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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    The winners of the 52nd D&AD Professional Awards were announced in the U.K. last night. And among the big winners was this fascinating campaign from the Netherlands, in which ad agency Lemz built a computer model of a girl to catch pedophiles engaging in webcam child sex tourism.

    The work, for Terre des Hommes, won a Black Pencil (reserved for category changing work) in advertising and marketing. The video below explains Lemz's campaign, centered on "pro-active policing" of the problem. That meant creating "Sweetie," a computerized version of a 10-year-old Filipino girl, and sending her into online web-chat forums.

    The results: The campaign caught 1,000 predators from 71 countries, and the agency handed over their dossiers to Interpol. "Webcam child sex tourism is now a globally recognized problem," says Lemz. "Governments are changing policies. Arrests have been made. Children have been rescued."

    It's incredibly ambitious, and a great example of marketing's continued evolution, with help from technology, from outbound messaging to meaningful action.

    Client: Terre des Hommes
    Agency: LEMZ

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    Hidden cameras have been used in various PSA campaigns lately to shed light on how people react in public to distressing situations. Notably, there was the Norwegian stunt where a boy sat freezing without a coat at a bus stop in winter.

    Now, from Dare London, we get an interesting look at two scenarios of domestic violence—with hidden cameras recording the stark differences in how people nearby respond to the physical violence happening right in front of them.

    The spot, directed by Dark Energy director David Stoddart for domestic violence charity ManKind, is meant to provoke—and have the viewer question his or her assumptions about violence in relationships. So, does it do a good job of that?

    Warning: The video contains simulated violence and may be upsetting.

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    Last fall, Jessica Shyba's photos of her son and new puppy napping together went viral. Shyba's blog about life with three kids in NYC, Momma's Gone City, was already fairly popular, and she had a respectable 5,000 Instagram followers. But her #theoandbeau images made her an overnight sensation. Soon she had 450,000 Instagram followers.

    The Land of Nod, the retail brand geared to parents of young children, saw the potential in capitalizing on the success of Theo and Beau. So, it reached out to Shyba to commission a photo for the cover of their May catalog. And the result was clearly a win-win.

    "The Land of Nod is a brand that fully embraces social media from many facets, whether it be product sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes of corporate life or partnerships with innovative and energetic bloggers," Katie Harrington, a public relations and social media strategist at the company, tells AdFreak. "We were working with Jessica on a bedroom makeover for her boys at the same time we needed a subject for our May catalog cover. We strive for our covers to portray something sentimental, almost encompassing this 'age of innocence' mentality that quite frankly is sometimes hard to capture through produced shoots. We all felt this connection and true love story between Theo and Beau and believed that relationship struck a chord with our catalog needs."

    Shyba is also pleased with the partnership. "The neatest part about this collaboration was seeing my friends everywhere posting photos of the catalog on social media and mentioning how nice it was to see Theo and Beau in their mailbox," she says. "It's a professional milestone for me in the greatest way, too, having been commissioned to share my art on the cover of a popular catalog."

    The catalog cover is beautiful, and it's a lovely case study for brands establishing relationships with rising stars and their eager followings.

    See the full catalog cover below, and outtakes from the shoot on Shyba's blog.

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    Here's a quick way to sober up after a holiday weekend: Watch this intense, claustrophobic safe-driving PSA from the U.K., aimed at young male drivers who appear to be a terror on the London roads.

    "Friendships are critical to this audience. And the tragic message—that by driving too fast, they might kill the very friends they are trying to impress—is one that really hits home," M&C Saatchi CEO Camilla Harrisson tells the Drum.

    The tragic moment here isn't as dramatic as in the memorable U.S. PSA from a few weeks back, but maybe that's the point. Perhaps Hollywood-style visuals offer a comfortable distance. This ad certainly doesn't. The tagline is, "Kill your speed, not your mates."

    The campaign will run in cinema, video-on-demand and social media.

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    Roof Studios in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood has fused the social media and digital animation worlds, allowing them to grow and work around the globe with ease.

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    The World Cup's June 12 kickoff is approaching fast, and Adidas is extremely excited. And in this new ad for the brand—which has 28 million YouTube views since Saturday—Argentina's Lionel Messi, a top Adidas endorser, is having a bad dream. Or is it a good one?

    Competitors like Brazil's Dani Alves and Uruguay's Luis Suarez are up late drilling. Fans are taunting. Reporters are thronging. Even the horses carrying riot police are shuffling nervously, as crowds go wild. And in the background, an as-yet-unreleased Kanye West song titled "God Level" is playing.

    Gods are probably not as anxious as the spot, from TBWA\Chiat\Day, which aims to capture the sense of mounting pressure through rapid-fire edits and the fits and starts of the drumbeat on the West track.

    Whether it succeeds in building suspense, or just flits by, may depend on how much you care about soccer, and how quickly you parse the dense parade of would-be deities, or how bored you get with fast-paced soccer ad tropes.

    Game of Thrones fans may blink twice when Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger sends a flock of crows scattering from a treetop in a snowy forest.

    In the end, at least some of the ad's heroes win by finding the back of the net. Celebrations ensue. Messi looks pointedly at the camera, because what's he got to worry about?

    The tagline, "All in or nothing," offers a literal choice—the spot ends with two buttons. Click "All in," and see more high-energy scenes, and a solicitation to follow Adidas's World Cup Twitter accounts (@adidasfootball, @TeamMessi and @brazuca, the official game ball) or to join its mailing list.

    Click "Nothing," and face a sequence of barren landscapes, beat-up soccer balls and the chance click the same button two more times, before it takes you to a button that allows you to unfollow the brand's World Cup properties.

    It should get some points for honesty, though. Really, what soccer may come down to is worshipping celebrities so you can be spammed by a marketer.

    Client: Adidas
    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day

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    We're only 16 days away from the start of the World Cup. And ESPN—which will present all 64 matches of the quadrennial tournament across the ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC networks—released its latest teaser commercial on Tuesday, this one devoted to the time warp that happens for viewers around the world every four years.

    The spot, by Wieden + Kennedy in New York, feels like the beginning of an action movie where the team is getting together before a big heist—except here, we're seeing how different people around the world are getting ready for the World Cup. And wherever they are in the world, day or night, they'll be setting their countdown clocks to Brazil time.

    The spot moves seamlessly from metropolis to metropolis, with business executives, children, fisherman, etc., getting ready for the event. It opens on a favela rooftop in Rio and goes around the world—to a pub in England, a social club in Ghana, a fishing boat off Spain, an apartment in Russia, a car heading to Tehran, a bar about to open at dawn in Japan, an office in Seattle, a family barbecue in Mexico and a research station in the Andes—before returning to Brazil.

    "Every 4 years the world has one time zone," says the end line. (That follows a spot earlier this month that said, "Every 4 years the conversation starts again.")

    Thanks to our longitudinal proximity to Brazil, Americans will see the matches at exceedingly humane hours, with kickoffs generally scheduled for noon, 3 p.m. or 6 p.m. ET. That's a lot better than other recent World Cups—in particular, the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea, whose daily slate of matches began at 2:30 a.m. and wrapped up shortly after breakfast.

    Client: ESPN

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
    Creative Directors: Brandon Henderson, Stuart Jennings, Gary Van Dzura, Caleb Jensen
    Art Director: Mathieu Zarbatany
    Copywriter: Andrew Jasperson
    Producer: Luiza Naritomi
    Executive Producer: Temma Shoaf
    Account Team: Casey Bernard, Katie Hoak, Alex Scaros

    Production Company: Imperial Woodpecker
    Director: Stacy Wall
    Executive Producer: Doug Halbert
    Line Producer: Terry Shafirov
    Director of Photography: Corey Walter

    Editorial Company: Final Cut
    Editor: Jeff Buchanan
    Assistant Editor: Geoff Hastings
    Post Producer: Beth Fitzpatrick

    Visual Effects Company: MPC
    Senior Producer: Matthew Loranger
    Lead Flame Artist, Creative Director: Gigi Ng

    Mix Company: Heard City
    Mixer: Philip Loeb
    Producer: Sasha Awn

    Music Company: Travis + Maude
    Creative Director: David Wittman
    Producer: Kala Sherman

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    IDEA: Bugs are nasty, and Orkin is deeply invested in destroying them. But that doesn't mean they can't teach us deep life lessons. That's the somewhat schizophrenic yet oddly endearing takeaway from "Bug Wisdom," a comical new online campaign for the pest control company from The Richards Group.

    Eight videos show bugs doing bug-like things—munching on leaves, crawling on twigs, sucking your blood—with amusingly exaggerated sounds. At the end of each, a pleasing aphorism appears on screen, ascribing meaning to what we've seen. (Example: A dung beetle whistles happily as it rolls a ball of dung around. Bug Wisdom: "When life hands you dung, just roll with it.")

    The point? Orkin studies pests so obsessively, it even appreciates their unassuming artistry.

    "They asked us to create something unexpected and fun—something that would engage viewers, be shareable and reinforce the line, 'Pest control down to a science,'" said art director Brian Thibodeau. "We realized there's an order and a system to everything bugs do. Bugs have an innate and amazing intelligence. Which led us to the idea: Bugs have wisdom."

    COPYWRITING: There were no formal scripts. "It was very much trial and error. As each video came together, it revealed a small nugget of truth, which led to each Bug Wisdom," said Thibodeau.

    One of the first videos Richards did shows a spider spinning a web, to the sound of a flamenco guitar. "What he was doing was beautiful," Thibodeau said of the spider. "It was art. Work, yes. But still art. What if we applied that wisdom to our everyday lives? That led to 'Make your work art.' The other ones happened in a similar fashion."

    The featured bugs include a silkworm ("The way he moved his head back and forth reminded us of a typewriter"), ants and bees ("The movement of the bees on the hive made us think of xylophone notes"), a caterpillar, green worm and mosquito.

    The spots end with the on-screen tagline, "We never stop learning from bugs," which Thibodeau said "shows Orkin's respect for insects and the role bugs play in this world."

    ART DIRECTION: The agency used stock footage instead of hiring a director to shoot new film. The spots open and close with hand-drawn animations of ornate patterns, with the lines slowly creeping across the screen.

    "I wanted them to feel natural and evoke a sense of timeless wisdom," said Thibodeau. "I created the illustrations to loosely represent buglike antennae, legs and crawly things. I wanted the drawings to accentuate the natural beauty of bugs."

    SOUND: Sound is key—it's where much of the humor comes from. "We Foleyed most of the sound," said Thibodeau.

    Russell Smith, an audio engineer, was the whistler on "Dung Beetle." A professional flamenco guitarist, Miguel Antonio, did the soundtrack for "Spider." "For 'Green Worm,' we ate 15 of the crunchiest foods we could find. The winner: a celery-apple combo," said Thibodeau. "For 'Mosquito,' we slurped yogurt through a straw."

    MEDIA: The ads are running as pre-roll on YouTube as well as on Facebook.

    Two more video series are coming soon. "Top 6" will feature lists of the top bugs in fun, unusual categories like "Top 6 Tastiest Bugs" or "Top 6 Most Venomous Bugs." Why six? "Insects have six legs. That's as high as they can count," said Thibodeau.

    The other forthcoming series is "Fact or Fake," in which the Orkin Man, an Orkin entomologist and an unpaid intern will conduct experiments in a lab (filmed by Tim K. from Gifted Youth) to determine whether certain myths about bugs are fact or fake.


    Client: Orkin
    Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas
    Copywriter: Jack Westerholt
    Art Director/Illustrator: Brian Thibodeau
    Creative Directors: David Morring, Tim Tone
    Producer: Lynn Louria
    Editorial: Charlie Uniform Tango
    Audio Engineer: Russell Smith
    Assistant Audio Engineer: Nick Patronella
    Motion Graphics Designer: Tony Wann
    Clients: Kevin Smith, Cam Glover, Theresa Childs
    Brand Management: Pete Lempert, Jessica Walker, Whitney Medlin

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    Activists and health advocates are rightly upset over this poorly executed campaign to get Mexico City mothers to breastfeed. It shows topless celebrities with a carefully placed banner running right over their breasts that says, "No les des la espalda, dale pecho," which translates to, "Don't turn your back on them, give them your breast."

    The first problem is how overtly sexualized the women are. The act of breastfeeding is not a sexual act. It vacillates between being painful, annoying, exhausting, inconvenient and heartrendingly sublime. The sexualization of breastfeeding is a large part of the reason so many people shame mothers for breastfeeding in public, and a factor in low breastfeeding rates. (This campaign by two students nicely illustrates this part of the problem.)

    Let's be clear: Women are not failing to breastfeed because there aren't enough topless celebrities out there. As health advocates point out, the decision not to breastfeed is part of a complicated series of factors, including lack of paid time off and family support. To imply it's all up to the women unfairly blames them when they are unable to breastfeed.

    I'm a huge advocate of how advertising can change behavior, but these ads are a waste of money. The good news is, the campaign also involves opening 92 lactation rooms throughout the city, and they've removed the topless images from the city's website.

    Photo via.

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    No one is better than Coca-Cola at having all of its communications, down to the very packaging, embody the brand promise of happiness and sharing.

    Leo Burnett in Colombia had the latest clever idea in that department. It dreamed up a design for Coke's plastic bottles featuring a cap that could only be opened when fit together with another bottle's cap and twisted. Thus, you have to pair off to be refreshed.

    To show off the design, the brand found people in most desperate need of a little friendly conversation, who are also generally not opposed to pairing off: college freshmen at the beginning of the school year. It put a stash of the bottles on a campus. The students had to partner with someone if they wanted to open their Coke.

    The idea is reminiscent of last year's sharable can, which split in half (created by Ogilvy & Mather France and Ogilvy Asia-Pacific), except this time the eager freshmen got to have a whole Coke—along with a small exchange that got the ball rolling.

    Client: Coca-Cola
    Agency: Leo Burnett, Colombia

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    Coca-Cola's ad strategy basically comes down to bombarding you with joy and togetherness, and a new animated spot from Wieden + Kennedy continues that tradition.

    A boy bumps into a girl and lets go of a red balloon he's carrying, so he can catch the Coca-Cola she drops, because what better way to charm in a Coke commercial than to save a Coke. The camera follows the balloon as it rises past the windows of a brick building, peering into a range of shared family milestones and moments, all, naturally, including little red-wrapped bottles of sugar water.

    Couples are, variously, moving in together; holding a tea party with their young daughter; visiting their college-aged son; cooking and dancing together; and celebrating their 50th anniversary. All the while, singer-songwriter Wendy Colonna croons in the background about finding happiness in a pair. It's the slightest bit reminiscent of Up, but mostly an adorable and incredibly efficient bit of storytelling that's right in the brand's wheelhouse.

    Coca-Cola is no stranger to animated ads (e.g., the Polar Bears and Happiness Factory) or twee soundtracks, and it'll never stop pumping viewers full of bubbly feelings until they forget—or just stop caring—that the product isn't really that good for them, even if the brand does occasionally mix in a little sass.

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    Emotional isolation. A loveless marriage. The gnawing regrets of adulthood. Welcome to the surprisingly dark and awkwardly humorous "Mom Confessions" ad campaign for LG appliances.

    At first, these four spots from Hill Holliday seem like pretty standard daytime TV fare: A mom waxes light and cheeky on her favorite dish washer, refrigerator, washing machine and oven. But taken together, they paint a rather bleak portrait, like a cross between FX's Louie and Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

    In one, she praises the speed of her LG washing machine before quickly noting: "My husband's fast. Too fast. I do not like that." Then, when he arrives home for an unscheduled nooner, she looks like she'd rather climb inside the washing machine and cotton-cycle herself into the great hereafter.

    "I used to be hot," the mom muses in another spot, about an oven. "In college. Before kids. I was hot. All the boys wanted me. Look at all those cookies packed in there. I did that. I'm still hot."

    The voiceover is provided by Leslie Mann, perhaps best known for playing the similarly world-weary mom, Debbie, in Knocked Up and This Is 40. 

    Each ad is cynical almost to the point of satire. And that's a good thing, because without that edge, we're left with another fake family living in a fake world of fake happiness. Instead, LG gives a welcome nod to the fact that ennui is a pretty standard aspect of domestic life.

    Of course, none of this dark and jaded introspection is mentioned in the press release, where LG says the campaign "celebrates the everyday moments and inner dialogue that we believe all moms can relate to."

    For better or worse, that's probably true.

    Client: LG Electronics
    Senior Manager, Brand Communications: Angela Smith
    Agency: Hill Holliday, Boston
    Chief Creative Officer: Lance Jensen
    Executive Creative Director: Joe Fallon
    Group Creative Director:
    Creative Director: Mary Rich
    Associate Creative Director:
    Copywriter: Joe Fallon / Justin Galvin / Scott Noble / Ben Huser
    Art Director: Mary Rich / Fernando Pina
    Designer: Marcio Lima
    Animator: Marcio Lima / Scott Woolwine
    Illustrator: Marcio Lima
    Agency Producer: Paul Shannon, Katelyn Kennedy
    Account Team: Kerry Benson, Scott Adler, Lizzy Jenkins
    Project Manager: Kaitlyn Blanchette
    Planner: Baysie Wightman
    Social Media Director: Mike Proulx
    Social Media Strategist: Kelsey Graham
    Production Company: Station Film
    Executive Producer: Thomas Rossano
    Managing Partner: Stephen Orent
    Director: Brendan Gibbons
    Cinematographer: Matthew Woolf
    Line Producer: Kate Sutherland
    Production Designer: Joe Cooney
    Still Photographer: Francesco Lagnese
    Digital Director: John Running
    Digital Developer: Rob Erskine/ Michael Walton
    Digital Tech Lead: Steve Callan
    Experience Architect: Maggie Foley
    Quality Assurance Specialist: Chris Martin
    Interactive Producer: Kaitlyn Blanchette
    Edit House: Whitehouse Post
    Editor: Adam Robinson
    Music House: HiFi
    Music Producer: Jack Bradley
    Sound Design Company: Soundtrack
    Sound Engineer: Mike Secher
    Post Production-VFX Company: Brickyard VFX
    Flame Artist: Dave Waller
    Executive Post Producer: Amy Appleton
    Post Production- Color Correct/Telecine: Company 3 / Tim Masick
    Art Buyer: Kate Geskos

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    When most great spec projects make the rounds among the Internet's creative community, it's assumed the work will never see the light of day. Here's a notable, wonderful exception.

    Late last year, Italian designer Marco Sodano received global praise for his creative pixelation of famous paintings remade with Legos. At the time, he said he wanted to convey "the belief that every child with Lego can become a great artist like Da Vinci and Vermeer."

    This month, he posted a new gallery, this time empowered to call it simply a "campaign for Lego." The official versions (largely similar but for the word "Imagine" embedded at the top left) were produced by agency Geometry Global in Hong Kong, with Sodano as art director.

    Check out the four official executions below:

    Via The Inspiration.

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    Next time you're out at a bar tying one on, you might want to reconsider your choices—if you happen to be drinking in Japan. 

    Two agencies, Ogilvy & Mather and Geometry Global, and bar chain Yaocho bring us this glimpse into a strange phenomenon in Japan where lots of people apparently literally drink till they drop, and sleep on the street.

    To curb this disturbing trend, the slumped-over drunks are made into PSA billboards—framed within a square of white tape and adorned with the hashtag #NOMISUGI, which translates to "too drunk." Instagram users all over Japan have been capturing these impromptu ads, which are an effort to shame people into behaving better.

    We're not sure if it's staged or not, but it's a hilarious concept, and worth a look below. 

    Via Ads of the World.

    Client: Yaocho
    Agencies: Ogilvy & Mather Japan/Geometry Global Japan
    Chief Creative Officer: Ajab Samrai
    Creative Directors: Yasuhito Imai, Federico Garcia
    Copywriter: Federico Garcia
    Art Director: Junkichi Tatsuki
    Production Company: Babel Label
    Director: Kentaro Shima

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    It seems inevitable that ad agencies will someday run out of innovative ways to launch new smartphones. But today is not that day.

    Droga5 created a charmingly whimsical 60-second spot for this month's reveal of Motorola's Moto E, an entry-level smartphone that's light on cutting-edge features but attractively sticker priced at $130. Since the Moto E isn't going to win over gadget gurus looking for power and superlative specs, the agency took the marketing in a different direction, courting the casual crowd who just want a phone that looks nice, survives everyday abuse and won't eat up its battery in six hours.

    The agency, with help from 1stAveMachine director Tomi Dieguez, created a giant vertical tunnel that serves as the spot's setting while the phone drifts down through it in a slow-motion free fall. Each section of the contraption is colorful and dynamic, capturing a different aspect of the phone's features, like the scratch-resistent screen illustrated by jangling cables festooned with keys.

    All told, the phone's descent through a wide range of informative backgrounds took only 2.7 seconds of real time, which definitely helps you appreciate the level of craftsmanship and detail the agency had to put into its creation.

    To make each stage move at a decent speed, the actual set design had to be insanely fast, which you can see for yourself in the behind-the-scenes clip below.

    The resulting spot is fun, unique and well-crafted, and if viewers are left feeling the same way about the phone, Motorola will definitely have achieved its goal.

    Client: Motorola
    Agency: Droga5
    Executive Creative Director: Neil Heymann
    Art Director: Andrew Wilcox
    Copywriter: Mike Felix
    Executive Producer: Matt Nowack
    Production: 1stAveMachine
    Director: Tomi Dieguez
    Editor: Bill Saunders
    Color Grade: Seth Ricart
    Audio Postproduction: Heard City
    Music Composition: Q Department

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    Space, the final frontier … for marketers? 

    Illustration: Lincoln Agnew

    Mass media and space travel have always been entwined, the former promoting and propelling the latter since America’s epic push five decades ago to land on the moon before Communist cosmonauts planted the hammer and sickle on its cratered surface.

    In the late 1950s and ’60s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s publicity machine piloted the first space age into every conceivable cranny of the nation’s collective consciousness. NASA’s out-of-this-world sales job helped make space a national obsession. Its language and imagery pervaded television, movies, advertising, magazines, architecture, clothing, product design and more. Some cars even resembled rockets, with outsized tail fins seemingly capable of blasting the vehicles into orbit.

    Today, astronauts, spacecraft and interplanetary themes are appearing in media and advertising more often than we’ve seen since the heyday of the Apollo lunar missions more than 40 years ago. The second space age has cleared the launch pad, and this renewed interest in off-world exploration is once again reflected and amplified by popular culture.

    NASA is helping to drive the return flight with its robust outreach on social channels. And, unlike the ’60s, when corporations developed technology for the space agency but had no means to launch flights of their own, several commercial ventures are also, literally, reaching for the sky. These include Mars One, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, which are generating impressive amounts of news coverage—and could deliver a hefty payload of advertising, entertainment and social content in the near future. 

    Armstrong’s historic moon landing

    Against that backdrop, it’s perhaps no surprise that Fox’s reboot of Cosmos debuted this year to wide acclaim (even if its ratings have reentered Earth’s atmosphere), while Gravity was a box-office smash, and Interstellar ranks among the most anticipated movie releases of 2014. Could the current space reboot match the thrill and immersion of the ’60s race to the moon? It’s possible, analysts say, but we still have a ways to go.

    The first space age played out almost like a Hollywood movie. With the United States cast as hero and Russia playing the villain (in domestic media, at any rate), our nation believed that reaching the moon first was a moral obligation. As Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft rode tails of flame into the unknown, NASA engaged mass media—technologically crude by today’s standards but more powerful in its ability to mold public opinion—to sell that sense of wonder. 

    Virgin Galactic’s ship

    “We made a special effort to inform the press about what we were doing,” says Ed Buckbee, a NASA public affairs officer from 1961-70, by “training science writers and editors to do our job for us. We brought them into the family. They were basically our salespeople.” NASA gave the press broad access to astronauts, project engineers and mission controllers. It shared huge amounts of information and disseminated assets like photographs and videos made during spaceflights. Those images appeared not just on nightly newscasts, but also in space-themed ads for every imaginable product, ranging from Tang orange drink to Omega wristwatches and various automobile brands. Through the media’s prism, space came to symbolize a shining future pioneered by American know-how, courage and technology.

    It was fitting that the first age reached its zenith on July 20, 1969, with a live media spectacle that played out like a way-ahead-of-its-time reality show. A staggering 125 million viewers, representing 93 percent of all sets in the nation, tuned in for Neil Armstrong’s giant leap. (That moment in time powered the narrative behind the final episode of the most recent arc of Mad Men.) Like any self-respecting TV star, the first human being to walk on another world had his pithy catchphrase at the ready. 

    SpaceX’s Dragon transport


    Back to the Future
    Of course, both that mission (a lunar landing and safe return) and its geopolitical underpinning (the Cold War) were events of gigantic proportions. That space would become an all-consuming preoccupation was probably inevitable in an era with just three broadcast networks and a more homogenous, less distracted society than the short-attention-span theater we live in today.

    In lieu of a broader narrative to spark widespread interest, keeping a fickle public engaged is paramount. NASA and the private space companies are acutely aware of that dynamic and design their media tactics accordingly. “We have clearly entered a new era of space exploration and also a new era of communications,” says David Weaver, NASA’s communications director. “We see that changing landscape as a great challenge—but also as an opportunity.” In the ’60s, folks had to be content with watching space launches on TV. Today, thanks to social media and real-time communications, “they can go along for the ride … fully engage in the experience,” says Weaver.

    For Apollo, NASA worked through the established media, and it still does to a large extent. But, taking its cue from commercial marketing, the agency has also become a digital content creator and publisher in a big way.

    Currently, NASA is leveraging 500 social media accounts. It has nearly 6.6 million followers for its main @NASA Twitter handle and 4.8 million fans for its primary Facebook page. Updates are constant and can include live chats and presentations with astronauts on the International Space Station, as well as updates from the robotic Curiosity rover exploring the surface of Mars. Launching on Instagram less than a year ago, NASA’s principal account quickly amassed 1.2 million followers and has become a repository for dazzling astronomical images.

    Other recent far-out efforts to push the message include: 

    Rovio’s latest Angry Bird creation

    NASA collaborated with Rovio to create Angry Birds Space. An updated game, Beak Impact, debuts this week. As players advance, they surface information about asteroids. Since the partnership began, players clicking NASA links in Angry Birds Space have driven about 25 percent of NASA.gov’s total traffic.

    #GlobalSelfie celebrated Earth Day by asking people around the world to take a photo of themselves. NASA used each picture as a pixel in an interactive mosaic image. 36,422 photos posted to social media were combined to create the stirring image. (From a distance, it looks like planet Earth, but zooming in lets users explore each individual face.)

    • The agency crowdsourced the design for prototypes of spacesuits intended for Mars exploration by the 2030s. Given NASA’s long-standing media ties, a Tron-like design won with nearly 235,000 votes. 

    NASA’s #Globalselfie mosaic

    Take it Up in Private
    Speaking of Mars, analysts say the build-up for a mission to the Red Planet could put the new space age on par with the legendary Apollo effort that captivated the country. “When you talk about Mars, ears perk up,” says former NASA public affairs officer Buckbee, who later founded the U.S. Space Camp and Aviation Challenge programs. “The younger generation is pumped—they want to be part of it.”

    NASA’s Weaver adds: “Sending humans to Mars and bringing them safely home is the next giant leap for us.” 

    A crowdsourced Mars space suit

    Given the expense—perhaps trillions of dollars—and countless technical and logistical challenges, several nations would probably have to join forces to undertake a human landing on Mars. It’s possible that private companies will lend a hand, though the nature of such a partnership remains unclear. (NASA has a $1.6 billion contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to devise a cargo transportation system between Earth and the ISS, so cooperation between the public and private sectors on space is under way.)

    Mars One is planning a mission in 2024 to establish a four-person colony on the fourth planet from the sun. It will be a media extravaganza as much as a space mission, with a reality show in the mix. “The story of humans settling on Mars is one that every person on the Earth will like to see,” says Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp, who vows to use “all means available: broadcast media, social media, narrowcast and probably a lot of others that don’t even exist yet. I like to compare our mission to a combination of a blockbuster movie and the Olympic Games.” 

    Mars One’s privately funded mission to Mars in 2024

    Naturally, Lansdorp sees advertising in the mix. “We’re looking for brands that want to associate themselves with innovation, exploration and our can-do mentality,” he says. “A car company could be a partner for our rover mission. A food company could be our food partner, helping to develop the means to produce food on Mars. A pharmaceutical company could be our ‘Life on Mars’ partner and supply the technology to look for Martian microbes.”

    Pie in the sky? Perhaps—but commercial space companies are gaining altitude all the time. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has already taken wing—at least via test flights. The venture is dedicated to promoting space tourism, initially for celebrities and others who can afford the $250,000 ticket price.

    “We have more than 700 customers signed up to be future astronauts already, an exclusive partnership with NBC and, as we move closer to the first commercial launch, like-minded partners like Land Rover,” says Stephen Attenborough, commercial director, Virgin Galactic. 

    Gravity’s stranded astronaut Sandra Bullock

    All manner of media outreach is planned, but not everyone believes the effort will soar. “It’ll get some press. But will it sell tickets? I’m not so sure,” says sales and marketing analyst David Meerman Scott, who recently co-authored Marketing the Moon, which details NASA’s efforts in the ’60s to promote spaceflight. “What it will take is not so much putting Kim Kardashian up there, but taking writers, artists, poets, filmmakers … who can relate the experience” to everyday people.

    For example, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became an Internet sensation last year with his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” performed live on the ISS. Hadfield proved to be a one-man meta-fusion of media and space travel. His “Space Oddity” clip got millions of views, his tweets with William Shatner and other Star Trek greats generated Hollywood crossover headlines, and the publication of his autobiography, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life, led to countless TV and online appearances. 

    Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson

    What’s most important, experts say, is that he put a face on the endeavor and gave a wide swath of people a taste of space to which they could instantly relate.

    Moving forward, a big mission with a relatable human element could be the right stuff to take the new space age to dizzying heights.

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    Who Kerry Fitzmaurice
    New gigCMO, kbs+
    Old gig Director of new business and communications, Mother
    Age 44

    Your stint at Mother was pretty quick?
    I was there 14 months.

    Why move so quickly?
    I had such an amazing experience at Mother. I have a lot of love for the founding partners— they’re really wonderful, smart, creative people. I moved to New York to head up their new business and communications, which is kind of what I’m doing here. But ultimately, this opportunity came up, and it was just such a great fit for me because I have a business background as well and it was the marriage of two things that I love to do. It was far more holistic on a larger stage, and it’s also great to be part of the MDC Partners family again.

    So what does the CMO at kbs+ do?
    I’m very close with a lot of agency CMOs, and we’re each very different in our strengths and focus. Again, my passion is communications—that’s my muscle, along with relationships and new business. And I’m fascinated by branding decisions. For instance, is this agency kbs or is it kbs+? Is it kbs lowercase or uppercase? Is it Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + or Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners? What are the colors that match our mission? What is our website? How does this align back to who we are? What is our promise? How do you feel when you say our name? The other side of my job is new business—who do we work with and who do we want to work with?

    You’ve worked at independent shops and ones run by holding companies. Are there big cultural differences?
    Every great agency has its own culture. 72andSunny was independent when I was there. When MDC came in, nothing changed. If you had been a junior art director and didn’t have ties to upstairs, you wouldn’t know that anything was different. MDC is really great about preserving your culture and letting you be you. They just give you the infrastructure to build quicker and faster. Mother has this ironic, quirky, fun culture that comes from this English spirit that clearly resonates within the halls of the agency today. And then you come to kbs+, where I think the culture has shifted under Lori [Senecal, chairman and CEO], who has been able to infuse the maker culture. There’s always been a entrepreneurial spirit here, but she has been able to renew it and imbue it toward the future of what invention and marketing will be.

    How has your background in PR
    [she ran her own PR agency before joining 72andSunny] helped with your role?
    It’s about being nice and kind and always having time for people. It’s about really listening to what the problems are and working to figuring out how to fix them.

    Where did you go to college?
    I went to undergrad at the University of Michigan. I had a friend who went there, and I had a huge crush on him. He knew. I went out there as an excuse to visit. I really wanted to go to UVA. But I went out there and just fell in love with the school.

    That’s kind of the plot line to Felicity.
    She followed someone to college?

    That’s the plot of the whole first episode.
    Well then, I’m Felicity. I didn’t know I was Felicity.

    You lived in Los Angeles for 15 years. L.A. vs. New York, do you have an opinion?
    I always used to get really angry with people who bash either. They’re each uniquely amazing. Though I would have to say that this past winter left me a little California dreaming.

    Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

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    Life is like a Rubik's Cube, says Google.

    A new ad pays homage to the classic puzzle game by featuring its Hungarian inventor, Ernő Rubik, and by leveraging the toy as an ambitious metaphor for the importance of cultivating problem-solving skills among the species's next generation of potential geniuses.

    The commercial's rah-rah voiceover, including use of non-words like "awesomest," occasionally turn an otherwise smart message into the potentially off-putting sort of smarm that is often a hallmark of contemporary techno-enthusiasm. But it's hard to argue the substance of the spot. Rubik's own commentary speaks well for itself, and even the editing style offers a charming nod to the cube's iconic three-by-three matrices.

    It is too bad, though, that the creators couldn't come up with some more clever ideas for the next great invention. Nobody's ever going to actually build a time machine. And anyone who's convinced that the world really needs an easier way to make grilled cheese probably isn't a visionary.

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    Less than a month after the 2010 World Cup wrapped up, a major mining accident in Chile made headlines around the world, as 33 miners were trapped by a cave-in. They survived an incredible 69 days under ground before being rescued in an operation that was televised worldwide.

    Chile made the round of 16 in 2010, finishing second in a relatively easy Group H (with Switzerland and Honduras, along with Spain) before losing 3-0 to Brazil in the first knockout stage.

    For this month's World Cup, though, the road will be harder. The Chileans are in the so-called "Group of Death" with Spain, the Netherlands and Australia. Luckily, they have some pretty hardened fans backing them up—the miners themselves, who give their national team a spectacular pep talk about beating the odds in this wonderful, rousing commercial for Banco de Chile.

    Not surprisingly, it's Mario Sepulveda who leads the speech. Sepulveda earned a reputation as camera friendly within minutes of being rescued, and here he works himself up into a lather. "Spain is tough? Netherlands is tough?" he shouts. "We don't fear the Group of Death. We don't care about death. We defeated death before!"

    Sure, you've got the highly paid athletes in the blockbuster spots. But sometimes it's the real stories—like this one, and Nico Calabria's for Powerade—that make for the most evocative World Cup ads.

    Click the CC button on the YouTube video for English subtitles.

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    There's nothing worse than waiting for something to download on your phone, especially if you are a 14-year-old boy waiting for sexy models to appear in your Instagram feed. 

    BBDO Moscow and Russian telecom MTS collaborated to baffle the crap out of followers of popular Instagram bloggers Victoria Bonya, Alena Vodonaeva and Anna Sedokova. In one of the troll-iest social media plays ever, these attractive Insta-celebrities posted photos captioned with the following hashtags: #sexy #oiled #myself #six #hot #naked #pumpedup #guys #red #latex #ass #withanimals #cat #bear #horse #experimenting #crazy #positions #wow #amazing #ohmygod.

    Except the photos never loaded. In fact, they were just images of the loading screen.

    Comments and engagement went through the roof as horny teens, animal lovers and basement dwellers freaked out upon realizing the images weren't going to load at all. The models followed up by posting ads promoting MTS's new 4G service and apologizing for the false expectations. 

    What is unclear is how the users reacted to having their dreams shattered.

    Agency: BBDO Russia
    Nikolay Megvelidze, creative director
    Alexey Starodubov, creative group head /  director / editor
    Vladlena Obukhova, group account director
    Luiza Vasyutina, account manager
    Boris Anisonyan, head of tv production
    Valery Gorokhov, producer
    Kristina Malberg, celebrities producer (TMA)
    Ekaterina Komolova, managing director (TMA)
    Alexander Lubavin, art-director / composer
    Elina Yaroslavskaya, digital account director

    "Mobile Telesystems" (Client)
    Natalia Glagoleva, director of marketing communications department
    Maria Yakovleva, head of marketing communications department
    Yaroslav Smirnov, head of marketing communications group
    Anastasia Terekhova, marketing communications manager
    Valery Kopytin, marketing communications manager

    FreeParking (Production)
    Alexander Polishuk, DOP
    Maria Yakushina, producer
    Andrey Rubtsov, head of production group


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