanwhile, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Muslim woman who wears the hijab (you might remember her from a Nike Training ad) appears in one of the most memorable interviews, confidently slashing away at stereotypes:
Rugby star Carlin Isles is immensely affecting as he recalls how landing in special education classes as a schoolboy made him cry—but never shook his belief in himself:
And then there's beach volleyball ace Jake Gibb (his middle name is Spiker!), who overcame cancer, twice, en route to becoming a champion:
You can watch the remaining spots with weightlifter Morghan King, boxers Carlos Balderas and Claressa Shields and swimmer Cullen Jones below.
"We have a message that is topical if you look at what's going on in today's world, and you get a real, authentic view of what people's struggles are and what they have overcome," says Nobel. "We believe having a relevant, inspiring message with a topical theme should cut through" the clutter of other brands' Rio-themed ads.
Indeed, the campaign makes its case in appealing style, and gains traction by casting accomplished, relatable pitchmen and women who speak from the heart. And because we've all be unfairly labeled at one time or other, or told we'd never reach our goals, the campaign transcends sports to make a broader statement.
Frankly, we could have done without the product tie-ins closing each online interview, as the athletes tend to drop the ball by applying the "Defy Labels" concept to the Mini itself.
"This is a message we as a brand hold close to our heart," counters Nobel. "In many ways Mini is labeled, but that doesn't hold us back."
Fair enough, but simply flashing a logo and tagline at the end would have sufficed—the audience is clever enough to infer the brand connection (if, indeed, they even feel a need to do so).
Finally, you might notice that the Olympians literally wrap themselves in Old Glory in each online spot. This potent visual cue serves as a reminder that embracing our unique selves and finding strength in our differences helps propels the American dynamic. Ultimately, refusing to be labeled makes our nation so much more than the sum of its many parts, pointing the way toward a star-spangled future.
Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
Chief Creative Officer: John Butler
Creative Director: Mark Krajan
Senior Art Director: Sinan Dagli
Senior Copywriter: Luke Zehner
Senior Producer: Lori Pisani
Head of Integrated Production: Adrienne Cummins
Account Director: Danny Peters
Account Supervisor: Michelle Finelli
Business Manager: Nihad Peavler
Director: Matt Baron
Company: All Day Every Day
Editor (TV):Pete Koob
Editor: Christopher Kasper
Editor: Andy Berner
Editorial Company: Cut & Run
Music: Joaby Deal
Music Company: One Union
Color Grading: Shane Reed
Color Grading Company: Apache
When the robopocalypse comes, will you be ready? Or will you at least have some snacks on hand so you can ride out the chaos in an underground bunker somewhere?
A snack brand called Halfpops wants to help—partly by stoking fears that highly advanced artificial intelligence will rise up and kill us one day (soon) and partly by offering sustenance to the robofighting code ninjas among us. These two groups need each other to survive, says Halfpops.
That's the premise of the brand's new digital ad campaign, which teases the concept of Armageddon. It's all in fun, though, so there's really no need to worry about death by cyborg (at least not yet).
The tongue-in-cheek video, launching Tuesday on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms, puts out the call to "binary badasses" across the country to prove their coding skills in exchange for free Halfpops in a handful of flavors.
"Since the brand itself is irreverent and playful, we wanted to do something that would be bold and a little bit ridiculous," says Mike Watts, vp of marketing at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Halfpops Inc. "We're a small brand trying to make a big splash."
The three-minute video, shot near Lookout Mountain in Tennessee by indie ad agency Humanaut, lays out a doomsday scenario of machine conquering man, complete with images of some creepy walking, talking, lifelike robots.
"Have you seen this?" the video's narrator says. "When our new bot lords take over, we're all gonna die. Bummer! Total bummer!"
Even though futurists, scientists and tech mavens like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have raised this serious issue, it's clear from the start that the Halfpops video is less conspiracy theory and more satire, even though the outdoorsy hero destroys a kid's drone in a misplaced fit of paranoia.
"When you're an emerging brand, you really want to get into the conversation, and this was our way to do it," said David Littlejohn, Humanaut's chief creative officer.
In an imagined robo-controlled world, "Halfpops has nothing to offer but its snacks," Littlejohn said. "So they're saying to coders and developers, 'We love you. Will you help us not die?' "
The rock-climbing star of the short film makes a plea directly to code-writing wizards, kicking off a website dedicated to the Halfpocalypse Challenge, halfpops.com/halfpocalypse, and the product giveaway.
"Just prove you can code, and we'll send you this first giant box of Halfpops rations, with 90 frickin' snacks," the site says before putting coders through their paces. Hint: Captcha is involved. Once participants finish the quiz, they'll need to sign an agreement to protect Halfpops' peeps in the event of catastrophe.
"We're only saving our own skins by making friends with the people who speak robot language," Littlejohn said. The rest of the world, it seems, is on its own.
The company is also promoting the campaign with what it says is the first-ever binary hashtag on Twitter—#0110100001100001011011000110011001110000011011110111000001110011 (which translates to "Halfpops," apparently).
Halfpops has created a limited-edition box suited to the theme of the campaign—it has survival tips, Morse code and other useful end-of-days information stamped on it. (The company is prepared to give away at least 500 boxes of the product, whose name spells out its defining quality—it's half-popped popcorn.)
This is the first national advertising push for Halfpops, which competes with everything from traditional popcorn and chips to healthy snacks like nuts and granola.
The product, for which the company has a patent, had been sold mostly in the Pacific Northwest since its launch about five years ago. Within the last six months, its distribution has expanded. It's now available in national retailers like Whole Foods, 7-Eleven and Stop & Shop.
Search for "CEO" on Google Images, and you'll find only a handful of the first 100 results include female faces. Of those, one is a stock photo and another is ... CEO Barbie.
A 2015 study by CNNMoney found that 14.2 percent of leadership positions in the S&P 500 are held by women, and according to nonprofit Catalyst, only 4 percent of top companies are currently led by female chief executives.
To help change Google's own male-dominated portrayal of CEOs, three aspiring agency professionals working their way through BBH's internship program, The Barn, want to change that fact with the help of some strategic SEO magic.
Copywriter Brandon Holliday tells AdFreak, "The inspiration behind the project started with the Three Black Teenagers controversy: a viral video where a Vine user Google Image searched 'Three Black Teenagers' to find mugshots and then Googled 'Three White Teenagers' to find happy stock photos."
Holliday, art director Shina Lee and strategist Josh Carnahan then began developing a way to force Google to pay attention to its skewed results—and provide some more visibility for top female executives in the process.
They came up with MoreWomenCEOs.com, the hashtag #ItsaJobNotaGender, accounts on various social mediaplatforms and this video summary, which was produced with some assistance from the agency's in-house team:
Their plan: Get supporters sharing a four-part image that includes four widely admired female executives: Xerox chair and CEO Ursula Burns; Hewlett Packard president and CEO Meg Whitman; PepsiCo chair and CEO Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi; and General Motors chair/CEO Mary T. Barra.
Lee says, "[It was] a matter of finding the specific cause that we could help the most. Our solution is not a petition to get Google to change." The project's goal, she says, is "getting other people to share so we can organically get to the top."
"We're still very early in the process," Holliday tells AdFreak, noting that the group started by reaching out to advocacy groups and prominent female CMOs. He adds, "We're starting with smaller groups where we can have a big impact."
The 3 Percent Conference has already voiced its approval on Twitter, and now the group is aiming higher by ensuring that its project appears in the social mentions of such prominent figures as Tim Cook, Anderson Cooper and B. Bonin Bough.
.@morewomenceos love this! Solving for practical bias like in search and in stock photography is so important!— The 3% Conference (@3PercentConf) July 25, 2016
So why are the CEO image search results so disappointingly homogeneous?
"A big part of it is the Google algorithm," Holliday says. "We've been working with a search engine guru who helped us craft this campaign, and we're doing everything we can to help it reach the top; the hidden algorithm affects results."
Still, the group clarifies that they do not believe Google is solely responsible for this trend. "We use Google and realize that it's an accurate mirror into how people perceive things," Lee says. "[We're just] trying to make sure there's a fair representation. We've contacted a lot of CEOs who have incredible careers, but no one ever shares about them."
Google may not always be the most receptive partner for such projects, but with enough outside interest this one could very well begin to address the matter—or at least to make more people aware of it.
For Square/Enix's Hitman, a video game where players must assassinate given targets without getting caught, Omelet LA spent the first half of the year building a campaign that kills (literally! ... well, digitally, anyway). And it used that campaign to build actual gaming content.
In March, for the game's release, Hitman built pre-rolls that let you murder the ad. The spot, titled "The Wolfshark," featured the aforementioned ("TV's King of Corruption!") and featured a "Kill this ad in..." button where "Skip ad" normally is.
When clicked, The Wolfshark gets murdered, followed by the hashtag #HitHappens.
That same month, it created ChooseYourHit.com, an interactive campaign that takes the hitman premise for an unexpected dip in our world: Fans had to choose whether their next in-game target would be Gary Busey or Gary Cole, who played the horrible boss in Office Space.
Busey and Cole were cool enough to create content explaining why they personally deserve to die, which has psychological implications we don't want to think about right now. The trailer is below, and it's just as weird as you'd want it to be: "I think plagues are hysterical," Cole says at one point, while Busey retorts, "I stole a baby from a candy store!"
Hitman is an episodic game where users have a series of "episodes" to play, each representing a different location and target. (Three exist so far; three more are yet to come.) But there's also a live component, called Elusive Targets. This limited-edition content consists of custom-created characters that appear for a short while, and you only get one shot at taking them down.
Seven Elusive Targets have been released so far, including the subject of this campaign. And to win their rightful place in gaming's horizons, the pair even helped make individual spots.
Why kill Busey? Because he's a master of combat:
Cole promises not to give you a Marion Cotillard kinda death:
"Initially, we were nervous that veterans of their caliber might be put off by the premise of competing to be assassinated, but we were dead wrong," says Omelet senior copywriter Jimmy Barker. "They both loved it and were fully on board, adding a ton of energy and ad-libs that really made this fun the whole way through."
There are also political-style ads in which Busey and Cole basically debunk each other's claims about who's more villainous—which, in today's political climate, don't feel as much like parody as it should:
"The game is all about options and choice, so we wanted to bring that into the campaign by letting fans choose which Gary to kill," explains Omelet creative director Clemente Bornacelli. "We love working with Square Enix, and the opportunity to use advertising as a way for fans to change the video game was unique and exciting."
The winner was revealed in mid-April. Those impregnated with enough Gary Busey advertising to last a lifetime shouldn't be surprised by the result:
Afterward, Omelet worked with Square Enix and IO Interactive to write a script in which Busey and Cole were incorporated into the game to bring the mission to life. According to The Drum, both actors have voiced in-game characters previously, but never actually appeared in a game, which means putting on facial capture devices and acting out scenes.
The resulting downloadable content for Elusive Target #7 (aka, "The Wild Card") has a super meta premise: Busey's in Sapienza for an ad shoot, but he's flaking—so the client's decided to "terminate their relationship ... permanently." Confusingly, Cole is also hanging around (as an "angered co-star" who "may lead you straight to your target").
Below, the RadBrad—who also happens to be a really engaging narrator—takes The Wild Card down ... and Busey, even as an animated character, is flippin' hilarious:
Last month Omelet released a powerful documentary about former gangsters turned interventionists, and in January it was responsible for Pokémon's Super Bowl ad, the first to appear online in advance of the Super Bowl brouhaha. Keep killing it, guys (again, not literally).
With help from BMB founder/chairman Trevor Beattie, the SETI Institute—devoted to, among other things, the search for technologically sophisticated life on worlds orbiting other stars—has released a new logo that features a question mark smack-dab at the lead.
Beattie, a space fanatic, designed the new logo, calling it a challenge and a privilege.
"SETI is all about answering a profoundly important question: Are we alone?" he says. "There's already a question mark hidden in the 'S' of SETI. In designing this new logo, we simply freed it up."
"SETI," an acronym for "search for extraterrestrial intelligence," is a blanket term that encompasses the scientific quest for finding intelligent life out yonder. Formal investigation kicked off in the early 1900s, after the advent of radio, and has included funded efforts from people like Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and even Stephen Spielberg (who helped fund Project META, the "Megachannel Extra-Terrestrial Assay" spectrum analyzer that was conceived in 1985 and exists to this day).
Here's the complete logo:
"No one has a better claim on ownership of the question mark than the SETI Institute," Beattie says. "And soon, perhaps very soon, its scientists may find answers to the long-standing question of the ubiquity of life."
Here's how the logo looks in the wild. It appears on the nonprofit's website in the upper left-hand corner, but is also being used to illustrate articles, where the dot under the question mark is replaced by a given planet being discussed:
It even works with rings!
The tastefulness of that new convention aside, SETI calls its new identity "bold and economical," quoting designer Saul Bass' rule of thumb for logo design: "Symbolize and summarize."
The inquisitive logo replaces one that featured a cluster of dots forming the distinct shape of a sphere at the center. To be frank, we preferred its subtlety, even if it was a hair cartoony:
But change has never been comfortable. Consider how quickly we forgot about the Syfy rebranding.
"As we embark on a new chapter in our 32-year history of exploration and discovery, our new logo is a fitting and compelling icon for our quest," says CEO Bill Diamond of the SETI Institute. "With this symbol, we embrace the essence of science's mission—to be curious, and to seek understanding through groundbreaking research."
The original SETI logo, released when the SETI Institute was formally created in Nov. 20, 1984, simply featured a satellite dish facing space.
It feels retro, naturally—but then again, the new one does, too. That's probably not a problem: SETI is the stuff of sci-fi blurring with our immediate reality, and science fiction as a genre has always embraced retro aesthetics even as it imagines our future. There's probably a nice proverb about the cyclical nature of advancement locked somewhere in there.
The SETI Institute covers everything from the quest for microbial life within our solar system, to technologically sophisticated beings on other, far-off worlds. It employs 120 scientists, technicians and staff. This time last year, SETI launched the Breakthrough Message program, a competition to design a digital message that could be transmitted from Earth to an extraterrestrial civilization, with a prize pool of $1 million.
The program—funded by Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner—pledged "not to transmit any message until there has been a wide-ranging debate at high levels of science and politics on the risks and rewards of contacting advanced civilizations."
No message has yet been chosen, and SETI doesn't really plan to send one at all. In fact, the politics of contact with other beings are among its most fraught issues.
"We have many examples where a technologically advanced civilization contacted a technologically less advanced civilization," says science fiction writer David Brin, evoking the memory of the European colonization of Africa and the Americas. "And in every one of those cases, there was pain. Even when both sides had the best of intentions."
SETI pioneer Jill Tarter, an astronomer who inspired the main character in Carl Sagan's Contact, agrees that prudence is key. "We should recognize that asymmetry [in technological sophistication], and allow the older technologies to take on the greater burden of transmitting," she says. "We should listen, first, as youngsters."
Meanwhile, SETI is powering on, question mark in hand. "We are engaged in the definition and re-examination of concepts and hypotheses in astrobiology, and are now expanding the tools deployed in the search for intelligent life beyond Earth," says Diamond.
"With this bold new brand, we launch a new era in our efforts to understand mankind's place in the cosmos."
If you're down to join SETI's mission, become a principal investigator. But if, like Tarter, you'd rather lurk like a youngster, just sign up for updates at SETI.org—where you'll also be bombarded by myriad examples of the new logo being put into fervent use.
It's dinner time! But wait—don't dig in yet. Somebody needs to take a picture first.
Ikea's latest campaign, "Let's Relax," takes a shot at how our compulsion to socialize—and compete—has invaded the haven of home. Created for AOL Platforms, this first film marks a surprising departure from the Swedish brand's typical marketing fare, which tends to stick to our own century (if not future ones).
In this case, we open on an 18th century family at table. The feast is copious, and Dad's fingertips are bouncing expectantly off one another. A little girl, eager to start, grabs a piece of fruit and prepares to take a bite.
"Uh-uh!" Dad snaps. The girl gives her sister an exasperated, familiar look—and a painter is ushered in to immortalize the meal while everyone waits.
That would already have been an OK gag, but it doesn't end there—not by a long shot.
Once the painter is through, the resulting tableau does the rounds of the local community before finally getting a significant eyebrow raise from the dandied king of aristocrats. That response trickles all the way back down to the family with a well-earned thumbs up, and finally—finally!—everyone can eat.
"It's a meal. Not a competition," the film concludes, bouncing back into modernity, where that same father is Instagramming dinner over his waiting family. "Let's relax," says the onscreen line.
The costumes and little details—including two men preparing to duel—are delightful, and the insight is good, too. The problem with always-on social culture isn't just that we wait for somebody to perfectly capture a meal; it's that they're capturing it for others, a crowd of invisible faces who've somehow taken precedence over those who are present. And that's where this film really shines.
The insight stems from Ikea's latest Life at Home report, which tells us that, in Shanghai, 49 percent of respondents think it's more important to have good Wi-Fi than to have social spaces at home, so they can nurture relationships without having to be out.
Before the internet was mainstream and smartphones secured the last coffin nail, closing your front door meant shutting out the world. Now, we socialize around the clock. It isn't just a way to pass idle time; it's competitive, increasingly more perfectionist and fraught with FOMO. It's become a job—not just for you but for everyone around you.
The goal of "Let's Relax" is to seduce us away from our cable tethers and remind us of "the joy of cooking, eating and being together," Ikea says. In addition to teaching us how to recapture peace of mind (the rarest of Pokemon!), future iterations of "Let's Relax" will address the expectations and realities of "augmented relationships," like how 73 percent of people feel more at home when they cook ... but 42 percent lack the time to cook daily, and potentially even feel intimidated by the perfection that "social" cooking demands in our Likes-addled brains.
The goal will be to address these twitchy burdens, and hopefully help divest us of them. Possibly while selling us tables—which the study calls "an enabler for social gatherings," an euphemism so frilly, it rivals the costumes we've seen here.
Creative Director: Johan Holmgren
Executive Producer: David Olsson
Art Director: Cecilia Dufils
Copywriter: Markus Bjurman
Creative (Ikea): Fredrik Preisler, Katie Copeland
Creative Director (Ikea): Morten Kjaer
Head of Planning (Ikea): Morten Lundholm
Project Manager (Ikea): Mia Malmström
Producer: Fredrik Skoglund
Director: Tompa & Rondo
Director of Photography: Anders Jedenfors
Final Art: Oliver Juan
Production Company: Acne
Summer is better with perks. To take advantage of that, Miller Lite is spending these sun-soaked months offering "kick backs"—a fun series of unexpected rewards—to people across the country. Who says service is dead?
Because each kickback is so different, the best thing to do is run through them, and Miller Lite's done us the service of encapsulating a handful in a series of videos. Get in the zone with this roundup video from Digitas, which sums various perks up at whiplash speed:
Now onto the fun stuff. We'll start Lite: To provide "fresh perspective" to people lounging face-up on the beach, Miller Lite took to the skies and dispensed advice to improve their loungey day—ensuring they could spend it without sunburn, lukewarm beer or communal thirst.
Can't be bothered to slather on another layer of sunscreen? In another video, "We Got Your Back," Miller Lite erected a booth in Florida that sprays some on you in a shower you'll definitely want to close your eyes for. It used over 90 gallons of the stuff in a day.
And in its last video, Miller Lite hit up Bonnaroo to throw some much-needed shade over festival goers.
In addition to all these charmed efforts to keep the nation's sunrats from developing skin cancer, Miller Lite did other stuff, too, like take an entire Southside Chicago bar to a White Sox Game, and set up giant Jengas.
Summer's only half over, so grab a towel and keep your eyes on the sky. To keep track of where Miller Lite may strike next, or shoot them a hint in your direction, follow the #itsmillertime hashtag.
Most of us take clean clothes for granted. But the sad truth is that some people simply can't afford to go around with spotless—or even unstained—attire every day.
In the hyper-self-consciousness of school, where classmates' comments can seemingly leave lifelong scars, this state of affairs can drive truancy and disrupt the learning process. Teachers estimate 20 percent of American students struggle with access to clean clothes, and many believe these kids are more likely to skip class.
"When I wake up in the morning and I find out I have no clean clothes, I usually just end up staying home," says Vanessa, a fourth-grader featured in Whirlpool's Care Counts School Laundry program, in an introductory video on the project's website:
In an effort to quantify the problem and work toward a solution, Whirlpool and DigitasLBi put washers and dryers for disadvantaged kids in a pair of school districts—one in Missouri, the other in California—encompassing 17 schools. The company also kicked in detergent and fabric sheets.
"Up until this year," despite programs providing kids with better nutrition and social services, "we've never ever had anything that would address having clean clothes," says Martha Lacy, principal at the David Weir K-8 Academy in Fairfield, Calif.:
Over the course of a year, the schools identified students with a need for clean clothes and anonymously tracked their loads of laundry (2,000 in all!), plus attendance and grades. All told, more than 90 percent of the kids who took part in the program increased their attendance, spending about six more days in school compared to the previous year. What's more, their test scores, peer interactions and participation in extracurricular activities all improved.
Vanessa sums it up in the clip below. "Having the washer and dryer at the school means I don't have to worry about having dirty clothes," she says. "It makes me feel more excited and makes me feel like I fit in more."
"Increasing attendance by one day a month may not seem monumental … [but] every minute, every day, every student all the time, attendance matters," says Bonita Jamison, assistant superintendent at Riverview Gardens School District in St. Louis:
From a branding perspective, the push earns Whirlpool some social relevance points—which, when you come right down to it, isn't the easiest task for a maker of washers and dryers.
And the marketer looks to repeat the cycle, adding 20 more schools to the program in the months ahead. "We are excited to bring this resource to even more schools across the country," says brand manager Chelsey Lindstrom.
Whirlpool really does appear to be brightening kids' lives, and according to Helen Davis, parent liaison at Moline Elementary School in St. Louis, making the classroom a more caring, comfortable place for those who need it most:
Vice President, Brand Marketing, North America: Bill Beck
Sr. Director, Brand & Marketing Services: Robert Sundy
Sr. Brand Manager: Ryan Morand
Brand Manager: Chelsey Lindstrom
Agency: DigitasLBi & Production
Chief Creative Officer: Ronald Ng
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Morgan Carroll
SVP, Group Creative Director: Mike Frease
VP, Creative Director: Louie Calvano
Associated Creative Director: Chris Jansma
Sr. Art Director: Bryan Haupt, James Collins
Sr. Copywriter: Samantha Bordignon,
Lead Experience Designer: David Plant
VP, Executive Producer: Greg Lederer
VP, Account Director: Kristine Kobe
Account Manager: Julie Wisniewski
VP, Group Director, Creative Strategy: Brian Sherwell
Associate Director, Social Strategy: Rachael Datz
VP, Account Director – Media: Caitlin Finn
Media Supervisor: Ryanne Donnellon
Media Planner: Samantha Harvey
Production Company: C41 Media
Director: Mai Iskander
Director of Photography: Mai Iskander
Executive producer: Carla Tate
Line Producer: Carla Tate
Editing House: Cutters, Inc
Editor: Kathryn Hempel/Emily Tolan
Producer: Patrick Casey
Audio Mix: Another Country
Mixer: David Gerbowsi
Nike athletes do such great things, even voiceover artists are surprised.
The athletic wear brand's "Unlimited" campaign, which launched last week with this baby-themed spot, really kicks into high gear today with "Unlimited You"—a long-form spot running as a 2:30 online and as a :60 on NBC's coverage of tonight's Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics.
The spot, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland and directed by The Daniels (aka, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), has fun in particular with the voiceover, by actor Oscar Isaac. After talking up the potential of everyday athletes, in a playfully freewheeling way, for the first 60 seconds, Isaac tries to wrap up the spot—but the athletes have other ideas.
This leads to 90 more seconds of fun, with Isaac marveling at every new development, and every celebrity cameo, in a production where he's no longer in control whatsoever.
Among the athletes in the spot: Aaron Gordon, English Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Kevin Durant, Mo Farah, Neymar Jr., Nyjah Huston, Serena Williams, Su BingTian and Zach LaVine.
The "Unlimited" idea is meant to refer to the unlimited potential of both everyday and champion athletes, and to the endless possibility of the Nike brand's designs.
"Unlimited means never defining oneself by what came before," the brand says. "It means defying expectations, even one's own. Unlimited declares that there is no 'happily ever after' and there's no 'too far.' There's only 'What's next?' "
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Global Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O'Rourke
Interactive Director: Dan Viens
Copywriter: Edward Harrison
Art Director: Susan Land
Global Executive Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
Senior Agency Producer: Ross Plummer
Agency Post Producer: Shelley Eisner
Agency Production Assistant: Emily Knight
Digital Producer: Keith Rice
Art Production: Amy Berriochoa, Krystle Mortimore, Jennifer Spillers
Project Management: Christina Kim
Studio Design Manager: Alicia Kuna
Studio Designer: Edgar Morales
Retoucher: Frazer Goodbody
Motion Production, Design: Tori Herbst, Carlos Enciso
Strategic Planning: Andy Lindblade, Nathan Goldberg, Brandon Thornton, Reid Schilperoort
Media, Communications Planning: Danny Sheniak, John Furnari, Brian Goldstein, Jocelyn Reist
Account Team: Chris Willingham, Alyssa Ramsey, Corey Woodson, Anna Boteva, Carly Williamson
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: The Daniels
Executive Producers: Ali Brown, Suzanne Hargrove
Line Producer: Jonathan Wang
Director of Photography: Larkin Seiple
Production Designer: Mark Snelgrove
Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Angus Wall
Assistant Editor: Lauren Dellara
Post Producer: Chris Noviello
Executive Post Producer: Helena Lee
Visual Effects, Color: Mill, Los Angeles
2-D Lead Artist: John Leonti
2-D Artists: Brad Scott, Alex Candish, Peter Sidoriak, Rob Winfield, Joseph Zaki, Tommy Smith, Daniel Thurreson, Glyn Tebbutt, Greg VanZyl, Tim Bird, Jake Albers, Sam Evenson, Don Kim, Jake Albers, Adam Lambert
Matte Painting: Andy Wheater, Jie Zhou
Art Support: Dylan Streiff, Gary Marschka
Visual Effects Supervisor: Will Lemmon
Colorists: Greg Reese, Adam Scott
Color Producer: Thatcher Peterson
Track Title: "Never Die"
Music, Sound, Mix: Lime Studios
Audio Mixers: Rohan Young, Jeff Malen
Audio Assistants: Ben Tomastik, Lisa Mermelstein
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
Building on Apple's "Shot on iPhone" campaign, TBWA\Media Arts Lab gives us "The Human Family," a new spot with Maya Angelou narrating her poem "The Human Family."
The structure is simple, and reminiscent of a wedding montage (if only the latter were this short!). Against a white background, photos and videos of different faces and families—of all colors, sizes, ages and orientations—flicker by, with the credit of each iPhone photographer underneath.
As they move past us and into oblivion, like the firefly residue of memory, the late Maya Angelou reads her poem "The Human Family" in the background.
The spot is slated to air Friday during the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics. It's already gone live across Apple's social media channels and on the website, where a full subsite is devoted to the "Shot on iPhone" campaign.
The Olympics is a time when we commonly celebrate both differences and unity, and the ad elegantly walks the line between both. The triumph of "The Human Family"—both the ad and the poem—is the warm embrace of the qualities that make us unique (and beloved) in the eyes of those who love us. It's that universal desire to love and connect that produces commonalities that are more important than the differences.
This is a pretty nice message in a climate currently obsessed with stoking our differences to the point of explosion. As analyst Jan Dawson pointed out on Twitter,"Apple's Olympics ad is a nice antidote to all that's going on in the world (and the US in particular) at the moment."
The full text of Dr. Maya Angelou's poem appears below. The ad doesn't use all of it, probably for time and clarity, but it isn't a disservice. You can also listen to Dr. Angelou reading it, unadorned by marketing music, on Scientific American.
I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.
Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.
The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.
I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.
I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.
Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.
We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.
We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
BALI, Indonesia—In a week when gender issues were once again roiling the advertising world, Merlee Jayme, a longtime Saatchi & Saatchi Philippines exec who opened her own celebrated agency, JaymeSyfu, a decade ago, arrived here in Bali to chair the Direct jury for the Clio Awards.
One of the most respected creatives, male or female, across all of Asia, the Philippines-based Jayme—who runs what is now Dentsu JaymeSyfu as "chairmom" and chief creative officer—was bemused to hear of Saatchi worldwide chairman Kevin Roberts' controversial comments, so at odds were they from her own experience as a writer who rose through the ranks while also taking time off repeatedly to raise four girls.
Jayme, who recently aligned her agency with Dentsu after years of being owned by DDB, chatted with Adweek, during a break in Clio judging, about creativity, politics, awards, her favorite work—and yes, how she felt about Roberts' comments.
I read that you were once a nun.
I was! For three years, but it was a novice stage. I left home at 13 to join the Benedictine nuns. It was a run-away-from-home kind of thing.
That's unusual training for an ad career.
I learned so many things. Discipline. Never giving up after all the work, and all the long hours. [In advertising] I was the first one who said I could stay on. You'd hear stories of me, eight or nine months pregnant, still doing overtime work. You know how creative work is. It's tough. I wrote a book about it. I just published it last March. It's now a handbook for a lot of young creatives. I just suddenly realized that most of the things I do today are based on those three years. We weren't allowed to talk back in the convent. That silence cleared my mind. I didn't go through high school. It was probably a way of getting out of school, now that I look at it! Thank God none of my kids did that. Also, I'm a writer now, and I was forced to read a lot of heavy pontifical writings. It opened my mind to understanding big stuff, heavy stuff, very early on.
What's some of your favorite ad work that you've done?
My client who's been with me since college is [women's rights group] Gabriela. It's an international group of women. Part of them is political—it's very feminist, leftist. The other part of it is working against violence on women. When I was in college, I was part of the leftist group. Such a rebel! When I got into advertising, they became a very good client of mine, up until today—three networks later. I really love the work we've done for them on sex trafficking. We put naked women on a conveyor belt. We are a country where we work abroad—most of our domestic helpers are working abroad, because of the lack of jobs back home. And they usually send home packages. At Christmas you see all these conveyor belts full of boxes. It was very early on that we put women on there. Women are transferred elsewhere; you have no idea where they go. But they're sold like anything.
We also did the pledge posters, where we had huge faces of women, and you put red lipstick on them—it looked like they were battered. You press your finger on it and use the ink to make a pledge. You erase every visual of violence from the woman's face while using the ink to pledge against violence. Things like that are really close to my heart. I have four daughters, and every time I have an idea for Gabriela, it's like I'm keeping them safe from this kind of world we live in.
You call yourself "chairmom" and chief creative officer, in your title. How do you juggle being a mom and running an agency?
It's so much. That's my next book. There is an issue in Cannes and in Spikes [Asia] that there are less creative women in advertising. It's not easy. It's doubly hard for us. And I'm singling out the creative side of it, because there are lots of women in account management and at our clients, but less in creative. Maybe because it's a factory floor; it's really tough hours. And if you are ambitious, you think there are a lot of barriers. 'If I'm not going to make it up there, maybe I should get out now.' There's a lot of different attitudes I've been seeing in a lot of young creatives.
It's a tough role, but I want to show that you don't have to hurry. When I started my own agency, I was 40. That was the start of when I really enjoyed it. And now, 10 years later, I've moved on to another network and I'm starting a new era again. It's never too late. I could bring up my children, go back to being a copywriter, get pregnant again, get out, be a mom, get back. Now I'm an ACD with new challenges, new responsibilities. Get pregnant again, get out. You know, it eats at me, I see the briefs every time I'm on maternity leave. 'Can this brief wait until I give birth?' 'No, go!' But you can, actually, span both worlds and get to your dream of going back to work.
How old are your girls?
I have a 24-year-old. She's already a creative at Y&R. I have a 21-year-old. She's been an intern with TBWA. Both are creatives. And I have a 15- and a 13-year-old. My husband works at DDB. I work at Dentsu. We have four agencies in the house, and we absolutely do not talk about work! (laughs)
Did you see what Kevin Roberts said about gender?
Yes. I was at Saatchi for 13 years. I know Kevin. He would go down to the Philippines once in a while. I do not believe I lack in vertical ambition at all. I started as a fresh grad at Saatchi and ended up as a vice president and ECD. I really worked my ass off at Saatchi, and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. When I reached the ECD position, that's the time I left. Is that what he was insinuating—that women are pretty happy where we are? Yes, maybe. And there's nothing wrong with that, if we're happy where we are. When I was stuck in the ACD position, because I was part time doing my mother job, I was happy balancing it. But I never stopped dreaming that I could move up.
What is the value of ad awards, and what's special about Clio to you?
I was telling [Clio president] Nicole [Purcell], we're a very American country back home. When I started in advertising, the first award that came to my mind was Clio, because it's a very American award show. Cannes was something very far off. Maybe we were looking at Cannes as a very European, super global thing. I was very Americanized, and when I was growing up in advertising, I looked the Clio—the sleek shape of the trophy, it looked like the Oscar! And so, it was my first dream. I never stopped aiming for getting one. And I'll never forget the night I stood with the Grand Clio—the first for my country, where we're so American. I'm very happy we did that. I wish we'd do it again!
The winning campaign turned old cellphones into textbooks. See the work here:
In general about awards, I would say that creatives are very, very insecure. I would not be ashamed of saying that. We love being patted on the back when we do something good. Maybe because we like creating something from nothing, and we're not sure if it's nice, or if it's good enough for everyone else. But we love the fact that we created something. And when someone says, 'Fantastic! It's really great. Your idea is helping out,' that's the only kind of reward we're looking for. We feed on that. Award shows are very important in that way. It's the only way that tells us we're good in what we're doing. Creatives are also really bad with money. We're not exactly like, 'We need a promotion! We need a raise!' We're not like that. We like looking at what we've done and people saying we did a good job. And we're happy. We're pretty much a happy bunch. Every year, the challenge is to get that feeling again. Maybe that's why we love award shows.
So, now you're with Dentsu.
Yes. A lot of networks and friends wanted to see if I wanted to partner for a while now. I was looking for something else. It's exactly 10 years since I opened DM9. And I have a group of people who grew up with me for 10 years, some of them ever since I was at Saatchi. And we said, What can we do to help us move on, and learn more, and become better? When I saw Dentsu, and the Dentsu office, and the way they are in Tokyo with innovation and technology—we were known for being very low-tech in our ideas—I realized there's something here. I really want to be known for any kind of innovation that really helps out. We are a poor country. If we can help out in little ways, and improve things through innovation of any kind—we tried low-tech, yes, and a lot of ideas followed. But maybe it's time to move on to something bigger. And I'm part Japanese—so that sealed the deal.
The world is in crisis at the moment. What is the responsibility of creative people to do something about that?
There's a lot. I've been involved so much in politics, too, and it's one of the most exciting things for a creative—because the product talks back.
We just had a presidential election back home. And what I discovered is, consumers can only take so much. It got so bad in social media. All the money from most of candidates was spent on social media, just to negate one popular personality. And it backfired. He won, by spending nothing. And he was saying all the wrong things—just like the U.S.! He said something about rape, about really bad things. And he was the most reluctant candidate. He was actually testing waters. 'If I say this, will you still vote for me?' kind of challenge. I've seen all the media budget go to social media, hiring bloggers and supposedly anonymous people, talking generally against this candidate. I guess people could smell that social media was just being run by some candidates. They started unfollowing. They started closing their minds on social media, and just voted with their hearts. And he won.
At some point, we—as communicators in this business—should understand that a media budget can only get you so far. All these innovative strategies, the biggest media buyers, digital companies making all these graphics or whatever—that can only get you so far, too. At some point, if you really want something to happen, especially politically—something about refugees; big, big issues—you have to go back to the heart. You have to touch the hearts of the people you want to talk to, in a most genuine manner, and not just use all these things that make them numb.
How do you see advertising evolving?
It's evolved in all shapes and forms. Message wise, maybe it's almost the same. You can get blown away by all the new products and all the technology. But I always look for the idea again. Go back to basic. What the hell are you trying to tell me? All these lights and sparkles, and OK—then I rewind it. What was the thing you wanted us to understand? Just because you're using VR and giving me a new and spectacular game, what is it again? The product promise is so far away. Maybe they couldn't find the right product for the technology, I don't know. But at the end of the day, the messaging is the same. The way we want to communicate with our consumers is the same. It just takes so many forms.
I heard [J. Walter Thompson worldwide chief creative officer] Matt Eastwood say this—we are in the most exciting time of our lives. There was a time when we got so bored with all the traditional media, and forcing the message down the throats of the consumers. We didn't want to do that anymore, and they didn't want to listen anymore. Now, with all this freedom, we are in the most exciting part of our lives. We can probably end the era of long, long videos, though! (laughs) Seven-minute videos? Please. I don't have time for that.
—The Clio Awards will be announcing this year's gold, silver and bronze winners on clios.com on Sept. 12. The Grand Clio winners will be revealed at the Clio Awards ceremony in New York on Sept. 28.
Here's a powerful statement: To underline its commitment to all Olympians ahead of the 2016 Rio Games, BMW has released "Built for Gold."
Created by KBS, the spot is galvanizing, dramatic and powerful. It stars Josh George, who, drenched in sweat, advances hard under a setting sun ... in a BMW-designed performance wheelchair.
At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, George won gold in the men's 100 meters-T53 event. He has also represented the U.S. as a SportsUnited Sports Envoy, a program designed to cultivate recreation for at-risk, sometimes disabled, kids.
And the ad—as much a plug for BMW as it is for him—does him justice. As he powers down the roads of Champion, Illinois, cultural discomfort about disabilities gets shelved. It's hard to think of him as anything but an athlete, one who's made serious sacrifices for greatness.
The Paralympics are as competitive as the Olympics themselves, but haven't always been appreciated as such. This started changing in 2012, when the U.K.'s Channel 4 released "Meet the Superhumans," a high-energy, emotional piece that wordlessly underscored the sheer power and defiance of Paralympic athletes.
Procter & Gamble picked up the mantle—this time for moms—for the Paralympics in 2014. And Channel 4 reprised its "Superhumans" message this year, with a playful and infectious musical spot that taps completely different emotional chords from its previous work. Today, a far broader audience is rooting for Paralympic athletes than before.
When other sponsors start building on the mainstream cash pile, that's when you know there's change afoot. BMW's Performance Team includes Olympians and Paralympians alike. And as part of its six-year partnership with Team USA, the sexy carbon fiber wheelchair marks the fourth vehicle transfer project BMW's developed to advance performance-driven sports ... and its first Paralympic vehicle. (It built a bobsled for Sochi in 2014.)
"Over the course of our partnership with Team USA, we have been committed to advancing athletic performance through technology transfer initiatives which help to address their training and equipment needs," says vp of marketing Trudy Hardy of BMW of North America. "This one is special not only because it presents a unique design challenge, but it helps solve a bigger mobility challenge for our Paralympic athletes."
The wheelchair took a year to build and was created with 3-D scanning and printing techniques to fit each rider, maximizing the chassis' aerodynamics. Associate director Brad Cracchiola of BMW Group Designworks, which leads these design projects, calls it "one of the coolest projects I've worked on. To be able to take what I do on a day-to-day basis and combine that with the design of this wheelchair is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The ad's conclusion probably describes it best, though, when the somber voiceover rises to climax: "This chair was built for breaking things—to reimagine, rethink and redefine what it means to be an athlete. And once every limit has been passed, every expectation smashed, and every record broken, together we will have built something great."
"Built for Gold" will air on NBC during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. The Paralympics kick off Sept. 7, following the Olympic Games. During the Olympics Closing Ceremonies, a social component will go live to keep momentum up in the two weeks preceding to the Paralympics. It will appear across both broadcast and digital until the games end on Sept. 18.
Client: BMW of North America
Executive Creative Director: Paul Renner
Group Creative Director: Fred Sanicola
Creative Director: Nate Virnig
Senior Copywriter: Mike Merritt
Head Of Production: Jenny Read
Agency Producer: Michelle Strank
Agency Associate Producer: Ariana Ekonomou
Executive Director of Content Affairs: Robin Oksenhendler
Account Supervisor: Keisha Townsend
Account Executive: Kait Harris
Production Company: Decon
Director: TJ O'Grady Peyton
Director Of Photography (Dp): Eigil Bryld
Executive Producer: Misha Louy
Head Of Production: Brian Turner
Line Producer: Peter FitzGerald
Editorial Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Gary Knight
Assistant Editor: Brandon Iben
Executive Producer: Raná Martin
Producer: Ellese Jobin
Music Company: Travis + Maude
Composer/ Creative Director: Dave Wittman
Executive Producer: Kala Sherman
Sound Design: Jay Nierenberg
Audio Mix: Heard City
Audio Mixer: Phil Loeb
Executive Producer: Sasha Awn
Producer: Talia Rodgers
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole
Producer: Clare Movshon
Powerade pulls no punches whatsoever in this spot from Wieden + Kennedy Portland starring 19-year-old amateur boxer and U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson.
As an official Olympics sponsor, Coca-Cola can avoid the complex maze of U.S. Olympic Committee regulations preventing businesses from sharing in that international glory. And this week, its Powerade brand turns to Stevenson for the latest chapter in its "Just a Kid" campaign.
The two-minute short film below celebrates the 5-foot-7, 123-pound bantamweight fighter's journey from the streets of Newark, New Jersey, to Rio de Janeiro. Like so many athletes competing in this year's games, Stevenson's story starts in his hometown.
In focusing on Stevenson's upbringing, evidently filled with violence, as a source of strength, the film reinforces the key themes of "Just a Kid," which has also featured such athletes as Derrick Rose and Jimmy Graham, as well as Olympians Claressa Shields and Lopez Lomong.
A preview released last month hinted at these themes, positioning Stevenson's career as a fulfillment of his destiny rather than a personal choice.
"There isn't a match that goes by where I don't pause at least once to think about where I came from and all that I've been through," Stevenson said in a statement. "I'm proud to be just a kid from Newark. The city raised me. I hope this commercial inspires others to believe that with hard work, where you're from and the difficulties you faced will never be a barrier to where you can go and what you can accomplish."
A 30-second version of the film will begin airing during the Rio Games, and Powerade's online store will offer limited edition "Just a Kid from the U.S.A." T-shirts through August, with a portion of the proceeds going to the USOC fund "to support current and future Olympians."
Spot: "The Corner"
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Max Stinson / Erik Fahrenkopf
Copywriter: Wayne Kasserman
Art Director: Cameron Soane
Producer: Jennifer Fiske
Production Company: Iconoclast
Director: Romain Gavras
Executive Producer: Charles-Marie Anthonioz
Line Producer: Julien Lemaitre
Director of Photography: Rodrigo Prieto
Editorial Company: PS 260
Editor: Walter Mauriot
Post Producer: Laura Lamb Patterson
Assistant Editor: Tyler Hurst
VFX Company: The Mill
Managing Director: Rani Melendez
VFX Producer: Daniel Midgley
Production Coordinator: Courtney Prather, Chris Lewis, Alex Benavente
Shoot Supervisor/Creative Dir.: John Leonti
2D Lead Artist: Bill Higgins
3D Lead Artist: Matt Longwell
Matte Painting: Itai Muller
Colorist: Yvan Lucas / Shed LA
Music + Sound Design: Marco Casanova
Mix Company: Lime Studios
Mixer: Loren Silber
Dick's Sporting Goods is going big with its minute-long commercial by Anomaly for the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics, focusing on the chemical makeup of all life in the history of the universe.
That might include building blocks like carbon and calcium, but the retailer is most fascinated by a much smaller component of the human body—the minuscule amount of gold in all of us.
There are about 0.2 milligrams of the precious yellow metal in every human, the spot points out. But only a select few souls can magic that amount into an Olympic medal, it continues—a conclusion that, at least in spirit, is hard to contest.
Mixed in among elemental footage of outer space and billowing smoke and sputtering magma are the obligatory intense-training shots of four Olympians—Kerri Walsh-Jennings (beach volleyball), Claressa Shields (boxing), Daryl Homer (fencing) and Danell Leyva (gymnastics)—as well as one Paralympian—Lex Gillette (long jump)—who will all be competing in this year's Games.
Also featured are two hopefuls—Laura Ryan (diving) Kristin Smith (hammer throw)—who did not qualify during trials but are employed by the retailer as part of its "Contenders" program, which promises participants flexible work hours and competitive pay to support their training schedules. (The Team USA sponsor is also promising $1,000 to youth sports groups for each medal the country's athletes win in Brazil this year.)
The alchemical upshot of the commercial is ambitious, even for a global event on the scale of the Olympics. (Some other advertisers have chosen to zero in on the personal sacrifices in more detailed ways, without sacrificing grandiosity.) But the copy here crescendos so dazzlingly that it's hard to begrudge its shameless grasp at profundity. Removed from the context of high hopes among athletes and fans alike, it might ring as pretentious or absurd; instead, the mix of curious fact, inspiring metaphor and deft film craft manage to land, at least at first blush, as exciting.
Plus, there are worse ways to sell sporting gear than suggesting that each viewer has the potential, somewhere deep inside, to maybe, just maybe, be that good too—if he or she would just get up off the couch.
Like a true nature's child, Flo was born to be wild. Or something.
Progressive's iconic ad character, played by Stephanie Courtney, revs up the va-va-vroom in this tongue-in-cheek motorcycle-themed print campaign created by Arnold Worldwide with Buffalo Art Co. and custom bike builder Chase Stopnik. (The work marks another departure for Flo from her familiar white-and-blue aproned commercial appearances, following her ectoplasmic turn in spots touting the insurer's sponsorship of the Ghostbusters reboot.)
Now, Flo goes the sexy/rebel biker-chick route—which, of course, yields some high-octane kitsch, as she poses on custom-built "Chrome Thrones" made from motorcycle parts designed to represent different rigs.
First up, a sleek, speedy sport bike. Flo looks like a Bond villain here:
Next, a touring cycle. Why gas up, though, when it's really just a tricked-out chair?
Finally, a cruiser. Paging Mad Max!
Whoa, Flo Rida rocks some serious leather and pouty attitude. Actually, though, she's driven down this road a few times before. Still, Progressive finds a whole new goofy gear with "Chrome Thrones," and Flo gets her motor running in appealingly—for some, appallingly—self-aware style.
Check out the behind-the-scenes clip below, which goes into detail about the creation of the thrones. If you have a backyard full of old motorcycle parts and no life at all, why not build your own?