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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Today, the American people go to the polls—at least, those who haven't already taken advantage of early voting—to vote for president and a host of other national, state and local leaders. This year's election cycle, which has been going on approximately forever, has been particularly contentious, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have attacked each other in what has sometimes been reminiscent of The Batley Townswomens' Guild re-enacting the Battle of Pearl Harbor.

    To take our minds off the horrific and caustic nature of this year's political environment, we're looking today at the trailers for a number of fictional presentations of American electioneering. Some of these are straight-up satire, some are upbeat comedies, some are more dramatic. But considering not a single one involves discussion of email servers or the word "bigly," they're all, by default, more enjoyable than what we've been going through.

    Wag the Dog

    Barry Levinson's 1997 satire envisions what depths will be plunged when a scandal envelops the incumbent president just two weeks out from the next election. After the revelation of a sex scandal in the Oval Office, a political spin doctor (Robert De Niro) enlists the help of a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to distract the press with a made-up international crisis. That not only gets the public's attention but allows the president to appear strong and offer decisive leadership, changing the headlines in the lead-up to the election. The trailer sells the movie clearly as a comedy and a timely one at that, considering we weren't all that far removed from the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings.

    The American President

    The country was in the middle of the Clinton administration when Rob Reiner released this story of a liberal president (Michael Douglas plays the proto-Jed Bartlet from The West Wing) who's also a widower and decides to start dating an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening). That situation becomes fodder for the election cycle, offering ammunition to the conservative opponent (played by Richard Dreyfuss). The trailer plays up the romantic elements of the story more than the political, meaning we're missing Douglas' rousing press conference and the speech where he decides to use the bully pulpit to his benefit and engage in a rhetorical smackdown.

    The Manchurian Candidate

    What's shocking about this trailer is that it tells the audience almost nothing about the story. While we know it now as one of the finest political thrillers of American cinema, the trailer keeps most everything under wraps. What we get instead is a lot of atonal music set over scenes of Frank Sinatra running through hallways and karate-chopping a dining room table. The most prominent element on display here is the warning for the audience not to miss the first five minutes or they won't know what it's all about. Then they're promised that at the end they'll swear they've "never seen anything like it." That's a bold promise, and the entire approach is very different with the 2004 remake, which used all the elements of mind control and coup attempts to sell that version.

    Bob Roberts

    "Vote first, ask questions later," we're told at the end of the trailer for this political satire, which rings a little too close to home in light of this year's media circus. Tim Robbins plays the title character, a charismatic young politician whose star has risen because of a repudiation of the freewheeling '60s, a career as a music recording artist and success in the business world. His platform of "the American Dream has been stolen from working people" sounds very familiar, along with his attacks on the media elites around him and other character traits. And the debate between Roberts and his opponent is especially prescient. This pseudo-documentary is a must-watch.


    This comedy, written and directed by and starring Warren Beatty, tells the story of a California congressman who decides to cut through all the bull and speak plainly, exposing the farcical lies behind what politicians tell their constituents. In a year where one candidate is heralded for dropping the usual pretense of the campaign and speaking from his gut, this shows just how unfiltered and kind of dangerous such behavior can be. The scenes in the trailer are still funny because I swear we just heard them like two weeks ago in real life.


    It's interesting as the trailer opens with two credits dropped in short order: First, Kevin Kline is referred to as the star of A Fish Called Wanda, showing the lasting power of the classic comedy. Second, Ivan Reitman is referred to by name as the director of Ghostbusters. So while it explains the basic plot—that the president has had a stroke and a look-alike is recruited to take his place—the main point of the trailer is to sell the movie's comedy credentials. One of the movie's best lines is also a good one for anyone truly seeking office to remember—that it's just a temp job, and you report to the American people.

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    As Election Day arrives in America, Corona riffs on Donald Trump's vow to build a wall along the southern border in this extravagant 90-second film for the Mexican market, created by Leo Burnett.

    "The main inspiration comes from all the conversation that Trump's wall generated in Mexico," Daniel Pérez Pallares, agency creative vice president, tells AdFreak. "Many people felt hurt and offended by it. We found an opportunity to turn that narrative into a positive message, and ask Mexicans to reflect about the 'mental walls.' "

    Breaking down barriers of every kind is the overriding theme of the piece, which is designed to celebrate Mexico's national spirit and inspire viewers of all ages. Running on that nation's TV networks and digital platforms through December, the ad stars actor Diego Luna, known for his work in Y Tu Mamá También, The Terminal, Elysium and Milk. (He also appears in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.)

    "All of us are angry at the wall that madman wants to build," Luna begins, climbing onto a railing high above the city and leaping onto the top of a truck far below. "But we should also be angry at the walls we have here that don't let us move forward."

    An explosive, uplifting trek through late-night streets ensues, with Luna extolling viewers to tune out haters, find ways to overcome obstacles and, most important, "fight for what you want."

    "This campaign is very different from our other applications of the brand," says Corona brand director Alexsandro Pinto. "This time we want to pass a clear message to all Mexicans, to break their mental frontiers and keep progressing. We hope the message we're sharing resonates not only with generations of Mexicans but with people around the world."

    Shot over three days in Mexico City by Rodrigo Saavedra, the spot keeps a tight focus on its message despite a busy visual canvas. This style has become a Saavedra trademark, honed in efforts for Mizuno and Scrabble.

    Of course, this isn't the first ad to use Trump's wall or reactionary views for inspiration. Aero Mexico embraced similar notions of breaking down barriers in a gritty, PSA-style spot. Yesterday's Johnnie Walker spot didn't mention walls per se, but struck an anti-Trump chord with its heartfelt call to embrace diversity. And Tecate did its own wall-themed spot for the debates. 

    In Corona's narrative, the emphasis on improving oneself feels especially empowering. (The overarching campaign theme, "Desfronterizate," is a newly coined term that translates roughly to "Break your barriers.")

    Though Corona clearly takes its mission seriously, the cheeky tone is infectious, with pride of accomplishment and hope for a greater tomorrow presented in wildly cinematic style. (After all, going over the top is one way to scale a wall.)

    "People should feel the same thing they are commenting on today in social networks—a call to self-reflection joined with a positive sensation about themselves," Pallares says. "We wanted to turn the conversation away from Trump's wall and toward the mental walls that each Mexican has inside of them."

    Client: Corona/Grupo Modelo AB InBev
    Marketing VP: Ricardo Días:
    Brand Director: Alexsandro Pinto
    Communication Director: Alejandro Campos

    Agency: Leo Burnett Mexico
    Creative VP: Daniel Pérez Pallares.
    Creative Team: Aldo González, Ariel Senzacqua, Gui Camargos, Federico Russi, Daniel Peréz Pallares
    Agency Producer: Jesus Almazan
    Agency Chief of Production: Roberto Carlos

    Producer Company: Landia
    Director: Rodrigo Saavedra 
    Executive Producer: Thomas Amoedo, Claudio Amoedo
    DP: Pierre de Kerchove
    Art Director: Julian Romera
    Costume Design: Abril Alamo
    Post Production: Clan VFX
    Sound Design: Kung Fu Audio

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    The Mannequin Challenge is simple: Get a bunch of people together, have them stand completely motionless in ridiculous fashion, take a video of the whole thing, and share it on social media.

    As one last plea to get Americans to vote, Hillary Clinton posted a video early Tuesday of her team performing the challenge on her airplane. The video makes its way through the cabin of the plane, passing aides carrying pizza boxes, media members seeking a quote and a smiling Bill Clinton. It ends with Hillary grinning at a guitar-playing Jon Bon Jovi. 

    It ends with a pretty cool tagline: "Don't stand still. Vote today." 

    The Twitter craze appears to have started 13 days ago with this video. Since then, it's gone viral, especially among sports teams from the high school, college and even pro levels.

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    The perfect gift depends on the recipient. It's a simple truth that eBay is smartly playing up in its new holiday campaign.

    A 30-second centerpiece spot, titled "The Giver," focuses on the range of personalized items available via the online marketplace. The camera opens on a shipping box, waiting on a doorstep.

    "This is the one," says the voiceover. "The one from her favorite movie." A man removes a handbag from the box. "The one for an adventurer," the voice adds, as a woman removes what looks like a leather satchel, or the world's smallest flight jacket. And so forth.

    Eventually, a little girl pulls a Barbie doll out of a box, beaming.

    "Happiness is different things to different people," croons the only lyric in the bouncy soundtrack. "The gift they're waiting for, is waiting on eBay," says the voiceover, in a sort of dialogue with the singer. "That's what happiness is," the singer replies.

    San-Francisco based Pereira & O'Dell created the campaign, which launches Wednesday on TV. These are the brand's first national holiday TV ads in nearly two years

    "While the convenience of holiday shopping has increased, the thoughtfulness of gifting has decreased," says P.J. Pereira, agency co-founder and chief creative officer. "The holidays are about spending quality time with family and friends, and the gifts we exchange should reflect these special relationships. eBay is uniquely positioned to help people find perfect gifts for the ones they love, and the new campaign brings this idea to life."

    It's a clear message, based on an insight that should be strong enough in its own right to get consumers in the proverbial door. It's also a strategy meant to answer what the retailer is framing as a vacuum in the absence of a single must-have gift this year. eBay is also citing, based on its own research, frustration among shoppers in finding deals on the presents they do want to buy.

    But whether eBay is really the right place to do that—or is better suited to finding deals on a bunch of stuff you don't want—remains to be seen.

    Client: eBay
    Agency: Pereira & O'Dell, San Francisco

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    Last year over the holidays, Australian grocer Aldi released a brutally honest ad about the stress people endure to make around-the-table magic happen. This year, it's focusing on a very different annoyance—Americans. 

    The "Meet the Tinkletons" campaign opens with a 75-second ad in which a caroling American family with ugly sweaters invades a calm, sunny Australian household to show them how Christmas should really be celebrated (which feels an awful lot like a veiled critique of the U.S.'s foreign relations approach in general). 

    They stomp through the home bearing tinsel, fake snow and other "white Christmas" stereotypes, critiquing the Australians for everything from their Speedo-clad sunbathing to holiday shellfish. In case the point is too nuanced, the words to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" have been changed to "We Bring You a Merry Christmas," with the chorus ending, "You Aussies are weird." 

    They're like the Christmas Champ on acid. 

    As the jingle progresses, the American family gradually finds itself seduced by the Australian approach. The climax comes when twin sisters—clearly castoffs from The Shining—break a pair of skis over their knees and trill, "Screw America this year!" 

    Managing director Steve McArdle of agency BMF, which conceived the campaign, says the idea was described as "Glee meets the Griswolds, yet unmistakably Aldi." 

    "To an outsider, an Aussie Christmas feels weird and wrong, but when you get used to the sunburn and Speedos, you realize just how special it is," explains BMF creative director Alex Derwin. "It's an insight we've used before, but this year we've put it on steroids. The Tinkletons are a device that allow us to show the 'perfect Aussie Christmas' through a new lens—an all-singing and dancing, theatrical new lens." 

    The ad is supported by three 15-second spots that highlight different Australian holiday goodies, with members of the American family still jingling away as they're being prepared. Each ends with the tagline, "Nothing beats the perfect Aussie Christmas."

    There's champagne:

    Followed by fudge:

    And of course, lobster tails:

    A series of radio ads, probably the most soul-eating take on American caroling by far, tie the whole thing up neatly: 

    The campaign will include social content, print and display advertising, out of home, point-of-sale collateral and some Aldi catalog highlights.

    This isn't the first time this year we've seen culture clash manifest as a holiday theme. Last week, Harvey Nichols released a holiday ad in which Italians lament the plundering of their country for British shoppers. 

    It isn't the most internationally sensitive angle, but maybe this is better in the long run. Come New Year's, no one will have any doubt at all about what everyone else actually thinks of them.

    Client: Aldi
    Agency: BMF
    Executive Creative Director: Cam Blackley
    Creative Director: Alex Derwin
    Creative Team: Hans Christian Berents, Gooch Richards, Rosita Rawnsley-Mason, Lucy Chappell, Ben Pearce
    Designer: Matthew Hughes
    Head of Planning: Hugh Munro
    Managing Director: Stephen McArdle
    Group Account Director: Toby Hussey
    Senior Account Directors: Aisling Colley, Peitra Withaar
    Account Executive: Kellie Box
    Agency Producer: Jenny Lee-Archer
    Production Company: Finch
    Director: Nick Ball
    Producer: Camilla Mazzaferro
    Executive Producer: Corey Esse
    Production Designer: Neville Stevenson
    Production Manager: Amanda Yu
    Postproduction, Visual Effects: Drew Downes, The Refinery 
    Editor: Jack Hutchings, The Butchery
    Music, Sound Production, Design: Rumble Studios
    Director of Photography: Lachlan Milne
    Art Buyer: Basir Salleh
    Photographer: Gavin Johns

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    Remember those sailor stories about mermaids who drag drowning men to their doom? In this creepy—yet charming!—little piece of work, the National Maritime Rescue Organization tells just that tale ... from the perspective of the mermaid. 

    Set to the plaintive croon of Tobias Jesso's "Without You," a mermaid sulking on the balcony of a sunken ship sees a sailor drifting down toward her. This kicks off a model courtship. 

    The graphics depict a magical world illuminated by jellyfish. Love blooms around the shipwreck, a foreshadowing of darkness to come. You're bound to ask yourself a few questions: How does the sailor breathe underwater? Can you really barbeque steaks below sea level? How does that mermaid get pregnant? 

    One of these—well, technically all of them—will be answered in the inevitable twist. 

    This is an impossible love, blocked by the stubborn buoyancy of a life jacket. The sailor can't breathe underwater, the mermaid is murderously delusional (with creepy fangs to boot!), and we never find out how she gets pregnant—a mystery which, like the barbeque question, is moot, given that she imagined it all anyway. 

    Created by French agency Publicis Conseil and Wizz with about 25 graphic designers and 3-D animators, "The Mermaid" is really a creative spin on the importance of wearing life jackets at sea. 

    Every year, the National Maritime Rescue Organization (SNSM) launches over 5,200 interventions off the French coast, rescuing nearly 8,000 people. But while the sea is a dangerous place filled with surprises you can't account for (like biologically misguided happily-ever-afters), saving your life is often a matter of remembering the little things—like life jackets. SNSM also hopes to raise donations, which are pretty much its sole source of funding. 

    The campaign goes live in mid-November on TV, in theaters, via digital and on digital outdoor. Check out the making-of below, which goes into delightfully geeky 3-D detail.

    Advertiser : SNSM – French National Maritime Rescue Organization
    Régis Benazech
    Caroline Serre
    Publicis Conseil :
    Executive Creative Directors : Fabrice Delacourt, Olivier Desmettre
    Copywriter : Vincent Cusenier
    Art Director : Lucie Vallotton
    AD Assistant : Alexandre Perdereau
    Account Managers : Valérie Hénaff, Laurent Fauroux, Valérie Albou, Christine Pumain, Lou Leproux
    Film Production
    TV Production (Prodigious) Pierre Marcus / Sophie Bouyer
    Production Company : Wizz / François Brun
    Producer : Matthieu Poirier
    Directors : Flying V
    Design : William Laborie / Flying V
    Concept Art : Yann Boyer
    3D : Fix studio
    Post Producer : Christelle Prud'homme
    Editing Assistant : Cecil Cahen
    Coordinatrice de production : Natelene Darfeuille
    Supervisor 3D : Matthieu Negrel
    3D : Arnaud Joli, Bruno Le guern, Nicolas Trotignon, Alexia Schmidt, Jerome Caperan, Olivier
    Osotimehin, Matthieu Bernadat, Audric Escales, Daniel Ly, Bruno Le Guern, Mathieu Negrel, Franck
    Clement-Larosiere, Justine Dubreux, Benoit Grynberg, Ludovic Hoarau, Cédric Delaforest Divonne,
    Jean Dalaunay
    Compositing : Christophe Andrei, Benjamin Laborde, Ingmar Renouardiere
    Business Affairs (Prodigious) Carlos Serrano / Alice Rolin
    Sound Production : Prodigious / Boris Nicou
    Sound design : James
    Mix : Jean-Jacques Hubert
    Musical Composition : Tobias Jesso "Without You"
    Length of the film : 92''
    Media Plan : TV / Cinema / Digital

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    British mall owner Intu pulls some serious strings to deliver seasonal cheer in one of the most striking and delightful holiday ads of the year so far.

    Created by London-based agency Now, a 45-second spot shows a flighty group of "customers" flocking into the aisles. They are, in fact, gorgeously crafted and finely detailed bird puppets, inspired by stage shows such as War Horse and The Lion King. They mimic the behaviors of typical shoppers, ranging from bargain hunters and early planners to those who search for gifts in a last-minute panic.

    Throughout the ad, shot on a stylized white department-store set, the puppeteers are clearly visible and take part in the action—a creative choice designed to give the film an overtly theatrical feel.

    This unusual approach works amazingly well, as Intu foregoes most of the familiar yuletide trappings (Santas, elves, snowflakes, candy canes) to create a magic all its own:

    "We had to find a way of portraying these personalities without defaulting to just showing people shopping, which is very generic," Now creative chief Remco Graham tells Adweek. Ultimately, the creative team "went back to the heart of the brand and embraced its logo—a bird—and decided to make the different shopper types birds. The puppets then came fairly quickly after. A lot of advertising has used CGI, but we wanted to do something a bit different to stand out at Christmas."

    Building the spot's featured feathered players was no easy task.

    "It took a team of 15 people two months to test, sculpt, cast, paint, fabricate and stitch the puppets that were all developed from a set of original drawings," Graham says. "It was incredibly full-on, with the team spending weeks at the studio developing them and then carrying out movement tests."

    It took two puppeteers to control each bird, and four such professionals labored on set during the week-long shoot. The puppeteers were all specialist performers from Henson and War Horse. 

    "Having the puppeteers as part of the performance is a technique only seen before on stage," Graham says, "so we had to make sure every movement was perfect."

    This making-of clip shows the processes and techniques involved:

    Blinkink's Joseph Mann, known for his fantastical Cravendale and Churchill films, directs with a suitable sense of whimsy. He establishes a relaxed, fluid pace—and cool visual bits abound. These include the bargain-hunter bird of prey swooping to grasp a tie in its talons, a mama duck wheeling her egg in a pram, and the Intu logo-bird topping a festive tree. 

    Meanwhile, the storybook-style rhyming voiceover keeps the narrative grounded and explains the spot's avian concept in a fun, accessible way.

    "We needed to create a more emotional role for the brand," says Graham, "and shoppers had to be able to see themselves or their friends in the different shopper types."

    Intu succeeds on that score, crafting an unconventional Christmas ad that has plenty for bird watchers to savor.


    Client: Intu
    Roger Binks, Customer Experience Director, Intu
    Richard Bailey, Head of Group Marketing
    Izzie Peskett, Regional Marketing Manager, South
    Charlotte Ullathorne, Regional Marketing Manager, Midlands

    Agency: Now
    Executive Creative Director: Remco Graham
    Creative Team:  Juliet Kent and Clint Harding
    Head of Film & Content: Jeremy Methane
    Planner: Amelia Wood
    Account Director: Jack Howker
    Account Manager: Katy Stanage

    Production Company: Blinkink
    Director: Joseph Mann
    Producer: Ben Lole
    DOP: Matthew Day
    Editing House: Stitch
    Editor: Max Windows
    Post-production: Finish
    Audio: Wave Studios
    Music: Simon Pegg

    Media: Blue449

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    Nov. 13 will mark one year since the attacks in and around the Bataclan concert venue in Paris. To commemorate this somber anniversary and its victims, Germany's Zeit Magazin—a supplement to the weekly Die Zeit newspaper—has released a striking memento for its Nov. 10 cover. 

    The cover was shared yesterday by deputy chief editor Matthias Kalle on Twitter. The frame of the magazine has been used in its entirety to resemble a ticket stub from the Eagles of Death Metal concert that took place during the shootings, where 90 people lost their lives:

    The tweet reads, "The cover of our next edition."

    The simplicity of the image has resonated with many, particularly here in France. Anyone who's ever kept a ticket stub will understand why—whether this small rite of entry is intentionally kept, or merely fished, crumpled, out of a jeans pocket, the feel of it between your fingertips can throw you back into an entire night—its raucous noise, the drinks you had, the people you brought with you.

    Those memories are usually a pleasure to relive. But for some, every ticket stub since that night has been a mixed joy—anticipation mixed with trepidation for what might happen, and happiness combined with relief when the night is over. 

    Journalist and author Sophie Fontanel shared the cover on Instagram, writing, "#zeitmagazine cover this week. When a detail tells everything. The idea everybody could have been able to have. And nobody had."

    The Bataclan has been shuttered for the past year, with an unending flow of candles, keepsakes and photographs marking its darkened threshold. This Saturday, Nov. 12, Sting is slated to reopen the venue with a charity concert in advance of the one-year anniversary.

    Sting agreed to appear "first, to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second, to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theater represents," he said. "In doing so, we hope to respect the memory as well as the life-affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them."

    Tickets for the Sting show went on sale yesterday. A three-piece band will join him to perform songs from his new album, 57th & 9th. 

    The Bataclan first opened in 1865. Sting last played there during a Police tour in April 1979. Since the attacks, it received a €280,000 ($308,239) restoration grant, with French security officials giving it the nod for re-opening two weeks ago. 

    Last week, Bataclan director Jerôme Langlet said he hoped the Bataclan would eventually surpass the tragedy and regain its place as a leading music venue. Still, numerous French musicians have been hesitant to agree to perform there in the future—not out of fear, but out of respect for the dead. 

    That may change post-Sting: Some 24 concerts are currently scheduled in the months to come, including '60s British legend Marianne Faithfull and Senegal's Youssou N'Dour and his Super Étoile de Dakar band.

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    It's not easy making a lighthearted commercial to cap off 2016.

    Not with Brexit and President-elect Trump leaving a path of scorched earth behind them—or more to the point, ahead of them—and putting lots of consumers in the grimmest of moods this holiday. How do you find joy after such an annus horribilis?

    For John Lewis, the retailer that's become the standard bearer of holiday cheer in Britain—and helped turn Christmas into an advertising showcase, the U.K.'s Super Bowl—the task has fallen to a dog. He's a boxer named Buster, and he just wants to jump.

    Yes, the retailer's much-awaited two-minute 2016 Christmas commercial, created by London agency adam&eveDDB, broke early Thursday. Check it out here: 

    Let's agree, first off, that this is one brilliantly crafted spot.

    Dougal Wilson, who's directed a lot of the John Lewis Christmas ads (including the two best ones—2011's groundbreaking "The Long Wait" and 2014's world-beating "Monty's Christmas"), creates a lovely, enchanting world. The lighting is gorgeous. The animals are charming and believable. It's perfectly paced, and admirably cast.

    The song—a cover of "One Day I'll Fly Away" by the British band Vaults—probably won't hit the top of the charts, but it sets the elevated mood well enough.

    And yet, even in its early hours online, the ad has its detractors.

    Some parents are upset that it shows Dad setting up the trampoline, complaining that this suggests to kids that Santa Claus isn't real. This is an understandable concern, though John Lewis has shrugged off this criticism, saying: "We're sure Father Christmas has also visited Bridget and Buster the night before. This is just an extra special gift from her parents because she loves to bounce."

    Then there are more outlandish critiques, including a Guardian columnist who suggested the ad is a failure because it feels like an allegory for Trump and Clinton—with an animal pushing his way in and getting to jump on the trampoline instead of the heroine. (This is an amusing reading, if nothing else, though the writer admits: "Perhaps I'm reading too much into this.") 

    On the other hand, the spot has plenty of enthusiastic supporters who are thanking the retailer for crafting a simple, fun, uplifting story that brings a smile and a laugh—things that have been in short supply lately. 

    In the end, the mixed reviews aren't surprising. The spot is well intentioned (the larger campaign will benefit The Wildlife Trusts), beautifully made and does bring some welcome levity. And it's smart to try some comedy after last year's somber "Man on the Moon" campaign—which, while also well crafted and charity-minded, was "a bit sad," as John Lewis admitted recently.

    Then again, #BusterTheBoxer doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's just harder to make uplifting, sentimental advertising that connects when there's a widespread feeling of gloom. It's a problem many Christmas advertisers, not just John Lewis, will be grappling with this season. The bar on making people feel good is just higher right now.

    John Lewis seems to want it both ways—to make a heartfelt, sentimental piece that undercuts its own sentiment with a comic ending. That approach has its problems—when the dog wins, the girl loses—but it's charming enough in the end. And honestly, when it comes to storytelling, every John Lewis ad will have a hard time competing with "Monty's Christmas" and its truly magical ending.

    Maybe, for a while, we can't have nice things. But kudos to John Lewis for trying anyway.

    Client: John Lewis
    Customer Director: Craig Inglis
    Head of Marketing, Brand, Social: Rachel Swift
    Agency: adam&eveDDB
    Chief Creative Officer: Ben Priest
    Executive Creative Directors: Richard Brim, Ben Tollett
    Copywriter: Ben Stilitz
    Art Director: Colin Booth
    Chief Strategy Officer: David Golding
    Planning Partner: Martin Beverley
    Managing Director: Tammy Einav
    Business Director: Miranda Hipwell
    Account Director: Caroline Grayson
    Account Manager: Alice Child
    Producer: Panos Louca
    Assistant Producer: Sion Prys
    Media Planning
    Media Company: Manning Gottlieb OMD
    Chief Executive Officer: Tim Pearson
    Executive Director, Head of Planning: Clare Peters
    Head of Retail: David Bratt
    Client Account Director: Andrew Darby
    Client Account Director, Digital: Ric Roberts
    Production Company: Blink Productions
    Director: Dougal Wilson
    Producer: Nick Goldsmith
    Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder
    Production Manager: Hannah Fowles-Pazdro
    Production Assistant: Jack Bingham
    Postproduction Company: MPC
    VFX Executive Producer: Julie Evans
    VFX Producer: Hannah Ruddleston
    VFX Line Producer: Sandra Ekland
    Creative Director VFX, MPC: Diarmid Harrison-Murray
    Colorist: Jean-Clément Soret
    Shoot Supervisors: Tom Harding, Tito Fernandes
    VFX Supervisor 3-D: Fabian Frank
    VFX Supervisor 2-D: Tom Harding
    Animation Supervisor: Tim van Hussen
    3-D VFX Team: Chloe Dawes, Anthony Bloor, Ben Thomas, Graham Cristie, Jessie Amadio, Julien Labussiere, Luca Maccarelli, Matthew Gifford, Radu Ciubotariu, Tito Fernandes, Tushar Kewali, Vincent Ullman, Will Laban, Hanna Binswanger, Max Mallmann, Jessica Groom, Ankit Dheraj Toppo, Earnest Victor, Ganesh Kumar S., Bibin
    Balan P, Gayatri Patel, Jyoti Prakash Panda, Manjunath Ramakrishnaiah, Inigo Vimal Roy, Ria Banerjee, Gayatri Patel, Gerard Dunleavy
    Animation Team: David Bryan, Boris Cailly, India Barnardo, Martyn Smith, Lou Thomas, Cynthia Collins
    2-D VFX Team: Grant White, David Filipe, Andreas Feix, Alex Snookes, Venkatesh Rajagopal, Ginesh Gandhi, Jonathan Box, Amresh Kumar, Padma Priya, Prasanth Palaparthi, Rajesh Kumar, Shalwin Shaiju, Yasasvini V, R. Vignesh, S. Samson Samuel, Shalwin Shaiju
    Composer, Soundtrack: Randy Crawford, "One Day I'll Fly Away"
    Performed by: Vaults
    Music Supervision Company: Leland Music
    Music Supervisors: Abi Leland, Ed Bailie
    Sound Company: Factory
    Sound Design, Mix: Anthony Moore
    Audio Producer: Becs Bell
    Editing: Final Cut
    Editor: Rick Russell
    VR Experience
    Production Company: MPC Creative
    Executive Creative Director, MPC Creative: André Assalino
    Interactive Creative Director, MPC Creative: Pete Conolly
    Executive Producer: Dan Phillips
    Lead Producer: Joana Flor
    Senior Interactive Producer: Joana Guimarães
    Interactive Production Assistant: Sinead Catney
    Lead Tech Artists: Pablo Bravo, Cat Dixon
    Lead UE Developer: David Pereira
    UE Developer Team: Dennis Ippel, Guiseppe Mattiolo, Thomas Lopez, Olivier Dumas, Bertrand Leroy
    Lead Unity Developer: Tim Porteous
    Unity Developer: Vitor Castanheira
    Front and Back-end Developer: Pedro Rocha
    UI Designer: Gorkem Menekse
    VFX Supervisor: Kumar Chandrasekaran
    VFX HoP: Sean Mullen
    VFX Creative Director: David Kern
    VFX Technical Directors: Selvam Venkatesan, Praveen Madhyasta
    Animation: Anil Kumar Singh
    Rigging VFX Artists: Matthew Gifford, Tushar Kewlani, Raju Ganesh, Baskaran Seetharaman, Pritesh Krishnappa Kotian, Atheesh Sankaran, Ashish Kumar Chourasiya, Shivam Pandey, Krishnendu Bikash Maity, Yogesh Gadge, Ganesh Mohan, Mithun Monga, Shashi Prakash Raj, Vivek Mangainath, Dhanesh Puthiyavalappil, Harwin Sebastien,
    Srinivasa Sheelam, Aditya Shukla, Sminesh Sudevan
    Senior VFX Producer: Tomek Zietkiewicz
    VFX Production Supervisor: Devendra Kumar
    VFX Producer: Prithi Amarnath
    VFX Production Assistant: Lokesh Reddy
    Tech Artist: Pravenn Thanvi
    DMP: Michelle Tolo
    Motion Designer: Jonny Eveson
    Sound Design: 1618 Digital
    Sound studio: ClearCut
    Voiceover Artist: Faye Ripley
    Interactive, Print, Social
    Interactive Creative Director: Till Diestel
    Lead Interactive Producer: Budr Elnusairi
    Integrated Producer: Laura Smith
    Assistant Producers: Naomi Barrie, Laurelle May
    Interactive Design Lead: Andrew Murray
    Project Managers: Hatty Day, Hannah Dowty
    Head of Design: Paul Knowles
    Designer: Olly Watts
    Design Company: King Henry
    Head of cain&abel production: Brett Kelsey
    Editors: Hannah Taylor, Joe Andrews, Paul Cheshire, James Ireland
    Motion Graphic Designer: Ed Christie
    Photographer: Noemie Bottiau
    Interactive Designers: Adrian Baker, Megan Young, Jennifer Slack, Hashir Khan, Norman Lo
    Bookings Manager: Serena Moll
    Interactive Resource Manager: Jacinta Crane
    Interactive Partner: Simon Adamson
    Social Media Director: Viki Imrie
    Social Media Strategist: Jess Taylor
    Social Media Manager: Lauren Booty

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    So, a unicorn farted golden rainbows into a bottle, and the resulting, um, product is for sale. And it's guaranteed to give you "the best-smelling poop of your life" or your money back.

    This is not a scatological acid trip, but it might be the closest you'll get.

    Squatty Potty, dubbed "the stool for better stools," has launched its first brand extension, a toilet spray, by bringing back its adorably fluffy animatronic puppet from last year's viral video, "This unicorn changed the way I poop."

    The new four-minute ad, from viral mavens the Harmon Brothers, uses the same handsome princely narrator and doe-eyed mythical creature to introduce Unicorn Gold, an essential oil- and gold-flecked competitor to Poo-Pourri and other bathroom odor eaters.

    The prince and unicorn have become so popular—the earlier ad has racked up more than 120 million views since last fall—that the Harmons felt confident bringing them back.

    "We've seen that with Hollywood movies, you can't often find a sequel that's as good or better than the original, and for ad campaigns, that's even more true," Benton Crane, managing director at the Provo, Utah-based Harmon Brothers, tells AdFreak. "We knew it was a pretty tall order to do a sequel, but we were willing to take on the challenge. History will be the judge."

    The agency also created Poo-Pourri's viral video "Girls Don't Poop," but hasn't worked with that brand for several years. Squatty Potty quietly debuted the new category challenger, Unicorn Gold, earlier this year, naming the product after the earlier hit campaign that boosted online sales of the Squatty Potty stool by 600 percent last holiday season.

    For Unicorn Gold, Squatty Potty executives wanted a digital media push for fourth quarter, one of its biggest sales periods. (The company is well aware that its core product can be a gag gift, and expects the add-on may be too. But numbers are numbers.)

    The video, which should be called "Squatty Potty 2: Fruity Booty," combines what the Harmons do best—product demos mixed with cheeky humor interwoven with a direct-sell message. There's also an outhouse explosion, a fart-capturing suction device and a reference to "paying your taxes to Prince John."

    Aiming to set Unicorn Gold apart from Poo-Pourri and its ilk, the fantastical period-set video gives a play-by-play of how the product works. There's a poop emoji as a visual aid. And elaborately dressed royal ladies who "release the Kraken."

    Unicorn Gold "protects the drop zone," says the video, and not just the surface of the toilet water, so the stank never leaves the bowl. It comes in scents like Pinch of Vanilla, Citrus Squeeze and Tropical Dropsicle.

    The charmingly affected narrator makes sure viewers know "this is not a joke," and that you'll no longer have to smell the "icebergs, mudslides, stalactites and anacondas" (again, visual aids!) in your bathroom because the gold particles in the product "cling like magnets to poop fumes."

    Dave Vance, who worked on the first Squatty Potty ad, wrote the new script with Daniel Harmon and other frequent agency collaborators. The video was filmed in Salt Lake City. (Harmon Brothers staged a Hollywood-style red-carpet premiere for the ad this week.)

    The campaign launches Thursday on Facebook, where agency and brand execs hope it will take off organically with likes, views and shares. They're including a media buy on YouTube in the initial rollout.

    Squatty Potty, which started as a home-based business in Utah before landing its Shark Tank investor, pulled in more than $15 million in sales for its core product last year, which also retails at chains like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target.

    Unicorn Gold is expected to have similar distribution. 

    Client: Squatty Potty/Unicorn Gold
    Agency: Harmon Brothers
    Creative Director: Daniel Harmon
    Agency Managing Director: Benton Crane
    Art Director: Dillon Eleffson
    Account Director: Theron Harmon
    Writers: Dave Vance, Mallory Everton, Jonny Vance, Daniel Harmon
    Executive Producer: Theron Harmon
    Producer and 1st AD: James Dayton
    Co-producers: Patrick Newman, Shane Rickard
    Lead Actor: Wes Tolman
    In the role of "The Duchess": Amy Carlin
    Director of Photography: Tyler Stevens
    Editor: Kaitlin Snow
    Digital Effects Lead: Nick Dixon
    Responsible on the client side:
    CEO Bobby Edwards
    Co-Founders: Bill Edwards, Judy Edwards
    Director of Marketing & Retail Relations: Jason Burrows
    Creative Director: Damaris Cluff

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    In this fanciful holiday ad for Mondelēz's Milka chocolate, an enterprising alpine lad just can't wait a whole month for Christmas to arrive. So, he constructs a cool steampunk-style time machine in a bid to travel into the mysterious, eggnog-scented future of 2412 … the 24th of December, that is.

    Impatient brat! Hey, H.G. Wells Jr., Santa keeps his own schedule! Anyway, thanks to his family, a sweet surprise awaits the little dickens once he reaches his destination.

    The festive ad is extremely well executed by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of Amélie fame, who calls the 90-second film rolling out in European markets "one of my favorite ads I've ever made."

    Kudos for using a Milka-filled Advent calendar, counting down the final weeks before the yuletide arrives, as both a plot point and product integration.

    "For this campaign we wanted to bring back the childlike wonder of Christmas, that powerful feeling of anticipation when you just can't wait for Christmas Day to come," W+K creative director Daniel Schaefer tells Adweek. "Our creatives on this job came up with this charming idea: What if you were to wake up one morning and someone incredibly cheeky had secretly stolen all of the chocolate from your Advent calendar? You might think Christmas had already arrived. The script evolved from there."

    The story takes place in Lilaberg, the idyllic mountain community introduced by Milka this year for its global "Tenderness Inside" campaign. In theory, that's a great setting for a feel-good holiday ad, but the team encountered challenges during a May shoot in the picturesque town of Loket, Czech Republic.

    "Unfortunately, this place isn't very wintery at that time of year, nor does it have a mountain backdrop," says Schaefer. "So we had to create a lot of fake snow, and our friends at McMurphy in Paris did an amazing CG and matte painting job in bringing this Alpine winter wonderland to life."

    And just as the kid collects old-timey timepieces to bring his invention to life, director Jeunet used some old-school temporal science to keep filming on schedule.

    "He had an old analog stopwatch in his pocket and timed every single take while shooting to make it work in exactly the same time that he figured for in the storyboard phase," Schaefer says. "He kept telling us: 'Guys, one idea per shot. You can only tell one single thing in each shot.' "

    During the holidays, folks typically reflect on their childhood and often strive to recapture a youthful sense of awe and expectation. This film taps into such sentiment, which should heighten its appeal for viewers of all ages.

    Plus, that funky-clunky retro time machine is dope!

    "We put a lot of research and development into it," Schaefer says. "A standard sledge [sleigh] was built as the base to the machine and was combined with 'high-tech' components like a rusty trumpet, old chunks of Scalextric [slot-car racing sets] and one of those cheesy laser glass balls from the '90s. It worked like a charm."

    Client: Milka/Mondelēz
    VP Marketing Communication and Brand Equity: Phillip Chapman
    Marketing Director, Chocolate: Celine Berg
    Marketing Manager, Chocolate: Martha Miralles
    Global Milka Equity Director: Karine Chik
    Global Milka Equity Manager: Chiara Missio
    Milka Seasonal Activation Manager MEU: Beata Kucejko-Pelka

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
    Executive Creative Director: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
    Creative Director: Szymon Rose, Daniel Schaefer
    Art Director: Victor Monclus, Jeff Lam
    Copywriter Will Lowe, David Neevel
    Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
    Broadcast Producer: Samantha Cox, Soey Lim
    Planner: Martin Weigel
    Communications Planner: Wes Young
    Group Account Director  : Clare Pickens
    Account Director: Will Oakes
    Account Manager: Nick Pirtle
    Project Manager:  Katie Finn
    Business Affairs: Emilie Douque

    Film Production Production Co.: Tobago Films, Paris
    Director: Jean–Pierre Jeunet
    Director of Photography: Thomas Hardmeier
    Producer: Olivier Thaon, Nicolas Maman
    Executive Producer: Michèle Arnould

    Editing Company: McMurphy, Paris
    Editor: Maryline Monthieux
    Audio Post - Wave Studios, London
    Sound Designer/Mixer: Aaron Reynolds

    Music Composer: Phil Kay
    Music Co.: Woodwork Music

    Postproduction: McMurphy, Paris
    Flame: Bruno Maillard, Christophe Croidieu, Tristan Barbaron
    3D: Guillaume Nadaud, Thomas Lefebre, Charles Blanchard
    Colorist: Didier Le Fouest
    Producer: Alexandre Boiron, Sébastien Gros

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    Many are looking for some sweetness today. Ben & Jerry's is pretty good at that. 

    Following the surprising—and for many, worrying—results of the U.S. presidential election, have a look at the brand's "One Sweet World," a soft-serve story (from agency Nice and Serious) about a troubled town called Coneville.

    In Coneville, angry lemons have gathered to support a divisive member of their kind. His leafy toupée is swept, not so artfully, to the side. (Subtle.) Things take a turn for the worse when a single cherry, clutching a sign that reads "We taste sweeter together," attracts notice in the hostile crowd. 

    You know where this is going. But for the discouraged and distraught, the ending can perhaps be a balm from a brand that's always been a friend to liberal values. 

    While it's generally a bad idea for brands to weigh in politically, Ben & Jerry's has never made a secret of its beliefs and has a particular gift for it. In 2009, it fêted the legalization of gay marriage in its home state of Vermont with the release of Hubby Hubby, a supportive rename of its Chubby Hubby ice cream. And it's often expressed support for marijuana legalization, sometimes subtly or overtly.

    But even for Ben & Jerry's, it's tricky to take a stance in an atmosphere that feels like a major lose for those same liberal values. The spot was made before Nov. 8, obviously, but was clearly informed by the political atmosphere of the past 18 months. The heckling of that cherry is a gentle illustration of what we too often saw over the course of this campaign. 

    Just days ago, President-elect Trump threw a 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy out of one of his rallies. Less than a month prior, a black protester experienced the same treatment. (Contrast that with outgoing President Obama, who chided his own supporters for attempting to subject a pro-Trump attendee to the same treatment.) 

    Are your teeth hurting yet? That's only one example of how hard this sweet film works to relate itself to reality. Our dejected cherry endures bad treatment from lemons with signs that read "Zest is best." A strawberry scurries by with obvious plans to abandon its sour environment. TV programs, with angry lemons in hard hats and sad swirly cookies, read, "Stop cookies stealing our dough." 

    Later, in a place bluntly labeled Rosa Park, a female raspberry is bullied by two lemony toughs. 

    Our cherry drops onto a bench, but almost immediately cowers at the sight of an approaching lemon. Whatever he expected doesn't happen. This lemon is kind; he removes a white earbud and shares it (Apple will be pleased), creating the perfect opportunity for a passing coffee bean to take a pic and share a hopeful social media message. 

    It's on social that the rest of this story plays out, with a happier narrative than anyone dared to hope. Coneville does, indeed, get better. 

    There's a lot we can say about "One Sweet World." It's heavy-handed. It's not really what we want to hear right now. And the sight of all those happy social posts, ending the spot on a warm note, is also a bitter reminder of the feedback loop we built around ourselves, producing a false sense of security. For many, it was social media that drove the sense there were no real stakes here. (Or perhaps the opposite.)

    We know. But everyone is tired. So when this ad ends with diverse jubilee, confetti, a pan toward a branded sun and the tagline "We don't live in a one-flavor world," there's not much else to do but accept its sincerity, however half-heartedly. 

    It's treacly, but it's a truth. The world has changed dramatically in the past decade. And as the mood turns protectionist, here and elsewhere, it's a critical time to demonstrate how important openness and acceptance are to us—and that there's still lemonade to be made out of however sour things feel. 


    Client: Ben & Jerry's
    Agency: Nice and Serious
    Creative Director: Tom Tapper

    Creative: Christopher Ross-Kellman
    Animation Director: Luke Marsh
    Producers: Mutsa Marau, Segolene Meheust
    Copywriters: Tom Tapper, Gleb Toropov, Christopher Ross-Kellman
    2D Design / Concept Art: Luke Marsh
    3D Design / Modeling: Guillaume Le Roux
    Character Modeling / Animation: Kilogramme
    Texture / Render: Thom Haig, Chris Shaw
    Storyboard: Marylou Faure
    Composer: Ben Cocks
    Producer: Max De Lucia / Adelphoi Music
    Music House: Adelphoi Music
    Sound Design / Mix: Andrew Sherriff

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    Literary fans love a good book signing. But absent the actual author, the next best thing might be an autograph from a mechanical arm in his or her own style.

    That, at least, seems to be the premise of a stunt from European online bookseller Bol.com and DDB Brussels at the Antwerp Book Fair this month. To mimic the handwriting of eight popular authors, the agency worked with research and design lab Beyond to analyze their original penmanship, and build a machine to recreate it.

    Now, the robot is standing in for names like Nicci French (the pseudonym for thriller duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) and novelist David Baldacci, writing personalized notes non-stop for 12 days, at about 90 seconds per message. To make things even weirder, one of the writers, Belgian poet Paul van Ostaijen, has been dead for almost 90 years (no word yet on whether his brain, kept in suspended animation in a jar, was controlling the machine).

    It's a fun idea, and a clever use of technology. DDB, for its part, maintains all the authors, and the group responsible for managing van Ostaijen's name and works, were eager to participate. It's also hard to imagine, novelty aside, that something isn't lost without the unique physical touch of the author (as in most art forms, die-hard audiences would want to connect with the actual human who created a work, not a reproduction).

    Then again, it's all fairly tongue-in-cheek. The agency isn't passing off the autographs as real. And the gag is most popular for the author who genuinely couldn't be there—of more than 1,000 signatures doled out so far by the robot, some 31 percent have been van Ostaijen's.

    For anyone who wants to geek out on how the machine achieved its feat of imitation, Kevin Verelst, art director and co-founder at Beyond has some insight. "It was essential to completely fine-tune four important elements," he says, citing "the choice of pen, the angle of the writing, the pressure of the pen on the paper and the writing speed."

    Or if you happen to be in Antwerp and want a signature for yourself, it's not too late. The robot began its marathon Oct. 31 and will continue through this Friday.

    Client: bol.com
    Contact: Niels Moes
    Agency: DDB Brussels
    CD: Peter Ampe & Odin Saillé
    Creation: Danny Vissers
    Ad & Copy: Tom Meijer & Silke Beurms
    Accounts: Francis Lippens & Romy Vierhouten
    Strategy: Dominique Poncin, Jorian Vanvossel

    Digital Design: Wieste De Ridder
    Motion Design: Sven Verfaille
    Producer: Stefanie Warreyn
    PR: Kenn Van Lijsebeth
    TV producer: Brigitte Verduyckt
    DOP: Adrien Moormann

    Design lab: Beyond.io
    Thanks to: Matthijs de Ridder, Genootschap Paul van Ostaijen

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    Ever want to play 50 Shades of Grey, but can't swallow the thought of all that leather and man-pandering? 

    There is hope. Bijoux Indiscrets—the Spanish sex-toy retailer that recently gave us an online orgasm library—just launched Maze, a collection of bondage-inspired accessories that's 100 percent vegan, and made by women, for women. 

    The 12-piece collection is meant to work both with lingerie and over a white shirt and jeans—bringing a spiked nuance to casual work attire. It's made with polyurethane, a recyclable polymer that looks and feels like leather (without the sacrifice of doe-eyed cows). The hardware is composed of non-heavy metals, and components can be adjusted for different body types. 

    Available colors are kept to a minimum—black and tan. Think of it as an eco-responsible, more lady-friendly take on The Story of O. 

    Co-founder and designer Elsa Viegas of Bijoux Indiscrets confesses to having been attracted to BDSM style for as long as she can remember. "It's a world that fascinates me—how hard it all looks, but how delicate the paths of rope, latex and leather can be," she tells AdFreak. "It is a dark universe that allows you to be yourself, to be the real you." 

    She laments that the aesthetic is often limited to dungeons or parties. "It can be such a source of inspiration for your fashion looks," she says. "Maze unites these two worlds in a subtle way."

    Check out the making-of video for the photo shoot, which demonstrates how Maze can be worn for play, or for adding an edge to those pantsuits you're now wondering what to do with. 

    The video was produced entirely in-house, using an internal digital designer, as well as a photo agency from Barcelona. 

    To people who may consider BDSM inherently misogynistic—and an odd departure from the woman-empowering orgasm library—Viegas says the line is about expressing female pleasure and sexual freedom as "fundamental rights." 

    "Society still establishes different boundaries and 'allows' sexual freedom based on gender," she says. "We want women to feel good about their sexuality. Being a designer and a woman, in a woman-founded company, gives us a very feminine approach to the erotic market. When I design new things, I'm not only doing it as a designer, but also as a critic and user."

    The vegan aspect is a nod to Bijoux Indiscrets' values: You can be passionate and sexy without foregoing social responsibilities (which is, in the end, the kind of reassurance a working woman needs). 

    "Respecting the planet and the animal welfare is not only a trend. It is a need! We only have one planet and we all should engage in sustainable practices," Viegas argues.

    Check out the complete Maze collection on the Bijoux Indiscrets website. If you're a suspenders kinda lady looking for a change—or just something to express your post-election inner darkness—you'll definitely find some sassy options. 

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    As we begin our plunge into the vortex of a Trump presidency, we'll have to adjust our operational definitions of terms like "weird" and "nonsensical," and this 360-degree Jack In the Box ad for its new "Brunchfast" menu is a good place to start.

    Brunchfast, by the way, just means an all-day breakfast menu (the Brunch Burger is a hybrid item), and "brunch" is already a word for what they're doing here, so they're minus one for redundancy right off the bat. As for the video, it's a 360 experience in which Bart Baker, Josh Elkin and Daym Drops extol the virtues of Brunchfast from inside the Jack In the Box mascot's head. At least, I think that's what's happening here.

    As grateful as I was not to be confronted by their perverted snowman mascot on a day like today, this video feels like a series of missteps taken by people who just found out about the Gregory Brothers. Plus, AutoTune sucks, and no one cares enough about brunch, much less Brunchfast, to listen to three random dweebs rap about it for nearly two minutes.

    I will take one of those Brunch Burgers, though, please and thank you.

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    For years, GoPro has taken a user-centric approach to its advertising, packaging submitted content for TV spots that have run everywhere from YouTube to the Super Bowl.

    But today, it's launching its first scripted TV spot, which is part of its largest campaign yet that's rolling out on a global scale. TV spots will run in the U.S., Spain, Germany, France, Korea, Australia and other markets. And there's an accompanying global campaign aimed at creating around 1.4 billion impressions. The campaign is a combination of regional and national ad buys, with the first spot airing today before ramping up Friday and then airing in prime time during Sunday Night Football.

    According to GoPro svp of marketing Bryan Johnston, the campaign is meant to reflect the diversity of the brand's users over the past few years, as its core user base grows from being adventure-seeking people documenting the great outdoors to a camera that can be used by anyone.

    "If we succeed, then we create thousands upon thousands upon millions of 21st-century storytellers," Johnston told Adweek.

    The spot begins with a scene showing dozens of people in the desert taking photos of a sunset, their smartphones creating a shadow across their faces.

    A narrator then challenges the viewer about what they're really doing: "Is this being in the moment? Is this hanging out? And is this really playing with your kid? Don't stop what you're doing to capture what you're doing. Just keep doing."

    The broader campaign will roll out throughout the rest of November. Then, in December and in the first quarter of 2017, GoPro plans will launch another four 30-second spots across digital channels focusing on different aspects of the business—software, storage and apps. The goal is to target based on whether someone is already a GoPro user or not. For example, a future video in Australia will be aimed at getting teenage girls thinking about how to upload and share their lives with GoPro. A spot in Germany will target fathers in their mid-30s who want to catch their daughters' soccer games.

    The new spot is actually a combination of scripted and user-generated content. The beginning and end are meant to look like the kind of stuff GoPro users would typically do, before blending into curated content. While GoPro created the spot in house, Johnston credited Goodby, Silverstein & Partners helping out. It was the first time GoPro worked with an agency, and while Goodby didn't directly work on the spot, its insight was as a catalyst for considering moving into scripted spots. 

    "We're a camera, so I like to say they helped us open the aperture," Johnston said.

    Johnston said the campaign is a natural evolution for the brand, as it grows not just in in terms of its product offerings, but also in accessibility. GoPro is now in around twice as many countries as it was in just a couple years ago.

    "When you're using a GoPro, you're usually inside a moment and capture a unique perspective," Johnston said. "And so the concept on the commercial was really trying to get people to think about the idea of what does life look like when you are actually wearing the device, capturing the experience. It's ultimately a much more emotional experience than standing on the sidelines and watching it."

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    A diverse group of Airbnb hosts and staff representing various races and age groups appear in this minute-long film, "Accept," which touts the service's recently introduced Community Commitment. Poignant in its own right, the spot resonates even more strongly in light of Tuesday's election results.

    All Airbnb users must now sign this nondiscrimination pledge, or they won't be allowed to host or book through Airbnb. The policy states, "I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias."

    Airbnb unveiled the oath as the month began, following a series of embarrassing episodes of alleged discrimination. Some of these transgressions have been catalogued via the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack.

    Produced in-house, "Accept" takes a no-frills approach. Faces of men and women flash by, along with on-screen text that begins, "We believe that no matter who you are, where you're from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong."

    "The energy from the election made acceptance all the more important for moving us forward as a global community," says Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall, Adweek's 2016 Brand Genius winner for hospitality marketing.

    It's sad, of course, that in this day and age, such policies need to be spelled out, and for that matter, that discrimination of any sort persists. Cynics might say Airbnb is just covering itself, legally and in a PR sense, and of course, on one level, that's true.

    Yet, in a broader sense, this Community Commitment serves the brand well and reflects what it's come to represent. Despite some failings, Airbnb transcends its business model, opening vistas for millions every year by making lodgings more affordable and turning dreams of travel into reality. At its best, the guest/host dynamic can deepen cultural understanding (on both sides of the transaction), eliminating fears, misconceptions and feelings of otherness.

    "There are 24 faces that only represent a sliver of the diversity we have on the platform," says Mildenhall. "The film's power laid in the faces. It's a lot more difficult to deny to someone while looking them in the eyes."

    In times like these, it's comforting to know we're still shaping a world—albeit slowly—in which all of us might someday feel at home, no matter who, or where, we are. 

    Client: Airbnb
    Creative Director: Paul Stechschulte
    Creative Lead: Roger Hoard
    Lead Designer: Andrea Nguyen
    Social Media Manager: Caitlin Choate
    Photographer: David Elliott
    Assistant Photographer: Ryan Kim
    Lead Producer: Anastassia Babanskaia
    Animator: Catalina Matamoros
    Global Marketing Manager: Franchesca Allen
    Managing Director: James Goode
    Animator: Jarratt Moody
    Post Production: Where The Buffalo Roam
    Music: Sonos Sanctus

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    The holidays are a big time for feasting, and hence, a major selling season for bathroom-centric products. But it might be better not to dwell too much on how one leads to the other.

    Instead, enjoy the pissing match that's broken out in the poop wars between odor-eliminating toilet-spray veteran Poo-Pourri and upstart Squatty Potty.

    Poo-Pourri just unveiled a new ad with its fan favorite character, the stylish and punny Bethany, metaphorically strolling through history to show us we're all still cavemen when it comes to basic bodily functions.

    This 2.5-minute video, which debuted Thursday on the Poo-Pourri Facebook page, comes just hours after Squatty Potty debuted the first ad for its own toilet spray, Unicorn Gold, starring the handsome prince and pooping unicorn from its famous flagship spot.

    The two products are now competing head to head—or butt to butt, if you will—for consumer interest in masking their stench.

    The timing was coincidental, Poo-Pourri vp marketing Will Clarke, tells AdFreak. He said the "History of Poop" spot was already queued up. But he thinks the competition could be good for everyone.

    "We wanted to wait until after the election craziness, but then, with all the angst right now, we thought it was a good time to make people laugh," Clarke says. "It's a happy accident that it dropped the same day a knock-off brand came out."

    Poo-Pourri uses an "annals of history" approach for the video, created by its new in-house content team, Number Two Productions, Clarke said. Scottish actress Bethany Woodruff, in a series of lovely turquoise gowns, togas and loincloths, returns with her most proper British accent to talk about pooping through the ages.

    There's the aforementioned caveman, an ancient Greek, a regal lady and a steampunk dude representing everything from "going Roman numeral II" to "dropping a royal rump roast." Tagline: "The best thing to happen to pooping since your butt."

    It's a follow-up to Poo-Pourri's most recent "control the shit-uation" triple-play of videos: "How to Poop at Work,""How to Poop on a Date" and "How to Poop at a Party." The latter has racked up nearly 8 million YouTube views. "History of Poop" touts the product's essential oils, odor-masking qualities, 20 million bottles of the product sold and "more five-star reviews than the wheel or fire," says Bethany.

    Aside from their twisted sense of humor, Unicorn Gold and Poo-Pourri share some other common ground. Viral video mavens the Harmon Brothers created the initial Poo-Pourri debut ad, "Girls Don't Poop," and they now work for Squatty Potty.

    Asked about the "knock-off" comment from Poo-Pourri, Benton Crane, Harmon Brothers' managing director, tells AdFreak: "Squatty Potty's Unicorn Gold is now the best toilet spray in the world, and we're proud that they enlisted us to tell their story."

    Let the poo-slinging begin!

    Squatty Potty's first pooping unicorn video from last fall has logged more than 120 million views, making it one of the most successful viral videos ever. The sequel, "Slay Your Poo-Stink With the Golden Fart of a Mystic Unicorn," was posted early Thursday on Squatty Potty's Facebook page.

    Poo-Pourri, which Clarke says will keep churning out content that "challenges taboos in a comedic way," will premiere another new video on Nov. 19, which is World Toilet Day. It's part of a United Nations-backed effort to increase awareness for sanitation in the developing world.

    Poo-Pourri, based in Addison, Texas, plans to give 100 percent of its sales proceeds that day to help build toilets in poor countries.

    Client: Poo-Pourri
    Director: Nicole Story
    Writer: Nicole Story
    Producer: Tess Kelly
    Director of Photography: Tel Stewart
    Production Company: Number Two Productions
    Poo-Pourri CEO: Suzy Batiz
    Production Designer: Lindsey Juckem
    Art Director: Kee Miller
    Hair & Make-up Artist: Danielle Donahue
    Wardrobe Stylist: Kathy Eckenbrecht
    Editor: Adam Henderson @ Post Op
    Colorist: Mike Pethel @ BeachHouse
    Sound Design: Glenn Ferguson
    Finishing Artist: Mike Jensen
    Motion Graphics: Cody Clack @ Post Op
    Animation: PostOp
    Post Production Producer: Katie Snyder
    Composer: Andrew Manson
    Set Construction: 3 Sixty Scenery
    Poo-Pourri Girl: Bethany Woodruff
    Caveman: Liam Buie
    Romans: Richard Chavez, Alex Diaz, Danny Shepherd, Davis Harris
    Medieval lady: Shiloh Nyce
    Medieval maid: Ischa Bee
    Outhouse guy: Nicolas Diaz

    0 0

    If nothing else, Wieden + Kennedy Portland's new slice-of-life spot for Samsung is an upbeat expression of the mobile-device panopticon we live in.

    The spot follows a handful of photogenic New York City kids as they film themselves with their phones and Gear 360 cameras, and humorously introduce an older guy to virtual reality with a Gear VR headset that one kid just brought along for some reason. (There's something irksome to me about jumping into virtual reality when you're already outside.)

    Also, another kid checks in with his mom via his Gear S3 watch and doesn't get absolutely brutalized with ridicule by his friends, which is a pleasant change from my generation.

    So sure, the content is a little precious, and Nada Surf's half-asleep cover version of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" doesn't help. But I like this ad's presentation otherwise. There's something charming about the wandering pace, and the way it's shot and lit makes it feel both nostalgic and modern at the same time.

    Like a distant past where Samsung products didn't explode quite so much. 

    Client: Samsung

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, ore.
    Group Creative Director: Craig Allen
    Creative Directors: Micah Walker / Tim Roan
    Copywriter: Wayne Kasserman
    Art Director: Cameron Soane
    Producer: Jules Brown
    Account Team: Drew Widell / Denny Tran / Michael Devine
    Strategy: Bruno Frankel / Tom Suharto / Jordan Aftanas
    Media: Bobby Souers / Andrew Mears
    Project Management: Laurie Holtz / Amanda Rudolph

    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Director: Cary Fukunaga
    Executive Producer: SueEllen Clair
    Head of Production: Kerry Haynie
    Producer: Terri Shafirov
    Director of Photography: Darren Lew
    Production Designer: Mara Schloop

    Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Brad Waskewich
    Post Producer: Gavin Carroll
    Post Executive Producer: Sila Soyer

    VFX Company: The Mill
    VFX Supervisor: Ilia Mokhtareizadeh
    VFX Producer: Veronica Ware / Will Mok

    Music + Sound Company: duotone audio group
    Managing Director: David Leinheardt
    Song: Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" performed by Nada Surf
    Producer: Gio Lobato

    Mix Company: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tom Jucarone

    0 0

    Few would disagree that this week has been a challenging one for many Americans. But today is Veterans Day, and Jeep is celebrating the occasion (and its own 75th anniversary) with an inspiring ad dedicated to the men and women who served by way of the very first vehicle to be considered for a Purple Heart to honor its service in WWII.

    The spot, which aired on Jeep's social media channels this morning, pays tribute to "Old Faithful," a WWII-era vehicle that was retired and awarded a Purple Heart designation after leading the United States Marine Corps through two beach landings and a shelling by the Japanese military during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1943.

    Austin's GSD&M was the creative agency behind the ad.

    The Purple Heart honor was largely symbolic as only veterans themselves can receive medals, but "Old Faithful" went on tours and appeared in exhibitions following the end of the war.

    From a July 1944 edition of The Marine Corps Chevron: "The jeep was retired ... after having traveled more than 11,000 miles of jungle terrain as a command car. During its 18 months' service 'Old Faithful' served four Marine generals as well as carrying every ranking Marine officer and visiting official on the two battle-torn islands."

    The original vehicle was supposed to be displayed indefinitely in the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va.; unfortunately, it has been lost to history.

    Jeep's parent company FIAT Chrysler added GSD&M to its roster in May after a creative review for the Dodge brand. FIAT often allows its agency partners to pitch project-based work, and GSD&M created this campaign to coincide with both Veterans Day and the company's 75th anniversary.


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