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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Excited about the reality show Knitting Wars? If sew, too bad—it's fake. It's one of five bogus lowbrow programs dreamed up by CHI & Partners in New York for a poster campaign advertising New York PBS station Thirteen. The other shows: Bad Bad Bag Boys ("Cleanup on every aisle"), Bayou Eskimos ("Their life is headed south"), The Dillionarie ("Life's a pickle") and Married to a Mime ("She's got plenty to say"). They're all ludicrous, but you wouldn't bat an eye if they were on TLC."The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV," says each ad, before asking you to support more "quality" programming on PBS. It is sort of sad that quality programming is so scarce today. It's like each new show is trying to out-stupid the last. So PBS makes a great point and delivers it with its trademark dry wit. That's just like them. They're such killjoys. More posters below.

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    It's another one of those things that shouldn't be a story but is—an ad from a major U.S. brand featuring an interracial couple and their daughter. You'd think this new Cheerios ad from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York might go largely unnoticed, given the plethora of interracial couples on TV shows these days. (NBC's Parenthood is a notable example, though far from the only one.) But it's not going unnoticed—it hit Reddit's front page, a place largely reserved for life's great oddities, and the YouTube view count is rising fast. The problem is that TV ads have always lagged TV programming in this regard, as so many brands are clearly scared of being perceived as making a political statement with the casting of their commercials. Thus, the Cheerios ad, despite its characters being representative of tens of thousands of actual couples in America, sticks out like a sore thumb. And then you have the YouTube comments section, which predictably has devolved into an endless flame war, with references to Nazis, "troglodytes" and "racial genocide." At what point will an ad like this just seem normal?

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    It's been three years since actor J.K. Simmons (you know, the guy from Law & Order, Spider-Man, Juno, The Closer, I Love You, Man…) first appeared in the role of Professor Nathanial Burke, the advice-doling academic in RPA's "University of Farmers" campaign for Farmers Insurance. The spots are pretty formulaic, but often have nice flourishes, as Burke teaches prospective Farmers agents about the dangers lurking just around the corner—laundry fires, hailstones, flying farm animals—which are played out in rather over-the-top fashion for our viewing amusement.

    "Suds," a new spot from the latest Farmers campaign, "It's Smarter to Have a Plan," follows that template to a T. Burke meets up with yet another student at the University of Farmers (which, by the way, actually exists—the company has training campuses in California and Michigan) to show him that what he doesn't know, like the fact that you should replace your washing-machine hose every five years, can hurt him. (Or at least, your kitchen will fill up with detergent bubbles.)

    The ad allows Simmons to get a bit more animated than usual, but otherwise fits in with the seemingly agreed-upon strategy by U.S. insurance companies to deluge viewers with variations on the same ad. Lucky for Farmers, its campaign has a star who won't make you want to bash your head against a wall after seeing him eight times in a single evening.

    Simmons is one of the more likable character actors in existence—even if you can never remember his name.

    Client: Farmers Insurance
    Agency: RPA
    EVP, Chief Creative Officer: Joe Baratelli
    SVP, Group Creative Director: Pat Mendelson
    Creative Directors: Tom Hamling, Pete Figel
    Senior Art Director: Katie Carlile
    Senior Copywriter: Seth Prandini
    Copywriters: Chris Juhas & Josh Hill
    Art Directors: Ben Tolbert & Cheston Kwan
    SVP, Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff
    Senior Producer: Selena Pizarro
    Assistant Producer: Ryan Radley

    Production Company: Smuggler
    Director: Guy Shelmerdine
    Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder
    Executive Producer: Laura Thoel
    Producer: Lisa Tauscher
    Production Designer: Tom Hartman

    Editorial Company: Spot Welders
    Editor: Haines Hall
    Editor: Paul Sabater
    Executive Producer: David Glean
    Senior Producer: Carolina Wallace

    Post Production Company: The Mill
    VFX Shoot Supervisor: James Allen
    Executive Producer: Sue Troyan
    VFX Producer: Gabriel Libitsky
    Executive Producer Telecine: LaRue Anderson
    Telecine Artist: Shane Reed

    Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
    Audio Post Mixer: Rohan Young
    Executive Producer: Jessica Locke

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

    Music Company: Elias Arts, LA
    Composer/Arranger: Jonathan Elias
    Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
    Creative Director: Dave Gold

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    Ogilvy France and Ogilvy Asia-Pacific joined forces to make a can that splits in half for Coca-Cola, the most literal extension of the brand's global "Share Happiness" concept. The split-can design is admittedly pretty cool, although sharing a Coke with anyone who isn't a germaphobe is already pretty easy, so this is a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. It does make Twix look even worse for their infamous "Two for me, none for you" campaign back in the day, though.

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    Who Amanda Richman
    New gig President, investment and activation, Starcom
    Old gig President, digital, MediaVest
    Age 46

    What is your mission statement?
    It’s truly to break down the silos in the marketplace and within our organization so that we’re investing in building out experiences for our clients, no longer simply media plans.

    What is the most pressing digital priority for your clients?
    The real challenge is driving convergence and integration and taking digital from a siloed vertical world to making it horizontal across the organization and helping to fuel and power all of the media connection points.

    How does your digital background inform how you approach traditional media?
    Digital is about the art of the possible, so bringing that creativity into the discussions, freeing it from looking at things by channel or medium or by daypart to more holistically look at content and audiences and bring a greater appreciation of the data. That is playing a much bigger role in the upfronts—and really, all media conversations.

    What has been the most important disruption in the past, say, year?
    Social and mobile are both huge disrupters of the business in that they bring the two-way dialogue between consumers and brands to life. And with mobility, too—the idea of place and location data, and how that is changing how we connect. They are two great forces that are difficult to separate.

    Take-away from the NewFronts this year?
    It was a great pivot from last year, where the story was about building awareness, to this year, really showcasing the quality of content and demonstrating that there are other sources of video supply. It’s not all about the television upfront and the traditional ways we do business. There is a much broader landscape here and a greater opportunity to look not only at video but the experience surrounding video.

    And the upfronts?
    What you see with the TV upfronts is great attention to storytelling and promotion, and digital has something to learn from that.

    What is your view on program- matic buying?
    The industry has shifted that way, and there is valuein attaching the right data to inventory and finding consumers in new areas. But it’s not going to replace the direct-buying model. The fear of it is unwarranted, and the two can coexist. The data from programmatic can fuel the richer experiences we can design with media partners that will never be programmatic and require human interventions.

    What’s the most important peoplesoft thing for you to stay in touch with in order to be good at your job?
    I need to be able to listen for a whole range of emotions and value them as equally as a data point on behavior. There is an EQ element to this business that still needs to be embraced along with the science.

    What digital platform are you not using but find intriguing?
    There hasn’t been a Netflix opportunity per se yet, and I think that’s interesting, particularly if you look at their work with House of Cards and how they take data around the audience likes from talent to genre, all packaged up to actually create content. That’s a huge opportunity for us, to be more predictive in making hits and to do that in collaboration with the networks.

    Have an opinion on Google Glass?
    There is a risk there. As humans, how much real-time data can we process? And does it become a distraction from experiencing life?

    2014 will be the year of?
    2014 will be the year of data.

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    Burger King in Puerto Rico celebrated its 50th anniversary by giving away "Hands-Free Whopper" holders to 50 lucky customers. DLC/Ogilvy & Mather helped develop the gag gift, which is still the most brandtastic invention since, I dunno, that Nivea print ad that charges your cell phone. The clip below shows folks feeding their faces while the holders free up their hands for other important stuff, like boxing, working in a tattoo parlor and taking dogs for a walk. (After about 30 seconds, I wished the dude strumming his guitar and belting out the "Hands-Free Whopper" song would take a big beefy bite and give my tortured ears a rest.) Actually, I'm not so impressed. Looks like there's plenty of room on that thing for a French fry dispenser and sippy-cup holder. I don't want to live in a world where I have to burn a single calorie reaching for my big gulp at lunchtime.

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    JWT joined with Warner Bros. and the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo, Brazil, to craft a super-powerful campaign designed to help children with cancer better understand their treatment and be less frightened by chemotherapy. The initiative revolves around superheroes. The game room at the hospital is tricked out like the interior of the Justice League, and colorful chemo-bag covers bear the insignia of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, transforming the oft-scary drugs into a "Superformula." Specially drawn comic books tell medically realistic tales of the Dark Knight and his friends defeating cancer-like diseases to resume their war against evil. Although it uses D.C. Comics characters, this effort is a marvel, helping kids gain knowledge, courage and faith in themselves—the ultimate superpowers. Via Copyranter.

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    Holland's new tourism campaign proposes that the country everyone knows for canals and wooden shoes is actually the coolest place on earth. In fact, the video below claims that Holland is the Original Cool, since all the bourgie lifestyle liberalism that Americans enjoy (bicycle culture, organic food, locally owned shops, Bas Rutten) has been a part of the Dutch lifestyle for way longer, and it's more accessible to boot. It's a fair point, to be sure, and they can't rely on legal weed and prostitution to drive tourism forever, so it's good that they're drawing attention to other things. I bet their Pleasure-Island-for-repressed-Westerners reputation got old a long time ago. The campaign, by Mustache Agency in New York, is a collaboration among the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

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    IDEA: Alcohol ads aren't usually very poetic, but Grey's new work for Mike's Hard Lemonade is literally so—if heavy on the doggerel. The alcopop is evolving its positioning from an occasional alternative to beer (as seen in last year's "Always different. Always refreshing" campaign) to a drink that's good anytime. "Perhaps we can get beyond the idea that it's only cool to bring Mike's to a picnic or pool party or backyard barbecue," said Grey creative director Brian Platt. Two new ads are set in a bowling alley and a Japanese restaurant and use comically rhyming dialogue—like Dr. Seuss after a sixpack— to illustrate, along with director Tom Kuntz's quirky visuals, how perfect Mike's can be in any situation.

    COPYWRITING: Male protagonists banter with an unseen voiceover in both spots. "Anytime's a great time for a cold, refreshing Mike's," the voice says in the bowling spot. "Anytime? Even now?" a gangly bowler replies. "Even if you were bowling against Martin Landau," says the voice. "And a man covered in dirt rubs up on your shirt. It's a great time, you see." "For a Mike's?" "Yes siree." "Even if there were bodybuilders on bikes?" "Even if they brought that guy that nobody likes. Even if you see your girl with your best friend Juan. And the ground opened up, and then you were gone." The bowler falls through the floor, so the voice addresses Juan: "Guess I'll talk to you now. Sorry about your friend. Mike's is great anytime. There's Landau again!" Each line is humorously depicted, and Landau appears both times he's mentioned, grinning broadly.

    The agency experimented with loads of rhymes. "'A man covered in dirt rubs up on your shirt' is just a nice moment," said Platt. "The casting and wardrobe and the way Tom directed the guy made it unexpected and funny." Kuntz didn't change any rhymes, though the writers upgraded some of them. ("Guess I'll talk to you now" was originally followed by, "You're the only ones here. Mike's is great anytime. Served wherever there's beer.") The restaurant spot is also filled with absurd characters, from a salty sea captain to Coolio dancing on a stage. The tagline is: "It's never not a good time for a Mike's."

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Kuntz shot the two spots over three days at locations in Los Angeles. It was a reunion of sorts, as Grey creative directors Steven Fogel and Doug Fallon, the copywriter and art director on these ads, also worked with Kuntz on last year's "Cable Effects" campaign for DirecTV. Kuntz brought his inimitable sensibility. "We thought there would be some nice energy having the bodybuilders biking around and swooping up our protagonist," said Platt. "But Tom was like, 'No, no, let's just have these guys in a V-formation, totally still.' And it just works." The product integration is amusingly lowtech. "We could have CG-ed the hell out of it and had the bottle magically and amazingly appear," Platt said. "It's intentionally very ham-fisted."

    TALENT: The agency didn't want to ridicule the celebs. "A lot of brands today bring back these B-actors from the '80s, and the joke is on them," said Platt. "I hope you're surprised to see Landau in the bowling alley and hear his name. But the laugh isn't so much on him. Same thing, to a lesser extent, with Coolio." The heroes are relatable, Platt added—"not too cool where you hate them or too much of a geek where it was clear we just cast for the geek." Mike Hanson does an impressive job as essentially the voice of God.

    SOUND: The agency considered using music but felt that the rhymes were sing-song-y enough by themselves. Otherwise, it's mostly ambient sound.

    MEDIA: TV and online. A digital component breaks soon.


    Client: Mike's Hard Lemonade
    Spots: "Bowling Alley," "Hibachi"
    Agency: Grey, New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Executive Creative Director:  Eric Segal
    Creative Director: Brian Platt
    CD/CW: Steven Fogel
    CD/AD: Doug Fallon
    Creatives: Robert Cuff, Matthew Nall          
    Director Broadcast Production: Bennett McCarroll
    Agency Producer: John Hilmer
    Agency Music Producer: Donald McNally
    Account: Chris Ross, Rakesh Talwar, Kara DeBuona, Scott Cohen
    Planning: Todd Sussman
    Casting: Jerry Saviola, John Bekiaris
    Project Manager: Erin Bremmer
    Business Manager: Diane Wolfe
    Talent Manager: Joanne Sherman, Gail Homesack
    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Tom Kuntz
    DP: Greg Fraser
    Senior Producer: Scott Howard
    Line Producer: Emily Skinner
    Editorial: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Gavin Cutler
    Assistant Editor: Ryan Steele
    Engineer: Sam Shaffer
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Color: Company 3 // Method Studios
    Colorist: Tim Masick
    VFX Supervisor: Doug Luka
    Flame Artist: Flame Artists – Jay Hawkins, Chris Hunt, Alvin Cruz
    Compositors: Aleksandar Djordjevic, David Piombino
    Roto: David Marte
    Digital Matte Painter: Philippe Gaulier
    Executive Producer: Stuart Robinson
    Producer: Jenn Dewey/Christa Cox

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    There's nothing subtle about Red Bull the drink—it gives you wings, after all—but Red Bull the marketer decided to keep its messaging low-key around a recent New York entertainment/pop-culture event. Title sponsorship aside, the brand promoted its two-week Red Bull Music Academy mostly with logo-free wallscapes, subway and outdoor ads, wild postings, website takeovers and a free, daily, non-advertorial, 80,000-circulation newspaper. (Sample story: "Celluloid Heroes: New York Cinema and Its Soundtracks.") The omnipresent, art-heavy campaign, from Brooklyn-based ad agency Doubleday & Cartwright, pointed local music fans to the academy's collaborations, performances, workshops and labs, using spokesman Questlove as a focal point. (See some of the work in progress in the video below.) Attendance was reportedly strong, propping up the idea of content marketing as a way to speak to hard-to-corral hipsters and young music lovers.

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  • 06/04/13--12:45: Ad of the Day: Heineken
  • Heineken is out with its latest ad featuring a worldly man. And boy, is he worldly.

    In "The Voyage," created by Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, our hero is a traveler. He arrives in India, and is right at home. He sketches likenesses of cabbies. He has a pet goat with a mind of its own. He takes wise men on psychedelic trips to outer space. He is a precision golfer. He befriends elephants, who help him in his quest to recover said renegade goat—and of course, the bottles of Heinekens in its saddlebag.

    The character follows in the footsteps of other heroes from Heineken's "Open Your World" campaign, like the dapper, worldly gentlemen in "The Entrance" and "The Date." He is less afraid of foreign women and their clingy boyfriends than the jet-setter in "Déjà Vu"—or maybe he's just more preoccupied with finding his goat.

    He is, according to Heineken, a "Man of the World." That's not quite Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man in the World." But at least he's owned by the same parent company.

    Like all of Heineken's recent work, the ad is fun to watch—a real visual treat. And the strategy at least is proven—everyone knows worldly men don't always drink beer, but when they do, they prefer Dos Equis. Or Heineken.

    Client: Heineken
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam
    Director: Nick Ray Rutter
    DOP: Ben Fordesman
    Production Company: Sonny London

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    "If you're wondering where the beef is, we have it, and we'd never deprive you of it." Thanks for the tip, Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's! Your straight-faced and earnest delivery of that line in a video message about McDonald's move to drop the Angus Third Pounder from its menu has restored my faith in humanity. Purists might complain that you're co-opting Wendy's classic tagline to zing McDonald's, but purity has no place whatsoever in the QSR world. Just kidding. I hope. Anyway, Puzder shines in the clip as he addresses disgruntled McD's customers, reads some of their whiny tweets and heartily chomps down on a Carl's Jr. 100% Angus Six Dollar Burger. He takes a hearty, executive bite. I can see why this guy is CEO. Also, his signature graces full-page ads that ran this week in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Both the video and print ads prompt folks to visit ReclaimYourAngus.com (don't mistype that) and download $1-off coupons for the Six Dollar Burger. Hmm, let me see … subtract the 1 from the 6, and hey, now it only costs $5! I've got no beef with that.

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    Cats get most of the Internet love, but bunnies can put on quite a show of devastating cuteness as well—as displayed in this new spot from BETC London for Ibis Hotels. The ad was filmed over two days in the Ibis London Blackfriars hotel, with 30 bunnies allowed to roam free in a top-floor hotel room. Supposedly the group snuggle on the bed was unprovoked. (Perhaps they cranked the A/C.) "We really wanted to highlight the ultimate comfort of the Sweet Bed by Ibis," says Neil Dawson, executive creative director, BETC London. "Bunnies snuggle up to each other and find cosy places to sleep. And what better evidence of the ultimate comfort of the Sweet Bed by Ibis than for the bunnies to seek out and sleep there on their own." Ornette Spenceley of Independent Films directed the spot. The music is a contemporary remake of "Hushabye Mountain" by Richard Hawley from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Full credits below.

    Client: Ibis Hotels
    Marketing & Distribution Director, Accor (UK & Ireland): Karelle Lamouche
    Marketing Manager, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis Budget at Accor (UK & Ireland): Lisa Belloni

    Spot: "Bunny Bed"

    Agency: BETC London
    Executive Creative Director: Neil Dawson
    Copywriter: Clive Pickering
    Art Director: Ciara O'Meara
    Producer: Olly Chapman
    Strategy: Andrew Stirk
    Account Director: Zoe Hinckley

    Production Company: Independent
    Director: Ornette Spenceley
    Exec Producer: Matt Minor
    Producer : Charlie Stanfield
    Director of Photography: Niels Reedtz Johansen

    Editing company : Final Cut
    Editor: Ed Cheesman
    Post-Production Company: The Mill
    Sound Studio : Factory
    Music : Hushabye Mountain by Richard Hawley

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    Now that women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households, it's a great time for Swiffer to co-opt the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter—who urged women to roll up their sleeves and join the workforce during World War II—and use her to get women back in the kitchen where they belong! Funny thing, though, a lot of women objected to that, and now Procter & Gamble, in one of those smart moves where companies actually listen to their consumers, is working to remove the image everywhere it's being used. Satisfied consumers are chanting Rosie's slogan of "We can do it!" relatively pleased that Swiffer heard them.

    If you didn't know the history, the ad would seem boring at best. It has a woman in Rosie's trademark red polkadot hairkerchief and rugged denim button-down holding a Swiffer steam mop with an arched eyebrow and a no-nonsense look on her face. She's about to get her deep clean on with steam clean. If wardrobe had put that woman in nearly any other outfit, we wouldn't have thought twice about it. But now bloggers are not only upset over the soon-to-be-destroyed Swiffer ad, they're scrutinizing the entire cleaning category, which has been overpopulated for far too long with the sort of sexist bullshit that demeans both sexes, reducing men to bumbling children and elevating women to powerful princesses of cleanliness. Which is ridiculous.

    I recommend they take some tips from Tide. Look, gender doesn't matter in cleaning. Women, men, even children and probably a few intelligent dogs can mop a floor. And that will be true until we ditch our Swiffers and start mopping the floor with our genitalia.

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    It's a shame what powerful G-forces will do to one's face. The latest reminder of this comes in new ads for amusement park Cedar Fair by Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. The flappy, wind-crushed faces will also appear on out-of-home boards and in print—the actors' visages frozen in a clown-like rictus of fun, allowing friends and family members to make fun of them for years to come. The ads are part of C-K's "Thrills Connect" campaign, which helped drive record season-pass sales for Cedar Fair in 2012. In related news, to see some of your favorite advertising people being pummeled in the face by high winds, click here.

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  • 06/05/13--10:26: Ad of the Day: Samsung
  • There is no one—and I mean no one—less cool than a new parent. The arrival of a newborn instantly transforms the late-night partier into a midnight feeder, and designer duds are a risky proposition in a new world awash in the byproducts of baby's digestion. And friends? They still do brunch, only you're not there anymore.

    In its latest Samsung spot, targeting new dads (and women who coo over cute dads and babies), 72andSunny makes a hard left away from pushing the Galaxy S4 as the cool kids' alternative to the iPhone. In it, a new dad is on his own for the first time, trying to swaddle and calm his newborn son while Mom runs errands. She calls to make sure all is well as the baby fusses on a changing table, and Dad answers with the Galaxy's signature swipe of the hand. "We're having a dude's day here. We're fiiiine,” he says, perhaps a bit too emphatically. "You take the weekend if you want to!"

    With one hand on the child, Dad can't type, but instead asks his Galaxy to search YouTube for swaddling tips. Voila! With the smartphone's help, he is quickly able to produce the perfectly swaddled son. Dad's relief is palpable, and a self-satisfied smile spreads across his face. The baby begins grinning, too—but for a different (and hilarious) reason.

    Since last year, much of Samsung's marketing has been directed to touting the Galaxy as the super-advanced and ultra-cool alternative to that stodgy old iPhone your clueless mom and dad use. In this latest effort (somewhat reminiscent of this 2011 AT&T spot), the techy features are still center-stage, but it's the applicability of these features that is emphasized, not their buzz factor. This audience isn't showing off phone features to be cool or as a symbol of social status—rather, they are using them to immediately simplify their lives.

    Client: Samsung
    Agency: 72andSunny
    CEO/Partner: John Boiler
    Client: Samsung Galaxy S4
    Executive Creative Director: Jason Norcross
    Creative Director/Writer: Matt Heath
    Creative Director/Designer: Jason Ambrose
    Senior Designer: Allison Hayes
    Lead Writer: Jason Pollock
    Designer: Robert Teague
    Director of Film Production: Sam Baerwald
    Senior Film Producer: Angelo Mazzamuto
    Film Producer: Esther Perls
    Group Brand Director: James Townsend
    Brand Manager: Andy Silva
    Brand Coordinator: Nadia Economides
    Production Company: Epoch Films
    Director: Michael Downing
    Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan
    Executive Producer: John Duffin
    Line Producer: Francie Miller
    Editorial Company: Arcade Editorial
    Editor: Andrew Leggett
    Managing Partner: Damian Stevens
    Executive Producer: Nicole Visram
    Producer: Kirsten Thon-Webb
    Assistant Editor: Trevor Schulte
    Assistant Editor: Luc Giddens
    Assistant Editor: Luke McIntosh
    VFX/Animation Company: Chemical Effects
    Senior Executive Producer: Sandy Beladino
    Producer: Liz Lydecker
    Senior Flame Artist: Shauna Prescott
    Flame Assistant: Jorge Tanaka
    Head of 3D: Mat Stevens
    Telecine Company: The Mill - LA
    Music Company: South Music
    Head Of Production: Dan Pritkin
    Creative Director: Jon Darling
    Composer/Arranger: Robin Holden
    Sound Design Company: Barking Owl
    Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
    Executive Producer/Creative Director: Kelly Bayett
    Mix House: Play Studios
    Executive Producer: Lauren Cascio
    Assistant: Hermann Thumann

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    Who Tony Bucci, chairman; and Michele Fabrizi, president and chief executive officer
    What Advertising agency
    Where Pittsburgh offices

    MARC (Marketing Advertising Research Consultants) is known for bringing innovation to marketers like Rite Aid, Payless ShoeSource, Cooper Tires and Macy’s. A loyalty card program it created for Rite Aid has rung up over 800 million transactions since launching four years ago and now arms employees with iPads to answer shoppers’ questions. The practice of finding new business opportunities goes way back at MARC: While McDonald’s experimented with chicken in the late 1960s, MARC and a local franchisee launched a product, little noticed at corporate headquarters at the time, that would become known as the Big Mac.


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    First, Coca-Cola tried to thaw relations between India and Pakistan. Now, the brand has created bottles that are guaranteed to melt in your hands. Foodbeast gives a chilly reception to Coke's bottles made of ice, pointing to potential hygiene issues. But I can see folks warming to the offbeat promotional items, introduced in sunny Colombia just in time for beach season. There's no denying that the containers are … cool. Usually you have to go to a restaurant to get watered-down soda. Now you can enjoy it straight from the bottle. A red Coke-logo band lets you hold the frozen flask without chilling your hand too much, and doubles as a keepsake bracelet, because who wouldn't want one of those? Seriously, though, the brand's latest foray into innovative packaging (following the split-can idea) carries a certain ironic symbolism—with one of consumer culture's most famous icons, the Coca-Cola bottle, drip-drip-dripping away through customers' fingers, leaving only an advertisement (that band with the logo) behind. Now that's what I call pop art! Agency: Ogilvy Colombia.

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  • 06/06/13--09:19: Ad of the Day: Oscar Mayer
  • For their upcoming Hallmark holiday, the fathers of the world do not want a Rubik's Cube pencil holder, a madras button-down shirt or a leather six-pack holder (that's for poseurs).

    What will bring a tear of gratitude to their eyes?


    Oscar Mayer knows this, and has launched "Say It With Bacon," a campaign that's a frame-for-frame homage to smarmy jewelry commercials, right down to the reference to cut, clarity, color and carat. In this case, though, the four c's stand for cut, color, cure and consistency of breakfast meat.

    The video below may be sort of a goof, but the offer isn't. You can buy several doodads for Dad, like a money clip and cuff links, and get a bonus of hardwood smoked bacon, all elegantly wrapped, of course. (Better hurry. The Woodsman, a "rugged multi-tool" plus bacon for $25, is already temporarily sold out on the brand's dedicated website).

    The work comes from 360i (which also did the Oscar Mayer's "Bacon Barter" campaign last year) and Olson, with the unspoken promise that Dad won't even consider returning this salty-rific gift.

    Client: Oscar Mayer
    Agency: 360i
    PR Agency: Olson

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    Not since I used to play Summer Games on the Commodore 64 have I bludgeoned computer hardware in an effort to complete a simulation of a track-and-field event. But now, thanks to two creatives at Grey London, I can do so again—with The 100-Meter Scroll.

    "Usain Bolt holds the record as being the fastest person in the real world—100 meters in an astonishing 9.58 seconds," Rasmus Smith Bech and Jonas Roth tell us in an email. "But who is the fastest person on the Internet? The 100-meter scroll game is made to find out exactly that. It's a website where you scroll 100 meters or 283.500 pixels on time. Scroll for fame, scroll to settle an argument, scroll in the hope it becoming an official 2016 Olympic discipline, or just scroll simply because you love to scroll."

    I came in at a lousy 1:00:60. Somebody named "Satan" appears to be atop the leaderboard with what looks like an unbeatable time of less than 1 second.


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