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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    This week saw a first in the long, contentious and thoroughly exhausting campaign for the White House: an apology of sorts from GOP nominee Donald J. Trump.

    Some critics were quick to point out that Trump didn't say that he was sorry in last night's speech or name any specific incidents in which he feels like he may have gone a bit too far. He simply said, "Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," adding, "I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain."

    One ad agency—admittedly one with a long track record of working on Democratic campaigns—has made light of Trump's word woes by combining two of today's hottest marketing topics: messenger bots and the ever-shifting spectacle of the Trump campaign.

    "BFF Trump" is a Facebook Messenger bot that provides users with the best and/or worst of Donald Trump. It makes for an amusing way to pass a few minutes' time ... unless you happen to be a yuuuuge fan of The Donald.

    Users simply open the bot in their Facebook Messenger accounts, give the chatbot access, and move easily through a Choose Your Own Adventure version of Trump's quotes about a laundry list of hot-button subjects like gender equality, abortion, climate change, torture, immigration and his personal relationships with various minority groups. The bot includes hundreds of facepalms—and the list is likely to keep growing.

    Conveniently, every series of messages ends with a "Really?" link to a news item proving that Trump did indeed say things like "A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market."

    SS+K's New York office partnered with Dexter, a bot platform startup from Betaworks, to create the bot as a playful way to make potentially "disengaged" young people more aware of the man who would be president. In case it wasn't already obvious enough, they do not count themselves among Trump's fan base.

    "With BFF Trump, we explored how to use an emerging technology to connect with the younger voters, to point a strong light on the hateful rhetoric that Trump spews and to motivate people to get out and take action this fall," said svp of digital strategy and innovation Kevin Skobac

    Creative and senior strategist Claudia Cukrov added, "With a candidate like Trump, it's almost impossible to keep track of his position on anything. BFF Trump gives users an opportunity to navigate the madness in a space and format the audience knows all too well."

    SS+K has a lot of experience with this sort of thing. Its founders have been political consultants for many years, and their shop served as the youth agency for Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

    We currently have 80 days to go until the election, so BFF Trump should continue to add plenty of fresh material.


    Agency: SS+K
    Kevin Skobac: SVP, Digital Strategy + Innovation
    Claudia Cukrov: Creative, Senior Strategist
    John Swartz: SVP, Director of Production + Innovation
    Craig von Wiederhold: Senior Producer
    Chris Berger: Senior Producer
    Paul Malloy: Research
    Jesse Raker: Design Director
    Caroline O'Toole: Designer

    Brendan Bilko: Head of Product, Dexter
    David Hu: VP of Engineering, Dexter

    James Cooper: Head of Creative, Betaworks

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    Team USA reached 105 medals at the Summer Olympics in Rio on Friday, keeping the nation atop the medal count. Here's what marketers need to know about the last 24 hours of the Olympics:

    Team USA Now 40 Medals Ahead of China
    The U.S. added two medals to its total count Friday night, putting Team USA in the lead by 40 medals. Team USA won the gold in the women's 4x100 relay and the silver in the women's pole vault. (SB Nation)

    Here's the total medal leaderboard as it stood going into Saturday, according to NBC Olympics:

    United States: 105
    China: 65
    Great Britain: 60
    Russia: 48
    Japan: 41

    Gold for U.S. Women's Relay Team, Felix Sets a Record
    Team USA's Allyson Felix became the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history on Friday as she won her fifth gold. The medal came alongside her fellow 4x100 relay winners: Tianna Bartoletta, English Gardner and Tori Bowie. This marks the second consecutive Olympic gold for the U.S. in the 4x100. (CNN)

    U.S. Men's 4x100m Relay Team Loses Rio Bronze, Files Appeal
    The U.S. track and field team was disqualified in the men's 4x100m relay final, denying them the bronze, and the team has filed an appeal. The team was disqualified after Americans Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin passed the baton outside the exchange zone according to judges, but the Americans say there was no infraction. (FOX Sports)

    Usain Bolt Wins 4x100m Gold Medal in His Final Olympic Race
    Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, took the gold in the final Olympic race of his career on Friday. Bolt, of Jamaica, is tied for the most career Olympic track and field gold medals with Finland's Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis of the U.S. (NBC)

    Q&A: Nike's CMO on the Brand's Olympics Campaign Highlighting All Kinds of Athletes
    Nike's chief marketing officer, Greg Hoffman, spoke to Adweek about the brand's latest campaign, created by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland. The campaign could be one of the brand's most inclusive yet, including Sister Madonna Buder (the "Iron Nun") and U.S. transgender athlete Chris Mosier. (Adweek)

    In Pole Vault, a Near Miss for U.S. Means a Gold for Greece
    U.S. women's pole vaulter (and first-time Olympian) Sandi Morris lost her chance at gold when she barely grazed the bar, costing her a vault that could have put her on top. (She technically tied with gold medalist Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece for best height, so the final decision came down to who had the fewest misses overall.) But silver was still a huge win for Team USA, especially after reigning gold medalist Jenn Suhr was battered by a weeklong virus, effectively taking her out of the running. (Team USA)

    U.S. Swimmer Gunnar Bentz Apologizes for Gas Station Incident, Says Video Footage Missing
    Ryan Lochte alleged that he and fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint while in Rio. The story as it was told turned out to be untrue, but U.S. swimmer Gunnar Bentz apologized Friday for his role in the scandal. He also said missing surveillance footage from the incident would prove that the swimmers were held at gunpoint after their tussle with a security guard and told to leave money. (USA Today)

    NBC's Olympics Ratings Rebounded a Bit Thursday Night 
    Thursday was an inspiring night in Rio—Team USA's Ashton Eaton won the gold in the men's decathlon and Usain Bolt earned a third gold medal in a row in the 200 meters. 21.7 million viewers tuned in Thursday, slightly up from Wednesday night, but still one of the lowest-rated nights of the Olympics so far. (Adweek)

    Triumph, Cuteness and Controversy Make the Olympics a Messy Mix on Social Media
    Media technology player 4C reviewed the highlights and lowlights of Thursday's Olympic games. The buzziest moments on Facebook and Twitter came from a handful of moments, including Usain Bolt winning the 200-meter gold 572,746 engagements (likes, comments and retweets) and Alistair and Jonny Brownlee taking the gold and silver in the triathlon. (Adweek)

    Huffington Post and Samsung Are Spotlighting Rio's Untold Stories With 360° Video
    The Huffington Posts virtual reality studio, RYOT, has partnered with Samsung to tell stories at the Olympics using Samsung's new Gear 360 camera. Those stories are about Brazilian culture and life in the city. (Adweek)

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    Annie's Homegrown hops online with a campaign featuring bunnies. So many bunnies.

    Created by the Bell Shop, in-house agency for Annie's parent General Mills, the Facebook and Instagram push consists of cottony tales anchored by 30 seconds of mind-melting adorbs. 

    Here's the anthem spot: 

    It can't be hygienic to set those cuddly critters loose all over the aisles like that, can it? And the punny tagline, "Organic for Everybunny"—suggesting the range and affordability of Annie's product line—is enough to curl your whiskers. 

    "We built the campaign to be newsworthy, enjoyably quirky and memorable," says client marketing director Dan Stangler. "Bunnies have been at the heart of our brand identity since we were founded back in 1989. We have been sharing bunny content on our social channels for years, and it continues to be some of our most popular content." 

    Annie's stamps a cartoon "Rabbit of Approval" named Bernie on its packaging, and some of its products are shaped like rabbits. These include the cheddar pasta in the "Chewdown" clip below, which features a bunny facing off against a cute kid (a human kid, not a young goat). 

    Ah well, the bunny tried its best. Maybe the leporidae will fare better with granola bars:

    Humanity wins again! (By a hare's breadth, so to speak.) 

    Finally, folks don rabbit ears because, well, that's just how they wanna roll: 

    "We hope consumers take away the fact that Annie's is bringing organic versions of foods their families love to more places in the store—it's not just in the Mac & Cheese and snack aisle," says Stangler. "We're now bringing the goodness of Annie's to the dairy aisle, the cereal aisle and even the frozen aisle in categories kids love, and parents loved when they were kids."

    For the lead spot, shot after hours in a Minneapolis market, "30 'show bunnies' were brought in from a local handler who typically enters bunnies in pageants—this was their first commercial," Stangler says. (Yes, bunny beauty pageants are a thing.)

    Predictably, the cute cast members had a few issues taking direction. 

    "Bunnies aren't exactly the easiest animals to work with," Stangler says. "They definitely kept us on our toes during the all-night shoot. We had to do numerous takes because, well, let's just say that bunnies were trying to 'multiply' on set. They are frisky little animals." 

    Hey, rabbits—get a room!

    CREDITS Client: Annie's
    Marketing Director, Annie's: Dan Strangler
    Agency: The Bell Shop
    Chief Creative Officer: Michael Fanuele
    Creative Director: Carol Henderson
    Writers: Robb McNeill, Tony Libera
    Director: Jonathan Nowak
    Senior Producer: Amanda Bastian
    Producer: Barth Ward
    Production Company: Rain&Shine at Pixel Farm
    Post Production: Pixel Farm

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    Don't you just love a room with a view?

    Connecticut's licensed realtors are betting you do in this soft-sell pitch that subtly promotes their services, but plays more like an upscale tourism campaign. Crafted by ad shop Sleek Machine, the commercials employ a distinctive visual device that kicks in about halfway through each spot.

    First off, beachcombers can wade into the soft sand and gentle surf of Westbrook: 

    Or if sun-kissed pastoral scenes are more your thing, this next ad, shot on a farm in Pomfret, could grow on you:

    "In a sense, it is a tourism campaign—with a twist," agency creative chief Tim Cawley tells AdFreak. "The kind of views you'd normally see in a typical tourism spot are actually available for purchase, and your own private enjoyment, in the beautiful state of Connecticut. And professional realtors can help make that dream a reality." 

    Lastly, those craving a vibrant urban setting might enjoy, well, New York or Paris, frankly—but in the ol' Nutmeg State, Hartford's probably your best bet: 

    "All of the spots are all in-camera," says Cawley, "with no compositing, VFX or other tricks on the post side. We used a Steadicam to start at—or outside—the window, and pulled back to reveal each view was coming from a bedroom, living room, patio, etc." 

    Real estate advertising has been a hot property all year, with marketers trying varied tactics to lure prospective home buyers. Efforts range from Zillow's earnest depictions of the deeper meaning of "home" to Elizabeth Banks' kooky/creepy dream invasions for Realtor.com.

    Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors staged a silly faux physical-challenge game show, then pivoted to a cheeky Modern Family tie-in. And who could forget the Canadian real estate agent with laser beams shooting out of her eyes? (If you see her strolling along the beach at sunset, shut the window!)

    Connecticut realtors eschew such gimmicks and never over-conceptualize. Instead of glitzy set pieces, weird humor or detailed explanations about why one should seek out Realtors with a capital R, the group elegantly frames its message to focus on location, location, location, putting viewers in the picture.

    "We also extended the campaign into a series of backlit mall posters, so it looks like the sunlight is coming through the window," Cawley says. "The windows in the posters are life-size, so the effect is almost as if you're experiencing the view as you would in an actual home."

    Check those posters out below: 

    Client: Connecticut Realtors
    Agency: Sleek Machine
    Chief Creative Officer: Tim Cawley
    Art Director: Alan Duda
    Copywriter: Jeff Marois
    Producer: Ben Ouellette
    DP/Editor: Dave Shaw

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    Comic short films about the absurdity of the ad business have a proud history going back to Tim Hamilton's brilliant Truth in Advertising. Here's the latest one—director Tim Mason's No Other Way to Say It, about an amusingly bleak voiceover recording session for an ice-cream commercial.

    As the creative team tries to get the voiceover artist to nail the right tone for a single line, over and over—and the latter gets more and more distracted—the truth in advertising here becomes painfully clear: The project is mired in idiocy and inertia.

    The film was made by Hog Butcher, a content creation company made up of improvisers, comedians and writers from Chicago institutions including Second City, IO and the Annoyance Theater. Hog Butcher is led by veteran Chicago adman Ron Lazzeretti.

    Production company One at Optimus and post house Optimus produced, edited and finished the film.

    Writer, Director: Tim Mason
    Director of Photography: Sam DiGiovanni
    Executive Producer: Lisa Masseur
    Producer: Emma Jubinski
    Second Camera: Myles Green
    Audio Mixer, Gaffer: Parker Warf
    Editor: Mike Berg

    Post Producer: Gretchen Praeger
    Assistant Editor: Ben Winter
    Audio Desig, Mix: Ben Treimer
    Color: Ron Sudul
    Color Assistant: Alex Frankland
    Music: Julie B. Nichols

    Cast: Beth Melewski, Sue Salvi, Megan Kellie, Cayne Collier, Ed Flynn

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    The Rio Olympics may be over, and we're quickly heading toward Labor Day. But there's still time left to enjoy the summer rays. And who can better advise us on how to soak up the sun than the famously brown George Hamilton? 

    In its latest campaign, KFC picked Mr. Permatan as the latest celebrity to portray Colonel Sanders. And the brand also created its very first sunscreen in an effort to help you resemble the late Colonel's famous Original Recipe—giving you extra crispy skin and the sort of aroma that can only come from that secret mix of 11 herbs and spices. 

    After all, even Eric Cartman would agree that the most important part of a fried chicken dinner is the skin, which may well be the world's most effective oil repository. 

    Edelman Dallas came up with the concept behind KFC Extra Crispy Sunscreen, which is every bit as real as the "pricey" line of suncare products that Hamilton promoted in the halcyon days of the late '80s with the line "My credibility in tanning is unblemished." 

    KFC's lead creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy Portland, created the packaging, the Extra Crispy Suncreen microsite and the very thorough infomercial above. 

    Hamilton replaced Jim Gaffigan as the Colonel in June, and used his first appearance to pitch a brand of crispy chicken so compelling that it "isn't just a product, it's a lifestyle."

    The sunscreen, which is available through good old snail mail for a limited time, promises to prevent you from turning the shade Hamilton himself described as "lobster red" by ensuring that "harmful ultraviolet rays bounce off your skin while the lovely fragrance rays penetrate it to give you a healthy chicken aroma." 

    Just don't eat it, OK? 

    For the record, Hamilton once told Oprah that his first tan led to his first time being "hit on by a girl," so one can perhaps understand his fondness for his signature dried-leather look. 

    Client: KFC
    Agencies: Edelman Dallas and Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

    Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin, Jason Kreher
    Copywriter: Shaine Edwards
    Art Director: Matthew Carroll
    Producers: Tiffany Golden, Ben Grylewicz
    Business Affairs: Connery Obeng
    Account Team: Jesse Johnson, Andrie Wheeler, Kate Rutkowski, Madeline Parker
    Social Strategy: John Dempsey
    Director: Matthew Carroll

    Editorial Company: Joint
    Editor: Eric Hill
    Post Producer: Chris Gerard
    Mixer, Sound Engineer, Sound Designer: Noah Woodburn

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    A clever campaign from Russia adds new utility to the dead-tree branding tool of the business card, by turning it into a blood alcohol test that can let bar patrons know whether they're sober enough to drive safely—or should arrange for a ride to come pick them up.

    A new case study video shows that it jointly promotes car-service app Uber and drinking establishment Alibi Bar, located in the city of Yekaterinburg. The cards, fitted with saliva alcohol test strips, were given to customers at the venue. An imbiber can then peel off the testing strip, lick it and wait for the result. If it turns yellow, it's safe to climb behind the wheel. If it turns green, it's time to summon an Uber driver.

    In spirit, the idea, conceived and executed by Red Pepper Creative, is simple and utilitarian—which adds to its charm, despite its limited scope and assuming the strips are accurate. (To be fair, they generally are.)

    Plenty of other brands and agencies around the world have experimented with point-of-sale stunts aimed at discouraging drunk driving and other alcohol-related dangers. There was the 2012 gimmick, from insurer Allianz in Brazil, which used a bathroom mirror to delay the reflections of revelers and remind them of the risks of distorted judgment and poor reaction times. This year, a public-service campaign similarly used a trick mirror at a bar in Los Angeles to stage a conversation with prisoner serving time for vehicular manslaughter committed while drunk.

    In a less direct correlation, a Japanese bar chain last year tried—clumsily—to fight alcohol-fueled domestic violence with coasters that featured images of women who appeared abused after a cold drink was placed on them.

    Such efforts are often just awards bait. But if they do actually help even a few people make smarter decisions, and reduce the risk for a broader public, they have legitimate value. Then again, anyone who needs to drool on a piece of paper to see how responsibly they've been drinking should probably just take the cab anyway.

    Clients: Uber, Alibi Bar
    Agency: Red Pepper Creative, Yekaterinburg, Russia
    Main Pepper: Danil Golovanov
    Creative Director: Ivan Sosnin
    Art Director: Julia Uzkih
    Designer: Maria Orlova
    Account: Dinara Keksina
    Copywriter: Yana Shmailova
    Production: Anton Smetanin, Ekaterina Donik
    Music: Roma Zuckerman
    Video Production: Kirill Zotov

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    There's not much anyone can do to avoid life's little indignities. But if you've got some money in the bank, you can at least be well dressed while facing them.

    That, at least, is the upshot of a new ad from Middle Eastern clothing retailer Centrepoint and agency Impact BBDO Dubai. 

    Shot in black and white, it features a young man driving a flashy vintage sportscar while a stunning woman stares out the window from the backseat (perhaps reflecting the marketer's audience). The party drips with ennui. Despite the trappings of success, this gent can't escape banal little tragedies—a stone in his shoe during a meeting, a piece of gum left on his seat by some thoughtless predecessor, a baby on the airplane he's riding in.

    The uncaring universe, it turns out, does not love him like his mother does (assuming the universe recognizes he's there at all). His scruples eventually reach a high point when the car breaks down on a set of railroad tracks. 

    Find out what happens next:

    There's no shortage of contradictions here; the ad strives for the existential in a blatantly materialistic kind of way. But the finale is surprisingly funny, and does a lot to make the protagonist's bourgeois self-pity more forgivable. It's easy to imagine a person having far bigger problems than the hero's trivial whining, and nobody likes a guy who can't muster sympathy for a bawling infant—even if it's inconvenient. 

    In the end, though, "Sabotage" doesn't take itself as seriously as it first appears to, and its creators aren't really concerned with how good or bad anyone's life is. They're just trying to sell shirts.

    As shamelessly cynical as that might be, it deserves points for being honest—and for offering enough truth to be persuasive. If you're going to be taken out by a speeding metal behemoth, you might as well wear the suit your friends and family can bury you in. 

    Just kidding—that one probably has gum stuck to the pants. Buy two, just in case.


    Advertiser: Centrepoint
    Marketing Manager: Rupal Panjani
    Head of Marketing: Shyam Sunder

    Creative Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai
    TV Producer: Rajaa Chami
    Copywriter: Alok Mohan
    Executive Creative Director: (Regional): Fadi Yaish
    Account Director: Bharti Joukani
    Account Executive: Lizelle Rodrigues
    Senior Art Director: Marcelo Maciel
    Associate Creative Director: Alok Mohan
    Vice President: Colin Farmer

    Sound Design: Goldstein
    Music Supervision: Goldstein
    Voice-over: Eardrum, Australia

    Editor: AMR Rabae

    Postproduction House: Lizard VFX Shop, Cairo
    Online Artist: Serena, Dubai
    Colorist: Karim Mira
    CG: Digital District, Paris

    Production Company: Good People, Beirut
    Director: Maged Nassar
    Assistant Director: Patrik Farra
    DOP: Pierre Mouarkech
    Executive Producers: Michel Bou Zeid, Cynthia Chammas

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    It isn't often you watch a 30-second spot that leaves you with feelings you can't understand.

    For online casino Leo Vegas, London ad agency Now has released "Carcass," the first of a two-part series featuring client mascot Leo, the "undisputed king of mobile casino." 

    The spot opens with Leo leaning against a bar and eyeing some (literal!) fresh meat across the way. It's an irresistible lure: He saunters over and takes its stub of a hand, leading it to the dance floor, where the pair get familiar in ways that leave us, well, queasy at best. 

    The ending should surprise no one, and should even come as reassurance—the fact that Leo is still in the bar suggests he didn't have sex with his food before partaking. Maybe he even took his first bite on the dance floor, after feeling up that naked waist. 

    "In a category that plays by some heavily entrenched rules, we worked with Leo Vegas to create something fresh and, importantly, something that felt different to the competition," explains Now executive creative director Remco Graham, who scored his mighty title—as well as a coveted partnership slot—earlier this year. 

    "Leo Vegas trusted us to push the boundaries, and we're really pleased with the results."

    To this, U.K. Country Manager Shenaly Amin of Leo Vegas adds, "We're on a mission to let the world know about Leo Vegas"—mission accomplished, as what we've seen we can't unsee—"and in a market with such fierce competition, we knew we had to do something different to stand out. Leo Vegas is the King of Mobile Casino, but he's just as happy playing down his local social club as he is walking down the strip in Vegas." 

    This isn't as weird a connection as it seems at first glance. From the perspective of the predator, why not roll the dice after seducing your lamb to the slaughter? 

    But it's key here to remember the cardinal rule of Vegas, even if you're not in Vegas: The house always wins; the predators are prey. And being able to gamble anytime, anywhere, probably consumes some people just as swiftly—maybe even just as willingly—as the faceless carcass in this star-crossed rendezvous. 

    So, Leo's sexy adventure is strangely apt, though perhaps not in the way Leo Vegas intended. 

    Client: Leo Vegas
    UK Country Manager: Shenaly Amin
    Agency: Now
    Executive Creative Director: Remco Graham
    Creative Team: Clint Harding & Juliet Kent
    Head of Film & Content: Jeremy Muthana
    Account Director: Jack Howker
    Account Manager: Jessica Woolley
    Planner: Michael McCourt
    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Directors: Big Red Button
    Producer: Sara Cummins
    Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
    Production Manager: Lucy Chambers
    DOP: Richard Mott
    Editing House: The Work
    Editor: Rachael Spann
    Grade – The Mill
    Colourist – James Banford
    Post-Production: Electric Theatre Collective
    Audio Post: Factory Studios
    Sound Engineer: Phil Bolland

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    From raising chickens to tackling the world's biggest men to dancing for the nation, it seems there is nothing Von Miller can't do. And now, he's adding the revered title of Old Spice guy to his résumé.

    Procter & Gamble today announced that the Denver Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP will be the face of Old Spice for the 2016 season. He will promote the brand's Hardest Working Collection. The first creative will be here early in the season, the brand tells AdFreak. For now, you'll just have to enjoy these two photos.

    "Between winning the Super Bowl, solidifying my status with the Broncos and being named the newest Old Spice guy, 2016 is shaping up to be quite a year," Miller says in a statement. "I've had my favorite Old Spice scents for a long time, and I only trust the Hardest Working Collection to give me a deep clean after practices and keep me smelling fresh on and off the field. There's a reason you find Old Spice in every team's locker room."

    In a release, Old Spice called the 27-year-old former Texas A&M star as "a perfect fit" for the brand, citing not only his on-field successes but his colorful personality and pastimes, including his proven ability to "successfully raise chickens, devour the latest scientific and natural curiosities, plus display amazing dance moves on television and in the backfield, all while marching to his own fashion and style beat."

    "We're excited to welcome Von, one of the NFL's top-performing players and unique personalities, to the Old Spice family," says Janine Miletic, Old Spice brand director at Procter & Gamble. "Von's engaging, humorous demeanor and hardworking on-field performance align perfectly with our ridiculously masculine brand and the performance of our Hardest Working Collection combining our most popular scents with our most powerful sweat and odor protection and deep cleansing body washes."

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    Meet Loudini. He's a sad sack illusionist who can't even pull a rabbit out of a hat. But even after the world's worst day, he stays at it, dumping the excess glitter out of his shoes and getting back out on stage—because it's who he is, and it's what he does.

    That's the basic premise of a new video from Ray-Ban Films, part of the eyewear brand's #ItTakesCourage campaign, which has also seen the brand make people stare into each other's eyes for four minutes, hoping to spark … something.

    In the six-minute Loudini clip, written and directed by Conor Byrne of Hungry Man, the struggling protagonist, played by Henry Zebrowski, bombs his regular gig at a senior citizens center—a junky role to begin with—by managing to produce only a stuffed bunny ear (as opposed to the whole animal) from his formal headgear. Out in the parking lot, in the midst of discovering his car won't start, he gets fired from the job altogether.

    A few blocks away, while waiting for the bus, he finds himself charmed by a nearby busker who is strumming an acoustic guitar and singing a song about working hard to build something—a tune actually composed for the video by indie rock band Car Seat Headrest, whose frontman, Will Toledo, plays the street musician. Loudini gives Toledo a giant trick coin, before turning to walk a while, while bits of shiny metallic dust pour ridiculously from the legs of his pants.

    He finally makes it home—where he keeps, naturally, his Houdini shrine—but there, his girlfriend has finally had it with his signature Loudini cape and giant bag full of obnoxious "illusion dust" (seriously, that stuff must get everywhere, and be impossible to clean up). She appears to leave him—or at the very least, be moving fast in that direction.

    Nonetheless, he's determined not to give up. He digs around and finds the one-eared remainder of his stuffed rabbit, which has somehow found itself wedged behind a filing cabinet. He dusts himself off, tidies his tuxedo and bow tie, and takes off, full of vim, for his next appearance at a boy's birthday party. There, he finds a fresh obstacle in the brat-of-honor, who apparently wanted a clown for this year's entertainment.

    "Well, I'm no clown," Loudini says, as if he's not quite convinced himself. "Sorry, kid," he adds, before walking away.

    But—spoiler alert—right before he clears the front yard, he stops, and removes his top hat, and after a beat, lands the rabbit trick. The kid's skeptical face warms, and he concedes, inviting Loudini into the house. The chorus of the full-band version of the Car Room Headrest song—"Does It Feel Good (to Say Goodbye?)"—kicks in under a super of the title. The story is over, and the credits begin to roll. Only after they're done, does the tagline appear—in case you forgot what it was, "#ItTakesCourage."

    Overall, the film is beautifully produced, if a bit long-winded, and difficult to decipher—more art than advertising. Perhaps to Ray-Ban's credit, or perhaps to the detriment of its purpose, there aren't any of its iconic shades to be seen in the video. And while a couple of characters, including Toledo's, are wearing eyeglasses, there's nothing to obviously indicate they're the brand's models.

    In fact, it's not entirely clear what the brand's purpose is, other than the bankrolling of creativity, and the encouragement of personal passion, which are not ignoble pursuits, or entirely inconsistent with an overall image that includes historical positions like "Never Hide" and more recent campaigns like "Do You" (wherein a stream of diverse faces are literally half-replaced by various Ray-Ban frames, arguably the exact opposite of the minimal-product, minimal-branding approach on display here).

    The Google search meta description for the Ray-Ban Films webpage, meanwhile, describes it as a "collection of unique and entertaining videos that symbolize the cool and relaxed spirit of [the Ray-Ban] community." There, visitors will also find various bits of content, like reality-style videos of electronic music producer Kerri Chandler putting together an acoustic ensemble to play one of his songs in a cathedral, or young couples trying to reconcile after breaking up.

    In other words, in this latest work from the brand's marketing studio, viewers are left to more or less intuit the point, whether or not they're familiar with the Ray-Ban's values. The point, in all likelihood, is simply to be entertained—and there have certainly been worse attempts to do that. Just take, for example, Loudini's magic tricks.


    Written & Directed by Conor Byrne
    Produced by Tyler Byrne

    Featuring Car Seat Headrest performing "Does it Feel Good?"

    Lou - Henry Zebrowski
    Sandy - Allyn Rachel
    Doug - Robert Lee
    Birthday Billy - Jakob Verweij

    Executive Producer - Kevin Byrne
    Director of Photography - Adam Newport-Berra
    Production Designer - Michael Krantz
    Editor - Craig Deardorff
    Original Score by - Fall on Your Sword
    Costume Designer - Chrissy Morton
    Casting by - Kathy Knowles
    Co-Executive Producer - David Laub

    Creative Agency - Yours Truly Creative
    Creative Directors - Babak Khoshnoud & Will Abramson
    Agency Producer - Francesca Orrach

    1st Assistant Director - Jimmy Ramirez
    2nd Assistant Director - Tasha Tacosa
    Production Manager - Alanna Dillon
    Production Coordinator - Amanda Cordes
    Asst. Production Coordinator - Kenneth Culver

    Gaffer - Felipe Solarez
    Best Boy Electric - Patrick Hubbard
    Electric - Dave Vi Han
    Key Grip - Conrad Wendland
    Best Boy Grip - Tyler Johnson-Williams
    Grips -Ringo Betancourt, Brody Culbertson
    1st AC - Scott Michael Johnson
    2nd AC - Artur Gubin
    DIT - Derrick Cohan
    Set Decorator - Christian Corio
    On Set Dresser - Kevin Dwyer
    Swing Gang - Caleb Dawson, Chris Newell
    Assistant Set Decorator - Steve Kiratsous
    Art Department Coordinator - Tara Walker
    Arts & Crafts - Analise Hellman
    Glitter Ring Maker - Rich Sandomeno
    Painter - Gregg Gibbs
    Production Sound Mixer - Chuck Fitzpatrick
    Boom Operator - Richard Geerts
    Script Supervisor - Brett Hamann
    Hair & Makeup Artist - Marisa Ramirez
    Location Manager - Rusty Tinder
    Magic Consultants - Greg Wilson, Chris Mitchell

    Production Assistants:
    Julia Bennett
    Eric Crawford
    Asia Gold
    David Johnson
    Deeter Lota
    Ed Weathers

    Editorial - Cosmo Street
    Assistant Editor - Quincey Martin-Chapman
    Post Sr. Prodcuer - Luiza Naritomi
    Executive Post Producer - Maura Woodward
    Sound Post Production by - Heard City
    Re-Recording Mixer - Cory Melious
    Color Services by - The Mill
    Colorist - Mikey Rossiter
    Color Producer - Natalie Westerfield
    Finishing by - Switch FX
    Flame Artist - Jon Magel

    Elderly Hecklers:
    Hal Alpert
    Shelly Desai
    Gwen Van Dam
    Luis Accinelli
    Jackie Benoit
    Steven Shaw
    Mel Agcaoili
    Eve Sigall
    Ed Ford
    Howard Fong
    Dee Fitzgerald
    Early Whitesides
    Sherry Larson
    Carol Black

    Wow, Thanks:
    Mom & Dad
    Uncle Jerry
    Hungry Man
    Jeanine Basinger
    Steve Collins
    Adam Paulsen
    Zach Kaplan
    Rachel Rusch
    Brandon Coulter
    Dave Bernstein
    Caleb Dewart
    Ed Flores
    Ron Seidel
    Kristin Chiappetta
    Erin Byrne
    Sarah Dooley
    Andrew Gladstone
    Augustin Vita
    Rupert Pupkin

    A Brudder Film

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    Brunner stages a colorful open house in its first major campaign for Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.

    To dramatically convey the idea that Mitsubishi systems allow different temperature settings for various zones of a home, the agency built a life-size mock-up house, facilitating a seamless commercial shoot with no CGI required.

    The dwelling consists of two huge 22-by-35-foot open-faced sections, each containing five fully furnished rooms across their respective upstairs and downstairs levels.

    The rooms are color coded to represent different "Shades of Comfort"—e.g., the heating and cooling preferences of different family members. For example, Grandma likes it warm—76 degrees—so her room is rendered in deep coral tones, while Dad's mancave elsewhere in the house is set to 68 degrees and decorated in cerulean hues.

    Take the full tour in the two 30-second TV spots below:

    In effect, each resident gets his or her own customized house warming. Or cooling. You get the idea.

    "When you see this large, quirky family full of different personalities sharing a home and living together comfortably, you see how this could work for your family," Brunner senior writer Ashley Cagle Conrad tells AdFreak. "Hopefully, you'll find a bit of truth in each character's comfort story as well."

    Check out the minute-long web clips below, focusing on individual family members. Note the attention to detail, such as working fixtures and appliances, including the stove in Mom's golden-sunny kitchen:

    Yeah, the gags are lukewarm, but the work is visually appealing and delivers the brand message to a high degree.

    It took about three weeks to construct the house (in an otherwise empty warehouse). And while the elaborate set was very much like the real thing, there were some drawbacks.

    "It didn't have stairs," Conrad says. "The cast had to be placed in the upstairs rooms via cherry picker. At one point, we broke for lunch and turned the lights off and everything. As we're eating, we can hear this tiny voice. It was Grandma! The crew had forgotten to get her when we broke for lunch, and she was stuck in the orange room!"

    Bet that get her all hot under the collar.

    Client: Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating

    Agency: Brunner
    Chief Strategy Officer: Louis Sawyer
    Chief Creative Officer: Rob Schapiro
    CD: Matt Blackburn
    AD: Warner Whatley
    CW: Ashley Cagle Conrad
    Agency Producer: Matt Haritan
    Media Director: Bill Zeigler
    Managing Director: Rich Fabritius
    Group Account Director: Jake Bendel
    Sr. Account Manager: Nate Wachter

    Production Company: Alkemy X, New York
    Director: Bernie Roux
    D.P.: Clive De Klerk
    Exec Producer: Jim Huie
    Post Producer: Rebecca Jacobs
    Editor: Rob Graham
    Animator: Kevin Fanning
    Colorist: Janet Falcon

    Audiomix: Acoustech Music, Atlanta

    Music: Storefront Music, New York

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    The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to an end, and over the past few weeks, marketers have spent at least $1.2 billion on national ads in hopes of making their brands known. Now, the question is: Which ones will be remembered?

    According to the emotion measurement firm Realeyes, 10 Olympics ads stand above the rest in terms of being emotionally compelling. Based on the feed from a web cam, Realeyes, working with audience platform Lucid, used machine learning and artificial intelligence to track the movements of 49 key facial points on 4,500 people to understand what each person thought and felt. After test subjects watched dozens of Olympics ads, the data was then analyzed with an algorithm to understand which emotions were most prevalent. 

    Based on the results, a TV spot from Hershey's starring gymnast Simone Biles took home the gold. The ad, "Hello From Home," featured friends and family talking about Biles and culminated with the gold medal winner opening a box of letters.

    According to Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma, the ad was done in a "really human, simple way" that resonated with its audience. So far, the two-minute video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 3.3 million times.

    "Brands and agencies always assume that the more polished or the highest paid celebrity or the best agencies are good quality, but that's not always the case," he said. "And that's why we aim to do this thing to see what really resonates with people."

    While "Hello from Home" received a score of 92.5 percent for how compelling it was compared to other ads, the lowest score went to Head and Shoulders featuring the diver David Boudia. The ad received a score of just 7 percent. (So far it's only been viewed 276,000 times.)

    Jäätma said the standard Olympics ads so often focus on "blood, sweat and tears," but a human story is often even more critical. However, that doesn't always resonate with a broader audience—even though it's for a sports-centric event.

    What's also interesting is comparing the Olympics ads—which are by no means cheap—with Super Bowl ads. Jäätma said more than half of the ads studies were just the "standard, sort of runaround and train hard stuff." However, the Super Bowl ads are more diverse with storylines.

    Costanza Scarpa, head of content at Realeyes, said the Super Bowl has evolved from being merely a major sporting event to mainstream entertainment. Because of that, Super Bowl commercials have followed suit.

    "There's a lot more diversity in the content that you see at the Super Bowl, whereas Olympic advertising is very much on-message," she said. "It's based on inspiring stories of blood, sweat and tears (and) athletics. But it's much harder for an ad to stand out because they all follow a very similar message, and that I think limits the creative breadth a little bit."

    Here's the full Realeyes list of the top 10:




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    Lil Dicky, the chart-topping MC, is back with more comedy gold for Trojan condoms.

    David Burd, whose 2015 debut studio album Professional Rapper hit No. 1 on both Billboard's rap and comedy charts, anchored a clever, nervous, long-form PSA earlier this year, sponsored by the condom brand, about the dangers of unprotected bathroom sex.

    Now, he's starring in two much slicker but plenty ridiculous new TV commercials, created with agency Colangelo, slated to first air this Sunday during the MTV Video Music Awards. (Trojan has a broader partnership with the youth-focused network, funding its how-to guide on sex and relationships.)

    In the first new Lil Dicky spot, a :30, Burd and his date, Jen, can't keep their hands off each other as they arrive back at his apartment, making out in the hallway as he fumbles for his keys. Once inside, he scrambles to get a condom, while she—impatient in the heat of the moment—sweeps the contents of his desk onto the floor.

    "Right here, right now," she says. Burd, baffled, launches into an eminently sensible sales pitch for protection generally, and Trojan BareSkin condoms specifically—but in a moment that can't help but evoke Larry David, also has to obsess over the mess she's made of his things. 

    The second ad, a :15, picks up with the same scene, post-coitus, where Burd's rapid-fire neurotic patter is at full force right out of the gate, as he expresses relief that his paramour won't get pregnant, and proceeds to overshare about his gastric habits.

    The commercials manage just the right balance of stupidity and substance, in a deliberate and entertaining enough way—it's a logical extension of the almost too obvious but ultimately perfect symbiosis between Trojan and Lil Dicky.

    AdFreak caught up with Burd to chat about the new ads, his partnership with Trojan, and how, if it hadn't been for his pre-fame jobs at San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners—first as an account executive on Doritos, and then as a creative on NBA—he might never have joined the rap game at all.

    Read on to find out why—plus, which other brands he might like to work with someday, and the offhand origins of his own penile moniker.

    AdFreak: How involved were you in writing the new Trojan ads?
    David Burd: Pretty involved. I wrote it with this guy named Tony Yacenda. We co-directed the commercials, and he's directed a bunch of my music videos [including for the hit single "$ave Dat Money"], so we kind of wrote them together.

    Your raps are known for drawing on your everyday experiences. Where did the concepts for these ads come from. Have you had a woman trash your desk?
    No, I've never had this specific thing happen. But I imagine if it did happen in real life, I'd react similarly.

    So, you were playing on that sort of movie cliché of a passionate couple coming in and knocking everything off.
    Yeah, we had it feel like a really sexy thing, then transition into a more neurotic, the-opposite-of-sexy type thing.

    To zoom out a bit, you've also recently appeared in advertising for Carl's Jr. and Madden NFL. Any other endorsements worth noting, or more coming down the line?
    There are preliminary talks about certain things. As a public figure, I'm always interested in being part of brands that I actually enjoy. So, I would never do something with somebody I don't believe in, a product I don't believe in. There are so many products out there that I love, that I'd chomp at the bit to be a part of their campaign. But nothing really in the works.

    Any specific examples of who else you'd want to work with, if you could?
    I love Perrier. I don't know where they stand on advertising. But I'm happy to get in front of the camera and speak with complete confidence about how great Perrier is. There are probably so many more. I love the NBA. I love Nike. Nike is a great brand, obviously. But I also came from an advertising world, so I just enjoy the challenge of making a commercial. I used to do it. I mean, it's cool that I can do it now with way more creative liberty.

    Anything else you'd share about how you choose which brands to work with—and what, for you, made Trojan a good fit?
    Well, I certainly believe in safe sex. So, being on the right end of talking about that is something that interests me. And you know, I think Trojan is kind of the like the Michael Jordan of condoms. Even before I had the partnership with Trojan, and I would go into the condom aisle, I certainly gravitated towards Trojan, because it just felt like the most reputable brand, for whatever reason, whether it's packaging or just surface-level awareness or connectivity to it, it feels like the Nike of condoms, you know what I mean?

    Did Trojan approach you, or did you approach them?
    I met a guy [Dan Isenberg] who works for the company Colangelo. I met him through my rap career because he actually was a writer on a hip-hop blog [Complex]. And then he mentioned that he was changing jobs and going to Colangelo, and he mentioned Trojan, and I mentioned how much I believe in condoms and safe sex, and I think it happened kind of organically, conversationally. I don't think it was necessarily like me going and saying I want to be part of what you're doing, or them coming to me. It just kind of worked out that way.

    Looking back further, how did your time at Goodby Silverstein & Partners shape you—both personally and in terms of how you look at working with brands now that you're an artist?
    I don't know that I would've figured things out on the Lil Dicky perspective had I not worked at Goodby. I always knew I wanted to be a comedian my whole life, but I didn't have any sort of concept on how to make that happen, and I was pretty well positioned to get a job and not really take a massive leap of faith. So, I kind of felt like I had no choice but to really pursue a job, and I thought, you know, you're 20, why don't you try to find some sort of job where you're using your creativity? And I thought that [in] corporate America, advertising is probably the best approach to do that.

    As soon as I got there, there were so many things that I saw. They have a whole wing at Goodby called eLevel. It's their production wing, and every day they're just churning out videos, content, whether it's internal, client facing, sometimes external, and it was very eye-opening to see how easy it is to make shit.

    I was working on the Doritos account, and one of the things I had to do was give a report on chip sales, and it was a really boring Word document that showed how our ads were impacting the chip sales. But it went all the way to the head of the company, all the way to Jeff Goodby, so I thought, 'This is my one moment where I can interface with everyone important at the company. Do I really want to be boring, or do I want to take a risk?' So I made it into a rap song one time, and everybody really took to it. A) That moment [got me into] the creative department, which was a way better fit, and a better job for me, personally. B) I think it showed me, Wow, people really like your funny raps. Maybe in terms of being as comedian, this is an angle. Rather than writing a screenplay, or trying to make a sketch, what if you used rap as your platform, and [were] funny because of that?

    It happened very naturally at Goodby, and I'm just not sure I would've figured it out if it didn't work out that way. It had a great impact on me personally and professionally in terms of being a rapper. It just all kind of fell into place that way. Then, once I started rapping more, I realized that I had this innate talent in me as being a rapper, even more than just being a comedian.

    Once you saw your rap career picking up steam—be it early success like [your first YouTube hit] "Ex-Boyfriend," or more recently and significantly, Professional Rapper—did you think you'd be writing commercials again?
    I didn't really think about it. I never sat down and thought, Could you be writing commercials again? I knew I wanted to be writing comedy, and acting in my own comedy. So, in theory I always knew I'd be doing something. I didn't know it necessarily meant it would be a commercial. I certainly knew I wanted to be writing stuff that I appeared in on screen.

    But it helps having experience working at an agency. I'm just way more capable of talking to clients, understanding what we need, understanding what's overstepping my boundaries. I'm just so aware of the process, the way a rapper might not be aware when he's part of the campaign. I'm very much capable of being more than just a rapper.

    But you also do enjoy, as you said, greater creative freedom … because you're bringing your own strong perspective and your own audience to the table, and brands want to be a part of that.
    Yeah. Before, Dave Burd the copywriter was just writing stuff, hoping the client likes it. Now, whatever I like inherently has more value added to the client, because my opinion has clout that it didn't previously have.

    Lil Dicky is essentially a brand in its own right, at this point. How did you originally come up with the name, and associated values, and how has what it stands for changed, if at all?
    The name came [when] I just got my Macbook Pro when I was a senior in college, and all of a sudden Garage Band was a possibility. The first day I messed around and made some rinky-dink song, not at all thinking 'This is I'm going to be a rapper type thing.' But for whatever reason I just called myself Lil Dicky in that song, and I thought it was funny. It was a small penis joke. Lil Wayne was my favorite rapper at the time.

    Then, two years later, when I'm sitting down deciding to be a rapper for real, I made a whole list of names in a Word document, and nothing really beat Lil Dicky. And I like rewarding organic, real moments like that. The reason I guess I liked it is because I kind of felt like it encapsulates sometimes the opposite of what you see in mainstream rap, of hyper-masculinity. You hear rappers literally talk about their dicks being so big, and it just felt like it was a cool way to show my point of view of not being the most hyper-masculine, 'Look at me, I'm a man' type of rapper. It kind of did that. And it stands out.

    I don't know that the meaning behind it has really evolved, beyond my insistence on sticking with it. Because it is kind of a ridiculous rap name, to some extent … I really enjoy seeing it become more mainstream and common and accepted, because it means that the product is just that good. 

    Check out Lil Dicky's most recent—and least humorous—video, "Molly," directed by James Less, below:

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    Today in things you shouldn't watch on a full stomach: In an ad for organic clothing brand PACT, agency Denizen reprises the aesthetics of old Calvin Klein ads, producing something that is sometimes funny, mostly damning and completely uncomfortable. 

    "Skidmarks" features people lounging around nearly nude, making passionate love to the camera and touching each other the way beautiful people in fashion industry ads do—possessively, reverentially, like they're caressing an art form and need you to watch. 

    There's just one problem: The unsightly fruits of what we can only imagine were a stunning amount of sharts (did they have chili before the shoot?), staining the backs of their otherwise pristine white skivvies. 

    At the end, three models make a pyramid—two guys stooped on the sides, a woman crouched in the middle, her back toward us. Her underwear remains snowy, but as the camera lowers toward that third eye, you can guess what's coming. 

    It's a splashy ending (sorry, we couldn't resist), and a reminder of why white underwear is just not worth the trouble. "The fashion industry leaves a stain on the world," the ad concludes. "Change starts with your underwear." 

    We would have liked a clearer explanation of this point and how it works, but it suffices to visit the PACT website, whose About page explains its commitment to organic cotton: 20 percent of industrial water pollution worldwide comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles, and conventional cotton takes up about 16 percent of insecticides and 7 percent of pesticides. Add the child labor, dangerous factory conditions and indentured servitude, and you've got yourself a shit sandwich.

    "It's a dirty business (and we're on a mission to change it)," PACT states.

    "PACT engaged us to expose the dark side of the fashion industry in a funny way—the only logical place to go was a fart joke," explained Denizen co-founder Joel Jensen. "The idea was based around a problem most of us have encountered at some point in our lives, skidmarks. We came back with a concept for the video that had all of us on the floor laughing. Our reaction was both delight and disgust, but we knew right away that we had to greenlight the idea."

    "Skidmarks" was directed by Kurt Schmidt and shot in a day in Los Angeles. (Fun fact: A "poo cannon" was involved. While we're on the topic, here's a weird history of poo as a weapon.) The goal was to underline PACT's ideology in a way that shines a lowbrow light on fast fashion, whose high production and low costs encourage people to buy both impulsively and in bulk. The result is that we increasingly consume and dispose of clothes like they're single-serve handwipes.

    "We wanted to subvert the tropes of the fashion industry," Jensen said. "It's a flawed industry ... that refuses to look at itself honestly. There is an ugly reality lurking beneath the surface, and it's very easy to be distracted from that when beautiful, titillating imagery comes with the package."

    PACT is vigilant about its supply chain's integrity, working with Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard organizations. And apart from producing tummy-turning laughs, the skid marks shtick is also a meaningful contrast to fashion advertising: An "immature" approach "felt like the right way to counter and call out the self-absorbed way the fashion industry talks about itself," said Jensen. "Sometimes nuanced critique isn't as effective as throwing a brick through the window or, perhaps more relevantly, smearing poop on underwear."


    Client: PACT
    Patrick Bernard – Sr. Digital Manager
    Brendan Synnott – CEO
    Brad Chen – VP of Operations
    Agency: Denizen

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    LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, but a creative outlet can help stem the tide while time does its work. This is the insight, brought to life, in a PSA bluntly labeled "Suicide," from nonprofit Mythic Bridge. 

    Directed by Xander of Backyard Productions, it opens with a young man stumbling onto a rooftop, clutching his phone and walking toward the edge as accusing hisses and whispers swirl around him. He approaches the ledge and looks down, and for a minute we can see his phone messages: They're all from him to his family—an apology for existing that doubles, in this case, as a suicide note.

    He climbs the ledge, and the city spreads out below him, dark silhouettes against a gray sky.

    But wait! There's a twist. 

    "CUT!" somebody shouts as he tumbles into oblivion. The sky clears, the camera pulls back, and it turns out we're on Mythic Bridge's set for this very commercial. So meta! 

    As we pull away, the name of the campaign, "Change the Script," appears. A woman holding the clapperboard stares directly at us, drumming the message in with her eyes. Is she imploring? Is she mad? It's so hard to tell; she walks off so fast. 

    "Support LGBTQ youth filmmaking workshops," the ad adds, as the actor—whom we now see outfitted with a safety harness—chats with his director.

    Co-founded by Gage Cass Woodle and Donald Klein, Mythic Bridge uses filmmaking to help at-risk youth to tell empowering, change-driven stories. The goal here is to raise funds on Crowdrise, where your money can literally help "change the script." 

    "Mythic Bridge is a safe space for kids," says Klein. "Everyone has their version of how scary coming out was; maybe they didn't have that safe space to lean on. I hope they see the 'Change the Script' campaign and learn that Mythic Bridge is an open door. They should understand that we're here, and we make no judgment." 

    The "Change the Script" campaign will include other PSAs highlighting various LGBTQ youth challenges, many of which were also directed by Xander. It will also include a portrait series, featuring young people with director credits, as well as their supporters, which include transgender supermodel Geena Rocero, actress Alysia Reiner, director Pamela Romanowsky and actor Christian Campbell.

    The past year has been especially fruitful for strong LGBTQ rights advertising, especially around the Pride marches and in light of that nasty North Carolina bathroom drama. In keeping with the theme of social conflict seen here, Inter-LGBT created a dreamlike, stressful ad that positions the life of an at-risk young person as an obstacle course, fraught with hazards.

    These narratives aren't always pleasant to watch. But if they make this struggle just a hair more relatable, we're that much closer to a less ugly world, one in which the stuff of who you are isn't an immediate cause for condemnation. It's for this reason that supporting a young community of LGBTQ directors and creatives isn't just helpful for them; it's good for us, too.

    "The fact that I have made a film career is an enormous blessing in my life. If it weren't for a few very specific opportunities I had as a young man, I most likely wouldn't have even considered production as a career path or a way to express myself," director Xander says.

    "Working with Mythic Bridge gives opportunities where maybe there hasn't been one before, and strong voices to those who may need that foot in the door, or a hand on a camera."


    Client: Mythic Bridge

    Creative Agency: Happy United/ ECD Jane Keller
    Creative Agency: Rabbit, Rabbit & Partners/ECD: Brian Lightbody
    Writer: Kate Lummus
    Director: Xander
    Production Company: Backyard
    Producer: Josh Jupiter
    Casting Director: Erica Palgon, Erica Palgon Casting & Beyond
    Editorial: Happy United
    Editor: Jane Keller
    Post Production: Significant Others
    Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
    Producer: Alek Rost
    Flame Artist: Betty Cameron
    Music Company: duotone Audio Post
    Creative Director: Jack Livesey
    Executive Producer: Ross Hopman
    Managing Director: David Leinheardt
    Composer: Brad Fischer
    Producer: Giovonni Lobato
    Audio Post: duotone Audio Post
    Sound Designer/Mixer: Andy Green
    Executive Producer, Audio Post: Greg Tiefenbrun
    Colorist: Alex Bickel, Color Collective
    Title Design: Susan Armstrong, Great Five Lakes
    Hero: Malcolm Xavier
    Director: Emerald Sullivan

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    It's better to leave a pile of chocolate wrappers by the bed than it is to leave a pile of regrets. This, among other things, is the theme of "This and Every Day," the latest ad from Mars brand Dove Chocolate.

    Created by BBDO New York, the work follows a woman through 24 hours, a bite-sized period of time that encapsulates a full life—we meet her as a child in the morning, and leave her, silvery and smiling, in the evening before the cycle begins again. In the background, Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" ("No, I Do Not Regret Anything") trills, tough and vigorous. 

    There aren't any lines of dialogue, but if there were, we're sure the ad would have passed the Bechdel test: As she flits from age to age, our protagonist artfully bypasses the benchmarks of an established life. You don't see professional successes. There is no love story, no man guiding her footsteps. Her weight doesn't seem to be a primary concern, and she will not be surrounded by grandchildren. 

    Instead she floats through her city in a turquoise dress, engaging in whimsies and small pleasures—an agent in her own story. The ad concludes with a cliché that, given the theme, happens to work: "Live each day as if it's the only one." 

    Here's the 90-second version:

    "Edith Piaf's lyrics of enjoying life without regret are as true today as they were when she first performed the song," says brand director Kerry Cavanaugh. "We all need to be reminded to take a moment to savor life's everyday pleasures, big or small, like unwrapping and enjoying the signature taste of Dove Chocolate." 

    We do that with Reese's. Hope Dove doesn't mind! 

    What's pleasant about "This and Every Day" is that it isn't trying to find the best possible speech to get our minds right (recent work from Unilever's Dove, the beauty brand, comes to mind—though there's no relation to Dove Chocolate). It's a small, emotional glimpse into a life punctuated not by battles or benchmarks but by small delights—a game of darts with friends, cutting your own bangs (a dangerous pastime), skateboarding down the street, eliciting smiles from strangers, chocolate.

    The woman isn't conventionally pretty, but neither is she unconventional. She's slim and smiling, the way a lot of people think (and will often say) women should be as they go about their business in public. And it's true that all the passersby she charms—teetering over bannisters, gliding into buses and skipping through protests—are men and boys. Some vestige of a male ideal lingers here, thick but insidious under the tale of a free feminine spirit.

    Still, as a lesson in flirting with convention and ultimately escaping it, it somehow still feels curative. Like a piece of dark chocolate melting against your palate, it goes down more smoothly, more kindly, than yet another call to arms.

    We need balms like this, too. And maybe, one day, we'll arrive at a point when an ad about a woman aging, single, happy and free of regrets, is neither unusual nor obliged to pay lip service to the approving gazes of men. 

    The 60-second version appears below.

    Client: Dove Chocolate
    Agency: BBDO New York

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    The tobacco-slagging Truth campaign is back to inspire, or maybe just torture, teenagers with more anti-smoking rhymes.

    A new ad, set to air during this Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, focuses on a statistic largely overlooked among millennials—that people who habitually suck down cigarettes have significantly less cash than people who don't. And it does that, for better or worse, in song form.

    "I'm stuck with Pee-Pop, who smells like a foot, while my squad's at the movies, and they're seeing something good," raps the first young man in the minute-long video, as he laments not being able to afford to join his pals—he's broke because he smokes.

    It's part of a new ad push, unified under the hashtag #Squadless and created by Truth's agency, 72andSunny (MDC sister shop Assembly is handling media planning and buying). With some two and a half minutes of airtime scheduled for the VMAs, the campaign is the organization's largest on the show since first partnering with it in 2014.

    Based on research that showed 88 percent of 15- to 25-year-olds didn't know that smokers have an average of 20 percent less income than non-smokers, the campaign will also include a :60 featuring a Diplo track, as well as digital and social components that will featuring singer Macy Kate and Vine star George Janko.

    And in perhaps the most brain-meltingly millennial media themed sentence ever, the release reads: "YouTube personality Timothy DeLaGhetto, Vine stars Lele Pons and Brent Rivera, will also support the #Squadless campaign by creating their own rap verses to start a rap battle on MTV's VMA Pre-Show Snapchat live story."

    One or two of those names might be vaguely familiar to the olds in the audience—at least, the olds familiar with Truth's advertising. Last year, DeLaGhetto had a hand in the campaign's Tinder-themed anti-smoking ad, a full-blown music video that left some, if not many, viewers reeling, and desperate for a cigarette. (Earlier this year, meanwhile, Truth was seen urging audiences to save the art of cat videos by not exposing felines to second-hand smoke—an effort that included an awkward "Peetition" requiring would-be signatories to share pictures or their pets urinating.)

    The new musical number is short, at least, and despite sporting one of the more obvious and stilted lyrical flows in the history of hip-hop (if it can be called that), manages one brilliant line, from the guy whose empty pockets leave him enough free time to become a Photoshop god. Confined to his room, he confesses: "I don't have the memories or experiences to share, but I can put my head on the body of a bear."

    That moment of charming idiocy is the ad's first saving grace (though it could reasonably be argued that the kid should be grateful for his newfound skill, which in the modern economy he might be able to parlay into a better-paying job). The second redeeming moment comes in slapstick form, when a young woman faceplants in the dirt from a significant height, though the point on which it's based is perhaps a bit convoluted: "If you smoke, you'll end up with a face full of bee stings, because you tried to climb a tree to see a concert your friends were going to but had no money to buy a ticket."

    In other words, the set pieces are willfully absurd—which itself wouldn't be a bad thing, if they didn't also come across as contortionist attempts to avoid preaching. The larger point, meanwhile—suggesting smoking cigarettes will lead to being alone—might seem counterintuitive, given that lighting up is often a social habit.

    More likely it's clever, though, given that the point is clearly meant to hit millennials where it counts—in their infamous FOMOs. But mostly, and unfortunately, what the ad seems to convey, is that do-gooder marketing executives think what kids really want these days is to cringe endlessly.

    That's a shame, given how important the message is. Or maybe it's an ingenious sleeper strategy, insofar as one of the best arguments for everyone everywhere quitting smoking forever is that nobody would ever have to cringe at one of these intentionally embarrassing spots again.

    Client: Truth
    Agency: 72andSunny

    0 0

    The humans sprinkled throughout the Ikea catalog traditionally have been pure background material, a supporting cast to the furniture and other brand goods for sale. But no longer!

    In this spot from DDB Brussels, they speak out, during the photo shoot for the new catalog, about their hopes and dreams, display their impressive thespian chops, and most of all, are thrilled to be poised on the cusp of what will surely be worldwide fame on the A-list level.

    That end line nicely puts a bow on the whole video, which is in keeping with a lot of Ikea catalog marketing lately—jokey, self-aware and culturally smart, as seen most notably in the BookBook spot from BBH Singapore two years ago.

    "The Ikea catalog is one of the most read books in the world. So it makes sense for the models to consider this their breakthrough moment. Their door opener to stardom," DDB says. "We listen in as they dream out loud of becoming household names in TV, modeling, acting and mentally preparing themselves for a life in the spotlight."

    The agency adds: "Yes, in theory, they will be seen by more than 200 million people, but in reality they'll be noticed by zero. After all, the real stars of the Ikea catalog are Swedish, and they have names like Billy, Pax and Malm."

    Campaign: Meet the stars of the new Ikea catalog
    Client: Ikea Belgium
    Contacts: Miguel Aguza, Christine Vermorgen & Peter Jongert

    Agency: DDB Brussels
    CD: Peter Ampe & Odin Saillé
    Creation: Ralf De Houwer & Jonas Caluwé
    FR subtitles: Jonathan d'Oultremont
    Strategy: Dominique Poncin
    Account team: Francis Lippens,  Annelies Nyns & Maria-Laura Laubenthal
    PR – Press Coordinator: Kenn Van Lijsebeth

    TV Producer: Brigitte Verduyckt
    Production company TVC: Caviar
    Director: Amir Farhang
    Executive Producer: Ilse Joye
    Producer: Geert De Wachter

    0 0

    The inside of my nose smells like South Park, and I'm worried it will never go away.

    If you weren't following the Olympics—which saturated all media—too closely, by now you probably know about Nosulus Rift, a bizarre odor-VR product created for Ubisoft's latest South Park game by Paris agency Buzzman and its product arm, Productman, which launched in June.

    Some background: The game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, will be released in December, so it's deep in promotions period. Demos are already circulating at conferences like Paris Games Week and Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. 

    In the story, all your favorite South Park characters have formed a superhero squad, and you're the new kid, trying to fit in. You are also blessed with a unique superpower—magical farts, which enable you to fight enemies, piss off Cartman ... and also travel in time.

    Enter the Nosulus Rift, Productman's first-ever product. 

    Don't expect much: This product punts one scent, and one scent only. Today we visited the Buzzman and Productman offices to get a whiff for ourselves.

    It's a tribute to Buzzman that so much energy and thought has gone into a one-off product: It involved multiple teams, including developers, hardware designers and an actual fragrance creation group, Cinquième Sens (The Fifth Sense). When I arrived, I was ushered into a room of at least 20 people, most of whom had a hand in creating the unit. 

    The Nosulus Rift, I was told, likely won't be used for future games or other scents, even though its sides are outfitted with capsules you can remove and theoretically swap out. The product works only for the duration of a short demo, and won't be commercialized. But you can catch it at an aggressively huge gaming con near you in the months to come. More than 20 Nosulus Rifts exist so far, and Ubisoft in San Francisco was also involved in its conception. 

    To kick us off, senior strategic planner Clément Scherrer of Buzzman explained the genesis of Nosulus Rift. "We had 19 seasons of pure creativity and corrosive humour to play with," he mused.

    But anyone who watches South Park knows the show is so much more than fart jokes. Scherrer pointed to the Comedy Central series' delightful native advertising arc from late last year, and observed, "South Park users need more sophisticated ads for more sophisticated tastes."

    The team also tore a few innovative pages out of superhero movie marketing, which Scherrer observed "is the perfect communications lab for advertising."

    Thus, a product was born—one that captures fans' attention but is also sophisticated enough to respond to their more nuanced sensibilities. Benjamin Sabourin, Productman industrial designer and former Ova Design co-director, said: "We wanted it to feel like a joke, because it's South Park, but also wanted to give it a product seriousness, like Oculus."

    A dream team—compiled over two months, according to Productman operations head François Phan—worked under Sabourin to perfect the unit's design, initially experimenting with vents, which they realized sent the odor wafting through the room. The olfactory leak, equivalent to when sound leaks out of your headphones, couldn't be tolerated. 

    "We wanted a capsule with a minimum of odor that is very precise. The air goes straight to the nose," said Sabourin. As he said this, I could smell something permeating the room—sweet and a little rancid, like when you leave a bunch of fruit pits in the trash can. (Phan would later tell me it's the smell that comes out when you liberate the products from their airtight suitcases.) The smell gave me confidence and courage; if that was the fart smell, it was tolerable.

    Here's a sketch of how the Nosulus Rift evolved:

    And how it looks, sitting in front of me:

    The unit sits right on your cheekbones so it doesn't weigh down your face. "We don't want to condition players to the mask; we just want it to breathe," Sabourin explained. 

    Before retiring to the testing room, we also heard from Sarah Burri, a junior perfumer at Cinquième Sens. "We had to find the right odor," she explained. "It isn't easy when you're used to working with fine fragrances!" 

    They tested all the usual suspects, like eggs and onions. But what Burri ultimately realized was that the uniquely offensive aroma that emits from our asses—and incidentally, she added, out of a bottle of wine; this is France, after all—is actually metallic. 

    So, they worked from a base of onions and decided to mask it with something that would give it that extra iron-y oomph, settling on a jasmine essence, which has a faint fecal note. It took more than 20 attempts before the team landed on a fragrance labeled Fart No. 3, which, Burri stressed, was reworked multiple times before achieving peak performance.

    Inaudible ultrasound technology was later added to each machine, enabling the mask to release its special perfume at the best possible times. Based on a moment in the game—a basic fart in a room, or an exceptional sphincter-spreading fart on a toilet—the intensity will hit you at different lengths and strengths. 

    It was time for us to test the goods. We filed into a small gaming room, where I watched a guy get suited up, taught the game's movements, and sent out into the South Park wild. When the Nosulus Rift drops its convoy, the unit lights up. I smelled that smell again—the rotten fruit smell—and felt confident, even as the man squinted.

    Here's a short video of his experience:


    Nosulus nausea

    A video posted by Angela Natividad (@luckthelady) on

    Then it was my turn. I suited up. I was ready, maybe even cocky, and decided to go straight for the biggest-impact fart—the moment when the new kid goes to the bathroom, and you need to hold his two buttcheeks apart by separating and pushing down on your joysticks.

    It didn't go well.

    The smell was corrosive and deadly. It reached down my throat, making it scratchy, and up into my brain, where I knew it would live, fuel for my dreams. As I dropped the controller and removed the mask, I could feel it latching onto my fingers, like a Prometheus parasite.

    It was nothing like the friendly rancid fruit smell I had prepared for. And as I cast my eyes around, looking for some kind of nasal equivalent to milk for hot sauce, they rested on an unmarked spray can, variations of which everyone has been spraying around to mask the actual horribleness of what attacked me inside the Nosulus Rift. 

    Everyone was apologetic but also very happy.

    As François Phan said in a beaming press release, "More than just showing a new way to live the experience, the Nosulus Rift opens the way to a large field of new opportunities in terms of virtual reality and entertainment in sectors like TV, cinema and even retail!" 

    It's been hours since then, and the smell is still with me. No fart I've ever had the misfortune of walking into smells anything like it. It somehow transcends the stale odors of people's insides. It's sulphurous and sinister, rising like a phoenix out of a whole new, undiscovered level of hell. (Maybe the one where pimples are popped, ad infinitum—into eternity.)

    I leave you with a video of creative directors Tristan Daltroff and Louis Adard, as well as Phan, describing—with almost comical seriousness—the merits of their achievement.

    As Ubisoft so cheekily asks, "How fart will you play?"



    President and Creative Director: Georges Mohammed-Chérif
    Vice President: Thomas Granger
    Associate Director: Julien Levilain
    Creative Directors: Louis Audard - Tristan Daltroff
    Artistic Director: Louis Audard
    Copywriter: Tristan Daltroff
    Assistant Artistic Director: Jennyfer Arduin
    Account Manager: Thomas Crouzet
    Senior Strategic Planner: Clément Scherrer
    Head of Digital & Innovation: François Phan
    Digital Producer: Samir Semaoune
    Assistant Digital Producer: Soufiane Lahlou
    Head of TV Production: Vanessa Barbel
    TV Producer: Benoît Crouet
    Head of Social Media: Julien Scaglione
    Responsable Social Media: Loris Bernardini
    Head of Communication & P.R.: Amélie Juillet
    Communication & P.R. Manager: Clara Bascoul-Gauthier


    President and Creative Director: Georges Mohammed-Chérif
    Vice President: Thomas Granger
    Head of Operations: François Phan
    Development Director: Thomas Ceccaldi
    Creators: Louis Audard - Tristan Daltroff
    Hardware Engineer: Valentin Squirelo
    Software Developer: Constantin Clauzel
    Hardware Developer: Charles Passet
    Industrial Designer – OVA Design: Benjamin Sabourin
    Industrial Designer – OVA Design: Nicolas Marquis
    Nose and Chemist – Cinquième Sens: Isabelle Ferrand
    Nose and Chemist – Cinquième Sens: Sarah Burri
    Digital Studio: Neuvième page


    Senior Vice President & Marketing, EMEA: Geoffrey Sardin
    VP, Marketing, EMEA: Guillaume Carmona
    Associate Director, Marketing, EMEA: François-Xavier Deniele
    Brand Manager, EMEA: Louis Trupin
    Digital Marketing Manager, EMEA: Valentin Pasquier Desvignes
    P.R. Manager, EMEA: Thomas Beaufils

    Les Improductibles

    Executive Producer: Yann Girard
    Production Director: Aurélie Chevalier
    Director: Benoît Pétré


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