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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    0 0

    Arnold has enlisted a Chris McDonald (circa Thelma and Louise) doppelganger to tout the taste of water filtered with PUR.

    The new spots feature Arthur Tweedie, a self-proclaimed water critic, and his milquetoast assistant Dave. Tweedie's alternately eager and surly demeanor (the actor really goes full camp) is somewhat endearing, but the effort feels perhaps a little too wink wink nudge nudge. Still, the ads, which are the first for the brand since 2008, are quite educational.

    Oh, and like any self-proclaimed spokesman, Tweedie's got himself a blog.

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    Jean-Claude Van Damme is still ice cold, but also still not as frosty as a Coors Light, says the brewer.

    It's been more than two years since the Gen X icon philosophized about his tight, frozen pants and post-coital penguin walks, from a snowy mountaintop, for the brand. Now, in another U.K. ad, he's returned to the summit to talk less, and do more—namely, build an entire lodge out of ice, mostly with his bare hands.

    There's no easy way dissociate Van Damme from Volvo Trucks, given their collaboration on one of the most popular commercials of the past year. Even if Coors Light was working with him first, it still casts something of a shadow over the brewer's message.

    But like "Epic Split," the new beer spot—directed by Rattling Stick's Daniel Kleinman—plays mainly on Van Damme's own brand. Instead of straddling a pair of moving tractor trailers, he uses his ponytail as a hitch to drag a sled loaded with large ice blocks, and his high kick to chisel an incredibly detailed likeness of a taxidermy buffalo head. In other words, complete with super '80s montage music, it's nicely done (despite the fact that any epic beer action commercial is likely to knack a little of Hahn's SuperDry masterpiece, too).

    To Coors Light's (and agency VCCP's) credit, the brand is also promising to construct real-life versions of the ice bars at three locations in Europe—London, Manchester and in Austria. It's hard to imagine them approaching Van Damme's master craft, though.

    It's also tricky not to wonder how Chuck Norris would have handled the challenge.

    Client: Coors Light
    Agency: VCCP, UK
    Agency Producer: Andy Leahy
    Creative Director: Jim Capp
    Copywriter: Jermaine Hillman
    Art Director: Paul Kocur
    Planners: George Everett, Sandie Dilger
    Media Agency: ZenithOptimedia
    Media Planners: Guy Edwards, Aidan O’Callaghan
    Production Company: Rattling Stick
    Director: Daniel Kleinman
    Postproduction: Framestore
    Executive Producer/Producer: Johnnie Frankel
    Editor: Julian Tranquille, Cut & Run
    Sound: Sam Ashwell, 750mph
    Music: Wake the Town

    0 0

    Is it controversial to be a CEO in your underwear?

    Many brands have been changing the way they use models in their ads lately. Several have promised not to airbrush models, and one used only women with PhDs for a campaign.

    Now, underwear brand Dear Kate—which has long used nontraditional models of all sizes for lookbooks and web images—is featuring prominent female tech-company founders and CEOs in their underwear for a new line called the Ada Collection (named for 19th century tech pioneer Ada Lovelace).

    Critics say the campaign is a step back in the fight for women to be taken seriously, especially in a field known for being dominated by men. "Presenting yourself undressed has inherently sexual overtones, and undermines being seen as a serious technologist," Elissa Shevinsky, CEO of Glimpse Labs, tells Time magazine.

    But Dear Kate CEO Julie Sygiel says this isn't your typical Victoria's Secret spread. "I think a lot of traditional lingerie photo shoots depict women as simply standing there looking sexy. They're not always in a position of power and control," she says. "In our photo shoots it's important to portray women who are active and ambitious. They're not just standing around waiting for things to happen."

    Personally, I don't think women CEOs posing in their underwear is something worth clutching our pearls over. The lookbook includes smart, successful women, and the variety (women of color! plus-sized women! thin women!) doesn't feel like an afterthought. At the same time, the ads are certainly odd. Women coding together in their underwear? What? (The inspirational quotes on many of the images also make them way too busy.)

    In the end, it misses the mark a bit, but points for doing something cool and different.

    0 0

    I love the smell of Hemnes in the morning.

    Some lucky Australians will soon wake up in an Ikea store in New South Wales after spending a night there as part of an oddball promotion with Airbnb.

    Interested parties can sign up on the lodging rental site for a chance to win a sleepover in one of three groovy showrooms: "Rustic Charm," "Inner City Living" and "Modern Elegance." Three groups of up to four guests will get to stay in the store overnight on Aug. 31, enjoy a fancy dinner and even keep the sheets they slept on. Local marketing shops The Monkeys and Mango helped devise the stunt.

    Ikea says the promotion is designed to inspire people to make more of their homes "from clearing and creating space to making homes guest ready in the sharing economy." Because nothing's better than taking in boarders to make ends meet. That rocks!

    Lots of folks would probably savor the chance to enjoy pre-assembled Ikea merchandise. I hope the contest winners gain a measure of revenge for consumers worldwide by going through the store and taking all the furniture apart.

    Clients: Ikea and Airbnb
    Creative Agency: The Monkeys
    Event: Mango
    PR: Mango and Espresso Communications

    0 0

    See this Gap ad with Anjelica Huston? How would you describe her look? Stylish? Sophisticated? Exceptional? Not according to Gap, which, as you can see, chooses a more unlikely word: Normal.

    "Finding your own version of 'Dress normal' is an art," Seth Farbman, Gap's global chief marketing officer, says of the brand's fall campaign from Wieden + Kennedy New York. "My normal is different from your normal, and that's the essence of the campaign."

    That's right, Gap is redefining the concept of normal from that of a collective norm to an individual belief. In other words, it now believes in normal relativism.

    I can only imagine the undergraduate philosophy courses they had to take before one of the creatives looked up and said, "There is no true normal. Normal is whatever's normal for you." And somebody replied, "Dude, mind blown."If you didn't read the nice press release and just looked at the ads, you might say to yourself, "Wait, is Gap saying if I dress in other brands' clothing, I'm going to look like a freak?" Well, yeah, they kind of are. Look at how normal and everyday these famous celebrities look in our clothes. They're just so down to earth and self-possessed. Driving out to the desert to watch planes take off just like ordinary people. Don't you want to be normal?

    From the press release: "The campaign is rooted in the same core values the brand has unapologetically stood for over the past 45 years—individualism and the liberation that comes from confidently being your most authentic self." So, apparently, normal now means liberating and individual.

    I think they're trying to say something even subtler: that selecting a wardrobe should bring you closer to an understanding of yourself. That when you pick out what you want to wear, you're not just showing the world who you are, you're crafting your own personal narrative that reassures and centers your notion of self—the normal you. And somehow, through buying shirts at Gap, you'll eventually achieve self-actualization.

    Again, the press release explains: " 'Dress Normal' boldly instructs individuals to shape their own authentic, personal style—and intentionally challenges every one of us to dress for ourselves."

    By doing the exact opposite.

    That's deep. Let's stare at these seagulls for a while and think about it.

    0 0

    Craigslist is not a place where you tend to find beautiful, creative, compelling advertising. It's almost all amateur ads, after all, and created within a fairly limiting framework.

    Still, we've seen what can happen when people do put a little effort into it. Whether you're pitching yourself as the perfect roommate or selling your crappy old Camry, a little ingenuity goes a long way in helping you stand out in Craiglist's mind-numbing sea of sameness.

    The recently opened Classify Advertising is dedicated to doing just that. It will take your terrible Craigslist ad and make it a brilliant Craigslist ad—for free!

    Classify, which bills itself as "the only agency that started with 80 million clients already," was started by three agency interns. Here's how they describe the business: "Classify moves products out the door. We turn your used junk into a pile of sweaty, hot lucre. It’s not our business what you do with all that bread. We transform Craigslist posts from boring, ineffective ads into dynamic cash cows. Cows that you can milk—for money."

    They've got a few before-and-after examples posted on the site. (We've posted some of them below.) We also caught up with the founders to ask how the service works—and what their plans are for ramping it up.

    Where did you get the inspiration for this?
    As ad school students, we were always told to make campaigns that sell real products. We just took it literally.

    You must feel aesthetics is a big part of the selling process.
    Not exactly. Strategy plays a big part in our startup. We take a client's request and transform it into a real brief that points out the qualities and flaws of a certain product. Making things visually attractive is equally important to strategy and attractive copy.

    Millions of things are bought and sold on Craiglist every day. If it ain't broke, why fix it?
    We agree that there's a big amount of transactions, and technically it's already successful, but there are a lot of people who can't get their product sold, and they come to us every day since we started Classify asking for help. We're not trying to improve Craigslist. We're improving the way people communicate to sell their own products.

    Isn't there a purity about how low-fi Craigslist ads are? Aren't you just putting lipstick on a pig?
    Craigslist ads are low-fi until people have to sell something there. A car, for example—they will wash and wax the car just to take tons of pictures of it to put it on the ad. They'll write a long description telling how resistant the car is and the mileage. Then that link will be everywhere on their social media, email, etc.

    Tell us how the process works. Can consumers approach you with their ad, and you make it sing?
    On our website there's a section where people can request an ad. We look at those requests and we transform it into a creative brief that will be given to a creative team. In some cases the post already exists, so we just create something based on that post.

    What's the turnaround time, and what's your fee?
    It takes one to three days to make a picture, a headline and body copy, and we do it for free.

    So, how do you make money? Or is it not a moneymaking venture?
    Craigslist doesn't make any money with [most of] its transactions, either. It wouldn't be fair to charge people.

    Are you making any money in other ways through this business?
    We're not making any money for ourselves. Some brands and business people approached us to present a business model that can work for us, but we're still just talking.

    Can the seller critique your designs and request changes?
    We don't usually do revisions unless there's an actual mistake in the ad.

    Do you have paying clients yet?
    The examples on the website are ads we proactively sent to people on Craigslist, but now we're getting around 30-plus ad requests a day.

    Are there are guidelines or limitations regarding items you can or can't sell?
    Each case is different, but we base it on ethics. We've got request from a guy selling a Civil War collectible gun. It would be pretty cool to sell it, but then we found out the gun still works and we decided not to make an ad for that person.

    There's a Careers section on your site, which suggests you expect to grow quickly. How will you do that?
    The Careers section is a place where volunteers can sign up to make ads to help people. We already have around 25 volunteers who signed up, but we selected only six for now who are getting briefs and helping us to deliver those ads to the clients.

    What's your dream Craigslist product you'd like to sell?
    A school bus. It's something huge that costs a lot of money, and it's a weird vehicle to own. We'd love to make a huge integrated campaign with videos, posts and even a microsite for something like that.

    Via PSFK. Top photo via Flickr.

    0 0

    When you have a .420 winning percentage, you come up with creative ways to put butts in seats. And Houston Astros pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh certainly didn't balk at the idea of giving advertising a shot in the form of this parody of last week's viral mall commercial from Missouri. 

    While the original spot was indeed bad on purpose, we're not sure what motivation these guys had in spoofing it. But it turns out to be a wonky inside-the-park home run in its own right. Take a look below, from MLB Fan Cave's YouTube Channel.

    0 0

    IDEA: What would Buzz Aldrin do? It depends on his underwear.

    He did impressive things in the '60s while wearing Jockey briefs—walking on the moon, for one. But imagine what he'd conquer today in more modern undergarments.

    Droga5 does just that in its first work for the brand. A new campaign focuses on the 138-year-old company's two big market differentiators—its product quality and its long, rich history—by telling true stories, with hyperbolic twists, of famous American men who wore the brand. (Babe Ruth and George S. Patton are the other heroes in the launch phase.)

    In the first 30-second spot, Aldrin (portrayed by a sprightly guy in a spacesuit) is comically seen planting the American flag in all sorts of planets while swatting aliens and asteroids aside. It's a fun way to meld past and present—to show the brand was reliable and relevant then, and is even more so today.

    "We're targeting millennials, and what we found is they appreciated the historical angle," said Dustin Cohn, CMO at Jockey International. "There's an honesty to this approach that really makes us look modern and contemporary and cool."

    COPYWRITING: "Jockey has supported legends like General Patton, Babe Ruth and Buzz Aldrin, who went to the moon," the voiceover begins, as we see images of the heroes in floating panels, like the beginning of a History Channel show. "But imagine if Buzz had worn today's Jockey underwear. He would have planted the flag on all the planets, giving America dibs on the entire Milky Way."

    We see him doing just that in a series of alien landscapes, from frozen to volcanic. "That's because Jockey is quality crafted to last longer, guaranteed," the narrator continues, over a rotating, stomach-to-thighs demo shot of a man in Jockey briefs.

    In the final shot, Aldrin javelins the flag into snowy ground as the voice speaks the on-screen tagline, "Supporting greatness."

    "We're really happy with those two words," said Droga5 chief creative officer Ted Royer. "It says we were supporting greatness in the past. It's also about greatness in the underwear category, and that we also support everybody throughout their day. There's a lot of room for fun and putting yourself into it ... We love the line as the flag that Jockey can fly from the top of their building."

    "Consumers got the triple entendre," said Cohn. "Literally, that we have a great product. Emotionally, that we've supported great men. And functionally, that our features and benefits support our great quality."

    ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Smuggler's Guy Shelmerdine, a master of both humor and visual style, directed. "We wanted it to be silly but also beautiful," Royer said. "When you look at the ice planet, for example. There's Buzz in the foreground saying, 'Dagnabbit!' But behind him is this sweeping vista. Which we think is exactly the right kind of humor. It's awesome and completely silly."

    The planet scenes are a mix of live action and computer graphics. "The incredibly hokey-looking alien is real, not CG, if you can believe it," joked Royer.

    "This tone and sense of humor is in keeping with what we've done for decades," said Cohn. "It isn't slapstick or silly or juvenile in any way."

    TALENT: The voiceover is patriotic yet tongue in cheek. "It's homespun and the voice of someone you'd want to hear a story from, but it had to be clear and not crazy," Royer said.

    SOUND: The sound is also high-low—inspiring music punctuated by goofy sound design. "Karate chops on the asteroids, which is like a bad kung fu movie, which we love," said Royer. "Or when the alien gets punched in the face—that's actually Ryan Raab, the writer, making the squealing alien noise. At this point, the History Channel show has gone totally off the rails."

    MEDIA: The spot broke last Monday on ESPN's Monday Night Football and will run on cable, supported by print and what Royer said will be "really great in-store and even some new product ideas." The agency is planning to produce Ruth and Patton spots, too.

    "We think this campaign could go for 10 years or more," said Royer. Added Cohn: "We're committed to this campaign beyond one season and beyond one year, for that matter." 



    Client: Jockey International Inc.
    Campaign: Supporting Greatness
    CMO: Dustin Cohn
    Integrated Marketing and Comms Director: Jessica Burns
    Advertising & Integrated Marketing Comms Manager: Pierrette Hazkial
    Spot: "Planets"
    Agency: Droga5 NY
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Group Creative Director: Scott Bell
    Senior Copywriter: Ryan Raab
    Senior Art Director: Dan Kenneally
    Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
    Broadcast Producer: Bill Berg
    Head of Brand Strategy: Teodor Florea
    Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy
    Senior Brand Strategist: Matt Gardner
    Digital Strategist: Nick Maschmeyer
    Account Director: Matt Ahumada
    Account Manager: Brett Niebling
    Production Company: Smuggler
    Director: Guy Shelmerdine
    DOP: Eric Schmidt
    Executive Producer: Allison Kunzman
    Producer: Michaela Johnson
    Editorial: Work Post
    Editor: Cass Vanini
    Assistant Editor: Trevor Myers
    Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Postproduction: The Mill
    Partners: Patrick Milling Smith / Brian Carmody
    Head of Production: Sean Costelloe
    Producer: Alex Fitzgerald
    2D Lead: Tomas Wall
    Colorist: Adam Scott
    Music: Q Department
    Sound: Sonic Union
    Mixer: David Papa

    Print Credits
    Agency: Droga5 NY
    Creative Chairman: David Droga
    Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
    Group Creative Director: Scott Bell
    Senior Copywriter: Ryan Raab
    Senior Art Director: Dan Kenneally
    Head of Integrated Production: Sally-Ann Dale
    Head of Art Production: Cliff Lewis
    Senior Art Producer: Julia Menassa
    Senior Print Producer: Joni Adams
    Retoucher: Rebecca Manson
    Head of Brand Strategy: Teodor Florea
    Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy
    Senior Brand Strategist: Matt Gardner
    Digital Strategist: Nick Maschmeyer
    Account Director: Matt Ahumada
    Account Manager: Brett Niebling
    Photographer Peter Hapak

    0 0

    John Malkovich plays a vampire in this amusing, cinematic spot from Buzzman promoting French streaming video service Canal Play. His character is also a bank manager. The fangs work either way.

    You don't need to understand French to get the message: This toothy dude loves movies and TV shows, and Canal Play delivers them via mobile or desktop.

    The Oscar-nominated actor's bald pate, pale complexion and powerful yet goofy presence lend themselves well to his prince of darkness portrayal, though he seems to have no qualms about stalking around in broad daylight. What joie de vivre! Or perhaps, joie de la mort!

    His résumé includes Shadow of the Vampire, an art-house/horror hybrid from more than a decade ago, though he didn't play a Nosferatu in that one.

    Canal properties have produced some notable ads, most famously "The Bear," a 2012 Cannes Grand Prix winner from BETC. The new 90-second spot doesn't quite rise to those comic heights. Still, a campy script, glossy effects and the star's idiosyncratic turn really bring this sucker to life.

    0 0

    Chair umpires in tennis have a thankless job. Sure, they have real work to do, but they spend much of their time babysitting the crowd—and sometimes even babysitting the players.

    As part of its sponsorship of the U.S. Open, which began Monday, Heineken recently gave New Yorkers—like it or not—a chance to feel like a real tennis umpire. It set up a U.S. Open umpire's chair in the midst of the always-hectic Union Square, and dared people to climb up and try to silence the crowd using the microphone.

    As you can see below, it wasn't easy. And it has a bit of a twist at the end.

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York.

    0 0

    You can't make this stuff up.

    Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player for Journey and writer of perhaps the band's biggest hit, "Don't Stop Believing," vacationed in Belize recently—and tweeted about what a fantastic experience it was.

    The Belize Tourism Board got wind of this, and with help from its ad agency, Olson, orchestrated an elaborate thank-you to Cain—in the form of a cover song, "Don't Stop Belizein." Popular local Belizean group The Laru Beya Boys recorded the song, which you can hear below.

    Olson and the Belize Tourism Board have collaborated on quirky campaigns in the past. Last year they offered free vacations to Vince Gilligan and eight members of the Breaking Bad cast—after the phrase "taking a trip to Belize" was used on the show as a euphemism for getting murdered.

    0 0

    The guy in this sublimely sophomoric spot for a Vancouver science museum should be in a world of hurt.

    Yet he smiles and shrugs off a nail through his shoe, a bitey dog, a neighborhood kid's expertly executed kick to the crotch and a couple of even more potentially painful (probably deadly) indignities. His resilience throughout his 30-second odyssey, promoting Science World at Telus World of Science, is explained at the end with a little scientific factoid. (The wimpy Walmart clown could learn a thing or two from this guy.)

    This latest installment in the client's "Now You Know" campaign from ad agency Rethink was deemed too violent for TV by the Television Bureau of Canada. Of course, that's the perfect formula for maximizing press coverage and interest on the Web.

    Among the campaign's many notable past efforts, you might recall these racy ads from 2012 that promoted a "Science of Sexuality" exhibit and scored significant media exposure.

    After 15 years on the business, Rethink's got this stuff down to a science.

    Credits below.

    Client: Science World
    Creative Agency: Rethink
    Creative Directors: Ian Grais, Chris Staples, Rob Tarry
    Art Director: Felipe Mollica
    Writer: Morgan Tierney
    Broadcast Producer (in house): DW
    Account Services: Solomon Gauthier
    Production Companies: OPC//FamilyStyle, Reco
    Director: Chris Woods
    Executive Producers: Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden, Liz Dussault, Michael Haldane
    Director of Photography: John Houtman
    Line Producer: Darrin Ball
    Postproduction House: Cycle Media
    Editors: Rob Doucet, Mathew Griffiths
    Audio House: Vapor Music
    Producer: Kailee Nowosad
    Engineer: Andrew Harris
    Visual Effects: Crush

    0 0

    Life Alert now takes its marketing very seriously. Maybe too seriously.

    Rather than just have its old commercials be the laughing stock of anyone who's ever seen them, the company is doing its best to scare the living crap out of everyone who watches TV.

    The new ad below ditches the brand's trademark testimonial cheesiness for straight up creepiness, with an old lady lying unnoticed in a heap at the bottom of a flight of stairs, screaming. It's quite disturbing, and a lot of viewers are leaving pissed-off comments on the brand's Facebook page.

    "My own grandmother fell and cracked her hip and we brought her to the hospital immediately, but this just makes me feel so awful inside I start crying," writes one."I'm 17 years old and this is way too scary. I don't want to see anyone in that much pain and crying when I'm just trying to enjoy my day. Please take it off the TV."

    In fairness, some people are praising the commercial for driving the point home with a realistic depiction, and helping to convince their stubborn elders to buy the product.

    Life Alert's response is basically that the whiners should suck it up, because it's sick of hearing them go on about how bad its prior ads were.

    "We consistently hear horror stories of how families procrastinated in getting a Life Alert only to discover their loved one had fallen and was on the floor for hours (sometimes days) before someone found them," reads part of a statement posted at Consumerist.

    "They have even complained that our commercials are corny, and NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH, and that our message doesn’t get through. The guilt and fear these families feel after a preventable tragedy is very real and far worse than any commercial."

    Of course, punishing a mass audience for the unreasonable griping of a few who wouldn't take responsibility for their own failure to act doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Even if the old ads weren't effective.

    Also, says Life Alert, it's the good guy: "Our goal is to wake people up to the realities of what is going on with the elderly and to get a medical alert system as a PREVENTIVE measure, not a reactionary result to a tragedy."

    As reasonable—and somewhat noble—as the for-profit company's intentions may be, its posturing also kind of misses the point. There might be some middle ground between an ad that is an unintentional self-parody, and one that terrifies children. A less ham-fisted approach might persuade even more consumers, or at least alienate fewer.

    Then again, when demand for your product is based on the ample supply of consumer anxiety about death, it's not surprising they're leaning in.

    0 0

    Ravi Dalchand really, really believes in his product.

    The senior brand manager at Bissell Canada demonstrates the effectiveness of the new Bissell Symphony All-in-One hard floor cleaner (it vacuums and steams at the same time!) by using it to scrub the floor of a subway station in Toronto.

    But then the stunt, devised by KBS+, gets even wilder. Check it out here:

    The eww! factor is awfully high (in a way, it's reminiscent of Extended Stay Motels' notorious licking ad from 2008), although the subway stop doesn't look quite as dirty as some—and for good reason.

    It turns out the video was filmed at Bay Lower Station, which has long been closed off to the public and is used primarily for training and filming movies, TV episodes and commercials. So, while Dalchand does eat off a genuine subway platform, which can't be hygienic under any circumstances, it's not quite the same as doing so in an in-service station.

    Plus, as the Huffington Post points out, the onlookers were almost certainly actors who may well have been in on the gag.

    Still, the core of the stunt is real, and certainly memorable—even if you have to take it with a grain of salt (and in this case, a dash of oregano and pepper as well).

    Client: Bissell
    Agency: KBS+, Toronto
    Chief Creative Officers: Matt Hassell, Gary Watson
    Creative Director: Raul Garcia
    Art Directors: Jessica Toye, Raul Garcia
    Copywriter: Alex Bird
    Account Director: Hanh Vo
    Account Executive: Megan Chown
    Agency Producer: Margaret Callaghan
    General Manager: Craig Emmerson
    Senior Brand Manager: Ravi Delchand
    Production Company: Circle
    Executive Producer: Karen Tameanko
    Director: Jeffrey Zablotny
    Line Producers: Elizabeth Findlay, Amanda Field
    Postproduction Company: Married to Giants
    Executive Producer: Denise Shearer
    Editor: Monica Remba
    Assistant Editor: Alain Elliott
    Online Artist: Trevor Corrigan
    Online Assistant: Preeti Torul
    Color, Visual Effects: Alter Ego
    Colorist: Tricia Hagoriles

    0 0

    For years, Gap's ads—and its clothes—were all about bubbly, drenching color. But this fall, it's time for a new look in both, as the brand has brought in David Fincher to drain the color, quite literally, from the TV work—and tell enigmatic stories in artful, cinematic black-and-white instead.

    Four spots below, created by Wieden + Kennedy in New York as part of the new "Dress Normal" campaign, were released online Thursday (fittingly, perhaps, given their throwback vibe). The story lines are brief and somewhat inscrutable snapshots of guys and girls pursuing each other—with off-kilter payoff lines like "Dress like no one's watching," "Simple clothes for you to complicate" and "The uniform of rebellion and conformity."

    The black-and-white style evokes film noir, though the vibe is lighter than that—and the lack of color (except for the Gap logo at the end of the spots, presented in various hues) ties directly into a product Gap is pushing hard this season: black denim.

    "We want these films to get people talking," says Seth Farbman, Gap's global chief marketing officer. "Each one features a confident woman at the center and tells a story of how liberating it is when you are being your most authentic self. We believe everyone who watches them will identify with one or more of the characters.

    "We were thrilled to work with David Fincher, one of the greats of modern American cinema and a superb storyteller. His highly detailed and authentic style resonates with the Gap brand and these films truly bring to life what our 'Dress Normal' message means."

    What the line means is certainly up for debate, as we mentioned in covering the print component of the campaign. (It appears to be Gap's take on normcore, which it seems to want to half-embrace and half-reject.) But it's definitely a provocation.

    And for a company long addicted to celebrity talent on camera, putting this particular celebrity director behind it certainly shifts the brand in an interesting direction. By moving into the shadows, perhaps Gap can actually emerge from them.

    Client: Gap

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
    Executive Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman, David Kolbusz
    Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Susan Hoffman
    Copywriter: Sheena Brady
    Art Director: Kim Haxton
    Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski
    Executive Producer: Alison Hill
    Producer: Lisa Delonay
    Brand Strategists: Erik Hanson, Hayley Parker
    Account Team: Tamera Geddes, Dipal Shah, Patty Ehinger
    Business Affairs: Lisa Quintela

    Production Company: Reset
    Director: David Fincher
    Executive Producer, Chief Operating Officer: Dave Morrison
    Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
    Line Producer: Laura Miller
    Director of Photography: Jeff Cronenweth
    Production Designer: Don Burt
    Costume Designer: Trish Summerville

    Editing Company: Work Editorial
    Editor: Kirk Baxter
    Post Producer: Sari Resnick
    Post Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
    Editorial Assistants: Nate Gross, Mike Horan, Billy Peake

    Visual Effects Company: Mill
    Senior Executive Producer: Sue Troyan
    Producer: Dan Roberts
    Coordinator: Jillian Lynes
    New York Producer: Clairellen Wallin
    2-D Lead Artists: Tim Davies, James Allen
    2-D Artists: Robert Murdock, Tara Demarco, Timothy Crabtree, Jale Parsons, Brandon Danowski, Jamin Clutcher

    Telecine Company: Light Iron
    Colorist: Ian Vertovec

    Mix Company: Sound Lounge
    Mixer: Tom Jucarone
    Sound Designer: Tom Jucarone
    Producer: Vicky Ferraro

    Music: Drive
    Song: "L'amour LaMort"
    Artist: Martial Solal

    Music: Golf
    Song: "Wait A Minute"
    Artist: Performed by Eddie Ray; licensed by Bank Robber

    Music: Kiss
    Song: "Kiss"
    Artist: David Holmes

    Music: Stairs
    Song: "Inner Babylon"
    Artist: Written by Shabaka Hutchings; performed by Sons of Kemet

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    When you get to a certain point, usually around your mid-20s, you realize there's not much more to life than drinking delicious beer. Imagine a world where you only wake up when it's time to imbibe a bottle of suds. 

    That's the strange reality in this dark, surreal Brazilian ad for Skol by agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, in which sleeping bat-people, hanging upside down all over town, wake up when they hear a Skol Beats beer opening.

    I can dig it. Take a look below, and see if you're willing to suspend your disbelief (from the ceiling ... without spilling your beer).

    Client: Ambev
    Product: Skol Beats
    Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
    Spot: "Morcegos" ("Bats")
    Creative Executive Directors: Fabio Fernandes, Eduardo Lima
    Creative Director: Theo Rocha
    Creative Staff: Theo Rocha, Thiago Carvalho
    Account Supervisors: Marcello Penna, Ricardo Forli, Rafael Cappelli, Marcela Paiva
    Planners: José Porto, Guilherme Pasculli, Victor Marx, Felipe Santini
    Media: Fabio Freitas, André Cais, Bruno Storace, Vivian Simões, Caroline Pascuinelli
    Agency Producers: Victor Alloza, Renato Chabuh, Gisele Campos, Maira Massullo, Rafael Paes
    Production Company: Zohar Cinema E Comunicação Ltda
    Director: 300 Ml
    Executive Producers: Carlos Paiva, Isabelle Tanugi
    Director of Photography: Enrique Chediak
    Producer: Angelo Gastal
    Editor: Rami D’aguiar
    Motion, Postproduction: Full Frame
    Sound: A9
    Client Supervisors: Pedro Earp, Fábio Baracho, Pedro Adamy, Taciana Ávila

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    Starting today, New Yorkers who tweet their shoe size and address with the hashtag #ReebokHDS could get a visit from the brand's Human Dispatch Service.

    The team of runners will personally rush pairs of Reebok's new ZJet sneakers to people at home or at work. Venables Bell & Partners devised the stunt, which, according to Reebok, "brings the ZJet concept to life" by demonstrating how the shoe—which features air channels for maximum cushioning—"propels the runner forward with the power of air."

    It's a fun idea that harkens back to a bygone era of personal service, at a time when many advertising stunts strive to confuse and frighten consumers to generate viral videos.

    This is the client's second creative promotion this summer, following its July CrossFit Games tie-in from VB&P that saw Reebok send bacon to athletes abiding by Paleo diets. The HDS team won't be delivering any savory pork products, but the focus on shoes gives the ZJet stunt some steak to go with the sizzle.

    Client: Reebok 
    Brand: ZJet 
    Executive Creative Directors: Paul Venables, Will McGinness
    Creative Director: Erich Pfeifer
    Associate Creative Director: Eric Boyd
    Design Director: Cris Logan 
    Art Directors: Sean Flores, Rich North, Matt Miller
    Copywriters: Nate Gagnon, Craig Ross, Matt Keats
    Designer: Jarrett Carr
    Head of Strategy: Michael Davidson
    Communications Strategy Director: Beatrice Liang
    Brand Strategist: Jake Bayham
    Experiential Production House: Mkg
    Production House: Fertl 
    Director: Jordan Bloch 
    Director of Photography: Derrick Monks 
    Line Producer: Mikyo Clark 
    Editing Company: Fertl 
    Editor: Derrick Monks 
    Sound Design: Richard Devine 
    Music: Marmoset Music 
    Mix: M Squared 
    Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
    Director of Interactive Production: Manjula Nadkarni 
    Experiential, Broadcast Producer: Nalina Baratz
    Production Coordinator: Megan Wasserman 
    Digital Producer: Marc Mclean 
    Account Manager: Ashton Atlas 
    Project Managers: Daniela Contreras, Shannon Duncan

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    Johnny Manziel isn't Johnny Football when he's hungry. He's Johnny JamBoogie.

    In this new Snickers ad from BBDO New York, the Cleveland Browns quarterback stars as a Spandex-clad man leading an aerobics class full of women. That is, until he's rescued by a teammate bearing a candy bar.

    It's a variation on a joke that by now is familiar. Last year, the late, great Robin Williams possessed a football coach in a commercial for the brand. In another, Kenny G sat in for a boring storyteller. Before that, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Aretha Franklin, Betty White and Abe Vigoda all had their moments. This February, we learned that even Godzilla is a pretty fun guy when he isn't peckish.

    But Manziel is topical, and his buffoonery helps keep the idea going.

    USA Today, meanwhile, wonders why Snickers used an actor as his savior, instead of a second, actual Browns player. And on the ad's YouTube page, one armchair quarterback takes issue with a different point: "A better ending would have backup quarterback Manziel eating a Snickers bar and turning into starting quarterback Brian Hoyer."

    Zing. Regardless, plenty of football fans seem to be getting a kick out of the clip—it has more than 500,000 views since being posted on Thursday.

    Client: Snickers
    Spot: "Johnny JamBoogie"

    Agency: BBDO, New York
    Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
    Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
    Executive Creative Directors: Gianfranco Arena, Peter Kain
    Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
    Group Executive Producer: Amy Wertheimer
    Executive Producer: Alex Gianni
    Producer: Patrick Smith
    Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester

    Global Account Director: Susannah Keller
    Account Director: Joshua Steinman
    Account Manager: Dylan Green

    Production Company: Radical
    Director: Steve Miller
    Executive Producers: Frank Scherma, Gregg Carlesimo
    Producer: Barbara Benson
    Production Supervisor: Ted Liotopoulos
    Director of Photography: Mandy Walker
    Production Designer: Tom Foden
    Recording Studio: HeardCity

    Mix House: Heard City
    Audio Engineer: Philib Loeb

    Editing House: Cutting Room
    Editor, Managing Partner: Chuck Willis
    Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
    Producer: Anna Petitti

    Visual Effects House: Light of Day

    Colorist: Tim Masick, Company 3

    Music Track: "You're My Love"

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    There was plenty of star power in this week's collection of best commercials, and it was mostly put to comic use.

    Ricky Gervais, Johnny Manziel and Jean-Claude Van Damme also turned in amusing performances, even if it wasn't quite clear whether the latter was really in on the joke. And we even had a celebrity director handle one big fall TV campaign.

    Also this week, we had one hell of a product demo from a Bissell brand manager, who went way beyond the call of duty while scrubbing the floor of a Toronto subway.

    Check out our picks below, and vote for your favorite. And let us know in comments if we missed any ads this week that were particularly amazing.

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    Rejoice, Friends enthusiasts! Your dream of sipping coffee at the iconic Central Perk will soon become a reality.

    It's been 20 years since Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Rachel first graced our TV screens, and the love for the gang remains strong, if all of the people on my Facebook feed are to be trusted. To celebrate two decades of shouting "Pivot!" every time a friend announces he's moving, Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Eight O'Clock Coffee are partnering to create a Central Perk pop-up in New York.

    It'll be short-lived—the shop, created with help from agency Source Marketing, will open Sept. 17 at the corner of Lafayette and Broome Streets, and close Oct. 18—but fans can hang out on the weird orange couch, listen to a rendition of Smelly Cat, see some special guests (Gunther will be there) and maybe, I don't know, try to figure out how Rachel afforded to live in a sprawling Manhattan apartment on a barista's salary.

    It's a brilliant partnership for Eight O'Clock, which will also be adding a special Central Perk blend to its coffee line next month, if you want to K-Cup your way to a Friends-in-your-travel-mug experience.

    UPDATE: Turns out, it will only be available in bags, not as K-Cups. So maybe you could just brew a pot for all your—Wait for it! Wait for it!—friends.


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