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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Starbucks wants consumers to know it's heard their deep concerns about its Christmas cups, and has worked hard to rectify the situation.

    Last year, the coffee chain sparked the world's most absurd controversy by stripping holiday imagery like snowflakes and reindeer from its disposable red drinking vessels.

    Some very adult Christian audiences took that move—meant to set an inclusive tone—as a personal affront, in the form of persecution against their religion, and a sign of the unbearable tyranny of political correctness.

    Now, Starbucks and agency 72andSunny have returned to typical form by restoring the wintry spirit to the cup, using designs consumers drew onto the plainer 2015 versions.



    This year's versions include the aforementioned snowflakes, and reindeer, as well as images like evergreen trees, Christmas lights and Christmas tree ornaments. Other cups feature more neutral patterns.

    They are pretty, and like plain red cups, relatively harmless (though people seem to get riled up about pretty much any Starbucks cup these days). The fact is, though, it probably doesn't matter much, either way. Starbucks can count on sleepless Americans buying a lot more coffee this December, regardless. 

    And by the way, if you think Starbucks didn't love last year's cup controversy, have a look at the teaser video below, released earlier last week for the new cups. The chain clearly knows the PR value of a good consumer freak-out. 


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    Entering the gates of hell, where there's no wifi and no shows—aka, Grandma's.

    For Comcast's Xfinity brand, 72andSunny tore a page out of Jimmy Kimmel's mean tweets playbook. "Hooking Up Grandma's House," which launches today, kicks off with grandparents reading tweets by their own grandkids, who dread visiting because—oh, no!—there's no Wi-Fi and no On Demand television. 

    "We discovered a bunch of tweets from grandkids lamenting the technological black hole that is Grandma's house during the holidays," Bryan Rowles, executive creative director at 72andSunny New York, tells Adweek. "We immediately related to that plight. It's such a universal experience. So we set out to prove that Xfinity could be a catalyst for bringing families together, and can make Grandma's house the most awesome place to be."

    The ad was inspired by genuine accounts, with one set of grandparents getting the full Xfinity holiday hookup. A van rolls up and gives the "gates of hell" a tech upgrade—including Wi-Fi, voice remote control, shows, movies and music on demand, and Xfinity X1, a TV platform that includes Netflix.

    The reactions that round out the end of the ad are real, albeit mindfully edited and given a boost from "Home," the feel-good advertising darling soundtrack by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

    "Our inspiration came from real consumer insights that showed there's a misconception that seniors aren't up on the latest technology, so we wanted to create a fun spot that made grandma and grandpa the hero for the holidays," explains brand marketing vp Todd Arata of Comcast.

    Meanwhile, Rowles sheds light on how the grandparents felt when they read the tweets. "Most, including those we met who did not make the final film, shared a feeling of shock," he says. "Some laughed it off, but others were kinda pissed. Which was also funny."

    One thing that sticks out about the film is how unifying digital appears to be. Anybody who's attended a holiday party at a digital-friendly house knows that, once everybody settles in, we all kind of disappear—down the rabbit hole of our phones, or plunged into whatever somebody put on TV.

    But in Xfinity's take on a connected holiday, the din at Grandma's seems to get louder. The granddaughter, Paige, faceswaps with her grandma on Snapchat. There's dancing in the kitchen, and it all ends with an intimate movie night on the couch, at which time Paige reveals she's posted a photo of Grandma on Instagram. 

    How realistic was this depiction? 

    "There was no script per se, more of an 'evening during the holidays' we wanted to capture with a real family," Rowles explains. "So yes, the interactions were real. We gave them Xfinity and let them play with it. We also put an emphasis on Paige and her grandma, and looked for opportunities where Xfinity could help bring them closer." 

    And the good cheer seemed to last after the upgrade, too. "Grandpa is a bigtime Nascar fan, so he's pretty stoked," Rowles adds. 

    By and large, the agency wanted to convey a sense of unity and reconnection with family members. "We set out to see if Xfinity could be a genuine catalyst for both," says Rowles, while addressing "families who want a more awesome, more modern entertainment experience." 

    Lastly, he divulges one of the best moments on the set. "We really enjoyed the wide range of shocked reactions by different grandparents reading tweets written by their traitorous grandkids," he laughs. "Oh, and only a few of the grandparents understood hashtags. 'Pound sign,' LOL!"

    CREDITS

    Client: Xfinity
    Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications: Peter Intermaggio
    Vice President, Brand Marketing: Todd Arata
    Executive Director, Marketing Communications: Dustin Hayes
    Director,Marketing Communications: Katie Senderowitz
    Senior Manager, Brand Marketing: Diana Hicks

    Agency: 72andSunny
    Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
    Executive Creative Director: Bryan Rowles
    Executive Creative Director: Guillermo Vega
    Group Creative Director: Eric Steele
    Creative Director, Designer: Erik Norin
    Senior Designer: David Goss
    Senior Writer: Mikio Bradley
    Junior Designers: Serena Smith, Anne Marie Wonder
    Junior Writer: Oliver Gormsen
    Group Strategy Director: Marshall Ball
    Strategy Director: Jennifer Lewis
    Strategist: Lauren Wong
    Managing Director: James Townsend
    Brand Director: Mallory Solomon
    Brand Coordinator: Dylan Levy
    Head of Production: Lora Schulson
    Senior Film Producer: Julia Lafferty
    Film Production Coordinator: Samira Mostofi
    Partnerships, Legal Managers: Marissa Burnett, Laura Fraser
    Partnerships, Legal Coordinator: Pamala Billman

    Production Company: Iconoclast
    Director: Matthew Frost
    Executive Producer: Charles-Marie Anthonioz
    Line Producer: Caroline Pham
    Director of Photography: Matyas Erdely

    Editorial Company: Exile Editorial
    Editor: Matt Murphy
    Post Producer: Evyn Bruce
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld

    Visual Effects Company: Method Studios
    Creative Director: Randy Swanberg
    Visual Effects Producer: Stephanie Katritos
    Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
    Head of Production: Jeff Wolfe

    Mix, Sound Design:
    Audio Company: Heard City
    Mixer: Keith Reynaud
    Producer: Sasha Awn

    Music:
    Executive Producer: Sara Matarazzo
    Senior Music Producer: Abbey Hickman
    Assistant Producer: Marissa Hernandez
    Composer: Eugene Cho


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    B-Reel is hiring! And it would like you to claw your way, quite literally, to the top.

    Remember those deeply irritating claw-machine games that no one can win? B-Reel created a digital version, modeled off an actual arcade claw machine and complete with RFID-enabled prizes.

    Use your keypad to control the claw and pick up some decidedly random merch.



    The objective is to win a job interview with the maker-driven studio, but not just any kind. The interview could take place while surfing with the chief creative officer, getting a massage, going on a Segway tour ... or simply via Hangouts, which is the prize we won. 

    We're not very good at clawing. Thankfully, B-Reel doesn't seem to mind: "Smart people—please win. Not-so-smart people, maybe you will win, too," the video helpfully suggests.

    The digitized claw game was a team effort, with front-end development, lighting effects, the creation of a custom control board and even 3-D printing taking part. Often, says B-Reel, internal projects lend insight on how to use new tools, and can become creative solutions for clients. "Claw Your Way to the Top" aspires to attract those who'd thrive on just such a process—makers, storytellers and technologists who like getting their hands dirty (even if it's just with pixels). 

    It's no Heineken "Go Places," but it's speaking to a very different audience, and is just as cool in its own way. The work went live last week and will run for the rest of the month.


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    A group of ice skaters (including one Olympian) and hockey players are dressed up as colorful yetis for British retailer Argos' new holiday campaign.

    Promoting Argos' Fast Track Delivery and Fast Track Collection services, these Christmas yetis speed through narrow, snowy streets and drop off Christmas gifts to the tune of "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Seems like kind of a random music choice, but it's not like there's a wealth of yeti-themed holiday songs to pick from, so I gave it a pass.

    As for why these characters are yetis in the first place, some regional folklore maintains that yetis are supernaturally fast for their size, making them solid candidates for delivery/collection services. Why they didn't go with a real animal that most people already associate with speed is a reasonable question. In fact, why dress up the skaters at all? They're already fast.



    Of course, in the end, it's just about goofiness and color and fun, which is fine, I guess.

    "What we love about this fun, fast-paced campaign is that it beautifully captures the spirit of excitement and anticipation surrounding Christmas," says Stephen Vowles, marketing director at Argos. "Fun loving and friendly, these larger-than-life, speeding yetis colorfully bring to life the role that Argos hopes to play in the Christmases of families nationwide this Christmas—and the skill, speed and precision that make us market leaders, with our super-speedy, same day Fast Track Delivery and Fast Track Collection services."



    Adds Jim Bolton, deputy executive creative director at CHI & Partners: "This campaign brings out the excited Christmas Eve kid in all of us who just can't get to sleep, they're so eager for the big day to arrive. We hope our lovable yetis bring excitement to thousands of British households this Christmas, reminding us of the joyous, fun-filled experience the festive season should be."

    If this starts a trend of replacing traditional Christmas symbolism with cryptids, I'm all in.



    Also, Argos did this amusing parody of this year's John Lewis Christmas ad:



    CREDITS
    Client: Argos

    Agency: CHI & Partners
    ECD: Micky Tudor, Jonathan Burley
    Creative Director: Jim Bolton
    Creatives: Ben Da Costa, Duncan Brooks, Sarah Levitt
    Producer: Adam Henderson
    Planners: Rebecca Munds & Josh Roth
    Business Director: Gary Simmons
    Account Director: Stephanie Leonard
    Account Manager: Nathan Brocklesby

    Production Company: Caviar
    Director: Henry Scholfield
    Producer: Giles Skillicorn
    Photographer / Director of Photography: Jallo Faber
    Costume: Animated Extras

    Editor: James Rose, Cut & Run
    Post-Production: Electric Theatre Collective
    Producer: Sian Jenkins
    VFX Supervisors: Yourick Van Impe
    Post Supervisor on Shoot: Angus Wilson

    Audio: Sam Robson, 750mph
    Music Company: Wake The Town

    Voiceover: Miquita Oliver

    Media Agency: Mindshare

    Social Media Agency: AllTogetherNow


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    As people around the U.S.—and the world—struggle to process the result of last Tuesday's presidential election, many are wondering what they can do to combat the negative impact that Donald Trump's rise to power is expected to have on a wide range of issues, including civil rights, women's rights and climate change.

    The founders of Brooklyn product design company Breakfast, for their part, have chosen to do what they do best—design a product.

    In this case, it's a simple blue ring, made from aluminum and meant to symbolize peaceful resistance and social justice, that supports major causes that chief creative officer Andrew Zolty says we need "to protect for our families, friends and children."



    In other words, at $20 each, the rings aren't just a fashion statement. They're meant to raise money for key advocacy organizations. All profits from their sale, via an Indiegogo fundraising page, will go toward five nonprofits whose areas of activity are threatened by the incoming Trump administration—the American Civil Liberties Union, the Environmental Defense Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety, GLAAD and Planned Parenthood.

    The political stance is a departure for Breakfast, a small independent firm that has created work for the likes of Google and Major League Baseball. The ring is also a significantly less technologically complex product than most of its previous projects, which have included a giant screen that recreated Instagram photos using spools of colored thread for Forever 21, and an Internet-connected street sign that Breakfast created as part of its own intellectual-property business. 

    The fundraising effort has a fixed goal of $10,000. Breakfast expects to be able to deliver the rings in January. 


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    Few airline routes evoke the golden age of flying quite like New York City to Palm Springs. And to celebrate new seasonal service along that route, JetBlue jumped back to the 1960s this weekend—with a "Time Travel Agency" pop-up store in NYC, a retro version of its logo (with ads to boot) and even a specially painted throwback airplane.

    The pop-up store opened Friday on Wooster Street in SoHo, the same storefront where the carrier built an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine earlier this year. The Time Travel Agency, created by JetBlue agency MullenLowe, featured period characters and furniture, as well as 1960s fare deals and other giveaways.

    It closed Saturday, so you'll have to pay 2016 prices if you missed out.



    The installation included a four-page Wooster Street Journal newspaper, mocked up like a mid-1960s edition, and some other fun collateral.

    In addition, and also playing on the airline industry's retro fascination, JetBlue has given one of its jets a retro paint job. JetBlue designers spent days at New York's Lubalin Archive at the Cooper Union, researching ads, graphics, images and fonts from the '60s. 

    "The 1960s were rich with sleek but bold graphics and style—characteristics of today's JetBlue brand," says Jamie Perry, vp of marketing of JetBlue. "With that in mind our team broke from our tradition of timeless designs and instead imagined a look to celebrate this iconic era of aviation and what JetBlue may have looked when it would have been introducing humanity to air travel."



    The inaugural flight to Palm Springs last Friday was also quite a production, featuring a runway show with custom crew member uniforms, T5 original flight attendants, special members of the TWA Clipped Wings club and fashions by Palm Springs-based fashion designer Trina Turk.

    The retro vibe is great. To fill it out, they should have also temporarily reopened the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal at JFK, which sits right next to JetBlue's Terminal 5. Maybe next time.



    CREDITS

    Client: JetBlue Airways
    Title: Palm Springs Time Travel Agency
    Agency: MullenLowe

    Creative
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
    Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
    Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
    VP, Creative Director: Julia Neumann
    VP, Creative Director: Amy Ferguson
    Senior Copywriter: Patrick Regan
    Senior Art Director: Jay Spahr
    Designer: Alyssa Cavanaugh

    Production
    SVP, Executive Director Integrated Production: Liza Near
    Senior Live Events Producer: Kenna Takahashi
    Associate Director, Print Production and Experiential: Kristine Ring-Janicki
    Project Manager: Christina Gratton
    Business Affairs Manager: Kara Estow

    Production Company: mssng peces
    EP, Founder: Ari Kuschnir
    EP: Kate Oppenheim
    EP: Brian Latt
    EP: Edward Grann,
    Head of Production: Dave Saltzman
    Director: Yehuda Duenyas
    Producer: Jason Reif

    Account Management
    SVP, Group Account Director: Emily Brooks
    Account Director: Molly Bluhm
    Account Supervisor: Matthew Duerr
    Senior Account Executive: Grace Clemow

    Strategy
    Group Strategy Director: Ellie Gogan-Tilstone
    Senior Strategist: Mike Patrick

    Media
    SVP, Group Digital Director: Jade Watts
    Associate Digital Media Director: Tracy Barahona
    Associate Media Director: Kelly McGowan
    Media Supervisor: Shoshana Levine
    Digital Media Planner: Alice Williams

    PR/Social
    SVP, Account Director PR: Jaclyn Ruelle
    Account Supervisor PR: Becky Brand
    Account Supervisor PR: Brittany Zahoruiko

    RetroJet creative:
    Lashonne Duncan, Creative Direction
    Ciara Cordasco, Art Direction
    Bailey Sullivan, Designer
    Sara Runnels, Copywriter


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    British grocer Waitrose on Sunday launched #HomeforChristmas, a holiday ad that follows a robin—apparently the U.K.'s favorite bird—trying to make it home to those he loves. 

    The voyage is based on the actual migration of Scandinavian robins. Created by adam&eveDDB, Rogue Films and The Mill, our heroic robin crosses mountains and seas, narrowly missing the claws of a predator, before arriving at a dish that a young girl has set out for him.

    Waiting there is a Waitrose mince pie and the robin's companion. 



    Even if you're not a member of the Audubon Society, the feathered hero's story may resonate. It's been a rough year for many, with an epically contentious ending. If you've felt dragged through the cobblestones, this bird has too: A couple of near-death experiences make this trip feel like a Herculean, once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment. 

    "Coming home is a central theme at Christmas when welcoming, hosting and providing a special meal for loved ones at the heart of celebrations," says marketing director Rupert Thomas of Waitrose.

    "Sharing the best possible food and drink with family and friends is one of the great joys of the festive period, and we hope that the determination of our robin resonates with viewers as they follow his journey back to where he belongs. It's a story of love, courage and the importance of enjoyment with family and friends." 

    The ad is buttressed by music from Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who adapted his track "Cambridge, 1963" from The Theory of Everything. A 90-second version launched yesterday, during the X Factor results show. 

    The robin itself was brought to life with the magic of CG, which sounds a bit trite, given all the work that went into it. 

    "Working with specialists in robin behavior helped us with our detailed observation of the classic behaviors of the robin," explains creative director Jorge Montiel of The Mill. "The way robins move, their size and their lack of facial expressions meant that the bird's personality had to be evoked almost entirely through its body language. Every little breath, heartbeat, twitch had to be present, and in time, allowing this tiny creature to take center stage among the dramatic landscapes behind him."

    "Building on our previous knowledge of feather work, we knew that creating a photo-real robin was going to be our most demanding bird job to date," adds Adam Droy, The Mill's lead 3-D artist. "With that in mind, we went about crafting a bespoke feather tool that would allow us to create such accurate feather simulations, down to the micro details such as how many barbs a feather has, how soft they feel and how each feather reacts to the light."

    TV versions of the ads will run for the next six weeks, in addition to social media support, a cinema presence (in 3-D, even!), VOD and digital display takeovers. A game, created by Manning Gottlieb OMD, will also give social viewers the chance to engage with the robin's homeward journey.

    "We're really proud of this plucky little fella and his plight to get home for Christmas," concludes executive creative director Richard Brim of adam&eveDDB. "It's a warming story that speaks to the spirit of togetherness in the festive season and the joy of just coming home to where you belong. It feels like a great way to wrap up a great year for Waitrose."

    CREDITS

    Project Title: "Coming Home"
    Client: Joanne Massey, Senior Marketing Manager; Libby Langridge, Marketing Manager; James Ward, Marketing Manager
    Chief Creative Officer: Ben Priest
    Executive Creative Directors: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
    Copywriter: John Long
    Art Director: Matt Gay
    Agency TV Producer: Jack Bayley
    Head of Design: Alex Fairman,
    Designers: Paul Reddington, Marek Charytonowicz, Andrew Murray
    Agency Digital Producer: Jenny Smart
    Planner: Dom Boyd
    Managing Director: Tammy Einav
    Business Director: Victoria Day
    Account Director: Oliver Jones
    Account Manager: Sarah Gregory
    Media Agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD
    Head of Strategy: Paddy Adams
    Deputy Head of Retail: Kirstine Newton
    Account Director: Rebecca Dorfman
    Account Executive: Leila Amrabadi
    Media Planner: David Ellis
    TV Production Company: Rogue Films
    Director: Sam Brown
    Production Company Producer: James Howland
    Executive Producer: Charlie Crompton
    Editing Company: Trim
    Editor: Paul Hardcastle
    Assistant Editor: Edward Hanbury
    Visual Effects, Design: The Mill
    Executive Producer: Alex Fitzgerald
    Producer: Tom Manton
    Creative Director: Jonathan Westley (Wes)
    Shoot Supervisor: Hitesh Patel
    Head of Animation: Jorge Montiel
    Lead 3-D Artist: Adam Droy
    3-D Artists: Andreas Graichen, Hugo Jackson, James Mulholland, Adrian Meyer, Amaan Akram, Andrew Bartholomew, Ashley Tilley, Aziz Kocanaogullari, Finlay Crowther, Luca Cantani, Margaux Huneau, Matthew Kavanagh, Michael O'Donoghue, Nick Smalley, Will Burdett, Alain Thay, Jasmine Ghoreishi, Alberto Lara, Philip Maddock, Matt Evans, Paul Donnellan, Sergio Xisto, Sebastian Braende, Antonio Filippin, Kieran Ashley Russell, Ian Potsos
    2-D Lead Artists: Jonathan Westley (Wes), Gary Driver
    2-D Artists: Milo Paterson, Nina Mosand, Grant Connor
    Online: Adam Maynard, James Pratt, David Toba
    R&D: Craig Davies
    Design: Aurelien Ronceray, Cameron Johnson
    Concept: Jimmy Kiddell
    Color: The Mill
    Colorist: Seamus O'Kane
    Music Supervision: Leland Music
    Music Supervisors: Abi Leland, Ed Bailie
    Soundtrack Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson
    Sound Design, Mix: Jon Clarke, Anthony Moore
    Audio Producer: Ryan Smith
    Sound Company: Factory
    Digital Production Company: Banner Boys


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    As one of the top fashion-focused creative directors in advertising, Trey Laird has worked with plenty of big names, from Madonna to Missy Elliott. But creating breakthrough marketing is about much more than getting a famous face out there. 

    The founder, CEO and chief creative officer at Laird + Partners sat down with Adweek to talk about his favorite ads ever. And not surprisingly, several of them were fashion spots that broke through and became cultural moments in their own right—particularly for Gap. 

    In this video, Laird tells us about his 2006 Gap commercial that used footage of Audrey Hepburn from Funny Face to wonderful effect. He also discusses the digitally driven fashion show that his agency made last year for Tom Ford, starring Lady Gaga. That work won gold at the Clio Awards recently, and shook up an experience—the fashion show—that's been the same for so many years. 

    He also chats about a seminal Apple ad, and why Beyoncé is such an inspiration. 

    Check out the full Gap "Back in Black" and Tom Ford videos below. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.


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    Sugar is the new heroin, and sitting is the new smoking. But one formerly vilified habit—eating butter—is apparently off the naughty list. Gingerbread cookies and basted turkeys for everyone!

    In a new digital campaign, Organic Valley declares an end to the long-raging "war on butter" that started in the 1950s, when scientists declared it evil and suggested substitutes like aerosol sprays and "yellow goo." Desserts and holiday dinners haven't been the same since, says the faux documentary below, with a bespectacled PBS-style host. Olive oil and avocados as fair swaps? Perish the thought.

    Recent studies have lifted the stigma from the "rich, creamy semi-solid gold" that's been revered since "the dawn of food," says the narrator, who backs up that claim by pointing out sticks of butter that have been Photoshopped into Renaissance paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics.



    The deadpan touch of ridiculousness has become an Organic Valley trademark.

    "As a little guy, we want to tell a unique story, something different than a big consumer packaged goods company would do," says Lewis Goldstein, Organic Valley's vp of brand marketing. "We take a bit of a gamble each time we do something like this, but our consumers seem to like the humor."

    Organic Valley, with ad agency Humanaut, has had a string of successful digital and experiential campaigns, including "Save the Bros," "Real Morning Report" and a pop-up shop in New York City's trendy Nolita neighborhood this past summer that looked like a coffee shop but sold only half-and-half.

    For the new video, Humanaut wanted to "tap into what's going on in the culture," says David Littlejohn, the agency's chief creative director. Namely, that butter's no longer verboten as an ingredient—even Time magazine says it's OK to eat it! It's also intended to be a respite from traditional holiday marketing. "No Santa, no elves," Littlejohn says.

    Into this brave new butter-drenched world steps Organic Valley, whose farmers declare the company and its 1,800 farmer-owners to be "the Silicon Valley of butter," and believe that "if you churn it, they will come." The brand isn't saying you should bathe in the stuff, but one of its farmers in the video does comically snack on a full stick, saying, "Tastes like victory."

    Along with the video, which will run on Facebook, YouTube, Hulu and food sites and blogs, the brand is launching a contest seeking "butter heroes," and will spend the week sculpting butter busts of the winners. Consumers can nominate their heroes via Twitter and watch the resulting sculpture making, which Littlejohn described as "mesmerizing," on Facebook Live.

    "For so long, everyone thought butter was bad for you, and now the tables have turned," Littlejohn says. "So this is part history lesson and part celebration."

    CREDITS
    Client: Organic Valley
    Agency: Humanaut


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    The Spanish Christmas lottery is special. It boasts one of the biggest prize pools in the world, and paid out more than $2 billion in prizes last year. 

    Lotto tickets are typically sold in series—employers can give the same number to employees, or whole communities can buy into a shared hope of fortune. If their number is drawn, the prize is split among everyone. Most Spanish people hold a portion of the Christmas lottery stakes every year, even if they don't play at any other time. 

    Building on that sense of collective hope, the drawing happens Dec. 22; whole lives can be changed over the holidays. As a result, community and sharing have become key to how the Spanish lottery promotes itself.

    "Antonio's Bar," from 2014, is among our favorite examples. Last year's ad, "Justino," about a night watchman and his mannequins, won the Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes.

    The 2016 commercial, titled "December 21st," launched this week. Like the past two spots, it was created by Leo Burnett Madrid. In this one, retired schoolteacher Carmina mistakenly believes that she and her community have won the draw—the day before it actually happens.

    Carmina makes the rounds of the village and builds a crowd of celebrants while her reluctant family follows, alternately convincing people to play along ... and bracing themselves for the best time to tell her the truth. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    There are plenty of charming moments here, but most touching is the transformation of Carmina's apathetic grandson. We meet him when he moodily refuses a meal that Carmina's made. But as the stakes get higher, he becomes the most earnest participant in the charade, going so far as to convince journalists to interview her, and tearing calendar numbers off the walls.

    This is what makes Spanish lotto ads so resonant. The hope of winning is a pretext for illustrating what it means to be part of a community. But "December 21st" is also different from its forbears. Unlike in past ads, nobody has really won this time, and it isn't likely they will. (They're apparently all holding the winning numbers from last year.) 

    Instead, the gift Carmina's village finds is their eagerness to share in the enthusiasm of someone they love; the outcome of the draw has become irrelevant. 

    State lotto creators hope that feeling will be contagious. On an accompanying website, users can interact with eight separate stories related to Carmina's, helping her son and grandson organize the townspeople. A Facebook Messenger execution will enable "villagers" to help keep the excitement alive, too. 

    The spot was directed by Santiago Zannou, and this long version will be available only online. A shorter version, at 3:30, will appear on TV, teased with :60 and :30 trailers.

    CREDITS
    Advertiser: SELAE
    Client: Eva Pavo, Federico Fernández
    Product: Christmas Lottery
    Campaign: "December 21st"
    Agency: Leo Burnett Madrid
    CCO: Juan García-Escudero
    ECD: Jesús Lada
    CD: Ignacio Soria y Arturo Benlloch
    Art Directors: Javier Lopez Canle
    Account Director: Sara Iglesias
    Account Manager: Sara Cubillo
    Producer: Nico Sánchez, Juanjo Ocio
    Production company: RCR
    Director: Santiago Zannou
    Executive Director: Miguel Escribano
    Music: Fernando Velázquez
    Site: www.21dediciembre.es


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    Nothing says "family" like pretending to love the terrible gifts your relatives have gotten you for the holidays.

    That, at least, is the basic premise of a new 30-second Christmas ad from Heineken starring Benicio del Toro, and emphasizing that Heineken is, technically speaking, a family-owned business.

    Part of Publicis Worldwide's new "There's more behind the star" campaign, it's the latest in a series of spots, launched earlier this year, featuring the A-list actor as a spokesman for the brewer, whose logo is, like him, a star.



    While the Heineken family does still hold a controlling stake in the company, the attempt to frame it as intimate is relatively laughable. The global conglomerate owns some 170 brands around the world and sports revenues in the $20 billion range.

    To be fair, the scope of Heineken's operations—in 192 countries, to be precise—are the focus of an earlier spot in the campaign, where the Oscar winner finds himself mistaken for another world-famous actor.

    Regardless, del Toro's performance here is plenty entertaining, as he demonstrates how his acting talents are put to exceptional use during the exchanging of presents. For example, he grins masterfully while unwrapping an undeniably thrilling electric hand mixer that certainly won't end up forgotten in a kitchen cabinet, or collecting dust in the basement.

    The concept is hardly new. In fact, Jeff Goldblum did almost exactly the same schtick for U.K. electronics retailer Currys PC World last year. The twist in the Heineken ad, if you can call it that, is that del Toro in the end is most pleased with the gift he's gotten himself—a case of Heineken.

    If nothing else, it's certainly true that having a good buzz going will help you get through even the most tedious of family affairs.


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    Ketel One offers a tipsy take on its quest for vodka perfection in this new campaign from Barton F. Graf.

    The work consists mainly of self-consciously wacky "training videos," purportedly aimed at the next generation of the Nolet family, distillers for 325 years.

    "Millennial consumers are looking for brands that have authentic stories and substance," Carl Nolet Jr., executive vice president of Ketel One, tells AdFreak. So, Ketel One is taking a page from whiskey advertising's playbook in order to relate to young adult consumers through tales of tradition and legacy.

    "Everything must be done with meticulous attention to detail," Nolet says, "even when minor, because a legacy depends on it. Pressure makes diamonds. It also makes Ketel One."

    This campaign contains some gems, including the first spot below, in which we learn that a Nolet family member must sign off on every batch of product:



    That dapper white-haired dude is Ketel One chairman Carl Nolet Sr. Get the guy a self-inking endorsement stamp before his hand cramps up!

    Nolet Sr. returns in a second ad, which frames the family heritage message in no uncertain terms:



    Next, the brand's "tasting profiles" might just send tingles down your spine:



    Golf? Sketching? No time for hobbies—it's all about the vodka and signing the family name, dammit:



    Luckily for the staff at the plant, the townsfolk appear to have left their pitchforks at home in this spot:



    All in all, it's an amusing approach in the patented Graf absurdist style, well suited to the brand's message and especially appealing because it doesn't take itself too seriously (yet delivers the tradition idea all the same).

    That said, if the "training film" concept feels a bit forced, and maybe some of the executions try a tad too hard to please, well, nobody's perfect.

    Check out more spots below, along with a VR tour of Ketel One's facilities in Schiedam, Holland.



    CREDITS
    Brand: Ketel One Vodka
    Campaign: "You Don't Understand, It Has to Be Perfect"
    Client: Diageo North America
    Diageo leads: James Thompson, Alex Tomlin, Rodrigo David Ortigosa
    Agency: Barton F. Graf
    Founder/Chief Creative Officer: Gerry Graf
    Group Creative Director: Nick Kaplan, Nate Naylor
    Copywriter: Richard Langhorne, Mark Bielik
    Art Director: Zack Madrigal, Ross Fletcher
    Head of Production: Josh Morse
    Producer: Erica Kahr
    Account Director: Yvette Ames
    Strategy Director: Deepa Sen
    Production Co.: Canada/The Directors Bureau
    Directors: Canada - Nicolás Mendez, Lope Serrano
    Executive Producer, Managing Director: Oscar Romagosa
    Executive Producer: Marta Argullós
    Executive Producer/Head of Production, The Directors Bureau: Elizabeth Minzes
    Edit: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Carlos Arias
    Mix: Heard City
    Mixer/Sound Designer: Evan Mangiamele
    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Sofie Borup
    Talent: Olaf Malmberg


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    You remember the Voorthuis family, the optically obsessed owners of eyewear retailer Georgetown Optician. They were the quirky stars of agency Design Army's beautifully weird (and "true-ish") commercial last year called "Our Family Knows Glasses"—one of our favorite spots of 2015.

    Well, the Voorthuis, whose style can be described as Wes Anderson meets the Addams Family, return today in a sequel from the Washington, D.C., agency. The new spot, "The Eye Ball," continues their story, and enriches it, by introducing Grandma Ida, the matriarch from whom the family's eyewear fixations evidently sprung.

    Ida has invited her descendants to the titular "Eye Ball" at her Gothic mansion. But things get complicated fast when the family meets Ida's butler, the exceedingly unnerving Igor (pronounced EYE-gore, naturally). Thus ensues, according to the agency, "a wild tale involving a short-sighted optical instruments heiress, villainous butler, purloined heirlooms and a cast of 50 hunting hounds."

    Check out the spot here:



    While the Voorthuis world is undoubtedly indebted to some high-design source material, it has a uniqueness and charm all its own. It's so fully realized, with the art direction, pacing, writing and brilliant visual details combining for an enjoyable, off-kilter viewing experience.

    After the success of the earlier spot, which was recognized across the industry, it's no wonder Design Army went back to these characters.

    "The 'Our Family Knows Glasses' brand campaign was a great success and generated a lot of buzz and traffic for Georgetown Optician, so we decided that it was worth extending for another season. But how to make it better was the challenge," Design Army chief creative officer Pum Lefebure tells AdFreak.

    "The new film takes a deeper look at family 'issues' and delves into the family's eyewear obsession from their matriarch, Grandma Ida, who is more kooky than the rest of the family when it comes to fashionable frames. Of course, every great film needs a deeper subplot, so we introduced an outsider, Igor the butler, who has a very interesting relationship with Grandma Ida and stirs concerns amongst the family."



    The details are what really take the piece to the next level, Lefebure adds.

    "We carefully crafted every scene to make it even more bizarre than the first [spot]," she says. "For example: Grandma Ida's only source of food are carrots; the cucumber lenses on her glasses when she is taking a bubble bath—with bubbles blown from her butler; Irene's sleeping mask—eyes closed and open; Ivan's horse jumping over a giant topiary of frames; Iris' insanely wonky doghouse that has a collection of objects from the first film. You might not notice all these details at first, but when you watch it again and again—which I hope you do—you start to discover the hidden gems. Design is not in the details. Design is the details."

    Not coincidentally, the spot also shows a ton of product.

    The spot is "the perfect combination of great copywriting, beautiful art direction and unexplainable weird visuals—all while showcasing 60-plus glasses," says Lefebure. "It's product placement on steroids!"

    Check out the print work below. 



    CREDITS

    —Creative
    Agency: Design Army
    Chief Creative Officer & Creative Director: Pum Lefebure
    CEO: Jake Lefebure
    Senior Designer: Lillian Ling
    Social Media: Alice Hough
    Behind the Scenes Photographer: Diego Jimenez
    Production Coordinator: Olivia Prinzi
    Production Hand: Ryan Haskins
    Copywriter: Mark Welsh

    —Video
    Director & Cinematographer: Dean Alexander
    Editor: David Grossbach
    Color Grading: CVLT NYC
    1st Assistant Camera, MOVI Operator, Drone Pilot: Johnny Meyer
    2nd Assistant Camera, Digi-Tech: John Vallon
    Behind the Scenes & Social Editor: Daniel St. Ours
    Gaffer: Theodore Ayd
    Key Grip: Mike Piekutowski
    Best Boy Grip: Elliot Snell
    Best Boy Electric: Jason Hubert

    —Styling
    Hair & Makeup: Dale Johnson
    Hair & Makeup Assistant: Brandon Russell
    Jewelry & Accessories: Julie Wolfe
    Wardrobe Stylist: Michelle Onofrio
    Wardrobe Stylist Assistant: Gemma Slack

    —Actors
    Ivan: Larry Campbell
    Irene: Hallie Hutchinson
    Issac: David James
    Grandma Ida: Carole Mancini
    The Butler / Igor: Pat Iles
    Iris: Troy the Beagle
    Voice Over Talent: Donnie

    —Props
    Food Styling: Sidra Forman
    Prop Designers: SETCO, Design Army, Dean Alexander Productions

    —Locations
    Cylburn Mansion
    Loudon Fairfax Hunt Club

    —Special Thanks
    Taylor Royall, Inc.
    Scott Goodie
    Modelogic Mid-Atlantic
    Stacie Vanchieri
    T.H.E. Artist Agency
    Lynda Erkiletian
    Elizabeth Centenari
    Sondra Ortagus
    Sophie Lefebure
    Chloe Alexander
    The Voorthuis Family


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    Lexus has rolled out its 2016 Christmas campaign, the latest installment of its "December to Remember" sales event advertising from agency Team One, and it has various adults manipulating kids into hitting up Santa for a Lexus this year.

    This means everything from people telling their kids what to say on Santa's lap (in case they blank and ask for a football), to a mom taking over her daughter's Santa letter, to a dad interrupting his kid's video conference with Santa.

    Let's pause there, actually, because the entire point of Santa is that he only leaves the North Pole once a year. Having 24/7 access to him kills the whole mystique. For that matter, is there a rule that only children can communicate with Santa? I feel like a grown-ass man or woman could ask for a car directly with the same odds as anyone else. That's how it works in sitcoms, anyway.

    As you ponder that, check out the five ads here:











    Another point to consider: Does Lexus make a deal with Santa where he gets a set number of cars to distribute as gifts? Do other manufacturers have similar arrangements with him? I feel like we need another set of ads just to make sense of his inventory.

    Moving on, the ads are cute, but it always weirds me out when Christmas ads don't even bother with the family-and-togetherness part of the holiday before running at full gallop to the gifts. Especially when the scenario is about gaming the system in such merciless fashion—using kids to get a free car out of Santa.

    It's less corny than the Christmas ads of previous generations, but far more heartless.

    "The holidays are a magical time for children, but this year's campaign reminds everyone, regardless of age, that they're never too old to wish," says Brian Smith, Lexus vp of marketing. "Kids have a lifeline to Santa that adults can't touch, and these spots offer a genuine yet humorous take on families working together so everyone can have a December to remember."

    The broadcast spots break Wednesday on network and cable television, sports channels and more. The "Santa Cam" spot will be translated for the Hispanic market, and a second version of "Forgery" will be created for the Asian-American market.

    Check out a print ad below, with illustrations from artist Andrew Bannecker—and yes, the big red bows on top of the Lexi. 



    CREDITS
    Client: Lexus
    Agency: Team One


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    Creative director Melissa Maher knows the alcohol business well.

    Over the last 12 years, she's worked with Brown Forman, Mike's Hard Lemonade and, in her current role at The Marketing Arm in Dallas, with Bacardi USA. (Tough job, right?) But after consulting with several liquor companies, she realized every brand seemed to be struggling to make meaningful connections with its consumers.

    That's when she created Flask, a pop-up speakeasy in Dallas that provided a space where brands could build an immersive experience, choosing everything from the menu and music to the movie playing in the background. It wasn't just a plus for brands—it offered a unique and underground opportunity for drinkers, too.

    "As a creative, opening a bar has been my metaphor to writing the Great American Novel," Maher says. "Through my experience creating marketing campaigns for various liquor brands, I saw them getting lost in the clutter of bars, so I wanted to open a space where both brands and consumers could have a meaningful and memorable experience." 

    Over four weekends in November 2015, Maher set up in a converted two-story house in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas' Oak Cliff borough. Patrons were met at the door by Lucky the doorman (yep, that's his real name), and proceeded to purchase two movie tickets in the form of poker chips.

    Inside, those $20 chips could be redeemed for two drinks. The menu featured pre-made cocktails, served in flasks, plus a trio of bourbons for sipping and a few beers. Movies rotated every night, but the most popular by far was The Gambler, the 1980 made-for-TV film starring Kenny Rogers.

    "I've always loved the history and hospitality of liquor," Maher says. "When I lived in New York City, speakeasies and classic cocktail bars were popping up everywhere, and I had the opportunity to experience a lot of them. I also had the opportunity to work with a spirits writer, which gave me access to some of the most interesting and innovative bars and bartenders in New York City. In essence, I soaked up everything I could."



    Maher considers Flask a successful concept that could pop up again with funding from investors. 

    "I had a great run and hope to do it again," she says. "I have interested parties, and I would love to bring Flask to a more permanent brick and mortar. Tastes, trends and neighborhoods constantly change, so I am just waiting for the right time and opportunity."

    Even with a limited run, pulling off the concept wasn't exactly easy. "Everything was put into nights and weekends—and on my credit cards," she says. "Time and money were always in short supply, but I wouldn't change a thing."

    Maher learned that her experience running a team as a creative director, paired with being naturally entrepreneurial and scrappy, helped her manage her time and budget. It helped that The Marketing Arm promotes an "all-hands-on-deck" work style and emphasizes having a plan and working that plan.

    "While you have the support of your full-time job, you should seek opportunities that build your resources and skill set while fostering creativity," she says. "Also, don't be afraid to share what you're working on. You never know when someone may have a contact you need." 


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    David Ogilvy once said, "The customer is not a moron. She's your wife." 

    It's easy to say, but how many agencies live by the notion that consumers are people we know and love? Italian agency Le Balene is about to find out whether it meets the bar ... and it's looking for someone to join them. 

    Creatives in Italy have a similar saying to Ogilvy's. Developed by writer Alberto Arbasino in the '60s, it's become a compass for pitches and brainstorms: "This should be understandable for the Voghera housewife"—Voghera being a small town in Lombardy, and the Voghera housewife being the average person.

    Which brings us back to Le Balene, the agency whose execs, last year, walked 125 miles for a pitch. In "The Voghera Housewife," they'll spend a week livestreaming their attempts to work in the home of one such archetype, brought to life in the form of Michela—a wife, mother and cat owner with plenty of clean towels.

    Now she can add de facto creative director to her list. Because Michela gets the last word on all proposals.

    Wanna join in? They're looking for a manager.



    To understand more about Le Balene's latest project, we caught up with CEO Marco Andolfato, who says the idea was partly conceived during their long walk last year. 

    "We talked a lot with the different people we met along the route, and we realized how listening to ordinary people is a most valuable source of insights," he tells AdFreak.

    "The second inspiration came after a terrible meeting in which we were presented with the result of a copy test: All that talking about 'heavy users' or 'non-users,' dissecting every tiny bit of the idea, sounded more like laboratory test results than a way of understanding what real people think and appreciate." 

    That's when it hit them: "Why don't we just go live and work in the home of an ordinary family?" 

    He detailed the qualities they're seeking in the manager who'll join them, hopeful that it will be a non-Italian. "We're looking for the ideal manager—curious and willing to take some risk," says Andolfato. "We already have interesting proposals from companies that are not currently our clients. So far, all are from Italy, but we'd love to have someone with a different perspective, coming from a different country and, of course, speaking a different language." 

    Andolfato isn't just inviting an international voice into the house to work with them; he's also expecting clients to play along and pitch them there, foregoing impressive conference rooms (and the inevitable foosball table) for the domain of real people. 

    "We'll receive the briefs there," he says. "The clients will come to Voghera and ask for the job they want us to perform—a social campaign, a TV spot, anything having to do with communication."

    For Andolfato, it's is a taste of the client's own medicine.

    "Clients agreed because they see the potential of the idea for their brands," he says, quoting the typical company manifesto: " 'When we think about the communication for our brand, we immerse ourselves in your life, as we do when we design our products or services. That's why you find that our products or services are so good for you.' " 

    Michela's family, however, won't be used as a mere focus group. For Le Balene, the goal is to "immerse ourselves in the life of an ordinary family, trying to get as many insights as we can."

    Oh, and the project will be livestreamed on Facebook.

    "We're planning to go live twice a day, then broadcast a video that sums up what happened during the day," says Andolfato. "Besides our Facebook page, we'll be covered by Youmark, an Italian advertising news website; La Nuvola del Lavoro, a blog hosted by the main Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera; and the Facebook page of FattoreMamma, a network of mom bloggers."

    In terms of what's filmed, expect a sympathetic mix of real life—"us and the housewife shopping, a discussion about how to prepare food during lunch, or commenting on a TV program"—and work hijinks—"the briefing meeting with the client in the dining room, creative brainstorming in the kitchen," Andolfato adds. 

    "Ideally we would like to convey the message that real communication is for real people and that Le Balene is the right advertising agency for this," he concludes. "This is the final goal, but we're pretty confident that at the end of the week we'll have produced some good work."

    He also hopes their creative approach will change for the better. "We'll have to keep our minds very open while there, but this is something we humbly try to do always," he says. 

    The team will be moving chez Michela's on Nov. 28. They'll stay from Monday to Friday. Agency residents will include Andolfato as well as the same guys who accompanied him on his walk last year—copywriter Davide Canepa and art director Francesco Guerrera.

    And maybe even you, in what may well be the biggest test of agency platitudes since that one time Roundhouse sent a copywriter to live in the wilderness with nothing but client products to keep him alive.

    Feeling up to it? Shoot an email to thevogherahousewife@balene.it.


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    My kingdom for a console!

    A bored medieval monarch abdicates his throne—well, he vanishes, at any rate—to find fantastical fulfillment in the larger-than-life world of Sony PlayStation 4 in this rollicking two-minute brand film from BBH New York.

    Heavy is the head—eh, sire? In time, all those fawning courtiers and bejeweled baubles fail to satisfy. As for lounging around all day in a full suit of armor, well, it gets old after a while. And rusty.

    But thanks to the epic eye of Epoch Films director Martin de Thurah, our sad sovereign soon gets his mojo back in explosive, cinematic PS4 style:

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    There now, in the midst of much pixelated sound and fury, His Majesty clearly feels better. All hail the raging royal!

    "This is an ode to adventurers," PlayStation svp of marketing Eric Lempel tells AdFreak. "It will particularly inspire fans to keep exploring exciting worlds like those featured in the ad—from swinging through the streets of Manhattan as Spider-Man or exploring the lush, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn. Some viewers will also pick up on many of their favorite games from the past, so the spot will be sentimental for some."

    All told, "nearly every scene in this ad contains an Easter egg from an iconic video game, and there are more than 70 in total," Lempel says. Can you spot the apple of Eden from Assassin's Creed? The Gjallarhorn from Destiny? That strange relic from the Uncharted series? Do any of us even have lives anymore?

    De Thurah—famed for directing blockbuster campaigns from Under Armour,Samsung and Delta—paints this PS4 tale in similarly broad, high-impact strokes. The 60-second edit, placing greater emphasis on the ruler's video valor, feels especially vital:



    Ultimately, de Thurah and his team shot for five days in the Czech Republic, including interiors and exteriors at two castles built in the 13th and 14th centuries.

    "One of the biggest production challenges was matching the scale of the props and costumes to their appearance in the video games they were pulled from," says Lempel. "Gamers are a passionate audience, so it was important to us to accurately represent the game worlds they know and love."

    In bringing that vision to life, "there were times when the team would look around and have to pinch themselves at the scale and intricacy of some of the props," he says, "many of which were realized for the first time outside of their game worlds."

    Of course, the notion of folks escaping the drudgery of the daily grind for a dip in the digital gaming dimension is nothing new. EA's Star Wars: Battlefront trailer notably used a similar central conceit, though PS4's effort creates a more urgent, intense sensory canvas.

    Sweet dreams of escape and greatness have timeless appeal, no less for potentates perched on their thrones of power than for us plebes chasing high scores from our nacho-stained recliners.

    In that sense, PS4 and its ilk level the playing field, allowing just about everyone to join in gaming exploits fit for a king. (Provided you can handle the price tag, peasants!)

    CREDITS
    Client: Sony PlayStation
    Eric Lempel, Senior Vice President Marketing & Head of PlayStation Network, Sony Interactive Entertainment America
    John Kohler, Vice President, Marketing, Sony Interactive Entertainment America
    Eric Lachter, Director Brand Marketing, Sony Interactive Entertainment America
    Brad Bennett, Senior Brand Manager, Sony Interactive Entertainment America
    Alex Gomez, Brand Manager, Sony Interactive Entertainment America

    BBH:
    John Patroulis, Creative Chairman
    Ari Weiss, Chief Creative Officer
    Dean Woodhouse, Creative Director
    Hugo Bierschenk, Creative Director
    Kate Morrison, Head of Production
    Adam Perloff, Executive Producer
    Sean McGee, Head of Business Affairs
    Finnian O'Neill, Business Director
    Justin Marciani, Account Director
    Johnny Skwirut, Account Executive
    Brian Groff, Account Executive
    Kendra Salvatore, Strategy Director

    Production Company: Epoch Films
    Director: Martin de Thurah
    Director of Photography: Kasper Tuxen
    Line Producer: Anura Idupuganti
    Production Designer: Floyd Albee
    Editor: Mikkel EG Nielsen
    Assistant Editor: Alex Liu
    Editorial Company: Rock, Paper, Scissors
    Visual Effects: The Mill
    Color: Fergus McCall
    VFX Supervisor / Lead Compositor: Nathan Kane
    VFX Supervisor / CG Supervisor: Christian Nielsen
    VFX Producer: Dan Love
    VFX Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe
    Sound Editing/Mixing: Chris Afzal
    Score: Philip Kay* 
    *based on the song "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by The Eurythmics
    Sound Design: Adrian Aureliu


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    When he's not making tequila, Jeff Goodby is immersed in the worlds of art and advertising.

    The co-founder and co-chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco sat down to talk about both with Adweek recently. We asked him to name his three favorite ads of all time, and fill us in on the cool work that GS&P has been doing lately.

    We also asked what inspires him outside the world of advertising. Check out the video to hear his thoughts on two very different—but both provocative—artists working today. 

    And check out all of our Best Ads Ever interviews here.


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    Traveling is probably the least pleasant thing about the holidays, but apparently it's bearable (sorry) if you're a couple of elderly teddies on your way to a loving reunion.

    London's Heathrow Airport has released its first-ever Christmas commercial, a cute 70-second spot that's starting to trend on Facebook with more than 3 million views and growing. And no wonder—it's an adorable little story that shows the bears landing, going through immigration, getting their baggage and more.

    The ending is sweet, too, if maybe a little abrupt, featuring a kind of reverse Monty the Penguin moment for the bears:



    The spot was created by Havas London and directed by Dom&Nic through Outsider Productions, with animation by The Mill. Curved Arrow handled the music, choosing the Chas & Dave song "I'm Going Back" for the soundtrack. The ad was filmed over three days while Heathrow was fully operational.

    "Christmas is my favorite time of year at Heathrow. The airport is abuzz with families and friends reuniting for this special time of year," says Heathrow's commercial director Jonathan Coen. "We love the film and hope the bears' journey through the airport captures that excitement you feel when walking through Heathrow arrivals into the arms of your loved ones at Christmas."

    The spot is part of brand campaign marking Heathrow's 70th anniversary. Its first-ever TV spot, also by Havas, launched earlier this year.

    CREDITS
    Client: Heathrow Airport
    Creative Agency: Havas London
    Creative Director: Ben Mooge
    Creative: Daniel Bolton, Barnaby Packham
    TV Producer: Kiri Carch
    Assistant Producer (Agency): Femi Ladi
    Film Production: Outsider
    Director: Dom&Nic
    Postproduction, Animation: The Mill
    Music Supervision: Lisa McCaffery, Oliver Jay at Curved Arrow


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    Google is back to celebrate more transgender stories.

    Three new documentary-style videos offer a glimpse into the lives of transgender people who are making a difference in their communities, with help from Google's tools. Trans director Rhys Ernst helms the camera, as it focuses on Evan Young, Jasmine Morrell and Mara Kiesling—covering subjects like their work, their clients and their families.

    Young, for example, discusses his history of military service, and how he came to his role as president of the Transgender American Veterans Association.



    Morrell, meanwhile, explains becoming a tattoo artist, and eventually opening the Spirited Tattoo Coalition, as a safe space to practice the craft.



    Kiesling, a longtime activist, shares perspective on transgender activism in Washington, D.C., in her role as the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equity, and the ongoing importance of educating policymakers and the public about what it means to be transgender.



    The ads, taken together, are a powerful tool to that end—humanizing diverse individuals as representatives of a marginalized and often misunderstood population.

    That kind of visibility is particularly important in light of last week's election results, as the incoming administration of Donald Trump seems poised to roll back substantial federal protections for LGBT populations, and shape a Supreme Court that could still have substantial influence on their legal rights.

    The timing is important even more broadly, as well.

    "In 2016, we saw over 100 federal policy changes to provide equal and fair treatment of transgender people," says Arjan Dijk, vp of marketing, executive sponsor LGBT, at Google. "Sadly, at the exact same time, state legislatures were passing bathroom bills and there was a steady increase in violence against the trans community. The suicide rate among transgender people is nine times higher than the national average. They experience discrimination and violence, and extreme poverty and homelessness. They struggle not only for their human rights, but to survive at all. I therefore encourage everyone to follow the #transvoices initiative and to think of ways we can bring more justice to trans communities."

    Google launched the ads to coincide with Transgender Awareness Week, which runs Nov. 14-20. Ernst, the director, is also a co-producer on Amazon's popular series Transparent, as is Zackary Drucker, who also produced the new spots.

    In a company blog post announcing the campaign, Tea Uglow, a trans creative director at Google Creative Labs, acknowledges it has been a banner year for trans people in media. But "2016 is also the most deadly year on record for transgender people with 23 reported murders in the USA and counting," the post reads.

    Agency and production company Lonelyleap shot the new ads. The work follows last year's heartwarming Google ad by Venables Bell & Partners about a trans man finding home at a Kansas City gym.


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