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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    Online printing company MOO.com, which some of you might remember from a video it made back in April, is doing some self-promotion with the oldest trick in the book. Wait, no, that's prostitution. The second oldest trick in the book: flattery.

    Designer Rob "Supermundane" Lowe has designed a run of fliers with compliments printed on them and posted them around artsy parts of London and in the Boston Design Museum. People are encouraged to take them and, you know, just feel good about themselves.

    There are six designs altogether, with custom typography spelling out flummeries like "I think you're splendid" and "You're spectacular." Are Upworthy and BuzzFeed just not enough for some people?

    You can enter to win a signed-and-framed seventh flier through MOO's social channels, which is how this whole project connects back to MOO.

    That contest ends today, so enjoy the complimentary compliments while you can.

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    It was this time last year that we first met Ted Lasso, an American football coach (played by Jason Sudeikis) hired to manage London's Tottenham Hotspur Football Club—and manage it very, very poorly—in an amusing short film for NBC Sports' English Premier League coverage.

    Well, Coach Lasso is back. And he's better—or rather, worse—than ever.

    In this sequel from New York agency The Brooklyn Brothers, Lasso has lost his Tottenham job (he lasted just six and a half hours) and has given soccer broadcasting a try. That goes wretchedly too, though, as Lasso can't get a grasp on the concepts of relegation, the offside rule or really anything requiring a modicum of basic thought.

    So, he returns to America, where he creates a "Teeny Tiny England" in his own home, gets drunk with friends in the morning while watching the EPL (games kick off at 10 a.m. ET, or even earlier, on Saturdays) and finds his next great coaching gig. He even catches up with Adweek cover boy (and sometime professional goalkeeper) Tim Howard.

    The original film was great, but this one might be even better. It's even more packed with jokes, most of which hit the mark, and Sudeikis has settled even more comfortably into the role of clueless buffoon.

    This is one wanker you don't mind spending a little more time with.

    NBC Sports' EPL coverage returns for another season on Aug. 16.

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    Nike has a habit of picking its players up—with tribute ads—after major injuries. The brand did so with Kobe Bryant in 2013, and it has now released the inspiring ad above for Paul George following his gruesome leg injury a week ago.

    The theme of the Wieden + Kennedy ad is the dreadful uncertainty—short term and long term—that followed George's open-leg fracture. But the final lines of the ad put the 24-year-old Indiana Pacers star firmly on the path to recovery.

    "Without the setbacks, the comebacks aren’t as sweet," the brand wrote on Twitter. George hasn't acknowledged the ad directly, but on that score, he certainly seems to agree.

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    The lull following Elliott Management becoming Interpublic Group’s third-largest shareholder has been filled in recent weeks with swirling rumors about who might buy the No. 4 holding company.

    The banter persists even though Elliott, an activist hedge fund run by Paul Singer, has yet to even meet with IPG CEO Michael Roth, three weeks after amassing 28.3 million shares of IPG’s stock, according to sources.

    What’s fueling chatter about potential buyers is that Wall Street sees industry consolidation as inevitable, despite the May collapse of the megamerger of Publicis and Omnicom. Also, even before Elliott took its 6.7 percent stake, IPG was a likely target, given its place in the middle of the ad pack.

    “The advantages to consolidation are so substantial that Interpublic is the place that all roads lead to,” said Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group. “They have a lot of strategic assets, and they’re not in a position themselves to be an inquirer.”

    What follows is a closer look at the pros and cons of IPG’s most plausible potential bidders:

    Publicis Groupe
    We’re No. 2! Combined, IPG and Publicis would generate more than $16 billion in revenue and employ some 106,000 staffers, which still would be smaller than market leader WPP but larger than second place holder Omnicom. While not as big a deal as l’affair Omnicom, it would be a takeover, not a “merger of equals.” So, Publicis could put its people in the top jobs without having to negotiate with the other company, as it did, fruitlessly, with Omnicom. There are also client synergies, as Publicis and IPG both work for General Motors, L’Oréal and Nestlé. Still, would Publicis pay the top dollar that IPG (and Elliott) would no doubt seek?

    An IPG deal would be a big step up for Dentsu, the current No. 5 ad player, which with IPG would supplant Publicis as No. 3. IPG plus Dentsu would have more than $13 billion in revenue and about 82,000 employees. Collectively, their media agency portfolio would rival WPP’s, with a half-dozen units, including Carat, UM and Initiative. In short, after years of fits and starts, Tokyo-based Dentsu would become a bona fide global leader with agencies in all major markets. That said, this deal would be twice the size of Dentsu’s purchase of Aegis Group and would require a sizeable percentage of cash. Too rich for Dentsu’s blood?

    Wild Cards
    Behemoths like IBM and Accenture that have invested modestly in marketing services would suddenly become big players in advertising. And both could easily afford IPG, with revenue of $7.1 billion and a market capitalization of $8.2 billion at last week’s share price of more than $19. (In contrast, IBM and Accenture generated revenue of $27 billion and $28 billion, respectively, last year.) Still, why would IBM in particular, after years of shedding lower-margin units, add a company that’s people-heavy and has an industry lagging operating margin of just 9.3 percent?

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    IDEA: "There is something always a bit funny about the past's version of the future," said Anthony Sperduti, executive creative director at Partners & Spade.

    For Sperduti, going back to the earnest, wide-eyed wonder of '60s sci-fi was the perfect way to introduce a truly ultra-modern product like Normal's 3-D printed earphones, which are custom made to fit each user's ears (the right earbud will even differ slightly from the left).

    Normal, whose founder Nikki Kaufman had liked Spade's work for Warby Parker, gave the agency a simple brief: Position the earphones as completely unique.

    And so, the two-minute launch spot is unique as well, featuring a pitchman who explains the product while walking backward from an underground bunker to a secret lab, where a frizzy-haired "ear tailor" designs the earphones while duct-taped to a wall.

    "It started off as a joke of how these were made in our first meeting," said Sperduti, "and we ran with it."

    COPYWRITING: The spot opens with a close-up of the pitchman's left ear. "Cartilaginous. Fleshy. Flappy. Wondrous," he says, as retro-futuristic electronic music starts up and the man begins his long walk out of a spacious office. ("The creative director, Griffin Creech, had read that it's how the tours at the Pentagon were given, so it seemed apt to apply that to this," Sperduti said of why he walks backwards.)

    "What you may not realize is that your ears are quite unlike anyone else's," the pitchman says. "Completely unique, in fact. Which is why we created this." He then explains how the Normal app works: You send photos of your ears to the company, and it sends back earbuds "formed to the exact specifications of those special places affixed to either side of your head."

    Who, exactly, does the forming? Near the end, we meet the "ear tailor," who licks his finger, wiggles it around in the pitchman's ear and inserts an earbud. "And it fits like a damn glove," the pitchman says, suddenly slack-jawed.

    The spot then shifts to close-ups of colorful, differently shaped earbuds spinning against a black background. "Introducing Normal," the pitchman says in voiceover. "Custom 3-D print earphones exquisitely tailored to your earhole."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Smuggler director Jun Diaz shot the spot in one long day in Prague. "We really wanted to keep the Eastern European touches, like his glasses and suit, making this startup brand almost feel 'international,' " said Sperduti.

    The film has a greenish grade. Other vintage touches include a Doctor Who-like scene when the pitchman emerges from what looks like the top of a missile silo into a barren landscape.

    "The best part of a project like this is to pull as much arcane reference and imagery from all types of sources when building out a world. We all had fun imagining and researching the most 'un-tech' environment for these very advanced earphones to be made in," Sperduti said.

    "Normal was definitely one of the wildest projects that I've seen in recent years, in the most positive way," added editor Akiko Iwakawa of Cut + Run. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the dailies."

    TALENT/SOUND: The main actor is London based, "and very much in the school of English acting," said Sperduti. "It was fun to have someone take such a ridiculous idea so seriously."

    The soundtrack also has a '60s sci-fi vibe, with a touch of '80s tech-company "industrial" videos as well.

    MEDIA: The spot is running online only, though it could reach paid media in future.


    Client: Normal
    Spot: "Ear Tailor"

    Agency: Partners & Spade
    Executive Creative Director: Anthony Sperduti
    Creative Directors: Griffin Creech, Christine Gignac
    Producer: Gulshan Jeffrey

    Production Company: Smuggler LA
    Director: Jun Diaz
    Executive Producer: Lisa Tauscher
    Producer: Ray Leakey

    Editorial Company: Cut + Run
    Editor: Akiko Iwakawa
    Assistant Editor: Adam Bazadona
    Executive Producer: Raná Martin
    Producer: Melati Pohan

    Color Correct: Company 3
    Colorist: Damien Van der Cruyssen
    Producer: Katie Andrews

    VFX/Conform/Online Facility: Cut + Run
    Online Editor: Joseph Grosso
    Assistant Editor: Matthew Dolven
    Online Producer: Julia Williams

    Audio Post: Heard City
    Mixer: Cory Melious

    Sound Design/Music Production Company: Q Department
    Sound Designer/Composer: Drazen Bosnjak

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    Apple has had its ups and downs in advertising lately. But one recent unqualified creative success—last year's much-loved "Misunderstood" holiday spot—waltzed off with the 2014 Emmy Award for best commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday.

    The spot, created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab and directed by Lance Acord of Park Pictures, shows a teen at Christmas who seems anti-socially glued to his iPhone, though it turns out it's for heartwarming reasons. It beat out four other nominees for the prize. Two of them were Super Bowl ads by Anomaly for Budweiser—"Hero's Welcome" and "Puppy Love." The other two were BBDO's "Childlike Imagination" for GE and Wieden + Kennedy's "Possibilities" for Nike.

    See all five spots below.

    The results are a reversal from the Cannes Lions festival where "Possibilities" won gold in Film while "Misunderstood" took silver. The Emmys, though, are known for rewarding big crowd pleasers. The GE spot was shortlisted in Film Craft at Cannes but didn't win. Neither Bud ad was shortlisted in any category.

    Last year's Emmy winner was Grey's "Inspired" spot for Canon. Before that, W+K won four Emmys in a row—for Procter & Gamble's "Best Job" (2012), Chrysler's "Born of Fire" (2011), Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" (2010) and Coca-Cola's "Heist" (2009).

    2014 Emmy Awards - Outstanding Commercial

    Winner: Apple, "Misunderstood"
    Ad Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
    Production Company: Park Pictures

    : Budweiser, "Hero's Welcome"
    Ad Agency: Anomaly
    Production Company: HSI Productions

    : Budweiser, "Puppy Love"
    Ad Agency: Anomaly
    Production Company: RSA

    : GE, "Childlike Imagination"
    Ad Agency: BBDO
    Production Company: MJZ

    : Nike, "Possibilities"
    Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
    Production Company: MJZ

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    Life in Thailand is pretty meaningful, judging by the heartrending commercials the country produces. Companies like TrueMove and Thai Life Insurance have been rolling out masterful long-form spots about the deeper meaning of existence for several years. And now, the latter returns with a lovely little story about the power of music.

    The spot is about a boy who's bullied, at first, for his clumsy attempts at playing guitar. As usual with these things, it's best not to reveal too much about the plot beforehand. So, watch below—and shield your watery eyes from co-workers. Agency: Ogilvy & Mather.

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    Gatorade must think its customer base is too big, as the brand's new ad campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day shows people in convenience stores being denied the sports beverage unless they're actively sweating.

    Eight hidden-camera style videos are anchored by Rob Belushi (son of Jim), who plays the deadpan store clerk doing the denying—explaining to the customers that they have to "sweat it to get it" (the campaign's tagline) and "burn some to earn some."

    Peyton Manning and Cam Newton then make cameos—the former as the ostensible manager of the store, the latter as a fellow customer.

    The agency says the campaign was shot on location at an actual convenience store with over 15 hidden cameras and directed by Jody Hill of Eastbound & Down fame. (Hill also directed the new Dodge Dart campaign out of Wieden + Kennedy.)

    "Gatorade was invented to replace what athletes sweat out. So the intent was to create something that might cause someone who reaches for a Gatorade to think, 'Hold up…have I earned this?' " says Brent Anderson, ecd at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles.

    "Sweat it to get it" signage will appear in more than half of all Gatorade convenience store retail locations through the NFL preseason and regular season. Presumably no one who's dry to the touch will actually be turned away.

    Client: Gatorade
    Chief Marketing Officer: Morgan Flatley
    Senior Director, Consumer Engagement: Molly Carter
    Marketing Director: Jamie Davies
    Manager, Branded Entertainment: Nancy Laroche
    Senior Director, Sports Marketing: Jeff Kearney
    Director, Sports Marketing: Tom Prochaska

    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
    Chief Creative Officer: Stephen Butler
    Executive Creative Director: Brent Anderson
    Global Creative Director: Jayanta Jenkins
    Senior Art Director: Dave Estrada
    Senior Copywriter: Nick Ciffone
    Copywriter: Nick Cohen
    Art Director: Jon Soto
    Director Of Production: Brian O'Rourke
    Senior Producer: Tim Newfang
    Managing Director: Peter Ravailhe
    Branded Entertainment Manager: Marc Johns
    Sports Marketing Manager: Erika Buder
    Project Manager: Parker Adame
    Associate Brand Manager: Ralph Lee
    Group Planning Director: Scott MacMaster
    Planning Director: Martin Ramos
    Planner: Rebecca Harris
    Junior Planner: Katie Acosta
    Junior Planner: Matt Bataclan
    Director Of Business Affairs: Linda Daubson
    Executive Business Affairs Manager: Lisa Lipman
    Talent Payment Manager: Mirielle Smith
    Director, Traffic Operations: Dessiah Maxwell
    Broadcast Traffic: Jerry Neill

    Production Company: Caviar Content
    Director: Jody Hill
    Executive Producer: Luke Ricci
    Producer: Brian Quinlan
    Production Designer: Mark Snelgrove
    Director Of Photography: Michael Svitak
    Managing Partner: Michael Sagol

    Editorial Company: HutchCo Technologies
    Editor: Jim Hutchins
    Assistant Editor: Joaquin Machado
    EP: Jane Hutchins

    Postproduction: The Mill, Los Angeles
    Sr. Executive Producer Sue Troyan
    EP: Enca Kaul
    Producer: Kiana Bicoy
    Production Coordinator: Jillian Lynes
    2D Lead Artist: Robin McGloin
    2D Lead Artist: Scott Wilson
    2D Lead Artist: Patrick Munoz
    2D Lead Artist: Scott Johnson
    Colorist: Nick Sanders

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    Who turned out the lights?

    Tim Hortons and JWT Toronto plunged customers at one of the coffee and donut chain's Quebec locations into inky darkness for a prank introducing a new dark roast coffee blend.

    When unwitting patrons arrived, they found the L'Île-Perrot store completely covered in black-out material, even the windows. Dark vehicles were parked out front to heighten the mystery. Those who ventured inside bumped into a dude wearing night-vision goggles, who led them to a counter where dark roast was served and the gag revealed.

    Goggles Guy looks pretty creepy, and unlike the hammy, self-aware fright reactions we've seen in some "scary" ad pranks, the squeals of shock and surprise at Tim Hortons seem genuine.This is the client's second large-scale, Twilight Zone-ish effort of late. In May, it meticulously recreated its first shop from 1964, interior and exterior, in minute detail (see below)—even bringing back the original employees as servers.

    Both the time machine and darkness stunts have generated lots of attention (the latter is approaching 700,000 YouTube views in four days). Still, such shenanigans seem like an awful lot to digest before you've had your morning joe.

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    Advertising is easy. You can sell anything you want nowadays if you just pick up a camera, press record and then upload the results to the internet. Music? No problem! Just get your friend to beatbox over the video. So simple.

    What is not easy is getting people to go to malls. East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Mo., needed some summer traffic in its glorious shopping paradise, so it made its own spot. 

    The commercial really has everything you need: actors, props, a soundtrack! I can't think of anything else that would make it better. Take a look below.

    Sure, some might call it the worst local commercial ever made. I call it perfect.

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    Earlier this year, Coca-Cola rolled out its first TV spot made completely with user-generated content. Now, it's Miller Lite's turn to shine the spotlight on its fans.

    Back in May, the beer brand launched a summertime #ItsMillerTime campaign, in which it used packaging, promoted tweets and its social channels to ask people for their best summer photos—with cameos by the retro-cool Miller Lite cans, of course.

    The brand says nearly 180,000 photos were submitted. (It further claims that #ItsMillerTime has been the No. 2 branded hashtag on Twitter since May 7, trailing only Adidas's #allin).

    The brand liked seven of the fan photos in particular and featured them prominently in the new national TV spot below, which breaks early this week. (A few dozen shots more are compiled in a collage at the end of the ad, but only the seven get full-screen treatment.)

    They're all fun snapshots—not particularly compelling, but "relatable," as they say. And as for the wedding couple—more power to you.

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    On Monday, we posted Miller Lite's new national TV spot, featuring a handful of fan photos selected from some 180,000 gathered through the immensely successful #ItsMillerTime hashtag campaign.

    Now, with impeccable timing, Newcastle is here to call bollocks on the whole idea.

    The British brewer, known for its anti-marketing marketing, just launched its own hashtag campaign, #NewcastleAdAid, in which it's also asking for fan snapshots—and promises to use the wonders of Photoshop to turn them into really shoddy-looking ads.

    Why the sudden embrace of low-cost user-generated content? Because it blew its marketing budget on celebs for the Super Bowl and the Fourth of July.

    "Newcastle recognized it needed more 'engaging social content' to keep all of its new followers interested, but this lazy branded content wasn't going to make itself," the brand tells AdFreak. "Newcastle definitely is not the first brand to ask fans to post photos on social media to 'build a stronger community' and whatnot, but Newcastle definitely is the best at turning those photos into into obvious, exaggerated, poorly executed ads."

    Here's the pitch video from Droga5, running on Twitter and Facebook:

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    Aaron Paul was just going on about how he misses playing Jesse Pinkman. Well, he gets a bit of a Breaking Bad fix here by reuniting with Bryan Cranston for this amusing comedic short from Audi for next Monday's Emmy Awards.

    Cranston and Paul once again play colleagues in a sketchy trade, though this time, instead of cooking blue meth, they're running a pawn shop together. The video also stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus—that makes three Emmy winners—who tries to pawn her 1996 Emmy (for playing Elaine on Seinfeld) to help pay for a private island she's bought in a fit of Celine Dion envy.

    The video was produced by PMK-BNC and written and directed by Paulilu (the comedy team behind Dollar Shave Club's viral launch video as well as last year's great Spock vs. Spock ad for Audi with Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy).

    "We knew we had a great concept, a winning team and a client, Audi, who understood the value of this type of content," says Joseph Assad, executive producer at PMK-BNC. "We flew in face of convention by putting out a video at six minutes, but with the high-caliber acting and the quality of the idea, we knew we could push some boundaries."

    The whole thing is pretty hilarious—particularly the sly nod to Walter White and Mr. Pinkman at the end.

    UPDATE: Were the creators perhaps inspired by an actual episode of Pawn Stars Las Vegas in which a guy tries to sell a Grammy Award?

    Client: Audi
    Executive Producer: Joseph Assad, PMK·BNC
    Featuring: 2015 Audi S3
    Written and Directed by: Paulilu (Paul W. Downs & Lucia Aniello)
    Producer: Jake Cassidy
    DP: Chris Westlund
    Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    Hashtag: #BarelyLegalPawn
    Audi Twitter Handle: @Audi

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    If you ever hoped to pretend your phone were a fish or an aquatic plant, Sony would like to present its Xperia Z1S.

    The brand, along with Wieden + Kennedy and development partners Motim and SoftFacade, is demonstrating the phone's waterproof technology by developing apps designed to be used in and under the water.

    A new feature on the phone uses ultrasound to sense when the phone is submerged. A handful of 30-second videos (directed by Sean Pecknold of Society) demonstrate the apps, which capitalize on that detection technology in ways unusual, somewhat amusing and mostly frivolous.

    One of the apps is "Goldie," an on-screen fish that flops around like it's dying when you take the phone out of the water. Another is "Plantimal," a modern cross between a Tomagotchi and a Grow Monster. There's also "Rainy-oke" for, quite literally, singing in the rain, as proven by a drag queen performing Cyndi Lauper.

    "Photo Lab" mimics the process of developing photos by hand, in an extra cutesy twist of the knife to a practice all but eradicated by the digital age. "Sink Sunk" offers perhaps the funniest and most practical application of the water detection technology: It's a simple game for when you're bored and cranky, hanging out in your kiddie pool.

    That's it, at least so far. The brand is making the source code for the feature available via Github, so other developers can play with different uses, too.

    In the meantime, it's a reasonably fun way for Sony to promote waterproofing, even though that feature is not unique to the smartphone manufacturer or model. And it fits well enough into the art-meets-engineering motif of the brand's "Be Moved" platform, launched with W+K early this year—even if it does feel a little heavier on the engineering part.

    The brand recommends you avoid submerging your phone for more than 30 minutes at a time, though. Just in case you were planning to take it on a nice long scuba dive.

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    When was the last time you saw an ad for a TV provider and thought to yourself, "Wow, this is enjoyable," rather than, "Oh my God, I hate you, stop trying to take all my money, and by the way I'm shocked that your service is actually working long enough for me to see this ad"?

    Never? Well, then you've never seen this spot from McCann and MRM for Verizon FiOS starring the delightful Craig Robinson.

    Robinson, who also stars in the new Dodge Dart ads, is one of those actors who's virtually impossible not to like, assuming you're not a sociopath. (Regardless of how over The Office you were by Season 9, Darryl Philbin was never not endearing.) He's also an excellent song stylist, as evidenced by his roles in films like This Is the End (even Rihanna was taken by his original ballad, "Take Yo Panties Off") and the classic Hot Tub Time Machine (in which he manages to make the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started" considerably less terrible).

    So, what better way for Verizon to promote its FiOS Quantum TV service than to have Robinson sing about it in a mock infomercial for a CD compilation?

    In songs like "Record Your Heart Out" and "I Save Every Show About Hoarders," Robinson drops not-so-subtle hints about his DVR capacity (200 hours) and the number of Hoarders episodes he has saved (167 and counting). Even without audio previews, the titles of other tunes like "Girl, I'm 'Bout to Binge With You" and "Damn, Fishing Gets All Dangerous" speak for themselves. In Robinson's smooth voice, that is. Which you will never, ever, ever want to stop listening to.

    Verizon, incidentally, doesn't even really even need much of a reputation boost compared with its industry competitors. Seriously, just ask any Verizon customer (yours truly included) how they feel about the company, and you're likely to find a level of enthusiasm generally reserved for puppies or Jennifer Lawrence—although much of that goodwill probably comes by virtue of Verizon simply not being Comcast or Time Warner.

    Still, if you're going to run a legitimately funny ad campaign, it's undeniably a plus to know your customers aren't throwing blunt objects at the screen instead of laughing along.

    Client: Verizon FiOS

    Agency: McCann, MRM
    Global Creative Chairman: Rob Reilly
    Chief Creative Officers: Sean Bryan, Tom Murphy
    Group Creative Director, Copy: Jesse Potack
    Group Creative Director, Art: Benjamin Vendramin
    Creative Director: Doug D’Arrigo
    Associate Creative Director, Copy: Justin Feinstein
    Associate Creative Director, Art: Dai Tran
    Senior Art Director: Bill Chamberlin
    Copy: Nick Morgan
    Senior Integrated Producer: Meredith Rizzardi
    Executive Producer: Alice Mintzer
    Producer: Shelley Giera

    Director: Randy Krallman
    Production Company: Smuggler
    Editor: Miky Wolf
    Editing Company: Big Sky
    Mix Studio: Sonic Union
    Sound Mixer: Paul Weiss

    Music by JSM Music
    Post/GFX: Charlex

    Group Account Director: Michael Goldstein
    Account Directors: Nicole Witover, Jennifer Prieto
    Management Supervisor: Brynn Todesco

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    Ikea is really going down the rabbit hole to promote its new catalog, and it wants to take you along for the ride.

    The brand has launched a campaign from Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors (maker of Volvo Trucks' "Epic Split") in which it claims to hypnotize visitors to one of its stores, and then use actors to trick them into believing they are living in their own future bedrooms and bathrooms with their future family.

    In the first episode, one couple's future turns out to be particularly bleak. Their daughter turns out to be a spoiled brat who develops a troubling romance in her teen years with her yoga teacher. At least the furniture and fixtures are nice and affordable, though.

    Justin Tranz, a longtime Las Vegas stage entertainer who also starred in a Playboy TV show The Extreme Truth, does the hypnotizing, puppeteering the man and woman into various encounters with their feral offspring, and discussing his process in a sit-down interview with an Ikea salesman named Fred.

    The ads have a certain charm to them, in part because the hypnosis is quite unconvincing, in part because of the evergreen schadenfreude of watching anyone trying to parent an adolescent, and in part because of the hapless father character's enthusiastic lines (even if the dunce dad is a stereotype other ads have bucked in recent years).

    In other words, it's an offbeat path even for Ikea, which doesn't tend to shy away from getting personal or weird. (Check out Wes Anderson's ads for the brand.) It could seem odd that Ikea consumers are portrayed as easily manipulated chumps, but it's ultimately all in good fun—basically a sitcom with an reality-style interview component. Maybe not unlike Modern Family, with a hint of Arrested Development and a mystical twist.

    The campaign—whose focus is bedrooms and bathrooms, to which Ikea is paying extra attention this year—supports the global launch of the new Ikea catalog. This year's theme: "Where the everyday begins and ends."

    But really, what we want to know is whether Ikea furniture is any easier to put together in the future. Though unfortunately, the fact we're even asking must mean the brand has brainwashed us, too.

    Client: Ikea
    Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors

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    There was major media hubbub earlier this year about the death of the "Got milk?" campaign. But while it's no longer being used nationally by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), it's still very much alive in California, where it originated with the California Milk Processor Board.

    And now, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which created the legendary tagline back in 1993, is launching new "Got milk?" work in an unusual partnership with Grupo Gallegos, which created the "Toma leche" campaign—and acknowledging that milk sales have been in decline for years.

    "Milk is losing relevance, and sales have been in decline as family life and diets have changed," GSP says. To re-establish milk as the right choice for families, the two agencies have partnered on a campaign "that highlights how a person's future self is determined by the nutritional choices he or she makes today—starting, of course, with milk."

    The agencies are approaching California as one whole market to deliver bilingual work that appeals to all consumers, regardless of ethnicity. The campaign launched Wednesday with two spots, each airing in English and Spanish, that couldn't be more different.

    "Champion," directed by Dummy's Harold Einstein, is an amusingly quirky set piece that takes place in a grocery store. "Brave," meanwhile, directed by Anonymous Content's Armando Bo, presents a much more emotional appeal by showing a firefighter rescuing a family.

    "It's time to start addressing the California market on the basis of things we all share," GSP chairman Jeff Goodby said in a statement. "California consumers are extremely diverse but when it comes to wanting what's best for our children and their future, we are one united front. This campaign embraces every parents' personal desire, which is preparing our children for a successful and healthy future." Credits below.

    Client: California Milk Processor Board
    Campaign: Milk Fuels A Better Future
    Spots: "Champion," "Brave"

    Agencies: Grupo Gallegos and Goodby Silverstein & Partners

    Executive Creative Director: Jeff Goodby
    Chief Strategy Officer: Andrew Delbridge
    Chief Creative Officer: Marty Orzio

    Creative Director: Eric Kallman/Kate Catalinac
    Associate Creative Directors: Saul Escobar/Curro Chozas
    Copywriter: Simon Bruyn
    Art Director: Andrew Livingston

    —Spot: "Champion"
    Head of Broadcast Production– Tod Puckett
    Senior Broadcast Producer: Leila Seghrouchni

    Production Company: Dummy
    Director: Harold Einstein
    DP: Jonathan Freeman
    Executive Producer: Eric Liney
    Line Producer: Eric Liney

    Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
    Editor: Dave Anderson
    Ass. Editor: Mark Popham
    Producer: Fanny Cruz
    Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
    Managing Partner: Damian Stevens

    VFX / Final Conform: The Mill
    Executive Producer: Sr. EP: Sue Troyan & EP: Jo Arghiris
    Producer: Adam Reeb
    Shoot Supervisor: Tara DeMarco
    3D Lead Artist: Tara DeMarco
    2D Artists: Timothy Crabtree, Jake Albers
    2D Artists: Lu Meng-Yang, Mike Di Nocco, Matt Neapolitan
    Colorist: Greg Reese
    Art Department: Jeff Langlois & Ashley Forbito

    Music: Butter
    Composer: Josh Canevari
    EP: Ian Jeffreys
    Senior Producer: Annick Mayer

    SFX/Mix: Barking Owl
    Sound Design and Mix:  Barking Owl
    Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
    Mixer:  Brock Babcock
    Producer: Whitney Fromholtz
    Executive Producer: Kelly Bayett

    —Spot: "Brave"
    Head of Production: Carlos Barciela
    Producer: Valeria Maldini

    Production Company: Anonymous Content
    Director: Armando Bo
    Editorial: Luna Post
    Editor: Pablo Piriz
    Telecine: The Mill

    Original music composed by Elias Arts 
    Executive Creative Director: Brent Nichols
    Creative Director: Dave Gold
    Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
    Producer: Katie Overcash

    Sound Design: TruLove Post
    Sound Designer: Gonzalo Ugarteche

    Visual Effects: The Mill LA
    Sr. Executive Producer: Sue Troyan
    Executive Producer: Enca Kaul
    Producer: Adam Reeb
    Production Coordinator- Kris Drenzek
    Shoot Supervisor: Bill Higgins
    2D Lead: Bill Higgins
    2D Artists: Steve Cokonis, Robert Murdock, Patrick Munoz, Jale Parsons
    3D Artists: Phil Mayer, Jason Jansky
    Colorist: Adam Scott
    Art Support: Jeff Langlois, Ashley Forbito

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    This Honda Civic campaign by Wieden + Kennedy London is cool. And pretty warm, too.

    The centerpiece is an engaging 30-second film that shows the freezing and thawing of a Civic on a stylized desert set. This dramatically illustrates that the the automaker tests its vehicles at temperatures ranging from -22°F to +176°F. (This is helpful in case you're planning a road trip from the North Pole to Hell.)

    The tagline for the pan-European campaign is: "Reliability in the extreme."

    Delightful details include a cowboy skeleton that morphs into a snowman and a rolling tumbleweed/snowball. According to a post on W+K's blog, the agency (and Johnny Hardstaff, who directed through RSA Films) encased the car in ice and let it melt over five hours—filming 200 takes using a motion-control rig, with 3-D enhancements providing the skeleton's transformation and other effects.

    An interactive version is in the works that will allow users to control temperature changes and see the results. I wish they'd let us melt the Civic into a plastic-metal soup, then freeze it until it explodes into sparkling, razor-sharp shards of ice. Now that would be some fancy branding!

    Nissan also recently launched ads that show the temperature testing of its vehicles. Though with Poison's Bret Michaels performing a power-schlock version of "Endless Love," that campaign is extreme for entirely different reasons.

    Check out a print ad from the campaign below.

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    Feminine hygiene brand Carefree has released some videos from DDB Sydney promoting its new website, and they're absolutely 100 percent not your typical feminine hygiene ads.

    No mysterious blue liquid being poured onto a maxi pad. No woman in white walking along the beach looking unreasonably elated for someone who's supposedly on day two of her period. Instead, the spots feature three different hosts—Harmony Freebush, Fanny Glitterwinkle and Stefan Van Der Blöed—who monologue emphatically about different aspects of vaginal care.

    One is devoted entirely to vagina names. The hosts and their monologues are all ridiculous (that's the point) and end with the on-screen text: "Really? For a more real take on [vaginas, periods, tampons, fill-in-the-blank], visit carefree.com.au."

    The videos range from funny to ridiculous to "watching a sex scene with your parents in the room" cringey. Stefan Van Der Blöed and his turtleneck get my vote for best videos, but you'll have to watch them all and decide for yourself which is best.

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    The State Farm-meister wants to pump … you up!

    The insurer has found some amusing brand endorsers deep in the Saturday Night Live vaults, as '90s characters Hans & Franz (Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey) and Richmeister (Rob Schneider) will star in the new Discount Double Check campaign.

    Launching Sunday on the MTV Video Music Awards, the campaign by DDB Chicago will include four new TV spots as well as what the company is calling a "huge digital and social branded content push."

    Aaron Rodgers, who has worked with State Farm for three years, will appear in two of the four spots. But the campaign is aimed at a broader general market, while still appealing to the football/sports audience.

    The campaign is the result of a new relationship between State Farm and Lorne Michaels' media and entertainment company, Broadway Video Entertainment (BVE), and its Saturday Night Live properties. SNL is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

    Check out the first spot from the campaign, and credits, below. The Hans & Franz spots will roll out later.

    Client: State Farm
    Agency: DDB Chicago
    Chief Creative Officer: John Maxham
    Group Creative Directors: Barry Burdiak, John Hayes
    Chief Digital Officer: Joe Cianciotto
    Group Strategy Director: Gustavo de Mello
    Group Business Director: Penn French
    Director of Production: Diane Jackson
    Executive Producer: Scott Kemper
    Producer: Luke LiManni
    Director: Hank Perlman, Hungry Man
    Editing: Cutters (Grant Gustafson, Matt Walsh, Aaron Kiser, Patrick Casey)
    Finishing: Filmworkers (Rob Churchill, Daniel Pernikoff, Derek de Board)

    Creative Directors, Art Directors: Kurt Riemersma, Mike Porritt, Andrew Bloom
    Creative Directors, Copywriters: Matt Ben Zeev, Frank Oles, Nathan Monteith
    Art Director: Chris Bruney
    Copywriter: Nick Novich

    —Hans & Franz
    Creative Directors, Art Directors: Brian Boord, Andrew Bloom
    Creative Directors, Copywriter: Chad Broude, Nathan Monteith
    Art Director: Chris Bruney


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