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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    You can binge watch or binge read. And now you can even binge smell!

    Check out the Binge Candle, created by Netflix (with help from TBWA\Chiat\Day) to help promote the Gilmore Girls revival. There are four 90-minute episodes as part of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, each related to a specific season. The series follows the lives of Lorelai, Rory and Emily as they go through winter, spring, summer and fall of 2016. 

    When you start your marathon of all four episodes, totaling around six hours of Gilmores, you start burning the Binge Candle. As it burns, it's perfectly timed to give off a different scent for each episode that correlates to that season. 

    Hopefully Kirk's pig Petal is excluded from this smell experience.

    The show originally went off the air in 2007, where it was broadcast on first the WB and then the CW network. After nine years, fans were treated to the revival episodes on Nov. 25, exclusively on Netflix. Show creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel returned to finish the story as they always intended to do. 

    As you hear the final four words of the series (unless Netflix and the Sherman-Palladinos strike another deal at some point), the candle will extinguish. Very dramatic ambience for a very dramatic moment! 

    The candle is a part of a limited giveaway for fans of the series in the U.S., Asia and Europe, as well as readers of Hello Giggles and Brit+Co. Understandably, fans are totally excited for this heightened experience. 

    Grab your PopTarts and Red Vines to nosh on, but keep them away from the candle. No need to interrupt this "wax ingenuity" with your snack foods. 

    Client: Netflix

    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day

    Creative Chairman: Stephen Butler
    Executive Creative Director: Linda Knight
    Creative Director: Matthew Woodhams-Roberts
    Creative Director: Dave Horton
    Art Director: Blair Seward
    Copywriter: Elizabeth Daniel
    Director of Design: Mark Sloan
    Designer: Iris Chung

    Chief Strategy Officer: Neil Barrie
    Senior Strategist: Emilie Arrive

    Account Services
    Managing Director: Christian Stein
    Associate Brand Manager: Louise Hunter

    Chief Production Officer: Tanya LeSieur
    Executive Art/Print Producer: Dena Moore
    Executive Broadcast Producer: Brian O'Rourke
    Business Affairs: Mimi Hirsch
    Broadcast Producer: Garrison Askew
    Production Coordinator: Michael Schroepfer

    Post Production
    Post Production: Venice Beach Editorial
    Executive Post Producer: Sarah Holme
    Post Producer: Dustin LaForce
    Director of Photography: Jeremiah Mayhew
    Editor: Jeremiah Mayhew, Derrick Hackman
    Assistant Editor: Charis Tobias
    Color: Derrick Hackman

    Production Partners
    Photography Studio: Venice Beach Editorial
    Producers: Nicole Alexander & Dustin LaForce
    Set Designer: Alyse Castillo
    Candle Maker: Heartland Candles
    Promotional Specialist: Coast Graphic Services

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    Bloomberg Media is in a growth mode, expanding its creative, marketing and custom content offerings. And it's latest big move is the hire of Teddy Lynn, Ogilvy & Mather's North American CCO of content and social.

    As global CCO, Lynn will lead a team of creatives, editors, copywriters, designers and producers who will make branded campaigns and experiences to fuel Bloomberg Media's projects, the company announced today.

    "Teddy is unique in his ability to strategically connect with an audience through compelling content," said Jacki Kelley, Bloomberg Media's COO, in a statement. "His varied background, which includes producing award-winning films, television and advertising, as well as having worked at Morgan Stanley, illustrates his ability to use powerful storytelling to drive business results.

    "This is a tremendous coup for our organization."

    Lynn said he's excited about the broad opportunities of his new role, which will begin early next year. "I have been lucky to work with a great team and great clients at Ogilvy, but Bloomberg Media's platform and aspirations will allow me to connect so many of my passions and experiences in a way no other role could," he said.

    Bloomberg Media's revenue was up 8 percent year-over-year through the end of September. With that growth, CEO Justin B. Smith said, it is "launching ambitious plans to expand our creative, marketing services and custom content capabilities." 

    Bloomberg hired Steven Feuling from Dentsu Aegis and Michelle Lynn from Carat earlier this year in an effort to build a team with agency experience and reach a premium audience across all platforms.

    Two years ago, Bloomberg Media aimed to become the leading media company for financial and business coverage. To get there, Kelley told Adweek, it transformed its products, defined its audience and refined its advertising sales operation.

    Kelley added that the company is in a rare position to reach business decision makers, "so we have a unique opportunity to help brands program for this influential and elusive audience.

    "Teddy is accomplished at telling stories for brands in all formats across a wide range of media," she added. "What we need him to do is draw upon his broad experiences to create, produce and grow our strategic content offering."

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    If the script for Volkswagen's "Pink Moon" commercial came across your desk today, would you recognize the brilliance underneath the seemingly mundane plot?

    Our "Best Ads Ever" series continues today with BBDO executive creative Matt MacDonald wondering just that, as he explains his fondness for the 1999 spot out of Arnold in Boston.

    Lance Acord was the cinematographer on that spot (which was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and was technically titled "Milky Way"), and it turns out MacDonald is an Acord fan—one of his other favorite ads was made by the Park Pictures director (this one through Wieden + Kennedy).

    Check out all three of Matt's picks in the video above, in which he also tells us what outside advertising is inspiring to him these days. 

    Below, check out the links to the full spots that Matt mentions.

    Google "Dear Sophie"
    Nike "Jogger"
    Volkswagen "Milky Way"

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    Do You See What I See?"

    That's the title of superstore chain Meijer's holiday ad, created by The Distillery Project and its ex-Leo Burnett founders, John Condon and Per Jacobson. 

    Directed by Jamie Rafn of Smuggler Films, the spot follows a man who looks an awful lot like Santa Claus (à la Miracle on 34th Street) as he goes about his day, stopping kids in their tracks and compelling at least one reflexive act of kindness. 

    Part of us feels sorry for him—this guy can't catch a break, not even at home. But he takes the attention with grace and even hams it up, casting naughty kids sidelong glances and putting a finger to his lips when parents' backs are turned. 

    The brand's presence is subtle, but not disinterested. The ending scene takes place in a Meijer store, where a boy politely asks for a free cookie and the baker offers him one without a second thought (a trick we must try). 

    The cookie's then offered to Saint Nick, who bashfully refuses, while the mother apologizes and adds, "Sweetie, that's not Santa." 

    As the boy is led away, Santa puts a finger to his lips, rekindling the kid's conviction. We wrap with the words, "Believe. We've got everything else you need." 

    The ad went live on Nov. 27 and will run through Christmas in the Midwest, where kids ostensibly don't take pleasure in breaking their peers' suspension of disbelief. It's also been selected for the CW's upcoming Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown show, which airs Dec. 12.

    While the idea isn't entirely original, there's small-town charm in the execution. This is a place where kids still run wild in their own neighborhoods, sit quietly for storytime, and where—indeed—they still believe in magic. It's also welcome respite from more adult-focused holiday ads, which tend to zero in on the preparation and stress of the season. 

    The perspective of a child welcomes the improbable without effort—something grownups may miss in their attempts to contrive magic with their bare hands. At its heart, "Do You See What I See?" is a call for us—not them—to open our eyes. (Though if Saint Nick looked a little more like the Toronto mall's Sexy Santa, we probably wouldn't need the reminder.) 

    Client: Meijer
    Agency: The Distillery Project 
    Director: Jamie Rafn, Smuggler Films

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    Parking a few steps from the gym door is kind of like ordering a cheeseburger and a diet Coke. Isn't it?

    Anytime Fitness won't dictate where its members leave their wheels, but the international 24/7 gym chain is encouraging its workout warriors to go the distance, even before they hit the treadmill. As part of a new campaign, the gym has created reserved spaces in the farthest reaches of their parking lots. How far? Several football fields away, whenever possible.

    How's that for turning your life into a gym?

    The idea, under the "Every Step Counts" tagline, came from agency GdB as a way to bring the club's brand position to life. "They believe good health is all about the little decisions you make throughout your day," Doug deGrood, the agency's chief creative officer, tells AdFreak. "It's not about going to a health club a few times a week or what happens during that one hour you're inside."

    The reserved-parking program kicked off in Minneapolis, where the agency and gym are based, and has since spread to more than 100 locations. The plan is to continue broadening the effort. The spaces are intended to be permanent, not a limited-time stunt for the company, which has about 3,000 franchises in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

    A 90-second ad features an all-GdB cast to save on budget—that's deGrood playing the parking lot maintenance guy—and launches this week, ahead of most Jan. 1 fitness club marketing. It will get distribution across social media and digital channels.

    "Reserved parking as far from the front door as possible," says the ad's closing lines. "Another Anytime Fitness member benefit," which deGrood described as "such a simple little thing they could do for next to no money, but it's so distinctive and memorable."

    It's just one unique concept that GdB had lately for the client. Another—freezing the escalators at the Mall of America, courtesy of Anytime Fitness—might not make it past the drawing board.

    Client: Anytime Fitness
    Agency: GdB, Minneapolis
    Concept/Writer: Doug deGrood
    Co-Writer: Justin Lerman
    Producer/DP: Justin Lerman, Megan Richter
    Director: Doug deGrood
    Editor: Justin Lerman

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    Allegro, the most popular online marketplace in Poland, gives us "English," a holiday story about an elderly Pole who orders a complete "English for Beginners" set through the auction service. 

    Our elderly friend's painstaking progress is both steadfast and touching. He places Post-its words on everything—even his dog—and practices his English at every opportunity, an act that feels all the more courageous because of his solitude. This is someone who's been alone a long time. 

    The funniest scenes highlight this fact, like the moment he stiltedly intones, "Can you show me the way to the beach?" while giggling kids poke their heads through the window. He shouts "I love you! You are perfect!" on the bus, and repeats a phrase from a particularly violent movie to his rubber duckie. 

    What's he doing all this for? 

    At story's end, he makes another online order—for a "suitcase" (gleefully expressed). Leg trembling, he runs his last practice rounds while in transit, like a student counting the last minutes before a life-defining test. Then he lands in Argentina, where we meet his son, daughter-in-law and—the reason for all this—a granddaughter who's never met him. 

    Created by agency Bardzo in Warsaw, "English" isn't just a holiday story. It's about young people leaving home for faraway lands, and the world growing smaller and more intimate, the fruit of diverse families. It's about the role English plays in unifying cultures whose differences in language may feel insurmountable. 

    It's also about how difficult it can be for older generations, cozy and secure in their bubbles, to breach that divide—how much work and quiet dedication it takes, and how rewarding it is when they make it.

    The ad concludes, in Polish, "And you? What are you looking for?" 

    This question resonates because of its scope. It can scale from the immediate and material, like a kit for learning English, to the profound: To connect with my granddaughter. To spend the holidays with people I love, without losing too much in translation. 

    We often mistake the material for the end goal. Here we see that the many orders that zip through Allegro (or any marketplace, really) are mostly just means to something more potent. Usually, it's the hope of forging connections, creating constellations of warmth and familiarity in space that once seemed strange and distant. 

    It's an endgame that's perhaps more fulfilling than using the internet's many powers to reinforce our own strongholds.

    Client: Allegro
    Agency: Bardzo, Warsaw, Poland

    Creative Director: Hubert Stadnicki

    Art Director: Wiktor Pietrzak

    Copywriters: Ania Kowalczyk-Nowak, Hubert Stadnicki 

    Director: Jesper Ericstam
    Director of Photography: Henrik Stenberg

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    Here's a pretty amazing ad from BBDO New York, with a mystery at its core. 

    At the outset, we meet Evan, a high school kid who can't wait for summer break. He's so bored that he begins etching words into a table in the library. The next day, he finds that someone has written back to him on the table—and there ensues a back-and-forth that's pretty captivating. Perhaps too captivating. 

    There seems to be romance building, or at least the hint of it. Who's been writing back to Evan? And will he ever connect with them? 

    Watch below to find out, before reading further. 

    It's a completely disorienting ending, and that's the point. As the spot shows the prior scenes once again, it's baffling how you could have missed so much of what was on the screen.

    Which is, of course, the message from the advertiser, Sandy Hook Promise, a nonpartisan nonprofit led by family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School four years ago this month.

    "Through 'Evan,' we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you're aware of the signs," says Greg Hahn, chief creative officer of BBDO New York. "We've been fortunate to work with the inspiring people at Sandy Hook Promise to help parents, students and teachers better identify these signs."

    "When you don't know what to look for, or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences," says Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, who lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook massacre.

    "It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence—these acts are preventable when you know the signs.  Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives."

    Sandy Hook Promise says 80 percent of school shooters and 70 percent of individuals who completed suicides told someone of their plans before taking action—but all too often, no one intervenes.

    Client: Sandy Hook Promise
    Spot: "Evan"

    Agency: BBDO New York
    David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide
    Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer, New York
    Peter Alsante, Creative Director
    Bryan Stokely, Copywriter
    Martins Zelcs, Art Director
    Julian Katz, Group Executive Producer
    Lindsey Cash, Account Director
    Sean Stogner, Communications Planning Director
    Michael Schonfeld, Communications Planning Associate

    Client: Sandy Hook Promise
    Nicole Hockley, Founder & Managing Director
    Tim Makris, Founder & Managing Director

    Production Company: Smuggler
    Henry-Alex Rubin, Director
    Patrick Milling Smith, Partner
    Brian Carmody, Partner
    Drew Santarsiero, Executive Producer
    Andrew Colon, Chief Operating Officer
    Leah Allina, Producer
    Ken Seng, Director of Photography

    Post Production: NO6
    Editor: Jason Macdonald
    Additional Editor: Nick Schneider
    Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
    Post Producer: Malia Rose
    Flame Artist: Ed Skupeen
    Flame Assist: Mark Reyes
    Colorist: Stuart Wheeler

    Audio Post: Heard City
    Mixer: Stefano Campello
    Mixer: Evan Mangiamele
    Audio Executive Producer: Sasha Awn

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    How does a real mom tackle the holidays? By hiding from the kids behind a locked door, huffing cocoa powder, reliving last year's epic gift fails and using crumpled wrapping paper as Kleenex.

    There must be a better way, says this new ad from photo subscription app Chatbooks, which hawk its gift service by bringing back the harried but hilarious spokeswoman it introduced in October.

    Real Mom, as she's now known, tries for only a split second to suggest she has the perfect life. (Well, she does on Pinterest.) The truth is much closer to "a hot mess of shame," says the character, pitch perfectly played again by actress-comedian Lisa Valentine Clark as the matriarch on a mission to win Christmas.

    She'll do so, and become everyone's favorite relative, by ordering Chatbooks, she says in the sequel to the startup's debut ad, which snagged 30 million views in six weeks. The campaign comes from the Harmon Brothers, the Utah-based viral video mavens who also produced mega-hit digital videos for Squatty Potty, FiberFix, Purple and Poo-Pourri.

    There was no doubt Real Mom would return, says Rachel Hofstetter, CMO at Chatbooks, as she's become the melodramatic (yet pragmatic) face of the young brand.

    "To us, she's like a new favorite TV show, and you can't wait for the next episode," Hofstetter says. "We plan to do a lot more. It'll be like Star Wars."

    The initial Harmon Brothers video, the first advertising for the app, brought in unprecedented numbers of new customers, says Hofstetter, though she declined to cite specifics for the privately held company. Chatbooks recouped its video production costs within days, she said.

    The holiday video will roll out in social media, including paid pushes on Facebook and YouTube. It re-emphasizes the no-fuss quality of the service: It compiles smartphone, Facebook and Instagram pics into photo books and delivers them automatically. Adding Grandma, Grandpa and others as gift recipients gives them the same books, so they can experience your family "from a distance, with pretty filters," Real Mom says.

    "We kicked off by telling moms they could get the photos off their phones with zero work," Hofstetter said. "That's 12 months a year. But the message now is that we're especially trying to make December easy for them."

    That comes in handy for Real Mom, because Real Dad just tumbled off the roof while hanging Christmas lights. To the ER!

    Agency: Harmon Brothers
    Creative Director: Daniel Harmon
    Agency Managing Director: Benton Crane
    Art Director: Chris Kelly
    Account Director: Shane Rickard
    Writers: Whitney Meek, Mallory Everton, Daniel Harmon
    Director: A. Todd Smith
    Executive Producer: Shane Rickard
    Producer and 1st AD: Stephen Meek
    Lead Actor: Lisa Valentine Clark
    Jeffrey: Kimball Stinger
    Sarah: Eliza Deazevedo
    Tyler: Kenyon Stinger
    Director of Photography: Jacob Schwarz
    Editor: Kaitlin Snow
    Digital Effects: Mike Henderson, Josh Badger, Scott Meyer
    Illustration: Brett Crockett
    Sound: Dave Adamic

    CEO: Nate Quigley
    Co-Founders: Nate and Vanessa Quigley
    Director of Marketing & Retail Relations: Rachel Hofstetter
    Creative Director: Matt Mildenstein

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    In one of the more nihilistic brand stunts ever performed, the card game Cards Against Humanity raised $100,573 on Black Friday and spent the money digging a huge, pointless hole in rural Illinois.

    They livestreamed the whole thing and dug until the money ran out. Then, this weekend, they filled the hole back in. 

    That's it. End of the article. You can go now.

    But wait, why did they dig that hole? No real reason in particular, they claim, though they did mention it was in part because 2016 has been going so well.

    It case you didn't get the sarcasm, 2016 in America has been rather upsetting for liberals, progressives or whatever you want to label the people who voted against Trump. CAH can be lumped into that group, considering they paid for their own anti-Trump billboards before the election alleging, in the geekist way possible, that Trump was not a team player.

    One board read, "Donald Trump mains Hanzo and complains about team comp in chat." And if you don't know what that means, you can read our article about it. But as much good as that did, they might as well have thrown their money in a hole.

    So they did—all the money everyone donated. Because, as they also put it, the hole was not only in the middle of nowhere in America. It was also "in our hearts." Asked why they didn't donate the money to charity, they asked, why didn't you donate it to charity? And when they wondered if they could dig far enough down to hit lava, they decided that would be great, because at least then they'd feel something.

    The Holiday Hole may or may not be replacing CAH's great Holiday Bullshit promotions they've done the last few years. But given its timing, it's more likely just a Black Friday thing, following past Black Friday promotions like charging people $5 extra for buying on Black Friday and sending people actual holiday bullshit—as in, the shit of a bull in a box.

    So, let's enjoy the hole stunt in the spirit it was meant—alternating between crushing depression and laughter at a universe gone mad.

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    The best ads go well beyond a simple sell or a fulfillment of a strategy. They can embody what an entire company stands for—a vision in the form of an execution.

    Tiffany Rolfe of Co:Collective discusses two examples of this in the latest installment of our "Best Ads Ever" video series. The former CP+B exec also revisits one of her crowning achievements at that agency, and tells us what's new at Co:Collective these days.

    And she celebrates another agency's recent work which got her rethinking how collaboration between brands can create value beyond the sum of their parts. 

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    Wherefore art thou, iPhone 7?

    Here's a charmer for the digital scrapbook. In its ongoing efforts to convince us the incremental changes of the iPhone 7 are actually quite magical, Apple has released "Romeo and Juliet."

    The ad features your favorite star-crossed lovers, played by kids who probably have no business fooling around with poison and daggers, let alone eloping.

    But the reason for this curious casting will be made clear in less than 30 seconds.

    That's right, you're not in Verona. It's just a school play! (Who does Romeo and Juliet in elementary school?)

    The ad concludes, "Your movies look like movies on iPhone 7" and ends with Apple's new campaign tagline: "Practically Magic." 

    "Practically Magic" takes a lot of pressure off the lifestyle aspects of owning an iPhone and moves us into artful storytelling, where the phone plays a role in helping us more neatly package our lives for social consumption. The ads are, conveniently, also quite shareable themselves, making this a gorgeous exercise in that most vicious of virtuous cycles—the need to both share and be shared.

    Previous iterations of the campaign include "Midnight," a beautiful spot about the iPhone 7's low-light photography strengths (also touching briefly on its water-resistance), and "Balloons," a colorful tale about the phone's expressive messaging capabilities.

    What's suggested in "Romeo and Juliet" is that, through the periscope of an iPhone 7, one little girl's school play has become a worthwhile cinematic experience for Dad, who's hanging on every last shot.

    And while it's neither noble nor true to life, it sure is pretty—a Shakespearean rendition of how we'd actually like these moments to look and feel.

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    It's been a divisive year. In the interest of making unity a thing again, Microsoft just released "The Art of Harmony," an uplifting piece of work that features real people, from a diversity of cultures and roles, joining forces to create a piece of public art. 

    Participants include:
    • Joel Artista, an artist, educator and social change advocate who uses community-based public art to express messages of goodwill
    • Child activist Zianna Oliphant
    • Florida police officer Bobby White, better known as the "basketball cop"
    • West African refugee and artist Hawa Diallo
    • Jazz Jennings, the youngest person to publicly identify herself as transgender
    • Zea Bowling, a first-grader who stood up to hate when the Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage
    • Christopher Catrambone, founder of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station
    • Mona Haydar, an activist best known for her "Ask a Muslim" stand, which offers passersby free coffee and donuts

    Below is the 1:43 video from m:united//McCann. The work features short, powerful statements from participants, snippets of scenes that define their unifying roles, and shots of them using Microsoft products to build the final art piece that crowns the ending. 

    The work builds on Microsoft's "Spread Harmony" campaign. Last year, in the same spirit, Microsoft buried the hatchet with Apple by singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth" at the latter's flagship Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan. 

    "Art of Harmony" will run this holidays online, on TV, via out-of-home and on social, across Microsoft's many supports—including Bing, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. A "Facebook Badge" will enable people to create profile pictures with art from the spot. 

    Also check out the 60-second version here.


    Client: Microsoft
    Kathleen Hall – CVP, Global Advertising & Media
    Deana Singleton – GM, Global Advertising
    Stacey Terrien – Director, Global Advertising
    Jenny Leahy – Director, Social
    Erin Friedman – Director, Global Advertising
    Dawn Novak – Senior Manager, Global Advertising
    Ashley Anderson – Manager, Global Advertising
    Sally Richardson – Manager, Social

    Agency: m:united//McCann
    Sean Bryan – Co-CCO
    Tom Murphy – Co-CCO
    Daniela Vojta –Executive Creative Director
    Susan Young –Executive Creative Director
    Jim Hord –Executive Creative Director
    Daniel Kim – Creative Director
    Todd Brown – Creative Director
    Chris McMurtrey –Creative Director
    Scott Higgins –  Creative Director
    Roberto Baibich – Creative Director
    Nick Ciomperlik – Associate Creative Director
    Susann Goerg – Associate Creative Director
    David Cappolino – Copywriter
    Julie Koong – Art Director
    Alicia Foor – Art Director
    David Cliff – Director of Creative Technology

    Aaron Kovan –Director of Integrated Production
    Jeremy Adirim – Director of Interactive Production
    Melissa Tifrere –Senior Producer
    Mel Senecal – Senior Producer
    Rebecca Magner – Producer
    Charlotte Popper – Interactive Producer
    Eric Johnson – Executive Integrated Music Producer
    Sam Belkin – Music Coordinator

    John Dunleavy – President
    Kevin Nelson – Managing Director
    Tina Galley – Executive Account Director
    Michelle Kiely –Director of Strategy
    Sarah Keiber – Group Account Director
    Stella Warkman –Director of Project Management
    Todd Sussman – Group Strategy Director
    Courtney LeBlanc – Account Director
    Maria Villena – Account Executive
    Ellie Choi – Account Executive
    Alex Cho – Account Executive
    Jessica La Torre – Project Manager

    Production Company
    RSA Films
    Director: Jake Scott
    Producer: David Mitchell
    Director of Photography: Chris Soos
    1st A.D.: Howell Caldwell
    Line Producer: Jason Groves

    Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Biff Butler
    Assistant Editor: Mike Shugarmen
    Executive Producer: Eva Kornblum
    Producer: Lisa Barnable

    The Mill
    Executive Producer: Melanie Wickham
    Producer: Katie Kolombatovich
    Lead Flame Artist: Barnsely Wood

    "Beauty in the World" by  Macy Grey
    Audio Mix
    Sonic Union
    Mixers: Mike Marinelli
    Sound Director: Justine Cortale

    The Mill
    Fergus McCall

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    Thanks to Snapchat, vertical video is now how young people—and thus, ad people—do mobile video. But there are always moments in a trend when an advertiser doesn't just follow along, but breaks it down and uses the mechanics to meet its own ends. 

    This is one of those times. To promote the Ford Edge's Blind Spot Information System [BLIS], BBR Saatchi & Saatchi in Israel created a mobile ad that, like Geico's unskippable ads for preroll, might change how other advertisers see vertical video. 

    The mobile ad appeared on Facebook and features a car driving down a road, right between the black bars that frame horizontal videos viewed vertically—playing to people who can no longer be bothered to turn their phones sideways. 

    It then asks, "Want to see what's in your blind spot?"

    Two fingers reach out and pull the black bars away, revealing a hidden motorcyclist right in blind spot territory. 

    The ad does a nice job of using vertical video to explain what BLIS is—a feature that lets you see within your blind spots—without having to say much at all. 

    Per BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, the post got over 600,000 views in just four days. Not bad for the work of a few seconds. 

    Client: Ford
    Agency: BBR Saatchi & Saatchi
    Chief Executive Officer: Yossi Lubaton
    Chief Creative Officer: Jonathan Lang
    VP Creative Director: Eran Nir
    Social / Digital Director: Idan Kligerman
    Copywriter: Shushu E. Spanier
    Art Director: Aia Kujnitzy Bechor
    Group Account Head: Ben Muskal
    Account Supervisor:  Chen Halpern
    Account Executives: Gil Gershon, Hadar Goren
    VP Production & Content: Dorit Gvili
    Production manager: Maya Palmon
    Strategic Planning Supervisor: Lora Goichman
    Planner: Roie Gortler
    Creative Coordinator: Eva Hasson
    Traffic Director: Ronit Doanis
    Studio manager: Yaron Keinan
    Production Company: Tifferet Films
    Head of Production: Doron Lahav
    Director: Shushu E. Spanier
    DOP: Guy Mador
    DOP Assitant: Ori Aloni
    Editor:Matan Cohen-Grumi
    Ford driver: Paz Alush
    Motorbike driver: Hai Tal
    Production's Assistants: Shoham Baruch, Tal Bar

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    This year, for the first time ever, I stuck to my New Year's resolution.

    I joined the Mark Zuckerberg challenge, setting out to run 365 miles—a mile a day—in 2016. I hit my goal at the end of last week, which means this week I've literally been logging "extra miles." That got me thinking about what an "extra mile" actually looks like for the advertisers we work with on YouTube. And then I saw the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard this week, and I got my answer.

    The 2016 Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard celebrates the 10 most-watched, most-engaged-with and most-loved ads of the year globally. You can watch all the ads here.

    These 10 ads demonstrate what the extra mile in online video advertising looks like. For some, it meant adding something to the cultural conversation—from a "Puppymonkeybaby" to an empowering mantra like "Keep Playing." For others, it was finding a new metric that accounts for attention, or prioritizing mobile as much as consumers do.

    Below, I'll outline four New Year's resolutions these top ads might inspire that could help marketers take their 2017 plans the extra mile.

    Resolution #1
    In 2017, don't just join the cultural conversation on YouTube. Add to it.

    When the now famous "Puppymonkeybaby" ad launched in February, The New York Times wrote, "The ad, created by BBDO New York, was intended to promote Kickstart, a beverage combining Mountain Dew, fruit juice and caffeine. Like Kickstart, a Puppymonkeybaby, evidently, also combines three things people love."

    Kate Stanford

    In other words, the Puppymonkeybaby creature literally exists as a composite of "things people love" online—puppies, monkeys and babies.

    Like the Puppymonkeybaby, the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard is, in some ways, a composite of the things people love. The most successful ads on YouTube reflect the most dominant cultural trends on YouTube.

    Take the trend toward empowerment. As YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote back in May, YouTube viewers "are hungry for creative that empowers, rather than objectifies." Look at the empowering ads on our Year-End Ads Leaderboard: Always encourages girls to "Keep Playing." Pokémon has children all over the world saying, "I can do that."

    When brands like Always and Pokémon successfully add to the conversation around empowerment that's already happening on YouTube, they're rewarded. Empowering ads like these are two and a half times less likely to be skipped and 80 percent more likely to be shared than other ads.

    So, how do you know which trend is right for your brand? Google Trends can help you spot the difference between a flash-in-the-pan trend on YouTube (like the "Running Man Challenge") versus a longer-term trend (like "how to dance" videos).

    But don't stop at joining the conversation; add to it. If creative tied to culture wins every time, how will you add to the conversation in 2017?

    Resolution #2
    In 2017, measure for attention—whether you're running :6s or :60s. 

    Adding a Puppymonkeybaby to the Super Bowl conversation paid off for Mountain Dew. Incredibly, the brand achieved a retention rate of over 100 percent on YouTube. That means they didn't just retain viewers; they had people watching, on average, more than 100 percent of their 32-second ad—actually going back to watch their favorite parts again and again. In the case of Puppymonkeybaby, the audience's retention was a great marker of the audience's attention.

    Retention is a close cousin of watch time, another great way to measure attention. Our latest research shows the value of watch time for brands: The more people watch, the greater the lift in brand metrics like awareness and consideration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the three longest ads on the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard also scored some of the longest watch times. Combined, they earned more than seven centuries' worth of watch time.

    Whether you're running a six-second or six-minute video ad (like Nike Football's "The Switch" on the Leaderboard), make sure you're measuring how attentive your audience is. In an age when two-thirds of TV viewers pick up another device during an ad break, take advantage of online metrics that let you measure your audience's attention.

    Resolution #3
    In 2017, spend more time on mobile. Your consumers already do.

    If it's attention you're after, our research shows small screens don't equate to small attention spans. For example, on YouTube's mobile app, attention paid to advertising is 84 percent higher than advertising on TV. When you look at the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard, about two-thirds of the views of these 10 ads came from mobile. For top advertisers and their consumers, mobile isn't a moment in time; it's the majority of the time.

    Even the Super Bowl ad race is moving from 40-inch screens to 4-inch screens. When you look only at the five Super Bowl ads on the Year-End Leaderboard, the percentage of watch time that came from mobile devices is over 80 percent, with more than 200 million combined mobile views. The total audience for the Super Bowl on television this year was about 112 million. It's time for marketers to commit their attention to mobile; consumers already do. 

    Resolution #4
    In 2017, fact-check your instinct on where to find your audience.

    Most advertisers agree it's table stakes to include online video in a media plan meant to reach "teens and millennials." However, by equating online video with younger audiences, you may be missing out on the wide range of demographics spending more and more time on YouTube.

    From 2015 to 2016, time spent on YouTube grew among young people, true, but it actually grew even faster among older age groups: 40 percent faster among adults 35+ and 80 percent faster among adults 55+ versus 18+ adults more generally, according to recent research from Nielsen.

    We see this trend reflected in the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard, too. Last year, the largest percentage of watch time of the top ads came from the 18- to 24-year-old crowd. This year, the most watch time by far came from 25- to 34-year-olds. Online video isn't just a tool for reaching young people; it's a tool for reaching all people.

    One thing I've learned is that setting too many resolutions is a recipe for failure. I've given you four to choose from, but I still say this: Pick one. What's one question you can ask yourself as you review every media plan; one goal against which you can check all creative; one metric you'll always have in mind when you consider performance across your campaigns?

    Write it on a piece of paper and pin it next to your desk, like my piece of paper next to my treadmill. Every mile you log against that goal will take you that much closer to the extra mile that lands you on the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard.

    —Kate Stanford is managing director of global YouTube ads marketing at YouTube. All 2016 Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard watch time metrics are from YouTube Data, Global, Jan. 1 to Nov. 15.

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    Pornhub enjoyed a pretty successful Christmas advertising debut last year, with its SFW spot about the dirty old man—and his perfect present—getting millions of views on YouTube. So, the adult site is returning with an encore.

    A new 90-second spot, again made by Madrid creative agency Officer & Gentleman, takes place in a miniature town, where all sorts of people are lonely on Christmas Eve. But one by one, they receive the same present via email—and it brightens their lonely night considerably. (The new spot is also SFW.)

    In a special nod to the Super Bowl-like evolution of Christmas into an advertising showcase, the spot also references famous characters from famous Christmas ads of years past—with Justino, the Spanish lottery's mannequin factory worker, and the Man on the Moon, from last year's John Lewis spot, among those making cameos in the Pornhub ad.

    Check it out here:

    "After last year's spot, we decided we wanted our Christmas campaign to become a hallmark of the holiday season for the whole family," Corey Price, vp of Pornhub, said in a statement. "This year we've gone big, as we know Christmas ads are a big thing. So we've partnered with the new office of Caviar in Madrid and Twentyfour-Seven, who are known for producing work for Nike, Adidas, Samsung, Honda, Super Bowl ads, plus a whole lot more, and famous for facilitating the biggest and most professional productions out there!"

    Pornhub has been exploring SFW advertising for a few years now, and the new spot is definitely well produced. But they couldn't resist a tagline that's more naughty than nice: "Have yourself a horny little Christmas."

    Client: Pornhub
    Agency: Officer & Gentleman
    Creative Directors: Javi Iñiguez de Onzoño & Alex Katz
    Agency Producer: Andy Stevenson
    Client Services Director: Harry R. Francis
    Art Directors: Alex Katz, Luis Álvarez, Daniel Marco Muñoz
    Copywriter: Javi Iñiguez de Onzoño
    Production Company: Caviar Madrid
    Director: Kinopravda
    Executive producer: Zico Judge & Alfonso Cazalilla
    DOP: Bet Rourich
    Production Manager: Xavi Vara
    Postproduction: Glassworks Barcelona
    Editor: Joan Solsona
    Color artist: Xavi Santolaya
    Casting: Lane Casting Barcelona
    Sound mix: Oido
    Music composition ("Lonely Night"): Palindromo Music

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    Talk about ambition: Reyka Vodka has decided to use Facebook Live to wish every single resident of Iceland Gleðilega hátíð, or "Happy holidays." 

    Iceland isn't a big country, but it does count over 320,000 residents—making this quite a job for Frikki, the man who's been appointed to do it. Luckily, he's had help narrowing down the list.

    "Although there are over 320,000 people living in Iceland, the Icelandic Naming Committee has listed just 4,512 approved Icelandic names," says Frikki. "I will now read each name, wishing Gleðilega hátíð to each Icelander. Oh, and because Reyka is a vodka, these wishes are only for those of legal drinking age. So if I call your name and you are under 21, I am not talking to you."

    In this video, he begins his laborious trudge through approved Icelandic names.

    If you don't get this whole "approved names" thing, here is a primer: While foreigners can keep whatever names they have already, native-born Icelanders are not allowed to have names that don't conform with the Icelandic Naming Committee's list. 

    The purpose of the Naming Committee is to decide whether new given names that don't yet exist in Iceland are suitable for integration into the country's language and culture. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) New names must be submitted for approval, and are considered for compatability with Icelandic tradition and grammar, the likelihood they could cause the bearer embarrassement, whether the name matches the bearer's sex (with rare exceptions) and whether it contains only letters in the Icelandic alphabet. 

    There have been problems with this system, notably experienced by former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr, who wanted to drop the last name Kristinsson to disassociate himself from his dad, and name his daughter Camilla after her grandmother. (He finally opted for Kamilla, since C doesn't appear in the Icelandic alphabet, and was ultimately permitted to change his own name last year.) 

    Here is a second video of Frikki wishing more Icelanders happy holidays, completing his task to the surprise of all involved. He is briefly interrupted by someone waving a stuffed puffin around near his arm, which aggravates him mightily. 

    "OK. These things are flying rats," he snaps. "I know you guys think they're cute, but they're not. They're delicious, yes—but cute, no. Annoying. Terrible. They taste very good with vodka, actually, now that I think about it. Maybe I'll have some later." 

    The videos remind us of Sweden's "Call a Swede" campaign, probably because of the telephone, but also because of its interesting preoccupation with tying a campaign directly to the country's inhabitants. 

    There's also a smack of Norway's "slow TV" about it. Slow TV is a trend in which you watch hours of repetitive content, like the totality of a train ride from Bergen to Oslo, or the process of chopping wood. 

    In this case, we watch Frikki sloughing through a thick list of approved Icelandic names. As with slow TV, it's strangely calming, and there's something weirdly satisfying about watching a guy sit around doing something that's slowly driving him crazy.

    Frikki fortifies himself with shots of Reyka as he burns through the rest of the list. Sometimes he is interrupted by phone calls—and, toward the end, cheering men with Viking helmets, and a girl wearing one of those swan dresses that Bjork made so popular.

    These touches are clearly meant for non-Icelanders, but they demonstrate Iceland's own awareness of its cultural impact while exposing us to its dry, deprecating humor ... and local food preferences.

    As Frikki arrives at the end of his list, ticked off by a taciturn woman in a holiday sweater, he relaxes.

    "Reyka has now wished everyone a happy holiday. I will now be enjoying a little holiday cheer of my own, if you don't mind," he says. Then the phone rings—someone ostensibly asking him to add all babies born since he started the project. 

    "I never agreed to this!" he shouts. "I'm not doing this. It's been a pleasure. Goodbye."

    And off he goes. Happy holidays, Frikki. Enjoy that puffin.

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    Some of the most memorable executions in the history of advertising go aren't just ads. They are, as William Gelner puts it, more like acts—statements of purpose, or calls to action to make the world better.

    In the mid-1990s, Nike and Apple released two such anthemic works. And they are among Gelner's favorite ads ever. The 180LA chief creative officer talks about those spots, and a third campaign—also from Wieden + Kennedy, like the Nike work—as he picks his favorite ads for our "Best Ads Ever" series.

    He also tells us what inspired him outside advertising, and what work he's been most proud of at 180 recently. 

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    There'd be hair in the milk.

    That was our recurring thought while watching Naya Health's "If Men Breastfed," a bizarre Facebook video in which male nipples finally serve a practical purpose. 

    But it doesn't look like any of the men involved share that worry. Indeed, if men breastfed, it looks like it would be the highlight of working fatherhood: They don't have to worry about anything at all!

    "If Men Breastfed" kicks off with a happy couple welcoming a new baby into their arms. Dave, the hubby, is strapped into his breastfeeding bra and ready to receive, tears glistening in his eyes, before we cut to his return to work—where, mid-meeting, he discovers his nips are leaking through his shirt.

    "Mr. Sanders!" his boss booms. "Is there a problem?"

    Here's where some lady's day would normally go to shit. But you know that's not happening for Dave, right? No, his boss is so understanding it gives us whiplash. Then Dave is invited to check out the "Lounge," the spot's crowning glory.

    The men's Lactation Lounge looks like a cross between a casino and a classic man-cave, complete with a lanolin bar that boasts, "Be a man, use lanolin." Trays of steaks are set alongside cookies, and breast-baring presidents line the walls.

    That's right! In case mugs labeled "World's Breast Dad" didn't tip you off, breasts aren't something you hide here. In this paradise of men and mammaries, lactation has its own leaderboard.

    Meanwhile, men kick back and relax while comparing breast pumps the way they would cars, a metaphor that doesn't need explaining. 

    "What're you pumpin'?" one guy asks. Pump preferences in lactating man-world say plenty, while somehow still saying entirely too much: They're rated by expensiveness (note the "Nurcedes"), tech innovation, workout-readiness and speed. (Looks painful.) 

    This charmed scenario wraps with a trite conversation that drives the ad's less-than-subtle point home with a sledgehammer, for good measure. 

    "Think our wives have any idea how hard we have it?" one guy wonders.

    "No clue," Dave says.

    "There's a reason men do this job," says Teddy from accounting, still smug from topping the leaderboard.

    Cue the guffaws!

    And cut to ice-cold reality: The real Lactation Lounge is a claustrophobic supply room, where one woman sits, checking her email. Teddy from accounting interrupts her on a quest for printing toner, escaping as fast as possible without having to look at anything. 

    We wrap with a cheeky tagline. "Naya: We make pumping suck less." 

    This is the debut spot for Naya Health's Smart Breast Pump, and it's scored 5 million Facebook views since it was posted two days ago. In addition to setting parenting communities aflame with conversation, it's been picked up by Vogue, HuffPo Parents, PopSugar Moms, Babble, and Hello Giggles, among others. 

    You've seen pregnant men before. Weirdly, the gag's rarely been used to sell pregnancy products specifically for women. It has, however, sold Fiber One and beer. In one instance, Huggies made an actual pregnancy belt so men could feel their babies kicking. 

    That makes this ad, and its deprecating dark humor, unique: It's addressing women directly, to sell a product rarely seen in the everyday advertising circuit. There are reasons for that, which reinforce the point made here—just this year, ABC and NBC turned down a Lane Bryant ad that included a breastfeeding model.

    But Facebook, where this ad is posted, is no hero, either. It's also been accused of banning images of breastfeeding, and women's breasts in general, while permitting stuff like beheadings.

    The policy on breastfeeding has since been changed. But even if Facebook is now cool with shots of women's bodies feeding babies, the act of sharing a video of breastfeeding men still triggers a collective memory of how much work it took to get us there. 

    That's the key to this spot—that merely being a woman, doing what women sometimes have to do, means enduring small acts of symbolic violence and humiliation every day, the likes of which men rarely experience.

    Here, at least, is a breast-pump maker who gets that, even if we don't learn much about the product itself. Which, by the way, is chic, innovative, quiet and fast. A perfect fit in a men's Lactation Lounge.

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    Swedish agency Åkestam Holst has spent the past year using Ikea to explore family dynamics in all shades—from relationship longevity to divorce, and most recently, a troubled passage between a father and daughter.

    But while those ads were fairly subtle, its latest effort minces no words. "Retail Therapy" puts Ikea's "Where Life Happens" campaign into blunt action with a website where products are renamed to match common Google searches in Sweden. 

    It's a cheeky SEO play, but these aren't just any queries. Each refers to a relationship problem and is tied to a product that can ostensibly solve it. Check the video out below. 

    Some "Retail Therapy" solutions are witty: "My daughter is out all night" guides users to a disco ball, "My partner annoys me" to a double-desk separated by a cubby wall, and "The attraction is gone" points to magnets. One of our favorites is "My family doesn't respect me," which leads to a white queen costume—something we didn't even realize Ikea sells.

    Others are befuddling. "My son plays too much computer games" drives users to ... a pair of scissors? It isn't clear whether the kid should take up scrapbooking, or stab himself in the eye when his console is taken away. Or cut the cord, perhaps. 

    Each landing page ends with an array of related products, in this case labeled "Related relationship problems."

    Thankfully, the brand isn't asking us to take "Retail Therapy" all that seriously.

    The video concludes, "Whether it's a snoring husband, a never-ending gaming son or any other relationship problem you have, Ikea can come to the rescue ... or at least put a smile on your face while you keep Googling for an answer." 

    Conveniently, however, searches for terms like "He can't say he loves me" will lift Ikea's product ads to the top of the Google Adwords pile—a visibility coup so maniacally clever that it's hard to hold a grudge. 

    (The solution to that quandary, by the way? A magnetic writing board. Hopefully he'll get the hint.)

    Agency: Åkestam Holst
    Client: Ikea
    Creative Director: Magnus Jakobsson
    Art Director: Caroline Andersson
    Copywriter: Felicia Jensen
    Digital Producer: Alex Picha
    Digital Strategy: Anna Lundeborg
    Planner: Karl Andersson
    Project Manager: Kjell Mansson
    Production Manager: Mimmi Morén
    Web Developer: Kalle Peterz

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    Here's a neat product from Godiva that bakes generosity right into the packaging.

    McCann New York worked with the Belgian chocolatier to create "The Box that Keeps Giving." It's a kind of Russian nesting doll style box. When you open it, there are two boxes—one to keep, and one to give to someone else as a gift. When the second recipient opens his or her gift, there are two boxes in there, too—one to keep, and one to give. And so on.

    See how it works in this video.

    It's delightful when product packaging can somehow embody the spirit of a brand—and perfect for Godiva, for whom gifting is such a huge part of the business. And it's great timing for the holidays, too.

    The special-edition product will be available in select Godiva stores across the U.S. this holiday season. There was also a launch event in Rockefeller Center at the tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 30.


    Client: Godiva
    Nagisa Manabe – Head of Marketing and Product Development North America
    Cheryl Brooks - Director Marketing Services at pladis Global
    Judith Rubin - Director, Global Consumer Insights
    Samantha Landman – Marketing Manager
    Christina Roperti – Manager, Pubic Relations
    Robert Koch - Visual Merchandising Manager/ Visual Planner

    Agency: McCann New York
    Eric Silver – North American Chief Creative Officer
    Tom Murphy / Sean Bryan – Co Chief Creative Officers, New York
    Lizzie Wilson – Senior Art Director
    Tali Gumbiner – Senior Copywriter
    Tori Nygren – Copywriter
    Nathy Aviram – Chief Production Officer
    Deb Archambault – Senior Integrated Producer
    Alexis Mead – Senior Integrated Producer
    Olivia Heeren – Group Account Director
    Megumi Sasada – Account Supervisor
    Leah Kennedy - Project Manager
    Cares Mason – Project Manager
    Steve Zaroff – Chief Strategy Officer, North America
    Julianna Katrancha – Group Strategy Director
    James Stevens – Strategist
    David Mashburn- Co Design Director
    George Katz – Co Design Director
    Ethan Buller - Senior Designer
    Shelby Hipol – Designer
    Nel Sparkman – Junior Designer
    Sebastian Savino - Original Content Producer
    Eric Perini - Original Content Producer
    Brett Berman - Original Content Producer
    Eric David Johnson – Executive Integrated Music Producer
    Dan Gross – Music Producer
    Sam Belkin – Music Coordinator

    Production Company: 1stAveMachine
    Partner/Executive Producer: Sam Penfield
    Executive Producer: Peter Repplier
    Directors: Becho Lo Bianco & Mariano Bergara
    Production Manager: Sara Ireland
    Associate Producer: Stefanie Carrano
    Director Of Photography: Robert McKenna
    Post Producer: Karen Lawler
    VFX Supervisor: John Loughlin
    Flame: Bryan Rosenblum & Matt Monson
    Color: RCO
    Colorist: Seth Ricart
    Color Producer: Sheina Dao

    Coeur Noir Specialty Printers
    Cultech, Inc. - Autajon Group


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