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    Here's something no marketer has ever tried anywhere before in the history of the universe—a wacky vending machine stunt!

    This particular machine, set up by VML to plug Hillshire Snacking's meats, cheeses and nuts as the fanciest treats in town, was painted gold and came with an ornate rug, velvet ropes and its own maître d' and butler.

    The maître d' quizzed passersby to determine whether they were sophisticated enough to try some product. The butler—on duty inside the unit, naturally—handed out samples, sipped tea and made mock-snooty faces.

    Brush off those natty tails, grab your monocle and check out the video below:

    "Have you ever worn a jacket before, sir?" "Nah, I live in L.A." Heh.

    Now, the dude with the operatic voice who sings on cue seems almost too good be to true. But we're assured he was a "real person" out for a stroll in Santa Monica during The Fanciest Vending Machine's two-day engagement in September. (As if anyone in L.A. is entirely "real," anyway.)

    "We are targeting consumers with a millennial mindset," Megan Huddleston, director of marketing for the Hillshire Snacking brand, tells AdFreak. "They have a passion for food exploration and like to try new flavors and push boundaries."

    Fair enough. Though the notion of a tricked-out vending machine seems sorta old hat (old top hat, that is). Plus, the folks who took part in the stunt probably would've appreciated a free beer for their trouble. Or swag. Though at least they didn't have to bow down to get some chow.

    At times, actor James Lancaster, squeezed in behind the glass, looks like he could use a hug, but at least the crew tried to keep him comfortable.

    "Staying true to the elevated nature of our brand, the vending machine was air conditioned," says Huddleston. "It was a hot day in L.A., and James was likely one of the coolest on set."

    Client: Hillshire Snacking
    Campaign: "World's Fanciest Vending Machine"
    Agency: VML
    Producer: Lara Hurnevich
    Executive Creative Director: Mike Wente
    Executive Creative Director: Sean Burns
    Senior Copywriter: Alf Zapata
    Senior Art Director: Conor Clarke
    Production Company: Nice Studios
    Director: Gil Nevo
    Executive Producer (Production Co): Elizabeth Scully
    Executive Producer (Production Co): Ian Noe
    Director of Photography: Mark Odgers
    Principals: James Lancaster, Mark Saul
    Managing Director: Julia Hammond
    Account Supervisor: Stephanie Jones
    Associate Account Manager: Mary Tutera
    Channel Supervisor: Nathan Jokers
    Associate Channel Manager: Leila Choucair

    0 0

    Why take a car when you can take the train? It won't get your back all sweaty. 

    In a pair of risqué ads by TMW, British transport company Virgin Trains is using couples to illustrate why trains are better than cars or planes. In each ad, a couple talks about a good experience on the train; another talks about a bad experience on either of the other transport options.

    The hook is that you can't quite tell who is who, and it kinda sounds like they're all talking about sex.

    The first spot is about flying, which kicks off with one couple comparing sizes. Because people do that with trains ... ? 

    And here's the one about cars, in which one woman reveals, "I always like to spread out on the table." Also, we learn that leather is a lovely touch.

    "At Virgin Trains we like to do things a little differently, so we've decided to highlight the fantastic experiences we offer customers compared to road and air travel in an entertaining, playful way," says David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains' east coast lines.

    Since the videos are a little short on features (apart from leather), Horne also seizes the chance to expound on them: "With free on-board wifi, free movies, TV episodes, magazines and games on Beam, our new on-board entertainment service; delicious food from our revamped menus; refurbished trains; increased rail connectivity between the English and Scottish capitals; and frequent services to the heart of cities along the east coast, we're hoping that our tongue-in-cheek approach will encourage even more people to hop onboard!"

    The ads will appear on Facebook and AOL's ad network. They also accompany Virgin Trains' "Plane Relief" offer, which enables London-to-Scotland flyers to take advantage of discounts on the east coast route. 

    Who knows? The cliché may well convince a few people to forego the Mile High Club for something a little less bumpy. 


    Client: Virgin Trains
    Agency: TMW
    Creative Director: Dave Willis & Luke Clark
    Art Director: Luke Clark
    Copywriter: Dave Willis
    Account Director: Clare Franks
    Agency Producer: Tracy Woodford
    Director/ Production Co: Nick Collett with Salt TV
    Producer: Zoe Waller
    Editor: TBC
    Postproduction: Salt TV
    Sound Design: Simon Buck
    DoP: Ricky Patel
    Media Planning/Buying: Manning Gottlieb OMD

    0 0

    It's been 15 years since BMW Films and Fallon released "The Hire," a series of eight original short films that helped define branded entertainment, with help from a menagerie of A-list stars and directors. 

    As an homage to that first run, the brand has now dropped "The Escape." In it, Clive Owen reprises his role as the mysterious Driver. This time he's joined by Dakota Fanning, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga. Director Neill Blomkamp, of District 9 and Elysium, pulls the strings behind the curtain.

    Time has passed in this mysterious universe: Owen's older and world-weary, a more experienced Bond to the younger variety. The narrative clocks in at under 11 minutes but keeps the action moving briskly, with a plot that benefits from references that don't require much explanation.

    Cloning is a thing now, as we quickly learn from a brief introduction to a troubled molecular genetics firm. Fanning appears as Five, or Lilly, a twitchy specimen with a penchant for defining words like "abomination" ("from the Latin word abominari,  thing that causes hatred or disgust"). If you loved Stranger Things, she'll bring Eleven to mind, though sadly there's little time to develop the character much. 

    Owen's mission: Deliver her to her buyer, accompanied by a mouthy Bernthal, flanked by humvees and helicopters, and under hot pursuit from the FBI. It's enough to give Michael Bay penis envy!

    As expected, things in "The Escape" go off the rails pretty fast. Owen goes rogue, dodging his Humvee entourage and throwing Bernthal out of the car. His true client, played by Farmiga, appears at the end. 

    The film's got a Fast and the Furious thing going on, except the sound of the engine never goes above a smooth, muted purr. In terms of product promotion, this amounts to little more than a humblebrag ... until the moment the 5 Series sedan literally drags a helicopter out of the sky, its fans chopping at an overpass as it crinkles on the ground like a dead spider. 

    "When we commissioned 'The Escape,' our only direction was that the story remain of utmost importance—and that it should live up to the standards set by 'The Hire,'" says svp Hildegard Wortmann of Brand BMW. "Neill, Clive and the entire cast did a tremendous job, and we are confident that 'The Escape' not only meets that standard, but sets a new one."

    Production company Anonymous Content, which created the original series, executive produced this latest installment, working alongside Geisel Productions. But the star here is Owen, whose strained silence and meaningful glances fill out years of backstory. 

    As Owen says in the film, "I might be a little rusty right now, but I've been doing this for a long time. I'm very good at it." We're inclined to agree. "The Escape" might not score the 100 million views that "The Hire" enjoyed before YouTube, when the internet was quieter. But it's a pleasure to see our mysterious mercenary back in the driver's seat. 


    Client: BMW
    Title: The Escape
    Agency: Geisel Productions
    Creative Directors: Bruce Bildsten and David Carter
    Writers: Bruce Bildsten and David Carter
    Executive Producer: Brian DiLorenzo
    Senior Integrated Producer: Adam Davis
    Producer: Patrick O'Brien
    BA: TEAM Companies
    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Director: Neill Blomkamp
    Managing Director / Executive Producer: Eric Stern
    Executive Producer: SueEllen Clair
    Head of Production: Kerry Haynie
    Producer: Aristides McGarry
    Action Supervisor/2nd Unit Director: Guy Norris
    DP: Manoel Ferreira
    Production Designer: Gerald Sullivan
    Production Manager: Sara D'Alessio
    Production Coordinator: Jennifer Duffy
    Editorial:  Rock Paper Scissors
    Supervising Editor: Angus Wall
    Editor: Austyn Daines
    Editor: Julian Clarke
    Editor: Devin Maurer
    Cutting Assistant: Martin Hsieh
    Executive Producer: Helena Lee/ Jennifer Sofio Hall
    Producer: Dina Ciccotello
    Music:  Kristopher Pooley
    Finishing / VFX:   Embassy and A52
    Flame Artist: Dan Ellis
    Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent
    Head of Production: Kim Christensen
    Post Producer: Victoria Burkhart
    Post Producer: Heather Johann
    VFX Supervisor: Chris Harvey
    Color : CO3
    Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
    Executive Producer: Rhubie Jovanov
    Audio Mix : Formosa Group Mix
    Audio Engineer: Mark Mangini

    Sound Design: David Whitehead

    —Additional Credits

    Behind The Scenes: Drive Thru Editorial
    Behind The Scenes Director / DP: Patrick Pierson
    Producer: Beth Wilson

    Titles, Poster Design & Art Direction: Design by MING
    Chief Design Officer: Brad Blondes
    Lead Designer: David Balsamello
    Designer: Olga Vladova
    Junior Designer: Sarah Maslechko

    Website Development: Your Majesty
    Technical Director - Tore Holmberg
    Lead Developer - Sebastian Carlsson
    Design Director - Alexander Strand Kristensen
    Senior Producer - Jason Speenburgh
    Engagement Director  - Ashley Smith
    Social Media: 247 Laundry Service
    Account Manager - Matthew Carlson
    Community Manager - Samantha Pillsbury
    Narrative Director - Jocelyn Chang
    Post-Production Supervisor - Chris Lewis
    Editor - Mike Mazzotta

    0 0

    Put them in, Coach!

    Baseball for All, a group dedicated to getting more girls in the game, is launching a pro-bono campaign from BBDO Atlanta that plays off the chorus to "Centerfield," John Fogerty's iconic paean to America's pastime.

    "If you tell a girl she can't play baseball, what else will she think she can't do?" asks organization founder Justine Siegal, who last year became the first woman to coach for a Major League Baseball team (in the Oakland A's Fall Instructional League.) "We empower girls to be bold and confident in their passions and to never let a gender stereotype limit their dreams. We teach parents, leagues and communities how to start girls' baseball programs of their own. We run tournaments around the country so girls can meet other girls who love baseball as much as they do."

    The simple, affecting spot below was shot this summer at such a tournament, with girls of different ages and ethnicities each speaking a few words of the Fogerty song. Though the lines are familiar—the song has been a staple at MLB stadiums for decades—the slowed-down, spoken-word arrangement reverberates with a heightened sense of urgency: "Put me in coach. I'm ready to play. TODAY."

    "The idea is to go after coaches specifically with this campaign, because that's where the drop-off happens," says agency chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald. "Around junior high, girls are diverted to softball and are seen as a 'wasted' draft pick by many coaches in little league. I wanted to show that girls genuinely do have passion to play baseball, and that coaches have the power to make a real impact in these players' lives."

    Donated media includes ESPNW.com, and BBDO hopes to secure placements on other high-profile platforms—such as Jumbotron screens in Chicago and Cleveland, and during various game broadcasts—as the World Series gets underway tonight between the Cubs and Indians. The new Fox drama Pitch is also fueling discussion of women in baseball. 

    "People want to talk baseball this week. And we want to give them something new to add to the conversation," says Fitzgerald.

    Driving visits to a new website is a key goal. The site features a data collector designed to put coaches and players together to form more local teams.

    "But it's also important to show how passionate these girls are about baseball," says Fitzgerald. "It's too easy for people not supporting girls' baseball to say, 'Well, they have softball, stop complaining.' Softball is great, but it's a different sport. Seeing real girls playing the game they love was the best way to prove that girls want and need baseball just as much as boys."

    Siegal believes women could one day play in the major leagues. "If she has the same baseball development opportunities as the men, I see no reason why a woman couldn't be a successful MLB pitcher," she says. "Deception, command and change of speed are all qualities of a successful pitcher. Power is not everything."

    Ultimately, however, "I would rather see a women's pro league, like the WNBA," Siegal says, "so more girls can actualize their dreams of playing professional baseball."

    This setup would allow both men and women to pursue their passions. "I have a daughter and a son," Fitzgerald says, "and I want them both to be whatever they want to be."

    Agency: BBDO Atlanta
    Client: Justine Siegal, Baseball For All       
    Title: "Ready to Play"
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, Atlanta: Robin Fitzgerald
    Creative Director: Mary O'Keefe
    Art Director: Jerry Gentile, Valerie Ang-Chamorro
    Senior Producer: Kristine Ling 
    Group Account Director: Tami Oliva
    Chief Strategy Officer: Tricia Russo
    Social: Jen Copeland, Rena Feldman
    Production Company: Prmry Films
    Director: Will Mayer
    Edit House: Cut and Run L.A.
    Editor: Andy Green
    Managing Director: Michelle Eskin
    Executive Producer: Amburr Farls
    Audio: Lime Studios
    Mixer: Zac Fisher
    Audio Assistant: Kevin McAlpine
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
    Music House: Emoto Music
    Arranger: Paul Bessenbacher
    Executive Producer: Paul Shultz
    Color: The Mill
    Colorist: Gregory Reese
    Producer: Thatcher Peterson
    Site Designer: Stephen Thorson
    Developer: Stephen Saucier

    0 0

    We would have loved to see the focus group on this. 

    You've probably used WD-40 to get creaking to stop. But what if you need those creaks for effect ... like, say, on Halloween? 

    Never fear. The brand that oils your joints is helping to address this problem with a Haunted Door app, made "for the one night of the year you actually want your door to creak." Simply activate the app and slip your phone into a doorknob sleeve after selecting the creak you want most. Three jauntily punned options include "Paradoormal Activity," "The Exdoorcist" and "Door of the Dead." 

    After that, open and close your door at will, and revel in the creepy motion-sensitive ambiance for those unwitting trick-or-treaters. 

    While the app seems targeted to existing WD-40 fans (it has them), agency BIMM cites research showing that 8 out of 10 homes actually have creaky doors whose noise they've just gotten used to. 

    "By offering an extra creaky door SFX app, the brand finds a way to re-heighten awareness of your own existing, albeit less dramatic, creaky doors throughout your home that could actually use some WD-40," an accompanying release claims.

    Clever. Also, pay close attention to the skull that serves as the app's logo. Apparently it's packed with little things around your house that WD-40 can help fix. What a treat! 

    0 0

    Could Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees be dissuaded from their homicidal ways by a candy bar? Could a sugar fix be a cure for their mass-murdering tendencies?

    It's likely no one's ever asked the question before. Who's had time amid all the screaming and dying in slasher franchises like Halloween and Friday the 13th? But Comedy Central and Kit Kat have envisioned just that scenario, in an homage to well-worn horror-movie tropes and famous flicks from the likes of John Carpenter and Wes Craven.

    In a spot launching Tuesday, a shrieking gal sprints through the woods with a chainsaw-wielding killer on her heels. It's dark and she's alone, of course. She falls, of course. She's at the mercy of the hockey-masked maniac.

    Then she comes up with a defensive move. No, not a swift kick to the groin. A Kit Kat. Guess what happens next? Decapitation for our hapless heroine? Or something far less gruesome? Suffice to say, that tree she was pinned against makes a lovely rustic bench.

    The ad, which will run on the cable channel and various digital platforms, comes from Viacom Velocity Entertainment Group, the in-house division that has recently created campaigns for Ubisoft, Dunkin' Donuts, Dodge and Old Spice, among other brands. Execs crafted a Halloween-themed ad last year for another Hershey product, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

    "We wanted to use some classic '80s horror movies and have fun with the idea of taking a break," says Beth Trentacoste, svp and creative director for the Viacom Velocity group, referring to the long-standing Kit Kat mantra, "Gimme a break." "The goal was to be fun, unexpected, irreverent."

    They shot the ad in the rain overnight at Tallman Mountain State Park in Rockland County, New York—fog added by machine—as a seasonal addition to the Hershey brand's ongoing marketing, which includes Chance the Rapper doing his version of the 30-year-old jingle in an Anomaly spot.

    "We're here to amplify what the brand is doing on its own platforms," says Michelle Zoni, the group's svp of integrated marketing. "We tailor the message to speak specifically to our audience because we know what will resonate with them."

    0 0

    With global temperatures rising and the most obscene U.S. presidential election in recent memory taking place, 2016 might feel like the worst year ever. But whether you're an average joe on the street or celebrity swimmer Michael Phelps, Call of Duty's new game, Infinite Warfare, is ready to help you escape.

    The new live-action trailer for the Activision title opens on a young man beset by dire news reports. Beside himself, he does the only reasonably thing. He hops in a spaceship and takes off from Earth altogether.

    "2016 has been a year full of shock and head shaking," says Matthew Curry, group creative director at 72andSunny, which created the ad. "As we got further into the year, the idea that you could leave the insanity behind to go have some badass fun felt like rich territory. So we came up with the ultimate solution to a world gone mad: Screw it! Let's go to space."

    Cue blastoff to a high-octane interplanetary gunfight, wherein the ad fulfills its obligation as a CoD trailer to deliver a explosion-packed, celebrity-studded fantasy blending live action and computer graphics, ultimately featuring surprise banter between Phelps and comedian Danny McBride.

    As usual, a driving, guitar-driven soundtrack—in this case, "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses—is key. (Past CoD ads have featured "Gimme Shelter" and "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones. Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," meanwhile, featured in a 72andSunny ad for another Activision title, Destiny).

    "Classic rock has a timeless cool to it," says Curry. It fits perfectly with the badass fun and swagger of the Call of Duty brand. For this particular spot … we considered everything from end-of-the-world songs to songs about escape. In the end, 'Welcome to the Jungle' had the perfect tone and message to tee up the badass fun of battling through the chaos of space."

    As for casting, diversity was the driving factor, based on emphasizing the CoD franchise's broader sales pitch—"There's a soldier in all of us." But there was some strategy in the cameos, as well. "We instantly loved the idea of taking Michael Phelps, the winningest human on Earth, and putting him in space to see how he fared," says Curry. "Danny McBride was the perfect person to steal his kill, and his thunder."

    The trailer, launching today, is the culmination of a massive push to promote latest title in a hugely success franchise. Infinite Warfare, launching Nov. 4, is the first to be set in space. "The campaign for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare consisted of literally over 100 marketing elements, all highlighting what is unique and different about this title," says Todd Harvey, svp of global consumer marketing at Activision.

    "With 'Screw It, Let's Go to Space,' we've focused on creating a broad message that taps into the pop culture happening around us, while transporting players into the new game world of Infinite Warfare. The launch of Call of Duty is a pop-culture moment, and in that sense, the news of the day serves as a great starting point to play on that sense of escapism to enjoy the next epic entertainment launch of the year."

    Past elements in the campaign have included the ambitious "Hostile Takeover" in-game activation in the prior Black Ops 3 title. Social activations launching later this week will include #EarthWorldProblems—a Twitter response campaign from Edelman playing on the popular #FirstWorldProblems trope, and "Terminal Tours" from AKQA—a Facebook Messenger walkthrough of the dangers of playing CoD in space.

    As for whether 72andSunny had a specific candidate in mind, as the one moderating punches in the face during a particularly egregious debate, Curry maintains it was "no one in particular. We wanted a line that spoke to the insanity of the election season, so we really gunned at an unbelievable moment. Problem is, things have been so crazy that no matter how hyperbolic we went, you could argue it was still believable."

    In other words, strap in.

    Activision, Call of Duty Team:
    Chief Executive Officer, Activision Publishing: Eric Hirshberg
    EVP, Chief Marketing Officer: Tim Ellis
    SVP, Global Consumer Marketing: Todd Harvey
    SVP, Consumer Engagement, Digital Marketing & PR: Monte Lutz
    Senior Director, Consumer Marketing: Carolyn Wang
    Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing: David Cushman
    Associate Manager, Consumer Marketing: Jared Castle
    Coordinator, Consumer Marketing: Lynn Ballew
    Senior Director, Digital Marketing: Justin Manfredi
    Senior Manager, Digital Marketing: Rich Elmore
    Senior Manager, Digital Marketing: Mario Sgambelluri
    Digital Marketing Associate Manager: Peter Bowman
    VP, Global Media: Caroline McNeil
    Senior Director, Global Media: Simone Deocares-Lengyel

    72andSunny Team
    Chief Executive Officer: John Boiler
    Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
    Chief Strategy Officer: Matt Jarvis
    Director of Strategy: Bryan Smith
    Chief Production Officer: Tom Dunlap
    Group Creative Director: Matthew Curry
    Creative Director: Robert Teague
    Creative Director: Tim Wolfe
    Sr. Designer: Jon Hall
    Writer: Matt Meszaros
    Designer: Lauren Albee
    Group Production Director: Angelo Mazzamuto
    Sr. Film Producer: Dave Stephenson
    Jr. Film Producer: Skyler Courter
    Group Brand Director: Rhea Curry
    Brand Director: Simon Hall
    Sr. Brand Manager: Brett Schneider
    Brand Manager: Will Nader
    Strategy Director: Daniel Teng
    Strategist: Jake Watt
    Partnerships and Legal Director: Kallie Halbach
    Partnerships and Legal Manager: Jesse Sinkiewicz
    Partnerships and Legal Coordinator: Molly Hogan

    Production Company: Pony Show Entertainment
    Director: Peter Berg
    Director of Photography: John Schwartzman, A.S.C
    Production Designer: Jeff Mann
    Partner: Susan Kirson
    Executive Producer: Helga Gruber
    Head of Production: Gareth Wood

    Editorial: Work Editorial
    Editor: Jono Griffith
    Assistant Editor: Keith Hamm
    Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
    Producer: Lynne Mannino

    Visual Effects: MPC
    Creative Director: Paul O' Shea
    VFX Supervisor: Michael Gregory
    CG Supervisor: David White
    Colorist: Ricky Gausis
    VFX Producer: Matt Olmon
    Line Producer: Ekta Gupta
    VFX Coordinator: Sarah Laborde
    2D Lead: Nikkesh K
    2D Supervisor: David Rouxel
    3D Lead: Jacob Oommen

    Visual Effects: Pixomondo
    VFX Supervisor: Timothy Hanson
    Executive Producer: Mandie Briney
    VFX Producer: John Baer
    Bidding Producer: Patrick Neighly
    DFX Supervisor: Patrick Schuler
    Compositing  Supervisor: Spencer Hecox
    Previz Supervisor: Matt McClurg
    Paint/Roto Supervisor: Lance Ranzer
    Rigger/Maya Technical Director: York Schueller
    Senior Production Coordinator: Enoch Davis
    Production Coordinator: Antonia Oelmann

    Costumes: Legacy Effects LLC
    Effects Supervisor: J. Alan Scott
    Production Coordinator: Damon Weathers

    Sound Design: Formosa Group
    Supervising Sound Editors:   Per Hallberg, M.P.S.E.
    Sound Designer: Ann Scibelli, M.P.S.E. , Jon Title, M.P.S.E. , D. Chris Smith, M.P.S.E.
    1st Assistant Sound Editor: Philip D. Morrill

    Recording Studio / Mix: Lime
    Mixers: Rohan Young / Jeff Malen
    Assistant: Ben Tomastik / Lisa Mermelstein
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

    OMD Team
    Group Account Director: Natalie Holbrook
    Associate Media Director: Carly Haw
    Media Supervisor: Amir Ghareaghadje
    Senior Media Strategist: Justin Levenstein
    Media Strategist: Natalie Garretson
    Assistant Media Strategist: Deveny Rohrer

    SVP, Brand Marketing and Communications – Michele Wyman
    Senior Director, Brand Marketing and Communications – Mark Van Lommel
    Senior Director, Talent Relations – Jonathan Kichaven
    Senior Account Executive, Talent Relations – Ashley Studer
    Program Manager – Chong Kim
    Account Executive, Brand Marketing and Communications – Renee Felton

    Jordan Atlas – Executive Creative Director
    Zach Tindall – Group Director, Activision
    Sam Kennedy – VP Strategy, Activision
    Chris Swanson – Associate Creative Director
    Lauren Curtis – Senior Account Supervisor, Activision
    Ben Lewis – Senior Strategist, Call of Duty
    Katie Stemler – Project Manager, Activision
    Gabe Duran – Copywriter
    Ronnie Lee – Copywriter
    Matt Kugler – Copywriter
    Michele Pappas – Art Director
    Alex Sutton-Hough – Designer
    Ji Choi – Designer
    Justin Fitzwater – Senior Community Manager
    Kurt Wendler – Community Manager
    Jason Suh – Community Manager
    Michael Fein – VP, Insights & Analytics
    Jocelyn Swift – Manager, Insights & Analytics
    Tyler Phillippi – Analyst
    Carol Chu – Analyst
    Megan Cooper – Junior Analyst

    Nick Strada – Group Creative Director
    EB Davis – Creative Director
    Nils Westgardh – Art Director
    Oscar Wickman – Art Director/ Photographer
    Tandeka Lauriciano – Associate Copywriter
    Cliff Li, Hovin Wang, Charles Calixto, Enoch Tengler, Randy Santos – Sr. Designer

    Kristin Goto – Client Partner
    Erin Morgan – Account Director

    Cody Lucas – Program Manager/ EP
    David Shuff – Director  of Film and Motion
    Ryan Jones – Motion Designer
    Jim MacMurray – Sr. Production Artist

    MediaMonks Films:
    Director – Rogier Schalken
    Asst. Dir. – Mel Anderson
    Dir. of Photography – Dallas Sterling
    Executive Producer – Lauren Becker
    Line Production – Theresa Marth, Mark Aran
    Post Supervisor – Wesley Kolsteeg
    Post Producers – Marlose de Rijke,  Gerben Molenaar

    Head Writer: Scott Ganz
    Writer: Eva Steele-Saccio, Jessica Kitchens, Nicholas Pelczar
    Operations Manager & Producer: Jennifer Dobbs
    Head of Enterprise: Mike Houlahan

    Infrastructure Engineering Lead: James Chalfant

    0 0

    Is Chipotle dishing out some sick stuff? This time, the burrito chain sincerely hopes so.

    Chipotle's image has taken a beating all year, what with E. coli and norovirus outbreaks and the indictment of its chief creative officer on drug charges. Just yesterday, the company reported a nearly 15 percent third-quarter revenue decline, continuing a downward spiral.

    Now, seeking to boost its brand, win new fans and jumpstart sales, Chipotle is targeting the college and high-school crowd on Snapchat (user name: ChipotleSnaps) with a minute-long weekly comedy show called "School of Guac."

    Developed by Vice-owned Carrot Creative, episodes drop on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. The format sends up late-night talk shows, with dashes of SNL and Mad TV tossed in. Young actress Lorena Russi serves as host. A tin-foil-wrapped burrito serves as a desktop microphone. There's goofy animation and random humor, with the first installment touching on the 13th Zodiac sign and tricycles:


    "We have always appealed to younger audiences—Gen Y in particular," Jackson Jeyanayagam, Chipotle's director of digital marketing, tells AdFreak. "Now that Gen Z is beginning to make decisions on their favorite restaurant brands, it's important that we speak to them in the most relevant way possible. Right now, Snapchat is at the top of the list."

    Next, we learn why tortillas are round but tortilla chips are triangular. And a Burrito Whisperer waxes poetic:


    "It's important to us to stay true to who we are as a brand," Jeyanayagam says, "which means being disruptive and innovating."

    Russi's relaxed, relatable presence is a highlight, and the work seems in line with Chipotle's recent turn toward more whimsical marketing. That trend includes GSD&M's "Ingredients Reign" campaign, which casts animated avocados, tomatoes and jalapeños in starring roles. (Though not on rolls, just to be clear.)

    So, how will Chipotle gauge the Snapchat show's success?

    "Ultimately, we want fans to be engaging with our entire story and getting excited for the following week's episode," Jeyanayagam says. "Don't get me wrong, traffic to BurritoWowNow.com [plugged in the episodes] would be awesome, but I'd be happy with friends telling more friends that they need to follow ChipotleSnaps on Snapchat. That's the real metric for success here."

    Client: Chipotle
    Agency: Carrot Creative
    Creative Director: Bharat Kumar
    Strategist: Helene Dick
    Account Director: Jas Jabbour
    Senior Designer/Art Director: Corey Upton
    Senior Copywriter: Gio Serrano
    Scriptwriter: Alix McAlpine
    Associate Copywriter: Monica Sagowitz
    Associate Art Director: Helen Torney
    Designers: Adam Rozanski/Krissan Pattugalan
    Associate Designers: Meggy Kawsek/Jay Fleckenstein
    Senior Producer: Austen Williams
    Studio: Juliette Richey (Director of Content)/David Yeomans (Studio Producer)/Dan Stenzel (Production Coordinator)/Liz Stallmeyer (Post Production Coordinator)
    Senior Editor: Tobias Arturi
    Account Supervisor: Emma Kieckhafer

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    Need a fix? The darknet's got whatever you need. Even coffee.

    The Chernyi Cooperative is claiming the dubious title of "first legal product advertisement on the darknet." It's selling its Chernyi Black roast via Tor, which lets you trawl the web anonymously and access sites not available on mainstream browsers. 

    "We faced a difficult challenge—to attract the attention of trendsetters who already have access to plenty of interesting content," says social media director Maxim Fedorov of agency Possible Moscow. "That is why we chose Tor. The target audience of 'Black' is familiar with anonymous marketplaces. They know how the purchase process is organized and are aware of the subtleties in attaining what they desire." 

    Tor is probably best known for its association with Silk Road, the secret market that made nefarious purchases as easy (and customer-friendly) as Airbnb or eBay. The site launched in 2011 and was shut down by the FBI in 2013. 

    But while Silk Road drifted out of media salience, Tor remains. It's a reminder that we're always being watched, and a nagging token of things we can't see, either because we don't realize it ... or because we'd rather not. Notably, it's home to .onion sites, which let creators and users communicate anonymously, share sensitive data and purchase things they'd rather other people not know about.

    Chernyi's coffee is now one of those things. The shop operates at cherniyx23pmfane.onion, and can only be accessed by downloading Tor.

    "There is a generally held perception in Russia that coffee is harmful and shouldn't be consumed on a daily basis," explains Chernyi Cooperative co-owner Artem Temirov. "We love flipping stereotypes upside down and decided to confront this stereotype, about coffee being a drug, with the stereotype about Tor as a platform that exists solely for drug trafficking." 

    The site was promoted via fliers in trendy venues and Facebook ads that targeted users linked to the Solyanka Club, a (now-defunct) nightclub for savvy Moscovites. The video includes "real characters" from Moscow's underbelly, and looks like a grainy documentary about the urban drug hustle. It could easily be about something like, say, krokodil.

    "We had to understand how the darknet worked, so we needed to immerse ourselves in the Moscow underworld," says Vlad Sitnikov, Possible's creative director. "We also consulted with an ex-cop who specialized in the darknet." 

    The site is just as vague about its product, which is described only by its molecular formula: C8H10N4O2 (caffeine). Clicking on "Buy" gives you the big reveal: A warm, Starbucksian explanation about coffee beans that almost feels comical in this cloak-and-dagger context. 

    Chernyi Black costs 700 rubles, or about $12, per pack. Users can buy it using Bitcoin or the Qiwi payment system, after which they're given coordinates for the stash (a coffee shop!). 

    "General buzz has been excellent," Sitnikov beams. "10,000 people were reached in the first hour, and product is being bought—and taken from the shop!" 

    While selling coffee—and overturning the notion of it as harmful—might be the primary goals, Sitnikov also thinks ideas about the darknet are changing. "People are happy to see that the darknet doesn't only exist to service what some may term undesirables," he says. "This project demonstrates it can be used by anyone looking for a secure and private connection."

    Below, check out pack shots and more coffee-shop photos. We like the added touch of the creepy staircase.

    Client: Chernyi Cooperative
    Brand: Moscow Black
    Agency: Possible Moscow
    Creative Director: Vlad Sitnikov
    Idea: Maxim Fedorov
    Copywriter: Maxim Fedorov, Artem Trofimov
    Art Director: Anton Vodogreev
    Illustrator: Anton Vodogreev, Stas Vasiliev
    Digital producer: Ivan Bormotov, Kirill Nikitin
    Film Director: Artur Miroshnichenko
    Music: Sounds Like A Plan, Bad Zu, Filipp Alexandrov

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    The North Face is all about fun stunts in Korea, where it regularly gives shoppers unexpected surprises—and films them for videos that, as often as not, go viral.

    The most famous one was in 2014, when the brand created a pop-up store whose floor disappeared, forcing the startled shoppers to have to engage in some athletic activity by climbing the walls. Another stunt had shoppers try out a VR experience that turned out to be way more real than they expected.

    Now, agency Innored is back with its latest caper.

    It set up another pop-up store, and had clerks surprise shoppers by offering them a free jacket. There was just one catch. The side of the store suddenly opened up, and the shoppers were told they had to zipline 200 meters—through a series of paper signs—to claim their free swag.

    It's a fun formula that keeps paying off for The North Face. As Innored tells AdFreak, it "delivers a unique concept to people who lead a routine life and would like to help them awaken the values of exploring." 

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    Seven hours might not seem like much time for two people to conceive and produce three video ads of anything resembling decent strategic quality. But if the spots are short enough, and the creatives are good enough, it's plenty doable.

    That's the gist of a YouTube victory lap, after a handful of U.S. creatives won the top prizes in a special competition at the Spikes Asia advertising awards show in Singapore—creating zippy 6-second ads for the country's tourism board on unusually short notice, in honor of the video site's new so-called "bumper" ad format.

    YouTube, owned by Google, sponsored the contest—called the YouTube Creative Hack—and flew two creative duos, one from Deutsch, and one from Grey, to the other side of the world. The U.S. teams, and 12 other pairs in the running, knew nothing about the brief until the session began. And then they had to produce their entries in the allotted time, using existing long-form entries, and their wits.

    Ultimately, the panel of judges gave first place to the Deutsch team—copywriter Andrew Kong and art director Curtis Petraglia—for playful clips that teased fun activities in Singapore, and gently mocked viewers for missing them.

    "We started concepting around this feeling of travel envy—that jealousy you feel when looking at pictures and videos from your friends' awesome vacations," Kong says in a promotional blog post from Google. "We all hate those friends. That shared hatred/jealousy led us to the line, 'Singapore. You can be mad, or you can be here.' "

    The Grey team—art director Will Gardner and designer and junior art director Robert Jencks—took second place for clever little graphics equating Singapore to other world-class cities like New York and London, but without some of their less charming attributes.

    "The creative hack was a fun challenge that forced us to trust our guts and whittle down the ads to the core insight," says Gardner. Adds Jencks, "Initially, we had no idea what to expect from bumpers, and this opportunity showed us the possibilities of being creative within constraints."

    YouTube maintains the bumper format is ideal for mobile, where short—or as the company calls them, "snackable"—ads perform well. The brief framework itself can't help but evoke Geico and The Martin Agency's "Unskippable" campaign, which brilliantly packed the brand's message into a similarly minuscule window, during the beginning portion of longer pre-roll spots, before viewers could click past them to the content they were actually trying to see.

    The Deutsch and Grey teams came up with fun solutions, for sure. Then again, in an era when a certain amount of fast-turnaround marketing should probably be a regular part of any brand's broader strategy, seven hours might not seem that dazzling.

    At the very least, it's probably best from a billings perspective not to let marketers know how quickly ad creatives can actually work. Or maybe the takeaway is a little different—if marketers loosened the reins some, they might be pleasantly surprised with the results. 

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    Now this is a flame-broiled burn.

    A Burger King location in Queens, New York, has a lock on best restaurant Halloween costume of 2016 after it dressed up as the ghost of McDonald's—covering itself in billowing white sheets and trolling its rival with a special sign that read: "Booooooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween." 

    The stunt was limited to the single BK location at 92-85 Queens Blvd. But BK corporate is clearly involved, as the brand has posted a video (currently unlisted) of the "Scariest BK" to its YouTube channel.

    Here's a second video. And we've confirmed this stunt was coordinated by BK agency David in Miami. More pics below, too. 

    Client: Burger King

    Agency: David Miami 
    Client: Burger King
    Chief Creative Officer/Founder: Anselmo Ramos
    CD: Russell Dodson / Tony Kalathara
    Art Director: Ricardo Casal
    Copywriter: Juan Pena
    Design Director: Carlos "Panza" Lange
    Head of Global Production: Veronica Beach
    Producer: Carlos Torres
    Associate Producer: Marina Rodrigues
    Business Manager: Barbara Karalis
    Managing Director, Head of Account Management: Paulo Fogaça
    Group Account Director: Michelle Cobas
    Senior Account Director: Carmen Rodriguez
    Account Supervisor: Rafael Giorgino
    Strategy Director: Jon Carlaw

    Production Company: Crane.tv
    Director: Win Bates
    Executive Producer: Constantin Bjerke
    Producer: Oscar Evans
    Line Producer: Grace Gonzalez
    Production Coordination: Ilene Shaw
    Director of Photography: Peter Fackler
    Production Designer: Ron Beach Jr.
    Gaffer: Christopher Fisher
    Key Grip – Bliss Bussant

    Editorial: Cosmo Street Editorial
    Executive Producer: Maura Woodward, Yvette Cobarrubias-Sears
    Editor: Lawrence Young
    Assitant Editor: Ray Frech, David Belizario
    Producer: Vietan Nguyen

    Post: Switch FX
    Executive Producer: Diana Dayrit
    Flame Artist: Andrew Rea
    Producer: Cara Flynn

    Beacon Street Studios 
    Composers: Andrew Feltenstein & John Nau
    Executive Producer: Leslie DiLullo

    Alison Brod Public Relations
    SVP: Brooke Scher Mogan

    : A commenter on Facebook reminds us that Pepsi did a similar thing a few years ago, dressing up as Coca-Cola and wishing you "a scary Halloween" in a print ad from Brussels agency Buzz in a Box: 

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    This summer, the Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of Notes on Blindness. It's a film about John Hull, a theologian who spent 16 years chronicling his degenerative blindness in an audio journal before total darkness fell in 1983. 

    Alongside the film, Agat Films/Ex Nihilo and Audiogaming released "Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness," an immersive VR project that builds on that audio odyssey, and both supplements and promotes the original work. Funded by ARTE, the studios used binaural audio and real-time 3D animation to give people the sense of going blind alongside Hull—a neat juxtaposition to how the National MS Society used VR to help MS patients "relive" certain passions.

    Each scene addresses a memory and location from Hull's audio diary, and sound is used to create visual cues that build on the feeling that other senses are heightening—even visually compensating—as your eyes dim. 

    The project won the Storyscapes Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Alternate Realities VR Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest. It took two and a half years to perfect across multiple platforms. In a panel at MIPCOM last week (which I moderated), new media lead Arnaud Colinart of Agat/Ex Nihilo and CEO Amaury La Burthe of Audiogaming explained how they brought it to life, and what they took from the gaming world. 

    "We started from the audio material and the story John wanted to tell," La Burthe said. "We isolated several moments in the tapes… and tried to elaborate interactive situations." 

    One of the hardest aspects of the project was the very constraint that made it interesting. "We realized that by doing something that was only audio-based, we were losing a lot of people. We were losing the sighted audience," La Burthe went on. This led to creating visuals that can be "seen" only when sound is emitted in the transcripts. 

    In a VR experience, people impose their own timing. Some will rush through it, while others linger—making chronology difficult. (Director Alex Smith recently likened VR shooting to directing theater, in the sense that it's a living, unique experience for everyone, with nowhere for a cameraman or missed shot to hide.) 

    To compensate for this, they drew from a gaming principle called Flow Theory—the notion that a game can't be too simple (thus boring) or too complex (anxiety-inducing). 

    "Depending on how much you look around, the story's going to be slower," La Burthe said. "If you look around a lot, we're going to trigger a few additional things." 

    Who can get into an experience this complex? Colinart admitted it was "clearly a niche," but they aimed for festivals around the world to bait the tech and artistic communities. Festivals served as testbeds for future updates. The pair noted moments when, for example, people began to cry. It also appeared on the content homepage of the Samsung Gear VR headset. 

    Tech complications abounded, though. Because VR platforms aren't agnostic, the project had to be rebuilt for each one. "Forty-eight hours before the release, we discovered that the new version of iOS 10 introduced a major bug!" La Burthe revealed. "You don't have technical problems like that on an animated series. You're not going to lose all your rendering 48 hours before showing it to the public."

    But the pair saw the project as a powerful lesson in empathy, for themselves and others. Offstage, La Burthe explained that virtual reality can help people feel what others experience. 

    Colinart also sees it as a teaching opportunity for entertainment at large.

    "The success of studios such as Pixar and big video game studios is based on the possibility to fail and learn from these mistakes," he said. "In the culture of TV, especially in Europe, we don't have this culture of failure. We need to succeed. And it's impossible to start these kinds of projects if you are not ready to fail, learn from your mistakes, and restart."

    The Notes on Blindness VR experience is available on the Samsung Gear, and via mobile or Cardboard for both iOS and Android. The studios also created a supplementary short film called Radio H., based on the reflections of John Hull's daughter, Imogen Hull, who, as a child, created an audio diary at the same time he did: 

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    Becoming a woman is hard. There's that whole awkward adolescence, then the long canyon of negotiating space—with men, in careers, with other women. It takes a while to know who you are, to figure out whether you like high heels or not, hair long or short, red lipstick or something less aggressive. 

    Are you less aggressive? Do you address problems or quietly wait them out? What does either position look like in the eyes of others? Are you interesting? Is it OK to want to be interesting and pretty? Do you have to smile when somebody asks you to? 

    It isn't a journey we'd impose on anybody. 

    And one of the biggest tests of everyday womanhood happens in public bathrooms, those social watering holes where grooming happens, decibels rise and packs form. The space is so small that you can't be ignored; you will be sized up. You time the length of your pee, even if no one else is listening. You follow conversation; whose voice is louder, who is dominating? Who gets the mirror, who's blocking the sink? And will you be tacitly accepted by the eyes you decide matter, in that eternal few minutes of relieving nature's call? 

    It's a little nothing, but it can mean a lot in the moment. 

    Secret introduces this very quandary in the latest installment of its #StressTest campaign from Wieden + Kennedy Portland. Women flood into a public bathroom, chatting amiably. It's a warm but sharply enviable space, full of pretty people who aren't questioning a word that comes out of their mouths—who aren't questioning themselves (even if they are, deep inside).

    Meanwhile, in a dark stall, another woman panics. The cues are clear: She has probably always been a woman inside, but is just learning how to express that woman outside. She's in the negotiating-space portion of her transition. And it's deafeningly horrible. 

    After a deep breath, Dana exits her stall. 

    "Great dress," a voice says. 

    "It's really cute," says another. 

    Meanwhile, the words onscreen read, "Stress test #8260: Dana finds the courage to show there's no wrong way to be a woman." 

    As the ad wraps up, all the women watching collectively breathe out with our heroine. 

    "This ad was inspired by transgender women and a real-life moment which is stressful and challenging. This is one of many stories about women's stress we're proud to share," Janine Miletic, brand director of North America Deodorants at P&G, tells Adweek. 

    "Ladies' Room" has the unique quality of being both universally resonant among women, and timely, given the current political climate and all that hullabaloo about bathrooms and who gets to walk into which one. 

    "This spot was not intended to make any political statement or to support or oppose any specific legislation," Miletic clarifies. "We're nonpartisan and not affiliated with any political party. 'Stress-Tested for Women' builds on Secret's rich history of supporting all women who show courage in redefining feminine strength." 

    Per Miletic, Secret's objective has always been to support "confident, modern women" in its advertising. "The campaign highlights a variety of stressful situations that are culturally relevant, and how women face those challenges with courage every day," she says. "This spot is another story that we are telling through that lens. Secret knows it takes guts to redefine cultural norms, and proudly supports all women's efforts—big or small—to take life and stress head on."

    At the end of the ad, Secret promises "2x better sweat protection" for when your glands become your enemies. We like the campaign because, instead of focusing on obviously sweaty moments—the classic "day at the gym"—the brand takes on situations unique to its target, small acts of bravery that take more out of us than the other sex can easily understand. To wit: Foregoing a more typical "job interview" scenario, Secret previously pounced on that touchy request for an overdue raise.

    Dana's story follows in this path, and she's sure to resonate with the women in transition whose quiet everyday benchmarks haven't often been represented—much less this kindly.

    Client: Secret (P&G)
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

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    Remember that time Roundhouse sent a copywriter into the wilderness for a week, with nothing but client brands to keep him alive? Well, the Portland, Ore., agency just released the documentary. In "Living Off the Brands," witness how Lee Kimball ate, slept, bartered and battled the elements over the course of five long days.

    The docu's got an Into the Wild going on, with narration from Kimball about nature and, of course, what it means to "live your clients' brands."

    "I yearned to understand that casual claim and make it my credo," he says. "It was my desire to exist … persist … and persevere in the wilderness armed with only my body, my mind and the products of Roundhouse's clients." 

    When Kimball gets dropped off on the roadside of a sprawling wilderness (Oregon's Lower Crooked River), he's informed by the driver that "there's a lake over that way." Day one is devoted to finding it. Shortly after hitting himself with his own frying pan, and resigning himself to a trudge, he finds it about two seconds later. 

    Mysteries are short in the real world. 

    In the 16-minute film, we get clips of Kimball's Periscopes, where he shares the berries he finds and wonders whether they're edible. And there's the brands—the night he tries Treehouse Drinking Chocolate beside a fire; his (unsuccessful) fishing excursion wearing a Redington outfit; his ever-present Adidas cap.

    Food is clearly the biggest challenge. Kimball has water to boil, but struggles with finding sustenance. Midway through the film, he admits, "Dirt sounds pretty appetizing," as he picks at a meager selection of grubs. 

    While he attributes many failed experiments to "user error," he does find ways to make good use of alcohol—using Faust wine to cook nettles (classy!) and Widmer Brothers' Upheaval IPA to barter with fisherman for what appears to be one fish and some water. We can only hope to be so creative in a similar situation. 

    "Now I can start sweating again," he mutters after his first sip of water. And in a moment that brings Watson from Cast Away to mind, he uses fish heads to have a tiny conversation. "You guys are my best friends … because you let me eat you," he whispers softly.

    That is on day three. 

    Needless to say, Kimball survives his journey, but all this pathos should be sufficient temptation to watch the rest. For your happiness, we also asked him a few questions now that he's back in the civilized world. 

    AdFreak: So, you spent a week in the wilderness. Quick contrast: How did you feel on the first day versus the last day?
    Lee Kimball: The excitement level was equally palpable, but for different reasons. On day one, I was headed out into the unknown to fend for myself and risk life and limb for the glory of Roundhouse and its clients. I was a little naive in my excitement, though, and just happy to be out of the office and in the woods for a week. 

    By day five, when I got picked up in the van, I nearly wept as I wrapped my grubby, stubby fingers around a bottle of fresh, clear, unboiled water. I was definitely ready to head home.

    Which three brand items helped you the most?
    Truth be told, they all did in some form or another. I suppose the most important, though, was my Leatherman Signal, which provided me with fire thanks to its fire-starter ferro rod—plus it had some pretty sweet knives, saws and other tools—separating me from the beasts and cavemen who came before me. Next was probably my Finex Cast Iron Skillet and Pot so I could boil water on the fire—and not drink the giardia-infested lake water—then my Yeti Rambler Tumbler so I could drink my "clean" water once it cooled down. 

    But all of the brands helped … Widmer Brothers Brewing gave me a highly tradable commodity, so when I failed so miserably at fly fishing with my Redington gear, I was able to trade with people because I had beer. And beer is practically a currency in the wild. 

    Least useful?
    Well, I don't want to talk trash about any of our clients' brands, but that Adidas USA soccer ball never really came in handy for anything. Sorry, soccer fans! 

    The survival tactics you learned? 
    I learned the caloric value of beetles and ant larvae, unfortunately. I also learned—with the help of my social media friends on Periscope and Instagram—how to identify edible berries, and that holding rocks that have been warmed in the fire will keep your fingers from falling off during the cold nights. Oh yeah, and I learned just how essential water is to human survival, even after only a few days.

    How has it changed the way you perceive the products you brought in with you?
    I found out quickly that I'd overestimated my fly fishing abilities and realized just how much of an art there is in doing it right. I was super grateful for the Treehouse Drinking Chocolate because I used it as a chocolatey reward for accomplishing just about anything. 

    I correctly assumed I would make full use of the Reebok and Adidas gear, but didn't realize just how cold it got up there, even in the summertime. So having lots of layers ended up being pretty big league. (That's a saying now, right?) 

    No, it's not. What item do you absolutely wish you'd had with you?
    Seriously, if it's not already obvious, a water purifier would have made this ordeal a cakewalk. Apart from that, a sleeping bag and tent would have been pretty comfy-cozy. 

    How were you extracted, and how did you feel when it happened?
    We had a pre-determined rendezvous that I was able to find after a final sesh of wilderness wandering. Seeing that dusty old van come over the hill gave me a feeling of euphoria that was only surpassed by the delicious burger and fries I ate a few hours later at Poppa Al's Famous Hamburgers. 

    Would you do it again? Has it changed you?
    I would do it again in a heartbeat, especially knowing the few tricks I learned from this first time around. And who knows, maybe we have a few more clients, like a food or water account, so that next time it's a little easier. 

    But overall, I think we definitely proved ourselves as an agency that lives its clients' brands. And although I've always had a relationship with social media that is "complicated," I do appreciate its value a bit more and the kindness of strangers. 

    I'm so grateful for all the people who tuned in to cheer me on and give me lifesaving advice. It's surprising just how re-energized you can get from other people's enthusiasm. I encourage everyone to try it, and I'll be on the other end cheering for you.

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    The anti-Trump outdoor advertising rolls on—even overseas.

    We've seen a ton of Donald-bashing outdoor ads in the U.S. (from the Nuisance Committee to Wieden + Kennedy to those rogue NYC bus-shelter ads), and it seems that Europe is getting into the spirit as well. That's judging by a clever bus ad from Denmark that pleads with American expats to vote—lest the unhinged Trump find his way to the White House.

    Check out some GIFs of the googley-eyed execution here:

    The ad was made by creative agency Uncle Grey and paid for by the the Socialist People's Party (in Danish, the Socialistisk Folkeparti, or SF).

    "The ad is obviously done with a sense of humor, but we actually do take the U.S. election very seriously. It has a huge impact on us all, even in tiny Denmark," SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr says. "Mr. Trump's political views are very far from ours, and I find it rather scary to think of him sitting in the Oval Office. I hope that we can influence some of the Americans living in Denmark and make them vote. Every vote counts."

    There are 8,714 Americans who are living in Denmark and able to vote in the U.S. election, the group says. Meanwhile, says the agency, "the bus, and Donald Trumps eyes, will continue to spin around the streets of Copenhagen, and the Internet, until Election Day."

    Agency: UncleGrey Copenhagen
    Client: SF
    Strategic Director: Carsten Bülow
    Account Director: Madeleine Naesborg
    Creative Director: Jimmy Blom
    Creative Director: Thomas Ilum
    Senior Art Director: Lukas Lund
    Senior Art Director: Simon Naver
    Art Director: Carl Angelo
    Copywriter: Sophie Hotchkiss
    Film: Mathias Nielsen
    Retouch: GreyWorks
    Seeding: BeOn
    Media partner: Out of Home Media

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    Dos Equis is out with its first full commercial featuring its new Most Interesting Man in the World. And he looks, perhaps unsurprisingly, like a rugged twist on a dazzling young Heineken guy.

    The famous brand character, now played by French actor Augustin Legrand, is still an impossibly suave sportsman. But the silvered wisdom of his predecessor in the role, Jonathan Goldsmith, has given way to a thrill-hungry roguishness that unfolds on camera, as he races airboats, spars in samurai armor, and punts coconuts through goal posts formed by giraffes.

    If Goldsmith was the elder statesman of not being boring, Legrand is its brash middle-aged barker.

    Notably, the Most Interesting Man now has a partner in crime—a woman with whom to share the adventures, and compete in them. Goldsmith, who introduced the role in 2006, defined it for almost a decade, and retired from it earlier this year, played a version that seemed a perennial bachelor.

    And in a tweak of the campaign's "Stay Thirsty" tagline, his "my friends" has become Legrand's "mis amigos." That tracks to the first spot teasing Legrand, launched last month, which also found him conversing in Spanish—a nod to the beer's Mexican heritage.

    Otherwise, though, the structure of the ad is almost identical to the original series. The copywriting remains the centerpiece, with droll and hyperbolic lines celebrating the Most Interesting Man's prowess.

    "The new Most Interesting Man is a man of action," says Toygar Bazarkay, chief creative officer at Dos Equis agency Havas Worldwide. "He's never one to reminisce on times past, which stylistically changes everything. With a faster pace and more energy, we're reinvigorating and modernizing one of the greatest campaigns."

    Dos Equis, now owned by Heineken (which bought its parent brewery in 2010 and continued Goldsmith's character), is framing the LeGrande reboot as aimed at meeting new definitions of the word "interesting" among millennial audiences. Its release is also timed with the launch of the brand's sponsorship of College Football Playoff—hence the new ad's reference to a tropical not-quite-pigskin (other spots themed around the sport will also follow).

    The new presentation also bears striking resemblance, in spirit, to some of the advertising in recent years for Heineken's namesake brand, which has featured various "Legends" and "Man of the World" characters—usually dapper, James Bond-esque charmers (and sometimes 007 himself)—zipping around the world, sweeping up women, or hapless tourists, into grand exploits.

    That similarity may say more about the limited number of ways to portray a beer-drinking male ideal, or about the hyper-masculine advertising zeitgeist that Dos Equis has been key in shaping, than the new interpretation of the character.

    What is clear is that even if the younger Most Interesting Man has paired off, he's not quite settled down.

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    Death becomes them.

    Filmmakers Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz came to prominence last year with the breathtaking "Dear Brother" spec ad for Johnnie Walker. That spot, with 7 million views across all platforms, put an evocative spin on the concepts on brotherly love, freedom and the ties that bind this world to the next.

    Now, the creative duo, students at the Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, return with another stylish meditation on matters of life and death. Unlike their Johnnie Walker ad, with its ethereal, poetic vibe, this new spot traffics in stylish black humor to play up the safety advantages of Volvo's Autonomous Driving system.

    Is it spec? You bet your life it is. That said, the directors got Volvo's blessing before going ahead. "We contacted Volvo to ask about some of their brand new models," Lebherz tells AdFreak. "We knew that was a little risky with that script, but we wanted [to show] a car that had not been released at that time. And actually, we were a little bit surprised when they told us it was OK."

    Heck, as long the car doesn't kill anyone—and the fleabags don't get flattened—why should Volvo object?

    Aiming for an English-village feel, the team shot for two days in Ludwigsburg, near the film school in Stuttgart, and took great care getting the tongue-in-cheek music just right.

    "It took a lot of time finishing the song," says Lebherz. "At the beginning, we had thought of a child's song with a kid singing the ABCs. [Music house] Yessian produced it, but it didn't work at all, as you totally lost empathy for the people living in the village. After trying out different tracks, the idea of an old Frank Sinatra-type song came up."

    With about 25,000 YouTube views in its first few days online, "ABC of Death"—which owes a conceptual debt to Edward Gorey's book The Gashlycrumb Tinies—has a long way to go to catch last year's "Dear Brother," which generated 4 million views on that site alone.

    "Dear Brother" won't be getting anymore eyeballs there in the short term, however, as the site recently removed the clip after a producer in England complained that Titz and Lebherz stole their idea. The German duo deny that and are working to get their film reinstated.

    So, for now, on YouTube, "ABC of Death" will have to represent the pair's affinity for morbidity. Meanwhile, this recent Aldi ad (work for a paying client) finds the directors enthusiastically embracing life.

    Volvo, "ABCs of Death" (Spec)
    Concept: Dorian & Daniel
    Directors: Dorian & Daniel
    Director of Photography: Jan David Günther
    Producers: Celina Finger, Madlen Folk
    Production Design Mona Otterbach
    Editor: Raquel Caro Nunez
    Music: Yessian Music
    Composers: Ralf Denker, Ingmar Rehberg
    Sound Design: Marvin Keil

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    What happens when you mix mean tweets, improv comedy, political satire and user-generated content? This new ultra-long-form ad from scotch brand Laphroaig that's so entertaining, you might actually find yourself watching the whole thing. (Well, maybe.)

    That would be three and a half hours of comedian Andy Daly, of Comedy Central's much-loved and now-defunct Review, doing what the brand is calling a "filibuster," so he can read three years' worth of consumer comments. Some of them are fawning, but most are negative, even downright blistering. There are even some twisted haikus.

    Pegging the video to the current presidential race, Laphroaig wanted to highlight "another passionate debate that has been gripping the country for years: Is our scotch a peaty, smoky delight, or does it smell like a burning hospital?"

    First, props for the self-deprecating tone and fearlessness of using feedback gathered from the long-running #OpinionsWelcome campaign. Recurring descriptions of the product from drinkers include: seaweed, dirt, ashtrays, lighter fluid and iodine. And second, thanks for giving Daly an uninterrupted forum to riff on those sentiments. Like some politicos IRL, he takes his work seriously—in the best cheeky way—and can't be distracted, even by a buzzing fly, a screaming car alarm or the call of nature.

    "When Laphroaig first approached me about the concept, I thought, 'They want me to do what for how many hours?!' " Daly, who's also been a CarMax pitchman, tells Adweek in a statement. "But as soon as I became more familiar with the #OpinionsWelcome campaign and the wonderfully descriptive opinions submitted by people from around the country, I was sold. It was a unique and challenging undertaking, but so much fun to be a part of."

    On the positive side, there are comments like "Sweet Molly smoldering in her liquid ember" and "The most divine chimney fire you've ever tasted."

    But there are also plenty of parallels drawn between the beverage and primordial ooze, dirty sweat socks, dumpster fires and fish eggs. "It's not for everyone," a commenter says understatedly, while another likened it to "a brine-soaked Band-Aid"—to which Daly replies, "Drink up!"

    The video, created by agency Multiply and Highline Studios director Damon Hoydysh, happened in a single take, according to the marketer—which is clear from Daly's performance, which charmingly includes flubs and all. It joins the extreme-long-form trend that includes Laphroaig competitor Lagavulin single malt scotch (Nick Offerman's 45-minute Yule Log) and brands like Arby's (with its 13-hour brisket commercial).

    Client: Laphroaig
    Agency: Multiply
    Creative Director: Jon Cunningham
    Account Director: Victoria Zabel-Wirdak
    Production: Highline Studios
    Director: Damon Hoydysh

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    On Halloween, our greatest fears become playthings, cheeky options for dress-up and candy. But who's seriously afraid of vampires, zombies and werewolves anymore? 

    Our fears have changed. And the World Wildlife Fund of Canada thinks costumes should, too. With help from Sid Lee Toronto and the Sid Lee Collective, it's getting into the holiday spirit with a line of masks that depict—wait for it!—blood-curdling environmental issues. 

    The "Real Scary" line includes masks for Factory Farming, Overfishing, Pesticides and Oil Spills. Here's the promotional video, with quick cuts and jarring music torn straight from American Horror Story. 

    "The damage humans are doing to the planet is much scarier than any imaginary monster," says executive creative director Jeffrey Da Silva of Sid Lee Toronto. "Kids seem to know this better than adults, and Halloween night felt like the perfect time to spark a conversation about what they are truly scared of." 

    Along with the masks, posters and social posts will be shared far and wide. A pop-up exhibit took place Wednesday at Rally in Toronto, with all proceeds going to the WWF. 

    Check out the masks and posters below. Can you guess which of the four evil environmental horsemen is which? 

    If you can't, we'll walk you through it. Meet Oil, the terror of fish, sea fowl and now your uptight next-door neighbor, whose daughter is "a pretty ballerina" every goddamn year: 

    Below is Factory Farming, a colorful monstrosity of efficiency that resembles the remains of a food fight whose only fuel came from the dollar menu. (It also presents an excellent pretext for refusing candy corn. What is that stuff, anyway?) 

    This gleeful horror is Pesticides, whose blatant disregard for bees is half of what fuels the appropriately terrifying finale of Black Mirror season 3. (The other half is cybershaming. In case you wondered.) 

    And there's Overfishing, whose fruits (or lack thereof) will make you wish you could catch something this creepy to eat in 50 years or so. All that's missing is a hook! 

    A final poster features all four:

    Happy apocalypse trick-or-treating!


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