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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Grey New York and its client, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, won a silver Lion in Film at Cannes last year for "Ed," their brutal spot about gun violence, set in a workplace.

    The sequel, released today, titled "The Monster Is Real," takes place in a family home. Directed by Hornet's Yves Geleyn, the spot may be a cartoon, but that makes it no less devastating. We won't give away the plot, though the conclusion doesn't exactly come as a surprise. But again, that doesn't dull the impact much.



    Critics will say that the kid wouldn't play with the gun if he was this afraid of it, though of course children aren't known for tempering their curiosity, either.

    "In the wake of so many tragic mass shootings, the nation's focus has been on strengthening gun laws," says Sue Hornik, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. "But one preventable threat to children's safety is unlocked and loaded guns found around the house ... the proverbial 'monster in the closet' of our new public service announcement."

    In a release, the group also offered these sobering statistics:

    • 1.5 million American children live in homes with unlocked and loaded firearms.
    • Every day at least six children 18 and under are injured in an unintentional shooting.
    • 75 percent of gun shot injuries to children under 10 that are serious enough to require hospitalization are due to unintentional shootings.

    Credits below.

    CREDITS
    Client: States United to Prevent Gun Violence
    Spot: "The Monster Is Real"
    Agency: Grey
    Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Deputy Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: Per Pedersen
    Executive Creative Directors: Rob Perillo, Rob Lenois
    Art Director: Evan Ortolani
    Copywriter: Daniel Alvarez
    Director of Broadcast: Bennett McCarroll
    Agency Executive Producer: James McPherson
    Agency Producer: Zach Fleming
    Account Director: Elizabeth Gilchrist
    Account Executive: John Nelson
    Production Company: Hornet
    Director: Yves Geleyn
    Executive Producer: Jan Stebbins
    Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh
    Music Company: Mutato Muzika
    Music Producer: Natalie Montgomery
    Music Engineer: Bradley Denniston
    Music Supervision: Zach Pollakoff
    Music, Sound Design: Dante Desole (Vision Post)
    Principal Talent: Samantha Mathis, Anthony Arkin


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    Raise your brushes and rollers to toast Lithuania's McCann Vilnius, which recently packaged France's famed Beaujolais Nouveau in limited-edition paint cans for a fun self-promotion.

    McCann says it wanted to show clients "that we are constantly reinventing ourselves and looking for a fresh perspective."

    The creative concept began with a discussion about how the annually anticipated Beaujolais stains drinkers' teeth and lips purple. So the paint cans include a color chart showing how much you'll need to drink to achieve a specific hue.  

    For the promo, bags filled with wine were placed inside the tins, so there's no fear of a metallic taste. If you're in Lithuania, pick up a few when you head out to paint the town red!

    Via Design Taxi.


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    So, here's a lovely little four-minute love story from Unilever's Cornetto ice cream brand in Turkey. And you're probably smarter than I am and can figure out what's actually going on in it. I've watched it at least five times, and I'm still confused.

    I think it's kind of adorable and features the product in an unobtrusive way. And it's also a nice follow-up to last year's viral video from the brand.

    It opens with the main character, a good looking guy, catching the eyes of the other main character, a good looking girl. I get that part. They spend the rest of the ad trying to find each other via social media. It's all set to a track by Turkish pop star Yalın, who also makes an appearance … as a matchmaking fairy godfather. Maybe?

    I can't really follow the plot, but it ends with the good-looking couple finishing off their Cornetto ice cream cones and making out while Yalın looks on approvingly. I don't get that, either, but it's so cheesy it's cute.

    I also find that the ad is much better if you mute the audio and play some Vivrant Thing instead. Your mileage may vary depending on your musical tastes.


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    They pout, they preen, they shill. And more than likely, they score.

    The members of One Direction, boy band and global merchandising phenomenon, star in a new video that's not a total goof (not intentionally anyway) despite the presence of a fussy photographer named "Girolle." The short film, with its photo-shoot setup, hypes the singers' second perfume, called That Moment.

    Not a card-carrying member of the 1D fan club? Then watching the vignette might be as painful as gargling a cucumber and cedarwood-scented cologne. But it comes as no shock that the young Brits are extending their female-fueled brand again. Their first perfume, Our Moment, was the fastest-selling fragrance of last year.

    And so what if the just-released video is a mishmash of worn clichés, bad accents and faux seriousness? (And one bejeweled crotch!) Any glimpse of the superstars making silly faces, mugging for the camera or even drawing breath will probably move product.

    What does That Moment really smell like? Green apple and greenbacks.


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    Mirrored Media
    Who Justin Lefkovitch, founder and CEO
    What Experiential music marketing firm
    Where Santa Monica, Calif.

    In marketing, the relationship among brands, bands and fans can be tricky. Brands want to appropriate artists’ “cool” factor, artists want exposure, and fans want authenticity. That’s where Mirrored Media comes in. The experiential music marketing firm links brands (or their agencies) with up-and-coming acts to create interactive campaigns that seem organic, not contrived. Take last year’s campaign for the Acura ILX. To enhance the brand’s image among millennials, Mirrored partnered Acura with indie band Metric on a series of sponsored concerts, a listening party and even a music video. In turn, Metric introduced its new album, Synthetica, to a wider audience. “In every one of our campaigns, the brand has walked away with explosive results, whether that be market penetration, social media exposure, or changing the perception of the brand among the target demographic,” said CEO and founder Justin Lefkovitch. 


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    Microsoft wants to make sure you remember the famous image of the blue sky and rolling pasture that graced so many computer screens for so long.

    As the world mourns (or not) the end of the road for Windows XP—as of Tuesday, Microsoft is no longer offering support for the operating system—Microsoft Netherlands has posted this nine-minute film on its YouTube channel about XP's famous default wallpaper.

    The backstory is told by Charles O'Rear, the photographer who snapped the iconic picture, aptly titled "Bliss," in 1996 along a California highway north of San Francisco (reports seem to differ on whether it's Napa or Sonoma).



    The video is a bit slow moving, but is worth watching mostly because of O'Rear's amusement at having stumbled, quite literally, into the background of history, and because of the irony that the photo was, contrary to much speculation, shot on the kind of analog film that digital has rendered obsolete (though Microsoft ultimately cropped the shot and pumped up the greens before presenting it to users).

    Notably absent is any specific discussion of how much Microsoft originally paid O'Rear for the rights to an image that this video touts as perhaps the most viewed in history. O'Rear does point out that the original print was valued too highly for regular shipping services like FedEx to be willing carry it … but the courier's current maximum declared value for packages containing photos clocks in at a whopping $1,000, not counting for inflation.

    O'Rear has said in other interviews that the fee was the most he, previously a photographer for National Geographic, ever received for a photograph, and one of the largest amounts ever paid for a single shot.

    Regardless, the fact is, the use of the photo was marketing genius, as it projects natural serenity in a totally generic kind of way. (Guesses as to its provenance ranged over the years from New Zealand to Ireland to Washington state.)

    Still, as inoffensive—pleasant, even—as it is to look at, it's memorable mostly because it couldn't be avoided. So, while Microsoft deserves credit for having some fun with the news that it's retiring an era-defining product, it's also hard not to interpret it all as a legacy technology company lamenting its once-great history as its modern significance has waned.

    Via Devour.


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    If there's one age-old trick that's worked for mid-priced brands, it's poking fun at the prententiousness of their costly competitors. Smirnoff's new campaign is no exception, though it somehow accomplishes the goal while still using some of TV's hottest talent.

    Alison Brie of Community and Mad Men and Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation come together to host a party in this three-minute Smirnoff video—the first work for the brand from 72andSunny's offices in Amsterdam and New York. "The Party" has also been broken into 30-second clips that will be running as TV ads, along with a related spot dedicated to designated drivers.

    With the tagline "Exclusively for everybody," Smirnoff spends most of the ad mocking all things VIP, while also taking quite a few digs at the mixology movement, represented by a Stockholm-educated neckbeard who curates his herbs and deconstructs martinis. 

    "Smirnoff was created to be enjoyed by everyone, from czars and Hollywood stars to you and your friends in the bar down the street," U.S. brand director Dan Kleinman said in a statement. "We want to celebrate that we're there for good times, wherever and however they occur."

    The full video has its comedic lulls, but Brie and Scott are right in their sweet spot as charmingly awkward friends, and there are a few fun cameos that will get a smile from fans of 30 Rock and a certain classic 1984 karate-themed movie.



    "When I read the script for 'The Party,' I really liked the message and vibe that Smirnoff wanted to bring to the forefront," Brie said in the campaign announcement. "A good time is always more fun when everyone is included, and I think the playfulness of 'The Party' videos brings this to life."

    The spots were directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, who won an Emmy for their pilot of Arrested Development and later served as executive producers of NBC's Community. Most recently, they directed Marvel's newest superhero film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

    Smirnoff says its campaign will include "broadcast, out of home, digital and a national partnership with Spotify," along with a sweepstakes to win one of four "epic house parties."

    Here's the "get home safely" clip from the campaign that's not included in the full video:

    CREDITS
    Client: Smirnoff
    Agency: 72andSunny, Amsterdam and New York


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    Wheat Thins revisits the golden age of ballooning in this weird spot from New York agency Being for the cracker brand's new air-popped snacks.

    Why they went with cops trying to pull someone over, I have no idea; the concept doesn't really need them, and neither does the visual gag they're setting up (being outpaced by a slow-moving bird). But I suppose the randomness is part of the charm.

    I suppose Wheat Thins probably should be a controlled substance, though. They taste too good to not be drugs somehow.

    Credits below.



    CREDITS
    Client: Wheat Thins
    Spot: "Air Chase"

    Agency: Being, New York
    Executive Creative Director: Matt Ian
    Creative Directors: Samira Ansari, Lisa Topol
    Copywriter: Jerome Marucci
    Art Director: Steve McElligott
    Executive Producer: Jason Souter
    Director of Business Affairs: Samantha Norvin
    Broadcast Traffic Manager: Betty White Butler
    Talent Manager: Felicia Simmons
    Group Account Director: Brett Edgar
    Account Director: Hayden Lockaby
    Account Executive: Kelly Mendola

    Production Company: Dummy
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney

    Editorial: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Erik Laroi
    Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Postproduction: Evan Meeker
    Sound Designer: Sam Shaffer

    Visual Effects: Moving Picture Company
    Executive Producer: Justin Brukman
    Producer: Adele Major
    Visual Effects Supervisor: Ricky Weissman
    Visual Effects Team: Chris Bernier, Mikael Pettersson, Marcus Wood, Carolyn Figel, Sang Lee

    Telecine: Co3
    Colorist: Tim Masick

    Audio Mix: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tom Jucarone
    Music: Butter
    Composer: Dave Quattrini
    Producer: Annick Mayer
    Executive Producer: Ian Jeffreys


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    You probably remember popsicle stick jokes as a fun, charming, innocent part of your childhood. Jason Kreher and Matt Moore are here to wreck those memories.

    The pair of creatives at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., have made a fake product called Schadenfreezers—popsicles with the most depressing jokes you can imagine. (For now, at least, they're just animated GIFs.) The tagline is: "The strawberry, blueberry and lemon-flavored joy derived from the suffering of others." When you read them, your sense of happiness drips away much like the sad melting treats themselves.

    Kreher and Moore made the first GIFs last year. (Sample jokes: "How many lives does a cat have?" "Only one." "Why did the lifeguard wear pants?" "Because he was ashamed of his body." "Why did the clown go to jail?" "For his collection of child pornography.")

    Now they're back with a whole new set. You can check some of them out below, and the rest over at schadenfreezers.com. There are 11 new ones, and more will roll out gradually.

    We caught up with Kreher and Moore over email to ask them just what their problem is.

    This is round two, but take us back a bit. Where did this twisted idea come from? Did neither of you have a happy childhood?
    We honestly can't remember how these came about; it was probably just us wanting to visualize the awful things we think are funny. It's kind of like wagging your penis around in public when you're a little kid … it's the wrong kind of attention, but it's attention nonetheless.



    Popsicle-stick jokes are generally corny. Why make them existentially bleak?
    I don't think either one of us is particularly cynical, but it's fun to take something innocent and make it profane. There's nothing wrong with pondering life's greatest tragedies while enjoying a nice snack.



    What's your joke writing process like? How do you know when you have a winner? And how do you know when you've gone too far?
    We probably wrote around 200 of these to get to our final ones. I think they work best when the setup feels like it could be an actual popsicle stick joke, but then stabs you in the gut with the punch line. And with these, there's no such thing as too far. If we suspect one has gone too far that means it's probably going to make the cut.



    What are your favorite jokes from the new batch, and why?
    Jason: The janitor one is my favorite. It's probably the most dehumanizing and bleak thing that's ever occurred to me, which was kind of my bar for these.
    Matt: That plane one feels like it's going to be some awful pun and then it ends up as an awful truth. Kids love that.



    There was some outcry about the original round of jokes. Do you think people don't want to see innocent popsicle-joke humor messed with?
    The only people who got really riled up were the few who thought this was an actual product, and that we'd somehow bribed the press to feature them. I like thinking of us as a corrupt, fat-cat popsicle corporation greasing the palms of the Huffington Post Arts & Culture editors.



    The animations seem more sophisticated this time. Was that just a general improvement you wanted to make?
    What a nice thing to say! Matt has been wanting to experiment with stop motion for a while now, and this new round was a great opportunity to make these stand out. We host the site on Tumblr for a couple reasons, but a big one is that Tumblr features a lot of funny stuff and a lot of artful stuff, but rarely do the two meet. These feel different because they're something you want to look at and also something you might laugh at.



    Have you ever actually produced Schadenfreezers as a product? If not, would be interested in that?
    Sure. If any of your readers are popsicle manufacturers who secretly kind of hate themselves, please have them contact us at your earliest convenience.


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    If you can't wait for Mad Men to return for part one of its seventh and final season this Sunday, and you're itching to declare your intention to watch it to all your social media friends, AMC would like to offer you a special opportunity to advertise on its behalf by customizing a picture of Don Draper so your name appears next to his face.

    You can choose one of seven other characters, too. It's a fun tool for die-hards, and a smart way to drive the natural symbiosis between TV and social media. Dubbing it "Mad Men Out of Office" seems a bit of a misnomer (as much as posting to Facebook may feel like clocking in to some). If you were going to be in the office on a Sunday night, you should obviously quit and watch Mad Men.

    Unless you work in advertising, in which case, of course, you probably are in the office on a Sunday night, and you won't be watching Mad Men, or having much use for AMC's widget. You can still drown your woes in Canadian Club, though—and catch up on the first six seasons in two minutes, to remember what you'll be missing.


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    Olay wants to prove that its products really do make a difference on your skin. In order to hit home with its point, the company let one half of a set of twins try Olay Pro-X. The other wasn’t allowed to touch the product. 

    Supposedly, the twin that used the beauty tools and creams ended up with more desirable skin after eight weeks. We can’t tell if it’s our streaming quality or just the fact that the twins look so similar, but we don’t see a difference. 

    Spider-man meets his match when he encounters a baby version of himself, thanks to the folks at EvianBabies. The ad is supposed to remind viewers that Evian makes you feel young, but it works better as a promo for the upcoming Amazing Spider-man 2.

    If you need a motivational speech, check out this flashback to Maysoon Zayid’s TED Talk. Zayid, who has cerebral palsy, injects humorous anecdotes into her presentation as she explains how her condition hasn’t affected her comedic and acting career. The inspiring clip, which was posted in January, is deservably climbing up the viral charts again.

    The biggest brands of the week are listed below:

    NOTE: Adweek’s VideoWatch Chart, powered by VidIQ, reveals the Top 10 Branded Web Videos on YouTube every week. The chart tracks more than just pure views, as VidIQ incorporates sharing data from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other data sources in an effort to measure true engagement. Every video is also ranked with VidIQ’s proprietary Score which helps judge the likelihood of a video being promoted in YouTube Related Videos, Search and Recommended Videos.


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    Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg get reincarnated as an owl, a llama and a sheep, respectively, in AlmapBBDO's unusual campaign for Top Magazine, a luxury fashion and lifestyle title in Brazil.

    "In his next life, even Donald Trump could come back as an owl," we're told. "The time to enjoy your money is now."

    The visuals are most amusing. Gates keeps his trademark glasses, while Zuck's wooly locks and dental work survive the transformation. And of course, Trump's hair is still atrociously—wait for it, because it's worth the wait, here it comes—feathered. (OK, it wasn't worth the wait.)

    Belgium's TMF channel tried a similar theme in 2008, showing Amy Winehouse as a sad sheep in a most unsavory barnyard scenario. And a South African employment site once suggested that lawyers, tobacco execs and paparazzi would return as ticks, maggots and dung-heap flies. By comparison, Top's beastly trio really don't fare so badly at all. C'mon, Zuck, why the long face?

    Credits below. Via Ads of the World.



    CREDITS
    Client: Top Magazine
    Agency: AlmapBBDO, Brazil
    General Creative Director: Luiz Sanches
    Creative Directors: André Kassu, Marcos Medeiros, Bruno Prosperi
    Art Director: André Sallowicz
    Copywriters: Dudu Barcelos, Filipe Medici
    Illustrators: Surachai Puthikulangkura, Supachai U-Rairat
    Photographer: Surachai Puthikulangkura
    Graphic Producers: José Roberto Bezerra, Alberto Lago
    Account Executives: Gustavo Burnier, Filipe Bartholomeu, Johana Quintana, Matheus Trigo


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    It's usually off-putting when inanimate objects have faces, but in this new Japanese Vitaminwater commercial, which features a person with a boom box for a head and spinning turntable eyes, that wasn't weird enough.

    Nope, they had to go all out for a new coconut-flavored drink, and it's one of the weirder (but not gross!) things I've seen.

    They had to have Heems from Das Racist rapping as Turntable Head dashes around to some of New York's latest trendy spots. It's all part of the New York remix, which is New York culture's way of giving old things new life, says Heems. (Ugh.)

    Apparently the new coconut flavor is Queens-born Vitaminwater's own New York remix.

    OK then!

    H/T: Nerve's Liam Mathews.


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    Unless you're Phil Shifley, you probably haven't been to your own funeral. But some Belgians have, as you can see below in a bizarre stunt PSA for a safe-driving awareness campaign.

    It's never explicitly stated, but the invitees presumably aren't the world's best drivers. Specifically, they must be prone to excessive speed. Why else would their friends and family be so cruel as to invite them, under false pretenses, to potently consider what it would like to be dead—casket and all?

    Tough love, apparently.

    At the same time, though, being able to attend your own funeral—and see everyone mourning you—is something of a common fantasy. Clearly the people here are moved by the experience, anyway. Changed by it? Who knows.

    "Virtually no one feels it is dangerous to drive a few km/h faster than the maximum speed limit," says the advertiser. "However, even this 'slight' speeding kills and injures hundreds of people every year. And we tend to ignore the many lives of people close to us that are devastated as well."

    Via Unruly Media.

    If English subtitles don't appear, click the CC button.



    CREDITS
    Client: IBSR - BIVV
    Agency: 20Something, Belgium
    Creative Director: Benoit Vancauwenberghe
    Strategy: Jérôme Lefebvre, David Burny
    Copywriters: Quentin Watelet, Birgit Fonteyn
    Art Director: Jean-Paul Lejeune
    Production: Zoom Production
    Filmmakers: Olivier Auclair, Robert Van Donge
    Account Manager: Bram Van Buynder
    Additional Credits: Céline Speeckaert, Thomas Horman, Jonathan Marchal


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    Durham, N.C., resident Keil Jansen may have quit his job as a teacher to start a nanobrewery, but judging by its name, Ponysaurus Brewery, his old profession clearly rubbed off on him.

    Raleigh ad agency Baldwin& designed the brewer's unique logo—half pony, half dinosaur—which looks like a McSweeney's parody of a medical illustration.

    "There is a certain tension within the entire Ponysaurus design, where we are trying to balance a sense of the absurd and fantastical with the fact that we are dead serious about making the best beer," Jansen tells Cool Hunting."The combination of 'old-timey' details, for example the style of the Ponysaurus drawing that invokes old medical or biology textbooks, with the fact that the drawing itself is of a half-pony, half-dinosaur is an excellent shorthand for what we wanted to achieve."

    I don't know how well "The beer beer would drink if beer could drink beer" stacks up against every other goofy-named microbrew on the market right now, but I'd like to see Ponysaurus take on Kegasus in a drinking contest.


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    Specs
    Who Chris Macdonald
    New gig president, McCann Erickson New York
    Old gig CEO, McCann Erickson London; chairman, McCann Worldgroup
    Age 47

    You grew up in Oxford. Did you ever think you would work in the U.S. ad business?
    I never did but always wanted to. I’ve worked on American brands with American clients and had a romantic, positive view of America and the culture. I like that it’s open and honest, which is refreshing. The Brits are slightly less open and honest. There’s diversity here. I’ve never dealt with more nationalities and more language. This country has a culture of selling. In England we avoid selling; often we either sell accidently or begrudgingly. The selling culture here is proactive or entrepreneurial. Some of the U.S. selling techniques around brands or even the local shops are bloody amazing.

    How’s it going in the new job? What’s the mood like at McCann Erickson New York?
    There’s been a lot to do: meeting clients, developing relationships, working on pitches, getting to know people internally and thinking about how to develop the culture. There were recent times when it wasn’t the McCann we know and love. Thanks to the people here, this agency now feels energetic, optimistic and hungry. We’ve signaled how we’re building the culture. There’s one McCann and everyone supports each other, even down to things like when we have beer on Thursdays at 5 p.m. called Truth Well Brewed (a play off McCann’s mantra Truth Well Told). We’re also getting closer to our sister Worldgroup agencies.

    What are the biggest differences in your New York work life as opposed to London?
    It’s bizarre that there’s food in every meeting. Most of the time in England everyone comes to a meeting if you provide beer. There are also some of the obvious clichés that you don’t realize until you get here about how big this country is, the time zones, the fact you can drive for six hours and still be in New York State. I’m dealing with a lot of completely different brand stories, brand histories, places in people’s minds here, and I’m lucky to have good people around me to help.

    What do you miss about working in London?
    I miss the rain, the fact that McCann is in a building only four stories high. Here my office is on the 24th floor and my apartment on the 36th floor whereas in England my house had three floors. Another thing, London is an advertising village. We all know each other, grew up together, went to the same dinners and parties. We had a strange inbred camaraderie. Here it’s disparate because clients are all over the country, and because of the size of agencies, you don’t have as many opportunities to get together.

    Who were some of your mentors in the U.K.?
    One of the places that defined me was Lowe Howard-Spink in the mid-’90s because of the way they delivered great creative work. Another one was Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R for having entrepreneurial founders aligned with a network. That was a massive learning curve.

    What advice would you give to someone in London about moving into the U.S. ad industry?
    Watch out for sarcasm. Don’t be put off if people don’t react immediately. Sometimes they stare at you and wonder, “Is he being serious or is he being funny?” We really are divided by a common language. Another thing is this is such a massive country with so many celebrities, so much going on, so many brands that are active in the marketplace. You really are on a massive learning curve. You’ve got to be the most inquisitive you’ve been since you were a grad trainee at the age of 21.

    Photo: Alfred Maskeroni


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    Fed up with cable? DirecTV wants to hear your frustration.

    The satellite TV provider is asking fans for suggestions for its new "Cable Effects" storyline. A panel of judges will review the submissions and—if it all makes sense—it will use the script in an upcoming "Cable Effects" campaign.

    "We have a successful track record," Jon Gieselman, DirecTV's svp, told Adweek about the "Cable Effects" campaign. "I don’t feel like we need help with our creative development. But the reason why we are doing this is because it feels like this campaign has struck a chord with people."

    The crowdsourced ad is open to anyone who wants to participate: All you have to do is tweet your quips to @DirecTV using the hashtag #GetRidOfCable from April 14 through April 21

    Ideally, the company hopes to pick one tweet or line of script each day. The ideas will eventually be storyboarded, narrated with a Robb Webb voiceover, and turned into a social video, which will be shared on Twitter on April 25. And, if everything looks good, it may go into further production. 

    Gieselman said the company noted that there are more than 3,500 parodies of the campaign online. It figured it was time to ask the audience what was getting them riled up about cable.

    “It kind of scratches at that common issue that affects so many people that have had a terrible experience with cable at one point or another,” Gieselman explained. “We of course believe that DirecTV is a better alternative.”

    Grey in New York created the "Cable Effects" campaign.


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    Mocking hipsters was cool until H&R Block started doing it. (Actually, it's probably been passé for a while now. Really, it was so 2012.) Nonetheless, in an effort to reach millennials, the tax prep brand has been running a social media campaign titled "Hipster Tax Crisis."

    The effort hinges mostly on the idea that anyone who fits one of many stereotypes that's been lobbed at the ill-defined group in recent years—e.g., horn-rimmed glasses—is probably bad at doing their taxes. As the Guardian points out, that's really not true—young people just seem to favor TurboTax.

    In fairness, the campaign does include some decent zingers. "Growing organic arugula on a fire escape does not enable to you take a farm tax credit," reads one print ad (labeled as a "Hipster Tax Fact"). But a truly painful "Hipster Tax Rap" video more than compensates for the better moments.

    It's good for brands to take risks, and to rib their consumers. But it's not exactly risky to keep beating a dead horse. Macklemore is mainstream. Hipsters, whoever they are, have won. And if a marketer is going to take aim at them, there's a high bar to beat in jeans brand Denham's delightful remake of American Psycho.

    Also, treating a portion of your target demographic like a cheap piñata might not be the best way to grow your business in the cohort. But who cares. Hipsters don't have any money, and with ESPN personality Kenny Mayne as a spokesman, the sports junkies must be a lock.

    Plus, H&R Block is going for the normcore set, which is much more fashionable these days.


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    IBM wants you to know it's everywhere.

    It especially wants you to know that if you are a golf fanatic or C-suite executive who watches the Masters from start to finish.

    With the help of Ogilvy & Mather, IBM created a stunning series of 62 different commercials, and ran each of them once during the golf tournament, which wrapped up Sunday. The campaign, with the theme "Made With IBM," featured snapshots of how the brand's services like cloud computing and mobile analytics are used by organizations around the world, from businesses like Lindt to municipalities like Miami Dade.

    Here's the YouTube playlist for the campaign:



    The central point is data's potential to impact all aspects of life—and IBM's sales pitch about the growing importance of capitalizing on the opportunity in commerce. "Point to almost anything, we can make it faster, better, more efficient, on the cloud," says Jason McGee, an IBM employee, in one spot about innovation, as the camera focuses on shots of coffee and eggs.



    Whether or not that's true, the overall production is an impressive display of IBM's marketing muscle, and the company's broad global reach is reflected in both the scope and subject matter, which touches on themes like music, cooking and education. The campaign features more than 30 interviews with IBM employees and clients, and footage from 14 shoots in 20 countries on five continents. (Footage from the company's "A Boy and His Atom" film, about more efficient storage methods, found its way into the campaign as well.)



    Companies like Chinese retailer Leyou, which sells baby products, make an appearance, as do firms like Italian broadcaster Sky Italia. The spots themselves are a diverse collage of tones and styles, with some particularly clever visual cues. Origami animals, for example, in a Kyocera spot about the company's diversification away from paper-centric products, offer a subtle nod to the environment.

    IBM is far from the first tech company looking to shed light on its generally opaque relevance in ways that are tangible—but it's an unusually elaborate and granular approach, more like a stipple painting than, say, Sony's sweeping paean to art and engineering.

    If you weren't glued to the tube for the Masters, you might not have the patience to wade through it all. And ultimately, some of the successes are fairly mundane—like helping Macy's manage and personalize its various shopper channels.



    But some are of real social interest, like helping Memorial Sloan Kettering crunch information to help select the most appropriate cancer treatments for patients. "It's counterintuitive, [a] machine actually personalizes care more," says Dr. Mark Kris. (Where 30- to 60-second clips don't offer much in the way of detail, the online extensions of the campaign in many cases flesh out the case studies with concrete stats—citing, for example, 600,000 pieces of medical evidence processed by IBM supercomputer Watson for Sloan Kettering.)



    Other examples, meanwhile, aspire to be even more profound, like helping Dutch astronomical research group Astron process huge amounts of telescopic information. "Using big data we will be able to make detailed maps of the earliest phases of the universe," says Astron's Albert Jan-Boostra. "It also helps us answer who are we, where are we from, what is our purpose?"

    Obviously, the meaning of life is to sell more IBM services, and thereby pave the way for our machine overlords to fulfill their destiny and claim the Earth as their own.

    That, or it's 42.

    Here's Ogilvy's video about the making of the campaign:



    CREDITS
    Client: IBM
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York


    0 0

    Fresh from the gnarly folks at Mountain Dew comes "the first soda that is also a tool."

    A nifty new Dew bottle designed by Sancho BBDO Colombia is fitted with a hex nut wrench in the cap, so you can fix your board after you've face-planted trying to land a sick trick that ended up all sketchy. It's perfect for skaters who could use a little extra hand during their next search for Animal Chin.

    I guess it is cool and all, but I'm pretty sure you can only tighten screws; if you tried to loosen them, wouldn't the cap itself just unscrew? It also doesn't seem like you'd get much torque this way. But I nitpick. It would be killer if the bottle came with some cash stuffed inside it for emergency room bills. Or Obamacare. Dude, put Obamacare in the bottle. 

    But whatever, this poser's hella old—gotta bail. Wake me up when the hoverboard is real.

    Check it, brah.


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