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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Four years ago, we started to wonder—what would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want and just ... go? 

    That's how the ad for Amazon Go begins. Released late last year, it promises an idyllic grocery store experience in which you no longer have to queue and fiddle with your wallet to pay for pork loins and cereal. Everything happens automatically, and the goods are delivered to your door. 

    In case you don't remember, here it is: 

    The video is filled with cutesy touches that follow shoppers who emanate peace and serenity, unencumbered by ghastly lines, payments and remembering the damn reusable bags. 

    There's been much ado about that technology since. But if you're rolling your eyes, you're not alone. French grocery chain Monoprix and agency Rosapark have released a video that follows Amazon's ad nearly line by line ... to show people it's been delivering on Go's promise for a while now.

    Scenes from the original are repeated, down to the last à la carte indulgence ... with two cents added in a French accent. To get a sense of how tightly Monoprix cleaves to Amazon's script—the better to overturn it—here's the first line: "Over 10 years ago, we were wondering—what would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want and just go?"

    Seriously. They could've just sent this directly to Amazon and kicked off with, "We've got six years on you, losers!" 

    It also highlights the pretentiousness of all that tech-vaunting. Amazon compared its Go technology to what you'd find "in self-driving cars"—a magical mix of "computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion" that culminates in something it calls "Just Walk Out" technology. 

    "We had a vision," Monoprix's narrator says. "We learned about our customers' needs and combined those learnings with Monoprix DNA. We call it human technology." 

    The message comes across loud and clear: Where Amazon is all bells and whistles, Monoprix is actually in the business of the grocery shopping experience, listening to people who already shop there. 

    And it didn't even have to make an app for it.

    We like the snark, but it's hard to gauge what Monoprix is actually conveying to customers. It oscillates between suggesting it's been doing this longer, and positioning Livraison à Domicile+ (the service's name, which translates to "Home Delivery Plus") as an upgrade from, well, normal home delivery. 

    In a way, both positions are true, partly because the service is so vague that not everyone knows all the rules: Monoprix does offer free home delivery—in certain stores, once you've spent over 50€ (about $52), and apparently only if you're pregnant, disabled or holding a store card. 

    You may be charged a negligible packaging fee (1€). Some stores may charge an extra 5€, and the website specifies it won't deliver frozen products, certain fresh ones, or items that are "exceptionally heavy." 

    A separate register manages these purchases. You do have to wait in line—watching, bleary-eyed, as a cashier rings up each item. Delivery sometimes happens within the hour (as the narrator promises) but usually within about three (which the website—and experience—verify). 

    Here's where that special "Plus" comes in: People can, if they wish, opt to pay the delivery guy at home if they don't want to pay in-store. But it's unclear who knew about that perk before today, or even whether all participating home delivery stores offer it. 

    With all this in mind, it's hard to like the ad, which rings defensive and deceptively simple—more a message to Amazon than to customers. It also sheds unintended light on the hole Amazon is threatening to fill in the first place: That "more human touch" Monoprix claims to have mastered is actually not a commodity yet, but it could be if retailers get nervous enough.

    Amazon may have global resources, lots of technology and piles of investment cash. But Monoprix already has the stores, the customers and (yes!) a home delivery service that works reasonably well. So instead of hyping it up—and throwing sand at some brand that isn't even on the ground yet—Monoprix could focus transforming on Amazon Go's promises into a universal standard, well before the latter opens house on French soil. 

    Because we don't doubt that Monoprix has a good handle on what people want. The danger is in focusing too much on a potential competitor (a strategy that historically tends to fare poorly) and not seizing the opportunity to just be better.

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    Hey, Dollar Shave Club, what's the big idea?

    In the brand's latest kooky commercials, razors grow to fantastic proportions. They're roughly the size of compact cars—and sold, appropriately enough, in automobile dealership settings.

    Take, for example, the flashy model in the ad below. Sure, its sheer mass, with 12 blades and 11.5 moisture strips, are impressive. But the laser chin-detection system is the real breakthrough:

    No cleft is safe from that mighty dynamo!

    "It's the reality of buying razors that's ridiculous—we just hold a funhouse mirror up to it," says Alec Brownstein, creative director and vp of creative at DSC's in-house agency, which developed the campaign with Ruffian director Tim Bullock. "As long as guys have to cope with continuing absurdity in the marketplace, the ground will remain comedically fertile to us."

    OK, but why riff on auto-showroom tropes?

    "The insight that we discovered was that shopping for razors was similar to shopping for cars," says Brownstein. "If you spend a lot on the high end, you get oversold on tons of unnecessary options. You pay more for the 2017 model than the 2016, despite very few changes."

    Conversely, "if you settle for the cheap ride, you get zero options," he adds. "There's no thought or care given to design or comfort, and the dealer doesn't have to make an effort because he knows you've got no other choice."

    That's the scenario in the next commercial, where the outsized budget blades on display in an outdoor lot might not be the sharpest buys:

    "You can either overpay for the latest 'breakthrough' from the Big Razor Monopoly, or you can settle for an inferior shave from a cheap bag of plastic disposables—two lousy options," says Brownstein. "Dollar Shave Club aims to be the smarter choice—a premium shave at an affordable price."

    That's the pitch delivered by CEO and founder Michael Dubin, from atop a giant razor, at the close of both spots.

    By now, Dubin is a familiar clean-shaven face from his many appearances in the company's advertising, dating back to its famous 90-second debut five years ago. The humor has evolved over time, toned down from the anything goes, Old Spice-y vibe of the early ads as a startup to the more subdued silliness of recent work as part of Unilever.

    While not exactly cutting-edge (oof!), the new ads serve as amusing metaphors that memorably deliver DSC's message.

    And best of all … huge-ass razors! Boo-yah!

    "There was a lot of back and forth on what sort of ridiculous add-ons the Missile 12 razor should have," recalls Brownstein. "We debated spraying lube strips, accidentally decapitating ninja stars, transformer robot self-awareness and extreme heated handle seats. Eventually, we settled on laser chin detection, because it had just the right amount of seemingly useful uselessness."

    Client: Dollar Shave Club
    CEO: Michael Dubin
    Assistant to CEO: Kristina Kovacs
    CMO: Adam Weber
    Assistant to CMO: Alex Danzer
    VP of Brand Marketing: Nick Fairbairn
    Director, Brand Marketing: Chrissy Cartwright
    Sr. Manager, Brand Marketing: Oscar Weis

    Agency: Dollar Shave Club In House
    Creative Director, VP of Creative: Alec Brownstein
    Creative Director: Matt Knapp
    Creative Director: Matt Orser
    Senior Producer: Matt Sausmer
    Agency Director: Raechelle Hoki
    Project Manager: Christine Melloy
    Project Coordinator: Kristen Moran
    Business Affairs: Ingenium
    Legal Affairs: Allison Buchner & Vahid Redjal

    Production Company: Ruffian
    Director: Tim Bullock

    Director of Photography: Simon Duggan
    Production Designer: Floyd Albee
    Founder: Robert Herman
    Executive Producer: David Richards
    Head of Production: Sheila Eisenstein
    Producer: Greg Schultz

    Editorial: Arcade Edit
    Partner/Managing Director: Damian Stevens
    Editor: Will Hasell
    Editor: Kyle Brown
    Assistant Editor: Michael Costello
    Post Producer: Rebecca Jameson

    Visual FX: Moving Picture Company
    Creative Director, VFX: Paul O'Shea
    VFX Supervisor: Gizmo Rivera
    CG Supervisor: Zach Tucker
    Colorist: Kris Smale
    Executive Producer: Mike Wigart
    Producer: Colin Clarry

    Director, Product Shoot: Kina Choi
    Director, Product Shoot: Eric Anderson
    DP, Product Shoot: Rich Schaefer
    Production Supervisor, Product Shoot: Lori Hoffman

    "Inspector Norse" by Todd Terje

    Sound Mixing: Beacon Street Studios
    Mixing: Beacon Street Studios
    Producer: Kate Vadnais
    Associate Producer: Christa Jayne Sustello
    Mixer/Sound Designer: Rommel Molina
    Assistant Mixer: Aaron Cornacchio
    Additional Supervision: Genevieve Vincent

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    To tell the origin story of Harry's, the shaving subscription service, co-founders Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield will show you their baby pictures and their boxer shorts.

    It's their way of explaining how a couple of self-professed regular guys went through puberty, sprouted their first facial hair, felt ripped off by the cost of grooming products, launched a company and angered Big Razor in the process (as in, fielded threats to have their pants sued off).

    New York-based Harry's, which has used only digital and social media marketing since its founding in 2013, kicks off its first national TV campaign next week. The move follows the debut this summer of a next-generation razor and its first retail deal with Target.

    The documentary-style ad, from agency Partners & Spade and directors Supermarche, launches this week across YouTube, Hulu and various digital media. It stars Harry's workers, including the baritone-voiced employee No. 2 (Jon Goldmann, director of brand engagement) who serves as its narrator, and its clean-shaven co-CEOs.

    The mini-movie, with a dash of animation and a charming Skype call from Katz-Mayfield's proud parents, runs about two and a half minutes, with shorter versions planned for cable TV. Here's the long-form:

    The campaign traces Raider and Katz-Mayfield's journey from disgruntled shavers to startup mavens, complete with their purchase of a 100-year-old razor factory outside Frankfurt, Germany.

    "Getting people to buy into the brand based on product and technology is clearly important, but the brand is more than that," Katz-Mayfield says. "It's a set of human beings. We want to showcase our community."

    Harry's competes directly with Dollar Shave Club (which also has fresh ads rolling out for the new year) and the category's traditional giants, Schick and Gillette, with the latter filing and later abandoning the aforementioned lawsuit.

    "Our biggest challenge is letting people know we exist," says Raider, who was one of the co-founders of Warby Parker. "We're at a point in our growth where we want to invest in that. The logical place for us to start is by talking about how we got to where we are today."

    That involved buying a $100 million razor manufacturing plant in Eisfeld, Germany, where much of the ad was shot, and working with its vice chairman, Heinz Becker, seen in the campaign embracing his new colleagues. (The deal was considered a bit of a head-scratcher in the beginning, say Harry's execs, who were nicknamed "the American internet cowboys" by the German media.)

    The campaign follows the trend of humanizing a brand by using C-suite mavens, not actors or pro athletes, as spokespeople. It's a tactic that worked incredibly well for online category leader Dollar Shave Club (now owned by Unilever) and its hugely popular viral videos starring founder Michael Dubin.

    Harry's, headquartered in SoHo, has amassed some 3 million customers, growing twice as fast as the e-commerce shaving category overall, with estimated revenue of $200 million in 2016. It was dubbed "the Warby Parker of shaving" by Inc magazine, an obvious nod to Raider's role in that disruptive, hugely successful eyewear seller.

    The Harry's campaign will air on national prime-time TV, mostly during male-targeted programming. It will also run in theaters and across social media with the tagline, "Meet the shaving company that's fixing shaving."

    Procter & Gamble's Gillette, though no longer suing Harry's, isn't taking the competition sitting down. It recently debuted a digital campaign of its own that hits its bargain-priced rival head-on, using social media comments from consumers who tried Harry's but abandoned the service.

    Gillette "Welcome Back" campaign, using the theme song from '70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, is doling out free razors as part of an accompanying promotion. Though it's not the focus of the ads, Gillette now has its own shaving subscription service, launched in mid-2015 as a response to its e-commerce rivals.

    Men's grooming is huge business, with the overall category estimated at $3.3 billion in the U.S. alone, with online shaving clubs becoming the fastest-growing segment, according to Slice Intelligence. With so many brands duking it out in the space, Harry's execs said they believe in their "self-deprecating, hopefully relatable approach" to their first TV ads.

    "There's all this noise in the industry, and brands are shouting really loudly," Raider says. "If people get a peek into Harry's, they'll see our attention to detail. And we'll use this as a platform for more compelling creative down the line."

    See the 60- and 30-second cutdowns below: 

    Creative Agency: Partners & Spade
    Directors: Supermarche (Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman)
    Production Company: Moxie Pictures
    Editor: PS 260/ Maury Loeb
    Music: Search Party
    ECD/Partner: Anthony Sperduti
    Creative Director: Jonathan Mackler
    Art Director:  Rob Matthews
    Executive Producers:  Erika Best & Andy Wilcox
    Account Director:  Catherine Borod
    Media Agency: Noble People 

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    AI. AR. MR. Voice.

    Bots. Beacons. Wearables.

    Data. Big Data. Bigger Data.

    Goosebumps, am I right?!

    Recently, I was invited to a dinner party. At the bar, this guy rolled up beside me sporting tons of wearables. Three bracelets, a ring that blinked, and god knows what around his neck. Think Mr. T, but with less gold and more diodes.

    Without inhaling, he started chatting me up.

    Will Hall

    "Oh, you work in voice? Sweet. I have this great idea for a new product. First, you download our simple app so we can geo-leash your wearables to our beacons, obviously…"

    [15 minutes later…]

    "After a fun onboarding questionnaire, our bot will recommend the best product for your needs. You can then use the intuitive voice feature to ask the product which color options are currently in stock…"

    [30 minutes later…]

    "Oh, and did I mention the biorhythms? Wait till you hear this…" 

    I'm only slightly exaggerating. Unfortunately, most emerging tech "experiences" sound a lot like this painful conversation. Clunky. Bloated. Frustrating. Tech for the sake of tech. To create great experiences, we must find the humanity on the other side of the code. We have to meet people where they are and build technology that fits into their lives. 

    Below are a few principles to consider when designing for these new technologies. Use them to make better products … and to be better dinner guests. 

    1) Simplify
    AI isn't like human intelligence; it's fundamentally other. As AI continues to develop, a new taxonomy of intelligence will be needed altogether. The mind is not an apt metaphor. Understanding the specific nature of AI will help you create more intuitive experiences.

    Spoiler: You probably need to simplify your product.

    Simplicity is key. We see this being played out among the early winners in these emerging technologies. Uber's Amazon Echo Skill allows you to order a ride and little else. Netflix's Google Home experience allows you to control playback but nothing else. Dominos' voice app only reorders your last purchase. These products provide only a handful of features at this time, but the specific tasks fit seamlessly into people's lives. Their effectiveness is found in what they don't do. Cut features and iterate toward simplicity. Your app is probably too big.

    2) Think in Systems
    Most Fortune 500 companies suffer from what I call "micro-site-itus"—the curious habit of creating hundreds of tech one-offs with seemingly no regard for the larger ecosystem. Fractured budgets. Legacy platforms. Corporate bureaucracy. There are tons of contributing factors to this phenomenon, but one-off thinking will hurt the effectiveness of your products.

    An app is only as good as the technologies it speaks to. Your voice experience is only as powerful as the data it can access. And those technologies are meaningful only if they fit into people's lives on the other side. On their own, most emerging technologies are limited in their features. But when paired with other technologies, these touch points become much more powerful.

    Think in systems. It's the guiding principle of AI, and the key to making rich digital experiences.

    3) Embrace the Power of Now
    The technologies that are in their infancy today will fundamentally change your business tomorrow. We must be restless, constantly asking new and better questions.

    Take Coca-Cola, for example. The power of its brand is undeniable, but so much of its equity is visual in nature. How much of that equity will be applicable when the product is absent? When you order groceries by talking to your fridge instead of going to the store? Or if AI does the shopping for you? I'm sure they'll figure it out, but now is the time to build toward this future. It's already starting to happen.

    Kevin Kelly, the former editor of Wired, calls these technologies "becoming," which sums up the emerging landscape perfectly. They're here but not yet formed. They're creating while still being created. Though we're in a constant state of flux, it's certain that these AI-driven experiences are only going to become more ubiquitous, accessible and relevant.

    In the first boom of the Internet, the formula for disruption was simple: X + online!

    When mobile and social emerged, the formula was similar: X + your friends!

    The future of your industry, whatever your industry might be, is X + AI. Start exploring today, and embrace the power of now.

    Will Hall is executive creative director at Rain.

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    In 1977, Xerox made what remains one of TV's most popular ads, more than 30 years before social networks revolutionized media consumption.

    The spot aired during Super Bowl XI and starred a monk named Dominic who discovered a not-quite-miraculous way to produce 500 copies of a painstakingly handwritten manuscript.

    Nearly four decades later, Xerox vp of global advertising Barbara Basney still regularly receives requests to air the above spot as the Big Game approaches. "Everyone wants to do a 'best Super Bowl commercials of all time,' and they call us asking for permission," she said.

    Yet Xerox has changed dramatically since Brother Dominic first graced American screens. This week, the corporation officially split into two companies by spinning off business services division Conduent. With a new campaign, Xerox now wants to further distinguish itself by paying homage to the ad that made its name synonymous with the copying machine.

    Creative agency of record Y&R New York set Dominic's tale in the present day to illustrate Xerox's new tagline/brand platform "Set the Page Free" by telling the story of a company long defined by ink and paper adapting to an increasingly paperless world.

    As the spot makes clear, Xerox has moved far beyond the classic, bulky 914 copier that caused such a stir at Sterling Cooper in 1962 and into a network of digital documents translated into 35 languages with one click in an app.

    "Through the lens of the original 'Brother Dominic' spot, we are looking to show what Xerox is today," said Basney. Y&R similarly saw an opportunity to show, rather than tell, viewers about the company's range of contemporary products.

    "For us, this was a way to go back and simplify the message by refocusing on [Xerox's] core capabilities," said Y&R New York chief creative officer Leslie Sims. "It's almost like, 'Xerox is back.'"

    Many of the business decision makers in this campaign's target audience are old enough to remember the first spot. But both Basney and Sims said the new ad proved surprisingly effective when tested in seven countries, even among younger viewers who appreciated the juxtaposition of a decidedly old-world lifestyle with modern devices that transcend the most basic human divides like those of, say, religion.

    "It's what we've always done: help the world communicate and work better," said Basney, adding, "There's a common thread between the old and the new."

    Initially, Y&R only joked about remaking the 1977 classic. But it wasn't long before both client and agency sought out Allen Kay, the former Needham creative director who developed both the Dominic campaign and the New York MTA's post 9/11 "If you see something, say something" tagline. According to Sims, Kay shared tales of his time in the ad industry trenches and the Super Bowl spot's unexpected popularity as the agency updated his best-known work.

    "[Brother Dominic] was the first commercial that got people to request to see it again on TV," Sims told Adweek explaining the project's appeal. "It was the first viral ad, you could say."

    Unlike its predecessor, the new "Brother Dominic" is not a Super Bowl ad. Xerox will air 60 and 30-minute versions of the spot on TV in the U.S. while making paid digital and social media placements internationally. It will also work its new "Set the Page Free" platform into company marketing, communications and events throughout the year.


    Client: Xerox
    Campaign: "Brother Dominic"

    CMO: Toni Clayton-Hine
    VP, Global Brand, Advertising and Media: Barbara Basney

    Agency: Y&R New York

    Chief Creative Officer: Leslie Sims
    Creative Director: Fern Cohen
    Creative Director: Margot Owett
    Executive Producer: Mathieu Shrontz
    Associate Producer: Larissa Ananko 
    Executive Producer/Head of Music: Lauren King
    Music Producer: Deb Oh

    VP, Account Managing Director: Britta Dahl
    Account Director, VML: Seth Galena
    Account Supervisor: Arantza Urruchua
    Account Executive: Susan Akinyi

    Executive Vice President, Brand Planning: Chip Walker

    Production Company: The Corner Shop 
    Director: James Rouse
    Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi
    Producer: Benji Howell
    Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder

    Editorial Company: Work Editorial
    Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Producer: Jamie Lynn Perritt
    Editor: Art Jones

    Music Company: Woodwork Music  
    Music Producer: Andy Oskwarek
    Composer: Joseph Reuben

    Postproduction Company: Framestore
    Executive Producer: Dez Macleod-Veilleux
    Producer: Sophie Harrison
    Lead Artist/VFX Supervisor: Gigi Ng
    VFX Team: Giulia Bartra, Julien Desroches, Liz Yang, Raul Ortego, Matt Pascuzzi, Akira Thompson, Callum McKeveny
    Color Correction: Steffan Perry

    Audio House: Heard City
    Engineer: Eric Warzecha

    0 0

    You've heard about all sorts of gaps that put women at a social disadvantage—like the wage gap and thigh gap, not to mention the pink tax. But have you heard of the investment gap?

    That's the gap that Sallie Krawcheck, Bank of America's former global wealth and investment management president—and one of the biggest female names on Wall Street—hopes to address with her new company, Ellevest.

    Ellevest is a robo-advisory that hinges on the notion that current investment offerings are poorly tailored to the specific needs of women: We live longer, our salaries peak faster, we're more likely to get smaller raises and take career breaks, and—topping things off!—we're also more risk-sensitive.

    Much of this is outlined in "Invest Like a Woman," a debut ad created by Revere (Edelman's in-house creative agency) that launched Tuesday: 

    Krawcheck's been laying down the bricks for Ellevest for a while. In 2013, she purchased 85 Broads, a women's networking group and former Goldman Sachs alumnae network, and relaunched it as the Ellevate Network in 2014, using it to build an index fund for "the 400 top-rated companies in the world for advancing women." Today it also offers leadership training, educational resources and networking services. 

    And she's historically been resistant to what she calls the "pink it and shrink it" approach for woman-focused business (think "beautifully smooth" Bic pens, or lady cars with eyeliner-inspired headlights).

    "Typically, my reaction to 'for-women' businesses has been to bristle a bit. And to immediately assume that it must mean a 'pink it and shrink it' approach, heavy on 'financial education' of the remedial kind. This is despite the research that shows that women are as good, or better, investors than men across the spectrum, whether as hedge fund investors, as mutual fund investors or as individual investors," Krawcheck wrote in 2015's "How I Got My Business Idea" on LinkedIn, where she explains how she decided to launch Ellevest.

    Ellevest itself launched in mid-2016, during TechCrunch Disrupt New York. Krawcheck, who acts as co-founder and CEO, raised $10 million in Series A funding for the company, which includes Andera founder Charlie Kroll as COO and Sylvia Kwan as chief investment officer, as well as people who've worked at Vogue.com, Thrillist, Weight Watchers and a number of fintech startups.

    It also boasts a list of impressive supporters, including Venus Williams (who talks about it here), Mellody Hobson, venture capitalists Theresia Gouw and Sonja Perkins, and more—who poured an additional $9 million into the company. 

    After watching the ad, we opened an Ellevest account to gauge how it works. The platform lets you define an investment strategy based on goals—like saving for a home or office, retirement, a trip or your kids' education. It provides recommendations for how much to auto-invest each month, how long it will take to reach your goal, and tells you plainly whether you're on or off track.

    The cost for managing your portfolio is about 0.5% of your balance per year (not including ETF fees).

    The service obviously hasn't been around for very long, but it's already made headlines outside of Krrawcheck's interviews. Stories range from pat explanations about how Ellevest works to whether it actually makes sense for women.

    It's probably hard to know the answer to that unless you've used Ellevest for a while, and too little time has passed for anyone to really make that call. But we did talk to Krawcheck about her platform and its positioning. Check the interview out below. 

    AdFreak: Tell us why women need a woman-oriented investment strategy.
    Sallie Krawcheck: Actually, for years, I argued that women did not need their own investing platform. I had seen too many marketing programs for women that talked down to them, so I thought the concept was vaguely insulting. But the very fact that the gender investing gap exists—and that it can cost professional women hundreds of thousands, or even millions—of dollars over their lives is clear evidence that something is "broken" and something different is needed.

    Dig a little deeper, and you'll note that the investing industry and most of its tools have been created by men, for men. So the "gender-neutral" investment industry implicitly defaulted to men's product preferences and men's financial characteristics—trading to outperform a market index, for example, or investing media that strongly resembles sports media. Another one: The industry symbol is a bull—a phallic symbol if one ever existed.

    At Ellevest, our "for women" is not just a marketing angle. Instead, we calculate financial goal targets based on women's specific characteristics, such as their longer lifespans for retirement (really important) and a salary that tends to peak sooner than men's (also important ... and frustrating).

    Other features are based on the hundreds of hours we conducted to "co-create" Ellevest with professional women: She wants to make trade-offs among her financial goals (like changing the timeline on each or how much she contributes, and having the others adjust). She also wanted a highly customized investment portfolio, constructed for her, rather than the "have one of five investment portfolios" of the first generation digital advisors.

    Can you share a personal story that illuminates this need?
    I never really considered myself much of a feminist until I left Wall Street. I did all the right things—such as put together gender-diverse teams—but feminism wasn't deep in my bones.

    It wasn't until I took some time off and had some space that I realized that the investing industry has been, frankly, "by men, for men," and that historically kept women from achieving their financial goals.

    The aha moment came one to me one morning, when I was applying my mascara, and I realized that the retirement crisis is actually a woman's crisis: Women live longer than men yet retire with less money. While most solutions to the retirement crisis focus on tax increases and entitlement cuts, this insight means another possible solution is to get more money into the hands of women.

    From there, noting that something in the existing investing offerings isn't working was the next insight. And, given my career on Wall Street and the investing industry, I figured it was almost my responsibility to work to close this "gender investing gap."

    Another insight, after a rough 2016 for the advancement of women: We all know money is power. And women won't be equal with men until we are financially equal with men. Getting more money into the hands of women is good for women, but it's also good for their families, for the economy and for society.

    What target market do you hope to reach?
    The Ellevest target client is the professional woman who either has her own money or has agency over her family's money. She is among the 75 million women in the U.S. workforce who want to take financial control and is looking for a straightforward way to achieve her dreams on her own terms. She is comfortable with an online experience.

    Why a robo-advisory model?
    Because it's the future. It is my belief, from my experience, that Ellevest can provide a more tailored investment portfolio for our clients than an individual can, by harnessing the computing power of technology. And the 24-hour nature of its availability is also something that we're seeing that women appreciate. We're busy, so wedging our engagement with our finances into the traditional industry's 8am to 5pm hours of operation has been another barrier for us.  

    In addition to Ellevest's proprietary algorithm taking into account factors like women's longer lifespans and unique salary curves, we also employ technology to let her know when she's on- or off-track for achieving her goals. We monitor each client's progress, automatically rebalance her portfolios as needed, adjust it over time to reduce risk as she gets closer to achieving her goals (to increase her chances of achieving them), and alert her if she falls off-track at any point.

    This last one tested best among Ellevest's features; who doesn't want to know if you're off-track and what to do to get back on?

    How do you keep a robo-advisory woman-oriented as it scales?
    We actually welcome both men and women as clients, though really speak more directly to women. (For men, we project that they earn more and die sooner!) I would note that women are not a niche market; they are 50 percent of the population that has historically not invested at the same rate as men do. There are countless investment offerings that implicitly target men, so why not one that is talking to and serving that other 50 percent?

    How do you account for women's higher sensitivity to risk while also accounting for longer lifespans and lower compensation?
    First of all, I would note that our research shows that women are not more risk-averse than men; they are more risk-aware. That means that they want to understand the risk they are taking, and not in terms like standard deviation.

    I would also note that other advisers ask a client how comfortable they are with risk, but the research is pretty clear that no one really knows the answer to that question (only after a downturn do they really know). At Ellevest, we completely rethink risk by looking at how much risk the client can afford to take, not wants to take.

    If someone is young and only has a retirement goal, they can afford a good deal of risk (to try to get the greater return that this has historically meant); if someone doesn't have an Emergency Fund yet and wants to have a child in three years, they can't afford much risk at all. This is true even if their other financial characteristics are the same. As a fiduciary (we put our clients' interests before ours), we think it's important that we provide this risk budget.

    In addition, as mentioned, Ellevest alerts clients when they are off-track on their goals—something other advisers don't typically do—and provide guidance on existing 401(k) and other retirement accounts. Ellevest continuously monitors a client's investment portfolios, changing their composition as she moves closer to achieving her goals, and works to give her a 70 percent likelihood of reaching her goal target (the amount of money Ellevest suggests she'll need for her goal, or the number she customized) or better.

    Not many other advisors approach it this way, but this 70 percent is higher than others.

    How do you see the platform evolving over the next five years?
    We'll see! We really are serious that we are "co-creating" this platform with our clients, so we'll go where they take us. I personally reach out to each new client via email, so we are getting an amazing amount of feedback from them, every step of the way. Even women who say the platform is not for them for some reason are sending in feedback, because they tell us they want us to succeed!

    Will investors like Venus Williams be helping promote the service or appearing in future promotions?
    We don't have any plans for it at this time.


    From Ellevest:
    Marketing - Marc Karasu, Rebecca Stern, Phoebe Assenza
    Design - Melissa Cullens

    From Revere: 
    Account – Megan Goode, Katy Koesy, Deidre Campbell 
    Strategy – Amanda Kleinberg, Gigi Downs
    Creative – Alena Cason, Kristen Kusterer, Karyn Pascoe, Chris Perry

    Production – Jennifer Carter-Campbell, Erin Fitzsimmons, Julie Casso – Mustache Agency

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    It's Jan. 4. Are you already on the verge of scrapping your New Year's resolutions?

    Well, Chevrolet just launched a campaign on Facebook designed to keep you on track—and in a broader sense, portray the General Motors nameplate as a valued partner on the road of life.

    "A new year offers all of us the clean slate we need to tackle the personal challenges in our lives that are so often pushed to the side as family and work priorities consume our time and energy," Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet, tells Adweek. "I, like so many who have made resolutions this week, could use a little help and encouragement achieving those goals."

    Developed by Facebook Creative Shop in association with agencies The Story Lab and Commonwealth//McCann (with Carat handling media), the push takes a two-pronged approach.

    First, the team deployed Chevrolet Co-Driver, a free automated chatbot that lives within Facebook Messenger. It lets users share tips and encouragement and access expert advice to keep them motivated.

    Along with employing the bot to foster a sense of community—and, hopefully, tie users more closely to the brand—Chevy also harnesses the power of long-form storytelling, following five diverse subjects who are seeking to achieve various goals. These include conquering fears of heights and water, competing in a new sport after suffering a debilitating injury, training to climb Mount Everest and learning to dance.


    "We had the tall task of finding real people with real stories and audacious resolutions," says Keenan Pridmore, head of Facebook Creative Shop Studio. "We used social media, friends of friends, neighborhood communities and clubs and even contacted local coaches and therapists to ultimately find our featured heroes."

    Chevy tailored VR experiences to help each subject visualize achieving their goals. And each stars in his or her own 360 video on Facebook. For example, the clip below features Denna, a young woman learning to compete as a rower after a hockey injury confined her to a wheelchair:

    "Beyond the initial 360 video for each hero, we'll follow their journey within Facebook Canvas units that will act as multimedia journals, giving a glimpse into the challenges and progress as they seek to achieve their goals," Pridmore says. "This campaign will wrap up March 1. It will culminate in a final anthem video where we hope to celebrate all of our heroes having accomplished their bold resolutions."

    Factor in the Co-Driver bot, and it's clear that Chevy's really going all in on the resolutions concept, using the Facebook platform to achieve scale.

    "By connecting the experience on Facebook and Messenger, you don't just watch an inspiring campaign, you can take part in it," says Mark D'Arcy, vp and chief creative officer of Facebook Creative Shop. "This is a great example of marketing for people, not at people. And while it's early days for Messenger, I hope we'll see more and more examples like this that are designed to have value for people first."

    It's a novel strategy, extremely well realized, and in line with the trend of car companies positioning themselves as purveyors of more than just reliable transportation to take us from Point A to Point B. (Though really, isn't that the whole point of their existence?)

    On the other hand, there is a disconnect that makes the whole thing feel like a stretch. Why would Chevy care about helping folks keep their resolutions? Maybe the company just wants to sell cars.

    The videos—targeted based on Facebook users' particular likes and interests—are legitimately inspirational and compelling. Still, in our oversaturated digital landscape, with users constantly bombarded and quickly distracted, will such content flit past like pretty scenery on a long drive?

    "The storytelling and use of technology were composed to ensure continuity throughout," Pridmore says. "At the beginning of the year, we'll introduce our five people and start their journeys using 360 video. As they progress, we'll update via Facebook Canvas units and then see the campaign close as they accomplish their goals via a unique use of vertical video. Throughout, people will be able to use the messenger bot to help achieve their own resolution. It's our hope that this story arc, combined with the variety of uses of the Facebook's creative canvases, will keep the audience engaged and involved throughout."

    Client: Chevrolet
    "New Year. New Roads"
    Developed by: Facebook Creative Shop
    The Story Lab: Lead agency
    Commonwealth: Creative agency
    Carat: Media Agency

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    Kevin Hart is a famous comedian who is busy at any given moment filming his latest buddy flick or starring in ad campaigns for H&M, Xfinity, Madden, etc. 

    But he's also a frequent runner who recently made the life-changing decision to start using an Apple Watch Nike+ to track his workouts—and it led to some very strange places, according to this amusing new Nike campaign by Wieden + Kennedy Portland. 

    The new Nike+ version of the Apple Watch begins each day by asking "Are we running today?" And for Hart, at least, the answer is always yes. 

    As you can see, Hart just kept going, followed by his ever-expanding facial hair. Living as far off the grid as possible may have proven more challenging than expected, given the near-total absence of food and water, but that's nothing to a runner with a cause. 

    Hart's isolation isn't complete, thanks to both the watch's networking services and the company of his new friend, Hollywood the wolf. 

    As he approaches the 100-day mark, however, Hart begins to grow delusional to an "eating rocks" degree. And he hasn't even reached the halfway point of his run, wherever it may be leading him. 

    Finally, our hero finds a new soulmate as he continues to make his way across the desert in a well-worn pair of Nike Lunar Epics. But the relationship is short-lived, as the watch asks, yet again, whether he plans on running today. 

    The campaign may convince viewers that the new Apple Watch Nike+ and its attendant apps do indeed offer comprehensive run tracking services. But several questions remain: How did Hart charge his tech? What did he eat during this three-plus month period? Did he ever learn "what dirt really is"?

    We do know the answer to the most important query, though: That beard was definitely fake.

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    It's a new year! And Secret's "Stress Test" is back, this time with a scenario that's all too familiar for agencies, marketers and entrepreneurs.

    Two separate ads feature Ash and Emma, a pair we meet as they step into an elevator, preparing for a pitch. This plays out in a rapid-fire Q&A, laced with tension, determination and a clear expectation of some sexist pushback:

    "Site visits?"

    "1.2 million."


    "6.4 percent!"

    "I doubt you girls could pull that off."

    "Got the data right here, sir!"

    "Who came up with this business plan?"

    "We did."

    "Who coded this?"

    "We did."

    As the elevator rings open, they shoot each other a fiercely proud smile before walking out, heads up, like bosses. The ad concludes, "Ash and Emma's pitch adds two more girls to the boys' club."

    We meet the pair again in "The Bear." Same elevator, and possibly the same client (or not). This time, the askee in the previous ad has become a cheerleader, pouring pep talk into her colleague as the latter stands braced, arms up and spread to receive the light.

    "You are a bear. You dominate, you're brilliant, articulate. Yes, those numbers are correct. Yes, those projections are feasible—" Ding! Goes the elevator.

    "Because you're killing it," she whispers sassily as they step into the lion's den.

    This ad wraps with, "Major pressure moments need major sweat protection."

    Like previous "Stress Tests," the work was created by Wieden + Kennedy, which scooped Secret up in 2015 without having to undergo a sweaty review.

    The campaign kicked off last year with an ad where a young woman asks for a long-overdue raise. On its heels came a classic 'first I love you' (via text, natch), an adorable gender role reversal, and even the quiet tribulations of being a transgender woman.

    These scenarios aren't unusual in real life, but it's only in the last handful of years that they've been so generously given voice in advertising—let alone by one brand. 

    A Secret spokeswoman previously told us the campaign seeks to "highlight new roles millennial women are taking on in society," but the brand also hopes to illustrate the particularities of "stress sweat," which P&G claims is biologically different than physically induced sweat.

    Ash and Emma convey both messages with intimacy, unity and humor. And, like their predecessors, they also make us feel like we're in on something. (A Secret!)

    In "The Pitch" and "Bear," as in many of the campaign's previous ads, you get the feeling of being an insider, witnessing scenarios that are common—and wryly acknowledged—among women, but little seen nor discussed in mixed company.

    This is partly because of how insidious bias can be: How do you explain the difference between an all-woman team and a male team slaving day and night over a pitch? Ash and Emma show it with levity—in addition to memorizing site traffic and conversion rates, they've also had to prep for what might be hiding between the lines.

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    LAS VEGAS—Technology consistently holds the wondrous promise of improving people's lives. But if consumers don't understand a new technology, or find its potential in their everyday lives to be opaque, it may never fulfill that promise.

    In many cases, this is simply a marketing problem. And it's why agencies—most of whom have primary backgrounds not in tech but in communications—come to conferences like CES. They're here to learn about new technologies so they can distill their essence, and explain their value, to consumers (and to non-tech clients, too). 

    With that in mind, Adweek caught up on Wednesday at CES with Daniel Binns, managing director of Interbrand's New York and San Francisco offices, to ask him what Interbrand is doing here this week—and how its learnings help inform work for clients like HP, Nissan, GE, Microsoft and AT&T. 

    Check out the video above, in which Binns explains why it's important to find clear language to communicate what the benefit of tech innovation really is—as well as which tech trends are most exciting to him lately. 

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    At the start of Audi Spain's "The Doll That Chose to Drive," a row of Barbie-esque dolls in the pink section of a toy aisle apply makeup, perform ballet and push a baby stroller.

    Another doll, frustrated with her dream carriage's inability to actually go anywhere, kicks a wheel off it and finds herself drawn into the mobility paradise of the blue aisle ... where she finds an Audi to take on a test drive. 

    The ad has a bit of a Nutcracker quality, playing on the fantasy of toys coming to life after hours, and bears the promise of a happy ending when a little boy picks up both doll and car, and asks his mother if he can take them home. 

    "But darling, they don't go together, do they?" she says, and lifts the doll out of her seat, placing her back in the land of pink. We wonder what the doll must be thinking, but her face is impassive, dutifully frozen for this human killer of dreams. 

    Created by Proximity BCN with production by Post23, the animated short is an appeal to stop gender-based differentiation in toys—one effort among many over the last few years.

    In 2012, Sweden's Toys R Us magazine started blurring the codes for gendered play. Last year, French supermarket Super U advocated for a "gender-free Christmas," following Target's decision to de-gender its own toy aisles. 

    Brands like GoldieBlox approach the problem a different way—creating a typical "boy" toy for girls, while breaking the rules for how girls' toys are advertised.

    "There is a growing trend for brands to communicate what they are all about and how they intend to improve people's lives," says Eva Santos, general creative director at Proximity.

    "The Doll That Chose to Drive" is "the brand's way of helping to promote a more egalitarian social model ... starting with boys and girls, tomorrow's drivers," adds Audi Spain rep Ignacio Gonzalez. 

    To inform its campaign, Audi looked to José Luís Linaza Iglesias, a professor of evolutionary psychology and education. On an accompanying website (in Spanish), Iglesias explains how play influences learning, future career choices and interests. Dolls, cooking toys and ponies aren't bad in themselves, but send a clear message about what traits we value in girls, while cars, action figures and construction sets for boys channel totally different interests.

    Either way, gendering child's play limits the freedom to develop certain skills, binding the creativity that produces more dynamic adults. And according to Proximity, advertising also contributes to the divide, using familiar codes—like color and context—to reinforce it. 

    The ad was made for the Christmas season and broadcast on TV, in theaters, on YouTube and across social, where it generated over 1 million views in three days. Limited-edition versions of the car and the doll were also given away at no cost. A hashtag, #CambiemosElJuego ("Let's change the game"), invited people to weigh in on the topic.


    Agency: Proximity Barcelona
    Product: Campaña de Branding - Navidad
    Title: "The Doll That Chose to Drive"
    Client: Audi España
    Media: TV, Online, Cinema
    Country: Spain

    Creative Team
    General Creative Director: Eva Santos
    Creative Director: Carles Alcon
    Copies: Neus Gimenez, Laura Cuni, Edu Escudero
    Art Directors: Rodrigo Chaparreiro, Iván Aguado, David Casado
    Client Services Director: Amanda Muñiz
    Account Director: Patricia Miret
    Account Supervisors: Laia García, Carla Franco
    Strategic Planner: Patricia Urgoiti
    Digital Producer: Lluís García
    Producer, Director: Mercè Fernández
    Audiovisual Producer: Diana Asenjo
    Animation Studio: Post23
    Director: Jordi Garcia
    Art Director: Bor Arroyo

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    Given the number of exercise-themed ads and well-toned models gracing our screens every day, it's quite easy to forget that voluntary exercise is a relatively new phenomenon. The first "gymnasiums" opened in Persia 3,000 years ago, but recreational workouts as we know them today didn't get popular until the jogging and aerobics crazes of the '70s and '80s and the gym industry boom of later years.

    A new campaign promoting Samsung's Galaxy S7 + Gear Fit2 watch reminds viewers that the very idea of setting aside time to gather in a common space and force ourselves to do physically uncomfortable things in the interest of improving our health and appearance is actually pretty damn weird.

    No, really. Think about it.

    Each January, frequent gym-goers roll their eyes at the newbies who joined as part of a New Year's resolution that often ends in February. But in the next spot, Wieden + Kennedy Portland pokes fun at the fact that this happens outside your local Equinox as well—and it can be a recurring struggle for regular Joes.

    In the final ad, fantasy and reality meet on a Manhattan street corner; awkwardness ensues.

    Wieden + Kennedy has taken a similar "how weird is this" creative tack in the past, most prominently with ESPN's "It's Not Crazy, It's Sports" campaign. One may note the dramatic difference between the men trying valiantly to lose a few pounds in the "Honey" and "Mannequin" spots above with the extremely idealized figures in W+K's most recent work for Equinox.

    This comparison also serves to illustrate how the exercise industry has changed over the past 30-plus years, moving from Jane Fonda's VHS aerobics to "luxury gyms" complete with spas, juice bars and "gleaming white bathrooms with fluffy towels."

    That said, Samsung has a clear message regarding the Galaxy S7 + Gear Fit2: It can help you organize your workout and stick to a plan whether you're a rough Tough Mudder or a (very) reluctant runner.


    Client: Samsung
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland

    Ad: "Working Out Is Crazy"

    Creative Directors: Craig Allen, Tim Roan, Micah Walker   
    Copywriter: Derek Szynal   
    Art Director: Robert Kendall   
    Executive Producer: Erika Madison   
    Producer: Jules Brown   
    Account Director: Mimi St. Gelais   
    Management Supervisor: Drew Widell   
    Account Executives: Tori Misell, Megan Riehl    
    Assistant Account Executive: Michael Devine   
    Group Strategy Director: Bruno Frankel   
    Strategy Director: Tom Suharto   
    Junior Strategist: Jordan Aftanas   
    Project Management: Laurie Holtz   
    Business Affairs: Karen Crossley, Amber Lavender    
    Art Producer: Heather Hanrahan   
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Joe Staples, Susan Hoffman 

    Production Company: MJZ   
    Director: Steve Ayson   
    President: David Zander   
    Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson   
    Producer: Laurie Boccaccio   
    Production Supervisor: Yianni Papadopoulos  

    Editorial Company: Final Cut   
    Head of Production: Suzy Ramirez   
    Editor: Crispin Struthers   
    Producer: Ana Orrach 
    VFX Company: The Mill    
    Colourist: Adam Scott   
    2D Lead Artist: Adam Lambert   
    Producer: Daniel Midgley   
    Associate Producer: Karina Slater   
    VFX Supervisor: Kathy Siegel  

    Sound Company: duotone audio group   
    Managing Director: David Leinheardt   
    Executive Producer: Ross Hopman   
    Creative Director: Jack Livesey   
    Producer: Gio Lobato 

    Mix Company: Lime Studios   
    Mixer: Loren Silber   
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan   
    Audio Assistant: Mark Nieto 

    Ads: "Honey," "Mannequin"

    Creative Directors: Craig Allen, Tim Roan, Micah Walker    
    Copywriter: Reuben Hower
    Honey: Andy Ferguson
    Mannequin: Derek Szynal   
    Art Director: Aramis Isreal
    Honey: Brandon Mugar
    Mannequin: Rob Kendall   
    Executive Producer: Erika Madison   
    Producer: Ricara Stokes    
    Account Director: Mimi St. Gelais   
    Management Supervisor: Drew Widell    
    Account Executive: Megan Riehl   
    Assistant Account Executive: Michael Devine   
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Joe Staples, Susan Hoffman    
    Strategist: Bruno Frankel   
    Project Management: Amanda Rudolph   
    Business Affairs: Anna Beth Nagel, Amber Lavender    
    Art Producer: Grace Petrenka 
    Production Company: Furlined   
    Director: Nick Ball   
    Senior Executive Producer: David Thorne   
    Head of Production: Rebecca Davis   
    Executive Producer: Steve Ross   
    Producer: Karen Chen 

    Editorial Company: Arcade   
    Editor: Geoff Hounsell   
    Assistant Editor: Laura Sanford/Andy Trecki   
    Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone   
    Producer: Leah Carnahan, Adam Becht  

    VFX Company: Timber   
    Executive Producer: Sabrina Elizondo   
    Producer: Lauren Loftus 
    Mannequin: "Hello New Day" by Johnson & Drake
    Honey – "Jeans On" by David Dundas    

    Sound Company: Walker
    Mix Company: Lime  
    Mixer: Sam Casas  
    Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan 

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    To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Mars brand goodnessknows—a bite-sized snack made with fruit, nuts and dark chocolate—has released the "Try a Little Goodness" campaign. Created by BBDO San Francisco, it's work that both lobbies for novelty while appealing to the sense of derring-do and reinvention that characterizes the new year. 

    Each ad encourages real people to try new things—for the brand, that is. Those efforts, both thwarted and successful, constitute the content. 

    In the 80-second "Try Acting" video, a troupe of hopefuls try their hand at acting for a goodnessknows commercial shoot. There's a buzz of excitement, and expected foibles, but the work also feels good-natured and fun. 

    In "Try a Little Jingle," which lasts only 30 seconds, the brand serves as a test site for people who want to try writing jingles. This one is less about comedy than it is about the diversity of the musicians' styles, but it manifests the same well-meaning spirit. 

    Each ad's conclusion ties back to the product: "Because every try is a step to being your best. Try a little goodness." 

    The campaign does a nice job of supporting goodnessknows' novelty while conveying a sense of wholesome earnestness—a quality that also reflects the snack's ingredients. Each one is just 150 calories, and boasts no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. 

    Instead, it emphasizes the cocoa flavanols in its dark chocolate, a brain-boosting ingredient around which Mars also happens to own 80 patents.

    Client: goodnessknows (Mars)
    Spots:  "Try a Little Acting", "Try a Little Jingle"
    Agency: BBDO San Francisco
    Matt Miller, Executive Creative Director
    Steven Rutter, Executive Creative Director
    Page Kishiyama, Creative Director
    Timothy White, Creative Director
    George Thorman, Art Director
    Jared Johnsen, Copywriter
    Patti Bott, Executive Producer
    Vera Kacurova, Senior Producer
    Jacqueline Djanikian, Business Affairs Director
    Elana Shea, Senior Account Director
    James Campbell, Account Director
    Weina Cai, Account Supervisor
    Divya Reddy, Account Executive
    Mary FlorCruz, Group Strategy Director
    Molly Gasch, Junior Strategist

    Kerry Cavanaugh, Brand Director
    Eric Epstein, Senior Brand Manager
    Hana Hassan, Senior Associate Brand Manager

    Production Company, Tool
    JJ Adler, Director
    Pete Koob, Editor
    Cut & Run, Post Production 

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    LAS VEGAS—There's been much hand-wringing among marketers over the disruptive effects of rapid technological change. But the way Wieden + Kennedy sees it, if you've built a strong voice for a brand, new technologies offer fun new ways of making that voice heard.

    Adweek caught up with four W+K execs at CES this week to talk about how the agency is exploring and experimenting with cutting-edge technologies—both for its clients and itself.

    In the video above, Jonathan Minori and Maxwell Folley, who both work for The Lodge, W+K's in-house creative technology group, tell us about their work. We also hear from Jason Kreher, creative director on brands including Old Spice and KFC, and Jessica Monsey, who is heading up W+K's new publishing offering. 

    Below, check out footage of the working Verizon phone W+K built in Minecraft, as well as the "Needybot" robot that The Lodge made. 

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    The elderly man only wanted a moment away from his dreary life, where he sat surrounded by others counting down the hours while dreaming of past glories. 

    The key to his freedom was simple—a well-worn pair of shoes. 

    Adidas is a major brand with a roster of international agencies. But the spec ad below, created by students at Germany's Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg and going viral this week on YouTube, is the most moving work we've seen so far in 2017. (That school also produced 2015's amazing Johnnie Walker spec spot "Dear Brother.")

    Viewers may note such delightful details as a soccer game involving East Germany (which has not existed in more than 25 years), a Nurse Ratched-like villain, the protagonist's track photos and an old man sadly and devotedly watering his TV at the 24-second mark. 

    AdFreak spoke to fourth-year film student Eugen Merher, who wrote and directed the spot, to learn more about the inspiration and process behind the work.

    AdFreak: How did you come up with the idea for this film?
    Eugen Merher: I had a distant relative who passed away last year, and he was the main inspiration. He was an old man with a very young spirit who used to walk two kilometers every day and bring his wife flowers, was very up on the news and loved to watch basketball. I combined him with the idea that running or playing sports makes you feel free, because that's what I've always thought. There's also a German feature film called Sein letztes Rennen (His Last Race) about an old marathon runner who lives in a retirement castle and wants to run a race in there, but I didn't know about this film until mid-production and I chose not to watch it so I wouldn't subconsciously copy it.

    What led you to tie the story to Adidas, and did you send them the ad?
    I did some research and learned that Adidas used to make a lot of Olympic marathon gear in the '70s while Nike did not. The company did get back to me after we emailed them. They said that they didn't support the work because they get lots of these kinds of requests, they already have their agencies, and they don't really need it. I'm not sure if they even watched it, but we sent an email before production and afterward. 

    Is this your first full commercial work?
    It's technically my second-year project. Our studies last about four years, and starting in your third year you get to make an ad every six months as an assignment with no restrictions. But in your second year you have one-half of the year to make an ad, and I used that time to make this. We shot it in two and a half days in January 2015 and edited it in the following weeks. 

    Why did it just go live last month?
    Since we do a lot of projects at the Film Academy, you try to finish everything ASAP just so you can start the next one. I had forgotten about the ad by last March, but then we showed it to Sebastian Ritzler of e+p films and he put in some new music by my favorite composer Alex David. All of a sudden the ad became magical in a way. It was entirely different. Sebastian said, "The music will make or break the ad." 

    How could you afford to shoot such a professional-looking film with no budget?
    The Academy provides infrastructure for production, tech setup and crew as well as a database of actors close to the school. We got 1,500 euros from the Academy, and everything else we had to pay for ourselves. We did get lots of student discounts like on the Vantage camera lenses ... but I had to put in 2,000 euros of my own money. The hope is that you win awards and get some prize money; I sent it to the Young Director Award with the old music, and it got nominated but didn't win. It also aired during some other awards shows last year. ... Someone from the Clios wrote me and said I should send it to them. 

    The work has gotten a good bit of attention since you posted it on YouTube and Vimeo last month.
    I like the commercial, but I never expected it to get so much attention. It just doesn't stop; I'm getting notifications all the time and I can't handle it. It feels so old to me now, but I realize that it's not that bad. 

    What are your professional goals moving forward?
    In the long run, I want to make feature films. I made a short film that I will try to send to the festivals now, and I'm already working toward the next commercial and trying to get as many projects as possible. 

    Cast: Jens Weisser, Herman Van Ulzen, Anja Karmanski, Hiltrud Hauschke, Daniel Hubertus
    Writer, Director: Eugen Merher
    Producers: Karli Baumann, Karl Heidelbach
    Director of Photography: Mortimer Hochberg
    Editor: Ernst Lattik
    Compose: Alexander Wolf David
    Sound Design: Marcus Fass
    Sound Recording: David Hill
    Production Design: Nora Brockamp, Julian Dieterich
    VFX: Tim Markgraf
    Production Company: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

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    Until now, we could only imagine the awesomeness that would ensue if KITT and Michael of Knight Rider, Cliff and Norm from Cheers and Sesame Street's Big Bird starred in the same commercial.

    But behold—a TV fanatic's crossover dream come true.

    BBDO brings this fantasy landscape to life in "Everywhere," an immensely fun minute-long spot touting AT&T's service that lets users stream live and recorded DirecTV content across their mobile devices without it counting against their data caps.

    Staged in grand style by director Tom Kuntz, who's worked on DirecTV campaigns before—included the famous "Cable Effects" ads—the new spot fairly bristles with TV and film references, cool cameos and familiar music cues.

    After a quick homage to Rocky, the ad tosses in nods to Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, SportsCenter, Sex and the City and Seinfeld, among others. You'll want to watch the clip multiple times to take in everything that's going on:

    David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, Cheers stars John Ratzenberger and George Wendt and costumed Big Bird actor Matt Vogel filmed new scenes for the ad. Alas, they don't actually appear on screen together, but it's fitting that each gets a few frames in the spotlight as the story unfolds.

    The spot smartly channels a basic giddy truth of media/pop-culture fandom. For many of us, elements of classic series and films—beloved scenes, infectious theme songs, snatches of dialogue and catchphrases—are constantly running through our minds. So, it's only right that we should be able to watch our favorites whenever and wherever we choose.

    Hoff … take us with you! (And let us do the driving for a while.)

    Client: AT&T
    Title: "Everywhere"

    Agency: BBDO Atlanta, BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Director, AT&T: Matt MacDonald
    Executive Creative Director, AT&T Entertainment Group: Steven Fogel
    Executive Creative Director, AT&T Entertainment Group: Doug Fallon
    Senior Creative Director: Rob Munk
    Senior Creative Director: Mark Voehringer
    Art Director: Kristin Clark
    Copywriter: Matt Low

    Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins
    Executive Producer: Matt Nowak
    Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester
    Junior Producer: Victoria Wills

    Managing Director: Doug Walker
    Group Account Director: Lesley Brown
    Account Director: Khari Mpagazehe
    Account Executive: Noelle Bough

    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Tom Kuntz
    Director of Photography: Matthew Libatique
    President: David Zander
    Senior Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins
    Producer: Emily Skinner
    Production Designer: Jahmin Assa

    Editorial: Mackcut
    Editor: Gavin Cutler
    Assistant Editor: Pamela Petruski
    Executive Producer: Gina Pagano

    Mix: Mackcut
    Sound Designer & Mixer: Sam Shaffer

    Post Production: The Beauty Shop
    Executive Producer:  Stuart Robinson  
    Senior Colorist: Company 3 // Tim Masick
    Senior Color Producer: Company 3 // Rochelle Brown
    Visual Effects: The Beauty Shop // Method Studios
    Creative Director/VFX Supervisor:  Method Studios // Doug Luka
    Creative Director: Method Studios // Eduardo 'Alvin' Cruz
    CG Supervisor: Method Studios // Ivan Guerrero
    Senior Producer: Method Studios // Bennett Lieber
    Lead Flame Artist: Method Studios // Mario Caserta

    Music: Beta Petrol
    Music by Beta Petrol
    Composer: Rafter Roberts
    Creative Director: Bryan Ray Turcotte
    Executive Producer(s): Dayna Turcotte and Brent Asbury
    Producer/Engineer: Andy Brohard

    Media: Hearts & Science
    President, AT&T: Ralph Pardo
    Executive Director: Melissa Kimble

    The Marketing Arm/Platinum Rye Entertainment
    Managing Director: Matt Delzell
    Senior Director: Kristen Hellwig
    Director: Amanda Levine

    Cast and shot list in order of appearance:
    Cheers (John Ratzenberger and George Wendt as Cliff and Norm)
    Breaking Bad
    Game of Thrones
    Sex and the City
    Sesame Street (Matt Vogel as Big Bird)
    Knight Rider (David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and KITT as himself)
    Back to the Future
    Lead actor: Joel Kelley Dauten, star of the upcoming Showtime series I'm Dying Up Here

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    LAS VEGAS—The experience of driving an automobile in 2017 isn't as dreamy as the one Toyota presented at CES this week with its Concept-i vehicle. And no wonder: The Concept-i, featuring an AI-driven UX interface called Yui that's more soulmate than dashboard, is Toyota's vision for the year 2030. 

    There are, though, plenty of signposts that lead toward the Concept-i today, as many automakers have unveiled in-car technologies this week that are more about the interaction between driver and car than between car and road (even as the latter makes headlines through advancements in autonomous driving).

    Adweek caught up with MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman and president of global digital operations Michael Bassik here at CES to talk about tech trends, including automotive. We also discuss the rise of content—how the focus for marketers at CES isn't just on hardware and software innovations but on what new types of content can be created, distributed and measured through those new technologies.

    And we chat about why MDC—parent network of creative agencies like CP+B and 72andSunny—comes to CES every year, and the types of innovative technology its shops are pioneering on behalf of clients. 

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    White Bear Mitsubishi in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, has used a polar bear mascot in its commercials (and its logo) for years. But the lovable furry beast met his match recently while filming a commercial on the ice at a hockey arena.

    To say the bear had trouble staying on his feet is putting it mildly. White Bear Mitsubishi posted a bunch of outtakes from the shoot on Facebook around Christmas, and the clip has since gone viral—and it really is painfully funny.

    Check it out here: 

    White Bear has been pleasantly surprised by all the attention from the national news media, and even some celebs (see below). And it's extending the gag in any way it can, including this caption contest.

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    LAS VEGAS—Nick Offerman, noted actor and woodworker, is not exactly known as a high-tech pioneer. So, it shouldn't be too surprising that his appearance at CES this week turned out to have a significant plot twist.

    Offerman was enlisted to help unveiled a #DeviceLikeNoOther—one that was billed as "ultrathin, has unlimited memory and offers more meaningful ways to connect than ever thought possible."

    But then came time for the reveal:

    Yes, once again, American Greetings has crashed a tech conference to promote a decidedly analog experience—the sending of paper greetings cards. The brand, and agency MullenLowe, did a similar thing at SXSW last March.

    The #DeviceLikeNoOther concept is also reminiscent of the great Ikea campaign from a few years ago that promoted the paper Ikea catalog as a high-tech device.

    As part of the CES activation, American Greetings gave attendees the chance to customize limited-edition CES greeting cards with American Greetings illustrators and writers. Randi Zuckerberg was also on hand as another endorser.

    "I was sincerely honored to be asked to represent the venerated sentiment-delivery system known as the greeting card by American Greetings," Offerman said. "In my family, we rely on cards to signify moments of great magnitude as well as just simple affection, a warm practice I am happy to share with my fellow Americans."

    "Some people may think that instant digital messaging has replaced handwritten expression, like digital cameras did for film," added Alex Ho, executive director of marketing for American Greetings. "But consumers are now seeking ways to connect more meaningfully and differently with the people that matter most, which is why our category remains stable alongside the rise of smartphones, messaging apps and social media. American Greetings is at CES to celebrate that coexistence with digital technology."

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    LAS VEGAS—Amid the teeming mass of months-old technologies here at CES is one that's more than 5,000 years old. And without it, so many modern-day marvels would be useless.

    Glass is still not commonly thought of as a tech product, even though you touch it every time you swipe a phone, and look through it every time you get behind the wheel of a car.

    But Corning, the 166-year-old glass maker, based in the town of the same name in western New York state, has been changing that perception in recent years with a fascinating marketing campaign pitching the 21st century as "The Glass Age."

    Corning's Gorilla Glass is the market leader in mobile-device cover glass. And the company came to CES with grand plans for expanding that technology into one of the hottest tech sectors at the show—automotive.

    Yes, Corning brought its own concept car to CES. And it's a fascinating machine indeed. It comes with a Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield that's lightweight to improve fuel efficiency and also has augmented reality capabilities; a seamless, flowing Gorilla Glass dashboard offering fully integrated connectivity; and Gorilla Glass hybrid sunroof and backlites.

    Adweek visited the Corning booth at CES on Friday and spoke with Jeff Evenson, the company's chief strategic officer, about the concept car—including who it's aimed at—as well as Corning's "Glass Age" marketing more generally. He also discusses some home-based glass technologies that Corning is also pioneering. 

    Check out that video above. 

    And for more about Corning's past marketing triumphs, check out 2011's "A Day Made of Glass" (at 26 million views, it's one of the most viral corporate B2B videos ever made), 2013's weird and wonderful "Brokeface" ads, and 2014's fun glass demo videos with the Mythbusters guys.


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