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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    It's a shame that American employees have all but lost their lunch hour, doomed by office pressure to eat at their desks with packed lunches or a quick sandwich from the deli. But thankfully, American employers are idiots—and won't even notice if you replace yourself with a blow-up doll for an hour while you have a nice lunch at Applebee's.

    But let's not insult your doppelgänger. It's not a blow-up doll—it's a lunch decoy. Introduced last year by Crispin Porter + Bogusky to urge more people to eat lunch at Applebee's, the decoys have just gotten a major upgrade—becoming the quite formidable-sounding Industrial Strength Lunch Decoys, and getting a humorous new infomercial (and companion 30-second spot) from CP+B in the process.

    Made with plastic that's 20 percent thicker? Check. Rigorously tested with common workplace hazards in mind, including annoying co-workers, coffee spills and surprise ninja attacks? Check. Packaged with an accessories kit, including mustaches and tattoos, so it can look just like you? Check. Actually available for sale on Amazon? Check!

    Why do you need a new and improved lunch decoy? Because Applebee's has a new Lunch Combos menu, which allows you to create over 200 combinations of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas starting at $6.99. So, basically, you'll be there every day—and your decoy will take that much more abuse.

    In fact, at some point, your decoy is going to need a decoy.

    Client: Applebee's
    Campaign: 2013 Industrial Strength Lunch Decoy
    Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky
    Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: Rob Reilly
    Creative Directors: Scott Macgregor & Tom Miller
    Associate Creative Directors: Peter Knierim & Matt Swanson
    Sr. Art Director: Pedro Saldarriaga
    Copywriter: James Beikmohamadi
    Sr. Digital Artist: Charlyn Erickson
    Print Producer: Tyler Christenson
    Executive Integrated Producer, Video: Lisa Effress
    Integrated Producer, Video: Yogiraj Graham
    Jr. Integrated Producer, Video: Caitlin Sullivan

    Production Company & City: Smuggler, Hollywood, CA
    Director: Renny Maslow
    Partners/Executive Producers (Production Co): Patrick Milling Smith & Brian Carmody
    Executive Producer/Coo (Production Co): Lisa Rich
    Executive Producer (Production Co): Laura Thoel
    Head of Production (Production Co): Andrew Colon
    Producer (Production Co): Rhonda Vernet

    Editorial Company & City: Plus Productions, Santa Monica, CA
    Producer(Editorial Co): Dre Krichevsky
    Editor (Ld): Wayde Samuel
    Editor (Tv): John Grinberg
    Assistant Editor(S): Jeff Wilson & Glen Montgomery

    Mix House: Plus Productions, Miami
    Mixer: Eddie Alonzo
    Animator: Jeff Wilson

    Visual Effects Company & City: Method Studios, Santa Monica, CA
    Executive Producer: Robert Owens
    Producer: Colin Clarry

    Telecine & City: Company 3, Santa Monica, CA
    Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
    Executive Producer: Rhubie Jovanov

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    ESPN's "This Is SportsCenter" is among the handful of classic sports ad campaigns of all time. Launched in 1995 by Wieden + Kennedy in New York, the campaign—originally inspired by the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap—hasn't changed much over the years. And why would it? You don't mess with a winning formula.

    The premise of the ads, as we've noted before, is that ESPN's Bristol, Conn., offices are the center of the sports universe—a surreal yet mundane fantasy world where athletes and mascots live and work together with anchors and journalists. Where other marketers portray athletes as superhuman, "This Is SportsCenter" presents them as comically, relatably human. Eighteen years and more than 400 spots later, the campaign continues.

    As part of the Adweek story linked above, W+K drew up a list of its 10 favorite SportsCenter ads. Now, ESPN has one-upped its agency—devoting a whole special to its 50 favorite SportsCenter spots of all time. The show, airing this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and hosted by Jason Sudeikis, will feature anecdotes and stories about the top 50, and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite spot over on Facebook. Sudeikis will announce the winning spot on the show. (More than 1 million votes have been cast so far.)

    Check out the program on Thursday, and click the link below for a sneak peek at ESPN's official top 10 favorite "This Is SportsCenter" commercials.

    Video Gallery: ESPN's 10 Favorite 'This Is SportsCenter' Ads

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    Ever wanted to chomp a big, savory bite of barbecue brisket right out of the side of your soda bottle? Of course you haven't. That would be disgusting and real damn strange. But Texas-based soda brand Big Red is floating the idea anyway in its new ad for the (blessedly fictional) Big Red BBQ Bottle. The spot was created by Austin comedy duo Beef & Sage, who also partnered with the brand last year to create a surprisingly entertaining video series called "Don't Tell Mom We're Doing Experiments in the Garage." The Big Red BBQ Bottle is apparently the first of three new videos that will roll out this summer. "Our new series highlights new 'innovations' that Big Red created to either solve a common consumer problem or make the lives of our consumers better," Big Red marketing svp Thomas Oh tells AdFreak. "Complementing BBQ with the sweet, smooth flavor of Big Red is a fan favorite, so we wanted to feature a new way to enjoy both." Well, Thomas, mission disturbingly accomplished. Credits and more Big Red comedy clips after the jump.

    Client: Big Red
    Spot: "Big Red BBQ Bottle"
    Agency: Real Normal/Beef & Sage
    Copywriter: Beef & Sage
    Executive Producer: Toby Schwartz
    Director: Kirk Johnson
    Art Director: Sam Webber
    Director of Photography: Nathanael Vorce
    Editor: Beef & Sage
    Production Services: Real Normal

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    TBWA\Paris places ads within ads in this new McDonald's campaign, with print and billboard elements playing key roles in a series of understated TV commercials.

    Branding cues such as the McDonald's name, tagline and Golden Arches are de-emphasized. In fact, they're entirely absent from the print ads and billboards. The goal is to focus on the iconic, instantly recognizable menu items. We get intense close-ups of crispy fries peeking out of familiar red-and-gold packaging, a giant McNugget dunked in tangy sauce and sundaes drizzled with nuts and chocolate.

    Director Xavier Mairesse weaves these visuals into a trio of simple but effective TV spots that need no dialog to deliver their message. In "Dentist," a patient repeatedly opens and closes his mouth as he watches McDonald's fries cycle through a billboard outside. "Yoga" shows a group of enthusiasts chanting "Ommmmmm" as they ogle a full-page McNugget newspaper spread. Women who show up for a job "Interview" smear their lipstick by hungrily licking their lips when they spy a McDonald's sundae in a colorful magazine ad. (Integrating the unbranded work into high-profile commercials—and generating media coverage for the overall campaign—should help make the print ads and billboards even more readily identifiable as ads from McDonald's.)

    This brand-as-icon strategy is the same basic approach used in Translation's earlier, pleasingly trippy Big Mac campaign. TBWA's humor, however, is more restrained, allowing the work to quietly make its point about the effect McDonald's food can have on consumers, even when that food is present only in the form of ads.

    That in itself is a tad trippy and slightly surreal, and it makes a strong though surely unintended statement about the ubiquity and cultural impact of McDonald's advertising. Consider how much of it we see in our lifetimes—all the TV spots, billboards and print ads, the countless online banners and Web videos. Heck, we might see multiple spots during one night of TV or a single sitcom.

    Through sheer volume, the chain's existence in the paid-media realm is just as palpable and perhaps even more intense than its presence in the physical world. So, it's fitting that it would craft a campaign in which its own ads are the stars.

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    Twentieth Century Fox has ramped up its marketing machine in anticipation of the next X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, out next May, by creating fictional advertising for Trask Industries. Trask is the evil corporation in X-Men, creators of the Sentinels—giant robots that kill mutants—and other fun anti-mutant devices. They also dabble in mutant containment and genetic research. Ignition Creative in Los Angeles made the commercial, which comes with a website and some delightful anti-mutant propaganda posters up on the movie's Tumblr. It's wonderful if already a bit formulaic fan service that's almost required for all good sci-fi movie openings these days. It's too bad the timing of the campaign release coincides with The Wolverine biting it at the box office.

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    We've written before about the branded pop song. But what Oreo has also ushered in, really, is the era of the branded pop song cover.

    Owl City's Adam Young, Kacey Musgraves and now Chiddy Bang are among the folks to muse musically on the topic of what would happen if they gave an Oreo sandwich cookie to a potentially unfriendly soul. Each has sung different lyrics to the brand's "Wonderfilled" song, and now Chiddy Bang have added their voice to what is arguably the best riff—a version that pulls most of the tune out of the spot altogether and uses a percussive electronic version of the melody as something between a backbeat and a hook. Nice one.

    This is an interesting experiment. The loose-limbed Adventure Time-y animation seems to be getting a lot of traction with viewers on YouTube. At least one commenter proclaimed the original version"the only YouTube ad that I'll sit through," and another demanded that people who hate Owl City (that would include your humble correspondent) take in the song as evidence of Young's genius.

    It's catchy, I'll give you that. But I like both of the rewrites better (and besides, all of the versions were written by The Martin Agency's David Muhlenfeld). The previous spots, including the Father's Day edition (sung by an 8-year-old session singer), all had what I'm going to call an aggressively heartwarming vibe that sort of makes my teeth hurt. The Chiddy Bang version, at least, has some teeth—like, two teeth, because it's a cookie ad about how nice it is to be nice to people who aren't always nice—but I could imagine someone, somewhere dancing to it if it was the only thing on the radio.

    Still, the record industry collapsed hard enough to make it very appealing that corporations with vast wealth could sponsor artists who want to make music. And I don't think you can watch these and say there's no attention to musical quality—though Chipotle, for my money, is still the gold standard with Willie Nelson's cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" (all the beautiful songwriting without Chris Martin's 13-year-old-girl voice!).

    So, come on, brands. Bring it. I will listen to it.

    Client: Oreo, Mondelez International
    Global Marketing Communication: Jill Baskin
    Brand Marketing Director: Janda Lukin
    Brand Manager: Kristin Hajinlian
    Senior Associate Brand Manager: Susan Burris

    Agency: The Martin Agency
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    Group Creative Director: Jorge Calleja
    Creative Directors: David Muhlenfeld, Magnus Hierta
    Senior Art Director, Illustrator: Brig White
    Planning Director: John Gibson
    Managing Director: Steve Humble
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Kathy Lippincott
    Senior Art Producer: Anya Mills
    Broadcast Junior Producer: Caroline Helms
    Group Account Director: Rich Weinstein
    Account Supervisor: Laurel Busony
    Account Executive: Molly Holmes
    Project Manager: Chloe Bos
    Senior Business Manager: Amy Trenz
    Group Talent, Music Director: Juanita McInteer

    Animation, Production Company: Hue&Cry
    Lead Animator: Andrew Prousalis
    Animators: Matt Deans, Chris Hagen, Georgiy Kuznetsov, Saxton Moore, Ryan Musselman, Liam Ward
    Producer: Brian Creech

    Postproduction Company: Running With Scissors
    Flame Artist: Ashby Wratchford

    Original Music, Lyrics: David Muhlenfeld, English Major
    Music Performed by: Chiddy Bang
    Audio Post Company: Black Iris
    Creative Director, Composer: Justin Bailey
    Executive Producer: Jenny Hollowell
    Producer: Rich Stine

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    Car ads have disappointed me lately, so I was pleasantly surprised by this Fallon London spot for Skoda, which ranks as one of the more entertaining and memorable commercials in the category so far this year. (It avoids stalling on gooey sentimentality and hey-we-set-a-record! docudrama.) The awesomely realized one-joke spot shows various objects in a typical suburban neighborhood that have become outrageously big and powerful. These include a baby carriage that's more like a tricked-out moon-buggy; an ice-cream truck serving 2-foot-high cones; a lawnmower with eight cylinders; a jackhammer with mini-hammers to really grind up the pavement; a barbecue grill that's a cross between a UFO and a nuclear plant; and a kid's Big Wheel-type tricycle with wildly humongous wheels. Despite all the size and power on display, folks still stare open-mouthed at a dude tooling around in his high-performance Skoda Octavia vRS.

    The action manages to be self-consciously silly but never stupid, because the souped-up stuff, while outlandish and cartoony, is nonetheless cool-looking and convincing. (Check out the "behind-the-scenes" clip below, which opens with a spoof commercial for the jet-powered, bomb-proof grill, and shows some of the impressive props being made.) The slogan, "It's not your everyday family car," is a bit weak, but I still got the message that this is one powerful Skoda, and it might just turn some heads on my boring old street. I'm sold ... I'll take the grill! (And a chocolate cone with extra sprinkles, please.)

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    Hot Wheels has done a lot of cool advertising lately, but you have to love the wonderful simplicity and craft of this new poster from Ogilvy & Mather in Mumbai for the toy carmaker's Safari series. It was written and art directed by Pramod Chavan. Credits below.

    Client: Hot Wheels
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, India
    Chief Creative Officers: Abhijit Avasthi, Rajiv Rao
    Executive Creative Directors: Vijay Sawant, Manoj Shetty
    Creative Director: Minal Phatak
    Art Director, Copywriter: Pramod Chavan
    Photographer: Avadhut Hembade
    Account: Ajay Mehta, Konkana Ghosh

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    For years, GoPro has been synonymous with helmet-cam footage of skydiving, surfing, heli-skiing and other extreme activities that most of us prefer to enjoy by proxy while browsing YouTube and eating a cruller.

    But as the technology and innovation behind the camera have evolved, so too has the company's marketing strategy. And you don't have to look any further than this new ad for the GoPro smartphone app to see how a once-quirky outdoor gadget has become a leading millennial lifestyle brand.

    The two-minute clip, shot entirely on a GoPro HD Hero3 camera in the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, features three popular pro surfers—Alana Blanchard, Lakey Peterson and Camille Brady—not only recording their day on the waves but sharing stills from the Hero3 directly to Instagram right from the beach. Instead of a tool for creating raw first-person video footage, GoPro is portrayed as the key to taking a super-selfie.

    Justin Wilkenfeld, GoPro's director of lifestyle marketing, tells Adweek that these features showcase how the brand has kept pace with modern life. Outdoors enthusiasts don't just want to capture their experiences, they want to share them as quickly as possible. The brand's WiFi-enabled Hero3 and smartphone app, both of which launched last year, have helped make immediate sharing a reality.

    "It was a bit of a frustration that you had to go back to your computer to download that footage," Wilkenfeld says. "There's something lost there because we are so real-time these days."

    While the ad shows off GoPro's newest features, it also harkens back in some ways to the brand's early days. Before it was known for helmet-mounted cameras, GoPro was a wrist-mounted camera that surfer (and recent billionaire) Nicholas Woodman created to take 35mm photos of himself and friends.

    Now, the camera has come full circle, with GoPro becoming known as a source for some of Instagram's most interesting photos, not just a tool for extreme YouTube clips.

    "In the world of social media, you don't have to take two minutes or five minutes out of your time to watch the full video and get immersed in that moment. You can just take snapshots," Wilkenfeld says. "That's kinda the way of the world now—short-attention-span theater."

    Meanwhile, GoPro is also trying to reach beyond its core audience of extreme athletes by highlighting the camera's versatility as a tool for capturing any kind of experience, not just crazy outdoor adventures.

    "It's been a progression for us," Wilkenfeld says. "We definitely started in action sports, extreme sports, but we found that if you follow that line of passion, the average person is passionate about the moments in their life, too. That might be playing with their kids. We do try to embrace the broad community and the lifestyle those people try to live, regardless of what it is."

    This ad, like all the brand's videos, was shot and produced entirely by the GoPro staff without any agency assistance. The soundtrack is "Riptide" by Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy.

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    The horribly cheesy corporate song is something of a tradition. The classic example is Bank of America's cover of U2's "One," with the lyrics updated to celebrate BofA's merger with MBNA. We've seen it in the agency world, too—for example, the Ogilvy Athens tribute in song to David Ogilvy, and SapientNitro's wretched "Idea Engineers" music video.

    Here's a new mortifying entry: the Mercedes-Benz Service Song. It's sung from the point of view of a Mercedes car that's desperately craving a little TLC from a Mercedes repairman who knows how to use his hands. The lyrics begin: "I like them to be strong, that they can catch me when I skid/Like them to turn me on, I thought that some of them did/But just as I needed a helping hand, so many men were 'out of service,' not like you … You only give your best, won't stop until I smile." These prurient declarations, sung (by Patricia Meeden) like this is the '80s, are paired with the most clichéd, over-Photoshopped images they could apparently produce.

    It may be the most downmarket thing this luxury brand has ever produced. I give it a week before it's gone from YouTube. Extended version after the jump. Via The Denver Egotist.

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  • 08/02/13--03:08: Adweek's Talent 100
  • For the third year, Adweek is gearing up to unveil its Talent 100, a showcase of some of the most outstanding work submitted by art directors, copywriters, photographers, illustrators, videographers and other creatives to the Adweek Talent Gallery, powered by Behance.

    The Talent 100 is determined by the votes of Adweek readers as well as our own editors and creative staff. Go here to upload your own work or to select your favorite portfolios by clicking on the "Appreciate This" button.

    The Talent 100 will be unveiled Sept. 2 in the print edition of Adweek as well as on Adweek.com and in our iPad edition.

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    All new from McDonald's: the McCloseUp. The chain is taking fast-food porn to new heights with a series of print ads from TBWA Paris that consist entirely of intimately photographed classic menu items (or at least, prop food dressed up as, for example, the ideal Big Mac). We already posted the TV spots from the same campaign, but these print ads are worth looking at in their own right. Mainly because they exclude Golden Arches or other overt branding—and they get away with it. In the on-point words of one commenter, "Lazy, but genius." The images are easily recognizable, and striking enough that, depending on your relationship with the brand, they'll either have you licking your chops or feeling a little queasy. Either way, they make an impression. More images below.

    UPDATE: A reader points out that one of the executions features a wrapper with an "M" in the lower right corner. Because apparently, fish filet sandwiches are more generic—and therefore in need of a differentiating logo—than ice-cream sundaes.

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    Forget about casting calls. Booty calls may have been the order of the day for this five-minute film written and directed by Oscar-winning actress Penélope Cruz for L'Agent—the lingerie line she and her sister Mónica designed for Agent Provocateur.

    Actor Miguel Angel Silvestre sports a scraggly beard and perpetual pout as he dons L'Agent shades that allow him to see all the sexy women at a fancy house party clad only in L'Agent underwear. (The chiseled dudes remain fully clothed, pouting for all they're worth.)

    The sheer volume of thonged and bikini-bound lady butts that Silvestre ogles is staggering. Oh, midriffs, thighs and cleavage get ample exposure—but toned tushes are everywhere, and the camera caresses each curve. There are so many beauteous buns on display, this could have been an ad for a bakery.

    Ladies hang from gymnastics rings, lounge on the carpet and dance in a kiddie pool. One gal's down on all fours, reading. (I was shocked. A lingerie model reading!?) A very pregnant Mónica Cruz makes a cameo, clad in a negligee, leaning against a wall. When Sports Illustrated cover-babe Irina Shayk goes into lap-dance mode, Silvestre's pout intensifies and he passes out.

    The slow-burn/bouncy club beats on the soundtrack are kind of annoying. They diminished my enjoyment of the glutes. But just a little.

    Penélope's husband Javier Bardem appears near the end, and we learn that the whole party scenario was just Silvestre's dream, which is, of course, a completely original, never-before-attempted twist so clever and unexpected that it will surprise and delight viewers, even though I just gave it away.

    Snark aside, Cruz, in her directorial debut, manages to create a soft-core mini-masterpiece of derivatively trashy not-quite-art. Its many clichés—the decadent party, nonstop nonsex, X-ray specs, a tired "trick ending"—actually work in its favor. It feels familiar yet fresh at the same time. I was thoroughly seduced by its cheeky charms. It's certainly never boring.

    Perhaps Cruz intends this absurdly ass-driven vision as a subversive or even ironically feminist commentary on … I dunno … beauty? Fashion? Sexuality? Society's objectification of women in the service of commerce? Men's objectification of women in the service of themselves? More likely, it's just an overheated slice of stylized sleaze designed to sell bras and panties.

    It might not herald the arrival of a brilliant auteur, but this is still the kind of work I can really get behind.

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    You may have seen an uncharacteristically bawdy ad for Crocs on the Internet this week. Well, it turns out it was fake (it was apparently a spec spot from London production company Compulsory), and Crocs isn't happy about it."It is not an authentic Crocs ad," the company says. "We're very concerned by it, because it does not reflect our company values as a global lifestyle brand. No one at Crocs is familiar with this ad; no one at Crocs authorized its creation or appearance. We are committed to portraying the Crocs brand in a positive and respectful manner." This is understandable. Any sexiness scale worth anything would rate Crocs somewhere between dead grandma and Linux conference. Any ad that suggests otherwise is clearly phony.

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    IDEA: Blue Moon's beers are works of art, so its ads must be, too. That was the accord struck by the MillerCoors brand and The Integer Group in 2009 when the Lakewood, Colo., agency began an artful approach to the brewer's advertising, which would become instantly recognizable—a welcome dash of color and craft amid the beery bro hugs of the category.

    "Everything we do reflects our philosophy of 'Artfully crafted,' and our TV campaign truly brings that to life," said Jovina Young, Blue Moon brand manager. Indeed, it embodies it. Five spots in all, including a new one, "Brewmaster's Inspiration," have the same unique style of live action, shot in stop motion, that begins to look like a painting, thanks to a mix of practical and CGI effects—celebrating the brewmasters as artists.

    The new ad shows a brewmaster flipping through a scrapbook of ideas, as the brand's flagship Belgian White and four other collections spring up from the pages. "Without even seeing the words Blue Moon or our logo, consumers recognize these ads as ours," Young said. "They work very hard for us."

    COPYWRITING: There is no dialogue, so the scripting is mostly about finding a framework for the message. In this case, it meant highlighting five groups of beer in just 30 seconds. The creatives drew inspiration from Blue Moon founder Keith Villa, who keeps notebooks of ideas.

    "He's got great ideas from last week and from years ago," said Integer senior art director Tom Reynolds. "We thought that could be a nice motif—what if our brewmaster is looking through his idea book that is magically giving birth to all these new beers that we have now?"

    The on-screen line "Inspired collections" is followed by the line "Artfully crafted."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Each page that's flipped over reveals a new canvas of sketches, from which spring-glowing bottles nestled in various scenes capture the essence of Blue Moon's beers—the Belgian White (a forest with an elk and a luminous moon), the Seasonal Collection (grass, leaves, pumpkins, snow), the Expressionist Collection (a farm, a trove of ingredients), the Vintage Ale Collection (a vineyard) and the Graffiti Collection (a tagged brick wall).

    It's all warm light and bright colors. "We're super proud of the look," said Integer creative director Dustin Bredice. "It's great to see these paintings come to life in different styles, and throw in fun little animations, like the elk or the hummingbird."

    Shaun Sewter of MOO Studios filmed in painstaking stop motion—an art in itself. "It's not just the look of the paint coming to life but the camera work as well," said Bredice. "Stop motion just gives us more artistic credibility," added Integer copywriter Sam Zeanah.

    TALENT: Villa and brewmaster John Legnard appear at the end of the spot, raising glasses in the background before becoming painted sketches themselves. "We wanted to show that there is someone behind the beer," said Bredice. "We're not expecting folks to know it's Keith or John, but we wanted them involved."

    Having them pose for shot after shot of stop motion was "a little painful for them, but they were good sports," said Reynolds.

    SOUND: The agency scored a major coup for the "Brewmaster's Touch" spot a year ago by licensing "Ho Hey" by Denver rock band the Lumineers just before it became the song of that summer. The track in the new spot is by another local band, South of France. "Once we heard their stuff, we just fell in love with it," said Zeanah.

    MEDIA: The media buy is a mix of broad cable entertainment and some sports, along with cinema and digital. The target is people who are "just starting on their craft journey," said Young.


    Client: Blue Moon Brewing Company
    Spot: "Brewmaster's Inspiration"
    Senior Marketing Director: Libby Mura
    Brand Manager: Jovina Young
    Agency: The Integer Group, Lakewood, Colo.
    Group Creative Director: Dan Kiefer
    Creative Director: Dustin Bredice
    Senior Art Director: Tom Reynolds
    Copywriter: Sam Zeenah
    Producer: Aimee Woodard
    Group Account Director: Greg Neale
    Account Supivisor: Krista Johnson
    Account Executive: Carrie Solberg
    Project Manager: Cameron Loomis
    Production: Moo Studios, Los Angeles
    Director: Shaun Sueter
    Executive Producer: David Lyons
    Line Producer: Soundis Azaiz
    VFX Super: Sebastiano D'Aprile
    Color Correction: Clark Muller, Incendio, Venice, Calif.
    Audio Mix: Coupe Studios - Boulder, CO
    Engineers: Greg McRae, Aaron Lasko, Jeff Cormak
    Producers: Scott Roche, Eric Singer
    Music: South of France, "Ghost Driver"

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    Expedia's "Find Yours" campaign from 180LA, which has produced some pretty forward-thinking and powerful spots in the recent past, is now encouraging you to "Find Your Spontaneity" by entering to win one of the travel service's daily free trips. The ad for the app-based promotion is a bit of an odd hybrid, though, with the first part devoted to Expedia reps explaining their smartphone app to random passers-by and the rest of the spot focused on a supposedly random guy who agreed to hop on a flight to China that evening. Expedia was going for some of the magic Heineken found with its Departure Roulette stunt, but they tried a little too hard, and the resulting ad feels jarringly artificial. Between the beautifully crafted travel shots and the sheer luck of catching a willing guy with a suitcase walking through a park, everything here just feels more staged than empowering. ("How did he get a visa so fast?" wonders one skeptical YouTube commenter.) But hey, a few theatrics are allowable if it means not having to watch an entire ad about how to use a mobile app. 

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    The father is a human in a dog's body (for reasons "you're too young to understand," he once barked at his daughter), the son is a black American, and their maid is an alien incarnation of Tommy Lee Jones. They are “The White Family,” a staple of telecom Softbank’s marketing, and they have become the most popular recurring commercial characters in Japan. The family is made up of a father (Otosan), a son (Kojiro), a mom (Masako) and a daughter (Aya). Telling you much more about their family dynamic would require me actually knowing Japanese, since very few of the many YouTube clips from the campaign have been subtitled, though you can read a great profile on the family's commercial success in The Japan Times. Like me, you may have stumbled across their ads before and been too distracted by the craziness of their antics to actually recognize it as an ongoing campaign -- one that has been tallied as the nation’s favorite for six years running. The sprawling series of more than 130 spots, credited with vaulting SoftBank from industry newcomer to one of Japan's top mobile providers, have even featured cameos from Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Lee Jones and a real Japanese astronaut filming his appearances in space. For my fellow uninitiated, I’ve compiled some of the more interesting clips from the campaign after the jump. Disclaimer: Seeing more of these ads doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand any more of these ads. Hat tip to WTF Japan Seriously.   

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    Call out the cat herders! A bunch of kitties stampede down the streets of Croydon, England, in Mother's new spot for MoneySuperMarket. "Bill here just saved £304 on his car insurance at MoneySuperMarket and now feels so good he thinks he can run with wolves,” the narrator explains, before noting almost apologetically, “There are no wolves in Croydon." So, the guy runs with the neighborhood cats instead. That's about it. The client tells The Drum it was seeking to maintain "a more British look and feel to the campaign," which certainly holds true for the visuals, though it makes the choice of music, the very American "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," from Oklahoma, feel out of place. The concept starts strong but doesn’t prove to be particularly memorable in its payoff, especially when there are so many feline-themed ads—and spots with swarming creatures of all sorts—it'd take nine lives just to watch them all.

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    Here it is, the first official Men's Wearhouse brand ad since the departure of iconic founder George Zimmer and the hiring of L.A. agency Phenomenon as the retailer's new agency of record. (Last month, we got a bit of a sneak peek with a brief spot promoting the chain's charitable effort, the National Suit Drive.) The new brand spot, "Walk of Fame," is a retrospective of suit fashion through the decades since the store's founding in 1973. It's a fun watch, fueled by The Heavy's track, "What Makes a Good Man?" But I'm not sure the tagline -- "For 40 years we've been helping men dress like gentlemen" -- really fits in an ad where a guy keeps sleazily spinning around hot women with a level of blatant ogling that went out of fashion long before most of these suits did.

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    If you ever run across a marketer offering you an impromptu adventure overseas, you might first want to clarify whether it will entail you being kidnapped by clowns and dropped from an airplane. That was the terrifying fate of South African graphic designer Clint Jacobs, the final latest of four participants in Heineken's "Dropped" campaign from Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam. As you may have guessed, the campaign (which got a lot of buzz from the related Departure Roulette stunt in JFK) literally drops real people into remote destinations to film their adventures. In the campaign's last installment, a group of Heineklowns tosses the affable Jacobs into rural Poland and makes him hitchhike and tandem-bike his way to Germany, where he must host his own circus. This seems like the sort of proposition you'd have to be drunk to accept, so it works as a long-form beer commercial even if it seems like a total non sequitur. Watch how the story plays out after the jump.


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