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Ad of the Day: Neil Patrick Harris Comically Pitches Heineken Light Money Back Guarantee


The comically reluctant celebrity endorser can be a fun character, when done right. Ricky Gervais practically perfected it last week for Optus and Netflix in Australia. Now, Neil Patrick Harris returns for Heineken Light—and manages to ambivalently introduce a money back guarantee from the beer brand.

The actor stars in a 15-second TV teaser and two-minute online video from Wieden + Kennedy New York. In both, he makes abundantly clear that he personally won't be giving you your money back if you don't like the stuff. Somebody else will. Somebody at Heineken, probably. He doesn't really know.

Suggesting your endorser doesn't know much, or care much, about your product is obviously a delicate balancing act. But Harris pulls it off pretty well. In the longer video, he even takes mild offense at being "recognized" for the commercial work. (Though perhaps that's better than being recognized for having hosted this year's Oscars.)

The money back offer is real, though not available in all states. It follows Heineken Light being named the best-tasting low-calorie lager at the 2014 World Beer Championships for the second straight year. (Reformulated in 2013, the beer is brewed with Cascade hops, which gives it a floral, fruity hop aroma.)

The reluctant endorser idea, of course, will be popular with younger consumers who'll get more out of it than a regular pitch. And in fact, Heineken Light was created with millennials in mind, Ralph Rijks, vice president of Heineken USA, told Adweek.

"According to the Consumer Edge Insights' Beverage DemandTracker, we found that 40 percent of 21- to 27-years-olds desire light beer with a more full-flavored taste," he said. "To meet consumer demand for fuller-flavored beers, Heineken reformulated the brew with Cascade hops in 2013, which are particularly beneficial in enhancing the taste and give it a fuller flavor, crisper aftertaste and a clean finish, yet we've preserved the easy-to-drink, effervescent, low-calorie beer that Heineken Light drinkers love."

Rijks called Harris "a phenomenal partner" who's "hugely talented, creative and witty." He added that the brand thought Harris did "a fantastic job" on the Oscars.

"He's constantly pushing his own comfort zone," said Rijks. "Heineken's brand ethos is living a legendary life, and we believe that Neil has been doing just that with his various projects. We're looking forward to everything that he has going for him this year."

Client: Heineken
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

This Beautiful PSA From Spain About Embracing Life Keeps You Guessing Until the End


A new Spanish PSA from Publicis wants you love life, and not ruin it entirely.

Hang picture frames, go running through the woods, get a tattoo, play rugby or hang out on a mattress somewhere. There's plenty to keep you occupied—and away from darker choices—says the ad, which in some ways recalls the vibe of Puma's "After Hours Athlete" and Levi's "Go Forth" work.

The moralistic kicker, necessary as it may be, doesn't seem ideal—and could turn teenagers off. Also, the spot might miscalculate just how many free hours kids can have to waste. But hopefully the message gets through anyways.

Directors: Marc Corominas, Lorena Medina
Client: FAD
Agency: Publicis
Director of Photography: Oriol Vila
Art Director: Oian Arteta
Wardrobe: Ana Morera
Makeup: Oona Napier
Head of Production: Marta Antón
Head of Postproduction: Tamara Díaz
Assistant Director: Israel Marco
Production Team: Carles Pequerul, Ángela Puig-Pey, David Bello, María Asensio, Ana Terrero, Andrià Nebot, Eli Apezteguia, Sivila Arimany
Camera and Photography Team: Agnes Corbera (DOP assistant), Sergio Santana and Pablo Lagos (Camera Assistants), Moncho Bartroli (Electrics Head)
Warbrobe Team: Andrea Pi Sunyer (Assistant Wardrobe)
Art Team: Alexandra Jordana (Art Assistant), Cristina Hontiyuelo and Anna Auquer (Props)
Rental Cars: Quadis
Travel Agency: IEST
Postproduction Coordination: Metropolitana

Pep Boys Mechanics Reflect on Gender in SNL's Perfect Spoof of Starbucks''Race Together'


The Internet didn't tolerate Starbucks' #RaceTogether promotion about racial awereness, and the coffee giant swiftly ditched the effort. But Saturday Night Live took notice, and brilliantly skewered the overly simplistic campaign this weekend.

SNL took it to a comically exaggerated level, imagining a group of Pep Boys employees trying to begin a dialogue about gender and sexual identity with folks just trying to get their oil changed. "If you got both parts down there, then be proud. If I had both, I'd be doin' myself all day long," says Aidy Bryant's charmingly ignorant character, fully embracing the fake #genderflect crusade. 

SNL has been hitting edgy topics with its fake ads lately, and this one really nails it.

American Greetings Hopes to Provoke a Groundswell of Gratitude With the ThankList


American Greetings goes all-in with ThankList, an immersive multimedia experience from Mullen that encourages people to thank those who've made an impact on their lives.

Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple (for the documentaries Harlan County USA and American Dream) created five short films through production house Nonfiction Unlimited for the campaign, each focused on a different individual's ThankList. The subjects thank friends, family and mentors for helping them through hard times and making them who they are today.

Overcoming major life obstacles is a common theme. A young woman named Lexi thanks her mom for helping her beat a serious eating disorder, while Ron, a middle-aged cancer survivor, tells viewers how his family's love and support sustained him when, at age 13, doctors told him he'd soon die from his illness.

The tales are a varied lot, all compelling and well told, but the story of Air Force pilot Cholene stands out as an emotional powerhouse. She thanks her foster son Keer—who was cruelly blinded as a young boy when sold into slavery in south Sudan, but has since regained some sight after surgery—for making her a "better person … much more sensitive and committed and grateful for my own life." A gifted musician, Keer is shown playing drums and piano and says, "Music is a vibration of happiness."

This story is so intense, you may have to take a few minutes to comport yourself before continuing your day and, perhaps, jumping on the ThankList site to create a video or text list of your own. These submissions, according to American Greetings, will be aggregated into "a collective, never-ending ThankList."

For a purveyor of greeting cards and party favors, American Greetings is certainly thinking large and interactive with ThankList—way beyond the scope of its lauded, mega-viral "World's Toughest Job" campaign for Mother's Day last year. That video has amassed more than 23 million YouTube views and became something of a cultural phenomenon. ThankList probably won't scale those heights, but the trailer's topped 600,000 views in its first week, and Ron's story has more than 500,000.

"Creating more meaningful connections between people isn't simply something we believe in," explains client president and COO John Beeder. "It's something we are actively doing, and ThankList is the perfect way to demonstrate that practicing gratitude is easy and impactful."

Gratitude has, in fact, become an advertising sub-genre of late. ThankList treads a trail blazed by European funeral insurer Dela—though its extremely moving, award-winning "thank-you" films can feel a tad stagey—and MetLife, which recently asked people to say who they "live for." (American Greetings' own "World's Toughest Job" apparently inspired a recent mom-focused initiative from Teleflora.)

Of course, like all advertising, these initiatives are ultimately self-serving. Still, their hearts are in the right place, and I'll gladly march to the beat. After all, the human condition can sometimes feel so thankless. Perhaps ThankList and similar campaigns will, to some degree, help make the world a kinder, more thoughtful place. I think we'd all be thankful for that.

Taking a Selfie Can Now Protect the California Coast, Thanks to This Ad Campaign


Selfies, by definition, aren't selfless. But now, in California, you can do some good for the environment, not just for yourself, by snapping a pic along the coastline.

Gyro San Francisco has created a campaign called "Check the Coast" that encourages people to make a checkmark sign while taking a selfie at the shore, and then include #CheckTheCoast and CheckTheCoast.org when posting it. This is intended to raise awareness of a special box on California tax forms that you can check to make a donation to the California Coastal Commission.

The campaign recruited actor Adrian Grenier (Entourage) and surfer-activist Sunshine in the Fog (yep, that's her name) to appear in ads for the cause.

"What I like about this campaign is how positive it is," Gyro executive creative director Steffan Postaer writes on his blog."Absent are images of the goo-infested birds washing up in the East Bay. Or the scary amount of emaciated sea lion pups beaching themselves near Point Reyes. No tangled fishing lines or plastic rings. No dead fish. That crap is happening and we all know it. Yet, we decided to eschew the appeal of grim reality in favor of a more upbeat approach, one that asked little from its participants: merely a selfie and a buck or two."

Ava the Robot Goes From Tinder to LinkedIn, and Will Now Schedule Meetings for You


Ava, the artificial intelligence from the movie Ex Machina who famously punked Tinder users during South by Southwest, isn't interested only in dating. She also has a business side, it turns out—and she wants to help schedule your next meetings.

A24 Films, the company behind Ex Machina, has extended Ava's off-screen antics through a partnership with A.I.-driven personal assistant startup x.ai.If you've seen the Spike Jonze movie Her, you'll have an inkling of what x.ai does. It offers users a personal assistant named Amy—who's actually an A.I., but who can schedule meetings like she's a real human.

When you're emailing with someone and you want to schedule a meeting with them, you just cc: amy@x.ai, and she takes it from there. (Scroll down to see how x.ai explains the process in more detail.)

Now, Ava is joining Amy as the company's second A.I. personal assistant. Just copy ava@x.ai, and she'll schedule the meetings for you. She's even got her own LinkedIn page. Her gig with x.ai is temporary, though. It only goes through April 30, at which point she'll probably start randomly friending people on Facebook.

Intuit Brews a Special Beer for Accountants Only Called CPA IPA


Tax season is hell for accountants. But in Rhode Island this year, it's been a little less brutal than usual, thanks to this fun promotion by Intuit.

Intuit makes software called QuickBooks Online Accountant, which helps accountants manage and support clients in one place. To promote it, the company partnered with a local brewery to make a special beer for accountants only—CPA IPA. It then bought ads in the Rhode Island press touting happy hours across the state, where accountants enjoyed some free beer to de-stress. (Intuit chose Rhode Island because it's a smaller market and because craft beer is big in the Northeast.)

Of course, only one agency could possibly create a CPA IPA ad. Yes, it was done by RPA.

More images and a video below.

Client: Intuit
Agency: RPA
Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer: Joe Baratelli
Senior Vice Presidents, Group Creative Directors: Nathan Crow, Adam Lowrey
Associate Creative Directors: Joao Medeiros, Alex Goulart
Designer: Lauren Geschke
Senior Art Director: Jessie Echon
Photographer: Mark Tripp
Art Buyer: Jessica Fedynyshyn
Producer: Annie Boyle

The Participation Agency Builds Crazy Out-of-Home Campaigns


Who Ruthie Schulder (l.), president; Jessica Resler, creative director
What Experiential marketing firm
Where New York

Even people who don't live in New York know that New Yorkers have no living space. So a few years ago when Ruthie Schulder and Jessica Resler transformed a vacant lot on the Lower East Side into a '50s-style suburban backyard (complete with lawn chairs and pink flamingos), the whole city took notice. And that was the point. Timeshare Backyard could be rented by the hour, and Coca-Cola's iced tea brand Fuze wound up booking it for eight weeks. The grassy retreat was the work of Schulder and Resler's The Participation Agency, which has since created a Lollapalooza tent for Red Bull and a bike-riding flash mob for Topshop. The six-person agency is currently busy with another installation—itinerant musician crash pads in New York and Austin, Texas—for Sour Patch Kids. The client wants to get down with pop culture, and it probably will, considering all the hashtag decals stuck on the walls. "We tie the live experiences to digital conversations," Schulder said.

The Labels on These Clothes Tell the Tragic Stories of the Workers Who Made Them


The label on a piece of clothing might reveal something about its provenance, but it hardly tells the whole story. The Canadian Fair Trade Network wanted to change that. To draw attention to people around the world who are working in unsafe conditions, these remarkable ads tell their stories on the labels of clothes they make. Powerful work by agency Rethink.

The label above reads:

100% cotton. Made in Sierra Leone by Tejan. The first few times he coughed up blood he hid it from his family. They couldn't afford medical treatment and he couldn't risk losing his long-time job at the cotton plantation. When he fell into a seizure one day it could no longer be ignored. The diagnosis was pesticide poisoning. The lack of proper protective clothing has left him with leukemia at the age of 34. He has two daughters. One of them starts work at the factory next year. The label doesn't tell the whole story.

See two more ads below.

100% cotton. Made in Bangladesh by Joya who left school at the age of twelve to help support her two brothers and newly widowed mother. Her father was killed when a fire ripped through the cotton factory where he works. She now works in the building across the street from the burned down factory. A constant reminder of the risk she takes everyday. The label doesn't tell the whole story.

100% cotton. Made in Cambodia by Behnly, nine years old. He gets up at 5:00 am every morning to make his way to the garment factory where he works. It will be dark when he arrives and dark when he leaves. He dresses lightly because the temperature in the room he works reaches 30 degrees. The dust in the room fills his nose and mouth. He will make less than a dollar, for a day spent slowly suffocating. A mask would cost the company ten cents. The label doesn't tell the whole story.

Client: Canadian Fair Trade Network
Agency: Rethink, Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal
Creative Directors: Ian Grais, Chris Staples
Art Director: Leia Rogers
Writers: Arrabelle Stravoff, Danielle Haythorne
Print Producers: Cary Emley, Sue Wilkinson
Photographer: Clinton Hussey
Studio Artist, Typographer: Jonathon Cesar
Account Manager Albane Rousellot

Ad of the Day: A Heroic Dweeb Doesn't Quite Get the Girl in This Funny French Breakfast Ad


If you like a good twist ending, check out this French action-comedy spot for Mondelez's Tassimo coffee and Belvita breakfast cookies.

It plays on classic (hackneyed) tropes—a nerdy guy makes for an unlikely, comic-book-style hero, rescuing a damsel in distress from a group of sinister hoodlums. But it's full of funny little surprises.

Created by Buzzman and set in New York City, the casting also flirts, at the very least, with xenophobic stereotypes (darker-skinned criminals vs. lighter-skinned innocents). But—spoiler alerts ahead—try to keep a straight face when the woman starts making a sound that's not quite human (also, in real life, the chivalrous knight is actually wearing a different kind of white shining armor).

And for anyone who doesn't pick up the point from the visuals alone, the upshot of the French tagline is that the readymade products will let you sleep five minutes longer—so you can finish off that sweet dream. (So, even the payoff is a bit of a cliché, but in context, it's unexpected.)

Unfortunately for Jean-Francois, it probably just means he'd still wake up right before the next, even better part.

Client: Mondelez (Tassimo/Belvita)

Agency: Buzzman
Creative Director: Georges Mohammed-Chérif
Head of TV: Vanessa Barbel
Agency Producer: Elodie Poupeau
Creative: Stéphane List
Creative: Antoine Moittié

Director: Remy Cayuela
Producer: Capucine Charbonnier @ Frenzy Paris
Producer: Julie Mathieu @ Frenzy Paris
Producer: Courtney Davies @ Doomsday Entertainment
Executive Producer: Danielle Hinde @ Doomsday Entertainment
DOP: Jeff Bierman

Production Designer: Susie Francis
Editor: Gopal Puntos
Colorist: Cedrick Lacour
1st AD: Allen Scudder
Production Manager: Bretanya Dubin
1st AC: Lenny Walsh
Gaffer: Brice Bradley
Key Grip: Sergio Silva
Steadicam: Neal Bryan
Makeup/Hair: Erika Frank
Stylist: Chris Velasco
Stunt Coordinator: Mindy Kelly

Postproduction: Firm Studio
Sound Postproduction: Benzene

Pennzoil's High-Octane Aerial Stunt Shows a Dodge Drifting on a Floating Platform


Need a lift? Take this cool 90-second Pennzoil spot from J. Walter Thompson for a spin.

Stunt driver Rhys Millen hurtles through the streets of Cape Town, South Africa, in a canary yellow 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat for much of the film, called "Airlift Drift," promoting the client's synthetic motor oil made from natural gas. Ultimately, his wild ride hits dizzying heights as four helicopters hoist the vehicle on a specially designed asphalt-topped platform. The car continues to drift and burn rubber like mad as it soars through the night sky, past glittering downtown skyscrapers.

That's one breathtaking aerial exhibition. Suck it, Jaguar!

In fairness, Jag's high-wire stunt last week above the River Thames, while less riveting, was 100 percent real. Pennzoil's sky driving—well, obviously, not so much.

"Everything from the get-go was rooted in the idea of realism," JWT Atlanta ecd Jeremy Jones assures AdFreak. "The load capacity of the helicopters, the chains, the shape of the platform and support beams. It's all mathematically and theoretically possible."

If the concept seems familiar, that's because "Airlift Drift" director Ozan Biron, working here through production firm The Embassy, also directed last year's "Ultimate Racetrack," which showcased a BMW M4's tread-tearing trip around the deck of an aircraft carrier. "We learned he was the magician behind 'Ultimate Racetrack,' and we had to have him," Jones says. "He's a complete car guy, and pushes the driving to crazy levels. It's so raw and uncommercial."

Pennzoil has worked especially hard to avoid category clichés in recent campaigns. "We believe cars have evolved. So should your oil—and oil commercials, for that matter," says Jones. "There are no product claims, no VO bottle pours. We want people to be moved and have a visceral reaction to the film, hear nothing but the sound of the engine being pushed to the limit."

He adds, "The problem with our category is most people outside of enthusiasts don't care enough about cars to care which motor oil to use. With this film, we're hoping to wake people up ... to become that little ripple in pop culture and get people to think differently about our brand."

Client: Pennzoil

Agency: J. Walter Thompson, Atlanta
Chief Creative Officer: Perry Fair
Executive Creative Director: Jeremy Jones
Group Creative Director: Dustin Tamilio
Copywriter: John Huddleston
Art Director: Erin Fillingam
Producer: Daryll Merchant
Account Director: Erin McGivney
Senior Planner: James Robbins

Production Company: The Embassy, Vancouver
Director: Ozan Biron
Executive Producer: Trevor Cawood
Editor: Ozan Biron
Assistant Editor, Conformist: Brendan Woollard, Cycle Media
Director of Photography: Manoel Ferreira

Visual Effects: Imagine Engine
Visual Effects Supervisor: Bernhard Kimbacher
On-set Supervisor: Neil Impey

Precision Driver: Rhys Millen

Content Production Company: Lemonade Films
Executive Producer: Ted Herman
Production Supervisor: Philip Fyfe

South African Service Company: Uncle Morris Films
Line Producer: Steven St. Arnaud
Production Manager: Herman Warnich
Production Coordinator: Andrea Scott

Colorist: Dave Hussey, Company 3

Sound Design: Charles Deenen, Source Sound

Jack in the Box Unveils the World's Largest Coupon, an 8-Story-High Monstrosity


I'm sure we've all had some unflattering theories about how Jack in the Box would achieve a Guinness World Record ("Most People Made Uncomfortable by Creepy Mascot" was my guess). But the fast-food chain recently unveiled the world's largest coupon, made to promote its new Buttery Jack burger.

Yes, Buttery Jack sounds like one of those Dutch holiday monsters invented to scare kids, but it's actually a quarter-pound burger with garlic herb butter melted on top. It was meant to scare adults!

Anyway, the coupon is 80 feet by 25 feet, and as you can see in the video, it took more than 12 people to carry it through Los Angeles to Hollywood's W Hotel. A cellphone picture of the coupon counts as a coupon itself, and can be redeemed for a free burger until Wednesday. Oh God, that's April Fools' Day. If they have something planned for that, I don't want to know what it is.

Agency: David&Goliath.

Client: Jack in the Box
CMO & SVP Menu Innovation & Execution: Keith Guilbault
VP Menu Strategy & Innovation: Iwona Alter
Communications Manager: Lauren Ohlsson
Director of Innovation & Social Engagement: Jen Kennedy
Innovation Project Manger: Mikim Luu
Social Media Manager: Rah Mahtani

Agency: David&Goliath, LA
Founder & Chairman: David Angelo
Chief Creative Officer: Colin Jeffery
Group Creative Director: Ben Purcell
Group Creative Director: Steve Yee
Sr. Art Director:  Rob Casillas
Sr. Copywriter:  Courtney Pulver
Director of Broadcast Production: Paul Albanese
Sr. Broadcast Producer: Karen Jean 
Director of Print Services: Meredith Walsh
Group Account Director: Michele Tebbe
Account Director: Frith Dabkowski
Account Coordinator: Kristina Papillion
Sr. Project Manager: Lila Anton

PR Agency: MWW
Founder & CEO: Michael Kempner
EVP and General Manager, Western Region: JP Schuerman

Production Company: Grandesign
Executive Producer: Bob Ridgeway
Line Producer: Thomas Campbell
Sales Representative: Aileen Shaw

Printer of Coupon: BP Graphics

Editorial House: Spinach LA      
Managing Director / Editor: Adam Bright
Cinematographer: Art Castle
Producer: Jonathan Carpio

Why This Photo Was the Absolutely Perfect Way to Introduce the Deadpool Costume


On Friday, Ryan Reynolds tweeted out the first picture of the official Deadpool costume with him posing on a bear skin rug, à la Burt Reynolds, and the image is utterly brilliant and perfect in every way. Let me explain.

In 1972, Burt Reynolds became the first male centerfold (some say ever) in Cosmopolitan. The shock wave that rippled through American culture, as women proudly taped the poster to their walls and admitted to the world that they had sexual desires, would spawn Playgirl magazine and change the conversation around sex in America.

Believe it or not, it was a total surprise to a great number of people to learn that women like to look at naked men, just like men like to look at naked women. Of course, it came with a certain amount of notoriety for Reynolds, and gave Cosmo its modern-day reputation as a bit of a smut magazine. It was so shocking that the next centerfold didn't appear until 1977, when Arnold Schwarzenegger graced the pages.

Beyond the shock, everyone at the time knew the image was somewhat of a joke. The bear rug? Clearly a joke—it was poking fun at masculine stereotypes and was chosen by Reynolds. The chest rug? Not a joke—people liked things hairy in the '70s. But the point is, the press at the time talked a lot about it being a tounge-in-cheek, tit-for-tat situation. Men had centerfolds to look at, and women deserved them, too. It was only fair. The significance of the image made the sexuality of it moot for many people. This was about equality. (The image has lived on in everything from DirecTV ads to agency copywriter profile pics.)

Referencing the image says a number of things, but first it's important to know Deadpool is a character who is self-aware. He actually seems to have knowledge of himself as a character in a comic book and knowledge of other characters in other universes. This is pretty unique in the comic-book world. In other words, Deadpool can act like he's talking directly to other characters, and those characters, who are not self-aware, can't really talk back.

That's why Ryan Reynolds, who plays the character, could tweet the official costume with the caption, "With great power comes great irresponsibility." That's a direct jab at "With great power comes great responsibility"—a Spider-Man quote often attributed to Uncle Ben (though it first appeared in the narration in an old Spider-Man comic).

So, Deadpool is clearly taking a direct jab at Spider-Man. Who else might he be jabbing at? Well, in the image, we see him laid out in place of a sexual revolutionary, though Deadpool is not showing any skin. That says he's jabbing at the male sex-symbol image of Captain America, Thor and Iron Man—whose lead male actors have all been celebrated for their sexual appeal. It's like Deadpool is saying, I'm going to blow your minds with a whole new kind of comic-book man—and the ladies will like me better. It also says, I'm not afraid to break some taboos, reference the real world, and hey, don't forget, I'm always a little cheeky. That's just me. And the ladies like a man with a sense of humor, a man who reads Cosmo.

Disney Marvel is smart not to underestimate its fans and recognize the power of taking the piss with the superhero genre. It made a lot of money with Guardians of the Galaxy, and it'll make more with Deadpool. Adult comic fans like to be talked to like adults. See, we all know how ridiculous our love of superheroes is, but we love them anyway. We love them smart. We love them topical. We love them allegorical.

And for those few who don't, those who need things at a simpler level, this first image is still brilliant because, "LOL, just l@@k at him on that stupid rug! Hilars!"

Suntory Whisky 3-D Printed the World's Most Incredible Ice Cubes


Advertising craft doesn't get more delicate than this. Check out TBWA\Hakuhodo's 3-D printed ice cubes, created for Japan's Suntory Whisky.

The agency used what's called a CNC router to carve the designs, which ranged from the Statue of Liberty to the Sphinx to Batman and everything in between. (There even appears to be, perhaps presciently, a Cannes Lion in the mix.)

Miwako Fujiwara of TBWA\Hakuhodo said the CNC router was chilled at -7 degrees Celsius to keep the ice from melting. The agency used an app called Autodesk 123D to capture the 3-D images and prep them for printing. "A touch of chilled whiskey polishes the surface of the ice and gives a beautiful shine to the sculpture," Fujiwara added.

The campaign was launched in 2014 and just won a Branded Content & Entertainment Lotus trophy at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival in Thailand.

Lots more images, along with credits, below.

Client: Suntory

Campaign: "3D on the Rocks"

Agency: TBWA Hakuhodo+Hakuhodo
Executive Creative Director, Creative Director, Planner: Kazoo Sato
Copywriters, Planners: Takahiro Hosoda, Nobuhiro Arai
Art Directors, Designers: Yo Kimura, Yuki Tokuno
Creative Technologist: Masashi Matsukura
Producer: Kaoru Otani
Assistant Producer: Fusae Yoshikawa
Public Relations: Kayoko Asano, Miwako Fujiwara

Production: Tokyo, mount inc., amana

Director: Eiji Tanigawa, Tokyo
Camera: Senzo Ueno, Tokyo
Lighting: Masachio Nishida
Art: Midoriko Nemoto, Taiyo Kikaku
Ice: Motoharu Kato, Yamane Ice
Sizzle: Noriko Saotome, Grand
Video Engenner: Satoshi Igarashi
Producer: Toshiyuki Takei, Tokyo
Assistant Producer: Masayoshi Takayanagi, Tokyo
Production Manager: Makoto Takahashi, Tokyo
Production Manager Assistant: Rintaro Kozasa, Taiyo Kikaku 
Offline Editor: Ryuichi Hasegawa (puzzle)
Online Editor: Akira Nishibu, Image Studio 109
Multi Audio: Yuta Sato, Image Studio 109
Sound Effects: Norio Kobayashi, ONPa

Executive Producer: Audioforce
Producer: Danic
Composer: Steve Sidwell

Planners: Im Jeong-ho, Takeshiro Umetsu, mount inc.
Planner, Art Director, Technical Director, Director: Hidekazu Hayashi, mount inc.
Directors: Hiroka Hasegawa, Hideki Yoshidatsu, mount inc.
HTML Coding: Hideki Yoshidatsu, mount inc.
3-D Computer Graphics: Takeo Saito, Mika Nariya, Fulvis K.K.
Production Manager: Ko Yoshida, mount inc.

Photographer: Keisuke Minoda, acube
Retoucher: Masahiko Furuta, Rizing
Photo Producer: Shinya Omi, Amana

Ad of the Day: Jordan Himself Finally Appears in Gatorade's 'Be Like Mike' Revival


Gatorade has saved the best for last in its nostalgic, eight-week-long "Be Like Mike" campaign revival.

In a 60-second video that went live this morning, we finally see present-day Michael Jordan drinking Gatorade—rather than just archival footage of His Airness from 25 years ago.

Created by digital agency VML, the star-studded homage to the original Bayer Bess Vanderwarker spot features no less than 10 Gatorade athletic endorsers.

Among them: tennis superstar Serena Williams; women's soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm; Major League Baseball's Bryce Harper; the NFL's Cam Newton; the NBA's Jabari Parker; and NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson.

Plus, we get cameos from singer/actor Nick Cannon and Zach LaVine, who won the Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star 2015. The 19-year old LaVine lapped the competition at Brooklyn's Barclays Center while wearing a No. 23 Jordan jersey from Space Jam.

Of course, as the payoff, we see Air Jordan himself drinking his favorite Gatorade Citrus Cooler. "Still got it," quips Michael. The tagline: "We all want to still #BeLikeMike."

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Gatorade rolled out a digitally remastered version of the classic "Be Like Mike" spot created by BBV 23 years ago during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Since then, Gatorade has layered in three new spots inspired by user-generated social posts and video salutes from the other athletes who've followed in Jordan's footsteps as Gatorade endorsers. But none have featured the present-day Michael until now.

The positive reaction from consumers and athletes to the campaign shows that Jordan—longtime sports king of Madison Avenue—still has legs, according to Gatorade's Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley.

"We hope this final video will continue to inspire a new generation of athletes to show us, and each other, what it means to Be Like Mike," she told Adweek.


Client: Gatorade
Agency: VML

Gatorade Director of Digital Strategy: Jeff Miller
Gatorade Senior Manager of Digital Marketing: Abhishek Jadon
Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer: Morgan Flatley

Executive Creative Director: Tony Snethen
Group Creative Director: Matt Bowne
Creative Director: Nick Allegri
Associate Creative Director: Maggie Harn
Associate Creative Director: Adam LaRocca
Senior Copywriter: Ryan Simpson
Art Director: Amanda Laffoon
Art Director: Zac Greason
Art Director: Jaclyn Co
Group Director, Client Engagement: Stephanie DeCelles
Director, Client Engagement: Abby Fraser
Senior Account Manager: Carley McNary
Senior Social Strategist: Kyle Rogers
Channel Manager: Chelsea Curry

Directors: Chris Riehl and Christopher Leone

Production Company: Motion Theory
Editorial: Mirada
Editor: Mike Merkwan
Editor: Patrick Smith
Producer: Snake Roth

Homeless People Read Mean Tweets in This Heartbreaking PSA


People reading mean tweets is turning into a PSA genre.

Last month, the Canadian Safe School Network took Jimmy Kimmel's hit comedy bit, usually featuring celebrities, and repurposed it as a potent anti-cyberbullying ad. Now, Raising the Roof Canada has upped the ante even further with a stunning and heartbreaking spot about the homeless.

In a perfect world, it would be hard to imagine anyone seriously saying (or typing) the things repeated in the clip. But once again Twitter proves its brief format is the perfect platform for bad wannabe comics and self-absorbed asses (whereas Instagram is the favored choice of glib, blithe fashion editors).

The clip is all the more powerful given that, compared to an in-vogue issue like cyberbullying, homelessness is less visible (at least, online). This ad, created by Leo Burnett Toronto, simply put, succeeds in humanizing the homeless population, and gives at least a small handful of its members a bigger platform. For anyone interested, the campaign website has more videos delving deeper into each person's reaction, as well as some of their backstories.

Luckily, Twitter, as a company, is doing its part to address the broader issue in San Francisco, too—by planning to teach the homeless to code as part of a tax break obligation.

Butterfinger Bets a Million on Manny Pacquiao to Beat Floyd Mayweather


There's going to be some heavyweight marketing around the May 2 welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. And Butterfinger is jumping early into Pacquiao's corner.

The Nestlé brand on Wednesday sent out an April Fools' Day press release saying its Butterfinger Cups brand was betting a million on Pacquiao. Now, AdFreak confirms (as Pacquiao will do in a tweet shortly) that the bet is actually a million Butterfinger Cups. If Pacquiao emerges victorious on May 2, Butterfinger will offer 1 million of its peanut butter cups in a nationwide payout at ButterfingerCups.com.

The announcement kicks off a month-long "Get In Our Corner" campaign.

"We're such fans of what Manny represents and love that he has such a great sense of humor to join us in our April Fools' Day fun and launch the 'Get In Our Corner' campaign," says Fabiola del Rio, Butterfinger brand manager. "We want fans to get in our corner with Manny and help us celebrate this different kind of competitor."

Wieden + Kennedy Turns Its Website Back 30 Years, but Not for April Fools' Day


April 1 is known most places for pranks. But at Wieden + Kennedy it has a different meaning. The agency was founded on April 1, 1982, and celebrates Founder's Day on that date each year.

This year it's done something fun with its website, which might be mistaken for a prank. The whole thing has been recast as a throwback to the agency's earliest years. Check it out here.

The "Work" section includes 33 pieces of creative from the '80s and early '90s (Nike, Speedo, Memorex, Honda). "People" features vintage portraits of W+K staff, many of whom are still there. "Clients" includes a roster from when the agency had offices in Portland, Ore., and Philadelphia. And the "About" section has a great early promo video from the agency's archives, featuring a young Dan Wieden, David Kennedy, Dave Luhr and Susan Hoffman.

Check out that video below, too.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Ad of the Day: Meet the Coolest Guy in the World Who Happens to Suffer From Urine Leakage


Say hello to Stirling Gravitas, the most in-control man in the world.

This dapper, mustachioed dude "of a certain age" tames lions by telling them to "Stay!" and smashes wooden planks with the power of his mind. For relaxation, he juggles chainsaws, skeet shoots with a cannon and parallel parks sports cars with a satisfying screech of tortured treads, like a stunt driver in a '70s cop show.

Would such a man let urine leakage put a damper on his lifestyle? No. Frickin. Way. Thanks to Tena Men's incontinence pads, our hero stays confident, cool and in control.

AMV BBDO rocks the concept in a pair of fast-moving British spots directed by Jeff Low of Biscuit Filmworks. "Urinary issues among men are much more common than most people know," says Tena global brand director Meta Redstedt. "We want to make men aware of how common this is, and that there are products to deal with it."

Some have compared the approach to Isaiah Mustafa's ads for Old Spice and, naturally, the long-running "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign for Dos Equis. Some detect a hint of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy in the mix, too. Such work probably served as an inspiration, but Stirling's quirky act never feels like a ripoff. This guy's his own man.

Plus, he's got a tougher mission, using character-driven comedy to discuss a delicate topic in an appealing way (unlike typical ads in the category, which often go the dull, informational route, or stoop to shaming). It would be easy for this campaign to overplay its hand (a 17 of spades—blackjack!) and devolve into utter foolishness. Points for maintaining control throughout and using slick, subversive schtick to support a serious message of personal empowerment.

You can dive into Stirling's Twitter feed for more delightfully dry humor.

Client: Tena Men
Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Copywriter: Prabs Wignarajah
Art Director: Jeremy Tribe
Head of Production: Kate Taylor
Agency Producer: Polly Lowles
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
Producer: Toby Courlander
Media Partner: Be On
Agency Planners: Pippa Morris, Tom White
Agency Account: Sarah Douglas, Alex Bird, Laura Etherington
Media Planner: Guy Abrahams
Media Agency: Zenith Optimedia
Postproduction Company: The Mill
Audio Postproduction: Aaron Reynolds, Wave Studios

This BMW Ad With a 'Crazy' Woman Has Angered Mental Health Advocates


Will a BMW commercial that's come under fire from prominent mental-health advocates get bounced from the NCAA men's basketball tournament telecasts?

The controversy over the 30-second spot, which has been running in heavy rotation during games, should serve as a cautionary tale for marketers (and communicators) everywhere. At first glance, "Cute Cottage," promoting the ConnectedDrive personal assistant feature, seems harmless enough. A couple in a BMW X3 SUV pull up to the secluded, overgrown "Sprout Brook Inn." Noting an unkempt woman in a nightgown and sweater staring at them from the porch, the guy in the passenger seat says, "She looks crazy."

That line—and the couple's decision to seek other lodgings post-haste, using the car's technology (after Siri informs them of "slayings" at the dilapidated hotel)—didn't sit well with Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which represents more than 2,000 groups nationwide. She fired off a letter to BMW demanding the spot's immediate ouster from the airwaves, and offered a "Mental Health First Aid" course to client executives and staffers at ad agency KBS+P, which created the commercial.

"This went beyond just the word ["crazy"] for us," she told CNBC."It was saying that word, and then behaving as if someone who has a mental illness doesn't deserve your help. … They're just going to walk away."

BMW responded to Rosenberg's complaint with an apology, and a company representative sent this statement to AdFreak: "We are deeply sorry to anyone that was offended by this ad, as it was certainly not our intention. The ad was intended to spoof a horror movie."

Asked if the commercial would in fact act be pulled, the rep said, "The ad is naturally starting to run out of our ad-buy rotation."

"Cute Cottage" does have a thriller-parody vibe—muted colors, moody photography, desolate locale, the couple's overreaction. It's neither hateful nor overtly disrespectful, and certainly not malicious. Ten years ago, or even five, I doubt there'd have been a dustup. I choose to take the brand's apology at face value. If BMW doesn't feel the ad is objectionable enough to pull, so be it—though trotting out the "nearing the end of its rotation" line, even if it's true, rarely helps in these situations.

In a broader sense, we live in an age of social hyper-awareness, and words that carry dual meanings or subtly negative connotations—like "crazy"—should, at this point, set off warning bells. Still, it's a tough call. Lenny Bernstein, the Washington Post's "To Your Health" blogger, offers a nuanced take:"None of this dawned on me … though I've watched a lot of basketball and a lot of this ad since the tournament began. I understand why it's easy to overlook the offensiveness of these stereotypes, even as we're enjoying a time of great change in attitudes about other previously stigmatized groups."

Personally, I winced when I first heard the guy say "crazy," but I cover marketing every day, so I may be more attuned to advertising's potential pitfalls than a casual viewer, or health writer, would be. I must admit, however, that Rosenberg's second point of contention—the couple's speedy departure without seeking help for the woman on the porch—eluded me completely. After reading her quotes in other media, though, I can see where she's coming from, especially given her heightened awareness of mental health issues.

Cultural tastes and sensitives are constantly evolving. Words and images, always powerful, have the potential to trip up content creators like never before. That's something everyone, especially those of us in the media, should strive to keep in mind.

Perhaps we won't even be calling it March Madness much longer, though Rosenberg isn't focused on that particular phrase.

"We are not concerned about the use of 'March Madness,' although others might feel differently, and indeed the term might fade out over time," she tells AdFreak. "We view 'March Madness' as referring to a 'commotion.' Language is important—but the behavior in the ad is of the most concern."