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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    If people could literally see how much more relaxing British Airways' new in-flight perks really are, then everyone would obviously understand how much better the company is than its competitors, says British Airways.

    To that end, the airline made these not-at-all-awkward brainwave-measuring headbands and connected them to light-up blankets that change color based on how passengers are feeling. Like a mood ring for your whole body.

    Stressed is red. Comfy is blue. Because wearable technology is so hot right now, even at 35,000 feet. Also because it's always so much fun to hurtle through space in a tin can that it's only natural to want a device to tell you how good of a time you're actually having, and to broadcast your state of mind to all the other humans crammed in like sardines next to you.

    But as nifty as the technology is, and as dazzling as the pretty LEDs are, the whole exercise in self-congratulation would be a whole lot cooler if it told us something more revelatory than the fact that people are at their happiest when they can manage to sleep through the whole ride.

    Then again, at least it's more intriguing than just saying outright that the food and seats have improved—especially when the bar for airline food is usually so high.

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    You may have heard there's a little soccer match being played today. In honor of that game—USA versus Belgium, for those who have somehow avoided World Cup news (to which I ask, how?)—ESPN on Tuesday unleashed the new "I Believe" spot below.

    If you need pumping up before the 4 p.m. kickoff—and shouting "USA! USA! USA!" in the mirror somehow isn't enough—check it out. It has everything: slow-motion shots of players, close-ups of spit and snot and blood, enraged faces, the glory of history and the fear of defeat, all to the tune of an epic soundtrack.

    To top it off, the in-house team at ESPN ended the spot by bringing back the "I Believe" chant."The chant has caught fire in bars, fan clubs, public viewing events and social media and has become the unifying narrative for this U.S. World Cup journey," said Seth Ader, ESPN's senior director of sports marketing.

    Oh, and now that you're pumped up and practically ready to explode, let's put things in perspective: FiveThirtyEight says the USA has a 0.6 percent chance of winning the World Cup. Underdogs!

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    Don't let her dour expression fool you. Internet to IRL crossover sensation Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) loves a good marketing opportunity.

    Since exploding on the scene in 2012, she's "written" a book, launched a line of Grumpy Cat merchandise, been named Friskies' official spokescat and, this holiday season, will star in a Lifetime Original Movie, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. (Actual plot excerpt: "A very special 12-year-old girl named Chyrstal enters the pet store and falls in love with Grumpy Cat. A unique friendship is formed between the two when Chyrstal finds she is the only person who can hear this unique feline talk.")

    So, what's next for this million-dollar cat? An endorsement deal with America's favorite cereal, Cheerios! (Well, second favorite after any giant bowl of crystallized hunks of corn syrup.) In this new spot from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York for Cheerios' tastier cousin, Honey Nut Cheerios, Grumpy is introduced to the brand's longtime mascot, Buzz the bee. It goes pretty much exactly how you'd expect.

    Buzz is aggressively annoying. Grumpy looks unenthused. Buzz talks about how awesome Honey Nut Cheerios are. Grumpy still looks unenthused. Buzz demands a smile. Grumpy says, in meme form, that she is, in fact, smiling. Buzz, in return, insults Grumpy's appearance. Buzz is a dick. The end.

    But hold on. "How dare you call this beloved brand mascot a dick!" you say. To which I would reply, it's not Grumpy's fault that she looks like that, just like it's not her fault that some kid named her Tardar Sauce. Grumpy, you see, suffers from a combination of feline dwarfism and an underbite, according to her Wikipedia page.

    So, long story short, Buzz is straight up bullying Grumpy for a serious (maybe? I honestly have no idea) medical condition. Think about that when you're eating your Cheerios tomorrow morning, America.

    Client: General Mills/Honey Nut Cheerios
    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
    Executive Creative Director: Peter Smith
    Creative Director: Johnnie Ingram
    Creative Director: Chris Skurat
    Copy Writer: Adam Kline
    Art Director: Justin Roth
    Executive Producer: Gregory Hall
    VP. Director of Business Affairs: Sara Jagielski
    Business Manager: Christina Mattson
    SVP Management Director: Rodes Ponzer
    Account Director: Dave Barone
    Account Executive: Carly Wallace
    Senior Strategic Planner: Anastasstios Tsitsopoulos
    Production Company: Backyard, Venice, CA
    President/Partner: Blair Stribley
    Managing Director/Partner: Chris Zander
    VP/Executive Producer: Kris Mathur
    Head of Production: Emily Malito
    Director: Rob Pritts
    Director of Photography: Florian Stadler
    Line Producer: Kevin Sharpton
    Editorial: Beast
    Editor: Jim Ulbrich
    Producer: Valerie Lorio
    VFX: Laika/House
    President: Lourri Hammack
    Line Producer: Karly Chambers
    Animation Director: Aaron Sorenson
    VFX Supervisor: Rex Carter

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    Leave it to brands to jump on Twitter and show their patriotism and support of American footballers today. The USA is playing Belgium at 4 p.m. ET in the World Cup, and embarrassingly, the only thing Americans seem to associate with Belgium are waffles—and by the way, Belgian waffles don’t even exist in Belgium.

    Waffle House has even reportedly banned waffles from its menus for the day, and apparently can't write "Belgian waffles" correctly.

    We can't just point the finger at the brands, though. Even average Americans are starting a social media war with Belgium in the name of soccer:

    So, take a look below and see how brands aren't waffling when it comes to making the same joke—repeatedly. At least they aren't taking stabs at Belgian beer. 


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    Even old dogs like hardcover books can learn new tricks.

    Random House and creative director Suzanne Dean picked five Japanese illustrators to design stickers inspired by characters from Colorless Tskuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, the latest book by celebrated author Haruki Murakami. The book is already out in Japanese, and due in English come August. And translated first editions will include the sticker set, which includes objects ranging from swim goggles to pianos and convertible cars, and the publisher is encouraging readers to make the cover their own by slapping the drawings on its front.

    It's a cool trick, a blend between a marketing gimmick and a nostalgia-inducing perk that at least some die-hard fans should be able to enjoy. The only problem is that anyone old enough to actually want a hardcover or paperback probably also had an elementary school librarian who made it exceptionally clear that no person should ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, deface books, because they are precious.

    Or maybe that just increases the appeal of finally getting to do it.

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    Miller Lite was invented in the late '60s, around the time baby boomers started to date, couple, marry and copulate (though not always in that order). As this new ad points out, this could hypothetically have led to your conception when your parents did it, probably under the influence.

    It doesn't specifically say that. It more says that Lite beer let men keep their abs, which let them get dates, which led to marriages, which led to honeymoons, which led to you. But right when they're talking about your conception, you're seeing swingin' '70s-styled people toasting the camera with some frosty Lite beer.

    So, maybe your mom was really shallow and picked you dad based on some choice fur-covered abs, or maybe she just got blitzed on Miller Lite and made poor choices. Either way, you're here now. And the new retro Lite can looks super cool, so crack open a cold one and celebrate!

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    A survey of CMOs shows they understand the industry is going digital, but they are still resisting the "digital" label for their companies.

    Infographic: Carlos Monteiro

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    A green chypre laced with patchouli, Miss Dior
    was somehow both well-mannered and seductive.
    The Guerry Colas-designed bottle managed the same
    feat. A testament to Miss Dior’s enduring appeal, this ad
    required no messaging beyond the name and the bottle.

    In 1947, Christian Dior unveiled his “New Look” in Paris. The full-busted, pinch-waist couture was so startling and unapologetically feminine that Dior immediately reset the course of postwar fashion. To accompany the clothes, the 42-year-old designer also introduced a fragrance. It came in a tiny Baccarat amphora bottle whose provocative shape followed the lines of the dresses. “I have created this perfume to wrap each woman in exquisite femininity,” the couturier said, “as if each of my designs, one by one, were emerging from the bottle.”

    The scent’s name was Miss Dior.

    Nowadays, very few companies can lay claim to owning a truly classic brand, but the house of Dior—which still makes Miss Dior—is one of them. Yet as the ads here show, the survival of a brand name and the endurance of the brand itself are not the same thing. In fact, today’s Miss Dior neither looks nor smells at all like its progenitor of 67 years ago. As historian and fragrance writer Elena Vosnaki put it, Dior is “creating a legend out of the past when none is reflected in the present.”

    When this slender newspaper ad appeared in 1958, Miss Dior was in its 10th year of turning heads. Always positioned as a young woman’s floral, the scent’s underpinning of patchouli was surprisingly sexual. The scent’s lasting hold on the public was why—even the original amphora had already been replaced with a square bottle that was easier to mass produce—Dior produced this limited-edition reissue.

    The uniqueness of the bottle reflected the uniqueness of perfume itself. “When that brand launched, women wore a perfume for life,” said Rachel Weingarten, an author and brand strategist who operates Culet Marketing. “If you wore Miss Dior, it became your signature perfume.” A fashion house that kept its popular fragrances stocked in department stores could expect a handsome, steady return over the long haul.

    In the case of Miss Dior, however, two developments would toss that formula out the window. First was the 1984 acquisition of Dior by the beauty behemoth Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, which leaned heavily on its conquered brands with a demand for higher profit. The second was the collateral rise of “masstige”—mass-market (and usually celebrity-driven) designer fragrances sporting popular prices.

    In short order, an army of chemists and consultants got their hands on Miss Dior. LVMH hired Givaudan to reformulate the scent in 2005, rechristening it as Miss Dior Chérie and turning it into a sweet-smelling soup of strawberries and apples. Dior chemists took another whack at the fragrance in 2011. This time they restored the original name, but to an otherwise unfamiliar scent. Meanwhile, the company flooded the market with variants—Miss Dior L’Eau, Miss Dior Eau Fraiche, Miss Dior Le Parfum and many more—all bearing the Miss Dior name and some mutation of the square bottle. Today, Miss Dior’s marketing may have Natalie Portman’s dark, flirty stare, but all it has in common with Christian Dior’s original scent is the name.

    This approach might work in terms of generating revenues from millennial misses, but observers say it’s a textbook example of how not to handle a heritage brand. “It is a testament to the rise of chick lit, enshrinement of celebrity culture and a general disregard of intellectuality,” Vosnaki said. “This insanity is the insecurity that cross-channel marketing breeds,” Weingarten added. “When you look at Miss Dior in terms of a classic brand, it’s a little depressing.”

    And, it must be said, profitable. LVMH’s perfumes and cosmetics division reported earnings of €414 million last year. But, as scent expert and Fragrances of the World author Michael Edwards points out, Dior’s continued “tinkering” with the brand has done its irrevocable work. “Realistically,” he said, “it’s brought more confusion than success.”

    ‘It is a testament to the rise of chick lit, enshrinement of celebrity culture and a general disregard of intellectuality.’ Elena Vosnaki, historian, perfume writer

     In the old days, Dior wouldn’t have to rely on the cliché of roses in an ad. “There’s a banal romanticism about it,” said Vosnaki, who noted that longtime fans of the scent don’t need props like this. “But I don’t think Dior is interested in the old fans.”

     Miss Dior appeared in a square, houndstooth bottle, tied with a satin bow, in 1950. But the design steadily lost its delicate details to become this garden- variety flacon, whose bow is plastic.

     Dior signed Natalie Portman at the time of Miss Dior’s second reformulation in 2011. But Weingarten says that celebrity branding depletes the Miss Dior legend. “It’s irritating,” she said. “I don’t want Miss Dior to be just something I accidentally reach for.”

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    There's no way more American to celebrate the Fourth of July than selling out your country for an English beer, says Newcastle.

    The Heineken-owned brand, brewed in Britain, and ad agency Droga5 continue their deft efforts to troll Independence Day, now with videos featuring Pittsburgh-born actor Zachary Quinto, pitching "Newport [sic] Brown Ale, the most American of non-American beers."

    It's ballsy for any marketer to pay talent to purposefully mangle its name in an ad. But it's also very much in keeping with the self-deprecating tone of Newcastle's "If We Won" campaign, introduced by Stephen Merchant, and soon to present Elizabeth Hurley.

    Overall, the tongue-in-cheek fantasy about how great America would be if Britain had won the Revolutionary War works pretty well, in large part because the brand is so happy to skewer itself—and the tagline's totally absurd premise—along with the U.S.

    "There'd be crumpets," says the voiceover in another spot. "Also, we would have imprisoned the Founding Fathers, stripped Patriot supporters of their property and possessions and ruled your nation with an increasingly tyrannical hand. But just think … crumpets."

    The brand also has posted a new ad with Merchant riffing on the perks of a British accent. Additional sans-celebrity spots focus on Mount Rushmore, Prohibition and yellow cabs. As in so much great comedy, though, the funniest bits are the most surprisingly honest ones—try the take on English vs. American muffins.

    Plus, there's always the added entertainment of the most jingoistic YouTube commenters playing right into the brand's hands by flying off the wall over the perceived diss. Because, you know, in case you didn't get the memo … Britain didn't win.

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    IDEA: Ads for discount furniture aren't usually very funny—at least, not intentionally so. But Translation's new work for American Signature Inc. breaks away from the category's tired old direct response model and casts the product as a central player in quirky vignettes directed by a master of the absurd, Harold Einstein.

    The company—which operates the Value City Furniture and American Signature Furniture retail stores—wanted to reinvent the brands yet reinforce their point of difference, which is "to have a true connection with our customers and make furniture shopping easy," said American Signature Inc. president Jonathan Schottenstein.

    "Talking about furniture should be as fun and exciting as everything else," added John Norman, Translation's chief creative officer. "Our goal was to disrupt the retail space and give the American Signature brands a voice. … These are stories about the product, told with charm and humor."

    COPYWRITING: The scripts are simple, witty, odd and disarming. In one spot, a couple get a lovely new couch and are suddenly disgusted—literally to the point of gagging—by their old coffee table next to it. In another, a husband rolls around on his new king bed, pointing out areas for business (where his wife is sitting up, doing work) and pleasure (where he's sprawled out invitingly). In a third, a couple argue over the pronunciation of the word chaise.

    "Buying furniture can be such a stressful experience; we wanted this campaign to embody the complete opposite," said associate creative director and copywriter Katherine O'Brien. "We'd start with a piece of furniture and build the story around it. Each setup was grounded in reality, but a reality pushed as far on the humor spectrum as possible."

    The spots close with shots of three-piece furniture sets (living room, bedroom, lounge) against a gray background. "All we can do is make getting great style easy. The rest is up to you," says a male voiceover. "Style comes easy." They are tagged with either the Value City Furniture or American Signature Furniture logo, depending on the market.

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Einstein shot six spots in five days, bringing his typical obsessive attention to detail. "The running joke on set was that he'd never finish a meal because he'd get so focused," said O'Brien. "There was constantly an uneaten snack resting just out of his reach."

    The visual look is clean, with the product always the hero. "A lot of the crew had experience shooting cars, and they were able to light and capture the furniture in a really luxurious way," said associate creative director and art director Kasia Haupt Canning.

    "The wardrobe and locations were chosen to keep the characters and scenarios relatable and not draw focus away from the furniture. We wanted viewers to feel like they were getting a glimpse into someone's home and watching them enjoy their new furniture in an odd but charming way."

    TALENT: Casting was tricky. "These are comedy spots, but we didn't want any of the lines to be delivered as jokes," said O'Brien. "The actors are the anchors that keep these spots relatable. Sure, that couple's old coffee table is making them gag, but their performance makes it seem completely within the realm of their reality. Over-the-top performances would have flattened these spots. … The natural, relaxed dialogue that each of these actors delivered really made them stand out."

    SOUND: Lightly jaunty classical music plays during the voiceover pitch—"an extra little smile on the end of the spot," O'Brien said.

    MEDIA: The TV spots launch in all of American Signature's major markets in mid-July, supported by digital and social media.


    Client: American Signature, Inc.
    Campaign: "Style Comes Easy"

    Agency: Translation
    CEO: Steve Stoute
    CCO: John Norman
    President: Nils Peyron
    ECD: Marc d'Avignon, Jay Berry, Eric Kallman, Chris Valencius
    Partner, Group Strategy Director: John McBride
    ACD, Copywriter: Katherine O'Brien
    ACD, Art Director: Kasia Haupt Canning
    Executive Producer: Peter Ostella
    VP, Account Director: Daniel Mize

    Production Company: dummy.
    Director: Harold Einstein
    Director of Photography: Sam Chase
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney
    Line Producer: Eric Liney

    Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Editor: Dave Anderson
    Assistant Editor: Pamela Petruski
    Post Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
    Post Producer: Evan Meeker

    VFX/Graphics Company: Wolf & Crow
    Designers: Chad Howitt, Kevin Stein
    Executive Producer: Eric McCasline
    VFX Producer: Matt Olson

    Audio Post: Heard City
    Mixer: Phil Loeb, Dan Flosdorf
    Executive Producer: Gloria Pitagorsky
    Producer: Sasha Awn, Katie Flynn

    Music: "Pickles for Preggo"
    Composer: Marmoset Music
    Music Supervision: Wool & Tusk

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    Levi's is trying on a simple, straightforward message in its first big push since reuniting with longtime agency FCB (and also hiring The House Worldwide) in February.

    Unveiling a global campaign tagged "Live in Levi's," the iconic brand is using print ads and posters to show twentysomethings strolling around, cavorting and generally enjoying life while clad in Levi's denim. Copy lines include "A classic since right now," "Fall head over heels" and "Look good on your way to what's next."

    "It's intended to be both inclusive and inspiring," CMO Jennifer Sey explains on Levi's Unzipped blog. "It's a celebration. It's not cynical. Or dour. Or overly serious—as many fashion and style-oriented brands can be. It's fun. People have fun in jeans. It should be fun."

    Digital and social elements are also in the mix, along with TV and cinema ads launching next month from director Fredrik Bond, who lensed the memorable Cannes Lion-winning "Simon the Ogre" mini-epic for Thomson Holidays.

    Recent efforts from previous agency Wieden + Kennedy, themed "Go Forth," weren't cynical, exactly, nor dour nor overly serious, though some observers believe they worked too hard to be cool, plugging into the zeitgeist while sacrificing Levi's unique heritage. I kind of agree. There were some memorable moments, but, overall, "Go Forth" seemed to be flying by the seat of its pants, chasing random hipness.

    The back-to-basics approach of "Live in Levi's" strives for a more comfortable brand fit. It's well-shot by photographer Jason Nocito and nicely understated, though it risks blending in with all the other fashion ads that show happy/moody young people who like wearing clothes.

    To be fair, that's a very preliminary impression. Print is, after all, just the first leg of a multifaceted campaign.

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    The strangely named Calm The Ham design studio ("it’s just another way to say relax, cool your jets, chill the beans, etc.") just came out with a run of minimalist film posters that attempt to capture the essence (defined as any combination of plot, theme, notable characters or scenes) of a given movie in a single image, usually centered in the exact middle of the poster.

    The Internet is full of these things, and they mostly look the same, but these are a bit more clever than most. The Reservoir Dogs image is a neat, if abstract, reference to the characters' names, and the Donnie Darko poster uses color and shape to great effect. The Se7en and Fight Club posters aren't as effective—soap was already on the real Fight Club posters, for one thing—but they might come off better in print. Posters generally do, anyway.

    And speaking of, you can buy prints of these posters directly from CTH's website.

    Via Design Taxi.

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    Carl's Jr./Hardee's isn't a shy fast-food chain. But this time they've traded oiled-up models for innuendo. I won't spoil the new spots, but let's just say they aren't too subtle.

    The approach shouldn't be too surprising, as this is the same restaurant chain that once asked people if they preferred A holes or B holes. I am curious as to how they expect people to eat these Cinnamon Pull-Aparts anywhere (wouldn't the icing drip?), but I will give them points for having both men and women allude to masturbation. Kudos?

    Agency: 72andSunny. Via Adland.

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    Today in self-deprecating celebrity humor, Mick Jagger delivers a somewhat stilted but still very amusing rant about opportunistic elderly people in this ad for the current Monty Python reunion. It seems Mick, no stranger himself to silly walks, can't understand why anyone would pay to see "a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money." He wouldn't know anything about that, of course. He adds, impishly, "I mean, the best one died years ago!"

    The Monty Python Live (mostly) reunion launched Tuesday night with the first of 10 shows at London's O2 Arena through July 20. Read The Guardian's review of Tuesday's performance here.

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    Who Michael Bruh (l.), president, COO; Selina Eizik, U.S. CEO; Anton Konikoff, founder, global CEO
    What Paid search and SEO agency
    Where New York, London and Singapore

    Talk about old school. Launched in 1995—three years before Google even existed—Acronym tackled search engine marketing. Today, the New York-based shop focuses primarily on search engine optimization and paid search. That said, Acronym, which competes with iCrossing and iProspect, is just as happy helping marketers optimize their in-house search function; more than half its business stems from such consulting services, according to U.S. CEO Selina Eizik. “Our angle is if we can make you a superstar at your company, we’re successful,” she said. Top accounts include SAP, Accenture, Humana and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The agency, with about 105 staffers, also has offices in London and Singapore, and generates an estimated $40 million-$50 million in revenue annually.

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    Nothing says "Lexus" like a guy made of light leaping across the sky.

    In "Strobe," an eye-catching minute-long film from CHI & Partners, it seems as if a single shimmering figure is traversing the nightscape of downtown Kuala Lumpur. In fact, dozens of stuntmen and acrobats dressed in LED suits took part in creating the illusion. Using complex rigging and in-camera effects (no CGI), the "illuminated man" appears to vault from rooftop to rooftop, dance across billboards, cartwheel through an empty office and even dive into a high-rise swimming pool.

    The film was directed by Adam Berg of Stink Productions, who shot the action over seven nights in April. A pair of behind-the-scenes videos shed (more) light on what it took to make the complicated effort shine.

    "Strobe," which will run in the U.S., U.K., Asia and Middle East, is the third impressive entry in CHI's "Amazing in Motion" series, dedicated to "opening Lexus up to a new audience—illustrating not just the brilliant engineering and grace of its products, but also the adventurous, imaginative nature of the brand," says CHI creative director Monty Verdi.

    Previous installments "Steps" and "Swarm" dealt with giant metal puppets and copter-bots, respectively. The latter won a bronze Film Lion two weeks ago at Cannes.

    All three films are high-wattage affairs that reward repeat viewings. Lexus vehicles only make cameos, which some might criticize as a brand disconnect. I think it's a bright idea that allows the cars to bask in the content's glow without eclipsing the artistry on display.

    Below, we asked Verdi a little more about the campaign.

    Adweek: Talk a bit about the the process of making the "Strobe" film.
    Monty Verdi: There were five full rehearsal days before the shoot, in a giant warehouse in Kuala Lumpur. In the rehearsal studio, we recreated each scene in the ad, making sure each Lightman was at the right height and position to create the illusion of movement.

    The shoot itself consisted of seven back-to-back nighttime shoots. We flew in a team of riggers from Thailand who specialized in big stunts and martial arts films that use rigging to suspend performers from wires. They erected vast scaffolding rigs and from those we hung the stuntmen from wires.

    Any amusing anecdotes from the shoot?
    When we wrapped it turned out a few of the stuntmen could breakdance, so we were treated to a celebration dance in their lightsuits. Also, on the top of the helipad location we were unable to get the scaffolding poles to build the suspension rig, so each piece had to be individually carried up an incredible 32 floors.

    What were the biggest challenges or surprises during filming?
    One of the biggest challenges was the 40-degree (Celsius, or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) heat and humidity on the shoot days, with performers wearing lightsuits made of seven layers that were heating up as light travelled through them. It was incredibly physically demanding for the performers, who were held up for long periods—some suspended upside down or with individual limbs held in precise positions by wires. We needed to have giant fans and air-conditioning units constantly keeping them cool as the light sequence created the motion.

    Every night, we battled to get the shots we needed before the sun came up. Some setups would take up to seven hours to get everyone into position—but luckily we came away with all the shots we needed.

    Creating a lightsuit that would work underwater was another big technical challenge. All the electronics had to be sealed off.

    This film is about aspects of Lexus, but it doesn't indulge in car-ad clichés like cars racing through dramatic vistas…
    This is a campaign that expresses what Lexus stands for as a brand, rather than trying to sell a specific car. It's about the ambition of the brand, which is using technology and engineering together with imagination to create amazing motion.

    What's next for the "Amazing in Motion" series?
    These projects are so challenging that the research and development and production timings are crucial—so we're already in the process of looking at ideas for the next three projects. In terms of where they'll take us—that remains to be seen. One thing we can say is that, as they go on, they will continue to get more challenging. But that's what makes them so exciting.

    Client: Lexus
    General Manager: Atsushi Takada

    Agency: CHI & Partners
    Social media agency: The Social Practice
    Executive Creative Director: Jonathan Burley
    Creative Director: Monty Verdi
    Copywriter:  Colin Smith, Angus Vine
    Art director: Angus Vine, Colin Smith
    TV Producer: Nicola Ridley
    TV Production Assistant: Adam Henderson/ Will Parnall
    Content Producer: Emma Hodson 
    Digital + Content Creatives: Simon Findlater, Ben Stump
    CEO: Nick Howarth
    Planner: Rebecca Munds
    Business Director: Jack Shute
    Account Director: Catherine Peacock
    Account Manager: Hannah White

    Production Company: Stink 
    Director: Adam Berg
    Producer: Ben Croker
    DOP: Mattias Montero
    Local Production Company: Passion Pictures Malaysia
    Local Production Company Producer: Sheen S. Singh/Jaan Kit
    Rigging Team: Baan Rig
    Editor: Paul Hardcastle, Trim
    Post-production: VFX Supervisor Franck Lambertz, MPC
    Colourist: Mark Gethin/Jean-Clement Soret, MPC
    Post-production producer: Paul Branch, MPC
    Audio post-production: Sam Ashwell/ Sam Robson 750MPH
    Music Composition: Danielle Johnson (Sesac)
    Suit Designers and Technician: Vin Burnham and Adam Wright
    Music Company: Platinum Rye
    Music Supervisors: Arnold Hattingh & Paul Brown
    Writer: Danielle Johnson (Sesac)
    Publishing: Computer Magic Music (Sesac)
    Master recording: Computer Magic

    Content Production Company: Stink
    Content Director: Morrish
    Content Producer: Helen Power
    Content DOP: Ryan Carmody
    Content Editor:  Ben Canny
    Colourist – Kai Van Beers, MPC
    Post production producer – Hannah Ruddleston, MPC
    VFX supervisor – Marcus Moffatt, MPC
    Audio Post-Production: 750MPH

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    Hey there, incredibly hip and hot millennials. Packaged seasoning brand Flava-it wants you to know its marinades are like a raunchy meat party in your mouth.

    This loony new ad for the U.K. marketer features a gathering of twenty-somethings sporting all the obligatory styles—fluorescent daisy dukes, thick-rimmed glasses, mountain-man beard. One bite of a sandwich leads a magenta-haired woman into a phantasmagoria of inappropriate foodplay, ultimately leaving her with eyes wide and hair mussed.

    Because, in case the innuendo was too subtle, the brand's wares will make you feel like you're having an orgasm.

    The "Meat Lust" campaign, created with digital agency Code Computerlove, also includes a BuzzFeed-style quiz, because that's what the kids are doing these days. It will judge how much you love meat by asking you what your favorite MeatLoaf song is, but replacing real titles with food wordplay (e.g., "I Will Eat Anything For Love (but I won't eat that)" and "You Took The Meat Right Out Of My Mouth") and by telling you to pick an animal you can milk (a cat, goat, cow, donkey, potato or naked woman).

    In other words, it certainly strikes the right ironically over-the-top tone for a certain kind of fun-loving dude. Or maybe just for very cheeky meatheads.

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    Guinness is on a roll globally with its "Made of More" advertising. Now, for the Fourth of July, the brand has released the latest installment of the campaign in the U.S.—the lovely, quietly patriotic spot below, called "Empty Chair."

    We won't spoil the plot. But leave it to an Irish brewer to make the most proudly American commercial of this Independence Day season. (An English brewer, meanwhile, has made some of the funniest Fourth of July ads this year. And where are the U.S. brewers? Mostly doing cartoonish work by comparison, it seems.)

    For "Empty Chair," BBDO New York teamed up again with Biscuit Filmworks director Noam Murro, who directed last fall's brilliant "Basketball" spot. Once again the delayed reveal is deftly handled, and it's an approach that nicely embodies the tagline. The ads themselves, like the everyday heroes they celebrate, are "Made of More" than they seem at first—rewarding the viewer for sticking with them.

    "Basketball" was weirdly overlooked in Cannes last month (it wasn't shortlisted in Film or Film Craft), as the judges handed five Lions to AMV BBDO's "Sapeurs" for Guinness Europe instead. But as "Empty Chair" shows, Guinness can be as proud of its U.S. marketing as anything else it's doing globally right now.

    Client: Guinness
    Spot: "Empty Chair"

    Agency: BBDO New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Creative Director/Art Director: Dan Lucey
    Creative Director/Art Director: Jens Waernes
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Chris Beresford-Hill
    Creative Director/Copywriter: Tom Kraemer
    Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
    Group Executive Producer: Amy Wertheimer
    Executive Music Producer: Rani Vaz
    Group Behavioral Planning Director: Gordon McLean
    Group Account Director: Jim Santora
    Account Manager: Hayley Devlin
    Account Executive: Sara Plotkin

    Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
    Director: Noam Murro
    Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Line Producer: Jay Veal

    Edit House: Work Editorial
    Editor: Neil Smith
    Assistant Editor: Adam Witten
    Sound Design: Henryboy

    Music House: Human
    Sound Mixer: Tom Jucarone
    Telecine: CO3
    Colorist: Tim Masick
    Visual Effects: Absolute Post

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    To show off its "Smart Caring" driver assistance features, Hyundai set up an empty car convoy, in which a stuntman (who was blindfolded, mind you) led a bunch of driverless cars down an empty highway to test their response to some basic driver's-ed-video stuff—namely the cruise control, lane keeping and emergency braking features.

    Also, the stunt people who were driving the other cars all leaped from them on to a padded flatbed, which was pretty awesome.

    The idea that these cars can drive themselves shouldn't have to fight for my attention in a commercial, so Hyundai may have overdone it with all the extra Volvo Trucks-style stunt work here. But there's really no better way to show off what these cars can do, so we'll call it a wash and say that living in the future is great.

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    Wendy's isn't known for meat on a stick, but it is doing a pretty good job of skewering schmaltzy pop ballads.

    The fast-food chain is promoting the return of its pretzel-bun products with a series of faux music videos, and the first online clip is a masterful parody of please-lover-come-back-to-me visual clichés—the man waking up lonely in bed, the woman standing lonely in a breeze on the beach, and naturally, a lot of highly emotive face grimaces and hand gestures.

    The lyrics, meanwhile, are stitched together from the actual online pining and praise of consumers, managing to flatter the audience while also ribbing ridiculous 140-character sentiments and slang. In other words, everyone gets to be in on the joke. And the plain vanilla music is just varied enough to hold interest without being good enough get stuck in your head and drive you crazy.

    Throw in a couple of absurd sight gags, like a man lounging in a pretzel pool dinghy, and Wendy has exactly the right cues for a comedy bit à la The Lonely Island—with the added benefit of being especially timely, in light of the largely mocking response to Robin Thicke's new full-album paean to shameless groveling.

    The best may be yet to come, though, with Wendy's promising a clip featuring '90s R&B giants Boys II Men. Given the brand's enthusiasm so far, here's to hoping that's more along the lines of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to [Pretzel Day]" than "I'll Make Love To You."

    Also forthcoming is a bilingual love song to pretzels from Jon Secada. And if you were worried the brand might not be taking its throwback theme seriously, it's also out with a TV commercial (see below) featuring a less-than-compelling retake on Mr. Big's 1991 hit "To Be With You."

    Burger King, for its part, may be doing some clever counter-targeting, thoug. In at least one instance, the pre-roll ad ahead of a YouTube version of the actual music video for the Mr. Big song served up the Wendy's competitor's "Proud Whopper" spot.


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