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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Comic actor Tituss Burgess invades the laundry room in Grey's latest work for Downy, which promises "a fresh too feisty to quit."

    Frankly, we don't want our clothes getting too feisty. Especially the boxers.

    Burgess, best known for his Emmy-nominated turn as the irrepressible roommate on Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, dons a mauve bow-tie and slammin' turquoise jacket on Downy's behalf, announcing that he plans to "pop a cap of mmm-fresh in that washer."

    Mmm-aybe he's referring to the brand's Unstopables In-Wash Scent Boosters. We sincerely hope so. Watch this ad to find out for sure:

    "He plays his characters with such a fresh and feisty spirit that when it came time to cast the star of this campaign, he was a natural choice," says Trevor Thrun, associate brand director of North American fabric care at Downy parent Procter & Gamble. "His freshness and feistiness are long-lasting, just like our Unstopables In-Wash Scent Boosters."

    Thanks, good too know.

    By casting Burgess, Downy seeks to repeat its success from a few years back, when Amy Sedaris starred in ads for the brand. Burgess embodies a similar "feisty, funny personality and also happens to have a huge cult following," says Grey associate creative director Katie Jensen.

    For those who can't enough of his oh-so-feisty stuff—and really, who can?—here's a longer cut of that "Boosters" ad:

    "Tituss was free to add a lot of his own improvisations to the work," says Jensen. "He added the entire section of what we'll call 'Downy Hamlet.' "

    At one point, she recalls, the actor ad-libbed the line "To stop, or Unstop. That is the Downy," and the director, Cameron Harris of Townhouse, immediately called for a retake and dramatic spotlight effect to bring the silly soliloquy to life.

    Advertiser: P&G/Unstopables
    Agency:  Grey New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Grey New York: Andreas Dahlqvist
    Executive Creative Director, Grey New York: Lisa Topol
    Executive Creative Director, Grey New York: Derek Barnes
    ACD/Art Director, Grey New York: Katie Jensen
    ACD/Copywriter, Grey New York: Ani Munoz
    Strategy Director, Grey New York: Justine Feron
    Strategist, Grey New York: Toni Dawkins
    EVP/Global Account Director, Grey New York: Caroline Winterton
    SVP/Global Account Director, Grey New York: Stephanie O'Donnell
    VP/Account Director, Grey New York: Kelly Norris
    Account Executive, Grey New York: David Slifer
    Assistant Account Executive, Grey New York, Alana Goldstein

    Production Company: Townhouse
    Townhouse President: Bennett McCarroll
    Townhouse Head of Integrated Production: James McPherson
    Townhouse Exec. Integrated Producer: Stacy Towle
    Townhouse VP Integrated Producer: Angela Ong
    Townhouse Music Producer:  David Lapinsky
    Production Company: Gravy Films
    Executive Producer: Brent Stroller
    Director: Cameron Harris
    Director of Photography: German Lammers
    Foreign Production Company: StoryWeProduce
    Editor : Lindsey Houston, Townhouse Studios 
    Music/Sound Design: Audio Network & Extreme Reach
    Principal Talent: Tituss Burgess, Carolina Bolina

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    Attention, men. If your body wash makes you feel like a muscle-bound rage monster, or a cologne-oozing nightclub sleaze, Dollar Shave Club wants you to consider a simpler option.

    The subscription toiletries service is out with three online ads promoting its new line of shower soaps in which it lobs thinly veiled insults at major competitors like Procter & Gamble's Old Spice and fellow Unilever brand Axe.

    Set in the shopping aisle, each 30-second spot (the campaign was created in-house and directed by DSC veterans the Spielbergs—aka, writer/director/actor Alex Karpovsky, from HBO's Girls, and graphic designer/musician Teddy Blanks) follows the misadventure of a guy as he studies a different product.

    In one, titled "Massive Hero," a man's girlfriend suggests he try an eponymous product packaged in bright red—just like Old Spice. It has "a fully jacked amino protein delivery system," she says, quoting the copy on the bottle. Right on cue, a bodybuilder shoves his way between the couple, grabs the same stuff, rips off his shirt and starts screaming at them.

    In a second ad, "Deep Midnite" two buddies examine another product that promises "24-hour pheromone release." Enter a preening discotheque nightmare clad in a too-tight black button-down, gold chains and—despite being indoors—wraparound designer sunglasses.

    This doofus naturally proceeds to squeeze in the shower gel down the front of his white pants—all part of an elaborate knock at Axe's mystical product names and decade-plus of over-the-top sex-god advertising.

    The third commercial, "Neon Groove," pokes fun at the kind of garishly dressed bro who might swarm an electronic dance music festival and shotgun water, presumably because he's on a steady diet of molly.

    "How about a shower product that's more you?" says the voiceover at the end of each spot, promising "straightforward ingredients" and "honest fragrances" like mint and cedarwood, from the Dollar Shave Club's own line.

    It's a clever strategy for the relative newcomer to the market, especially in the case of Old Spice. By reframing what in recent years has been that brand's strength—its advertising, emphasizing dapper manliness with the likes of Isaiah Mustafa and zany hyper-masculinity with the likes of Terry Crews, always wrapped up in an everyman sense of humor—as a weakness, Dollar Shave Club is presenting itself as a well-timed changing of the guard, and its success as fait accompli (even if Old Spice has lately been moving toward a weirder brand of chest-thumping braggadocio).

    Whether that's an effective approach is a different question, given the considerable goodwill Old Spice has built up.

    In the case of Axe, the tack is a little more like beating a dead horse, if no less entertaining. That brand has, for a good while now, been associated with a type that might be best described as delusional ladies man (though, to be fair, it has been making efforts to mature, despite hitting some sizable bumps along the way).

    The real irony there is that since Dollar Shave Club was sold to Unilever for $1 billion or so earlier this year, and so shares a parent company with Axe.

    In fact, Dollar Shave Club seems to be playing for a different audience altogether. Rather than, say, insecure teens desperate to get laid, it might be looking at a slightly more mature market segment. As the shower product's branding, Wanderer, suggests, it could be restless millennial men who just can't quite figure out what they want, but fancy a less expensive version of the natural scents of Malin and Goetz in the meantime.

    Though even that shouldn't be confused with Old Spice's Timber and Mint offering.

    Client: Dollar Shave Club
    CEO: Michael Dubin
    Assistant to CEO: Kristina Kovacs
    CMO: Adam Weber
    Assistant to CMO: Alex Danzer
    VP of Brand Marketing: Nick Fairbairn
    Director, Brand Marketing: Chrissy Cartwright
    Sr. Manager, Brand Marketing: Oscar Weis

    Agency: Dollar Shave Club In House
    Creative Director, VP of Creative: Alec Brownstein
    Creative Director: Matt Knapp
    Creative Director: Matt Orser
    Senior Producer: Matt Sausmer
    Producer: Candice Vernon
    Agency Director: Raechelle Hoki
    Project Manager: Christine Melloy
    Project Coordinator: Kristen Moran
    VFX: Peter Quinn
    Business Affairs: Ingenium
    Legal Affairs: Allison Buchner & Vahid Redjal

    Production Company: AMD Films
    Directors: Spielbergs
    DP: Zachary Galler
    Producer: Clint Caluory

    Editorial: Arcade Edit
    Managing Partner, Executive Producer: Damian Stevens
    Producer: Rebecca Jameson
    Editor: Sean Lagrange

    Animation: The Craft Shop

    Score by: John Vella Music

    Color Grade & Finishing: Moving Picture Company
    Colorist: Ricky Gausis
    Flame Artist: Mark Holden
    Executive Producer: Mike Wigart
    Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
    Producer: Colin Clarry

    Sound Mixing: Beacon Street Studios
    Producer: Kate Vadnais
    Associate Producer: Christa Jayne Sustello
    Mixer/Sound Designer: Rommel Molina
    Assistant Mixer: Aaron Cornacchio

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    The Nike Mag self-lacing sneakers from Back to the Future II are finally a reality—27 years after the movie, five years after Nike built a Mag prototype, and seven months after it announced a different self-lacing shoe altogether.

    The sneaker maker announced the release of the 2016 Nike Mag on Tuesday morning. It will be made available in an extremely limited edition: Only 89 pairs will be made (the significance of the number wasn't made clear, though Back to the Future II came out in 1989), and they will be handed out in an online raffle—tickets for which cost $10 and will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Back to the Future actor's organization that is looking to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.

    The online draw begins today and runs through next Tuesday. Winners will be notified on Oct. 17. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can buy, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the MJFF.

    Mark Parker, chairman, president and CEO of Nike, talks about the Mag here:

    "Though it initially shared only a few seconds of screen time with Michael, the idea behind the Nike Mag unlocked something much bigger at Nike," Parker said in a statement. "It sent us down an uncharted path of innovation, but it also opened our eyes to our ability to fight some of the world's biggest challenges. We feel privileged for the opportunity to raise even more awareness for the fight against Parkinson's."

    Nike held a similar fundraiser in 2011 for the MJFF involving a prototype of the Mag. A version of the shoe was built then and auctioned, raising nearly $10 million in 10 days.

    Five years later, adaptive footwear is more reality than fantasy. This past spring, Nike introduced the HyperAdapt 1.0, a performance shoe that automatically laces and fits to the unique shape of your foot.

    The HyperAdapt is nice, but it's not the Mag. Back to the Future fans will be glad to see the Mag is now a real sneaker, too—it uses technologies developed for the HyperAdapt and applies them to the original Mag design, creating what Nike calls "an individually responsive system, called Adaptive Fit, that senses the wearer and tightens or loosens accordingly."

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    How do you improve a glass of milk? 

    By improving the glass of milk. (Ba dum—tss!) 

    With help from DDB Canada, the Dairy Farmers of Canada introduce The Milk Glass™. Because you don't want to drink milk from just any old thing, and certainly not a clumsy mug that's as adapted to coffee as it is to dairy. 

    This is a glass with purpose. The pared-down video below explains, "Ultimately you had to look at it, and say to yourself, 'I want to drink milk out of that thing.' " 

    "The glass was the starting point. It was the mid point, the end point and all the little points in between those points. And my point is, we needed to reimagine this thing from the top down and from the bottom up," the narrator burbles in conviction-laden jargon.

    "We asked ourselves the really tough questions: Are you a righty? Are you a lefty? Are you ambidextrous? We could've cut corners. But then the glass probably wouldn't have been round."

    If it feels like a whole lot for very little, it's meant to. The approach is a riff on how tech companies—most recently Apple—trumpet massive innovation when the changes are so incrementally minor to the unpracticed eye that whole articles are devoted to sussing them out. (In this same vein, we're big fans of everyone who's raised big money to improve the paper notebook. Come on.)

    But many don't realize that "beverage innovation" is also an intensely competitive space. (You can drink charcoal now!) The result is that many Canadians often forget about milk. 

    "While our target enjoys drinking milk, it's often overlooked due to the overwhelming amount of choice in the beverage category," says Dairy Farmers of Canada's director of marketing and retail, Victoria Cruz. "The campaign aims to get Canadian adults to appreciate milk again, by reminding them of the pleasure and taste of enjoying a glass of milk." 

    Playing on the idea that many savor-worthy beverages have their own designated vessel—consider Ballantine's zero-gravity whisky tumbler—DDB Canada's Toronto office opted to romanticize the classic milk glass. 

    "Parodying popular new product launches, this provocative new approach uses humor and science to break through to get people thinking about milk and drinking it more often," says the agency's executive creative director, Paul Wallace. 

    Well, the science is pretty light. But the humor is certainly there.

    The campaign will include TV, pre-roll, out-of-home and social posts, not to mention a website, developed with help from Mirum, where users can learn more about this magical glass. It will run for the next eight weeks. 

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    Lithuanian marketing professional Lukas Yla arrived in San Francisco this summer with a sweet plan to make a name for himself in what may well be the world's most oversaturated job market. 

    Yla was able to get his literal foot in the door at 10 of the Bay Area's top ad agencies and 30 tech companies without hyping a new app or a viral campaign or even a portfolio. He did it with one not-so-weird trick—free donuts. 

    In a move that could be called brilliant or desperate, Yla dressed as a courier for delivery company Postmates and showed up at the offices of companies on his target list—armed with a box of pastries from downtown favorite Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

    Inside the boxes were notes with a bit.ly leading to his LinkedIn page and a message addressed to the CEO, CMO and/or marketing vp: "Most resumes end up in trash. Mine—in your belly."

    To our knowledge, no agency executives tried to eat his CV, but his surprise sweets seem to have made an impression. "I delivered donuts to over 10 of the most known agencies in San Francisco, including Mekanism, Teak, Heat, Eleven, Salt Branding, Muh-tay-zik Hof-fer, Grey, AKQA, Venables Bell and Duncan/Channon," he tells AdFreak, adding that he did score interviews at two of the aforementioned shops. 

    Interestingly, Yla says, "I see better outcomes from targeting tech businesses." He also noticed a less personal touch at some of the larger agencies he visisted.

    "I am not sure if key people at big agencies [such as] AKQA or Grey received my delivery in the end," he says. "I was not allowed to hand deliver personally and had to leave it at the reception desk." 

    His deliveries "might look like a stunt, but like many marketing campaigns, it's just the tip of the iceberg," says Yla. "It was a precisely crafted idea that went through multiple iterations until it finally reached you. I did SWOT analysis by observing the competitive landscape, the main pain points of my target audience, and the message I wanted to deliver. Once I launched the campaign, I performed A/B tests on companies of different sizes, different target audiences and with variations on the copy. I used a special URL to measure the offline outcomes and act on them to maximize ROI of the campaign." 

    He certainly speaks the language, and his project to date has recorded some solid results. "Overall I have delivered a little bit more than 40 packages," he says, "and been in 10 interviews ... most of them are still in progress." 

    That 25 percent is nearly 10 times the average direct marketing response rate. But then, sales emails aren't quite as appealing as free donuts.

    In another sign of Yla's SEO-ready determination, his personal email signature includes a hyperlink to a slideshow titled "7 Marketing Rules for Drug Dealers." The product he has delivered to these companies, however, was anything but illicit. 

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    Working with toddlers in commercials can be tough. Sometimes, the wee thespians just can't take direction. In these cases, alas, the kid most definitely does not stay in the picture. David Bernstein, chief creative officer at The Gate Worldwide, and his team faced just such a challenge as they shot new spots for iconic children's clothing brand Garanimals.

    The apparel has been sold exclusively by Walmart since 2008, and the new ads introduce the line "Big on cute. Small on price," because Garanimals items start at less than $4.

    "Everybody remembers Garanimals" from the brand's 1970/'80s heyday, Bernstein says. In that era, the colorful tops and bottoms could be easily mixed and matched by youngsters based on which critters appeared on the items' hangtags. (Those tags were discontinued when the label began specializing in clothes for newborns and the 5T set.)

    "Even first-time moms have probably been exposed and maybe even have worn the brand as a child," says Bernstein. "Part of our target audience live in multi-generational homes. The media strategy and selected programming allows one generation to remind the other about the brand and to speak of its virtues."

    To facilitate production when working with kids, "You always cast several actors for the day of the shoot," he adds, "because they don't always want to act on the day of the shoot."

    The crew encountered this scenario while making the messy spot below:

    "The first child had a meltdown when the juice started to squirt on her chest," Bernstein recalls. "So we had to move on to child two. Then, actress No. 2 kept laughing whenever the juice would squirt on her chest—which made the spot, well, not funny."

    Luckily, the third little actor—the last one available that day—nailed it. "If she couldn't do the job, I'm not sure what we would have done," Bernstein says. "But she was perfect. She kept a straight face during every take. Just like Stewie Griffin would have done."

    Get that kid a sitcom!

    Oh, and striking the set reached a whole new level in the next ad, which shows a very pregnant mom commandeering a forklift so she can scoop up a whole table of Garanimals:

    "We hired a stunt actress to lift up the table of clothing and literally plow through the rest of the set," Bernstein says. "You only get to see the beginnings of the damage due to the length of the spot. But trust me, that set was left in pieces. And that's why we shot it last."

    Smart thinking, dude. That's why you get the big bucks.

    Check out two more spots below. No tees or terry pants were harmed during the Garanimals stampede.

    Client: Garanimals
    Agency: The Gate Worldwide, New York
    Chief Creative Officer/Copywriter: David Bernstein
    Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Elinor Beltrone
    Producer: Bob Shriber
    Group Account Director: Natalie Kuss
    Account Supervisor: Madeline LaRocca
    Production company: JOJX
    Director: Amit Mehta
    Exec producer: Joe Care, Jackson Morton
    Producer: Chris Gallagher
    Editorial Company: Cut and Run
    Editor: Joel Miller

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    In advertising's best pun so far this year, Chance the Rapper encounters Chance the Wrapper in this new Halloween-themed Kit Kat commercial by agency Anomaly.

    The 23-year-old hip-hop star is seen wearing a bear suit and shopping for Halloween candy (Kit Kats only, of course) when his wrapper alter ego calls out to him. And as promised, we get Chance's version of the Hershey brand's famous "Gimme a Break" jingle—a slow, crooning piano version of it, as it turns out.

    The "Gimme a Break" jingle turns 30 this year, and no wonder it's lasted so long. As Chance says at the end of the new spot: "That's a good song." 

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    Havas Chicago certainly knows how to stop pedestrians in their tracks with its office-window installations for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Last October it set up peep-show windows, but the peepers got a bit of a shock when they looked inside. This year's effort, which launched Tuesday and runs through the end of the month, features a Plexiglass room in the lobby filled with 3-foot boob balloons—latex spheres painted to look like breasts.

    Brightly colored window decals invite passersby to come inside at 36 E. Grand Avenue and just have a good old time playing with them.

    The campaign is using the hashtag #CheckYoSelf and aims to teach women and men how to give breast self-exams. For every use of the hashtag, Havas Chicago will donate money to FAB-U-WISH and The Pink Agenda, Giuliana Rancic's nonprofit.

    "This installation was designed to get a reaction," says Ecole Weinstein, group creative director at Havas Chicago. "We wanted to do something bold and fun—using our creativity to convey a powerful message. If we can remind just one more woman or man to check themselves once a month, we've been successful."

    Please find a quote by The Pink Agenda's Executive Director, below:

    "The Pink Agenda is so thankful to benefit from Havas' creative installation in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month," adds Lucretia Gilbert, The Pink Agenda's executive director. "Funds raised will support Giuliana Rancic's FAB-U-WISH program, which grants wishes to women currently going through treatment, as well as critical breast cancer research needed to find a cure. We aim to make breast cancer history and philanthropy fun, and this is fun!"

    More pics below. 

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    People are using Amazon Echo in so many different ways, and asking its AI, Alexa, so many different things, that the brand decided it was perfect for little vignettes. So, it's rolling out more than a hundred 10-second spots, each with a funny little question or request of Alexa, in contextual and targeted digital, TV and social placements.

    The campaign, called "Alexa Moments," was created in-house and is designed to show off Alexa's breadth of the capabilities and skills. (Alexa has more than 3,000 of these, apparently, so even doing 100 spots only scratches the surface.) Amazon tells AdFreak the work was inspired by real user stories, some of them gleaned from the more than 43,000 customer reviews of the product on Amazon.

    Check out a bunch of the spots here: 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    It's a great little format for simple storytelling writ small, and suits the product perfectly. In its structure, it's quite reminiscent of Wieden + Kennedy's campaign of 15-second spots for Target a few years back. Those ads similarly featured little vignettes, where products sold at Target served as the punch lines—illuminating or solving an issue or problem introduced in each mini-story.

    The "Alexa Moments" campaign coincides with the release of a 30-second TV spot titled "Break Up," which was all over the NFL games last weekend. But frankly, the 10-second ads are much more interesting and seem like they could work very well.

    Tool of North America was the production company on the new spots, with Brig White as director, Topher Osborn as DP and Mike Curtis as AD. On the Amazon side, the executive creative director was Michael Boychuk and the creative director was Sean Ohlenkamp.

    See three more spots below. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    In addition to the new advertising, Amazon announced a group of new Alexa skills this week. Here's how Amazon describes them:

    • BMW Connected: Launched on Friday, Alexa and BMW customers can check the status of their car doors, windows and fuel level remotely using the BMW Connected Alexa skill on an Alexa-enabled device such as the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Just say, "Alexa, ask BMW if my doors are locked."
    • Allrecipes: Launching in the coming weeks, use this Alexa skill to discover, listen and follow new recipes. Just say, "Alexa, ask Allrecipes for a Cajun chicken pasta recipe."
    • CNBC: In the coming weeks, you'll be able to use the CNBC Alexa skill to get the top business news, stock quotes and market information from CNBC. Just say, "Alexa, ask CNBC, how are the markets doing?"
    • Consumer Reports: Launching in the coming weeks, the Consumer Reports Alexa skill will get you the latest consumer product news, recalls, and CR's take on the hottest appliances. Just say, "Alexa, ask Consumer Reports what the top-rated dishwashers are?"
    • CNN: Launching in the coming weeks, the CNN Alexa skill will provide real-time news updates, breaking news stories, and election updates from CNN reporters and anchors across the globe. Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN what's the latest breaking news."
    • Quora: Coming by the end of this year, Quora will launch their Alexa skill, bringing its first voice-enabled experience to Alexa-enabled devices. This skill will provide a broader expansion of information and Q&A available to Alexa customers. Just say, "Alexa, ask Quora when will self-driving cars be available to buy?"

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    To help launch the Asus ZenFone 3, ad agency SuperHeroes dispatched Matt Rubano and Betsy Kenney, members of improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, to ask random people on the streets of Manhattan to contribute concepts for a commercial.

    The resulting ad was not actually shot using the phone, though it does appear in the narrative, which is stitched together from dozens of disparate ideas. The film below combines that tale, which stars Rubano and Kenney (plus invading aliens and a funky T-Rex), with footage of the pair collecting ideas from on-the-street New Yorkers:

    The whole "streetsourced" gimmick is designed to show the phone "empowering people to do anything they want," says Rogier Vijverberg, executive creative director of SuperHeroes, the Amsterdam-based agency best known for its viral stunts involving the general public.

    For Asus, "absolutely nothing in the storyline was scripted ahead," he says. "And still, probably seven out of 10 started on the beach." Indeed, the regular folks who provided input—their brains programmed by countless commercials through the years—pitched the sort of self-consciously "wacky" tropes that would make Barton F. Graf proud. Also, the film-within-a-film setup devised by SuperHeroes feels downright Drogafied. (It's the ad and the making-of rolled into one!)

    "It was amazing how diverse the storylines were," Vijverberg recalls. "We had to choose from stories like fresh-baked cupcakes with cartoon birds flying around them, shark bites healed by drinking margaritas and gothic cats turning into sweaty handsome men."

    Wait … cats that morph into hunks—and they didn't make that into an ad!? Yeah, probably not the kind of thing anyone would want to watch or share a million times anyway.

    Client: Asus
    Agency: SuperHeroes
    Executive Creative Director: Rogier Vijverberg
    Creative lead: Elliot Stewart-Franzen
    Graphic Designer: Krister Lima
    Agency Producer: Severien Jansen
    Account: Severien Jansen, Evelien Schenkkan
    Production Company: HALAL
    Directed by: Nils Gerbens
    D.O.P.: Rutger Storm
    Producer: Sara Nix
    Art director: Goof Vermeulen
    Editor: Amber Hooijmans
    VFX: The Compound
    Sound design: Hielke Praagman
    Stylist: Carmen Adriana
    Lead actors: Matt Rubano, Betsy Kenney
    Asus team: Anne Yao, Cindy Chang, Erik Hermanson

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    Kevin Hart's upcoming stand-up concert film is called What Now? Which is the question he poses to his uninterested wife and son in this Xfinity ad by 72andSunny New York.

    This is one of those weird, cross-promotional deals where Kevin's movie and the X1 voice remote are given equal weight, like a Russian nesting ad. I'm not a big fan of those, and the only reason this one works is because it's totally believable that Kevin Hart would troll his family by making them watch his stuff all the time.

    As for what Kevin should do now that he's been a comedian, actor, rapper and hand model, that one's a little above my pay grade. Whatever he decides, he shouldn't stray too far from what I feel is his Platonic ideal situation—antagonizing Ice Cube.

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    A road safety ad by AMV BBDO is sparking cries of victim-blaming in the U.K. for warning cyclists to hang back from trucks that are making left turns—the driver's blind side on that country's roads.

    The montage PSA shows a string of paired objects between which viewers would not want to be caught, like a piano falling from the sky and the sidewalk, two boxers about to collide, yaks squaring off, a birthday girl's whacking stick and her piñata, and a butcher's cleaver and a slab of meat.

    That lighthearted imagery takes on a more sinister tone once a man on a bicycle appears, and jockeys for position with a dump truck, which evidently crushes him against the road and kills him in the end.

    British cycling advocates are accusing the spot, created for the U.K. Department for Transportation, of placing responsibility with the wrong party by not urging drivers of trucks—or lorries, in the local vernacular—to be more careful when turning left.

    Many of the criticisms seem to center on the claim that the truck in the video overtakes the cyclist to make the turn—an interpretation that's not immediately clear, or indisputable, as the cyclist seems to pass the truck while they approach the turn, then fall behind.

    Regardless, the outrage is perhaps understandable, given recent high-profile instances of left-turning trucks killing cyclists in Britain, and the fact that a full one-third of cycling accidents in the country involve such scenarios.

    The government response to the backlash, for its part, seems awfully reasonable.

    "Any death on the road is a tragedy, and all road users have a responsibility to make our roads safer by being more vigilant," said a spokesperson, reports the London Evening Standard."We want to protect vulnerable road users by raising awareness of specific dangers, and research shows that a large number of road incidents involving cyclists are with lorries at junctions. The THINK! road safety campaign is aimed at cyclists, motorists and [heavy goods vehicle] drivers, and they all have a role to play in improving safety."

    In other words, the agency is pretty sure it's not insane to suggest that cyclists be extra cautious around trucks near turns—if for no other reason than than the cyclists are the ones with the most to lose.

    Agency: AMV BBDO
    Creative Directors: Steve Jones / Martin Loraine
    Creatives : Nick Hurley / Nadja Lossgott
    Agency Producer: Greg Kates

    Production Company: Bold Company
    Director: Tom Haines
    Producer: Dave Knox
    DP: David Procter
    1st Ad: James Amos Production
    Designer: Marco Puig
    Costume Designer: Natalie Willis
    Camera Equipment: MovieTech Lighting Equipment:
    Panalux Editor: Dan Sherwen / Paul Moth

    Edit House : Final Cut
    Post Production: The Mill
    Producer : George Reid
    Colorist: James Banford
    FX Supervisor: Ben Turner

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    The diamond business saw the writing on the wall: Retails sales of diamond jewelry are on the decline as young people delay marriage, work to save money and take a somewhat skeptical view of the premium jewelry industry.

    For that reason, trade organization the Diamond Producers Association chose ad agency Mother New York last year to effectively reintroduce its products to a generation still shaken by the Great Recession. The shop's first campaign for its newest client debuts this week, and it positions real diamonds as the truest symbols of a deep emotional commitment between two young people ... even if that bond isn't made official in the eyes of the law.

    The development of the new brand campaign "Real Is Rare" is the result of more than six months of field research and development by Mother and research firm The Sound Market Research, which interviewed young people across the United States. The resulting ads serve as intimate, impressionistic portraits of two relationships at pivotal moments. In keeping with the campaign's premise, both of these romances follow non-traditional trajectories.

    "The data shows that millennials buy the most diamonds in the U.S., so this is a proactive measure to make sure that this isn't simply tied to rituals like marriage," Mother New York senior strategist Thomas Henry tells Adweek. "On the flip side, while most millennials do get married, it's just not quite the same cultural institution that it used to be. ... but that doesn't change the desire to be in a meaningful long-term relationship."

    To that point, the couple in "Wild & Kind" isn't quite sure whether they will get ever married, but they remain dedicated to one another.

    "As a director I was attracted by the theme of love as an unpolished drama," says Casper Balslev of RSA Films. "Being in a relationship can be a tough challenge, as much as an adventure. It's personal and it's intense."

    The tagline's meaning is twofold: Just as "real" relationships are more authentic and desirable, the DPA wants to position true gemstones—instead of low-priced imitations like sapphires or cubic zirconia—as the same and have them represent the "real" relationship.

    Thomas describes the research portion of this campaign as crucial: "Young people don't reject diamonds at all ... but people we spoke to couldn't identify their emotional role. [We want to] give them language to describe that feeling; a diamond is the way you've chosen to commemorate the occasion, and not just because society told you to."

    "'Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond' beautifully captures what makes diamonds meaningful in today's world and why they will always be timeless," says Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr.

    The ads will air on broadcast television and various digital platforms such as Hulu alongside a social media push. The client has also planned a major public relations initiative in its efforts to reintroduce young Americans to the appeal of a real diamond.


    Client: Diamond Producers Association
    Agency: Mother New York
    Title: "Runaways"; "Wild & Kind"

    Production Co: RSA Films
    Director: Casper Balslev

    Executive Producer: Jules Daly
    Executive Producer: Marjie Abrahams
    Head of Production: Elicia LaPort
    Line Producer: John Nguyen
    DP: Manuel Alberto Claro
    Production Service Co.: New Land Films (Denmark), & Cyber: A Few Good Men (Montenegro)

    Edit: Exile
    Editor - Jacob Schulsinger
    Assistant Editor - Travis Moore
    Head of Production - Melanie Gagliano
    Executive Producer - Sasha Hirschfeld

    El Camino Helsinki
    Composer: Marko Nyberg

    Audio Post Production: duotone audio post
    Mixer: Andy Green
    Executive Producer, Audio Post: Greg Tiefenbrun

    Color: CO3 NY
    Colorist: Sophie Borup

    VFX: Method
    Creative Director: Randie Swanberg
    Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
    Producer: Alex Tracy

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    Breast Cancer Awareness Month began on Oct. 1. To get us all in fighting spirit, and alongside Breast Cancer Care, London's Seed Animation Studio united well-known animation directors with a singular challenge—illustrate a different nickname for "breasts" in less than one animated second. 

    The result, a 30-second film, includes funny, sometimes provocative illustrations for terms like "Brad Pitts," "sponge cakes," "zonkers," "chesticles" and "fun bags." 

    The studio hopes to remind women to check their kahunas real quick for breast cancer—a process that takes just a minute or two.

    Conceptually, the spot resembles Carte Noire's Breast Cancer Awareness Month piece from last year, where French nicknames for breasts were set to playful music by Yelle, while known personalities appeared with representative objects over their chests. The taglines are also fairly similar: Seed's "Whatever you call them, check them" is a quicker take on Carte Noire's "We all have different ones, but at least they have a name," followed by a more serious admonition to book a breast screening. 

    We doubt the similarities are intentional, given the simplicity of the insight and the separate visions behind the executions. (Tell us, though, if you think otherwise.) 

    Both works stand alone fine. Plus, we now have 26 more nicknames for boobies, building on a collection that now covers two languages. If we can get one of these from every country, think of the neat cultural comparisons we could conduct! 

    Below, the list of animators (in order of their work's appearance):

    Mark M
    Jack Sachs
    Pencil Bandit
    Ben Ommundson
    Jelly Gummies
    Chris O'Hara
    Robert Loebel
    Everyone's Favourite
    Igor Bastidas
    Neal Coghlan
    Morgan Powell
    Dan Castro
    Jack Nelson
    Henrique Barone
    Corentin Penloup
    Caroline Attia
    Antonio Vincenti
    Andy Khosravani
    Ariel Victor
    Steve Smith
    Sophie Koko Gate
    Neil Kidney
    Vera Babida
    Yukai Du
    Aran Quinn
    Music and sound effects provided by Mcasso Music
    Written and produced by Seed Animation
    Thanks to Abigail Dankwa

    0 0

    Hey, that elephant sounds awfully familiar!

    WWE superstar and commercial pitchman extraordinaire John Cena, named to Adweek's Creative 100 this year, voices Ernie, an animated mascot debuting today in a new campaign for Wonderful Pistachios.

    Now, elephants are famed for their peanut propensity, but this particular pachyderm prefers pistachios to other, presumably less-healthy snacks. Dude can't even be swayed by a vendor at a baseball game:

    Cena was tapped for the voice work after Lynda Resnick, co-owner of The Wonderful Co., saw him on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Colbert himself hawked the product a few years back, memorably cracking wise for the brand on the Super Bowl.

    Ultimately, Ernie will trumpet Wonderful's praises in 10 spots airing on major TV platforms like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. As long as he doesn't get stuck in an elevator, that is:

    Yeah, nothing says "healthy snack choice" like a pitch beast with saggy gray skin and a ton of junk in the truck.

    Cena watched rough cuts of the ads featuring a human Ernie stand-in while recording his lines, and "a photo rendering of Ernie was in the recording booth with John, so he could draw inspiration from the character," says Michael Perdigao, president of the client's in-house Wonderful Agency, which created the campaign. "He was riffing in the studio and had a lot of fun ad-libbing. In fact, a few of his ad-libs ended up in some of the spots."

    Although he isn't identified onscreen, "we believe that many people will recognize Cena's voice," Perdigao says. "Even if consumers don't make the connection, that's OK. John brought Ernie to life, and we could not be more pleased with his performance."

    But wait, there's more. (As if Elephant Cena wasn't a mammoth enough development.) Star NFL cornerback Richard Sherman will join Ernie in a couple of spots that break next month, and also star in online videos focusing on nutrition.

    Sherman will appear as himself, which is kind of a shame, because a turn as Surly Seahawk would've been pretty sweet.

    Client: Wonderful Pistachios

    Agency: Wonderful Agency (in-house)
    President: Michael Perdigao
    Chief Creative Officer: Steve Krauss
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Shawn Preston
    Associate Creative Directors, Copywriters: Alan Snider, Shawn Gauthier
    Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Dave Hermanas
    Senior Art Director: Colin Jahn
    Art Director: Alex Harman
    Copywriter: Jason Savage
    Head of Broadcast Production: Anne Kurtzman
    Digital Producer: Matthew Conrad

    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
    Executive Producer, Director of Sales: Dan Duffy
    Producer: Dave Bernstein

    Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Christjan Jordan
    Assistant Editor: Pieter Viljoen
    Executive Producer: Helena Lee
    Producer: Dani DuHadway

    Visual Effects: MPC
    Creative Director, Visual Effects Supervisor: Paul O'Shea
    Executive Producer: Karen Anderson
    Senior Producer: Jamie Loudon
    Computer Graphics Supervisor: Ryan McDougal
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Benji Davidson
    Colorist: Ricky Gausis

    Music, Sound Design: Beacon Street Studios

    0 0

    Pedigree's latest "Feed the Good" video is timed to Blindness Awareness Month, which it's observing with "Dark to Light," a long-form ad about single mom Liz Oleksa's struggle with sight deterioration.

    The video, made by BBDO, packs a lot of tension and suspense into three minutes. Oleksa's initial fear and panic after going suddenly blind feel very immediate thanks to the emphasis of sound over visuals, and we don't see whole scenes until her guide dog, Bryce, arrives.

    More attention is paid to the emotional support Bryce offers than anything else—an often-overlooked benefit of guide animals. And its effect on Oleksa gives this video a lot of heart. Rather than just make a feel-good piece, BBDO and Pedigree unspool Oleksa's narrative arc rather gracefully, even as the video makes it clear that she's still learning how to live independently.

    As an additional show of goodwill, this spot is also available in descriptive video services (DVS) format, so that the visually impaired can experience it as well. 

    0 0

    ADT alarm systems don't just protect you against burglars. They protect you against ghosts.

    At least, that's what one salesman told a scared child during a phone call that agency SapientNitro has now turned into an animated ad.

    As the security company tells it, 9-year-old Benjamin Carubba, who lives in the New Orleans area, developed an intense fear of ghosts. So his mother, an ADT customer named Katie, dialed the security company and surreptitiously asked the rep who answered, Xavier Rollins, to tell Benjamin a white lie—that the Carubbas' system includes ghost monitors.

    Audio of the conversation shows Xavier obliging wholeheartedly, explaining to Benjamin that the system will automatically call the police if any wandering spirits found their way into the Carubba home.

    It's a delightful story, just in time for the run-up to Halloween (the ideal season for peddling both candy and handwringing about general mayhem). ADT released the ad online just before Oct. 1 in honor of National Ghost Hunting Day, which is apparently a thing.

    The only problem now is if a ghost actually does show up at Benjamin's house.

    0 0

    You don't need Spidey sense to be a superhero.

    In "Philips Everyday Hero," part of an Australian campaign for Royal Philips by Ogilvy & Mather London, a disheveled guy leaps out of bed, consumes a hasty breakfast (in the shower!) and wrestles into a Spider-Man suit before struggling to get across town.

    The action is set to an acoustic cover of Paul McCartney and John Lennon's "Revolution." It follows Spider-Man through sometimes thankless acts of everyday do-gooding, and concludes with "Make a Wish"-level warmth. 

    "Inspired by a true story, we tell the story of a window cleaner who dresses as Spider-Man to entertain ill children," explains Eva Barrett, Philips' global head of brand advertising. "He believes that cheering them up helps them recover faster: Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. It's a wonderful example of how empathy and insight into people can make a difference. His ethos reflects ours; we wanted to celebrate it." 

    The ad ends with the lines, "At Philips we see healthcare differently. There's always a way to make life better." As these words appear, a boy in a hospital gown approaches the window and presses his hand to Spider-Man's. Other children join him. 

    Aimed at healthcare professionals, the spot hopes to change brand perception by illustrating how Philips puts people at the heart of its healthcare strategy. In spirit, the work echoes a recent ad by Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, which is recruiting elderly care volunteers by demonstrating that loneliness can't be assuaged with robots. Like that piece, this ad emphasizes the importance of the human touch amid technological disruption. 

    "We start with people," Barrett says."We want to improve people's lives through meaningful innovation."

    The campaign includes a 30-second TV spot, out-of-home, digital and social media. Editorial partnerships have been inked with the Australian Financial Review and the Guardian Australia. On "Innovation and You," Philips' own storytelling platform, the brand is sharing other true stories like this one (it notably leads with an enormous visual of a man dressed like Elvis). 

    "Many people have grown up with Philips," Barrett goes on. "We're over 120 years old, but most people aren't aware of the groundbreaking work we're undertaking in healthcare. We believe in delivering products and solutions that truly put people at the heart of healthcare, and improve patient outcomes. Our 'Everyday Hero' campaign shows how we find new ways to make healthcare better."


    Client: Philips
    Global Head of Brand Advertising: Eva Barrett
    Creative Agency: Ogilvy and Mather London
    Creative Director: Gerry Human
    Managing Director: Craig Burleigh
    Planning Director: Gareth Ellis
    Group Account Director: Kate Waugh
    Account Director: Orla Mateer
    Account Manager: Christy Madden
    Media Agency: Carat London
    Public Relations Agency: FleishmanHillard, OneVoice

    0 0

    Saatchi & Saatchi wrings wry humor out of some socially awkward scenarios in its latest campaign for detergent brand Tide.

    Look, this stuff isn't soil-yourself funny—which is kind of a shame, actually, because Tide's vaunted cleaning action would really come in handy if it were. Still, the slightly warped setups and restrained sensibility feel just right for the P&G mainstay, which closes each installment with its classic tagline, "If it's got to be clean, it's got to be Tide."

    First up, we have an examination of bathroom habits set to a funk-ay retro-club beat:

    Whoa, maybe just burn that towel, OK?

    "We're speaking to those who have ever questioned whether they need a detergent that cleans as well as Tide," says Paul Bichler, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi New York. "We're inviting them to reconsider by showing them some truths about how their clothes are really used."

    Inconvenient truths play into this next spot, as a woman discovers her house renters helped themselves to her favorite bathrobe:

    "We agreed that we were going to embrace the actors for what they naturally brought to the table," says Bichler. "We looked for the details that made each of the actors unique and then built on them. The spots are mostly scripted, but we did a bit of improv and let the actors make the characters their own."

    That approach really pays off in relaxed, slightly askew performances, especially in ads set during a pool party, where a pair of oft-worn swimming trunks known as "the spare" causes much consternation:

    Ultimately, the dude suits up and dives in. Hope that water's chlorinated!

    "We were looking for a humble pool that a could feel like a new installation, but we were having difficulty finding the right thing," Bichler recalls. "So, we picked a location and the art department refurbished the deck, built a whole new wood facade to the pool and landscaped it. And we paid the homeowner for the privilege. They made out like bandits. I want that gig!"

    Yeah, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

    Client: Tide (Procter & Gamble)

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi New York 
    Chief Creative Officer: Jay Benjamin
    Executive Creative Director: Paul Bichler
    Director of Film Production: John Doris
    Producer: Jacob Vogt
    Regional Business Director: Nick Miaritis
    Account Director: Ryan Martin
    Account Supervisor: Jen Brotman
    Account Executive: Emily Hook
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Lisa Rimmer

    Director: Max Sherman
    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Executive Producer, Managing Director: Eric Stern
    Executive Producer, Production: SueEllen Clair
    Head of Production: Kerry Haynie
    Director of Photography: Bobby Shore
    Production Designer: Michael Walker
    Line Producer: Isil Gilderdale

    Editorial Company: Cosmo Street
    Editors: Tom Scherma, Aaron Langley
    Assistant Editors: Nellie Phillips, Chrissy Doughty
    Executive Producer: Maura Woodward
    Senior Producer: Luiza Naritomi

    Finishing Company: Switch FX
    Lead Flame Artist: Jon Magel
    Flame Artist: Andrew Rea
    Executive Producer: Diana Dayrit
    Producer: Cara Flynn

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Sofie Borup

    Music Company: duotone audio group
    Executive Producer: Ross Hopman
    Producer: Gio Lobato

    Audio Post: duotone audio post
    Sound Design: Juan Aboites
    Mixer: Andy Green
    Executive Producer: Greg Tiefenbrun

    0 0

    Feeling a tad unsick today? Well, don't come in to work … but feel free to spread it around.

    Healthcare scheduling service Zocdoc is proposing Unsick Day—a day off each year for workers to attend routine doctor and dentist appointments, before they start feeling poorly. This preventative health push stems from a recent Zocdoc survey that found 86 percent of working Americans routinely cancel or delay such visits because of job responsibilities.

    "This is not so much an ad campaign as it is a public service," says Nathan Frank, chief creative officer at agency Office of Baby, which developed the initiative. "Zocdoc does benefit when people start seeing the doctor regularly—but so do the people who start seeing the doctor, the businesses that employ them, and everybody else involved."

    Virgin Hotels, Foursquare, Oscar and Handy are on board with the idea and granting unsick days to employees, according to the agency, which launched a website allowing interested companies and individuals to get involved.

    "The barrier to entry is very low," says Frank. "The easiest, quickest way for a company to implement this is to simply convert one of your sick days to an unsick day. We don't see why every workplace in America wouldn't adopt such a policy."

    So … workers won't get an extra day off? It's all a matter of terminology? The HR department wins again! (Actually, Zodoc itself is adding an extra unsick day, and hopes others will follow its example.)

    In this campaign video, which almost feels like a Halloween ad, an employee takes an unsick day, but still interacts in ghostly fashion with colleagues back at the office:

    Hey, that coffee mug was company property! Someone's getting docked for that! (Probably James, the screamer. Dude, you never heard a disembodied voice in the break room before?)

    "Featuring a spokesperson who is not there has its challenges," says Frank. "Our only reference points were movies like Hollow Man, where they would usually at least leave some floating sunglasses to indicate where the protagonist is supposed to be. In most scenarios, we had nothing. When we saw the footage, we were partly shocked it worked. When the camera moves just as it would if there were a spokesperson present, you really start to feel that there is somebody there. We are thinking of shooting everything using this method in the future—as the acting is always perfect."

    Cute campaign chachkies include workplace staples like screensavers, pens, notepads, sticky-notes, lunch bags, hand sanitizers and stress balls (but not actual staples).

    Check out those elements below, plus posters that seem to be missing something:


    Agency: Office of Baby
    Art Director: Kelsey Shang
    Art Director: Esai Ramirez
    Copywriter: Nechama Muchnik
    Chief Creative Officers: Paul Caiozzo, Nathan Frank
    Production Company: Gravy Films
    Executive Producer: Brent Stoller
    Producer: Francesco Soru
    Director of Photography: Justin Derry
    Production Designer: Nick Tong
    Director: Crobin
    Audio: youtoocanwoo
    Logo + Titles: Franklin
    Design: Kenneth Lian Animation - Maud Passini
    Art Direction: Michael Freimuth
    Post Production: MPC
    Head of Production: Jesse Kurnit
    VFX Supervisor: Aleksandar Sahsha Djordvecic
    Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Alex Liu
    Producer: Lisa Barnable


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