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    Oreo just released the second video in its Oreo Separators series from Wieden + Kennedy, dedicated to finding absurdly mechanical ways of separating the cookie part from the creme part. The first video featured "physicist" (also, W+K creative) David Neevel, who came up with a seriously involved contraption in his Portland, Ore., workspace. This time, the intrepid experimenters are Barry Kudrowitz and Bill Fienup, described as "toy scientists" from the Midwest. And you have to hand it to them—their machine is a lot slicker, and simpler, than Neevel's. Their solution involves popping off the top cookie with a swift jab of plastic, then melting and spraying off the creme part. Fienup, the creme lover, gets a little messy in the process, but it's worth it. It turns out these guys were perfect for the job. As students at MIT in the mid-2000s, they helped create the MIT Toy Lab, funded by Hasbro, which developed new concepts for Nerf and Supersoaker products. (The idea for the Nerf Atom Blaster came from the lab.) As he mentions, Kudrowitz is a product-design professor at the University of Minnesota now, though his areas of research are decidedly offbeat, including "play and humor in design." Kudrowitz and Fienup's previous collaborations include a remote-controlled ketchup-squirting car.

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    Some five years ago, Coca-Cola’s Jonathan Mildenhall took his first tour of Asia after assuming the company’s top marketing job, and as one would expect, Miles Young, then regional chief of Coke roster shop Ogilvy & Mather, took his client out on the town, in his own inimitable way. In Bangkok, Young treated Mildenhall to a meal at a streetside joint where the Ogilvy exec ordered in the local dialect and they dined on bowls of steaming noodles served on a Formica tabletop.

    “I expected an expat living in an expat bubble—but he’s not a British guy, he’s not an expat,” Mildenhall says of the man who now runs the global agency out of the U.S. “He understands local culture, especially street culture,” Mildenhall continues. “There has been a lot of Ogilvy management establishment in New York, but Miles is truly a global leader who lives in the world.”

    So much for the bygone era of elegant client lunches in midtown Manhattan where Ogilvy brass would expect the coffee at the end of a meal to be served with a piece of new business. In the years before Young’s ascension, the agency was largely run by Americans imbued with a kind of insular elitism reflecting one of the bluest of advertising’s blue-chip clubs. New business largely came by way of personal connections, with former CEOs functioning as agency ambassadors, swooping into some far-flung office before moving on to the next dot on the map.

    Young, who just marked his fourth anniversary as Ogilvy’s worldwide CEO, is forging a new way of working in that role. Like his much-respected predecessor Shelly Lazarus, he has spent most of his career at the agency, championed integrated communications and been a leader in direct marketing. But the differences between the two are telling: Young has never been part of the American advertising club; rather, he is a global player who built Ogilvy Asia into the dominant presence in the world’s fastest-growing market.

    In transitioning to the New York headquarters, Young brought that same aggressive ambition and revamped view of the industry’s future. And he has made new business an urgent pursuit. Since his arrival, Ogilvy has won global business from UPS, Kimberly-Clark, S.C. Johnson and Philips. Meanwhile, Ogilvy Group’s worldwide revenue in that time has grown 15 percent to an estimated $2.3 billion.

    Yet while highly regarded in Asia, Young remains little known in the states. He certainly wasn’t the obvious choice for the top job. But in talking to Martin Sorrell, CEO of Ogilvy parent company WPP Group, he makes it clear that Young had already played a larger corporate role. Apart from running Ogilvy Asia-Pacific, Young served as a de facto WPP chief in the region, supporting acquisitions and developing talent.

    “Miles has a deep understanding of Ogilvy and its culture and its importance within WPP,” Sorrell said in an interview with Adweek. “Historically, our leaders just focused on their own companies.”

    Sorrell first approached Young about the job at the end of 2007, at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. The two met for a drink (during which they were interrupted for a chat with Jordan’s Queen Noor). But taking the position wasn’t such an easy decision for Young.

    In Asia for 13 years, Young had doubled the region’s revenue to $500 million between 2003 and 2008 and built out operations in China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Pakistan as he expanded practice disciplines. Along the way, Young fell in love with Asia and lived amid the lush vegetation in Hong Kong’s exclusive Peak District, with its sweeping views of the harbor and the city. The adman vacationed at his Sri Lanka plantation and sought out local regional artists, acquiring a stunning collection of Asian paintings and sculpture.

    An Englishman in New York
    If his life in China was fueled by the dynamism of a new age in global economics, Young’s move to New York presented the considerable challenge of shaking up a legacy network. In recent years, Ogilvy’s home base had not won significant new business, and office politics had divided management. While the agency garnered respect for its corporate image campaigns (IBM and American Express among them) and its CRM, digital and retail capabilities, Ogilvy’s creative generated little industry buzz. To outsiders, the place seemed stalled.

    Internally, there had been a push to merge operations of the digital, relationship marketing and consulting business of OgilvyOne with Ogilvy’s advertising offerings—an effort that Young now says “misdirected the agency for a while.” He believed the company would get the best integration through specialization coming from the vertical strengths of the company’s marketing disciplines.

    By all accounts, Young epitomized David Ogilvy’s ideal for executives who are “gentlemen with brains.” Yet he brought another asset: the perspective of distance.

    “When I got here, Ogilvy felt old-fashioned—the advertising in particular felt old-fashioned,” Young relates. “There wasn’t a belief in [going after] new business. For a decade and a half, business grew strongly organically or came through connections. … New-business momentum has to come from the top, and I saw it as my job to make fundamental changes. It’s like a crusade, not a war.”

    In a first for Ogilvy HQ, Young in 2009 reached out to intermediaries like the AdForum, a clearinghouse of agency data for marketers, inviting the group’s leaders for drinks and dinner in New York. Caffeine, a U.K. consultancy, also was enlisted to help Ogilvy brush up on its pitching skills. Young put execs through their paces in pitch rehearsals. No detail was too small.

    “When he first came in, everybody was like, whoa,” recalls Lauren Crampsie, Ogilvy’s worldwide chief marketing officer. “He wants to know the big picture, but also every point beneath it. He has an incredible amount of discipline—it’s hard to believe a person who is a global CEO can be involved in every aspect of a new business pitch.”

    In an example of the most un-Ogilvy way of doing things, Young rolled the dice in 2009 by resigning the agency’s DHL business to pursue UPS’ global account. It was Young’s first new-business pitch as CEO, and even he wondered how a natty Brit by way of China would fare in a roomful of American clients. He needn’t have worried. Ogilvy won the UPS business, and subsequently a string of global assignments from the likes of Kimberly-Clark (which consolidated its business at the agency in 2010), S.C. Johnson and Philips.

    “You feel Miles has come into the job and retained the essence of what Ogilvy is—he quite understands the agency’s understanding of applied intellectualism,” says Clive Sirkin, senior marketing officer at Kimberly-Clark. “But he’s got an intense focus on clients’ business. He knows Ogilvy makes money when its clients make money. Miles comes across with incredible grace, but you know he’s a street fighter—a well-dressed street fighter—but one you want on your side.”

    In the global review of S.C. Johnson’s business, which stretched from 2010 to 2011, Young played to his strengths, keeping his finger on the details while thinking about the big picture. For nine months, he spent fully half his time on it, culminating in a nine-hour pitch with nearly 40 client personnel and 36 Ogilvy people in the room. In the end, the agency split the creative prize with BBDO, with the rivals sharing total revenue of about $50 million to $60 million.

    Greg Paull, a Hong Kong-based principal of R3: JLB, the consultancy that managed the search process, says Young was instrumental to Ogilvy’s success. “We ran the S.C. Johnson pitch, which was their first review in 56 years, and it needed someone with Miles’ patience and resilience to win that type of assignment,” says Paull.

    Creative (Back In) Control
    While new clients have taken to the changes under way at Ogilvy, the agency’s work has begun to attract industry notice. Last year, Ogilvy & Mather won 83 Lions at Cannes—earning Network of the Year honors—and was named the most effective agency in North America at the Effies. Colleagues say Young has a particular interest in all that creative output. In fact, Ogilvy became one of the most awarded agencies in Asia on his watch.

    Inside Young’s tony brownstone, his esthetic sense is clear. His handpicked art collection is tastefully arranged among the books, artifacts and genteel furnishings of an Oxford-educated world traveler. From Young’s kitchen (by Ogilvy client Ikea), the sound of vegetables being chopped and the smell of food being prepared fill the air as a Chinese cook works his magic. (“Miles runs the best Chinese restaurant in New York City,” says Spencer Osborn, Ogilvy’s managing director of global brand management.)

    Young was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, a stone’s throw from Northwest England’s Lake District, the only child of a poultry farmer/seed salesman father and a mother who hailed from a farming family. After majoring in history at Oxford, Young broke into advertising at Lintas London in the early ’80s, working on Unilever ice cream brands, before joining Allen, Brady & Marsh, where he first honed his new-business skills at an agency known for winning accounts with live jingles.

    In 1983, he joined Ogilvy & Mather in London and quickly made his name by pitching and winning Guinness. “He was quite terrifying to work with because he was so ferociously intelligent and well-prepared,” recalls Andrew Robertson, then a 22-year-old media planner and now the global CEO of BBDO. “I always knew I had to have done my homework when I went into a meeting with him. He had a folder for the Guinness presentation with a script written for it. I had never seen anyone do that before.”

    In 1990, Young moved over to run Ogilvy Direct—a daunting shift given that he really knew nothing about direct marketing. (Colleagues saw it as a career setback: “Miles, you’re being sent to Siberia to lick envelopes,” he recalls one saying.) After the agency won IBM’s global business in ’94, Young and his team encamped to Paris, where they set up a European hub for the client and Young became chairman of the direct unit.

    In 1995, then-worldwide CEO Charlotte Beers summoned Young to a meeting in her London hotel room. Squeezed into the corner of a sofa where Beers dominated the space, the boss asked if Young would run the shop’s Asian operations. He had 24 hours to decide, lest he overthink it. Even as he exited Beers’ suite, Young, who had never even visited that part of the world, knew he was going to take the job. Not that it was an easy call: By that point, Young, a member of the Conservative party, had become active in London politics, heading up a local council, and the move would require him to resign from 23 positions associated with various boards, committees and charity groups.

    By then, Ogilvy had 20 people manning mainland China out of Hong Kong and another 12 each managing Beijing and Shanghai. Young—sitting in his tiny Hong Kong office, filled with the smell of Chinese sausages wafting up from the street—began to envision an expansion that would eventually create a group of 4,100 employees working on behalf of some of the region’s largest marketers, including IBM, Lenovo, Unilever, China Telecom, Intel and Nestlé.

    “One of the things Miles always had was a very clear company strategy and the belief you have to stick to it,” says Paul Heath, the shop’s Asia-Pacific chairman. “There may be bumps in the road, but if you react to every little thing, it will distract you.”

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Young, who had no experience in direct marketing before running that operation in Europe and who had never been to Asia before leading the region for 13 years, rose to the challenge when offered the opportunity to relocate to the U.S., yet another market that was alien to him. He took Ogilvy’s top job in January 2009 and that same month began streamlining New York-based senior management, with John Seifert, then Ogilvy’s chairman of global brands, becoming head of North America. Seifert replaced the duo of Carla Hendra and Bill Gray. Gray retired later that year while Hendra went on to start OgilvyRED, a strategic services consultancy that includes new Ogilvy marketing resources like sustainability practice OgilvyEarth and Islamic marketing unit Ogilvy Noor.

    Young also has begun building a new generation of management that cut its teeth outside New York. A year ago, he named Lee Newman, managing director of Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam, president of the Chicago office, and last August, Adam Tucker, managing partner of AMV BBDO, London, joined as New York president. And as Sorrell pushed for the appointment of a big-name global creative director, Young early on recruited Tham Khai Meng, his creative partner of eight years in Asia. They now share an office and even a long, glass table that functions as a desk. Intense loyalty is one of Young’s key traits.

    Agency factions were told by Young to pull together. “There were a lot of politics in the organization and I don’t believe in that at all,” explains Young. “We’re all one team batting together and I’ve made that message crystal clear.”

    No Apologies
    As the fates would have it, Young took charge of Ogilvy at the beginning of a sobering industry contraction in America, as the Great Recession took hold and every agency, including Ogilvy, shedded staffers. More fundamentally, however, the global boss says the company had to make cuts “to renovate basic skills to be more appropriate in a digital age.” To that end, in early 2012, the Ogilvy Group cut 3 percent of its U.S. staff, or 60 people, with New York taking the brunt. Like many companies, Ogilvy also has offshored its financial operations to India, eliminating hundreds more jobs in New York.

    Says one agency insider: “With Shelly [Lazarus], it was like a family at Ogilvy. She sent Christmas cards, personal notes. But this is a new era in the business, a new era at Ogilvy. Miles is more like Martin [Sorrell] in his tone of leadership: He’s demanding, insistent of results. In the context of where we are, this is not a warm-and-fuzzy world. But that kind of management is still unsettling, especially to Americans. He may not be warm and fuzzy, but he understands what matters.”

    Young makes no apologies, but attempts to explain the shift. “The difference between the American style of management is that it’s more laid back and the British are more hands-on,” he says. “That was definitely a change for the organization.”

    Along with that change in style come expectations of newfound momentum. “Miles comes out of Asia, where things happen fast and they happen first,” says Khai Meng. That imperative is clear to Ogilvy veterans in New York. “Miles lived through the explosion of Asia,” Hendra says. “It’s like going through the university of what you need to know about the future.”

    Clearly, mature markets like the U.S. don’t move at the same pace, particularly amid economic doldrums. Still, Young, at 58, has found traction in his first four years at the helm, navigating not only the new business landscape but also the institutionalized halls of HQ. And North American chief and Ogilvy lifer Seifert, for one, believes Young can successfully balance the shop’s past strengths with his mission of reinventing it for a changing industry.

    “Miles’ arrival was a moment of reset at the company, and we have to go to a different place as we should,” he says. “Ogilvy in North America has to be as vital as any other part of the world and for a while it felt stagnant. Now we have momentum.” 

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    After seven years working for Red Bull, and some two leading North American efforts on the brand’s much vaunted college marketing program, Mike Poznansky is striking out this week to start his own agency, Neato. With financial backing from Los Angeles agency Mistress, whose clients include Hot Wheels and Jagermeister, Poznansky seeks to leverage his experience at the energy drink giant (having overseen, for example, its popular “Air Drop” stunt, which distributed almost a million cans of the beverage to 400 campuses worldwide in a single day) into helping a broader range of brands reach undergrads, a $76 billion market.

    Adweek: Why leave Red Bull to start your own shop now?
    Poznansky: Companies are realizing they have to enter the college space, but they aren’t really sure where to begin. And those that have begun don’t have the right resources they need to develop and implement a truly robust, effective college platform. I’d like to see that change.

    A college platform?
    A few years ago a college program was about throwing a few events and hooking up with a few cool kids, and it’s now a platform that could really be interwoven into every facet of your marketing and sales mix. It’s really about developing your business with the college audience and those within their sphere of influence. There’s just a lot of misperception about what that really entails.

    What kind of misperceptions?
    That an ambassador program is the lifeblood of a college marketing program, or that all your focus should be on getting your brand and your product on campus. To color that in, just a fraction of the college experience takes place on campus. Most students don’t even live there. Most of their spending isn’t happening there. So, some brands are just frankly investing way too much money on the wrong things. You really need a comprehensive approach. You’re not going to achieve everything through one vertical.

    Why is it important to reach college students specifically?
    The college experience is unlike anything else. It’s a young adult’s first blush of independence. This is their entry point into adulthood, where rituals, habits, purchase behaviors, loyalties are built and sustained. They develop lifelong bonds with friends and brands. And yes, these are the future power consumers when they hit the workforce. Also, it’s amazing to see how much students are influencing household purchasing for families. They’re so resourceful and connected that mom and dad are turning to them for advice on purchases big and small—cars, computers, phones, vacations—which is just an interesting shift from years or days of the past. And college is such a focused environment to target Gen Y and really soon target Gen Z.

    What differentiates your agency from others in the space?
    We’re really going to be the first in this space to offer a holistic, comprehensive approach. We’re not married to any medium. We have some really exciting intellectual property in development around research, trend reporting, strategy development, production and execution. At the same time, it’s important for us to be the right partner for a company. We’re not going to force all these things down their throat. That’s the unique perspective I have coming at this as a brand marketer and not an agency guy.

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    Shetland ponies have never been quite as celebrated as they are these days—thanks to several British ad campaigns. First, of course, we had Fivla and Vitamin, the adorable sweater-weating ponies from the VisitScotland campaign. Now, Wieden + Kennedy, London, has upped the ante with a dancing pony in this new spot for mobile network Three. The agency explains: "Shot against the dramatic backdrop of the Shetland Islands, the :60 spot follows the story of a stocky little pony. But this is no ordinary Shetland pony. With the scrape of a hoof and a flick of his Tina Turner-esque mane, he effortlessly moonwalks along to the sound of 'Everywhere' by Fleetwood Mac." The video rocketed past 1 million views this weekend, and is surely just getting warmed up. The point of the dancing pony is that the mobile Internet is great for sharing silly stuff that cheers people up. As part of the campaign, W+K also created The Pony Mixer, a dancing-pony-remixing tool "where you can make our pony shake it to anything from Boyband to Bollywood."

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    Mad Men returns to AMC on April 7 for Season 6—with a special two-hour premiere written by showrunner Matthew Weiner and directed by executive producer Scott Hornbacher. Check out the first on-air promo below, which began airing on Sunday. There's not much to go on, plot wise, although Don looks as conflicted as ever.

    Separately, the other big Mad Men news this week is that Gita Hall May, a model from the 1950s and '60s, is suing Lionsgate over the show's opening credits. May, who is now 79, claims the opening segment uses an image of her without her consent. The image, below, was taken by Richard Avedon and used in a Revlon hairspray ad.

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  • 03/04/13--10:56: Ad of the Day: Volkswagen
  • Last September, Volkswagen released a notable commercial from Deutsch that was all about the infectious power of laughter. That ad earned millions of views, and probably as many smiles. Now, though, the automaker and agency are backtracking a little. Not every laugh, it turns out, is quite so heartwarming.

    VW and Deutsch have become quite accomplished together at capturing life's little moments. And this spot from Noam Murro—often this agency and client's go-to director—is no different. We won't spoil it by taking you through the plot. Check out the spot below.

    The casting is great. The joke is kind of goofy but relatable—a sweet spot for VW in much of its advertising these days. And it leads perfectly into the pitch, which is that the clean-diesel Jetta TDI can go more than 600 agonizing miles without needing a fill-up.

    This execution might not be quite as wonderful as last year's VW road-trip spot—in which two buddies learned Spanish in a similarly long-running Passat TDI—but it's close.

    Being able to laugh at a laugh. That's the power of German engineering.

    Client: Volkswagen of America
    Executive Vice President, Chief Product and Marketing Officer: Tim Mahoney
    Vice President, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
    General Manager, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
    Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen
    Advertising Specialist: Chanel Arola

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter
    Group Creative Directors: Michael Kadin, Matt Ian
    Senior Art Director: Karl Haddad
    Senior Copywriter: Jed Cohen
    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

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

    Audio Post Company: Lime
    Mixer: Rohan Young
    Assistant: Jeff Malen
    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

    Account Planners: 
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Doug Van Praet
    Senior Account Planner: Nargis Pirani

    Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Associate Director of Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias
    Director of Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan

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    IDEA: Pardon me, are you a brand whose only real equity comes from a campy TV spot made 30 years ago that's been parodied to death in pop culture? Grey Poupon, of course, is exactly that brand. And that 1981 "Pardon Me" ad loomed large over Crispin Porter + Bogusky as it began rebuilding the Kraft Foods brand after 15 moribund years. "That was the first thing everybody was saying. When are you going to do 'Pardon Me'?" said CP+B creative director Robin Fitzgerald. "Of course, that was the first thing we loved about the brand, too." The agency came up with the umbrella idea that Grey Poupon was back to "Spread good taste" in a culture that had grown vulgar in its absence. After an initial Facebook effort (the Web being the biggest culprit of bad taste), agency and client looked to TV. "They asked for a Super Bowl spot," said Fitzgerald. "We figured, the Oscars are their Super Bowl. It's the classiest night." They knew they had to do something with "Pardon Me." But what?

    COPYWRITING: The original ad ended on a freeze frame of the Grey Poupon jar being passed from one luxury car to another. The new ad was open ended—they just didn't want it to be a spoof. "We wanted something that lived up to the original spot and could be just as iconic and memorable," said executive creative director Jason Gaboriau. In the end, they chose a remake of sorts, but one that extends the story into a two-minute mini-epic, as the Grey Poupon borrower absconds with the jar—leading to a crazy car chase.

    The vehicles turn out to be weaponized: One has a gun that shoots champagne corks; the other dumps caviar slicks in its wake. There are decorative-egg grenades and a golf-club sword fight. Eventually, both cars jump off a ramp and crash into a supermarket, where there's plenty of Grey Poupon for everyone. "It's a little more Matt Helm than James Bond," said Fitzgerald. The dialogue is comically snooty. "The tone has a cheek to it," said creative director Cameron Harris. "It's never too serious. Like when the one guy says, 'Time to pop some bubbly!' "

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Bryan Buckley shot the ad in four days on location and sets around Los Angeles. "He can handle the bigness of a production, especially with action material," said Harris. Buckley had the idea to crash the cars through the supermarket ceiling—though they had to do it twice, as one car got hung up the first time. He pushed the actors hard, and also bought into CP+B's vision for the look of the piece. Everything is vintage, from the props and costumes ("We raided Jason's wardrobe," Fitzgerald joked) to the degraded film quality—achieved by transferring it to VHS and back. "It's a bold thing to do, to shoot it on expensive cameras and then strip it away," said Harris. "But it makes it warmer. It transports you back."

    TALENT: Instead of look-alikes, the agency went with actors who had a dry wit and could handle the physically demanding roles. "I especially like the older guy," Harris said. "He can be serious and dramatic, but it still comes off as funny. That's a subtle thing that's hard to find." One of the actors from the original has a cameo—he's the guy on the golf course who leaps out of the way of the speeding cars.

    SOUND: The original music, Boccherini's famous string quintet, returns in the new ad before switching to a dramatic original score by JSM Music. Sound design was crucial in bringing the explosive car chase to life.

    MEDIA: A :30 trailer was posted online and aired on the Oscars, pointing to the film at GreyPouponChase.com. Short interviews with the characters are also posted to YouTube.


    The original 1981 "Pardon Me" spot:

    Client: Grey Poupon
    Spot: "The Lost Footage"
    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky
    Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: Rob Reilly
    Executive Creative Director: Jason Gaboriau
    Creative Directors: Robin Fitzgerald, Cameron Harris
    Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Mike Kohlbecker
    Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Alexandra Sann
    Art Director: Tushar Date
    Copywriter: Jamie Toal
    Integrated Head of Interactive Production: Ivan Perez-Armendariz
    Integrated Head of Video: Chad Hopenwasser
    Executive Integrated Producer: Aymi Beltramo
    Senior Integrated Producer: Katie Porter
    Group Content Director: Kate Frazier
    Content Management Supervisor: Laura Likos
    Content Supervisor: Spencer Holmes
    Content Manager: Eric Alexander
    Business Affairs: Rebecca Williams

    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Director: Bryan Buckley
    Executive Producers: Kevin Byrne, Mino Jarjoura, Dan Duffy
    Line Producer: Mino Jarjoura
    Production Supervisor: Josh Rothfield
    Production Designer: David Skinner
    Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen

    Editorial: Cut & Run
    Editor: Jay Nelson
    Assistant Editor: Russell August Anderson
    Second Assistant Editor: Brooke Rupe
    Producer: Christie Price, Carr Schilling
    Managing Director: Michelle Burke

    Music: JSM Music
    Creative Director: Joel Simon
    Executive Producer: Joel Simon, Ross Hopman
    Composer: Joel Simon, Doug Katsaros, Koki Saito

    Mix: Lime Studios
    Audio Engineers: Mark Meyuhas, Dave Wagg
    Audio Engineers' Assistant: Matt Miller
    Executive Producer: Jessica Locke

    Sound Design: Machine Head
    Sound Designer: Stephen Fletcher Dewey
    Executive Producer: Patty Chow Dewey

    Visual Effects: The Mill
    Executive Producer: Sue Troyan
    Producer: Jess Ambrose
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Phil Crowe, Kathy Siegel
    Visual Effects Creative Director: Phil Crowe
    2D Lead Artist: Narbeh Mardirossian
    3D Lead Artist: Adam Carroll
    3D Artists: Durfor, Mike Maker, Mike Dinocco, Martin Rivera, Blake Sullivan
    2D Artists: Gareth Parr, Adam Lambert, Jim HIllin
    2D Artist Assistant: Margolit Steiner, Steve Miller, Patrick Munoz
    Matte Painting: Andy Wheater, Shannan Burkley

    Animation: Iron Claw
    Producer: Greg Talmage
    Creative Director: Sean Koriakin
    Animator: Luis Vega

    Telecine: Company 3
    Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld

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    Whenever I write about zombies, I tend to bury the lead. That's a grave mistake. Anyway, here's a case study about how the Darewin Agency used social media to make The Walking Dead a hit on France's NT1 TV network. On its Walking Dead site, NT1 advised people to avoid a "zombie virus" by avoiding the #walkingdeadNT1 hashtag, which naturally prompted people to use it. Within moments of posting the hashtag on Twitter or Facebook, users were suddenly followed by hoards of virtual zombies. (Maybe those new followers were just average French people. Undead or Parisian … it can be tough to tell.) Contrast this campaign—in which 30,000 users were "attacked" by zombies in less than two weeks, with 550,000 impressions tallied—with this Walking Dead stunt from Toronto, where a finger was chopped off a pair of giant zombie hands each day until the series' return to TV. Effective for sure, but the French effort required more braaaains. Via Adverve.

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    The minute-long ad for German composer Sven Helbig's new album, Pocket Symphonies, is a pretty straightforward representation of Helbig's goal to create something new from something old and weathered and mostly (but not quite) dead. It's a pretty good summary of Helbig's career, too. He's worked with Rammstein, Pet Shop Boys and Snoop Dogg, and staged elaborate multimedia events like the High-Rise Symphony, in which an orchestra played from positions on the balconies of an old apartment building in Dresden in 2006, to celebrate the city's 800th anniversary. Compared to that, this ad is a modest effort. The moment when the musicians rush into the medical theater to induce birth with dramatic strings and piano is neat, though. Directed by Kai Schonrath, with creative direction by Kolle Rebbe's Sascha Hanke. Full credits below.

    Client: Sven Helbig
    Executive Creative Director: Sascha Hanke
    Creative Director: Matthias Erb
    Copywriter: Sascha Hanke
    Producer: Jankel Huppertz
    Production Company: CZAR, Berlin
    Director: Kai Schonrath
    Director of Photography: Jan Prahl
    Managing Director: Jan Fincke
    Producer: Birke Birkner
    Post Supervisor: Dennis Vocke
    Production Coordinator: Simon Rühlemann
    Makeup: Nina Düffort for Cisel + T.I.N.S.L.E.Y, California
    Styling: Diana Dean
    Cast Conductor: Gundi-Anna Schick
    Pregnant Woman: Alexa Wilzek

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    Domino's doesn't make much use of its namesake domino logo—until now. The pizza chain topples more than 50,000 dominos in the video below from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, as a thank-you to fans after crossing the 8 million likes mark on Facebook. I think we can all agree it probably should have been 8 million dominos, but that would have been 160 times the work—and required more than two years of nonstop work to produce, instead of the 120 hours it took for this one. Facebook milestone videos are something of a specialty for CP+B, which last year did the giant human coupon for Old Navy.

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    "Maybe you should just use a knife." That's one of the less charitable reactions to this latest Oreo Separators video from Wieden + Kennedy—part of a series in which inventors and technologists develop machines and tools that are much more complicated than a mere knife to separate Oreo cookies from their creme. (Yes, I know, what's even the point of doing that at all?) In this third video, a couple of guys from the London conceptual-art collective Dentaku do their best with a Ferris-wheel-style contraption that—well, to be honest, it's a disaster at first, though the guys do redeem themselves somewhat at the end. Our favorite is probably still the video with the toy scientists.

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  • 03/05/13--11:41: Ad of the Day: Google
  • It's 9:30 in the morning. You're already at the office. Your wife, nine months pregnant, is back at home, just now dragging herself out of bed. But thanks to Google, you will spend every second of the day in contact with her, sharing all of the anticipation, anxiety and not-getting-anything-else-done that comes, appropriately, with being on the verge of popping out a kid.

    This U.K. ad from the Internet giant, its in-house video agency Across the Pond and production house Silent Studios takes the now-familiar tack of humanizing the brand's technology by illustrating how the easily-taken-for-granted functions it facilitates—chat, search, maps—integrate into daily life to help people better inform themselves, and more easily keep in touch with their loved ones across distances.

    The soundtrack, also characteristically for the brand, eschews voiceover in favor of the sort of Devotchka-esque instrumental music made so popular by Little Miss Sunshine that seems designed to capture the ineffably profound joy and meaning of existence, but certainly not by taking itself too seriously. And some approximation of that insight is, apparently, that despite living in a world where a vast amount of communication has shifted from talking, say, on the phone, to less intimate but more efficient text-based correspondence, what really matters in the end is being attentive to the person with whom you're sharing the ride—and ensuring the future of the species.

    Overall, the style succeeds in accurately reflecting, for better or worse, the somewhat removed but still-connected way in which we experience the world, and relationships, these days. It also seems to accurately reflect the way in which men have always experienced their wives being pregnant. Which is why, of course, you're getting that pineapple she wants without making fun of her, and who cares if she's being a little passive aggressive—you'd better bet it's your record collection, and not her menagerie of animal-shaped teapots, that's going into storage to make room for the newest member of your family, whom she has just carried around in her stomach for the better part of a year. P.S., All of her friends on Google Plus agree.

    Not that she really needs their assent. Google, always listening, is your and her new best friend. It's also your secretary, your therapist, your financial adviser, your real estate agent, your navigator and your midwife.

    Client: Google
    Agency: Across the Pond
    Google Associate Product Marketing Manager: Harsh Shah
    GoogleProduct Marketing Manager: Matt Maltby
    Agency Producer: Alexia Merrington
    Director: Silent Studios
    Producer/EP: Debbie Crosscup
    Producer/EP: Dan O'Rourke

    Man: Lawrence Baker
    Woman: Jaymie Addicott

    Producer: Hannah Ireland
    Production Manager: Kelly Ford
    Production Manager: Matt Saxton
    First Assistant Director: Will Jasper
    Runner: Luke Preston
    Location Manager: Damon Crane
    Director of Photography: Benjamin Thomas
    Camera Assistant: Eujong Hong
    Camera Assistant/DIT: Dan Hanmar
    Sound Recordist: John Arkley
    Gaffer: Jason Martin
    Production Designer: Nicola Dietmann
    Set Dresser/Buyer: Amin Charif el Masri
    Art Department Assistant: Jason Glass
    Art Department Runner: Will King
    Costume Designer: Alli Wyldeck
    Hair & Make-Up: Heather Manson
    Catering: Bread & Honey
    Production Stills: Brada Barassi

    Editing: Sam Gunn @ Whitehouse Post
    Grading: Max Horton@ Technicolor
    Sound Mix: Liam Paton @ Resonate

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  • 03/06/13--07:56: Ad of the Day: Optimum
  • You people have caused Michael Bolton no end of misery, and I just hope you're happy.

    Mother's new spot for Optimum features good sport Bolton giving his dog a bath, jumping on a trampoline and rocking out in his amps-only living room while people like you—who make me sick, you're so inconsiderate—keep calling him and calling him.

    The well-cast Optimum spokesperson shamefacedly explains that the company's new 866 number is just one digit different than Michael Bolton's number (please don't call him—he's had enough grief from you) and flashes both numbers up on the screen to explain the error. "Oops," says the Optimum rep, grinning sheepishly.

    Yeah, "Oops." You've just given the vulture-like American public a way to get in touch with the beloved singer of "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," and probably also some other songs, too. For the love of God, folks, leave the man alone.

    OK, so I called Michael Bolton, mostly to ask him what he's been up to recently. But when I dialed the number in the ad, I got the following phone tree: "Hello, you've reached Michael Bolton. Press 1 if you thought you were calling Optimum to get TV, phone and internet for $84.95 a month. Press 2 to hear me shred on the guitar. Press 3 to hear how I warm up before a performance. Press 4 to hear me speak Spanish. Press 5 to hear a funny joke."

    The joke's not actually that funny, but Michael Bolton laughs. Well played, Mother. Well played.

    Client: Optimum
    Spot: "Bolton"
    Agency: Mother, New York
    Production Company: Station Film
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Director of Photography: Barry Markowitz
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney
    Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Erik Laroi
    Animation, Postproduction: Ataboy, Schmigital
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Post Producer: Evan Meeker
    Final Grade, Finishing: Nice Shoes
    Music Production: Butter
    Music Producer: Annick Mayer

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    So, you're feeling kind of blah and waiting for the elevator and sipping your latte, and the door opens and some guy is choking some other guy on the floor, and you're just like, Whatever, it's probably some stupid marketing stunt for some indie gangster movie because oh my god even these nontraditional ads are getting so tired.

    Viral marketing agency Thinkmodo—the professional ambushers who also did the Beauty Shop Scare video that we posted last week—says this latest clip shows regular bystanders, not actors, happening upon what appears to be an attempted murder, and that every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of all parties involved. The clip, promoting the movie Dead Man Down, your average underworld revenge fantasy rom-com starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, features such choice responses to the crime-in-progress as beating the attacker about the head with a bouquet of flowers and spraying both him and his victim with a fire extinguisher. Because everyone knows if you see a person being strangled, don't panic—just reach calmly for the nearest fire extinguisher, remove the pin, stand eight feet back and aim at the base of the strangling while squeezing the handle and sweeping the hose from side to side.

    There's also a lot of staring awkwardly and then scurrying away, and one guy who takes a picture—all masterfully emphasized to produce amused incredulity and Internet bravado among the YouTube masses.

    Despite the creators' claim that it's not manufactured, it's pretty hard not to imagine the movie's lawyers getting a nasty ulcer over this—unless it was staged. As one random, surprisingly level-headed YouTube troll put it: "I hope you guys did this experiment in a state that doesn't allow concealed carry, I would have shot that mother fucker." Because where's the fun without a little debate.

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    There’s a memorable moment in episode 512 of Mad Men in which Don Draper tells a bunch of stone-faced executives from Dow Chemical how he grabbed near-total market share for one of his clients. “We had London Fog raincoats,” he says. “We had a year where we sold 81 percent of all the raincoats in the United States.” Without missing a beat, his partner Roger Sterling leans in and says, “Name another raincoat.”

    Well, go ahead. It’s still a pertinent question. London Fog is one of those heritage brands that once dominated its niche so completely that its brand name became a synonym for the product. Certainly, that was true when this 1964 ad appeared. Of course, no brand stays on top without trying hard, and this is why London Fog’s 2013 ad is such an instructive counterpart. Heritage brands face the challenge of defining themselves in a modern context, which means they can either evoke their heritage or ignore it. According to Peter Dixon, creative director of brand consultancy Prophet, London Fog seems to have opted for the latter. And that’s too bad.

    “The duck in the raincoat is so clever, using this absurdist, almost dada art and telling a compelling, colloquial story,” Dixon said. “The ad is on-point, differentiated and a statement about the brand and its value in people’s lives. Then I look across the aisle at the supermodel who’s naked under a raincoat—the cliché male art director’s fantasy— and it made me feel bad about my generation and the current state of creative.”

    So, how’d we get here? In 1964, London Fog was riding high. Its revolutionary “Calibre Cloth” repelled water like magic (or like a duck), while the sleek lines of its knee-length raincoats were de rigueurin every careerist’s closet. Even in the ‘70s, two-thirds of raincoats sold in the U.S. were London Fog. Then the skies began to darken. Competition from new, high-end labels, a failure to introduce more casual designs, and the decision to sell to outlet stores—all of it plunged London Fog into two bankruptcies and eroded its image and market share along the way.

    Dixon points out that the brand made a smart move in 2010 when it signed Mad Men star Christina Hendricks to model the coats—and her beehive hairdo and retro-chic sex appeal evoked the good old days. (“We used London Fog [coats] in the show,” Hendricks said at the time. “The trench…worked in the 1960s, and it works now.”)

    But does it? Not in this latest ad. “The problem is, they’re genericizing the brand instead of treating it like a classic icon,” Dixon said. “They should have kept the heritage and tweaked it, positioning the brand in a premium position based on its classic lines and functionality. But here, the brand is underleveraged. It’s lost its own point of view and made itself like any other brand—a pretty girl with a bag on her arm.”

    Damn. Where’s Don and Roger when you need them?

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    Amazon's gay-marriage-friendly "Husbands" ad for its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader with built-in light is generating lots of conversation, most of it positive, though there is some criticism in the mix. The brand's bikini pitchwoman Anna Zielinski banters a bit about the product with a guy at the beach. He says he's just ordered a Paperwhite and suggests they "celebrate," so it seems like he's trying to pick her up. "My husband's bringing me a drink right now," she says. "So is mine!" he replies. Some reviewers are ecstatic, while others lament that the gay theme has little to do with the plot or product. And of course, various conservative commentators have offered their predictable reactions. Ten years ago, the twist would've been quite a revelation. Today, the punch line seems like no big deal—it actually feels underwhelming. Perhaps that's a sign of how much progress has been made, with mainstream marketers seeing the light and routinely putting gay characters in ads. I happen to think the commercial ends too soon. One gal, three guys, a bar full of booze … sounds like a doozy of a celebration!

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    Doritos has built a 62-foot-tall, tweet-powered concert stage designed to look like a giant vending machine that turns your tweets with the hashtag #BoldStage into a real-time concert-control mechanism at SXSW. Confused as to how? They've made a handy infographic (below) to 'splain. You can not only use your furious tweeting power to choose the opening act at the Doritos gig, you get to choose their playlist, and then, just to mess with them, you control the special effects. That's right—smoke, balloons, pyrotechnics and fricking lasers are all in your hashtagged hands. So, of course, you can also send pictures of yourself having a freaking awesome time directly to the four-story-tall screen in the arena! There's a 9.6-second lag, presumably to make sure you don't tweet your beets. LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and Doug E. Fresh will be sharing the stage with Doritos' awesomely awesome creation of pure LED force. Listen to a low-energy LL ramble about it in the video below. But who really cares about the has-beens on the stage when they'll also be premiering new ads that launch the first Doritos global campaign titled "For the Bold" that will completely change the brand's look and feel?

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    Y&R Midwest is trying to steer Pinterest users toward charitable shores, possibly because they're sick of them posting only about food and lingerie. Y&R's idea, called Helpin.It, is a set of Pinterest boards set up for families who lost almost everything to Hurricane Sandy. Each pin links to an Amazon registry where that particular item can be bought and sent directly to the family. The idea was inspired by BBH's work for the African Medical Research Foundation, and I hope it catches on enough to be extended to more victims of Sandy and other disasters. New Orleans could still use a little help, for example.

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    February is traditionally the month when the vast majority of marketers stand down and let the Super Bowl advertisers battle it out for dominance in YouTube views. But this year, someone forgot to tell PlayStation.

    The Sony gaming brand outlasted three strong Super Bowl spots from Samsung, RAM Trucks and Jeep to take the top spot on Google and Adweek's YouTube Ads Leaderboard for the month of February—all thanks to the main teaser video for the PlayStation 4 console, which racked up an impressive 26 million views, 5 million more than the closest contender.

    Remarkably, the six other spots on this month's Leaderboard come from three advertisers—with Pepsi, Chevrolet and Oreo each placing two spots on the list. Chevy's two entries are actually two different versions of the same spot—the 60- and 90-second iterations of its "Find New Roads" anthem commercial. But even taken as one, those view counts would not have placed Chevy in the top four.

    One of the two Oreo spots was from the Super Bowl. And one of the two Pepsi spots was Super Bowl related—it's the fake behind-the-scenes look at Coke's Super Bowl ad.

    The view counts are as of March 4. To be eligible for the YouTube Ads Leaderboard, videos must be marked as ads on YouTube (i.e., they get some paid views) but must also earn significant organic views. See all 10 spots at the link below.

    Video Gallery: YouTube's 10 Most Watched Ads in February

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    Capital One pitchman Alec Baldwin gets an assist from Charles Barkley in new ads from DDB Chicago timed to the NCAA's March Madness tournament, of which the financial firm is a prominent sponsor. In one spot, the pair perform goofy schtick during a sports broadcast, with the Round Mound's tent-size underpants held up to ridicule. In another, they attend a basketball game, where Sir Charles keeps snacks warm inside his jacket and reveals, "It's like a little hot-dog steamer in there"—which is frankly something I never needed to know. All this sporty-bro-bonding is kind of strained and silly, but overall the tone is probably in tune with the target audience. Besides, Baldwin's slimy smile and smug delivery never get old. And Barkley's dazed and indifferent acting style is a hoot—it's as if he can't collect his check and get off the set fast enough. They're like a puffy, middle-aged Odd Couple, and their combined charisma—though not much else—keeps the proceedings from becoming the commercial equivalent of an air ball. More spots and a behind-the-scenes clip after the jump.


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