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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    PepsiMAX had an enormous viral hit last year with its "Test Drive" video, in which Jeff Gordon, in disguise, took a car salesman for the most terrifying ride of his life. With more than 40 million views, the spot was an unquestioned success. The only problem? A vocal minority complained that the stunt had been faked.

    Travis Okulski of auto blog Jalopnik was among the loudest critics. "Jeff Gordon did not drive the car and every single person in the video was an actor," he claimed in a post last March, shortly after the video was released.

    So now, for a followup, Gordon and PepsiMAX get exquisite revenge on Okulski. Working with Jalopnik, they lure him to Charlotte, N.C., ostensibly to get a sneak peek at the new Corvette Z06.

    Instead, Okulski becomes the guinea pig in a new "Test Drive" video, as Gordon—once again in disguise—picks him up in a yellow cab and takes him for a white-knuckle drive, with police in hot pursuit. Okulski completely, hilariously freaks out. And it's great fun to watch.

    Check out the ad below. Okulski tells the whole story over at Jalopnik. "Just as I was able to say with total certainty that the first Pepsi Test Drive ad was totally fake," he writes, "I can say with total certainty that this second Pepsi Test Drive ad is unequivocally, one hundred percent, totally, absolutely real."

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    It might seem strange that PepsiMAX based its second "Test Drive" prank video with Jeff Gordon around doubts some people had about the first one. But it turned out to be a creatively fruitful approach.

    First, it was a way to draft off the success of the earlier megahit. It also gave the second video a strong narrative. (Gordon, again in disguise, takes one of the big doubters—Travis Okulski of auto blog Jalopnik—on a very real, hair-raising ride of his own.) And finally, in many ways it used Gordon's pride as an accelerator. This isn't a guy, after all, who would want you to think he couldn't do these stunts himself.

    Following the release of "Test Drive 2" on Thursday morning, we spoke with Marc Gilbar, creative director at Omnicom's Davie Brown Entertainment/The Marketing Arm in Los Angeles, which concepted and handled creative execution on the new video. (Like the first one, this one was directed by Peter Atencio of Gifted Youth.)

    Below, Gilbar tells us all about the production, from the genesis of the idea to the safety issues to the moment when Okulski almost kicks out the camera inside the taxi.

    AdFreak: The first "Test Drive" video did so well. I suppose a sequel is a no-brainer.
    Marc Gilbar: The first one was a huge hit. But as with any sequel, the difficulty is to do something fresh and original.

    For every Godfather II, there's a Godfather III.
    Exactly. It's tough. We did [PepsiMAX's] Uncle Drew, and that's one where we just tried to expand the narrative and create a story people would like. But that's harder to do with "Test Drive," because of the character.

    Pepsi, to their credit, wanted to address the haters. Haters is a general term, because I don't think that characterizes Travis, the guy we actually used. But the Internet audience is a conspiracy-driven audience that will literally break down every moment of your video. We always got a lot of amusement out of that, but we thought a lot of people could relate to it, too—and if we could incorporate or reference it in some way, it would be fun for people.

    There happened to be this incredible article following the release of the first video. I had noticed it at the time. And when we got the brief and started thinking about it, we went back and looked at it, and realized how great Travis was and his whole breakdown of the first video—everything from the sound of a V8 engine versus a V6 to the cup holders on this model of Camaro. It was pretty funny. We thought he would make a great mark for the second one.

    You weren't involved in the first video, though.
    No, [TBWA\Chiat\Day] did the first one. Pepsi will give a jump ball on a lot of these projects. The "Zero-Calorie Cola in Disguise" came out of Uncle Drew and sort of expanded into the world of racing. Chiat did that first one, which was great and a huge success. The second one was more of a jump ball, and we had this particular idea.

    It's interesting to focus on claims that last year's ad was faked. Is that just a hook to get people in—to draw off the success of the last one?
    Yeah, I think it was a way to take a new angle. Anything else would have felt like you were doing the same thing over again. I think the honesty of it is what makes it great. With a lot of these pranks, if the setup is earned and done right, it makes the prank that much more enjoyable. If you just saw Jeff take a random person on a crazy cab ride, it may be funny, I guess, but the fact that this one had a specific purpose makes the drive that much more fun for the audience.

    Shortly after the first one, I spoke to the director, Peter Atencio. He could only say so much. But it's not the point of the second video to really address whether the first one was real or not, correct?
    I think that's right. What drove it, to a large degree, is that Jeff really wanted to show his stuff. He's a competitor. In the second one, there's no doubt that he's the guy behind the wheel. And obviously he's very capable of taking Travis on a crazy ride. Jeff was very involved early on. To get a Nascar driver to pull something like this off, there would be a lot of hurdles, I think. But the fact that he was so excited about it made it possible.

    How do you get a guy like Travis to do this unwittingly without signing a disclaimer?
    Part of the thing about Travis in particular is that he's such a big auto enthusiast. There was a lot of talking with his friends and his editors and the people around him just to feel out what kind of a guy he was. He's such a great sport. There's always risks involved. But he loves cars, he loves racing, he races cars. And his friends and editors also said he's excitable. He's a guy who gets excited.

    Well, that turns out to be very true.
    Right, it's perfect. There's a lot of unknowns with something like this. We had one shot at it, which was kind of nerve-wracking. But we felt good about the course and the safety of the course. We had designed it and tested it several times the day before, and with Jeff. We made sure it was super safe. And Travis just seemed like the kind of guy who could be taken for a ride, but also kind of enjoy the whole thing. At the end, he even wanted to go and do it again. He wanted to drive. He's a true gearhead.

    There's one moment where he kicks the divider. Were you worried he was going to dislodge the camera?
    There are so many moments in there where we got really lucky, in the way he reacts. That one was totally unexpected. I believe his foot even covers the lens at one point. We tested our cameras. They're pretty durable. And we built that whole divider and reinforced it. At the time we were just sitting back and watching what was happening. We saw the camera was still working, so that was good.

    You only have one take to get it right.
    That's right. And there's really no way to fake this kind of thing. Watching it afterward, we saw that his reactions were pretty big, so we were confident that we got what we needed. And then we had a consumer on set who had won a test drive with Jeff Gordon. So after he had finished the drive with Travis, we put the contest winner in the car, and this teenager got to go around the course once, which was fun.

    Was Jalopnik wary of being part of an advertisement?
    They were very intent on keeping their journalistic integrity. I think they saw the potential for a great story. They were obviously super collaborative and really fun to work with. But they wanted to keep that wall up and make sure Travis wasn't compensated in any way. If you read his article, it doesn't really talk about the product or the campaign—just the experience. And that was the story for them. They got a great story out of it—what it was like for him.

    What it was like was terrifying.
    I read the article this morning, and he really breaks it down, which is his style. Every thought in his head. Afterward we all had the same questions for him: What were you thinking? And he said in those moments, you're not thinking. He's been responding to commenters on Twitter, people saying, "You didn't see the cameras?" And he's like, "No, I was scared for my life!"

    I'm sure you're hoping this second video will be just as big as the first.
    You know, that's a big number. Just the fact that people are sharing it and enjoying it is the goal. It's hard to really predict the numbers, but it seems like that's happening so far. We're excited about it.

    You don't have to worry about Jalopnik criticizing it, anyway.
    Right! We'll leave that to other people. There are plenty of other critics out there, I'm sure. We'll have to go after them some other time.

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    Lowe's first work for Volkswagen's Seat, from its new Lola office in Barcelona, Madrid, takes acceleration to absurdist lengths.

    A two-minute teaser ad that landed on YouTube this week features a guy seated in a high-back seat in front of a black acceleration pedal, albeit one detached from a car. It's connected to an engine, though, and as he depresses the pedal, a cluster of 280 toy monkeys also plugged in to the engine bizarrely start clanging the tiny cymbals in their hands. But as the guy presses down harder—creating a loud engine roar—the monkeys, sadly, burst into flames and explode into the air. "Only a Cupra can handle the engine of a Cupra," explains screen copy.

    The ad then cuts to a thumbnail image of the Seat Leon Cupra and the fun tagline, “Enjoyneering.” It's just a teaser ad—the first of three—for a big campaign that rolls out next month. Let's hope the next one is kinder to kids' toys.

    Client: Seat
    Client Contact: Gabriele Palma / Jochen Dries
    Creative Agency: Lola, Barcelona
    Executive Creative Director: Chacho Puebla
    Creative Directors: Néstor García, Nacho Oñate
    Creative Team: Cristina Fité, Esther Matas, Miki Ocampo, Saray González
    Agency Producer: Cristina Español
    Global Business Director: Clark Steel
    Account Supervisor: Alejandro Belloti
    Production House: Blur
    Director: Maxi Sterle
    Producer: Pablo Acón
    Postproduction House: Metropolitana
    Sound Studio: Cannonball
    Edits: Monkey, Washing Machine and Mechanical Bull

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    How calming is Lipton tea? You'll be at peace even amid the animals (actually, make that the Animals) of New York City.

    In this new spot from London agency adam&eveDDB, our reluctant hero Kermit T. Frog sips a cup of Lipton tea (which may or may not be laced with opium) and is suddenly able to cope with a city full of Animal clones reminiscent of a John Malkovich daymare.

    The grouchy street-meat vendors, insane cab drivers and slack-jawed tourists who riddle Mayor Bill de Blasio's New York would rattle the average frog, but Kermit stays cool and collected. All he has to do is "Be more tea."

    A 60-second version of the spot, which also promotes the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted movie, out March 21, breaks Sunday on the Oscars.

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    Androgyny in fashion is nothing new. Designers have been sending women down the runway in sharply tailored suits and dressing men in kilts and skintight pants for decades. But recently, a crop of models has gained notoriety for building careers posing as the opposite sex.

    Take Andrej Pejic, the angelic-looking blond who's modeled bridal gowns for Gaultier and was named one of the "100 Sexiest Women in the World" by FHM magazine. Or Casey Legler, the former Olympic swimmer who is now signed to Ford's male model division. Pejic, by the way, is a man. Legler is a woman.

    And then there's Erika Linder, the star of this new campaign from Swedish label Crocker by JC Jeans Company. Linder, who came to prominence after appearing in Katy Perry's "Unconditionally" video last fall, works as both a mens- and womenswear model. (Her Twitter bio aptly reads, "I have too much imagination to just be one gender.") Now, in Crocker's gender-bending "Whatever" video, she's doing both.

    At first glance, "Whatever" doesn't come across as anything particularly remarkable. It opens with an emo-looking young man strolling into a photo shoot, where he catches the attention of a pretty woman. The man sits down in front of the camera and begins to disrobe. Then, with the help of a hair-and-makeup team (and some hair extensions), he is transformed into the same woman with whom he previously shared the screen.

    By now, of course, we've realized that both the "male" and "female" models are one and the same. Linder transitions between roles so seamlessly that her double appearance could be easily missed if it weren't spelled out for us. The moment the on-screen transformation begins, however, both "Whatever" and its star become far more compelling than your average fashion ad or model.

    "By starring Erika as the model for both male and female styles, we want this collection to inspire creativity and confidence as we set out to break new boundaries within the fashion industry," the brand says. It's an interesting move for a mainstream retailer, given that this type of androgyny is generally reserved for high-fashion editorials (though it's worth noting Sweden is very progressive when it comes to gender equality, having even added the gender-neutral pronoun "hen" to the country's National Encyclopedia last year).

    Here's hoping that the trend continues.

    Behind the scenes video:

    Client: Crocker / JC Jeans Company
    Creative Director: Eleonore Säll /JC
    Director & Director of Photography: Fredrik Etoall
    Editor: Robin Wellström
    Hair & Make: Sandra Ojeland / Mikas
    Music: Mapei - "Don't Wait" / Downtown Recordings & Universal Publishing

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    It’s late on a Monday morning and eight staffers at MediaCom are watching Argo.

    No, they’re not slacking off but rather learning how to tell a story from two Italian filmmakers: Giuseppe De Angelis, the media agency’s director of visual experience, and independent producer/director Diana Santi. For two full days, the staffers will also learn how to apply dramatic principles in their day jobs as strategic planners, account directors and department leaders.

    The goal is to make presentations to marketers more compelling and ultimately distinguish MediaCom in a business that’s still awash in spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides. At the risk of creating bad actors, the shop is betting that a dash of drama will beat slides hands down.

    “You do not need to be boring” to be trusted, explained Sasha Savic, MediaCom’s U.S. CEO, who hired De Angelis early last year and launched the storytelling module a year ago. “We’re enabling people to be creative in their ideas and solutions to clients.”

    So far, 24 staffers have completed the program, which ends with a mock new business pitch for a coveted brand. For the latest group, it was Absolut. Long before the pitch, though, they needed to learn how to think like storytellers. To get them there, De Angelis and Santi dissected characters and plot twists in Argo, Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning drama about the 1979 rescue of U.S. hostages in Iran.

    With the group of eight scattered around a rectangular table in a conference room in MediaCom’s New York headquarters, Santi plays scenes from the movie on an Apple laptop. Each clip introduces an element in the story, be it the protagonist (Affleck’s character), an inciting incident (the bogus sci-fi movie) or a helper (John Goodman’s character).

    Within an hour, the assembled are able to identify the protagonist’s main obstacles, some foreshadowing dialogue and the moments of greatest tension and release. Participants who seemed skeptical or reticent at the start of the day are now rattling off movie lingo like veteran scriptwriters.

    For MediaCom, these lessons are key to connecting with marketers on a human level. Besides, advertising remains a relationship-driven business, and how better to bond than through stories? Two weeks after the latest storytelling session, participant and multicultural chief Jose Bello confirmed as much, noting that he had already been “more dramatic” in a meeting with Volkswagen executives. He paused between thoughts for effect and held back some of the most salient bits of data until the end.

    “It was well-taken,” Bello said of the presentation. “It was natural.”

    Consultant Ken Robinson of Ark Advisors in New York sees value in the storytelling approach, as long as the sizzle doesn’t overshadow substance. “It would be a shame if they veered too much into the showmanship. But at the same time, you want clients to leave inspired,” Robinson said. “If what they’re talking about is how do you tell a story in a way that is concise, interesting and compelling, then yeah, I’m all for it.”

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    After meeting widespread ridicule for a lofty first attempt at brand advertising in 2012 (and subsequent stumbles pitching its Facebook Home product), the social network has quietly been rolling out ads online this year that are quite a bit more grounded. And they focus more on promoting the core utility of the social network—in particular, its role as a motivator for non-virtual self-improvement.

    Don't worry, the campaign, created by Wieden + Kennedy, doesn't wholly commit to the mundane. One spot insists on emphasizing the calculated quirkiness of a group of young adults acting like teens. They have decided to drill skis and snowboards to the bottom of couches and ride the makeshift toboggans down a slope. This is apparently a real thing that someone, somewhere has done before. That lends a little credibility to Facebook's point that it will help organize even the most oddball of gatherings.

    Another spot focuses on using the network to crowdsource recommendations for a tango teacher, who turns out to be a charming, colorful personality. Other ads highlight an aspiring marathon runner, whose many friends encourage him through the network, and a girl who's going through a breakup, who only needs one friends to make things better.

    The spots do a solid job of using specific examples to illustrate Facebook's real value—its efficiency as a way to communicate with more than one person at once. That won't answer any grand existential questions, but it does get out of its own way and shows, concretely, how the product can help make life off-screen better—a concept Facebook has struggled to articulate in the past.

    That is, if making life better is defined as making it easier to sucker people you met once into watching you go sledding, or get shopping advice, or go fishing for affirmation.

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    Late-night talk-show hosts already commandeer your living room in the wee hours. Now they're expanding their purview.

    Following Jimmy Kimmel's bit before Sunday's Oscars in which he pretended to climb through the camera into a couple's living room to berate them, today we have this new Time Warner Cable ad starring Jimmy Fallon—in which the Tonight Show host shows up (with his whole band) in a guy's home just as he's eating breakfast. The point: Now you can watch NBC shows anytime as part of TWC's on-demand services.

    Fallon is already everywhere these days; it only makes sense that he should be there anytime as well. He even popped up briefly in Ogilvy New York's previous ad for TWC—the minute-long extravaganza, also posted below, hosted by Diddy.

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    Montreal agency lg2 found a goofy but practical use for all the snow this winter—it made it look like dandruff gone berkserk on outdoor ads for Selsun Blue. Pity the fool who had shoveling duty on this project, though.

    "Dandruff flakes typically occur in winter," the agency says, "due to the use of heating sources such as electricity. Selsun Blue and lg2 thus decided to launch an offensive at a time when people are most in need of dandruff-fighting shampoo."

    The headline, "Quand les pellicules vous prennent par surprise," translates to, "When flakes take you by surprise." Credits below.

    Client: Sanofi – Selsun Blue
    Agency: lg2, Montreal
    Creative Director: Marc Fortin
    Creative Team: Mathieu Dufour, Marie-Ève Leclerc-Dion
    Account Services: Julie Simon, David Legendre, Safia Dodard
    Print Production: lg2fabrique
    Media: Publicité Sauvage

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    Imagination and ingenuity can drive you almost anywhere—even to the Academy Awards telecast.

    So learned Jude Chun, a South Korean independent filmmaker whose delightful minute-long winning entry in Chevrolet and Mofilm's international Oscars competition aired during Sunday night's gala on ABC.

    The film-within-a-film, created with co-directors Eunhae Cho and Sunyoung Hwang, shows some imaginative kids making a movie of their own, called "Speed Chaser." Chevy's 2014 Cruze is prominently featured, in both life-size and toy-model versions.

    "We started from the fact that our target audience was watching the Oscars telecast, and we wanted to make something that celebrated the magic of movies," Chun tells Adweek.

    The clip, chosen from among 72 entries, is part of the automaker's "Find New Roads" campaign, a mantra Chun says also captures the essence of filmmaking. "A budget of 100 millions of dollars might help, but it's really imagination, creativity and passion that get movies made," he says.

    The film's authenticity and heart stem from Chun's youthful DIY experiments in moviemaking. "When I was in high school, I used to make videos with my friends," he says. "Just silly stuff like Matrix parodies. We used office chairs as dollies, lamp stands as lighting. I used to hook up two VHS players to a TV, and press play/record/rewind to edit my movies."

    Chun's winning Chevy effort was also a low-budget affair. "'Speed Chaser' was shot in a field near Hwaseong City, Korea," he says. "We had one day of principal photography, and a half day for pickups. Our total budget was about $4,000." Still, the performers got as intense as the cast of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Our little actress [Jungwon Lee] was so method that once she started crying, she couldn't stop. Luckily, she nailed it in one take!" says Chun.

    As branded content, the film succeeds thanks to its whimsical, soft-sell approach. The Cruze gets a lot of screen time, but that works in the context of the story and never feels intrusive. Best of all, the concept isn't forced, because imagination and creative thinking really can accelerate meaningful endeavors in art and commerce, from designing automobiles to making movies and commercials.

    Plus, the kids' low-tech soundtrack choice is awesome. More car commercials should give kazoos a try.

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    Those who stayed up to the (figuratively) bitter end of Sunday's Academy Awards telecast were treated to one of the strongest ads of the night—this one-minute spot from Google celebrating storytelling.

    The spot was all about young filmmakers learning the craft, but it was narrated by a master of the form—Pixar's Andrew Stanton, who knows a little something about stories, having written all three Toy Story movies, as well as Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, WALL-E and John Carter.

    The voiceover came directly from bits and pieces of Stanton's 2012 TED talk (the more inspirational parts, that is, not the parts about people have sex with livestock).

    The version of the spot on the Oscars broadcast actually had brief footage of Stanton accepting one of his Oscars. The online version omits that part.

    Stanton tweeted about his cameo in the ad. And yes, he retweeted the Ellen selfie.

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    What defines an experience? According to “the Internet,” an experience is “something that happens to somebody.” I like that definition. It’s vague without prerequisites and it does not delineate the environment or space. With the onslaught of real-time marketing and social media, brands are challenged to connect with their audiences in a very real way that will create lasting impressions, memorable experiences and, hopefully, customer loyalty. 

    Illustration: Max Estes

    But in order to create meaningful brand experiences, we need to consider the following questions: Does a person need to be physically present for a brand experience to truly resonate? Does it require literal communal participation? Can a virtual experience still connect emotionally?

    Every year, I attend the New York Philharmonic’s season opening concert in Central Park. The experience of sitting on the Great Lawn with thousands of people, hearing the music live is, at a very basic level, different than sitting in my apartment listening to that orchestra’s album.

    But does the atmosphere of either of these experiences make me like the music any more or less? Does one experience sway me more to buy tickets to the next New York Philharmonic concert, buy the next album released, or recommend it to a friend? Perhaps the big difference in this case is that the live experience gives me a story to share with friends and colleagues.

    So the question struck me: In this digital age, can you generate an experience specifically designed for virtual interaction and still have it resonate in a profound way? Take two campaigns we at DDB New York created for the New York City Ballet: Faile Art Series and New Beginnings.

    Faile Art Series was an effort to introduce ballet to a younger audience with an interest in culture and art but who had not yet experienced the ballet. The NYCB partnered with Brooklyn-based street art duo Faile, best known for its urban-style, pop-culture collages. The series was infused with original Faile artwork that audience members received at the conclusion of each performance to commemorate the program. This was clearly designed for people to be physically present.

    Conversely, New Beginnings, NYCB’s tribute to 9/11 victims performed on the rooftop of 4 World Trade Center on Sept. 12, 2013, was an experience specifically created to be shared virtually. The short film captures a moving performance at sunrise, and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the city that NYCB calls home. Although New Beginnings was a virtual experience, the film most definitely resonated with people, in many cases moving them to tears. Looking at both campaigns, I would argue that watching the performance online didn’t resonate less because it was experienced virtually.

    Perhaps one of the best, and most awarded, examples of how resonant a purely online experience can actually be is the WeChooseTheMoon.org project at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Through a series of incredible short films, live audio recordings and realistic 3-D animation, the site artfully helps us imagine (and feel) what it might have been like to be aboard that first manned spacecraft to the moon. Initially broadcast live to coincide with the actual timing of the original mission, the site is now in self-guided mode. But there is no doubt that it is an experience that makes you feel as if you were there. Emotionally and physically. And it’s presented entirely online.

    There are those who still argue that real-life experiences resonate much deeper with consumers than their virtual counterparts. In his book Spectacle, author David Rockwell writes, “The experience of a virtual community pales in the face of the physical experience of a spectacle.”

    While his point has some validity (I can’t imagine a virtual Burning Man), the Internet, mobile ubiquity and social media are radically reforming the frontier of what it means to have something happen to somebody.

    It’s just a matter of time before technology erodes the foundation of Rockwell’s claim.

    Matt Eastwood (@mattinnewyork) is chief creative officer at DDB New York.

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    What has Diet Coke been snorting?

    In the way the tagline, "You're on," and logo are positioned, the brand's new ads seem to refer to drug use—appearing to spell out the phrase "You're on coke."

    The campaign, by Droga5 in New York, has been building considerable, um, buzz in the media and from consumers flocking to social media with mocking comments. (Gothamist has collected some prime tweets along these, er, lines.) And while one imagines no such connection to cocaine is implied, you can understand the snarky reaction.

    A commercial shows various people downing the product to get psyched up before speeches and performances. Taylor Swift takes a—how shall I put this?—hit backstage, then says, "Great. Let's go." Hey, that's nothing like drugs at all. In The New York Times, a Coca-Cola exec says the ads show how the drink provides "uplift for those moments when you really need to be on." Hey, that's nothing like drugs at all.

    The campaign's wording is so obvious, I'd bet client and agency went this route on purpose. The ads are certainly getting extra attention, and it's not so offensive as to cause the brand harm. Plus, there's plausible deniability.

    And here's a sobering thought: "Drogas" is Spanish for drugs!

    I reached out to Coke and Droga5 for clarification. Oddly, they weren't on (no response yet), but I'll update this post with any uplifting comments they choose to provide.

    UPDATE: Coca-Cola responds: "This advertising is one part of the new campaign for Diet Coke, which is called 'You're On.' It celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best. Every single day, young people around the world experience 'You're On' moments big and small. It could be a job interview or a national TV interview, a first date or a final exam, a presentation to your boss or a performance in front of thousands. The Diet Coke logo is the centerpiece of the ad campaign. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance."

    Photo below: @david_j_roth

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    IDEA: Astronaut? Firefighter? Movie star? All fine professions. But it's the dream of being a racecar driver that gets kids' pulses racing in many homes across America.

    A new 60-second Nascar ad from Ogilvy shows the sport's youngest fans talking about what they want to be when they grow up—and they end up describing their Nascar heroes pretty well. It's a fun and different way to leverage one of the sport's great assets—the star power of its drivers—while touching on the truth of how people become fans in the first place.

    "Kids in particular tend to follow a certain driver," said Nascar vp of marketing Kim Brink. "A lot of times they meet the driver at a track and become lifelong fans. We wanted to do a spot that leaned into that a little bit, and talked about these heroes through the words of children."

    Don't expect it to be too cute, though. These kids, like their idols, have an edge. "We didn't want 'Heroes' to be just another ad with children," said Brink. "It needed to be a Nascar ad."

    COPYWRITING: The spot features boys and girls speaking to the camera about their dreams:

    Every night when I fall asleep
    I dream of flying
    I dream of riding a rocket
    I dream of being an athlete
    I dream of being a king
    Of being dangerous
    I dream of being fearless
    I dream of being bad
    Really bad
    I dream of being a knight in shining armor
    I dream of defying gravity
    Being brave
    Being famous
    A good guy
    A hero
    I dream of being a tough guy
    I dream of mayhem
    I dream of kicking butt
    Kicking butt
    Kicking butt and taking names
    I dream of being a 10
    I dream of donuts
    That's my dream
    That's my dream
    That's my dream
    Mine too
    I dream of being a racecar driver.

    At the 23-second mark, the spot begins to intersperse footage (some new, some archival) of Nascar drivers in and outside their vehicles. Some copy is a bit provocative (though the girl who dreams of "being a 10" is referring to Danica Patrick's car), but that fits with the brand.

    "A Nascar ad with kids has to be bold," said group creative director Terry Finley. "We didn't do anything purposely funny or overly cutesy. It's very heartfelt, real, serious and cool. These drivers are the baddest-ass good guys you'll ever meet."

    The spot closes with the logo and URL. There is no tagline.

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Director Gerard de Thame filmed the kids over two days in various environments—urban, rural, home, school, car. The archival clips bring race-day energy, while the new footage allows for cleaner art direction.

    TALENT: There are a few 6-year-olds, but most of the kids are between 8 and 10. "They had to be old enough to actually have a dream, and articulate that," said Finley.

    The kids are racially diverse and include boys and girls (Nascar says its fan base is 50/50 male/female). "We put diversity first in everything we do," said Ogilvy account director Dan Langlitz. "This dream is attainable for anybody. So that was a thoughtful part of the casting process."

    SOUND: A guitar track, scored to picture by Beacon Street Studios, builds to a crescendo, then fades. "It needed to have an emotional peak," said Finley. "That ring-out at the end, when the kid is closing his eyes, was worked on quite extensively."

    As far as racing sounds go, Ogilvy has actually found that less is more. (Last year's "Twist" spot had just classical music and a voiceover.) "When you see the powerful footage, your own imagination of what the sound would be adds to the story," said Ogilvy New York chief creative officer Calle Sjoenell.

    MEDIA: "Heroes" is one of three new spots running nationally on Nascar's broadcast partners including ABC, ESPN, Fox and TNT.



    Client: Nascar
    Spot: "Heroes"
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York
    Group Creative Director: Terry Finley
    Creative Director: Rich Wallace
    Creative Director: Jack Low
    Producer: Dave Lambert
    Account Director: Dan Langlitz
    Account Supervisor: Ben Ende
    Account Executive: Emily Zale
    Head Planner: Jen Peterson
    NY Chief Creative Officer: Calle Sjoenell
    President, Advertising New York: Adam Tucker
    Director: Gerard de Thame
    Production Company: Supply & Demand
    Editorial: Bug
    Music: Beacon Street Studios
    Color Correction: Company 3
    Mix: Heard City

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    If you've ever thought to yourself, "Man, choosing toppings for my pizza by talking to a waiter is so tedious and annoying—I sure wish I could smash my grimy hands all over this table to accomplish this insufferable task," well, you're in luck.

    Pizza Hut and Chaotic Moon Studios have teamed up to create a concept table that cuts out the terribly social process of customizing a pizza via your piehole. Instead, it allows you to design a masterpiece like you're a pizza Jedi or Tom Cruise in Minority Report. And after you're done "ordering," you can play something like "Flappy Stache" or "Dragon Academy" instead of having yet another awkward conversation with your life partner.

    Via Laughing Squid.

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    Pitching the virtues of "real" is an intriguing marketing choice on Oscar night, the fantasy industry's biggest Botoxed evening of the year. Then again, contrast is the underlying theme of Chobani's new ad from Droga5, promoting Simply 100, the Greek yogurt's entry into the light-yogurt segment.

    The Greek yogurt industry leader, which claims to be the only producer with all-natural ingredients, is a latecomer to low-calorie yogurt offerings, which are the fastest-growing dairy category. Chobani has its work cut out: The brand is not only playing catch-up; it's also dealing with new hardball comparison marketing from deep-pocket competitors like General Mills' Yoplait.

    In this new "Farmland" spot, Chobani stops short of naming the competition, but there's little visual ambiguity. It opens with a view of rivals: Test-tube artificial flavors hang off fruit trees; plastic cows graze on half an acre of artificial turf. Ingredients are mixed in beakers by men in lab coats in front of a phony barn facade. A butterfly then takes viewers to where Chobani sources ingredients from real farm fields, cows, fresh peaches and cherries.

    The spot uses a quirky Nancy Sinatra soundtrack, "The End," and while there's no literal connection, its country crescendo works with the commercial's pastoral setting, faux and otherwise.

    The spot continues Chobani's "How Matters" branding, which launched on the Super Bowl with the ad starring a bear who looked for a snack after waking up from hibernation. That was the opening salvo from new chief marketing officer Peter McGuinness, who is tasked with creating a profile for a brand that has only 37 percent U.S. awareness despite being the country's No. 1 selling Greek yogurt.

    McGuinness, who previously ran DDB Chicago, is no stranger to a good marketing fight and might have been expected to respond to competitors like Yoplait with more of an advertising punch. But he says Chobani is a brand associated with a certain amount of humility, as indicated in the commercial's end line: "A cup of yogurt won't change the world, but how we make it might."

    The job going forward is to maintain the roots of a brand born amid the small dairy farms of upstate New York, while taking it mainstream in the aisles of mega-retailers like Walmart. "We're not reinventing Chobani. We're re-articulating it," McGuinness said." 'How Matters' is what we've always stood for."

    Client: Chobani

    Agency: Droga5, New York
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Creative Directors: Rick Dodd, Steve Howell
    Art Director: Karen Short
    Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Producer: Robert Marmor
    Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
    Chobani, Chief Marketing Officer: Peter McGuinness
    Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing: Brad Charron
    Production Company: Smuggler
    Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
    Director of Photography: David Devlin
    Executive Producer: Lisa Tauscher
    Producer: Drew Santarsiero

    Editing: Rock, Paper, Scissors
    Editor: Conor O'Neill

    Postproduction: The Mill
    Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe
    Producer: Alex Fitzgerald

    Music: "The End"
    Artist: Nancy Sinatra
    Writers: Sid Jacobson, Jimmy Krondes

    Sound Design: Sonic Union
    Engineer: David Papa

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    Here's some more great out-of-home work.

    German home-improvement chain OBI is advertising its renovation products by actually renovating homes. Well, parts of them. Ad agency Jung von Matt/Elbe measured out billboard-sized sections of run-down buildings and fixed them up—creating visually delightful billboards that really show the difference between before and after on an improvement project.

    Germany has something of a tradition of doing inventive ads for home-improvement stores, as seen in the rich, weird and often epic marketing done by OBI rival Hornbach.

    Credits for the OBI work below.

    Client: OBI
    Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt/Elbe
    Chief Creative Officers: Dörte Spengler-Ahrens, Jan Rexhausen
    Creative Directors: Felix Fenz, Alexander Norvilas
    Art Directors: Michael Wilde, Max Pilwat, Michael Hess
    Copywriter: Felix Fenz
    Creative Team: Michael Wilde, Max Pilwat

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    There's something about roadside advertising, from Hasslehoff cutouts to giant headphones, that turns drunk morons into thieves. But every now and again, someone pulls off a heist that's so fantastic, it can only be a hoax.

    Thus was the case with the stolen giant mango at the center of Australia's "MangoGate."

    The 33-foot-tall mango was built 12 years ago at a cost of $90,000 to celebrate the city of Bowen's self-designation as the mango capital of Australia. When it mysteriously went missing a few weeks ago, a number of suspicious people immediately assumed it was a publicity stunt. The sudden appearance of a Facebook page seemed to justify their cynicism.

    Journalists, however, covered the case breathlessly.

    Then, last week, chicken restaurant chain Nando's just came out and admitted it had "borrowed" the mango, but refused to say why. (The chain also said Bowen Tourism was involved in the caper.) Well, this week it revealed the reason—it was all to plug a new mango-and-lime chicken menu item.

    The video below shows the filched fruit sitting next to a big lime in Melbourne. Nando's later returned the mango to its hallowed roadside spot to tangle with drunk morons another day.

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    Wisconsin is doubling down on its Airplane! advertising strategy.

    In recent years, the state has hired the classic comedy's directors, Badger state natives David and Jerry Zucker, to direct a handful of tourism ads, including one featuring Airplane! actor Robert Hays getting beat up by everything (including a large bass).

    Unveiled this week, Travel Wisconsin's latest spot from Milwaukee agency Laughlin Constable is the first to explicitly reference the 1980 film. Set in a cockpit, it reunites Hays with his Airplane! co-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—and was directed by the Zuckers and Airplane!'s third director, Jim Abrahams.

    Abdul-Jabbar, a former NBA star who began his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, is making a nice little advertising career out of his Airplane! credit—he also just appeared in Delta's super 1980s flight-safety video.

    The new Travel Wisconsin spot will probably tickle you if you're a huge Airplane! fan, or already love Wisconsin and associated trivia. For the rest of you, there's always that nice shot of the lake.

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    Fake product demos are getting harder to spot, what with reality-bending products like NeverWet and Oakley's hovercraft golf cart. Here is the latest video in that vein—a hypnotizing four-minute demo for a real-life hoverboard made by a company called HUVr.

    Unfortunately, despite the video's insistence that the mind-boggling demonstrations "are completely real," the hoverboard does appear to be a fake. But that doesn't stop Tony Hawk, Moby, Terrell Owens, Agnes Bruckner and other celebs from pitching it fervently.

    The question is: What real thing is this fake thing intended to promote? The HUVr website lists a "destination time" of December 2014, so it could be a movie or videogame release. Some have suggested it could be for a new Tony Hawk skating (or hoverboarding) game.

    Check out more on the HUVr site, where the testimonials include one from Mark Cuban, who opines: "This f**king thing is going to change the world!"


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