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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    BETC and Canal+ together produced one of the most beloved ads of recent years in "The Bear," a hilarious and impeccably produced spot that won the Film Craft Grand Prix at Cannes in 2012. The French agency and client are now back with their latest commercial—an intriguingly odd production starring a bunch of dwarf clowns.

    Why dwarf clowns? The spot promotes a new Canal+ channel, launching this month, that's fully dedicated to TV series. The great thing about TV series is you're always dying to see what happens next. Likewise, in watching this ad, the viewer has no idea who these dwarf clowns are, or what they're going to do next. And then, at the end, it turns out, rather absurdly, that they've been subjected to a cliffhanger themselves, which explains their peripatetic behavior.

    "The idea was to make an intriguing film that creates suspense—you can't wait to find out how it ends. Just like when you watch a good series," says Stéphane Xiberras, president and chief creative officer of BETC Paris. "This was one of the reasons we chose dwarf clowns; in great series there's often something a bit odd about the unusual characters that makes you become attached to them—a cop serial killer, a depressed mafioso, a family of undertakers."

    The spot was shot in Vancouver this summer. It was directed by Steve Rogers and will be followed by an outdoor campaign all over France. Credits below.

    Client: Canal+
    Client Management: Alice Holzman, Elodie Bassinet, Anne-Gaëlle Petri, Coline André
    Agency: BETC Paris
    Agency Management: Bertille Toledano, Guillaume Espinet, Alix de Luze, Pauline Filippi, Marius Chiumino
    Executive Creative Director: Stephane Xiberras
    Copywriter: Jean-Christophe Royer
    Art Director: Eric Astorgue
    Assistant Art Director: Damien Binello
    Strategic Planning: Clarisse Lacarrau, Vianney Vaute
    Traffic: Coralie Chasset
    TV Producer: Isabelle Menard
    Production Company: Wanda
    Producer: Jérôme Denis
    Sound Production: Kouz
    Director: Steve Rogers

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    After years of the hard sell, some regional and national retailers are actually trying to build brands. Last month, Men's Warehouse jettisoned its bearded chairman from its advertising (after jettisoning him from the company) in favor of a music-driven approach. And last week, Sleepy's put its first outside agency to work with playful new ads. Now, Burlington gets a brand makeover in a character-driven campaign from Silver + Partners.

    Directed by Harold Einstein, TV ads feature adults in public spaces oddly voicing their internal thoughts about their clothes and what they represent. And while the clothes don't make the man (or woman), they may reflect his or her personality—at least according to the campaign. Each ad segues from a series of verbal thought balloons to pop-up images of clothes and a male voice that says, "Style says it all." Oh, and there's a bit of hard sell via on-screen copy that notes, "Up to 65% off department store prices every day." The tagline: "Style is everything."

    The effort broke this week and follows a similar push by the retailer for back-to-school clothes in ads featuring kids speaking their minds—via internal voices, this time—as they view themselves (and their clothes) in the mirror. Best of that bunch: a boy in a striped shirt and jeans who thinks, "I'm about to go ninja in here," before he strikes a karate pose.

    Client: Burlington
    Campaign: "Style Says It for You
    Agency: Silver + Partners
    Chief Creative Director: Eric Silver
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Ashley Marshall
    Creative Director, Art Director: Jaclyn Rink Crowley
    Managing Director: Michael Stefanski
    Account Director: Lauren Pollare
    Senior Producers: Chris Thielo, Terry Brogan
    Production Company: Station Film
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Managing Partner: Stephen Orent
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney
    Editorial: The Now Corporation
    Editor: Jesse Reisner
    Executive Producer: Nancy Finn
    Post, Finishing: Suspect
    Managing Partners: Rob Appelblatt, Tim Crean
    Director: Hoon Chong
    Creative Director: Colin McGreal
    Director of Photography: Evan Cohen
    Producers: Tsiliana Jolson, Kevin Daly, Alexander Decaneas
    Lead Animator: Damien Cho
    Lead Flame Artist: Brendan O'Neil
    Telecine: Co3
    Colorist: Tim Masick

    Client: Burlington
    Campaign: Back to School
    Agency: Silver + Partners
    Chief Creative Director: Eric Silver
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Ashley Marshall
    Creative Director, Art Director: Jaclyn Rink Crowley
    Managing Director: Michael Stefanski
    Account Director: Lauren Pollare
    Senior Producer: Chris Thielo
    Production Company: Coverdale
    Director: Amir Farhang
    Executive Producer: Andy Coverdale
    Editorial: The Now Corporation
    Editor: Jesse Reisner
    Executive Producer: Nancy Finn
    Post/End Tag Animation: Hornet Inc.
    Designer: David Hill
    Executive Producer: Jan Stebbins
    Producer: Cathy Kwan
    Post/Finishing: Suspect
    Producers: Tsiliana Jolson
    Telecine: Co3
    Colorist: Tim Masick
    Audio Mix: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tommy Jucarone
    EP: Vicky Ferraro

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    Contradiction is the key to this brilliantly graphic online spot for Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray that eliminates odor. They took a beautiful woman with a refined British accent and gave her a complete potty mouth. From the moment she admits she just "birthed a creamy behemoth from [her] cavernous bowels," I was glued to my seat. In fact, the Poo-Pourri girl spent two days sitting on that toilet for the spot, discussing her tenacious skid marks and being licked by cows. But it's not all shits and giggles. She also dumps a steaming load of information on us, with explanatory poop-related animation. It needs it, because Poo-Pourri (yes, it's a real product) is the only toilet spray that you use before you pinch a loaf—a difficult concept for those of us used to aerosol sprays and old-fashioned matches. The spot, which has topped 1.5 million YouTube views in three days, is courtesy of the Harmon Brothers, two guys who launched their own product, Orabrush, before moving on to handle Poo-Pourri's marketing with even more style. Smart move. Poo-Pourri will come out smelling like roses if the product is half as winning as the Poo-Pourri girl. Credits below.

    Director, Writer: Joel Ackerman
    Additional Writing: Daniel Harmon, Jeffrey Harmon
    Producer: Tess Kelly
    Director of Photography: Tel Stewart
    Poo-Pourri Girl: Bethany Woodruff
    Boyfriend: Jordan Hunter
    Editor: Tel Stewart
    Artwork: Daniel Harmon, Nicole Story
    Animation: Tel Stewart
    Dress Created by: Nicole Story (amazing Poo-Pourri employee!)
    Makeup, Hair: Michelle Miles
    Gaffers: Tyler Stevens, Kelsie Moore
    Set Construction: Jonas Sappington, Dallin Blankenship

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    BBH London expands its "We Own the Weekend" campaign for the Guardian and Observer's Saturday and Sunday newspapers with a pair of dark-humored spots that focus on the "Tech Monthly" and "Cook" supplements. In one spot, a guy is unable to control the destructive force of his high-tech "MegaGlove"; in the other, a woman's hosted luncheon ends poorly for all involved. Ah well, if it bleeds, it leads.

    "If our initial campaign was designed to inform the public that the Guardian and the Observer own their weekend, this follow-up dramatizes the repercussions of resistance," says David Kolbusz, deputy executive creative director at BBH. "When you try to own your own weekend, things can turn out very badly. Frankly, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't buy their papers."

    The work maintains the high quality of the three-minute January launch film starring Hugh Grant. Still, I can't help feeling it's all for naught. No matter how smart its marketing gets, the newspaper business long ago got "owned" by digital media—every day of the week.

    Credits below.

    Client: Guardian and Observer
    Director of Brand and Engagement: Richard Furness
    Head of Marketing and Engagement: Toby Hollis
    Product Marketing Manager: Charlotte Emmerson

    Agency: BBH London
    Creative Team: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes, Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis
    Deputy Executive Creative Director: David Kolbusz
    Producer: Chris Watling
    Strategic Business Lead: Ngaio Pardon
    Strategy Director: Agathe Guerrier
    Strategist: Alana King
    Team Director: Jon Barnes
    Team Managers: Fiona Buddery, Jonny Price

    Production Company: Biscuit
    Director: Jeff Low
    Executive Producer: Orlando Woods
    Producer: Kwok Yau
    Director of Photography: Ed Wild
    Postproduction: The Mill
    Editing House: Final Cut
    Editor: Ed Cheeseman
    Sound: Factory
    Sound Engineer: Sam Robson


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    Over the years, Axe has been telling men around the world that smelling a certain way (namely, like a hormone-addled teenage boy doused in pungent drugstore body spray) is a surefire way to attract hot, vapid ladies (as if there is any other kind!). The same goes for their hair—style it just right, and like magic, an attractive female will appear out of nowhere. Alas, men being men, the actual styling process can present a challenge: Which pomade to buy? What does one do with said pomade once it has been purchased? Wait, what is pomade?

    In a new series of spots from BBH London, Axe demystifies the process by offering up four distinct male hair tropes complete with step-by-step instructions and the specific Axe product needed to achieve it (even though they all appear to be the exact same goo). There's "The Clean Cut Look," a combed, parted and rakishly backswept style; "The Messy Look," favored by fans of Harry Styles; "The Natural Look," a bit of a puzzler, considering it could conceivably be achieved by not using any styling product at all; and "The Spiked Up Look," to satisfy any lingering nostalgia for David Beckham circa 2002 (or, at the extreme end, Ryan Cabrera circa Audrina Patridge still being relevant).

    Surprisingly enough, in addition to being informative, several of the video tutorials are also mildly amusing, each poking fun at its own conceit. There is no godly reason for the star of "The Messy Look" to be styling his hair while caught in a storm at sea, or "The Spiked Up Look" guy to pause for a primping session during an action sequence. And Axe knows its "Natural Look" man is a tool ("Take note: this step requires a modicum of effort"). Only "The Clean Cut Look" is a total yawn—posh accent, douchey guy, martinis, snore.

    Better yet, although the spots all provide the usual end reward—a hot girl—they're tongue-in-cheek enough to avoid being aggressively misogynistic. Then again, maybe the women aren't on camera long enough to be exploited.

    Either way, it's a step in the right direction for Axe.

    Client: Axe
    Global Vice President: Dean Aragon
    Global Brand Director: Victor Hugo

    Agency: BBH, London
    Creative Team: Harry Orton, Robin Warman, Mark Lewis, Matt Fitch
    Creative Directors: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes
    Deputy Executive Creative Director: David Kolbusz
    Producer: Glenn Paton
    Strategic Business Lead: Ngaio Pardon
    Strategy Director: Jonathan Bottomley
    Strategist: Tim Jones
    Team Directors: Heather Cuss, Roxane Gergaud
    Team Manager: Cressida Holmes-Smith

    Production Company: Caviar
    Director: Nick Jasenovic
    Executive Producer: Anna Smith
    Producer: Neil Cray
    Director of Photography: Ben Todd
    Postproduction: Framestore
    Editing House: Cut+Run
    Editor: Sam Jones
    Sound: Factory Studios
    Sound Engineer: Sam Robson

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    McDonald's and Burrell Communications update a classic Super Bowl spot from 1993, pitting Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, the opposing quarterbacks from the big game back in February, against each other in a contest for the chain's Mighty Wings. Their competition features improbable passes through distant goalposts. First one to miss watches the winner eat.

    The original commercial starred Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing a game of Horse for a Big Mac. Their increasingly crazy contest took them from a basketball arena to the top of Chicago's Sears Tower as Jordan called a fantastical shot: "Off the expressway, over the river, off the billboard, through the window, off the wall …"

    That tale was self-contained, and fittingly, there was no winner, giving the impression that the two titans would battle for all eternity, ultimately bouncing balls off the moon and stars in their quest for a burger. (Luckily, McDonald's food would still be in decent condition no matter how long they played.) The reboot has two parts. The first 30-second installment (posted below) breaks on TV tonight and ends on a cliffhanger, as a power failure throws the quarterbacks into darkness—"Oh man, not again!"—and someone apparently tries to make off with their box of wings. Who could it be? Jordan and/or Bird? Tim Tebow? Miley Cyrus? (OK, we know it's not Tebow.) The revelation comes in part two, set to air Oct. 6.

    Marlena Peleo-Lazar, chief creative officer at McDonald's USA, calls the remake"a fresh take on an idea our customers have loved, but in a sport they haven't seen us do it with." That's all well and good, and the effort is certainly getting buzz. Still, a remake with stars from a different sport was hardly necessary. And regardless of the big reveal, and even with original director, Joe Pytka, back behind the camera, it was doomed to pale by comparison with the original commercial.

    Don't get me wrong. The new ad is well-made and amusing … but Bird and Jordan, in this context, cannot be replaced. They were more than great athletes. They were transcendent figures who helped define the popular culture of their generation. Flacco and Kaepernick are gifted on-field performers, and seem like nice enough guys, but they lack the stature and quite frankly, the charisma of their predecessors. The 1993 spot felt right because you really could picture Larry and Michael playing a little one-on-one for their personal edification, sans cameras, ribbing each other for each missed shot. Flacco and Kaepernick, well, I guess they'd have a throwing contest if McDonald's paid them lots of money to do it in a commercial.

    Plus, the blackout, echoing the one that stopped Super Bowl XLVII for 30 minutes, and the "To be continued" aspect feel like cutesy gimmicks added to compensate for the new spot's inability to match up to its inspiration.

    If Bird and Jordan don't make an encore appearance in part two, it would be disappointing, because that's what the setup demands. If they do, it could seem pat and predictable. The original was nothing but net. So far, the remake feels like an incomplete pass.

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    Few client-agency teams do scare tactics quite as well as St. John Ambulance and BBH London.

    With their artful yet horrifying set pieces about the importance of knowing first aid, the pair have been mainstays at Cannes, mostly recently winning a silver Film Lion for last year's excruciating "Helpless" spot. Now, they're back with a new film and interactive experience, launching today—and it's just as bleak, and sneaks up on you just as cunningly.

    The film hinges on an element of surprise, which we won't spoil, but things are ominous from Blink director Dougal Wilson's very first frames. Something's going to happen to this kid—but what? In the end, though, it's not really about the child at all. It's about the woman and the man, and only one of them has a chance to save the boy's life.

    The 60-second spot is supported by an interactive experience that immerses you in the story and demonstrates simple first aid, which can be the difference between life and death.

    "I had an experience myself where someone needed my help and I didn't know first aid, and I will always feel that I could have done more," says Wilson, best known for his John Lewis ads and recent "Pony" spot for Three."By putting other people in this position through the film, and then teaching them how to save the boy with the online interactive experience, we hope to avoid anyone having that feeling of helplessness in real life."

    Client: St John Ambulance

    Agency: BBH, London
    Creative Team: Rob Ellis & Alex Ball
    Creative Director: Matt Doman & Ian Heartfield
    TV Producer: Natalie Parish
    Interactive Producer: Kate Sutherland
    Strategic Business Lead: Ann-Marie Costelloe
    Strategist: Carl Mueller
    Team Manager: Lauren Blunden

    Production Company: Blink
    Director: Dougal Wilson
    Executive Producer: James Studholme
    Producer: Ewen Brown
    DoP: Lasse Frank

    Post Production: MPC
    VFX Producer: Josh King
    VFX Supervisors: Tom Harding and Adam Crocker
    Colorists: Jean-Clement Soret and James Tillett

    Editor/Editing House: Joe Guest / Paul Moth @ Final Cut
    Sound: Factory
    Sound Engineer: Sam Robson

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    Grey New York and MJZ director Nicolai Fuglsig's "Inspired" spot for Canon won the 2013 Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial on Sunday at the 65th Annual Creative Arts Emmys. The win ended a streak of four straight victories for ads created by Wieden + Kennedy. W+K had a horse in this year's race, too—Nike's "Jogger." The two other nominees this year were Google Chrome "Jess Time" by BBH and Google Creative Lab and Grey Poupon's "The Chase" by Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

    See the Canon spot below and the other three ads here.

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    Virgin Mobile has been retraining your brain for a while. Now, it wants to borrow your eyes.

    In a fun stunt called BlinkWashing from Mother New York and rehabstudio, the mobile carrier makes its sales pitch in 25 separate but linked YouTube videos—which you control simply by blinking. (The site uses your webcam to find your eyes, and then accurately detect your blinks.) The best part is, all the videos are time-coded and "smart cached," so that when you blink, the next video's dialogue picks up where the previous one left off. In other words, blink and you won't miss it.

    The videos themselves offer an impressive assortment of oddball characters and scenes. There are even Mother employees featured in the spots: Gabriel Blido, sporting his astounding mustache, and Debra Dean, who shows off her hip-hop dancing skills.

    Give it a spin over at Virgin Mobile's YouTube page.

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    Some precocious Maori children in New Zealand argue about whose dad is more irresponsible in this curiously amusing PSA about driving while stoned—the latest in a string of such ads from Clemenger BBDO for the New Zealand Transport Agency. Jalopnik promised that I would feel "all sorts of feels" while watching the ad—and I probably would if I could understand more than one-third of what the kids are saying. Still, the approach is interesting. Using humor and a light touch is certainly preferable to shock tactics like hitting little girls with cars. This spot was shot on 35mm black-and-white film by Taika Waititi, whose short film Two Cars, One Night also featured kids chatting in cars. Below, check out another recent ad in the series featuring shopkeepers complaining about customers who come in high.

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    IDEA: Are you a reasonably sensible person offline, only to act naive, stupid or flat-out reckless on the Internet? You're not alone.

    "People have the same password for every device. Some people even have a folder on their desktop labeled 'Private Documents,'" said Brad Berg, creative director at McAfee, the Internet security company. Well, there's an app for that—or rather, a whole new suite of McAfee services called LiveSafe, offering identity protection, secure cloud storage, password management and more. It protects you from yourself—your digital self, who probably isn't careful enough online.

    "This idea—that the threat actually isn't from without but from within—allows people to see themselves and say, 'Wow, that's my behavior.' That suddenly makes it relevant," Berg said.

    McAfee tapped Venables Bell & Partners to bring the idea to life creatively, which the agency does in three new spots showing ordinary people talking with their more comically oblivious digital selves.

    TALENT: Casting was crucial. The agency considered using twins, or siblings, or even single actors doubled through CGI. In the end, they cast people who looked a lot alike.

    VB&P showed Berg a study that had been done on doppelgängers. "The second I thumbed through this little study, I was like, 'This is funny,'" said Berg. "I just knew immediately that it was the way to go. For me, two people who are awfully similar but not the same is not only funnier, it's just fresher."

    Lee Einhorn, a creative director at VB&P who also directed the ads, said it also brought more energy. "I don't think we would have gotten the same sense of a comedy team [using CGI]," he said. "These are dialogue-driven spots, and having both people there let them hit on what we had in the scripts, but also improv a lot of stuff."

    COPYWRITING: The agency wrote six scripts, producing the three. (More spots could come soon.) The finished dialogue was 90 percent scripted, with "a line or two" improvised in each ad, said Einhorn.

    The banter has each protagonist pleading with his or her digital self—a mild antagonist—to be more vigilant with personal data online. "Do you have that digital copy of our taxes?" a woman says to her online version in an ad about cloud storage. "I have a lot of things to do for us, like keep our 800 friends amused," replies the woman, who's playing around with cat videos.

    The spots close with two on-screen lines—the first a product feature, and the second the tagline, which is: "Protect yourself from your digital self." That is followed by the McAfee LiveSafe logo and URL.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Einhorn shot the spots over two days in Marin County, north of San Francisco. They're structured as interviews, with the two selves addressing an unseen interlocutor. "The reference points were Christopher Guest to camera stuff like Waiting for Guffman," said Einhorn.

    The visual style is "filmic, but also casual and simple," he added. He went with basic camera angles—deciding against doing cutaways while keeping a straight-on view. The characters are dressed the same—they are the same person, after all—but with little flourishes that indicate a bit more daring on the part of the digital self. (She's literally more unbuttoned in the storage spot.)

    SOUND: A short, mischievous piece of originally scored music opens and closes each ad. "It's like tucking in the viewer and letting them know something's coming," said Einhorn. He had the opening to Curb Your Enthusiasm in mind—"the five notes you play before going right into the funny."

    MEDIA: Online video and display units. The campaign also includes a website redesign, microsite and retail point-of-sale displays.


    Client: McAfee
    Brand: LiveSafe
    Spots: "Gregg," "Justin," "Megan"
    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Executive Creative Director: Paul Venables and Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Lee Einhorn
    Art Director: Greg Damiani
    Copywriter: Craig Ross
    Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
    Agency Producer: Adam Battista
    Production Company: Lumberyard
    Director: Lee Einhorn
    Director of Photography: Andy Lilien
    Executive Producer: James Hagedorn
    Producer: Tom Ruge
    Editing Company: Lumberyard
    Editor: Daniel Figueroa
    Post-Producer: Anna Fields
    Color: Company 3
    Music: Mophonics
    Mix: M Squared Productions

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    Today in semi-obscure but fantastic source material for ads: A-ha's famous video for "Take on Me" has inspired the fun new Volkswagen spot below by Deutsch L.A.

    The VW spot, directed by David Shane, whose résumé includes Bud Light's "Swear Jar," is a combination of stills, animated sequences and live action, just like the original video. And like the original, it was rotoscoped—meaning they filmed the actors and the cars and then animated the results.

    The automaker must have figured enough of the target market was soaking up MTV in the mid-1980s to make this worthwhile. The original video, directed by Steve Barron, made the song famous rather than the other way around—the track was released three times before finally hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1985, a year after it was recorded. The video won six prizes at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards but was beaten out for Video of the Year by another Barron production—the video for "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.

    The end of the VW spot is amusing, and true to life: As Rolling Stone has noted,"Take on Me" does indeed have "one of the hardest-to-sing choruses in pop history."

    Client: Volkswagen of America
    Interim Chief Marketing Officer: Wayne Brannon
    VP, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
    GM, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
    Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen
    Advertising Specialist: Chanel Arola

    Spot: "Feeling Carefree"

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Executive Creative Director: Michael Kadin
    Group Creative Director: Matt Ian
    Creative Director: Mark Peters
    Associate Creative Director: Ryan Scott
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
    Director of Content Production: Victoria Guenier
    Executive Integrated Producer: Jim Haight

    Production Company: O Positive
    Director: David Shane
    Executive Producer: Marc Grill
    Line Producer: Ken Licata

    Editorial Company:
    Union Editorial
    Editor: Jim Haygood
    Assistant Editor: Dylan Firshein
    Executive Producer: Michael Raimondi
    Producer: Joe Ross

    Post Facility: Company 3
    Colorist: Beau Leon

    Animation/Visual Effects Company: Passion Pictures
    Head of Production: Anna Lord
    Executive Producer: Alex Webster
    Producer: Matt Saxton
    Director: John Roberston

    Music/Composer: "Take On Me"
    Performed by a-ha
    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. & Sony/ATV Music Publishing
    By arrangement with Warner Music Group Commercial Licensing & Sony/ATV Commercial Music Group

    Audio Post: Lime
    Mixer: Mark Meyuhas
    Assistant: Matt Miller
    Producer: Jessica Locke

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
    Account Management Credits:
    Group Account Director: Tom Else
    Account Director: Monica Jungbeck
    Account Supervisor: Alex Gross
    Account Executive: Tara Poosti
    Assistant Account Executive: Mary Cherwien
    Product Specialist: Eddie Chae
    Account Planners:
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Susie Lyons
    Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Group Director Integrated Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias
    Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Courtney Tylka

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    Two shows left, bitches!

    AMC's Breaking Bad airs its last episode on Sept. 29, and the network whipped up this print ad promoting the series finale to thank the cast and crew for their efforts over the five seasons of the landmark series. The copy reads, "It was all in the chemistry. Thanks to everyone who made Bad so good." The ad shows the RV where Walter White and Jesse Pinkman cooked meth in the early days. Remember the episode where they couldn't get the clunker started and ended up stranded way out in the desert and nearly died? Yeah, that was a barrel of fun. Appropriately, in this ad, the sun is low in the sky. Indeed, once the series ends, the TV spectrum will be just a bit dimmer.

    As for fans who can't let Breaking Bad go, well, they'd better call Saul.

    Via THR.

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    Apple has always been all or nothing when it comes to color. "1984" was all doom and gloom with just a flash of red running shorts. "Think Different" was mostly black and white. The TV work, from "Switchers" to "Get a Mac" to most iPhone demos, has been lots of stark white. And yet Apple loves color—from the five hues of the original iMac through all the gloriously vibrant iPod advertising. Now, Apple can celebrate color again, with the iPhone 5C (the C itself stands for color), and here's the first commercial for it—a trippy, drippy little production that visually enlivens a brand that's seemed quite ashen of late. Seemingly taking its cues from candy advertising, the spot shows the phones solidifying into shape out of flowing liquid—in footage that would make Nestlé proud. Perhaps this is why the phone is priced lower. In a pinch, you could try eating it.

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    Looking for a tear-jerker today? Thai mobile company TrueMove has got you covered with this story of a noodle seller whose generous act toward a young boy with a sick mother brings unexpected rewards 30 years later.

    With almost 6 million hits in just a few days, the ad is getting lots of press. The tagline is, "Giving is the best communication." It's not entirely clear (at least in the ad) how that relates to a mobile company, but frankly, it doesn't need to. The buzz (and the vague hope that it will encourage random acts of kindness among viewers) is all that really matters.

    Oddly, instead of focusing on the story, a bunch of bloggers have latched onto the ad and are using it to start a flame war with American advertisers about why we can't come up with ads this moving and cinematic. Way to generalize, guys. I didn't see you talking about awesome Thai ads when they punked you last month with the hot chick who was a dude.

    I guess that was a different kind of crying game.

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    Even though more than a century has passed since the Titanic sank, it's still too soon to joke about it in ads. Red Bull got in trouble for this ad hinting that the more than 1,500 people who drowned in April 1912 could have survived if they'd had the renowned energy drink aboard—because it "gives you wings." Don't worry. In Britain, the Ad Standards Authority was alerted, as 79 complaints have been lodged against the ad, including one from the Titanic Heritage Trust. Red Bull's slogan is OK—it's better than the more truthful "Red Bull tastes like mouthwash"—but maybe they shouldn't apply it to real historical disasters anymore. Go ahead and crumple up those Hindenburg sketches, fellas.

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    JetBlue Airways is launching a big new ad campaign from Mullen with the theme "Air on the Side of Humanity." But its big star isn't even human—he's a pigeon.

    The 60-second launch spot is a documentary-style piece in which the pigeon—that most frequent of frequent fliers, and most underappreciated of birds—talks about how he flies in crowded spaces, gets crumbs for snacks and is generally ignored. Thus, he's a stand-in for the masses who, with ruffled feathers, shuffle onto rival planes and experience the worst of air travel. "There's got to be a way to fly with a little respect. You know?" our hero asks at the end, as the tagline appears on screen.

    The campaign breaks first in Boston, where JetBlue has the most daily nonstop flights of any carrier, and includes TV spots (running in 39 prime-time season premieres), online advertising, microsites, mobile, social, experiential and out-of-home advertising. Most intriguingly, JetBlue is also partnering with Mobile Theory on a voice activation unit that will teach consumers "how to speak pigeon on their smartphones."

    There's also a digital experience and social hub called Central Perch, where you can send messages to friends through virtual carrier pigeons on Facebook. Meanwhile, check out the launch spot and credits below.

    Client: JetBlue Airways
    Spot: "Air on the Side of Humanity"

    Agency: Mullen
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
    Executive Creative Director Tim Vaccarino
    Executive Creative Director Dave Weist
    Group Creative Director Dylan Bernd
    Sr. Copywriter Jack Collier
    Writers: Evelynne Scholnick, Nick Olish
    Sr Art Director: Dan Madsen
    Art Directors: Jay Spahr, Mauricio Perez, Kara Noble
    Digital Designer: Scott Petrichko
    SVP, Creative Technologist: Christian Madden
    Creative Technologists: Dave Lee, Stefan Harris, Joe Palasek
    Executive Director of Integrated Production: Liza Near
    Head of Broadcast Zeke Bowman
    Producer Vera Everson
    Sr Digital Producer: Kim Ryan
    Digital Producers: Heidi Laidlaw, Charley Perkins
    Experience Designers: Hoon Oh
    Group Account Director Drayton Martin
    Account Director Jill Rugani
    Account Supervisor Hannah Moore, Cece Wedel
    Senior Account Executive Molly Barag
    Assistant Account Executive Vish Chandawarkar
    Animation Designer: Veronica Padilla
    QA: Ryan Nelson
    Copy Editors: Ashley Rumery, Eric Maus, Rebecca Rehbein
    Strategic Digital Analysts: Steve Sandiford, May Liu
    Sr Computer Artist Kathryn Lane
    Project Manager Niha Reddy
    Production Supervisor Mark Gardner
    SVP Group Media Director Keith Lusby
    VP Associate Media Director Chris McLaughlin
    Senior Media Planner Lauren Atkins
    Assistant Media Planner Charlie Weickert
    VP Group Digital Media Director Jade Watts
    Associated Digital Media Director Rachel Allen
    Digital Media Supervisor Erin Kelly
    Digital Media Planner Caroline Caterine
    Account Director PR Jaclyn Ruelle
    Account Supervisor PR Christina Simmons
    Account Executive PR Arianna Rubinstein
    SVP, Group Strategy Director Fredrik Sarnblad
    Senior Planning Analyst Chris Plating
    Senior Brand Strategist Lirra Schiebler

    Production: Hungry Man
    Director Hank Perlman
    Executive Producer Mino Jarjoura
    Producer Martha English
    Director of Photography Tom Richmond

    Editorial: P.S. 260
    Producer Laura Lamb Patterson
    Editor JJ Lask
    Assistant Editor Colin Reilly, Joe Simmons

    VFX: Brickyard
    Executive Producer Kirsten Andersen
    Lead VFX Artist Geoff McAuliffe, Jimi Simmons
    Animation Director Anders Beer

    CG: General Gau & Brickyard VFX
    Executive Producer Kirsten Anderson

    Music: Original Music by Human

    Audio Post: Sound Lounge/Soundtrack
    Sound Design/Mixer Tom Jucarone, Glen Landrum, Mike Secher

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    Keyboard Cat, Snoop, Psy, the Winklevoss twins and Snooki were all in on the joke. Can the same be said for Dennis Rodman and the Prancercise lady? Oh sure, it's just the Wonderful Pistachios campaign revving up another round of zeitgeist-tapping absurdity. There's no apparent end to the reality-TV, pop-culture, animated and sports figures who will make themselves available for these ads. In fact, if this marketer doesn't ask how or why you do it—eat pistachios, that is—then you must not be very important. Rodman? He does it "because he's nuts," says the newest spot, in which the former NBA player turned diplomat appears with a less doughy version of Kim Jong-un (a look-alike) to hawk the healthy snack. And the Prancercise lady? Who can get enough of her spindly, energetic dancing? Next, somebody will have to twerk.

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    Starring in this risky spot for Volvo Trucks might give Roland Svensson a big head. Luckily, the engineer's head measured only 10 inches high when he was buried up to his neck in the sand and let a Volvo FMX truck, which has 12 inches of space between the ground and its undercarriage, drive over him. (Volvo swears the stunt is real, but did tell the Huffington Post that some "Hollywood editing" was employed for visual enhancement.)

    I prefer this brand of stuntvertising to the more mean-spirited, pseudo-reality pranks. The enthusiastic participation of the Volvo employees is more compelling than just surprising and upsetting unsuspecting people on the street or in offices. Plus, this latest stunt, while outlandish, does illustrate an actual design feature of the truck—its high-clearance suspension system, which the spot's star helped to develop. Conversely, most prankvertising campaigns serve up shocks and little else.

    This particular bit of automotive daredevilry makes Svensson's boss, Volvo Trucks president Claes Nilsson—who delivered a sales pitch while standing on an FMX suspended high above a harbor—look like a spineless wimp by comparison. Man up, Claes—take some real risks!

    Meanwhile, in a different video, also posted below, Charlie the hamster demonstrates the easy handling of Volvo's truck by actually steering one of the vehicles on a dangerously twisty Spanish quarry road. The little guy's understandably a bit fuzzy on the concept, so he's guided by a driver who dangles a carrot into his specially designed hamster wheel, which is attached to the truck's steering wheel.

    Suck it, Kia hamsters!

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    Remember the "Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway" song from way back in 2010? How about the theme song from Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the 1990s? Parry Gripp was the songwriter behind the simian parody, and the frontman of onetime geek-rock band Nerf Herder, which created the intro music for the supernatural TV show. Now, he's expanding his offbeat oeuvre into anti-asthma PSAs with a series of songs performed by a group of puppets named The Breathe Easies.

    Created with agency The Barbarian Group for the Ad Council, the spots, running on radio and online in English and Spanish, feature titles like "Clean Up the Mold" and "Don't Smoke in the House." The lyrics include gems like, "Don't break my heart with your second-hand smoke"—an Auto-Tuned solo, of course. The bright pastels and tongue-in-cheek presentation—Pee-wee's Playhouse meets Sesame Street—succeed at making sad and gross subject matter less off-putting. And it's hard to blame them for playing the unapologetically cheesy jingle angle, given that the cause would be all but invisible otherwise.

    And who doesn't want to spend the rest of the day humming to themselves about vacuuming the floor—especially if the alternative is singing about a cookie or a pickup truck?


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