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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Beats by Dre has a proud history of tapping into sports superstars, going back to "The Game Before the Game" with Brazilian soccer star Neymar and the "Hear What You Want" work with Kevin Garnett, Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick and Cesc Fabregas. Now, the brand is back with a rocking new spot—with no fewer than 23 of the world's top athletes.

    The spot, by Anomaly, features Tom Brady, LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Cam Newton, Kevin Durant, Simone Biles and Nigel Sylvester, among other stars. They're all seen beating their chests to the pulsing baseline of "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes, which has become a great sports anthem in its own right over the years.

    The theme of the new spot is, "Be heard."



    So many athletes use music as inspiration and a way to get pumped up. And headphones have the added benefit of providing privacy, which athletes also crave—making Beats' connection to sports that much more resonant.

    "It's full of emotion," Tom Brady said of the White Stripes song in a statement. "That beat. That rhythm. It gets everyone off their feet. It's a great feeling when that song comes on."

    The spot is the second big anthem piece of the fall for Beats. It follows the "Got No Strings" spot, which broke in October, also from Anomaly. That was another star-studded piece, but with fewer athletes, and used a song from Disney's Pinocchio to sell wireless headphones.

    CREDITS
    Client: Beats by Dre
    Agency: Anomaly
    Starring: Cam Newton, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Owen Farrell, Tom Brady, Kevin Debruyne, Kevin Durant, Anthony Joshua, Simone Biles, Nigel Sylvester, Conor McGregor, Antoine Griezmann, Thierry Henry, Leticia Bufoni, Antonio Conte, César Azpilicueta , Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Bastian Schweinsteiger , Alexander Ovechkin, Michael Phelps , Arjen Robben


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    The modern Westerner is bad at death, especially so at the prospect of managing our own. The result is that it's treated glibly—like in slasher films—or pushed to the sidelines of our communities. Mourning, even within a family, is an isolated act, quarantined from the rest of our lives. 

    It's a bit melodramatic, frankly. 

    There's a holiday tradition in New Mexico, where businesses and homeowners line sidewalks and driveways with lit votive candles inside brown paper bags. These "luminarias" supposedly date back to Spaniard merchants, who, taken by Chinese paper lanterns, decided to create their own in New Spain. The act symbolizes the lighting of the Christ child's path on Christmas Eve.

    It's a pretty story whose roots reach to our origins as a country. And in this campaign from French Funerals and Cremations, a luminaria may also light a path to where we're headed. 

    (Death.)

    Sunset Memorial Park, a cemetery owned by French Funerals, has erected a billboard over northbound I-25, one of Albuquerque's busiest routes. On it sits an enormous luminaria, which, throughout December, will light up every night around dusk. 

    Created by agency McKee Wallwork + Co., the billboard aspires to change how people think about the ominous time-eating black hole forming inside each one of us. It encourages Albuquerque families to visit Sunset Memorial Park on Christmas Eve and carry on the act of placing luminarias on the graves of those who've passed. 

    "For a lot of people, death is a taboo subject they don't want to think about, but our work with French and Sunset Memorial Park is changing that," says creative director David Ortega of MW+C.

    "By hosting events like this, rather than only being thought of as places to mourn, cemeteries will come to be seen as sites for celebration and remembrance. All of us at McKee Wallwork + Co. are honored to offer this advertising and event as a way for the Albuquerque community to come together and enjoy the Christmas season." 

    Visitors—including those with no ties to the park at all—are invited to see once-somber memorials to snuffed-out lives, lit anew. Hopefully, they'll for once be surrounded by people who are there to celebrate what's to come. (Be it a new year, the Christ, or the inevitability of our own demise, it's all the same coin, really.)


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    The Internet has become an unapologetically open place, one that drives its tentacles through everything we touch in an effort to unite it all—making us visible, traceable, easier to access.

    But not everything we're doing should be seen, even by those we're closest to.

    According to the New Zealand Women's Refuge, today it's easier for abusers to obtain victims' emails or passwords, use mobile GPS to stalk or find them, and—the old classic—monitor their browser histories. This makes it harder for those seeking help or resources to find it safely, or reach out at all.

    So alongside Saatchi & Saatchi, the Women's Refuge has created "The Shielded Site." Set to launch before the holidays (when family violence rates spike dramatically in the country), this expandable iframe can sit on any innocuous host website while availing resources to victims, including how to stay safe, plan your escape or ask for help. 

    The site never appears in browser histories, meaning you don't have to worry about scrubbing your cache or getting caught unawares. 

    For those who aren't sure whether their case is abusive, the Women's Refuge has provided helpful stats: 64 percent of women seeking its help suffer from psychological abuse, 49 percent physical abuse, 23 percent financial abuse, 21 percent harassment and stalking, 12 percent sexual abuse, and 11 percent abuse with weapons. 

    In 24 percent of cases, a child witnessed or heard it happening.

    One in three (35.4 percent) partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical or sexual partner abuse in their lifetimes. When you add psychological or emotional abuse, that figure jumps to 55 percent. 

    Participating organizations for The Shielded Site include ASB Bank, The Warehouse, Sorted and Z Energy, all of which, in addition to Saatchi & Saatchi, will add the tab to their sites. 

    "This is a positive initiative, and we are delighted to get behind it. If we can help even one woman to reach out in a safe way to get support, it's been a success," says ASB Bank general manager Fiona Colgan. 

    "We encourage more New Zealand businesses to join us and create a place of refuge on their websites. To truly make this effective, The Shielded Site needs to be everywhere, and in the places people would visit in the course of a typical day."

    Here's where you can add the Shielded Site to your site.


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    We've chosen the 10 best ads of 2016, led by Droga5's brilliant spot for Under Armour with Michael Phelps. Now, let's look at some of the major creative trends of 2016—the themes, concepts and strategies that invigorated marketers and led to some of the year's most interesting work.

    Below are the trends, in no particular order:



    Fine Art
    Advertising might not be art, but it embraced art like never before in 2016. Some of the most intriguing creative advertising of the year referenced, incorporated and in some cases promoted fine art. Among the notable campaigns: Leo Burnett Chicago's "Van Gogh Bnb," a life-size version of Van Gogh's bedroom, made for the Art Institute of Chicago and rented out on Airbnb; J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam's "The Next Rembrandt," which had a computer study the master's works and make a completely new painting in his style; and Goodby Silverstein & Partners' "Dreams of Dali," a VR experience that took viewers inside one of the surrealist's works.





    Disability
    The Paralympic Games are always a resonant moment to shine a light on disability, and the U.K.'s Channel 4 didn't disappoint, following up its famous 2012 spot about disabled athletes with a sequel, "We're the Superhumans," that was just as powerful. Disability was a focus of much brand marketing, too—from Lego's disabled minifigure to a wonderfully cast Maltesers campaign to Burger King's spot with the King using sign language. Also unforgettable—Grey Australia designing a bike that has the symptoms of MS.





    Live Ads
    Brands continued to embrace livestreaming in 2016, through products like Facebook Live and Periscope. They also produced some fascinating, more highly designed live commercials. The most impressive was Target and Deutsch's live four-minute music video with Gwen Stefani that aired during the Grammy Awards. Also noteworthy—British grocer Waitrose broadcasting live from its partner farms for an entire week, and making TV spots and print ads from the footage.




    Transparency
    The trend toward being more open, honest and self-aware about the act of marketing only grew in 2016. Look no further than one of the year's biggest movies, Deadpool, whose ad campaign was wonderfully meta and hilariously mindful of its own tropes (just as the film was). Other comically transparent ad campaigns included Droga5's Clearasil work (below), which openly admitted its ignorance of the target. Most impressively transparent, though, was The Swedish Number, a tourism campaign that invited anyone in the world to dial a number and have a completely unmediated talk about the country with a random Swede. 




    Deception
    Yes, brands were transparent—except when they weren't. Several remarkable campaigns used elements of deception this year to deliver shockingly memorable surprises. Most notable were the Louise Delage campaign on Instagram for Addict Aide, with the fake French ingenue hiding a disturbing secret; and Sandy Hook Promise's "Evan" PSA, which pretended to be a lighthearted story about young love before taking a troubling left turn. 



    Politics
    It was obviously a huge political year, and lots of the advertising was creatively interesting—whether from ad agencies,brands,rogue creatives,super PACs or the politicians themselves. The two most memorable spots from candidates were the ones below—from Gerald Daugherty and Jason Kander. (Daugherty won his race, while Kander did not.)





    Square and Vertical Video
    Sorry, 16x9. This was the year when square and vertical video broke through for good, thanks to mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook's vertical video ad format went live this fall, but vertical was even the rage back on the Super Bowl—a vertical spot, Jeep's "Portraits," was the best ad on the game. Meanwhile, Instagram inspired a ton of square creative, and not just video. One of the coolest Instagram campaigns of the year, by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, involved Sonic making square shakes in real life—inspired by Instagram and available for purchase through the app.




    Artificial Intelligence
    The rise of the robots continues apace. IBM's Watson had a huge year, making its first movie trailer and AI-powered digital ads, as well as teaming up with Condé Nast to find influencers for brands. J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam's "The Next Rembrandt" for bank client ING was a remarkable display of AI in creativity (mostly in the field of data visualization). And Google's AlphaGo project won the Innovation Grand Prix at Cannes. Some ads explored the darker side of AI, too, including a French agency's memorable spot about the limitations of robot caregivers.




    360 and Virtual Reality
    These new immersive video formats still haven't hit their stride creatively (the Cannes Film jury in June honored just one VR piece, and that was mostly a token gesture). But brands are experimenting in interesting ways—from Google's lovely film "Pearl" to Facebook's Grand Central video to Samsung's bedtime VR stories and this clever 360 PSA. McDonald's even further democratized VR with Happy Meal boxes that turned into headsets.

    The biggest VR triumph of the year was McCann's "Field Trip to Mars" for Lockheed Martin, which was a brilliant group VR experience (though not exactly easy to scale). Less welcome, perhaps, was South Park's fart-smelling VR device.




    Hacking Photoshop
    Adobe's Photoshop tool has notoriously been a force for good and evil over the years, and continued to be a flashpoint in 2016—in ways both serious and lighthearted. Madonna Badger of Badger & Winters vowed not to airbrush women in her agency's ads "to the point of perfection"—in delivering her #WomenNotObjects manifesto back in January. But the most sly critique of airbrushing came in the form of comedy—Snickers and BBDO New York's hilarious back cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, showing a model airbrushed by retouchers who were too hungry to do the job properly.


    Click to the next page to see 10 more creative trends of 2016.

    Diversity
    Advertising's embrace of more diverse imagery has been building for years, but reached a new peak in 2016. It began with Axe, of all brands, launching the remarkably inclusive "Find Your Magic" campaign just two weeks into the year. Other highlights included H&M's stunning "She's a Lady" spot by Forsman & Bodenfors and P&G's "Stress Test" work for Secret by Wieden + Kennedy. Also, post-election, at a time when the country never seemed so divided, Amazon had a big hit with its interfaith spot featuring a priest and an imam.





    Ultra-Long Ads
    Got a few hours (or days) to soak up some ads? Plenty of brands were willing to oblige, whether it was U.S. Cellular's seven-hour preroll, Laphroaig's three-hour-plus insult fest with Andy Daly, or Somersby Cider's 24-hour (!) livestream of a guy making GIF-like repetitive movements.




    Divorce
    Advertisers have long shied away from the topic of divorce—understandably, but also oddly, given how many people experience it firsthand and would likely see messaging around it to be relatable. This year saw brands getting a little braver around the theme—with Ford making a whole short film around it, and Ikea producing the lovely ad below.




    Clever Packaging
    Great packaging ideas that embody a brand promise or utility are always delightful, and we saw many this year—particularly in the realm of soda and beer cans, oddly enough. Diet Coke used HP Indigo digital printing technology to create literally millions of completely unique labels. Bud Light's expanded line of NFL cans was greeted warmly by football fans everywhere. Orangina made an upside-down can that mixed up the pulp when you flipped it over to open it. The most ingenious innovation, though, wasn't a can but a six-pack ring made by New York agency We Believers for Saltwater Brewery—made of grains left over from the brewing process and totally edible to sea life.


    Animals
    Every year is a big year for animals in advertising, and 2016 was no exception. The Super Bowl, as usual, was a zoo—from Mountain Dew's Puppymonkeybaby to Heinz's "Wiener Stampede" to Honda's singing sheep. Airbnb's brilliant year of advertising included adorable print ads showing animal homes. In Japan, Ocedel Lighting had a hit with the awesomely weird "Firefly Man" (below) And one of our favorite ads of the year was fish-themed—DDB Stockholm's odd, mesmerizing spot (also below) for e-commerce payment brand Klarna. 





    Return of the Prank
    Prank advertising was on the decline a year or two ago, but it made a comeback in 2016. Two brands in particular took pleasure in real-world stunts—Heineken and JetBlue. The former orchestrated a pair of hilarious soccer pranks, while the latter had a fun with politics and babies crying on board its aircraft.





    Female Strength
    The rise of women in advertising has been happening for years, but 2016 saw some seriously potent executions that reinvigorated the trend once again. Among the standout work: Bodyform's badass anthem about menstruating women via AMV BBDO; P&G's entire "Stress Test" campaign for Secret by Wieden + Kennedy; Selfridges's mystical, magical and powerful lingerie ad; and Nike's world-beating "Da Da Ding" spot from India, also via W+K.




    Championship Ads
    There's nothing quite like the first World Series victory in 108 years to spur a congratulatory ad. When the Cubs did it in October, Nike,Budweiser and ESPN were quickest on the draw—rolling out poignant and entertaining salutations perfectly timed to the end of the Series. For Nike, it was an encore, in a way—having done the same in the immediate wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers' long-awaited NBA championship four months earlier.




    Post-its
    The lowly Post-it note had its moment in the sun this year, too. In advertising land, it was the building block of the very entertaining and creative Post-it Wars between companies on Canal Street—who used the stickies to make competing designs on their office windows. Post-its returned after the presidential election, too, as the materials for the famous "Subway Therapy" art project in a New York City subway station. 



    Goodbyes
    It was a year of leave-taking, and brands were first in line with the farewells. Kobe Bryant and David Ortiz kept marketers busy with end-of-career tributes, while Dos Equis said an elaborate goodbye to Jonathan Goldsmith, its original Most Interesting Man in the World. Brands also saluted late musicians David Bowie (Audi used "Starman" on the Super Bowl) and Prince—for whom Corvette and McCann improvised the irresistible ad below. 


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    Phoebe Waller-Bridge had an amazing year. The British actress and playwright created and starred in not one but two TV shows—the groundbreaking sitcom Crashing and the brutally funny and tragic dark comedy Fleabag.

    In Fleabag, in particular, her dialogue was unforgettable—filthy and feminist, Amy Schumer-like in its no-holds-barred honesty, but with a British bent that, for American audiences, made it feel even more exotically brilliant.All of which made her the perfect choice to narrate this new bleakly amusing holiday film from Anomaly London, which imagines the nightmarish scenario of a man who takes "The 12 Days of Christmas" literally—and actually buys all that crap for his girlfriend.

    Have a look at the film here:



    The concept is a bit one-note, and the piece could stand to be shorter. But it's worth it simply to hear Waller-Bridge's increasingly agitated—and obscene—narration. (The piece was written by Anomaly's Craig Ainsley, and directed by Ainsley and Ben White.)

    "At Anomaly, if we find something interesting or funny or entertaining or bird-related, we just like to make it," executive creative director Oli Beale says. "And we have the people here needed to bring almost anything to life. Within reason. We're not going to, like, invent a new spaceship or something. But production wise, we can do the full shebang."

    CREDITS
    Written, Directed, Animated & Produced by Anomaly
    Narrator - Phoebe Waller-Bridge
    Writer - Craig Ainsley
    Directors - Ben White & Craig Ainsley
    Assistant head of family planning – Oli Beale
    Producers – Mich Bradfield & Daisy Mellors
    Animators - Ben White, Douglas Pledger & Tom Malins
    Illustrator - Robert Hunter, Blink Art
    Typographer - Kerry Roper
    Sound Design - Mark Hellaby, 750MPH
    Composer - Courage, BMG


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    Television is enjoying a golden age, and social media is empowering and entertaining us like never before. Unless they're actually slowly killing us, Nike seems to suggest in this stressful, claustrophobic campaign from Wieden + Kennedy—encouraging us to get away from the screens and go for a run. 

    TV, movies and social media are, deep down, kind of a waste of time, the campaign suggests. The ads are text-only, with a rapid-fire Siri-like robotic voice giving blow-by-blow accounts of the stupid and sordid details of our screen-based lives. 

    The spots excoriate specific entertainments—there are not-so-veiled references to everything from The Real Housewives to Game of Thrones to The Walking Dead—as well as celebrity culture and the feedback loop of social media generally.



    "Are we running today?" the ads ask at the end. The implication is clear: Try a little self-betterment in place of modern life's relentless self-debasement. 

    It's a dark message, to be honest—and thus, quite in tune with the times—but done in a lighthearted way presumably designed to be inspirational and not depressing. It is, though, produced in such a way to be more than a little anxiety-inducing. 

    Which is quite clever, actually. Aren't ads, after all, just part of the problem? You're watching them on a screen, and they're agitating you. Wouldn't you feel better if you turned off your phone or computer and went running? (Indeed, the anthem spot above wastes no time in implicating itself as a culprit—it does so in its opening seconds.) 

    It's also just fun to see Nike and W+K, known for such big-budget blockbuster advertising, create something so simple, streamlined and no-budget. 

    Check out a bunch more executions below.



    CREDITS

    Client: Nike
    Project: Time Is Precious

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Chris Groom & Antony Goldstein
    Creative: Stefan van den Boogaard
    Creative: Tim Arts
    Executive Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
    Producer: Amy Berriochoa
    Account Team: Anna Boteva, Luiza Prata Carvalho, Alyssa Ramsey
    Strategic Planning: Zack Kaplan, Henry Lambert
    Media/Comms Planning: Lisa Feldhusen, John Furnari
    Business Affairs: Anna Beth Nagel
    Project Management: Andrea Nelsen
    Studio Designer: Leslie Waara
    Studio Manager: Leticia Barajas
    Motion Designer: Alex Bernard

    Editorial Company: Joint
    Editor: Eric Hill
    Assistant Editors:: JB Jacobs, Kevin Alfoldy, Mimi Bergen, Dylan Sylwester
    Post Producer: Sarah Fink
    Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy

    Mix Company: Joint
    Mixer: Noah Woodburn
    Audio Assistant: Natalie Huizenga
    Audio Producer: Sarah Fink


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    Last December, Nick Offerman teamed up with his favorite whiskey brand to create a yule-log video that was just 45 minutes of him sitting next to a crackling fire, sipping Lagavulin and staring at the camera.

    This year, he's reunited with the brand for something new—sort of.

    In what is probably a perfect send-off for 2016, Offerman appears im an hour-long video of him sitting on a dock waiting for it to be over. 



    "I never make New Year's resolutions because I apply myself to every day of the year in a fashion that can only be described as 'resolute,' " Offerman said in a statement. "Because I am not a fool, my determined recipe for delicious living naturally involves a responsible savoring of Lagavulin." 

    The understated effort, which comes from Diamond Docs' Morgan Sackett and Dean Holland, seems appropriate for a somber New Year's Eve party. 


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    Nobody wants to get into a car crash. But if you do, even a small difference in your speed can make a huge difference in the outcome.

    A new Australian PSA cleverly and poignantly uses a series of escalating freeze frames to illustrate the range of effects that varying speeds can have on the same collision. And it emphasizes the importance of what a driver, despite the intrinsic unpredictability of roads, actually can control—how fast he or she is going.

    A grey sedan at night finds itself about to hit a child on a bicycle. In the first version of the crash, when the driver is going at a safe speed, there's sufficient time to brake. The kid falls off the bike, but is presumably relatively unhurt. By the second crash, when the car is going faster, it swerves into a lamppost, and the kid is thrown a bit further.



    Fast forward to the seventh and final scenario, and the driver has wrapped around the pole and the bicycle is fully airborne. The kid is nowhere to be seen—either because he was thrown entirely out of the frame, or simply because the outcome was too upsetting to show—its severity clear enough without being explicit.

    "Every speed has a consequence," warns the onscreen copy.

    Created by the Transport Accident Commission and agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for the state of Victoria, it's a clear and effective reminder that while roads always include lurking surprises, drivers can reduce the severity of that danger by exercising caution—and maintaining enough control to accommodate those surprises.

    While that may seem obvious, and there's no shortage of other ads emphasizing the adverse outcomes of careless driving, it's probably worth noting that all evidence suggests people are still desperately in need of help remembering.

    CREDITS
    Client: TAC
    Samantha Buckis - Acting Manager, Road Safety          
    Paula Vigorelli - Manager, Marketing         
    Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
    Creative Chairman: James McGrath         
    Executive Creative Director: Ant Keogh                  
    Creative Directors: Stephen de Wolf & Evan Roberts
    Art Director: James Orr        
    Copywriter: Elle Bullen         
    Senior Planner: Matt Pearce        
    Agency - Executive Producer - TV: Sonia von Bibra        
    Senior Agency Producer TV: Lisa Moro         
    Agency Producer - Print: Nicholas Short               
    Agency Producer Digital: Maryne Muroni         
    Paul McMillan - Managing Director        
    Naomi Gorringe - Group Account Director        
    Kate Joiner - Project Director        
    Nicole Bishop - Account Executive   
    Production Company: Finch        
    Director: Christopher Riggert         
    Producer: Kate Merrin        
    Managing Director/EP: Corey Esse        
    Production Designer: Lucinda Thomson         
    DOP/Cinematographer: Lachlan Milne         
    Editor: Johanna Scott - The Butchery                    
    Sound Design Arranger: Paul Davies - PD Sound Design   
    Music Track & Artist: Byron Scullin - Level Two Music    
    Music Production Company - Level Two Music                         
    Post Production Company - Offline - The Butchery
    VFX: Blackbird


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    Out-of-home remains one of our favorite advertising mediums. Yes, so much of it is an eyesore, but when it's great, there's almost nothing better. There's something particularly delightful about great work that lives in the physical world and not on a screen. The best outdoor work is immediate, visceral, instantly relevant—and just real—in ways advertising always strives to be.

    This gallery of great outdoor advertising from 2016 has executions that are all over the map, literally and figuratively. We travel from the U.S. to Canada to France to Australia to find great ideas delivered in clever, thoughtful and often hilarious ways. Each piece of work generated an enormous reaction—a good reminder that in the age of the internet, even single executions can have global reach.

    Congrats to all the brands and agencies on the list. 


    16. Patricia Houlihan Shoots Lasers Out of Her Eyes

    Agency: Immersion Creative, Vancouver

    We'll start off with a goofy one, but it's too good to pass up. Patricia Houlihan, a real estate agent in Vancouver, put up a single bus-stop advertisement in Burnaby, B.C. Before long, it was on the front page of Reddit. The brilliantly campy creation was made by Mike Catherall, creative director at Immersion Creative. He'd been trying to get Houlihan to run it for years. Catherall told Adweek earlier this year: "I dug up that campaign from the archives. I said, "What do you think, should we give this a shot?' She always thought it was kind of funny, so we were like, 'Sure, why not?' What I love about it is that it is irreverent, fun and totally different than the literally hundreds of realtor ads in Vancouver at the moment that are all so boring and cliché." Mission accomplished.



    15. Audi - Wifi Jack

    Agency: Muh-tay-zik Hof-fer, San Francisco

    Audi hit the New York Auto Show in March with an insidiously clever tech hack. It set up a bunch of free Wi-Fi networks—Wi-Fi is hard to find at auto shows, and usually password protected—and gave them names that doubled as ads for the A4 (and as attack ads on BMW's 328i as well). The stunt was "a modern version of challenger advertising, where a superior product takes on the old standard," Matejczyk told Adweek. "And marketing being what it is these days, why not offer a really helpful service in the process?"


     

    14. Reebok - Are You Fast Enough?

    Agency: Animal, Stockholm

    Back in February in Stockholm, Reebok put up an outdoor ad equipped with a built-in speed cam and tracking technology to measure pedestrians' pace. Anyone who ran past the ad faster than 17 kilometers per hour (about 10.5 miles per hour) unlocked a brand new pair of ZPump 2.0 shoes. "We really like the idea of taking a classic billboard and turning it into something disruptive and unique," said Markus Schramm, creative at ad agency Animal.


     

    13. Glimpse Collective - #CatsNotAds

    Agency: Glimpse Collective, London

    In May, a Kickstarter quietly popped up looking for donations to replace the entire ad inventory of one London Underground station with pictures of cats. By September, the dream was a reality. Commuters passing through the Clapham Common Tube station were met by feline friends."We tried to imagine a world where public spaces made you feel good. We hope people will enjoy being in the station and maybe think a bit differently about the world around them," Glimpse founder and #CatsNotAds leader James Turner said. "Instead of asking you to buy something, we're asking you to think about what's really valuable in your life. It might not be cats, but it's probably something you can't find in the shops."


     

    12. Bonds - The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind

    Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne

    Australian underwear brand Bonds had a big hit in 2015 with "The Boys," a video campaign starring a couple of talking testicles. In 2016, they took the campaign outdoors with a seven-story-high weather billboard in downtown Melbourne, on which the lads reacted in real time to cold, warmth and wind. In cold weather, the boys shrank toward the top of the billboard. In warm weather, they descended and hung freely. They got swung about whenever the wind blew, too. "While we pioneered a technology more than two years ago to serve up advertising based on average temperatures, this campaign takes it to a whole new level using live RSS feeds," said oOh! media CEO Brendon Cook.

    11. Ikea - 25 Square Meters

    Agency: POL, Oslo

    Those shopping for the comforts of home at an Ikea in Norway were confronted firsthand with the difficult living conditions in Syria. Next to its typical showrooms, Ikea built a replica of a real Syrian home—25 square meters of cinder block walls and meager furnishings. Furniture tags asked for Red Cross donations. "We already had a lot of [video] footage from within Syria, but no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone," POL art director Snorre Martinsen told Adweek. "Placing a Syrian home next to all the Scandinavian homes was obviously a brave move from the warehouse, but it made it clearer than any TV commercial how crucial it is to donate and help." 


     

    10. Elevation Pictures - Snowden Billboard

    Agency: DentsuBos, Toronto

    To promote Oliver Stone's film Snowden, about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Elevation Pictures put up a billboard that spied on pedestrians in Toronto and streamed footage of their movements on the street. "It was very interesting seeing people's reactions," said Jon Frier, creative director at DentsuBos. "Some felt violated, some terrified, and some even praised it as the creepiest thing ever. Funnily, almost all looked around to see if there were other cameras spying on them. Which in itself is very telling."



    9. MS - This Bike Has Multiple Sclerosis

    Agency: Grey Australia

    To raise awareness of multiple sclerosis ahead of the MS Melbourne Cycle in early March, Grey Australia came up with a brilliant idea for nonprofit MS—build a bike that would give riders the feeling of having the symptoms of the disease. Its gears are unpredictable, its frame off-balanced, and its brakes numb to press. Created by Carol Cooke, a cycling Paralympian, with a team of bike-building experts, it was a near-perfect way of showing people what it's like to live in an afflicted body, short of having the disease. 



    8. Transport Accident Commission - Graham

    Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne

    Technology has far outstripped humans' ability to evolve. Take the automobile, for example. Human bodies are not designed to travel that fast—or more to the point, to be able to handle accidents at that speed. Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and Australia's Transport Accident Commission dramatized this for a safe-driving campaign in a remarkable way—by teaming with artist Patricia Piccinini to create Graham, a human designed to withstand crash forces. His head is wide and flat, with a protruding forehead ... and he's got a lot of nipples. Graham was met with a lot of ridicule on the internet, but it's actually a brilliant campaign—delivering a weird and memorable visual that intrigued people worldwide and got them thinking about safe driving. 



    7. Kolcraft - The Contours Baby Stroller Test-Ride

    Agency: FCB, Chicago

    Moms and dads never know which stroller to buy, because they can't test them out themselves by riding in them. Well, problem solved. Kolcraft and FCB Chicago designed adult-size versions of its Contours stroller and invited grown-ups to take a test ride. "The problem with shopping for baby strollers is that babies can't tell you how they ride or feel, and parents can't fit into them," FCB Chicago chief creative officer Todd Tilford said at the time. "We solved the problem. Now parents can shop informed."



    6. Volkswagen Trailer Assist - Backing Up a Trailer

    Agency: Try, Oslo

    A Volkswagen station wagon whips down a spiral parking lot ramp, around a traffic circle, and past slower-moving cars—all in reverse—while perplexed drivers and pedestrians look on, wondering what maniac is behind the wheel. This great stunt from agency Try in Oslo involved building a fake trailer that someone inside could drive forward, giving the appearance of a crazy person reversing. "Backing up with a trailer will be this easy," assures the copy in the ad, promoting the automaker's Trailer Assist function. "Well, almost." 



    5. Adidas - Odds

    Agencies: Taproot Dentsu and Carat Media

    Why should a blade-running athlete with only one foot—or anyone else—have to buy expensive athletic shoes for both feet? Adidas asked that question in this marvelous campaign, and actually sold two left shoes or two right shoes as pairs in India. "At Adidas we live a simple principle: No athlete left behind," said senior marketing director Damyant Singh of Adidas India. "This philosophy is at the heart of 'Odds by Adidas.' It is our way of encouraging and cheering para-athletes on to achieving their best on the field of play." 



    4. Burger King - Scariest BK

    Agency: David, Miami

    Burger King pulled off the year's best Halloween prank, dressing up a BK location in Queens, New York, as the ghost of McDonald's. That's a scary idea to BK regulars. The costume featured billowing white sheets and a sign that read: "Booooooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween." 



    3. McDonald's - The Directional Billboard

    Agency: TBWA\Paris

    McDonald's got the better of Burger King, though, with this brilliantly outlandish campaign in rural France. The small billboard said the nearest McDonald's drive-through was just 5 km ahead. But right next to it was a gigantic board that said the nearest BK was 258 km away—and hilariously gave directions for exactly how to get there. 



    2. Art Institute of Chicago - Van Gogh Bnb

    Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago

    For sheer incredible craft, this Leo Burnett campaign was a world-beater in 2016. An Art Institute of Chicago exhibit brought together all three versions of Van Gogh's "The Bedroom" for the first time in North America. To commemorate it, Burnett worked with the museum and media agency Spark to build a full-scale, livable model of the work in a historical downtown Chicago building—and then rented it out for nights on Airbnb. "We thought the best way to help people understand Van Gogh's life was to invite them to spend a night in this room," said Burnett associate creative director Pete Lefebvre. "What better way to give people a glimpse into his mind than to create a truly immersive, one-of-a-kind experience like this?" Simply gorgeous work. 



    1. The Next Rembrandt

    Agency: J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam

    The most intriguing and exciting piece of outdoor advertising made in 2016 was a painting—a new Rembrandt, made 347 years after the last one. Or least, it was an incredible approximation of a Rembrandt, created as part of a fascinating artificial-intelligence-meets-creativity project by J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam for banking client ING. 

    The humans at JWT taught a computer to paint like Rembrandt by having it study the old master's works for months. The resulting painting was a completely new portrait, not a replica, indistinguishable to most people from the real thing. The connection to ING was somewhat peripheral, but the bank had sponsored Dutch arts and culture for a decade. And the artwork created a worldwide debate about humans' claim to creativity—to the glee of many technologists and the consternation of many art historians. 

    "People were asking, 'Is this good?' 'What's the relationship between artificial intelligence and creativity?' 'Is creativity flashes of genius that are reserved for mankind?' " JWT ecd Bas Korsten told Adweek. "Those questions have gotten a lot of attention from people in the art and tech worlds, who are actually quite opposed in their reactions."

    A grand, ambitious idea and a stunning execution—congrats to ING and JWT for pulling off the year's greatest experiment in outdoor advertising. 



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    People notoriously have some of their best ideas in the shower. There's just one problem. You can't jump in the shower whenever you need inspiration. You probably don't even have a shower at work. And even if you do, well, showering relentlessly is time consuming.

    Thankfully, The One Show has you covered. The ad award show just made a 360 video inside a shower, so you can virtually immerse yourself in a shower environment whenever you like—and brainstorm as though you were blissfully enjoying the real thing. 

    The tongue-in-cheek video is the work of agency Rethink in Vancouver and is part of The One Show's new call for entries campaign, themed "One is all it takes."

    Try it out here:



    The One Show also created a Google Cardboard shaped like its iconic Pencil award. Using this Google Cardboard to immerse yourself the shower video—well, presumably that would lead to a state of creative nirvana where every single thought you have is just fucking gold.



    "The old adage is that we're most creative in the shower," says Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Show, "so we decided to help creatives come up with award-winning ideas anytime, anywhere by bringing the shower directly to their device." 

    To submit work to The One Show that was surely dreamed up in a shower at some point over the past year, go here before Jan. 27.

    CREDITS
    Client: The One Show
    Client Execs: Gabriela Mirensky, Yash Egami, David Jackson, Kevin Swanepoel
    Agency: Rethink
    Creative Director: Ian Grais, Chris Staples
    ACD: Hans Thiessen
    Writers: Sean O'Connor, John Eresman
    Director of Amplification: Leah Gregg
    Account Manager: Lindsay Magrane
    Producer: Sarah Vingoe
    DOP: Ryan Whitehead
    Postproduction: Post Pro Media
    Founder: Randy Egan
    VFX: Michael Martinson
    Producer: Kylie Kumar
    Audio House: Wave
    Managing Director/EP: Megan Hughes
    Director/Producer: Craig Zarazun


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    Running out of shows to binge-watch with your fam? Here's entertainment that literally never ends.

    Today in "How to make your holidays even weirder than they're going to be already," Tinder has released a series of digital videos (made in-house) promoting its Apple TV integration. Beginning now, you can download the dating app onto your platform and use Apple's remote to swipe left (for a pass) and right (for a possible hookup) ... right from the comfort of your couch.

    Broadcasting the app from your TV also means Tinder stops being such a solitary activity. Anybody can weigh in—or join in—on your swipes. Including Grandma.

    Below, a mother gives her son a hand, using a classic method for conveying information—the subtle cough-it-out.



    But some things can't be shared with just a word and some hacks. Here, Mom gives her daughter more elaborate advice: Swipe right on a guy with great hair and full, thick volume. 

    "He'll look like that forever," she decides. Meanwhile, Dad passes through in the background, self-consciously rubbing his growing bald spot. 



    "For decades, the TV has been successfully ruling the living room and uniting family and friends, and we wanted to find a creative way for Tinder to be a part of that," says Tinder CMO Ferrell McDonald. "From a Friday night of swiping with your friends, to Mom ogling your next Saturday night date, we wanted to showcase the many humorous, fun situations users will find themselves in when swiping on their Apple TV." 

    Speaking of fun situations, the same daughter from the previous ad wanders into the living room in another spot—to find Grandma perched in front of the dating app. "Nana, is that my account?" she asks.

    "Nope," Nana answers.

    In case you're thinking, Hey, there's no old people on Tinder, don't worry. That gets addressed, too. Who says there's an expiration date for cougaring?



    Dad also gets a chance to add his two cents while eavesdropping on his daughter and her friend, who listlessly swipe left until they arrive at a guy with "a bad-boy thing going." 



    Finally, in a more classic scenario, the son and two friends go at it alone ... only to find themselves arguing over the word "right." (They're not the only ones. We'll never hear the Army's marching cadence the same way, ever again.) 



    Tinder sees its Apple TV integration as a handy way to avoid the "no phones at the dinner table" rule while giving modern dating a sprinkle of old-school matchmaking. Because clearly we were missing the opinions of Mom and Dad in our increasingly complex dating landscape.

    But the brand sees this as a win for all involved, brandishing a position so cheerfully upbeat that we wonder how arranged marriage went out of style in the first place. "Let's face it," Tinder writes in its press release. "The people who know you best have traditionally had a high rate of success when helping you pick a partner." 

    Our family's standards for a good partner can be pretty neatly summed up in two characteristics: "Have a job" and "No divorced parents." If we'd left it up to them, we'd have been married a long time ago ... most likely to a second cousin, "to keep the money in the bloodline." (Also, there is no money.)

    But in the event that you share Tinder's optimism and are raring to invite your relatives on this madcap journey through your burgeoning sexuality, below are instructions for swiping on Apple TV, which are so frighteningly simple that even your uncle—the one who still sends you chain letters—can get the hang of it.

    Happy holidays. Hope you've saved for a dowry. 

    More executions below. 



    CREDITS
    Client/Agency: Tinder
    CMO: Ferrell McDonald
    ECD: Kevin Butler
    Edit: Exile
    Editor: Nate Gross
    Producer: Michael Miller
    Executive Producer: CL Weaver
    Director: Casey Storm
    Directory Of Photography: James Wall
    Executive Producer: Scott Kaplan
    Producer: Jed Herold


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    This holiday, a few lucky consumers in Italy will have a new way to communicate with their loved ones—with a high-tech message in a Coke bottle.

    The sugar water giant, with help from agencies David and Gigigo, will be selling special limited-edition bottles of Coca-Cola, featuring electronic caps that can record a 30-second message, and then play it back when someone twists open the beverage.

    Available at two stores in Sicily, the bottles will also be distributed among influencers in Central and Eastern Europe, as a test case for further sale next year.
     

     
    A promotional video imagines how they might be used—as a sort of antidote to more elaborate but ultimately abortive attempts to surprise loved ones at Christmas. Rather than pop out of an oversize box, or fall off the roof in your Santa suit, just send a friend you haven't seen in a while a bottle-gram—to open the freaking door already because you're standing outside freezing.

    The clip veers into a cheesy performance of good feelings that's overplayed, even for a Coke ad. Then again, it's the holidays, and the idea itself is fun enough, and consistent with the brand's past efforts at more personalized packaging—if perhaps less deft a design than widely available bottles with names printed on them.

    Regardless, it's nowhere near as practical as Ogilvy's "2nd Life" bottle caps from a couple years back—a gift not just for someone you care about, but for the environment too. If only there were a way to get a message into the average empty soda bottle, too—or maybe a hundred billion of them, washed up on the shore, while Sting croons in the background.

    CREDITS
    Client: The Coca-Cola Company
    Product: Coca-Cola
    Title: "Message in a Coca-Cola Bottle"

    Agency: David
    Executive Creative Directors: Joaquín Cubría, Ignacio Ferioli
    Creative Director: Ignacio Coste
    Art Director: Juan Gutierrez
    Copywriter: Nicolas Deferrari
    Head of Production: Brenda Morrison Fell
    Executive Producer: Florencia Albizzati
    General Account Director: Emanuel Abeijon
    Account Director: Justina Lioy Lupis
    Account Executive: Candela Camacho

    Production Company: Landia
    Director: Lucas Shannon
    Executive Producer: Diego Dutil
    Director of Photography: Agustin Claramunt
    Wardrobe Stylist: Valentina Luque
    Art Direction: Cecilia Guerriero
    Post Producer: Luciano Taccone
    Editor: Daniel Farman
    Postproduction House: Labaque
    Sound: Elefante Resonante
    Music: Cluster

    Agency: Gigigo Group
    Chief Executive Officer: Sergio Llorens

    Client: Coca-Cola
    IMC Director: Jose Antunes
    Creative Excellence Director: Paloma Azulay
    Senior Creative Excellence Manager: Camilla Zanaria
    Senior Shopper Manager: Laura Gurrieri
    CIC Manager: Demi Kazasi
    Marketing Manager Experiential: Thomas Portenseigne
    Senior Brand Manager: Nadine Wagner
    Brand Director: Milica Vulicevic Basorovic
    Marketing Director: Nadeem 


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    When you hit the mall to shop for sneakers, wouldn't it be great if Kevin Durant himself could whisper all about his Nike KD9 shoes in your ear? Well, now he can, at more than 300 Foot Locker locations nationwide.

    The stores have been remodeled to resemble high-end galleries, and you'll find special codes next to select objects d'art (aka, sneakers). Enter the codes on your mobile device to hear sports and footwear celebs like Durant wax poetic about their gear, goals and careers—thanks to the chain's new "Audio Tours" campaign developed by BBDO New York.

    Signage points shoppers to a mobile URL, and "many stores have beacons that work with the Foot Locker app," BBDO executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill tells AdFreak. "If you walk into one of those, you are triggered with a [push notification] message asking if you want to take the Audio Tour. You can listen in any order, or check out only the shoes you like."

    For a sample, watch the clip below:
     

     
    Lucky that dude came to the mall with those rad headphones. They are not included, people!

    A mix of ballers, designers and journalists recorded bits for the initiative. It targets "guys 16-24 who are always on their smartphones, always have headphones on their ears or around their neck, and have an appetite for knowledge about the kicks they buy," says BBDO's Dan Lucey, also an executive creative director.

    "This execution helps make any shoe on our wall more special and meaningful than if you saw it somewhere else in the mall," adds Beresford-Hill.

    Frankly, KD's audio-tour revelation about wanting "a shoe that's gonna fit me on the court" isn't exactly a game-changer. Still, the concept does, in theory, provide added value. And these days, brick-and-mortar stores need to run all the plays they can to keep customers in the aisles.

    Foot Locker sees the campaign making strides over time, adding fresh content as new sneakers hit the shelves. "Just like a museum, exhibitions can go up and come down as more brands get involved," says Beresford-Hill.

    Along with Nike, current brands taking part include Adidas, Puma and Timberland. In addition to Durant, your tour guides are Russ Bengston, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Lance Fresh, Bobbito Garcia, Tinker Hatfield, Rich Lopez and Jacques Slade.

    CREDITS
    Agency: BBDO New York
    Client: Foot Locker
    Title: "Audio Tours"

    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Directors: Chris Beresford-Hill, Dan Lucey
    Senior Art Director: Brian Pinkley
    Copywriter: Ricky Johanet

    Account Director: Janelle Van Wonderen
    Account Manager: Laura McWhorter
    Account Executive: Sam Henderson
    Assistant Account Executive: Christian Martinez
    Project Manager: Amy Orgel

    Production: EG Plus
    Executive Producer: Anthony Curti
    Producer (site): Yuki Suzuki
    Technology Director: Konstantin Rozinov
    Developer:  John Cardoso
    QA Manager:  Jimmy McGee
    Producer (audio): Renee Haar, Cat Erwin, Meredith Pariano
    Editor (audio): John Cabrera

    Audio: One Thousand Birds
    Producer: Kira MacKnight
    Editor: Calvin Pia


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    Have you seen death? Have you seen darkness? Have you seen the light?

    Those are just a few of the cryptic questions Netflix dropped on Twitter this past Monday, before sharing what looked like cell phone footage of a woman jumping off a bridge.

    What's all this madness about? 

    It's for The OA, an original series whose first eight episodes are slated for release this Friday. This comes as a surprise for people who religiously follow Netflix's release schedules: December 2016 notably omitted it.

    But that's all in a day's work for suspense marketers. The OA—which feels like a mature take on Netflix's last hit, Stranger Things (with a dash of JJ Abrams, possibly The X Files, and The Fringe, which seemed so promising until it wasn't)—was actually announced in March, though it wasn't clear when it would go live. 

    The show marks the TV debut for Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, whose past collaborations include The Sound of My Voice and The East. While both are billed as executive producers, Batmanglij will direct and Marling will star in it. Other executive producers include Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Michael Sugar.

    Check the trailer out below:



    Vanity Fair has a good breakdown of everything it knows about the show so far, but here are the highlights: The show revolves around a woman named Prairie Johnson, who went missing seven years ago. At the time, she was blind; when she returns, she can see.

    The OA will explore her disappearance. Its tagline is "Trust the unknown," which appears to be informing the marketing strategy. 

    Because in addition to creeping everybody out on Twitter (and, less pleasantly, triggering others), Netflix has also launched an OA Instagram—just as cryptic, but beautifully produced. The posts are all pieces of a larger picture, captioned with phrases like "Get in" and "I liked it better when you were blind." 

    The images are slyly engineered to open a Pandora's box of questions, perfect for Redditing.

    The video above opens to creepy music and a twitching foot. Its accompanying caption reads "Sole" (a pun for the bottom of a foot, the state of being alone ... and maybe fish. All theories are welcome here). 

    Meanwhile, clicking on one of the man's tattooed arms up top yields the message, "Hold on."

    Netflix doesn't like it much when agencies reveal their behind-the-scenes activities. But in this case, the campaign can safely be attributed to Carrot Creative, whose CEO Mike Germano tweeted about it on the same day it dropped. 

    Campaigns like this have become fairly common—if you're looking for them, anyway. Last year, Old Spice released a "Choose Your Own Adventure" game on Instagram; this year, the Toronto Silent Film Festival, known for its smart appropriation of the medium, created an Instagram Escape Room with just as many riddles as you've seen above.

    But if we can say anything about The OA, it's that the marketing is bigger than the sum of its parts. It feeds off our desire to pursue questions in storytelling and spend hours looking for answers, something True Detective's first season thrived on.

    It also rides the massive popularity of Stranger Things. Netflix's original series are pretty hit-or-miss, especially now that there are so many of them; just yesterday, we learned it would cancel Marco Polo, a rare move for the brand, which champions a "niche markets" focus and keeps actual viewership numbers secret. 

    Stranger Things, however, launched quietly and proved a supernova of a show, playing on nostalgia, mystery and the filmy layer of gauze that divides our world from others. (In terms of views, IMDB ranks it second only to Game of Thrones, which has held the No. 1 spot for the last five years, per Vanity Fair.) 

    The OA stokes that flame while promising to raise the stakes. Netflix calls it "a powerful, mind-bending tale about identity, human connection and the borders between life and death." And one tweeter observed that, on YouTube, its trailer has already enjoyed 7.5 times more views in its first 24 hours than Stranger Things got. 

    Friday's just a breath away, but the flow of teasers runs on. Just today, Netflix posted another cryptic tweet, one that promises to take us to the brink of death and back again:


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    Ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber have spent plenty of time trying to show not just how effective they are at getting you around town, but how the drivers themselves are more than emotionless vessels of transportation. 

    While billboards and TV testimonials have told story after story, Lyft is now taking its gospel of ridesharing into the realm of animation. Today for its own "Lyft Driver Appreciation Day," the San Francisco-based company debuted "June," a seven-minute animated short that's meant to capture the spirit of ridesharing.

    The film begins with an elderly woman who's left stranded after her car is demolished. She is introduced to Lyft by her daughter, and it goes from being a quick ride to something of a retirement gig for Grandma. (There's even a bit of a winter twist with some holiday-style goodwill along the way.)



    The film was directed by Oscar-winning director John Kahrs, whose 2012 Disney animated short, "Paperman," told a whimsical love story about paper plains and real trains. 

    " 'June' connects communities by blurring lines between riders and drivers and highlighting that we are all one in the same," Lyft creative director Ricardo Viramontes said in a statement. "This film was inspired by the Lyft drivers and passengers who make it more than just a ride, and as John Kahrs and I read through countless stories, we realized there was a strong common theme of people coming together through the Lyft experience." 

    "June" features original music from Emmy-winning composer Christophe Beck. It also features an original song, "Moving," by Sir the Baptist, who spent two years driving for Lyft in Chicago while pursuing his dream of becoming a hip-hop artist. 


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    Given how much diversity we're beginning to see on TV—and the fact that a sense of exploding diversity was a sticking point in this year's election—it can be hard to remember that most media and marketing remains pretty vanilla. 

    But instead of talking more about it, West African model Deddeh "DD" Howard decided to show it. Along with her partner Raffael Dickreuter, a designer, photographer and virtual reality specialist, she's created an image campaign where prominent high-fashion print ads are almost perfectly remade—with white-skinned models replaced by dark-skinned DD.

    Above, DD replaces Gisele Bundchen for Vivara. Below, she unseats Gigi Hadid in a Guess campaign. And supermodel Linda Evangelista—who famously said she doesn't wake up for less than $10,000 a day—gets the boot in a Chanel ad.



    "We are bombarded everyday with flashy [print], billboards and television ads that try to inspire us to buy the products that are hitting the market. Something that always bothered me [is] that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them," writes DD on her site.

    "When growing up as a girl I always wondered, why the big brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Guess and many others rarely seem to use a black model? And if they do, a very small group of black models does make the cut here and there, but that group seems to remain pretty much identical over a long period of time."

    Below, DD takes on a wolfish Gucci ad:



    Her blog post expresses a desire to "bring awareness back to the positive side of black people," something rarely seen in the media.

    "In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars, or make headlines for being targeted by the police, I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race. For too long the negativity seemed to take over in the public eye," she continues. 

    The project was inspired in part by black model Jasmine Tookes, who, this year, wore "the most expensive bra at the Victoria's Secret fashion show." The bra, designed by Eddie Borgo, costs around $3 million and sports 9,000 precious gemstones, including emeralds and diamonds, totaling 450 carats. 

    Here is a photo of Tookes in the bra, from her Instagram:
     

     

    It's SHOWTIME!!!! Tune in NOW to CBS! #vsfantasybra @victoriassecret

    A photo posted by Jasmine Tookes (@jastookes) on

     
    DD called the moment inspiring. "We need more of those moments," she writes. "More equal visibility of all races, being it white, black, Asian, Latino etc would help all of us believing in our potential."

    The effort could be dismissed as little more than stirring self-promotion, but DD's onto something. Advertising is an industry filled with whispers about "clients" complaining about encroaching diversity, even when a model already looks white—brunettes who get condemned as "exotic" and swapped out for blondes, or subtle changes in eye color to make faces look more Nordic.

    Many such stories are shared over drinks, but rarely on the record. If DD's project actually helps her get more work, than all the better for other models and figures of color.

    DD's blog post concludes with a series of links related to the fight for diversity in fashion, including Zac Posen's "Black models matter" statement, news that Misha used Beyoncé's "Formation"—a black woman anthem—to soundtrack a runway show featuring only white models, and a Vogue article about the lack of diversity over Fashion Month.

    Check out more of DD's appropriations below. Targeted brands include Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and—of course!—Victoria's Secret.


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    For the latest installment of its iconic "Real Beauty" campaign, Dove tweaks the bizarrely popular Mannequin Challenge meme.

    A group of diverse women invade a clothing boutique and turn the challenge upside down. True to the meme, they pose in a complex tableau. Still, it's not really the humans who are asked to accomplish something. It's the fiberglass and plastic facsimiles:



    "Dove always strives to reassure women that they needn't feel anxious about their beauty," Andre Laurentino, global ecd at Ogilvy & Mather London, which developed the campaign, tells Adweek. "When we saw everyone doing the Mannequin Challenge, we thought, 'Why haven't we ever seen a mannequin that looks like us?' This seemed like the perfect opportunity to connect Dove's point of view with a current conversation."

    By keeping things simple and slightly askew, the video succeeds as an offbeat one-off entry in Dove's long-running campaign. It memorably illustrates that no single "norm" represents the human form, but never belabors that point.

    "This is a lighthearted way of reminding us that there are many shapes, colors and sizes to real beauty," Laurentino says. "The messages which influence how we perceive our bodies are everywhere, whether we notice them or not. So, we decided to use the opportunity, join the phenomenon, and have fun making our own Mannequin Challenge video—with a slight spin on it."

    Though this particular meme has been effectively employed in ads before, Dove's use of store mannequins seem especially apt given the campaign's themes. Here, the dummies playfully yet pointedly skewer the conformity of contemporary commerce and style. Their frozen limbs and blank features remind viewers that the very notion of "real beauty"—highly subjective and intensely personal in the extreme—will forever remain a moving target.

    Also, from a production standpoint, those mannequins really know how to hit their marks. Though the team did face a few snags while filming at Whiteley's Shopping Centre in London.

    "The hardest part? Not blinking," Laurentino recalls. "It took ages to get a shot where nobody blinked. And when we finally got one, someone walked past the store in the background right at the end. We were back to square one. But we got it eventually. The take we used is number 33."

    CREDITS
    Client: Dove

    Agency: Ogilvy London
    Unilever Global ECD: Andre Laurentino
    Dove Global Creative Director: Gerald Lewis
    Creative Team: Rachel Miles & Michael Tsim
    Producer: Jo Charlesworth
    Global Business Partner: Sam Pierce
    Account Manager: Carmen Vicente Soto

    The Smalls Production Co.:
    Director: Tom Grost
    Producer: Angelica Riccardi
    Producer: Fred Bonham Carter
    DoP: Simon Plunket

    Dove Masterbrand Client:
    Global Vice President, Dove Masterbrand: Sophie Galvani


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    After sitting out of the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005 last year, GoDaddy is back in the game for 2017 with a new creative agency and product.

    The web-hosting company will run a humorous 30-second spot during the first half of Super Bowl 51 that will push "a new, yet-to-be-released product"—making it the first time the brand has focused its creative on a product versus the brand. After ending its relationship with TBWA\Chiat\Day earlier this year, the new work will come from Bullish, a year-old creative shop founded by Deutsch veterans Mike Duda and Brent Vartan. A rep for GoDaddy said this is the first time the brand has worked with the agency and that there will be a "formal agency relationship" announced in January.

    GoDaddy is famous for its risqué Super Bowl spots, including memorable ads with supermodel Bar Rafeli, but in 2014 started shifting towards a "matured" Super Bowl strategy that promised to wipe away ads with sexual innuendos. Then in 2015, it pulled its spot featuring a golden retriever puppy after dog advocates claimed that the spot promoted "puppy mills."

    In a statement, GoDaddy's CMO Barb Rechterman said that this year's spot will include messaging that will prompt people to go online to find out more about "a year-long marketing campaign revolving around the power of the internet."

    "Driving viewers to the website with a digital extension is a tactic we've been using for many years, but the way we engage viewers with the 2017 digital extension won't look anything like what you've seen from us in the past," Rechterman said. "This is more than a simple brand play. This year, we're going to take viewers on a fun ride that engages them around our latest product."


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    A lot of great advertising is just about storytelling. And the more compelling, clever, insightful or entertaining the stories are, the better your chance of engaging the viewer and delivering a memorable brand message.

    In our latest "Best Ads Ever" video, Droga5 group creative director Juliana Cobb chooses her three favorite ads of all time. And while they're stylistically different, each one is an example of top-notch storytelling.

    Cobb also tells us about the work at Droga5 that she's most proud of lately, and what she finds inspiring outside advertising.

    See below for links to her three favorite spots:

    Comcast "Emily's Oz"
    Johnnie Walker "The Man Who Walked Around the World"
    Epuron "The Power of Wind"


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    So, No Man's Sky was a disappointment, and you've long since deleted Pokémon Go from your phone. What's a dude with twitchy fingers to do?

    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)—not much known for its gaming savvy—is hoping to fill that vacuum. It just released "Last Call," a virtual reality game targeted to millennial males and designed to curb drunken holiday carousing. 

    "Last Call" sets aside the tired old tunes of drunk-driving PSAs, like scary cinematics and surprise sermons. Hosted by YouTube star MatPat from "The Game Theorists," the game—best played with headphones and a mobile VR device—invites you to make choices on a night out, alternately cajoling you to drink and challenging your ability to function.

    It kicks off by asking where you'd like to go—a cocktail lounge or a sports bar? (We chose the cocktail lounge.) MatPat is everywhere. You see him first as the chatty doorman, and spend the rest of the experience wondering why you can never quite get rid of him. 

    This isn't quality MatPat time, and even fans will want him gone faster than they can believe. You won't get to ask about his YouTube career, or discuss that algo change that's got PewDiePie so upset. It's a one-sided conversation, and you'll never get a word in. 

    Instead, MatPat's voice will follow you around, pushing you toward darts, drinks, trivia, hangouts or flirtations. (He's even the guy giving the quiz. Who's watching the door?!) 

    A "drink meter" keeps track of alcohol intake, though after one drink your vision immediately starts to blur. (What the hell are they putting in these things, or are they actually supposed to be our first drinks ever in life?) A map also helps navigate the space, though you won't get much of anywhere unless you participate in the curated experiences chosen for you. 

    They aren't fun. 

    The "hangout" option subjects you to conversation with people you don't actually know, but who are supposed to be your friends. It is willfully generic, to help you better imagine a relationship with them. 

    "So, Jenna and I went to the same school because her dad was a teacher there," says your female friend. "That's how I know her." 

    "You probably know her from that concert we all went to last year," her boyfriend adds. 

    Right. That concert!

    Really, the only way to survive it is to move on or drink. If you choose the latter, you'll see yourself throw a bevvie back in a way that gives you frat party flashbacks. We didn't even know we were capable of downing wine that fast. 

    Your friends scold you while also reminding you that you're the designated driver. (When did we make that deal? What kind of night out is this?!) 

    And there's MatPat. "Wine? Wine not?" he quips when we select a drink. At the dartboard, he's chattier still: "Let's see how good of a throw you've got! Free shot if you hit the bullseye ... or water, if you so choose." 

    Things go on like this; even the trivia game is all about how well you understand alcohol. (Not well, as it turns out. MatPat: "Two out of five? Come on! That's the best you can do?") 

    The odd bit is, it isn't that far from a real night out—minus your inability to speak, and all the needling to get you to drink and scold you for it. You never quite get the chance to forget the game's agenda. And since you aren't actually drunk while playing (in theory, anyway), MatPat becomes increasingly irritating. 

    The darts game, for example, is more or less a test of hand-eye rapidity. You can give it as many shots as you like, and—as elsewhere in this experience—the omnipresent MatPat is pretty mum if you do well. But if your dart flies off-board, he smarmily chides, "I'll just pretend I didn't see that … even though I totally did and I'm judging you for it." 

    We started actively blocking the game's touchpoints, which left us no choice but to leave. MatPat's voice slid back into our ears to cajole us into taking shots. Turned them down. Faced with the option to drive home or call a car, and knowing what kind of game this was, of course we drove home. 

    Cue the night-ruining ending. 

    In most cases, you get pulled over, with consequences determined based on where you live (your IP decides that). We were pulled over after two drinks. In a case when we had just one drink, the cop passed us by (to MatPat's chagrin), and we woke up to a passel of random text messages. 

    And still MatPat is there. "I can't imagine an alternate universe where this could have possibly gone wrong," he says snidely. 

    Take that, MatPat!

    The experience was developed by Tombras out of Knoxville, Tenn., alongside Google Zoo and Media Monks. It can be played via mobile, on the desktop or using the mobile VR experience of your choice.

    "Virtual reality is the perfect environment to get this message across to an audience we know engages with the technology," says evp Dooley Tombras of Tombras. "We wanted to engage players and keep the experience relevant, while still getting a vital message across at holiday time." 

    According to the NHTSA, 92 people died every day in December 2015 as the result of drunk driving. Over 10,000 people died in drunk driving-related fatalities last year. 

    The "Last Call" experience was inspired in part by research that shows shock value doesn't resonate with young males, who represent the highest risk category for drunk driving. We can agree, but we're not sure this game—even with MatPat-laced VR magic—presents much of a solution, either.

    In essence, "Last Call" feels like a PSA you have to opt into and be willing to spend time in. You never lose your sense of why you're there and on whose dollar. It isn't so much play as it is a test of patience. 

    Then again, we're also not a millennial male. It's entirely possible that one such guy will spend a good amount of time stumbling along with his buddy MatPat, downing all the drinks and chatting up his pretend friends before stumbling cheerfully into his car. 

    He'll then lift off his Cardboard, flip on his video recording, and muse, "Wow. Drinking has consequences! From now on, all my shots will be water."


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