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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Heidi Klum is the latest person who doesn't eat Hardee's/Carl's Jr. to film an ad for the fast-food chain. The spot, from 72andSunny, which spoofs The Graduate for whatever reason, has Klum chowing into a Jim Beam Bourbon burger in front of a younger man (and his pathetic attempt at a mustache) while the voiceover sort of compares the experience to losing one's virginity. Gross. What they should compare it to is unhinging your jaw like a boa constrictor. That burger is as big as Heidi's head. Beyond that, ads like this are destined to underperform, in a way. As an audience, either we don't pay attention to the burger because of Heidi's fabulous body, or we do pay attention to it and, well, that's weird and off-putting. If Morgan Spurlock taught us anything, it's that fast food can't be sexy. Period.

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    Pepsi stormed YouTube last week with one of the year's most popular videos: a clip featuring Jeff Gordon, in disguise, taking a car salesman on the most frightening test drive of his life. The video is quickly closing in on 30 million views, and got almost 10 million in a single day, last Friday, according to data from Unruly Media. The spot has also taken some heat, though, for perhaps not being quite as real as it seems. (Not that viewers seem to mind. The clip has almost 100,000 likes, some 25 times the number of dislikes.) Adweek spoke with the video's director, Gifted Youth's Peter Atencio, perhaps best known for directing and producing every episode of Comedy Central's Key & Peele. Atencio spoke about the video's enormous success, the controversy around it, and what it is about prank videos that he loves so much.

    We're up to almost 30 million views on this thing. Did you have any idea it would be this popular?
    Not to this level, no. We felt when we were working on it that it was going to do pretty well, just from the reaction people were having when we showed it to friends. They seemed to really love it, and were asking a lot of questions about it.

    Why do you think people love it so much?
    Well, I think people just like to watch other people go through a harrowing experience, when it's from the comfort of their own computer. And it all works out OK—the salesman is laughing and happy in the end, which I think makes people feel more comfortable sharing it. If he had stayed really angry at the end, I don't think people would feel as good about it.

    Was Jeff pretty into the idea of the prank?
    Oh yeah. He's done so many commercials over the years. To do one where he gets to play with his image and do some improv, and not be the Jeff Gordon spokesperson that he is in so many commercials—this was more of a fun, almost experimental acting exercise for him. He had a lot of fun with it.

    There have been stories saying parts of the video aren't as real as they seem. Can you clear any of that up and tell us what's real and what isn't?
    I can't go into ultra specifics. There's always a balance. The things that are real are the things that were important to be real, which are the salesman's reactions to what was going on. And the elements that needed to be safe or done in a way that told the story we needed to tell, those were done in such a way that no one was in harm's way. There was definitely an eye toward making sure what we were doing was in no way dangerous. But we also wanted it to be real enough that the emotion that's there is something you couldn't fake.

    From what you're saying, it sounds like the salesman is a real guy, not an actor.
    He's very much a real guy. His real name is Steve, and he was in for the ride of his lifetime.

    You also directed Pepsi's "Behind the Scenes at Coke Chase" video. Are you drawn to material that ambushes people or other brands?
    Not necessarily that ambushes other brands, but I like things that play with the tropes that someone else has established. For that Pepsi ad, we just wanted to have a little fun with the universe that Coke had created and that they were taking very seriously. We just wanted to take a little air out of their tires on that one. And for this one, there's kind of a hidden-camera-prank movement, on YouTube especially, that we wanted to be a part of. That's what we do. I work on [Comedy Central sketch-comedy show] Key & Peele, and a lot of what we do there is play in the styles or genres of things that have already been established, and find ways to undermine them. It's just playing with people's expectations of conventions.

    There's a lot of pranks happening in advertising lately—the elevator murder stunt, Nivea's airport ambushing. Why is it getting so popular?
    I think it's definitely a trend we'll continue seeing. And I think the reason it's popular is just that there are so many prank videos on YouTube. Unfortunately a lot of them are mean-spirited for the sake of laughing at someone's expense. But between prank videos and Russian dash-cam videos, I think that's a big part of what people go online to watch these days.

    And for brands, as long as they bring it back to a happy place at the end, they're probably in good shape.
    Exactly, yeah.

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    The Anti-Defamation League celebrates its centennial year with this lovely, simple video from Publicis Kaplan Thaler that imagines what the world would be like if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Harvey Milk, Daniel Pearl, James Byrd, Matthew Shepard and Yitzhak Rabin were still alive and continuing their inspiring contributions to the world.

    Of course, it's set to John Lennon's "Imagine," so they don't even need to put him in the video. The ADL would like us to imagine a world without bigotry and hate—something we've been asked to do before, but not nearly so poetically.

    One minor quibble is that Nobel prizes aren't given out for specific works (sorry, Anne), but perhaps a world without hate has an alternate system for awarding Nobels.

    Anyway, YouTube has already proved the ADL's point. Hate is vibrantly alive today. Just check out the video's comments section.

    Client: Anti-Defamation League
    Agency: Publicis Kaplan Thaler, New York

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    From flatulence to fancy perfume, I've had a fragrant week at AdFreak. Prada has commissioned a short film by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola to tout its Candy L'Eau scent. Two guys star with Lea Seydoux, who made an impression a few years back by bouncing off walls, rolling on floors and flashing her panties in a Prada commercial. For now, the client is teasing the new effort via 12-second previews—see three of them below—that follow the fabulously coiffed and smartly attired trio to the cinema, a surprise birthday party and a beauty salon. "How much longer can we possibly all be so happy together?" Seydoux asks while enjoying a mani-pedi treatment. The three-way relationship in Truffaut's Jules and Jim was an inspiration, though the slightly muted, dreamy images here play more like Anderson's own style with dashes of Fellini and David Lynch (at their most playful and benign). The trailers work fine as mini-films, and the super-short format seems perfect for Prada or any high-end fragrance purveyor—providing slightly surreal, sweet suggestions of story line and leaving no time for the hyper-stylization to sour or the stench of pretentious commerce to creep in. For more Wes "Branderson," check out our collection of the director's top 10 commercials.

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    Advertising has been obsessed lately with scaring the crap out of people. So here, for your Friday enjoyment, is a more benign prank. Target, which is the exclusive retail partner for the release of Justin Timberlake's new album, got 20 of the pop star's biggest fans together for a commercial shoot. They thought they would just be singing a Timberlake song for the ad. They didn't realize the great and powerful JT himself would actually be there. Check out the spot below, and a behind-the-scenes video after the jump. All the reactions are genuine. Decent work by Deutsch in Los Angeles—though to be honest, the bar for this kind of thing was set by David Beckham and Adidas last summer. If you don't leave someone sobbing tears of joy, maybe you haven't gone far enough.

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    When it comes to paperwork, the designers at TBWA\South Africa in Johannesburg are a cut above. As an exercise in self-promotion, the design group transformed some of the agency's creative briefs—those not specifically requiring design recommendations—into three-dimensional paper sculptures using the pages of the documents and their nondescript envelopes as raw materials. The results, intended to capture the essence of the brand from which each brief was received, are amazing. My faves: the dress shirt for Bio Classic washing powder, with one corner of the garment composed of billowing soap bubbles; the insanely detailed ship in a bottle for Mainstay vodka; and the heaping bowl of shredded-paper noodles for Fatti's & Moni's pasta. Snatches of text from the original briefs peek through here and there. Such brand-specific words and phrases provide intriguing visual flourishes for these fusions of art and commerce. More images below. Via The Inspiration Room.

    Client: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg
    Executive Creative Directors: Matthew Brink, Adam Livesey
    Art Director: Jade Manning
    Copywriter: Vincent Osmond
    Creative Directors: Sacha Traest, Mike Groenewald
    Design: Sacha Traest, Leigh-anne Salonika, Katleho Mofolo, Graeme Van Jaarsveld, Ilze Venter, Jason Fieldgate
    Typographer: Hazel Buchan
    Photographers: Graeme Borchers, Des Ellis
    Account Manager: Vanessa Maselwa
    Director: Brett de Vos
    Sound: Cut and Paste, Opus
    Production: Craig Walker, Simone Allem, Ingrid Shellard, Gillian Humphris

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    In our age of virtual sharing gone berserk, here's a refreshingly tactile effort by a British ad agency. For new restaurant Dishoom, OgilvyOne U.K. is collecting customer stories through the Internet and baking the best ones into Dishoom's dinner plates—each one nicely designed in a way that fits that particular story. The campaign draws on an ethnic tradition. Dishoom is an Irani café—styled after similar cafés opened in India in the 19th century by Iranian and Persian immigrants. The sharing of stories over food was a big part of the Iranian café tradition (and restaurant tradition generally). OgilvyOne started the campaign with 80 plates featuring the personal memories of Irani cafés from the older generation in Bombay and the U.K. See some examples below. Now, new visitors are being asked to contribute. "Crazy and unusual anecdotes are very much encouraged!" says the site. "Tell what you used to do—whether it was hanging out with friends, dating, bunking off, doing business deals, finding inspiration. Tell us how the food tasted, the conversations you overheard, how the place felt, the more personal your stories the better." Via Creative Review.


    It was my first visit to India. I was in Churchgate near the station and used to visit this old cafe on the corner for some of the best dosas and uttapas in town. The owner introduced himself and made me feel like he was one of my uncles. Uncle Satish or 'Satishbhai' as I called him invited me to their late night card games, and I learnt all sorts and made all sorts of new friends. Only in such a cafe, could you feel like you were part of the family as soon as you walk in, and leave with not only a full stomach, but a whole new bunch of friends.


    Adi was tickled when he heard about my memories of the cutlet gravy at Cafe Excelsior from a decade back. He immediately called for a plate of gravy for me to taste. I took a spoonful…creamy yet edgy…an initial soothing sip followed by a slow but resounding hit of chillies. A very elegant and yet passionate sauce. I liked it so much that I finished the contents of the saucer. Seeing the delight on my face Adi insisted on packing some cutlets and gravy for me to take home…and some slices of bread too….the bread turned out to be as soft as Cupid's cheeks. I pointed out the lack of salt in the dhansak to Adi. "Well that's good for old people no with BP? Others can add salt" said Adi with a smile.


    Colaba is the most popular tourist hub of Bombay because of the famous Taj hotel and gateway of India. A lot of Iranians migrated and settled in Colaba. They relate to this place a lot. Everytime I come here, I see them sitting around and it makes me feel comfortable. I've been a student of Xaviers College and have been very fond of this Irani Café, especially when you have a tight budget cause I'm in college. The food is very affordable. Every time I have a friend visiting, I bring them here to give them a taste of the real Bombay experience.


    I once asked Mr. Kohinoor, who is 83 and owns Britannia Restaurant what would happen to Britannia when he was no longer with us. Gesturing towards his son and brother he exclaimed (a bit loudly!) "The moment I'm gone, these buggers will shut the place down!"


    I held Bapa's hand tightly.
    I was so scared
    So many people
    And I, so small
    I sat in the chair
    My chin on the table
    He ordered
    I stared
    It came.
    I smiled
    A big smile.
    Tutti Frutti Ice Cream.


    Afshin Kohinoor, Boman's son, started talking to us at length about the restaurant. He pointed to the portraits hung on the wall, spoke about the letter written to his father by the Queen of England, and pointed to one of their latest awards. …and then willingly posed for me with a trophy. And then when we were leaving, asked us to return with our boyfriends. "I don't want to see you alone next time," he said.


    Overheard one evening in an Irani café in South Mumbai's Fort District. A customer complains to the owner, that there is no sugar in his tea. "Did I call you? Did I say, come to my shop and drink tea? You are the one who climbed the steps and came. Today there are no complaints. Everyone's quietly drunk their tea and gone. No one said anything. What are these tantrums that you come up with .... God knows how your wife stays with you. Is she still with you or has she eloped and run away."

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    If you've been under a rock, violence against women in India has been all over the news since last December following the horrific gang rape of a young woman who had the audacity to take a bus. She died from her injuries, sparking protests across India. So now when I tell you Ford has had to apologize for ads created by JWT India that depict women tied up in the back of a Ford Figo, you won't be quite so surprised. The ads never ran, but were picked up when the Internet, always on the lookout for something to be offended about, found them on Ads of the World. In one illustration, Paris Hilton has tied up the Kardashians and stuck them in her boot. In another, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has roped himself three scantily clad women. The tagline: "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra-large boot." For those who say some people are just too sensitive to hilarious cartoon violence against women, let me explain a few things: 1) It's not less violent because it's a cartoon. 2) It's not less violent if the violence is perpetrated by another woman. 3) It's about time people got upset over casual violence toward women, which is all over the place. The sad thing is that it has to be triggered by extreme events for people to notice what's been there all along. 4) Yes, there are ads that show violence against men (though they're a lot fewer). No, people are not saying violence against men is acceptable in ads just because they're saying violence against women is unacceptable. 5) Yes, it's obviously intended as a joke. But jokes exist in context, and right now, it's really, really, superbly unfunny. It's just too bad for Ford that the brand will suffer for ads it didn't even approve. It's a good reminder that the Internet doesn't know the difference.

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  • 03/25/13--11:23: Ad of the Day: Spotify
  • Music tends to resist attempts to define it. But Spotify tries to do so anyway in its first-ever advertising campaign—a dark, atmospheric effort for the streaming-music service from Droga5 in New York.

    The centerpiece is an anthem spot, "For Music," which debuts Monday night on NBC's The Voice. Cut into 30-, 60- and 90-second versions, it shows a guy taking the crowd-surf of his life over a seething mass of thousands of faceless humans, as a male voiceover tries to describe what music is, and what it can accomplish. (Talk about a difficult task.)

    "It's been said that the best songs don't give answers but instead ask questions," says the voice. "So, why? Why does music stop us in our tracks? Dictate if we pump a fist or swing it? Why can a song change the world? Because music is a force. For good. For change. For whatever. It's a magnifying glass. A bullhorn. A stick in the gears and the tools to fix it. Because music is a need. An urge to be vindicated. It's bigger than us. It lives inside us. Because we were all conceived to a 4:4 beat. Because music can't be stopped. Can't be contained. It's never finished. Because music makes us scream 'Coo coo ca choo' and mean it. Because music is worth fighting for. Why? Because it's music."

    If that copy seems somewhat random, no wonder. Music is ineffable. Particular songs can be roughly described in words, more or less. But trying to capture what music is and what it does forces you to use any number of metaphors, many of which are strung together here. It's a problem endemic to many anthem spots—see Wieden + Kennedy's recent work for Facebook and Levi's. Attempting to ascribe great meaning to a product's effect on humanity is challenging in the best of times, and perhaps impossible when the product is as vast, unwieldy and deeply personal as music.

    Notably, the spot also doesn't really have any music in it. It has echoing tones throughout, but nothing that would rouse anyone to a state of ecstasy or political purpose. It's an almost completely visual and textual way of characterizing something that is neither. This may be unavoidable, too—you wouldn't use particular tracks, or even several, if the goal is to communicate universality. Still, talking about the power of music without demonstrating it feels cerebral rather than emotional—like telling, not showing.

    That said, the spot is beautifully filmed by Seb Edwards of Park Pictures (whom we spotlighted last year for his lovely Hovis ad). The sea of hands, the swells that move through the crowd, the haunting lighting—it's a grand and impressive production that suits the message well. Whatever detractors it has, the spot will have its fervent admirers as well.

    The campaign will also include other 15- and 30-second TV spots (see two below) that depict specific moments where music changes everything—a chance meeting, a moment of nostalgia, an impromptu party. There are digital and social executions, too.

    Client: Spotify
    Vp, Global Marketing & Partnerships Erin Clift
    Director Of Business Marketing Hayeon Kim
    Creative Director Rich Frankel
    Head of Video Johannes Ring
    Agency Droga5, New York
    Creative Chairman David Droga
    Group Creative Director Neil Heymann
    Creative Director Graham Douglas
    Lead Copywriter Spencer Lavallee
    Creative Mutant Kenny Kim
    Head of Integrated Production Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production Ben Davies
    Head of Digital Strategy Chet Gulland
    Senior Digital Strategist Dan Neumann
    Brand Strategist Matthew Gardner
    Communications Strategy Director Colleen Leddy
    Group Account Director Tenny Pearson
    Account Director Matthew Hennell
    Executive Interactive Producer Lindsey Slaby
    Digital Producer Justin Durazzo
    UX Designer Eileen Tang
    Creative Technical Lead Fran Devinney
    Designer Ryan Hoelting
    Senior Art Producer Julia Menassa
    Print Production Manager Kim Williams
    Retoucher Travis Commeau
    Broadcast Production Company Park Pictures
    Director Seb Edwards
    DOP Hoyte Van Hoytema
    Partner / Executive Producer Jackie Kelman
    Executive Producer Justin Pollock
    Producer Caroline Kousidonis
    Broadcast Editorial Trim Edit / Cosmo Street Editorial
    Editor Tom Lindsay
    Assistant Editor Mark Potter
    Executive Producer Maura Woodward
    Producer Heather Richardson
    Broadcast Post Production The Mill New York
    Head Of Production Sean Costelloe
    Producer Lily Tilton
    Colorist Fergus Mccall
    Lead Flame Artists Westley Sarokin / Nathan Kane
    CG Lead Wyatt Savarese / Vince Baertsoen
    Broadcast Music Tonic Music Ltd
    'For Music' Peter Broderick
    'Her Song' / 'Getting Weird' Guy Wood / Jo Wills
    Music Producer Susan Stone
    Broadcast Lead Sound Studio & Wave Studios London
    Sound Design
    'For Music'
    Sound Designer & Mixer Jack Sedgwick
    'Her Song' / 'Getting Weird'
    Sound Designer & Mixer Joe Mount
    Broadcast V/O Sound Studio Sonic Union
    Sound Engineer Steve Rosen / David Papa
    'Kiss' Marcus Haney
    'Getting Weird' / 'Subway' RJ Shaunessy
    Interactive Production Companies My My Star, Squarewave
    Print Production Company Portfolio One
    Stylist Imogene Barron
    Set Design Abraham Latham

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    Google's latest innovation in time-wasting fun—this time out of Japan—is the Chrome World Wide Maze, a browser experiment that turns any web page of your choosing into a 3-D marble maze. You need a smartphone for this to work properly (and, of course, Chrome for Mobile), since it becomes your controller once you've synced it up with your computer. The mobile-phone-as-game-controller idea has promise, and isn't much different from the Wii U's current setup. But they'll have to do more than this to make up for axing Google Reader. Jerks.

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    Considering how much you hear about drones these days, it's surprising we haven't seen more marketing stunts using remote-controlled hoverbots. But Paramount Pictures pulled off an interesting trick this weekend by using glowing quadrotors to create a Star Trek logo over London. The promotion, for the franchise's latest film, Star Trek Into Darkness, was timed to mark the end of the World Wildlife Fund's annual Earth Hour, which encourages cities to turn off nonessential lights for environmental awareness. As the hour of darkness ended, the 30 drones' LED lights (charged through renewable energy sources) turned on to form the insignia of Star Trek's Starfleet. Created by Ars Electonica Futurelab and Ascending Technologies, the result is pretty impressive—when viewed from the right angle, at least. Check out a video below, and enjoy the moment at 1:20 when two of the drones at the bottom of the frame seem to collide, sending one plummeting out of the sky.

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    We all know consumers have never been so digitally connected, generating a limitless amount of data as they click, search and scan throughout each day. So it’s no wonder Big Data dominates the conversation in an industry where almost everything can now be empirically validated, brands have the ability to connect cross-channel marketing with buying behavior, and corporate financial execs are more involved in the marketing process than ever before.

    This month, WPP Group chief Martin Sorrell publicly addressed the growing influence of data in the marketing recipe—where numbers are no longer about just analysis and insights but also as clients expect more accountability from their agencies when it comes to delivering measurable business solutions. Observing an industry populated by “Maths Men” as well as Mad Men, Sorrell wrote in London’s Daily Telegraph: “Our target customer is no longer just the chief executive officer and chief marketing officer but, increasingly, the chief information officer or chief technology officer along with the chief procurement officer and chief financial officer. Effectively, we are increasingly working in an integrated way with our clients, who are looking for increased efficiency as well as effectiveness.”

    Advertisers may not even realize how much data they have at their disposal since so much of it resides outside of their jurisdiction, in areas like customer service, finance, sales and distribution. Identifying that information and discerning its relevance is an urgent priority for leading marketers—who can bet that their competitors are already doing so.

    Adding to the challenge, large packaged-goods marketers, understanding the value of all that data, are increasingly keeping it to themselves, creating their own private “trading desks” for information rather than sharing it with their agencies. “Data is only assets if you can make value out of it,” Nick Orsman, international head of data and analytics at Proximity London, tells Adweek. “There has never been more pressure on budgets and clients wanting to achieve more with less. Some of this data is already in their hands—it just needs to be put to use, to turn value out of those assets and use data in a way that is intelligent around content, timing and personalization.”

    Proximity should know. At the Data Strategy Awards in London last month, the agency won a Gold for Best Use of Social Media for its Procter & Gamble initiative “Mums on a Mission.” Realizing that mothers no longer swap tips on the school run, Proximity sought to replicate that community via Facebook. Working with Supersavvyme, a P&G Facebook community, the agency created a to-do list app via the social network that produced a solutions database.

    Thus, consumers became the media channel themselves, crowdsourcing searchable advice. Rewards came in the form of coupons, which, in the first two weeks, generated 33,000 redemptions for P&G products. Also during that time, 52,872 tips were shared while the average time spent on the site was 18 minutes. Fifty-one percent of visitors were repeat visitors.

    Here, more examples of how data is transforming the marketing and media strategies of brands facing three very different challenges.

    A Dash of Data
    In the Media Mix

    McCormick isn’t just in the seasonings business—it also offers meal inspirations by way of recipe suggestions on its website. With more consumers as budding chefs and Americans developing more of a taste for ethnic and gourmet flavors, that digital real estate has become even more important—and especially so considering that the company is going up against much larger rivals with fatter media budgets and with pure-play sites like that of Food Network thrown into the mix.

    “Recipe views, in many respects, are a proxy for a sale,” explains Tony Effik, managing director, media and connections at the brand’s agency, R/GA, New York. “While McCormick is a significant business, it’s generally outspent by competitors, so we had to figure out a way to outsmart them by leveraging data to execute earned and paid media plans. We do media. But we also come up with creative, and data is the thing that holds all of that together.”

    In 2012, McCormick spent $43.3 million in media, per Kantar. Compare that to $404 million at Campbell’s Soup. When the agency started working on the account in 2011, McCormick was getting 12 percent of the category’s total unique visitors, per comScore, and rivals outspent the brand four to one. Now, McCormick’s gets 25 percent of that traffic, and with only a minimal increase in the media spend. “What’s closing that gap is creating efficiencies through the use of data,” says Effik.

    With its Responsive Media System, R/GA analyzed the online recipes market, seeking out anomalies and undervalued strategies. The agency studied media-spending patterns and set up a series of algorithmic rules across media channels including search, social, real-time media and promoted videos. R/GA then took what it unearthed and applied it to paid search for McCormick’s Lawry’s brand.

    McCormick’s and R/GA decided to leverage Lawry’s West Coast heritage in a test using search and Mexican recipes. The agency split Lawry’s media budget between Western states like California (where Lawry’s originated) and the rest of the country. Two data points were key: the clickthrough rate and cost-per-recipe view. The national market did well for clickthroughs. But more interestingly for R/GA was data from the West Coast where the post-click action rate was 20 percent to 60 percent greater than in the rest of the country, prompting it to tailor the media plan geographically.

    “That learning allows us to explore the same rule in other channels, so now we can run display advertising in a more focused way on the West Coast if we want to,” says Effik. “We’re thinking about how the budget responds to the market and how we make changes, sometimes in real time, against the dynamics of the marketing using data. Response for us is not whether something succeeded or failed—it’s an opportunity to learn. What we’re learning from search we can apply to other areas of marketing.”

    Logistics Drive
    New Business

    UPS is a numbers culture that quantifies virtually everything. Its trucks, for example, almost never make a left turn unless they absolutely have to, saving the parcel company millions of dollars each year by eliminating the time drivers have to wait at intersections.

    The brand brings that same operational rigor to measuring the performance of its communications budget. After Ogilvy won the UPS business in 2009, its direct and digital unit OgilvyOne created a process to track performance metrics and attempt to tie the right proportion of success to specific actions—no easy feat given the longer sales cycles of B2B marketers.

    UPS wanted to promote its capabilities beyond just shipping and opted to target small and medium-sized businesses needing help managing across their supply chains. OgilvyOne launched a “We Love Logistics” positioning for the brand whose centerpiece was a new research methodology that matched UPS’ brand-tracking survey to sales.

    UPS was able to see what happened to shipping volume among customers who said they liked brand attributes more after seeing an ad. UPS was also able to analyze the sequence of events, beginning with ad exposure, subsequent willingness to take a sales call and purchase. The agency created a dashboard, UPS Live, to put in place tracking mechanisms that let the company see preliminary results of a campaign quickly. The Web-enabled dashboard integrates 81 data sources, supplying 300 metrics covering every channel UPS uses in the campaign.

    Dimitri Maex, managing director of OgilvyOne and author of a recent book about data called Sexy Little Numbers, understands why marketers are easily overwhelmed by the barrage of real-time information.

    “There’s a lot of dashboard fatigue where every vendor a client talks to will have a dashboard that looks pretty and claims to solve all their effectiveness and efficiency problems,” he says. “The technology around dashboards is great, but technology itself is never going to solve the issue. What is crucial is not the technology—it’s the planning for measurement. Most companies don’t spend enough time on the planning; they go straight to actual measurement, the data source and the tools. You need to have a conversation with all the stakeholders about what you are trying to achieve and then create a hierarchy of marketing and communication objectives, the metrics needed to meet those objectives and the tools for measurement.”

    OgilvyOne’s analysis of UPS’ latest global campaign revealed that eight months after its 2010 launch, the ads drove more than 20 percent of incremental shipping revenue among target customers. What’s more, 77 percent of UPS employees said that since the campaign’s launch, they understood that using logistics, aside from pricing, is a driver of new business.

    “It’s typical these days because you’re using so many different platforms and channels in your communications. All of them are generating their little pockets of data. The growth in data sources is going be exponential in the next couple of years because there is a lot of fragmentation,” Maex says. “That’s the easy piece, and it’s what everyone talks about in Big Data. But to me, it’s not that interesting. The hardest piece is making sure that what you’re tracking actually matters and ladders up to your objectives.”

    Harnessing All That CES Chatter

    As it evaluated its social media strategy last year, Sprint surmised that it did a good job following consumer buzz on Facebook and Twitter. But the telecommunications brand figured it could do even more to harness the medium’s agility.

    Digitas proposed a solution, in January activating Sprint BrandLIVE at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, combining Sprint’s brand messaging with the real-time responsiveness of a news organization.

    Sprint wanted to know which trends would be hottest at the annual tech shindig. The brand has heavily promoted its green identity, so one of the trends Digitas monitored was eco-innovation, for example. (Other topics monitored included technological innovation and mom-centric technology.) The Digitas team followed those trending topics throughout CES; their findings then influenced social media content Sprint would post.

    “We took some data points around what people were talking about…and then we took trending from that or what’s being shared at a high rate of frequency, and we ideated around those internally to come up with Facebook or Twitter posts or videos or whatever other dynamic media,” says Eric Korsh, Digitas’ vp, brand content.

    The team came up with ideas on the spot, which were either accepted or rejected by the client. Then came more analytics around measurement and optimizing, expanding paid media for topics that were performing well and replacing communications not doing so well.

    The result: Sprint achieved 2.1 million uniques and earned 7.5 million impressions over the three days of CES. On Facebook, its CES content generated over 175,000 likes.

    Meanwhile, Twitter selected Sprint as one of its #2013CES winners, heralding the brand’s real-time approach as nothing short of “the future of marketing.”

    Says Jason Kodish, svp, strategy and analysis at Digitas: “Historically what we’ve done is to use data on the back end of a campaign to understand efficacy and optimize it based on a couple of different factors. BrandLIVE allows us to use data on the front end of the campaign. With real-time marketing, it transforms how we use data from an analytic approach to a strategy involvement. It almost eliminates the need for a lot of the marketing and research that goes on that formulates creative strategy. It allows you to use the real voice of the consumer instead of the simulated voice of the consumer.

    “This,” says Kodish, “is where the industry is going.”

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    IDEA: Technology for elder care has come a long way since "I've fallen … and I can't get up!" IBM is pioneering sensors that monitor seniors' homes in real time—temperature, carbon dioxide levels and much more—and send the data to city workers, who can dispatch friends, family or emergency personnel as needed. This remote solution can keep a town's social-services costs down as its population ages. IBM tested the system in Bolzano, Italy, and had a great story to tell—one that stretched beyond a TV spot.

    Through an extensive collaboration with Ogilvy (and its branded-content arm OgilvyEntertainment), StudioNow, director Lily Henderson and The Huffington Post, IBM produced a poignant four-minute documentary about the Bolzano trial. "Short-form film, or long-form content, really lets you open up a topic," said OgilvyEntertainment president Doug Scott. "You're not constrained by media time. A storyteller can truly allow the topic, the character and the story to give a full view of what the brand is trying to convey."

    COPYWRITING: The story is told through Zita, an old woman living in Bolzano. She speaks poetically of her life in the opening scenes, set in her simple apartment, looking out at the Italian hills. "When my children were small, I always told them they were rich," she says (in Italian, with English subtitles). "They had hands to drink water if they didn't have a cup. They had feet to walk, ears, eyes to see. A rich person is someone who can do anything. This was our life."

    Zita explains that her husband has died, and the scene cuts to her daughter, who says she's worried about her mother living alone. The film frames the scope of the problem of elder care through interviews with Bolzano's deputy mayor and director of social planning, then presents the solution, as IBM's Nicola Palmarini introduces the sensor and explains how it works. At the end, the film returns to Zita, who now talks about life in the present, not the past. "Independence is the most beautiful thing in the world," she says. "This is living. This is richness."

    "It was definitely a collaborative process," said Henderson, IBM's handpicked director from Thin Place Pictures. "StudioNow provided a initial project proposal, which included a list of questions that I was able to sculpt and restructure where I felt it necessary. There was also a treatment provided with the understanding that when we actually filmed, some of the story structure might change, since we were working with documentary subjects."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The film was shot over five days in Bolzano and at the IBM offices in Milan. Visually, it's simple and artful. Images of the spectacular landscape and architecture are juxtaposed with an intimate portrait of Zita captured through candid and more formally composed shots. There's also footage from the modern IBM offices. "The main conceptual idea was to show how two contrasting worlds could work together," said Henderson. "These two worlds were the elderly people living in an old town in Italy meeting the high-tech and current world of IBM. Visually we conveyed this by showing the old city architecture next to the modern architecture of IBM's offices, and in the edit I made sure to start the pace slow and sentimental and then pick up the energy when introducing IBM."

    Old family photos on Zita's walls are echoed later by old illustrations of the town at the city offices, subtly weaving the personal and political stories into one—a harmony achieved, of course, by the IBM solution. There are also lots of shots of windows, a subtle metaphor—particularly in the final shot of Zita—for vision and freedom. "This is a piece about home and the challenges and values of living independently as an elder," said Henderson. "It was important to show the home experience, and windows were a good way to peer in, to be invited into the cozy nature of home, and also a way to look out on the view of the city—to remind us that the elderly person is still a part of the world."

    Henderson said preparation was key to getting the film's balance right. "The interesting challenge in doing these ad-doc films is that you are trying to accurately convey a story about a person and a story about a company, maintain an emotional draw while also giving accurate information, all within a short amount of time," she said. "It was important to be as thorough as possible in the pre-production phase—creating a rough storyboard, shot list and treatment based off the pre-interviews with the documentary subjects. This close preparation allowed the cinematographer Ed David and I to approach the project almost like a narrative. We allowed the spontaneity of documentary to come forth, but we also had a clear plan on the story flow and key visual elements."

    TALENT: Zita was part of the first phase of the IBM project in Bolzano. She "turned out to be a dynamo—a fantastic point of focus and lens for the project," said Ben Tyson, executive producer at StudioNow, the formerly AOL-owned production company that works on many AOL and HuffPo online video projects. "Humanizing these types of branded documentary stories is the single most important path to creating a great piece of content," he added. "The human subjects become part of the focus alongside the technology and brand. So we were thrilled that Zita, with some coaching, was exceptional on camera." StudioNow and Ogilvy located the other subjects in the film. Pre-interviews helped dig up as many details for the story as possible.

    SOUND: Plaintive piano early in the film soon gives way to a livelier though still quiet score, mirroring the gentle optimism that slowly seeps into the material.

    MEDIA: HuffPo, which co-produced the film—one of five in a new series under IBM's "Solutions for a Smarter Planet" banner—is hosting them all on a special hub called Smarter Ideas. It's also on YouTube.


    Client: IBM
    Vice President, Brand Expression, Global Advertising: Ann Rubin
    Marketing Manager: Cecilia Correa
    Advertising Lead: Cindi Ellis

    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
    Executive Group Director: Kim Duffy
    Neo@Ogilvy Global Managing Director: Patty Sachs
    Neo@Ogilvy Media Planner: Katherine Moore

    Agency: OgilvyEntertainment
    President: Doug Scott
    Producer: Jamie Schutz
    Creative Director: Otto Bell
    Account Director: Scott Vogelsong

    Thin Place Pictures
    Director: Lily Henderson
    Director of Photography: Ed David

    Producer: Lindsay Frail
    Account Manager: Amy Ferguson
    Assistant Director: Giuseppe Zito
    Gaffer: Kristian De Martis
    Audio Tech: Eva Lageder
    Assistant Camera: Daniele Serio
    Production Manager: Matteo Stefani

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    Do you remember what life was like in Manhattan in 1993? The rats, the graffiti, the parties, the drugs, the … pay phones. Fear not. The East Village-based ad agency Droga5 and the New Museum have teamed up to give you a glimpse back in time—using that suddenly resurgent old communications device in the process.

    Agency and client have launched "Recalling 1993," offering a raw, unfiltered listen to what was going on around New York City 20 years ago. The campaign turns pay phones into geo-located time capsules—dial (855) FOR-1993 from any pay phone in Manhattan, and you will hear a personal account of what was going down in that particular area in 1993, a pivotal year in the city's history. The recordings offer memories of everything from the World Trade Center bombing in the Financial District to the club culture at Limelight in Chelsea to the opening of Angels in America in Midtown.

    The effort promotes a new exhibit at the museum, "NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star," which is running through May 26. There are more than 4.5 hours of content in total—over 150 recorded oral histories from real New Yorkers—so hopefully you have some extra time on your hands. See more in the video below, and listen to a sampling of the stories at the link above. Credits below.

    Client: New Museum
    Campaign: Recalling 1993
    Agency: Droga5 New York
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Executive Creative Directors: Ted Royer / Nik Studzinski
    Associate Creative Directors: Ray Del Savio / Jerry Hoak
    Copywriters: Colin Lord / Bryan Wolff
    Art Directors: Jen Lu / Daniel Sumarna
    Head of Integrated Production: Sally-Ann Dale
    Executive Producer: Scott Chinn
    Executive Interactive Producer: Lindsey Slaby
    Producer: Jennifer McKenzie
    Production Assistant: Goldie Robbens
    Technical Director: David Justus
    Creative Technology Lead: Fran Devinney
    UX Director: Kathrin Hoffman
    UX Designer: Eileen Tang
    Associate Digital Producer: Ian Graetzer
    Senior Print Producer: Jeannie O'Toole
    Print Production: Assistant Annick Thomas
    Brand Strategist: Matthew Gardner
    Strategy Intern: PJ Mongell
    Researchers: Amelia Barry / Sarah Gancher / Bo Jacober
    Group Account Director: Olivia Legere
    Account Director: Caitlin Chandler
    Account Manager: Louisa Cronan

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    I'm sure some folks will enjoy Cossette's Instagram campaign promoting the Toronto Silent Film Festival, but I think it works better in theory than in practice. The flipbook-style fusion of old and new technologies is a cool concept (check out the trailers here,here and here), but scrolling quickly on my phone in slideshow view to achieve the effect of animating a few seconds of old-timey still images wasn't particularly compelling. Some guy pushes a car! A different guy rides a horse! A man and woman dance! (And it's in black and white. C'mon, at least colorize it!) Boy, films really sucked in 1925, and I for one am glad we live in a glorious cinematic age where creative visionaries like Michael Bay blow up stuff in dazzling HD and obscenities fly off the screen at deafening volume. Now that's entertainment worth $11.50 a ticket! Heck, I'd pay $11.75!

    Client: Toronto Silent Film Festival
    Project: Instagram Trailers
    Agency: Cossette
    Co-Chief Creative Officers: Matthew Litzinger, David Daga
    Creative Director: Matthew Litzinger, David Daga
    Copywriter: Sebastian Lyman
    Art Director: Pepe Bratanov
    Account Team: Jason Melhuish

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    This Brazilian ad by Ogilvy & Mather for Dove's Men + Care shampoo line puts the tropes of women's shampoo commercials in a new, and weird, context. Apparently, using women's shampoo makes your hair move in slow motion all the time, and also makes it grow about a foot in the time between showering and getting to work. You'd think the afflicted man would have noticed this before his co-worker pointed it out. All that neck strain would have killed me. Directed by Hungry Man's Carlão Busato.

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    There may be some things that could make checking your credit score a little less boring. There are definitely a lot of things that could make watching a commercial about checking your credit score a little less boring. Not many of these things are remotely plausible, but some of them can make for amusing advertising.

    FreeCreditScore.com's latest campaign from The Martin Agency features commercial kings Rhett & Link acting out ridiculous twist endings—suggested by viewers as part of a contest—to ads that would otherwise offer prosaic demonstrations of new tools on the brand's website. You can you use FreeCreditScore's "sliders"—that is to say, interactive graphs—to see how different financial actions will affect your credit rating. You can also, according to one new spot, use the sliders to instantly encase every item in your home—including you and your annoying roommate—in bubble wrap, and then embark on a wild, slightly OCD popping spree. You can also use the sliders to transform your house into an llama rodeo, or a doomsaying picnic basket. Or a science-fiction starship captained by a cat.

    Of course, you can't really do any of those things with FreeCreditReport's website—except the pretty dull part about seeing how your credit score will drop if you get a new credit card or tick up if your lender raises your limit. But watching Rhett & Link play around with the less soul-sucking functionality is not without some entertainment value. Divorced as the scenes may seem from the campaign's sales pitch, they're fairly consistent with the longtime absurdity of FreeCreditScore's marketing—all those years of cheesy jingles. To that end, this campaign's random endings build on the brand's Bret-Michaels-genies-into-your-living-room spot from late last year.

    The "Make a Better Commercial Than We Did" idea is, depending on your mood, charmingly self-deprecating, antagonistic or some combination of the two. Gimmicky as it is, though, it's a welcome change of pace from the warm-and-fuzzy tack of so many crowdsourcing concepts—even if, in the end, it seems rigged to produce disappointment.

    Client: FreeCreditScore.com
    Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
    Production Company: StudioNow

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    SunTrust has released an interesting new ad from Agency D7 about parents who are planning retirement for three, including their live-at-home autistic son. It's notable because the actor playing the son actually has autism, and isn't just playing the role of an autistic person. His name is Patrick Storey, and he's a student at Performing Arts Studio West in Los Angeles. In a behind-the-scenes video (posted below, along with the 30-second spot), Patrick's father Jim says: "I think that using a person who's autistic to play a person who's autistic, as opposed to asking somebody else to come in and pretend to be autistic, is terrific. To me, that's the most important thing of all." (In the ad, Patrick's parents are played by other actors.) SunTrust consumer marketing director Emmet Burns says it's an example of the company "concentrating on the real-life circumstances, the real challenges that clients face." Knowing the background, it's certainly an affecting spot. There's an element of self-congratulation in the companion video, but that's to be expected—and doesn't feel overly cynical. People with disabilities have been making inroads into all kinds of marketing work recently—including severalmodels with Down syndrome who've gotten high-profile modeling work.

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    Tiger Woods is a golf nerd, right? Right. But in fantasy video-game land, he destroys you and all your hoodlum friends, fake kung-fu style, because you're trying to steal his trophies. His charming geezer of a sidekick, Arnold Palmer, meanwhile, manages to seem much more badass, rocking his tournament hardware inside his blazer like he's fencing gold watches. Because while Woods is busy being all "intense," ice-cold Palmer clearly just couldn't, you know, care less. For EA Sports's new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14. Agency: Heat.

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    Now that Tiger Woods has regained the top ranking on the pro golf tour, Nike is celebrating its star endorser's comeback with an online ad emblazoned with one of Woods's favorite soundbites, "Winning takes care of everything," along with the word "Victory" next to the company's swoosh logo. The ad has stoked the flames of controversy in social media, with some claiming it sends a bad message in light of Woods's marital infidelities that surfaced a few years back, costing him some endorsement deals, tarnishing his image and threatening to derail his career—not to mention crushing the marriage in question.

    There are hundreds of press reports about the ad and countless tweets and comments, all manner of Internet chatter, folks expressing opinions pro and con. Much of the coverage has focused on what impact the ad will have on Nike's brand. That's a fair question, but as anyone who's followed marketing for more than 10 minutes should realize, it's answered almost as soon as it's asked. This is a blip that quickly stirs passions but has no lasting effect. By next week it will be all but forgotten. Nike and Tiger will carry on. (They been here before, of course, when Nike released that rather peculiar Tiger ad following the scandal.)

    In a larger and more intriguing sense, the story is a microcosm of the state and price of fame in the digital media landscape. If you start winning in the public eye and achieve some notoriety, you'd better take care and be on your guard about everything, because legions are eagerly watching and waiting and we'll pounce at the slightest provocation. This says a lot less about Woods, Lance Armstrong or other tarnished icons than it does about the rest of us, who live vicariously to varying degrees through such "heroes and villains." Most of us will never experience the life-changing thrill ride of winning and losing on a grand scale, because for whatever reason, we can't commit our whole beings to daunting tasks, athletic or otherwise, and fight through the pain, injury and public pressure to victory. Hell, most of us will never truly win or lose at anything.

    So, we cheer on Woods, Armstrong and the rest when they triumph, and weep at their defeats. We damn them when they fall from grace and welcome them back with accolades and big-bucks sponsorships when they've reformed enough for our liking.

    In this way, such imbalanced relationships become symbiotic and reciprocal. Tiger and Lance play out high-def dramas with, at times, their careers and livelihoods on the line. We play along on our sofas, remotes in hand, flipping among our thousand channels. Social media intensifies and personalizes the experience. We become actors in their story—mostly in our own minds, of course, but in increasingly more palpable ways than ever before—as commentators and commenters, bloggers, tweeters and pinners. Our input flickers across PC desktops and smartphone screens, shared in real time with thousands, maybe millions, all eager to feel more deeply and understand—if only briefly, and through the exploits of others—what words like winning and everything really mean.


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