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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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  • 04/22/13--13:22: Ad of the Day: Legacy
  • Attention smokers. You're not just destroying yourselves. You might also be destroying the planet.

    As Earth Day 2013 has again reminded us, environmental advertising is often not as engaging as it should be. (Seen anything noteworthy today beyond the Google doodle?) But The Butler Bros. and Psyop do a fine job here of dramatizing an issue that likewise doesn't get the expert treatment it deserves. Flicking a cigarette butt into nature doesn't just cause wildfires—the toxic chemicals and carcinogens leach into soil, are poisonous to wildlife, and threaten to contaminate water sources. In fact, cigarette butts are the No. 1 item found on beaches and waterways worldwide and the most-littered item on U.S. roadways, according to Legacy (aka, the American Legacy Foundation).

    The micro-to-macro transformation on display in the ad is, first and foremost, eye-catching. But it also nicely serves as a metaphor for the problem—seemingly insignificant, but in truth much larger than you might realize. (You're also not likely to soon forget the URL, RethinkButts.org, if your workplace server hasn't fearfully and pre-emptively blocked it.)

    Listen to the 60-second radio spot on the Butler website.

    CREDITS
    Client: Legacy
    Agency: The Butler Bros., Austin, Texas
    Creative Directors: Marty Butler / Adam Butler
    Writers: Ronny Northrup / Adam Butler
    Spanish Translation: Rima, Gabriela Rives
    Art Directors: Marty Butler / Ronny Northrop
    Producer: Tim Willison
    Spanish Language Producer: Myra Spector
    Director: Psyop
    Executive Producer: Luisa Murray
    Producer: Minh Ly
    Creative Director: David Chontos
    Designer: Lilit Hayrapetyan
    Matte Painter: Andrew Park
    Lead Flame: Kim Stevenson
    Compostior: Jonathan Iwata
    3D Lead: Stephen Delalla
    Modelers: Brianne Meyer, Kevin Manning, Danka Chiang
    Animator: Victor Garza
    Lighters: Stephen Delalla, Jonathan Iwata
    GFX: Jason Mortimer
    Sound Design Company: ESR Studios
    Sound Designer: Eric Ryan


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    Tugging at the heartstrings: an eternal tactic of marketers of everything from coffee and peanut butter to long-distance phone services and those charities for abused and neglected animals.

    But a pickup truck?

    A tender spot for the tough Ram, “Farmer” turned out to be one of the most popular ads in all of Super Bowl XLVII—though flashy it wasn’t. The creative, via The Richards Group, was a simple, two-minute slideshow featuring dramatic stills of American farmers set to the thunderous intonation of the late radio personality Paul Harvey. At the end, the screen fades to black before we’re shown the truck’s logo and the tagline, “Guts. Glory. Ram.” No music, no humor, no action—just good old-fashioned sentimentality.

    Again, it’s a strategy that’s as old as advertising itself, and one lately employed to great success by marketers as diverse as Subaru (a dad reluctantly puts his little girl on the bus on her first day of school), TD Ameritrade (everyday people live out their dreams not having to worry about their retirement), the Anti-Defamation League (which, to the soundtrack of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” envisions what the world would have been like had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank and Harvey Milk not been taken away from us) and Southwest Airlines (whose earnest, inspiring new spots stand in stark contrast to the carrier’s usual fun-loving brand persona).

    Brands that once turned to yuks to sell product are in many cases focusing on inspiring consumers, relating to them on an emotional level and vying for their affections. And as with any good love story, authenticity and honesty are among the most prized traits.

    Much has been written about what’s driving such brands’ embrace of sentimentality now. The Great Recession? Consumers grown weary of financial instability, terrorism, ineffectual governance and the plight of the bees? The desire, in a wireless, social media-centric world, to form real connections over fleeting, superficial ones? Not that it means brands are done with laughs—consider the buzziest ad of the moment, Kmart’s sidesplitting “Ship My Pants,” viewed more than 10 million times since being posted on YouTube April 10.

    Still, marketers—again, often those not exactly known for their earnestness—are trying it on for size, as consumers signal they’re very much drawn to ads that reflect realism and relatability but thankfully are free of schmaltz.

    Take the Southwest campaign, TBWAChiatDay’s first brand-image work since winning the assignment last year. The first in a series of spots that broke last month not only feels uncharacteristically “big” for an airline that has always emphasized personality and playfulness, but it is also as down-to-earth a positioning as the carrier has ever embraced.

    In the spot, that bigness comes in the form of a series of trailing shots of a pilot, a basketball player, a ballerina and a corporate executive, each about to enter his or her given “arena”—be it a court, dance floor or boardroom. But just as you think, “Oh man, here comes another over-the-top paean to an industry rife with problems,” the imagery softens to include a surfer, a farmer and a baby taking his first steps. The music also lightens the message, with the singsong chorus of band fun.’s “Some Nights” driving the action.



    Aside from Ram, another memorable Super Bowl spot that aimed for the heart came from Anheuser-Busch, which has become famous for its touchy-feely image ads in the big game. This year’s entry, “Brotherhood,” from Anomaly, did not disappoint, exploring the touching bond between a Clydesdale foal and its trainer—and topping both USA Today’s Ad Meter and Ace Metrix Super Bowl rankings.

    “Brotherhood” is certainly not emblematic of the kind of creative that has scored for the brewer in years past. Compare it to the A-B spot that ruled the Ad Meter back in 2000, one in which a dog called Rex dreams of chasing after a Budweiser truck, only to comically slam into the side of a parked van. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t actually show impact.) In subsequent years, the marketer would continue to rely on a recipe of slapstick, celebrity and sex: Cedric the Entertainer ruining a hot date with an exploding can of Bud Light, for example, or a guy lured into the bedroom by his girlfriend who proceeds to skid straight out the window on slippery satin sheets.

    And Ram and A-B were far from the only advertisers taking the sentimental journey on advertising’s biggest day. Another atypically low-key yet impactful spot in the game was Jeep’s “Whole Again,” from GlobalHue. Narrated by earth mother of us all Oprah Winfrey and centered around the theme of veterans returning home to their families, the ad is one of the standout tear-jerkers in recent memory.

    “Ten years ago, brands just sold stuff,” notes Scott Goodson, founder of StrawberryFrog. “Now they’re like your friend.”

    “You can’t express yourself in a false way now because you’ll be found out,” adds Guy Barnett, founder and creative director of the agency Brooklyn Brothers. “It’s transformed how brands behave.”

    Some of the most impactful campaigns go beyond mere sentimentality to rally consumers around a mission. Take the Ram ad, whose imagery of those who work the land was no mere trope. As part of the campaign, the brand declared 2013 the “Year of the Farmer,” partnering with the national Future Farmers of America with the aim of “highlighting and underscoring the importance of farmers in America.”

    Then there’s the struggle of getting physically fit—perhaps the universal mission. In Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign, which broke during last summer’s London Olympics, Nathan Sorrell, a 200-pound 12-year-old from London, Ohio, is seen lumbering down a rural road stretched out before a dusky sky. The voiceover intones, “Greatness is something no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it. All of us.” The ad featured everyday people from towns and cities across the globe called London, accomplishing their own, modest victories—a far cry from the worked-out bodies and pro athletes who have dominated much of the brand’s creative.

    Again, it was a message that proved inspiring for consumers. One commented on YouTube that the ad motivated him to “get off my butt and lose 50 pounds.”

    “These things are all about tapping into something larger,” says Andy Pearson, interactive associate creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “It’s really just about looking for a cultural moment and capitalizing.”

    “It’s no longer about making something up and pushing it out—it’s about finding something on the rise and aligning with it,” observes StrawberryFrog’s Goodson, who chronicles the rise of movement-based marketing in his 2012 book Uprising: How to Build a Brand—and Change the World—By Sparking Cultural Movements. Today, Goodson says, consumers are “truth junkies,” looking not just to figure out which products to buy but also for ways to use their purchasing power to make connections and become part of cultural movements. “They’re looking for real brands that have real impact on their daily lives,” he says.

    As has been noted here and elsewhere, the Great Recession is widely seen as fueling the trend. At a time when many consumers faced unprecedented financial difficulties, images that mirrored real life and messages that spoke to real-life issues were what hit home. Inspiration trumped aspiration, reality beat out fantasy. As economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz put it in a New York Times opinion piece, “The gap between aspiration and reality could hardly be wider.”

    All that is not to say an ad cannot be humorous at the same time it is inspirational. In Taco Bell’s “Viva Young,” which was the most rewatched Super Bowl ad on TiVo this year, a group of mischief-making, partying-hardy grandmas and grandpas sneak out of the retirement home for a night of debauchery to another tune from fun., “We Are Young.” The ad, from Deutsch LA, was funny to be sure, but also spoke to simple human truths. “It was just an example of living life with a little bit of excitement,” says Jeffrey Blish, partner and chief strategic officer at the agency. The spot, he explains, was meant to present something that was “interesting and different” but also “within the realm of possibility.”

    Consumers reacted to the humor (drunk and heavily made-up old folks carousing) and related to the sentiment (not only the pretty and young have fun). Not surprisingly, the ad went viral, racking up some 3 million views on YouTube and 200,000 shares on Facebook and Twitter.

    It stands to reason that as ads aiming for the heart resonate, marketers are finding that superficial messages can often fall flat.

    During the Super Bowl, the spots that performed most poorly in the Ace Metrix poll were for Calvin Klein underwear and the Web-domain giant GoDaddy—two executions that were the polar opposite of sentimental and the quintessence of that other standby of advertising: fantasy. GoDaddy gave us an eyeful with a never-gonna-happen make-out session between an über-geek and smokin’ hot babe—and resonate with consumers, you may recall, it did not. (“The No. 1 word people used to describe that ad was ‘gross,’” says Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll.) Meanwhile, the Calvin Klein ad—30 seconds of a fresh-off-the-mannequin-assembly-line male model, rippling in all his sunbaked glory—was simply unrelatable to viewers. (Said one respondent in the Ace Metrix poll: “Tired of ads featuring bodies that consumers just don’t have.”)

    “It wasn’t really relevant for men, and it wasn’t really relevant for women,” says Daboll. “So who was it [relevant] to?”

    Looks like certain advertising creatives could use some inspiration of their own.


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    New York is a humbling market—but big fish from smaller ponds just can’t seem to stay away.

    Take Leo Burnett, for example. Its New York office’s biggest account win since opening in 2011—Chobani yogurt—left slightly more than a year after arriving. Now, on the eve of its second anniversary next month, the office’s staff numbers only 25, and much of its work, for the likes of Allstate and Kellogg’s, flows from accounts based in the shop’s Chicago headquarters.

    Noteworthy examples of imports that have fizzled in the Big Apple include Fallon (1995-2005) and Ground Zero (2000-2002).

    Still, two more shops anchored in other cities—San Francisco’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Durham, N.C.’s McKinney—have arrived in recent months in the largest ad market in the world.

    With more expensive rents and salaries, little innate respect for outside agency brands and the existing high concentration of agencies, why would well-established shops even bother? In a word, talent.

    When it comes to attracting the best, “the combination of being a startup and being in New York is about as compelling as it comes,” explained Jay Haines, CEO of executive headhunting firm Grace Blue. New shops attract more entrepreneurial staffers, and the city offers more than the job itself.

    Newcomers better be prepared to dig in, though. “In New York, you have to earn the right to success,” Haines said, adding, “That takes time.”


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    IDEA: "It's only a movie." That was Alfred Hitchcock's line to actors who took themselves too seriously. But it's also literally true for viewers. What feels like a lived experience is merely the projection of an experience. That illusion, magical and mysterious, is at the core of RPA's campaign for this year's Newport Beach Film Festival, opening Thursday. The agency wanted to celebrate the power of film to evoke the strongest emotions, despite being nothing but "particles of light" on a screen. The centerpiece, a horrifying seven-minute film about a sadistic dentist, directed by Tool's Erich Joiner and Robert Richardson, does just that. It will certainly shock you—and may, with its darkly comic premise, also amuse you. But in the end, the actors break the fourth wall and remind you that actually nothing has happened. "We wanted to push people beyond their comfort zone, put them in a space they can't believe they're in, and then pull them back to reality," said RPA creative director Scott McDonald. On that harrowing journey, you may want to remind yourself: It's only an ad.

    COPYWRITING: It came down to two scripts—a sexual coming-of-age story and a torture scene. Joiner and Richardson pursued the latter, brought in writer Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) and hatched the story of a dentist who inflicts brutal punishment on patients who don't floss. "Our thought was, Let's put this person in a situation where everyone has been, and everyone feels helpless," said Joiner.

    The tension builds as the patient (Ronnie Gene Blevins) arrives, fills out forms and eventually sits in the dentist's chair. After he lies about how often he flosses, the dentist (Timothy Murphy) straps him down and gives him an unorthodox cleaning indeed, leaving him with no teeth left to speak of, and plenty to think about. At the end, the dentist turns to the camera. "Are you repelled?" he asks. "Appalled? Amazed? Amused? We're particles of light on the screen. But we can make you feel anything." The film closes with the logo and the tagline, "See the light."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Joiner and Richardson filmed the whole thing, some 180 shots, in just two days. "Some things in there, we did one take and had to move on," said Joiner. "Bob lit it beautifully. The guy has three Academy Awards [in cinematography, for JFK, The Aviator and Hugo], but it still takes time to do that." The spot is a triumph of special effects. Blevins sat for a head cast, which produced several prosthetic heads that the filmmakers could realistically abuse. The Mill then mapped Blevins's face on the prosthetics in postproduction, making it look intensely real. "We set up three cameras around Ronnie, and Bob duplicated the lighting on him," said Joiner. "So, when the prosthetic head wrenches around, they can track that because they have three angles." The visuals are stomach-turning, but they have to be. "The risk is not going far enough," said Joiner. "When the guy asks you if you're repelled, and you're not, that would be a problem. But we were pretty sure we had gotten there." In fact, they called off a fourth scene—all set to go, it would have ripped off the patient's lower jaw—deciding enough was enough.

    TALENT: Murphy, who played the "Opulence" guy in the famous DirecTV spot, exudes the perfect evil calm. Blevins has an everyman quality—someone "people could relate to but also weren't so sure about," said McDonald. Jessie O'Donohue plays the dentist's assistant.

    SOUND: It was a giant sound job as well. "There's like 500 different sounds just in the first few seconds," said Joiner. "I think people were a little taken aback at the scope of this thing, but in the end, everyone gave it their heart and soul."

    MEDIA: The spot is online and will run before select screenings at the festival.

    THE SPOT:

    Warning: The spot below is extremely graphic.

    CREDITS
    Client: Newport Beach Film Festival
    Film: "Mandible"

    Agency: RPA
    EVP/CCO: Joe Baratelli
    GCD: Pat Mendelson
    CD: Scott McDonald
    AD: Brian Farkas
    CW: Tylynne McCauley
    Agency Sr. Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff
    Agency Senior Producer: Selena Pizarro
    Agency Assistant Producer: Ryan Radley

    Production Company: Tool
    Directors: Erich Joiner, Robert Richardson
    DP: Robert Richardson
    Writer: Lee Aronsohn
    Production Designer: Justin Trask
    Executive Producers: Brian Latt, Oliver Fuselier, Dustin Callif, Erich Joiner

    Talent:
    Timothy Murphy (Dentist)
    Ronnie Gene Blevins (Patient)
    Jessie O'Donohue (Simone)

    Editorial Company: Lost Planet
    Editor: Chris Kursel
    Assistant Editor: Trevor Schulte and Federico Brusilovsky
    Executive Producer: Gary Ward
    Producer: Jaclyn Paris

    Visual Effects: The Mill
    VFX Producer: Gabriel Libitsky
    Lead Flame Artist: James Allen
    3D Lead: Gawain Liddiard
    Production Coordinator: Antonio Hardy
    2D Artists: Daniel Lang, Patrick Munoz, Tim Bird
    3D Artists: Meng Yang Lu, Matt Longwell, Tom Graham, Phil Mayer, Miguel Guerrero

    Title Design: Laundry!
    Creative Director: Tony Liu
    Executive Producer: Michael Bennett
    Head of Production: Eric Badros
    Producer: Kirsten Collabolletta
    Title Design: Tony Liu
    Title Animation: Tony Liu, Yongmin Park, Julie Lenoble

    Telecine Company: Efilm
    Production Supervisor: Chris Taft
    Digital Colorist: Ben Estrada
    DI Producer: Vanessa Galvez
    Post Production Supervisor: Erica Frauman
    DI Editor: Curtis Lindersmith

    Audio Post Company: Margarita Mix
    Audio Post Mixer: Jeff Levy
    Post Supervisor: Michele Millard

    Print Credits:
    EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli
    VP, CD: Scott McDonald
    Art Director: Brian Farkas
    CW: Tylynne McCauley
    Illustrator: LAUNDRY!
    Typographer: LAUNDRY!
    Photographer: LAUNDRY!
    Digital artist: LAUNDRY!


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    Minneapolis ad agency Carmichael Lynch turned the century-old water tower on the roof of its building into an art installation. Students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design contributed video pieces that are (as you'll see in the video) being projected onto the tower throughout April. The projections run in a loop, and the pieces vary in duration and subject matter—some of them wouldn't look out of place as the backdrop for a Butthole Surfers concert, which I mean as a compliment. Best of all, the project is free of any callouts to social media—no Web addresses, no Twitter handles, no "Like us on Facebook!" faux pleasantries. That would have been overkill, since it's pretty obvious who the responsible parties were and how this will reflect on them, and it's nice to leave that crap to the side sometimes and just enjoy some public art.


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  • 04/23/13--11:31: Ad of the Day: Coors Light
  • You're hanging out at the pool, just trying to relax on a sunny Florida day and say hi to some foxy babes, and you say to yourself, "Hey, I'll get a Coors Light," because it's important to hydrate, and Coors Light is the water of all beers.

    So, you go up to the bartendress, who's all like, "Hey," and then you're like, "Hey, um, I'll take a Coors Light," and then it's just BOOM!

    The pool is totally overrun by an army of hard-core frosty dudes in winter parkas, all popping out of freezers and zooming in on snowmobiles and bestowing upon the dudes and babes all the greatest water-beer they could ever wish, like sweet manna from heaven, because the pool gods are great and everyone is all like "WOW!" and you're like "WOW! Brews for all!"—even though you knew the whole time that there were cameras rolling.

    This new ad for Coors Light, from WPP agency Cavalry, jumps on the ever-more popular prankvertising bandwagon—from which brands attempt to shock and awe people into actually paying attention to advertising, instead of ignoring it. The stunt-dazzled people in this commercial apparently didn't know exactly what events were in store for them ahead of time, but did know there was filming happening on location. The reactions you see are real, the agency says.

    Maybe, but if so, they're the best-ever real reactions that happen to look staged to look real. By a bunch of real people who also happen to look like actor-models. At a pool party to which only real people who look actor-models were invited.

    But that's probably just because this is the coolest pool party ever, or as Coors Light puts it "The Most Refreshing Place on Earth." That's not to be confused with "The Most Interesting Man In the World," Dos Equis's spokesman, who even years into his campaign—the current gold standard for beer advertising—remains more refreshing than this ad.

    Yes, the dogs are cute, and it's an amusing sight gag to see a sled whizzing past a palm tree. But as the entrances get increasingly dramatic—all the way up to the helicopter's arrival—they start to feel less charming and more extravagant. As YouTube commenter puts it, "Most expensive way to drop off a six pack, ever." Perhaps worse, the whole thing starts to feel dull. Of course there's an airdrop. Or, in the words of another YouTube hater, "Far too much effort for a Coors."

    CREDITS
    Client: Coors Light
    Agency: Cavalry, Chicago


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    Talk about beef jerky. The trend of using actual security-camera footage in ads continues, with Kent's Meats & Groceries in Redding, Calif., setting footage of a botched burglary to the theme from The Benny Hill Show. The portly perp is probably lucky he failed, because the last thing he needs is another helping of deli. The meaty miscreant's attention to planning and detail is shockingly lean. Clad in pajamas, as if he's just rolled out of bed craving a late-night snack, the oafish offender adjusts his face-stocking, breaks a window and then falls down trying to run away. The performance is more pathetic than funny ha-ha. I prefer the mannequin-mangling antics of the felonious fashionistas who looted a Reserva boutique in the year's other notable security-cam commercial. As for Kent's, I'm cool with the ludicrous lawbreaker's escape, because that fatty pink pastrami shown at the end of the clip is the real crime on display here.


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    Life is short and full of pain. And there's nothing worse than being stuck in a lifeless hotel room on the most stressful business trip of your life—reports sprawled about, a calendar you can't make sense of, an Excel chart that seems as if it's in Chinese.

    To make matters worse, your boss calls … but all you really want to do is find George Clooney's character from Up in the Air. You probably won't find him, but it's OK to dream.

    Thank goodness, however, that you're staying at a Kimpton Hotel, the boutique hotel chain whose every room comes with a yoga mat. And according to this amusing spot from Portal A, it's not just any yoga mat. It's an unbelievably persuasive, Fabio-like yoga mat whose mission is to "make all that stress melt away."

    With "Mat," you'll enjoy a romantic '70s-style montage with slow-motion sprints down the hall, shiatsu, bike rides and massages by the pool. Be careful by the pool, though—Mat isn't exactly a strong swimmer.

    After your 24-hour romance with Mat is through, he'll even shock one of your chakras with a good laugh before bed. Let's hope you've enjoyed the last 24 hours, too, because you'll wake up and realize you got nothing done and will be back in the same situation as you were the day before.

    But hey, at least you had fun, right? Namaste.

    CREDITS
    Client: Kimpton Hotels
    Agency: Portal A
    Director: Kai Hasson
    Director of Photography: Jackson Myers
    Producer: Nina Reyes Rosenberg
    Editor: Sari Tracht
    Graphics and Animation: Cinesaurus


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    In the annals of advertising, there are some songs we just keep coming back to. "Baby Got Back" is one of them. From hawking Burger King's SpongeBob meal to bustin' out the D-grade talent for Butterfinger, Sir Mix-a-Lot's timeless 1992 ode to wide rears is basically an advertising supersong. Still, I didn't see a brand like Charmin leveraging the ditty by taking its tubby animated bears and having them break into the worm from the unmitigated joy that comes from having a nice clean ass. Clearly, Charmin itself is a little shocked, which is why the latter half of the video consists of the red bear staring with disbelief at the breakdancing, ass-slapping blue bear. I mean, you can "Enjoy the go," and then you can revel in Rabelaisian ecstasy. Anyhow, if you like big prizes, you can like Charmin on Facebook and partake in the Charmin Baby Got Back Sweepstakes.


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    Specs
    Who Clockwise from top: Partners (creative) Rich Pryce-Jones, David Crichton, Randy Stein, Scott Dube; Bob Shanks, managing partner, business; David Chiavegato, partner, creative
    What Advertising agency
    Where Toronto offices

    Every copywriter wishes he or she was a screenwriter. For a few creatives at Grip Limited, the dream actually came true. Earlier this year, the agency released The Movie Out Here—a crassly comedic 92-minute feature film sponsored by Kokanee beer. The A-B InBev brand put its entire annual ad budget behind the film, which opened in 30 Western Canadian theaters. While Kokanee may be a regionally sold beverage, Grip Limited isn’t small-time—the 10-year-old shop also does global digital work for A-B InBev’s Stella Artois, and has lead Canadian roles on blue-chip brands like Honda, KFC, Expedia, Lindt and Bacardi.

     


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    When it comes to branded content, the better the content, the better the branding. And so it goes with Desire (below), a short film from ad agency The Brooklyn Brothers and Ridley Scott's production company, touting Jaguar's F-Type sports car.

    Of course, Jag is a vehicle of excess, and the clip's 13-minute length, like the car's $92,000 price tag, is pretty darn excessive. I usually can't concentrate on anything for 13 minutes. Still, Desire held my attention all the way through with solid storytelling, visual panache (props to director Adam Smith) and strong performances from its three leads.

    Homeland's dapper Brit, Damian Lewis, who would make a great James Bond, plays a "delivery man" tooling around the Chilean desert in search of the new owner of a red F-Type. He picks up perky, gun-toting Shannyn Sossamon, who is on the run from her psychopathic, drug-dealing husband. Jordi Molla just about steals the show as the scruffy gangster, spitting out lines like "Shut your face or I'll rip it into pieces" with just the right mix of humor and menace, and breathing into a paper bag in a fruitless attempt to keep his rage in check.

    Desire is basically an extended car chase punctuated by zippy dialogue, a twisty plot and lots of gunfire. The film makes good use of its running time without overstaying its welcome.

    As content, it works on par with the similar BMW Films series a decade ago. That comparison is inevitable—everyone else is making it, and I didn't want to feel left out!—but also pretty pointless. Art informs art, and ads inform ads. A more salient question is: Does Desire succeed as advertising?

    I'd say it performs better than expected. The Jag appears in almost every shot, but that makes sense in the context of the story, so it never feels gratuitous—more like an extended product placement. The key test comes near the finale, when Lewis rattles off a litany of F-Type technical specs, at gunpoint, to prove he really is in the desert to deliver the car. The speech doesn't sound forced or out of place, and the scene would be amusing if this were an unsponsored action flick that just happened to feature a Jag.

    I'm betting prospective Jaguar owners like to believe they're sorta special—and for 92 grand, who can blame them?! So, a long-form, cinematic blockbuster ad seems well suited to this particular audience. (Leave the jokey 30-second cable spots for those of us on Honda Civic budgets.) Viewers can sit back and enjoy the wild ride, ogling the F-Type's impressive design and road handling. It never feels like we're being taken for a spin by an advertising vehicle.

    At the crossroads of content and commerce, Desire, like its enigmatic hero, delivers.


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    Last year, granola-bar brand Nature Valley and ad agency McCann New York unveiled one of the most ambitious digital campaigns of the year, Nature Valley Trail View, which created a first-of-its-kind interactive hiking experience thanks to teams who used Google Street View technology to map trails in three National Parks—the Grand Canyon, the Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone. The effort won two gold Lions at Cannes and legions of fans across the nation.

    Today, agency and client unveiled the next evolution of the site, with three main improvements: more trail view footage (partly through the addition 50 miles of footage from a fourth park, Sequoia); a comprehensive hub for the brand's past, present and future preservation activity; and fully interactive social functionality.

    As mentioned in the video below, the preservation message is key. That part of the site now includes an interactive map with expert conservation content. Now, as users discover the trails, they can also get a sense of the preservation needs in each area and how Nature Valley is working to help.

    In the past three years, Nature Valley has donated more than $1.3 million to support America's national parks. The brand will give $500,000 more this year to the National Parks Conservation Association.

    "Nature Valley is about inspiring consumers to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer," says Maria Carolina Comings, associate marketing manager for Nature Valley. "Our national parks are America's treasures that must be preserved and protected, and we hope to help raise awareness of the parks through Nature Valley Trail View and our ongoing restoration efforts. Through technology, we can help make the parks accessible to all, and encourage outdoor exploration for years to come."

    More photos and credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Nature Valley
    Project: Nature Valley Trail View 2.0
    Agency: McCann NY
    Chairman: Linus Karlsson
    CCO: Tom Murphy
    CCO: Sean Bryan
    Executive Creative Director: Leslie Sims
    Group Creative Director: Mat Bisher
    Creative Director: Jason Schmall
    Copywriter: Sarah Lloyd
    Chief Production Officer: Brian DiLorenzo
    Exec Integrated Producer: Catherine Eve Patterson
    Sr. Integrated Producer: Geoffrey Guinta
    Editor: Nathan Thompson
    Executive Music Producer: Peter Gannon
    Production: Traction
    Creative Principle / Field Producer: Bryan Roberts
    Producer: Adam Baskin
    Digitech/Cameraman: James deMuth
    Lead Cameraman: Brandon McClain
    Preservation Lead/Writer: Greg Jackson
    Design and Development: Your Majesty
    Executive Creative Director and Photographer: Jens Karlsson
    Design Director: Riley Milhem
    Tech Lead: Micah Acinapura
    Developer: Raed Atoui
    Executive Producer: Heather Reddig


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  • 04/25/13--13:07: Ad of the Day: Land Rover
  • The star of most car commercials, for obvious reasons, is the car. Even when a famous athlete, handsome actor or Sports Illustrated swimsuit model appears in the picture, their job is to show off the $40,000 piece of metal they want you to buy. It makes sense that in a spot for a particular product, you'd want to see the product. But somehow the most intriguing (and rarest) car commercials end up being the ones with no cars at all.

    You may remember the 2002 Saturn commercial "Sheet Metal" from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, featuring a city of commuters mimicking the movement of their cars while remaining on foot. Save for a product shot at the end, the entire thing was done sans automobiles.

    Now, that same director—Noam Murro of Biscuit Filmworks—has teamed up with Y&R New York for this Land Rover spot below, which follows a similar premise. But instead of showing shuffling pedestrians going about their daily grind, the Land Rover ad uses four Parkour practitioners (also known as "traceurs") to demonstrate how a Land Rover handles rough terrain.

    The aim of Parkour, for those unfamiliar, is to get from point A to point B using only one's body to overcome obstacles. That translates to lots of jumping, flipping, running and tumbling—which is exactly what the Range Rover's four traceurs do while racing through a forest to avoid various fallen trees, rocks, streams and ledges.

    The spot takes place in slow motio, and the only soundtrack comes from a single piano, much like Murro's Saturn spot. Without so much as a voiceover offering the brand's name—there's just a logo at the end—you'll have to pay attention to know it's a Land Rover ad. But the impressive display of physical maneuvering (not to mention the cinematography) will have likely caught your eye by then.

    CREDITS
    Client: Tata Motors Limited
    Brand: Land Rover
    Agency: Y&R, New York, USA
    Chief Creative Officer: Jim Elliott
    Group Creative Directors: Marc Sobier, Andrew McKechnie
    Art Director: Eduardo Quadra
    Copywriter: Paul Wood
    Executive Director of Production: Letitia Jacobs
    EP: Craig Jelniker
    Assistant Producer: Abby Bralove
    EP Music: Jessica Dierauer
    Assistant Music Producer: Rachel Rauch
    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Direction: Noam Murro
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    EP: Colleen O'Donnell
    Head Of Production: Rachel Glaub
    Producer: Jay Veal
    Production Supervisor: Jen Berry
    1st AD: Craig Pinckes
    Editing: Rock, Paper, Scissors
    VFX: MPC
    Sound: Heard City
    Music Company: Tone Farmer
    Music Arranger: Ray Loewy


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    "They Don't Work for You," a gun-control campaign from Brooklyn design shop Guts & Glory, is designed to stir the emotions of the faithful and give them simple, direct and proactive ways to respond. The website gets under your skin using deceptively simple, exceptionally skillful Web design and the frequently overlooked (yet often quite powerful) tactic of repetition.

    First, we see images of the six educators killed in December's Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and the headline "These teachers scarified their lives for the children they worked for." That's followed by pictures of the 45 U.S. senators whose recent votes killed the proposal to extend background checks on firearm sales. "These senators voted against protecting the children they work for," the copy says. As users scroll down, successive screens show individual lawmakers alongside images of kids who died from gun violence (and who, according to Guts & Glory, might not have perished if stricter firearms laws had been in place). Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) appears first, paired with 6-year-old Newtown victim Charlotte Bacon. Text reads, "Sen. Alexander doesn't work for kids like Charlotte," and urges visitors to ask him why via phone, email and social media. This basic template is then repeated 44 times, plugging in a different legislator and slain child.

    Repetition is, of course, a basic tenet of advertising, political speeches and religious sermons, because it reinforces and amplifies the message, lending extra power to an argument or proposition and firmly fixing ideas in the audience's heads. It's a proven motivator. The more times you're told "Do it," "Do it," "Do it," the more likely you are to take action, especially if you already agree with the premise. The repetition here is particularly effective. The faithful grow angrier—and presumably more primed to contact senators to make their feelings known—with each passing screen.

    With folks now on edge, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre appears solo near the end, along with the message, "These senators don’t work for you. They work for the NRA, who works for the gun industry, whose sole purpose is to sell more guns." One more scroll yields a hashtag: #AskThemWhy. Of course, doing so is tantamount to asking a loaded question, but that's exactly what the site's creators have in mind—and lawmakers might want to have some compelling answers ready.


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    Cats doing aerobics? DDB Chicago's amusing new video for Temptations cat treats is likely to blow up the Internet. No wonder Temptations-eating felines have the leg muscles to be able to cling so ardently to their owners. Check out the Work It Kitty website, where you can download the song ("I Don't Wanna Dance," recorded by Alex Gaudino, featuring Taboo) and learn more about the cats in the video. Ask your veterinarian if you're healthy enough for the Work It Kitty workout. Not recommended if you're on drugs, like those fools in JWT's Litter Genie spots. Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Temptations Cat Treats
    Agency: DDB, Chicago
    Ewan Patterson - EVP, Chief Creative Officer
    Mark Gross - SVP, Executive Creative Director
    Wayne Robinson - VP, Creative Director (Art Director)
    Matt Collier - VP, Creative Director (Copywriter)
    Will St. Clair - VP, Executive Producer
    Jon Ellis - Executive Digital Producer
    Linda Bres - Music Production Manager
    Eric Johnson - Executive Producer of Music and Integration
    Scott Terry - Production Business Manager
    Cody Petruk - Designer
    Annie Tsikretsis - Digital Artist/Designer
    Erica Bletsch - Print Producer
    Karen Blatchford - Art Buyer
    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Andreas Nilsson
    Editorial Company: Beast Chicago
    Editor: John Dingfield
    Telecine: Company 3 Chicago
    Post Effects & Graphics: Method Studios Chicago
    Music: Ultra Records, "I Don't Wanna Dance" recorded by Alex Gaudino featuring Taboo


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    Here's a clever idea from Publicis Frankfurt—an ad for a bike light that readers must "turn on" in order to be able to read an intentionally darkened version of a cycling magazine. Too intrusive? Perhaps—although the interruption is pretty minor, and the creative has a delightful element to it.


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    This adorable little spot from Fitzgerald + Co. encapsulates everything that's fun and young about the Coca-Cola brand. It shows two kids falling in love, Cokes in hand, at a Six Flags. They ride the rides, but in between, they laugh and play—and don't kiss. That's right, you thought they'd kiss, but that's too cliché. With unbearably sweet innocence, our hero accidentally touches the girl's hand, and she draws a heart on his palm, and then she puts her head on his shoulder as the sun goes down. But there is no kiss and no suggestion that either of them wants anything more than to spend a perfect day together. It warms the old heart cockles with simple, classic storytelling, and provides a refreshing breather from today's cynical world. The ad, directed by Aaron Ruell, is set to air during the NBA playoffs. Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Coca-Cola
    Agency: Fitzgerald+CO
    CCO: Noel Cottrell
    CD/CW: Mitch Bennett
    CD/AD: Wes Whitener
    EP: Christine Sigety
    Production Co.: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Aaron Ruell
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Managing Director: Holly Vega
    Producer: Tracy Broaddus
    Editorial: Arcade
    Editorial: Kim Bica
    Managing Partner: Damian Stevens
    EP: Nicole Visram
    Producer: Kirsten Thon-Webb
    Music Composition: MassiveMusic
    EP: Keith Haluska
    Producer: Courtney Jenkins
    CD: Elijah B. Torn
    FX/Online: Airship
    Artist: Matt Lydecker


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    Stewie Griffin, the 1-year-old prodigy from Family Guy, is a lovable character, but man can he get annoying. In this 15-second spot from BBH for Google Chrome, he proves just that. "Mom! Mom! Mommy! Ma!" he cries, as Lois stares off in a tormented haze. Ah, the gifts of parenthood. The spot makes its point, though. Google Chrome can't stop you from being interrupted, but it can let you pick up where you left off. What is it with Stewie being so repetitive in commercials? Now, someone please find Rupert so Stewie can finally shut up.


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    Nathan Sorrell, the heavy kid from Nike's infamous "Jogger" ad by Wieden + Kennedy, has lost 32 pounds since last summer—and plans to lose 30 more. The London, Ohio, native, now 13, returned to the Today show recently and reflected on what motivated him to follow through on a promise he made after the Nike shoot."I still can't believe that was me then, and this is me now. It just looks a lot different," he says. "I would never have changed my lifestyle if I was never in this commercial. That's not the only reason, but that really did help." Sorrell has been working with a personal trainer and a nutritionist and making healthier choices generally, which has helped him drop from 232 to 200 pounds. On a recent visit to Bob Evans, "I got a turkey sandwich" and a side of fruit, he says. "Usually that would be a double hamburger, cheese and all that bad stuff. Usually, it would be fries. Just stuff like that. Just little changes, but that's obviously carrying me 32 pounds less."


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    "Col. James Porter was laid to rest in Morpeth, where worms began eating his body." Droga5 delivers one of the best commercials ever about a company's founder—for Newcastle Brown Ale. Read more about the brewer's latest campaign here.


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