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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Ad Council PSAs don't get much better than this one from Campbell Ewald. It would spoil things to reveal what's going on, so just watch. Matt Lauer is pretty great in this mischievous role, part of a weeklong series in which the Today anchors are all engaging with social issues that are important to them.

    Mark Simon, chief creative officer of Campbell Ewald, has this to say about the Lauer PSA:

    Over a span of two weeks, we generated at least 40 different ideas, from Matt re-creating the Red Bull space jump ("too dangerous") to Matt appearing on air after his kids accidently drew on his face with permanent marker ("too permanent"). One of my favorites had Matt interviewing former President Clinton when Matt's daughter calls and needs help with her homework. She wants to know the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Matt doesn't know. President Clinton doesn't know. They decide to call Hillary. The answer, of course, is Bishkek.

    The winning idea was based on one of the very first games we play with our kids: Hide-and-Seek. The idea called for Matt to demonstrate his hiding ability in a series of scenes that go from one extreme to another.

    We shot the commercial in a beautiful old home in Montclair, N.J. It was perfect for what we needed. Lots of rooms. Lots of places to hide.

    We crammed Matt underneath a sink.
    Buried him under a load of laundry.
    Sandwiched him between sofa cushions.
    Wedged his head between stuffed animals.
    Squeezed him behind a painting.
    Covered him behind a curtain.
    Stuck him inside a chimney.

    And finally, we submersed him underwater, Rambo-style. The only difference being he was in a tub filled with bubble bath and he was wearing a mask and snorkel. Still, you have to give the guy credit. I don't know how he is at seeking, but the man can hide like a boss.

    The only thing he refused to do was hide underneath a large area rug. In all honesty, I wouldn't have gotten under that thing either. Now, I've got about 25 pounds on Matt, but he's wiry and he gave me a look that said, "If you try and put me under that rug, we're going to tangle." I guarantee you the next time NBC does "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?" he won't be under a rug.


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    What is it about slow-motion footage that makes guys look even more amusingly idiotic than usual? Do we simply find it funny when men's physical movements decelerate to the point where they match their mental ones? Whatever it is, it works pretty well in commercials. The classic example is the famous Carlton Draught commercial from a few years back—a veritable opera of sluggish male moronitude. Now, Buffalo Wild Wings—always ready to salute, in a good way, the inherent imbecility of the hairier sex—has done something similar in this ad from agency 22squared. You can just feel the male brains in the ad struggling to comprehend their predicament. Buffalo Wild Wings is the only corporate sponsor for the NCAA in the casual dining category, and as such, it can call itself the "Official Hangout of NCAA March Madness." The new campaign positions the chain as the only place for sports fans during March Madness and beyond. Two more spots and credits after the jump.

    CREDITS
    Client: Buffalo Wild Wings
    Agency: 22squared
    Chief Creative Officer: Scott Sheinberg
    Chief Creative Director: John Stapleton
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Kevin Botfeld and Curt Mueller
    Director of Production: Matt Faris
    Executive Producer: Lori Lawery
    Business Affairs Manager: Angela Eddleman
    Director of Client Services: Ed Klein
    Account Supervisor: Brooke Kramer
    Sr. Account Executive: Emily Paradowski
    Production Company: Uber Content
    Director: Chris Hooper
    Executive Producer/Partner: Phyllis Koening
    Producer: Alexandra Lisee
    Director of Photography: Giorgio Scali
    Editorial Company: Beast
    Editor: Jim Ulbrich, Beast NY ("Slo Mo" and "Expanded")
    Executive Producer: Molly Baroco, Beast Atlanta
    Editorial Producer: Eric Brackett, Beast Atlanta
    Assistant Editor: Brandon Danowski, Beast Atlanta
    Colorist: Billy Gabor, CO3, Atlanta
    On Line editors: Deron Hoffmeyer and Michael Wardner, Method Studios, Atlanta
    Editor: Will Rossiter, 22squared Tampa ("Built For")
    Audio: Erich Netherton, Beast Atlanta
    Music Composer: "Built For" - Q Department, NY
    Sound Design: "Slo Mo" - Sound Lounge, NY, Sound Designer: Marshall Grupp


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    Union Bank, a regional player with national ambitions, is partnering with famous humanitarians such as poet Maya Angelou to address consumers’ frustrations with large financial institutions.

    The 150-year-old San Francisco-based bank, which never handled controversial subprime loans, launched its first-ever brand marketing campaign Jan. 28. Working with agency Eleven, it is tapping Angelou and Edward James Olmos, actor and Latino activist, to trumpet the bank’s new theme: “Doing right, it's just good business.”

    While Union has been primarily a commercial bank, it sees the current consumer climate as an opportunity to grow its retail banking services. “Our research shows that big banks are vulnerable now,” said Art Smith, Union Bank CMO. “People are highly skeptical of the banking industry and are willing to move their money” if they recognize an alternative.

    The 2011 Retail Banking Brand Vulnerability Study by management consulting firm cg42 concurs. About 70 percent of respondents in the study believed that large banks “claim they have my interests at heart but all they really care about are their own interests,” and 59 percent said they are “uncomfortable with how large some banks have become.”

    In the new ad effort, Angelou and Olmos share personal reflections, and speak about the larger idea of doing right, not specifically about the bank brand.

    “The idea is that wise people with interesting lives are speaking out about people doing right by each other, and that dialogue is brought to you by Union Bank,” said Mike McKay, chief creative officer at Eleven. The underlying message is that since Union did not get in trouble with subprime lending and the mortgage scandals, it is one of “the good guys,” McKay said.

    Besides the commercial featuring Angelou, the campaign includes an anthem TV spot and a spot featuring Olmos that will debut in early spring. The TV runs on the West Coast and is backed with national and local print; radio; banner ads and a new website. On social media and in branded events, the bank will also ask the public what “doing right” means to them, said Smith.

    Ann Green, senior partner at brand research firm Millward Brown, said the campaign is effective at selling trust, rather than a product or service, “Maya Angelou brings a kind of poetry to the campaign and with her prolific views on racism, identity and family, she can assuage people’s concerns about the financial crisis,” said Green. “While she doesn’t even mention the brand, Angelou implies that she trusts Union Bank.“

    Owned by Mitsubishi Financial Group, Union Bank has retail branches in California and Washington, and is actively shopping for acquisitions, per industry insiders. Within five years, Union plans to be among the nation’s top 10 banks, noted Smith. 


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  • 02/12/13--03:15: The Spot: Lame Duck
  • IDEA: The Aflac duck, American advertising's finest feathered friend, is nothing without his distinctive squawk. Or is he? The bird, who's been quacking out the supplemental insurance company's name in ads from Publicis Kaplan Thaler since 1999, has suddenly gone quiet this year thanks to a plot twist in which he's fractured his beak and ended up in hospital—putting him in the position of the company's customers, who need bills paid when they get hurt and miss work. "The duck has become so well known and well liked. We wanted to find a new way to harness that affection," said agency executive creative director Jay Williams. "The thought came to us: The duck is a working actor. This is what he does. He's in commercials, and he talks about the brand. So, we thought there could be a humorous way to make the duck a metaphor for the people Aflac helps." Added Michael Zuna, Alfac's chief marketing and sales officer: "The new commercials will make viewers laugh, but they have a very serious message. If the Aflac duck can get hurt, anyone can get hurt. And that's why everyone needs Aflac."

    COPYWRITING: The first spot, which broke Jan. 7, took place at a press conference, where the hospital's top doctor relays news of the accident—sounding much like the duck himself in answering "Aflac" to various questions about the bird's insurance coverage. This second spot, which premiered Sunday on the Grammy Awards, shows the duck in his hospital bed—a bandage on his beak rendering him silent for the first time in his extremely vocal career. The doctor asks a group of residents what they see when they look at him. Their increasingly non-medical answers ("I see the Aflac duck out of work and not making any money") lead to the product pitch, and then the punch line. "I see lunch," says the third resident, as the duck lifts his head in alarm. (Turns out a nurse has simply brought in some food.) Williams said quieting the duck is fresh and surprising. "It could be more attention-getting," he said. "You've come to expect what he's going to say. Now, if you see him and he says nothing, it's an interesting twist." The spot wraps with a hospital curtain pulled across the screen, showing the company logo and URL.

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Director Baker Smith shot the "Rounds" ad in one day on a soundstage in Los Angeles. The visual look is "bright and accessible" and "not too artsy," said Williams, in keeping with the brand's friendly atmosphere. The agency would not reveal the inner workings of the duck—whether he's animatronic, CGI or both—other than to say it uses different solutions depending on the spot. "He's private when it comes to things like that," said Williams. "He prefers to play it close to his down-filled vest."

    TALENT: Frank Woods plays the head doctor. "We loved his look, and he could straddle that 'Is this real or not?' thing," said Williams. "He has a little smile and sense of humor to him that makes it fun to watch." The residents are "representative of what medical staff look like these days," said Williams, and they had the right comic delivery. "They don't play it too broadly," he said. "It's pretty dry and straight."

    SOUND: There's not much sound design and no music. But sound does play a key role in "Rounds"—the beeping of the duck's heart monitor suddenly gets frantic after the resident mentions lunch. "We added that in production as a nice subtle touch," Williams said.

    MEDIA: The first spot sent viewers to GetWellDuck.com, where 30,000 people made him sympathy cards. The campaign will continue with more ads as the duck makes his recovery.

    THE SPOTS:

    CREDITS
    Client: Aflac
    Spot: "Rounds"
    Agency: Publicis Kaplan Thaler, New York
    Chief Creative Officer/President: Rob Feakins
    Executive Creative Director: Jay Williams
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Larissa Kirschner
    Creative Director/Art Director: James Rothwell
    Executive Producer,: Anthony Garetti
    Account Team: Eric Goodstadt, Vanessa Kopec, Ben Neenan
    Production Company: Harvest
    Director: Baker Smith
    Head of Production, Harvest: Niko Whelan
    Executive Producers, Harvest: Bonnie Goldfarb/Rob Sexton
    Producer, Harvest: Leslie Owen
    Editorial: The Cutting Room
    Editor: Chuck Willis
    Producer, The Cutting Room: Kristine Polinsky


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    Draftfcb’s search for a new global CEO has only gotten harder.

    Since parent company Interpublic Group began seeking candidates late last year, the agency has lost its grip on key brands like Oreo and Taco Bell, dismantled its media department, and seen retail account Kmart launch a review. The agency also failed to reach the finals of Honda’s U.S. agency search.

    In short, the top job looks even more difficult than it did a few months ago when IPG set out to find a successor to Laurence Boschetto, the agency’s CEO since 2009. Some believe it’s the hardest search in advertising right now. On a scale of one to 10, two agency CEOs ranked the degree of difficulty at nine, with one adding, “How they’re going to pull that together, I don’t know.”

    Beyond the fundamentals of retaining and adding business, the new boss will face the ongoing challenge of realizing the potential of IPG’s 2006 merger of direct marketing specialist Draft and traditional ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding. Boschetto, 58, came from the Draft side of the fence, and the solution this time may be an outsider without ties to any camp.

    “It’s important that the person not be a Draft, FCB or Interpublic person,” said Paul Gumbinner, a New York recruiter who’s not involved in the search. “They need to bring in someone who is totally objective and comes in with an iron glove to make the changes that need to be done.”

    No insiders are among the two candidates IPG and Draftfcb are currently eyeing, according to sources. So don’t expect a return of Howard Draft, the CEO before Boschetto and current executive chairman. Instead, Draft will continue to maintain ties to key accounts, including Beiersdorf, said sources.

    In the view of many, the merger was essentially a takeover of FCB by Draft. While Draftfcb denies that, subsequent events undermine the credibility of the agency’s advertising chops. The loss of work from longtime FCB clients like SC Johnson, MillerCoors and Kraft have hit the agency hard while new business wins have largely been digital, direct or pharmaceutical assignments. “There are two potential issues [in finding a new CEO]: the perception of the Draftfcb brand and its above-the-line capabilities,” said one agency observer.

    Although Draftfcb’s media accounts and staffers are shifting to other IPG shops, Interpublic remains bullish about the agency’s hybrid offering. Indeed, in the CEO search, integrated communications skills and multinational client experience are must-haves in the eyes of the parent.

    Big picture, IPG needs a sizeable worldwide network after McCann Erickson. As such, Draftfcb, which has a strong presence in India, Brazil and South Africa, is not expected to reduce its footprint.

    An IPG representative declined comment on search specifics other than to say: “The process is well underway, and we hope to have a resolution in the coming months.” 


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    The Boston Guys return and local accents abound in Dish's cute campaign for its Hopper DVR with Sling, which lets users skip commercial blocks. That functionality has caused some controversy, and it's the focus of "In Memoriam," a commercial about a funeral for commercials. That ad's getting the most attention owing to its intentional meta-irony, but I prefer the other two new spots in the series, which play up the fact that Hopper lets users watch live TV and access their DVR from anywhere. In "Footrest," as members of a family enjoy their favorite shows on various wireless devices, everything in their house turns into a recliner, including a kitchen counter, a bed, a staircase and a toilet. "Tiny Beer," set on a sunny day in the park, finds the cast accessing their Hopper via a smartphone propped up like a wide-screen TV in a fancy dollhouse wall unit, complete with miniature bookshelves. They pound down thimble-sized brews kept cold in a mini-mini-mini fridge. All three ads are quirky, memorable and manage to entertain while touting specific product attributes. Most ad reviewers couldn't resist peppering their appraisals with representations of Boston-speak. Blame the chowdaheads at the New York agency that created the spots, Baaahton F. Graaahf 9000.


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  • 02/12/13--09:06: Ad of the Day: Monster
  • You love your job. You wake up every morning, and that's what you tell yourself.

    Then you go to the office. And you're beset by superficial motivational posters, senseless meetings with pie charts and a dressing down from a boss. A commemorative pen reminds you that yes, you've wasted five years of your life toiling way in this particular professional hell. You smile and nod, and feign mild enthusiasm—when you can muster it. But you're not really fooling anyone.

    This ad for jobs site Monster manages to pack in an awful lot of rich if depressing subtext, especially given the minimal dialogue. Created by BBDO in New York—though running only in the U.K.—it may be aided by the fact that advertising creatives feel uniquely qualified to weigh in on hating their jobs. Strong as the script is, though, the miserable protagonist delivers a knockout performance, nailing limp-armed, slack-shouldered ennui. And director Noam Murro suffuses the atmosphere with the perfect fluorescent gloom.

    Little details, like our hero's thousand-yard stare into the bottom of a paper cup at the water cooler—as if he's dreaming he could escape by diving in—help tip the scales in favor of absurdist comedy. And the ever-growing nose, a familiar device, manages to serves its purpose without feeling hackneyed. For one thing, it invites the viewer to wonder if it will clear the closing elevator doors, a fresh and amusing take on Pinocchio's dilemma. And in the final shot, when the tragic hero squeaks out one more little lie to his wife, its ridiculous proportions drive the point home.

    Now, all it needs is a eureka moment, where the guy realizes he should be grateful he has a job at all.

    CREDITS
    Client: Monster.com
    Agency: BBDO, New York
    Title: "Pinocchio"

    Chief Creative Officer: David Lubars
    Executive Creative Directors: Mike Smith, Greg Hahn
    Creative Director, Art Director: Jens Waernes
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Oliver Handlos
    Producer: Amy Wertheimer
    Executive Music Producer: Rani Vaz
    Worldwide Account Director: Paul Suchman
    Account Director: Courtney Hermanas

    Production House: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Noam Murro
    Director of Photography: Simon Duggan
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Executive Producer: Colleen O'Donnell

    Editorial: Final Cut
    Editor: Eric Zumbrunnen

    Effects: Method, New York

    Music: "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music by Rodgers & Hammerstein/Imagem Music
    Score: Elias


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    MJZ director Tom Kuntz has had some big advertising hits. Most notable, of course, was the original, Emmy-winning Isaiah Mustafa spot for Old Spice. He also directed the great "Cable Effects" ads for DirecTV, and had a couple of spots on this year's Super Bowl—Oreo's "Whisper Fight" and Volkswagen's Jamaican-flavored "Get Happy." But all that work is pretty mainstream. As evidenced by much of his artwork, Tom can make weirder stuff. And here's a very odd commercial he just did for Citroën's DS3 Cabrio car, via French agency H Paris. Seems the vehicle is targeted at a certain type of man who imagines himself, while driving, to be a cherubic toddler with long, flowing, flaxen hair, galloping along pristine beaches astride a giant white horse. (Yes, once again, he's on a horse.) Red lights occasionally interrupt this fantasy, though not enough to derail it. The campy, retro vibe—another Kuntz specialty, seen in other recent ads like the Hahn SuperDry spot from Australia—is cemented here by the use of Spandau Ballet's 1983 pop ballad "True" (a song that's suddenly a favorite of car ads, having popped up in that Chevy ad last year as well). Anyway, it's nice to see Kuntz finding an outlet for his more peculiar instincts—even if he has to go to Europe to do so. Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Citroën DS3 Cabrio
    Head of Marketing Worldwide: Jean Marc Savigne
    
Spot: "Baby"

    Agency: H Paris 

    Worldwide Creative Director: Gilbert Scher 

    Creative Directors: Marco Venturelli, Luca Cinquepalmi 

    Art Director: Luca Cinquepalmi 

    Copywriter: Marco Venturelli 

    Head of TV: Chritopher Thierry 

    Agency Producer: Sarah Bouadjera 

    Account Director: Hugues Reboul 

    Production Company: MJZ 

    Production Company: Smile Unlimited 

    Director: Tom Kuntz 

    Director of Photography: Chris Soos 

    Editing: MacKenzie Cutler, New York

    Postproduction: Eight VFX, Los Angeles 

    Sound Design: Kouz Production, Paris


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    Automakers seem to love the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue—probably because women wearing little clothing have been a staple of auto ads for generations. Last year we saw Ford sneak a fake swimsuit model into the issue, while Lexus built an entire racetrack in the shape of swimsuit model Tori Praver. Now, Lexus is back with a new interactive print ad from ad agency Team One in this year's swimsuit edition. The idea is this: The 2014 Lexus IS's bold new design makes it impossible to blend into the scenery. Likewise, swimsuit models have a tough time blending in. Still, the agency tried to camouflage them on the set—using body paint, high-contrast light and shadow effects, and stretched fabric. But they come to life when you scan a QR code on the page and place your phone in three different places on it. The video below shows it in action. The models don't really do much when they become animated, but anything more than a sway and a strut is probably asking too much. The interactive ad is part of a series of teasers ahead of a full campaign launch in June. On Wednesday night, the Lexus IS reveal video "Change Lanes" will be included as part of Sports Illustrated's first-ever 3-D projection mapping activation on the facade of Caesars resort in Las Vegas. See all four pages of the interactive print ad below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Lexus
    Agency: Team One
    Chief Creative Officer: Chris Graves
    Group Creative Director: Craig Crawford
    Associate Creative Director: Eric Arnold
    Art Director: Dustin Arnold
    Senior Art Producer: Jason Lau
    Account Director: Kelly Stevens
    Director of Technology: Eddie Stover
    Senior interactive Producer: Chad Bauer
    Technologist: Rob Edwards
    Photography
    Photographer, Director: Carlos Serrao
    Executive Producer: Kim Johnson
    Layering and Compositing: Terry Silberman, ArsenalFX


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    If it were easy to create a branded video that's smart and delightful, and at the same time completely on message, everybody would be doing it. But they're not. Looking at you, Coca-Cola. The folks at JWT in New York, on the other hand, are on to something with their music-infused Litter Genie series. Never lost among the popular singing and dancing felines is the brand promise: Your house will not smell like a cattery. Gimme! The latest ad slow-jams its way through lyrics such as, "Your night just got better … I'm a four-legged love letter," from a velvety voiced gray tabby. Did Barry White have cats? In keeping with the genre, the video is rife with top-shelf alcohol, bling and bedroom eyes. Plus, there's an explanation of how the product works, to the strains of "refilling you with five-layered bags … blocking odors so no one gags." The previous two videos have gotten some 2.5 million online views. The new one also has a Twitter add-on, where consumers can rap back and forth with the handsome star cat-about-town to benefit the Best Friends Animal Society. (Note: He rhymes furry with curry.) Go kitty, go kitty! Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Litter Genie
    Spot: "Me Luvz Mahselfz"
    Agency: JWT, New York
    Director: Keith Schofield
    Production Company: Caviar, Los Angeles
    Postproduction: Final Cut, New York; The Mill, New York
    Editing House: Final Cut, New York
    Music House: Amber Music
    Media Agency: MEC


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    Ha, ha, dumb advertising people, no one in his or her right mind cares about your lame industry awards! Ad agency John St. does a great job of communicating that message in these awesomely acted, self-deprecating, sad-funny promos for Canada's Cassie Awards, honoring campaign effectiveness, which were doled out a few weeks back in Toronto. OK, like the campaign says, maybe clients care (at least until they fire you without so much as a phone call and you have to learn about it from the trade press). Absolutely no one outside the business, however, gives a flying fig. And yet the Cassie winners here are oblivious to that as they hilariously (and pathetically) clutch their awards and babble on about what the prizes mean to them. In the best of three spots, a traffic cop asks a woman who can't find her license and registration to step out of the car. She smiles inanely (insanely?) and replies, "With my Cassie Award?" which she proceeds to wave in the officer's face after he orders her to "keep your hands where I can see them." Come to think of it, I write about ad awards all the time. What does that say about the choices I've made? Does anybody care?! I'll think more about that after I polish off these mini-bottles of airline booze I keep in my bottom drawer. Via Adverve.


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    Eva Longoria is celebrating Valentine's Day by giving a man a sassy shave in this L'Oréal Men campaign. She seems to be talking to guys in the video, reprimanding them for not working hard enough on being sexy and telling them they need to wash up and be presentable for their ladies. She also yells at guys in general, saying women can't do all the work … then paradoxically, she does all the work in shaving him. Even more confusing, the on-screen copy suggests ladies will get the best out of their man if they "flirt it out of him," and then directs women, who we all know are the buyers of dude products, to a website where they can answer a few questions and find out the perfect gift for their man. Surprise, it's a L'Oréal product! And … a DVD. Who even buys DVDs anymore? Anyhow, a sultry shave isn't the worst idea for Valentine's Day. And feisty Eva is the right woman for the job.


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    Honda gives Abe Lincoln and George Washington the Auto-Tune treatment in this thoroughly anachronistic slow-jam ad for a Presidents' Day sale. I really tried to like this one because of the fife and drum music, but the lack of focus just kills it for me. Plus, it sells Bluetooth harder than the cars themselves. But if you're going to rip off Andy Samberg, I suppose the results could be worse. If they're going to mix 'n' match from history like this, though, next time they might as well structure it like an Epic Rap Battle.


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    The Microsoft Surface user who makes everyone around him burst out into enthusiastic dance moves is back. And this time it's professional.

    This new ad for the Surface Pro is slicker and better focused than the previous one for the Surface RT, which I still liked but which many of you fine folks pointed out had its problems—most notably, huge fingerprints all over the screen in one of the last shots. (It's OK. Perfectionism is what makes you Adweek readers.)

    But the new ad—Jon M. Chu directed both—is structured in a way the old one wasn't. It's set at a business meeting that appears to take place entirely in User Von Microsoft's head, in which the click-clack of his tablet's snap-together keyboard attachment and the bonking of his stylus are a symphony of martial taps and rolls just before the faux dubstep wubs and wurrrrrs.

    The best moment here is the boss walking into the boardroom where leggy secretaries and fly junior execs are dancing like they're in the Rob Ashford revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And instead of what's-all-this-ing them back to their cubicles, takes off his fancy coat and breaks it down while his beatboxing assistant drops some bass all over that nice clean floor.

    This is basically the end to all movies about college, where the crusty old dean is admonished not to be such a square by an even more senior administrator, except there's no crusty old dean—just you, the viewer, who didn't give enough credit to this boss for being cool when he first walked in with his expensive glasses and his dance-proof trenchcoat.

    He took off that coat and showed you, didn't he? What, bosses can't dance? Bosses aren't cool? We've had it with your attitude, prospective Surface Pro user. You're fired.

    CREDITS
    Client: Microsoft
    Director: Jon M. Chu
    Music: The Bangerz


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  • 02/14/13--01:08: Perspective: Ring in the New
  • This week—specifically, on Thursday—some 260,000 American men will participate in an odd but enduring male ritual. No, not beer pong. They will drop to one knee before their sweethearts and propose marriage. In fact, Valentine’s Day is the single most popular square on the calendar in which to pop the question. And, of course, unless he’s angling to join the castrati, our hero will have a ring box in his hand when he does it. Ah, love. The most beautiful traditions never change.

    But one look at the two wedding ring ads here will show you how nearly every other thing about proposing has changed. According to Ellen Fruchtman of Fruchtman Marketing, a consultancy specializing in wedding jewelry, the four decades that separate these 1972 and 2013 ads have witnessed the rise of many new trends, but perhaps none more startling than this: The ring has gone from being a commitment symbol to a lifestyle product. “Overall, from a creative standpoint, these ads are the same. The couple is in love, and the brands pull out the jewelry,” Fruchtman said. “But we have become materialists. Wedding jewelry has become about aspirations, no different from a luxury car.”

    Before we get to that, let’s hit the obvious changes. If the couple in this Keepsake ad looks like two kids, it’s because they were. The median age for a first marriage in the early 1970s was 23 for guys and 21 for women. (Today, respectively, it’s 28 and 26.) We’ve also witnessed a dramatic shift in gender roles. In the 1972 ad, Fruchtman said, “She’s so submissive, looking longingly at him as if to say, ‘Oh, I just adore you!’” The newer ad says: “I’ll screw you!” In fact—forgive us—chances are she already has. According to the CDC, a mere 14 percent of women donning that white bridal gown these days are actually virgins.

    The sexiness of the Triton ad speaks to more than just the redefining of personal morality, however. It’s just as much about style and individuality. Say you covered up all the text. Could this photo not pass as an advertisement for designer jeans or a seductive cologne? There’s a familiarity and irreverence to this couple that’s a million miles removed from the tentative touching of the 1972 ad. But the most notable shift is who this ad is directed at—not the blushing bride of the 1970s but the groovy groom of the millennial generation. “Today, he picks out his own ring,” Fruchtman said, “and men are looking for very different things.”

    In fact, this Triton ring is the veritable anthesis of what most brides would want. It has minimal styling and mere chips for diamonds. “But the guy will buy it,” Fruchtman said, “because it’s tough.” Hold on. Isn’t that the same reason he’d buy a car or a wristwatch? Indeed so. The matrimonial evolution on view here proves that today’s dudes want to look cool, even if it’s marching down the aisle of a church.


     


     


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    Deutsch's new "Mask" commercial for Volkswagen's Beetle Convertible is well crafted—fine pacing, solid direction from Noam Murro, interesting photography, the "Trololo" song tossed in for good measure. But that doesn't make it all that compelling. It's getting good reviews, but for me, the setup lacks real suspense. We know from the get-go that the dude in a ski mask grabbing chips and candy at a convenience store—as shoppers cower and the counter guy grows increasingly tense—won't do squat. This isn't a Tarantino movie. It's a car commercial. It's not like all bloody hell is going to break loose, with bullets flying and people dying before "Das Auto" and the VW logo pop on-screen. Even if we're not initially sure what's going on, it feels like a buildup to a twist ending. I won't spoil it for you. Yes, I will. It's winter, and the masked dude and his masked pals are cruising around in a Beetle Convertible with the top down. Come on, dude, pull out a gun and waste your buddies! Tear off that mask and reveal a hideous alien head (or Marco Rubio) underneath! Talk like a Jamaican! Do something! Hold on, let me replay it. Nope. Seems we got robbed. Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Volkswagen of America
    Spot: "Mask"
    Client Credits:
    Executlive Vice President, Chief Product and Marketing Officer: Tim Mahoney
    Vice President, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
    General Manager, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
    Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen

    Deutsch Creative Credits and Titles:
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter
    Group Creative Directors: Michael Kadin, Matt Ian
    Senior Art Director: Paul Oberlin
    Senior Copywriter: Matt Sherman
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
    Director of Content Production: Victoria Guenier
    Executive Integrated Producer: Jim Haight

    Production Company:
    Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Noam Murro
    Executive Producer: Shawn Lacy
    Head of Production: Colleen O'Donnell
    Line Producer: Jay Veal

    Editorial Company:
    Spot Welders
    Editor: Haines Hall
    Assistant Editor: Kai Yu
    Executive Producer: David Glean
    Producer: J. Patrick McElroy

    Post Facility:
    The Mill
    Color: Adam Scott

    Visual Effects Company:
    The Mill
    Producer: Rachael Trillo
    Visual Effects Supervisor: James Allen

    Music, Composer:
    "Trololo" by Eduard Khil

    Sound Designer:
    740 Sound Design & Mix
    Sound Designers: Rommel Molina, Nicholas Interlandi
    Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

    Audio Post:
    Lime
    Mixer: Mark Meyuhas
    Assistant: Matt Miller
    Producer: Jessica Locke

    Shoot Location:
    Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
    Group Account Director: Tom Else
    Account Director: Monica Jungbeck
    Account Supervisor: Alex Gross
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Doug Van Praet
    Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Associate Director of Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias
    Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan


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  • 02/14/13--09:25: Ad of the Day: Nivea
  • It's not usually the role of advertising to make people experience extreme discomfort. But it works pretty well in this Nivea stunt from Germany—a clever if highly sadistic bit of ambush marketing that's destined to go viral.

    If you want to be surprised, watch the clip below before reading further.

    What happened was: Nivea and ad agency Felix & Lamberti ambushed a series of people in an airport waiting room with an mischievous multimedia barrage that made it appear as though each one was wanted by the police for some crime. The agency secretly took each person's photo, then quickly printed it on a fake newspaper cover identifying the person as a fugitive, which an actor would then carry over and pretend to read near the person. Next, the photo would appear on a TV overhead, as part of a fake newscast that described the person as "dangerous and unpredictable."

    Naturally, the victim's confusion—and stress—grow with each passing moment.

    Security personnel soon approach, but then the ruse is revealed. They open a suitcase to reveal Nivea's new "Stress Protect" deodorant—apparently perfect for anyone under intense pressure, whether the subject of a dodgy manhunt or not.

    Refreshingly, the brand says the victims were not actors. In a comment on the YouTube video, it claims to have thoroughly researched the people to make sure they were healthy enough to take part (no known heart problems, for example), that it had the people's friends lure them to the airport, and that the actual duration of the stress was fairly short.

    "Everyone went home happy," the brand says. The same will surely be true of millions of viewers as this thing gets picked up in the coming days.

    Hat tip to @evantravers and @griner, who pointed out the video.

    CREDITS
    Client: Nivea
    Agency: Felix & Lamberti, Hamburg, Germany
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Felix Schulz
    Art Director: Johannes Widmer
    Production Companies: JOTZ!, Wefilm


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    PETA claims that ABC declined to accept this Joaquin Phoenix ad for the upcoming Oscars telecast, deeming it too "political and controversial." It shows the Best Actor nominee "drowning," accompanied by his voiceover: "In water, humans drown just as fish suffocate on land. It's slow and painful and frightening. … Put yourself in their place. Try to relate." Of course, paid media placement is never PETA's real objective. Pushing buttons to generate free coverage is the goal. So, consider my buttons pushed. Directed by Michael Muller, the hippy-drippy ad is certainly striking—creatively, PETA has sunk a lot lower than this. And yet its "Go vegan" message is submerged by the sheer spectacle of the star struggling for breath underwater.


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    Africa Health Placements and South African agency Boomtown collaborated on a neat multimedia idea to encourage foreign doctors to work in Africa, where medical professionals are kind of desperately needed. The ad is a mailer rigged with a pressure-activated thingie (in technical jargon, a "doohickey") that plays an MP3 advertisement when a stethoscope is held against it. Any effort to get more doctors over to Africa is a challenge that'll take more than good marketing to overcome. But this is a clever idea, and I hope it makes a difference. Via PSFK.


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    Whoever said "age considers, youth ventures" should have only known these young people. All under 40, they are superstars of marketing, media, technology and top consumer brands—and they are redefining ambition and achievement. From New Girl creator Liz Meriwether and The New York Times' Nate Silver to The New Republic's Chris Hughes and Pinterest's Ben Silbermann, these are the people changing our world. Check 'em out.

    Click here to view the Young Influentials


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