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  • 02/04/13--00:57: First Mover: Ryan Seacrest

  • Specs
    New gig Founder of Seacrest Global Group, majority owner of events marketing agency Civic Entertainment Group
    Continuing gig Host of American Idol

    In addition to hosting American Idol, doing a radio show and other jobs, you just invested in a marketing agency, Civic Entertainment Group. So when do you sleep?
    [Laughs] Good question. Not much. Usually between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and right now I’m speaking to you from one my offices known as a vehicle, a car where I’ve set up my mobile workspace here in the back.

    What’s your mobile work space?
    It consists of a screening screen so I can screen edits of shows that we shoot, and a whole bunch of papers that tell me where I need to be, what I need to be doing and who I need to be meeting, all spread out in the seat next to me.

    Why buy a marketing agency?
    Civic had already built an incredible marketing service business with some of the people they’ve worked with at HBO, CNN, A&E. I was impressed with the type of work they’d done for their partners as well as something they’d done for NBC called Education Nation. One of our goals within my company has always been to connect brands and consumers and brands and audiences. And I thought that this would be a way to help build on what they’ve already created by infusing some of the access that we have to brands that we’ve worked with for a long time, as well as the access that we have to content that we’re creating. I strongly believe in this type of creative marketing and slightly unconventional marketing as the media landscape has changed over the years. There’s so much saturation, and these types of experiential marketing events are more and more important. Since we’ve invested with them, we’ve had several meetings with Fox and are going to do some work for them on American Idol.

    Historically, your credentials are in unscripted programming. How’s the push into scripted going?
    I have a very good team of development execs that are trying to come up with both unscripted and scripted ideas formats. We just sent some of our team overseas to look at different things that are happening there, and also to sell some of our ideas in the U.K. Our goal is to expand internationally, more so than we have. We’ve sold two movies that are in development, at two different studios. One is at Universal. One is at Paramount. We have sold a scripted show to the E! network, which is still in development. We have sold one to FX.

    What are you going to buy next?
    We recently made an investment in Pinterest that we’re really excited about. We have looked at another company that would complement the work that Civic does on a global scale.

    You were great in Knocked Up, way back when. Any plans to do more acting?
    [Laughs] It’s always fun to step into a role like that, where Judd Apatow was extremely generous in letting me come have fun and let the wheels fall off of that situation and get to do something I would never get to do on broadcast TV. But it’s not necessarily on my agenda to become an actor because I just don’t think I’m good at it. I mean, I can’t memorize lines. … Maybe my biggest issue is I can’t memorize a script, so I’m much better at making it up as I go.

    Your doctor tells you you’re running yourself into the ground, you absolutely have to drop one of your jobs … which goes? I’d fire the doctor. I’d go get a second opinion.

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  • 02/04/13--01:05: The Spot: Oh, Baby
  • IDEA: The E*Trade baby isn't known as a world traveler. All that changed Sunday in the company's high-energy Super Bowl spot, in which the talking toddler showed what you could do with the 401(k) dollars you're losing to hidden fees. In short, you could have one hell of a world party, as a photo montage during the spot demonstrated, showing the baby running with the bulls (in a BabyBjorn), sailing (poorly), taking a trip to space (with a dog) and playing polo (like a boss), among other expensive activities—all set to pounding music. It's a boisterous evolution for the normally highchair- and crib-bound infant. "It is a different kind of spot," said Tor Myhren, president and chief creative officer of Grey in New York. "In other ads, we've had a little puke here, a clown there. But mostly it was 30 seconds of a streetwise baby saying funny things. This year we went to a more visual solution." Added E*Trade CMO Nick Utton: "It's exponentially more difficult each year to keep it fresh and have a different messaging component. … Tor and the team haven't been sleeping much, but we are very pleased with how it turned out."

    COPYWRITING: Writing started last May, yielding scores of ideas, but this script didn't come along until mid-December. "Having great music and great imagery, and taking the baby to places he's never been, seemed fresh and Super Bowl-worthy," said Myhren. In the front half of the ad, the baby broaches the fees issue with his typical jaded attitude ("Oh, this is tragic, man…"). He wraps the second half with a simple "Boom!"—echoing the "Whoa!" he uttered at the end of his first Super Bowl spot, in 2008, after spitting up on his keyboard. "We write hundreds of lines," said Myhren. "Finally you come up with 'Boom.' I hope America loves it. You play it for large crowds, and it seems to play well." The on-screen tagline is: "Less for us. More for you."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: There have been four E*Trade babies, and for this spot, Grey used footage of the original one, which was shot in late 2007. (Grey handles the production itself.) The agency has a 4-year-old say the lines and grafts the mouth onto the baby—somewhat crudely, but intentionally so. Combined with the visually flat bedroom scenes, it's almost "anti art direction," said Myhren. "The word I use is real. If you go over-the-top CGI with it and he's running around doing backflips, to me it's not funny." On the Super Bowl, he added, "where everything's loud and over the top, it forces you to pay attention." The creatives mocked up dozens of photos for the montage. In the end, some communicate financial excess, while others are more random. "The baby in the hot tub with the panda?" said Myhren. "It doesn't make much sense, but it was just funny. People would laugh, for whatever reason. You can't ignore that."

    TALENT: Comedian Pete Holmes does the voiceover and helps fine-tune the scripts. E*Trade won't say much about the child actors. "We try to keep that magical component under wraps," Utton said, adding that trust funds have been set up for all of them.

    SOUND: Music labels and commercial music houses were asked for ideas, but Grey's Zach Pollakoff found the track—"Drinking From the Bottle," by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris and English rapper Tinie Tempah. "It has a very, very positive vibe to it," said Myhren. "It drives the images forward and leaves you feeling really good about E*Trade."

    MEDIA: The ad should stay in rotation for at least a year, Utton said. But wowing Super Bowl viewers is its primary job. "This is Q1," he said. "We've got to hit some numbers."


    Client: E*Trade
    Spot: "Save It"
    Agency: Grey, New York
    Account Team: Jon Holding, AJ Mazza, Kim Gordon, Melisa Ramos
    Art Director: Corel Theuma
    Asst. Producer: Sophia Pellicoro
    Business manager: Angelique Vargas
    Casting: Nina Pratt
    Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Copywriters: Pete Holmes, Jonathan Koffler, Pieter Melief
    Creative Directors: Kimberly Kietz, AJ Mazza, Leo Savage
    Editorial: Vision Post
    Editor: Alex Cohan
    Assistant Editor: Jackie Helfgott
    Director of Broadcast Production: Bennett McCarroll
    Executive Producer, Vision Post: Gray Hirshfield
    Executive Producer, Grey: Kimberly Kietz
    Line Producers, Vision Post: Lindsay Brzowski/Michaela Moriarty
    Mix, Vision Post: Dante DeSole/Matt Baker
    Music Producer: Zachary Pollakoff, Amy Rosen
    Director Of Music: Josh Rabinowitz
    Director of Music Supervision and Licensing: Amy Rosen
    Music: Drinking From The Bottle - Calvin Harris featuring Tinie Tempah
    Still Frame Retouching: Vision Print Studio: Doug Fornuff, Jill Supinsky, Andrew Thurlow, and Greg Angrisani. Peeqmedia NYC: Ken Anselmi, Ed Ganzer, Thomas Stachula and Jeff Lindauer
    Still Frame concepts: Art Directors: Drew Christien, Ronney Chong, Jon Holding,
    Tina Lee, Sol Oh, Korie Park, Leo Savage, Corel Theuma
    Art Producer: Ana Suarez
    Associate Art Producer: Lauren Brunelle
    Special Effects: The Mill
    NYC Executive Producer: Jared Yeater
    VFX Lead/Flame Artist: Keith Sullivan
    Flame Artist: Kevin Quinlan, Tony Robbins
    Flame Assist: Randy Krueger
    Elements Shoot Director: Adam Carboni
    Elements Shoot Producer: Latiya Perkins
    End Tag Design: Gera Frascaroli

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  • 02/04/13--11:33: Ad of the Day: Adobe
  • A talking chimp and talking horse are the perfect Super Bowl ad characters. But that doesn't mean they have any respect for those who shell out a fortune for 30 seconds of TV time.

    Adobe released this spot from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners online this morning, and it's the perfect riposte to last night's incredible spend-fest. It shows a chimp and a horse on a film set discussing their roles in an upcoming ad for the "big game," though soon it becomes clear that this is purely mercenary work for these guys.

    "Can you believe they spend millions of dollars on these things? For what, 30 seconds?" says the chimp. "You know, it's way cheaper to run it online, 'cause then they'll know who sees it and whether it works."

    As the E*Trade baby would say, "Boom!"

    Advertising people will chuckle that it was Goodby that made this spot—the same agency that had such great success using a chimp in E*Trade's Super Bowl spots more than a decade ago. (Here it's a man in a chimp costume.)

    The spot advertises Adobe Marketing Cloud, an Adobe product that offers digital marketers a set of analytics, social, advertising, targeting and web experience management solutions for real-time monitoring of online campaigns.

    The spot ends with the Adobe tagline "Metrics, not myths."


    Advertising Agency
    Goodby Silverstein & Partners

    Rich Silverstein - Co-Chairman, Creative Director
    Keith Anderson - Creative Director
    Shane Fleming - Art Director
    Steve Nathans - Copywriter

    Cindy Fluitt - Director of Broadcast Production
    Cindy Epps - Producer

    Robert Riccardi - Managing Partner
    Angie Ziebell - Account Director
    Joel Giullian - Account Director
    VJ Varoon Jain – Account Manager

    John Thorpe – Group Brand Strategy Director
    Molly Cabe – Senior Brand Strategist

    Dong Kim - Group Communication Strategy Director
    Sarah Alwen - Sr. Communication Strategist

    Production Company
    Tool of North America
    Director - Tom Routson

    Barbary Post

    Visual Effects
    Brickyard VFX, Santa Monica
    VFX Supervisor/Colorist: Mandy Sorenson
    VFX Artist: Patrick Poulatian
    VFX Artist: Chris Sonia
    VFX Artist: Todd Mesher
    VFX Artist: Andy Edwards
    Head of CG: David Blumenfeld
    CG Artist: Bryant Reif
    CG Artist: Matt Rosenfeld
    Producer: Linda Jackson
    Executive Producer: Jeff Blodgett

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    Here's something you don't see every day: A print ad that imagines what the world map would look like if every land mass and topographical feature were shaped like the Land Rover Defender. The answer is that everything would look quite a bit lumpier. The image, from RKCR/Y&R in London, is a nice way to capitalize on the tagline: "70% of the world is covered by water. The rest is covered by Defender.” Except, that is, for Italy, Florida and a few other pesky peninsulas, which the Defender is apparently willing to concede to the water.

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    Hey, San Francisco, are you ready for some PUDDING?! No, really, are you? Because Kraft's Jell-O Pudding plans to send thousands of free cups of the stuff your way today as a consolation prize in the wake of the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "Nothing masks the bitter taste of defeat like the sweet taste of Jell-O," explains a brand spokesman in a promotional clip, quoting Vince Lombardi, or possibly someone else. San Franciscans with free time can visit FunThingsUp.com for details of drop sites and times. Those with even more free time can download the Baltimore Blocker, a Chrome extension that "will replace all words and images related to Baltimore with things you'd much rather see. Like puppies." (Though that really just seems like a good way to make Niners fans start to hate puppies.) Wheaties: Breakfast of champions. Jell-O Pudding: Food for losers

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    Toronto's Union Station has been graced by this cool "zombie hands" installation for The Walking Dead that loses a finger every day until this Sunday, when Season 3 returns to the air. I wonder who's in charge of removing the fingers. Does the agency make some intern walk down there every morning and do it, or is it some Union Station janitor's responsibility? I also wonder who's in charge of calming down any children who happen to walk past. Those without impressionable youngsters at home can tweet #TWDFeb10 for a chance to win one of the giant fingers, which would make a great ottoman. I hope they make a big show of the daily dismemberment since this ad is more interesting than the show has been for a while now. Agency: Leo Burnett in Toronto. Via Copyranter.

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    Two fairly amusing New York Lottery commercials from DDB New York illustrate just what it means to be "that kind of rich." In one spot, a lottery millionaire spends big bucks on elaborate effects to convince his pal that aliens have invaded—just so he can snap a picture of the guy's terrified face. (Chill, dude, it's clearly CGI.) The other ad shows a guy who cracks people up wherever he goes because he can afford to have a team of comedy writers led by Andy Richter feeding him lines through an earpiece. At a traffic stop, he warns the cop who's giving him a ticket, "Whatever you do, don't look in the trunk." Ha. That's rich—kind of. The spot closes with Richter telling his staff, "All right, we need dip jokes." With all that jackpot money flying around, I'm surprised they couldn't afford a bigger finish. Bigger dip jokes. Now, that's rich!

    Client: New York Lottery
    Agency: DDB, New York

    Spot: "Invasion"
    Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
    Group Creative Director: Richard Sharp
    Group Creative Director: Mike Sullivan
    Creative Director: Scott Cooney
    Head of Production: Ed Zazzera
    Executive Producer: Walter Brindak
    Group Account Director: Leo Mamorsky
    Management Supervisor: Kelly Gorsky
    Account Supervisor: Heather Olson
    Account Executive: Kemi Adewumi
    Account Executive: Tarina Hesaltine
    Production Company: O Positive
    Director: Jim Jenkins
    Edit House:     Cutting Room
    Editor: Chuck Willis
    Assistant Editor:  Mike Ramirez & Steve DiLeone
    Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
    Producer: Eytan Gutman
    Colorist: Chris Ryan
    Audio Engineer: Walter Bianco @ Cutting Room
    Effects House:  Light of Day
    Creative Director/Flame Artist - Colin Stackpole
    Smoke Artist - Josh Williams
    CG Director - James Collins
    Head of Production/Producer - Kristen Barnard

    Spot: "Writers Room"
    Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
    Group Creative Director: Richard Sharp
    Group Creative Director: Mike Sullivan
    Creative Director:  Scott Cooney
    Creative Director: Sean Labounty
    Head of Production: Ed Zazzera
    Executive Producer: Walter Brindak
    Group Account Director: Leo Mamorsky
    Management Supervisor: Kelly Gorsky
    Account Supervisor: Heather Olson
    Account Executive: Kemi Adewumi
    Account Executive: Tarina Hesaltine
    Production Company: O Positive
    Director: David Shane
    Edit House: Cutting Room
    Editor: Chuck Willis
    Assistant Editor: Mike Ramirez & Steve DiLeone
    Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
    Producer: Eytan Gutman
    Colorist: Les Rudge
    Audio Engineer: Walter Bianco @ Cutting Room

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    Playtex has a new product called "Fresh + Sexy" intimate wipes, designed for men and women to freshen up before and after sex. New ads for the product, from Grey in New York, have a hard time addressing the issue directly, so they use suggestive wordplay. "A clean beaver always find more wood," says one ad showing a clean beaver finding more wood (or possibly just floating in a stream). "A clean pecker always taps it," says a second ad showing a woodpecker tapping it at least temporarily. There are two other ads: "A polished knob always gets more turns," showing a shiny doorknob, and "A clean peach always gets picked," showing a glistening peach. BuzzFeed has questioned whether the headlines are factually true, while Jezebel focuses on the woman-shaming aspect of the ads. What do client and agency have to say?

    "This product was designed to address an important consumer need. Sex isn't always a planned event that can be prepared for. With Fresh + Sexy wipes, couples now have a way to be clean and ready for even the most spontaneous moments. They can be ready for intimacy whenever—and wherever—the mood strikes." —Erik Rahner, group marketing director at parent company Energizer Personal Care

    "We wanted to be fun and playful and bold all at the same time. And the campaign lets us be all those things. … When you're clean where it counts, you're ready for anything." —Elaine McCormick, creative director at Grey New York

    See the woodpecker ad below.

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  • 02/06/13--12:17: Ad of the Day: Herbaria Tea
  • This new spot for the latest game in EA's Dead Space series really captures the visceral horror of the video-game franchise's sickest, most disgusting … wait, hold on.

    I'm sorry, this is an ad for herbal tea.

    It plays better pre-spoiled, so watch below. The punch line just seems ridiculous. On the second viewing, however, you can see more clearly what's dragging the hideous clown, the bloated corpse and the ghost down into the murky depths. "Drown your fears," it says, and seems to imply: "And if you don't have any fears, you are welcome to try a few suggestions from our Fear Generation department here at Hungary-based Herbaria."

    One of the nice things about European ads is they seem to take for granted that you can get away with a lot more on the air, and so they just go for broke (witness this 1992 winner of the Cannes Grand Prix).

    The makeup artists really deserve some kudos for this one. The clown is, of course, the star of this nightmare, but the chainsaw-wielding zombie guy is perfectly put together (or rather, taken apart), and the effect on the ghost is fascinating—how did they do that? CGI? Really good underwater face makeup and a shaved head? I don't know, but I dig.

    There is no escape for these evil creatures from the vast plain of water, which ends up being the inside of your teacup. It doesn't exactly make me want tea right this moment, but it does make me want to see if I can substitute tea for Ativan.

    Client: Herbaria
    Agency: Jung von Matt/Neckar
    Production Company: Tempomedia
    Director: Andreas Roth
    DOP: Roland Stuprich
    Co-Production Company: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
    Service Production: Valentine Films

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    H&M, which used to pimp clothes from Madonna, has now hired her ex, Guy Ritchie, to film this spot for the David Beckham Bodywear collection. Of course, it stars Beckham, who, though a series of unfortunate events, has his clothes ripped off. Thanks to his dog shutting the door in his face, the soccer star has no choice but to chase down a Victoria Beckham-designed Range Rover to get his robe back. You get everything: Beckham rising slowly out of a pool, dripping wet; his shirt ripping off to reveal chiseled abs; and not one but two close-cropped shots of his ass as he adjusts his H&M underpants. Beckham told HM.com that "people will get to see me play a role I've never done before!" Sorry, David, but there's nothing new about your role as "sexy bitch" in this film. (Not that that's a bad thing. "I'm pregnant," says one blown-away YouTube viewer.) Check out the spot and marvel at how Beckham turns picking a wedgie out of his ass into pure sex appeal.

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  • 02/06/13--21:04: Perspective: Bowl Game
  • If you could peer into the cupboards of every U.S. household, you’d find Campbell’s soup in 100 million of them (that’s 80 percent, by the way). Want that picture on a per-can basis? Each year Campbell’s sells 2 billion of them. Nobody—not least at a time when unemployment hovers just below 8 percent—questions the validity of soup for dinner.

    But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, as the two Campbell’s ads here suggest, soup hasn’t always been an easy sell for American stomachs. “These ads are snapshots of their time and the culture, and in fact both ads are similar,” said Buddy Ketchner, president of brand strategy innovation firm Sterling-Rice Group, which has worked with packaged-food brands for 30 years. “Both of them are permission ads, and both have a hurdle to overcome.”

    Canned foods date all the way back to 1810 when Napoleon used them to feed his armies. But despite its 140-year culinary track record, by 1950 soup in a can faced a barrier of entry to the American dinner table: Her name was Mom. “There was a lot of skepticism and distrust,” Ketchner said. “At the time, a big part of Mom’s identity was as a provider, making a home-cooked meal from scratch. People felt that convenience foods couldn’t be as good as what you made from scratch. So what you’re witnessing here was a category challenging someone’s identity.”

    Funny thing is, the category won—and it won, in part, through the mainstreaming techniques you can see at work in this ad. The soup enjoys entrée presentation, right down to a fork. And, at a time when the ability to afford beef was a meter of domestic security, this ad uses the word “beef” no fewer than 12 times—“tender pieces of beef” and “thick brown beef stock” just for “you beef eaters” out there. Said Ketchner: “Campbell’s created a powerful message that you’re providing a healthy meal that feels similar to a home-cooked one.”

    So that’s one hurdle cleared; the second—today’s—began taking shape when all the boys and girls who grew up eating soup in the 1950s turned into the aging baby-boomer cohort, some 79 million Americans who no longer care about the domestic constraints of postwar gender roles but sure as hell would like to avoid heart disease. And so, in this 2013 ad, Campbell’s is granting permission once again. “The permission is, if you’re worried about your heart, you should feel OK about eating this,” noted Ketchner. By keeping its Healthy Request line below 410 mg of sodium per serving, Campbell’s has earned the right to display the American Heart Association logo, whose importance trumps the lovely place setting of yore.

    Visually, the 1950 ad is probably more interesting than the current one. But Ketchner observed that both show a brand adapting its core product to the times. “They show how much more complied it is,” he said, “because people expect so much from their food now.” Campbell’s seems to have adapted quite well. Sales of its heart-friendly soup line are up 21 percent over the past five years. Oh yeah, and Mom doesn’t feel guilty about serving soup anymore. She’s at work.

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    "It's Bugles! It's Bugles! The game that you can eat!" After watching these retro-minimalist commercials for General Mills's Bugles from Cossette in Toronto (and Untitled Films director Curtis Wehrfritz), I can't get that freaking jingle out of my head. "It's Bugles! It's Bugles!" I'm singing it as I type. "The game that you can eat!" The spots star two boys—one sort of resembles a young Andy Richter—who amuse themselves by using the horn-shaped salty-crunchy snacks to play games like checkers and dress-up and even build an intricate Eiffel Tower. "It's Bugles! It's Bugles! The game that you can eat!" Whoa, the tune's abominably, annoying, craptastically catchy! I can feel my mind melting! Anyway, individual Bugles do resemble game pieces, and kids apparently like to fit them on their fingers and play with them, so the concept, though a bit of a stretch, works well enough. Kudos for using a few simple props (dig that groovy credenza) to suggest a '60s/'70s setting. "It's Bugles! It's Bugles!" Would someone please bash me in the face with a Pet Rock or lava lamp and end this melodious madness! "The game that you can eat!"

    Client: General Mills
    Brand: Bugles
    Campaign Title: The Game That You Can Eat
    Spot Titles: The Game That You Can Eat, Chess 'Its, Toss 'Ems, Act 'Ems, Dress 'Ups, Stack 'Ems

    Agency: Cossette, Toronto
    Creative Director: Daniel Vendramin
    Copywriter: Anthony Atkinson
    Art Director: Greg Kouts, Daniel Vendramin
    Account Team: Jason Melhuish, Erin O’Connor, Janis Lindenbergs
    Agency Producer: Sarah Moen

    Production Company: Untitled Films
    Director: Curtis Wehrfritz
    Director of Photography: Justin Beattie
    Executive Producer: Chilo Fletcher
    Line Producer: Rosalyn Hegan

    Post Production: School Editing
    Editor: Aaron Dark
    Colourist: Eric Whipp (Alter Ego)
    Audio/Music: Eggplant

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    One of these days, Carl's Jr. may go back to selling food rather than women. But until then, there are plenty more glistening, jiggling body parts to show in extreme close-up, and more off-puttingly moist biting and chewing noises to simulate. At least they change the models up once in a while. The latest one—following in the notorious footsteps of Kate Upton and Kim Kardashian—is noted swimsuit wearer Nina Agdal, who undresses and fornicates on a beach with the chain's new Charbroiled Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich in the spot below, which broke in some markets during the Super Bowl. At the end, she is approached by a sunburned man—but sticks with her sandwich, because she prefers flesh that's charbroiled rather than fried.

    The client's first quote in the release is about religion. "For almost half a century, whenever fast-food customers wanted to get a fish sandwich during Lent, they had one choice: fried," says CMO Brad Haley. "With our new Charbroiled Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich, we've changed all that. For the first time in the industry, our guests can get a premium-quality fish sandwich that tastes great and is lower in calories because we charbroil it just like we do our burgers."

    Glenn Cole, creative director and partner at Carl's Jr. agency 72andSunny, speaks to the talent in the spot. "Nina was a casting no-brainer," he says. "We have a healthy product, we're at the beach, we're in SI Swimsuit season. And it didn't hurt that she is very accustomed to being hit on by dubious sunburned guys."

    See the director's cut (more body parts) and a behind-the-scenes video after the jump.

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    This DIY commercial for Skratch Labs, a self-described "active nourishment company" that makes all-natural sports drinks, is definitely going for an off-the-cuff, Dollar Shave Club vibe. Not sure it really gets there, though. What do you think?

    Via The Denver Egotist.

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  • 02/07/13--12:25: Ad of the Day: Qualcomm
  • Qualcomm may be one of the world's main suppliers for smartphones and tablets, but few people recognize the brand behind the processor chips used in so many of their favorite mobile devices. To grab mass-market attention, OgilvyWest pulls out the stops in this new Qualcomm spot: It's executed as an epic movie trailer with live action shot around Vancouver and fantasy elements including castles, crossbows, knights and dragons that tease Qualcomm's new generation of Snapdragon processors coming this summer.

    The dragon is central here, acting as a brand character that epitomizes the processors' upgrades. In the tongue-in-cheek execution, the agency, working with special-effects house Framestore, cuts the commercial's fire-breathing monster down to size, making it smaller, cuter and more brand appealing to consumers. "People love their devices, but they don't always know what it is that makes them work," says agency co-chief creative officer James Dawson-Hollis. "A big part of this was 'How do you make an emotional connection that is key to the thing that you love?' "

    Someone who's given that a lot of thought is Qualcomm's new CMO, Anand Chandrasekher, who was hired from Intel last August. While he's pledged to boost advertising to build a consumer brand, the company won't be as demanding as Intel: He has said partners can "opt in" to the marketing initiative and aren't required to advertise the Qualcomm brand on their products.

    It's not the first time the San Diego company has used creatures to represent brand attributes. A year and a half ago, Qualcomm used insects, spiders and scorpions in the "Bug Circus Generator" spot to show the efficiencies of a bug-powered smart phone. It was a clever spot from Denizen Co. in Los Angeles, but not nearly as consumer-friendly as the new spokesdragon, which may well show up in future Qualcomm ads.

    Client: Qualcomm
    Product: Snapdragon
    Agency: OgilvyWest
    Co-Chief Creative Officers: James Dawson-Hollis, Bill Wright
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Nathan Dills
    Associate Creative Director: Dennis Lee
    Art Director: Carson Liu
    Head of Integrated Production, Executive Producer: Carolyn Johnson

    Postproduction: Framestore
    Executive Producer: James Razzall
    Director: Murray Butler
    Director: David Mellor
    Head of Production: Jonathan Shipman
    Senior Producer: Satoko Iinuma

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  • 02/08/13--03:13: Portrait: NSG/SWAT

  • Specs
    Who (l. to r.) Partners Troy Lumpkin, creative director; Richard Kirshenbaum, chief creative officer; and Miles Skinner, creative director
    What Creative boutique
    Where Near their TriBeCa offices

    Richard Kirshenbaum has a lot of entrepreneurial friends. And it’s through buddies like music impresario Chris Blackwell and art dealer Marc Glimcher that his second startup, NSG/SWAT, has landed a string of intriguing assignments, like designing the label for Blackwell Rum and creating a new brand iconography and website for the Pace Gallery. And if Kirshenbaum, the 51-year-old former chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, is the relationship master at NSG/ SWAT, two 30-year-olds steeped in design, Troy Lumpkin and Miles Skinner, are the creative juice. The three are also entrepreneurs, having taken equity in half the brands they’ve worked on since the shop opened in early 2011.

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    Subaru of America is launching a new installment of its "Dog tested. Dog approved" campaign via Carmichael Lynch, so let's get one thing out of the way straight off. Awww, they're so cuuuuute! Pooch-powered commercials introduce Grant Weber, a dealer who sells cars to dogs. At one point, he promises a great deal and slides a calculator displaying the numbers across his desk to a canine customer. We hear a contemptuous growl, and a furry paw slides the calculator back. He he—good doggie! Another spot shows a hatchback crammed full of deli meats and sausages—hey, just like the trunk of my car! There's also a Facebook app with an "Ask a Dog" chat function. Lars, Gypsy and Sasha bat their paws across keyboards to answer your questions! (It's kind of like Chatroulette, but with better-looking participants.) Most of the doggie replies to my car-centric queries focused on going for walks, chewing on or digging up stuff and chasing tennis balls. One example: "Walk leash, walkleash walk?" Also: "Handsniff, hand? Sniff hand?" And my personal favorite: "Chomp squirrel, chomp." I've had conversations with human car dealers who weren't half as articulate.

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    By its own admission, Taco Bell agency Deutsch in Los Angeles used Google Translate to put together Spanish lyrics for the version of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa" in this ad—much as it did with fun.'s "We Are Young" on the Super Bowl. So, the new words could very well be a jumble of prepositions and badly conjugated verbs. The ad is funny, but it exists at something of a moral crossroads for me. Do I applaud its display of unabashed public fatherhood, or call this guy out for using his kid to get chicks? That's what puppies are for.

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  • 02/08/13--11:32: Ad of the Day: Diet Coke
  • Sartorial trends come and go, but in the fashion world, Diet Coke has always been a favorite. (In fact, it's the only liquid that legendary Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld will deign to ingest.) In recent years, fashion icons from Jean Paul Gaultier to Lagerfeld himself have lent their talents as "creative director" of the brand. Now, to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Europe, Diet Coke is bringing in yet another world-renowned designer: Marc Jacobs.

    Fortunately for the brand, Jacobs happens to be more than an insanely gifted fashion designer. He's also somewhat of a sex symbol. So, it only makes sense that in addition to designing new packaging for the soft drink, Jacobs is also the star of an ad campaign.

    In a new spot promoting the collaboration, three pretty girls stumble upon Jacobs in a photo booth, clad in his signature kilt but soon devoid of a shirt. As the pictures fly out and the curtain flies open to reveal Jacobs's chiseled, tattoo-covered physique, the girls squeal with delight—although it's not entirely clear whether they're big fans of his designs or just sadly unaware that they're not really his type.

    No matter. Jacobs is always game to reveal his toned body, SpongeBob ink and all. Because if you had recently managed to go from this to this, wouldn't you want to show off, too?

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  • 02/11/13--10:12: Ad of the Day: Lurpak
  • The world is going to hell in a hurry. But at least we've got our comfort food, which has sustained us for millennia—all cooked with rich, quality butter.

    That's the reassurance offered by Wieden + Kennedy London in its latest visually astonishing spot in the U.K. for Danish butter brand Lurpak. No other campaign in all of advertising will make you feel as hungry as the Lurpak ads do. W+K has been cooking up a whole new kind of food porn for this client in recent years, redefining tabletop with incredibly forceful close-up hero shots of the food (and the process of hammering it into shape) that are as aggressive as they are mouthwatering—backed by rhythmic soundtracks that drive the action forward.

    In this new spot, the muscular approach is particularly compelling, as Lurpak isn't just claiming to make your meals a little tastier. It wants nothing less than to help humans through their current tough times—and to feel fulfilled at the dinner table, if nowhere else.

    This sweeping historical context is evident from the first frames, as a spark ignites a flame on a stove. (Look, we've discovered fire!) "Mankind wasn't built on just baby leaf salad," says the almost absurdly gruff Rutger Hauer voiceover. "Stomachs full, we marched forward on meals forged with our own two hands." We then see three such meals being prepared—cottage pie, bread and butter pudding, and macaroni and cheese—as primal drum beats mark every slice, smear, grate and stir of the classic comfort dishes.

    It's almost an industrial vibe—the prep shots are cold and dark, even foreboding, with every pot and pan and knife and timer built for a purpose, not for show or style. At the end, the warmth seeps into the film as the finished dishes are pulled from a scorching oven. "If we can get through an Ice Age, we can get through this week," Hauer says. "Tomorrow, we're ready for you."

    The on-screen tagline is: "Good food deserves Lurpak."

    The point is, when it comes to comfort food, you get out what you put in—so don't skimp on the ingredients. And for God's sake don't feel guilty about eating this stuff. "Lurpak has gone against the grain to celebrate the power of the dishes we're so often made to feel bad about," said W+K creative Hollie Newton. "Sod it. It's winter. It's a never-ending recession. We deserve a proper dinner."

    The 60-second TV spot, directed by Vince Squibb at Gorgeous, broke on Sunday. The $15 million campaign will also include cinema, print, out-of-home, digital, in-store and experiential ads.

    Client: Lurpak, Arla Foods
    Director of BSM Brands: Stuart Ibberson
    Senior Brand Manager: Jessica Hardcastle
    Brand Manager: Samantha Peel
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, London
    Creative Directors: Dan Norris, Ray Shaughnessy
    Creative: Hollie Newton
    Account Director: Emma Simmons
    Planner: Theo Izzard-Brown
    Agency TV Producer: Lucy Russell
    Agency Print Producer: Rebecca Herbert
    Media Planning: Carat
    In-store and Experiential: BD Network
    Digital and Social Media: Outside Line
    TV Production Company: Gorgeous
    Director: Vince Squibb
    Production Director: Sam Levene
    Offline Editor: Paul Watts at The Quarry
    Postproduction 2-D Artist: Barnsley at The Mill London
    Sound Design: Dan Beckwith at Factory Sound Studios
    Music: Alex Heffes ℅ Abi Leland at Leland Music
    Food Stylist: Kate Giovanni
    Print Production Company: Wyatt Clark Jones
    Photographer: Rick Guest
    Retouching: Stanleys Post


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