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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Why waste your time developing different creative ideas and executions for every client when a one-size-fits-all approach could work just as well?

    That's the pitch from Canadian agency Cossette in the amusing video below, which introduces the idea of "superads," which can work for almost anything you'd like to advertise. And the flexibility and range of the example they give is truly impressive.

    The video was made for Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year event last week, which has a traditional of featuring agency videos poking fun at the industry. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.


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    Lexus wants you to know it's the hottest automobile brand around. So, it made a red-and-green, hotter-than-hell Sriracha version of its new Lexus IS sports sedan.

    This isn't a joke, at least not entirely. The vehicle was indeed produced and will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show from Nov. 18–27. It is obviously a lighthearted cross-branding stunt, though. And you won't actually be able to buy the Sriracha IS (or have your kids ask Santa for it)—as it appears Lexus has made only one.



    But what a spicy-sauce-infused vehicle this is. It has a Sriracha-injected steering wheel; temperature settings that go from Cool to Sriracha; a special Sriracha paint job, Sriracha Red offset with flecks of chili-like flakes; green accents including the spindle grille outline and hand-stitching on the seats; and even a key fob with an "emergency chili button" that dispenses Sriracha from a nozzle.

    Oh, and the trunk is stocked with 43 bottles of Sriracha for emergencies.



    "The new Lexus IS is so hot, we decided to make it Sriracha hot, with all the custom details every Sriracha fan will appreciate," says Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing.

    "I feel so humbled to see my Lexus and Sriracha friends' love for my hot sauce," adds David Tran, CEO and founder of Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods. "The Lexus Sriracha IS is really the perfect mix for a 'hot' and 'spicy car'—just the way I like it."

    Lexus agency Team One dreamed up the idea and helped to execute it. 

    Lots more pics below. 


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    Grooming its brand for a broader audience, Dollar Beard Club drops a commercial today that's thick with hirsute celebrity endorsers.

    Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman is the most famous of these bushy brand-boosters. Most have niche appeal. And not a bare chin in sight. Their moms must be proud.

    "We wanted a really amazing mix of people in this to appeal to a huge variety of guys," Beard Club co-founder Chris Stoikos tells Adweek. "We have made friends with a lot of awesome bearded influencers, celebrities and athletes. Fortunately, we have made them all laugh. So, when we approached them for this video, everyone was definitely excited."

    That laugh line refers to Stoikos' own appearances in a string of silly Beard Club spots. He's cavorted with lions, punched dudes in the face and dropped F-bombs while pitching the club's monthly deliveries of balms, waxes and shampoos for facial hair. These efforts generated 130 million global views and helped the startup snag $14 million in revenue over the past 15 months.

    In the new spot below, which jokingly aims to dispel various "myths" about beards, Stoikos shows up near the end, the last shaggy spokesman with a strand of dialogue:



    "By using so many different influencers, we know there is something in here for everyone," says club co-founder Alex Brown. "This obviously hits home a lot more for 'beard aficionados,' you might say, and for guys who are participating in Movember and No Shave November. Our primary focus was to really make something people would love to watch, and that has more of a branding focus as opposed to customer acquisition. We also want people to go, 'Whoa, was that Richard Sherman?' "

    Why yes, it was. (He's the one with the beard. Heh.)

    Beard Club ads began as unrepentant parodies of Dollar Shave Club commercials. It seems fitting that "The Truth About Beards" upholds this spoofy tradition, sending up celebrity-driven California tourism campaigns in which familiar faces like Kim Kardashian lightheartedly debunk misconceptions about the Golden State.

    Hmm, wonder why Beard Club didn't recruit Kim K. for its latest ad? Maybe she couldn't grow out a goatee fast enough.

    All kidding aside, according to Stoikos, the Beard Club represents and reflects a full-on lifestyle revolution. Its marketing, he says, serves not only to entertain and sell product but to unite bushy bros everywhere and grow a sense of community.

    "We want people to watch this and feel the brotherhood that exists between bearded guys as a force of nature," he says. "I know everyone has witnessed this in real life, if they think about it. Whether it's a fist bump or a beard compliment, facial hair unites men everywhere in a way that is hard to even explain. This is what we wanted to encompass in our video, and this is what our brand is all about."

    CREDITS
    Client: Dollar Beard Club
    Writers: Tim Merlau, Corey Sheppard, Chris Stokes
    Directors, Producers: Dan Dobi, Corey Sheppard, Chris Stoikos
    Editors, Cinematography: Dan Dobi, Corey Sheppard

    Talent:
    Sean Whalen - Facebook Influencer
    Nicely - World Famous Barista
    Riley Hawk - Professional Skateboarder (son of Tony Hawk)
    Clint Walker - Professional Skateboarder
    Mischa Janiec - World Natural Bodybuilding Champion
    Kurt Year - Actor, Sons of Anarchy, NCIS LA
    Maddison Rowley - 2x World Beard Champion
    The Man Spot - Instagram Infleuncer
    Gay Beards - Instagram Infleuncers
    Brent Burns - NHL Player
    Adam Lazzara - Taking Back Sunday Frontman
    Max Nosleeves - YouTube Comedian
    Brenden Hampton - Entrepreneur
    Dan Bilzerian - King of Instagram
    Richard Sherman - NFL Player


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    While its work includes a number of campaigns in support of left-leaning causes, the Ad Council is officially an apolitical organization. Still, the results of last week's presidential election, and the months of rancor preceding it, hung heavy over the group's annual public-service dinner in New York on Wednesday—with plenty of gallows humor from the host, James Corden, and words of encouragement and solace from Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman. 

    In her speech to the agency and media partners assembled at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Sherman, two years into her CEO role after succeeding Peggy Conlon, used a metaphor about superheroes to urge them to continue the good fight for social change. 

    "You know what the best part is? Your superpowers are real. And believe me when I say, they have never been more essential," she said. "How many of you have looked at the division and derision in our country, the desperation and conflict overseas, the chasms in our own communities? Or struggled with some fear, stress or heartache in recent weeks and felt helpless? Just wanted to give up? But in a world that can be dark, it's up to us to bring the light." 

    She added: "There are few groups of people more capable of creating a better world—a more united, a more prosperous, more safe, more educated world—than those in this room. We have the talent. We certainly have the ability. And most of all, we have the heart. And if we don't help those around us come together in service of the common good, who will?"

    Corden opened the evening with an amusing speech that included plenty of jokes about the election. "If you voted for Donald Trump, put your hand up. Go on, do it," he dared the guests. When not a single hand was raised, he crowed: "You fucking liars. One of you did. One of you did!"

    He also needled Facebook, one of the night's platinum sponsors.

    "Where are my Facebook people? Where are they?" he said, scanning the room. As the Facebook attendees began to cheer at their table, Corden made a not-so-veiled reference to the fake political news that spread on the site in recent months. 

    "Hey, Facebook. Great job on the election, guys. Seriously, bang-up job," he said with a sarcastic thumbs-up, before adding: "You can tell it's Facebook because it's filled with all your current friends, and that one guy from high school who's now a Trump supporter." 

    Corden also made a few cracks at ad people generally.

    "This is the night you set aside to feel better about yourselves after spending 364 days of the year figuring out how to trick people into eating at Jack in the Box," he said at one point. "It's nice to have the Jack in the Box people here tonight. What you have in front of you—that's food."

    From left: Shantanu Narayen, Lisa Sherman, James Corden and Margo Georgiadis

    The Ad Council honors a corporate executive at its dinner each year. This year it was Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, recognized for his philanthropic work and public service contributions through the Adobe Foundation—including a special focus on fostering creativity in youth. 

    Other attendees included Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying activist who stars in the Ad Council's "I Am a Witness" bullying prevention campaign; the Henderson-Strong family, who were in the Emmy-winning "Love Has No Labels" PSA; and Jocelyn Esparza from the High School Equivalency campaign.

    Sheryl Crow performed a set of songs at the end of the dinner, which was themed #APowerForChange and ended up raising $4.5 million to support the Ad Council and its 40 national public service campaigns.

    The dinner was chaired by Margo Georgiadis, president of the Americas at Google and chair of the Ad Council's Board of Directors. Platinum sponsors included Adobe, Facebook, Google, iHeartMedia Inc. and Clear Channel Outdoor. 


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    If you're from a city on terrorist watch, you're probably familiar with that unsteady, cold-shower feeling you get when you've suddenly turned a corner to discover a bunch of armed soldiers guarding the door you're about to walk into. They're there for protection, sure, but they also become a constant reminder of what could happen. 

    Now imagine you're a kid, and those soldiers are in your school. 

    With that scenario in mind, Human Rights Watch has released "#ProtectSchools," an effort to raise awareness about schools being used by soldiers in armed conflicts, and convince countries to sign the Safe Schools Declaration, a commitment to exclude educational institutions from military use.

    The video has the claustrophobic, jumpy trappings of a nightmare. It follows a small, increasingly panicked girl through dark hallways as soldiers go about the frenzied business of war.

    Her breathing gets louder and her pace quickens as she draws near the exit, ostensibly for relief, only to find she is surrounded by tanks and war vehicles in a stark landscape. 



    "When an army moves into a school, it can immediately turn that school into a target of attack," Bede Sheppard, child rights deputy director of Human Rights Watch, tells AdFreak.

    "I've visited too many schools that were damaged or destroyed when they came under attack because they were being used for military purposes. In the worst cases, students and teachers have been injured and killed. It also means students are less likely to go to school, and are thereby denied their right to education." 

    At least 26 countries facing armed conflict since 2005 have been documented as using schools for military purposes. "To put that number into perspective, that's the majority of countries with armed conflict during the time," Sheppard says. "We've also found cases in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. So we can say this is a global problem, in desperate need of a global solution."

    To give that problem emotional context, the film, created by BETC Paris, seeks to "create a strong contrast between the innocence and fragility of a child, and the harshness of the military context, to show how both worlds really cannot and should not mix," Sheppard adds. "We wanted the images to be as neutral as possible—no identifiable country or existing conflict—so everybody can relate to them."

    The Safe Schools Declaration was developed in 2015, following consultations in Geneva that were led by Norway and Argentina. It's an international political commitment by governments to better protect students in wartime. 

    "Fifty-six countries have already endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration and committed to refraining from using schools. This includes a number of countries most affected by this problem, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan," Sheppard says. "If these countries can find alternatives, we are confident that France can as well."

    Ultimately, he adds, "we hope this ad will inspire the French public to send a clear message to their government—that when French soldiers deploy, they should never interfere in children's education."

    CREDITS

    Advertiser: Human Rights Watch
    Brand Managers: Bénédicte Jeannerod, Maria Fiorio
    Agency: BETC Paris
    Agency Managers: Catherine Emprin, Giulia Locatelli, Marine Raelison
    Creative Director: Christophe Clapier
    Art Director: Antoine Montes
    Copywriter: Alban Gallee, Charles Pivot
    TV Producer: Isabelle Menard
    Assistant TV Producer: Malika Hamladji
    Production Company: LaPAC
    Sound Production Company: Schmooze
    Director: Reynald Gresset
    Air Date: November 17th 2016


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    Your shoes, your books, the computer you buy or the phone you choose reflect something of who you are—at least, we like to think so. We also like to think we imbue our belongings with a certain us-ness. Style is a conversation we have—not just with other people, but with our things.

    Shouldn't your residence be part of that conversation?

    Hong Kong's Swire Properties is building its first mixed-use real estate development in the U.S.: Brickell City Centre in Miami. And to demonstrate what makes it different, it's tapped Ming Utility, its agency of record, to express it out loud and in color. 

    The campaign is called "Welcome to the Centre of Attention." Here's a slice of what you can expect: From the outside looking in, it may seem as a bit of a mystery. 

    Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

    "Centre of Attention" should tell you everything you need to know about this approach. The video's focus is on three trendy archetypes—an elegant, sort of artsy older woman in a leather skirt; a super cool black dude with a Williamsburg cap; and a trendy younger woman whose sequined green jacket resembles a snake. 

    This untouchable trio make love to the camera, interspersed with flashbulbs, satellite shots of the planet, a cockatoo, one bizarre pan of the universe (filtered through a leather jacket, natch) and the aforementioned snake. 

    For those who seek too earnestly, it may never appear.

    This is a style manifesto, one meant as much to flatter you as it is to push aspirational buttons. The copy, conveying more of a vibe than anything quantifiable, can refer to anything from fashion to religious salvation. 

    Some spend a lifetime in search of it, only to find that you needn't look for it at all; it finds you.

    "Our audience wants to dress like who they are," Ming creative director Krissa Nelson tells AdFreak. "Their style isn't defined by expectations or rules and they don't subscribe to 'head to toe' anything. They don't fret about what others think, and when you live with this mentality, you naturally become the 'Centre of Attention.' " 

    The ad ends with a raspy "Welcome to the Centre of Attention," then "Brickell City Centre" appears onscreen, the only indication the spot is for a place that physically exists in the world. 

    "This campaign is all about being your authentic and real self," says Clare Laverty, avp of marketing and PR for Swire Properties. "We wanted to showcase unique personalities. It's a new approach for a retail center and we'd expect it to resonate with our visitors. Brickell City Centre has got so much personality and we wanted our campaign to have it, too." 

    Brickell City Centre is located in Miami's financial district. It's a posh 5.4 million square-foot mix of retail, hospitality, residential and commercial spaces, flanked by a Saks Fifth Avenue and a movie theater. 

    According to chief creative officer Linus Karlsson, Ming drew its inspiration from "the incredible attention to detail, and the commitment to create something entirely new and different, through a very bold and eclectic mix of retailers. It's unlike anything else." 

    This sexy enclave is united by sharp minimalist design, some of which you can glimpse on the website. Accompanying creative—which includes print, out-of-home and social media—expresses more of Brickell's values, using the same three characters you met above:



    The archetypes are meant to represent "truly global citizens and not defined by borders, but rather the cities in which they travel, work and live," explains Nelson. "They seek balance between work and play, staying connected and recharging, even between day and night. Brickell City Centre is a place where they can find this balance, a place designed specifically for these interesting characters and the dualities of modern life." 

    Ming was founded by Karlsson, president Tara DeVeaux and CEO Brian DiLorenzo in 2014. What you see here doesn't quite convey their sense of humor—Karlsson, for his part, is responsible for some pretty wacky Miller Lite work, Buddy Lee and MTV's "Jukka Brothers."

    Earlier this year, Ming brought us an anti-campaign in which Smith's ChromaPop sunglasses were benignly trashed by two fishermen. 

    Meanwhile, "Centre of Attention" is pure, unadulterated advertising—the definition of using feelings of both identity and aspiration to unlock a big-ticket purchase. It's unrealistically cool, 100 percent emotional and not at all practical. 

    But it will perhaps spark curiosity among the city's spendy inhabitants. Our only quibble is that, per the 2010 US census, 70 percent of the city is of Hispanic or Latino origin. It was only natural to ask Ming whether they thought the campaign spoke to these people as well. 

    "We set out to find global citizens who are truly befitting of the spotlight. We searched for people with real stories and layered personalities. We did not provide traditional specs," Nelson says. "We wanted to explore a full range of people known for their style and who had a natural and magnetic quality. Sam, Bobby and Celia embody all of that." 

    Karlsson builds on the idea that it isn't so much the demographic that counts as what these people convey. "We were not targeting a specific demographic but rather a lifestyle and mind-set," he says. "Much of the Hispanic population certainly has that lifestyle and mind-set." 

    Here's a shot of the billboards out in the wild.


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    California's Bay Area—home to nine counties, from Alameda to San Francisco—has always been an enclave of diversity, both in terms of ethnicity and cost of living. But thanks to Silicon Valley, median household income has skyrocketed to $153,057—about five times more than families who live below the poverty line, which clocks in at about $24,300. 

    Consider what this does to the cost of rent and other everyday expenses.

    One in 10 Bay Area families (about 788,000 people in all) live below the poverty line. To raise awareness about this massive dissonance, San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners took over a grocery store in the upscale Nob Hill neighborhood and charged regulars "Poverty Line Prices"—inflating products to five times their normal cost, with hidden cameras rolling. 

    Under "Poverty Line Prices," created for the poverty-fighting organization Tipping Point Community, four rolls of toilet paper skyrocket from $3.46 to $17.30. Monthly bus passes, which normally cost $73, jump to $365. And milk goes from $4.88 to $24.40.

    Patrons were filmed freaking out over the markups: 



    "The Bay Area is a tale of two cities: the haves and the have-nots," says GS&P co-chairman Rich Silverstein. "We wanted people to get a small sense of the reality of living on the poverty line to truly understand the importance of Tipping Point's mission." 

    To calculate the prices used in the Poverty Line campaign, GS&P took the average costs of necessities and determined what percentage of a paycheck each item represents for a family living on the poverty line—whose figure is a federal standard guideline. 

    The resulting percentage was applied to the much higher average San Francisco take-home pay, gleaned from the U.S. Census Bureau. Average item costs were provided by expatistan.com, and textbook prices came from collegeboard.org.

    So, in the case of eggs—which jump from $6 to $30 for a dozen—the latter figure represents the percentage of weekly income that eggs typically take up for a poverty-line family.

    A matching coupon insert will run in the San Francisco Chronicle on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (a nice way to dampen the feeding frenzy around Black Friday—imagine books more expensive than a widescreen TV). And a website, TippingPoint.org, lets users plug in their incomes to learn how people below the poverty line would feel if they had to pay prices you might deem normal. 

    We gave it a go, using an $80,000 benchmark. The cost of milk rose to $14—far less than it costs in this campaign, but it still pinches. (Then again, we're not the Hilton family.) 

    Earlier this year, Canadian agency Wax used a similar approach to raise awareness for the territory of Nunavut, where a week's groceries actually can cost a family of three about $430. Sadly, there aren't many wealthy tech moguls there. The region is primarily home to indigenous Inuit, whose average income is about $14,000—well below the poverty line guideline in Tipping Point's campaign.

    "Every day, more than 1 million Bay Area residents are forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent, buying medicine and paying for school books," says Daniel Lurie, CEO and founder of Tipping Point Community. "Lack of financial resources is just one of the many challenges facing those living below the poverty line." 

    Tipping Point, which has existed for about 11 years, screens and invests in nonprofits that educate, employ, house and support Bay Area inhabitants who are too poor to meet basic needs. Since its inception, it's raised over $120 million to back its cause. And because the Board of Directors covers its fundraising and operations costs, 100 percent of donations goes to those in need. 

    Last year, it helped 22,000 people whose resources were dwindling toward poverty. 

    "In a region with so many resources and so much creativity, we simply have to do more to help break the cycle of multigenerational poverty in the Bay Area," says Lurie. 

    Having grown up in the Bay, we feel a particular affinity to this campaign. Silicon Valley has done the world a lot of good, but it has also transformed neighborhoods overnight—turning once-diverse enclaves into minimalist tech-friendly spots where "brogrammer" culture has stamped out local color.

    While it's never been clear how to roll back the relentless advance of innovation-driven gentrification, GS&P is right in observing this may be a particularly salient sticking point today.

    "Given last week's election, I think people are looking for some action to take—whether that be to protest or spread the word/educate themselves about an issue that's important in our country," says GS&P's PR director Meredith Vellines. 

    Users are encouraged to share the message on social via the hashtag #povertylineprices. They can also donate to Tipping Point's website. 

    Check out the Chronicle "coupon campaign" below:



    CREDITS

    Client: Tipping Point Community
    Title of Creative Work: Poverty Line Prices
    Live Date:  11/17/16
    Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

    Creative
    Co-Chairman: Rich Silverstein
    Associate Creative Director: Tristan Graham
    Design Director: Chris Peel

    Production
    Director of Content Production: Tod Puckett
    Executive Broadcast Producer: Michael Damiani
    Senior Art & Print Producer: Noah Dasho
    Director of Interactive Production: Margarret Brett-Kearns
    Associate Technology Director: Andre Cardozo
    Interactive Producer: Tena Goy
    Photographer/Retoucher: Quinn Gravier

    Account Services
    Group Account Director: Michael Crain
    Assistant Account Manager: Will McPherson

    Brand and Communication Strategy
    Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan
    Deputy Director of Brand Strategy: James Thorpe
    Director of Communications: Meredith Vellines
    Director of Communications Strategy: Christine Chen
    Sr. Communications Strategist: Alex Oztemel
    Jr. Communications Strategist: Chloe Bosmeny
    Group Research and Analytics Director: Margaret Coles
    Jr. Quantitative Strategist: Ian Heath

    Business Affairs
    Business Affairs Manager: Heidi Killeen
    Business Affairs Associated Manager: Annie Holmgren

    Production Company
    Company Name: EFilms
    Director: Timothy Plain
    Director of Photography: Jon Behrens
    Producer: Jefferson Curry
    Executive Producer: PJ Koll
    Content Creative: Andrew Butte

    Editorial Company
    Company Name: Elevel
    Editor: Erik Johnson
    Asst. Editor: Lori Arden
    Producer: Ali Plansky

    Music
    Atomic Music
    Track Title: Intricate Designs

    Mix
    Company Name: Elevel
    Mixer: Dave Baker


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    Can BFFs Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the terrific twosome of the Los Angeles Clippers, stay angry at each for long? 

    We learn the answer in 72andSunny's brief bro-mantic comedy below, the latest in a series of spots touting the Google Duo video-calling app.

    Earlier ads, sans celebrities, focused on anthropomorphized pairings such as salt and pepper, cream and coffee and peanut butter and jelly. This ad is similar, with animated jars of restaurant ketchup and mustard—cheekily voiced by the basketball stars—chatting via Google Duo to resolve a misunderstanding:



    More napkins, stat!

    Well, Blake and DeAndre certainly seemed happy in the end. A little too happy, perhaps, with the condiments shooting off in all directions. Hope they tipped the waitstaff accordingly.

    The ad amusingly makes its point without overstaying its welcome. Director Jake Szymanski is getting quite adept at duo dynamics, having previously helmed Chrysler's election-themed campaign pairing two popular presidential posers.

    CREDITS
    Brand: Google Duo
    Chief Executive Officer: Sundar Pichai
    Chief Marketing Officer: Lorraine Twohill
    VP, Brand Marketing: Marvin Chow
    Brand Marketing Lead: Tyler Bahl
    Brand Marketing Manager: Anna Jansson
    Director of Product Marketing: Jeremy Milo
    Head of Communication Products Marketing: Rebecca Michael
    Head of Entertainment Partnerships: Neil Parris

    Agency: 72andSunny
    CEO/Co-Founder: John Boiler
    CCO/Co-Founder: Glenn Cole
    CSO/Partner: Matt Jarvis
    Executive Creative Director: Matt Murphy
    Creative Directors: Chiyong Jones, Claire Morrisey
    Senior Designer: Ami Lewis
    Senior Writer: Iain Nevill
    Chief Production Officer: Tom Dunlap
    Group Production Director: Angelo Mazzamuto
    Senior Film Producer: Elizabeth Corsini
    Managing Director: Chris Kay
    Group Brand Director: Rhea Curry
    Brand Director: Emily Connelly
    Senior Brand Manager: Kelly Yaussi
    Brand Coordinator: Michelle Casale
    Head of Strategy: Bryan Smith
    Strategy Director: Michael Lewis
    Senior Strategist: Saeid Vahidi
    Director of Partnerships and Legal: Michelle McKinney
    Partnerships and Legal Director: Kallie Haibach
    Junior Partnerships and Legal Manager: Lashá Winn
    Partnerships and Legal Coordinator: Kiana Garner

    Production Company: Gifted Youth
    Director: Jake Szymanski
    Managing Director/Executive Producer: Dal Wolf
    Executive Producer of Production: Anthony M. Ficalora
    Line Producer: Stephan Mohammed

    Editing: Cut+Run
    Editor: Andy Green
    Managing Director: Michelle Eskin
    Executive Producer: Amburr Farls
    Senior Producer: Jared Thomas

    Sound Design: Barking Owl
    Sound Designer: Morgan Johnson
    Executive Producer/Partner: Kelly Bayett

    Mix: Lime Studios
    Audio Mixer: Zac Fisher
    Audio Assist: Kevin McAlpine
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

    Animation: Jogger
    Executive Producer: Rich Rama
    Producer: Ben Sposato
    Creative Director: David Parker
    Lead Flame Artist: Tim Bird
    Animators: Yasmin Joyner and Jahmad Rollins
    Flame Assist: Jorge Tanaka
    Production Coordinator: Erica Cruz

    Color: Apache Digital
    Colorist: Shane Reed
    Executive Producer: LaRue Anderson
    Producer: Caitlin Forrest


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    What's better than a selfie stick? A thirst-quenching selfie stick. 

    Over in Israel, Coca-Cola created a bottle that takes selfies of you when you drink from it. The so-called "selfie bottle" was made by agency Gefen for Coca-Cola Summer Love, Israel's largest outdoor brand event. 

    "Users tag themselves and their friends in photos on Coca-Cola's social media assets," Gefen explains."It really does the trick and makes the partygoers more present and active during the event, knowing they can share their special moments just by drinking." 

    The bottle has a camera built into its base, along with a sensor that snaps a shot when tilted at 70 degrees (the perfect fluid-to-mouth angle, in case you ever wondered). The resulting selfies can be shared on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. 

    Gefen says the bottle was conceived after they observed a gap in the market for "novelty drinks." Because who wants to miss out on another gratuitous photo op?

    The bottle will likely be limited to Summer Love, as there's no word on whether it'll hit Israeli stores. But if the gimmick proves a hit among teens, expect to see it pop up at other events. For those worried about the sanctity of their social feeds, just think of it as the natural evolution of duckface.


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    A quick glance at any news ticker or social media feed might lead one to conclude that ours is a world split by class, race, nationality and political persuasion.

    Amazon, however, suggests that the members of our human race may not be as far apart as we think we are. The retailer's new holiday ad for Amazon Prime stars two men of different faiths: a Catholic priest and a Muslim imam.

    These two wouldn't seem to have much in common, but they're united by a friendship and an all-too-common discomfort.

    As indicated by CEO Jeff Bezos in a tweet Thursday, this ad was created by Amazon's in-house team.

    Amazon's European director of advertising Simon Morris told The Guardian this week that the ad is about "selflessness." Amazon consulted with various religious organizations in Great Britain before deciding to produce the spot, which was made over the summer directly after the contentious "Brexit" vote and made its broadcast debut in the U.K. this week.

    One may be forgiven for viewing this effort with a somewhat skeptical eye given that it is promoting a shopping service. But there's something to be said for celebrating the things disparate people have in common, especially with the holiday season upon us.

    The ad will air in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.


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    These days, technology evolves at an incredibly fast pace. But Apple is reaching much further back into history to tell the story of just how much it thinks can happen next, with the help of its new MacBook Pro.

    An ambitious new ad bridges humans' discovery of fire with space travel and smartphones using a classic symbol for the power of imagination—the light bulb.

    A string of hundreds of the round glass lanterns, set up in the middle of a city's empty streets, explode in sequence to the sound of Rossini's William Tell Overture, tying together a montage of inventions spanning from the Stone Age to the Information Age.

    There is the invention of the wheel, and writing, and the plow, and the bicycle, and the locomotive, and the flying machine, and the motorcycle, and eyeglasses, and binoculars, and the rotary phone, and the typewriter—and perhaps most important, toilet paper.

    There's also the microwave, the camera, the record player, the television, the jetpack, the freezer, the paper clip, the Tamagotchi, the video camera, the computer mouse, the zipper, the wind farm, the jet plane, the microscope, the robotic hand, the robotic dog, the rocket ship, the iPhone, the drone, the satellite, the robotic man—and back, somewhere deep in the cave, a brand new laptop from Apple.



    "Ideas push the world forward," declares the on-screen copy. "Introducing a tool for all the ideas to come." The obligatory product shot follows, with a hand demonstrating the video scroll function on the MacBook Pro's touch bar, one of the new features on the just-launched model. At the swipe of a finger, a lightbulb—surprise—explodes, then, with a simple reverse, becomes whole again.

    The ad's visuals and scope evoke vague overtones of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its era-spanning conceit is tangentially reminiscent of Guinness's classic reverse-evolution ad—albeit less silly in its payoff. And while there's no shortage of playful fanfare and bravado in Apple's commercial, it lacks the intimacy of recent iPhone7 spots.

    Those, to be fair, are pushing a more personal product to a broader audience, whereas the MacBook Pro's target are more likely to fancy themselves genius creatives—or at least, to hope someday to fill that role. In that light, its message might seem less pretentious, even if it's still tricky to imagine a couple million years of human advancement happening within one generation of computers.

    If nothing else, though, it's fun to watch all those light bulbs pop.


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    The non-profit organization Youth Mentoring collaborated with Los Angeles-based creative duo Armen Perian and Rosie Geozalian on a project that, if nothing else, dried up some of Andrew Garfield's vanishing free time. 

    It's called "Hug It Out!" It's a spoof of 1990s educational PSAs, and it promotes hugs as a tool for increasing compassion with one another. 

    The tone of the spot treats hugs as a new invention, with Garfield and costar Jo Hart as awkward test subjects learning how to hug amid corny narration, stock music and deliberate continuity errors. In the few moments where the spot isn't consumed by nostalgia, it tells viewers that longer hugs build empathy between people. 



    This all leads up to Youth Mentoring's "Hug It Out Challenge," which is basically the Ice Bucket Challenge but with hugs. OK, so I can handle the parody ad, but I don't know if they thought the "Hug It Out Challenge" through. Prolonged physical contact is great, and humans do need it, but it's the kind of vulnerability that doesn't translate well to social media.

    The concept is so ripe for abuse that I'm amazed someone thought Americans were mature enough for it. Those "Hug It Out!" sweatshirts, though? I'll take an adult large.

    CREDITS
    Writers: Armen Perian & Rosie Geozalian
    Director: Armen Perian
    Art Director: Rosie Geozalian
    Cinematographer: Elias Talbot
    Producers: Armen Perian & Andrew McKenzie
    Production Designer: Jennie Poundall
    Actors: Andrew Garfield & Jo Hart
    Production Company: Pomegranate Films
    Post House: Work Editorial
    Editor: Arielle Zakowski
    Motion Graphics: Brandon Carrillo
    VFX Artist: Steve Dabal


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    Donald Trump was quick to complain about Saturday's episode of SNL. "It is a totally one-sided, biased show—nothing funny at all," he wrote early Sunday on Twitter.

    And sure, it had plenty of Trump bashing, as Alec Baldwin returned as the president-elect and, among other things, Googled "What is ISIS?" But the fake commercial below might have at least put a small smirk on Trump's face, as it mocked progressives by imagining a city-size bubble they could live in—to close themselves off along with all of their "open-minded" friends.

    "In here, it's like the election never happened," says one of the smug upper-middle-class Bubble residents as she saunters along what's clearly a New York City street. Turns out it's Brooklyn, of course. (That borough did cast 79 percent of its votes for Hillary Clinton, though that was less than Manhattan and the Bronx, at 84 and 86 percent, respectively.)

    See the spoof ad here:



    SNL aired a second fake commercial on Saturday night, this one for Target—whose giant parking lots are perfect for young people who are home for the holidays and need a break from family members who voted for Trump. 


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    It's time for German supermarket chain Edeka's annual Christmas ad. And rather than being super macabre, it's super heartwarming.

    Edeka, of course, had the most notoriously dark Christmas ad of 2015, a spot that went viral around the world. But 2016's edition manages to remain relatively straightforward, while still delivering a delightful twist ending.

    It opens with—and remains dedicated, for the most part, to—familiar scenes of holiday season bustle and stress. Parents dash around trying to buy gifts, and cook, and clean, and shovel the walk, put on their winter tires, and tend to other tedious business.

    All the while, their children wait around, bored out of their minds, wishing someone would play with them, and getting no satisfaction.

    A solo piano soundtrack acts as a perfect bed for a nursery rhyme narrating the indignities, from the perspective of the kids, who resort to pulling all kinds of faces. In one of the ad's best moments, a girl even goes so far as to snip off a chunk of her hair—and still doesn't get a reaction—while her mom obsesses over baking a cake.



    About two-thirds of the way through the ad (spoilers ahead), the message completely and cleverly reverses. Newspapers go ignored, dishes pile up in the sink and laundry sits wrinkled on the ironing board, while parents focus on spending time with their offspring.

    "The best gift is time spent with you," reads the tagline.

    It's a beautiful, anti-materialistic payoff. Sure, it's broad, but it's deftly executed. And the about-face makes it feel fresh. It's also a good fit for the brand, subtly emphasizing food's role in bringing people together, while telling a bigger story about the importance of family, and thereby engendering good will. 

    And perhaps best of all, it does it all without anyone faking their own death.

    CREDITS
    Client: Edeka
    Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster


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    Our "Best Ads Ever" video series continues today with Jan Jacobs and Leo Premutico, the co-founders of New York agency Johannes Leonardo. 

    Asking these guys to name their favorite ads of all time was tricky. To them, great executions usually arise out of a larger concept or brand platform. Without "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait," there is no "Surfer." Without "Keep Walking," there is no "Man Who Walked Around the World." Without "Real Beauty," there is no "Sketches." 

    Check out the video, in which Jacobs and Premutico give us their picks for the ads, and people, who've inspired them over the years. And they also tell us about the Johannes Leonardo work they're most proud of lately. 

    See below for links to some of the work Jan and Leo mention in the video: 

    The Independent "Litany"
    Apple "Here's to the Crazy Ones"
    Johnnie Walker "The Man Who Walked Around the World"
    Guinness "Surfer"
    Miller High Life "Boat"
    Sonnet Insurance "Rocket"
    Adidas "Your Future Is Not My Future"


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    Last week, in the ongoing Super Bowl of U.K. Christmas ads, Sainsbury's released "The Greatest Gift." This sweet stop-motion animation story is about Dave, a working cog who just wants to be home for the holidays. 

    Created by AMV BBDO, the West End-style musical film is set to "The Greatest Gift for Christmas Is Me," sung by James Corden and composed by Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie. Conchords fans won't be disappointed by the lyrics, which, while being slyly funny, convey truths that resonate with most adults, especially this time of year. 

    Choice lines include, "I wanna find the greatest gift I can give my family/But right now I don't have time to breathe," and "The streets are chaotic, the shops idiotic/There's a queue for the queue!"

    Meanwhile, Dave is depicted running the hamster wheel of his life—waking up at 6 a.m., preparing lists on a packed subway train, putting out fires at a toy factory, and enduring uncomfortable proximity to his twerking boss at the holiday party. 

    By the time he gets home, his family is asleep. That's when he comes up with a perfect idea. 



    There's wry critique in the solution Dave comes up with, a reminder that what distracts us from what's really important is not all that serious. He co-opts the toy factory by night, transforming its manufactured delights into versions of himself—head-wagging Dave dolls, bespectacled robots, Stretch Armstrongs and even drones. These are handily dispersed among everybody who's angling for his time ... while the real Dave focuses on his family. 

    But in addition to furnishing a happy ending for one man's frenetic life, the piece also beams a message into fraught social conversations about cultural belonging. Dave's family, friends and colleagues are refreshingly diverse—multicultural, varied in ethnicity, body type, hair and relationship structure (including a multi-ethnic lesbian couple with a baby). 

    While "The Greatest Gift" isn't about this specifically, the nod to real-world variety is a relief and a pleasure to witness, tugging at one last sensitive string. 

    And don't think we've forgotten James Corden. The "Carpool Karaoke" host has had a banner year. In September, he appeared in an Apple Music spot, where he pitches awful ideas to Apple execs. A month before that, Air New Zealand pitched the star to launch a new show: "Cockpit Karaoke."

    He's currently starring in "Reserve What's Next," a Chase video series for which he's designing his own 3D-printed cars. Oh, and he amusingly made ad people (and Facebook) feel ashamed at last week's Ad Council dinner.

    "The Greatest Gift" broke first on social media, then on TV during the show I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! Like ads from previous years, it ends with the tagline, "Christmas Is for Sharing." 

    In addition to this three-minute piece, shorter clips feature Dave's family and Sainbury's food. Versions of Gingerbread Dave and a "Greatest Gift" film animation kit will be sold to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, which is planning to build on-site accommodation for families of the children who are treated there. 

    This also marks the last Christmas piece that AMV BBDO will be producing for Sainsbury's, which, after 40 years, is moving its $74 million account to Wieden + Kennedy. 

    "Christmas has been very successful for us, and we have enjoyed working together. Retail is a fast-changing environment, and we thought it would be an opportunity to work with a new partner with a fresh pair of eyes," says Sarah Kilmartin, Sainsbury's head of broadcast communications.

    Last year, the Sainsbury's Christmas ad featured the "Christmas Calamity" of a CGI cat called Mog, a popular storybook character who saves the family's holiday from disaster. The year before, AMV BBDO revisited the Christmas Truce of 1914, in which World War I soldiers stop fighting and venture into No Man's Land, building bonds, sharing sweets and singing "Silent Night."

    "Everybody knows the competition is as great as it has ever been," says Kilmartin. "The job to do is the same job we have been doing for a long time, but Christmas gives us a great opportunity to really revel in the work we do. It gives us a good platform for the rest of the year."


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    Back in April, Taylor Swift sang along to Drake and Future's "Jumpman," got distracted by the music, and fell off of her treadmill in a slapstick spot for Apple Music. 

    The fun commercial was a big hit, raking up millions of views in just a few hours. So, it's no surprise that the company would want to revive the narrative. 

    The sequel below stars Drake, and he's lifting weights instead of running. Initially he's listening to Frank Ocean while pumping iron, but once he's alone, the truth comes out: He takes out his iPhone 7 and switches on Swift's "Bad Blood." 

    Once he really stars to belt out the lyrics, that's when things go awry. 



    The 60-second spot was released Sunday during the American Music Awards. It also comes as rumors of a budding romance between Drake and Swift have populated gossip blogs, so the effort certainly capitalizes on that intrigue. 

    And as an art director at Cycle notes below, the number of brands and artists this ad is pushing is quite impressive. 

    CREDITS

    Directed by: Anthony Mandler
    Production Company: BlackHand Cinema
    Produced by: Kim Bradshaw
    Director of Photography: David Devlin
    Written by: Anthony mandler & Larry Jackson
    Edited by: Sam Gunn - Whitehouse Post


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    A lot of Christmas ads suggest that spending time with friends and family should be the ultimate goal of the holidays. But what about those people who don't have much of either? 

    Apple just released its 2016 holiday commercial, and it's devoted to reminding people that friends and family aren't the only people who might need comforting at this time of year—and in this particular year, too. 

    Directed by Park Pictures' Lance Acord (who also directed Apple's Emmy-winning 2013 holiday ad, "Misunderstood"), it's a remarkable piece of work and a study in contrasts—dark and light, sad and happy, lonely and full of love. 

    It features Frankenstein (or more accurately, Frankenstein's monster, aka "Frankie," played by Brad Garrett), who appears to have retired to a mountain cabin on the edge of a village—the ultimate outsider. His possessions are meager, though they appear to include an iPhone 7 (even monsters from early 19th century novels are in Apple's target demo) and a music box, which he is trying to sync up to deliver a present to the village. 

    See how the story unfolds here:



    The neck bolts as sockets for Christmas lights are just one of the strangely magical elements here. In fact, the whole setup is discordant—this isn't even Frankenstein's holiday—but that actually helps to build the sense of "otherness" that the spot is trying, at the end, to dispel.

    It's beautifully shot, and the details are great—like the framed photo of Mary Shelley in Frankie's home. And the end line, "Open your heart to everyone," will be read far and wide as a plea for acceptance in a political climate where the core of that message is in dispute.

    It's not as explicitly political a message as Amazon's spot from last week, with the priest and imam visiting each other. And the fact that Frankie is literally a monster might complicate the metaphor for some viewers, who may not be ready to accept, even in spirit, certain unnamed people it considers monsters.

    Still, the ad is obviously not about any one person, and the notion of acceptance of those who are foreign to us is clearly evocative in these days after the election. Also, the otherworldliness of the execution is lovely, and perfectly in keeping with the mysteries of the holiday season—in all, one of the most fascinating holiday spots of the year. 


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    Not to be uncaring or anything, but family time should have its limits. Contrary to popular belief—and lots of heart-tugging holiday advertising flooding the market lately—there really is such a thing as too much togetherness.

    Mobile app HotelTonight is clear-eyed about this, but doesn't suggest skipping the trek home altogether. That would be harsh (and potentially hazardous to your relationships). The brand does, though, give you an escape from your nattering cousin, your magic-loving uncle and that godforsaken doll-filled guest room at Grandma's house.

    Its new campaign, "Visit, Don't Stay," aims to remind us all that Norman Rockwell-style gatherings exist only in paintings, and that saving our sanity is equally important as showing up for Thanksgiving dinner.

    The video and still-image campaign, from San Francisco-based ad agency Odysseus Arms, launches today across Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, Pinterest, ESPN and Pandora (audio version). It's the brand's first advertising under new CMO Ray Elias, formerly CMO of online ticketing service StubHub, and the first HotelTonight work from Odysseus Arms.

     

     

    HotelTonight, which specializes in last-minute bookings, wanted something memorable, since it's competing with "big brands with deep war chests that have been advertising for years," Elias said. He also wanted the campaign to capture HotelTonight's brand personality, which he described as "in-the-know, savvy, fun and approachable."

    The 5-year-old app has 20 million downloads, a chat-based concierge service and a loyalty program.

    Execs at HotelTonight used some of their own experiences with holiday travel to inform the ads. "It's a time of celebration and getting reconnected with extended family," Elias said, "but it can be crowded and awkward. We didn't want to be negative about it, but we wanted something people could relate to."

    Hey, a nice hotel room beats sitting along in a parking lot when you've had enough.

    As part of the campaign, there's a contest that asks consumers to relay their reasons for visiting family but not sharing a roof overnight, using the hashtag #HotelTonight. Winners who presumably tell the best/worst homecoming horror stories through the month of December will win HotelTonight credits.

    See the print work below. 



    CREDITS

    Client: HotelTonight

    Agency: Odysseus Arms
    Founder, Design Director: Libby Brockhoff
    Founder, Creative Director: Franklin Tipton
    Managing Director: Eric Dunn
    Integrated Creative: Madeline Lambie
    Producer: Amy Yu

    Director: Mark Denton
    Production Company: Thomas Thomas Films
    Post Production: Final Cut


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    Some serious Mommy and Daddy issues are amusingly on display in Arnold Worldwide's latest campaign for Progressive insurance.

    Homebuyers assume the most annoying traits of their parents in the ads, based on the insight that folks change in weird ways when they buy their first home. "It's as if you flip the 'grownup switch,' " Cat Kolodij, Progressive's business leader for marketing strategy and innovation, tells Adweek. "For many of us, the first time we realize we are grown up is when we catch ourselves doing something our mom or dad always did."

    The spot below shows a young wife acting like her father, with a gruff attitude, manly mannerisms and, worst of all, a taste for watching golf on TV:



    Honey, let's get divorced. You can keep the house!

    Next, a husband takes on the fuss-budget traits of his mother, right down to obsessive vacuuming and serving deviled eggs at all hours of the day:



    "Daughters are influenced by fathers as much as mothers," Kolodij says. "Sons are influenced by mothers as much as fathers. We didn't think the story had to conform to a traditional 'daughter-becomes-her-mother' paradigm. Since the insight is so true, we find people quickly get the idea."

    Too bad the characters didn't start dressing up like Flo and chasing each other around with name-your-price tools. (We're assured the iconic ad character will return for Progressive in the near future.)

    The new work trades in sitcom-y cliches, but director Roman Coppola keeps the material from lapsing into complete absurdity and coaxes spirited performances from the cast.

    "Roman is very good at identifying what's funny in an idea or a scene, and then nurturing that thing without overdoing it or pointing at it too hard," says agency executive creative director Sean McBride. "He told us from the beginning that he wanted to create moments that looked and felt like they were lifted from these people's lives."

    On set, improvisation was strongly encouraged.

    "Roman got the actors to really think about their own parents and the characteristics it would be funny for them to inherit," Kolodij says. "In this case, the actor who finds himself becoming his mother, was able to pull great lines he told us came straight from his own experience growing up."

    CREDITS
    Client: Progressive Insurance

    Agency: Arnold Worldwide
    Global Chief Creative Officer: Jim Elliott
    EVP, Executive Creative Director: Sean McBride
    SVP, Group Creative Director: Marc Sobier
    Copywriter: Lora Faris
    Art Director: Jennifer Fisher
    Strategy: Catherine Sheehan, Cordelia Fasoldt
    Marketing: Elliott Seaborn, Vallerie Bettini, Alexandra McSweeney
    Producers: Sean Vernaglia, Jacquelyn Malis
    Project Manager: Erin Sullivan
    Business Affairs: Jaime Guild

    Production Company: The Directors Bureau
    Production Company Executive Producer:  Lisa Margulis
    Production Company Line Producer: Julie Sawyer
    Director: Roman Coppola
    Cinematographer: Jeff Cronenweth
    Editorial Company: Cosmo Street
    Producer: Anne Lai
    Editor: Aaron Langley

    Music Company: JSM Music
    Creative Director Co-Composer: Joel Simon
    Co-Composer:Seamus Kilmartin
    Exec Producer:Jeff Fiorello
    Music Title:"Parentamorphosis"
    Recording Studio: Soundtrack Boston
    Recording Engineer: Mike Secher
    Sound Design Company: Soundtrack Boston
    Sound Designer: Mike Secher
    VFX: Zero VFX

    Talent:
    "Daddeostatis" - Brittany Belland, Matthew Bohrer
    "Mommeostatis" - Nate Michaux, Betsy Smith


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