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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Geico and M&M's, the peanut butter and chocolate of comic advertising, have teamed up for this tasty peanut-butter cup of a commercial, in which Ms. Brown seeks to get insurance—much to the dismay of Geico's gecko, who has clearly read the company handbook on providing coverage to candy. (The edible are not eligible.)

    There's a cameo by a third character, too, well timed for this midweek release.

    M&M's agency BBDO New York led the creative, with input from The Martin Agency, which handles Geico. A social-media campaign on Facebook and Twitter will tell the larger story of Ms. Brown's efforts to secure insurance.

    Lots of people claim to dislike advertising. But just as brand-on-brand Twitter banter is quite entertaining, the odd little feeling of delight you get while watching Ms. Brown and the gecko proves yet again that, try as you might, you actually can't resist brands at all.

    CREDITS
    Client: Mars/M&M's and Geico
    Spot: "15 Minutes"
    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    SVP, Executive Creative Director: Tim Bayne
    SVP, Executive Creative Director: Lauren Connolly
    Senior Art Director: Eduardo Petersen
    Senior Copywriter: Christopher Cannon
    Senior Producer: Regina Iannuzzi
    Producer: Sofia Doktori
    Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester
    EVP, Senior Account Director: Susannah Keller
    VP, Account Director: Carrie Lipper
    Account Manager: Tani Nelson
    Account Executive: Alyce Regan
    Production Company: Traktor
    Director: Traktor
    Head of Production: Rani Melendez
    Visual Effect House: Framestore
    VFX Supervisor: David Hulin
    Executive Producer: James Razzall
    Senior Producer: Graham Dunglinson
    CG Supervisor: James Dick
    Lighting Lead: John Montefusco
    Animation Lead: Jim Hundertmark
    Animation: Shayne Ryan
    Compositing Lead: Sharon Marcussen
    Producer: Raven Sia
    Visual Effects (the Camel): The Mill
    Producer: Colin Blaney
    Edit House: PS260
    Editor: Maury Loeb
    Editor: Ned Borgman
    Assistant Editor: Matt Posey
    Assistant Editor: Colin Edelman
    Senior Producer: Laura Patterson
    Final Mix/Sound Design: Nutmeg – Frank Venderosa


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    For PSA campaigns aimed at getting people to help the children of Syria, job one is making the crisis feel immediate rather than remote.

    Last month's hidden-camera stunt in Norway, in which a child sat freezing without a coat at a bus stop in winter, did just that. Now, Save the Children has released its own U.K. campaign to make the horror in Syria feel real—the 90-second video below, which does so to devastating effect.

    The ad, by creative agency Don't Panic, imagines if what has happened in Syria were to happen in London. Amazingly shot, it uses the structure of the popular one-second-a-day videos to show an ordinary girl's world falling apart over a period of a year (from birthday to birthday)—as her comfortable middle-class existence evaporates and she finds herself a homeless and fatherless refugee amid the horrors of war.

    The video coincides with the buildup to the third anniversary of the Syrian crisis, which has left 100,000 people dead and 2 million more as refugees. On-screen text at the end reads: "Just because it isn't happening here doesn't mean it isn't happening."

    "It's easy to forget that Syria was a middle income country, where children enjoyed the benefits of education, healthcare and the other basic rights our children take for granted—not to mention Facebook accounts, video games and youth culture," says Jack Lundie, director of brand and communications at Save the Children.

    "We hope the video will resonate with the public, particularly those who don't know much about the situation in Syria, and offer a new perspective on the devastating impact this conflict is having on innocent Syrian children."


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    Specs
    Who (From left) Michael Lastoria, managing partner; Ashley Heather, co-president, chief digital officer; Sarrah Hallock, co-president, COO; and Doug Jacob, CEO
    What Digitally focused ad agency concentrating on fashion, beauty and lifestyle
    Where New York office

    Doug Jacob, who helped develop the New York nightclub Tenjune, says his experience launching such hot spots provided a great entrée to advertising, informing the creation of the shop JWalk with Charlie Walk (who’s no longer involved in its day-to-day activities). “In hospitality, you don’t sell food—you sell experience,” Jacob said. “As an agency, we sell ourselves on what’s next in culture.” That has paid off for clients like DeLeón, a premium tequila brand acquired by Diageo and Sean Combs. (Its other clients have included Bebe, Bare Escentuals, Proximo spirits, Stuart Weitzman, Rubbermaid and PepsiCo’s Pure Leaf tea.) The agency also invests in developing new brand categories, including one of its most recent, the chia food company Health Warrior.


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    We've seen plenty of women get makeovers in advertising lately—either in pursuit of some market-driven ideal of beauty, or in critique of same. In this video, though, a woman is transformed for a different purpose.

    Annelie Nordström, chairwoman of Kommunal, Sweden's biggest union, as made over as a man to protest unequal salaries between men and women in the country. It's all a stunt for International Women's Day this Saturday. Over at the website, BeAMan.se, women can also connect to a Facebook app and become men themselves through some photo manipulation.

    The campaign is by ad agency Volontaire, which won the Grand Prix in the Cyber Lions at Cannes in 2012 for its "Curators of Sweden" campaign—a fascinating experiment in which ordinary Swedes took turns running the country's official Twitter account.


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    If you thought Olive Garden's logo couldn't get any worse, you were wrong.

    On Monday, the Darden-owned restaurant chain unveiled a brand refresh. The perplexing cluster of grapes that graced Olive Garden's logo for a decade and a half has devolved into a twiggy branch that appears to be an unfortunate shade of chartreuse. The previous tacky pseudo-script laying out the chain's name has become a font that's even more half-baked.

    The early feedback is not good. One Twitter commenter aptly describes the overall design as looking "like it was drawn with a breadstick." Another interprets the new logo, created with help from design shop Lippincott, as a sign that the restaurant will "now be a home decor company specializing in mid-priced hand towels."

    John Brownlee at Fast Company offers a detailed takedown of the color scheme in a side by side comparison with the old logo.

    Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and logo redesigns can be notoriously touchy business. But this could easily be on par with the notorious Gap crowdsourcing and Target drop-shadow debacles—or it would if people cared as much about Olive Garden as they do about Gap or Target.


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    Once upon a time, Old Navy commercials were generally accepted as wonderful. They were bright, colorful, kitschy, silly and instantly recognizable. But eventually, as these things go, they got old. The public moved on, while Old Navy, with its mannequins and goofy taglines, remained stuck in the 2000s.

    Since the retailer split with Crispin Porter + Bogusky last summer, though, its advertising—from Chandelier Creative in New York—has experienced a bit of a revival. First, there was the Black Friday ad with the delightful Melissa McCarthy. Then, last month, it was a spot featuring comedian Debra Wilson as an overexcited TSA agent. Now, Old Navy is debuting a new campaign starring yet another female comic, national treasure Amy Poehler.

    The first 30-second spot, "Meet the Pixie Pant," has Poehler playing a wacky lawyer who interviews a potential job candidate. But rather than discussing, you know, lawyer stuff, Poehler becomes fixated on the interviewee's outfit—a pair of skinny blue gingham pants and white T-shirt (which, cuteness notwithstanding, probably isn't the most appropriate ensemble for an interview at a law firm)—and proceeds to ask her a bunch of bizarre questions about them. After learning that the pants were just $25 and the shirt free with purchase, Poehler gives the young woman the job and dashes out to Old Navy.

    In a second, extended version of the spot, we get some more riffing from Poehler on her pants obsession ("Would it be weird if I got the same ones? And we wore them on the same day? And we went to the beach together?"), her law firm ("You know what we do here? We represent cats in criminal trials") and the job requirements ("You do some light housekeeping? Great, because I live in a lighthouse and it's filthy").

    Admittedly, none of this is exactly groundbreaking, and if the star were anyone but Poehler, it might even be forgettable. But Poehler, who also helped write the spots, gives a deadpan performance that's hard not to love. She's proven capable of making average material seem much better than it actually is (Season 1 of Parks and Recreation, anyone?), and she works that same magic here.

    And magic is something Old Navy sorely needs.

    CREDITS
    Client: Old Navy
    Agency: Chandelier Creative
    Creative Directors: Richard Christiansen, Lena Kuffner
    Managing Director: Sara Fisher
    Art Director: Michael Scanlon
    Writer: Matt Murray
    Producer: Jill Andresevic

    Production Company: Caviar Content
    Director: Jonathan Krisel
    Executive Producers: Michael Sagol, Jasper Thomlinson
    Line Producer: Eric Escott
    Director of Photography: Christian Sprenger

    Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Carlos Arias 
    Assistant Editor: Alex Liu
    Executive Producer:  Eve Kornblum
    Head of Production: Justin Kumpata
    Post Producer: Lisa Barnable

    Telecine: Color Collective
    Colorist: Alex Bickel
    Producer: Claudia Guevara

    Audio Post: Sonic Union
    Mixer: Mike Marinelli
    Assistant Mixer: Pat Sullivan

    Visual Effects Studio: Rock Paper Scissors
    2-D Visual Effects Artist: Edward Reina
    Producer: Melanie Gagliano
    Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum

     


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    Ever wonder what tennis can do for you? Well, for starters, it can make you smarter, stronger, happier, more attractive and pretty much invincible.

    The United States Tennis Association doesn't skimp on the specifics of the sport's many benefits to its athletes in this new campaign from DDB New York, targeting millennials. And the messages are delivered in decidedly offbeat fashion, thanks to the inimitable style of director Jared Hess, who made Napoleon Dynamite.

    Five short online spots communicate the benefits with quirky visuals and simple factoids—all crisp, clean and slightly off center. The theme is "Tennis Makes You," which works well as a stand-alone line and an introductory phrase.

    Judging by the shrimp with the one giant arm, the only question is whether being stronger and being more attractive are mutually exclusive.

    Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: United States Tennis Association
    Campaign: "Tennis Makes You"

    Agency: DDB, New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
    Executive Creative Director, Chief Digital Officer: Joe Cianciotto
    Creative Director: Scott Cooney
    Associate Creative Director: Carlos Wigle
    Copywriters: Step Schultz, Bobby Finger
    Art Director: Amanda Millwee
    Head of Production: Ed Zazzera
    Management Supervisor: Ginny Levine

    Production Company: Community Films
    Director: Jared Hess
    Director of Photography: Mattias Troelstrup
    Executive Producers: Lizzie Schwartz, Carl Swan
    Producer: Lisa Shaw

    Visual Effects: MPC (Bee spot only)
    Editing House: Fluid
    Editor: John Piccolo
    Flame/VFX: Ross Vincent, Fluid
    Producer: Laura Relovsky
    Music: Stock


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    Google Glass videos are notable for their seamless first-person perspective, which puts you not only in someone else's shoes but in their eyes. You see what they see. No wonder, then, that the empathy-rich form is being hijacked by a PSA effort—to show you something you wouldn't want to see in the first place.

    A group of London creatives put together the unbranded video below for International Women's Day on Saturday, according to Osocio. Google was not involved.

    The video has been polarizing on YouTube so far. As awareness messages go, it is blunt and unpleasant—which is the point of all shock videos, although the trend lately, of course, is toward more uplifting and empowering work.

    As a distressing reminder of an intractable problem, it works well enough—though it will have its critics who see it as gimmicky and gratuitous. It would help if they spelled the #womensday hashtag correctly at the end.

    Warning: Video contains violence and may be upsetting.


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    Here's a candidate for most mercenary ad of the year—a homemade spot that was among those entered into Chevrolet and MOFILM's Oscars competition. Thankfully, it didn't win.

    It opens on a young woman getting ready to say goodbye to her Golden Retriever. It then heart-wrenchingly backtracks through her relationship with the pet, all the way back to her childhood. It is beautifully written and produced, and will make you feel very sad, and make you smile, and then make you angry when you realize Chevy is a dick who has shamelessly manipulated love for a dying dog to get you to buy a car—by slapping the punny "A best friend for life's journey" tagline onto a shot of an Equinox at the end.

    The point of the ad seems to be that your Chevy will outlast your dog, or something. Or maybe, like your dog, it will be there through all the times? And eventually the car will die, and you will be sad about that, too? Except you won't really care, because it's a machine, and not a pet, and well-adjusted people don't develop the same attachment to machines as they do to pets?

    The ad is steadily gaining steam on YouTube, where it seems to be pretty well loved, though it has its vocal detractors elsewhere. Kudos to Chevy for picking Jude Chun's ad as the winner instead.


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    Here's a clever ad that starts off as a preview for a horror movie called Schizo and ends with Glenn Close talking about BringChange2Mind, the organization she founded.

    Watch the video for more. Since horror movies often use mental illness as an easy diagnosis for their villains, not to mention the number of fictional serial killers who wear plaid shirts, the juxtaposition here is rather astute.

    Via Laughing Squid.


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    Ever since Cheerios struck unexpected marketing gold with its subtle ad about an interracial family, brands seem to have woken to the realization that inclusiveness can be a good thing. Or even a great thing.

    And this week, no one's more inclusive than Honey Maid. The graham cracker brand has launched a new spot from Droga5 called "This Is Wholesome," featuring real-life parents from many different backgrounds. Although it's only a :30, we see at least five different families, not one of which fits into advertising's usual white, heterosexual paradigm. 

    There are gay dads, two mixed-race families (one military), a single dad and a punk-rock family that dances around dad's drum kit. This level of ultra-diversity could easily feel forced if the footage hadn't been selected and handled so deftly. The three corresponding documentary clips below also complement the campaign's storytelling and highlight that these are real families and neighbors.  

    The warmth of the campaign gets doused a bit when corporate parent Mondelez International discusses the ad, but I suppose you have to give them points for practicality. The campaign's news release opens with stats on the number of U.S. single-parent families (20 million) and Hispanic families (11.6 million), along with the fact that one in 12 marriages are interracial. 

    "We recognize change is happening every day, from the way in which a family looks today to how a family interacts to the way it is portrayed in media," marketing director Gary Osifchin says in a statement. "We at Honey Maid continue to evolve and expand our varieties to provide delicious, wholesome products so they can be a part of everyday moments of connection in a world with changing, evolving family dynamics."

    CREDITS:
    Client: Mondelez International / Honey Maid
    Senior Marketing Director, Wholesome Sweet: Gary Osifchin
    Senior Brand Manager: Tracey Benitz
    Senior Associate Brand Manager: Funbi Ibe
    Agency: Droga5 NY
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Executive Creative Director: Kevin Brady
    Senior Copywriter: Nathan Lennon
    Senior Art Director: David Gibson Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Producer: Bill Berg
    Head of Brand Strategy: Ted Florea
    Brand Planning Director: Matthew Springate
    Group Communications Strategy Director: Colleen Leddy
    Communications Strategist: William de Lannoy
    Account Director: Jodi McLeod
    Account Manager: Joan Wortmann
    Assistant Account Manager: Jasmine McDavid
     
    Production Company: Brainwash
    Production Company: Jefferson
    Directors: Martin + Lindsay
    DOP: Carlos Veron
    Executive Producer: John Marias
    Producer: Tanya Stephens
    Editorial: Lost Planet Editorial
    Editor: Christopher Huth
    Assistant Editor: Adriana Machado
    Executive Producer: Krystn Wagenberg
    Producer: Kate McCormick
    Postproduction: MPC
    Managing Director: Justin Lane
    Senior Producer: John Skeffington
    Telecine: Adrian Seery
     
    Music: Search Party Music
    Executive Producer: Eric David Johnson
    Assistant Music Producer: Winslow Bright
    Composer: John Askew
    Sound: Sonic Union
    Mixer: Paul Weiss


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    Considering that Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" has become a meme with thousands of crowdsourced iterations, the bar is set pretty high for new official ads in the series. But this one seems up to the task.

    In "Dogsled" from agency Havas Worldwide, His Interestingness valet parks a team of huskies, rescues man and fish alike from a blaze, second-guesses a surgeon and, uh, gives a young lady a pearl necklace.

    It's probably one of the campaign's better spots in recent memory. And speaking of memory, there's another brief new ad after the jump about the Most Interesting Man's take on (of all things) memory foam mattresses.

    CREDITS

    Spots: "Dogsled" (:30), "Memory Foam Mattresses" (:15)

    Agency: Havas Worldwide
    Chief Creative Officers: Jason Peterson, Darren Moran
    Executive Creative Director:  Jim Hord
    Creative Directors: Paul Fix, Jamie Overkamp
    Associate Creative Directors: Matthew Hock, David Fredette
    Copywriters: Marty Bonacorso, Christian Beckett
    Art Directors: Rick Cohen, Jon Vall
    Global Chief Content Officer:  Vin Farrell
    Co-Heads of Production: Dave Evans, Sylvain Tron
    Executive Producer: Jill Meschino
    Director of Broadcast Business Affairs: Cathy Pitegoff
    Senior Broadcast Business Manager: Susan Schaefer
    Talent Affairs Manager: Dawn Kerr
    Talent Manager: Hilary Olesen
    Managing Director: Kersten Mitton Rivas
    Group Account Director:  Chris Budden
    Account Director: Jamie Sundheim
    Account Supervisor:  Sara Heller
    Account Executive: Katie Moore

    Production Company: @radical.media
    Director: Steve Miller
    Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
    Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
    Producer: Barbara Benson

    Editing Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Jeff Ferruzzo
    Assistant Editor: Dave Madden
    Audio Engineer: Eric Thompson
    Music Composer: Brett Fuchs
    Executive Producer: Sila Soyer

    Postproduction: Studio 6
    Visual Effects Supervisor, Flame Artist: Johnny Starace
    Executive Producers: Tricia Higgins, Rich Rama
    Producer: Anna De Castro

    Colorist: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole


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    DDB’s Azher Ahmed is a part of the creative team working for brands like State Farm Insurance (consumers might recall the “discount doublecheck”) and he is at SXSW talking with clients about digital strategies.

    Also, DDB parent company Omnicom Group, which is merging with Publicis Groupe, just signed a deal worth $40 million to market brands on Instagram. Who better than Ahmed to discuss the potential for such emerging marketing platforms? He helps run McDonald’s Instagram account, and is experimenting with different ways to engage users there.

    It’s all about “participatory content,” he said. One example he shared was when a user posted pictures of model cars built out of McDonald’s food containers.

    “The social media team picked that up and turned it into an Instagram video where it was a stop-motion car that was moving,” Ahmed said. “That demonstrates a couple of things. A: That we’re paying attention to what’s happening out there and people are obviously passionate about our products. B: We’re willing to take it and remix it, which is very much a part of Internet culture. And C: We’re putting it out there in a form that it wasn’t originally video, but now it is, and it’s actually traveling much farther than some of our other content that we might have felt was a little more brandy.

    “So I love it.”

    Below, Ahmed discusses via Instagram what criteria he uses to determine whether a platform is worth pursuing as a marketer, and what type of content plays well in those new spaces.


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    At its core, Intel's "Look Inside" campaign illustrates the power of technology to improve lives. This is especially true of the third ad in the series, which follows Mick Ebeling, the CEO of Intel-backed Not Impossible Labs, to South Sudan, where he creates the world's first 3-D prosthetic printing and training facility to help those who have lost limbs to warfare.

    The three-minute film from Venables Bell + Partners and director Lucy Walker (twice an Oscar nominee for her documentaries Waste Land and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom) focuses mainly on a teenage double-amputee named Daniel. But the ad isn't just about printing new body parts for those in need, as significant and moving as that is. It's about bridging divides—geographical, cultural, racial—and coming together to give everyone a chance to realize his or her potential.

    "You can't put the pieces back together in someone else's life," Ebeling says at one point. "But maybe if we print them new pieces, they'll start to put them back together themselves."

    Indeed, Ebeling's work is as much about sharing knowledge and fostering self-sufficiency as it is an act of personal altruism. That gives this film added emotional depth and elevates the message to a somewhat higher plane than earlier "Look Inside" ads—the ones with Jack Andraka and Erik Weihenmayer—though all are potent examples of brand journalism. In each spot, Intel's technology plays an appropriately "inside" role that never overwhelms or undercuts the narrative. (Here, the scene of a young amputee shyly standing in a doorway, watching villagers learn how to 3-D print the new limbs that will change his life, is both subtle and stunning.)

    Like its predecessors, "Inside Mick Ebeling" tells its tale in reverse. Daniel is first seen using a prosthetic arm to toss a ball. The story then works backward to show Ebeling's motivations. But is this really starting at the end? I wonder. Such amazing achievements, after all, begin with big ideas and visions—for example, an image in the mind's eye of a limbless boy made whole. So the chronology feels like a natural progression, giving viewers a look inside the dreams that inspired a more hopeful reality.

    CREDITS
    Client: Intel
    Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
    Executive Creative Director: Paul Venables and Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Tom Scharpf
    Associate Creative Director: Eric Boyd
    Art Director:  Ezra Paulekas
    Copywriter: Rob Calabro
    Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen 
    Production Company:  The Ebeling Group
    Director: Lucy Walker
    Director of Photography: Aaron Phillips
    Executive Producer: Kira Carstensen
    Producer: Francine Weiner
    Editing Company: Beast Editorial/LA
    Editor: Kyle Brown
    Sound Design: 740 Sound Design
    Sound Designers:
    Music:  Beacon Street Studios
    Mix: One Union Recording
    Account Director: Joe Harrington
    Account Supervisor: Kara York
    Account Manager: Sarah Ruppert
    Assistant Account Manager: Jillian Gamboa


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    The real-time marketing landscape is a difficult space to understand—especially if you're not working with millennials. After all, when is the precise moment to say anything via social media? Of course, there have been brands who have excelled in this space: think Oreo's blackout moment or Ellen's epic selfie during this year's Oscars.

    Adweek caught up with Andrew Cunningham, Huge community manager and the man behind Cap'n Crunch's social media voice, and asked how he was keeping the Cap'n relevant through all of the social noise.

     

     


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    The surest sign that you've created a viral juggernaut is that the parodies quickly come flowing in. This will be especially true of Wren's "First Kiss" ad, which is so stripped down visually that it will be easy to spoof. First out of the gate is a British brand with a reason to jump all over this—Snog frozen yogurt. (A "snog," of course, is British slang for a makeout session.) Check out the parody below, and wait for the onslaught of about 5,000 more by tomorrow. Agency: Krowd.


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    "Maddie," a minute-long commercial by young Canadian director Lloyd Lee Choi, didn't win Chevrolet and Mofilm's Oscars competition. That honor went to a whimsical exploration of creativity by Jude Chun, whose ads about kids making a movie with a 2014 Chevy Cruze aired during the Academy Awards on ABC.

    Choi's entry, however, clearly has legs—four of them, to be precise, belonging to the ad's titular Golden Retriever, whose heartrending story unfolds in reverse chronological order. (Three dogs were actually used to portray the pooch.) "Maddie" opens at the end of the dog's life, closes in puppyhood, and makes the point that your Chevy—seen throughout—can also be "A best friend for life's journey."

    Shot for $7,000 in less than three days, it's an emotional tail-chaser that's proven to be popular yet polarizing. Some commenters seem to both love and hate various aspects of the film. (AdFreak's Gabriel Beltrone called it "beautifully written and produced," then smacked Choi with a rolled-up newspaper for making folks angry "when you realize Chevy is a dick who has shamelessly manipulated love for a dying dog to get you to buy a car.")

    The ad has fetched more than 1.4 million views on YouTube, compared to 33,000 for Chun's winning entry. It's the best of both worlds for Chevy, which reaps publicity from both spots but still maintains some distance from the mildly controversial "Maddie" ad.

    Of course, it's up to each viewer to decide whether any commercial is best in breed … or just a dog. To gain some insight, AdFreak chatted with Choi about "Maddie."



    Where did you get the "Maddie" idea? Is it based on something from your own life or the experience of someone you know?
    Chevy is a very family-oriented brand, so we came up with an idea that followed a girl and her family—their life together told in reverse. But I felt it was missing an emotional thread, and I thought back to my childhood growing up with pets and how they provide us with unconditional love and affection that is so unwavering … and that's a beautiful thing. I wanted to capture that truthfully, which is why we showed a multitude of moments, big and small.

    What was the major theme or message you were trying to get across for the Chevy brand?
    I think viewers nowadays prefer subtlety versus messaging that's in your face. Our generation tends to skip commercials that blatantly advertise something, and we are quick to forget about it and move on to the next thing. Chevy wanted young filmmakers to create content that focused on authenticity and narrative that evoked an emotion. In the end, our main goal was to create a narrative that told a compelling story in one minute.

    Why shift into "reverse"? Did using reverse chronology present any problems?
    A reveal is more exciting!

    The spot took me a couple weeks to edit, trying to find a flow that worked. Always a bit more challenging when you have to film and edit against your natural inclination of moving forward in time.

    Where did you get the dogs, and how many did you use? Did they cause any problems during filming?
    We used three dogs and a litter of puppies, all found through friends. Stanley (young pup), Maddie (main dog) and Lily (old dog) were the stars. They had their moody moments, but we all do in our different ways. Filming a couple times before with animals, I've come to realize you just have to let them be and sometimes film around them. And to be patient. Oh, and they dictate the washroom breaks.

    What was the toughest or most surprising thing about the production?
    On our search for our main dog—and type of dog—I was in a coffee shop waiting in line. I looked across the street and I saw a beautiful Golden Retriever sitting at the heels of its owner. In my memory, his fur was literally shimmering in the light. I pointed and said to my girlfriend, "That dog is perfect!" She laughed and told me that was her friend and her dog. We walked over and said hi and I was introduced to the Golden Retriever, whose name was Maddie, and that is the main dog you see in the spot.

    [On the set] we made sure to set aside an hour in the production schedule to play with all the puppies.

    I was operating the camera during the vet office scene, where in a few takes we all started to tear up. Parts of those takes were unusable due to camera-shake.

    Were you surprised you didn't win the competition?
    We weren't surprised we didn't win, and kind of knew going into the competition we wouldn't. We wanted to create a short film, and our tone was too bittersweet for commercial purposes. Chevy definitely chose the right spot. Jude's ad is incredible!

    Are you surprised by the intense reaction, with "Maddie" going viral?
    The reception of "Maddie" has been insane and amazing so far. The cut that we released was a director's cut that was mainly to showcase our work online for reel purposes, so we could get more work. We never expected more than a handful of industry people to watch it, but the spot grew online organically and just exploded.

    I think people are gravitating toward it because they can relate so closely to the story. In the end, it's a story about the life we live with a friend who loves us unconditionally, really the only ones that surpass human judgment and emotion, and give us pure love. Many people have felt that, and can see themselves in that story. And I can see why others aren't so fond of the spot, either being reminded of something that they will have to face one day, or feeling as if they were cheated by a car commercial.

    What's the big takeaway … the main lesson you've learned?
    People really connect with content that hits a different chord than all the other content out there. So much is being created and shared daily, and what stands out is what is authentic and meaningful in that person's day, at that time in their lives.

    I've received a few heartwarming emails from people on how the spot has really affected them on a deep level, not just making them emotional and shedding a tear, but reminding and inspiring them to appreciate and cherish their loved ones (animal and human) just a little more. Those emails meant the world to me.

    The spot would never have worked using a cat. Because cats suck ... right?
    Ha! I do love cats and dogs equally. And maybe cats could've worked—it would just have a different tone, full of attitude and sass. Cats tend to be divas, harder to work with, and usually ask for too much.


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    The Seattle Mariners considered Robinson Cano to be a heavenly catch this off-season, and there's a divine aura about him in the team's first ad with its $240 million second baseman.

    Seattle's Copacino + Fujikado, now its 20th season handling ads for the Mariners, welcomes the 31-year-old with the 30-second spot below, in which Cano doesn't have to utter a word to communicate just how awesome he is.

    Agency co-founder and creative chief Jim Copacino tells AdFreak he felt a fair amount of pressure to produce a special debut commercial with Cano. C+F almost got Ken Griffey Jr. to do a spot with Cano (it would have been about how they both wear No. 24, though actually Cano is switching back to his original Yankee number, 22), but Griffey had a conflict and couldn't make the Arizona shoot. So, they went with this spot instead, and Copacino says the shoot couldn't have gone smoother.

     



    "With a guy of this magnitude coming in, we didn't want to trivialize him or be too cute," he says. "A writer here, Andy Corbett, a very funny guy, came up with this notion that Cano has this charismatic aura that follows him everywhere he goes—slow motion and music. It was an easy spot to shoot. The first time we worked with him, we didn't want to burden him with too much responsibility in terms of lines and acting."

    Four more new ads focus on three other players and on Henry Chadwick, who invented the baseball box score in the 1860s and came up with the letter K for strikeout.

    One particularly amusing ad celebrates the old-school style of third baseman Kyle Seager. "Kyle is a quiet, soft-spoken guy from North Carolina," says Copacino. "He says 'Yes, sir' and 'No, sir.' He's quietly becoming one of the better third basemen in baseball. He's fundamentally sound. And to me, he just seems like he was plucked from the '50s and put down into modern baseball. It was fun to create this fiction about him being kind of a throwback."

    At one point, Seager is seen tweeting from a typewriter. "He said, 'You know, I don't actually tweet,' " says Copacino. "And we said, 'That's fine! In fact, that's perfect!' "
     

     



     



     



     



    C+F also put together the highlight reel below of its 20 years of Mariners spots. At least in its advertising, this is a team that's on a long winning streak.



    CREDITS
    Client: Seattle Mariners
    Agency: Copacino + Fujikado
    Executive Creative Director, Writer: Jim Copacino
    Creative Director, Writer: Mike Hayward
    Writer: Andy Corbett
    Art Director: Andy Westbrock
    Production Company: Blue Goose Productions
    Director: Ron Gross
    Executive Producer: Bill Hoare
    Account Supervisor: Cole Parsons
    Account Manager: Melissa Figel
    Broadcast Producers: Kris Dangla, Patti Emery
    Editor: Troy Murison, Dubs Inc.
    Digital Postproduction: Kevin Adams, Workbench
    Music: Chris White, Comrade


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    Kobe Bryant doesn't just play pianos. He makes them.

    Or so it would appear from the opening scenes of this new ad from Wieden + Kennedy pitching "The Kobe Piano," from which "every note [is] a comedy and tragedy that would make Shakespeare laugh and weep. It will turn piano boys into piano men. It will make Lionel Richie's tears cry tears."

    Turns out it's an elaborate metaphor for a line of shoes designed by Bryant for Foot Locker and Nike. The collection, the ad informs us, is the "grandest grand collection of grand collections." And yes, Richie himself makes a cameo—adding to his own commercial lore in the process.

    While the voiceover copy is a bit Old Spicey, the ad blends the winking melodrama of "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" with a healthy heaping of mock pretension, à la Bryan Cranston selling an iPad, and a dash of good old-fashioned Ron Swanson style woodworking.

    It has the obligatory sports-stats reference. It's beautifully shot and well paced, and entertaining enough. It makes its point, however circuitously, that the product is like a finely crafted instrument.

    A second spot, meanwhile, likens the collection to the invention of a better, stronger lightbulb—complete with a shattering sledgehammer and the ability to make even Judah Friedlander look dapper. Sorry, ladies. It's just another metaphor for sneakers.

    Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Clients: Nike and Foot Locker
    Campaign: "Made by Kobe"

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Creative Directors: Don Shelford, Rob Thompson
    Copywriter: Adam Noel
    Art Director: Jon Kubik
    Producer: Shannon Worley
    Executive Agency Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
    Account Team: Jordan Muse, Heather Morba
    Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman, Joe Staples

    Production Company: Traktor Towers
    Director: Traktor
    Executive Producer: Rani Melendez
    Line Producer: Rani Melendez
    Director of Photography: Bojan Bozelli

    Editing Company: Stitch Editorial
    Editor: Andy McGraw
    Assistant Editor: Alex Tedesco
    Post Producer: Chris Girard
    Post Executive Producer: Juliet Batter

    Visual Effects Company: The Mill
    Visual Effects Executive Producer: LaRue Anderson
    Flame Artists: James Allen, Glyn Tebbutt
    Visual Effects Producers: Dan Roberts, Antonio Hardy
    Titles, Graphics: Justin Morris

    Music, Sound Company: Beacon Street Studios
    Composers: John Nau, Andrew Feltenstein
    Sound Designer: Mike Franklin
    Songs: "Out of the Woods" ("Piano"), "The Wunder r3" ("Lightbulb")
    Executive Producer: Leslie Dillullo

    Mix Company: Beacon Street Studios
    Mixer: Mike Franklin
    Assistant Engineer: Dewey Thomas
    Producer: Caitlin Rocklin


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    It's a question mankind has been asking ever since we've struggled to understand our place in the universe: Can a human beat a robot at Ping-Pong?

    Robotics manufacturer KUKA decided to find out by pitting one of its most advanced devices against German table-tennis legend Timo Boll, one of the world's top 10 players.

    The resulting short film, while clearly not a documentary and likely staged every step of the way for dramatic effect, is an enjoyably cinematic piece of marketing for the company's new production facility, opening this week in Shanghai.

    Director Matthias Zentner says the video was shot in an abandoned athletics venue in Sofia, Bulgaria. "Agilus, the world's fastest robot, was programmed for all kind of moves in order to withstand the challenging match against Timo Boll," Zentner writes in his Vimeo summary of the production.

    We'll see if Zentner is still so proud of this accomplishment when we're all cowering in the ruins left by Skynet and its army of paddle-wielding bots.

    While many people will find this video overproduced and somewhat misleading (the robot's not really responding to unpredictable plays), you have to admit it's the best ad you've ever seen for a German robotics company opening a factory in China.

    CREDITS
    Client: KUKA
    Agency: Sassenbach Advertising, Munich
    Production Company: velvet Mediendesign GmbH, Munich
    Director: Matthias Zentner
    DOPs: Dieter Deventer, Alexander Stanishev
    Postproduction: velvet Mediendesign GmbH, Munich
    Editors: Christian Lonk, Matthias Zentner


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