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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Ansel Adams famously said there are two people in every photograph—the photographer and the viewer. Canon offers its own, somewhat simpler take on that perspective in this beautiful new spot from Australia.

    The ad doesn't want for ambition, appealing to the notion that each of Earth's 7 billion odd humans holds a unique viewpoint (also, that's not a very narrow target demographic).

    It'd be easy to quibble with the scope of that statement, but it's not really worth it. The slightly over-the-top sentimentality, and the potential creepiness of a commercial consisting entirely of close-ups of eyeballs, are both eclipsed by strong writing and production values that are kind of stunning.

    Make sure to watch the spot more than once—in full screen if you can—so you can really connect the dots between each line of the voiceover and each scene reflected in each eyeball.

    OK, I give up. It's still pretty odd to make a heartwarming ad consisting entirely of eyeballs, but if you're going to do it … this is probably how.

    Client: Canon Australia
    Agency: Leo Burnett, Sydney

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    Tom Hiddleston was the best thing about Jaguar's villainous Super Bowl ad, and now, two months later, he gets to shine in his own two-and-a-half-minute online spot for the automaker.

    To promote the F-Type Coupe, Hiddleston explains how to act like a villain in four steps (sound, dress, drive and plan), and why British actors are so good at it. He left out the part about upper-class British accents being associated with centuries of brutal imperialism (not to mention the Revolution to American audiences), but that's a lot to process for a car commercial. Whoever wrote this ad has also mastered the villainous expositional monologue that goes on too long.

    Check out four more videos below that break down Hiddleston's four steps in ways that relate more directly to the car.

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    I'm positively floored by the fun series of Web videos by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners and Tool of North America introducing the BMW Mini Cooper Hardtop.

    Client and agency asked real Mini owners to think up creative "test drives" to showcase the vehicles. After receiving 800 submissions, they produced 10 videos. The work strikes a happy balance between user-generated content and traditional advertising, with the owners' ideas sparking consistently entertaining, engaging and, in some cases, surprising results.

    Running between one and two minutes each, and starring the owners who proposed the concepts, some of the vignettes are simple, others quite involved.

    But there's isn't a lemon in the lot.

    Highlights include "Getting Medieval," which shows heavily armed and armored knights jousting in their Minis; "Midnight Black Light," with LED headlamps replaced by black lights that cut through a dazzling landscape of fluorescent paint; and my favorite, "Sex Appeal," a tongue-in-cheek, Burt Reynolds/Cosmo-style photo shoot with scented candles, a spray-on tan, bulging obliques—and probably a car in there somewhere, too.

    "I was very happy to play the fool—it was supposed to be a spoof and purposely goofy—and the crew were impressed with my willingness to look like an ass," Thomas Lhamon, a chemistry teacher and the star of "Sex Appeal," tells AdFreak of his racy test drive. He wanted to see how many Facebook likes he could generate by posing with the Hardtop, and his video highlights the car's connected apps.

    In fact, all mentions of specific brand attributes feel unforced and logical. For example, "Parallel Universe" has Minis squeezing between elephants, shopping carts and even planets to showcase parking-assistance technology, while "Foot-to-Pedal Style," all about shopping for cute shoes, touts cargo space.

    Though each is amusing in its own right, the 10 videos, posted below, work especially well when viewed as a series. There's also a whole microsite here. All told, these owners did a fantastic job of generating ideas. Maybe they should shift into advertising. Actually, with this campaign, I guess they have.

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    This week's ads from the depths of YouTube (and some that are bubbling up to the surface) are full of some of the weirdest moments you can make with an advertising budget. 

    From a Pulp Fiction-inspired candy commercial to 30 seconds of cats licking their lips in slow motion to a mildy sexist Middle Eastern Snickers spot, these ads are sure to make you drool. But that's probably because your mouth will be hanging open in bafflement.

    So, sink your teeth into these tasty morsels of commercialism, and masticate thoroughly. Don't worry, they all taste like chicken.

    • Turns out, in Hong Kong, they call Mentos, "Mentos."(Hong Kong)

    • Have a Snickers and stop sounding like your whiney wife? Wow. (Saudi Arabia)

    • This almost literally happened to me after eating lunch yesterday. (U.S.)

    This might make you super uncomfortable, unless you are a cat. (U.S.)

    • I have the power to do housework. I just choose to ignore it. (U.K.)

    • Did you know hop farmers are rock stars in France? (France)

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    Stop-motion artist PES, who's done a bunch of ads through the years, shot this amusing spot for the new citizenM Hotel in New York. It starts out all lovely-dovey between these two towel-swans, but doesn't quite end that way. The ad's title, "Swan Song," is apt.

    In 2013, PES's "Fresh Guacamole" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It's the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. Check out the rest of his work on his website.

    Via Laughing Squid.

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    "As we stand on the edge of possibility, we choose the path less traveled."

    Set to to the grandiose tune of Richard Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra," aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, this new Lurpak butter ad from Wieden + Kennedy London takes place in a world that looks like the love child of Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas.

    Advertising the brand's new Cook's Range of oils and butters, the ad transforms ordinary (yet dramatically lit) kitchens into basically the entire universe. 

    Of particular note is the GoPro-meets-lunar-landing slo-mo shot of a woman dropping a yolk on an extraterrestrial landscape of beautiful flour. There's also an otherworldly shot that transforms a gas stove into rocket burners and a carrot into a spaceship. This is so cool.

    Lurpak and W+K have a long history of doing food porn together, and have a couple of gold Lions in Film Craft from Cannes to show for it. (Their first collaboration that we covered, in 2011, was "Kitchen Odyssey," which we called "the kind of commercial Stanley Kubrick would make if he were still alive." So, they're certainly consistent.)

    This new ad, though, is a close encounter of the nerd kind. So say we all.

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    Who Zoë Sonquist King
    New gig Director, brand partnerships, Capitol Music Group
    Old gig Account manager, Cimarron Group
    Age 31

    Describe your role at Capitol.
    Our team does anything from product placement to music videos. We work with others inside the company to create content that surrounds artists, and we sell to brands to align with their objectives or help them develop music programs. It can be as small as partnering with a brand to use their media and marketing dollars where the artist and label aren’t paid anything.

    Capitol has put a lot of emphasis on creating content internally for marketers. How does that work?
    A lot of times it has to do with brands that might not have spent time in the music space and/or they’re just looking to get into it. We’ve been working on a series, 1 Mic, 1 Take, where we have our artists record two of their own songs, a cover song and a Christmas song. Then we beautify footage—we’ve been doing it for about two years and we have nearly 300 pieces of content that a brand can use. The music industry works so quickly. Brands work on a different cycle. … They don’t want us coming to them at the last minute and saying we have an album out in three months. Now we can say we have all this content, so let’s talk about something that releases next year.

    Tell us about an artist who has been helped by brand media exposure.
    We have a band called Capital Cities. They’re two jingle writers who met on Craigslist. They have a song, “Safe and Sound,” which has become a monster due to a lot of brand partners. We did a sync with Mazda that’s everywhere.

    So has this become a big part of promoting developing artists?
    Equally as valuable to us as getting a paycheck is the fact that brands have designated a lot of money for media buys. So if we can have a part of that for a smaller artist, where we don’t have a huge budget, we look at it as we develop that artist.

    Are there particular music genres that marketers are really interested in right now?
    One that I’m hearing a lot about is EDM [electronic dance music]. Capitol has a label called Astralwerks and it’s focused [on] EDM. I’m calling those guys more and more as brands get excited about it.

    How is marketing and music changing? It’s not just about using music in commercials and artist sponsorships anymore, is it?
    The days of a huge paycheck and endorsement deal are dwindling. … Another change: Our brand partners are not always looking for large artists like a Jennifer Lopez. They want to grow someone. As music becomes such a big part of advertising and a consumer connection, marketers want to help build an artist’s career.

    How’s the competitive landscape changed?
    There are a lot of players now. We’ve heard that labels aren’t needed because agencies and brands can go directly to management. So we’ve had to showcase our value. We serve artists, brands, film and TV clients. We have a whole team here that handles analytics and insights.

    Are musicians more willing to be associated with marketers?
    There will always be people who don’t want anything to do with brands—and others are open to it. When we sign an artist, we ask: Who do you like? Who do you not like? Do you have charities you like? We always have an honest conversation. If you don’t want anything to do with alcohol because your fan base is too young, I’m not going to touch it. But I also want them to see all the opportunities coming in, whether it’s good or not so hot.

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    The most memorable safe-driving PSAs tend to be made overseas—in Britain,Mexico,Australia. But the U.S. adds a powerful new entry to the mix with this brutal spot from The Tombras Group for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    Ushering in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the spot is so riveting, you should stop reading now and watch it, then share it with your friends and family. It's OK, we'll wait.

    Welcome back.

    Aimed at teens, it's incredibly straightforward, simulating an everyday scene cut short by a distracted driver. The theme is "U drive. U text. U pay," with the hashtag #justdrive. The police officer's dialogue is perhaps a bit confusing—he almost doesn't need to be there.

    According to the new site distraction.gov, more than 70 percent of teens and young adults have sent or read a text while driving. The campign aims to get teen drivers to take a pledge to refrain from texting and driving, as well as give them the tools to help raise awareness.

    It's certainly a step in the right direction. Now, please make one for adults, too. 

    Warning: This video is violent and may be upsetting.

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    Adidas would like to introduce you to the official 2014 World Cup stalker ball.

    The brand, with help from TBWA, has put six cameras inside a very special version of its official game ball for the tournament, and will send it on tour to places like London, Munich and Madrid, filming ball's-eye footage of soccer scenes and releasing video episodes in the run-up to this summer's games in Brazil.

    This way, you can appreciate what it feels like to look at star players like Xavi Hernandez and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the face, and then watch them wind up to kick you in yours.

    Lest you escape unscathed, the campaign comes with a pun—the camera-ridden ball is a "brazucam," a play on the official ball's name, "brazuca" (a word that refers to both Brazilian national pride and Brazilian expatriates).

    You can follow @brazuca for updates, because it's always fun to give inanimate objects social media profiles.

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    Ryman Eco, a new "sustainable font" from U.K. retailer Ryman Stationery and ad agency Grey London, uses 33 percent less ink than standard typefaces. According to Grey, if the world switched to Ryman Eco as its default print front, it could save almost 500 million ink cartridges and 15 million barrels of oil every year. Fuck you, Verdana, filthy planet killer!

    Sorry. Like all right thinking people, I get mighty fired up about fonts.

    Sustainable typefaces have been in the news since a 14-year-old American student took time off from going through puberty to suggest that U.S. federal and state governments could save a combined $370 million annually by changing from Times New Roman to Garamond.

    Ryman Eco, which Grey says was developed at the same time as Suvir Mirchandani's idea, began as an internal project. Grey brought the idea to Ryman, the U.K.'s biggest stationer, and worked with Monotype's Dan Rhatigan to develop the font. Grey hopes to make Ryman Eco the default printer typeface across its global network.

    Of course, using no paper at all would do a lot more to help the environment, but Ryman probably doesn't want to hear about that.

    Actually, Ryman Eco looks kind of haughty and full of itself. It's OK for wedding invitations and christenings, I guess, but for down-and-dirty jobs like press releases and earnings reports, I much prefer Poo Corny.

    Still, Ryman Eco sure beats Comic Sans, which is far deadlier than climate change and will surely destroy us all!

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    A British supermarket has turned to a superhuman director to radically shift gears in its advertising.

    Waitrose's new campaign from BBH London is its first to focus on the grocery chain's culture and values as an employee-owned business. Looking for an emotional, cinematic approach, BBH brought in Tom Tagholm, the Park Pictures director whose triumphant "Meet the Superhumans" ad for the 2012 Paralympic Games won the Film Craft Grand Prix at Cannes last year.

    The new film, very nicely shot, tells a small, poignant story that brings to life a simple truth—that your commitment to something is usually related to how much of a stake you have in it.

    Just, you know, keep shopping at Waitrose. Don't start growing your own food for real.

    You may recognize the music, too. That's The Cinematic Orchestra's 2007 song "To Build a Home," previously used most notably in Guinness's famous basketball commercial.

    "This is the start of a wonderful new campaign; populist, emotive and uniquely Waitrose," says Sian Cook, strategic business lead at BBH. "We're very proud of it."

    Client: Waitrose
    Marketing Director: Rupert Thomas
    Head of Marketing Communications: Rupert Ellwood
    Manager, Advertising: Joanne Massey
    Marketing Manager, Advertising: Libby Langridge
    Agency: BBH London
    Creative Team: Martha Riley, Richard Glendenning
    Creative Director: Ken Hoggins
    Strategic Business Lead: Sian Cook
    Team Director: Victoria Berthinussen
    Team Manager: Emma Donne
    Strategy Director: Tom Roach
    Head of Production: Davud Karbassioun
    Assistant Producer: Jemima Bowers
    Production Company: Park Pictures
    Director: Tom Tagholm
    Executive Producer: Stephen Brierley
    Producer: Fran Thompson
    Director of Photography: Steve Annis
    Postproduction: MPC
    Editor, Editing House: Tim Hardy, Stitch
    Sound: Factory Studios

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    Taco Bell's all-out assault on McDonald's breakfast continues in this 30-second spot, "Get With the Times," which posits that eating an Egg McMuffin isn't just uncouth—it's medieval.

    While the earlier ads from Deutsch L.A. used real-life Ronald McDonalds as Taco Bell endorsers, this one ridicules the Golden Arches by having the sad-sack protagonist sing a reworked version of "Old McDonald"—to suggest that eating an Egg McMuffin is something you'd do 30 years ago, not today.

    Perhaps inadvertently proving Taco Bell's post, the most recent post on McDonald's Facebook page is a Throwback Thursday image of the Egg McMuffin with the caption: "Groovin' since '72. You dig?"

    Credits below.

    Client: Taco Bell
    Chief Marketing Officer: Chris Brandt
    Brand Creative Director: Tracee Larocca
    Director, Advertising: Aron North
    Manager, Brand Experience: Ashley Prollamante
    Deutsch Creative Credits and Titles:
    Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
    Chief Creative Officer: Pete Favat
    Executive Creative Director: Brett Craig
    Creative Director: Jason Karley
    Creative Director: Josh DiMarcantonio
    Associate Creative Director: Gordy Sang
    Associate Creative Director: Brian Sieband
    Senior Art Director: Jeremiah Wassom
    Senior Copywriter: Trey Tyler
    Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
    Executive Producer: Paul Roy
    Senior Producer: Jeff Perino
    Associate Producer: Damon Vinyard
    Music Supervisor: Dave Rocco

    Production Company: Moxie Pictures
    Director: Frank Todaro
    Director of Photography: Jon Zilles
    Executive Producer: Robert Fernandez
    Line Producer: Matt Oshea

    Food Shoot Production Company: Wood Shop
    Director: Trevor Shepard
    Executive Producer: Sam Swisher

    Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
    Editor: Adam Pertofsky
    Assistant Editor: Marjorie Sacks
    Executive Producer: C.L. Weaver
    Producer: Shada Shariatzadeh

    Post Facility: A52
    Colorist: Paul Yacono
    VFX Supervisor: Andy Barrios
    Lead Flame Artist: Brendan Crockett
    Executive Producer: Megan Meloth
    Producer: Meredith Cherniack

    Music: Massive Music

    Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
    Mixer: Mark Meyuhas & Rohan Young
    Producer: Jessica Locke

    Additional Deutsch Credits:
    Mike Sheldon, CEO
    Account Management Credits:
    Group Account Director: Walt Smith
    Account Director: Amanda Rantuccio
    Account Supervisor: Krista Slocum
    Account Executive: Kim Suarez
    Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
    Group Planning Director: Jill Burgeson
    Director of Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ken Rongey
    Business Affairs Manager: Georgette Bivins
    Business Affairs Manager: Nestor Gandia
    Director of Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan
    Senior Broadcast Traffic Manager: Gus Mejia

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    Veet, the hair-removal brand, has a new ad campaign out from Havas Worldwide with the theme "Don't risk dudeness." Three ads feature women who turn into hairy, overweight men (actually, the same hairy, overweight man) because they "shaved yesterday."

    A lover is disgusted, a nail technician is appalled, and a taxi driver refuses service because these gorgeous women are now sporting a whole 11 hours of hair growth. "Don't risk dudeness," Veet tells us, and follows up with the tagline, "Feel womanly around the clock."

    I'm no Letterman, but he's retiring and I just drank a lot of iced tea, so I'm feeling good and I'll take a shot at a list. Check out the first ad below (it breaks tonight during Dancing with the Stars on ABC), and then my take on five things wrong with this strange campaign.

    5. It makes fools of both men and women.
    Veet impressively accomplishes the task of ridiculing both men and women here. The burly guy in the nightie speaks in a baby-girl voice, doing neither gender any favors.

    To its credit, Veet has left the YouTube comments open, but it's not looking good. "I'm kind of dumbfounded as to how a campaign like this was passed when it's pushing a lot of really old ideas about gender typing," says the second of only two comments so far. (The first wasn't kind either.) "So if a woman doesn't shave her legs, it makes her a man? If a man wakes up next to his girlfriend, who hasn't shaved her legs in a day or two, it'll completely repulse him? It's considered 'rude?' If a man shaved his legs would it make him a woman?"

    4. It's empirically wrong.
    Realistically, not shaving for one day still goes unnoticed at the beach. I polled other women for this one. Results may vary, but no one's turning into Chewbacca overnight.

    3. It's dumb.
    Everything is exaggerated in a way that's supposed to be funny, but comes off as cringe-inducing—for example, the taxi driver who leaves the EW SO GROSS woman behind in one of the two spots below. (Also, the word "dudeness" can be bullet item 3b.)

    2. It's mildly homophobic.
    Guys are repulsed by other guys? I know this is supposed to be comedy, but … eh.

    1. It shames women.
    Telling women that they're less womanly if they miss a spot shaving their legs in the shower, or if they're part of an entire sect of women who choose not to shave at all, is closed-minded. And shame is a weird marketing tool.

    In an age when marketers like Dove are seeing great response to ads about accepting one's imperfections, any products that demand women be squeaky clean 24/7 is rowing against the tide. Even cartoony humor can't gloss over that kind of regressive message. As a friend told me on Gchat: "I don't like it. Maybe it's cause my legs are always slightly fuzzy and I don't think that makes me a dude. I also don't like that it implies that only feminine women are sexy. Mostly it's just annoying."

    A swing and a miss. Or maybe more like a shave and a nick, am I right? (Sorry.)

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    IDEA: People listen to music before playing sports to find rhythm, focus, inspiration. But elite athletes do so for more complicated reasons—not just to connect to positive influences, but to escape negative ones.

    "As much as it's about their favorite songs, it's also about the noise they block out—from rival fans, other players, from the media," said Beats by Dre evp-marketing Omar Johnson.

    With that in mind, Beats by Dre has advertised its premium pair of noise-cancelling headphones, Beats Studio Wireless, in three darkly compelling ads starring U.S. athletes Kevin Garnett, Colin Kaepernick and Richard Sherman—who escape external pressures by just slipping on the headphones, entering a world of stylized serenity.

    Now, the fourth spot heads to Spain and an even more intense sports culture: the El Clásico rivalry between F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid. The ad, starring Barcelona's Cesc Fàbregas, is a homecoming of sorts for the campaign (the original idea came from European soccer) and in some ways its riskiest spot yet.

    "You see a lot of brands with an real insight, but they're afraid of putting it out there," said Johnson. "We're not afraid of that risk, if the message is authentic."

    COPYWRITING: Against an overhead view of Madrid at dusk, a Spanish radio voice, subtitled in English, talks of "the match that will decide Spanish glory." Suddenly we're at street level, seeing Madrid fans prowl the street.

    Fàbregas leaves his hotel and boards a bus, under police escort, watching intently as the crowds swell, their chants grow louder, and the tension seems poised to become violent. Indeed, one fan throws a red flare at the bus. But Fàbregas calmly slips on his Beats, as Aloe Blacc's "The Man" starts to play.

    The spot shifts to slow motion, and the tension gives way to a heroic calm that carries the player all the way to the stadium, through a crowded tunnel and into a quiet locker room. The tagline, "Hear what you want" (a line Johnson said came directly from an athlete), appears on screen, followed by a product shot.

    The ad's feeling of menace is real: Athletes often do feel under threat. "The most intense stories are the ones where it gets really close, where it almost feels like physical danger," Johnson said.

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Director Max Malkin constructs a darkly chaotic vision. The whole campaign has been filmed with anamorphic lenses (which the brand can finally afford.) "It needed to be shot cinematically to bring you into the emotion of the athletes," said Johnson.

    Malkin told Fàbregas to just be himself, Johnson recalled, telling him, "Think about the rivalry, think about those fans, think about the venom they spit at you."

    TALENT: Garnett, Kaepernick, Sherman and Fàbregas were all chosen for their key roles in a momentous rivalry. Fàbregas grew up near Barcelona, and thus was perfect. "He has experienced El Clásico not only as a player but as a fan," Johnson explained.

    SOUND: Johnson and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine usually consider five or six tracks for any spot. This time, there was no debate. Aloe Blacc's "The Man," used on all four ads, "was the first and only song we ever played with the picture," said Johnson. "The ads go to a dramatic place, and that song brings them back to the light."

    MEDIA: The Fàbregas ad broke March 23 to coincide with the latest El Clásico match. Barcelona's president tried to get it banned, fearing it sent the wrong message about hooliganism, leading Beats to reply that the events in the ad are "purely fictional."



    Client: Beats by Dre
    Evp of Marketing: Omar Johnson
    Spot: "Beats by Dre x Cesc Fabregas: Hear What You Want"
    Agency: R/GA, London and Los Angeles
    Executive Creative Director: Rodrigo Sobral, R/GA London
    Head of Film Production: Kat Friis, R/GA LA
    Senior Producer: Diego de la Maza, R/GA LA
    Associate Creative Director: Dan Maxwell, R/GA LA
    Associate Creative Director: Stuart Parkinson, R/GA LA
    Jr. Copywriter: Tyree Harris, R/GA LA
    Jr. Art Director: James Beke, R/GA LA
    Production Company: Prettybird
    Director: Max Malkin

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    It's not so strange for folks to bring cookies, cakes and candies to work and share them with colleagues. But for job applicants to prepare treats and serve them to prospective employers before even landing an interview? Not exactly business as usual.

    Still, that's how Crystal Nunn applied for a junior designer position at We Are Social in London last August.

    Nunn, an avid baker, prepared a batch of cookies using ingredients from Beyond Dark chocolate, a brand cofounded by We Are Social creative director James Nester. She designed a special box for the goodies labeled "Beyond Ideas," attached a thumb-drive containing her traditional résumé and portfolio, and hand-delivered the package in a brown wrapper marked "Urgent." Within an hour, We Are Social contacted Nunn for an interview; she got the job—and Beyond Dark, suitably impressed, sent her some chocolates and consulting work.

    "The great thing about cookies is that they're perishable, so people are going to have to deal with it, even if it's just to throw them away," Nunn tells AdFreak. "Plus, who doesn't like cookies?"

    Elaborate résumés and job applications are all the rage. Along with Nunn's cookies, notable examples include a detailed, Lego-esque model sent by a prospective account-service intern to ad agencies, and an impressive series of Grand Budapest Hotel trailers created by media artist Youyou Yang to demonstrate her filmmaking skills to Wes Anderson.

    "If there's a place you really want to work for, show them why," Nunn says. "Build a rapport with them by having a voice—comment and share what they put on their blog and social media channels. Go above and beyond. Find out who your future bosses will be and tailor you job application to them.

    "I've done the sending digital CVs online, 100 a day in some cases, and it's really not effective when you're competing against hundreds of other applications. You need to blow the rest out of the water and do something different. Think outside the box."

    And if you do think inside the box, don't forget the cookies!

    Via Design Taxi.

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    They've done it again.

    Thai Life Insurance has unveiled another masterful mini-film by Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok, the latest in a string of tear-jerking, wait-to-watch-it-at-home-so-you-don't-openly-bawl-in-your-cubicle ads that make you think about what's important in life and why your own life is important.

    "Unsung Hero," which clocks in at just over three minutes, will make you want to give of yourself to reap the rewards of the soul. It's not a charity campaign, but I'm off to give more to my favorite charity anyway.

    If you want to keep on crying, have a look back at the company's 2011 ad, "Silence of Love."

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    Innovative newspaper ads are a rare beast. We've seen a few fun ones lately—the Game of Thrones ad with the dragon shadow; the ad for the movie The Book Thief with two almost completely blank pages.

    Here's an interesting one from Colombia. It's an ad for kitchens hidden inside a fake classifieds page—thanks to a nifty 3-D effect applied to the text. "The kitchen you are imagining is in HiperCentro Corona," says the headline.

    You can argue about how effective it might be. Is it too subtle? But it's conceptually strong (it's a great way to illustrate something that could be on your mind while idly reading a newspaper) and executed well, too. Plus, here we are talking about a newspaper ad from Colombia. How often does that happen?

    Sancho BBDO copywriter Felipe Salazar posted the ad to his Behance page.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    GoldieBlox is back, and this time, the brand's girl-power message is targeted directly at grownups.

    In a clever nod to the iconic "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" campaign (and right in time for Easter), GoldieBlox has created its own egg-centric spot, "This is Your Brain on Engineering," to illustrate the dangers of limiting girls' playthings to princess dolls—and, more important, the positive effects of exposing girls to science and engineering.

    The spot opens with a young girl in a lab coat (and fairy wings, because why not?) holding an egg. "This is your brain," she tells us, before setting the egg down on a conveyor belt made from a GoldieBlox toy set. "This is your brain on princess," she continues as the egg gets a princess makeover, crown and all.

    As the heavily made-up egg rolls along, we see a series of facts—"At age 7, girls begin to lose confidence in math and science," "At age 13, over half of girls are unhappy with their bodies"—implicitly linked to the prioritization of princess culture over "boy subjects" like math and technology. And then the conveyor belt ends, and the egg drops.

    But it's not over just yet, because now it's time to see "your brain on engineering." Rather than spattering on the floor, the egg lands on a GoldieBlox ferris wheel, travels via cable car to a roller coaster, and ends up in a GoldieBlox barn, where its dolled-up shell hatches to reveal a yellow baby chick.

    Along the way, we get some considerably more positive factoids—"Engineering jobs are growing faster than all other jobs in the U.S.," "Female engineers make 33% more than women in other fields"—encouraging girls to think beyond the pink conveyor belt and follow a more non-traditional path.

    Unlike GoldieBlox's first two ads (well, at least until the first one ended in a legal battle with the Beastie Boys), "This is Your Brain on Engineering" doesn't rely on a fun song parody about girls breaking free from princess prison. By that token, it's probably not as entertaining for potential kid customers as GoldieBlox' previous spots.

    But that's not the point this time. The point is to throw out some cold, hard facts (this is a "PSA," after all) and hope parents realize that the toys their daughters' are playing with now can make a difference long down the road.

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    A heartfelt hatred of Comic Sans is required for every graphic designer and anyone who happens to have good taste. But while most people use it as a cruel joke or ironically, Craig Rozynski, an Australian designer in Japan, set out to fix the font's many shortcomings.

    Figuring there is value in having a casual script typeface for informal documents, Rozynski created Comic Neue to challenge Comic Sans's supremacy in that area.

    Available in two variants and three weights, Comic Neue "aspires to be the casual script choice for everyone including the typographically savvy," Rozynski writes. "The squashed, wonky, and weird glyphs of Comic Sans have been beaten into shape while maintaining the honesty that made Comic Sans so popular. It's perfect as a display face, for marking up comments and writing passive aggressive office memos."

    In other words, it should appeal to the very people who are still defacing the world with Comic Sans.

    You can even download the font for free right now. So get it for yourself and give it to friends. Together, we can stop the disease that is Comic Sans.

    • Comic Sans

    Comic Neue

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    If you are a company looking to target the ladies, PopSugar is serving something up for you.

    The women’s lifestyle company today unveiled The Bakery—a full-service, in-house team dedicated to helping advertisers reach the 18- to 39-year-old female demographic. The team will create content and offline branded events.

    In addition, The Bakery will enable companies to utilize PopSugar’s native advertising technology—PopSugar Snap—to create their own campaigns. The technology not only provides an easy way to format branded advertising, but also displays detailed user analytics so advertisers can see which women are getting their messages and how they are interacting with the content.

    “Twenty-one million women visit our sites every month,” chief business officer Jen Wong told Adweek. “We want to help brands figure out what their content strategy could be.”

    Wong said the company realized that with the vast knowledge and information it had had on its women users, it had the unique ability to help others target the much-desired female audience.

    In addition to reaching millions of women each month, PopSugar videos are watched by 5.87 million, according to comScore. Visitors to the sites are 114 percent more likely to follow a brand or become a fan, the company added. Its shopping site, ShopStyle, directed more than $740 million toward retail sales last year.

    The company also has resources that allow brands to directly interact with women who may be interested in their products. PopSugar's Sample Squad, a group of female users who are handpicked to test new products and give feedback to fans, can easily be assembled. Events also can be created. 

    “We have these capabilities in a number of these different areas, but we are pulling them all together under The Bakery. It’s a complete tool kit that complements these capabilities,” Wong said.

    For example, at a recent Coachella, PopSugar co-hosted a “refresh bus” and experience with Olay. One user was picked to narrate her experience on the bus, including posting photographs on Instagram and writing short blurbs.

    “She was showing what was happening at Coachella, so others could experience all the fashion and fun of it,” Wong explained. “It was an activation that had been turned into content that was distributed on social media.”

    PopSugar felt that the time was right to share its skill sets, especially with all the changes in the women’s lifestyle market. Daily Candy recently closed down, and Yahoo Shine and iVillage are reportedly shutting their doors soon.

    “We see that change as an opportunity because we’re so well positioned with our distribution,” Wong explained. “We have so many insights about women to create content and the opportunity to continue growing.”


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