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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    What the hell is going on here? That may be the main question on your mind as you watch this Marc Jacobs video, in which the brand's president, Robert Duffy, announces something about a photo truck being outside its Bleecker Street store on weekends this month—but instead of just saying it, Duffy is lip-syncing some other guy saying it (and the other guy seems to have a mild stutter). The effect is not unlike the uncanny valley, as Duffy seems quite nonhuman. As weird as it is, though, it's undeniably compelling—sort of amazing, in a way. Just, you know, show up to the event at your own risk. Via Fashionista, which points out that Duffy has done some weird stuff in company videos before.

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    IDEA: New York City Football Club, the 20th franchise in Major League Soccer, won't field a team until 2015 and doesn't even have any players yet. Thankfully, it has a high-powered sister club in England whose world-class athletes can film some nifty promos in the meantime.

    The first one hit YouTube late last month, showing stars from the famed Manchester City F.C. (which co-owns NYCFC with the New York Yankees) playing a game of "keepie uppie"—juggling and kicking a ball back and forth, while trying not to let it hit the ground—around famous New York City landmarks. The idea, which came from Man City's marketing team, was just to get some fun content out there and build excitement—an appetizer with no paid media behind it.

    "It's a first creative piece to just casually enter the market," said Brian Edelman, CEO of New York digital agency Rain, which produced the video. "It's meant to be viral and fun—a light introductory piece about what could be someday."

    TALENT/COPYWRITING: The players include Sergio Agüero, Vincent Kompany, James Milner, Yaya Touré, Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, David Silva, Gaël Clichy and Matija Nastasić. Nike's famous 1998 spot with the Brazilian team kicking a ball around an airport was among the inspirations. "If we're in the same sentence in terms of quality and creative as what Nike's done, that's always our goal," said Edelman.

    The Man City players start out near the Brooklyn Bridge, with Jane's Carousel in the background. Seeing a girl and boy kicking a ball back and forth, they take the ball (leaving one of their own) and embark on their citywide game—hitting the High Line, Yankee Stadium and Rucker Park before returning to the Brooklyn Bridge and giving the boy from the first scene his ball back, now signed by all of them. There is no dialogue.

    At the end, over a bird's-eye view of Central Park, the Manchester City F.C. text logo appears, joined by that of New York City F.C., along with the nycfc.com/jointhemovement URL and the new team's Facebook and Twitter addresses.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Ericson Core, cinematographer on The Fast and the Furious and director of Invincible and the upcoming Point Break remake, shot the spot in two days in May, when Man City was touring the U.S. for a couple of friendly matches.

    "We prayed for good weather, because we had no backup shooting days," said Edelman. "The locations, I think, make the piece at least as much as the players. But it's pretty cool to have some of the greatest soccer players in the world running around New York City."

    The Yankees connection helped them get on that field for those shots. The players are such accomplished dribblers that they needed very few takes, although they weren't completely superhuman. "We thought David Silva could maybe dribble up the steps of the High Line instead of kicking it up, but it turns out that's actually sort of impossible," said Edelman.

    Everything was shot in natural daylight and is meant to feel "very raw and real." The players drew onlookers wherever they went, though not everyone knew who they were. "It was fun to see how European the High Line is. There was a big crowd there pretty quickly," Edelman said, "though of course a lot of Americans walked by, not really caring."

    SOUND: The music is the funky, upbeat 2012 track "Happy" by the French turntable group C2C. The agency considered commissioning an original song, but this one "just fit with the tone," said Edelman. "I also think it's good to have something that's not mainstream, so people can discover new music along with the ad."

    MEDIA: YouTube and NYCFC's website.


    Client: New York City Football Club
    Agency: Rain
    Creative Director: Timothy Whitney
    Agency Executive Producers: Brian Edelman, Nick Godfrey, Andrew Howlett
    Agency Producer: Becca Wenner
    Agency Co-Producer: Doug Miller
    Director: Ericson Core
    Steadicam: Stephen Consentino
    Production Company: Imagina US
    Producer: Mark de Angelis
    Producer: Tammy Leech
    Editor: Dahkil Hausif
    VFX: Tchya

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    Tesco had its family-through-the-years holiday spot. Now, it's Netflix's turn.

    In its first work for the brand, Deutsch/LA tells the story of the McDermott family—from the point of view of a porcelain Christmas tree topper voiced by Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco. We begin in the late '70s, as Mom brings the ornament home, where it will witness all sorts of shenanigans over the next 34 years. Holidays bring the usual family stresses for the McDermotts, but three decades later, something finally comes along that brings them all together for a quiet few hours—Netflix streaming.

    The spot is nicely shot by Matt Aselton of Arts & Sciences—all the period details are fun. (Even today, the McDermotts retain a stubborn '70s vibe.) And Bracco's voice is as rich and evocative as ever, perfect for an ad with vintage touches.

    Not sure watching Forrest Gump is really what will bring the family together this holiday, though. Shame the second season of House of Cards won't arrive for another couple months.

    Print ad and credits below.

    Client: Netflix
    Spot: "Tree Topper"
    Chief Marketing Officer: Kelly Bennett
    VP/ North America Marketing: Jerret West
    Global Creative Director: Trent Good
    Senior Producer: Kara Pierce
    Senior Marketing Manager: Megan Imbres
    Creative Marketing Manager: Crystal Ponzio

    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    CCO: Pete Favat
    Group Creative Director: Gavin Lester
    Senior Art Director: Gordy Sang
    Senior Copywriter: Brian Siedband
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
    Producer: Rachel Seitel

    Production Company: Arts & Sciences, Los Angeles
    Director: Matt Aselton
    DP: Corey Walter
    Managing Director: Mal Ward
    Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
    Line Producer: Zoe Odlum

    Editorial Company: Arcade Edit, Los Angeles
    Editor: Geoff Hounsell
    Executive Producer: Damian Stevens
    Assistant Editor: Glenn Teel
    Producer: Gavin Carroll

    Post Facility: MPC, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Colorist: Mark Gethin

    Post Facility (Online): MPC, Santa Monica, Calif.
    Online Artist: Mark Holden
    Online Assistant Artists: Adrian Leva
    Producer: Abisayo Adejare
    Executive Producer: Lexi Stearn

    Music/Composer: Human

    Sound Design: Henry Boy, New York, NY

    Audio Post: Lime Studios, Santa Monica, CA
    Mixer: Rohan Young
    Assistant: Jeff Malen
    Executive Producer: Jessica Locke

    Shoot Location: Chicago

    End Tag treatment: Laundry, Los Angeles

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Mike Sheldon, CEO
    Kim Getty, Director of Account Management
    Account Management Credits:
    Group Account Director: John McGonigle
    Account Director: Christi Johnson
    Account Supervisor: Michal David
    Media Credits:
    Director of Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Business Affairs Manager: Maggie Pijanowski
    Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo

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    On Thursday night, as millions tuned in to see Carrie Underwood ambitiously take on the role of Maria von Trapp, croon about the hills being alive, and make children's clothing out of drapes in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, DiGiorno Pizza was also watching—and live-tweeted the whole thing. The Nestlé brand's tweets were funny and hilariously pizza-related. Let's have a moment of appreciation for how difficult a task that must have been, considering The Sound of Music heavily features a convent and also the Third Reich. Also, a solid nod of respect to whomever came up with the hashtag #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT.

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    Behold the C21 Delivery Landing Pad, designed to accommodate package deliveries by airborne drones. According to the product's maker, real-estate giant Century 21, "no home of the 21st century will be complete without one." Even so, don't expect the pad to be included with your next split-level colonial.

    Roughly the size of a welcome mat and equipped with tiny landing lights, the C21 is, in fact, a fictitious item, promoted in yet another quick-turnaround, tongue-in-cheek video from Boston ad agency Mullen. These promos riff on buzzy current events, in this case Jeff Bezos's claim that Amazon will offer deliveries via flying bots sometime in the future. (Such a system at Walter White's Albuquerque home—listed "for sale" by Century 21 in a Craigslist ad timed to the Breaking Bad finale—would've been invaluable for receiving drone-dispatched beakers, Bunsen burners, Badfinger CDs, etc.)

    Alas, since Bezos made his announcement on 60 Minutes last Sunday, it's become increasingly clear that in light of regulatory hurdles and safety concerns, it may well be Century 22 before drone deliveries become commonplace.

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    Bad news for grinches who still hate ugly holiday sweaters despite their newfound ironic popularity: Budweiser U.K. is adding some charm to the practice of capitalizing on them.

    The beer brand has created a "Knitbot"—what it calls a tweet-powered knitting machine—to knit ugly sweaters for designated drivers. Every tweet tagged with the hashtag #jumpersfordes (jumper being British for sweater, and des being short for designated drivers) causes the machine to knit a little more. Everything about this—the grasping for relevance in social media, the uninvited participation in a tradition not directly connected to any brand—should be annoying. But it's hard to argue against celebrating non-drunk-drivers. People always get sloppy wasted during the holidays, after all, so why not foster good will—and look less mercenary—by focusing on the chaperones?

    A quick Twitter search for #jumpersfordes returns only a few dozen mentions since Nov. 27. Now, the brand plans to hand out the sweaters to actual designated drivers via a contest on its Facebook page. Sure, it's not the first holiday campaign to tie in Twitter, knitting and wooly giveaways. But the campaign's real problem is that the sweaters aren't near ugly enough. Coke Zero's are way worse.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    Let's get something out of the way first: Oreo cookie balls are not an actual Oreo product. They are, according to the Internet, a homemade delicacy involving crushed Oreos that are mixed with cream cheese, rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. I've never actually had one of these confections (and only learned of their existence about an hour ago), but dear God they sound delicious.

    Anyway, we're here to talk about Oreo's latest ad-slash-song from The Martin Agency, and this time it isn't another rendition of the "Wonderfilled" tune but an entirely new paean to the aforementioned cookie balls. While Oreo has stuck with semi-familiar names to headline its past musical endeavors, for the "Oreo Cookie Balls Song," it enlisted the mostly unknown (at least judging by his 816 Twitter followers) hip-hop artist Jinx.

    And my, what a bang-up job he does.

    While "Wonderfilled" was undeniably catchy, it was also incredibly cloying. (Sorry, but giving an Oreo to the Big Bad Wolf isn't going to magically convince him to help the Three Little Pigs build a deck. They're still getting eaten.) The "Oreo Cookie Ball Song," on the other hand, is both catchy and delightfully weird.

    From Jinx's bizarre pronunciations ("bawls," "rein-dur") to his deadpan delivery of helpful decorating tips ("Put a little carrot on it, you made a snowman!") and possibly suggestive lyrics ("Come Christmas mornin', you gon' taste some cookie balls"), the song steers clear of any Owl City-esque saccharine overload. (Hell, even Chiddy Bang's version of "Wonderfilled" was kind of sappy.)

    And at this time of year, when the sheer amount of advertising treacle can give anyone a sugar headache, a cookie commercial that eschews holiday sentimentality for rapping about "balls" is a welcome sight indeed.

    Client: Oreo, Mondelez International
    Senior Director, Oreo and Chips Ahoy: Janda Lukin
    Brand Manager, Oreo: Kristin Hajinlian

    Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
    Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
    Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director: Jorge Calleja
    Vice President, Creative Director: David Muhlenfeld
    Creative Director: Magnus Hierta
    Vice President, Planning Director: John Gibson
    Strategic Planner: Gigi Jordan
    Group Account Director: Darren Foot
    Account Supervisor: Laurel Busony
    Account Executive: Molly Holmes
    Broadcast Senior Vice President, Managing Director: Steve Humble
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Kathy Lippincott
    Junior Broadcast Producer: Maggie Shifflett
    Group Project Manager: Giao Roever

    Animation Company: Hue & Cry, Richmond, Va.
    Lead Animator: Andrew Prousalis
    Animation Artists: Matt Deans, Georgiy Kuznetsov, Stephen Loveluck, Ryan Musselman, Liam Ward

    Audio Post Company: Amplified Wax
    Engineer: Jimmy Hill

    Music: English Major
    Composer, Arranger, Mixer: David Muhlenfeld

    Voiceover Talent: Jinx

    0 0

    Even a confident Jim Heekin admits that waiting for the Gillette decision from Procter & Gamble was a nail-biter.

    As the Grey Group CEO sat in his fourth-floor office overlooking New York’s Madison Square Park one day last April, surrounded by his top execs leading the pitch, he knew he was about to receive a call that had no assurance of good news. It had been an arduous, 178-day, round-the-clock effort, with all the twists and turns befitting 2013’s most coveted review—one for a $1 billion brand that had been at BBDO and its forbearers for more than 80 years.

    The Gillette pitch began last fall in the basement of a New York hotel, the agency’s global headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue having been temporarily shuttered due to Hurricane Sandy. The process came to an end amid an uncertain, last-minute decision to substitute the initial creative concept. Heekin turned off the speakerphone after the client shared the good news that afternoon, and anxiety turned to hugs and celebratory drinks. The review, with the initial scope of North American business, was expanded to a global brief based on the strength of Grey’s creative ideas. After the win, none other than Martin Sorrell—chief of the agency’s parent, WPP, and someone who’d never before visited Heekin’s office—showed up toting two shopping bags filled with magnum bottles of champagne and hats embossed with the Gillette brand name.

    Gillette would be enough to make any agency’s year, but P&G’s vote of confidence meant even more. Global networks struggle to reinvent themselves as something more than dots on the map. Meanwhile, Heekin, in his eight years at the helm, has had the thankless task of forcing change upon one of the most hidebound of shops. And under his watch, the 96-year-old company, built on account managers’ ownership of client relationships under the autocratic management of former CEO Ed Meyer, has, in fact, succeeded in radically altering the way it operates. Key to the Gillette win, for example, was collaboration among Grey’s offices, including those in New York and London. “This never would have happened five to six years ago,” says Heekin. “We’ve broken down walls, fiefdoms, rivalries between London, New York and other parts of the world. Gillette came at the perfect time to leverage the one-agency, one-team culture we’ve built.”

    What’s more, Grey prevailed against the likes of P&G’s top agencies, including Wieden + Kennedy, which transformed the CPG giant’s Old Spice brand. Significantly, the strength of Grey’s ideas won the day, with Gillette opting to run the very work pitched during the review. “It’s rare that that happens, almost unheard of,” explains Tor Myhren, Grey’s worldwide chief creative officer.

    Still, at one point during the pitch, even Myhren had his doubts that would happen.

    Last December, Grey showed Gillette an ad it had worked up featuring parts of a speech by Al Pacino as coach Tony D’Amato in the film Any Given Sunday, and it was well received. But a couple of months later, Jeep rolled out a Grand Cherokee spot using the same speech. So, it was back to the drawing board—just two weeks before the final presentation. It worked. “They brought us a big idea on Gillette, which we know will connect with men around the world,” says Marc Pritchard, P&G’s global brand building officer. “Grey knows consumers and knows brands. Grey knows how to create winning campaigns.”

    “Winning campaign” has taken on new meaning at an agency long known for its bland work. The New York flagship has worked aggressively to change that perception since Myhren was hired as chief creative officer in 2007. Grey’s creative ranks now number about 320, up from just fewer than 70 when he arrived. Top hires this year came from agencies such as Anomaly, TBWAChiatDay and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

    This year, the agency had its best showing ever at Cannes, taking home 36 Lions. Grey also won nine Cannes film prizes, more than any other agency; snagged an Emmy for the Canon spot“Inspired”; and was the first agency ever to make the shortlist for the Academy Awards for When You Find Me, a short film for Canon’s Project Imaginat10n that Ron Howard using 1,000 user-generated photos. (The associated online effort generated 1.5 billion impressions in a matter of months without the support of a single commercial.)

    Even Sorrell, WPP’s bottom line-focused CEO, enthuses about the creative overhaul. In a video addressing a Grey Group conference in Beijing this year, Sorrell stated that “revenue and profits have grown because Grey’s creative reputation has grown.”

    This year, Grey’s global revenue grew 10 percent to $725 million, with digital—barely a part of Grey’s business six years ago—now accounting for some $150 million. Aside from Gillette, global account wins include Volvo, HSBC, GSK Corp., Trilux and Montblanc. Grey New York, which won 20 of its 22 major account pitches, posted an 18 percent revenue bump. The U.S. flagship won back Hasbro, Allergan, and Pfizer’s Advil and ThermaCare business and added a global corporate campaign from Canon while attracting new clients like Pfizer and GE Healthcare.

    Grey London was another top performer this year. In addition to the recent win as Volvo’s worldwide creative lead, the office was also behind the pitch of HSBC’s retail and wealth business in Europe and Latin America, and global commercial business. It also led a global corporate branding campaign for GSK and a worldwide assignment from Vodafone.

    And China, in its first full year under a new CEO, well-known regional adman T.H. Peng, has attracted major local clients like dairy Mengniu and cosmetics marketer Proya. In the past five years, Grey has doubled its revenue in the Asia-Pacific region. Now, it turns its focus to Latin America with Grey Brazil, created by the merger of the WPP agencies 141 and Y&R Energia.

    The agency continues to add to digital hubs in New York and London, as well as at its offices in Spain, Russia, China, India and Argentina. This year, it won new digital business from P&G, 3M, Hasbro, Coca-Cola, Darden, Marriott, Lilly and GSK. Grey also continues to roll out a strategic partnership with WPP interactive company Possible Worldwide. Separately, it completed digital acquisitions in Germany, Turkey, Singapore and China.

    When Myhren came to Grey, there were fewer than a dozen digital staffers in New York. Now, there are 180. Its digital focus is apparent in work like “Football on Your Phone,” a rap video for DirecTV featuring the pigskin-tossing Manning brothers. The digital effort immediately became a viral sensation, earning 7 million views in a single week plus free exposure by the likes of ESPN. Grey’s spots for DirecTV featuring frustrated cable subscribers—which Bill Clinton described as the “most hilarious ads” he’d ever seen—continue to win fans, including Cannes judges. The campaign’s latest iteration won three gold Lions this year.

    Hilarious, yes. But Paul Guyardo, chief revenue and marketing officer at DirecTV, stresses that Grey’s approach to his business is nothing but serious. Grey staff have visited DirecTV’s call centers, for example, and Guyardo has been invited to the agency to explain the company’s high-pressure subscription business.

    “Working with Grey has been the best relationship in my 30-year career,” says Guyardo, a former agency exec. “We don’t refer to them as the agency; their team and my team are one. When the work comes out great, it’s because of that collaboration, and when it doesn’t, it’s because of that collaboration. We give them plenty of freedom and they take advantage of it.”

    The Gillette win not only grabbed headlines, but it also changed the way clients perceive the agency. “Gillette really was a redefining moment,” says Michael Houston, CEO, North America. “It demonstrated what today’s Grey was about in terms of the way we work, approach problems, and the fact we’re more integrated and collaborative than we’ve ever been. That’s why clients like Hasbro now view us that way, and came to us as a fully integrated, multidisciplinary agency where the lines are blurred.”

    In October, Grey won back a sizable chunk of the global Hasbro business that the agency had for a decade before losing it in 2007. Suresh Nair, Grey’s director of global strategic planning, says returning clients like Hasbro underscore the agency’s offering now of complex integrated marketing solutions. “It’s no longer just matching luggage and just beautiful ads,” he says. “Clients are too smart for that.”

    Nair is working with Joe Lampertius, brought in as CEO of Grey’s global shopping practice, to explore opportunities to exploit Frame, an integrated activation process introduced this year. The duo at present is looking into setting up a data-driven retail strategy practice.

    Debby Reiner, Grey’s evp, group director for P&G, knows well, as a 14-year veteran of the agency, the stamina that is required to work on such a massive piece of business. Even so, she describes the Gillette pitch as “running as fast as you can every day for seven months straight.”

    Reiner notes how dramatically the agency has changed under Heekin, and Grey’s newfound creative fuel needed to go the distance after such big wins as Gillette.

    “Grey was always a place to get your training and become a solid, strategic account person and business partner,” she says. “But the work was never as exciting as the thinking that pushed it.”

    Heekin remembers those early days after joining Grey in 2005, laughing as he recalls the response from staffers to his initial 100-day plan to transform the company. “They were grateful,” he says, “but they also thought I was crazy.”

    It was about three years ago that Heekin says he started to see a turning point at the agency, giving himself and his colleagues the swagger to go after big fish like Gillette. His creative chief Myhren also began to see a new world of possibilities.

    “Ten or 11 years ago, I was at ChiatDay when they got [Adweek’s] Agency of the Year, and I was just leaving at the time,” recalls Myhren. “I remember actually thinking then that I’ll never run a company that will be an Agency of the Year. Then, three years ago, I began to think, if we keep this up, we just might …” 

    The Work
    Grey produced some of the most memorable work of any agency in 2013—and had its best showing ever at Cannes, taking home 36 Lions. From the hilarious (rapping Manning brothers) to the sobering (an anti-child abuse ad that had us all awestruck), here is a sampling of some of the standout campaigns.

    01. NFL
    Leon Sandcastle” was a top 10 Super Bowl spot in USA Today’s Ad Meter.

    02. DirecTV
    The Manning brothers’ rap parody “Football on Your Phone” got 7 million views in one week.

    03. Canon
    Grey was the first agency ever to make the Oscars shortlist.


    04.Duracell This print ad took a gold Lion at Cannes.

    05. World Wildlife Fund
    Grey Brazil’s “Deforested Field” also won a gold Lion.

    06. ANAR Foundation
    This billboard for a Spanish child-advocacy group showed kids a hotline phone number not visible to taller adults. It earned a bronze Lion.



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    Kevin Bacon wants you to "Shift Your Shopping" for good by buying local with select retailers who agree to donate a portion of sales from your purchase to charity.

    The spot hinges on the pretense that Kevin Bacon is not actually Kevin Bacon but some sort of mustachioed goober named Melvin Macon, who seems to be filming a local commercial circa early '80s, complete with inspiring gospel choir courtesy of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church. (You may recall Bacon playing another hirsute alter ego named Ivan Cobenk in that amazing Logitech spot a few years back.) And when he's not assaulting your eyeballs with nappy old PowerPoint backgrounds, Melvin is encouraging you to be a good citizen and give back to the world.

    The work was created pro bono by New York agency Walrus just in time for your holiday shopping spree. So, if squinting at the whirling yellow type at the bottom of the spot doesn't give you a seizure, pick one of those fine local retailers and run out to double your gifting impact. And don't forget to attach a "Kevin Bacon Approved" gift tag.

    Client: ShiftYourShopping.org
    Agency: Walrus, New York
    Creative Director: Deacon Webster
    Art Director/Copywriter: Tiffany McKee
    Producer: Valerie Hope
    Production Company: Mustache
    Director: Gavin Bellour
    Executive Producer: John Limotte
    Producer: Jennifer Kachler
    Editor/Graphics/Animation: Will Bystrov

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    Pantene Philippines has launched a powerful campaign pointing out how identical behavior often earns men and women different labels in the workplace.

    In this spot by BBDO Guerrero in Manila, a lovely cover of "Mad World" by Tears for Fears plays while each scene displays a double-standard in a working environment. A man is the "boss" while a woman is "bossy." A man is "persuasive" while a woman is "pushy." He's "neat" but she's "vain." He's "smooth" but she's a "show-off." "Don't let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine," says the copy at the end.

    There's nary a shampoo bottle in sight, although glossy hair certainly features here. But the video delivers, and the #whipit campaign has inspired discussion on both the YouTube video and Facebook.

    • "Too bad they couldn't find a male equivalent of 'bitch.' This is the one I hear the most about strong women in the workplace."
    • "Sell product by convincing your target market that you are more invested in contributing to emotionally charged, globally relevant women's image issues than you are in advertising your product."

    While it is disappointing that they used only light-skinned models—a long-standing trend in the Philippines—it's a potent spot with an important message criticizing gender stereotypes. Oh, and Sheryl Sandberg is a fan.

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    All right, it's been done before, but not for a while: Nickelodeon is partnering with the ever-embattled U.S. Postal Service to promote its long-running children's series SpongeBob SquarePants, in which a member of the order dictyoceratida opts for business casual dress to spend time with a slow-witted echinoderm and a squirrel of incredibly advanced brain function with a penchant for scuba diving.

    The show's hero will appear in mailbox form on street corners around the country, and postage-paid SpongeBob postcards will be available gratis at about 25,000 post offices. If you want to see a MailPants yourself, you'll need to travel to Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Dallas; Hollywood and Orlando, Fla.; Kirkwood, Mo.; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; or Washington. So really, you have no excuse.

    Nick has a series of videos on the letter-writing process that ties into the campaign as well as printable stationery; the whole shebang is in effect through the month of SpongeBob-related Lego and stuffed-animal buying, formerly known as December. So, by the time the last MailPants disappears on Jan. 5, you may actually have convinced your kid to write that thank you note to Nana.

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    IDEA: What is American luxury these days? Cadillac teams with an old collaborator, Lance Jensen, as it tries to answer that question creatively in its first work from Rogue, the Interpublic Group team of Hill Holliday and Lowe Campbell Ewald.

    Two new spots for the CTS sedan suggest it's more attainable than ever—and certainly just as patriotic. "You can't out-German the Germans or out-Japanese the Japanese," said Jensen, the Hill Holliday chief creative officer who shepherded Cadillac at now-defunct Modernista between 2006 and 2009. "American ingenuity, American spirit, American attitude—it all plays into our idea of the Cadillac brand."

    The CTS spots celebrate that attitude explicitly. One looks back at famous American businesses that began in garages; the other features an old NASA recording as it talks about shooting for the moon. It's the beginning of a more evocative, emotional pitch for Cadillac.

    "The brand is growing, and most of it is product-driven," said client spokesman David Caldwell. "We're trying to take that and not just be declarative about it. We want to connect to the more emotional, personality-driven characteristics we know are in the brand. It's putting the two together."

    COPYWRITING: "I think their strength is their incredible simplicity. They just needed to be done elegantly," Jensen said of "Garages" and "Moon."

    The former shows garages of all shapes and sizes, as a voiceover explains: "The Wright Brothers started in a garage. Amazon started in a garage. Hewlett-Packard and Disney both started in garages. Mattel started in a garage. The Ramones started in a garage." Then, a CTS is seen zooming out of its own giant stone bunker. "My point?" says the VO. "You never know what kind of greatness can come out of an American garage. Introducing the 2014 Motor Trend Car of the Year. The all-new Cadillac CTS. Ain't garages great?"

    "Moon" is even simpler. A father, with his son in the back, drives a CTS down dark roads at night as a giant moon rises on the horizon. "A funny thing happens when you shoot for the moon. You get there," says the voiceover. Both spots close with the Cadillac logo. There is no tagline.

    "The 'Garages' spot is the American dream in 30 seconds, and it's all true," said Jensen, adding that it should appeal nicely to Cadillac's target—optimists with a "bigness of spirit." The copy in "Moon," he said, refers to both product and consumer—the engineering of the vehicles and the lofty ambitions of its target.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Station Film's Dom & Nic shot "Garages." RESET's Garth Davis did "Moon." "There are really nice productions values. The car shoots well. The angles are great. They're simple and clean and not trying too hard," Jensen said of the visual look.

    The shot of the moon is particularly striking. "We wanted it to look like magical realism," he said. "That's part of the reason we have a kid in the car. A kid can see things differently than us jaded old guys. The moon is a magical thing when you're young. It's supposed to be a beautiful, almost transcendent moment."

    TALENT: Casting for "Moon" wasn't overly complex. "We just wanted a cool guy and a good-looking kid with some presence. He's quite mature for a little dude," Jensen said.

    The actor Neal McDonough does the voiceover on both ads. "I wanted something clean and flexible, with confidence and a little bit of authority in there," Jensen said.

    SOUND: The soundtrack on "Moon" is the lush, echoey "Stars" by Ulrich Schnauss. "I've liked that song for a long time. It felt good, like it would get you someplace," said Jensen. The song in "Garages" is "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio" by the Ramones.

    MEDIA: Mostly A-list properties in prime time, cable news and sports.


    Client: Cadillac
    Agency: Rogue (Hill Holliday, Lowe Campbell Ewald)

    Spot: "Moon"
    Chief Creative Officer: Lance Jensen
    Executive Creative Director, Copy: David Banta
    Group Creative Director, Art: Kevin Daley
    Group Creative Director, Copy: Jeff Baxter
    Creative Director, Art: Bob Gates
    Director of Creative Production: Bryan Sweeney
    Executive Broadcast Producer: Scott Hainline
    Account Team: Cliff Stevens, Megan Wiggin, Emily Shahady, Kalyn Barnum
    Production Company: RESET
    Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
    Head of Production: Amanda Clune
    Bidding Producer: Jen Beitler
    Producer: Karen Sproul
    Director: Garth Davis
    Managing Director: Dave Morrison
    Staff Coordinator: Heinrich Meyer
    Production Supervisor: Jessica Lee
    Edit House: The Whitehouse Post
    Editor: Rick Lawley
    Executive Producer: Lauren Hertzberg
    Licensed Music: NASA Audio File and Ulrich Schnauss "Stars"
    Executive Post Producer: Kirsten Anderson
    Conform & VFX Company: Brickyard

    Spot: "Great Things Happen in Garages"
    Chief Creative Officer: Lance Jensen
    Executive Creative Director: David Banta
    Group Creative Director: Kevin Daley
    Copywriter: David Banta
    Art Director: Kevin Daley
    Director of Creative Production: Bryan Sweeney
    Account Team: Cliff Stevens, Melissa Buck, Emily Shahady
    Project Manager: Julie Heger
    Planner: Anne Feighan, Allie Pirolli
    Production Company: Station Film
    Executive Producer: Stephen Orent, Caroline Gibney, Michael Di Girolamo
    Producer: John Madsen
    Director: Dom & Nic
    Cinematographer (DOP): John Lynch
    Line Producer: Angela Jones
    Edit House: Final Cut
    Editor: Rick Russell
    Executive Producer: Lauren Bleiweiss
    Post Producer: Beth Fitzpatrick
    Licensed Music: "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio" by the Ramones
    Publisher: WB Corp ℅ Warner Chappell Music
    Master: Warner Music Group/ Rhino: Music Producer
    Sound Engineer: Brian Heidebrecht, Soundtrack Boston
    Post Supervisor: Ellen Schmitt
    Post Producer: Kirsten Anderson
    VFX Company: Brickyard
    VFX Team: Sean Mclean, Jimi Simmons, Geoff Mcauliffe
    Animation Director: Anders Beer
    Other Credits: Andy Rhodes (production design)

    0 0

    Canadian airline WestJet played Santa to a couple hundred travelers recently, and the result was heartwarming and tearjerking.

    Before two flights from Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, to WestJet's home airport in Calgary, travelers chatted with a virtual Santa on a display in the terminal, who asked them what they wanted for Christmas. In a video released by WestJet on Monday, we see little kids and grownups alike chatting with Santa (who knew their names!) before boarding their flight. Behind the scenes, WestJet employees are shown working feverishly to actually buy the requested items, wrap them and deliver them to the Calgary airport.

    When the flights land, the travelers arrive at the baggage claim and are shocked to see wrapped gifts tumbling on to the carousel. It's everything they had asked for. Gifts range from socks and underwear to airline tickets to a 50-inch flatscreen TV. People are smiling and crying (this writer watching the video included). And everyone's hugging Santa and even WestJet employees.

    This is a brilliant move by WestJet—giving back to its passengers as a form of advertising. There's no charity involved and no sad story told (though neither are bad, of course)—a deviation from the good-deed-norm—just a bunch of super happy people opening presents and eating cookies in a fluorescent-lit baggage claim.

    I cram everything into a carry-on when I travel, so I would have been bah-humbug-ing my way through the airport while my fellow travelers rolled in new electronics. Maybe the moral of the WestJet story is that if a digital Santa asks you what you want for Christmas, check a bag and tell him you want a yacht. (Kidding.)

    Client: WestJet
    Video Production: Studio M
    Virtual Santa Unit and Technology: Globacore Interactive Technologies
    PR: Mosaic

    0 0

    How do you get people around the world talking about a Dutch subscription service for disposable cat litter? Why, you create a music video featuring glamorous costumed kitties parodying the Pussycat Dolls, of course.

    The Poopy Cat Dolls and their song, "If You Want My Purr Purr," are worth checking out, even if you don't live in the Netherlands, don't need to order monthly deliveries of biodegradable cat litter containers and don't actually remember what the Pussycat Dolls sounded like.

    Despite its limited geographical footprint so far, the video has already gotten the attention of Laughing Squid,Huffington Post and Mashable, so don't be too surprised if Poopy Cat ends up scratching its way to American doorsteps sometime soon. 

    0 0

    This Australian ad for the Naked brand of condoms was destined for a ban from TV, and got it, but the specific reasoning is pretty stupid. Australia's FreeTV Commercials Advice Department, which refused the ad for commercial broadcast, requested "the removal of all sexual references," which is difficult when you're trying to sell condoms. Plus, CAD's demands are too broad. Just for fun, they should ask for the female actor not to specify which parent she's talking to during sex, and for both actors to have at least one obvious physical imperfection. The spot was written and directed by comedian Gary Eck.

    Via The Ethical Adman.

    Video is probably NSFW, or at least uncomfortable for work.

    0 0

    Special K believes positivity is key to weight management success. So, it's taking aim at its opposite—"fat talk," or the negative things some women say about their bodies and others. The Kellogg's brand says 93 percent of women fat talk, "and it's weighing women down." Now, ahead of the New Year slim-down season, Special K and Leo Burnett have launched a whole "Fight Fat Talk" campaign, with social, video and other efforts aimed at getting women to talk more positively about themselves.

    The two-minute spot below, directed by O Positive's Peyton Wilson, has a pretty aggressive strategy for dealing with fat talk: It ambushes women with it while they're shopping for clothes (a prime occasion for fat talk). Actual fat talk, taken from Twitter and elsewhere, is printed on signs and labels in the store—and is meant to make women realize how terribly self-defeating it is.

    The spot is clearly going for an empowering vibe, à la Dove or Pantene. And the women do get emotional upon seeing the signs, realizing they're being too hard on themselves. But in some ways, it doesn't feel as natural. Without any positivity at all, the signs just don't seem very inspiring—unlike the Dove and Pantene ads, which had the stranger-described sketches and the "Don't let labels hold you back" elements as springboards for positivity. Plus, there's also the inconvenient fact that Special K is expressly meant to make you thinner—rather than making you more accepting of yourself.

    What do you think of the video? Does it work for you?

    0 0

    The fair-use fight between Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox isn't over.

    After sparring several weeks ago over the unauthorized use of the Beasties song "Girls" in a GoldieBlox commercial that went viral, the toy company deleted the video and uploaded a new version with a different track (see below). But that did not satisfy the band, which has now countersued, demanding that GoldieBlox hand over profits it earned from using the song without permission, reports Gigaom. The Beasties also seek damages, lawyers' fees and an injunction preventing GoldieBlox from using the song in the future.

    The suit claims GoldieBlox is liable for copyright and trademark infringement and sets the stage for a judge to decide whether or not the company's parody of "Girls," with different lyrics, constituted fair use—as GoldieBlox contended in its earlier, preemptive suit against the band. Also interesting: The band says it first heard about the GoldieBlox ad when an ad agency that was submitting the spot to Intuit's "Small Business Big Game" Super Bowl contest (in which GoldieBlox is a finalist) inquired with Universal Music Publishing Group about whether GoldieBlox had secured the rights. (They would have heard about it eventually, of course.)

    So, it seems likely that we'll get a decision on the fair use question after all.

    0 0

    If you've been unable to sleep since the Old Spice guy faded from the spotlight, or suffered from nightmares that he was permanently relegated to playing a lesser version of himself in Israeli beer commercials, you can finally rest easy. Isaiah Mustafa is back.

    You'll find him over at Old Spice's U.K. Facebook page with his junk wrapped in a Union Jack. The images there are just teasers of what's still to come: videos (from Leo Burnett, not Wieden + Kennedy) of Mustafa exploring the virtues of what he describes in one promo as "the manliest man to ever grace this planet, the great British gentleman."

    It's a certain kind of flattery, but it's not without charm—and a kernel of truth, insofar as anyone can really measure manliness. (Old Spice tried, finding in a 2,000-person survey that less than 20 percent of people think it's manly to wear a Speedo.) Mustafa has already begun traipsing around London on a white horse, and snapped an Instagram photo outside St. Paul's Cathedral.

    Given his equity as a pop culture icon, it's not really a surprise to see Old Spice return him to the role. It might not smell as fresh as it once was, but it's pleasing nonetheless.

    0 0

    Given the actor's reputation for demanding final cut (all right, the director was notoriously insane) and distancing himself from projects he doesn't like, it makes perfect sense that if Edward Norton is going to do a commercial, it's going to be a really good commercial.

    This mcgarrybowen spot for Verizon Wireless and Motorola's Droid phone has the performer finding a guy's wallet, stealing someone's girlfriend, running afoul of serious thugs, landing a private jet and gambling for a ferret with a Russian mafioso. It's one of the better 90-second spots we've seen, with enough action packed in to justify the running time and agile enough cutting and writing to make everything clear.

    MJZ director Matthijs van Heijningen has done a fine job of delineating each chapter of the story and showcasing Norton's gifts; it's also a very good spot for the brands—we get to see the phone do quite a bit here. There's been a lot of discussion about how thoroughly the invention and proliferation of the cell phone has changed movies; this spot is pretty convincing evidence that it need not ruin them.

    Lots of great little bits in this one: I love that the hard-core mobsters are betting on game of Connect Four, and that we have no idea how the key around the hot karaoke bar babe's neck got into our hero's stomach. Also, is that the swankiest karaoke bar anyone has ever seen, or is it just me? I usually end up in the East Village in a room with five friends belting out "I'm Gonna Be" by the Proclaimers. Then someone thinks he can sing "It's the End of the World as We Know It," and everyone goes home.

    All right, that's usually me, too.

    Client: Verizon Wireless/Motorola Droid
    Spot: "A Lot Can Happen in 48 Hours"
    Agency: mcgarrybowen New York
    Executive Creative Director: Cheryl Van Ooyen
    Creative Director: Tiffany Smith
    Associate Creative Director: Jamie Massam
    Writers: Cheryl Van Ooyen, Tiffany Smith, Alex Flint
    Art Director: Jamie Massam
    Director of Broadcast Production: Dante Piacenza
    Executive Producer: Leelee Groome
    Executive Music Producer: Stephanie Diaz-Matos
    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Matthijs van Heijningen
    Executive Producer: Scott Howard
    Producer: Mark Hall
    DoP: Chris Soos, Alwin Kuchler
    Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editors: Adam Pertofsky, Neil Meiklejohn
    Executive Producer: Carol Lynn Weaver
    Producer: Juliet Batter
    VFX: The Mill
    Creative Director: Chris Knight
    Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris
    Senior Producer: Dan Roberts
    Producer: Jillian Lynes
    3D Artists: Feliz Urquiza, Blake Guest, Matt Bohnert, Ashraf Ghoniem
    2D Artists: Chris Knight, Margolit Steiner, Daniel Thuresson, Chris Payne, Jake Maymudes, Tara DeMarco
    Matte Painting: Andy Wheater
    Motion Graphics: Byron Slaybaugh

    0 0

    No good deed comes without a little punishment. That's Newcastle Brown Ale's "No Bollocks" take on responsibility messaging, judging by a recent stunt in Los Angeles orchestrated by Droga5.

    The brand is introducing a new beer, Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale, and decided to promote it by driving drinkers home in black British taxis, on one condition—that they advertise the new brew through an enormous taxi-top megaphone for the entire ride. You can see footage from the rides below. The passengers are seen largely reading from a script, although there's some improvising going on, so perhaps the driver was also a copywriter.

    Newcastle somewhat proudly declares that there were 67 noise complaints, but it was worth it to get 54 beer drinkers home safely. ("Don't be a wanker. Take a bloody cab," says copy on the back of the taxi.) The brand is also taking the taxi campaign further through a partnership with Taxi Magic, the nation's leading taxi app. In the more than 60 cities where Taxi Magic rides are available, Newcastle Cabbie point-of-sale displays will offer $5 toward a cab fare booked through the app.

    "We're not exactly pioneers in declaring drinking and driving to be utter bollocks, but we're proud of the fact that we're putting our money where our mouth is and offering people a tangible incentive to enjoy our product safely," says Brett Steen, brand manager at Newcastle Brown Ale.


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