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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    While most of the ad industry is busy buzzing about Super Bowl XLVIII, let's not forget that other massive sporting event (i.e., branding opportunity) on the horizon: the 2014 Winter Olympics. Procter & Gamble certainly isn't overlooking the Sochi games, and in classic wholesome Midwestern fashion, the company has already started rolling out its latest installment of the long-running, tearjerking "Thank you, Mom" campaign celebrating the matriarchs behind athletes everywhere.

    Despite focusing on a quartet of icy winter sports, the new spot, "Pick Them Back Up," is as warm and fuzzy as it gets. The video follows four future athletes—a skier, ice skater, snowboarder and hockey player—from their first (not so successful) baby steps to their Olympic debuts. But the ad isn't really about the athletes, of course. It's about the dedicated moms who were there to pick them up when they fell (which is quite a lot), ice their bruises and warm their freezing toes—and send them back out to try again.

    Whether or not you've ever actually been a parent, it's pretty hard not to get a little misty about "Pick Them Back Up." The spot, by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore. (and director Lance Acord, who previously did Nike's "Jogger" spot through W+K), has all the essential ingredients for a successful heartwarmer, from adorable tumbling babies and determined kids to painful disappointment followed by well-deserved triumph (plus a great cinematic score). And it manages to stop short of becoming too cloying.

    The public seems to agree: The two-minute video, which will make its TV premiere on Sunday during the Golden Globe Awards, has already racked up nearly 1.5 million views on YouTube since being posted two days ago. (The campaign actually kicked off in October with "Raising an Olympian," a film series showcasing the journey of 28 world-class athletes as seen through the eyes of their moms.)

    And what about the dads, you ask? Well, when they catch up to their female counterparts as the primary purchasers of P&G products at the supermarket, maybe they'll get a little love too.

    Client: Procter & Gamble
    Project: "Pick Them Back Up"

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Kevin Jones
    Creative Director/Art Director: Ollie Watson
    Senior Producer: Erika Madison
    Account Team: Eric Gabrielson / Jesse Johnson
    Strategic Planner: Dave Burg
    Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Susan Hoffman
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz

    Production Company: Park Pictures
    Director/DP: Lance Acord
    Executive Producer/Owner: Jackie Kelman-Bisbee
    Executive Producer: Mary Ann Marino
    Line Producer: Caroline Kousidonis
    Production Designer: Jason Hamilton

    Editorial Company: Joint
    Editor: Peter Wiedensmith
    Post Producer: Ryan Shanholtzer
    Post Executive Producer: Patty Brebner
    Assistant Editor: Kristy Faris

    VFX Company: A52
    Executive Producers: Jennifer Sofio Hall / Megan Meloth
    VFX Supervisor: Patrick Murphy
    VFX Producer: Kim Christensen
    Lead Flame Artists: Patrick Murphy / Andy Bate
    Flame Artist: Steve Wolff
    Roto Artists: Cathy Shaw / Robert Shaw
    CG Supervisor: Kirk Shintani
    CG Artists: Erin Clark / Adam Carter / Joe Chiechi

    Song: Primavera
    Composer: Ludovico Einaudi
    Sound Designer: Peter Wiedensmith

    Mix Company: Eleven
    Mixer: Jeff Payne
    Producer: Caroline O'Sullivan

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    America's favorite sporting event is about to get reacquainted with America's Favorite Ketchup.

    Heinz Ketchup will return to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 with a 30-second commercial from Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago—its second time in the big game and its first since 1998.

    The spot will "highlight the belief that when someone picks up a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, they're triggering all the happy memories they've experienced over the years where Heinz was present," the brand said in a statement. No other creative details were available.

    The ad is part of a larger "Show Us Your Heinz" campaign that encourages consumers to send in photos of themselves with Heinz products. Through Feb. 23, specially marked ketchup bottles will have a QR code on the back that links to the campaign page. More than $400,000 in prizes will include five grand-prize trips to five major sporting events over the next year.

    "Heinz's participation in the Super Bowl is an opportunity to remind consumers of the love they have for this iconic brand," said Bill Ulrick, senior brand manager for Heinz North America. "The commercial investment is part of a larger effort to renew our commitment to engage with our great fans."

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    Don't think of your tax return as an annual blood sacrifice to our merciless bureaucratic overlords. Think of it more as a delightful recap of your exciting and eventful life!

    That's the upbeat message of TurboTax's new campaign from Wieden + Kennedy, themed "It's Amazing What You're Capable Of." With ads already running on TV and online, the campaign will also include a 60-second Super Bowl spot—the brand's first. (In addition, parent company Intuit is donating a 30-second Super Bowl ad slot to a small business selected by voters.)

    Each ad in the TurboTax campaign focuses on the major life decisions you make each year that can have an impact on your taxes. "That's what taxes are: a recap, the story of your year," notes the narrator. And speaking of the narrator, it sure sounds like character actor John C. Reilly, but as with many celebrity-voiced campaigns of late, the agency couldn't confirm that due to contractual obligations.

    Check out the anthem spot below and a few more executions after the jump.

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    Raise a giant Cherry Coke and toast Denny's for this great tweet after the BCS Championship Game—offering distraught Auburn fans a road map for where they can comfort-eat their miseries away on the long drive back home to Alabama. It's great partly because it could have so easily been killed, for perhaps being a tad scornful and for sort of making fun of Denny's as well. In other BCS news, Charmin post the tweet below—apparently having made peace with almost-profanity after getting spooked by its own famous "Asgard" tweet back in November.

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    When Nissan offered to sell its Versa Note on Amazon last fall, it promised to ship the cars to three lucky buyers in actual Amazon boxes. Well, this weekend it was delivery day!

    A Reddit user on Monday posted this photo from Madison, Wis., noting: "What's the largest item you can have shipped from Amazon? Because I think my neighbor just got it." A commenter soon pointed out the Nissan partnership, which seemed to be the most obvious explanation of such an epic delivery. AdFreak then reached out to Nissan, and Erich Marx, the automaker's director of interactive and social-media marketing, confirmed that the Redditor had captured the delivery—which was meant to be kept under wraps until a video could be released next week.

    The original idea, he said, came from Nissan agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. "They mentioned it, and we all kind of laughed and thought, 'Wouldn't that be funny?' " said Marx. "But over the course of a few days, we kept coming back to it and said, 'Why not deliver a car in an Amazon box?' … It's never really been done. I think the visual is pretty hilarious. Everybody knows the Amazon box. We thought it would capture people's imagination. It certainly captured ours." In the end, Marx added, Nissan decided to deliver just one Versa Note, not three as originally planned.

    The Redditor's photo, which hit the site's front page on Monday, came as a surprise to Nissan. "We were filming the video this weekend and a neighbor noticed what we were doing and posted what amounts to a spy photo," said Marx. "The best laid marketing plans, right? We were going to do a press release and a video and this whole thing next week. But the photo got out there, and people started buzzing about it. So we had to scramble."

    The first 100 people to order the Versa Note on Amazon got $1,000 gift cards. Nissan contacted many of them, and then chose the Madison customer as the winner. "Quite frankly it was the enthusiasm of this winner—they were so thrilled and thought it was hilarious," said Marx. "We were all voting for someone in Hawaii. We were like, 'Madison, Wisconsin, in January? That's going to be cold.' But this winner was so into it, we knew it was going to be great."

    Nissan is keeping the winner's name private for now. He or she will be revealed in the video, which is still set to be released next week. "We wanted to keep some of our original plan intact," said Marx.

    Does Marx envision a day when a Nissan could be delivered by a fleet of Amazon drones? Laughing, he replied, "No, I think this a really fun onetime execution. We have a great dealer network, and we want our dealers to be involved in the marketing and delivery of our cars. We certainly don't want to step on their toes."

    More photos below.

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    IDEA: T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz have been comically patronizing the same Sonic Drive-In restaurant in the same minivan for more than a decade as spokesmen for the fast-food chain. Now, Jagodowski breaks out of the van in flamboyant style to promote its new Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito.

    The spicy burrito will give your taste buds a workout in the morning, and so Jagodowski is here with a goofy 90-second, faux-'80s fitness video called "Train Your 'Buds" to get your mouth in shape.

    The idea came from a TV script. "We just thought it would be a cool thing to take into a different place: What if T.J. had this taste-bud workout video that was inspired by this burrito?" said Jon Wolanske, associate creative director at Sonic agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. "Knowing what T.J. is able to come up with on the fly, it was too tempting not to do something longer."

    The video, also cut into bite-size clips for Instagram, features the kind of over-the-top aerobics that would make Richard Simmons proud—and is timely, too, given the New Year's rush to get all your body parts, not just your mouth, in better working order.

    COPYWRITING: Wolanske and his creative partner Evan Schultz went through loads of vintage aerobics videos, from Jake Steinfeld's "Body by Jake" to Gilad Janklowicz's "Bodies in Motion." Then they sat down and brainstormed dozens of silly burrito exercises.

    "We wrote down anything that made us laugh that was even tangentially related to the product," said Wolanske. They took the best ones—bacon bends, tot lifts, "a little kick" from the salsa verde—demonstrated them for Jagodowski on set, and let him improvise his banter.

    The video, organized into a montage of exercises, takes place in the car slots at a Sonic but is not overly branded. The end shot has the "Train Your 'Buds" title rather than the Sonic name over the chain's familiar yellow logo.

    FILMING/ART DIRECTION: The video was shot by Clay Weiner at the same Pleasanton, Calif., location where almost all the TV spots are filmed. (Weiner has directed all of Goodby's work for Sonic. At this one-day shoot, he shot some TV spots with Jagodowski and Grosz in the morning, then filmed "Train Your 'Buds" in the afternoon.)

    The costumes are all cheesy '80s fitness outfits—sweatbands, short shorts, Lycra and Spandex—in the brand colors of red, blue and gold. "There's a surprising amount of this kind of workout gear in thrift stores around Pleasanton," Wolanske said. "We were not at a loss for finding what worked for the concept."

    Diagrams of the different exercises, in the style of those found in fitness magazines, will be posted to Instagram as well.

    TALENT: Jagodowski was "really fired up" to try something new for the brand, as was the agency. "We're only with these guys for a few hours every couple of months. But every time we think, one of these days, it would be great to do something long-form," Wolanske said. Grosz, the other member of Sonic's Two Guys, did film some faux testimonials for the workout video, though they didn't make it into the final piece.

    The two women exercising with Jagodowski—he calls both of them "Gloria"—were found in extras casting. They gave Jagodowski, a longtime Chicago improv comedian, more to riff on than if he were on his own.

    SOUND: The music, an absurdly bubbly stock track, was played on set to get the actors' adrenaline pumping. "It's pretty terrible, and intentionally so," said Wolanske. "It's upbeat and motivating in all the wrong ways."

    MEDIA: The 90-second video has been cut into a few :30s but is only on YouTube for now. A bunch of short clips (15 seconds or less) will be gradually posted to Sonic's Instagram feed.


    Client: Sonic Drive-In
    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
    Executive Creative Director: Margaret Johnson
    Associate Creative Director: Jon Wolanske      
    Art Director: Evan Schulz
    Copywriter: Jon Wolanske
    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Clay Weiner

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    It's been two years since DirecTV and Grey New York launched their "Cable Effects" ad campaign, detailing the strange and terrible fates that can befall cable customers. In that time, the formula has remained essentially the same, with mundane annoyances escalating quickly into life-wrecking chaos.

    Will the laughs keep coming this year as the campaign enters its third year, treading back over entertaining but familiar ground by taking characters from disappointment to depression to borderline catastrophe? Decide for yourself with the three new spots below, which highlight job loss, gorilla attacks, riots and facial swelling as just a few potential downsides of going with one of DirecTV's cable competitors.

    In the best spot of the lot, "Don't Become a Local Fisherman," we watch as a man's attempt at a stress-free vacation turns him into an island pariah stranded away from home. In another spot, a man's decision to try hang-gliding ends in urban anarchy and violence against the elderly. You can probably guess what happens in the third spot, called "Don't Get Body Slammed by a Lowland Gorilla."

    The ads are solid, though Grey and its client have clearly reached a moment of choice frequently faced by the wacky experimenters at Geico and The Martin Agency: Does this campaign have the legs to keep getting laughs for years to come, or should it be retired early enough to ensure it's remembered fondly?

    Advertiser: DirecTV
    Agency: Grey, New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Executive Creative Director: Dan Kelleher
    VP Creative Director: Doug Fallon
    VP Creative Director: Steven Fogel
    Agency Executive Producer: Andrew Chinich
    Agency Associate Producer: Lindsay Myers
    Agency Music Producer: Zachary Pollakoff
    Account: Chris Ross, Beth Culley, Anna Pogosova, Aaron Schwartz, Meredith Savatsky
    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Tom Kuntz
    President: David Zander
    Senior Executive Producer: Scott Howard
    Producer: Emily Skinner
    Production Supervisor: Daniel Gonzalez
    Directors of Photography: Greig Fraser (Fisherman), Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki (Soup, Gorilla)
    Editorial Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfield, Mackenzie Cutler
    Editors: Erik Laroi, Mackenzie Cutler (Fisherman), Gavin Cutler, Mackenzie Cutler (Soup, Gorilla)
    Assistant Editor: Brendan Hogan, Mackenzie Cutler (Fisherman), Ryan Steele, Mackenzie Cutler (Soup, Gorilla)
    Mixer: Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler
    Sound Designer: Marc Healy, Mackenzie Cutler
    VFX: Method Studios, NY
    VFX Supervisor: Doug Luka, Method Studios
    VFX Producer: Christa Cox, Method Studios
    Casting (OCP): Francine Selkirk, Shooting From the Hip
    Casting (VO): Nina Pratt and Jerry Saviola, Avenue 3 Casting

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    With those saucy Two Broke Girls hosting and a category that pits the Bible against Sharknado, the People's Choice Awards, airing live Wednesday night on CBS, should be a hoot. No, not really. It'll be a snoozefest. For a much more entertaining time, check out the Kroll Choice Awards, a Comedy Central-produced set of digital promos hyping the Jan. 14 second-season return of sketch comedy-based Kroll Show.

    The videos feature star-writer-producer Nick Kroll's coterie of ridiculous characters in a glitzy award-show setting, complete with J. Law tumble up the stairs, lord-and-savior shout outs, prodigious bling and false modesty. The cable channel execs said they wanted to trot out as many Kroll creations as possible, like gigolo Bobby Bottleservice and white-trash homie C-Czar, treating the characters' shows- within-a-show like award-worthy contenders. Alas, their statues are only make-believe.

    Kroll Show, known for its star cameos, will continue its relationship with Hollywood's honored crowd in season 2 with the likes of Amy Poehler, Will Forte, Seth Rogan, Lizzy Caplan and Zach Galifianakis.

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    In most of the branded world (fashion and food especially) being an Italian import is a good thing. Not always so for cars. Case in point: Fiat, a nameplate that never really found a smooth road in America. Still, Fiat has its share of fans—drivers lured by the little car’s Italian style. And that’s what makes this pair of ads interesting. While both use the same composition (put cute white car in center of page), only the older ad is proud to be Italian.

    When this monochromatic ad for the 600D appeared in 1965, Fiat had been in the U.S. market for nine years. Its cars were not lauded for their engineering genius: The tiny 600’s rear-mounted engine meant that the gas tank sat in front of the driver. And with a gallon of regular selling for 31 cents, Americans didn’t really need Fiat’s fuel efficiency, either. But, much like the VW Beetle, Fiat appealed to that segment of American buyers who longed for something that a Plymouth Valiant couldn’t give them—that dash of European flair.

    Nessun problema! Style, the Fiat had. And just in case consumers didn’t get that message, some clever art director dropped the Mona Lisa into the driver’s seat in this 48-year-old ad. “Fiat hoped that there was a counterculture within the automotive world at the time, and to appeal to that market they had to make the car look exotic and prestigious,” explained Paul Eisenstein, publisher of automotive news site The Detroit Bureau. By putting Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous muse behind the wheel, “Fiat was trying to stress that this vehicle was a classic, something special, not just a little tin box.”

    The trouble was, Fiat was just a little tin box. Overheating motors and rusty bodies forced the company to abandon the U.S. in 1983, amid jokes that Fiat was really an acronym that stood for “Fix It Again, Tony.”

    Fiat returned to America two years ago, this time as the rescue vehicle for Chrysler—which Fiat just assumed complete ownership of last week. This time around, Fiat’s marketers took care to stress that the 500 was a quality car, and one with that inimitable Italian styling. U.S. showrooms were called “Fiat studios.” Fiat’s former marketing chief Charlie Hughes told AOL Autos in 2011 that the brand “will do well if they play up the la dolce vita personality of Fiat and the Italian roots.”

    Well, Fiat did play up the Italian roots—but it hasn’t done so well. This summer, Doner debuted spots for the 500L showing Paul Revere riding through Old Salem yelling “The Italians are coming!” while maidens disrobed and innkeepers broke out the espresso. Very funny. But sales were down 24 percent by September—which might, perhaps, explain the most recent 2013 ad here. Perhaps Fiat has discovered that Italian heritage doesn’t mean as much as it hoped? That the 500L should be marketed just like an all-American hatchback? It’s anyone’s guess. But now might be a good time to remember what Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said about Fiat’s return: “Just because people like gelato and pasta, people will buy it. This is nonsense.”

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    Who (From left) Brian Pettigrew, president; Lady Liberty; Dimitry Ioffe, founder and CEO
    What Digital marketing agency
    Where Los Angeles office

    Dimitry Ioffe got a taste for entertainment at a tender age—TVGla’s founder and chief executive was on Star Search with Justin and Britney before signing with A&M Records and touring with his own band. His experience informed the 7-year-old agency’s mission to help digital and entertainment brands find an audience overnight. It has yielded efforts like an interactive interview with director Danny Boyle to promote the thriller Trance; a photo-bomb app to promote the movie Ted; and an Instagram app to hype Despicable Me 2. The Moscow native’s business has also expanded beyond entertainment marketers—TVGla helped automaker Kia develop its NBA All-Star efforts. 

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    It was exactly a year ago that the Guardian and BBH London unveiled the "Own the Weekend" campaign, envisioning a world in which the newspaper literally owned the weekend—or as it would be known henceforth, the Guardian and Observer Weekend™. For 2014, the newspaper company is offering another installment of the campaign to promote its new weekend lifestyle supplement. The title: "Use in Moderation."

    It's the weekend—sorry, the Guardian and Observer Weekend™—and Ian, an average suburban dad, bids goodbye to his wife and daughter as they run out for an hourlong errand. Rather than join them, Ian opts to stay home and read the paper. But it's not just the paper—it's the chock-full-of-ideas weekend edition of the Guardian. And as a narrator warns us, "It's all just too much for one human being."

    Flash forward one hour. Havoc reigns. The kitchen is a disaster. Sudoku puzzles cover the walls. There's a goat in the hallway. Oh, and the shed is on fire. Ian, now wild-eyed and down to his skivvies, has attempted to cook every recipe, tackle every DIY project and adopt every hobby mentioned by the newspaper. "It was Ian versus the weekend," the narrator deadpans, "and the weekend won."

    Once again, the concept is very literal—but the end result is still very, very good. While it's generally not advised (at least in the marketing world) to imply that the use of one's product will result in complete mayhem, when said product is something as decidedly un-edgy as a newspaper, the concept actually works. And let's face it, if anything can use a bit of excitement, it's the newspaper industry.

    Client: The Guardian
    Director of Brand & Engagement: Richard Furness
    Product Marketing Manager: Charlotte Emmerson
    Newspaper Marketing Manager: Jenny Heeley
    Social Media Marketing Manager: Clare Carney

    Agency: BBH, London
    Deputy Executive Creative Director: David Kolbusz
    Creative Director: Wesley Hawes and Gary McCreadie
    Art Director: AK Parker
    Copywriter: George Brettell                                                  
    Producer: Rachel Hough
    Assistant Producer: David Lynch
    Chief Strategy Officer: Jason Gonsalves
    Strategic Business Lead: Zara Mirza
    Team Director: Jon Barnes
    Team Manager: Fiona Buddery, Jonny Price
    Strategy Director: Agathe Guerrier
    Strategist: Alana King

    Production Company: Biscuit
    Director: Jeff Lowe
    Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
    Producer: Kwok Yau
    DoP: Ed Wild
    Post Production: Ben Turner - The Mill
    Editor/Editing House: Mark Burnett - Ten Three

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    The Norwegian Association of the Blind makes some pretty funny commercials.

    A few years back, the group made ads (scroll to the bottom to see them) suggesting blind people make great employees—because their sighted coworkers can have sex with each other right in front of them and they won't even know it.

    In that same self-deprecating vein, this latest spot (spoiler) urges bus drivers and cabbies to accept blind people and their guide dogs—because at least they're not bringing ducks, donkeys, sheep or some other more irritating animal with them.

    In a category where you assume you'd have to be more serious, this advertiser remains a breath of fresh air.

    Client: Norwegian Association of the Blind
    Agency: Try/Apt, Oslo
    Copywriter: Øystein Halvorsen
    Art Director: Karin Lund
    Project Manager: Ulla Hennum Birkrem
    Account Manager: Trond Sandø
    Production company: Fantefilm
    Director: Magnus Martens
    Producer: Hugo Hagemann Føsker
    Production Manager: Audun Lyngholm Wittenberg
    Post production: Shortcut
    VFX: Stripe
    Music research: Ohlogy

    Two spots from 2011:


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    Need some copywriting help with an international flair? Does your hiring budget consist solely of expired Cliff Bars and six coupons for Vitaminwater? If so, I've got good news: You can still hire Mark van der Heijden.

    Calling himself The Backpacker Intern, the Dutch writer is offering to intern anywhere that will provide him food and a place to sleep. "He doesn't want to get paid," his video explains. "He just wants to trade a day of his work for food and a place to sleep."

    The pitch already seems to be working. On his blog, van der Heijden reports he has accepted internships with Amnesty International Thailand, followed by McCann Worldgroup Bangkok. "I’m getting a lot of responses from all over the world," he writes. "Beijing, Dubai, India, Stockholm, Dublin and so on."

    If you're interested in luring him to crash on your agency's cot, check out his contact page on TheBackpackerIntern.com.

    UPDATE: Looks like the offers started pouring in quickly after we featured van der Heijden's project:

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    Twitter is a tough crowd during any high-profile live TV programming, when snark levels always spike. Cheerios learned that the hard way during the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday when it aired a six-month-old commercial from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York that aimed for heartwarming but came off, to many, as depressing.

    The ad shows a mom and her son having breakfast, when the boy pipes up and asks, "Did Nana ever give you Cheerios when you were a little kid?" This seemingly innocent question leads to an exchange that's supposed to be cute, though it leaves Mom practically in tears by the end—and got Twitter fuming.

    Check out some of the reactions below. The spot is, of course, super manipulative—but that's hardly out of line with what Cheerios always does in its advertising. The General Mills brand blatantly manufactures emotion, sometimes more deftly than other times. We didn't think this one was actually that bad. (And in fact, a number of people praised the ad on Twitter last night, or at least said it made them teary.) But the difference is, during an event like the Globes, you're much more likely to get abused on Twitter for that kind of manipulation.

    Makes you wonder what the brand is planning for its first Super Bowl ad next month.

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    Christian singles in the U.K. seeking like-minded partners to share romantic dinners of fishes, loaves and vino on Saturday nights might want to check out these cheeky posters launching today in London's Underground that use headlines like "Christians make better lovers" and "Another dating website? Thank God!"

    The work, by ad agency Noah for Christian Connection, contends that, for the faithful, " 'Love one another' is written into their code. So if you are a single Christian person, why not give our award-winning dating site a try?"

    Agency creative director Chas Bayfield, who designed the retro ads with artist Alex Fawkes, tells Co.Create that he strove to take the message "away from cloying sentimentality and into the mainstream through wit and [by] tapping into popular culture, with a campaign that is contemporary and relevant—something many church organizations aren't always known for."

    Indeed, the campaign provides a clever counterpoint to both the squeaky-clean Stepford-esque Christian Mingle approach and the sinfully annoying secular oeuvre of creepy smart-ass Neil Clark Warren.

    More images below.

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    The Matrix may be 15 years old, but the reality is, advertisers still love it.

    Less than a year after GE recruited Agent Smith (actor Hugo Weaving) for its "Brilliant Machines" campaign, Kia has tapped Laurence Fishburne to reprise his iconic role of Morpheus for a 60-second Super Bowl commercial from longtime agency David&Goliath.

    The spot will promote the all-new luxury sedan, the K900. The thematic connection is that, like the movie, the vehicle will force you to question what you thought to be true—this time, on the topic of luxury cars.

    Kia revealed some plot details. A couple meets Morpheus at a valet stand, and he presents them with two keys—a red key and a blue key, a reference to the red pill/blue pill scene from The Matrix. "Should they choose wisely, their perception of luxury—and Kia—will never be the same again. Through many unexpected twists, Morpheus accompanies them on an unforgettable ride," Kia said.

    This will be Kia's fifth straight appearance in the big game. Last year's :60, titled "Space Babies," showed a baby boy and a bunch of infant animals traveling to Earth as astronauts—illustrating a father's panicked response to his son who has asked where babies come from. That spot promoted the 2014 Kia Sorento CUV.

    See Kia's last three Super Bowl ads below.

    Kia's 2013 Super Bowl ad:

    Kia's 2012 Super Bowl ad:

    Kia's 2011 Super Bowl ad:

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    Oddvertising is catching on in Hong Kong with this absurd spot for Rio Mints featuring what Shanghaiist calls "just the right amount of nipple licking."

    The scene opens with a young couple on an awkward date. We assume it's awkward because the guy is shirtless and gently cradling a purple stuffed giraffe that he's brought along. Needing something to fill the silence, the girl takes out her grape-flavored Rio Burgundy mints, and he accepts one. A moment after he pops the mint in his mouth, the giraffe's tongue grows and begins to caress the guy's nipple, causing him to moan in pleasure. We can't look away. Neither can his date who bites her lip, bounces up and down and finally looks forward with a smile, seemingly titillated by the whole experience.

    If you are, too, enjoy the extended outtakes below, where the actor really gets in touch with his O face. Does the nipple-licking puppet approach work? Well, what are you really going to say about mints?

    Via Mashable.

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    The Powerpuff Girls have been rebooted for a onetime special with a new animation style, and the first look anybody has gotten of the new design is this short where Ringo Starr dons a dress and sings, "I wish I was a Powerpuff Girl."

    The song, written by director Dave Smith, is a delightful little ditty about shooting stars out of your eyes and wearing dresses while saving the world. Ringo's animated alter ego starts out on the drums, then dons a yellow dress and adorable pink hair ribbon to join the girls as they fly through the sky and bring peace and love to the city of Townsville. The whole thing is as trippy as Yellow Submarine and as cuddly as a puppy.

    Ringo will also appear in the special, Dance Pantsed, airing Jan. 20, as Townsville's flamboyant mathematician, Fibonacci Sequens. Smart move, Cartoon Network. It's always a good idea to leverage your Starr power.

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    Getting ripped at a luxury gym will make you want to get more naked everywhere, says luxury gym Equinox.

    OK, if your prerequisite for being comfortable getting more naked everywhere is having the body of a super-fit fashion model, sure, makes sense. Getting ripped at a luxury gym will also make you want to get a black eye, though, or stow away with your buddy in the trunk of a luxury Mercedes, says Equinox. That makes less sense, because it's dumb to get punched in the face, or cram two people into the trunk of a sedan.

    The images in the new print and digital campaign from Wieden + Kennedy in New York, shot by photographer Robert Wyatt, feature the tagline "Equinox made me do it," because writ large, getting ripped at a luxury gym will make you feel like a badass, says the company. That means all kinds of new confidence and adventures with your high-end fashion accessories.

    It's not dissimilar in spirit to a highly sexualized campaign, shot by Terry Richardson, that the brand pulled amid criticism late last year. It's just toned in favor of a more ambiguously suggestive and playful sort of mischief, which makes it right on target for a health club that likes to hire fashion photographers to give it that vague haute glow.

    The new campaign even approaches direct relevance to the brand's actual product—fitness—with the shot of the guy in the ice bath, assuming he's recovering from a particularly intense workout … though he probably doesn't really need to bring that fancy watch into the tub with him.

    More images, a video and credits below.

    Client: Equinox
    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

    Print and OOH credits
    Executive Creative Directors: Colleen DeCourcy, Mark Fitzloff, Ian Reichenthal, Scott Vitrone
    Creative Directors: Gary Van Dzura, Stuart Jennings
    Copywriter: Nick Kaplan
    Art Director: Cyrus Coulter
    Designer Director: Serifcan Ozcan
    Account Team: Patrick Cahill, Jacqueline Ventura
    Creative Services Director: Chris Whalley
    Project Manager: Yann Samuels
    Art Buyers: Michelle Chant, Molly Dowd, Hillary Frileck
    Print Producer: Kristen Althoff
    Photographer: Robert Wyatt
    Wardrobe Stylist: Simon Robins
    Hair Stylist: Owen Gould
    Makeup Artist: Jo Strettell
    Business Affairs: Quentin Perry
    Brand Strategist: Erik Hanson
    Retouching Agency: Loupe Digital Imaging
    Retoucher: Mark Baxter

    Video credits
    Executive Creative Directors: Colleen DeCourcy, Mark Fitzloff, Ian Reichenthal, Scott Vitrone
    Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Gary Van Dzura
    Interactive Creative Director: Gary Van Dzura
    Copywriter: Nick Kaplan
    Art Director: Cyrus Coulter
    Head of Content Production: Lora Shulson
    Producers: Luiza Naritomi, Kristen Johnson
    Brand Strategist: Erik Hanson
    Account Team: Patrick Cahill, Jacqueline Ventura
    Business Affairs: Quentin Perry

    Director, Director of Photography: Hugo Stenson

    Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Carlos Arias
    Post Producer: Lisa Barnable
    Post Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
    Editing Assistants: Chris Mitchel (senior assistant), Alex Liu (assistant)

    Telecine Company: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole

    Mix Company: Heard City
    Mixer: Eric Warzecha
    Assistant Engineer: Jeremy Siegel
    Producer: Sasha Awn

    Flame Artist: Edward Reina
    Flame Producer: Melanie Gagliano
    Flame Assistant: Jazmine Venegas

    Music Company: Good Ear Music Supervision
    Music Supervisor: Andrew Kahn
    Song: Ticket Home
    Artist: The Bones of J.R. Jones


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    As huge of an advertising juggernaut as the NFL is, commercials starring NFL players often feel interchangeable. Here, though, is a great piece of work from Duracell starring Derrick Coleman, the 23-year-old Seattle Seahawks fullback who happens to the be the first legally deaf player to be part of an NFL offense.

    Bravely narrating the ad himself, Coleman tells his own story of being picked on as a kid, being told he could never make it—and being passed over by the NFL draft. "They didn't call my name, told me it was over," he says. "But I've been deaf since I was 3, so I didn't listen." That's a great line. The tagline: "Trust the power within."

    Coleman seems enamored with that line. He tells the Sporting News of his Duracell deal: "They came to me, and said they liked my story, and I said OK, I want to join up. I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams."

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

    Client: Duracell

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
    Executive Creative Director: Peter Moore Smith
    Creative Directors: Garrett Jones, Billy Leyhe
    Chief Production Officer: Tanya LeSieur
    Director of Content Production: John Doris
    Senior Producer: Danny Miller
    Senior Art Director: Nathan Wigglesworth
    Senior Copywriter: Lincoln Boehm

    Production Company: Park Pictures, Los Angeles
    Director: A.G. Rojas
    Director of Photography: Linus Sandgren
    Executive Producer: Mary Ann Marino
    Line Producer: Gabrielle Yuro

    Editing House: Whitehouse Post, Los Angeles
    Editor: Shane Reid
    Assistant Editor: Keith Hamm
    Producer: Jonlyn Williams
    Executive Producer: Kristin Branstetter

    Sound Design: 740 Sound Design, Los Angeles
    Sound Designer, Mixer: Rommel Molina
    Executive Producer: Kate Vadnais

    End Animation: Mass Market, New York
    Executive Producer: Louisa Cartwright


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