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    Overwhelmed as we are with wacky politicals, terrorist hysteria, a looming police state and social media's unending attacks on our peace of mind, more than a few of us feel outsized pressure to do something—or at least say something—even when we normally wouldn't.

    This apparently applies to brands, too. In "This Land," Delta and SS+K dive into the moral fray with a meditation on America from 30,000 feet up. 

    "When you spend your days 30,000 feet in the air," the voiceover begins, "you get an appreciation for this country—its beauty and its majesty. So, it hurts even more when violence and anger tear into our country." 

    The narration continues, dripping with conviction, as we pan over aerial shots of beaches, lighthouses, farms, mountain ranges and those glorious trains that nobody uses anymore.

    "We are reminded every day of the collective effort that built this land. Our land. Up here, you hope prayers for peace get heard a little sooner," the ad concludes. 

    It closes with a cloud-laced image of the Delta logo and its current tagline, "Keep climbing."

    Unsurprisingly, the comments on YouTube range from supportive ("this is one of the best advertisements delta has created #WorldPeace") to cynical ("And the land where the devastating attacks upon us shall he deflected back onto those who had done on us but we feel the effects where legacy carriers in longer offer warm free meals on domestic flights.").

    All told, this is an tidy example of how brands can "humanize" themselves by weighing in on topics in the collective conscience. But for people who spend a lot of time thinking, it's also terrifically problematic. 

    Let's start with the mentions of "This Land" and "majesty." "This Land" is clearly a reference to the patriotic ditty, and majesty—a word we no longer hear all that often—brings the "purple mountains' majesty" of "America the Beautiful" to mind. 

    While it's nice to know Delta attended the same compulsory elementary school chorus we did, we're pretty sick of this theme. It's garden-variety chest-thumping at its most basic, and stroking the patriotic spirit can cultivate just as many exclusive tendencies as inclusive ones, especially lately.

    Don't we have better things to do than think about how great we are, how great we could be? Can't we just be nice, like Canada?

    Then there's that reference to "prayers for peace," which leaps into our ears with hashtag attached. This orients the plea around conflicts in which prayer has been invoked, where conscious change would have been preferable—global warming, gun control and terrorist attacks, now so numerous that we can't even give them a tidy name like "9/11." 

    A similar slogan, "Pray for Paris," circulated shortly after last year's Charlie Hebdo attacks. Ironically, a cartoonist for the magazine, Joann Sfar, responded in illustrations by asking the world not to pray.

    This underscores how tricky making even "humanist" advocations has become. It's hard to be inclusive without feeling like you're stepping on someone else's face. What Delta perhaps missed in the validation process is that America—for all its Protestant ethics and Christian roots—also consists of people who don't pray (and are tired of being asked to), as well as people who do pray but would still like politicians to be more proactive about climate change and our runaway gun situation.

    Anyway, Delta is promoting "This Land" as a tie-in to its sponsorship of #WhoWeAre, a campaign that shares stories from everyday Americans in partnership with StoryCorps and Upworthy. Its mission is to "remind us of a few simple truths—that we share more in common than divides us, that we are so much stronger when we spend less time shouting and more time listening, and that every single life matters equally and infinitely." 

    That's all very pretty, but we would have liked the airline to express its thoughts—if it really had to—without making them feel both patriotically imperative and religiously moral. Maybe one would have been OK, but not both. Coupled with its current "We're coming for you" messaging, where the "we" is us and "you" is the whole world, it even stinks of exceptionalism.

    It's naive, and we're jaded: We simply need more.

    Client: Delta Airlines
    Agency: SS+K
    Partner, Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Hershfield
    Partner, Co-Founder: Lenny Stern
    Partner, Co-Founder: Mark Kaminsky
    Copywriters: Mark Kaminsky/Bobby Hershfield
    VP, Account Director: Alex Neophytou
    SVP, Head of Production: John Swartz
    Producer: Liz Mistriel
    Editorial Company: Nomad Editorial
    Editorial company producer(s): Weston Ver Steeg
    Editor(s): John Ulbrich
    Music Company: Tone Farmer
    Postproduction Company: The Mill

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    When this Nutchello ad popped up in my feed, it melted my brain into a delicious puddle of chocolate pouring onto a gold cougar statue. You know, in a good way.

    The ad, from Fallon, throws one quirky headline after another at you while you stare at giant type superimposed over impressively weird CGI. You are assailed by alternately relaxing and terrifying images.

    A woman performs yoga on top of a walnut on top of a turtle. A pink poppy opens to reveal an almond, suggesting both the beauty of nature and the joy of opiates. Molten chocolate pours on the head of a golden cougar rising from a mound of mixed nuts. A magician turns a walnut into a magnificent butterfly with the word "you" superimposed on its wings. Most chillingly of all, giant comets made of almonds burn up on entry to the Earth's atmosphere, seconds away from destroying all life as we know it.

    After each seemingly unrelated snacking axiom over luscious, inexplicable visuals, a woman seductively whispers "Nutchello" like it's a high-end perfume ad.

    Taken together, this glut of advertising techniques all rolled into a single spot harken back to oddvertising. But maybe it makes sense, since oddvertising was mostly a phenomenon that made people buy candy, and Silk's Nutchello is the candy of nut milks.

    The strange spot certainly stands out in a category touting questionable health benefits and relief for the lactose intolerant. But even better than the 3 million views on the YouTube spot is that someone is replying to all the comments with a whispered "Nutchello."

    Client: Nutchello/Silk
    Agency: Fallon
    Chief Creative Officer: Jeff Kling
    Creative Director: Patrick Figueroa
    Art Director: Jay Morrison
    Copywriter: Charlie Kuhn
    Account Director: Nick Bondeson
    Director of Business Affairs: Brendan Lawrence
    Producer: Erin Kirby
    Group Account Director: Matt Benka

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    When Swiss real estate website Homegate.ch asked kids to draw pictures of their dream houses, it wasn't an empty gesture. It was the first step in a marketing collaboration with the Bandara agency and film production company Frame Engine to give three of those kids virtual tours of the houses they drew.

    The three most creative drawings were turned into vivid 3-D environments and then loaded into an Oculus Rift app. The kids were then invited to explore what they'd made. The video was made as branded content for Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten.

    It's impossible to not be charmed by these kids having so much fun with the Oculus Rift, and the 3-D drawings are pretty neat. The graphics aren't sophisticated, but they are bright and cartoony and wouldn't look out of place in the original Animal Crossing game.

    They're an impressive execution of a really solid concept, and a good example of how 3-D technology can be used to grow a brand by offering a unique, engaging experience to consumers (or in these kids' case, future consumers).

    Maybe by the time they hit adulthood, the Oculus Rift won't be lame anymore. This project is a step in that direction.

    Client: Tamedia AG
    Stefanie Fritze (Head of Marketing homegate.ch)
    Peter Wälty (Head of Digital News & Development)
    Christian Lüscher (Head of Commercial Publishing)

    Virtual Reality Agency: Bandara
    Daniel Gremli, Urs Langenegger, Jonas Baer (Co-Founders)
    Sonja Böckler, Mik Müller (3D Designers, VR Developers)

    Film Production Company: Frame Engine
    Felix Tanner (Director/Editor)
    Nick Metzger (Director of Photography)
    Timo Schaub (Sound Recordist, Lighting Technician)
    Thomas Rechberger (Sound Designer)

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    Nike is out with its latest ad from Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, and it's not just a celebration of sports. It's a celebration of freedom.

    A lyrical and spontaneous picture of athleticism takes center stage in the remarkable 90-second spot, titled "The Next Wave," as the camera's focus flows through city streets from one sport to another. A young soccer player juggles a ball as he walks out of school and down the sidewalk. A group of teenage girls dribble basketballs as they swagger past, and cyclists, skateboarders and ultimate frisbee players weave around them.

    The pace continues to pick up as an increasingly long continuous shot gives way to include some Chinese celebrities—hurdler Liu Xiang zips by, and tennis player LiNa blasts away with her racket, before the frame swings up to the rooftops, where parkour traceurs are doing backflips off walls and swinging by the legs from scaffolding in their usual fashion.

    As the film progresses, roller hockey players, BMX bikers, golfers and baseball players also all get their due, until eventually, the full range of everyday Nike endorsers (plus an exceptional older gentleman, senior marathon runner Mr. Sun) are thronging the scene—namely, the promenade along the Haihe river in Tianjin, with the Dagu bridge gracing the background. 

    All the while, the voiceover chips away at conventional rules of inspiration, as it strives to hook a new generation of athletes. "You don't have to do it for the glory. You don't have to do it to be famous. You don't have to do it for the boys." There isn't, it turns out, a right way to do any of it at all. All you need—that's right, you guessed it, kids—is to "Just Do It."

    The sheer riveting energy and physicality of the ad (it was directed by Stink's Martin Krejci) make it a welcome addition to the body of work built around that classic tagline. It also joins a recent string of spots from the sportswear marketer and W+K in the broader Asia region that feature a common rebellious streak.

    In July, there was "Da Da Ding," the pumping anthem from the agency's Delhi office, meant to update India's image of women's sports. Earlier this month, Nike Japan and W+K Tokyo put out "Minohodoshirazu," another ambitious medley titled with a phrase translating roughly to "Don't Know Your Place." Together, they speak to why the "Just Do It" line, some 28 years after its inception, is still so powerful. No matter where you are in the world, and whatever personal demons or cultural traditions or global economic forces are keeping you down, all really need to throw off that yoke are three simple, flexible, intimate words.

    Because, as it turns out, Nike isn't selling shoes at all. It's selling motivation.

    "We shot this film in a single-take style, and it took a lot of long shots with very complicated choreography to pull it off," says Shaun Sundholm, creative director at W+K Shanghai. "That meant we had everyday athletes playing side by side with famous athletes, balls flying everywhere, people crashing into each other. It was near chaos at times. But in the end, we combined all of their energy into one infectious massive wave of sport."

    Adds Dino Xu, business director at W+K Shanghai: "Growing up in China, I was surrounded by people who simply used the English words 'Just Do It' as a punch line without knowing what it really means. It's great that in this campaign, the provocative voiceover lines help to define what it is, by saying what it isn't."

    The campaign will also include short-film content, billboards, on-the-ground activations, and some "digital engagement surprises," the agency says. 

    Client: Nike China
    Campaign Name: 2016 Nike JDI campaign
    Main Anthem: "The Next Wave"

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai
    Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo
    Creative Director: Terence Leong, Azsa West, Shaun Sundholm
    Art Directors: Christian Laniosz, Marc Garreta
    Copywriters: TJ Walthall, Liu Wei, Max Pilwat
    Director of Integrated Production: Angie Wong
    Head of Content: Bernice Wong
    Producer: Fang Yuan
    Art Producer: Xuan Ong
    Planning Director: Paula Bloodworth
    Senior Planner: Leon Lin
    Digital Strategist: Bill Tang
    Business Director: Dino Xu
    Associate Account Director: Jim Zhou
    Sr. Account Executive: Shawn Kai
    Project Manager: Nicole Bee
    Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan
    Senior Designer: Patrick Rockwell
    Designers: Wendy Yu, Deer CL
    Production Manager: Vic Zhang
    Digital Imaging Artist: Changqing Lee
    FA Artist: Bin Liu
    Campaign Summary Sheet

    Production Company: Stink Films Shanghai
    Director: Martin Krejci
    Director's Producer: Justine Madero
    1st Assistant Director: James Skotchdopole
    1st Assistant Director (Local): Hank Zeng
    Director of Photography: Dimitri Karakatsanis
    CAM A Operator / Gimbal Ninja: Florian Hatwagner
    Executive Producer: Desmond Loh
    Executive Producer: Brenda Tham
    Producer: Juliana Chung
    Production Manager: Charles Renard
    Production Manager: Evie Yeo
    Beijing Line Producer: Xiao Yu
    Production Assistant: Haze Zhu
    Celebrity Handler/Fixer: Emma Sun
    CAM A Focus Puller/1st AC: Albert Wang
    Drone operator: Zhang Teng Sen
    Q Take: Marcus Peh
    Taipei Production Support: Episode Films
    Hong Kong Production Support: Spur Link
    Beijing & Hong Kong Art Director: Yao Jun
    Taiwan Art Director: Daymon Wu
    Wardrobe Stylist: Julian Mei

    Postproduction: Lost Planet Editorial, L.A.
    Editorials: Hank Corwin, Federico Brusilovsky
    Post Executive Producer: Gary Ward
    Post Producer: Aimee Crook
    Assistant Editor: Jason Dopko
    VFX Artist/Supervisor: Glenn Teel

    Color: The Mill, London
    Colorist: Seamus O'Kane
    Producer: Dan Kreeger
    Campaign Summary Sheet

    Music: Barking Owl, L.A.
    Composer: Seth Olinsky

    Sound Design (L.A.):
    Sound Designer: Eugene Gearty
    Mixing (L.A.):
    Mixer: Chris Jenkins

    Audio VO Production: TZ Studio, Shanghai
    Producer: Joyce Chen
    Engineer: Hu Yuan

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    They're tiny hard candies that may be small enough to fit between your thumb and forefinger, but they're still packed with adventure, says a fun new campaign from The Martin Agency.

    Anthropomorphic Tic Tacs experience Hollywood-level excitement in four 30-second web spots, featuring miniature worlds wherein mints wear human garb and enjoy human experiences, like cage diving with sharks, riding barrels over the top of waterfalls, jumping classic sports cars over the Grand Canyon and piloting rocket ships to Mars.

    Part of the brand's clever "Go Little" positioning (almost like a modern-day version of "Think Small"), the clips are completely ridiculous, and thoroughly enjoyable—stupid and carefree, yet somehow on message.

    The writing is clear and simple, with appropriately minor bits of suspense built into each spot. (Will the diminutive green daredevil stick the landing, or explode against the cliff face?) The visuals don't disappoint, either, with charming detail on all the bite-sized models and inviting backdrops. (The spots were directed by Jeff Boddy of Martin's production partner Hue&Cry.)

    And that's not to mention the cheesy, retro-TV-style intros. "In a big world … dare to be little," barks the voiceover. Meanwhile, even the campaign's name, "Little Adventures," is aptly on-the-nose. (Stories filmed in miniature are often adorable when done well. See also: McCann New York's amusing work for French Toast Crunch.)

    Overall, the point is clear, without having to say it in so many words: Tic Tacs, the heroes in these stories, are, perhaps counterintuitively, packed with flavor. The real question, then, becomes: If eating one is tantamount to space travel, what happens when you pour a dozen into your mouth?

    Client: Tic Tac
    VP of Marketing: Todd Midura
    Marketing Director: Dan Cutchin

    Agency: The Martin Agency
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    Group Creative Director: Danny Robinson
    Associate Creative Director: John Szalay
    Senior Designer: Todd Hippensteel
    Copywriter II: Mark Habke
    Executive Broadcast Producer: Letitia Jacobs
    Associate Broadcast Producer: Emily Goodman
    Junior Broadcast Producer: Nicolette Steele
    Business Affairs Supervisor: Suzanne Wieringo
    Senior Production Business Manager: Kelly Clow
    Group Account Director: Darren Foot
    Account Supervisor: Stephanie Brummell
    Account Executive: Lauren Dushkoff
    Project Manager: Hayley Soohoo
    Senior Community Manager: Ari Sneider
    Planning Director, UX Strategy: Meg Riley
    Planning Director, Strategic Planning: Elizabeth Cleveland

    Production Company: Hue&Cry
    Director: Jeff Boddy
    Creative Director: Magnus Hierta
    Executive Producer: Joe Montalbano
    Producer: Colleen Hopkins
    Production Coordinator: Abbey Reddington
    Storyboard Artist: Timo Prousalis
    Assistant Editor: Andrea De Leon
    Designer: Shannon Rollins
    Animators: Liam Ward, Timo Prousalis, Andrea De Leon
    Set Design Company: Nix + Gerber
    Set Designers: Lori Nix & Kathleen Gerber

    Live-Action Shoot: The Branching
    Executive Producer: Lucas Krost
    Producer: Alexandra Krost
    Director of Photography: Thomas Bingham
    Production Coordinator: Adela Satrova
    1st AC: Tony Summerlin
    2nd AC: Jack Payne
    Media Manager: Rex Teese
    Gaffer: Chris Thompson
    Key Grip: Mike Flinn
    Swing: Patrick McLynn
    Production Assistant: Alex Delarosa

    Offline Postproduction House: Running with Scissors
    Head of Production – Brian Creech
    Editor – Danny Reidy

    Online Postproduction House: Running with Scissors
    Colorist: Drew Neuhart
    Flame Artist: Chris Hagen

    Music Company: Tiny Lion
    Composer: Tiny Lion

    Mix company: Rainmaker
    Mixer: Mike O'Conner

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    Nothing says love quite like twisted steel and shredded tires.

    Wrecked cars, and their understandably shaken and contrite teenage drivers, appear in Carmichael Lynch's latest work for Subaru, which focuses on the automaker's safety record as part of its long-running and highly successful "Love" campaign.

    In "I'm Sorry," a spot breaking today in 60- and 30-second edits, everyone walks away with minimal physical damage. Still, it makes us wonder if Mom and Pop will give these kids the keys again any time soon.

    "We used real Subaru vehicles that were in real crashes," Brian Cavallucci, client national advertising manager, tells AdFreak, "and while there is always a risk in spots like this, we did our best to depict accidents that were representative of real-life scenarios."

    Subaru has driven down this road before, showing horribly crashed cars in "They Lived," a memorable ad from 2014 that also touted safety. Real stories from Subaru drivers inspired both that work and the current "I'm Sorry" commercial.

    "We get letters and emails sent to us, directly from our owners, with stories and pictures from vehicle crashes that they survived," often escaping "with nothing but bumps and bruises," says Cavallucci. "They send these in to thank Subaru for building safe cars that protected them, and their loved ones."

    Another new spot, "Take the Subaru," employs a much lighter tone to convey the safety message, as kids reach for potentially dangerous items, only to be thwarted by their parents every time.

    A spear gun and blow torch? Sounds like one heck of a Show & Tell!

    Directed by The Corner Shop's Peter Thwaites, both spots are a tad edgy—"I'm Sorry" obviously far more so than its comedic counterpart—especially with young people front and center, and the notion of crashes hanging in the air.

    That tension gives the brand's familiar "Love" refrain some relatable dimension and extra emotional depth. And it's refreshing to see a carmaker get under viewers' skin, and perhaps, grind their gears a bit, rather than sticking in neutral with happy-smiley advertising that doesn't take any chances.

    "Our owners love their Subaru vehicles for a variety of reasons," Cavallucci says. "In moments when they have been in an accident, or someone they love has been in an accident, and their Subaru kept them safe, that is a moment that causes them to love their Subaru even more."

    Client: Subaru of America
    Senior Vice President of Marketing: Alan Bethke
    National Advertising Manager: Brian Cavallucci
    Advertising Production Specialist: Michelle Shoultes

    Agency: Carmichael Lynch
    Chief Creative Officer: Marty Senn
    Exec Creative Director: Randy Hughes
    Writer/Group Creative Director: Dean Buckhorn
    Art Director/Creative Director: Brad Harrison
    Head of Production: Joe Grundhoefer
    Senior Executive Content Producer: Brynn Hausmann
    Director of Business Affairs: Vicki Oachs
    Talent Payment Specialist: Jennifer Knutson
    Account Management Team:
    Brad Williams, Adam Craw, Erin Zunich
    Product Information Team: Robert Ar, Jonathan Bush
    Brand Planning Team: Liz Giel, Meghan McCollum, Maddie Wolf
    Senior Project Manager: Allison Sadeghi

    Production Company: The Corner Shop
    Director: Peter Thwaites
    Managing Partner/Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi
    Line Producer: Donald Taylor
    Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder

    Edit House: Work Editorial
    Editor: Stewart Reeves ("I'm Sorry"), Arielle Zakowski ("Take the Subaru")
    Assistant Editor: Louise Robinson
    Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
    Producer: Brandee Probasco
    Telecine: Adam Scott, The Mill
    VFX House / Online Artist(s): Steve Medin, Volt Studios
    VFX Post Producer: Amanda Tibbits
    Audio Mix: Carl White, SisterBoss
    Sound Design: Carl White, SisterBoss
    Post Production Audio Producer: Annie Sparrows, SisterBoss

    "I'm Sorry"
    Music by Barking Owl
    Creative Director : Kelly Bayett
    Producer: KC Dossett
    Performed by: Carolina Chocolate Drops
    Writer: Hannes Coetzee
    Music Supervisor: Jonathan Hecht, Venn Arts

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    "Betty B. goes to my school. This is my school."

    In "Betty B.," a PSA written, directed, shot and edited by Matt Bieler, represented by Los Angeles-based Reset Content, a crisp young voice recounts her relationship with a girl from school. As she describes how Betty B. courted her trust, from saying hello to teaching her how to put lipstick on, we see flashes of the places and objects around which their friendship bloomed. 

    "I like having a friend," our protagonist muses, as she adds Betty B. on Facebook.

    Halfway through the film, the narrative starts over. Same images, different relationship dynamics. See how it all plays out:

    There's a nostalgic quality to "Betty B." that brings "Stranger Things" to mind. Its graininess and visual clues feel locked onto our childhoods: Those swings with the black bottoms, the prefab classroom buildings, that well-used eraser on the end of a No. 2 pencil, so close to our faces that we remember the smell... 

    The decision to avoid using people or faces also cultivates a realism that makes it feel personal. This could be anyone's story, barring the fact that, as kids, we were lucky enough not to have social media. 

    Because god damn, we don't envy the kids today. Their terrors don't end after school or with prank calls, which were so easy to block or ignore. Like a persistent leak, social keeps us drowning in our relationships, for better or worse, all our waking hours.

    The film's climactic moment—when Betty B. tells our protagonist, on Facebook, to kill herself—sets the tale in modern times, lending tangible credence to a sense of isolation that felt more bearable pre-social media. It also underscores a moment when "frenemies"—friends who are enemies, a phenomenon we handle with relative ease as adults—can pivot into sinister threats. 

    We never really learn how things turn out, but "Betty B." is apparently inspired by a true story that "did not end well," according to Bieler's publicist. 

    The ads tell us that "83 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report being bullied either in school or online." It's a staggering statistic that lulls us into believing bullies are so common we can almost write them off, like a bad case of flies around watermelon. But bullies are powerful: Regardless of how common our experiences may be, their ability to zero in on our insecurities can make us feel uniquely unworthy. 

    When our narrator talks about Betty B. becoming her friend, there's something that tells us Betty B. is all she's got, is possibly even her crash course in friendship, compounding her influence. So, if Betty B. suddenly decides you don't deserve to breathe, well...

    Bieler is an award-winning commercial director. You can feel the strength of his chops in "Betty B." It's minimalist but visceral, guiding us down a potent path that begins in cozy nostalgia and concludes by scraping at our sense of alarm. 

    Our only critique of "Betty B." is how helpless it leaves us. There is no association to volunteer with or offer money to (it's not connected to any client), and no website that provides well-meaning tips for mentorship or talking about bullying. As the video's Vimeo description notes, "Over 67 percent of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective."

    We don't think adults lack awareness; it's more that the impact of social on bullying—from humiliating YouTube videos to Snapchat's disappearing taunts—is so overwhelmingly new that it escapes us. Public resources for helping to manage bullying can often seem like too small of a Band-Aid for a gushing wound, but it's still helpful to remind parents of how important it is to keep the problem in their sights and monitor kids' relationships—even if they don't say much. 

    When my sister was 10, she signed up for Facebook for the first time. My mother called me, perplexed, to ask if it was appropriate, and I had no idea; Facebook was young, and it felt strange to lack a frame of reference. 

    She would later be bullied there and on YouTube, where she'd uploaded videos that we thought were creative and cute. It made us all feel exposed and helpless. And while she's fine today, it still isn't clear how we could have made those years easier for her without squashing her creativity and infecting her with our fears. 

    It's still too soon to know how these kids will digest these experiences as adults. But maybe when they get there, they'll be better equipped to know what to do. 

    Director/Writer/DP/Editor: Matt Bieler
    Voice: Lola
    Music: Chris Newlin
    Color: Santiago Padilla
    Flame Artist: David Hernandez

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    Sarah Jessica Parker just dropped Stash SJP, her latest fragrance, on Instagram. This follows the weeks she spent teasing fans with mysterious messages online and in the streets, led by the hashtag #ComeAndFindIt (where the "it" wasn't specified). 

    In her reveal post, Parker called Stash "one of the hardest secrets" she's ever had to keep, claiming the scent was perfected over a period of years, "passed among a select few like a verboten substance" that strangers were clamoring to discover. 

    Stash is a unisex, aromatic-woody perfume, positioned as a "naughty, subversive sibling" to Parker's most popular fragrance, Lovely. Its surprising inspirations include "body odors, church, leather and a few masculine perfumes that she wore that would include notes of incense and vetiver." 

    "I still love Lovely, and I'm nostalgic about it, but this is the fragrance I'm wearing every day. I'm not messing around or having affairs with other fragrances," SJP swears. 

    Apart from using Instagram to pave Stash's way, SJP's crew also teased users with street art on over 100 sidewalks in New York City and Los Angeles. (The art was produced with eco-friendly, chemical free and natural materials, like chalk. Because, you know, lawyers and haters.)

    The campaign tears pages out of the marketing playbooks of super-famous pop celebrities: It was in 2013 that Beyoncé first dropped an album on Instagram with no warning at all—and last year, Drake teased his album with an enigmatic billboard that only fans could understand.

    "Instagram was a no-brainer for us, given her 2.7 million fans on the platform," says global marketing consultant Teri Siegel, who leads all SJP-related fragrance efforts. "There was no better and more authentic way for her to build excitement around the fragrance than with her engaged community on Instagram." 

    This isn't Parker's first foray into social marketing for perfume. Last year, for Lovely's 10th anniversary, a social media contest encouraged fans to upload posts featuring their memories with the perfume, in exchange for prizes. 

    Stash is available at Ulta Beauty and via Sarah Jessica Parker's ecommerce site. You can also expect social promotions to appear in your feeds next month.

    Some of the print work—which is pretty conventional, all things considered—appears below.


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    A dark diner in Anywhere, USA. A writer chasing his invisible muse. A tree set aflame in the midst of a desert. One lone buffalo, roaming. 

    The latest impressionistic Volvo spot by Grey New York continues a unusual approach to advertising that started in June with "Wedding," an ad that managed to both intrigue and frustrate viewers who shared their divergent opinions on social media under the #volvowedding hashtag.

    The new spot, "Song of the Open Road," almost three minutes long, is, if anything, even more cryptic than its predecessor. The ad stars a writer who finds himself at the same creative crossroads as so many of his predecessors—like, say, Walt Whitman. 

    The extended version of the commercial is set to a somber reading of Whitman's poem "Song of the Open Road," a distinctly American epic, by actor Josh Brolin. Just don't expect to understand everything that's going on, especially not on the first viewing.

    "We call this nonlinear storytelling," says Grey executive creative director Matt O'Rourke, who led creative on both spots. "We script it like crazy, figure out all the backstory, shoot it and then put it out into the world, where we don't intend for you to see it in a linear fashion."

    O'Rourke tells Adweek he was "amazed" at the time viewers have spent speculating on the meaning of the "Wedding" ad. "By not just putting a bow on it and telling the complete story, we have given people the chance to have strong feelings about the work," he says. 

    We did, however, learn a few things about the mysterious protagonist in "Song of the Open Road" while discussing it with O'Rourke and Grey account director Janique Helson. 

    "The story is that he wrote an award-winning screenplay three to four years ago but struggled to write his second," says O'Rourke. "Was that all he had in him, or is he a truly talented guy?" He adds, "When you tell an actor that, and he has this information to chew on, it makes him give a deeper performance." 

    The work is unusual and somewhat risky for Volvo in an industry largely characterized by vanilla advertising focused on financial incentives and sheet-metal glamour shots. 

    Helson says the key word is "intruiguing." She adds, "We want to draw you in, and we're selling luxury cars that most people don't think of as luxury cars. The construct about creating these last two ads was: Pick people who are not car people." 

    To that point, Grey worked with a director, Niclas Larsson, who had never made an American car ad, and a composer, Dan Romer, who had never worked on any advertising at all. The combination makes for a "short film" fraught with symbolism even though its mini-narrative lacks a clear beginning or ending.

    O'Rourke points to many instances of symbolism occurring throughout the spot, noting the correspondence between the bottle of honey in the diner scene, the girls wearing bee and fox costumes, and the appearance of a fox in one particularly memorable shot. He also describes the burning tree as "a strong metaphor," notes that the footage of the buffalo came from an older, unrelated campaign and confirms that Brolin performed the voiceover in a single take in the middle of a dark and windy night. 

    "Some people say, 'I don't get it. I hate it,' while others say, 'I don't get it. I love it,'" O'Rourke says. "That's the goal: creating a conversation. If it makes people have opinions, I think we're doing a good job."

    Check out the three-minute "Wedding" spot below.

    Advertiser: Volvo
    Spot: Song of The Open Road
    Agency:  Grey New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Dahlqvist
    Executive Creative Director: Matt O'Rourke
    Art Director: Denise O'Bleness
    Copywriter: Walt Whitman

    Production Company:  Townhouse
    President:  Bennett McCarroll
    Director of Integrated Production: James McPherson
    Producer: Lauren Tuttman/Erik Iverson
    Assistant Producer: Jacob Herman
    Music Producer: Ben Dorenfeld

    Production Company (location): Iconoclast / Anonymous
    Director: Niclas Larsson
    Director of Photography: Jeff Cronenweth
    Editor: Alvaro Del Val, UpperCut
    Music/Sound Design: Dan Romer, Composer / Alvaro Del Val, UpperCut
    Principal Talent: John Meyer

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    And now for something completely different in an election season dominated by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—a political ad starring "Dead Abe Lincoln" telling voters they "just got screwed" by the two-party system.

    "What Abe Lincoln prophesied about Trump and Hillary," created on a shoestring budget by viral video mavens the Harmon Brothers, touts Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in a push to have the former New Mexico governor included in the upcoming presidential debates.

    Funded by Alternative PAC, a Johnson supporter, the five-minute video also promotes a movement called Balanced Rebellion, which, Abe says, "is like Tinder but not gross," and aims to match voters one-to-one with others who are disappointed in the major-party choices for leader of the free world.

    While citing public polls and current research, Abe's gentle tirade compares Trump to "your racist uncle," cracks wise about his own assassination and Photoshops Clinton into a corporate-logo-heavy Nascar jacket.

    Since its launch late last week, the video has snagged nearly 9 million views, most of them on Facebook with little paid media. Dave Vance, the short film's writer-producer, tells AdFreak he was trying not only to make the ad credible but to clear some social hurdles.

    "People feel some angst around sharing political ads because they don't want to be that friend on Facebook," he said. "We wanted it to be funny enough to grab attention and make it shareable."

    Lincoln was no Libertarian, Vance acknowledges, but he was a third-party candidate and gives the ad an "iconic American figure" as a hook. "We're so versed in Lincoln's life, and he lends himself to jokes with a historical reference," Vance said.

    The team at Provo, Utah-based Harmon Brothers shot the ad with greenscreen technology using local improv actor Christian Schmutz. The Harmons are best known for their viral videos for Squatty Potty, FiberFix and Poo-Pouri.

    A paid media push will kick in over the next few weeks in an attempt to reach the millions of American voters who say they don't want to cast their ballots for either Clinton or Trump.

    "The video really reflects the level of disenchantment with the current political landscape," Vance said. "We tried to distill the most crucial points"—and provide a few laughs along the way, like Abe's reference to Gotham City and it being "time to vote for freaking Batman." 

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    It's gotta be the hair.

    Mother New York staffers have quietly pulled off a very fun agency selfie project, helping to replace the dated hairdo pics in the window of their favorite local barber shop with stylish portraits of the Mother employees themselves.

    The project, for John's Barber Shop in NYC's Port Authority, gave the window treatments "a much needed facelift," reps for the agency tell AdFreak. "Employees are featured for their style, grace and excellent work in what will become a postmodern take on the glamour shot."

    The project was Mother's idea. The agency approached John, the namesake barber, who allowed them to execute the project. (There was no cost to John.) And this could be just the beginning. The agency says it hopes to update "many more" barber shops in the future, and that the photos will also be uploaded to stock image sites for use.

    Check out a bunch of the shots below. Agency co-founder Paul Malmstrom even sat for a portrait—he's the first pic here. 

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    Pop culture is full of stories about people trying to escape the boring-ass town they were born in. Not so in Boring, Oregon. As one inhabitant remarks, "Nobody leaves. They think they're gonna go, but they stay." 

    Just like the Hotel California! 

    In a short film by Ogilvy & Mather London, a brand that we won't mention until later (to avoid spoiling the reveal) takes us directly to Boring—which actually exists!—to learn its charms, attributes and history. 

    "It's a fun town," one woman gamely insists. "Yeah, it is! It's just fun."

    Boring was founded by William H. Boring, who arrived in 1874. His fourth-generation descendant still lives there, with his wife, and you'll meet them too. Hairstyles are conservative, the weather is middle of the road, and you'll find exactly what you need without much more—two taverns, a deli, a market, a restaurant ("That's a really nice place," a voice adds) and no gangs.

    This last point is reinforced with a shot of two guys on swings. One has a yo-yo. "You kinda gotta make your own fun," one says. "I mean, there's no girls in town ... we'd have to outsource for those."

    The video is filled with small, charming interviews like this. Another of note features two elderly firemen recounting the history of Boring's weather. And in case you're not convinced of what Boring has to offer (or not), here's another fun fact: Its sister town is Dull, Scotland.

    Anyway, this is a curiosity worth the trip: 

    It's a hard sell to get people to watch what's essentially a 3:20 mini documentary about a town whose biggest attribute is a certain delight in its own blandness. But we did get into it. There's something magnetic about a place that lacks frenzy and demand, that feels disconnected from everything vying for our attention, and we feel the compulsion to stay awhile, learn its quirks. 

    But toward the end of this expedition, something odd starts to happen: Colored balls appear, drifting out of the sky, filled with fragrant powder. They're first met with surprise, then people start running out of their houses to play in it. 

    This climax—evidence of the brand preparing for its cameo—is surprisingly off-putting. "Anything boring can be made exciting," the screen reads. "Introducing Fragrance Burst, a new laundry experience." Yes, it's an ad for Unilever fabric softener brand Comfort. 

    Part of us hoped the brand connection would be banal but understandable, a pretext for keeping the townsfolk in the starring role—laundry is a boring subject, but what's so bad about Boring? 

    But the arrival of the bubbles to punt something as lame as Fragrance Burst feels intrusive, and the "Anything boring can be made exciting" line is an insult to our hosts. We like this place, and it didn't need the Quality Street treatment—some bizarre decision by a CPG label to invade undisturbed quarters with product manna, asking us to validate that act of aggression with fuzzy feelings.

    Yet Boring itself appears to disagree: It's "probably the biggest thing that's ever happened to Boring!" a local Boringer exclaims. So, we leave her with the last word. It's still better than a druglord invasion.

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    Coca-Cola's grown tired of happiness, and is moving on to magic. As one does.

    In "Taste the Magic," a new spot by agency David, a waiter approaches a table that's ordered an unusual amount of Coca-Colas. (Really, nobody wanted anything else?) A woman tells him she didn't order a regular Coke. No problem! Before her eyes, he transforms it into a Coca-Cola Zero. 

    It turns out this is no ordinary waiter. This is Justin Flom, a resident Las Vegas magician and social media star. 

    "Do it again!" another guy at the table commands. 

    Flom is so down, reciting his lines like they're actually the way people speak: "I feel you want the crisp taste of Coca-Cola, without calories. So I'll give you Coca-Cola Light." 

    That little gender reversal is interesting: Zero has historically been marketed to men, while women prefer Light (which in the U.S. is called Diet), which also has stronger associations with the fashion industry. This subtle shift is magic we weren't expecting! 

    All of the the tricks are performed entirely in front of the camera. Watch the rest of Flom's Coke transformations below. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    He goes on to turn another Coke into a Coca-Cola Life, which we didn't realize anybody drinks, and, because the normal Coke is the brand's stronghold, we end with a lady finding one in her handbag. It's fun for the whole family. 

    In addition to benefiting from Flom's social media presence, Coca-Cola is also using the magician's act a pretext to remind people of its different low-calorie options. (It also nicely serves to explain what the difference is between them.)

    "50 percent of Coca-Cola's communication will be aimed at its original variant and the other 50 percent at the low and no-calorie options," reads an accompanying pressie. "This means that in 2016, Coca-Cola will have invested four times more in these options compared to 2015."

    You may also have noticed that the packaging is subtly different, with Coca-Cola's red disc taking precedence in all variations of the product. This is part of Coke's new "One Brand" strategies to pull the disparate offerings closer together. Flom also uses a red disc-shaped coaster in his first table trick, subtly reinforcing that association, and brings it back for the ending, which introduces the fresh new iconography. 

    That's a lot of change to wiggle in, so it's apt that transformation is the topic the ad plays with. What better way to change your identity than by magic? You have less to explain that way, and getting people to focus on the magician, instead of the new branding, may redirect them from other awkward conversations they could be having instead. 

    The campaign will include product sampling—the better to taste the nuance of Stevia-enriched Life?—and digital and experiential activations, as well as print.

    Client: Coca-Cola
    Product: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola light, Coca-Cola Life
    Title: "Taste the Magic"
    Agency: David
    Executive Creative Directors: Joaquín Cubría, Ignacio Ferioli
    Creative Director: Nacho Coste
    General Account Director: Emanuel Abeijón
    Account Director: Lucila Castellani
    Account Executive: Florencia Scrimaglia
    Planning Director: Javier Quintero
    Head of Global Integrated Production: Veronica Beach
    Head of Production: Brenda Morrison Fell
    Client Production: La verde Pro
    Director: Martin Romanella
    Production Agency: argentinacine
    Executive Producers: Nano Tidone, Laura Passalacqua
    Producer: German Escande
    Postproduction: Aldo Ferrari
    Postproduction House: Pickle House
    Color: Pentimento
    Sound Design: Elefante Resonante
    Music: "Taste the Feeling" by Conrad Sewell
    Client Supervisors: Luis Gerardin, Guillermo Gimenez y Brotons, Alberto Velasco, Diego Luis, Sol Jares Cánovas, Jennifer Dolan

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    To some extent, all brands seek to define themselves in ads. Airline KLM, however, takes this process to a reductive extreme in new work from agency Mustache, letting prospective passengers know that it is, in fact, more than anything else … an airline.

    Actor Ken Marino goes to great lengths to make that simple point for the Dutch carrier in a series of self-consciously silly (and sometimes sweaty and shouty) online videos.

    For the anthem spot, he zips around a sky-blue set, arms stretched like wings, extolling KLM's airline identity for a full two minutes:

    Well, that was exhausting. Time to lower the oxygen masks!

    The oddball approach stems from a survey that found many U.S. consumers were unfamiliar with KLM, with some mistaking the carrier "for a radio station or a brand of milk," Mustache CEO John Limotte tells AdFreak.

    "We hit on a boldly unambitious idea that got us really excited: What if we just say it's an airline?" Limotte says. "We talked about reading dictionary definitions of airline terminology. And from there, it evolved into the idea of a spokesperson sharing information about an airline that really doesn't require sharing."

    In the next spot, Marino waxes romantic about a gal he met on a recent flight. Seems this certain special someone strolled around the cabin for most of the trip, asked Marino if he wanted to grab a drink, and when he explained he's dealing with "a lot of baggage," it "didn't seem to faze her one bit."

    "We wanted to find someone who could play really stupid in a very smart way, and appeal to the sort of sophisticated audience that would enjoy flying via Amsterdam to the world," says Limotte. "Ken was actually our first choice—people always say that, but in this case it's true—and luckily for us, he was not only interested but he really liked the semi-ridiculous concept."

    Having thoroughly defined airlines and flight attendants, our loopy pitchman, head wedged firmly in the clouds, moves on to passengers and airports, respectively, in the next two clips:

    Marino really earns his wings by wringing every last comic nuance from the scripts, and he works extremely hard to sell the campaign concept.

    "During the hero video ['It's an Airline'], Ken got really excited about the miniature Deflt house [that every KLM World Business Class passenger receives as a gift], and that excitement turned into him running around the set like a madman, screaming, 'A TINY COLLECTIBLE HOUSE!' " Limotte recalls. "After 10 takes of him sprinting around the room, we had to pause to wipe up all the sweat. Ken was pretty dry, but the follow-focus guy was drenched."

    Ah well, that's showbiz.

    Alas, despite the effort, these spots don't always soar. For one thing, each feels a tad too long. You could probably fly from Amsterdam to Inverness in the time it takes for the "Airport" video to come in for a landing.

    Marino's shtick can get grating, too, even turbulent at times, and that might send some viewers in search of parachutes or inflatable slides to escape his flighty patter.

    "[The character] has no idea how he comes off—oblivious, long-winded, redundant," says Limotte. "He's just a dude who absolutely loves flying."

    Fair enough. But would you want this guy sitting next to you on a plane?

    Client: KLM
    Agency: Mustache
    John Limotte / Executive Producer
    Adam Lerman / Director
    Bennett Elliott / Head of Production
    Will Bystrov / Head of Post-Production
    Jeff Cambron / Director of Marketing/Digital
    Charles Runnette / Content Director
    Meagan Maudsley / Producer
    Kevin Eastman / Director of Photography
    Brooke Edwards / Production Manager
    Caroline Symons / Production Coordinator
    Ashley Lebrun / Post-Production Supervisor
    Ellie Kibbe / Graphic Designer
    Todd Griffin / Head of Accounts
    Roomie Huh / Account Executive

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    Microsoft is still getting catty with Apple. This time, in song.

    A new ad for the Surface Pro 4 pokes fun at the Macbook Air, continuing one of the Windows giant's favoritetraditions of recent years—mocking Siri, and other aspects of Apple products, in its marketing.

    Unlike previous commercials, though, this attack—from M:United and Reset director Daniel Warwick—comes in musical form, with a man praising the Microsoft tablet and berating the Apple laptop in pop honky-tonk rhymes that might leave you laughing, or else curled up on the floor in the fetal position crying in pain.

    "This one's got detachable keys. It comes with a pen so you can write as you please," the guy talk-sings, while banging out a simple, upbeat keyboard accompaniment. "This Mac doesn't have any of that. It's less useful… like a hat for your cat," he continues. Sick burn.

    The bakeoff continues, for better or worse.

    "Surface has touch and a beautiful screen," says the pitchman, as the organ enters. "You can see things like they've never been seen." OK. "This Mac doesn't quite compare … it's slower, heavy and a bit square." He returns again to the Microsoft product. "Fold it in half, hello when you start, lighter than air, you can doodle a heart. Yes, it's plain to see, the Surface Pro 4 is made for me."

    It's a zippy little salvo, and a welcome twist on the marketer's antagonistic habit. To be fair, the lyrics aren't as terrible as they might seem, insofar as they manage to subtly, if incredulously, knock Apple on points where it's considered dominant.

    In terms of cool factor, Mac is the clear winner, though—far from "square." And the idea that a musician would prefer a Windows machine runs contrary to the conventional wisdom—or perhaps dated myth—that professional creatives (in audio production and other fields) all prefer Apples on their merit. (Some consumers, meanwhile, have been experiencing problems making tunes on their Surface 4 Pros.)

    It's also a questionable tactic, insofar as it's not an, um, apples-to-apples comparison, weighing Microsoft's product against a non-equivalent Apple offering. Some of the features Microsoft is touting—detachable keyboard, a stylus—are available as accessories to the iPad 4 Pro, which has reportedly overtaken Microsoft at its own laptop hybrid game. (A duller Microsoft ad earlier this month did make the brand's case for the superiority of its detachable keyboard product over the relative latecomer to the segment.) This matters only to the degree that it's confusing as hell, and perhaps irksome to viewers who'll do their own research and perhaps feel misled.

    There's also the issue of Microsoft continuing to define its products against Apple's, effectively serving as a reminder that the latter basically invented the tablet category that the former is building on. Even the aesthetic seems influenced by Apple's advertising—dreamy and inviting pastel backdrops have been a feature in some recent ads, and find new, if perhaps more playful life, here. (And of course, any comparison advertising can't help but echo "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC.")

    Least persuasive, though, is the ad's knock against felines in headgear. It'd perhaps be more fair to wonder why the guy is wearing a boater—a sartorial choice that casts a long shadow on his credibility. Arguably—in fact, historically—cats in hats are more entertaining than this guy is. And they're better—or at least better suited—to nursery rhyming, too.

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    Is it worthwhile to make an ad about dad bods way after that meme peaked?

    Probably not, but that didn't stop Australian underwear brand Bonds from making a commercial where dads talk about the changes their bodies underwent after their kids were born—in a spot pegged to that country's upcoming Father's Day on Sept. 4. 

    The gender role reversal here, complete with discussing social pressures to maintain physical beauty and comparing their bodies to celebrities, is in keeping with Bonds theme of subverting masculinity. If you recall, the brand's other recent, celebrated campaign was a conversation between two testicles.

    I can see this ad being read as a mockery of female body image issues instead of the gentle parody it was intended to be, but it's also nice to see male body issues voiced (even as a spoof) and not met with immediate cruelty. It's not difficult to imagine mid-30s dads looking at pictures of David Beckham and feeling insecure about their appearance, even if Beckham is a bit of a testicle himself.

    So yeah, the ad might be a little tone deaf, but it's a start. Bonds needs to work on its timing, though. I don't want to see them making Dat Boi ads a year from now.

    Client: Bonds
    Head of Marketing: Emily Small
    Senior Brand Manager: Mahli Pullen
    Assistant Brand Manager: Kedda Ghazarian
    Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
    Creative Chairman: James McGrath
    Chief Creative Officer: Ant Keogh
    Creative Director: Ant Phillips & Richard Williams
    Group Managing Director: Simon Lamplough
    Account Director: Grant Oorloff
    Senior Producer: Lisa Moro
    Operations Director -Sharon Adams
    Production Company: Guilty
    Director - Tony Rogers
    Producer: Jason Byrne
    DOP: Marin Johnson
    Editor: Sam Coates
    Photographer: Chris Budgeon

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    BBDO and AT&T have delivered another powerful offering in the "It Can Wait" ad series. But while last year's "Close to Home" took its time setting up the board—showing us the different people who eventually collide at ground zero of a neighborhood car crash—"The Unseen" goes in a more supernatural direction. 

    To fully appreciate the 3:37 film, it helps to watch the 30-second version first. Without context, it feels almost like a ghost story, the kind you're told about some mysterious road where, at night, a spectre lures people into accidents.

    The longer version has more in common with "Close to Home"—it turns out they share the same director, Anonymous Content's Frederic Planchon. We learn that the man in the car is a good, conscientious dad, with a rowdy band of kids that he drops off at the pool before heading off on his grim adventure. His wife calls to tell him the dog's gotten out. Her worry is contagious.

    There are also red herrings: A man walks outside for the mail, and as he does, the father's phone beeps, but he doesn't check it. It's almost enough to make us believe things won't turn out as badly as they do. 

    But it's then, in the quiet, that the spectre appears, a king-sized distraction on top of everything else, collapsing the father's guard and completing the star-crossed trajectory.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    The agency says the ad could have been even more supernatural than it already is. 

    "There were a few different ways we could play it," says BBDO executive creative director Matt McDonald. "Ultimately, we wanted to make it not seem like the Sixth Sense. Ostensibly, the kid could have jumped in the car at the pool, one of those crazy things that can happen. We had another version that played it a little more supernatural, but that took away from the ending." 

    AT&T's "It Can Wait" has run for six years and featured a number of memorable executions, including a painful 2013 Werner Herzog documentary and this recent sobering video with the cast of YouTube reality show @SummerBreak.

    Company data shows one-third of those exposed to the campaign have altered their behavior, and more than 10 million people have taken the "It Can Wait" pledge to avoid looking at their phones while driving. It's also seen 5 million downloads of its DriveMode app, which silences alerts and creates autoreplies to tell people you're on the road. 

    "The Unseen" keeps the campaign's bar high, but also signals a commitment to storytelling freshness. We're anxious to see what it'll bring us next. Meanwhile, AT&T's global marketing officer, Lori Lee, writes more about the new spot in a blog post here.

    Client: AT&T
    Title: The Unseen

    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director: Matt MacDonald
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Rick Williams
    Creative Director/Art Director: Marcel Yunes

    Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
    Group Executive Producer:  Julie Collins
    Executive Producer: Dan Blaney

    Managing Director: Mark Cadman
    Senior Director: Mark Tillinghast
    Account Director: Matt Mason
    Account Manager: Johnny Wardell
    Account Executive: Erin Sheehan

    Planning Director: James Lou
    Engagement Planning Director: Charles Baker
    Senior Planner: Simonas Piepalius

    Business Affairs Manager: Nancy Espinal

    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Director: Frederic Planchon
    Managing Director/EP: Eric Stern
    Executive/Production: Sue Ellen Clair
    Head of Production: Kerry Haynie
    Producer: Erin Wile
    Production Supervisor: Donald Cager
    DP: Jody Lee Lipes

    Editorial: WORK Editorial
    Editor: Rich Orrick - RICH ORRICK
    Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Producer: Jamie Perritt
    Assistant Editors: Christopher Fetsch/evelina gokinayeva

    Visual Effects: The Mill
    Shoot Supervisor: Gavin Wellsman
    Colorist: Fergus McCall
    2d Lead Artist : Krissy Nordella
    2d Artist:  Gavin Wellsman, Heather Kennedy, Alex Miller, Nicolette Picardo, Alex Wysota, Kevin Donahue
    3d Artist: Sandor Toledo, Peter Karnik, Alex Allain
    Design: Yuanbo Chen
    Senior Producer: Nirad "Bugs" Russell
    Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe

    Mix Studio: Heard City
    Sound Mixer:  Phil Loeb
    Sound Designer:  Brian Emrich
    Music track: Villa Del Refugio
    Music artist: This Will Destroy You

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    No single decade in recent memory has a monopoly on style. Or questionable exercise methods.

    A new video, "The History of Exercise," stars Nick Offerman and Michelle Obama looking back on past—and present—contraptions for working out, as a way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

    Funny or Die and SS+K created the video for the government health organization and the First Lady's anti-childhood obesity campaign, "Lets Move!" It's not just about chuckling at dubious gym tools, though. Each era features period fashion and music, as Offerman gradually shape-shifts from mid-century garb and soundtrack to a more current ensemble.

    In the 1950s, it's a vibrating belt, baggy matching sweats and Little Eva's "The Locomotion" (though, in a memo from the department of pedantry, that was technically released in 1962). In the 1960s, it's electrical muscle stimulation, a yellow turtleneck with loose khaki shorts and the Beach Boys' 1965 rendition of "Barbara Ann" (a song first released by the Regents in 1961).

    In the 1970s, it's a rowing machine, a red-white-and-blue headband with too-small beige jacket and itty-bitty red shorts and the Bee Gees' 1976 track "You Should Be Dancing." In the 1980s, its a ThighMaster, a pastel spandex unitard and Olivia Newton-John's 1981 hit "Physical." (Offerman's outfit is a hilariously precise nod to Newton-John's from the original video for that song.)

    In the 1990s, it's an ab wheel, a mesh shirt with tribal pants and a fanny pack and Cher's 1998 earworm "Believe." In the 2000s, it's that pinnacle of embarrassing accoutrement, the ShakeWeight, tinted sunglasses with cargo pants and Pink's 2001 rager-cliché anthem "Get the Party Started."

    In the present day, it's a medicine ball, a fitted synthetic shirt with simple black shorts and One Direction's 2015 song "Drag Me Down." Because that's apparently what people work out to, these days.

    Actress Megan Mullaly, Offerman's wife, also gets a cameo—as the electrode-wielding nurse in the '60s bit. There's even a little bit of plot. Offerman, dejected after suffering through a slapstick routine with his '80s gear, gets a motivational boost from a thought-bubble Michelle Obama, who also throws a shout out to Mullaly. (And in a fun little twist, it turns out the First Lady is actually sitting right next to him, lifting weights.)

    The team shot the 2:30 video at the White House in the South Court auditorium. Appearing under the hashtag #0to60, the clip is part of a broader campaign to encourage physical activity that also includes a new app and website with fitness and nutrition tips. It's ultimately on point—no matter the approach, the important thing is doing something to stay healthy.

    That should be a relief, because it means you can leave behind the infomercial gear and just go for a run, or a swim, or a bike ride.

    President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
    Executive Director - Shellie Pfohl
    National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition
    Executive Director - Chris Watts

    Agency: SS+K
    Partner, Co-Founder - Rob Shepardson
    Partner, Chief Creative Officer - Bobby Hershfield
    SVP, Director of Production & Innovation - John Swartz
    Executive Producer - Christopher McLallen
    Music Producer - Patrick Oliver
    Marketing Director - Amit Nizan
    Account Coordinator - Jason Fishkin
    Production Company - Funny Or Die
    Director - Bryan Madole
    Producers - Christian Heuer & Sean Boyle
    Executive Producers - Brad Jenkins & Michael Burke
    Director of Photography - Paul Rondeau
    B-Cam Op - Brian Wengrofsky
    1st AC - Josh Lawson
    Gaffer - Chad Dougherty
    Key Grip - Sam Barth
    Swing - Glenn Porter
    Production Designer - Tricia Robertson
    Art Director - Ellie del Campo
    Art Assistant - Stefanie Yoselle
    Wardrobe Stylist - Michelle Thompson
    Make Up Artist - Meghan Turner
    Sound Mixer - Brian Garfield
    Associate Producer - Jessy Morner-Ritt
    Production Assistant -  Andrew Cook
    Editors - Kevin Mead & Adriana Robles

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    For the layperson, internet routers are generally ugly and boring. They either work and are ignored, or they don't and are infuriating.

    But Google is having some fun promoting its OnHub, taking it on the road to a nudist colony, an Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest, a senior center's bingo night, and a dolphin tank—all to show off how good it looks, and the tricks it can perform.

    OnHub's sleek design means it looks good naked, and doesn't need to hide under a desk, says this two-minute online ad. It goes on to plug the router's guest network feature, which lets bearded visitors to a hotel—would-be literary pugilists that they are—access only some devices. In another scene, Joanna Rohrback, the inventor of the light-footed fitness method Prancercise, checks her wifi speed from her backyard while teaching a class.

    In yet another scene, elderly revelers use the OnHub's new tie-in with Phillips Hue lights to change the color of the overheads, and the game-room mood, with a simple website. Lastly, dolphin trainers use the router's integration with "If This Then That," a simple programming tool for consumers, to make physical buttons play specific music, inspiring their aquatic charges to dance.

    The argument that OnHub "is more than a router" may be a little semantic for some audience members, and the bells-and-whistles applications might feel niche for general users. But at the very least, the clip is entertaining and piques curiosity, largely thanks to the inviting, casual sense of enjoyment and quirkiness that pervades it. Even when the camera is focused on, say, a bunch of dudes in the buff shaking hands, and the upbeat tone should feel staged and disingenuous, it doesn't—it's just silly.

    Then again, the fact that it's not hideous is probably in itself a good enough sales pitch. 

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    Don't panic. They're not coming for our jobs anytime soon. But a computer has just created the first movie trailer designed with artificial intelligence.

    Twentieth Century Fox asked the scientists at IBM to use the computing power of Watson, one of the most advanced AIs in the world, to create a trailer for its new horror movie about a terrifying AI named Morgan.

    That's right, they made one of the world's most powerful AIs make an ad for a film about how terrified we all are of AIs. It's bad enough that Boston Dynamics is abusing its robots for our amusement, let's not give these things any more ideas about killing us all.

    In all seriousness, this project was way cool. Using experimental Watson APIs and machine learning techniques, the IBM Research system analyzed hundreds of horror/thriller movie trailers. Then, after learning what keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, the AI system combed through the entire Morgan movie.

    It was actually able to model the visual landscape of the film and figure out if it was looking at a moment that was scary or happy. Then it made a series of attractive graphs before suggesting the top 10 likely best moments for a trailer from the movie.

    That's where the humans came in to actually edit and arrange the thing—you know, on other computers. Computers that were totally not thinking of killing them.

    So congratulations, Watson, on helping to create your first advertisement! Please don't get too good at it. 


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