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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    IDEA: Days before the Breaking Bad finale last fall, a curious home for sale popped up on Craigslist. "3BR/2BA Albuquerque ranch is fit for a king," it read. "Great local schools with dedicated teachers who take an interest in students. … First-rate area camping and RV spots."

    There it was in the photo, unnamed but unmistakable: Walter White's house, with a Century 21 logo next to it.

    A delightfully devious little ad, it was Mullen's first big success doing social creative for the real-estate company. The agency has done quick hits on various themes ever since, including holidays and current events. Now, for summer selling season, it's done three online videos starring lawn ornaments who are scared of being boxed up when their homes get sold.

    "We're their little mad scientists. They really let us experiment with tone," group creative director Tim Cawley said. "Maybe it's a song, a film, a tweet, a blog post. Maybe it's some other thing you would never try with a larger media budget."

    Three creative teams work in rotation—concepting one week, presenting one week, making work one week. "I say to the teams, 'You have a Facebook feed and a Twitter feed. What do you like to see?'" said Cawley. "That's the brief. Make it watchable."

    COPYWRITING: Liz Agans and Michelle Carpenter had the idea for ads with lawn ornaments, which seemed promisingly simple. "It's got no real talent, we can shoot it real tight, we can buy lawn ornaments off the Internet for 50 bucks," said Cawley.

    Then, as they were brainstorming, came the twist: "If you're a lawn ornament all cozy and it's the first warm day of spring, Century 21 might not be your friend."

    A flamingo, frog fountain and garden gnome narrate the ads over haunting piano notes. "It's every lawn ornament's worst nightmare," says the gnome in a Scottish accent. "You're hanging out enjoying the sunshine. Then, the sign appears. In a blink, you're gone. Happened to my friend Gary. Just a regular gnome, laying low in the mulch. Then, poof."

    The ads close with a Century 21 sign swinging slowly in the breeze and a black screen with the tagline in white: "Smarter. Bolder. Faster."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: A team of five shot the ads on a single day in early May—in Cawley's own yard at first. "We shot everything on a 5D with a slider," he said. "My lawn was not very good for the flamingo. While we were having lunch, I Facebooked my friend who has an oceanfront house. She said, 'Come on over.' We popped over to Donna's house. We used a boogie board from her pool as a light bounce. I'm all for the million-dollar shoot. But I love this flavor, too."

    The main art direction choice was getting the right ornaments. "You'd be surprised how many different pink-flamingo faces there are," said Cawley. "We had four or five gnomes on set. We went with the guy with the most grave face."

    TALENT: Cawley wanted the voices to sound "legitimately concerned, almost more like a theater actor than a voice actor. For the gnome, we cast a guy from Boston, and at the end he's like, 'You know, I can do a Scottish accent.' I'm like, I don't know. But the guy's got a white bushy beard and a weird hat. That seems international to me."

    SOUND: Nick Brecken, who did the cinematography and editing, also composed the music. "He's the ultimate hyphenate," said Cawley. "Without a guy like that, something like this isn't even makeable."

    MEDIA: Mullen says traffic to century21.com from the social properties has doubled in the past year.


    Client: Century 21
    Project: "Lawn Invasion"
    Chief Marketing Officer: Bev Thorne
    Global Director, Social Media: Matt Gentile
    Vice President, Digital Marketing: Mike Callaghan
    Agency: Mullen
    Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
    Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
    Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
    SVP, Group Creative Director, Copywriter: Tim Cawley
    Cinematographer, Editor, Composer: Nick Brecken
    Sound Editor: Jess Phearsome
    Copywriter: Michelle Carpenter
    Art Director: Liz Agans
    Executive Director of Integrated Production: Liza Near
    Content Producer: Eric Skvirsky
    Associate Producer: Ashley Donovan
    PR/Social Strategy: Eric Montague, Molly Galler, Erin Healy, Bethany Ciampa, Emily Mahlman

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    Epic ads are crowding the field ahead of Thursday's World Cup kickoff, but Adidas doesn't mind just having a little fun, sometimes.

    This spot from the official sponsor, via TBWA\Chiat\Day, finds retired giants of the game David Beckham (age 39) and Zinedine Zidane (41) bored while watching whippersnappers Gareth Bale (24) and Lucas Moura (21) playing EA Sports' 2014 FIFA World Cup video game. The old men challenge the young men to kick a ball around in real life, and the foursome proceed to trash Beckhingham Palace, the posh home Becks used to occupy with his wife Victoria (before they moved to a much more expensive one).

    The roguish spot is a welcome respite from anxiety-ridden opuses like Nike's animated takedown of knockoff players, or Beats by Dre's ode to pre-game rituals, or Adidas's own Messi nightmare, or the brand's PETA-trolling cow-heart campaign.

    It is a game, after all. And given that it's one where players tend to tap out well before 40, it's nice to see age trump beauty for a change.

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    We've seen lots of "Don't text and drive" ads lately. With this one from Ogilvy Beijing, Volkswagen drove the message home to a captive movie-theater audience in a way they'll surely remember.

    Watch the spot first to get the full impact.

    Obviously the video begs the question about how, exactly, the stunt was pulled off. It says a "location-based broadcaster" was used—presumably this is done through geo-fencing, though you would think people would have to opt in to receive text messages that way.

    But if the footage is genuine, it's a remarkable way to demonstrate that mobile-phone use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel. Advertising is a great way to get that message across, at least until VW figures out a way to use German engineering to solve our obsession with cellphones.

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    Twitter is doing plenty of digital activations around the World Cup, and now it's done a good old-fashioned video to get you pumped up as well.

    The spot, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, isn't creatively astounding, but it is well produced and does a nice job of reminding viewers to enhance their World Cup experience by connecting with friends—and their favorite players and teams—on Twitter. In the ad, this means lots of people staring at lots of phones, which is never a good look in commercials, but that's balanced out by some nice animation of cartoon Twitter birds exploding from every kick of a ball and every tap of a touchscreen.

    Throw in a tweet from Pelé, a couple of Vine videos and a Japanese girl taking a selfie, and you've got a pretty good overview of how Twitter will be used over the next month. The tagline is, "Love every second," which is actually quite perfect.

    Digitally, Twitter has a few fun #WorldCup features up and running. New users who sign up will be asked to select the team they're supporting and can choose from various profile and header photos to represent their country. And two custom timelines will pop up when you tap on #WorldCup or #WorldCup2014. The first lets you view tweets related to the World Cup from people in your network, along with teams, players, coaches, press, fans in the stadiums and celebrities. The second lets you track specific matches for when you're not near a TV. (There's a brief demo of this in the video.)

    Also cool (it's the little things) is the hashflags feature. Use a hashtag in front of the relevant three-letter country code, and that country's adorable little flag will appear after the text.

    Client: Twitter
    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

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    How far are people willing to go, physically and emotionally, to get a free sample? Australian agency Clemenger BBDO continues its quest to find out by making consumers work hard (and sometimes look a bit foolish) for free Fantastic Delites rice snacks.

    Shoppers were asked to queue up for ridiculously long periods of time, even when there was no one standing ahead of them, to get a bag of Fantastic Delites Curls.

    After making folks wait and then navigate a winding maze at an outdoor mall, the scenario was repeated at an ice rink and in a pond where the water looks kind of scummy, but no one seems to mind getting wet. Hey, they saved about $2, and the snacks are gluten-free!

    The "How Far Would You Go" campaign's been around for a few years, and it's generated a couple of viral videos, so I'm assuming some, if not most, of the people who lined up had a notion of what they were in for. 

    "It seems no matter what challenge we throw out there, be it mindlessly pressing a button on a vending machine 5,000 times, or the indignity of dressing as a rodent and spinning a mouse wheel for five minutes, the punters always seem to come back for more," says agency cd Matt O'Grady. "Maybe we're not making them difficult enough?"

    Wondering what sadistic challenge they'll dream up next? Get in line.

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    You can always count on McDonald's for more modest World Cup advertising—simple stories about family and friends, not flashy spots with overpaid stars. Some of it can be hokey, though sometimes it captures little truths that are quietly sweet and evocative.

    This spot from multicultural agency Alma zeroes in on a great cultural insight in the Mexican-American community: what happens when a father and his friends still unequivocally support Mexico, while the son, as secretly as he can, roots for the U.S.

    The ad was directed by Diego Luna, still perhaps best known as Gael García Bernal's co-star in 2001's Y Tu Mamá También. The humor is broad, and the acting isn't subtle, yet it's one of those ads you can't help but like. Shot in both English and Spanish, it breaks Thursday and will air in general market and Hispanic media throughout the World Cup.

    Credits below.

    Client: McDonald's
    Agency: Alma
    Chief Creative Officer: Luis Miguel Messianu
    Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director: Alvar Suñol
    Creative Director, Copywriter: Jorge Murillo
    Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Serge Castagna
    Executive Producer: Rodrigo Vargas
    Account Director: Marta De Aguiar
    Account Supervisor: Ana Silva
    Director: Diego Luna
    Production House: Canana Films
    Postproduction House: 2105 Editorial
    Editor: Alejandro Santangelo
    Music House: Personal Music
    Color Correction: Co. 3

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    How precocious are digital natives today? They take charge of things literally from birth, according to this somewhat terrifying spot from MTS Telecom, which the company claims is now the most-viewed ad ever to come out of India.

    The spot—created by Creativeland Asia, directed by Guy Shelmerdine from Smuggler Films and set to "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross—has 23.4 million views on YouTube (surpassing the previous Indian record holder, Lifebuoy's "Help a Child Reach 5" PSA, with 19 million). And its pint-size star fits snugly into a long line of famous unusually dexterous infants, from Evian's CGI babies all the way back to the original Internet dancing baby. Rather than just cavort about on roller skates, though, he spends his brief first moments of life Googling, stealing and taking selfies. And MTS quite clearly loves that about him.

    A rep tells us the company launched the ad in an innovative way—by seeding the spot as a BitTorent file and letting the country's digital natives find it on their own. And indeed, it got plenty of buzz before it was launched on the brand's official social channels.

    MTS Telecom has entered it in next week's Cannes festival and hopes to bring home a Lion. We'll leave it up to you to determine whether it deserves one.

    Credits below.

    Client: MTS Telecom
    Agency: Creativeland Asia
    Production House: Smuggler London
    Creative Chairman: Sajan Raj Kurup
    Executive Creative Director: Anu Joseph
    Script: Sajan Raj Kurup
    Director: Guy Shermeldine
    Producer: Chris Barret
    Director of Photography: Alex Baber
    Visual Effects: Glassworks
    Visual Effects Lead: Abi Klimaszewska
    Editor: Andy McGraw, Stitch
    Music Director: Mikey McCleary

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    It's 2014. We're in a post-feminist society, right? Ha ha. Nope.

    That's why campaigns like "Inspire Her Mind," from Verizon, in partnership with Makers, are so important.

    The initial spot, which had me tearing up more than the supposed cry-fest The Fault in Our Stars, features a young girl in various situations and the subtle cues that push her away from pursuits believed to be for boys. The campaign was born out of research that shows there's a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood.

    The campaign, by AKQA, is in line with the technology company's work to encourage children to become interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the Verizon Foundation.

    With any luck, the spot, voiced by Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, will make people think twice about how they interact with young girls. How we treat children—particularly young girls—impacts the choices they make.

    AKQA also serves up an online site featuring a Choose Your Own Adventure edge: If you swipe right on the young girls' pictures, you can see choices that inspire them to take the initiative and work in their chosen field; if you swipe left, you see how pressure to stick to the gender norms (read: girly) had them abandon those pursuits.

    Maybe the most powerful feature on the site are the testimonials from real women who work in STEM fields. They are open and honest about their own struggles with what it means to be a woman and how they were motivated to pursue their dreams.

    Client: Verizon/Makers
    Agency: AKQA

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    The 2011 trailer for the original Dead Island is one of the most notorious video game ads ever made. It won a gold Lion in Cannes that year, yet it was booed at the screening in the Palais and is certainly tough to stomach—though incredibly artful as well, as the reverse footage gave it an otherworldly and strangely moving sense of dread. (Adweek named it one of the year's 10 best ads.)

    This week at E3, the trailer for the much-anticipated Dead Island 2 was unleashed. It's still plenty gory, though less haunting and more goofy-scary. The game's setting is actually no longer an island but all of California, and the trailer takes place on a sunny boardwalk by the Pacific Ocean, as a jogger heads out for a run that quickly becomes infested with zombies.

    This one won't win any awards, but it's a more than adequate reintroduction to the franchise. Now you just have to wait until 2015 for the actual game to come out.

    Warning: Spot is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.

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    Hey, millennials, 20 years ago you might've been riding in the third row of a Volvo station wagon, staring out the back window and maybe trying to stave off the slight nausea that can accompany your body's sense that it is hurtling in the wrong direction through space.

    If you were, Volvo and Seattle creative studio World Famous would like to point out to you that you're now old enough to buy a Volvo of your own, and drive it forward through space on outdoorsy adventures with your pals.

    Isn't it fun to grow up?

    This is a nice spot that seems likely to resonate with viewers in the target—based on the entirely anecdotal evidence that I, a twentysomething who grew up in one of those white refrigerators on wheels, find it manipulating me into feeling nostalgic … even though I can tell, rationally, that the forward-and-backward metaphor is advertising pseudo-philosophy.

    In the true version of the story, the millennial probably buys the vintage version of the car and pimps it out with 22-inch chrome spinners with blue lights, then leaves it in a heap on the lawn, because the millennial doesn't know oil changes are actually important.

    Credits below.

    Client: Volvo
    Production Company: World Famous
    Director, Writer: Jesse Harris
    Executive Producer: Megan Ball
    Head of Production: Nick Hegge
    Producer: Kyle Seago
    Editor: Nick Pezzillo
    Director of Photography: T.J. Williams Jr.
    Color: Lightpress
    Sound Mix: Clatter&Din
    A co-production of National Film Festival for Talented Youth

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    Coca-Cola's orgy of happiness continues with recyclable plastic beverage bottles made partially from plants, touted in cute ads from Ogilvy New York.

    The ads are rendered in Coke's signature colors and design style with clever visual twists. One shows a flower—it's also two passionate faces—and reads, "Plants make us happy. They make us want to smooch, neck and kiss. They also make our bottles." Yeah, plants are cheap labor, all right.

    PlantBottles substitute renewable sugarcane for up to 30 percent of the petroleum used in standard recyclable beverage bottles, which the company says offsets carbon emissions and helps the environment. Makes me feel warm and fizzy all over.

    Other recent happy stuff from Coke includes "friendly" bottles that can only be opened by other bottles, caps that turn empties into useful objects and a cooler designed for villages off the power grid. Such promotions have generally received high marks, though there's been at least one wrong turn for this particular happiness cycle.

    More images and credits below. Via Ads of the World.

    Client: Coca-Cola
    Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York
    Chief Creative Officer: Calle Sjoenell
    Executive Creative Director: Corinna Falusi
    Design Director: Lucas Camargo
    Associate Creative Directors: L. Justin Via, Evan Slater, Abe Baginsky, Maite Alburquerque, Emily Clark
    Art Directors: Anti-Anti, Lukas Lund, Andreas Hoff, Carl Versfeld
    Producer: Jessica Fiore
    Account Management: Nicole Pinochet, Andrea Ahrens, Sarah Louie

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    One of the lovably misguided characters from "Dumb Ways to Die" sold both his kidneys on the Internet. Now, the client behind the beloved campaign has made a similarly greedy deal with the devil.

    Through a licensing deal, Metro Trains has sold the creative product pretty much wholesale to Empire Life Insurance Co., which is cutting its own ads from it. Three 30-second spots posted online play snippets from the original musical cartoon, before a female voice pipes in and says: "What's the dumbest way of all to die? Having no life insurance." Empire has also done some digital ads with the characters and plans "a robust merchandise program … for multiple territories worldwide," according to the Globe and Mail.


    Talk about dumb. As the Ethical Adman points out, it just seems lazy and greedy—plus, the viral potential of the work has already been tapped worldwide, so what's the point? On the eve of the 2014 Cannes Lions festival, it's also a depressing slap in the face to the ad business to see the most decorated campaign in Cannes history bastardized like this—a PSA cynically turned into a for-profit campaign.

    You can understand Metro Trains wanting to make a buck off the work. But stick to making plush toys, not selling the whole cartoon to some huckster.

    McCann, whose Melbourne office created "Dumb Ways to Die," declined to comment on the Empire ads and referred inquiries to Metro Trains. We left messages with Metro and will update when we hear back.

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    Friskies has partnered with BuzzFeed to produce some chunky, meaty kitten content fresh out of the YouTube can. The video below, quickly closing in on 10 million views, is voiced by Ze Frank, who works for BuzzFeed and is also a YouTube celebrity in his own right with his True Facts series, in which he tells you "true facts" about animals that are clearly not true.

    It's easy to see how this Friskies video is an extension of the humor in his existing series, but this time Ze Frank is voicing a cat who is writing a letter to a younger kitten who has moved in with him. "Dear Kitten," the elder cat intones, "since I have hissed at you the customary 437 times, it is now my duty as the head of the household to—begrudgingly—welcome you." At which point he offers the kitten lots of great advice about hiding from Va-coomb, sleeping in the underwear drawer, and of course eating delicious wet cat food from Friskies.

    With #DearKitten becoming a popular tag on Twitter without Friskies even trying to seed it, it's clear that cat content is still king of the Internet.

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    Plucking Angora rabbits to use their fur in clothing is like waxing the hair off unwilling humans, says PETA's latest human-shaming ad.

    Characteristic of the animal advocacy group's PSAs, it's designed to make your skin crawl, complete with close-ups of grimacing faces, and squelchy sound effects, most of which end up seeming kind of ridiculous. The most disturbing part of the spot, created with agency Lowe & Partners Singapore and production company Great Guns, is the brief edit of a man tearing out the hair from a squealing Angora at a factory in China. The footage is excerpted from PETA's exposé last year, which sparked a scandal in the fashion industry and spurred major brands like H&M to stop producing Angora wool wear.

    The spot is effective enough in terms of refreshing awareness about the cruel techniques behind the rabbit fur products, even if the overwrought metaphor isn't as powerful as the uncut reality. As much as PETA may love anthropomorphizing animals, this isn't one of those scenarios where drawing a melodramatic comparison to people is necessary, or even helpful—especially not to illustrate the obvious point that the rabbits are treated worse than crybaby homo sapiens who are getting a voluntary, if perhaps unpleasant, preening procedure.

    Still, as shrill as PETA's marketing often manages to be, it hascome a long way from the days when it was just a never-endingpunch line.

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    Why is JFK's youth fitness anthem marketing the iPhone 5S?

    Apple has a new 5S spot out, and the musical choice is even odder than the previous 5S spot, which featured a reworked version of "Gigantic" by the Pixies (and that's saying something, since that song is supposedly about male genitalia).

    As Uproxx noted, the new ad uses "The Youth Fitness Song," aka "Chicken Fat," a song from President Kennedy's national physical fitness program. Apparently this little ditty, which the creator of The Music Man came up with, was sent to school districts throughout the U.S. in the '60s to accompany the calisthenics program.

    On visuals alone, it's clear the spot is promoting the physical-fitness uses of the iPhone, and it's got quite a few. The tagline here, as in the previous spot, is: "You're more powerful than you think."

    Though the song could theoretically make boomers' nostalgic for a time when they were told to "Go, you chicken fat, go," I found it quite confusing and distracting. Personally, I didn't notice much of what was going on in the ad until I took my headphones off.

    Welp. Hopefully there won't be too many customers upset at the prospect of the tech giant telling them, in a questionable manner, to start exercising.

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    Can environmental activists also be effective corporate shills?

    It's a tough balancing act. But 180 Amsterdam wanted only authentically aggrieved talent to star in its striking, filmic new global campaign for Italian fashion brand's Replay eco-sustainable denim jeans.

    Replay is coming out with a new jeans line called the Laserblast L.I.F.E. capsule collection. It combines Laserblast technology, which dramatically reduces water consumption in the production process, with the use of colored mineral pigments of natural origin. The result, says the brand, is one of the most eco-friendly, natural denim products available.

    To advertise them, 180 goes into full protest mode with an impressively shot two-minute film depicting graphic clashes between activist rebels and armored police in a forest. The protesters are young and angry and beautiful, and at least one of the women is topless. (The video is probably NSFW because of the brief nudity.)

    Are these activist actors being politically and sexually exploited simply to make money for the company, or should they be unapologetic about supporting a brand that appears to be doing more than most to protect the environment? It can be argued both ways.

    I'd suggest the slicker the production—and it is pretty damn slick here—the more the activists look like models, making their behavior look like a pose. Then again, if you get the pose right, you'll get more attention for the cause—and, of course, the brand.

    Agency and client are immensely proud of casting models "with a world-leading ethical stance." Says Al Moseley, president and chief creative officer of 180 Amsterdam: "Replay is a company that has an ambition I've rarely seen. Their thirst for innovative thinking, creative bravery and cultural impact means they, like their products, are a perfect fit for 180 Amsterdam."

    Best watched at full screen. Note: Video is NSFW due to brief nudity.

    Client: Replay - Fashion Box S.p.A.
    Chief Executive Officer: Matteo Sinigaglia
    Managing Director: Art Zuyderwijk
    Communication Director: Lorenza De Mattia
    Digital Project Manager: Fabrizio Consoli

    Agency: 180 Amsterdam
    President, Chief Creative Officer: Al Moseley
    Managing Director: Stephen Corlett
    Creative Director: Martin Terhart
    Art Director: Stephane Lecoq
    Copywriter: Martin Beswick
    Head of Production: Susan Cook
    Producer: Neil Henry
    Brand Director: Emma Holland
    Account Director: Simone Raspagni
    Business Affairs: Nora Adams
    Planning Director: Jonas Vail
    Communications Planning Director: Richard Oldfield
    Project Manager: Anne-Marie Overveld

    Production Company: Pulse Films
    Director: Dave Ma
    Director of Photography: Ross McLennan
    Producer: Rik Green
    Executive Producer: James Sorton
    Production Designer: Andreea Gherghel
    Stylist: Oana Draghici
    Casting Company: Barbara Pflister Casting
    Casting Director: Barbara Pflister

    Editing Company: The Gentleman's Club
    Editor: Will Judge
    Producer: Claire Ford
    Online Editing Facility: MPC, Amsterdam
    Flame Artist: Jonathan Box
    Producer, Contact: Sharuddin Rosunally, Amy Richardson
    Colorist: James Tillett, MPC, New York

    Music Company: Sonar Music
    Composer, Sound Designer: Alejandro Gomez-Sanchez
    Producer: Miranda Culley

    Recording Studio: Wave Studios, Amsterdam
    Sound Engineer: Randall Macdonald

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    I'm roaring with approval for this interactive sequel, of sorts, to "The Bear," the 2012 Grand Prix-winning commercial from BETC Paris and French movie channel Canal+.

    In the original, an ursine auteur sinks his claws into a big-budget medieval action film, fussing like a temperamental Hollywood diva over every aspect of production, from the script and direction to the special effects and score. Ultimately, the spot pulls the rug out from under viewers' expectations with an inspired visual punch line.

    Now, with "Being the Bear," users can play director and take over a film set, choosing among several genre types to complete a dramatic scene (shown in the first commercial) in which a woman kneels over a wounded warrior who has been shot through the chest with an arrow. Naturally, some of the selections work better than others, but the writing and on-screen details are sharp throughout, and they reward multiple viewings. (The approach reminds me a bit of Tipp-Ex's pick-your-own-adventure videos—work from France that featured a goofy, scenery-chewing bear. It also recalls the "Film, TV and Theater Styles" game from Whose Line Is It Anyway?)

    My favorites in the new Canal+ campaign include the "Porno" option, which lets the actors have a ball, and "Horror," a gloriously yucky exercise in spit-screen technique. The "Independent" selection yields the kind of self-obsessed, overly-probing dialogue only an audience of film majors (or Woody Allen) could love.

    I wish they'd included a "Wildlife Documentary" option, because it might've given the bear—who stays behind the camera this time (we just glimpse his paw)—a role he could really sink his teeth into.

    See the original spot below.

    Via Adland.

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    CANNES, France—Maybe India's Internet Baby isn't as horrifying as he seems?

    If you think about it, the preternaturally social star of the MTS Telecom campaign—who learns to cut his own umbilical cord immediately after birth—is actually someone to be revered, at least according to the agency that created him.

    We thought he was creepy, as most CGI infants are when they do adult-like things. The ad's utopian vision of ever-younger digital natives also seemed dystopian, to say the least. The ad will make you "weep for humanity," we wrote, adding that Internet Baby must be stopped. (Others, including Time magazine, later agreed with us.)

    But Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman at Creativeland Asia—which is hoping the ad snags a Lion at Cannes this week—sent us an email in which he suggests we may have missed the cultural import of the spot. He urges us to look at it in a different way—as beautiful, not terrifying.

    Check out his full email below.

    Dear Tim,

    You have mentioned how the MTS Internet Baby spot will make one weep for humanity. You have also appealed that somebody must stop the Internet baby. As someone who wrote the spot, may I sincerely ask that somebody not to stop my little Internet baby. Very humbly, here's why:

    I live in a country where millions of babies are born into poverty. Hunger in their life manifests itself in many terrifying ways. From basic amenities, to education, security and healthcare.

    The Internet and mobile phones arrived in my country in the late '90s. Today, India is the fastest growing telecom and Internet market. Beyond the economic benefits, there is huge social upside to it. Internet and telecommunications has perhaps been the greatest social leveler in my country. It has begun to empower even the most socially backward Indian in the remotest corner of the country with information, with access, with knowledge, with education, with true power.

    I would like to hope that this empowerment continues. And it transcends age-groups, caste, religion and social standing. I would like to hope that every baby born in my country is born to the Internet. The Internet that empowers him or her to start life like any other baby in an urban Indian home, European or an American home. For then he would have knowledge available, at the touch of a button. The same button a child in London presses when he needs to know. The same button that empowers a child in Tokyo.

    It is natural for a handful of people to think that this is freaky or unnatural. Remember even the motorcar was called evil by some people a hundred years ago. But let not the playful thought of an Internet-empowered baby at birth terrify us. Let's not stop him.

    There's no telling how far this generation of Indian children, those born for the Internet, will go. They will definitely go farther than their fathers did. They might even go farther than kids in the developed world. Let them go. Let them break barriers.

    Debates and point of view are essential. They are what make our business a lot more fun. But that doesn't change facts. Technology and the Internet are getting deeper into our lives. And the MTS Internet Baby has made people stand up and take notice.

    I would like to invite you to Mumbai after Cannes Lions to witness firsthand India's flourishing creative scene and our country's "Internet Babies." I promise it would be something you would never forget—and you would weep for humanity. With a mixture of joy and excitement.

    Yours sincerely,
    Sajan Raj Kurup
    Founder & Creative Chairman, Creativeland Asia

    To commemorate the birth of the Internet Baby, Creativeland also ran a promo in which it christened babies born on MTS India's founding day (which happened to be within the launch month of the spot) as Internet babies and gave away free Internet connections. See that case study below.

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    If a new Xbox One ad gone awry is any indication, the voice-command function on the Microsoft Kinect device is working a little too well for some gamers.

    The commercial shows Aaron Paul, best known for playing Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, using the feature by bossing around an Xbox. But according to complaints on social media sites including Twitter, the spot's audio accidentally—and amusingly—turns on the consoles of viewers who happen to watch it while in the same room as their voice-enabled Xbox Ones and Xbox Kinects.

    "I find it funny when people complain about the kinect sucking and not working," says one reddit commenter."By watching this video on my phone Aaron Paul turned on my Xbox. Thanks Aaron Paul."

    The phenomenon appears to be a boon for the brand, generating quite a bit of press for an otherwise straightforward celebrity spot, which now has more than 2.6 million YouTube views since being posted June 5.

    Paul, to the disappointment of many a fanboy, does not address the Xbox in the 30-second ad as "bitch," Pinkman's hallmark greeting. But the broken-hearted can rest easy knowing all is well in the universe—as he does grace a gaming exec with the title in this longer ad for the brand.

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    Dockers prepares men for fatherhood, among other things, in these two videos from Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners, timed to Father's Day. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden gives a speech that is loaded to the gunwales with quotables ("You're just hired help paid in groin kicks!") to a room full of soon-to-be dads, while Sarah Harbaugh—wife of San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh—tearfully warns men about the dangers of "dad pants."

    Didn't Dockers make those popular in the first place? Just asking questions. It's nice to see gendered advertising that doesn't go out of its way to insult anyone for a change, but did I hear Gruden take a swipe at dad jokes? Like hell those are going away.


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