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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    The task of poking fun at Donald Trump continues to fall to non-American brands.

    Following a Lebanese nut brand's blunt front-page newspaper ad on Inauguration Day, Unilever-owned Pot Noodle, based in Wales, has unleashed a comic commercial showing the rise to power of "Gary" the bricklayer—a man whose public antics closely mirror Trump's.

    Check out the spot here, from agency Lucky Generals: 

    You can even be British and become U.S. president now, evidently.

    Trump has not weighed in, sadly, even though this is the second Unilever brand to come out against him—Ben & Jerry's, of course, being the first. 

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    Viral marketing agency Thinkmodo has had plenty of experience, and success, in doing real-world pranks for horror movies. Think back to 2013's hugely popular "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise" for the movie Carrie, or the freaky "Beauty Shop Scare" that same year for The Last Exorcism Part II, with the contorted dead girl terrifying salon patrons.

    But its latest prank, for the newest film in The Ring franchise, called simply Rings, has flown around the Internet at an unprecedented pace. It's been viewed more than 200 million times on Facebook (and a million more on YouTube) since it was posted 24 hours ago. That's a record for a Thinkmodo production. 

    The ad's formula isn't exactly novel. In fact, it's very reminiscent of the earlier Thinkmodo videos mentioned above. Yet, as the agency tells us, it is a little different, too.

    First, check out the prank here: 

    AdFreak chatted with Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay on Tuesday morning about the new prank—first, about it's staggering view count so far.

    "Even for us, this is a bit of hot coffee," he admits. "Twenty-four hours, 200 million views. It's the top-trending video on YouTube. It's kind of an eye-opener. The world of viral marketing is certainly alive and well." 

    In terms of the ad's sadistic power, Percelay says the TV-store location really was key to setting up the surprises. (The creepy girl, by the way, is played by Bonnie Morgan—the stunt contortionist who appears as Samara in the Ring films.) 

    "Drama comes from contrast," Percelay says. "A place that's brightly lit and has a friendly salesperson is where you're least likely to be scared. But also it's relevant to the movie, where somebody views something on TV and they become the subject of imminent death."

    Real-life pranks are just more powerful than horror-movie trailers, he adds, because they don't have that gloss of unreality that even the best horror trailers have.

    "It's about taking things from a movie and putting them in a real-life context," he says. "There's no separation like there is in a movie trailer. You're watching it going, 'Oh my God, I go to TV stores. This could be me.' There's this connection that takes it out of Hollywood and puts it into your local Best Buy." 

    He adds: "We like to inject a little humor, too, which makes [the pranks] even more shareable. Someone coming out of a TV in a Best Buy-like store is scary, but also amusing."

    While it is reminiscent of earlier Thinkmodo pranks, particularly the beauty-salon prank, Percelay says the new prank was so aggressive—compared to that previous one—that people couldn't help but be visibly shaken. Which, of course, is the best reaction to capture on film.

    "With the beauty shop, a lot of the reactions were very subdued," he says. "They didn't want people in the room to think they were crazy, so they internalized the fear. In this case, it was so bold that it was really hard to keep it in. People just reacted very physically. We had a few cool customers who were shaking in their boots but managed to keep it in, but for the most part, even young guys were incredible scared. But all of them laughed afterwards."

    The video has been a great success. But funnily enough, it's a bit of a bittersweet one for Percelay. "I have to tell you," he says with a laugh, "I feel uncomfortable whenever we do one of these things because I really don't like scaring people!" 

    (And by the way, the Ring franchise has had great prank marketing seemingly forever. In the early days of AdFreak, we wrote about a really fun/sadistic stunt for the DVD release on The Ring Two where you could send a friend a link to the trailer—and as they watched it, they got a scary phone call telling them they had only seven days left to live.) 

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    In a powerful twist on Facebook's "Safety Check" feature, which lets users in a crisis area tell friends they're safe, J. Walter Thompson and Black Lives Matter recently launched "Unsafety Check"—a web app that allows black people on social media to mark themselves unsafe for being black in America. 

    Timed to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Trump's inauguration, it's a clever and sobering way to raise awareness of the impact of race and racism on American society.

    Brent Choi, chief creative officer of JWT New York and Canada, revealed some backstory about the app when he sat down with Adweek for a video interview in our ongoing "Best Ads Ever" series.

    Check out the video above, in which Choi picks his three favorite ads ever (including a recent masterpiece from another JWT office)—and tells us about a certain pop star who's been inspiring to him (and his 11-year-old daughter) lately. 

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    Clive Owen has cemented his status as today's go-to star for extended brand films. Late last year he reprised his role at the enigmatic Driver in BMW's "The Escape." And in a new 13-minute short film released today, he plays an equally beguiling protagonist promoting a very different sort of product—Campari, and the various cocktails it can be used in. 

    The film recounts a tale of retro excess as told by a bartender to Mr. Owen's character, Floyd. While the Clash rages against cops kicking gypsies in an '80s-era disco with a red velvet fetish, our hard-bitten protagonist gets a little too deeply involved in the business of Los Angeles' most famously unfaithful producer. 

    The always-late Floyd eventually meets his match in a striking red dress. And like every proper film noir love triangle, this one involves a beautiful woman, a murder and—happily for Campari—a lot of liquor.

    Seems Floyd got a bit more than he bargained for when he chose to mix sweet with bitter.

    J. Walter Thompson Milan created the film, which marks a dramatic departure from the brand's classic, celebrity-studded Campari Calendar concept. The film was directed by Paolo Sorrentino, whose HBO miniseries The Young Pope is one of the season's most-discussed new shows.

    "I am proud to have been involved in this Campari project for two reasons," said Sorrentino, who is famous for his films' ambiguous conclusions. "First, because of all, the other incredible artists that had the privilege to work with the brand in the past. My name is now mentioned in the same breath as Depero, Fellini and others, even if it probably shouldn't. I am also proud because this project, at least compared to Campari's work in the past, is unusual—I like being involved in pioneering projects."

    "I loved the fact that it was a short movie with a proper story, as opposed to a commercial," said Owen, adding, "the fact that it was being directed by Paolo Sorrentino was a great attraction."

    In announcing the film's Rome debut, Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said it takes the brand and its viewers "into unchartered territory. ... Using film as a vehicle for the campaign has allowed us to depict the multifaceted artistry of cocktail making as well as continuously challenging ourselves to drive our iconic status as a world-renowned contemporary global brand."

    In addition to the film, the campaign also features a calendar book featuring 12 unique cocktail recipes and a series of related "Cocktail Stories" videos, which thankfully don't end with any bodies floating in L.A. pools.

    Client: Campari
    Creative Agency: J. Walter Thompson Milan
    Production House: Filmmaster Productions
    Director: Paolo Sorrentino
    Screenplay: Paolo Sorrentino
    Leading Actor: Clive Owen
    The Red Lady: Caroline Tillette
    Supporting Actors: Tim Ahern, Linda Messerklinger, Tom Ashley, Steve Osborne, Emily M. Bruhn, Denise Capezza
    Director of Photography: Daria D 'Antonio
    Original Music: Lele Marchitelli
    Production Designer: Andrea Rosso
    Costume Designer: Carlo Poggioli
    Hair Stylist: Aldo Signoretti
    Make-Up Artist: Maurizio Silvi

    Clive Owen wears Giorgio Armani
    Caroline Tillette's dress and swimwear are designed by Carlo Poggioli and made by Il Costume.
    Caroline Tillette's jewels are kindly provided by Bvlgari
    Filmed at CinecittaStudio

    Cocktail Stories videos
    Director: Ivan Olita
    Director of Photography: Gigi Martinucci
    Production Designer: Andrea Rosso

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    Doritos might have crashed out of the Super Bowl after a decade of fun ads, but Frito-Lay still has a few party tricks up its sleeve for this year's big game. The chip maker's Tostitos brand has made a limited-edition "Party Safe" bag that can tell when you've been drinking, and will help you get home safely from that Super Bowl party.

    The special bag, created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, comes equipped with a sensor connected to a microcontroller calibrated to detect small traces of alcohol on a person's breath. If any alcohol is detected, the sensor turns red and forms the image of a steering wheel, along with an Uber code and a "Don't drink and drive" message. 

    The bag also uses near-field communication (NFC) technology, allowing fans to tap the bag with their phone to call a ride. With Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Tostitos will offer partygoers $10 off their Uber ride during and after the Feb. 5 game.

    It's not quite as cool as a Breathalyzer type device, which could warn you if you've had too much booze, rather than any at all. (You figure you'd already know the answer to the latter.) But it's a neat party gimmick that should get people talking—and getting in more Ubers. 

    "We're proud to introduce to the world the first bag of chips that gets you home safe," says Roger Baran, a Goodby Silverstein & Partners creative director. "For a football fan, there is a lot of emotion involved with a game. It's easy to drink more than you planned. And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off. On Sunday of the big game, we want Tostitos to be that friend."

    "We designed the technology and the bag from the ground up and then had to scale it," adds Sam Luchini, also a GS&P creative director. "It had to function as a beautiful bag and also like an alcohol detector. It was form and function together."

    "Our goal is to remove 25,000 cars from the roads that Sunday evening," says Jennifer Saenz, Frito-Lay's chief marketing officer. "Whether watching the big game at a friend's house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away. By simply entering a participating Tostitos UPC code in the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off an Uber ride."

    In 2015, 45 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Super Bowl Sunday, which was nearly half of all traffic fatalities that day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    "Having a good time and being safe go hand in hand," says Delanie Walker, tight end for the Tennessee Titans and a MADD volunteer, whose aunt and uncle were killed by a drunk driver following the 2013 Super Bowl, in which Walker played. "Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. Thanks to Tostitos and Uber, it's easier than ever to make a safe choice if your plans include alcohol." 

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    Snickers, a fan favorite with its Super Bowl spots over the past decade, is upping the ante for 2017 by planning the first live commercial ever to air on the big game.

    The 30-second spot, by BBDO New York, will be performed live in the first ad slot of the third quarter during the Feb. 5 telecast. As previously announced, it will star Adam Driver, one of Hollywood's fastest rising actors—who parlayed a memorable role in HBO's Girls into a feature film career that has included playing villain Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    The stunt will be preceded by a 36-hour livestream from the set of the commercial. That livestream, at SnickersLive.com, will run from noon ET on Thursday, Feb. 2, until midnight Friday night. (In addition to the 36-hour livestream, Snickers will stream more live content at SnickersLive.com before, during and after the Super Bowl itself on Feb. 5.)

    No details about the creative were released, though Snickers said the work will be part of a "fully integrated 360 campaign to reinforce the brand's connection to hunger satisfaction before, during and after Super Bowl LI."

    The brand also unveiled four teaser spots for the project, which hint at a Western theme: 

    "Every year we challenge ourselves to find new ways to satisfy our fans hunger for entertainment by delivering something new and breakthrough, and there is no better way than being the first to have a Super Bowl live ad," said Allison Miazga-Bedrick, Snickers brand director.

    This is the third straight Super Bowl buy for the Mars candy brand, following well-received 30-second spots in 2015 and 2016 starring Danny Trejo and Willem Dafoe. Its other recent Super Bowl successes date back to the 2010 spot with Betty White.

    "We're excited to welcome Snickers back to the Super Bowl on Fox," said Bruce Lefkowitz, Fox Networks group executive vice president, advertising sales. "As this first-ever live Super Bowl spot demonstrates, innovation in advertising comes as much from outstanding creative ideas as it does from technology." 

    Snickers isn't the only brand that will be producing work on the fly on Super Bowl Sunday. Hyundai has announced that it will be filming its commercial during the game, to air in the first slot after the final whistle.

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    Alongside Cancer Research U.K., MediaCom and 4 Sales, British TV network Channel 4 broadcast the first live commercial from inside a human body. 

    Over the course of 90 seconds, you can witness a colonoscopy in progress. That white thing is a polyp in a bowel. Not all polyps are cancerous, but some can turn Exorcist on you. By removing them, you can help prevent bowel cancer. 

    See how easy they are to remove? It doesn't even hurt. 

    The footage might creep you out at first, but a calm bedside manner from Dr. Dolwani holds your hand all the way through. You even learn a few things, which demystifies the operation while highlighting its ease and painlessness—critical reassurance for people who may otherwise avoid checkups. 

    Titled "Live From the Inside" and created by Anomaly and Sassy Films, the ad aired on Jan. 18 around 3.25 p.m. 

    "Cancer Research U.K. aimed to show the positive impact research has had on helping to beat cancer," Channel 4's agency principal, Danny Peace, tells AdFreak. "Thanks to research, there are many things happening across the U.K. right now to help prevent, diagnose and treat cancer."

    Cancer Research U.K. receives no government funding and is entirely reliant on the kindness of strangers. Alongside the Channel 4 broadcast, it streamed the ad live on Facebook, where a cancer nurse was available to answer' questions in real time.

    "You are never sure how the public may react, but viewer comments have been generally very positive, suggesting it was attention grabbing and people were motivated to get checked out," Peace reports. "This is exactly the response we were hoping for." 

    The operation took place at Cardiff and Vale University, and was filmed by attaching a camera to a colonoscope. The patient was 60-year-old Philip McSparron, who underwent the colonoscopy after a routine bowel cancer screening found hidden traces of blood in his stool. 

    McSparron's own brother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010. (Luckily, it was caught early.) So Ed Aspel, executive director of fundraising and marketing at Cancer Research U.K., sees this broadcast as an opportunity and a warning: "Half of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, so it's important to break down barriers, encourage conversation and show the progress being made in beating cancer." 

    This is the first time this procedure has been performed live in an ad break. It's part of Cancer Research U.K.'s "Right Now" campaign, which highlights the day-to-day reality of those affected by cancer. 

    "It's our ambition to speed up progress so that within the next 20 years, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years," adds Aspel. 

    It helps that this isn't Channel 4's first sponsored live-broadcast rodeo. A month ago, the network aired a live ad of a man performing a "Leap of Faith"—a 100-foot freefall at over 50 miles per hour—for the film Assassin's Creed. 

    "On any occasion where you are filming live or doing something for the first time, there will be challenges and bumps in the road," says Peace. "At C4, we're committed to taking creative risks, and this project has been a great example of the teamwork required. The overriding concern was for the patient's well-being, aligning our broadcast with the operation schedule, and ultimately not getting in the way!"

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    There's a Chris Van Dusen book that my kids love called I Built a House, in which a boy sketches his wild and futuristic dream home, which includes an underwater room, a car-racing room, a zero-gravity room and a room with jets that detaches and flies around the neighborhood.

    Cisco, working with Goodby Silverstein & Partners, just did something a bit similar, enlisting an interior designer, a space explorer, an astronautics professor and a travel expert to imagine what a space hotel might look like in a future age of galactic tourism.

    The experts used Cisco Spark—a set of team messaging, online meeting and whiteboarding tools—to brainstorm during the project. Then GS&P made a short film about it, as well as an immersive 360 video tour of the hotel, including the lobby, bedrooms, dining area, observation deck and zero-G swimming pool. 

    Check out the 360 experience here:

    And the short film here:

    "Late last year, both President Obama and Elon Musk announced plans for a trip to Mars, so this idea doesn't seem that far fetched," says Will Elliott, associate partner and creative director at GS&P. "Our new campaign shows how Cisco Spark helps teams turn big ideas, such as the galaxy's first space hotel, into reality."

    "What's really interesting is today's technology is enabling the move from fiction to fact," adds David Barnhart, a professor of astronautics and one of the Space Hotel collaborators. "We are all wanderers and explorers, and now it's time for us to look outside to space."

    The other collaborators were Nicole Hollis, an interior designer; Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer; and Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy.

    Though clearly a bit outlandish as way of selling collaboration software, the Space Hotel is undeniably cool. The food ceiling, in particular, is a step up from your usual continental breakfast. And the observation deck is pretty awe-inspiring, too (particularly given the apparent lack of other guests to crowd your space).

    The work continues Cisco's "There's Never Been a Better Time" campaign, introduced last May. "The platform's perpetual optimism fuels Cisco's drive to make formerly outlandish ideas, like a space hotel, reality," the brand says.

    Client: Cisco

    Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
    Co-Chairman: Rich Silverstein
    Chief Creative Officer Margaret Johnson
    Creative Director: Will Elliott
    Creative Director: Patrick Knowlton
    Art Director: Maggie Bradshaw
    Copywriter: Jonathan Pelleg
    Associate Design Director: Angie Elko
    Art Director: Aaron Dietz
    Copywriter: Mandy Dietz
    Executive Producer: Hilary Coate
    Sr. Producer: John Riddle
    Account Director: Tanin Blumberg
    Account Manager: Chris Nilsen
    Account Manager: Sam Thayer
    Brand Strategy Director: Mike Ronkoske
    Brand Strategist: Nora Alibhai
    Business Affairs Manager: Anna Diokno
    Project Integration Director: Mallory Frye

    Production & Post: Gentleman Scholar
    Director: William Campbell
    Director: Will Johnson
    Director of Photography: Tom Banks
    Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris
    Head of Production: Rachel Kaminek
    Sr. Producer: Jake Hibler, Kirsten Noll

    Music/Sound Design: Yessian
    CCO: Brian Yessian
    Head of Production: Michael Yessian
    Executive Creative Director: Andy Grush
    Executive Producer: David Gold
    Sr. Producer: Katie Overcash
    Composer: Marc Jacobs, Daniel Johnson
    Sound Design: Jeff Dittenber, Benjamin Lantz
    Audio Mixing: Lime Studios, Rohan Young

    —Ad: "Cisco Spark: 360 Space Hotel Tour"
    Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
    Co-Chairman: Rich Silverstein
    Chief Creative Officer Margaret Johnson
    Creative Director: Will Elliott
    Creative Director: Patrick Knowlton
    Art Director: Maggie Bradshaw
    Copywriter: Jonathan Pelleg
    Associate Design Director: Angie Elko
    Art Director: Aaron Dietz
    Copywriter: Mandy Dietz
    Executive Producer: Hilary Coate
    Sr. Producer: John Riddle
    Account Director: Tanin Blumberg
    Account Manager: Chris Nilsen
    Account Manager: Sam Thayer
    Brand Strategy Director: Mike Ronkoske
    Brand Strategist: Nora Alibhai
    Business Affairs Manager: Anna Diokno
    Project Integration Director: Mallory Frye

    Production & Post: Gentleman Scholar
    Director: William Campbell
    Director: Will Johnson
    Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris
    Head of Production: Rachel Kaminek
    Sr. Producer: Jake Hibler
    Sr. Producer: Kirsten Noll
    Technical Director: Tim Hayward
    Designer: James Levy
    Designer: Paul Kim
    Designer: Juan Carlos Cuadra
    3D Animator: James Lane
    3D Generalist: Bill Maloney
    3D Generalist: Kevin Lim
    3D Modeler: Travis Mangaoang
    3D Modeler: Mike DuPree
    Lighter: Erick Schiele
    Lighter: Patrick Surace
    Lighter: Robin Kim
    Lighter: Paul Hargrave
    Compositor: Ryan Kaplan
    Compositor: Rachel Choi
    Compositor: Steven Escarcega
    Compositor: Hector Cabrera

    Music & Sound Design: Yessian
    CCO: Brian Yessian
    Head of Production: Michael Yessian
    Executive Creative Director: Andy Grush
    Executive Producer: David Gold
    Sr. Producer: Katie Overcash
    Composer: Nathan Padgett
    Composer: David Voyzey
    Composer: Dan Zank
    Sound Design & 360 Binaural Audio Mix: Jeff Dittenber
    Sound Design: Weston Fonger
    360 Binaural Audio Mix: Scott Gatteno

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    Sorry, "Weiner Stampede" fans. Heinz Ketchup, makers of last year's much-loved, dachshund-filled Super Bowl commercial, is sitting out this year's game. But it's not completely disconnecting from Super Bowl weekend. 

    The brand today launches a grassroots campaign to get the Monday after the Super Bowl—when everyone is a bit cranky, or even calling in sick to work, after a night of partying—to be declared a national holiday. 

    The brand has started an official Change.org petition to "make Monday more like Sunday." The new holiday, Heinz says, should be "Smunday."

    This comical video explains further: 

    This isn't the first time a brand has proposed this. Coke Zero did the same thing in 2012. 

    "The inspiration came from a conversation people have been having for years," Nicole Kulwicki, head of the Heinz brand, admits to Adweek. "Here at Heinz, we are all about never settling when it comes to taste or quality of condiments, and never settling when it comes to the day after one of the best sports days of the year." 

    Yes, a push for a national holiday the day after the Super Bowl is goofy and tongue-in-cheek. But Kulwicki says the brand is committed to trying to make it happen. The goal is to get 100,000 signatures on the petition. 

    "That's how many we think we need to get Congress to take us seriously," she says. "We're doing this in good fun, but with the intent that it will actually become a national holiday." 

    To signal the company's commitment to the cause, all employees at Kraft Heinz offices in the U.S. will be given Feb. 6 off this year. 

    "Wiener Stampede," by David Miami, was the No. 2 spot on 2016's USA Today Ad Meter. But despite that success, Kulwicki says the brand wanted to go in a different direction.

    "We loved 'Wiener Stampede' as well," she says. "It was a great way for us to introduce the full Heinz Ketchup family. This year we're doing something different. We're always looking for ways to connect with our consumers. This is a cause that we felt that the American public feels strongly about. And we really wanted to rally behind that effort."

    The video above will be shared digitally; there is no TV buy.

    The campaign was created by agencies David Miami, Starcom, PureRED | Ferrara and Alison Brod Marketing + Communications.

    For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.

    Client: Heinz

    VP of Marketing: Michelle St Jacques
    Brand Director: Nicole Kulwicki
    Brand Manager: Melissa Casey

    Agency: David Miami
    Chief Creative Officer, Founder: Anselmo Ramos
    Managing Director: Paulo Fogaça
    Creative Director: Russell Dodson
    Creative Director: Tony Kalathara
    Design Director: Carlos Lange
    Art Director: Curtis Caja
    Copywriter: Ian Holmes
    Group Account Director: Michelle Cobas
    Account Director: Carlos Rangel
    Account Supervisor: Rafael Giorgino
    Director of Strategic Planning: Jon Carlaw
    Head of Global Production: Veronica Beach
    Producer: Carlos Torres
    Business Manager: Barbara Karalis

    Production Company: B-Reel Films
    Director: Simon Cole
    Co-Founder/COO - Pelle Nilsson
    Managing Director/Executive Producer - Michael McQuhae
    Executive Producer - Jason Botkin
    Head of Sales /Executive Producer - Bryan Farhy
    Head of Production - Kelly Martin
    Producer - Rachel North

    Editing: Cut and Run
    Executive Producer: Amburr Farls
    Editor: Jay Nelson
    Post Producer: Emilie Talermo
    Assistant Editor: Eli Beck-Gifford

    Music/Final Audio: Beacon Street Studios
    Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
    Music/Final Audio: Beacon Street Studios / Vapor Post
    Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
    Mixer: Jose Toldeo

    Online: Jogger
    Executive Producer: Rich Rama
    Flame Artist: David Parker
    Color: Apache
    Producer: Stefanie Schaldenbrand
    Colorist: Taylor Black

    PR Agency: Alison Brod Marketing + Communications

    Media agency: Starcom

    Digital agency: PureRED|Ferrara

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    A few weeks ago, I went on a trip. By the time I arrived at the airport, my phone was a dead brick—obliging me to hunt down the nearest charging station and, upon spying one, immediately elbow in and seize it. 

    But you're never really alone at a charging station. I was sharing this one with a woman in the middle of a heated argument with somebody on her phone—still plugged in, just above mine. 

    I didn't want to be there, anxiously checking my social networks and waiting to be released. She clearly didn't want me there. But we were using a public utility, and we had to make do. So we sat very close together, each of us pretending the other woman didn't exist at all, and tried to continue our individual life trajectories unencumbered. 

    As she arched her back and shouted "WHY DON'T YOU GO LIVE WITH HIM?" our arms touched, tense yet somehow still feather-soft on contact, because that's the way you politely touch someone that you're trapped next to. 

    Perhaps inspired by moments like this, smartphone startup One Plus released two ads that focus on how quickly you can charge your phone and, in essence, run away

    Made by Carrot Creative, the first, titled "Just Kidding," opens with two women sharing a charging station in a café. One is a mother whose children are playing tug-of-war with her listless body while she checks her messages. The other woman watches, with growing anxiety, as those tiny human nightmares explore more sadistic ways to attract attention. 

    "I'm charged," she says when it becomes clear that the stakes are about to go way, way up.

    OnePlus smartphones, powered by the brand's exclusive Dash Charge technology, promise users "a day's power in half an hour." It's able to do this with a larger electric current that maintains a steady hyper-fast charging speed, even if you're using your phone while it's plugged in. 

    A second ad, "Mr. Roboto," might resonate with anyone who's still shaking off a CES hangover. 

    A woman shares a charging station with a guy playing a VR game. He's wearing sandals over socks and his pants don't fit, a caricature straight out of Revenge of the Nerds—long-limbed, awkward, poorly dressed and unaware of where he begins and ends, a problem exacerbated by his headset.

    He's also got a whole media array plugged into the shared station, and appears to be wearing some sort of disgusting phone harness. As he jerks around, invading space, the OnePlus owner stares. Then, quick as anything, she leaves. 

    The ads do their job well. We resent the quiet, condescending stares of OnePlus' protagonists, but recognize the situation they're in—trapped way too close to people whose lives appear to be an expanding hot mess. In the mental battle between elitism and convenience, where are you most likely to bend? 

    Then again, if the paragons of preparedness shown here were real people, they probably would have done what lots of people do already—bought a mobile charger. It does the job just as well. And if you're so wary of the chaos of human contact, you don't have to stop at the plebeian charging station at all. 

    Client: OnePlus

    Agency: Carrot Creative
    Account Director:  Anne Flavin
    Account Supervisor:  Rachel London
    Producer:  Rucyl Mills
    Creative Director:  Tyler Pierce
    Art Direction:  Alex Rainone
    Copywriter:  Bennett Einbender
    Illustration:  Adam Lowe
    Animation: Whitney Brown

    Pulse Films LA
    Executive Producer:  Casey Engelhardt
    Producer:  Caroline Oliveira
    Director:  Brendan Hearne
    Director of Photography: David Wilson
    Editor: Jarrah Oliveira 

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    From Snickers' point of view, skipping its YouTube preroll ads is just as bad skipping one of the Mars candy brand's chocolaty treats when you're hungry. 

    So, to boost viewer engagement in the prerolls, Impact BBDO in Dubai just unwrapped "Pre-Video Videogames"—ads you can actually play that are also packed with loud, silly hunger scenarios. 

    In the first spot below, a school-bus driver behaves like a crazed WWE wrestler because he hasn't had a nosh. Users hit pause to try to help him snag Snickers bars that sail across the screen. 

    Dude looks like a caveman. And he certainly shouldn't be driving while munching on a Snickers. Think of the children!

    Next, a tennis umpire behaves like a member of Spinal Tap:

    Has that guy been working the Australian Open? Rumble-tum officiating might explain those big upsets.

    Impact BBDO has been trying to evolve the brand's long-running "You're not you when you're hungry" positioning. "The Warning," a goofy time-trip commercial, is another recent example, and the new "Pre-Video Videogame" spots take things a step further. (They will also run as traditional TV ads, minus the gamification.)

    The results are diverting in a bone-headed kind of way, though with all due respect, this stuff seems far from unskippable.

    Client: Snickers

    Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai
    Regional Executive Creative Director: Fadi Yaish
    Creative Director: Jamie Kennaway, Stephanus De Lange
    Associate Creative Director: Dio Santos
    Regional Account Director: Frances McCabe
    Senior Account Manager: Lina Ghulam
    Editor Lead: Joris Bosdriesz
    Motion Graphics Lead: James Keith Elgie
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Anju Purushot
    Broadcast Producer: Rajaa Chami
    Post Producer: Ann Geleen Amparado

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

    Grade: Karim Mira, Lizard VFX

    Online: Serena, Dubai
    Producers: Mahmoud Al Jabban, Daniela Borges, Romy Raad
    Flame Artist: Miguel Ruiz
    Graphics: Gary Fedorenko, Yunus Ali

    Music & Sound Design: Mango Jam, Dubai

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    It started out as a ludicrous proposition in a simple, goofy tweet. Would Americans embrace a new and nefarious way of annoying numbers-obsessed president Donald Trump—by following half an onion in a plastic bag on Twitter until it has more followers than him?

    It's been six days since that tweet, and Half an Onion has already gotten a pretty staggering response. It's up to 614,000 followers as of this writing—far short of Trump's 22.2 million, but impressive for an otherwise undistinguished piece of produce.

    Its 43 tweets so far have been all comedy, tweaking Trump on everything from his tax returns to his cabinet to his allegedly tiny hands.

    Suspecting the anonymous creator of Half an Onion might work in the creative industries, we reached out to them over email. They replied that, yes, they work in the "digital space," run their own site and have "a pretty decent social media following."

    Beyond that, they want to remain anonymous, at least for now. But they were willing to answer some other questions from AdFreak, as you can see below.

    AdFreak: Where did you get this idea, and why half an onion?
    Half an Onion: Honestly, the idea came out of complete and total frustration. I very stupidly turned on my TV on Inauguration Day and was, well … disgusted, I guess is the best word. Don't get me wrong, I was disgusted long before, but I think for myself, and a lot of other people, it suddenly felt more real than it has so far. I wanted to make a statement of some sort then and there, and decided, Why not do it on Trump's favorite platform?

    As far as why the half an onion goes, I've worked in the digital space for a long time now and thought briefly about what makes the Internet tick, and a combination of topical content, humor and complete randomness seemed like a good call. So, I looked around my home to try to find the most random item I could put head to head with Trump, and when I opened my fridge and saw that pathetic half onion in a bag (that I since have been told multiple times was cut wrong, making it even more pathetic), I knew I had a winner.

    At this point, you've collected 614,000 followers in five days. That's a lot more than any portion of an onion could hope for. Do you think you can catch Trump, and how angry do you think he would be if you did? Would he hate-tweet at you?
    There's still a long way to go. I honestly never thought it would get this big. But if we could all do this, come together, build this following, and pass Trump, it would be interesting to see what could happen. I look forward to him calling a press conference because of it. That would be the greatest thing in the world and so completely ridiculous. The fact that we're even discussing that that could even be an option just kind of shows you the kind of person we're dealing with here. But if it got that far … oh, we'll see. It's got a very long way to go.

    Can you tell us anything more about yourself?
    At the moment, I'm choosing to remain anonymous. I like letting the half onion in a bag do its thing for the time being. But I won't remain anonymous forever. I've worked in the digital space for quite some time now. I run my own site and have a pretty decent social media following. I guess one thing other thing I can tell you is that this wasn't some publicity stunt by a large company or an attempt at making something go viral for free advertising. This was all done genuinely, out of combination of frustration and fun.

    Your tweets are amusing. Is comedy a worthy form of resistance to Trump?
    Oh, absolutely. The man cannot handle a joke. That's a part of the reason people are jumping on board with this.

    Do you have other plans for the account, given that you've very suddenly collected a very large audience?
    Well, it's all happened so fast that I have to admit it's a bit overwhelming. But I do have some ideas brewing. That being said, I don't know how much longer people will care about it. I know how these things operate, but I would love if any charities or organizations wanted to reach out and we could come up with a way to work together. I'd be all for it. I think a lot of the people who follow me for the humor would be up for me doing a bit of good as well.

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    Febreze doesn't want you to stink up the bathroom on Super Bowl Sunday.

    In fact, the Procter & Gamble brand's first-ever big-game commercial, developed by Grey New York, suggests folks use Febreze during their halftime potty break to keep such potentially smelly situations under control.

    Airing in the second quarter, the 30-second spot focuses on the fact that millions of viewers rush to their toilets at the mid-point break in the action. 

    "I love you, halftime bathroom break," begins comic actress Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan, Parks and Recreation, Transparent) in the voiceover of the teaser below. "On Super Bowl night, for two-plus hours of can't-see football and must-see commercials, we do the unthinkable—we hold it, until the halftime whistle blows."

    The full :30 rolls out this coming Monday. Meanwhile, here's a teaser:

    Febreze with OdorCare, "our toughest [odor-eliminating] formula to date ... is the largest product innovation since our inception nearly 18 years ago," Martin Hettich, vp of P&G Home Care North America and Brand Franchise Leader for Global Air Care, tells Adweek. "We have no pre-game jitters. We are really excited for the work, and we think it will drive a head nod and laugh from the millions of game-watching fans who can relate to the halftime bathroom break."

    The Super Bowl splurge is part of the brand's broader new "Odor Odes" campaign, with more ads voiced by Hahn, including this funky little furniture number starring a scent-obsessed dude with an incredibly itchy Febreze trigger finger:

    Bro, if it reeks that bad, maybe train Rover to stay off it. Or get a new sofa!

    Client: P&G / Febreze

    Agency: Grey New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Grey New York: Andreas Dahlqvist
    Executive Creative Director, Grey New York: Jeff Stamp
    Executive Creative Director, Grey New York: Leo Savage
    Creative Director, Grey New York: Lance Parrish
    Creative Director, Grey New York: Stephen Nathans
    Associate Creative Director, Grey New York: Patrick Conlon
    Associate Creative Director, Grey New York: Will Gardner
    Copywriter: David Mattera, Cuanan Cronwright, Leo Barbosa
    Project Director: Hank Romero
    Strategy Director, Grey New York: Justine Feron
    Strategist, Grey New York: Toni Dawkins
    EVP / Global Account Director, Grey New York: Rick Reilly
    SVP / Global Account Director, Grey New York: Mercedes Campos
    VP / Account Director, Grey New York: Kelly Norris
    Account Supervisor, Grey New York: Tim Carpenter
    Account Executive, Grey New York: Stephen Koepp
    Assistant Account Executive, Grey New York: Hannah Byrne

    Production Agency: Townhouse
    Townhouse President: Bennett McCarroll
    Townhouse SVP Head of Integrated Production: James McPherson
    Townhouse Exec. Integrated Producer: Tania Salter
    Townhouse Integrated Producer: Emily Darby
    Townhouse Music Producer: Zach Pollakoff, David Lapinsky
    Production Company: Knucklehead
    Executive Producer: Cathleen Kisich
    Director: Rob Leggatt
    Director of Photography: Ben Davis
    Music/Sound Design: Townhouse Studios
    Principal Talent: Kathryn Hahn

    Editorial: Final Cut
    Editor: Joe Guest
    Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
    Head of Production: Jen Sienkwicz
    Producer (NY): Brad Wood
    Producer (UK): Frankie Elster
    Assistant Editor (NY): Dan Berk
    Assistant Editor (UK): Kit Wells

    Postproduction Company: Significant Others
    Creative Director: Dirk Greene
    Lead VFX Artist: Dirk Greene
    VFX Artist: Betty Cameron
    VFX Artist: Eric Gelgand (freelance)
    GFX Artist: Phillip Brooks
    GFX Artist: Will Kim (freelance)
    VFX Producer: Alek Rost

    Telecine Company: Color Collective
    Colorist: Alex Bickel
    Executive Color Producer: Claudia Guevara

    Content Curation & Clearances: Catch&Release

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    It's not that often that a billboard is so absurd that it invites widespread mockery and goes viral in the process. But this one has—a full six years after it was made.

    The ad, from the Netherlands, was made by a Dutch agency called Etcetera for the Predictor pregnancy-test brand. With a quick glance, it's clear something isn't quite right. The man and woman seem extremely surprised by the reading on the pregnancy test. But wouldn't they … have already guessed they're pregnant?

    Or maybe that's the joke?!

    Twitter has been having a field day with the ad, after it was posted by user Alex Romero. Below is a sampling of the reactions:

    The ad was actually made in 2011. It was posted to Ads of the World back then, and was met with a similarly bemused reaction from commenters—but wasn't noticed widely at the time. 

    We reached out to several of the creatives who worked on the billboard, and received a reply from Chris Sant, who was the art director on it. (He's now a senior creative at J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam.) 

    "We didn't know our ad would go viral after six years! Great!" he tells AdFreak.

    And what about the dissonant image? Some have suggested perhaps the couple have just learned the gender of the baby. But nope. This is just your regular old pregnancy test—though an extremely good one, according to Sant. 

    "Since Predictor is 99.9 percent accurate, you'd rather depend on the test than your belly," Sant says, adding that the agency did engage in a little "advertising exaggeration." 

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    If you like beer and awkward, creepy-eyed humor, you'll probably enjoy this campaign from a U.K. craft brew club.

    Edinburgh-based Beer52.com ships different kinds of craft beer to members each month. To celebrate a collaboration with popular Escondido, California, brewer Stone Brewing, the website and agency Grey London created a 40-minute ad (below) featuring a new spokesmen, "Beer Buddy."

    For those viewers with less than 40 extra minutes on their hands, a one-minute trailer captures the spirit of the character, who is weird and lonely and a little bit of an asshole, but likes to drink beer in his rich uncle's gaudy den, all of which makes him an ideal candidate to be your new best friend.

    To put it differently, Beer Buddy—played by comedian Lee McQueen—looks and acts like the thirsty lovechild of Russell Brand and Zach Galifianakis. There's even a fern in the background of the shot … but just one.

    There are cameos from costars like his housemate (an exchange student who is the apparently even more creepy uncle's housekeeper and lover), the old lady next door, and a kebab delivery guy. In other words, the more of the full-length version you watch, the more uncomfortable silences you'll enjoy while you sip your Stone brews alongside him.

    It's Beer52's first ever commercial, and a pretty strong opener.

    "We read that ad agencies are making commercials that are maybe five seconds long, on account of how short people's attention spans have become," says co-founder Fraser Doherty. "That told us everything we needed to know. We were going to go the other way and shoot what is probably the world's longest beer ad ever."

    Unfortunately—or perhaps fortunately—for Doherty, that dubious title still probably goes to Canadian brewer Kokanee's feature-length bro comedy about a rager in the wilderness, The Movie Out Here, as created by agency Grip Ltd.

    But maybe Beer Buddy can land a role in the (as yet unannounced) sequel, tentatively titled The Hangover 17.

    Starring: Lee McQueen as Beer Buddy
    Emily Wyatt as Vilma
    Emma Barker as Doris
    Nick Vickery as Kebab guy
    Director: J Marlow
    DOP: Bjorn Bratberg
    Camera Assitant: Austin Philips
    Written by: J Marlow, Henrik Ridderheim, Lee McQueen
    Producer/1st AD: Elliot Tagg
    Production Assistant: Shea Colman
    Production Assistant: Harry Davidage
    Post Producer: Callum Johnston
    Editor: Matt Newman
    Art Dept: Charlie Whiteway
    Costume: Poppy Bell
    Make up: Ruth Pease
    Gaffer: Darren Jackson
    Sound: Hugh Griffith

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    Nobody likes being treated like a moron—but it can present an opportunity for some righteously vindictive humor.

    Last April, Chevrolet insulted the intelligence of viewers with a painfully contrived ad featuring "Real People" having to use emojis to describe the 2016 version of its Cruze model. Now, an enterprising YouTube comedian has struck back with a parody offering a more down-to-earth, hilarious review of the automobile.

    The video, from Zebra Corner, intersperses footage of the original ad with new, slightly (and reasonably) misanthropic commentary. It's clear from the get-go that something isn't quite right when a new member of the focus group, upon meeting the moderator, snaps, "I don't shake hands." Not much later, he's giving the car a pictorial rating of "turtle" because "it looks fucking slow."

    The deft edits play up the absurdity of the original spot—like the guy who is excited about all the tacos he can buy after savings on gas (which might be a reasonable calculus, if it hadn't seemed so clearly whispered into his ear by one of the ad's creators). "Awww, I hate you," groans the comedian, echoing what everyone else in the audience was already thinking.

    Eventually, the hero calls the car a "Ford Focus" and gives it an overall emoji rating of "smiling pile of turd." To be fair, the performance of the automobile isn't really on trial here. But as an assessment of the commercial itself, that little icon of an anthropomorphic shit with a self-eating grin on its face has perhaps never found a more accurate application.

    It doesn't hurt the parody's case that Chevy has apparently been torturing people by keeping the original spot in heavy rotation. (The larger "Real People" campaign actually started out pretty decently, too.) The top comment on the parody, with some 700 upvotes, reads, "My kids scramble for the remote to change channel or hit the MUTE button when these Chevy commercials come on. They are universally despised by our entire family."

    In other words, the marketer should probably take a long hard look in the mirror when consumers like the parody better than the ad. 

    See the original Chevy spot here: 

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    GEICO rules supreme in this week's chart of the most digitally engaging commercials, powered by iSpot.tv. The insurance company owns three of the top 10 ads, and uses memorable, if cringeworthy, humor to spark conversation. Its first-place spot imagines what would happen if former running back Tiki Barber worked in a barber shop. At No. 8, GEICO has some fun with a cuckoo clock. And at No. 10, an undercover agent barely escapes some mobsters. 

    Insurer UnitedHealthcare also uses humor to capture second place.

    Filling out the rest of the chart are commercials we've been seeing for a few weeks, including spots from Apple, Microsoft, Verizon and Madden NFL.

    Top 10 Ads by Digital Share of Voice

    powered by iSpot.tv

    1. GEICO TV Spot, 'Tiki's Barber Shop: It's Not Surprising' Feat. Tiki Barber

    25.18% Digital SOV  1,622,065 Online Views  3,815 Social Actions


    2. UnitedHealthcare TV Spot, 'Lunch With Chuck' Featuring Chuck Norris

    15.27% Digital SOV  112,796 Online Views  13,148 Social Actions


    3. Apple iPhone 7 + AirPods TV Spot, 'Stroll' Ft Lil Buck, Song by Marian Hill

    15.06% Digital SOV  392,636 Online Views  7,931 Social Actions

    4. Microsoft TV Spot, 'Football, Teamwork & Technology: CA School'

    5.09% Digital SOV  349,028 Online Views  502 Social Actions

    5. Verizon 5GB Plan TV Spot, '5GB for $55'

    4.01% Digital SOV  810 Online Views  3,891 Social Actions

    6. Apple iPhone 7 Plus TV Spot, 'Take Mine' Song by Bezos' Hawaiian Orchestra

    2.95% Digital SOV  56,753 Online Views  2,111 Social Actions

    7. Madden NFL 17 TV Spot, 'Karaoke' Featuring Antonio Brown

    1.99% Digital SOV  56,069 Online Views  1,173 Social Actions

    8. GEICO TV Spot, 'Cuckoo Clock: Take a Closer Look'

    1.45% Digital SOV  12,856 Online Views  1,227 Social Actions

    9. Walgreens TV Spot, 'Seize the Day'

    1.19% Digital SOV  234 Online Views  1,152 Social Actions

    10. GEICO TV Spot, 'Undercover: Great Answer'

    1.11% Digital SOV  9,385 Online Views  948 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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    McDonald's made headlines late last year for consolidating its $800 million-plus advertising business with a new dedicated unit inside Omncom called We Are Unlimited.

    That division's first campaign for the fast-food giant launched today, and its primary goal is positioning the one and only Big Mac as a sandwich for everyone ... no matter your appetite or your circumstance. 

    As you can see in the spot below, line drummers, rock drummers, ballers, boarders and gamers can all agree: There's a Big Mac for that! 

    Before moving its business to Omnicom, McDonald's made a big push to promote its All Day Breakfast offering along with former creative lead Leo Burnett, part of Publicis Groupe. Now it's focusing on the new multi-sized Big Mac. 

    The new work marks a strategic shift focused on reaching consumers where they live, aka every available digital platform. In addition to the national TV ad buy covering the Grammys, Oscars and Super Bowl pre-game, McDonald's will run versions of this campaign on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. 

    At last year's Advertising Week, McDonald's chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl elaborated on the "5,000 pieces of content" strategy embodied by this work and a parallel campaign in which the chain will give away 10,000 bottles of its literal Big Mac secret sauce via live social media video streams.

    According to the release, this creative is intended to mimic "a hip-hop music video." It was directed by We Are From LA, the duo behind Pharrell's "Happy."

    Those averse to change shouldn't worry, though: While "There's a Big Mac for That" will appear throughout this campaign, "I'm Lovin' It" remains the brand's main tagline. And despite The Onion's hard-hitting 2014 reports, "Lovin' Beats Hatin'" has yet to appear in any McDonald's spots.

    Client: McDonald's

    Agency: We Are Unlimited
    Chief Executive Offier: Brian Nienhaus
    Chief Strategic Officer: Graceann Bennett
    Chief Production Officer: Jon Ellis
    EVP,ECD: Christina Yu
    Creative Director: Jennifer Rossini
    AD: Andrea Knowles, Patrick Shing, Eric Carriere, Catherine Wong, Meagan Patry
    Copywriters:  Lauren Riddoch, Phil Hahn, Benjamin O'Neill, Angeline Parsons
    Group Account Director: Matthew Schabdach
    Account Supervisor: Samantha Hess
    Account Executive: Katelyn Ledford
    Account Manager: Tom Briggs
    Retail Senior Account Director: Devin Hauser

    Zocalo Group
    EVP, Strategic Planning: Emily Bader
    Senior Account Executive: Becca Toth

    Director: We Are From LA
    Producer : James Groves
    Prod. Comp:  Iconoclast
    Editor: Cutters Chicago Grant Gustavson
    Music: South
    Photographer: Stephen Hamilton

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    Two more food and beverage brands just jumped into the mix for Super Bowl LI.

    Wonderful Pistachios and Fiji Water, both owned by The Wonderful Company, will each air a 15-second spot during the Feb. 5 telecast on Fox, the company confirmed to Adweek on Friday.

    The pistachios ad will air in the first quarter, and the Fiji spot in the third quarter.

    The pistachios spot, titled "Treadmill," will continue the brand's campaign with Ernie the Elephant, a CGI character voiced by John Cena. The brand has not decided yet whether to release the spot early, or wait for the game. 

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has appeared in two Ernie spots to date, but he will not be in the Super Bowl ad. 

    Meanwhile, Fiji Water will not be airing new creative on the game. Rather, it will use a 15-second version of a spot called "Nature's Gift." A 30-second version of that spot ran in a previous ad campaign—and was uploaded to YouTube in February 2015.

    The Wonderful Company told Adweek that Fiji Water sales have been strong, but as a result of the cyclone that hit the country of Fiji last year, it held inventory and pulled back on marketing support. However, this ad is the brand's way of "kicking-off a full year of marketing support." 

    While Fiji Water is a newcomer to the Super Bowl, Wonderful Pistachios is not. The brand aired spots on the 2013 and 2014 games—the former starring the South Korean singer and rapper Psy, and the latter featuring Stephen Colbert. 

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    So, you put on a few pounds over the holidays. What would it take to entice you to work off that festive flab at high-end fitness club Equinox? How about a sweatsuit stitched together from surgical scrubs? Or cologne infused with the DNA of a marathoner? Or would lipstick made from the pages of the...


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