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    REI's #OptOutside campaign, urging consumers to disengage from consumerism on Black Friday and go enjoy the outdoors, added to its awards haul on Wednesday night, picking up two Grand Clios—in Engagement/Experiential and Public Relations—at the Clio Awards in New York.

    Venables Bell & Partners claimed the Engagement/Experiential award, while Edelman took the PR prize on behalf of the campaign, which indeed was an enormous PR success for the outdoor retailer.

    One other campaign won two Grand Clios as well: The Swedish Number, a bold tourism campaign from Ingo Stockholm (part of WPP's Grey and Ogilvy network) that invited people all around the world to call a phone number and be instantly connected to a random, ordinary Swede who could talk freely about the country.

    That campaign won Grand Clios in Direct and Innovation.

    Wieden + Kennedy Portland, Fred & Farid New York, Leo Burnett Chicago, McCann New York, Laird+Partners New York were among the other U.S. agencies to win Grand Clios. Edelman won a second Grand Clio, in the Clio Beauty category, for its "Choose Beautiful" work for Dove.

    Check out all the winners below. Adweek was in Bali, Indonesia, last month and spoke to
    some of the jury chairs about their Grand Clio choices.

    Swedish Tourist Association
    The Swedish Number
    Agency: Ingo

    Swedish Tourist Association
    The Swedish Number
    Agency: Ingo

    "Who would have thought that in this time and age, the good ol' telephone would bring together 9.8 million Swedes to speak for their country? That's exactly what this brilliant idea did," Merlee Jayme, chief creative officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu and Clio Direct jury chair this year, tells Adweek.  "After seeing high-tech, complicated, flashy technologies that try too hard to connect with consumers, we found the use of a phone number to be refreshingly simple, relevant and perfectly 'direct'—to push tourism! Every Swede literally answered for his country, demonstrating genuine 'freedom of speech.' And with the amazing response it has produced, it makes you realize that nothing still beats the power of having a good talk."

    "When your entry opens with the president of the United States talking fondly about your project, you've reached an entirely new status," adds Steve Vranakis, executive creative director at Google Creative Lab and chair of the Clios' inaugural Innovation jury. "Call it a product truth, a demonstration, whatever. It's absolutely genius, and I applaud the agency as well as the country for creating bold and brilliant work like this. It's powerful in reminding us of the right we have to voice our ideas and opinions by allowing us to speak freely and without any fear, if only with a 'random Swede.' "

    Old Spice
    Smell Legendary
    Biscuit Filmworks & Wieden + Kennedy

    "Film has the power to move people regardless of logic or reason," says Yuya Furukawa, chief creative officer at Dentsu Japan and chair of the Film jury. "This is the true meaning of film, and we judged work that truly proved the meaning of film. There is an issue of continuity in our job. In our business of filmmaking, we cannot survive on a one-shot hit. We have a duty to constantly create good work, and send it out to the world every year. The essence of continuity is actually freshness. If it's not fresh, then it won't work, and the continuity will not last. Particularly when the work is big hit, there is nothing more difficult than to come up with the next piece in the series. That is actually how the Grand Clio was chosen."

    —Branded Content
    Remy Cointreau / Louis XIII
    Agency: Fred & Farid New York

    "Our goal was to keep the judging very loose in terms of what was the checklist of things we were looking for in Branded Content, so we could focus on the idea above all else," says PJ Pereira, chief creative officer of Pereira & O'Dell and chair of the Branded Content and Branded Entertainment jury. "The one thing we agreed was non-negotiable, though, was being able to see the work itself, not just the case study. Then all of a sudden comes an idea that denied us the chance to see the work. And it felt absolutely perfect. The concept of Louis XIII Cognac's 100 Years was the most ingenious and original concept, an example of true brand bravery, and there was no doubt among the jury that this would be the Grand Clio."

    —Branded Entertainment
    Art Institute of Chicago
    Van Gogh Bnb
    Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago

    "This debate was more heated, from having to choose from hundreds of outrageously strong contenders among thousands of entries," Pereira says. "But Van Gogh Bnb was an absolutely amazing tie-in with the Art Institute of Chicago and Airbnb giving guests a rare stay with Vincent Van Gogh, who is posthumously hosting. The chance to live inside a post-impressionist painting and bring you closer to the artist than ever before shows the transformative power of creativity. It got us all wishing we could spend a night there ourselves, even after spending days locked in a room watching branded entertainment ideas."

    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

    —Public Relations
    Agency: Edelman

    —Out of Home
    DB Breweries
    Agency: Colenso BBDO/Proximity New Zealand

    —Product Design
    Herman Miller
    Public Office Landscape
    Company: Herman Miller

    Getty Images
    Endless Possibilities
    Agency: AlmapBBDO

    Lockheed Martin
    The Field Trip to Mars
    Agency: McCann New York

    —Clio Music: Use of Music
    58th Annual Grammy Awards
    The Recording Academy

    —Fashion: Integrated Campaign
    Tom Ford
    Digital Fashion Presentation
    Agency: Laird+Partners

    —Beauty: Public Relations
    Choose Beautiful
    Agency: Edelman

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    There's been no dearth of dubious job titles in the recent years, thanks in large part to the tech boom. But outerwear marketer Columbia Sportswear is reaching for new and awesome heights with its tongue-in-cheek "director of toughness" role—and this time around, it's really making candidates work for the gig.

    A new ad from agency North shows potential hires interviewing for the position, largely by taking a surprise, semi-coerced trek up to the top of a mountain, only to suffer the verbal abuse of an HR rep camped out 8,000 feet above sea level. Because if they really are qualified, such trivial exertion and feeble taunts shouldn't faze them at all.

    It's a ridiculous and entertaining premise. One would-be employee touts his long distance relationship as evidence of his durability. "What's your biggest fear, other than commitment?" retorts Columbia's insult-comic hiring manager, in perhaps the ad's best zinger.

    Set at Timberline Lodge and the Mt. Hood wilderness outside Portland, Ore., it's just the first of several such trips through the wringer for interviewees. Columbia will continue to put applicants through similar tests at other locations around the world, promising them, if they ultimately earn the job, nine months of globetrotting to test the brand's products in "some of the most brutal conditions mother nature can serve."

    Actually, it's not Columbia's first time filling the role. A 2015 version of the job saw two directors of toughness travel the world for a mere six months, visiting places like Chile, Uganda and Ecuador. But the interview process for that job appears to have been significantly more mild.

    The current nine-month version, meanwhile, will pay a salary of $39,000 and include benefits, reports CNBC. The ultimate hires will document their adventures and share them on social media, effectively helping the brand market its wares to outdoor enthusiasts.

    And as silly as the title itself may be, it does build on the marketer's real brand equity. Last year, North also spearheaded the campaign that saw the return of Columbia chairwoman and nonagenarian Gert Boyle to its advertising, reviving her classic role as "One Tough Mother."

    It's probably safe to say she'd approve of the hiring method. 

    Project Name: Director of Toughness

    Client: Columbia Sportswear
    Chief Marketing Officer - Stu Redsun
    Scott Trepanier Director of PR & Communications

    Agency: North
    Chief Creative Officer  - Mark Ray
    Executive Creative Director/ Art Director  - Luke Perkins
    Creative Director/ Copywriter - Aaron Robnett
    Art Director - Kaleen Anderson
    Executive Producer - Steve Rauner
    Content Producer - Matt Genz
    Print Producer - Peter Calendra
    Strategic Director - Jordan Delapoer
    Brand Director - Kelly Quinn, Alex Gatewood & Derek Muller
    Editorial Producer  - Matt Genz
    Editor  - Kelly Brickner Lyon

    Production Company - Big Block
    Director Josh + Vince
    Executive Producer - Geno Imbriale

    Sound Design/Mix - Digital one
    VFX - Pinata Post

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    We all know a girl like Louise Delage. You've been on Instagram for years and are scraping by with 50 likes on a good day—then she appears on the scene, with her fun little life, and cultivates over 16,000 followers in a few months.

    In the years following LonelyGirl15, we learned to be wary of that kind of success. Who is this girl, and what does she do? But "personal branding," Instagram stardom and the overall pressure to demonstrate the most photogenic parts of our lives has perhaps blunted our critical knives. Aren't we all stars for somebody? 

    So when Louise Delage arrived on Instagram on Aug. 1, bearing drinks and a cheerful, sun-soaked smile, few wondered who she was. Many assumed she was one more chic Parisian. Maybe she had one of those depressed Instagram husbands whose sole role in life is to capture their muses for an insatiable audience.

    But no, that wasn't it at all. We've been LonelyGirled again! 

    The 25-year-old social star—who racked up over 50,000 likes in a couple of months with photos of boat parties, travel and endless dinners—is actually part of a campaign from Paris agency BETC called "Like My Addiction."

    Because did you notice something odd about Louise? She's almost always holding a drink. Louise is a textbook alcoholic. 

    The truth was revealed in a video published on Instagram and YouTube last week:

    The campaign was created with help from production company Francine Framboise for Addict Aide, which sought to raise awareness of alcoholism among young people. 

    Per the organization, out of every five deaths of young people annually, one is from addiction. Addict Aide provides resources for people who are worried about their own alcohol consumption, or that of someone close to them. 

    "We were briefed on the difficulty of detecting the addiction of someone close to you—a friend, a child or a parent," BETC president and creative director Stéphane Xiberras Paris tells AdFreak. "We thought an interesting way of showing it would be to create a person people would meet every day but whom we'd never suspect of being an addict, by setting up a fake Instagram account."

    Xiberras details how the agency went about creating such massive visibility for Louise in a short period of time. "We rooted our craft into native Instagram content and user habits," he explains, "building an acquisition strategy around four pillars: content, hashtags, bots and a KOL [key opinion leader] strategy."

    The team posted two to three posts per day at high-traffic moments—in the morning, at lunchtime and late at night, "when people are stalking others." (Well, now we're out of the closet.) BETC also studied fashion bloggers, including their attitude and the filters they most commonly use.

    To ensure the content was found, each post included a mix of 20-30 hashtags related to fashion, food, nature and parties.

    "We also set up a well-known bot to like and follow specific people—like women interested in fashion bloggers, journalists and celebrities," Xiberras adds. The bot was decidedly efficient: While Louise's follower count totals more than 16,700, she herself is following only 3,156 well-chosen people.

    "Finally, we created a KOL strategy, using teenage key opinion leaders, with between 20,000 to 100,000 followers, to talk about our account and spread the Louise Delage profile among their own followers," Xiberras says. 

    It isn't often you get a strategic response this detailed and candid. No one will judge you if you copy and paste for later use. (Well, maybe this guy will.)

    All told, however, Xiberras feels Louise could have done better. "We hoped for more followers to take notice of Louise's behavior," he says. "There were a few people who sensed the trap—a journalist among others, of course—but in the end, the majority just saw a pretty young girl of her time and not at all a kind of lonely girl, who is actually not at all that happy and with a serious alcohol problem." 

    Hours after the reveal, Addict Aide saw five times more traffic to its site than normal. The story generated over 140 articles and became a trending topic on Twitter in France. Overall, Louise Delage's sad secret won 500,000 total video views across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and posts by key opinion leaders ... all with zero media investment.

    "Hopefully the campaign has served as an eye-opener for some," Xiberras says. "I hope they will contact Addict Aide or other local organizations working to help people struggling with addiction."

    And if you're having trouble gauging whether somebody's an addict, or just living it up, he's got a useful tell: "Sometimes it seems like in this era, the more people stage their ideal life on social media, the more that serves to hide a not-so-ideal reality."


    Client Addict Aide
    Client Management Michel Reynaud, Amine Benyamina
    Agency BETC
    Agency Management Catherine Emprin, Isabelle Picot
    Executuve Creative Director Stéphane Xiberras
    Art Director Rayhaan Khodabux
    Copywriter Rémi Campet
    Traffic Marie-Caroline Pupin
    Tv Producer Christine Lefers
    Executive Tv Producer Stéphanie Huguenin
    Production Hosue Francine Framboise
    Sound Production Gum
    Director Pierre Edouard Joubert
    Activation Strategy Director Julien Lévêque

    Client Addict Aide
    Client Management - Michel Reynaud, Amine Benyamina
    Agency BETC
    Agency Management - Catherine Emprin, Isabelle Picot
    Creative Director - Stéphane Xiberras
    Art Director - Rayhaan Khodabux
    Copywriter - Rémi Campet
    Strategic Planning - Julien Lévêque
    Production - Stéphanie Huguenin (Francine Framboise)
    Media Plan - Instagram

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    We will never be able to forgive South Park—or thank it enough—for that one time it utterly decimated native advertising in a story arc. But to promote its 20th season, the show briefly took its gaze off current events and launched its own version of a stroll down memory lane. 

    People got pissed. (Or so Comedy Central claims. Wait a sec—is this an ad, too?!) 

    Mobile billboards have been placed in various strategic locations around the country. Each plays on its environment, depicting a moment in the show that took place wherever the billboards are parked, and ends with the tagline, "We've been there." 

    It's a cute gag, but some locations didn't take it so well—like the White House, the Church of Scientology and the Lincoln Memorial. 

    "In some cases, the locals were not pleased to have us outside their locations and asked us to leave, but that was all expected, and we completely understand why," Comedy Central's chief marketing officer, Walter Levitt, tells the Hollywood Reporter. 

    The Scientology billboard, shown above, comes from "Trapped in the Closet," a Season 9 episode. In it, Stan joins Scientology and is discovered to be church founder L. Ron Hubbard's reincarnation. Scientologist Tom Cruise asks Stan (er, Hubbard) whether he likes his acting, and after Stan's lukewarm response, locks himself in Stan's closet. 

    The episode caused a fracas when it aired: The real Tom Cruise threatened to back out of promoting Mission: Impossible III if Viacom—which owns Comedy Central, as well as Paramount, which released the film—permitted the episode to be rebroadcast. (It's been re-aired multiple times since, in case you wondered.) 

    The White House billboard, shown below, pretty tamely depicts President Obama and the First Lady:

    Obama appeared in a Season 12 episode called "About Last Night...", which fictionalized the events following his presidential win against John McCain. The town Democrats believe Obama is the Messiah and start a drunken riot; the Republicans are convinced the apocalypse is coming. The episode later reveals that Obama, McCain and their campaign staffers are actually a gang of jewel thieves. 

    The last drama-generating billboard appeared in front of the Lincoln Memorial:

    In this particularly weird episode, "Super Best Friends" from Season 5, the kids from South Park decide to join the Blaintologists, magician David Blaine's fictional cult (and incidentally another Scientology jab). Stan realizes they've been brainwashed and teams up with Jesus to activate the Super Best Friends (a play on the Super Friends). Blaine animates the Lincoln Memorial statue and orders it to kill the superhero squad, but stone Lincoln is ultimately killed by a statue of John Wilkes Booth (awkward). 

    "We did this stunt because we thought it was a great way to remind South Park fans of all the amazing moments of the past 19 seasons, and truly a perfect way to celebrate the 20th season," Levitt says of the mobile billboards. 

    Suffice it to say it's definitely brought back memories. And while they're all perhaps equally offensive to somebody, the one that truly stays with us doesn't come from an episode at all. It comes from that time South Park promoted a video game with a heinous unit called the Nosulus Rift—a VR device for smelling the superfarts that power the game's main character.

    More of the billboards below. 

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    Election 2016 has been an exhausting experience for just about everyone. But for brands, it's certainly created potent cultural moments they can tap into.

    CP+B has helped Hotels.com do just that with an amusing campaign with Captain Obvious. The agency's chief creative officer, Ralph Watson, chatted with Adweek about that work and other cool recent projects as we caught up with him during Advertising Week. 

    Check out the video above for more from Ralph, including his three favorite ads of all time, and when he first knew he was destined to be an art director. And if you want to be part of our #3favoriteads series, which will continue into the fall, shoot us an email.

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    Among iOS 10's shiny new toys is a messaging feature that allows you to add effects to your message bubbles, send full-screen animations with your messages, add handwritten notes and more. Apple pushes those capabilities with a pretty new spot from TBWA\Media Arts Lab that focuses on one full-screen animation in particular.

    The 60-second spot starts with a single red balloon floating out the window of a remote house and starting a journey though various gorgeous landscapes—with the red really popping against the green, blue and grey backgrounds of forests, oceans and cities.

    Eventually the balloon finds a friend, then more friends, and they make their way into another house—completing the physical journey that's taken milliseconds to complete from one iPhone to another.

    The spot continues the "Practically Magic" line that Apple has been using on all of its ads for the iPhone 7. And indeed, the added flashes of color and animation in messages do feel, if maybe not quite magical, certainly more fundamentally joy-producing (if also more minor and fleeting) than the other features advertised so far—the phone's water resistance and its better camera for shooting in low light.

    The red balloon opening evokes the classic short film The Red Balloon, an Oscar winner from the '50s that featured a red balloon following a boy around Paris. (That film, like the spot, also ends with a flurry of multicolored balloons.)

    There's also a bit of Sony Bravia's famous "Balls" spot in here—though the Apple ad is more emotional, thanks in part to the use of "I Will Follow You" by Toulouse (a brand new remake of the 1963 Ricky Nelson song) on the soundtrack.

    To learn how to use expressive messaging in iOS 10, go here.

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    Four prominent black creative directors launched the Saturday Morning project approximately two months ago as a way to further and formalize the sometimes challenging but important conversations facilitated by Black Lives Matter and related social justice movements.

    On Thursday at The New York Times Center, the group, which now numbers five—Butler, Stern, Shine and Partners executive creative director Keith Cartwright; Twitter group creative director Jayanta Jenkins; Amusement Park chief executive officer Jimmy Smith; Geoff Edwards of Creative Artists Agency; and Chobani managing director Kwame Taylor-Hayford—explained the evolution of their passion project to an attentive Advertising Week crowd.

    They also named two new potential brand partners in the form of P&G and Airbnb.

    Cartwright said that the group's initial letter, which they sent to press organizations on Aug. 1, has inspired more than 800 emails regarding their stated desire to "build awareness, promote change and shift the overall perception that black lives are in some way not as important as others." The idea holds that interested parties from within the creative economy and beyond will submit original concepts designed to further progress in this area and that the members of Saturday Morning will determine which ones to promote via their platforms and partnerships.

    "We will have ideas every quarter that we will bring to businesses and ask for sponsorships," Cartwright said in laying out his plans for the group. "Airbnb is very interested, and [‎global marketing and brand building officer] Marc Pritchard of P&G called last week," he added, stating that Pritchard expressed an interest in signing a petition that would commit P&G to helping Saturday Morning execute projects that may need funding.

    "We are not an agency, and we are not competing with agencies," Cartwright said, "[Because] we all have day jobs."

    Jenkins described Saturday Morning, which launched with the aforementioned letter and a website, as "an advocacy platform/program." The group agreed that their project would initially operate on an earned media model in order to bring greater attention to the concepts and executions that it chooses to highlight.

    "We're not here to create something that will end up in Cannes," said Smith, "though that's not to say that there won't be any ads." He floated potential ideas on which Saturday Morning and its partners could collaborate, including legislation that would eliminate the controversial stop-and-frisk approach to law enforcement and a future in which robots perform traffic stops to reduce the likelihood of violent confrontations between police officers and members of the public.

    "Many of us have relatives who are police officers ... there would be chaos without them," he added, suggesting that many officers who would like to participate in the ongoing conversation "feel like their voices aren't being heard."

    Syracuse University has reached out to the group to discuss future collaborative projects. So has MAL for Good, the purpose-driven arm of Lee Clow's TBWA\Media Arts Lab, or Apple's dedicated ad agency.

    "In summary, we will be releasing these 'Peace Briefs' and looking to engage individuals, businesses and universities to create a wealth of content," said Taylor-Hayford. "Ultimately distribution is key ... at some point this will require paid media to engage [with the public] through the brand coalitions we will form."

    The group plans to release its first such quarterly brief in early 2017.

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    Brand mascots are great at delighting consumers everywhere with their wacky commercial antics. But try to put them to work in an office? Well, that's a tougher pitch. 

    As part of the Advertising Week festivities, Adweek was pleased to welcome six famous brand mascots to our offices this week—Cap'n Crunch, Nesquik Bunny, Kool-Aid Man, Mr. Peanut, Pillsbury Doughboy and Chester Cheetah. 

    And while they were generally lovely to have around, their journalistic skills weren't quite up to par, as you can see in these short videos we made, parodying ESPN's famous "This Is SportsCenter" campaign.

    Guys, it was fun. But next time, we'll come to you. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

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    A striking new ad from Spain is making waves there, accusing the nation's culture of being completely disingenuous—and using an adult film star as its righteous messenger. 

    "My name is Amarna Miller," she says, staring into the camera, as she introduces herself in the commercial's first shot. "I'm a porn actress, and was born in a hypocritical country, where the same people calling me a whore jerk off to my videos." 

    It's a brutally effective opening salvo, and the 90-second commercial—promoting the 2016 Salon Erótico de Barcelona Apricots, a live sex show staged in that city—doesn't let up, indicting bullfighters, politicians, financiers, priests and all other forms of forked-tongued bad actors. 

    Spain is "a country that loves life, but allows killing in the name of art," continues Miller's voiceover, as the camera cuts to a man holding a baby, before zooming out to reveal he's a blood-soaked matador. "A country outraged at corruption that still votes for thieves. A country that saves the same banks that are evicting thousands of families." 

    The ad, created by agency Vimema, has drawn almost 2.5 million views since being posted Wednesday, as well as support from national political figures Pablo Iglesisas and Inigo Errejón—leaders of the major left-wing party Podemos, which sprung up as a youth-fueled, anti-austerity alternative to establishment options in 2014, while Spain grappled with the effects of financial recession and the European debt crisis.

    Now, even as the country's economy has shown steady signs of recovery over the past two years, unemployment remains paradoxically high, its GDP has not reached pre-2008 levels, and its failure to elect a fully fledged government is threatening to slow further gains.

    Spanish-language publication El Pais has more background on Miller's profile in the country, her arguments for tolerance of her profession, and different reactions to the new spot. The general backdrop makes Miller's fire-and-brimstone seem all the more morally justifiable—even if it is also deliberately provocative, or salaciously trollish.

    The visuals in the clip are utterly gorgeous, often built on imagery mocking the country's Catholic tradition—incredibly efficient images for an argument about evildoing wrapped in a veil of holiness. Even its title, "Patria," or "homeland," is dripping with snark. The word also means "heaven" in Latin. The remaining copy, powerfully written and roughly translated below, hits on similar themes, each shot paired with its own rich picture.

    In other words, as offensive as the ad's approach may be to some, especially given the product it's selling, it's hard not to credit it for the execution alone. And that in turn makes it harder not to root for the underdogs.

    • It's "a country that says it is secular, while celebrating the Virgin Mary," as a cop licks the foot of a woman posing as a statue of the Madonna
    • "That treats emigrants as heroes, and immigrants like trash," as a white Spanish doctor pulls off a mask to reveal a black doctor in torn jeans
    • "A country where those who are supposed to be moral guardians can become the most dangerous," as a priest lifts his robe to reveal his briefs and do a terrifying jig
    • "Where prostitution is still not legal, but every year the number of clients grows," as trio of men paw at a sex worker
    • "A country that believes in openness and tolerance, where a referee receives death threats for being gay," as a soccer official stands, his private parts wrapped in chains

    The camera returns to Miller, this time framed by the full cast in a recreation of The Last Supper. "Yes, we live in a disgustingly hypocritical country," she says. "But some of us do not give up." 

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    Who wants a song and dance from their airline?

    We'll soon find out, thanks to Southwest's glitzy musical ads from GSD&M, part of the carrier's overarching "Transfarency" campaign.

    Actual airline employees appear in the relentlessly upbeat commercials, lip-syncing and strutting their way through a series of loud, dramatically staged production numbers.

    In the anthem spot below, set to Willy Moon's "Yeah Yeah," a terminal morphs into a slammin' club, and Southwest flight attendants Alphonso Thomas and Melissa Salaman, along with other airline employees and lots of dancers, bust moves to the booming beat:

    Of course, real airports usually specialize in line dances—long and slow-moving ones—that make folks wanna get away, and stay away. But Southwest works hard to portray its travel experience as irrepressibly positive.

    "Last year, we captured Southwest's 'low fares with nothing to hide' philosophy," says GSD&M creative chief Jay Russell. "This year was about making people feel it. And what does it feel like? Simple: It feels like 'Yes.' Yes, you can travel. Yes, you can use your rewards. Yes, Southwest loves flying you."

    Next, customer service reps Tammy Davis and Guillermo Rosales join ramp agent Roy Nabors for a karaoke take on Journey's "Any Way You Want It":

    Yeah, the '80s never died. (Except in that ad, right? Kidding. Kinda.)

    "Every year we host a casting call and give our fabulous employees an opportunity to be the face of Southwest," says Helen Limpitlaw, the airline's ad director. "It's important to us that our people—the ones who make flying enjoyable—represent our brand."

    That's how customer service agent Mary Ann Mayo Rodriguez and Captain Brian Kalchbrenner wound up shaking their thangs to "Whatever You Like" by T.I.:

    Hey, if the captain's on stage … who's flying the plane!?

    Finally, just in case "Yeah Yeah" from the anthem wasn't affirmation enough, customer service rep Michelle Lovett and ramp agent Matt Sherman work it to Jax Jones' "Yeah Yeah Yeah":

    Clearly, the work takes a self-consciously wacky approach, and it certainly succeeds in that vein, even if song-and-dance routines might seem more suited to soft-drink commercials than airline ads.

    But Southwest's Limpitlaw views the work as a statement of the brand's quirky personality. In her estimation, the more deviation from the category's familiar flight plan, the better.

    "We celebrate our constant ability to stand alone," she says. "We embrace that, and it's purposeful. With these ads, we wanted to represent that Southwest is the carrier of choice for getting you where you need to go, but always having some fun along the way."

    Client: Southwest Airlines

    Agency: GSD&M
    Chief Creative Officer: Jay Russell
    Group Creative Directors: Scott Brewer, Ryan Carroll, Lara Bridger
    Creative Directors: Nikki Baker, Leslie Shaffer
    Sibling Creative Team: Rafael Serrano, Laura Canzano, Gus Solis
    Planners: Jennifer Billiot, Michael Dezso
    Account Service: Carter Nance, Shawn Mackoff, Amy Lyon, Audrey Henderson
    Sibling Account Service: Ana Leen
    Project Manager: Elizabeth Stelling
    Business Affairs Manager: Desiree Townsend

    Art Directors: Mike Ferrer, Judd Oberly
    Writers: Mark Snow, Michael Page
    Director of Production: Jack Epsteen
    Executive Producer: Marianne Newton
    Producers: Rob Lee, Lauren Beightler
    Prod Company: Smuggler
    Director: Jun Diaz
    Editorial: Cutters
    Editors: Matt Walsh, Grant Gustafson

    Art Directors: Lisa Donato, Rye Clifton
    Writers: Shannon Lorenzon, Hayden Griffin, Amanda Whitehead
    Art Buyer: Jessica Spruill
    Producer: Leigh Ann Proctor
    Account Service: Patty Liendo, Victoria Huffines, Garrett Menichini, Kristen Arsenault

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    There's more than one way to feel the flab. But however much time you spend on the treadmill, French ad publication Influencia hopes to draw your attention to a more insidious fitness foe you may be overlooking—infobesity. 

    It's getting the conversation started with a surreal campaign from Glory Paris.

    "We consume information without verifying it, because it's more important to talk about it than to check whether it's true," say Glory Paris founders Arnaud Lebacquer and Hugues Pinguet (yes, in unison). They go on to add, "We've become info-bulimic. We ingest it, and if we aren't satisfied, we look for more opportunities to do it—on the subway, or at night before bed." 

    The campaign, dubbed "Musclez votre esprit"—roughly translated "Muscle up your mind"—features portraits of people with flabby breasts and bellies for faces. Influencia calls this an "homage to Magritte," the surrealist artist. Each print ad includes a call-to-action: "For your well-being and that of others, subscribe to influencia.net."

    Communications professionals and prolific info-consumers are most in danger of infobesity, Influencia says in an accompanying press release. "We've entered a world of media overconsumption. Public demand, sharing, immediacy and overall urgency prevents us from investing quality work with necessary reflection."

    And like anything else you might mash into your body en masse, info-binging can make you mentally obese—a state that, in this case, can render you complacent in the professional sphere and incapable of conducting critical, independent analysis. (The brain notably requires downtime in order to process what it's ingested and make it useful to you.)

    In other words, infobesity is the greatest enemy to creativity today.

    We can roll with "infobesity" being a problem, having had our fair share of breakups and makeups with Facebook. In a previous generation, people used to sit down for the news, mentally preparing for what was to come; today "news" attacks us at all hours, on autoplay between baby pictures and wedding montages in a never-ending newsfeed. 

    There is always more stuff out there than we can consume. But the fact that we can consume it anytime makes us feel responsible for what we don't know. So while it's easy to scoff at new ideas like internet PTSD, it also strikes us as a natural response to the pressure we now systematically impose on ourselves and others. 

    Then there's the question of whether this particular treatment of the subject feels appropriate. While we'd be hard-pressed to think of gentle illustrations for a notion as provocative as "info-bulimia," the work can also be seen as fat-shaming.

    "In observing our dangerous consumption of data, it seemed logical to show it symbolically," say Lebacquer and Pinguet. "We primarily wanted to cultivate awareness of the garbage we put in our bodies—and the brain, of course, is part of the body. The work is risky ... but it's also a reflection of who we are." 

    Glory Paris is no stranger to eyebrow-raising work. The startup agency launched last year, and its first client was itself. In January 2015, it revealed its business cards: One side was normal; the other side was the business card of a famous person whose contact details you wish you had, like Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page. Nine months later, it released a print ad that featured a "letter of motivation" from Maurice Lévy. 

    So for them, it's safe to say the end justifies the means. "Let's be selective, and stop filling our brains with informational sugar and fat," they conclude.

    More variants appear below. 

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    The advertising industry said goodbye this week to a very successful, if largely unknown, creative voice with the passing of Richard D. Trentlage, who died on Sept. 21 at the age of 87 in a suburb of Chicago.

    Trentlage was never a household name, but he did compose one of the ad world's most enduring anthems. "The Oscar Meyer Wiener Song" made its debut in 1963 and ran for more than five decades.

    According to Trentlage's online obituary, the song's 52-year tenure marks "a record-breaking run" given that "most jingles have a life of 8 to 13 weeks" due to legal concerns related to residuals.

    Trentlage worked for some of the biggest agencies in the ad industry before launching his own jingle-writing firm. In a 2012 interview, he told the Wisconsin State Journal that he learned about Oscar Meyer's 1962 songwriting contest from a colleague at J. Walter Thompson, the brand's agency of record at the time. Trentlage then penned the song in less than an hour, taking inspiration from his son's description of a friend as a "dirt bike hot dog." He submitted it to JWT Chicago the following day. 

    Oscar Meyer was not the only brand for which Trentlage wrote music. He wrote a "Buckle Up for Safety" tune for a 1964 National Safety Council PSA as well as the '60s ditty "McDonald's Is Your Kind of Place."

    Trentlage eventually got his entire family involved in the jingle business, recruiting his children to sing harmonies.

    Oscar Meyer retired its wiener song in 2010, and jingles have become more of a rarity in advertising today—with a few notable exceptions like Nationwide's "On Your Side" anthem. But Trentlage continued to receive royalties for the song, which ran in more than 20 English-speaking countries, until his death last week. The brand also credited the composition with helping it sell "enough wieners to reach the moon and back six times."

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    Imagine you're asked to assess the beauty of airbrushed photos of professional models—and then regular snapshots of your spouse, or a close family member.

    A new Dove ad from Portugal does that to a group of men, sitting them down in an empty warehouse and strapping them to a heart monitor in an attempt to measure their emotional response when a screen flashing pictures of stereotypically attractive women—the kind who might grace a shampoo ad with a half-smile—suddenly gives way to pictures of wives, sisters, daughters and grandmothers.

    The mens' reactions, as the ad tells it, go from clinical and detached to deeply invested, as they begin describing their personal connections to the women on screen and their tickers beat faster. One subject admires his grandmother's wrinkles. Another marvels at his wife's smile. A third chokes up at the uniqueness of his daughter—a flash of vanity that's also perhaps the ad's most credible, and moving, moment.

    "Real beauty touches the heart," coos the tagline, the latest twist on the marketer's long-running campaign to combat fantastical definitions of what constitutes attractiveness.

    That's a sweet sentiment, from agency Black Ship, and it seems clear the ad's genuine intent—insofar as it can have one beyond selling soap—is to help those women who would compare themselves to pages in a magazine. Unfortunately, this particular approach feels off the mark.

    Given its basic staging, it can't but evoke Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" from 2013, one of the brand's most successful and celebrated twists on its generally uplifting message. Also set in a warehouse, that spot saw a criminal sketch artist draw drastically different versions of women based on their own descriptions, and those of a stranger. But where that drove home a point, real or contrived, about some women's radically distorted perceptions of their own appearance, this new spot seems to reach a conclusion that, at least for anyone who's not a sociopath, seems much more obvious—namely, that beauty is having an actual close relationship with someone.

    The infamous stare-into-the-eyes-for-four-minutes experiment might call even that point into question. But the problem isn't just that the new Dove ad could come across as pandering—it's that the ad seems ironically superficial. People are expected to love their loved ones. And whether the men in a woman's life find her more beautiful than they do a stranger is, in a couple of ways, an odd point for Dove to be litigating.

    Historically, the issue at stake was the literally impossible—that is to say, heavily Photoshopped—standards that the fashion and beauty industries impose on women who don't have professional retouchers fixing their imperfections, in real life, at every moment throughout the day. The genuine affection of a husband or brother or father may be an nice ego boost, but it doesn't begin to address the broader, exacting scrutiny that women constantly face in an often shallow world.

    It's also not clear why the approval of male figures is an appropriate method for raising the self-esteem of women. "Don't compare yourself to that glossy bimbo, so long as you have a man around who loves you," the ad seems to say—an oddly regressive argument.

    All that's not to mention the fact that it's pure junk science. Even assuming the spot isn't staged, as such so-called tests usually are, anyone asked unexpectedly to discuss their personal relationships while on camera might find their heart rates rising for reasons other than, or in addition to, the beauty of their family members. (If anxiety were a factor, Dove might consider bringing in Pedigree and a bunch of dogs to help calm the humans down.)

    Plus, there's the question of whether Dove's obsession with beauty is really the right tack for the brand's messaging at this point, or whether its efforts might be better spent emphasizing other metrics of self-worth. Or perhaps at least sticking with the strategy behind some of its otherrecentadvertising—maintaining an empowering message without delving into dubious social experiments. 

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    Director Alex Smith has created his first-ever 360 video, as part of an ongoing series called "Picture This," a project started by Facebook in partnership with Semi-Permanent, an Australia-based global creative and design thinking platform. And it's one of the most instructive uses of the technology we've seen. 

    The goal of the project was to tell an emotionally powerful story. Five creatives—including writers, directors, photographers and artists—were enlisted to spin their own tale, using Facebook's creative platforms, including Facebook Video, Facebook Carousel, Facebook Canvas, Facebook 360 Video and Instagram. 

    The unifying challenge: They all had to use a Dan Winters photograph called "Photobooth" (shown below) as a starting point.

    Smith, who works with experiential production firm Will O'Rourke, has directed ads, documentaries, short films and over 90 music videos for artists like Coldplay, Olympia and Kylie Minogue. 

    His entry into the Picture This project, titled "Server Room Symphony," is a surreal, Jan Svankmajer-esque short featuring office workers coming in and out of a claustrophobic, windowless room to print, fax, swordfight and cry. As the video progresses, their collective din creates a symphony. 

    The piece, which is just over three minutes long, employs a number of techniques that use the technology to its fullest, including titles that follow your cursor, and sounds that direct you elsewhere. 

    "Essentially this was like directing theater, in that there's nowhere to hide behind the camera," Smith tells Semi-Permanent. "There's no sense in having quick edits, or cutaways. It's difficult to light, most of it has to be practical lighting. Also, the lens we used was 10mm, which is so wide that you have to get right up close to people to see their expressions. You can't control where viewers look, so you have to make visual and audio 'suggestions' to guide people toward moments you want to draw attention to." 

    Smith also explains how best to plan 360 storytelling: Put all the action in a single wide shot.

    "You can't guarantee that your audience is going to be looking at what you want them to," he acknowledges, which has been one of the trickier aspects of using 360 to tell a linear tale.

    "Even if you have a massive arrow saying 'look at this,' people have free will and may well just stare at the wall or the floor if they find that more interesting. The novelty of the format can be absorbing enough to be a distraction, which is frustrating when you're trying to be nuanced. It's early days."

    It's also possible that, to most efficiently use 360 video, we have to stop thinking of stories as linear and lean more experiential—something we increasingly do anyway, driven by the importance of real-time reactions on social media, VR learnings from video gaming, and livestream video.

    "I found it more of an 'experience,' like an immersive environment, rather than a linear time-based format," Smith says. "There are a few brilliant exceptions that really work, where you find yourself looking around to follow the action without even thinking about it." 

    Advertisers are starting to get the hang of it. Recently, Lowe's created a series of home improvement videos on Facebook 360 that enable the user to pan around to see every step of a project's creation—saving them time on a lengthier video, and letting you decide how long to linger on each step. 

    At MIPTV in April, during an extensive panel on the uses of VR for storytelling, a number of production studios and platform creators confirmed Smith's discoveries about the distracted eye of the user. They also had advice for storytellers using the medium: Divorce yourself of the notion of passive viewing. 

    "What is the role of the person in this story?" asked Stéphane Rituit, co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios, who appeared on the panel. "Because in VR we know where you're looking [when we add a visual or audio prompt], we can play with transitions everywhere you're not looking. This creates multi-layer stories, and opens the door to non-linear storytelling." 

    "360 video is not about just about creating a scene, it's about conceiving one that is worth you being in the middle of," says Rebecca Carrasco, head of Creative Shop at Facebook Australia and New Zealand, on Facebook's blog."That's the challenge and the opportunity. And that's what I think 'Server Room Symphony' does so well." 

    But it isn't just technical prowess that wins attention; you still have to be worthy of it.

    "It better be interesting," says Smith. "Performance timing is critical. You have to be mindful of people's attention spans, and the novelty of the format versus the quality of the content. [The experience] was very interesting, and really turned things on their head for me." 


    Head of Facebook Creative Shop, ANZ: Rebecca Carruso
    Head of marketing: Leah Tennant
    Events and marketing, Facebook: Briony Campbell
    Founder, Semi Permanent: Murray Bell
    Account management: Cassandra Kevin & Jessie Gilbert @ Albert Agency
    Production company: Revolver/Will O'Rourke
    Director & editor: Alex Smith
    Managing director & executive producer: Michael Ritchie
    Executive producer/head of projects: Josh Mullens
    Producer:Phoebe Marks
    Project consultant: Leo Faber
    DoP:Stefan Duscio
    360 camera operator/video stitching: Pixelcase
    Grade & Online: Fin Design & Pixelcase
    Music: SPOD

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    If either Matt Damon or Ben Affleck has an actual superpower, it's their epic friendship—a bond so endearing and renowned that it even won them an award.

    Until Tom Brady arrived. 

    The #BFFgoals-inspiring pair are facing off for Brady's affections via Skype in this weird, but charming, promotion for fundraising platform Omaze, which is offering you the chance to win an afternoon in Boston with all three of them, part of an effort to raise money for three charities. 

    "For just $10, you and a friend can hang out with me and Tom Brady," Affleck says. "And I guess also Matt will be there." 

    This quickly devolves into an argument ranging from Affleck's nickname for Brady (T-Bone...?) to that one time Damon wouldn't stop staring at his chin. 

    "If your chin was anything like Tom's, that Batman movie of yours would have made about $4 billion," Damon shoots back. "Because that's the only part recognizable of you, is that big ugly chin. Tom is a superhero." 

    Tom is patched into the call about halfway through. As he listens to the last leg of the fight before jumping in, his expression remains awesomely deadpan.

    To win your chance to get between these three, donate a minimum of $10 to Omaze. Every $10 donation gets you 100 entries to the contest, with the grand prize being an all-expense-paid trip to Boston to "meet up with the guys, grab some pizza, bond over beer, talk football, maybe even throw around the pigskin." 

    Fun fact: Apparently Brady neither eats pizza nor drinks beer. But hey! We're sure there's salad in Boston. 

    Larger donations yield additional entries and other prizes, including a digital thank-you from the guys, a copy of the Good Will Hunting screenplay (which Damon and Affleck co-wrote), and autographed Boston-themed memorabilia, like a Tom Brady jersey or a Boston Pride flag. 

    The contest supports water.org, the Eastern Congo Initiative and the TB12 Foundation, whose causes are more than enough good reason to enter. But if you're in it for the perks, know that Brady is probably more eager to see you than he is to see his co-stars in this gambit.

    "I can't wait to meet you and tell you which one of these guys I actually like better. Take care," he says at the end of the video. And as he signs off, Affleck plaintively calls out, "It's me, the answer's me."

    (Probably not, though, Ben. Probably not.)

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    Audi's "Duel" commercial, by Venables Bell & Partners, which was made to air around the three presidential debates, is one of the most entertaining ads of the year—partly because of the compelling technique of showing the footage in reverse. This generates a lot of the drama for the story, and also makes it pretty unique visually.

    A lot of you have been wondering what the footage looks like as it was originally shot, before it was reversed. Well, have a look above—pretty cool stuff. 

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    How do you shoot real, authentic, unscripted footage of a family for your advertising campaign? Set up a bunch of cameras around their house, and then go away for a long time—so the family can (mostly) forget about the cameras, and you, and just be themselves.

    That's what ad agency CHI & Partners has done for TalkTalk, the British TV, internet and mobile provider. They found an ordinary family—mom Julie and dad Paul, sons Peter and Harry, daughters Sophie and Lucy, niece Daisy and family dog Elvis—and filmed them for two straight weeks with unmanned cameras.

    Then they sorted through the hundreds or hours of footage to find ordinary, everyday moments to write ads around. The point? That small moments matter, and indeed, are the stuff of life—particularly moments involving TalkTalk's products and services, from trying to have a TV dinner with a dog on the sofa, to texting boyfriends, to teaching your aunt how to use a tablet.

    Check out the 60-second launch spot here:

    The work feels very real, and is quite touching. Conceptually, it's daring and unique. Strategically, it's meant to signal TalkTalk's commitment to its existing customers, not to what one client marketing leader, in the press release, called "confusing packages and loud advertising."

    "This is a very brave, completely unprecedented campaign, which proves that the small, humble moments of everyday life have as much power to capture our imaginations and move us as do the big, glossy, aspirational scenes of traditional advertising," CHI creative partner Micky Tudor said in the release. "We're incredibly proud of it, and we feel we've stumbled across some truths about family life today that no other brand has yet touched on. We hope the people of Britain love it as much as we do."

    The :60 breaks this week, and nine more 30- and 20-second spots will debut starting next week. The work was directed by Tom Tagholm, the Park Pictures director famous for making Channel 4's "Meet the Superhumans" spot for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

    Media planning and buying was handled by m/SIX. Print and out-of-home ads will feature photography from Olly Burn, who visited the family home for two weekends.

    See more of the TV work below. AdFreak spoke more with CHI creative director Danny Hunt about the campaign.

    Where did such an ambitious idea come from?
    We had the idea for "This stuff matters" when we decided to treat TalkTalk as an essential utility provider, rather than an "entertainment" or "connectivity" provider. Today, TV, mobile and broadband have shifted from being "nice-to-haves" to being an intrinsic part of the fabric of everyday life. They're the things that we gather around: They make us laugh, cry, get us together and keep us there. It's proper, serious stuff. So when you think of it like that, using unmanned cameras and treating it like a documentary seemed the most exciting and least "advertising" way to prove this point.

    How did you pick the family?
    Treating this like a TV show rather than a commercial was the key to the whole job. We used a casting director who's done a lot of work for Channel 4. We sent emails to all TalkTalk customers and used social channels to kick off the casting process, asking each applicant to send us home videos introducing the family. Tom [Tagholm] then visited each one until we had pared the shortlist down to about 10 families. He chose his favorite, and we agreed.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Where did you place the cameras, how many cameras were there, and were you worried the family would be distracted by them or not act naturally around them?
    We used 16 cameras. That's how many we needed to capture the whole house and garden, apart from the parents' bedroom. We weren't really that worried the cameras would be distracting as we did lots of research into this technique—speaking to the producers of major reality TV shows such as Educating Yorkshire and First Dates. The general rule seemed to be that the first 24 hours are unusable, as whoever you're filming needs to settle into the fact they are being filmed. After that, you're golden. We shot for two weeks.

    Having 16 cameras film for two weeks—that's more than 5,000 hours of footage. How did you get through it all?
    It took us, Tom and Tim Hardy [the editor] at Stitch four weeks to get through all the footage. We then started making the best bits into ads and writing the lines that made them make sense.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Were you worried that you might not actually get enough moments that "matter"?
    At first, yes. It's so weird being on a job like this—shooting but not knowing what the ads are, or are going to be. But after two days we knew we already had some really nice moments.

    What did Tom Tagholm bring to the production that other directors might not have?
    I think the fact Tom used to be a creative director really helped. He could see the simplicity in the idea and bought into that 100 percent.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Brand: TalkTalk
    Managing Director - Consumer: Tristia Harrison
    Marketing Director: David Parslow
    Head of Creative: Paul Godfrey
    Head of Brand: Mark Moloney
    Brand Manager: Jeanine Peters

    Agency: CHI&Partners
    ECD: Jonathan Burley
    Creative Partner: Micky Tudor
    CD: Jim Bolton
    Creatives: Danny Hunt, Dan Watts, Rob Webster
    Head of Art: Marc Donaldson
    Head of Art Buying: Emma Modler
    Lead Designer: Loty Ray
    CSO: Neil Goodlad
    Planner: Simon Ringshall, Katherine Barnett
    Producer: David Jones
    Creative Producer: Ruby Hill
    Production Assistants:  Hannah Greene, Alfie Glover-Short
    CEO: Nick Howarth
    Business Director: Tom McCoy
    Account Directors: Catrin Tyler, James O'Reardon
    Account Managers: Maddison Done
    Account Coordinator: Joel Kaas

    Production Company: Park Pictures
    Director: Tom Tagholm
    Executive Producer: Stephen Brierley
    Producer: Fran Thompson
    Production Manager: Ananda Grace
    Director of Photography: Luke Scott
    Camera and Sound: Jon Boyce & Team at Transmission TX
    Transcoding of Rushes: Mark Purvis, Mission Digital

    Visual Post Production: MPC
    Post Production Producer: Amy Richardson
    VFX Artist: Bruno Fukumothi
    Colourist: George Kyriacou

    Editing Company: Stitch
    Editor: Tim Hardy

    Audio Company: Pinewood Studios
    Sound Supervisor: Glen Gathard
    Sound Editor: Adam Bourne
    Re-Recording Mixer: Peter Hanson
    Foley Mixer: Jemma Riley Tolch
    Foley Artist: Pete Burgis

    Music Company: Leland Music

    Media Agency: m/SIX
    Media Planner: Matthew White

    Social Media Agency: Nonsense
    PR Agency: MHP Communications

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    How similar are the small joys in your life to the adrenaline-fueled highs of a post-touchdown dance by a millionaire football star? The world's No. 2 soda brand thinks the two might just be closer than you think.

    Pepsi continues a season-long NFL marketing effort tonight with the second ad in its #BreakOutThePepsi campaign. The spot also features New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.'s debut in his new role as soda spokesperson.

    With creative by BBDO New York, the work compares the everyday victories of average Americans to the replay-worthy highlights that characterize pro football. Its running theme could be summarized as "NFL superstars: They're just like us ... but not really at all."

    In "Checkers," a Pepsi Zero drinker likens the brief thrill he experiences after besting a senior citizen in a board game to Beckham's famous end zone boogies.

    This is the first of two ads starring Beckham; the second will air in late October. Steelers wide receiver and end zone twerking enthusiast Antonio Brown kicked off Pepsi's 2016 NFL effort with "Phone Number," which debuted last month.

    Approximately one year ago, BBDO and Pepsi rekindled a previously fractured relationship with a one-off ad starring another NFL star who has become a household name: the notoriously press-averse Skittles fan Marshawn Lynch.

    The Omnicom shop has since expanded its relationship with the soft drink giant, though sources tell Adweek it is not involved in the digital agency review that launched last month.

    The new campaign will debut during tonight's Monday Night Football game between Beckham's Giants and the undefeated Minnesota Vikings.


    Agency: BBDO New York
    Client: PepsiCo
    Spot: Checkers

    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director: Lauren Connolly
    Creative Director: Monty Pera
    Creative Director: Don Marshall Wilhelmi
    Associate Creative Art Director: Todd Rone Parker
    Associate Creative Copy Director: Dan Kelly
    Group Executive Producer: Julian Katz
    Executive Producer: Matt Nowak
    Business Manager: Paul Cisco
    Senior Account Director: Ladd Martin
    Account Director: Lauren Munilla
    Account Executive: Cornelia Madsen
    Planning Director: Chris Cummings
    Engagement Planning Director: Yin Chung

    Production Company: World War Seven
    Director: David Shafei
    Director of Photography: Bryan Newman
    Executive Producer: Josh Ferrazzano
    Producer: Bo Clancey
    Production Supervisor: Michael Mitchell

    Edit House: Fluid
    Editor: John Piccolo
    Assistant Editor: Evan Johnston
    Executive Producer: Laura Relovsky
    Senior Producer: Valerie Iorio

    Flame/VFX: Chris Davis
    Flame Assistant: Cliff Moller
    Colorist: Stephen Picano

    Audio: Mr. Bronx
    Audio Engineer: Eric Hoffman
    Producer: Claudia Gaspar

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    The Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo can answer questions, play music, control smart devices and fulfill numerous other suburban needs, according to two new ads for Amazon's command device.

    "The Break Up" sees a kind-of lame dad cheering up his broken-hearted teenage daughter by telling Alexa to play Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" (which is at least 10 years older than she is) and then using it to turn their lawn sprinkler system on her now-apologetic ex-boyfriend.

    We appreciate his intentions here, but Mr. Mister is some scrub-league B.S. Everyone knows the best 1980s girl-POV breakup jam is Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted." Get it together, Dad.

    "Just Ask" offers quick glimpses of situations where Alexa's counsel would be helpful, like pulling a wedding ring from the garbage disposal and identifying a wolf spider. That's all well and good, but I still don't trust that Alexa—or Siri, for that matter—would open the pod-bay doors for me. 

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    Finally someone has found a good use for drones: Making a cake.

    A team of little flying robots assembles a three-tier confection by airlifting genoise, splashing icing, firing candies out of a makeshift cannon and even lighting a sparkler with a blow torch—all in a new ad for Norwegian telecoms company Telia.

    Agency DDB Oslo made the commercial to "celebrate" the brand's 4G mobile network. The resulting pastry is a delightful mess, given the somewhat crude motor skills of the unmanned aerial vehicles (or perhaps their operators—even if a sudden improvement in the cake's tidiness around the 25-second mark makes it look like the humans might have, understandably lent a hand in shaping the final product).

    A behind-the-scenes video offers some insight into why. One member of the production team explains that most of the drone's baking tools were themselves makeshift DIY creations. There's a particular charming outtake in that clip, aptly titled "Dronekakebaking," when one quadcopter overshoots and flings a layer of sponge cake into the backdrop.

    In other words, the playful, haphazard tone is refreshing—both as a fun tech twist on the clichéd image of kids painting a kitchen with batter and whipped cream, and as a welcome departure from the drone-themed ads that emphasize the beauty of aerial robot choreography as if it were ballet, or its dramatic effect as a super-cool new innovation.

    Then again, anyone who isn't convinced can still always call Johnny Dronehunter.


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