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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    It pays to follow Newcastle Brown Ale on Twitter. Not much, but it pays.

    The British beer brand continues its tongue-in-cheek ribbing of traditional marketing by pledging Monday night to pay the next 50,000 people who follow @Newcastle "the princely sum of $1." To take the brewer up on this, visit follownewcastleontwitter.com.

    This is all in the name of transparency. "Why should people endure the unsolicited marketing of other beer brands for free when they can endure Newcastle's unsolicited marketing and get paid?" the brand rightly asks. The brand is actually going to mail 50,000 checks for $1 each. ("Newcastle-branded checks, of course.")

    The stunt, orchestrated by Droga5, is called "Follow the Money," and it's not a complete joke. Despite having some big YouTube hits, and almost 1 million Facebook fans, the brand has fewer than 16,000 Twitter followers. "We really do want 50,000 more Twitter followers," the brand tells us.

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    For Mother's Day, American Greetings and ad agency Mullen produced one of the year's big viral advertising successes, "World's Toughest Job," in which real people interviewed for a hellish-sounding position that promised endless work and zero pay—and when they objected, they were reminded that moms do it every day.

    By and large, people fell in love with the spot. (The YouTube video has more than 20 million views.) But if there was one quiet yet constant (and frankly, annoying) criticism from certain circles, it was this: What about Dad? He has a tough job, too.

    Well, with Father's Day almost here, American Greetings throws dads a bone (sort of) with a "World's Toughest Job" sequel. Like the original, it uses real people. But it has quite a different tone (at least until the very end) and puts a clever spin on what "World's Toughest Job" means for fathers compared to mothers.

    The basic message: There is no script for being a good dad.

    The video is funny, and at times heartfelt. But while it clearly celebrates fathers, it's not entirely complimentary to them. So, will dads appreciate it, or will some feel slighted once again? Watch below, and tell us what you think.

    Client: Cardstore, American Greetings
    Project: World’s Toughest Job – Dad Casting
    Executive Director, Marketing: Alex Ho
    Vice President, Marketing: Christy Kaprosy
    Agency: Mullen
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
    Executive Creative Directors: Tim Vaccarino, Dave Weist
    Creative Director: Jon Ruby
    Copywriter: Latasha Ewell
    Art Director: Sarah Dudek
    Executive Director, Integrated Production: Liza Near
    Head of Broadcast: Zeke Bowman
    Producer: Vera Everson
    Production Company: Hungry Man
    Director: Hank Perlman
    Executive Producer: Kevin Byrne
    Producer: Joshua Greenberg
    Director of Photography: Eric Steelberg
    Editing, Color Correction, Finishing: PS260
    Editor: J.J. Lask
    Assistant Editor: Colin Edelman
    Senior Producer: Laura Lamb Patterson
    Colorist: Michael Marciano
    Audio Postproduction: Plush
    Sound Design, Mixer: Rob Fielack
    Music: Human

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    JWT Dubai teamed with FilmWorks and Psyop for this strange 80-second CGI-fest that shows travelers flocking to Atlantis, The Palm, a luxury resort in Dubai. And they "flock" in the literal sense of the word, moving through the sky without even flapping their arms, to escape the gray chill of London and Moscow for a taste of sun-soaked, beachfront opulence.

    This approach, though well realized from a technical standpoint and certainly memorable, might be a little too odd for its own good. At first, I thought the sky was filled with bees. Around the 30-second mark, we get a clear view of human beings aloft against the sun. They look like souls ascending to heaven, floating into the light … a notion that actually meshes with the tagline, "Check into another world."

    Of course, these people land alive and well at the hotel. The production team used acrobats fitted with special harnesses to make the scenes look realistic. Alas, some of the images serve the client poorly. Who wants to take a vacation in a place where people are constantly falling from the sky? (A stockbroker from Croydon could burst through the clouds and crush you at any moment.) And that hand skimming the surface of the sea is creepy.

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    Jason Collins. Michael Sam. Robbie Rogers. It's been an eventful couple of years for athletes coming out publicly in professional sports. And now, YouTube, a longtime supporter of gay rights, is celebrating diversity in sports with a campaign themed #ProudToPlay, set to run all through June, which is LGBT Pride Month and also will include the first two weeks of the World Cup in Brazil.

    A star-studded anthem spot from 72andSunny features clips of everyone from Nelson Mandela to President Obama to Kobe Bryant talking about both the transcendent power of sports and the courage of gay athletes to be open in a sometimes hostile environment.

    "We applaud the courage and openness of athletes at all levels who have come out and admire their teammates, friends, families, and supporters who are all proving that it doesn't matter who you are or who you love—what matters is that you put forward your best effort," YouTube says in a blog post.

    "We stand with our community in the belief that youth everywhere should all have the same opportunities to grow up and pursue their dreams and passions, on or off the field."

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    Japanese natural cosmetics brand Shokubutsu Hana and TBWA\SMP have floated an unconventional idea in the Philippines to help clean Manila's grievously polluted Pasig River—an 88-foot-long billboard made of vetiver, a grass that absorbs deadly toxins. Vetiver is often used to treat waste water and landfills, and the billboard can cleanse up to 8,000 gallons a day.

    On its website, Shokubutsu Hana says the effort represents the company's belief in "healthy beauty brought about by the restorative power of nature" and commitment to "provide not only a clean message but also a clean future." Additional vetiver signs are planned for the ailing waterway, which was declared "biologically dead" in the 1990s after decades of contamination from industrial runoff and sewage. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and Vetiver Farms Philippines are also partners in the project.

    A similar concept sprouted in the Philippines three years ago, when Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund created a 60-by-60-foot billboard covered in Fukien tea plants to absorb air pollution.

    The notion that social-issues campaigns should not just call for action but also take action themselves or facilitate change is growing. Recent examples include Peruvian billboards that generate clean air and water, a "Drinkable Book" with pages that filter contaminants and a "Blind Book" designed to teach sighted folks how vision-impaired people feel when denied access to literature because it is not published in a format they can read.

    Via PSFK.

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    Don't skip your trip to Paris. The love of your life is waiting there, says Expedia.

    In this new ad from Expedia Mexico, the online travel agency tells a simple story about buying plane tickets and having a meaningful life, from the perspective of an old woman looking back on the roots and fruits of her international romance.

    In the end, alas, regret prevails.

    It's something of a bold move for any brand, especially a tech-driven brand, to tackle themes of Parisian love, given Google's masterpiece on the subject. But Expedia's ad is pleasant enough, if in an ominous and convoluted sort of way.

    Because nothing sells vacations like telling consumers they will die alone if they make the wrong choice.

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    For every big-budget advertising opus timed to the World Cup (I'm looking at you, Nike and Samsung), there are always a few real gems that don't show any soccer stars at all. 

    McDonald's and DDB Chicago bring us a case in point with "Gol!", the chain's two-minute celebration of trick shots, fancy footwork and surprising skill. Created largely to drive traffic to the brand's augmented reality game built around specially redesigned fries packaging, the ad itself is a charming display of largely unknown talent drawn from around the world. 

    While many YouTube commenters are quick to dismiss the shots as fake, the creators assure us it's absolutely legit. "I can confirm there was no CGI used on the film," a spokesperson for DDB said. "It was definitely all trick shots by those people."

    A few of the more noteworthy appearances come from dextrous Argentine model Fiorella Castillo (the woman in the black dress and heels) and the multisport trick shotters from How Ridiculous. What's especially refreshing for such a product-driven brand is what you don't see: hamburgers.

    Client: McDonald's

    Agency: DDB Chicago
    Executive Creative Director, DDB Chicago: Tony Malcolm
    Executive Creative Director, Europe & APMEA: Richard Russell
    SVP Creative Director, Art Director: Alex Braxton
    SVP Creative Director, Copywriter: Alistair Robertson
    VP Creative Director, Copywriter: Geoff McCartney
    Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Warren Frost
    Executive Director of Integrated Production: Diane Jackson
    VP Executive Producer: Jon Ellis
    Production Manager: Kelly Lenthe
    SVP Global Group Account Director: Tom Browning
    Account Executive: John Somerville

    Agency: The Marketing Store
    Executive Creative Director: Chris Schipke
    VP Creative Director: Julio Desir
    Art Directors: Zulema Orozco, Alice Xiao
    Art Buyer: Peter Javier
    Account: Ed Lancaster, Meredith Cull, Kathleen Ryan
    Strategy: Burr Gavin
    Brand Partnerships: Steve Perlman
    Production: Smuggler
    Director: Henry Alex Rubin
    Editorial: Whitehouse
    Post Editor: Matthew Wood
    Assistant Editor: Caleb Hepler
    Executive Producer: Dan Bryant
    Producer: Dawn Guzowski

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    Who Mary Perhach, president, and Nick Pappas, CEO
    What Media agency
    Where New York office

    Three years ago, when former agency buyer and media sales executive Nick Pappas started SwellShark, he took inspiration from a fish that doubles its size to intimidate predators, which Pappas likens to seeking client impact that exceeds investment. Now working with wife Mary Perhach, a former agency account and communications exec, the firm handles Shinola, Beech-Nut, William Grant & Sons and Harry’s razors. For Applegate natural meats, SwellShark just won an Effie for a campaign that lifted hot dog sales 55 percent and awareness 48-55 percent, depending on the market. The integrated media pitch featured the interesting twist of local DJs talking up Applegate products in grocery-store broadcasts while shoppers sampled the food.

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    IDEA: In their storytelling and filmmaking techniques, ads and music videos overlap only superficially. Having worked on plenty of the former at The Martin Agency, Brig White and Evan Parsons got a chance to try the latter recently, directing a fascinating video for the song "Same Days" by J. Roddy Walston and the Business.

    Heather Tanton, a broadcast producer at the agency, made the initial connection; she is friends with lead singer Rod Walston, who lives in Richmond, Va. "Quickly, the concept for 'Same Days' came together, and the band and the record label [ATO Records] loved the idea and let us run with it," she said.

    The result is a disturbing, nonlinear narrative full of oblique symbolism—told partly through a series of challenging camera and editing tricks—about the mundane lives of characters whose worlds suddenly and inexplicably intersect.

    COPYWRITING: The video has six basic scenes: a woman looking in a mirror in a bathroom; a mother, father and daughter at a candlelit dinner; a fisherman in a boat on a lake; a butcher in his shop; three girls in masks cavorting in a motel room; and a riverside baptism scene. The stories unfold cryptically, a few seconds of each scene at a time.

    "Brig and I would have long jam sessions on the wall, sketching out different graphic representations of the story and juxtaposing various symbols," said Parsons, associate creative director at Hue & Cry, Martin's in-house production company. "Rod didn't want a story that the viewer would 'get.' … It was an opportunity to start a conversation and leave the door open to interpretation."

    There's an undertone of menace, and hints of madness and murder. At the end, all the people go missing, except for the woman at dinner, now alone, who raises a glass darkly.

    "We worked a lot with the idea of 'mundane,' realizing that while most of the world lives a repetitive life, each mundane existence is different and intertwined with others," said White, an acd at Martin. "There is no mundane, only the same old days we each live in. That became the backbone of our thinking and a vehicle for storytelling."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: White and Parsons shot for three long days in six locations around Richmond. The visual look is natural but dramatic, real but stylized, with cinematic lighting and compositions.

    The central filmmaking technique is that the camera is always moving to the right, making the scenes flash by right to left. This makes the film extremely dynamic, but was tough to pull off, particularly as the scenes needed to be stitched together painstakingly in post.

    Using a Kessler Shuttle Pod track with a motion control slider, "we were able to run the camera repetitively as far as 20 feet, or as little as four feet, with perfect timed precision, over and over," said Parsons.

    TALENT: The directors used some friends and family, though all the key characters were professional actors. The band members do not appear at all to keep a blank slate in terms of interpretation.

    SOUND: Music videos are unique in that they feature no sound design—only the song. The lyrics in "Same Days" are themselves cryptic, so the filmmakers didn't feel wedded to them.

    "Sometimes when I watch a video that plays too hard off the lyrical content, it seems too obvious, so I liked working in a space that was open," said Parsons.

    MEDIA: Online at Vevo.com. There is also an interactive version at samedaysforever.com with a wall of images that lets you jump into any of the six scenes at any moment.


    Client: J. Roddy Walston and the Business
    Director: Brig White, The Martin Agency
    Director: Evan Parsons, Hue&Cry
    Producer: Heather Tanton

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    Rejoice, happy-go-lucky and environmentally conscious Coca-Cola lovers. Thanks to this new "2nd Lives" kit from the brand, you can now transform your Coke into something even more delightful.

    Is that just an empty soda bottle? Nope, it's a squirt gun. Useless piece of trash? Nope, it's a pencil sharpener, or the perfect rattle for your baby. Make your children happy. Give them Coca-Cola, and toys made from Coca-Cola. And if you have two empty Coke bottles, you can even make a dumbbell to burn off some of the calories you gained by guzzling both.

    Created with the help of Ogilvy & Mather China, the campaign features a line of 16 innovative caps that can be screwed on to bottles when they're empty, transforming them into useful objects like water guns, whistles, paint brushes, bubble makers and pencil sharpeners. It's all part of a clever effort to encourage consumers in Vietnam to recycle, and a rare success at the sort of alchemy that seeks to reincarnate garbage as advertising (even if such attempts are a cornerstone of the marketing industry). Coke will give away 40,000 of these modified caps, which come in 16 different varieties, to start.

    It's not clear if the add-ons themselves are made from recycled material. Even if they are, producing more plastic parts might not be the best way to reduce plastic waste.

    But that's beside the point. While the caps might not quite hit the sharing chord as clearly as the it-takes-two-to-open bottles, they're a smart bit of advertising. "What if empty Coke bottles were never thrown away?" the campaign asks. Clearly, it would mean people everywhere could finally live in a utopia where everything was made of Coke products.

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    Even on Father's Day, advertising has plenty of fun at Dad's expense. But Canadian airline WestJet has just raised the bar with a Father's Day ad that captures everything we admire about fathers: their courage, their sacrifice, and how we desperately need them.

    Having to work back in their hometown, Marc Grimard was separated from his youngest son Joel, who is living at Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton as he receives treatment for a congenital heart defect. But WestJet helped bring them together, largely thanks to one of its own employees, Medel Villena, who went above and beyond with his customer service.

    Villena, a father himself, also recorded an inspiring video diary about his experience. The bonus video lets you see just how hard Grimard works to support his family every day, and how hard Villena worked to help out a fellow father. It's a tear-jerking, feel-good four minutes that will make you want to fly home and visit your dad.

    It's a pretty good ad for Ronald McDonald House, too.

    What's more, WestJet—previously known for its Christmas miracles—says it will do something similar for more families for every 100,000 views the YouTube clip, to a maximum of 500,000 views. So get sharing.

    Agency: Cossette (AOR for Ronald McDonald House Charities)
    Production Company: Sons & Daughters
    Director Jake Kovnat
    PR/Social Media: Citizen Relations
    Media: OMD
    Post production: Soda Post
    Music: Jody Colero from Silent Joe

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    Good lord, Beats by Dre is getting great at sports commercials.

    We wrote at length last month about how the music company and ad agency R/GA have teamed up to make some of the year's best sports ads—with Kevin Garnett, Colin Kaepernick, Richard Sherman and Cesc Fabregas. But nothing could prepare us for this five-minute World Cup extravaganza. It's about pregame rituals, yes, but Beats is proving to be surprisingly adept at all aspects of the sports ad game—which at times like these is supposed to be the purview of Nike and Adidas.

    The top star in "The Game Before the Game," fittingly for this World Cup, is Brazil's Neymar Jr. His pregame ritual involves talking to his father, whose pep talks are so inspiring, you'd think an agency copywriter wrote them (well, yeah). Among the other stars featured here: Spain's Fabregas, who kisses the ring his girlfriend gave him exactly four times; Uruguay's Luis Suarez, who kisses the tattoo on his wrist of his son and daughter's names; and Mexico's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who prays on his knees as his father taught him. (Elsewhere you'll see Bacaray Sagna, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Blaise Matudi, Daniel Sturridge, Jozy Altidore, Mario Gotze and Robin Van Persie.)

    There are also many, many cameos by nonsoccer players—everyone from LeBron James to Lil Wayne to Nicki Minaj to Serena Williams—which lends a very Nike-ish vibe. The latter's grand World Cup spot this year sneaks in Kobe Bryant, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Irina Shayk and even the Incredible Hulk.

    Being a music company, Beats can also get away with making its ad basically a giant music video. The stars just slip their headphones on, and away we go. (Indeed, the director here, Nabil Elderkin, is known for his music videos.) Jimmy Iovine is known to handpick the tracks for the Beats ads, and here we get the thematically apt and swagger-filled "Jungle" by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors.

    The concept precludes in-game footage, but you don't really miss it. It could do with a dose of humor, maybe. But throw in some risqué moments (girl on top at 3:02!) and some globe-trotting glimpses of obsessive fan antics (love the British woman's 1966 tattoo), and you have an impressive smorgasbord of hype, hysteria and hero worship.

    Back in 2010, Nike claimed to be writing the future. But who knew the future would include such a determined usurper as Beats?

    Credits below, along with some great movie-style posters from the campaign.


    Client: Beats Electronics
    Agency: R/GA
    Production Company: The Sword Fight
    Director: Nabil Elderkin
    Starring: Neymar Da Silva Santos, Jr.
    Featuring: Bacaray Sagna, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Blaise Matudi, Cesc Fabrigas, Daniel Sturridge, Chicharito, Jozy Altidore, Luis Suarez, Mario Gotze, Robin Van Persie
    Special Appearances: Lebron James, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rafaella Beckran, Rio Ferdinand, Serena Williams, Sydney Leroux, Stuart Scott, Thierry Henry, Neymar Da Silva Sr.
    Original Music: "Jungle" by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors
    Editing: Rock Paper Scissors
    Creative Director: Angus Wall
    Lead Editor: Damion Clayton
    Editor: Austyn Daines
    Assistant Editors: Eric Alexander-Hughes, Ryan Seegers
    Executive Producer: Carol Lynn Weaver
    Producer: Lauren Wilson

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    Downy, the Procter & Gamble fabric softener, wants to give you a hug. It wants to give everyone a hug. It wants everyone to give everyone else a hug.

    So, stop what you're doing and hug!

    The brand on Thursday unveiled the four-minute video below, part of a campaign themed #hugmore. It features four sets of couples: twin brothers, two sisters, lifelong friends and childhood sweethearts. We hear heartfelt stories of their relationships, and at the end, the interviewer—Lisa Haisha, described in a statement as a "spiritual teacher and motivational speaker"—asks them to hug.

    The long embraces are coupled with the people explaining how the hugs made them feel, and the video closes with Downy's reminder to hug more. It tugs on the heartstrings, and the branding is minimal—in fact, it's most evident in the video's title, "Be More Huggable With Downy."

    The brand elaborates: "The most enjoyable hugs should linger for about 20 seconds—the amount of time it takes for the bonding chemical oxytocin to be released. Fortunately, fabrics washed in Downy feel soft and smell fresh, making people more huggable. This is because Downy contains scent molecules called perfume micro-capsules (PMCs) that provide long-lasting scent, and softening molecules that deposit on the surface of fabrics to soften clothes—making them touchable, wearable and enjoyable."

    In other words, come for the hug, and stay for the PMCs.

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    On Saturday, California Chrome will try to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown when he races in the Belmont Stakes. But to Breathe Right, his success isn't just about raw talent—it's about the nasal strips he's been wearing lately, which his owners swear by.

    Though horses are not its target, Breathe Right is taking full advantage of the news. Parent company GlaxoSmithKline plans to distribute 50,000 Breathe Right nasal strips to fans at the Belmont. And Grey in New York quickly whipped up the commercial below, too.

    The agency says the spot was written last Wednesday, awarded production on Thursday, cast Friday, pre-pro'ed Sunday, shot Monday, edited Tuesday and shipped on Wednesday. Showing the journey of a jockey who goes from congested to rested in the "Breathe Right Bedtime Stakes," the spot will air on NBC during the race on Saturday night.

    Also note the jockey's name: Jimmy Heekin. Inside joke.

    Credits below.

    Client: GSK Consumer Healthcare
    Agency: Grey, New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
    Creative Directors: Lee St. James, Dave Cohen
    Art Director: Lee St. James
    Copywriters: Dave Cohen, Andy Bohjalian
    Agency Producer: Lori Bullock
    Production Company: Chelsea Pictures
    Director: Robb Bindler
    Director of Photography: Derek McKane
    Editor: Crandall Miller, Whitehouse
    Sound Design: Crandall Miller. Whitehouse
    Senior Mixer: Dante De Sole, Vision Post
    Principal Talent: Andrew Keenan-Bolger
    Principal Voiceover Talent: Dave Johnson

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    Happy hunting, indeed!

    A staggering 707 unique illustrations of Haruhi Suzumiya, the anime icon, have been hidden on billboards, in magazines, and even handed out on the street all around Japan. Each one has a QR code and a number that lets you report your find over at Haruhi.com, where fans are slowly filling in the film frame by frame with their snapshots—slowly giving shape to what appears to be a short anime teaser of Haruhi singing a song.

    The incredible Web design lets you pinpoint the found locations and hear the song so far—with the missing bits scrubbed out. Fans have been hoping it's a teaser for the first Haruhi movie from Kyoto Animation since 2010. But it seems it could be teaser for a Sankyo pachinko game instead.

    Still, it's a fun way to announce anything, and a truly herculean media buying effort.

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    Dove Men+Care’s digital campaign for Father’s Day riffs off the idea that dads are sick of their Ward Cleaver image and want credit for changing diapers, making dinner and consoling heartbroken teens. But this creative isn’t all touchy-feely—it’s based on some hard data.

    Dove hired Edelman Berland to interview 1,000 fathers ages 25-54. “Three-quarters of dads say they are responsible for their child’s emotional well-being,” said Rob Candelino, marketing vp and general manager, Unilever’s skin care. “But only 20 percent see that in media.”

    Dove also learned from its data that men spend nearly twice as much time on YouTube than women.

    Buoyed by amazing YouTube returns for its 2013 “Real Beauty Sketches” online spot aimed at women, Unilever leans on video here, too. Dubbed “Calls for Dad,” a 30-second ad—which went live on Monday and can be watched below—depicts 28 fathers in quick-cut edits, as they help their child get through small-but-trying moments.

    There will be a big ad push on NBC’s Today.com, with other promos in play via social media and lifestyle platforms. Mindshare and Davie Brown Entertainment are the media buying and creative agencies, respectively, behind the initiative. 

    While largely a branding effort, Dove hopes the campaign will encourage spouses to buy Men+Care — and to help men feel they are recognized as bona fide caregivers.

    “There’s been a lot of judgments and tribalism in parenting circles about who is doing what wrong,” said Doug French, a parenting blogger and co-founder of Dad 2.0. “So any positive message that supplants those ideas will resonate with this community.”

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    Remember the good old days, when a Coca-Cola cost only a nickel, and people weren't always whining about how bad soda is for your health?

    Coca-Cola does.

    "A Coke used to cost 5 cents," says this new Coke ad. "But what if a 12-oz. Coke cost 140 calories?" the brand adds, in a head-scratcher of a rhetorical non-sequitur that's the perfect setup for the awkward answer that follows.

    A 140-pound person would have to ride a bicycle for 23 minutes, on average, to burn off an equivalent amount of energy, according to the commercial. Of course, 140 pounds is only 56 pounds lighter than the average American man, and 26 pounds lighter than the average American woman, according to CDC data on body measurements.

    In other words, welcome to Coca-Cola's fantasy world, where mostly fit young people are more than happy to climb onto a giant stationary bike in front of a crowd and sweat it out to earn a Coke, delivered by some kind of circus robot, cash and guilt free.

    The online video is surreal mainly because it forces into relief the main criticism it's hoping to defuse—and, in a state of more or less total delusion, manages to make a case that supports the brand's detractors. The science is misleading, and the creative is depressing—suggesting exercise is a zero-sum game akin to a hamster on a wheel chasing a treat that will kill him, unless he runs ever longer.

    "Movement is happiness," says the end line. Yet never has it seemed so bleakly transactional and dead-ending.

    It's not the first time Coca-Cola's marketing has struggled to meet, head on, its health critics. It's also not the first time it's leaned on nostalgia as a means of deflecting blame for the rise in obesity. And for a brand that produces so much global advertising—much of it hitting the sort of pitch-perfect distraction that can help make the product more endearing—it's almost inevitable that some of its commercials will be flat-footed duds.

    But while we're imagining an alternate universe where all of Coca-Cola's dreams come true, we might as well talk about the one where every single household object is made of empty Coke bottles.

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    Sometimes the best thing a brand can do is lean into the conversation that's already going on around it. And that's exactly what Lucky Charms, a brand that some people have always seen as a little queer, is doing, in part to support LGBT Pride Month.

    With it's new #LuckyToBe campaign, the General Mills cereal is encouraging people to share what makes them unique via social media platforms. And it's made GLAAD—an organization that works for LGBT equality—well, for lack of a better word, happy.

    Check out the campaign video from McCann New York below.

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    Last week we wondered if another marketer had managed to out-Nike Nike with a flashy short film around the World Cup. Nike probably didn't care, though, as it was busy changing direction completely—Ronaldo-like—and again looking to leave its rivals in the dust.

    With the kickoff of the 2014 World Cup just three days away, Nike Football has unleashed its latest blockbuster in the "Risk Everything" campaign. And the creative direction certainly is a risk for the client and its agency, Wieden + Kennedy.

    That's because it doesn't show a single soccer player in the flesh. It's all animation. That's an audacious decision for a company and category that rely so much on star power. But it also frees Nike from its albatross-like "Write the Future" legacy, and gives viewers a fresh, fun, funny and at times beautiful take on the current state of global soccer.

    The concept (or just watch for yourself below) is that mad scientists have created clone versions of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Andrés Iniesta, Franck Ribery, David Luiz and Tim Howard. The human versions, you see, take too many risks on the field, and their percentage chances for success aren't great (prior evidence notwithstanding, apparently). The clones, meanwhile, precise and machinelike in their decision making, have been engineered to take no risks (the Germans have perfected this, of course, but never mind) and are ready to stomp on their frail human opponents with ruthless mathematical efficiency.

    Thus, events are set in motion that lead to the ultimate showdown—as Nike calls it, "The Last Game." This isn't just a football match. It's Deep Blue vs. Kasparov for the future of world football.

    Directed by Jon Saunders of Passion Pictures, the spot has a frenetic animation style reminiscent of The Incredibles. This makes some of the game footage feel a bit light on its feet, perhaps—the players seem bird-like at times. Still, every frame is gorgeously rendered. It really is like a mini Pixar film. The storyline, too, is nice and simple—grand yet silly and self-deprecating in classic Nike style.

    Speaking of classic Nike—the spot clearly recalls Nike and W+K's legendary "Good vs. Evil" spot from the Euro 1996 tournament, in which a bunch of human all-stars battled a supernatural team of demons. The clones, it seems, are just the post-millennial version of pure villainy. "The Last Game" also obliquely references "Write the Future," with the players seen doing odd jobs after the clones put them out of work—much as they were consigned to similarly shameful obscurity as punishment for lackluster play in "Write the Future." (The new spot also has the by-now-familiar non-soccer-player cameos, though the presence of an animated LeBron James here feels quite superfluous.)

    "The Last Game" also ties in to Nike's earlier four-minute spot for this World Cup largely through the soundtrack—"Miss Alissa" by Eagles of Death Metal.

    Some will say the cartoon lacks the muscle and flesh-and-blood weight of real soccer footage. (Indeed, sports ads fetishize real action shots to an almost absurd degree.) But Nike is acknowledging here that "real" sports footage in advertising is hyper-stylized anyway—only one step removed from animation. Why not take it that extra step, particularly if you continue to keep the craft at the highest level?

    In the end, while not as emotionally stirring as some other World Cup commercials, this one is a refreshing change of pace—a nice, unexpected left turn for the marketer in its endless celebration of the beautiful game.

    Now, can we get to Thursday already?

    Client: Nike

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
    Global Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
    Digital Director: Dan Viens
    Copywriter: Alberto Ponte
    Art Director: Ryan O’Rourke
    Global Executive Producer: Matt Hunnicutt
    Agency Senior Producer: Erika Madison
    Production Assistant: Julie Gursha
    Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz
    Account Team: Alyssa Ramsey, Molly Rugg, Karrelle Dixon
    Business Affairs Manager: Karen Crossley
    Project Manager: Jordan Schroeder
    Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples, Susan Hoffman

    Production Company: Passion
    Director: Jon Saunders
    Writers: Jon Saunders, James Russell, Kevin Cecil, Steven Hall, Lucy Guy
    Story Development Team: Andrew Ruhemann, Pete Candeland, Alex Webster, Brendan Houghton, Ryan Goodwin-Smith
    Additional Story Assistance: Daniel Emmerson, Simon Griffin, Lee Hempstock, Rob Sprackling, John Smith
    Development Creative Director: Pete Candeland
    Executive Producers: Andrew Ruhemann, Alex Webster
    Head of Production: Anna Lord
    Producer: Ryan Goodwin-Smith
    Line Producer: Adriana Piasek-Wanski
    Production Coordinators: Anna Cunnington, Kate Goodwin
    Production Assistant: Becky Perryman
    VO Casting Directors: Claudia Hesse, Hannah Simons

    Voice Actors
    Scientist: Jonathan Oliver
    Neymar: Bruno Garcez
    Iniesta: Andres Williams
    Zlatan: Adam Shaw
    Rooney: Neil Fitzmaurice
    David Luiz– Mauricio Brandes
    Tim Howard: Tom Clarke Hill (also plays LeBron TVC VO and Football Commentator)
    Cristiano Ronaldo: Hugo Nicolau
    TV News Anchor: Victoria Lesiw (also plays TV Interviewer)
    Fenomeno: Rhasaan Orange
    Commentator 1: Jonathan Clays
    Commentator 2: Tony Lockwood
    Commentator 3: John Roder
    Commentator 4: Bill Leslie
    Hindi Newscaster VO: Sanghamitra Mandal
    Mandarin Newscaster VO: Sun Ye
    Spanish Newscaster VO: Alberto de Matteis

    Animation Director: Mark Waring
    Football Choreography Consultant: Andy Ansah
    Head of CG: Jason Nicholas
    VFX Supervisor: Neil Riley
    CG Supervisor: Cesar Nunes
    CG Coordination: Suzanne Forward, Derek Walsh, Amelie Zilliox, Mark Harper, Dave Powell
    Additional Coordination: Carine Buncsi
    Art Direction: Painting Practice, Cesar Nunes
    Character Design: Jon Saunders, Alex Huguet, Gillian Reid, Leeroy Vanilla, Dan Lambert
    Production Designer: Dan May (via Painting Practice)
    Concept Art: Painting Practice, Daniel Cacouault, John Park, Thomas Scholes
    CG Design Development: Jake Slutsky
    Storyboards: Brendan Houghton, Yohann Auroux (clean-up)
    Previz Lead: Xavier Zahra, Richard Perry
    Previz: Mark Brown, Paul Cousins, Emiliano Nanfaro, Stephen Harrison, Daniel Adams

    For Whitehouse Post London/New York:
    Paul La Calandra: Editor
    Joe Petruccio: Assistant Editor
    Lisa Kenrick: Executive Producer
    Lauren Hertzberg: EP NY
    Nick Crane: Producer
    For Passion: Victoria Lesiw
    Additional Editing for Passion: Anne Monnehay, Tim King

    Layout: Daniel Adams, Remi Cauquil, Anthony Martin

    Character Modelling Supervisor: Alex Huguet

    Character Modelling: Mattias Bjurstrom, Tom Bryant, Dan Fine, Julia Friedl, Craig Maden, Abner Marin, Angel Navarro, Alex Stratulat

    Environments Modelling Supervisor: Ian Brown

    Environment Modelling: Zahra Al-Naib, Florence Ciuccoli, Guillaume Fuentes, Jacob Gonzalez, Juan Carlos Gracia, Francois Mancone, Paco Rocha, Florent Rousseau, Vladimir Venkov, Sarah Zaher

    Texturing: Ellie Bond, Amanda Bone, Katreena Bowell, Claudia Carvalho, Eva De Prado, David Domingo Jimenez, Lesley Rooney, Grace Stephens

    Rigging: Andrew Butler, Chris Dawson, Morgan Evans, Maarten Heinstra, Maickel Pasta, Georg Schneider

    Animation Lead: Conor Ryan

    Magali Barbe, Antoine Bourruel, Cath Brooks, Wesley Coman, Catherine Elvidge, Rhiannon Evans, Aldo Gagliardi, Alex Grigg, Annie Habermehl, Rimelle Khayat, Boris Kossmehl, Karin Mattsson, Daniel Meitin, Florian Mounie, Nora OSullivan, Garrick Rawlingson, Alvaro Martin Saez de Parayuelo, David Sigrist, Milian Topsy, Rodrigo Torres, Marie Vorhoeven, Chris Welsby, Steven White, (Darren Walsh: Magpie)

    Supervisor: Jamie Franks
    FX: Sam Swift-Glasman, Junaid Syed, Dan Warder
    Cloth: Ariele Podrieder Lenzi: Senior Cloth TD, Antonios Defteraios, Will Fife, Jayson King, Colin Perret, Michael Sofoluke
    Hair: Chema Del Fresno, Kwai Ip (also cloth)
    Crowd: Jonny Grew

    L&R Lead: Christian Mills, Arnoud Machtou

    Lighting & Rendering: Howard Bell, Yohan Cohen, Jacob Gonzalez, Patrick Krafft, Sebastian Mayer, Richard Moss, Camille Perrin, Francois Pons, Paco Rocha

    Compositing: Svilen Aynadzhiev, Pavan Balagam, Andre Bittencourt, David Lea, Manuel Perez, Julien Record, Valeria Romano, Johnny Still, Alex Swann

    Graphics: Stephane Coedel, Giles Dill

    3D End Tag
    Original 2D Design by ILOVEDUST
    Sam Mason, Jon Saunders: CG Designers
    Eve Strickman: Producer at Passion NY
    Animation: Wieden+Kennedy Motion

    Painting Practice
    Production Designer: Dan May
    Lead Concept Artist/Matte Painter: Rafael Martin Coronel
    3D Matte Artist/Lead: Graeme McDougal
    Matte Painters/Concept Artists: Antoine Birot, Nicolas Loudot, Tristan Menard, Carlos Nieto
    Junior Matte Painter: Noemie Cauvin
    Concept Artists: Justin C Hutchinson-Chatburn, Mike Shorten, Alex Fort, Xavier Ren
    3D Artist: Matt Hotchkiss
    Co-ordinator: Dora Sarkozi
    Graphic Design: Gemma Kingsley, Erica McEwan
    Junior Artist: Rodolphe Parfait

    Football Reference Shoot
    Andy Ansah: Choreographer
    Tyson White: Choreographer
    Tyler Blake: Project Manager
    Gerri McCarthy: Live Producer for Passion
    Marek Wesolowski: DOP/Steadicam Op
    Ronaldas Buozis: SOP/Sony F55
    Ralph Messer: Focus Puller
    Josh Feder: Runner/GoPro
    Jonah Sugden: Runner/5D Op
    Nuria Perez: DIT

    Football Performers (c/o Sports on Screen): Mat Mitchel-King, Louie Theophanous, Anthony Cock, Chris Piper, Joseph Holland, Aaron Clarke, Isa Hussain, Joel Ledgister

    Mocap Shoot: Lottie Hope: Passion Producer
    Phil Stilgoe: Mocap Producer
    Stuart Haskayne: Mocap Supervisor
    Joe Ells: Mocap Post Supervisor
    Iain Silvester: Mocap Production Coordinator
    Matt Parker: Sr Mocap Technician
    Mocap Technicians: Ross Richards, David Bushen
    Mimi Dulake: Mocap Production Asst
    Goran Dimitrijević: Mocap Tracking Manager
    Igor Kovačević: Mocap Sr Tracker
    Mocap Trackers: Jelena Mitrović, Zoran Muncan, Miloš Knežević, Nenad Milosavljević

    Sound Design: 750mph
    Sam Ashwell: Sound Designer & Mix Engineer
    Sam Robinson: Audio Producer
    Phil Bolland: Additional Engineering
    TX: Mike Bovill, Gerda Aleksandraviciute, Jeff Smith: TX

    Passion Pipeline TD: Sajjad Amjad, Julian Hodgson

    IT Support / Engineering Team
    Daffer Al-Faiadh: IT Manager
    Mani Singh: IT Engineer
    Ilkan Ozturk: IT Engineer
    Alex Pittas: IT Assistant

    Finance & Accounting
    Dennis Hobbs, Head of Finance
    Kendrah Matthew, Grant Harris, Ben Davies

    Runners: Kingsley Bailey, Fern Buckenham, Edward Bulmer, Linus Carlson, Fionn Guilfoyle, Raymond Hemson, Rishi Hindocha, Isabella Miroux, Shane Noonan, Alex Pittas, Phoebe Platman, Sophia Simenski, Paige Sullivan, Zachary Towlen, Phoebe Young

    Editorial / :30 Trailers And Athlete Teasers
    Editorial Company: Joint Editorial
    Editor: Peter Wiedensmith
    Post Producer: Ryan Shanholtzer / Alex Thiesen
    Music Editor: Nicholas Davis
    Lead Assistant Editor: Eric Hill
    Assistant Editor: Alyssa Coates
    Post Executive Producer: Patty Brebner

    Finishing: Glassworks
    Colourist: Duncan Russell
    Smoke Artist: Aleks Ugarow
    Executive Producer: Misha Stanford-Harris
    Titles/Graphics: WK Motion / WK Studio

    Music Company: Walker
    Composer: Judson Crane
    Executive Producer: Sara Matarazzo
    Music Coordinator: Abbey Hickman
    Licensed Track: Miss Alissa, Eagles of Death Metal

    Sound + Mix Company: 750mph
    Sound Designer / Mixer: Sam Ashwell
    Executive Producer: Sam Robinson

    0 0

    Some recent case-study videos have become just as creative—sometimes more so—than the campaigns they tout. As award show entry numbers swell—the Cannes Lions festival got 37,427 submissions this year, up 5 percent from 2013—agencies are fighting to stand out.

    For example, Droga5 used the voice of a guy with a fake Scottish accent in a 2-plus-minute video about its Facebook campaign for Newcastle beer, and BBDO featured close-ups of hands smashing food in a 2-minute video about its Mobile TeleSystems effort. For its Jean-Claude Van Damme “The Epic Split” Volvo Trucks ad, Forsman & Bodenfors kept it simple, showing behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot.

    The long-form explanations may just be practical, as not every juror will know your campaign. “It used to be that everyone would be anticipating the new Nike commercial because you’ve seen it and go, ‘This thing is so good it’s going to win everything,’” said Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. “Now you see a lot of things you’ve never seen before, and you have to have them explained.”

    And while absurdist tactics can get attention, too much polish can be a turnoff. “The slicker they are, the less effective they tend to be in front of a jury,” said John Butler, ecd at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. Added Bartle Bogle Hegarty CCO John Patroulis: “There aren’t too many people that are tricked by a beautifully crafted case study that’s selling a crappy campaign.”

    Newcastle, Droga5

    “The best ones make a poignant cultural point. Not a business problem, but cultural tension that you find. This one is a little meta and about advertising. If it’s great work, you can see exactly how it affects the culture,” said Jason Marks, executive creative director of Partners + Napier in New York.

    “It’s a little too long,” said Kevin Swanepoel, president of The One Club. “It did use humor to good effect. It would probably have been better if it had been cut at 1:40.”

    Mobile Telesystems, DDBO

    #MOBILE TELESYSTEMS - #SEXY #OILED #MYSELF #SIX #HOT ... from Alexey Starodubov on Vimeo.

    “The hands thing—it’s kind of a gimmick,” said Marks. “If you see a couple of these, you’re probably going to see hundreds. Then you’re not looking at the work but commenting on the triteness of hands in case-study videos.”

    “The issue with this film is that it takes them almost 30 seconds to get to the point,” said Butler. “I don’t think the effects stuff, the confetti, the fruit, the whipped cream are needed to tell this story. ‘I get it, I get it’ kept running through my mind watching it.”

    Volvo Trucks, Forsman & Bodenfors

    “This one isn’t about the case study itself, but it’s the idea that’s coming through,” said Patroulis. “It’s an interesting story, a nice idea that was well-executed, and they use the film as part of that.”

    Said Butler: “They used the assets of the campaign and brought their idea to life that way, without shooting a bunch of extraneous borrowed stuff, or trying to make the piece a creative execution unto itself. They simply told the story by leveraging its assets.”


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