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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Recently, British insurance comparison service Confused.com and Publicis in London launched ads featuring a new mascot, Brian the Robot, who seems to have a knack for creating uncomfortable situations. Specifically, in one of the spots, he appears to interrupt a couple in mid-blow job. The brand has since denied this interpretation, with the director of marketing telling British advertising site Campaign, "Admittedly, the woman is somewhat startled by Brian appearing in the car window, having been tying her shoelace." The shoelace argument doesn't quite match with Confused's own write-up about the ad, which describes the setting as "a romantic spot overlooking a city at sunset" where "we see Brian approach a lone parked car and tap on one of the closed windows, interrupting a couple looking slightly flustered." According to several YouTube commenters, a newer version of the ad now shows the couple kissing, likely due to dozens of complaints to Britain's Advertising Standards Authority that the original version was inappropriate for children. Check out more of Brian's odd interactions after the jump.


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    So, San Pellegrino will let folks remotely control robots on the ground and in the air over Italy … but NOT for the purpose of Dalek-like mass destruction? Where's the fun in that? To help bring the sparkling water's "Three Minutes in Italy" promotion to life, Ogilvy & Mather in New York partnered with Deeplocal to create five robots that Facebook users can control romotely to take in the sights of Italy. Four ground-gliding units and one skybot perched on a 40-foot pole allow users to take virtual tours of Taormina, a picturesque village in Sicily. San Pellegrino's Facebook fans can sign up to drive the ground-bots for 180 seconds, viewing the town in real time. The robots are equipped with tablets displaying users' Facebook profile pics, and a translation program allows participants to talk with local residents. Brand ambassadors are on the ground to facilitate engagement, or thwart any attempts to use the robots for evil ends, whichever comes first. Actually, the bots don't look very threatening, especially equipped with umbrellas to protect their components from the sun. (After the jump, watch one robotic romeo chat up an unsuspecting passerby named Christin; That's amore!) The campaign runs through Aug. 17, with virtual tours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern. It's a novel approach, and it seems only fitting that as robots take more of our jobs, they get to replace us on vacation, too. Via PSFK.


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    Well this escalated quickly. In Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s new ad for Jell-O pudding, a pleasant moment between a dad and his son abruptly turns into an emotionally traumatizing lecture on the soul-crushing drudgery of working life. It’s also pretty hilarious, largely thanks to the Bill Lumbergh-esque boss who has no respect for meticulous ninja craftsmanship. Via Fast Company.


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    Toshiba targets the college-guy demo with sophomoric humor in a trio of Canadian spots from Capital C. All of the action takes place in dorm rooms, and the ads seek to show how the client's computers can improve the school experience.

    "Chicken Prank" focuses on a dude who can't peck away with his fingers on a keyboard or touchscreen because he's been wrapped in plastic and tied to his bed. Oh, and the room's filled with clucking chickens, naturally. He wiggles his toe to operate an All-in-One desktop with gesture control. Presumably, he summons assistance. (Dude, why not just scream "help!" at the top of your lungs? Maybe someone's in the room next door. Clearly no Ivy Leaguer.)

    "Black Light" touts the ability of Satellite P-series laptops to power and charge USB devices even when the laptop is closed. Two roommates just moving in are horrified when a USB-powered black-light wand reveals unsavory streaks, smears and smudges soiling just about every inch of their walls and ceilings. (I guess the pervious occupants hosted some all-night, um, study sessions.)

    The third spot, "Math Notes," showcases the Excite Write tablet's ability to convert handwritten notes and sketches into sharable files. A guy asks his roommate for calculus notes, and looks extremely dismayed, almost repulsed, when he instead receives a drawing of himself re-imagined by his roommate as a hunky centaur. 

    All three spots are cheeky, just a tad naughty and probably in tune with the teen and young-adult audience. I wonder, though, if some viewers won't find "Math Notes" borderline homophobic, since the punchline falls back on what GLAAD has dubbed the "homo-queasy" ad cliché of showing a guy looking disgusted that another man might be attracted to him. "Toshiba would never intentionally set out to offend our customers," Sherry Lyons,  vp of corporate and marketing communications at Toshiba of Canada, tells AdFreak.  "We do not feel that the 'Math Notes' video is offensive or cliché."


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    Planters has reinvented Mr. Peanut yet again, this time as a motivational speaker—voiced by Bill Hader, no less—who seems strangely obsessed with the magical power of his nuts. Each video spot in the campaign from ad agency Being mentions the product's protein and essential nutrients (I guess sodium is a nutrient now) while also shelling out Tony Robbins cultspeak and a fair share of innuendo. ("I'm going to show you how to put it inside you," Mr. Peanut promises in one clip, while in another, a young woman describes her dream man as "a guy who has a torque wrench in one hand and a bag of nuts in the other." A few more hip thrusts, and he'd be infringing on Tom Cruise's "Respect the Cock" shtick from Magnolia.) While the ads are hit or miss, their balance of practical product information and pseudo-enlightened gibberish is really impressive. And I'm most impressed that no actual motivational speaker had a trademark on “Successtimonials." More clips after the jump.


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    Who can argue that bombastic 1980s power ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart" isn't the single greatest piece of music in human history? That's right: no one. Its appearance in a MasterCard spot a while back, with brand-centric lyrics performed by its original singer, Bonnie Tyler, was priceless. And these days, "Total Eclipse" has resurfaced with a vengeance. Diva impressionist Christina Bianco's performance of the song in the style of Adele, Cher, Streisand and others is approaching 2 million YouTube views since being posted earlier this week.

    Now, Fiber One gets in on the act with a pair of amusing 30-second spots from Saatchi & Saatchi. As with MasterCard, the words have been altered to fit the brand profile. The "Turn around, bright eyes" chorus morphs into "Turn around, Barry" in one spot and "Turn around, Barbara" in the other as we watch various Barrys and Barbaras, deprived of the tasty-yet-unhealthy snacks they crave, discover the joys of Fiber One. 

    "Finally I have a manly chocolatey snack and fiber so my wife won't give me any more flak," wails Barry. Amen, brother, amen. "Forever I've been praying for a snack in my life, and now I have a brownie ending all of my strife," wails Barbara. True that, sister, true that.

    While exaggerated, the humor is never so outrageous that it seems cartoonish or stupid, which could have thrown the spots out of whack. So I applaud Fiber One for finding the perfect balance and keeping things more or less...regular.

    CREDITS:

    Client: General Mills
    Brand: Fiber One Bars/Brownies

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
    Chief Creative Officer:  Con Williamson
    Creative Director: Peter Smith          
    Creative Director:  Johnnie Ingram
    Art Director: Katherine Kuni                                  
    Copywriter: Chris Stevenson
    Head of Broadcast Production:  John Doris
    Senior Producer:  Nicole Gabrielle Ogborn
    Music Producer:  Eric Korte
    Business Manager:  Christina Mattson


    Production Company:  Little Minx, Los Angeles, CA
    Director: Nico Viega of Nico & Martin
    Director of Photography:  Nanu Segal
    Executive Producer:  Rhea Scott
    Line Producer:  Deb Tietjen


    Editing House:  Rock, Paper, Scissors, NYC
    Editor: Carlos Arias
    Assistant Editor:  Maria Lee
    Flame Artist:  Edward Reina
    Producer:  Helena Lee
    Executive Producer:  Eve Kornblum


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    Kraft is bringing back the Zesty Guy for a new series of print ads, despite (or more likely because of) the backlash the brand received last time around from conservative protest group One Million Moms. Zesty Guy, created by agency Being, played by model Anderson Davis and photographed by Douglas Friedman, will be shirtless and sometimes pantsless in ads for the Raspberry Vinaigrette, Classic Catalina, Thousand Island and Classic Ranch dressings. (Check them all out after the jump.) His obsessive need for salad dressings in bizarrely nonfood situations is still a bit odd, but the variety of costumes and settings makes up for it. Plus, he seems like he's having a good time. And to think, he might not have come back at all if the moms hadn't complained about his "g*nitals" the first time around.


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    Your grandpa was a svelte boss. You, by comparison, are a junk-gobbling slob, according to a slick new split-screen ad for Coca-Cola from agency David in Buenos Aires. The spot, part of a larger effort to position Coke as anti-obesity, is meant to compare granddad's modest approach to life with today's steady diet of too much everything: oversized sandwiches, lattes and pre-TV-dinner hot dogs. Don't cut out Coca-Cola, though. Sugar water is cool, so long as you're riding your bike to work and taking the stairs. Because no matter what, it's important to enjoy life, and sugar water—or maybe aspartame water—is clearly the key to happiness. 


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    When the holding companies Publicis and Omnicom announced last month they were joining forces to form the world’s largest ad agency group, they called it “a new company for a new world.” Other, hyperbolic terms used to describe the mega merger included “stunning,” “seismic,” “a superstructure”—and that was just our own reporting.

    In reality, the concept of global marketing is not so earth-shattering. It’s been around since the first merchant went to sell his goods abroad. Yet on a larger scale, global marketing has been much more challenging—borders have proven to be barriers. And yet, OmniPub is just the latest evidence that the global media buy may be becoming more of a reality.

    “We can now reach consumers globally and get feedback globally,” IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg points out. “Now, fact meets a 30-year-old theory,” he says, referring to the rise of the idea in the ’80s that in the age of the multinational corporation and the homogenized consumer, marketers could (cheaply) sell the world the same product with the same message—an idea that would prove easier said than done.

    Marketers would come to realize the monolithic global consumer segment had its limits, as brands found that translating ad campaigns into other cultures required more local understanding than they had anticipated. And even if marketers were set up to buy globally, media weren’t. Global media conglomerates owned individual properties that were local, regional or national, and buying remained a market-by-market transaction.

    Enter global digital giants Facebook and Google, enabling marketers like Nestlé and Nike to reach a wide swath of consumers. And those properties don’t just afford scale—with their reams of consumer data, marketers found they could pinpoint customers and update their messaging in real time.

    Top brands like Samsung, Nike and L’Oréal are already immersed in digital as a means of getting their messages out across borders. Most every marketer is at least dipping a toe in. “Client after client, there’s discussion of global media,” says Eric Bader, CMO of RadiumOne, speaking of his previous stint at Initiative. “They want to lower the cost of putting their message in front of consumers. That’s what every CEO is tasked to do.”

    Whether it’s a new car or motion picture being marketed, digital offers scale and targeting, points out Carolyn Everson, vp, global marketing solutions at Facebook. “Some of the only ways to reach people in the Philippines is on their mobile device,” she says.

    What’s more, digital media present fewer risks with its consistency of audience measurement worldwide, versus traditional media and their patchwork of standards market to market. And media sellers and agencies are setting themselves up to follow marketers’ global shift online.

    Interpublic’s IPG Mediabrands, for one, is creating a new publishing division that will enable it to tailor global messages to be distributed locally, in real time. Online giants are building their digital video ad networks with an eye on TV ad dollars. Facebook is said to be planning to sell 15-second, TV-style ads, while Google’s YouTube has been bankrolling premium channels, and AOL just plunked down $405 million for a video ad platform.

    Among traditional media, TV networks and sports leagues are teaming up to facilitate global marketers buying major events like the Olympics. The New York Times is rebranding its International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times, and Hearst Magazines has created a global digital ad sales unit, Totally Global Media, to simplify sales across sites that reach 200 million unique visitors worldwide each month. Hearst also plans to add its international inventory to the private online ad exchange it operates in the U.S.

    “We see these global citizens, people who are consuming news outside their home country because they may be traveling, owning businesses in other countries. They may have family in other countries,” says Andy Wright, group advertising vp at the Times. “This single brand will allow us to build on the consumer side, but also on the success we’ve had with advertisers.”

    Even as some barriers to global ad buys have fallen away, significant ones still remain. Not all clients are set up to buy and carry out global ad campaigns, and much of the time budgets are still locally controlled or multiple agencies work on a brand. The typical ad budget is still mostly tied up in TV, which is local in nature. And with no accepted way of translating GRPs to click-throughs, it is difficult to convert TV dollars to digital—one of the biggest barriers in the shift to online media. Says Bader: “I think there’s a lot of spending that could be globally based. TV has been the last big iceberg that hasn’t moved over yet.”

    The creative process also needs to catch up to the global opportunity. While categories like electronics and movies might have the same message worldwide, others, including food and cosmetics, are regionally specific. The theoretical ease of buying digitally doesn’t negate the need for messaging to be tailored locally, even in search. “One size fits all is a massive mistake,” Bader says.

    But there’s scarcity in content, says Mark Renshaw, chief innovation officer at Leo Burnett, whose clients include global brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. “YouTube has an unlimited shelf space,” he says. “Brands are still struggling with global content production. There’s legal approval, production companies that may not be the most adaptive. There’s a new dynamic, and we’ve got to change the way we work.”

    The inertia of years past is beginning to change, says Eileen Naughton, global accounts lead at Google. Naughton cites recent campaigns like Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” and Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” that the clients amplified on YouTube after seeing them take off on social media. “Certain companies operate extremely well,” she says. “The more sophisticated marketers get it.” 

    llustration: Davor Pavelić


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    There's an old legend in advertising that goes like this: David Ogilvy was walking past a homeless man one day whose sign read: "I'm blind, please help." His cup was empty. Instead of giving him money, Ogilvy rewrote the sign to read: "I am blind, and it's spring." The cup soon overflowed with cash. Tada—a lesson in the power of storytelling.

    Of course, stories that work in legend don't always work in reality, or so it seems when you try to apply the tricks of modern advertising to today's homeless signs. Writing team the Bilderbergers and director Ben Weinstein created a fictional project called Better Homeless Signs, bringing more compelling copy and design techniques to the traditional cardboard placard. Witness the sexy homeless sign, the meme-based homeless sign, and the prototype edible homeless sign (that's gotta be up for an award).

    Of course, some real graphic designers have been doing this in an earnest manner since 2012. The way advertising is today, who knows how they afford the overhead. The takeout costs alone must be legendary. Full credits here.


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    In this controversial Burger King ad from Russia, a Whopper crushes a flower as a voiceover informs us: "This is a poppy. It was popular once, but now its time has passed." That's a rather strained drug reference, as a BK official in Russia explains that the poppy, used to make opium, symbolizes a "bad habit" that BK would happily help you replace with a Whopper addiction instead. (C'mon, people, it's obvious!) It's also apparently a play on words, as "mak" is both Russian for "poppy" and a slang term for McDonald's, whose time has also ostensibly run out. Major Russian media outlets won't run the commercial because it seems to position BK as an alternative to opiates. Have it your way, Russia! Of course, as these recent Big Mac ads illustrate, if you don't think McDonald's offers the ultimate psychedelic burger experience, you be trippin'.


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    How do you butter people up to the idea that Coca-Cola is pro-health? Not with a starchy educational film. You hire the director of one of the most beloved ads of recent years to create another precious miniature world—without the dark edges.

    That was the wise path taken by Coca-Cola, which tapped Johnny Kelly of Nexus—famous for having directed Chipotle's "Back to the Start" video—for a gleeful trot with animatronic puppets through one man's happy life, made possible by drinking sugary soda but not letting its residue collect in his arteries by sitting on the couch all day.

    Indeed, for this guy, happiness is movement, and vice versa—from his own birth (after which his parents somewhat recklessly toss him in the air) all the way through that of his own child. The idea is charmingly communicated by the visuals, which proceed back in time, scene by scene, by panning right to left. (The camera eventually pulls back to show all the scenes perched atop Coke's famous red ribbon.) The message is also reinforced by the Kimya Dawson-like, chicken-or-egg-themed soundtrack—a somewhat cloying though certainly earwormy original by music house Antfood.

    "The brief was to show how movement was key to his happiest moments, so we commissioned model-making virtuosos Anarchy to create a set of moving animatronic puppets that can run, jump and throw babies in real time," Kelly writes on his Vimeo page. A blurb on the Nexus site adds: "Using real automaton puppets allowed us to capture spontaneous motion with all the joy, imperfection and chaos that comes with it."

    The result might seem a tad wooden to some—the puppets' unthinking repetition could be interpreted as the brand literally just going through the motions. But the instinct is right on when it comes to Coke tackling obesity. You don't do it by talking about obesity. You do it with as much oblique cuteness and catchiness as possible, and you hope for the best.

    CREDITS
    Client: Coca-Cola
    Agency: The Cyranos for McCann Worldgroup Europe
    General Creative Director: Leandro Raposo
    Executive Creative Director: Pablo Colonnese
    Creative Directors: David Fernandez / Jon Lavin
    Account Manager: Pedro Pina
    Strategic Planning Director: Oriol Bombi
    Agency Producer: Los Producers

    Director: Johnny Kelly
    Production Company: Nexus
    ECD: Chris O’Reilly
    Executive Producers: Luke Youngman, Julia Parfitt
    Producer: Jo Bierton
    Project Manager: Zoe Verrier-Stunt, Fernanda Garcia Lopez
    Project Lead / Cg Supervisor: Mark Davies
    VFX Supervision: Dave Walker
    Designer: Jack Cunningham
    Character design: Jack Cunningham & Bjørn-Erik Aschim
    3D previs: Patrick Tomasini, Joe Sparrow, Florian Caspar

    Model Build: Anarchy
    Special Effects Supervisor: Bob Thorne @ Anarchy
    Digital Designer / Cnc Supervisor: Jason Szukalski @Anarchy
    Art Department: Paula Vine, Jonathan Bickerdike, Dave Allum, James Churches, Alex Roseberry, Robin Saunders, Joe Szukalski

    Director of Photography: Matthew Day
    Camera Assistant: Toby Goodyear
    Gaffer: Aldo Camilleri
    Moco Operator: Danny Murphy
    Moco Previs Supervisor: Andy Bull
    Automaton Operator: Max Halstead
    Offline Editor: David Slade
    Overlay/Playback: Karl Taggart
    Catering: Konrad Lindholme
    Studio Manager: Elizabeth Day

    Compositing, post production & grade: Time-Based Arts
    Music & Sound Design: Antfood


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    Mountain Dew's "Living Portraits" series is one of the most innovative and intricate short-form campaigns of the year. Who'd've thunk it, especially after the brand's high-profile ad missteps a few months ago? Created with BBDO and Psyop, each 30-second "Living Portrait" spotlights a different Dew endorser—Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., skateboarder Paul Rodriguez and snowboarder Danny Davis. Fun, freaky symbolism is used to capture the essence of each and, for lack of a better term, mythologize their lives. The spots all take a similar approach, with the endorsers seated on stylized thrones and the shot slowly pulling back to reveal bedazzling details.

    Davis sits on ornately sculptured ice, slurping Dew and strumming a guitar. The camera pulls back to reveal a wintry jam session with members of his crew, the ice sculptor, birds of prey and wolves in attendance. A yeti plays drums. Snowboarders soar in a rainbow sky. A cute, briefcase-sized eyeball lounges by the fire, diggin' Danny's vibes.

    Components move at different speeds, mixing 3-D layering and 2-D animation with live action and matte effects. Yet there's no discord, and the elements combine to create harmonious representations of the endorsers' lives and achievements.

    Fans can visit Mountain Dew's website to unlock the secrets behind each portrait's imagery. The outsized eyeball in Davis's spot refers to FrendsVision, where the snowboarder and his crew share information about the Frends brand and disseminate clips of themselves "performing skits, snowboarding, playing music and entertaining the public the best way they know how." So, basically, the eye opens onto another ad. I didn't see that coming.

    And we learn that the crew is jamming around a "peace fire," because "Danny lives his life preaching peace." That's a bit precious for me—sounds like an overblown piece of you-know-what—and I wonder if perhaps the symbols should have been left unexplained, adding to the mystery, allowing fans to debate their deeper meaning.

    The yeti's presence isn't explained at all! Smelling a Pulitzer, I sent an email, and a rep for Mountain Dew parent PepsiCo explained: "The Yeti was included as it's part of mountain folklore." Rock on, noble yeti! That furry dude really keeps the beat.

    See the other spots below.


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    EA Sports goes back to the future with this dumb-in-a-funny-way spot by ad agency Heat for Madden 25. In the '80s, we're told, two guys playing an early version of the football video game decided to spawn offspring whom they'd be able to use in the game somewhat. Thus were born current Houston Texans running back Arian Foster and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. (The fathers, "Darian Foster" and "Marshawn Lynch Sr.," are played, of course, by Foster and Lynch themselves.) It's a somewhat convoluted concept that comes across as well done, right on target for sports and video game obsessives, and a nice way to celebrate the Madden franchise's 25th anniversary—even if the kids' gym workouts are over the top in a way that feels a little like Old Spice's Terry Crews was their personal trainer. Credits after the jump.

    CREDITS
    Client: EA Sports/Madden 25

    Agency: Heat
    Creative Directors: Warren Cockrel, Anna Rowland
    Senior Art Director: Mark Potoka
    Senior Copywriter: Ben Salsky
    Content Producer: Vera Kacurova
    Account Director: Eddie Garabedian
    Senior Strategist: Daniel Teng

    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Director: Wayne McClammy
    Executive Producer: Dan Duffy
    Line Producer: Rachel Curl

    Post Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Christjan Jordan
    Exec Producer: Damian Stevens

    Visual Effects Company: The Mill LA
    Visual Effects Supervisor: John Leonti

    Music Company: Beacon Street Studios
    Composer: Andrew Feltenstein


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    IDEA: Marketers and broadcasters have tried to sell U.S. audiences on football—i.e., the global, non-American kind—since before Pelé laced up his boots for the New York Cosmos. Now it's NBC Sports' turn—and it has skin in the game, having shelled out $250 million for the rights to three years of English Premier League matches.

    New York ad agency The Brooklyn Brothers, whose creative director Guy Barnett is a British expat and big Tottenham Hotspur fan, is charged with attracting various audiences to the coverage, from existing fans of British clubs and Major League Soccer teams all the way down to NFL fans who may have never considered watching the other football. To appeal to the latter, the agency rolled out a five-minute Web film—cut into TV spots—starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach hired to manage Tottenham. It's a farce, full stop, as Sudeikis's Coach Lasso is gloriously, gum-smackingly ignorant of the beautiful game yet dives into the job with unabashed zeal.

    "We have a character in Ted Lasso who can talk directly to that broader sports fan and help not only explain [the game] but bring the American attitude toward soccer in a funny way," said Barnett. "Jason was just brilliant. It was an improvisational tour de force."

    COPYWRITING/TALENT: The agency worked on an initial script with Sudeikis and two of his friends—Joe Kelly, a Saturday Night Live writer, and Brendan Hunt, who also plays the assistant coach. "We worked on various setups, but a lot of it was improvised on the day. A lot of it was just amazing inventiveness by Jason," said Barnett.

    The template for the film was the typical 60 Minutes segment, with a sit-down interview as the spine of the piece and footage from training and a press conference mixed in. "It's a day in the life of this coach as he tries to understand this not-so-complex game," said Barnett.

    A bewildered Lasso tries to comprehend soccer's version of offside and tackling, and why there are ties but no playoffs. "If you tried to end a game in a tie in the United States, heck, that might be listed in Revelation as the cause for the apocalypse," he says. He spends one day not using his hands "out of respect toward the game" and embraces the players' nickname for him: Wanker. "I think it just means 'great.' Like, a nice guy. Kind heart," he says. On-screen copy at the end reads: "It's football. Just not as we know it. Premier League is on NBC."

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Martin Granger of Moxie Pictures shot for two 10-hour days at Tottenham's training ground in London in late July. Tottenham was one of the few Premier League teams not traveling at the time and was able to make its first team available for filming. "They were extremely accommodating. Obviously they want their name known in the States," said Barnett.

    Three cameras were rolling most of the time to catch the magic when it happened. The agency considered a couple of different looks for Lasso, eventually settling on classic Mike Ditka circa 1985, down to the mustache and sunglasses.

    Hunt, meanwhile, is actually a huge Arsenal fan, "so I had great glee in dressing him up in Tottenham gear," Barnett added.

    MEDIA: The campaign includes outdoor and digital, including a Facebook app that helps you pick a team to support. The Web film, living only on YouTube, got more than 3 million views in its first week, and is now approaching 5 million, largely thanks to Sudeikis's builtin audience from SNL. It's a formula that The Brooklyn Brothers also used for New Era in its Web series starring Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski.

    "It's a very successful way of creating your own audience, as opposed to just paying for one," said Barnett.

    THE SPOT:

    CREDITS
    Client: NBC Sports
    Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers, New York
    Creative Director: Guy Barnett
    Agency Producer: Tina Lam
    Executive Producer: Karol Zeno
    Production Company: Moxie Pictures
    Director: Martin Granger
    Producer: Claire Jones


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    Officer Baby says, "Put your hands against the waaaah!"

    Samsung invents the mustachioed-baby-plays-cop-and-chases-a-vacuum-cleaner trope with this spot by The Viral Factory in London. Thankfully, the little lawman doesn't actually speak, but he's got a flashing blue light on his walker, so you know he means business as he takes off after a Samsung Motion Sync vacuum pushed around the house by his mom.

    There's '70s-style cop-show music, action-movie camera angles and even a few "crashes"—though the infant enforcer just harmlessly knocks into some cartons, toys and plastic baskets. It's immediately clear that he's OK, and that's probably a good thing, given the beating this client-agency team took a while back for the cartoon violence in its "computer/puppy" spot.

    The petite patrolman's convincing "Where'd that vacuum go?" expression around the 40-second mark is topped only by his brilliant use of the facial-hair disguise. He's a lock to make detective, probably in Seattle. (Perhaps he could investigate why there just happens to be a fake mustache lying around.)

    This is a well-made spot, but the concept seems kind of random and weird, and it's tough to hang in for the whole two minutes. The focus is never really on the $600 vacuum cleaner being advertised. I guess the unit looks spry and maneuverable, though not as cute as the kiddie constable. Once the pursuit is finished, he's all tuckered out and ready for ba-ba and nap time—just like a grown-up police officer.


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    Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has ruffled some bedspreads with this truly odd (and probably NSFW, though it's not really explicit) commercial positioning its new website as way more exciting than boring old sex.

    "The design is impressive and comfortable, but the user experience as a whole … there's a slight sense of 'Been there, done that,'" the actor says in mid-copulation, according to The Hollywood Reporter, apparently referring to the experience of reading a traditional newspaper. The new website, though, is where the real thrills lie. "Life is not as interesting as Ha'aretz's new website," says the slogan at the end.

    THR reports that women's groups in Israel were immediately outraged by the spot and formally protested it with a letter to the publisher. But 10 days after it was posted, it remains up on YouTube—and has more than 180,000 views.

    Via The Ethical Adman.


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    Floyd Russ is getting petty good at gun-control advertising. The Grey New York producer worked on the famous "Ed" spot for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, which won a silver Lion in Film at Cannes this summer. Now he has spearheaded the chilling new PSA below—a personal project involving four Grey staffers but not produced by the agency—that uses audio from 911 calls made on the night of Trayvon Martin's death to protest stand-your-ground self-defense laws in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal.

    The spot features a reenactment of Zimmerman's pursuit of Martin, and then calls for viewers to take action to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Russ tells AdFreak that he got the idea for the spot on the night of the Zimmerman verdict. He got Grey creatives Marques Gartrell and Kim Nguyen and account director Cassie Novick on board, and they raised $5,000 in a week online to cover production costs. Final Cut agreed to cover the postproduction work. Russ and his team drew up a list of potential clients for the spot; The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was the first to reply.

    "Our laws should protect victims. Not create more," says the on-screen copy at the end. "Stand up to 'Stand Your Ground' laws in 26 states." The spot points to csgv.org, which features a petition through which Americans can call on their state legislators to "oppose this immoral legislation."

    Full credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
    Title: "Stand Up to 'Stand Your Ground' " PSA

    Production Company: Narrow Margin Films
    Director: Floyd Russ
    Writers: Marques Gartrell, Kim Nguyen, Floyd Russ
    Executive Producer: Adam Palmer
    Associate Producers: Mike Lobikis, Keely Davenport, Emily Darby
    Account Director/Art Department: Cassie Novick
    Art Director: Marques Gartrell
    Copywriter: Kim Nguyen
    Director of Photography: Josh Fisher
    Steadicam: Billy Green
    Assistant Director: Adam Murphy

    Postproduction: Final Cut
    President: Stephanie Apt
    Executive Producer: Lauren Bleiweiss
    Editor: Sonejuhi Sinha
    Assistant Editor: Dan Berk
    Senior Producer: Viet-An Nguyen
    Finishing Producer: Alek Rost
    Online Visual Effects: Cecil Hooker
    Graphics: Phil Brooks
    Sound Design, Mixing: T. Terressa Tate
    Color: Color Collective @ Final Cut
    Colorist: Alex Bickel

    Music: Future Perfect Music
    Composer: Victor Magro


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    Southern Comfort is keeping things weird and hypnotizing with its latest work from Wieden + Kennedy in New York.

    Just try to take your eyes off the brand's current, silent pitchman—last seen in June sipping the liquor while getting an intense scalp massage from a hairdresser, and now wearing coloring foils while showing off his karate chops, in slow motion, at the same salon.

    It's strangely graceful and completely ridiculous. The sequence is paced and delivered to a tee, from the actor's unblinking stare and the sliding of his feet to the gaga eyes of the female patrons. Every detail of the set and costume design—linoleum floors, too-tight jeans—is exactly in place, making for an overall visual style that almost evokes the hairs-on-end atmosphere of the Coen Brothers à la No Country for Old Men, or A Serious Man. Ultimately, though, it borrows more from the deadpan, this-can't-be-real humor of Napoleon Dynamite.

    Funnily, the ad wasn't part of the original plan for the campaign, but rather was inspired by the actor's casting tape for the earlier shampoo commercial. According to the agency, he is—in real life—a martial artist and an owner of a couple dojos. So, W+K's creative team and Tim Goodsall, the campaign's director, added a second script written to play up his karate chops.

    As it turns out, the secondary spot is better than the first—on par with the series' first, beach-strutting ad from last year. The new hero already fit the current typecast Southern Comfort drinker: portly, mustached, middle aged and long on attitude. But the peculiar-but-relatable vibe is much clearer here. It doesn't hurt that he looks like a cross between Tommy Lee Jones and Danny Trejo—resemblances that didn't come through quite as well in the first ad, and that strengthen this one's punch. He's not a celebrity, but he feels like he kind of could be (a local one, at least).

    That sort of self-possessed everyman vanity is what makes these ads work for the brand, rather than just as entertainment. It's pretty unusual for a marketer—especially a booze brand—to celebrate confident, weathered, potbellied oddballs, as opposed to, say, beautiful, sexy, young could-be models. He's also not the balding, whiney schlub of a pudding commercial. When, in the final shot, he snaps his hand over, and a glass of Southern Comfort appears in it, flying the company's little red we-don't-give-a-shit flag, it makes perfect sense. The message: This is the drink of the average winner.

    Whether that's true is, of course, an entirely different story.

    CREDITS
    Client: Southern Comfort
    Spot: "Karate"

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
    Executive Creative Directors: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal
    Creative Director: Jimm Lasser
    Creatives: Nick Kaplan, Jeff Dryer
    Producer: Orlee Tatarka
    Head of Business Affairs: Sara Jagielski
    Head of Content Production: Lora Schulson
    Account Team: Toby Hussey, Molly Friedman
    Strategic Planner: Ben Alter
    Digital Strategist: Marshall Ball

    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Tim Godsall
    Executive Producer: Holly Vega
    Line Producer: Rick Jarjoura
    Director of Photography: Darko Suvak

    Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Gavin Cutler
    Assistant Editor: Ryan Steele
    Executive Post Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld

    Visual Effects Company: The Mill
    Visual Effects Head of Production: Sean Costelloe
    Visual Effects Producer: Orlaith Finucane
    Lead Flame Artist: Jade Kim
    Visual Effects Supervisors: Peter Smith, Peter McAuley

    Song: "I'm a Fool to Care"
    Artists: Les Paul, Mary Ford
    Music Supervisor: Andrew Charles Kahn
    Music Supervision Company: Good Ear Music Supervision

    Mix Company: Sonic Union
    Mixer: Steve Rosen


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    Bryan Cranston, the DEA's No. 1 pain in the ass during his iconic run as meth kingpin Walter White on AMC's Breaking Bad, has been getting some press lately for his early-'80s work in the commercial below for Preparation H (a product that basically defined the Reagan Era). Cranston's earnest take on lines like "It accelerates the absorption of oxygen to help shrink swelling of inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue" is so unironic, it's ironic.

    UProxx posted a bunch of his ads from that decade, and Cranston's vaunted range is on full display. He's a smarmy "high-paid fashion model" for JCPenney, a bugged airport runway worker for Deep Woods Off, and a B.O.-cursed bus commuter dressed up as a skunk for Shield deodorant soap. (In some of these, his glib line deliveries and feathered hair remind me of the late, great Phil Hartman.)

    Breaking Bad co-star Aaron Paul also did some early commercial work, notably a mind-blowing Juicy Fruit ad with a telekinetic twist from 2000, also posted below. (I wish Paul would shill for Preparation H and coin the catch phrase, "For when it itches, bitches!") On Breaking Bad, Cranston and Paul's characters often escape by the seats of their pants, but with their peril growing as the show winds down to its final episode, it will take more than Preparation H to save them from a painful end.


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