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    When your scruffy, half-frozen future self travels back in time with a message of life-changing import, what are you going to do?

    Scarf down a Snickers, of course!

    That's the plot of this ad for the Mars candy bar from Impact BBDO in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which puts a different spin on the time-tested "You're Not You When You're Hungry" template.

    "Like anything in life, preventing something from happening in the first place is the best cure," agency executive creative director Fadi Yaish tells AdFreak. "We're saying to people to go grab a bar and avoid any unforeseen consequences your hungry behavior might bring you, such as ending up marooned in an isolated research outpost in the South Pole."

    Suitably cinematic direction by Good People's Maged Nassar really brings the silly story of temporal trippiness to life:

    Wait, shouldn't that future dude vanish as soon as our cube-monkey hero takes a bite? Does Mr. White Collar with the rumbling tum actually escape his frozen fate? Has their presence together at the same moment in history caused a cosmic rift that will rip the universe apart?

    Most important, will that office building ever get better security so ice-encrusted whack-jobs can't just roam the corridors at will?

    "It was important for us to make the central character and his hunger trait as relatable as possible throughout, so we opted this time to not use any crazy characters," Yaish says. "We also made our protagonist give himself the bar, as we felt it added another nice dimension to the platform. After all, no one knows who you become when you're hungry better than you do."

    Client: Mars/Snickers

    Agency: Impact BBDO
    Fadi Yaish: Executive Creative Director
    Jamie Kennaway: Creative Director
    Stephanus De Lange: Creative Director
    Samantha Stuart-Palmer: General Manager
    Frances McCabe: Regional Account Director
    Lina Ghulam: Senior Account Manager
    Ashwin Ahuja: Group Planning Director

    Production House: Good People
    Director: Maged Nassar
    Executive Producers: Michel Abou Zeid & Cynthia Chammas
    DOP: Pierre Mouarkesh

    Post Production: Lizard VFX Shop, Cairo
    Editor: Amr Rabee
    Grading: Karim Mira

    Online: Lizard VFX shot, Cairo

    Music & Sound Design: The Garage, Cairo

    VO: Sounds Struck, Dubai

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    What if Elton John asked you to make the official music video for "Rocket Man," "Tiny Dancer" or "Bennie and the Jets"? That's exactly what just happened. Except he's not just asking you—he's asking the whole internet.

    John has joined forces with AKQA, Pulse Films and YouTube for "Elton John: The Cut," the ultimate creative gauntlet for music lovers. Its goal is to find videos that will go down in history as official accompaniments to three iconic songs—which, as luck would have it (for you, anyway), came out pre-MTV. 

    "One of the reasons we are doing this project with YouTube is to encourage young filmmakers to create visual ideas for these songs, and it gives us the chance to share [them] with younger fans," says Sir Elton John himself. 

    "I've always had a passion for youth and [for] the new. This is very exciting because we've never seen videos for these songs." 

    Below is the announcement video, featuring John and lyricist Bernie Taupin, who helped write all three songs—not to mention a slew of other iconic ditties. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the pair's creative collaboration: 

    YouTube creators Kurt Hugo Schneider, PES and Parris Goebel will shortlist the entries for the official contest judges, which include Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Grammy Award winner Melina Matsoukas, and Barry Jenkins, who just took home a Golden Globe for his film Moonlight. 

    "I've been a fan of Sir Elton John since 'Tiny Dancer' made a giant impact on music lovers everywhere," says Katzenberg. "I can think of no better way to start the new year than to embark on this new journey with Elton, as he brings phenomenal creativity and innovation to YouTube."

    Matsoukas' music-video-directing chops include Beyoncé's "Formation" and Rihanna's "We Found Love." "Having the space to experiment and learn ... was vital to my success," she says of her early filmmaking career. "It's a dream to be part of this program, which is providing that opportunity for emerging directors and redefining the relationship between an iconic artist and his fans through video." 

    And Jenkins—who first cut his teeth on "the DIY tools of digital cinema"—says music is central to his films and creative process. " 'The Cut' is so exciting to me because it combines a number of things I'm passionate about," he says. "I hope to see ideas for this competition that push boundaries and defy expectations." 

    For their participation, a donation of $20,000 will be made for each judge to the charity of their choice. Katzenberg chose the Motion Picture and Television Fund, Jenkins the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, and Matsoukas will announce her choice later on.

    Talk about high stakes. It's going to take more than a GoPro and whatever camera-stabilizer you funded on Kickstarter to earn a director title for an official "Tiny Dancer" music video. And to ensure you understand expectations for production quality, stop-motion master PES made an inspirational video, using the example of "Rocket Man," which has to be animated.

    "You can animate miniatures, real people, objects, paper—just about anything that you can dream up. All forms of animation are welcome," PES says, as his own stop-motion examples glide effortlessly across the screen. 

    Each video should incorporate different artistic elements—while "Rocket Man" is animated, "Tiny Dancer" will be live-action, and "Bennie and the Jets" must feature choreography. Get more contest details on the site.

    Submissions close on Jan. 23. Three winners will be chosen, and entries will premiere on YouTube this summer. You must be 16 or older to enter. 

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    It's not often you get to realize a childhood dream. And rapper Rick Ross just bought his—a Checkers franchise in his hometown, Carol City, Florida.

    Curiouser still, the purchase has led to the creation of a tiny documentary, which the drive-through restaurant chain is using as branded content. 

    Checkers doesn't do celebrity endorsements, but apparently Ross' affection for the brand shone so brightly in his franchise application that the brand sensed an opportunity. 

    To get a sense of their options, client marketing director Scott Wakeman and Checkers agency Fitzgerald & Co. contacted Woven Digital, whose sites—Uproxx, Dime and BroBible—are hotspots for the young males that Ross appeals to. 

    Conveniently, Woven also specializes in making documentaries that don't feel too branded. "It just felt like such a unique opportunity," Wakeman told The New York Times. 

    The result appears below.

    Shot mostly as Ross drives around Carol City, it's a story about where he's from, how it's impacted his music, and what he hopes to give back. It also answers any lingering curiosity you might have about why he wanted a Checkers in the first place: "The No. 1 hamburger in the game." 

    The video is beautifully produced, artfully juxtaposing monuments from Ross' past to the vivid life of those who've inherited his streets. These moments often feel staged to deliver just the right amount of dramatic flair: 

    What holds it together is Ross' stream-of-thought narration.

    "As I'm riding down this street, I feel like I'm the same kid that would see the ice cream truck, jump on the back of it and ride on it for half a block," he says as he steers past his childhood home, then his high school. 

    Halfway through, we learn about Checkers and its significance: At 13, Ross worked at a car wash across the street. "I made $30 a day from 8 in the morning to 8 at night," he says. "I went to Checkers." 

    Then he brings the narrative back to the present—he's not that kid anymore; he's a man with money and means. "Whatever I want to have, I can have without a doubt," he says. "I want Checkers."

    The video was filmed over two days in Carol City. And while producers planned to shoot Ross only outside of his franchise, unplanned moments add to the story's spirit. At one point, Ross published an Instagram post offering free burgers to fans who wanted to meet him at Checkers, and about 200 people showed up. The cameras rolled as he shook hands and caught up with friendly faces.

    "We don't think of it as an advertisement," Wakeman says. "We wanted to create a piece of content that captured his love for the brand." 

    However cheesy the core idea is, that love is something you can feel—not just for Checkers but for what it represents. Toward the end of the video, Ross ruminates, "What made me come back and buy Checkers? I had a lot of reasons: Providing jobs. Investing back into the community. Staying in touch with where you're from. We can come back and say a piece of this is ours."

    Checkers typically invests most of its $20 million marketing budget into TV. In contrast, the 3:45 documentary is being shared only on social media and Uproxx. And while Wakeman acknowledges that using a rapper's life story to promote hamburgers felt like a gamble, he feels Ross' authenticity resonates in a way previous Checkers content hasn't been able to.

    "Food and value are our two big brand pillars, and I think they come through in the spot in a cool way," says Wakeman. "It wasn't a script. It was just Rick talking about what he loves."

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    In its ongoing quest to remind us that nothing says Australia Day more than lamb barbecue, Meat & Livestock Australia gives us "Celebrate Australia with a Lamb BBQ." 

    That title is probably the least interesting thing about this ad, which doesn't even warm up the grill before accosting us with talking points: It opens on a beach, where two indigenous dudes "fire up the barbie" in preparation for the festivities to come. 

    And who shows up? Colonialism!

    Literally. One after the other, ships dock bearing Dutchmen, Englishmen, Germans, the French, the Chinese (carting fireworks) and Serbians. 

    "How long have you guys been here?" the first Dutch colonialist asks.

    "Since … forever, mate," one of the Original Aussies replies. 

    There are myriad cameos, including Sam Kekovich (from MLA's original Australia Day ads), Olympian Cathy Freeman, rugby player Wendell Sailor, MasterChef's Poh Ling Yeow, cricketer Adam Gilchrist and comedian Rhys Nicholson. 

    At the end, when the beach is nice and crowded, somebody draws attention to yet another wave of incoming "boat people." 

    "Aren't we all boat people?" Yeow asks provocatively. 

    Sure. Yes. But these aren't just any boat people—they're float people! As in Gay Pride floats! 

    Wow. There's a lot to unpack in this bad boy. 

    Created by ad agency The Monkeys, the ad follows in the footsteps of past MLA spots for Australia Day—though it doesn't actually mention the holiday by name, since it basically celebrates the arrival of colonialists and their violent overtaking of native peoples. (How many more ways can you make this party awkward?) 

    "The thought behind the ad this year, and following the evolution of lamb over the past 12 months, was to celebrate all the people who have contributed to making this country great, uniting the way we know best at this time of year, over a lamb barbecue," explains Monkeys executive creative director Scott Nowell. 

    A 30-second TV version of the ad will air through Jan. 26 (Australia Day!)—so even if Australia Day isn't mentioned, it's obviously still an Australia Day ad.

    For the last few years, Meat & Livestock Australia has painstakingly constructed a certain message—that being Australian, and having strong emotional ties to lamb, is more important than any other granularity you may subscribe to, or that others may ascribe to you. 

    "As a brand, lamb stands for unity," says MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie. "Australia is the greatest country on earth, and lamb is the nation's favorite meat. Hence, we have brought those two things together to prove we should be able to celebrate this great country every day of the year." 

    One nice thing about this message is that you can do a lot with it.

    In "Operation Boomerang," Australian citizens abroad were "rescued" so they could celebrate Australia Day with lamb. The MLA has also associated vegetarianism with a lack of patriotism—a weirdly common thread in ads that are otherwise about the awesomeness of diversity—and, most recently, positioned lamb as "the meat that doesn't discriminate," which even got its own hashtag, #unitedwelamb. 

    But while this vastness gives MLA room to be flexible and fun, that same quality also raises the stakes for its message. Diversity, belonging and patriotic allegiance aren't just talking points; they're sore spots. Their roots in our psyches extend to the bloody origins of our countries, and values our predecessors were often willing to die for. All of that resonates today in protectionist politics (and fights on Facebook). 

    We'd be hard pressed to call the MLA lazy in its approach. This 2:36 ad is a feat of production, carefully crafted stereotyping and a weird colonial fantasy, all of which culminates in some sort of killer beach party that somehow still has room for a "vegan" jab and—cherry on the cake!—a message about sexual identity acceptance. 

    But what's it all for? Is it to get us to think really hard about whether "boat people" is a term that deserves to exist? Is it to get us to hug?

    Maybe. But only incidentally. The real message is, of course, that true Australians eat lamb.

    I discussed the ad at length with Blinkist's Caitlin Schiller, and felt struck by a phrase she used to describe this sense of a payoff that's hardly equal to the material it's working with. 

    "All they did," she said, "was fill the minimum viable ad requirement." 


    MLA – Group Marketing Manager – Andrew Howie
    MLA – Lamb Brand Manager – Matthew Dwyer
    Creative Agency – The Monkeys
    Executive Creative Director – Scott Nowell
    Creative Director – Grant Rutherford
    Senior Art Director – Paul Sharp
    Senior Copywriter – Mike Burdick
    Head of Production – Thea Carone
    Senior Broadcast Producer – Jade Rodriguez
    Planning Director – Michael Hogg
    Managing Director – Matt Michael
    Group Content Director – Humphrey Taylor
    Content Director – Katie Wong-Hee
    Content Manager – Victoria Zourkas
    Production Company – Plaza Films
    Director – Paul Middleditch
    Executive Producer – Peter Masterton
    Head of Production – Megan Ayers
    DOP – Daniel Ardilley
    Production Design – Sal Boucher
    Wardrobe – Natasha Harrison
    Make Up – Jane Atherton
    DOP – Jeremy Fitzgerald
    Music Composition – Lamp Music
    Music Composer – Adam Gock
    Sound Design – Song Zu
    Edit – The Editors
    Editor – David Whittaker
    Post Production – Fin Design
    VFX Supervisor – Richard Betts
    Media Agency – UM
    PR Agency – One Green Bean

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    See you in hell, soul-sucking car-dealership experience! 

    Last week, Hyundai launched an Amazon-style "Click to Buy" website in the U.K. that lets you purchase various Tucson and Santa Fe models at fixed prices and arrange for delivery. In fact, if you're paying cash, they'll drive them right up to your door. 

    We miss the back-room haggling over price and extras with sweaty salespeople already. Not to mention those creepy air-dancer inflatable "tube people" wiggly-waving us into the showroom, and the sound of other people's kids screaming at the tops of their lungs as they dash among the vehicles with glee. 

    Leave the brats at home, people! 

    Anyway, ad agency Innocean and director Chris Palmer of production house Gorgeous celebrate "Click to Buy's" arrival in the spot below. Hmm, we wonder what could be inside those car-sized cardboard delivery boxes showing up all over town? 

    All in all, it's an effectively understated way to introduce the service. The boxes—instantly familiar, yet surreal owing to their size—are the perfect visual metaphor (even if Nissan got there a full three years ago with an actual boxed delivery). 

    And stomping on yards of bubble-wrap looks like too much fun! But … what happens if you need to return the car for some reason? You'll need, like, a million stamps! 

    Dealerships may (or may not) be on the way out, but luckily, despite our ever-evolving media landscape and fast-changing consumer needs, car commercials seem as entrenched as ever. 

    We wouldn't want to live in a world without those. Would we? 

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    Get ready to watch and re-watch the new Nike Women ad from FKA Twigs featuring a cadre of athletes and dancers. It's just that much ethereal eye candy, set to a snippet of the performer's new song, "Trust in Me."

    The mesmerizing spot, for which Twigs served as creative director, director and mastermind, hypes Nike's new Spring Zonal Strength Tights. The product gets a perfect showcase in her signature strenuous choreography and stunts featured in the two-minute mini-movie-music-video, shot around Mexico City, with co-stars like krump dancer Saskia Horton and Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson.

    In a statement, Twigs says: "When Nike first came to me with this project, I saw it as an opportunity to let young people know they have the power to become the best versions of themselves. I put together a cast of 12 incredible athletes to show that it's about what you do in fitness gear. It's about how you train. It's about how those things help your movement."

    She had written the song, "Trust in Me," before Nike approached her.

    "I realized it would be perfect, because the lyrics say, 'Put your trust in me.' In a way, we're asking people to look at me and the other amazing athletes in the video and trust the way we are," she says. "We've worked hard to perfect our crafts and create our own destinies, and we're feeling good in our bodies."

    The short film is a gritty-beautiful mashup of face paint, long limbs, layered activewear and Bollywood-esque movement with the tagline, "Do you believe in more?" FKA Twigs directed the spot. It was produced by A+/Academy in London direct with Nike. The 17-year-old photographer David Uzochukwu shot the stills for the campaign. 

    Twigs—who talks more about the ad, and its stars, here—has collaborated with brands like Calvin Klein and Google Glass in the past, taking on creative duties and, in the latter case, making the product look way cooler than it really was.

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    Electronic communication is the name of the game in the latest weekly chart of the most digitally engaging commercials, according to TV ad-attention analytics company iSpot.tv.

    Five of the top 10 ads are smartphone-related, with each company taking a different approach to showcasing its products. Apple claims two spots, including first place with an ad that shows off the photography capabilities of the iPhone 7. T-Mobile has a squirm-inducing spot at No. 4 that touts the end of surprise fees and taxes with a plan that includes everything (in the ad, parents find the hidden "fees" in their children's hair—playing off the idea of fleas or lice).

    AT&T cleverly shows off its streaming capabilities with a man on the go who is continually immersed in the different worlds of popular TV shows. And Verizon's eighth place commercial lets customers know that even though the holidays are over, there's still time to get good deals on phones and plans.

    Once again, humor helps commercials jump into the chart: Geico's second-place ad features a man run amuck with a razor in a barber shop. The brand also takes No. 6 with a playful spot where a sumo wrestler impresses the judges with his figure skating routine. 

    Top 10 Ads by Digital Share of Voice
    powered by iSpot.tv

    1. Apple iPhone 7 Plus TV Spot, "Take Mine" Song by Bezos' Hawaiian Orchestra
    34.18 percent digital SOV;  2,114,869 online views; 48,408 social actions

    2. Geico TV Spot, "Tiki's Barber Shop: It's Not Surprising" Featuring Tiki Barber
    26.80 percent digital SOV; 3,857,561 online views; 9,563 social actions

    3. Amazon Prime TV Spot, "Old Friends" Song by Ludovico Einaudi
    7.12 percent digital SOV; 33,322 online views; 15,276 social actions

    4. T-Mobile One TV Spot, "Daughter"
    5.12 percent digital SOV; 7,097 online views; 11,061 social actions

    5. Madden NFL 17 TV Spot, "Karaoke" Featuring Antonio Brown
    3.65 percent digital SOV; 52,091 online views; 7,366 social actions

    6. Geico TV Spot, "Sumo Wrestler Figure Skating"
    1.31 percent digital SOV; 37,187 online views; 2,013 social actions

    7. AT&T TV Spot, "Everywhere"
    1.28 percent digital SOV; 62,119 online views; 1,842 social actions

    8. Verizon TV Spot, "Get Verizon's Best Smartphones for $10 Per Month"
    1.17 percent digital SOV; 58,943 online views; 1,829 social actions

    9. Apple iPhone 7 TV Spot, "Romeo and Juliet"
    0.98 percent digital SOV; 33,849 online views; 1,620 social actions

    10. Target TV Spot, "Well Chosen" Song by Lizzo and Caroline Smith
    0.85 percent digital SOV; 1,223 online views; 1,809 social actions

    Excludes Movie Trailers.

    Attention analytics company iSpot.tv tracks TV ads in real time across more than 10 million smart TVs, and measures digital response to TV ads across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Bing and Yahoo! Click here for more on iSpot.tv's methodology.


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    A business idea is all good and well, but a new ad from freelance marketplace Fiverr—the company's first brand campaign—is putting the emphasis on the actual doing part.

    The rapid-fire montage, created by DCX, follows entrepreneurs as they hustle their way to the top of their game with services brokered through the website, which lets users source help with tasks ranging from logo design to voiceovers and coding.

    One woman video conferences with China from a nightclub bathroom. Another takes a chainsaw to a conference room whiteboard. A third checks her email during sex—without bothering to stop.

    The enemy is establishment privilege—trust fund kids, obnoxious tech bros, investors who are literally sharks in suits—but even more so, it is complacency. "In doers we trust," declares the tagline, which also appears across billboards with headlines like, "Dreamers, kindly step aside."

    It's an engaging approach, even if some of the cracks are a bit obvious (Segways are low hanging fruit on the comedy tree) -or broad (the Grim Reaper looming in the elevator is a great image, but death is a distracting bogeyman to cram into a focused sales pitch).

    In fact, Fiverr's selling point—low-cost solutions—may get a bit lost in the ad's dance with the zeitgeist, and its commitment to bravado. Then again, if it nails the psychology of its target, that's selling point enough. 

    Check out print/OOH work and a BTS video below. The print work was shot by Platon, the photographer behind well-know portraits of President Obama,George Clooney and Edward Snowden.

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    It's no great epiphany that radio can be a more forgiving format than video. But you may not have considered the full range of horrific opportunities that liberation from a camera can afford you.

    You can wear white pants after Labor Day. You can pretend to hit your grandmother over the head with a frying pan. Or you can make a kale and hamster smoothie. It's all kosher, because if you're not actually showing the violence, then it's not actually real.

    That's the gist of the amusing call for entries for the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards.

    Created by Highdive Advertising and its co-founder Mark Gross—whose credits include work on Bud Light's classic "Real Men of Genius" radio campaign—the call for entries proves its point surprisingly well. The implicit gore is generally hilarious, if perhaps in a groan-inducing way. In the end, everyone knows Grandma and the hamster are OK and the whole thing was just an audio gag.

    "On radio, anything is possible," declares the tagline.

    "I truly believe creatives have more freedom in radio than anywhere else," says Gross. The campaign may provide some clues as to what sort of submissions the competition is seeking—Gross is Radio Mercury's chief judge this year. The promo from a couple years back offered some key advice on what not to enter—most of which should have hopefully been obvious, but probably wasn't. And 2015 chief judge Jim Elliott also had some useful pointers on what makes a good radio ad, generally.

    If the 2016 radio winners at that other advertising awards show, Cannes, are any indication, goofy takes on manliness are still a good bet, too.

    Client: Radio Mercury Awards
    Project: "On Radio Anything is Possible"
    Agency: Highdive
    Writers: Mark Gross, Chad Broude, Bart Culberson
    Production: Cutters Studios
    Director: Brian Broeckelman (Dictionary Films)
    Editor: Tom Brassil (Cutters)
    Editor Assistant: Jacob Swartz (Cutters)
    Producer: Heather Richardson (Cutters)
    Sound Design and Mix: Another Country
    Sound Designers and Mixers: John Binder, Peter Erazmus
    Music: Asche & Spencer
    Actors: Christopher Jones, Betty Owens
    Hamster: Herbie the Hamster*
    Animal Casting/Wrangling: All Animals Rentals
    *No hamsters were harmed in the making of this video. The kale, however, did not fare as well.
    Go to radiomercuryawards.com for 2017 Call for Entry.

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    Maladjusted millennial braggarts choose Pizza Hut. Let's all go there today!

    Running on Viacom's cable-TV networks, this goofy campaign for the restaurant chain targets young adults, presenting folks who get their kicks by outdoing one another in various situations. The ads were created in-house by content unit Viacom Velocity and amplify the line, "No one out-pizzas the Hut," introduced last year in ads from Droga5.

    "When we can get people to laugh, and often laugh at themselves, it really resonates," Ken Saji, creative director at Viacom Velocity, tells AdFreak. "And instead of doing one-off spots, we wanted to create a franchise—almost like a sitcom series—that all of the creative could live under."

    Four 30-second commercials were tailored to match the vibe of various Viacom properties. For example, the first ad below, running on MTV and Spike, focuses on rock-band fandom, and features the scariest air-guitar-solo-face of all time:


    "We needed a band name for the crazy fan's T-shirt," Saji recalls. "Options included: Impossible Hockey, Underwater Teen, Two-Acre Haircut, Rumika's Revenge. We went with Fire Knife."

    Dude, get back in the editing suite. Impossible Hockey! Impossible Hockey!

    This next spot, intended primarily for VH1, puts selfies in the picture. (Do millennials like taking selfies? Man, they ruin everything.)


    Meanwhile, an ad running on Comedy Central combines workplace humor, puppies and DJs. (Wait, do millennials even have jobs?)


    "During every break, people ran and lined up to hold the puppies," says Saji. "Also, they were rescues, and up for adoption. Crew members posted photos and links to the shelter to help them find a home."

    Finally, for the TVLand and CMT crowd, comes this pretentiously pompous playdate:


    This spot was filmed at a private home in suburban Los Angeles. "During the shoot, the boy who lived there needed to come back to get his clarinet," says Saji. "He couldn't get in until one of the scenes was over and waited patiently on the street."

    Sorry, kid, that's showbiz.

    Like the products they promote, these ads fall into a familiar comfort zone. That's because the wacky pizza-commercial trope has been dished out by Domino's, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut seemingly forever. Just follow the recipe—a pinch of oddball here, a dash of wacky there—and you've got a piping-hot pie of a campaign. (Or a tepid pile of dough, depending on one's personal taste.)

    Here, the cast works hard to wring laughs from the material, and the performers are fairly funny, though they get kind of shouty at times.

    Some wags might argue the funniest line is the tag, and take a swipe at the chain's infamously generic cuisine by suggesting that practically anyone could, in all likelihood, out-pizza the Hut. We'd never dream of being that saucy. And in Viacom's defense, that's an inherited positioning, albeit one that should probably be sliced into nonexistence post haste.

    All told, in keeping with Pizza Hut tradition, this campaign isn't exactly the tastiest stuff around. It's predictable, lowest-common-denominator fare, but not half bad, and satisfying if you're in the right frame of mind.

    "All the actors were given to option to take their bites of the pizza and spit—a common practice," says Saji, "and they all decided to eat it."

    No one can out-starve actors. They'll eat anything.

    Client: Pizza Hut
    Agency: Viacom Velocity
    EVP, Chief Creative Officer – Niels Schuurmans
    SVP, Creative – Chris Carlson
    VP, Creative Director – Ken Saji
    Director – Evan Silver
    Copywriter – Zac Coe
    Executive Producer – Deb Reichman
    Production Management Director – Jeff Woodton
    Production Manager – Ashlee Alves
    Line Producer – Chris Zimmer
    Editor – Tommy Shull
    Assistant Editor – Luigi Romano
    Project Management Director – Ellie Miltner
    Designer – Ayla Nucum
    Motion Graphics – Rob Cerrato, York Capistrano
    Sound – Eddie Cooper, Plush NYC
    Color – Gary Scarpulla, Nutmeg
    Integrated Marketing Director – Meredith Kohlbecker
    Integrated Marketing Managers – Carly McElroy, Stacy Katz
    Media Agency – Optimedia

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    Eyewear might not be the first category that comes to mind when one thinks of emotionally powerful advertising.

    But a new spot for Pearle Vision by Energy BBDO gets to the very heart of the matter with the touching tale of Ben, a boy who has a very unique relationship with an aging pair of misfit glasses that make the small tasks in his life that much more challenging. 

    Energy BBDO has worked on the brand since 2013. This campaign marks a return to the classic tagline, "Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle," which hasn't appeared in Pearle's marketing efforts for more than 20 years. 

    In case you missed the twist, the glasses belonged to Ben's late grandfather. And the lenses provided by Pearle in the end were, in fact, blank. 

    Ben doesn't have a vision problem at all. He was simply struggling to deal with the passing of his beloved grandpa. As one can see from the vision expert's knowing expression, the service she provided was much more of an emotional salve than a medical necessity. 

    "When we talk about Pearle, it is very much in the context of genuine eye care," says Pearle Vision chief marketing officer Doug Zarkin. "Not only state-of-art diagnostics but caring for the people behind the eyes." 

    Zarkin describes this campaign as an illustration of what his company's employees do for customers every day. "Our doctor actually goes the extra mile and puts in the blank lens so the child is none the wiser," he says. "The easy way out would be simply popping out the lenses, but in realizing how important they are, she is partnering with the parents to make the child feel better about himself."

    In research conducted by client and agency over the past three years, Pearle found trust was an important component of its relationships with customers. "An emotionally led journey generated through a series of small moments [earns that] trust, which leads to loyalty, retention and growth," Zarkin says. "Not everyone who comes to Pearle Vision has a vision acuity issue; that's where most people stop and we start." 

    Zarkin tells Adweek that "Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle" is more of a "customer-friendly articulation" than a tagline, adding that it helps to spur memories of what he hopes to be "a generational offering" for customers. 

    He also describes Energy BBDO as an extension of his internal marketing department and says the two will expand on the "Small Moments" campaign moving forward. 

    The full version of "Ben's Glasses" will launch via social channels next week, with a 30-second cut to begin airing on TV in February. 

    Client: Pearle Vision
    Spot: "Ben's Glasses"
    Agency: Energy BBDO
    Chief Creative Officer: Andrés Ordóñez
    Associate Creative Directors: Michele Brandel, Alejandro Juli & Agustin Ballerio
    Senior Art Director: Jesus Diaz
    Senior Producer: Danielle Keenan
    Director of Music: Daniel Kuypers
    Managing Director: Jeff Adkins
    Account Director: Tiffany Alexander
    Account Supervisor: Layne Steele Paddon
    Planning Director: Shannon Mehner
    Production Company: Serial Pictures
    Director: Bruce St. Clair
    Founder/Executive Producer: Violaine Etienne
    Executive Producer: Michel Waxman
    Head of Production: Monica Relmold
    Producer: Paul Ure
    Director of Photography: Ottar Guonason
    Editorial Company: Whitehouse Post
    Editor: Matthew Wood
    Assistant Editor: Allison Marach
    Producer: Dawn Guzowski
    Visual Effects: Carbon VFX
    Flame Artist: Matt Bregger & Devon Taylor
    GFX Animator: Jake Matthew
    Producer: Kate Soczka & Casey Swircz
    Audio: Another Country
    Sound Engineer: Peter Erazmus
    Producer: Louise Ryder
    Music: "Weather"
    Artist: Novo Amor
    Album: Woodgate, NY
    Voice Talent: Lia Mortenson

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    If anything is going to convince a smoker to quit, it's a judgmental, passive-aggressive, coughing billboard. At least, that's the ostensible premise of a new campaign from Swedish pharmacy Apoteket Hjärtat and agency Åkestam Holst.

    The digital poster uses outdoor smoke detectors to identify any nearby smokers and shame them by sending the man on the screen into a hacking fit, according to a case study video promoting the ad.

    It then displays a series of nicotine patches and other kick-the-habit products, because obviously, the smoker is going to be most receptive to a pitch right after having his or her moment of self-destructive indulgence interrupted by a virtual asshole.

    To be fair, the campaign's heart is in the right place—sort of.

    It's nice that it wants to help people be healthier. But it also clearly wants to garner attention for itself, and sell its wares—this is not a PSA. And there are a number of problems with this sort of approach.

    First, most smokers these days know that smoking is bad for them, and they choose to do it anyway. Second, advertising is a generally intrusive medium to begin with. Being deliberately more intrusive—nagging adults for their unhealthy choices—doesn't do the brand any favors.

    Sure, it's a bit clever. (This is the same client-agency team that made the subway ad with the model whose hair blew around whenever a train arrived.) But if the ad were a real person coughing at strangers on the street—and if its first victim's stink-eye reaction is any indication—it'd be at risk of starting a fist fight.

    All oh which suggests that the campaign's actual target isn't the smokers themselves, but everybody else who thinks smokers are gross to begin with. Which might actually be a reasonable strategy.

    Smoking is already banned in Swedish bars, restaurants and malls—a recent government investigation suggested the country should also prohibit lighting up at outdoor public spaces like bus stops, playgrounds, and cafes. In a country where healthcare costs are largely footed by taxpayers, it's not unreasonable to argue that an expensive, illness inducing habit should be legally hindered if not outright eliminated.

    But that's not exactly the tack being taken here, or a very laissez-faire, live-and-let-live approach to the market, which leaves the whole thing feeling somewhat disingenuous—even if the people blowing smoke in the face of innocent passersby are inconsiderate, too.

    In other words, when everyone is a dick, it's not really clear who comes out ahead.

    Client: Pharmacy "Apoteket Hjärtat"
    Agency: Åkestam Holst / Sweden
    Media Agency: Clear Channel

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    Without pesky headphone wires, you'll be freed up to move in any way the laws of physics allow—and even, perhaps, some they don't.

    Apple this weekend launched "Stroll," the latest 60-second spot in its ongoing "Practically Magic" campaign, which has been devoted to the iPhone 7 but here pushes the brand's new AirPods wireless headphones. 

    The spot stars Lil Buck, the 28-year-old freestyle dancer who first caught our attention two years ago when he danced with Mikhail Baryshnikov in a wonderful ad for Rag & Bone.

    In the Apple ad, Buck strolls down the street, AirPods in his ears, and is suddenly freed from gravity as he gyrates through Mexico City to the lilting tune of "Down" by Marian Hill.

    The spot debuted Saturday during the Seahawks-Falcons NFL playoff game on Fox. Some observers have likened it to Apple's classic iPod silhouette spots, though that's overly simplistic. In fact, in many ways, the new ad stands as a counterpoint to the iPod work.

    The iPod spots were colorful and high energy, with the iconic white headphone wires whipping around and playing a big role in the visuals. Here, the whole point is that there's no wires to hinder your moves—and Lil Buck's moves are intricate enough that you couldn't imagine him doing them with wires flailing about. 

    The spot is also drained of color and has a quiet, artsy elegance (where the iPod stuff was way more boisterous). The gravity-defying scenes, with Buck dancing on the sides of buildings and cars, and upside down on a movie theater marquee (where, at one point, he threatens to fall upward to the cosmos itself), nicely weaves in the "magic" positioning, too.

    It's a nice poetic intro to the AirPods. And if they can't actually help you dance upside down, that's probably a good thing. You'd be that much more likely to lose those little suckers. 

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    Chevrolet has long been running a campaign that shows a group of "ordinary" people, a Chevy car and has them react in disbelief to how safe it is, how many awards it's won and generally how awesome it is.

    Now, Chevy is launching a campaign in conjunction with Warner Bros. to promote The Lego Batman Movie, coming out in February. To kick things off, the car maker created a commercial (with the help of Commonwealth/McCann) that plays just like those real ads, but features a group of Lego mini-fig people being shown the Batmobile and asked what kind of person they think would drive such a car.

    Batman is, of course, in the background and disagrees with the assessments by the focus group—that the car would likely belong to a loner with few friends, a defensive personality and so on.

    That's not all, though. This weekend, Chevy unveiled a life-size version of the Lego Batmobile from the movie at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and will bring it to the Chicago Auto Show next month as well.

    The landing page for the partnership offers specs on the Batmobile as if it were any other car rolling off Chevy's assembly line, including an MSRP (of $48 million) and other specs, along with the ability to see how it would look in any of a dozen shades of black or very, very dark grey. And of course, there's a link to buy the building set directly from Lego's online store.

    "To work on the Lego Batmobile with Warner Bros. is an absolute thrill for us at Chevy," said Paul Edwards, U.S. vp of Chevrolet marketing. "Many of the themes in The Lego Batman Movie, like imagination, family and community, align perfectly with our Chevy brand values and add to the value of the partnership." 

    Still no word on whether it does or doesn't include a seatbelt, which, according to the movie's trailer, Alfred is supposed to install as soon as possible.

    Chevrolet "What Kind of Person" 
    Agency: Commonwealth/McCann
    Creative Chairman: Linus Karlsson
    Chief Creative Officer, North America: Gary Pascoe
    Executive Creative Director: Bob Guisgand
    Executive Creative Director: Duffy Patten
    Creative Director: John Fiebke
    Creative Director: Tim Mattimore
    Associate Creative Director: Erik Bjorklund
    Associate Creative Director: Andrew Bouwkamp
    Executive Producer: Kelly Balagna / Paul Renusch
    Senior Producer: Adam VanDyke
    Account Director: Rebecca Chow
    Sr. Business Manager: Julie Peterhans
    Animation: Reel FX Creative Studios
    Head of Production: Jim Riche
    Director: Augusto Schillaci
    Producer: Samantha Daniel
    CG Supervisor: Patton Tunstall
    Animation Supervisor: Bill Haller
    Editor: Amy Grieshaber
    Music: A&A
    Sound Designer: Aaron Glascock

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    Some in the Western world retain unfortunate stereotypes about China as a society that places little value on individuality, valuing loyalty to the state above all other things. 

    Advertisers, in turn, have often approached the world's second largest economy with caution. For example, a 2008 Olympic-themed effort from Adidas illustrated Chinese consumers' sense of national pride in their team as the German sports apparel brand aimed to shore up a larger share of what remains a rapidly growing market. 

    Yet young Chinese athletes are most definitely interested in expressing their own personalities, and Adidas' latest attempt to reach them appeals directly to that desire. It also pushes back against the Cold War-era man-or-machine narrative while simultaneously mocking one of the brand's chief rivals in the region.

    Check out the new spot here: 

    Under Armour fans will notice that the first scene in "One in a Billion" directly references UA's "Rule Yourself." In that Droga5 campaign from 2015, thousands of clones of Tom Brady, Misty Copeland, Steph Curry and others demonstrated the hard and often mindless work that goes into being a world-class athlete—doing the same thing over and over again in the endless pursuit of perfection. (This isn't the first time Adidas has taken a shot at UA's repetitive-training mind-set.) 

    This first Chinese campaign from Adidas' new global lead creative agency, 72andSunny, goes a bit further in reminding viewers that every form of athleticism can double as an expression of one's individual style. These would-be stars aren't limited by sport, gender or even nationality. (Note the hard-to-miss cameo here by one David Beckham.) 

    There's still plenty of homeland pride to be found in a spot that also features appearances by Olympic volleyball player Hui Ruo Qui and swimmer Ning Ze Tao. But the big message here is that Adidas can help young competitors be inviduals, too. 

    So, why target Under Armour? That company's recently announced plans to capture a bigger portion of the Chinese market, currently dominated by Nike (and Adidas), might just have something to do with it.

    Client: Adidas
    VP, Global Brand Communications: Ryan Morlan
    Director, Global Brand Communications: Jenny Chen
    Senior Manager, Creative Production & Shoot: Eleanor Fitzgerald
    VP, Brand Director Sports Performance - adidas China: Marc Leroux
    VP, Brand Activation - adidas China: Philip Ho
    Senior Director, Brand Communications - adidas China: Josephine Tsai
    Director Brand Communications - adidas China: Lorna Luo
    Manager Brand Communication Training - adidas China: Amy Fan

    Featured in the Campaign
    China National Volleyball Team Player: Hui Ruo Qui
    China Olympic Swimmer: Ning Ze Tao
    Former European Football Player: David Beckham

    Agency: 72andSunny Los Angeles​ and 72andSunny New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Co-Founder: Glenn Cole
    Group Creative Director: Frank Hahn
    Creative Director: Wei Wei Dong
    Creative Director: Matthew Carey
    Creative Technologist: Tim Grover
    Writer: Ben Wiley
    Designer: Brandon Mai
    Chief Production Officer: Tom Dunlap
    Executive Producer: Kerli Teo
    Producer: Jenny Jones
    Group Brand Director: James Stephens
    Brand Director: Ryan Warner
    Brand Manager: Brian Kim
    Brand Coordinator: Brittany Allen
    Group Strategy Director: Sudeep Gohil
    Strategy Director: Ginger Xiang
    Senior Strategist: Marc Pardy
    Partnerships & Legal Director: Christina Rust
    Partnerships & Legal Manager: Kelly Ventrelli
    Junior Partnerships & Legal Manager: Noah Winter

    Director: Max Malkin
    Co-Founder / Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
    Vice President / Executive Producer: Ali Brown
    Director of Production: Tracy Hauser
    Producer: Matt Wersinger

    Lost Planet NY
    Editor: Bruce Herrman
    Executive Producer: Krystn Wagenberg
    Producer: Paolo Solarte

    Sound Design:
    Barking Owl
    Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
    Executive Producer/ CD: Kelly Bayett
    Producer: Ashley Benton

    The Mill NY
    Executive Producer: Melanie Wickham
    Senior Producer: Eliana Carranza-Pitcher
    Production Coordinator: Ashley Goodwin
    Shoot Supervisor: Eliza Randall
    2D Lead Artist: Ilia Mokhtareizadeh
    2D Artists: Vi Nguyen, Andre Vidal, Mikey Smith, Kyle Zemborain
    Motion Graphics: Laura Nash, Chris Mennuto

    The Mill NY
    Colorist: Mikey Rossiter
    Color Assist: Nate Seymour and Elias Nousiopoulos
    Executive Producer: Dee Allen
    Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
    Color Coordinator: Evan Bauer

    Heard City
    Audio Mixer - Eric Warzecha
    Audio Producer - Andi Lewis
    Audio EP - Sasha Awn

    Apparat "Ash/Black Veil"
    Music Supervision: Daniel Cross

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    Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios' temperamental behavior, and frequent perceived lack of effort, are the subject of a new online Nike ad. But not everyone is happy with the message it seems to be sending. 

    The ad, which is really more of a branded GIF, features a photo of a screaming Kyrgios whose head is surrounded by animated clouds and lightning bolts. The copy line is, "Dark clouds never got in the way of talent." 

    First of all, that's wrong. The whole problem with Kyrgios is that he doesn't try hard enough on the court, and has been officially reprimanded for it at least twice. He's also unstable enough that John McEnroe, himself no stranger to being a jerk, has called him out for it. 

    That's, like, the definition of dark clouds obscuring talent. 

    But more to the point, the copy line about "Dark clouds" has angered some mental health advocates, who say it minimizes the difficulties experienced by people with mental problems. 

    You could also interpret the message as, "Mental illness can be defeated through ability/grit/brute force." A lot of people have interpreted it that way, and given the "Walk it off" attitude so prevalent in modern sports, I can understand why. 

    In any case, advancing the discussion of mental illness in athletics is a lot to ask from what's essentially a tweet. But if you're willing to embrace the risk of using a controversial athlete to sell stuff, you should be open to deeper considerations, too. 

    For what it's worth, Kyrgios doesn't seem to have a problem with the ad. He posted it, along with a second animation, on Twitter this week. 

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    If the medium is the message, then Videri Chocolate Factory's latest advertising has a very palatable message indeed.

    The Raleigh, N.C., chocolate maker worked with ad agency Baldwin& to create special posters, completely made of chocolate, celebrating its 5th anniversary. The posters weigh two pounds each, use 70 percent dark craft chocolate and were handcrafted by Videri co-CEO and chocolate maker Sam Ratto. 

    There are three different headlines on the posters:

    "If only we could say 'Thank you' in chocolate. Wait. We can."
    "In celebration of our 5th anniversary, enjoy this tasteful poster."
    "Dear Raleigh, thanks for 5 amazing years. Now eat this thing before it melts."

    The posters went up at Videri, local restaurants, stores, breweries, art galleries and other places that get foot traffic. Hopefully they are still up, and haven't been stolen by sweet tooths in the community.

    "Videri Chocolate Factory has been making and selling some of the finest chocolate in the country from right here in Raleigh for five years now," says David Baldwin, founder and chief creative officer of Baldwin&. "It has quickly become a beloved institution and brings a level of craft, quality, and community that comes directly from passion about the final product, which is now available in poster version."

    "We wanted to create excitement around our anniversary," says Starr Sink Ratto, Videri co-CEO. "Loyal customers are already familiar with our bean-to-bar chocolate so they'll have no hesitation enjoying the chocolate posters. We are hoping to reach new customers, too, that may have not yet met our awesome gang, toured the factory or gotten free samples. Poster-sized samples."

    Client – Videri
    Starr Sink Ratto – Co-CEO, Chocolate Maker
    Sam Ratto – Co-CEO, Chocolate Maker
    Chris Heavener – Co-founder, General Manager
    Agency – Baldwin&
    Jen Matthews – Creative Director
    Christopher Stollmeyer – Art Director
    Britton Upchurch - Copywriter
    Chad Temples – Creative Director, Copywriter
    David Baldwin – Chief Creative Officer
    Bob Ranew – Chief Creative Officer
    Jerry Bodrie – Director Account Management
    Lindsay Barnes – Senior Project Manager

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    It was back in the summer of 2014 that Neil Patrick Harris did his first ads for Heineken Light, via Wieden + Kennedy New York. From the beginning, the campaign has had a meta humor, wryly commenting on beer advertising generally—including, in one of the early spots, Harris why pondering why there are rules prohibiting him from drinking on TV.

    W+K is now off the Heineken account, replaced by Publicis, but the 43-year-old Emmy and Tony Award winner continues to advertise the Light brand.

    Here's the latest 15-second spot, which broke Tuesday:

    AdFreak caught up with Harris to ask him why he's still doing the Heineken Light work, what he thinks of the writing, and whether he actually drinks the stuff.

    You've been doing Heineken Light ads since 2014. What convinced you to sign on at the beginning?
    I'm a fan of supporting products that are adjacent to my own life and interests. When Heineken first approached me, I appreciated that they thought I would be a good fit to promote their beer—instead of a super alpha male type. I like to think I'm alpha male adjacent, and it's been very cool that these last few years have gone so well. Now, here we are again!

    Why are you the right person to advertise this brand?
    Aside from being a true fan of the beer (really … I am the proud owner of a Heineken Light kegerator), I think it's a fit because Heineken Light has a humor to it and isn't afraid to make jokes and take chances. Each new campaign allows us to continue to build on our years of refined beverage hilarity. And of course I love to work with any team that allows me to ad-lib and have a beer on-set.

    Can you describe the humor here, and why it works for this product?
    This newest installment of the campaign is all about "impossible feats." Many think it's impossible to brew a great tasting light beer since a lot of the light ones lose their taste in order to cut calories. Heineken Light stands out from the rest since it uses cascade hops—which are typically found in craft IPAs. So with that, Heineken Light has done "the impossible," and that's where we get to play with the humor of what else is considered impossible. I'm a magician, so challenging the impossible is kind of my thing.

    Many of the ads are quite meta in their treatment of beer advertising clichés. What do you think of that approach, and of the sly quality of the writing?
    One of my favorite things about working with Heineken Light is their trademark wit. The writers are awesome in that they've found ways to make each campaign different and continually funny—even letting me go off the cuff and put my own spin on things. I love working on an ad campaign with a beer that can poke fun at itself. Is it meta that I'm talking about my own humor here?

    Do you add much to the scripts, in embellishing or improvising, or are the ads shot basically as written?
    We do shoot as written, and then a bunch of takes that are totally unscripted. Ad-libbing, embellishing and improvising are all part of the fun. Add beer into that equation, and I'm pretty unstoppable. One of the great things about my partnership with Heineken Light is that we both share and appreciate a sense of cheeky humor.

    How would you describe the character you're playing?
    I get to be pretty true to myself in our Heineken Light ads—something that was important to me, and to Heineken. I think my shining personality and wit has been well represented in each campaign installment. This newest spot felt very organic. I got to use my hypnotizing skills while enjoying a Heineken Light.

    Will you stick with Heineken for the long term?
    We're in a pretty committed relationship these past four years. These things don't end easily.

    What other current advertising do you admire, if any?
    I'm actually a big Netflix watcher, so not up to date with the latest advertising. I'll let you know after the Super Bowl.

    And you actually do drink Heineken Light?
    I really have a Heineken Light tap installed at my house. Seriously. It's amazing.

    Check out some more recent Heineken Light ads with NPH below: 


    Client: Heineken
    Campaign Title: Best Tasting Light Beer

    Agency: Publicis New York
    Global Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Worldwide: Bruno Bertelli
    Chief Creative Officer, Publicis New York: Andy Bird
    EVP, Executive Creative Director, Publicis New York: Joe Johnson
    VP, Creative Director, Publicis New York: Jason Gorman
    VP, Creative Director, Publicis New York: Einav Jacubovich
    VP, Creative Director, Publicis New York: Jeremy Filgate
    Associate Creative Director, Publicis New York: Lindsay Cliett
    Associate Creative Director, Publicis New York: John-Paul Cannucciari
    Copywriter, Publicis New York: Patrick Merritt
    VP, Executive Producer, Publicis New York: Tim LeGallo
    Associate Producer, Publicis New York: Rachel Tierney
    EVP, Group Account Director, Publicis New York: Kathryn Harvey
    Worldwide Account Director, Publicis Italy: David Pagnoni
    VP, Group Account Director, Publicis New York: Shari Lederman

    Production Company: Park Pictures
    Director: Terri Timely
    Line Producer: Dave Lambert

    Editorial Company: Prodigious
    Editor: Terence Ziegler
    Executive Producer: Beth Fitzpatrick

    Visual Effects Company: Art Jail
    Executive Producer: John Skeffington
    Producer: Adriana Wong

    0 0

    You're watching your favorite beauty vlogger broadcast live as she drives her car around town. She looks away from the road to check her phone and read questions from fans.

    Suddenly, the picture goes haywire, and the vlogger screams amid sounds of shrieking metal and smashing glass. She's apparently been involved in a devastating crash. The scene fades to black.

    When this horrifying bit of video streamed live on Dec. 16, some 2,500 users were looking on in horror and dismay, shocked by what had evidently occurred.

    Thankfully, it was only an ad—a PSA from Or Yarok (the Association for Safer Driving in Israel) featuring local YouTube star Ashley Waxman Bakshi. After 10 seconds, she reappeared on screen, live in every sense of the word, to explain what was going on and warn viewers about the dangers of distracted driving.

    The "crash," and Bakshi's lengthy in-car vlogging session about cosmetics that led into the carnage, consisted of pre-filmed footage.

    Here's a case study video that puts the project in perspective:

    Below is the original vlog video in Hebrew. The "crash" takes place about six minutes in. It's not graphic, but such completely unexpected violence packs considerable impact.

    "The sell to Ashley Waxman Bakshi was a very short one," Eva Hasson, strategic planning information specialist at BBR Saatchi & Saatchi in Tel Aviv, which developed the campaign, tells AdFreak. "She was passionate about the idea from the get go—not least because she herself had been involved in a car accident just the week before, an accident caused by the other driver texting while driving."

    At first, the client voiced concerns that the approach might be too sensationalistic.

    "But ultimately they understood that to get through to this relatively young audience, a commercial would not do," says Hasson. "These guys have seen all the 'Don't text and drive' ads a dozen times, and have been undeterred to part with their bad habits. Or Yarok was convinced that getting through to this audience would require a shock tactic that really hit home."

    By the next day, more than 57,000 users had viewed the clip across all platforms. Hasson says both parents and teens have, by and large, approved of the unconventional technique.

    Of course, intense PSAs that manipulate emotions, often with startling reveals, are nothing new. AT&T's lauded "It Can Wait" drives this same road. That said, the audacious decision to "kill" a beloved celebrity during an apparently live broadcast—and the eagerness to deceive its overwhelmingly young viewers, even for a few seconds—is a different kind of trip that raises profound questions despite its good intentions.

    Does the campaign cross a line? With "fake news"—and fakery of all kinds—plaguing the internet, and public trust in various institutions by some measures at all-time lows, doesn't this reality-bending excursion just add to the confusing noise and clutter it was designed to break through?

    "Going too far would have meant holding out on the fans and taking away all identifiers that this was actually an ad—like the logo and message," Hasson says. "Leaving fans hanging on the edge of their seats for hours would have been going overboard. That's why we gave it 10 seconds and went back on air with Ashley explaining what had happened."

    She adds: "Judging from the moms' comments, this probably was just inside the boundaries of acceptable—but a well delivered lesson."

    Chief Executive Officer: Yossi Lubaton
    Chief Creative Officer: Jonathan Lang
    VP Creative Director: Idan Regev
    Creative Director: Idan Levy
    Social & Digital Creative Director: Idan Kligerman
    Creative Team: Niv Herzberg & Evgeniy Utkin
    VP Client Services: Maya Salomon
    Account Executive: Shirley Konka
    VP Content & Production: Dorit Gvili
    Production Manager: Maya Palmon
    Creative Coordinator: Eva Hasson
    Video Editor: Dan Deutsch
    Traffic Director: Ronit Doanis
    Studio Manager: Yaron Keinan
    Graphic Designer: Yulia Zak
    Production Company: Go Live

    0 0

    Are you striving hard toward personal growth, using exercise, physical fitness and intense competition to build your character and shape your life in positive ways?

    Well, Reebok wants to give you a hand.

    Today, the Adidas-owned brand kicks off the third year of its global "Be More Human" campaign, stressing physicality and personal connection across TV, print, digital assets and live activations.

    Like earlier iterations of the work, this latest push from Venables Bell & Partners encourages folks to work up a sweat and make some personal sacrifices en route to being their best selves. And once again, ads position Reebok as the ultimate cheerleader and gear provider to help them succeed.

    "We're not just talking about fitness for the sake of fitness, or winning and losing," Yan Martin, Reebok's vp of brand management and creative direction, tells Adweek. "This is about the transformation that happens when we move—physically, mentally and socially. So that gives us a lot of areas to play in, and a lot to respond to within culture and the current mind-set of the world."

    Martin characterizes the new work as an evolution of the "Be More Human" positioning. The platform launched two years ago by "shining a light on the tough fitness community, the 'fitness freaks'—and letting them know, 'We get you,' " he says. It expanded in 2016 by showing "how fitness, and specifically running, can lead to a richer, better life," Martin adds.

    "This year, we wanted to open up the aperture to even more types of fitness and people, but with the same message that physicality unlocks a better version of yourself," he says.

    That mantra gets a cinematic workout in "Hands," a minute-long spot (above) directed by Bullitt's Diego Contreras in the gritty, quasi-documentary style that has defined "Be More Human" since its inception.

    "Our lives are shaped by how we move," says a voiceover at one point. "By how hard we push, flip, fly and hang. Our stories are written on our calluses and scars." Indeed, when boxing, rock climbing or pumping iron, your palms and knuckles can get bruised and battered along the way.

    "We saw hands as the perfect metaphor for the change that happens when you are physical," says Martin. "Because as we push and pull and fight, our hands collect calluses, and blisters and scars. They're almost like journals in this way. But as our hands, and bodies, change, we also change on the inside. Becoming braver and kinder and more connected."

    The shots of punching out mirrors seem a bit extreme. (We're a bit surprised the legal department didn't insist on a "Don't try this at home" disclaimer.) Maybe that dude should think with his head instead of his hands.

    Such behavior presumably won't be advocated by the thousands of trainers in the ReebokOne program who will be available this week in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and other cities as part of the campaign, offering free workouts—normally priced at $50—in exchange for a handshake.

    Other key elements include "Stories of Progress," an online collection of inspirational influencer testimonials, and related content at brand events, retailers and Reebok FitHub locations.

    "Our hands and our shoes say a lot about what we've been through and who we are as people," says Will McGinness, executive creative director at VB&P. "We wanted to embrace that truth."

    Shoes play into additional "Be More Human" commercials in a big way, taking campaign themes in somewhat new directions. The first ad below tells of a young girl who becomes inspired to follow in her CrossFit mom's footsteps (kicking off high heels to boot!), while the second spot shows a dude escaping the dreariness of Dumpsville by exploring new roads:

    "We wanted to show how the wear and tear on our shoes is also a sign of our greater change," says Martin. "As our gear become beaten up, we become better."

    That last statement is debatable. Some of us just develop shin splints. Which in turn makes us irritable and frustrated, so we punch out mirrors and things go from bad to worse.

    All kidding aside, the cause-and-effect proposition in "Be More Human"—while well conceived and compellingly executed—has always seemed like a bit of a stretch (and borderline exclusionary, cutting couch potatoes entirely out of its sweat-soaked world view). That said, the approach provides the brand with a distinctive, malleable positioning in an crowded marketplace.

    Plus, it seems to be moving product, as Reebok, long an also-ran, has made gains since the campaign's debut—including, most recently, a 7 percent year-over-year sales increase for the third quarter.

    "There's a ton of fitness ads out in the world, and even a bunch of other brands that have started to play in the tough fitness genre," Martin says. "For us, we want to show how fitness changes us on the inside. How it affects our relationships. Our legacies. Our minds. In a world that often tries to make us less human, fitness and physicality has this unique power to help us find our best."

    Ultimately, of course, it's all designed to sell shoes. Still, our gear can become a gym buddy of sorts—or at any rate, come to represent what we might achieve by shrugging off the pain and pushing ourselves a little harder.

    On some level, perhaps it's heartening to believe Reebok really is on our side, so that maybe, just maybe, we won't have to run the grueling race for self-improvement alone.

    Client: Reebok
    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
    Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
    Art Director: Aisha Hakim
    Copywriter: Jimmy Burton
    Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson 
    Group Strategy Director: Jodi Shelley
    Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
    Group Communication Strategy Director: Gavin Jones
    Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
    Executive Producer: Peter Blitzer  
    Assistant Producer: Julia Oetker-Kast
    Production Company: Bullitt
    Director:  Diego Contreras
    Director of Photography: Guillermo Garza
    Executive Producer: Luke Ricci
    Producer: Jon Dawes
    Editorial Company: Whitehouse Post
    Editorial Executive Producer: Joni Williams
    Editorial Producer: Leah Carnahan
    Editor: Sam Gunn
    Jr. Editor: Devon Bradbury
    Asst Editor: Brad Dupuie
    Visual Effects: Carbon VFX
    Executive Producer: Matthew McManus
    Producer: Devon Irete
    Flame Artist: Pete Mayor
    Flame Assistant: Jim Gomez
    Sound Design: 740 Sound Songs for Film & T.V.
    Music: Hands – RIVVRS, "Walk In The Wild"; Slide - Rafferty, "Apple Pie"; Mom - Marmoset, "Huntley"
    Mix: One Union
    Mixer: Joaby Deal
    Executive Producer: Lauren Mask
    Color: CO3
    Colorist: Tom Poole
    Color Producer: Clare Movshon
    Group Brand Director: Michael Chase
    Brand Director: Nicole Spinelli
    Brand Supervisor: Julia Connelly
    Brand Manager: Lindsie Levinson
    Assistant Brand Manager: Ursula Reichle
    Senior Project Manager: Katrina Strich
    Director of Business Affairs: Quynh-An Phan
    Business Affairs/Talent Manager: Sametta Gbilia
    Senior Traffic Manager: Jermelia Holling
    Assistant Traffic/Business Affairs Manager: Malcolm Konner

    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
    Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
    Design Director: Cris Logan
    Art Director: Byron Del Rosario
    Designer: Paul Rice
    Copywriter: Jimmy Burton
    Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson 
    Group Strategy Director: Jodi Shelley
    Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
    Director Art Production: Jacqueline Fodor
    Photographer: Jake Stangel (agent: Giant Artists)
    Retouching: Portus Imaging
    Retouching/Prepress: Pacific Digital Image
    Mechanicals: Williams Lea Tag
    Group Brand Director: Michael Chase
    Brand Director: Nicole Spinelli
    Brand Supervisor: Julia Connelly
    Brand Manager: Lindsie Levinson
    Project Manager: Hannah Oliff

    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Founder/Chairman: Paul Venables
    Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
    Art Directors: Byron del Rosario, Aisha Hakim
    Copywriters: Jimmy Burton, Jake Reilly
    Design Director: Cris Logan
    Designer: Paul Rice
    Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson 
    Group Strategy Director: Jodi Shelley
    Senior Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
    Director of Digital Strategy & Analytics: Jeff Burger
    Senior Digital Producer: Sarah Betts
    Director of Experience Design: Jeff Teicher
    Social Content Producer: Kimberly Lewis
    Social Content Production Generalist: Alexis Hazelwood
    Group Brand Director: Michael Chase
    Brand Directors: Nicole Spinelli, Kammie Sulaiman
    Brand Supervisor: Julia Connelly
    Assistant Brand Manager: Ursula Reichle
    Project Managers: Katrina Strich, Hannah Oliff
    Development and Rollout: DigitasLBi Malmö
    Client Partner: Rikard Paulsson
    Production Manager: Anna Rolfsson
    Project Manager: Sarah Söderlind
    Technical Lead: Anders Guldstrand
    Creative Developer: Oscar Johansson
    Interface Developers: Tommy Ahlbäck, Björn Söderqvist
    System Developer: Philip Eliasson
    System Developer & Rollout Manager: Robert Katra


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