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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    New York ad agency Barton F. Graf 9000 has turned its roguish attention to the issue of climate change, and helped activist group 350 Action with the amusing video below. According to the YouTube description: "Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. But we propose a new naming system. One that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy. If you agree, sign the petition at climatenamechange.org." The snarky tone preaches to the choir, but it's hard to resist lines like, "If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michele Bachmann." Credits below.

    Client: 350 Action
    Contact: Daniel Kessler

    Agency:  Barton F. Graf 9000, LLC
    Chief Creative Officer/Founder:  Gerry Graf
    Executive Creative Director:  Eric Kallman
    Executive Creative Director:  Brandon Mugar
    Creative Director/Copywriter:  Dave Canning
    Creative Director/Art Director:  Dan Treichel
    Senior Designer: Matt Egan
    Head of Production/Executive Producer:  Carey Head
    Creative Technology Director: Jonathan Vingiano
    Account Director: Jennifer Richardi
    Business Affairs Director:  Jennifer Pannent
    Planner: Danielle Travers

    Production Company: Furlined
    Director: Ted Pauly
    VP/Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins
    Executive Producer: Dave Thorne
    Executive Producer of Sales: Meghan Lang
    Line Producer: Jennifer Gee
    DOP: Kris Kachikis

    Edit: Big Sky Edit
    Editor/Sound Designer/Mixer: Chris Franklin
    Co-Editor/Colorist: Dave Madden
    Sr. Asst. Editor:  Liz Bilinsky
    Jr. Asst. Editor:  Megan Elledge
    Graphics/FX:  Ryan Sears/Steve Kutny
    Executive Producer:  Cheryl Panek
    Asst. Producer:  Grace Phillips

    Music: APM Music
    Account Executive: Lauren Bell

    Stock Video Footage:  T3Media
    Senior Account Manager: Amy Geisert

    Photography: Magnum Photos
    Corporate Sales Manager:  Diane Raimondo
    Photographer: Paolo Pellegrin

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    You're not the first guy who climbs into the ring and beats the crap out of the second guy. You're the third guy who makes sure the two muscle machines punching each other in the face are following the rules while they do. That's why you drive an Audi station wagon.

    This new spot for the carmaker, created by BBH London, focuses on high-profile boxing referee Tony Weeks (who, to anyone not familiar with the sport, might just seem like another boxing referee). In the ad, Weeks officiates a fight between cruiserweights Steve Cunningham and B.J. Flores.

    Weeks does what a referee does, but does it well—bossing the fighters around and jumping in to break them up, apparently without flinching at the thought of getting hit by a stray fist. After the fight ends, with the crowd still cheering, Weeks exits the arena, disappearing into a dark tunnel. From the tunnel, an Audi 560PS RS 6 Avant emerges. "Power … from a less obvious place," says the tagline.

    The ad, directed by Jonathan Glazer—the celebrated director of the film Sexy Beast and a host of TV commercials, including the legendary Guinness "Surfer" spot—offers a rich and charmingly counterintuitive take on celebrity. That Weeks might not be instantly recognizable to some doesn't matter much. The takeaway is still clear—he may not be the star of the show, but he's certainly running it. That serves as a quiet play to the viewer's ego. Are you like him? Or are you the diva? If you're loud and flashy, maybe this isn't the car for you. This is the car for the strong, stoic type who takes care of business and then goes home while everyone else is racking up the accolades.

    That may seem to be an odd—and potentially condescending—sales pitch. Weeks is at the top of his field and still gets some measure of the spotlight, mitigating any impression that he's relatively unimportant to the heart of the endeavor. At the same time, referees, generally speaking, are easily replaced—as are the regular process guys that keep the trains running in less glitzy industries than boxing. Do you want to be that guy? The one who disappears into a dark tunnel and metamorphoses into a hatchback?

    In other words, because the ad relies so heavily on metaphor—and more simply, doesn't show Weeks getting into the car—it ends up flirting with a melodrama of its own. Is he a symbol for the car? For the driver? If you have to work that hard to convince yourself you're powerful, are you, really?

    Nonetheless, if it means you're not getting slammed about the head for a living, it's probably a good way to go.

    Client: Audi
    National Communications Manager: Kristian Dean

    Agency: BBH, London
    Creative Team: Simon Pearse, Emmanuel Saint M'Leux
    Creative Directors: Matt Doman, Ian Heartfield
    Executive Producer: Ruben Mercadal
    Strategic Business Lead: Richard Stainer
    Strategist: Edd Southerden
    Team Director: Polly McMorrow
    Team Manager: Stephen Jones
    Additional Production: David Lynch, Georgina Kent

    Production Company: Academy
    Director: Jonathan Glazer
    Producer: Simon Cooper
    Production Manager: Bugs Hartley
    Director of Photography: Barry Ackroyd
    Visual Effects, Online: MPC, London
    Telecine: John Claude, Dirty Looks, London
    Editing: Paul Watts, The Quarry
    Sound Mix, Design: Ed Downham, Johnnie Burn, Wave
    Music: Peter Raeburn, Soundtree
    Music recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London

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    "Will somebody please feed Miley Cyrus?"

    That's the request from one anthropomorphized Beats Pill speaker to another in the commercial below, which aired Sunday on MTV after the pop singer's controversial performance on the Video Music Awards. To which the other speaker opines: "Don't you need ass to twerk?"

    Actually, Beats, feeding Miley would be your job.

    First off, hat tip to sci-fi writer Tim Maughan for pointing out the Miley-mocking video on the Beats page. The brand is involved with plenty of pop and hip-hop stars at the moment, but the confluence of Miley and Robin Thicke at the VMAs was a branding bonanza for the electronics maker.

    Beats Electronics is, of course, the brainchild of rapper and producer Dre, whose Beats by Dre headphones have been a huge success. The company's next big thing is a wireless speaker called the Beats Pill, voiced in commercials by Eminem, Chris Rock and (it sounds like, at least) Tichina Arnold from Fox's late, lamented Everybody Hates Chris. The speakers have been prominently featured in music videos, notably Miley's, and Thicke starred in a full-blown RadioShack ad for them with his accessories—I'm sorry, backup dancers—using the speakers to do more or less everything except speak. 

    Anyway, on Sunday, Miley and Robin got down and dirty on stage in a way that offended millions of people who were doubtless being forced at gunpoint to endure the spectacle. Beats, meanwhile, was ready—like, really, really ready (thanks to the digital wizards at Framestore)—to whip up a video showing two Pills asking where "all the thick girls" have gone while watching clips from Thicke's video and then suggesting Miley should have more material to twerk with. "Somewhere, Sir Mix-A-Lot is crying his eyes out," says one.

    This actually wasn't the only time Beats teed off on a pop star during the show. It also found time to make fun of Katy Perry (who doesn't appear to be sponsored by the company) in a video with Barclays Center seats visible behind the two big-mouthed little speaker dudes. And Dre protege Eminem announced a new album at the VMAs, which Beats immediately promoted with a 30-second clip from the rapper's new single.

    Check out all three videos below. It was a well-orchestrated campaign of pop-culture mockery—as well as pop-culture sponsorship, individual-artist sponsorship, cross-platform synergy, album promotion. So, y'know, don't confuse it with satire.

    Here's a question: When, during the VMAs, weren't you watching an ad? Yeah, we're going to go with "never," too.

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    Zombie Boy rises again!

    L'Oréal's Dermablend cosmetics brand got 13 million YouTube views for its 2011 "Go Beyond the Cover" video starring the über-tattooed Rick Genest. So, it's no surprise they've reunited, this time for an iOS app that tells the story behind the Canadian artist and model's body illustrations while touting Dermablend products.

    3-D technology lets users "Uncover Zombie Boy" by clicking on his tattoos. (You can demo the app on the Web here.) For example, Genest informs us that he holds world records for the 178 bugs and 138 bones emblazoned on his skin, and that getting his hands done at age 19 was a "point of no return" because "you can't really get a job at a coffee shop anymore." The app lets you turn Genest's corpse-like image this way and that, and zoom in and out, but I was kind of hoping it would give me complete control of him, so I could make him my zombie slave to do my evil bidding. Maybe next time.

    Oh, you can also overlay the deep, dark eyeholes and exposed teeth and gums of his skull tattoo on a photo of your own face to see what you'd look like if you, too, never wanted to get a job at a coffee shop again. When I tried it, I basically looked the same. Too many late nights reviewing ads and apps, I guess.

    Now, on one level, "Uncover Zombie Boy" provides a fascinating interactive portrait of Genest's outer and inner self. But of course, this isn't a purely creative endeavor. It exists to sell Dermablend's concealing makeup, which was famously used in the viral hit video two years ago to cover up Genest's tattoos and make it look like his skin had never know the sting of the needle. In the new app, large letter D's that appear beside his image yield information about the Dermablend products that correspond to his various body parts.

    Some have pointed out the incongruity of a fierce nonconformist like Genest, who, needless to say, really stands out in a crowd, shilling for an outfit that brags about being "the No. 1 dermatologist recommended camouflage brand." Still, the guy's gotta make a living. If he's satisfied that he hasn't "sold out," who are we to draw conclusions?

    Via PSFK.

    See the original Dermablend video with Genest below.

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    Lenovo has moved on (at least for the moment) from comparing itself to Apple to having Kobe Bryant play Beethoven on the piano with symphonic accompaniment for no reason. Really. There's barely a connection made between Lenovo's product line and Kobe in this Chinese spot, though there are worse things in life than gratuitous piano playing. For those of you who are surprised that Kobe had this talent, check out his six-second video that was the inspiration for the ad. He has said the Moonlight Sonata, in particular "calms me down when I reach my breaking point."

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    Be careful what you say about Taco Bell in Canada. The chain is liable to etch your angry rants on taco shells and force them down your throat. That's what happened in this stunt from ad agency Grip Limited in Toronto, which marked the long-awaited arrival of the celebrated Doritos Locos Tacos in the country by using a special laser to burn exasperated tweets from impatient customers right on the first batch of shells—and then invited those same customers to a "special fan event" where they literally ate their words.

    Back in the U.S., meanwhile, Taco Bell has rolled out the new Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos, and is promoting them with two new spots from Deutsch LA. The first, titled "The World's Most Hottest Idea," shows various people discussing the spicy taco's flavor, oblivious to actual fires erupting around them. (Note the movie marquee in the last frame, "Gordy and Brian Take on Delaware," which refers to the creative team who created the spot.)

    The other new spot, "No Pican," is the first commercial from the Deutsch LAtino multicultural marketing practice, and will target Latino audiences.

    See those two spots, and credits for all three, below.

    Client: Taco Bell Canada
    Campaign: "DLT Eat Your Words"
    Agency: Grip Limited, Toronto
    Creative Directors: Ben Weinberg, Pat Andrews
    Copywriter: Trevor Gourley
    Art Director: Julia Morra
    Social Content Strategist: Patrick Tomasso
    Director of Client Services: John Miller
    Account Director: Cheryl Gosling
    Business Manager: Liliana Coimbra
    Producer: Liz Crofton
    Production House: Data Armada
    Editor: Duane Vandermeulen
    Music, Sound: Imprint Music
    Postproduction: Grip Limited
    Chief Marketing Officer: David Vivenes
    Director of Marketing: Michael Van Horne
    Marketing Manager: Veronica Castillo


    Client: Taco Bell
    Spot: "The World's Most Hottest Idea"

    Client Credits
    President: Brian Niccol
    Chief Marketing, Innovation Officer: Chris Brandt
    Brand Creative Director: Tracee LaRocca
    Senior Manager, Brand Experience: Aron North
    Manager, Brand Experience: Ashley Prollamante

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Group Creative Director: Brett Craig
    Creative Directors: Jason Karley, Josh DiMarcantonio
    Senior Art Director: Gordy Sang
    Senior Copywriter: Brian Siedband
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo

    Executive Producer: Paul Roy
    Senior Producer: Mila Davis
    Music Supervisor: Dave Rocco

    Production Company
    Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles
    Director: Matt Aselton
    Director of Photography: Nigel Bluck
    Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
    Managing Director: Mal Ward
    Line Producer: Scott Kaplan
    First Assistant Director: Craig Pinckes

    Editorial Company
    Cut and Run, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Editor: Jay Nelson
    Assistant Editors: Luke McIntosh, Sean Stender
    Senior Producer: Amburr Faris
    Executive Producer: Carr Schilling

    Post Facility
    MPC, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Colorist: Ricky Gausis

    Visual Effects Company
    Method, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Visual Effects, Online Artist: Jason Frank
    Visual Effects Assistant Artist: Patrick Vollkommer
    Creative Director: Claus Hansen
    Producer: Stephanie Alllis

    Music, Composer
    Massive Music (Music festival scene only)
    AFM Stock Music (Airbrushing scene only)

    Sound Design Company
    740 Sound Design, Los Angeles
    Sound Designer: Rommel Mollina
    Associate Producer: Jeff Martin
    Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

    Audio Post Company
    Lime Studios, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Mixer: Rohan Young
    Assistant: Patrick Navarre
    Executive Producer: Jessica Locke

    End Tag Mnemonic:
    Method Studios, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Executive Producer: Robert Owens

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
    Account Management Credits:
    Group Account Director: Walter Smith
    Account Directors: Amanda Rantuccio, Christi Johnson
    Account Supervisor: Steve Scutellaro
    Account Executive: McKenna Pickett
    Account Planners:
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Christian Cocker
    Traffic, Business Affairs:
    Director of Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ken Rongey
    Business Affairs Manager: Nestor Gandia
    Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan


    Client: Taco Bell
    Spot: "No Pican"

    Client Credits:
    President: Brian Niccol
    Chief Marketing, Innovation Officer: Chris Brandt
    Brand Creative Director: Tracee LaRocca
    Senior Manager, Brand Experience: Aron North
    Manager, Brand Experience: Ashley Prollamante

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Group Creative Director: Brett Craig
    Creative Directors: Jason Karley, Josh DiMarcantonio
    Art Director: Luis Farfan
    Senior Copywriter: Armando Samuels
    Senior Copywriter: Natalia Cade
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
    Executive Producer: Paul Roy
    Producer: Ilene Kramer
    Music Supervisor: Dave Rocco

    Production Company
    Cortez Brothers, Marina Del Rey, Calif.
    Director: Esteban Sapir
    Director of Photography: Travis Cline
    Executive Producer: Ed Rivero
    Head of Production: Ashlee Cohen
    Line Producer: Asori Soto
    First Assistant Director: Mariano Andre

    Editorial Company
    Beast LA, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Editor: Kevin Garcia
    Assistant Editor: Gabriel Ordonez
    Executive Producer: Jerry Sukys
    Head of Production: Darby Walker
    Producer: Mary Stasilli

    Post Facility
    CO3, Santa Monica, Calif.; Method Studios, Santa Monica
    Colorist: Sean Coleman @ CO3
    Online, Visual Effects Artist: Tim Rudgard @ Method Studios
    Assistant: Louis Schachte @ Method Studios
    Executive Producer: Robert Owens @ Method Studios
    Producer: Stephanie Allis @ Method Studios

    Visual Effects Company
    Method Studios, Santa Monica, Calif. (graphics adapted from previous Taco Bell spots)
    Visual Effects Artist: Tim Rudgard
    Visual Effects Assistant Artist: Louis Schachte
    Producer: Stephanie Allis

    Music, Composer
    Elias Arts, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
    Producer: Katie Overcash
    Composer: Jack Shenker
    Creative Director: Brett Nichols

    Sound Designer
    740 Sound Design & Mix, Los Angeles
    Sound Designers: Rommel Molina, Nicholas Interlandi, Michael Dillenberger
    Executive Producer: Scott Ganary
    Associate Producer: Jeff Martin

    Audio Post Company
    Tono Studios, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Mixer: Juan Felipe Valencia
    Executive Producer: Noel Miranda
    Producer: Monica Sotelo

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
    Account Management Credits:
    Group Account Director: Walter Smith
    Integrated Account Supervisor: Steve Scutellaro
    Account Directors: Amanda Rantuccio, Mildred Grijalva, Christi Johnson
    Account Executive: McKenna Pickett
    Account Planners:
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Senior Account Planner: Pearl Owen
    Traffic, Business Affairs:
    Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ken Rongey
    Director of Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan

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    This new ad for French perfume house Guerlain's Shalimar fragrance is perhaps the single most elaborate spot this side of the same director's famous Cartier commercial from last year. Say what you will about Bruno Aveillan's baroque aesthetic. No one will ever claim the guy did anything halfway.

    Speaking of aesthetic choices, the spot definitely has a Russian vibe—our hero is kind of making a tundra-to-Moscow trek here, and perhaps that's appropriate given the nationality of the object of his desire, Natalia Vodianova. But in fact it's based on a Persian legend about the love between the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the 17th century—a story that inspired Jacques Guerlain to create Shalimar (a reference to the gardens around Mumtaz's remote home) back in 1925.

    The landscape is undeniably beautiful, as is Vodianova, but can someone please tell me when YouTube relaxed its prohibitions on nudity? This seems to me like a fairly recent occurrence. That racy Robin Thicke video is basically naked girls all the time (no, we're not going to link to it—you're at work, you pervert), as is the Justin Timberlake "Tunnel Vision" video.

    YouTube addressed this in July, saying its guidelines "generally prohibit nudity, [but] we make exceptions when it is presented in an educational, documentary or artistic context." You could actually argue this spot is artistic and you wouldn't get laughed out of the room. It's certainly cool, what with the slow motion and the pretty girls and the dehydrated city springing forth from the lake that the harem overlooks. It's sort of Lawrence of Arabia, without any texture or characters.

    Anyway, kudos to Guerlain for, well, spending what is obviously a superhuman amount of cash on this ridiculous confection, and to Avellian for making it. It looks like the trailer for a movie that got every Oscar nomination in every category and made the cover of Time magazine.

    I will also say that the lovely violin score is just good—not ironically good or lots-of-money-and-no-taste good. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, even when everything around it looks like the Bellagio Las Vegas in music-video form.

    UPDATE: As our eagle-eared readers have observed below, the reason the score sounds so good is that it was composed by Hans Zimmer ... for The Da Vinci Code. Take a listen.

    Client: Guerlain
    Director: Bruno Aveillan

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    Do you wish your wife were more like Flo, the ever-peppy, white-aproned saleswoman for Progressive Insurance? Do you wish your home were more like the Superstore, the white-walled setting of dozens of Progressive commercials, and regular habitat of Flo? Probably not. Still, this new spot from ad agency Arnold shows you what it would feel like anyway. It starts off with the sort of fairly routine "Have you heard about [Product X]?" discussion about which only marketers fantasize, and ends with a husband's whole world—including his spouse—being transformed into a scene from a light-filled insurance salesroom. According to Progressive, it's the first Superstore ad sans Flo—or at least, with Stephanie Courtney as Flo. She is approaching her 100th commercial for the brand, but also finds herself joined by a growing cast of characters and guest stars. Naysayers, don't get your hopes up, though—she's survived much worse than a little vacation.

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    Monistat used "granny panties" in a recent ad as a metaphor for how women feel when they have a yeast infection. Now, though, after supposed complaints from the granny-panty-wearing community, Monistat is backtracking. On a new grannypanties.org website, the pharma brand—perhaps inspired by maxipad maker Bodyform's faux contrition—has issued the following heartfelt apology that's anything but heartfelt:

    To the makers and wearers of granny panties everywhere, we here at Monistat offer our sincerest apologies.
         By helping millions of women feel like their sexy selves faster, we've seen some unintended repercussions. We have painted your treasured unmentionables in an unflattering light, and as a result, the market for bloomers is dwindling by the day, and the international granny panty industry has fallen on tough times.
         And though there will always be some who choose to allow their undergarments to ride up to their lower back for all to see, this does not mean they should be judged. Their choice of comfort over conformity is a bold one. Those very hip-huggers helped pave the way for the g-strings, thongs, and boyshorts of today.
         But the days of 10-gallon skivvies and support that stretches for yards are coming to an end. And honestly, we're not all that sad to see them go.

    Monistat, of course, manufactured both the controversy and the apology. But it's nicely executed by ad agency Allen & Gerritsen. Particularly amusing is the accompanying video on the website depicting a faux talk show, Box Talk with Kitty Montgomery, in which women square off from both sides of the granny-panty debate. Check out the video below.

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    In today's culinary environment, a restaurant needs more than good food, solid service and aesthetically pleasing décor to gain public acclaim. Its ingredients need to be coddled, too.

    Beef must be grass-fed, the chickens free-range, and baby lettuce should be softly serenaded with lullabies every night. And we're not just talking about trendy farm-to-table restaurants here—hell, even McDonald's has been waxing poetic about its suppliers. Now, Rubio's, a West Coast purveyor of fish tacos, is running a campaign from barrettSF that attempts to pay grand homage to the source of its famous seafood, with rather mixed results.

    "To the ocean, that mythical beast of such enormity, to be calm and calming," proclaims a gravelly voice with a level of solemnity that almost belies the fact that it's narrating a spot for a fast-casual taco purveyor, not a Discovery Channel special. "Its waters bring shrimp and pollock, rain, tilapia," the voice continues, against images of waves bobbing upon a vast ocean filled with tilapia, that most majestic of creatures.

    But a fish taco needs more than just fish. After bringing said seafood to shore, it's time to "blacken the fish, pluck the lime, slice avocados and chilis in a place that is itself very much the ocean, full of great things, patient, swift and afloat," the narrator continues, seemingly unaware that he's not making much sense.

    The point of the ad is clear—Rubio's respects the ocean, hooray for sustainability, etc.—but the execution is a bit of a head-scratcher. Is the strangely somber, perplexing narration actually a commentary on the vast unfathomability of the sea? Or is it just another ad by a fast-casual restaurant taking itself a bit too seriously?

    Either way, I'm craving a fish taco.

    Client: Rubio's
    Spot: "To the Ocean"
    Agency: barrettSF, San Francisco
    Creative Directors: Pete Harvey, Jamie Barrett
    Copywriter: Pete Harvey
    Art Director: Nik Daum
    Executive Producer: Kacey Hart
    Managing Partner: Patrick Kelly
    Account Director: Molly Warner
    Senior Proofreeder: Saul Sabarr
    Production Company: Academy Films
    Director: Marcus Söderlund
    Director of Photography: Allan Wilson
    Head of Content, Producer: James Cunningham
    Editorial Company: Cut + Run, London
    Editor: Ben Campbell
    Producer: Annabelle Dunbar-Whittaker
    Postproduction: Finish, London
    Colorist: Paul Harrison
    Audio Mix, Sound Design: 740 Sound
    Mixer, Sound Designer: Rommel Molina
    Music: "Labor" by Small Sur

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    Chocolate is both the medium and message in this Milka campaign from Paris agency Buzzman. Some 10 million of the chocolatier's flagship Alpine milk bars destined for sale in France and Germany, the brand's biggest markets, were cast in new molds for a September promotion. Each bar is missing a single chocolate square, though the overall 100-gram weight has been maintained, as the remaining squares are a tad larger. Using a code on each package, consumers can either request the missing squares for themselves … or send them to someone else, along with a "tender note" explaining the gift. (The offer is actually subject to local weather conditions, to avoid melting.) Milka says the effort is designed to let people truly experience its "Dare to be tender" tagline. It's a clever idea, but you know … even with a note, I'm not so sure I'd really get the point from a single, tiny chocolate square. If your feelings are so tender, just send me the whole bar! I'm partial to almonds. Also, caramel. A carton would be nice. Via Adverve.

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    Here's a brilliant spot starring two god-fearing guinea pigs arguing over whether their house is possessed by an angel or a demon. The ad is just one execution in a tiny, Web-only BBDO campaign starring talking animals for AT&T Digital Life, a technology and security solution that lets you control electronics in your home while you're away. The insight that advanced technology probably seems like magic to our pets is delightfully simple, and the voice acting and writing for these adorable guineas is spot on—particularly when Kim threatens to get on Carl "like a bum on a pork chop" if he doesn't stop his "rantin' and ravin'" about devils. The other two spots, about a skeptical cat and a turd-eating dog, are OK, but somehow lack the timing and charm of Kim and Carl. In fact, I could see the guineas in a series of their own. But next time, double-check the set design. That's totally a hamster wheel, and you don't want to kill your stars.

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    We've all been there. Heartbroken, bearded and alone. This is place that some might call "the dumps," an unbearable place full of darkness, loneliness and misery. It's all because you've been without "the one" for far too long. (It reminds me very much of the time my dog ran away when I was 5. I still wonder where Kujo is. Or that time my 7th grade girlfriend left me because I got braces.) And even though Blake Shelton takes you fishing to cheer you up, it's not working. You still miss 'em. I guess the only thing left to do is belt out arguably the most passionate lyrics ever laid to vinyl: "Reunited," by Peaches and Herb. 

    Before you know it, the sun will shine again, the animals will begin to chirp again, and Christina Aguilera's angelic voice will rise behind you—seconds before she pulls a Jesus and walks on water to join you and Blake. If that's not magical enough for you, there's more. Moments later, Poseidon, ah hem, the great Cee Lo Green, emerges with three lovely mermaids to round out the hook. "Reunited and it feels so good!"

    At this point, you may have a hard time believing what you've just witnessed, but what the hell. The band is finally back together! Or is it? This all can't be real, right? Guess, we'll have to tune into NBC's The Voice on Sept. 23 to see if dreams really do come true.

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    Stimorol Sensations, a South African gum that appears to be the same thing as Trident Layers, claims to be the most indulgent gum in the universe. In its latest spot by Ogilvy Cape Town, an office drone pops the layered gum, slips away into an indulgent fantasy of synchronized swimmers and fruit waterfalls that cop a feel, and, of course, walks across water to play a saxophone duet with a parrot. The whole thing was put together using an indulgent set that included 30 tons of pink goo. Check out the behind-the-scenes video for shots of the set and a delightfully unenlightening interview with the quirky director, Trevor Clarence. Credits below.

    Client: Stimorol Sensations
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Cape Town, South Africa
    Executive Creative Director: Chris Gotz
    Associate Creative Director: Tommy Le Roux
    Creative Group Head: Prabashan Panther
    Agency Producer: Anthea Beylis
    Art Directors: Reijer van der Vlugt, Matthew Pullen
    Copywriters: Justin Osburn, Dean Paradise
    Production Company: Your Girlfriend
    Director: Trevor Clarence
    Executive Producer: Linda Bogle
    Postproduction: Black Ginger
    Sound Design: We Love Jam
    Voiceover Artist: Adam Behr

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    If anyone out there considers themselves a card-carrying A.1. steak sauce enthusiast, you'll soon have the actual card to prove it. The venerable steak sauce and Crispin Porter + Bogusky have launched the A.1. for Life campaign, which rewards hard-core A.1. brand loyalists with perks like a VIP card that can get you steak sauce whenever you want it, wherever you are. Not bad. The campaign also offers swank Major League Baseball seats and—for the simple cost of your dignity—tickets to any Live Nation concert in America. (You have to upload a video of yourself singing an "A.1. Love Song" to get those.) Finally, you could win a belt buckle, watch or fedora with secret hatches for smuggling sauce packets around town. This seems like the most natural fit, because I feel like anyone who would call themselves an A.1. enthusiast also owns a fedora and wears it with casual clothes.

    Via Co.Create.

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    Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: The bar for deodorant ads has gotten really, really high over the last few years.

    Don't look at me. I didn't decide this was the category that needed really absurd comedy creative. But Procter & Gamble's Old Spice has proven remarkably game throughout multiple campaigns from Wieden + Kennedy, and its directors—in this case, Steve Rogers of Biscuit Filmworks—have been correspondingly willing to let their freak flags fly.

    Old Spice just released four new 15-second spots for the NFL season. First off, these are really funny ads. "Snow Globe" may be my favorite, but "Absent" made me laugh really loud at my desk just now, so that's got to be worth something. It's interesting how directly these spots, done in the same style as W+K's recent Old Spice bar-soap ads, make fun of a specific kind of creative—basically everything with a choral jingle over an otherwise-silent CPG spot in the 1980s. Musically, they're all dead on.

    They're kind of perfect for ad nerds, actually. Remember the Doublemint ads where everybody loaded their gum into their mouths in exactly the same ridiculous way? Right, OK. Now, see how these guys sniff the deodorant sticks in exactly the same ridiculous way no one has ever sniffed a deodorant stick (in public, at least)? That's some deep CPG ad knowledge right there, my friends. Learn from it.

    That, ultimately, is what makes these ads so good—they're super-accurate pastiches of a specific kind of ad with one huge, horribly wrong difference. You may not know all the little ins and outs of the parodies—I'm fairly sure I'm missing several—but we've all seen somebody transported to a beach by the taste of his beer/smell of her laundry detergent/experience of sucking Cheeto dust off his thumb. Yet for some reason, lizards are never eating that guy's legs, as in the "Lizards" spot, although Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos will probably never catch another forward pass now. (The other guy in the ads is New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo.)

    Really, if you think about the number of inexplicable beachside teleportations that go totally well, this is just the law of averages finally working itself out.

    Client: Old Spice
    Spots: Snow Globe :15 | Lizards :15 | Absent :15 | Coach :15

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Jason Bagley | Craig Allen
    Copywriter: Nathaniel Lawlor
    Art Director: Croix Gagnon
    Producer: Lindsay Reed
    Producer: Jennifer Fiske
    Account Team: Liam Doherty | Nick Pirtle
    Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples | Susan Hoffman
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Steve Rogers
    Executive Producers: Shawn Lacy | Holly Vega
    Line Producer: Jay Veal
    Director of Photography: Ben Seresin

    Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Adam Pertofsky
    Asst. Editor: Marjorie Sacks
    Post Producer: Julia Batter

    VFX Company: The Mill
    Head of Production: Arielle Davis
    Producer: Christina Thompson
    Coordinator: Ben Sposato
    Creative Director: John Leonti
    Shoot Supervisor: John Lenoti | Narbeh Mardirossian
    Visual Effects Supervisor | Lead Flame Artist: Tim Davies
    3D Lead: Lu Meng-Yang
    2D Artists: Ben Smith, Narbeh Mardirossian, Adam Lambert
    3D Artists: James Ma, Thomas Briggs, Mike Di Nocco, Jason Jasnsky, Brian Yu
    Matte Painter: Daniel Thron

    Music: Libman Music
    Composer | Arranger: Paul Libman
    Record | Mix: Avatar Studios
    Engineer: Jay Messina
    SFX Studio: Lime Studios
    Sound Designer: Loren Silber

    Color Transfer: Company3
    Artist: Sean Coleman
    Producer: Matt Moran

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    Here's a fun bit of false advertising from Crispin Porter + Bogusky for Kraft Mac & Cheese.

    After 75 years, the brand is adding four new flavors: Garlic & Herb Alfredo, Buffalo Cheddar, Three Cheese Jalapeño and Cheesy Southwest Chipotle. The flavors were just invented, but Kraft wants them to feel like they've been around forever—as rich in history and nostalgic in feel as the original. So, it has invented a whole imagined history around them—one that never existed. "Even though it's new, it's nostalgic. It's new-stalgic," the agency explains.

    Over at new-stalgic.com, you can scroll through a whole historical timeline of vintage photos, videos and ads dating back to 1938, showing milestones in the history of the four flavors. Seems they've been a fond part of everyone's life for decades, despite not actually being in anyone's life ever. As they say, never forget the times you can't remember.

    The campaign extends to Pandora, where a radio station, New-stalgic Tunes, will play new covers of old hits, and of course to Facebook, where the brand is having fun updating past decades of its timeline.







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    Who Editorial director Kerry Diamond (l.) and creative director Claudia Wu
    What Niche food magazine
    Where New York offices

    Food and fashion haven’t always had the best of relationships. But these days, fashion insiders can be found blogging about their favorite recipes, whipping up a line of vegan cookies or evangelizing the farm-to-table movement. Capturing that intersection of style and sustenance is the new biannual Cherry Bombe. Launched in May by a pair of Harper’s Bazaar alums, Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, the inaugural issue featured supermodel (and part-time baker) Karlie Kloss, and inside, food-obsessed women from Sofia Coppola to chef April Bloomfield. Sample sizes be damned: For those in the know, cronuts are the new Céline. 

    Photo: Christopher Gabello 

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    We've seen all manner of prankvertising over the past few years, but this campaign from LG—if it's real and not staged—could be the most brutal example yet. (It's also questionably timed, given the Syrian crisis.) It's one thing to scare people with a bloody head smashing through a mirror. It's quite another to … well, just watch. Via Unruly Media.

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    The bond among true friends is one forged of iron—hardened, powerful and time-tested. Nothing strengthens that bond more than friendly competition—testing your physical abilities, challenging and pushing each other despite your disadvantage. Guinness captures the true essence of friendship in this poignant spot with a twist ending, part of its "Made of More" campaign. What's more, it's accomplished in less than 20 words. The music is The Cinematic Orchestra's 2007 track "To Build a Home." Agency: BBDO, New York.


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