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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    IDEA: If you have kids, you may never have driven as fearfully as when you pulled away from the hospital with your firstborn. It's an auspicious moment to base an auto-safety ad around, and a perfect one for Volkswagen, it turns out, which is fine-tuning its Jetta targeting— traditionally singles—to include young married couples. A new spot from Deutsch shows a man and woman taking their newborn son home, but facing danger immediately as a van cuts them off. The baby sees his life flash before his eyes, which amusingly consists simply of things seen earlier in the ad—being held by his mom, loaded into the car by his dad, and cut off by the van. "It's such a universal story, and every parent can relate to it," said Deutsch group creative director Michael Kadin. "But it has the Volkswagen twist of seeing it through a 3-day-old baby's eyes."

    COPYWRITING: As always with Deutsch's VW work, the focus is not a product feature—or in this case, the thematic pillar of safety—but how it relates to the target at a certain point in their lives. "I think that's much more compelling than slamming the car into a brick wall at a test facility," said group creative director Matt Ian. After the accident is averted, the voiceover says: "If your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's in an IIHS top safety pick. The Volkswagen Jetta. That's the power of German engineering." That last line is common to all VW spots—Jetta, Passat, Beetle, etc.— and the copy lines always set it up. The logo and "Das Auto" tagline appear at the end.

    The plot here is exaggerated, but with a truthful insight—a line VW likes to ride. (Think of the 2012 Passat spot where the friends learned Spanish on a short car trip.) "We didn't want to play it for broad comedy, because then you dismiss it," said Kadin. "We wanted it to feel real to a young couple, especially to a mom."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Noam Murro shot the ad on a Saturday at a hospital in downtown Los Angeles. The visual look is clean and unaffected, until the flashback. "There we put filters on it and blew out the edges so it has that dreamy quality," said Ian. Murro was adamant that the comedy would work only if the baby's flashback was limited. "You can't go back to the delivery room. That ruins the joke," said Ian. Added Kadin: "I'm being wheeled out, I'm being put in a car, a car is going to hit me—those three beats were the humor of it."

    TALENT: The agency used twin babies—almost a necessity, given the SAG rules about children's work hours. They were significantly older than three days, which is also common. "The baby does look a little old, but he also gave us some amazing looks we would have never gotten from a genuine newborn," said Ian. The baby almost looks like he shakes off the flashback as it's ending. "We didn't shake the baby's head. He just did that," said Kadin. "We felt like we had 80 percent of the story right there."

    SOUND: The sound design helps frame the flashback—lots of reverb, the baby's heartbeat, etc. The music is a remake of "O-o-h Child," a 1970 song by the Five Stairsteps. The original felt too big, so Deutsch had Elias Arts re-record it. The lyrics begin, "Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier," an amusing perspective for a baby to have after childbirth. The song stops abruptly when the van swerves in, then starts over afterward. "It's as if they're pulling away for the first time," said Kadin.

    MEDIA: National broadcast, cable and online.


    Client: Volkswagen
    EVP, Chief Product & Marketing Officer: Tim Mahoney
    VP, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
    GM, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
    Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen
    Advertising Specialist: Chanel Arola

    Spot: "Baby"

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter
    Group Creative Director: Michael Kadin
    Group Creative Director: Matt Ian
    Senior Art Director: Ryan McLaughlin
    Copywriter: Jeb Quaid
    Copywriter: Cam Miller
    Copywriter: Ben Salsky
    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
    VFX Supervisor: James Allen

    Music/Composer: Elias Arts, LLC
    Song: "Ooh, Child"

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

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

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
    Group Account Director: Tom Else
    Account Director: Monica Jungbeck
    Account Supervisor: Amanda Rantuccio
    Account Executive: Danielle Gordon
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Doug Van Praet
    Senior Account Planner: Nargis Pirani
    Abilino Guillermo: Director of Integrated Business Affairs
    Gabriela Farias: Associate Director of Business Affairs
    Carie Bonillo: Director of Broadcast Traffic
    Sarah Brennan: Broadcast Traffic Manager

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    Crotches have been lethal for God knows how long. But traffic-safety officials in Alberta, Canada, are using new ads to highlight the most recent source of groin-related fatalities: subversive texting. In its new "Crotches Kill" campaign, Alberta's Transportation Department reminds motorists that every time you check that phone in your lap, your attention strays from the road for five seconds. "We know what you're doing down there," say the posters, part of an effort by agency RED that includes radio spots and banner ads as well. In somewhat related news, Rhode Island is also considering a law to ban pets from sitting in drivers' laps. We might just be entering an era of crotch common sense! Via Osocio and Copyranter.

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  • 02/26/13--10:19: Ad of the Day: Lincoln
  • In the case of Lincoln's "Sound and Vision" project, it turns out less is more.

    Last week, the automaker released what it billed as the "fully immersive digital experience" of its much-commented-on Beck-covers-Bowie concert. In English, that roughly means a website that lets viewers wander around a virtual facsimile of the show. On the site, visitors can see all of theater-in-the-round's 160-musician ensemble, and hear different versions of the mix based on their positions, during the various stages of the performance.

    As Wired outlines, it was an impressive feat of production—filmed with 360-degree camera rigs and recorded with microphone setups designed to mimic the human ear. That's another notch in the already-impressive belt of @radical.media director Chris Milk.

    Still, even the high-definition version comes across as grainy and underwhelming, kind of like the digital version of a town car. The facial-recognition software—an optional, hands-free method for controlling the camera's perspective—is kludgy, and a distraction from the more remarkable piece of the campaign, which is the performance itself. And perhaps not surprisingly, the visuals themselves don't really add all that much. Watching people in the audience tap their feet and members of the orchestra wait for their entrances, it turns out, doesn't really make for all that good television. That's doubly true in contrast to Beck's own dynamic stage presence.

    In fact, as great an experiment as the would-be-digital-wonderland seemed in theory, the plain old edited, focused, nine-minute regular video version of the performance (posted below), and the accompanying mix, make for a much better overall package without the bells and whistles of the gimmick. Especially because the concert itself is so good.

    Still, for what it's worth, the campaign has drummed up a fair amount of attention for a brand nobody thought was capable of surprising anyone. And maybe it'll help Lincoln escape the widespread impression that it exists solely for the purpose of making limos.

    Client: Lincoln
    Agency: Hudson Rouge
    Agency: Willo Perron & Associates
    Production Company: @radical.media
    Director: Chris Milk

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    I was just thinking how much I'd like to eat a magazine ad right about now, and along comes this edible effort from OgilvyOne in Dubai for citrus-flavored Fanta. There's abundant text, which begins, "Just tear off a piece of this page, pop in your mouth & enjoy … !" Yeah, I'll get right on that. The vile concept is clearly designed to generate free-media coverage such as this post. (This includes calling it the first of its kind, which it is not.) So, choke on it, Fanta! Metaphorically, of course. Other stories about the ad have riffed about readers "eating their words" and pondering whether the work displays "good taste." Ad reviewers—what a bunch of buffoons. Ogilvy is becoming the go-to agency for edible ads, its Cape Town office having engineered Volkswagen's "Eat the road" print ad two years ago. David would be so proud.

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    HBO placed this wonderful ad in Monday's New York Times, with the shadow of a dragon looming over two pages of fake stories. It's a shame they couldn't advertise over a real spread—and while the non-Times fonts surely make the editors breathe easier, it takes away from the effect just a little. But still a fun execution. Check out this Yahoo piece for more on the fake stories, and what they have to do with the show. Via The Denver Egotist.

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    Possibly in an effort to prove it's more than a Chuck E. Cheese for misogynists, Hooters hired Skiver Advertising for its new "Step Into Awesome" ad campaign. The work, including these "Burrito" and "Big Fan" TV spots, emphasizes the food (Hooters recently expanded its menu) and congenial atmosphere instead of just the state of its employees' undress. It also takes a pretty obvious stab at Chipotle in one of the ads. Both ads are disorientingly tasteful, and I guess that's a good thing. It's also good strategy for Hooters, because focusing more on the waitstaff would remind people of the chain's shady hiring practices, among other things. Fitzgerald+CO previously handled the Hooters account.

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    Scaring the crap out of people in their everyday lives is horror-movie marketing 101. There are countless examples—my favorite probably being the old Ring Two stunt that sent people a link to the trailer and then called their cell phone with a petrifying message right afterward. This new video from Thinkmodo for The Last Exorcism Part II is pretty solid, too. They rigged up a mirror at a beauty salon to show fleeting glimpses of a dead girl—clearly unnerving the unsuspecting patrons. Some of them seem more unsuspecting than others, actually, and there's not much point to the profanity—it seems a little gratuitous. Still, the ending is spectacular—as the girl behind the mirror puts her extreme flexibility to good use in an homage to the movie's poster. It's undeniably freaky, and understandably sends the patrons scattering.

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  • 02/27/13--09:44: Ad of the Day: Oreo
  • I must say that if "physicist David Neevel" (who also appears to be Wieden + Kennedy creative David Neevel—yes, all right, he says he's a copywriter in the video) really did design this Oreo-dividing and -decreming machine in .04 years, he is perhaps wasting a certain amount of potential. Like, Large Hadron Collider-level potential.

    Neevel is very funny in this ad, answering (badly) exactly the kinds of questions people off camera ask reality-TV performers ("One of the hardest things to overcome was to learn how to build robots and make them work," he says at one point) and generally looking worried most of the time. Is it me, or are we as a nation sick of dumb questions this week? Everybody's favorite video was Jennifer Lawrence describing her pre-Oscars "process" as "I just woke up and tried on a dress, and it fit, thank God, and then, um, I took a shower?"

    The Rube Goldberg-y machine here is pretty cool, although it's odd that Neevel didn't use, I dunno, a light switch to make it work rather than the weird, homemade toggle thing. But then, this doesn't seem to be a guy who does things the easy way, does it?

    My only issue with W+K's new cookies vs. creme campaign, besides Oreo's recalcitrance over the correct spelling of the word "cream" (seriously, give it an accent grave and tell people it's pronounced "crem," or just trademark the dumb thing), is that it causes the viewer to ask the TV set why the cookie lovers don't simply migrate to Nabisco's Chocolate Teddy Grahams, and why the creme lovers don't sit alone in their darkened apartments sobbing quietly into tubs of Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting (16 oz.), which I have never, ever done and anyone who says different is a liar, Mom.

    The dramatic music in the background is exactly right for the kind of thing this is kind of parodying—Syfy shows like Robot Wars, for example. And I really dig the ASCII/dot-matrix intro, although in about six months that's going to restrict the viewership of this ad to people over 30, since most of the digital generation thinks about dot matrix and ASCII the way we over-30s think about gramophones and typewriters.

    Three more videos in this series are forthcoming—on Feb. 28, March 4 and March 7.

    All right, this ad has successfully made me feel old. In conclusion, ZOMG, ROFL, this ad is swag (<— am I using this right? I never know). Kthxbai.

    Client: Mondelēz International
    Product: Oreo
    Creative Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
    Digital Agency: 360i

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    Who said station wagons are for moms? Oh, how things change. Audi U.K. is changing that stigma with this "Ultimate Paintball Duel" between two new 2013 RS 4 Avants. Yes, they're station wagons. No, they're not your run-of-the-mill kid pushers. They're loaded with V-8 engines, 450 horsepower—oh, and huge hood-mounted paintball guns. The black vs. white, arcade-like duel is a gamer's dream come true, with fast cars, guns, high scores and Paul Engemann's "Push It to the Limit" as the soundtrack (bonus!). What's not to love? The spot shifts into gear as the cars commence in hot pursuit of each other, firing rounds on all cylinders. Paint flies, tires squeal and stunt drivers handle hairpin turns and evasive maneuvers to avoid direct hits. The spot even pays a brief tribute to James Bond with its neon-blue oil slicks and roadside paint bombs. Touché to Audi U.K. Now, let's see how the RS 4 will be introduced in the U.S. Making-of video after the jump.

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    I see dead people. In commercials. Eating Galaxy chocolate bars. Well, just one corpse, actually. It's Audrey Hepburn, 20 years dead but still cute as a button and seamlessly integrated into the advertising action thanks to modern technology. This British spot, approved by the actress's sons, finds Hepburn on holiday in Italy, tempted from her tour bus (not AC/DC's tour bus, thankfully) by a pretty boy driving a fancy convertible. When Audrey accepts the ride, she coyly sits in the back seat. Classy! The visuals are impressive, a big improvement on Dead Astaire's hot steppin' for Dirt Devil back in 1997. Of course, some find the trend ghoulish. Frankly, I'm surprised it's generating this much interest. It's been done to ... well, death. Everyone from John Wayne to Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain have been resurrected for ads. And Clint Eastwood for Chrysler … close enough! Check out Hepburn's 2006 Gap spot after the jump.

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    Throughout history, women have grappled with a biological inevitability that is, literally, always top of mind: Sooner or later, they go gray.

    As the common wisdom goes, about 50 percent of women will be 50 percent gray by the time they turn 50. Men go gray too, of course, but they don’t seem to agonize over it the way women do (they have other worries, like baldness). In fact, according to WebMD, 75 percent of American women admit to color-treating their hair. Among men, it’s only 11 percent.

    Given these realities—both biological and social—it’s no surprise that hair-dye ads aimed at women have been with us for three generations now. The ads on these pages show us that much, but they also show us something far more interesting. While the process of coloring hair has remained largely the same, attitudes about it have not. “It’s a generational thing,” said Marti Brady, president and co-founder of consulting firm Beauty Management Group. At one time, women routinely concealed the fact that they dyed their hair. Many just lied about it. But today? “Most people don’t care,” Brady said, “so long as they look good.”

    In 1956, Clairol had a problem on its hands. Its new Miss Clairol “hair color bath” not only achieved natural-looking results in just one step, but women could also use it at home. The problem was the social stigmas tangled up in the practice of dyeing hair. Historically, most women who colored their locks either worked the stage or, worse, the sidewalk. The task of destigmatizing hair coloring fell to Shirley Polykoff at Foote, Cone & Belding. As the agency’s sole female copywriter, Polykoff understood that the key to selling Miss Clairol was to reassure its buyers that the color they’d get from that little box would be so natural, nobody would ever guess. Her tagline “Does she...or doesn’t she?” did the necessary reassuring so perfectly, it remains one of the most successful slogans in advertising history.

    By the time this 1962 ad appeared in Life, Miss Clairol sales were already well on their way to $200 million—up from $25 million when Polykoff got the account. This little piece of marketing genius was actually a one-two punch. The “Does she or doesn’t she?” question hovered at the ad’s center. Its predicate (“…only her hairdresser knows for sure”) hovered further down. The line’s success hinged on relieving the uptight mores of the era itself, Brady said. “Back then, everything was so much more formal. Women got dressed up to go to the store.”

    Today, of course, not only do plenty of women not care what they wear to the store, but they also don’t care if anyone knows they dye their hair. In a social sense, that’s probably a good thing. The inadvertent result, however, is the disappearance of innovative advertising. The 2013 ad for Clairol’s Nice ‘n Easy, Brady said, “looks like all the other beauty ads. There’s nothing iconic about this.”

    Nope. But you have to admit, those blond locks sure look natural. Makes you wonder if she dyes her hair or not. Hmmm. Does she or doesn’t she?

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    Who Founder Shannon Smith (l.) and vp, product Abby Ross
    What Social marketing agency
    Where Chicago offices

    When Facebook opened up its API to developers in 2009, Shannon Smith and Abby Ross jumped at the chance to build apps and ad campaigns on the site. Since then, their firm Blueye has quadrupled its staff while attracting business from Starwood Hotels, The Salvation Army, the Professional Golfers’ Association and Ticketmaster. Blueye is now in the rare company of Hearsay Social and Wildfire when it comes to female-led players in Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer program. And with Loyalty Hub, its new engagement program, it’s become a Big Data-era leader in converting social into sales.

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    Marketers just won't let people waiting in bus shelters have any peace. Case in point: The Weather Channel and ad agency Iris recently tricked out one shelter with hidden sprinklers to promote the client's latest Android app. The app apparently provides such precise forecasts that you might never again be caught in surprise downpours. As an actor checked the app and hurriedly opened his Weather Channel umbrella, the sprinklers were activated, putting a damper on the other people's daily commute. (At certain bus stops, the sudden shower would also have washed away a buttery baked-potato smell.) Bottom line: I feel empowered knowing that, thanks to the Weather Channel, humankind will no longer have to guess what the weather will be like inside covered spaces!

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    Debi Austin, better known as the lady who smoked a cigarette through a tracheotomy hole in her neck in the infamous "Voicebox" anti-smoking ad, died Feb. 22 after a 20-year battle with cancer. She was 62. The California Department of Public Health released a statement about Debi on its website in which CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman applauded her for showing "tremendous courage by sharing her story to educate Californians on the dangers of smoking." He's absolutely right about that. The "Voicebox" ad, from 1996, is a good example of how advertising can use real people's stories for the greater good, and without exploiting them. More to the point, Debi was brave for putting what many would call a weakness or personal failing to work as a public service, and for doing so with dignity and poise. She would also become a powerful anti-smoking advocate, and made two ads more recently—see those after the jump. May she rest in peace.

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    If you eat Abbott's Village Bakery bread, don't be surprised if it bleats a little, or feels a little woolly, on the way down. That's because Abbott's Village Bakery loaves are essentially free-range animals who roam the Australian countryside—judging by this amusing spot from ad agency BMF. "It may seem a little strange to some, but for us free range is the only way to raise bread," the company says on its Facebook page. "We like to shower our loaves with love, let them roam free and grow up in their own unique little way. It's what makes every loaf special." No idea what that really means, but hey, it makes for a kooky commercial. Credits below.

    Client: Abbott's Village Bakery
    Agency: BMF, Australia
    Director: Christopher Riggert
    Creative Director: Justin Ruben
    Art Director: Alex Booker
    Copywriter: Philip Sicklinger
    Producer: Michael Hilliard
    Digital Creative: Tim Hill
    Executive Producer: Rob Galluzzo
    Visual Effects: Colin Renshaw
    Graphic Designer: Phil Banks
    Visual Effects: marnie Ellis
    Director of Photography: Sebastian Pfaffenbichler
    Graphic Designer: Indah Shillingford
    Planner: Thomasine Burnap
    Account Director: Jason Carnew
    Agency Producer: Whitney Hawthorn
    Editing Company: The Butchery
    Editor: Jack Hutchings
    Photographer: Ross Brown
    Retoucher: Andy Salisbury
    Production Manager: Karen Liddle
    Music: Michael Yezersky, Nylon
    Account Manager: Nora Zenasni

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    Not content with the traditional advertising methods of TV spots and simple product placement in movies, Canada's Labatt Brewing is financing a feature-length film through its Kokanee brand. The film is called The Movie Out Here, and it's a buddy comedy written by Kokanee's ad agency, Grip Limited. Check out the red-band trailer below (NSFW). The movie hits theaters in western Canada on Friday—30 of them, in fact. It's essentially a 90-minute content marketing experiment, so don't expect it to be any good—although judging by the trailer, it is plenty crass. Also, if you've been wondering what happened to the guy who sang "Informer," he's apparently one of the stars. (Oddly, there's no sign of Kokanee in the trailer—would that absence constitute false advertising?) Before this, Grip Limited was best known for letting 10-year-olds run the agency. That may partly explain the movie's juvenile humor.

    Red-band trailer below has nudity and profanity and is NSFW.

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  • 02/28/13--11:57: Ad of the Day: Sony Xperia Z
  • Fun fact: Associating with David Bowie, whether in physical or purely musical form, instantly increases your cool factor by about 1 trillion percent. See: fashion model Iman, TV series Flight of the Conchords, the movie Labryinth and Lincoln Motor Co.

    So, to elevate an otherwise just sort-of-neat ad for its new smartphone, the Xperia Z (pronounce it "zed" for full effect), Sony had the good sense to enlist the talents of the artist formerly known as Ziggy Stardust—or at least his vocals from a 1977 outtake of the song "Sound and Vision." (Yes, the same song Beck covered so memorably for Lincoln.)

    The Xperia spot, from McCann London and director Tarsem—his credits include everything from REM's "Losing My Religion" video to the recent film Mirror, Mirror (also known as the Snow White retelling that didn't result in Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's tragic breakup)—begins with the popular "Our brand through history" trope. But Bowie's soundtrack makes the slow-motion flashback scenes, from a group of people watching a rocket blast off on an early Sony TV to some kids playing with the first Sony PlayStation, seem substantially less cheesy.

    The big finish, Tarsem's present-day depiction of the Xperia Z in action, is visually stunning: A pair of tourists in India use the smartphone to record a Holi festival celebration—in which the participants throw brightly colored powders at one another—before rinsing the apparently waterproof device in a stream of clear water.

    Moving at half speed and set to this music, Tarsem almost makes you forget that you're watching your 30th smartphone ad of the day.

    Client: Sony
    Product: Xperia Z
    Agency: McCann, London
    Production Company: @radical.media
    Director: Tarsem Singh

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    Oh grow up! This ad from Argentina's Schneider beer focuses on the time needed for the "slow-brewed" draught to achieve its optimal consistency and flavor. It does so by showing lots of guys who haven't quite matured. Doofus dudes urinate in the bushes at parties, play annoying air-guitar solos, hit on women in asinine ways—and in a brazenly un-P.C. moment of the ad, can't help "taking a no as a yes." It's an amusing spot and well made, but perhaps Ogilvy Buenos Aires should have aged the concept a tad more. If the guys start out like jerks but ultimately attain some degree of maturity—opening car doors and pulling out chairs for their dates, using the bathroom when nature calls—the point would be that much clearer. Instead, their development is arrested throughout, and I couldn't help thinking that if these semi-sapiens cut down on the booze, their behavior might improve. The approach is entirely different, but the central idea recalls Paul Masson's iconic "We will sell no wine before its time" commercials, though thankfully Orson Welles never took a whiz in those ads. (Actually, he was filmed from the chest up—and often soused—so who can say for sure?) Via Adverve.

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  • 03/01/13--10:02: Ad of the Day: Panera
  • Tired of Rube Goldberg machines in advertising yet? Sorry, here's another. But after you finish your long sigh, you might actually enjoy this one.

    A month from now, it will be 10 years since Wieden + Kennedy released its "Cog" spot for Honda. But the Rube Goldberg idea can still be compelling now and again, particularly when the advertiser can lay some kind of metaphorical claim to mirroring how such machines work—i.e., not very efficiently but with a higher purpose in mind.

    In Panera's case, this means taking the longer road to making its food, and indulging in detours along the way. For example, it uses harder-to-find ingredients like antibiotic-free chicken; it bakes fresh bread from fresh dough in every one of its bakery cafés; and it donates leftover food to charity. These could be seen as inefficiencies—a Rube Goldberg way of doing business—but the result is a better-quality product, and as it turns out, a more delightful commercial.

    Panera's agency, Cramer-Krasselt, hired 1stAveMachine to build the Rube Goldberg device—a wise choice, given that production company's extensive experience in making quirky devices for commercials (many of them for Google). 1stAveMachine built this device in a circle, which is itself a metaphor for Panera's daily routine—it ends, and then begins anew the next morning.

    "What we're trying to do here is illustrate the cyclical nature of a day in the life of Panera," 1stAveMachine co-director Bob Partington says in the revealing behind-the-scenes video (also posted below). "A Rube Goldberg device is a cause and effect, like a chain-reaction device. And the idea is, all these little things in this circle represent all the difficult decisions and the hard road that Panera takes in creating this really great product."

    There is also, of course, the more obvious connection between a Rube Goldberg machine and Panera's product—both are handmade, or "artisanal," if you like. "We thought that by doing it with artisans and embracing their craftsmanship, we were somehow also embracing the style of the brand," says co-director Antonio Balseiro.

    Even if you think that's overly conceptualized, there's also the plain fact that Rube Goldberg machines are just fun to watch—whatever you're selling. If nothing else, that's why we'll surely see plenty more of them in the future.

    Client: Panera
    Agency: Cramer-Krasselt
    Production Company: 1stAveMachine

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    Henri Le Chat Noir was already feeling damned—trapped in an existential hell from which there is no escape. And that was before he was doing Friskies ads. The celebrated feline—winner of the Golden Kitty award at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival, expert on the pointlessness of life as elucidated in videos by Will Braden—just released his first of four Friskies spots. He's been "commissioned by Friskies to explore the phenomenon of cat food boredom." Actually, it's nice that Braden will make a few bucks off this, considering everything he's done for Internet cat watchers. As for Henri, I suppose if there's no point to anything, then there's no point in not selling out. Now that he's hit rock bottom, though, perhaps he can ask for help.


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