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Romney's Guy: No Apologies


Jim Ferguson has a newfound appreciation for the rigors of presidential politics, having just spent a year as a full-time creative director on Mitt Romney’s campaign. Along the way, the former creative leader at DDB and Young & Rubicam worked long days, produced hundreds of ads and endured the brickbats of online critics, including his brethren in advertising. Now that the election is over, the 59-year-old Texan has kicked back and tuned out, but he’s still thrilled to have danced on such a big stage.

Adweek: How many ads did you create?
I wrote over 200 commercials in the course of the year. In May, we probably did 60 to 80 new commercials. We were making commercials every day. We would test everything. We’d see what resonated with people and would pick a commercial or two to get ready for broadcast.

You told me that in terms of the volume, it’s like working on a retail account.
Oh, yeah. This was hard-core retail. I mean, we were selling something every day, and something new was happening every day. You’d listen for a slipup from somebody, and then you’d jump all over it. [I haven’t worked this hard] since I was 14 working in the chicken houses to gather eggs.

Which ads are you proudest of?
We did a man in the coal mines in Ohio that was really nice. It was talking about the coal miners—what’s going on there. It was shot so well, and it was a great message. And there was one about why people raise the flag.

What was the toughest political lesson that you learned?
I was really bothered by the lies, the way they made up stuff. I mean, when [Nevada Sen.] Harry Reid is sitting around talking about how Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years. Or the [Priorities USA Action ad] basically accusing the governor of being a murderer. Where was the outrage from people?

What did you miss most about your regular job?
Nothing. The thing I loved about the campaign was we were all in it together. We came to work every day. Worked 14, 15, 16 hours a day, seven days a week. We had good days, and we had bad days. But everyone was in it together. And it was a really dysfunctional family. But I liked it.

What will you miss most about the experience?
It’s an adrenaline rush. I mean, you’re slugging it out for the biggest prize in the world. The first ad I did was pretty well-received. It was called “A few of the 23 million.” There was a kid I found in a [newspaper] story. He didn’t have a job. He was digging graves in the middle of wintertime, trying to make ends meet. Then we found some other people. Well, we put that together. I was on the Internet that afternoon. There must be 500 stories written about it. Just the overall hugeness of what would happen, the microscope they would put these spots under.

Is there a book or a script in this experience?
I don’t think so. Every day I would write [in a diary]. Sometimes it would only be a sentence, just a little bit of what we were doing or what happened that day. I thought it would be fun for [my daughters] to read it some day. If there is [a book], it would be about the difference between consumer and political advertising. It’s not going to be a dirt book or anything because everybody just worked too hard. I’m not going to shit on anybody.

Ben & Jerry's Scoops Up Euphoria on Instagram


iScreen, uScreen. Ben & Jerry's is rallying its 127,000 Instagram followers and inviting them to upload images representing "euphoria"—because that's the feeling you get from Ben & Jerry's ice cream—by using the #captureeuphoria tag. There's a "Capture Euphoria" gallery immortalizing shots of kids with messy ice-cream faces, wedding snaps and pet photos. (There are more dogs than cats, because, let's face it, cats are more sucky than euphoric.) About 20 of the images will be used in local ads via creative agency Silver + Partners (formerly Amalgamated), placed in print, billboards and various outdoor venues by Haworth Marketing + Media. For this particular exercise in user engagement, "local" is defined as each photographer's general vicinity. The client provided a clip of "Megan," as she discovers her work gracing the back cover of the Boston Phoenix. Check out her reaction at the 33-second mark. She doesn't look all that "euphoric" to me. It's more an embarrassed "Get that camera out of my face!" expression. What's wrong, Megan? You've got your 15 minutes of fame and a sweet ice-cream treat. You've livin' the AmeriCone Dream!

New York Lottery Lights Up NYC Bus Shelters for the Holidays


DDB is bringing some remarkably intricate holiday cheer to that most moribund of public spaces—the lonely New York City bus shelter—as part of a new seasonal campaign for the New York Lottery. Five bus shelters in NYC will feel like they themselves won the lottery, as they're being festooned with holiday light installations—each comprised of 1,800 colored lightbulbs, which spell out holiday messages in curving script. "Miracle (at the Bodega) on 34th St.," reads one. "Happy Holidays in an Instant," says another. The campaign, which aims to make the client's Holiday Magic game a popular gift this holiday, includes print and digital versions of the displays, as well as a TV spot set in an office, where one of the scratch-off tickets is the most jealously coveted item bestowed. (Apparently no one got an HBO box set.) The TV, print and digital ads launched on Monday. The bus-shelter installations go up next Monday—on 34th Street between Second and Third Avenues, on Third Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, on 23rd Street between Park and Madison Avenues, on Broadway between 69th and 70th Streets, and on 86th Street between First and York Avenues. More images below.

Client: New York Lottery
Agency: DDB, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
Group Creative Directors: Rich Sharp, Mike Sullivan
Art Director (TV Spot Only): Michael Kushner
Associate Creative Directors (OOH/Digital Only): Tony Bartolucci, Colin Lapin
Executive Creative Director, Head of Art (OOH Only): Menno Kluin
Designer: Juan Carlos Pagan
Typographer: Sean Freeman
Head of Production (TV Spot Only): Ed Zazzera
Executive Producer (TV Spot Only): Teri Altman
Print Producer (OOH Only): Christie Dwyer
Project Manager: Julie Evcimen
Group Account Director: Leo Mamorsky
Management Supervisor: Kelly Gorsky
Account Supervisor: Heather Olson
Account Executives: Kemi Adewumi, Tarina Hesaltine

Ad of the Day: BGH


It is summer in Argentina, and there is a man staring out his window at you.

The heat has gone to his head. Miserable 90-degree days transform him from harmless curmudgeon to calculating sadist. He literally wants to set you on fire. You are smelly, and sweaty. Your hairy paunch is primed with greasy tanning oil. You are forcing everyone with a view of your rooftop to bear witness to your miniature excuse for a bathing suit. Your every attempt to ease your own discomfort disgusts the man. Luckily for you, he's way too comfortable in his air-conditioned home to come out and, you know, kill you.

This is the new sales pitch for BGH air conditioners from Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. The agency had a major hit for the same client last year with the "Dads in Briefs" campaign, which won gold at Cannes in June. This year's effort, directed by former Fallon creative director Juan Cabral, now of MJZ, takes the exaggerated-reality tone in a more violent direction, but keeps the horror-flick overtones just ridiculous enough to avoid becoming truly unsettling. It's not as relatable as last year's campaign—more people have dads lounging around in their underwear than have murderous stalkers. But it's packed with rich bits of misanthropic insight, like "Stinking people, sweating away their dignity," as well as evocative visuals like the scraggly dog sniffing at an unidentified puddle, on which we'd prefer not to speculate further.

Will it sell more air conditioners? Maybe to peeping toms.

Client: BGH
Agency: Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Executive Creative Directors: Maxi Itzkoff, Mariano Serkin
Creative Directors: Diego Medvedocky, Ignacio Ferioli
Copywriters: Matias Eusebi, Nicolas Diaco
Art Directors: Ammiel Fazzari, Ezequiel De Luca
Agency Producers: Adrian Aspani, Lucila D'Amico, Felipe Calvino
Production Company: MJZ
Production Company: Labhouse
Director: Juan Cabral
Executive Producer: Debbie Turner
Executive Producer: Flora Fernandez Marengo
Producer: Natalia Mussolana
Director of Photography: Barbara Alvarez
Post-Production: Bitt Animation
Editor: Emiliano Fardaus
Music: Circle of Sound
Sound: La Casa Post

Apple Is Thankful for the iPhone 5 in New Turkey Ad


Apple has a long tradition of holiday ads—notable past spots have included "Gift Exchange" for the Macintosh and of course last year's Santa spot with Siri for the iPhone 4S. On Tuesday night, Apple released its latest holiday commercial, "Turkey," timed to Thanksgiving, for the iPhone 5. It uses the holiday season, a propitious time for taking family photos, to push the device's Shared Photo Stream, which lets you share only the photos you want with only the people you want. As usual, we get a simple product demo, with pleasingly basic shots of a turkey and a pie, among other staples. (Thankfully, there's no gravy involved at all.) "It's as easy as pie," Jeff Daniels says in the voiceover. "Mmm, pie." A second spot, not specifically holiday related, has Daniels asking an orchestra to play louder and softer to demonstrate the iPhone 5's noise-canceling feature, which reduces excessive background noise when you're trying to make a phone call. These are the 94th and 95th TV spots in the almost 7-year-old campaign. See all the previous ones here. Credits for the new ones below.

Client: Apple
Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab

—Spot: "Turkey"

Chief Creative Officer: Duncan Milner
Executive Creative Director: Eric Grunbaum
Group Creative Directors: Chuck Monn, Chris Ribeiro
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Claire Morrisey
Art Director: Ren Toner
Copywriters: Anna Kate Roche, Lonnie Elliott

Executive Producer: Eric Voegele
Agency Producers: Serena Auroux, RJ Pomeroy, Chris Shaw, Chelsea Larner, Katie McCain

Production Company: Green Dot Films
Directors: Mark Coppos, Rebecca Baehler
Director of Photography: Fernando Cardenas

Editorial Company: Nomad Editing
Editors: Jared Coller, Kevin Clark

Postproduction: The Mill
Lead Flame Artist: Narbeh Mardirossian
Color Artist: Greg Reese

Music Credits:
Artist: Rob Simonson
Song: Original Composition

—Spot: "Orchestra"

Chief Creative Officer: Duncan Milner
Executive Creative Director: Eric Grunbaum
Group Creative Directors: Chuck Monn, Chris Ribeiro
Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Niraj Zaveri
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Brooks Jackson
Art Director: Ren Toner
Copywriter: Lonnie Elliott

Executive Producer: Eric Voegele
Agency Producers: Serena Auroux, R.J. Pomeroy, Chris Shaw, Chelsea Larner, Katie McCain

Production Company: Green Dot Films
Directors: Mark Coppos, Rebecca Baehler, Alain Briere
Directors of Photography: Fernando Cardenas, Igor Jadue-Lillo

Editorial Company: Nomad Editing
Editors: Jared Coller, Kevin Clark

Postproduction: The Mill
Lead Flame Artist: Narbeh Mardirossian
Color Artist: Adam Scott

Music Credits:
Artist: Rob Simonson
Song: Falcon Hero (live)


Mini Vinnie Will Save Your Life With CPR, Then Kick Your Ass


The British Heart Foundation and Grey London have spoofed their own famous Vinnie Jones CPR ad, with kids performing the roles of the infamous retired soccer star and his henchmen. Of course, the effect isn't as strong if you haven't seen the original, which showed Vinnie performing CPR to the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" (a song that's been used in many CPR videos, as the pace of its rhythm is famously perfect for chest compressions). It's like a Kenneth Anger outtake with better production values. The remake doesn't really add much to the concept, although Mini Vinnie's goons are better dancers than the originals. On the other hand, it gets the Bee Gees stuck in your head. Credits below.

Project Title: "Vinnie Saves"
Client: British Heart Foundation
Policy and Communications Director: Betty McBride
Head of Policy and Advocacy: Maura Gillespie
Head of Social Marketing and Brand: Nick Radmore

Creative Agency: Grey, London
Executive Creative Director: Nils Leonard
Creative Director: Vicki Maguire
Copywriters, Art Directors: Vicki Maguire, Jonathan Marlow
Producer: Jacqueline Dobrin
Managing Partner: Sarah Jenkins
Account Director: Camilla Ashenhurst
Account Manager: Sophie Fredheim
Planner: Matt Buttrick

Media Agency: PHD

Production Company: Hungry Man
Directors: Wayne McClammy (TVC), Steve Bendelack (Mini Vinnie), James Gooding (testimonials)
Editors: Alaster Jordan (TVC; Mini Vinnie), Matt Newman (Mini Vinnie), Vee Pinot (testimonials)
Postproduction: The Mill, Greyworks
Audio Postproduction: Grand Central

Father Time Takes a Lickin' and Stops Tickin' for Sky TV


Father Time gets wound up and ticked off as his awesome powers run out in this cinematic spot by DDB New Zealand for Sky TV. "The sun, the moon, the tides, all were under my control ... But after thousands of years of service, it seems time has caught up with me," he moans. Bummer. The 90-second clip, stylishly directed by Steve Ayson, generates a Monty Python vibe thanks to the presence of a heavily bearded dude traipsing through bleak locations (It's … Father Time) and an absurdly epic yet silly premise. The best scene takes place in a clock shop, where the nonplussed counter help can't fix our hero's hourglass. (At least they have working clocks on hand, unlike Switzerland, which these days seems frozen in time.) The commercial is a broad and roundabout way of illustrating the brand message: "Time no longer matters." FT takes solace in front of the tube, remote in hand, time-shifting The Blues Brothers(they're on "a mission from God!") via Sky TV to his heart's content. Ultimately, TV's the time suck that claims us all. Credits below.

Client: Sky TV
Agency: DDB, New Zealand
Executive Creative Director: Andy Fackrell
Creative Director: Chris Schofield
Group Business Director: Nikki McKelvie
Art Director: Toby Morris
Copywriter: Simone Louis
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Account Director: Danielle Richards
Planner: David McIndoe
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Steve Ayson
Director of Photography: Crighton Bone
Sound Design: Jon Cooper
Agency Producer: Jane Mill
Editor: Jack Hutchings @ The Butchery
Composer: Peter Hobbs

Sky Director of Marketing: Mike Watson
Sky Television Marketing Manager: Aaron Stone
Sky Product Marketing Manager: Amber Brown

Ad of the Day: Cartier


Could someone please explain to me what is going on in any Cartier ad, ever? First, they had the free-associative Russia-elephant-dragon-airplane odyssey (seriously, it was called "L'Odyssée de Cartier"). Now, in its latest animated adventure, there's this beautiful jaguar chasing his friend up a giant Christmas tree to get to a box filled with expensive-looking Christmas magic.

Christmas, I get. Trees, I get. Jewelry, I understand. But why does the cat want a box of Christmas sparkles?

Perhaps the mere posing of this question indicates I am not the intended consumer, here. Perhaps if I were, say, a Real Housewife of somewhere tony, I would be more enamored of the snow that also appears to be diamonds, or the scaled-up rings and baubles that decorate the tree. Instead, I mostly want to play with the jaguar kitten without being eaten, which seems like much more fun.

This really is a gorgeous ad. Presumably because there are already brands associated with jaguars and snow leopards, the incredible-looking cat is called a "panther" in the brand literature, which is technically true in the same way that tigers and lions are also members of genus panthera. But after extensive zoological research, I can assure you it is a jaguar. Anyway, it's adorable. And of the few things in this spot that do appear to make sense, foremost among them is the desire to give this animal presents. I should buy it a really expensive pair of earrings or something.

Wait, I begin to see how this works.

Ad of the Day: Coca-Cola


It's not yet December, but tradition and commerce require you to get in the Christmas spirit pronto. Perhaps a giant creepy Santa Claus can help?

Coca-Cola is unleashing one, whether you like it or not, in its new global holiday spot from McCann Madrid that's now rolling out in some 100 countries. Coke has a fairly robust claim to the modern-day image of Santa Claus, having been among the first companies (though not the first) to feature the red-and-white version of St. Nick in its ads, back in the 1930s. The new spot, though, while making Santa even larger than life, manages to make him less lifelike than ever.

The ad opens with the great Claus packing a giant box onto a Coke truck. The box is then delivered on Christmas Eve to a lonely girl sipping a lonely Coke in a lonely apartment in a lonely city. She runs down to the street to take a look, and the box falls open to reveal a giant Santa marionette puppet. The woman and a swarm of strangers, apparently skilled at operating such giant contraptions, jump aboard and begin to operate it—walking Santa through town, where he spreads Christmas cheer with loping strides and sinister winks.

The message is clear: When people get together at Christmas, something magical happens. "We used the device of the puppet, as it has been a storytelling device for generations," says Leandro Raposo, executive creative director at McCann Madrid. "This puppet specifically, the one Santa sends to the human race, can only come to life when everyone gathers around it to make it work. We felt it was a beautiful metaphor for Christmas of this time and age."

That may be true. Still, the puppet feels like an odd choice for Coke. Particularly at the holidays, the brand is all about pure wonder and joy, nothing more complicated than that. Giant marionettes are good at provoking the former—see all the hubbub around Target's fashion-blogging marionette Marina last year—but not so great at the latter. People are fascinated with giant puppets, but unnerved by them as well. You're not simply opening happiness with this particular present.

The spot has some great images—in particular, the closing scenes with the Christmas tree. But overall, it feels like Coke wanted to take a real-world stunt and force it into the shape of a TV spot. In the end, it feels like neither. Perhaps they should have just gone with the real thing.

Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: McCann Madrid
Creative Directors: Leandro Raposo, Mónica Moro, Pablo Colonnese, Raquel Martínez
Art Director: Ricardo Rovira
Copywriter: Mikel Echeverría
Account Director: Lucía Guinea
Client lead: Michael Willeke
Directors: Marcus Svanberg and Linus Johanson
Production Company: Good Morning
Editor: David López
Post Production: Imasblue
Sound Design: Music Dealers, LLC

Craftsman's Pre-Roll Ad on YouTube Steals the NBA's Holiday Thunder


The NBA's new "BIG: Color" commercial is a pretty big hit. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the spot shows Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Joe Johnson bouncing basketballs—at first seemingly at random, but soon the dribbling becomes rhythmic and melodic and begins to sound like the popular Christmas song "Carol of the Bells." The ad goes on to promote a special set of single-color Christmas Day uniforms, now available for purchase at the NBA Store. With almost 5.5 million views in five days, it's already the fifth-most-watched NBA video ever on YouTube. That's all good—except that a random YouTube pre-roll ad has been crashing the NBA's party. A 30-second spot for Craftsman tools (posted below) has been playing in front of the NBA ad on many of the YouTube views. And guess what? The Craftsman spot features drills, saws and other tools playing, yes, "Carol of the Bells." It's all but an identical idea. And viewers are noticing. "Did anyone get the same ad from craftsman but with drills?" asks one much-liked comment. Time for the NBA to swat this ad off its court. Credits below.

Client: NBA
Executive Vice President, Marketing: Jamie Gallo
Spot: "BIG Color"

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Executive Creative Director: Jeff Goodby
Creative Directors: Nick Klinkert, Marty Senn                                                  
Art Director: Nick Luckett
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Pete Harvey
Director of Broadcast Production: Cindy Fluitt
Executive Producer: Tod Puckett
Producer: Stephanie DeNatale
Account Director: Jason Bedecarre
Account Manager: Janice McManemy
Assistant Account Manager: Heather Morba
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Julie Petruzzo
Business Affairs Coordinator: Anna Dionko

Production Company
Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Michael FitzMaurice
Executive Producer: Mary Ann Marino
Producer: Ron Cosentino
Director of Photography: Michael FitzMaurice
Production Designer: Bruce Shibley                      

Editorial Company: eLevel Films
Editor: Erik Johnson
Assistant Editor: Quinn Moticka
Producer: Ana Orrach

Sound Design, Mix
Company: eLevel Films
Senior Audio Engineer: Dave Baker

Company: eLevel Films
Composer: Nic DeMatteo

VFX, Finish Graphics
Motion Graphics Company: eLevel Films
Creative Director: Brady Baltezore
Motion Graphics Artist: Chris Carmichael
Visual Effects Producer: Jamie McBriety
Visual Effects Supervisor: Patrick Murphy

Lead Flame, Color: Brendan Crockett
Additional 2-D : Stefan Gaillot, Richard Hirst, Steve Wolf, Jesse Monsour
Executive Producer: Megan Meloth


Client: Craftsman
Spot: "Symphony"

Agency: Young & Rubicam / Midwest
Chief Creative Officer: Bob Winter
Creative Director: Chris Vandette
Copywriter: Melis Koroglu
Art Director: Dane Canada
Director of Integrated Production: Brian Smego
Associate Producer: Christopher Wickman

Production Company: Tool of North America
Director: Jason Zada
Executive Producers: Brian Latt, Oliver Fuselier, Dustin Callif

Editorial: Beast Editorial
Editor: David Blackburn

The Spot: Toy Overload


IDEA: It's no secret that holiday shopping, particularly offline, can be hell. Britain's Barclaycard, a credit- and debit-card company, doesn't claim to ease all the pain—just a portion of it. "Our personal view was that [Barclaycard's] previous ads depicted the whole purchasing process to be effortless just because the payment was. Well, that wasn't true," BBH copywriter Tom Drew and art director Uche Ezugwu told Adweek in an email. "Sometimes shopping can be a bit much, though Barclaycard always makes their bit easy." In 90 seconds of pandemonium, the company's new Christmas spot from BBH follows a father on a solo expedition through a toy store—its bright lights and jolly music concealing a heart of darkness where panic lurks. There, he is practically assaulted by toys pleading to be bought—and finds that using his phone to pay with Barclaycard is the only stress-free moment of his visit.

COPYWRITING: Inside the shop, Dad discovers a hidden world of human-size toys, all clamoring to be taken home. "Having three children and seven nieces and nephews between us, we understood that particular pain firsthand," the creatives said. Escorted by a friendly stuffed orangutan, the man meets a robot, a macho action figure, Bumblebee the Transformer and a baby doll—all of whom have pithy one-liners. A Barbie lookalike on a motor scooter prefers a pickup line. "Daddy, hop on," she purrs. ("They're plastic," the orangutan whispers.)

After zooming around in a toy car and dangling from a helicopter, man and ape fall on a whoopee cushion and the spot crashes to a halt. "OK, I've made up my mind!" Dad declares. After a quick swipe of his phone at checkout, he leaves with … his orangutan guide. "I wasn't expecting that!" the ape gasps happily. "A new way to pay. From Barclaycard," says the voiceover.

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Chris Palmer, who famously baked a giant car cake for Czech automaker Skoda and also directed T-Mobile's "Royal Wedding," shot this ad at Ealing Studios over two weeks. "We had a warehouse full of toys that Chris could decorate the spot with. We felt a little like our protagonist—we had too much choice," said the creatives. Toy Story is the obvious reference. "No commercial is ever going to be as good as the Toy Story trilogy, so we knew we had to steer ours away from it," the creatives said. "As long as we kept our story rooted in truth and revolving around the dad, we thought we'd be OK." To be more charming, they stayed away from CGI—every toy was puppeteered except the orangutan (a man in suit) and Bumblebee (stop motion). Each toy or group of toys was filmed on a separate layer and then composited in post by Framestore.

TALENT: The dad is good looking yet an everyman with a nice frazzled look. The orangutan worked well as the other main character because he isn't the obvious choice for a gift. "He had to be loveable, but maybe not at first sight—a grower," the creatives said. For his voice, they tried a bunch of comedians before finding "the perfect fit" in James Corden, best known from the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey.

SOUND: The agency had a whole original track scored. "It all worked, but something was missing. It left us a little cold," said the creatives. Instead, they used a version of "Sugar Plum Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. "From its mystical beginning to its emphatic crescendo, it's as if it was written for it," they said.

MEDIA: The spot launched Nov. 10 on ITV1 during The X Factor. Viewers can use Shazam to tag the spot and win prizes, each of which includes a £5 donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.


Client: Barclaycard
Global Brand Director: Gary Twelvetree
Spot: "Toys"

Agency: BBH, London
Copywriter: Tom Drew
Art Director: Uche Ezugwu
Creative Directors: Matt Doman & Ian Heartfield
Executive Creative Director: Nick Gill
Producer: Rachel Hough
Head of Film: Davud Karbassioun
Team Manager: Claire Carpenter & Rebecca Levy
Team Director: Paisley Wright
Strategic Business Lead: Paul Matuszczyk

Production Company: Gorgeous
Director: Chris Palmer
Producer: Rupert Smythe
Production Company: Passion Pictures
Technical Director: Neil Riley
Producer: Patrick Duguid
DoP: Jess Hall
Post Production: Framestore
Editor/Editing House: Jonnie Scarlett, The Quarry
Sound: Factory: Sam Robson, Factory Studios. Ben Baird/Nick Roberts, The Quarry

How to Make Food Ads Look Delicious in Super Slow Motion


Feast your eyes on this self-promo clip from German commercial production house The Marmalade. It's a tasty behind-scenes look at how the company achieves mouth-watering slow-motion visual effects mostly for a range of food and beverage clients. Robotic arms, special software and high-frame-rate camera techniques yield a fusion of art, technology and commerce that transcends run-of-the-mill advertising. These super-slo-mo effects serve up real food (sorry, CGI) and go way beyond pretty-ing up hamburgers. We're dipping into the realm of the giddily surreal, where wine and beer flow like liquid diamonds and molten gold, each bubble a plume of effervescent brilliance. Or something poetic like that. "A Sensory Journey" is promised, and delivered, in an Asian spot for KFC, with a psychedelic explosion of dancing peppers and peanuts that's best savored in its full 30-second form on The Marmalade's site. (Last time I ate at KFC, I took a "sensory journey" of another kind right after.) Most striking, perhaps, is a YaJuice spot with a woman's pale skin and bright red lips peeking out from a sea of cherries. When she takes a bite of one of the juicy orbs in super close-up, it's almost like she's devouring a planet. I wonder if The Marmalade hasn't overreached, because most of this stuff looks too gorgeous to eat. Imagine what they could do with gravy. Via PSFK.

Burger King's Ugoff Is Reborn as Tidy Cats' Hans Hansenburg


Ever wonder what happened to Ugoff, the flamboyant (and fictional) fashion designer featured in Burger King's 2004 ads for fire-grilled salads? Apparently he's now going by Hans Hansenberg and working as a "Tidy Cats innovationist." Actor Daniel Raymont revives his German accent in the new spots for Tidy Cats' two-handled container, supposedly invented by the James Dyson-esque Hansenberg to end decades of disastrous litter spills from traditional boxes and bags. Accent aside, the mild-mannered Hans is definitely a departure from the over-the-top Ugoff, who chewed up the scenery in the early BK spots by Crispin Porter + Bogusky and director Roman Coppola. But it's hard to see the eccentric frames, shock of black hair and thick mutton chops in the Tidy Cats ads without hoping he'll stop, glare at the camera and say, "Please. I'm Ugoff." Check out more of the new Tidy Cats work and the Ugoff originals after the jump.

Ad of the Day: Canon


The world is filled with beautiful moments worth capturing. You just have to see them. Also, buy a Canon Rebel T4i camera and carry it with you all the time. That way, whenever inspiration strikes, you'll be ready to snap a photo you can save forever. Also, Canon will sell more Canon Rebels.

A new ad for the brand from Grey in New York features a montage of adventurous photographers braving environmental hazards to get that special shot. The spot does a particularly nice job of portraying the product users as the heroes of the story: Their antics are by varying degrees entertaining (trying to outrun a charging giraffe, staring down an irate fishmonger) and stupid-dangerous (climbing to the edge of an icy roof to get a better angle on the kid making snow angels in an empty pool). The resulting pictures are all marvelous, and so is the filming of the spot itself, showing all the right attention to detail—e.g., the birthday girl's sideway glance when her mom nonchalantly sweeps a bowl off the table to get it out of the frame.

The director, Nicolai Fuglsig, also shot Fallon's famous Sony Bravia "Balls" spot. He appears to have an affinity for steep roads and the effects of gravity on unusual objects—in that case innumerable bouncy balls, and in this case a flaming tire.

The soundtrack is Rachel Fannan of the California rock group Only You singing a charmingly understated version of the easily mawkish classic "Beautiful Dreamer," and it's pretty much perfect for the spot. Canon or someone should probably post or sell the whole song somewhere obvious soon. People are going to want to hear it.

Figuring out how exactly the lofty tagline, "Long live imagination," ties into an ad about making concrete records of inspiring moments may take a few steps of abstraction. But in the end, it does make sense, and the conceit, with all its overtones of creativity and immortality, is pretty much dead-on for an ad aimed at people who want to be artists.

Client: Canon USA
Spot: "Inspired"
Agency: Grey, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
Executive Creative Directors: Ari Halper, Steve Krauss
Creative Directors: Stu Mair, Dave Cuccinello
Agency Broadcast Producer: Topher Lorette
Agency Photography Producer: Jen Pugliese
Agency Print Producer: Debbie Joyce
Account: Rick Cusato, Melinda Hecht, Lindsey Christensen, Jennifer Fritz, Floriana Abramovich
Production Company: MJZ, Los Angeles
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Director of Photography: Linus Sandgren
Editor: Neil Smith, Work Editorial
Photographer: Simon Harsent
Music, Sound Design: Henry Boy, Black Iris Music
Agency Music Producer: Zach Pollakoff
Music: Black Iris Music
Arranger: Rob Barbato
Vocals: Rachel Fannan of Only You (courtesy of White Iris Records)
Music Creative Directors: Daron Hollowell, Jonathan Fuller
Music Executive Producer: Jenny Hollowell
Music Producer: Amy Crilly
Music Assistant Producer: Rob Lowry
Sound: Heard City
Mixer: Keith Reynaud
EP: Gloria Pitagorsky

Cat Cleans His Butt With Impunity in Insulation Ads


There seems to be no limit to the types of products and services you can advertise with cat marketing. Here, Mammoth Modern Insulation in New Zealand makes its pitch with the help of a haughty feline named Prince Nikolai Stroganov III. The cat loves being in the way, knocking over vases, and warmth—the latter apparently provided by beds of the finest insulation. The spot, by Sugar & Partners, is eerily similar to Henri 2, Paw de Deux, which was recently voted the best cat film on the Internet by the Internet Cat Film Festival, sponsored by the Walker Museum of Art in Minneapolis. Still, it's hard to make insulation exciting, and equally hard not to like Prince Nikolai and his ass-licking ways.

More spots after the jump.

Anna Nicole Smith's 6-Year-Old Daughter Models for Guess Kids


Anna Nicole Smith's 6-year-old daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, is modeling for the Guess Kids spring ad campaign, alongside R&B singer Babyface's daughter, Peyton Edmunds. The ads will start appearing in magazines, and on billboards and buses, in January. I have to say, the comparisons being made between Dannielynn and her mom are kind of creepy, but the New York Daily Newssays this is a onetime thing meant as a tribute to Anna Nicole, who modeled for Guess early in her career (and who died of a drug overdose in 2007). Well, geez, it had better be. Not just because of how Anna Nicole's various problems were enabled by her modeling career, but because her daughter should be allowed to have a real childhood without any adult pressure to take up the same line of work.

Dikembe Mutombo Defends Earth Against Mayan Prophesy of Annihilation in Old Spice Game


The world can't end fast enough for me, because I'm sick to death of hearing about the Mayan prediction that Dec. 21 will be the last day ever. Can't the red-hot destruction arrive this weekend so we can have a little peace? Which brings us to Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World, an advergame created by Wieden + Kennedy for Old Spice that lets users play the role of the 7-foot-2 NBA defensive legend. Being all of 5-foot-5, this is a proposition I find particularly attractive. The high-concept premise, delivered with amusingly annoying old-school gaming sounds and 8-bit graphics, teams the defender of the planet with sidekick Science the Bear for a bit of Sherman-and-Peabody-style banter before the big guy enters Level 1, descending into the Earth to thwart an apocalyptic Gangnam-inspired South Korean dance craze. (Frankly, the Macarena was far more annoying, and I'm amazed it didn't cause mankind's demise in '95.) The forced wackiness of "Save the World" kind of wore me out. But since we're running low on time, what the heck, might as well play. Dikembe will face new perils each week until … game over? Credits below.

Client: Old Spice
Project: "Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World" Video Game
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Executive Creative Directors: Mark FItzloff, Susan Hoffman
Creative Directors: Jason Bagley, Craig Allen
Interactive Creative Director: Matt O'Rourke
Copywriter: Andy Laugenour
Art Director: Max Stinson
Senior Interactive Producer: Mike Davidson
Interactive Producer: Ben Kendall
UX Designer: Jake Doran
Director of Broadcast Production: Ben Grylewicz
Director of Interactive Production: Pierre Wendling
Management Supervisor: Michael Dalton
Account Supervisor: Liam Doherty
Business Affairs: Cindy Lewellen
Media Team: Kelly Muller, Kerry Antos, Lisa Feldhusen

Game Development
Game Maker: Adam Atomic/Adam Saltsman
Artist: Paul Veer
Artist: Sven Ruthner
Composer: Jukio Kallio
Sound Designer: Robin Arnott

Animation Company: Powerhouse Animation Studios
CEO: Brad Graeber
Studio Director: Jason Williams
Production Director: Louie Granda
Creative Director: Sam Deats
Animators: Chris Beaver, Ed Booth, Kellan Stover

Website Development
Digital Development Company: Driftlab
Developer: Ash Warren
Developer: Nate Horstmann
Developer: Dan Will
Animator: Joe Corrao

Vaginal Lubricant Uses Slippery Marketing Tactic of Female Empowerment


Excuse me for once again having a chat with you about vaginas. Damiva, a new brand of products for ladybits whose name is a portmanteau of dame and diva, is releasing an ad campaign by Toronto creative agency Open for a vaginal moisturizer called Mae by Damiva, named after Mae West. Of course, vaginal moisture is a slippery topic. While the West considers a gushing vagina a turn-on and a symbol of youth and vigor, in places like South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Haiti, it's the opposite. There, women are known to use drying agents and sponges to get that dry, virginal feel that men prefer. A few months ago, I wrote about the feminist backlash against a vaginal tightening cream in India called 18 Again that used the language of female empowerment to hawk a product clearly intended for male pleasure. Damiva has done a similar thing with its campaign, which has lines like, "Get ready to feel like a teenager again, but with better judgment" and "Your vagina, and your honey, will thank you." But there will be no feminist outcry here. The product is well positioned, the copy is sassy and targeted at older women who are quite familiar with the suggestion that age has rendered them sexually inadequate. In fact, I'd say Damiva has a perpetual market so long as it's easier to buy a pill than to explain to your "honey" what constitutes adequate foreplay. But before all the pre-menopausal women in the house go hog wild trying to relive the carefree, lubricated days of their youth, know that Mae by Damiva is not compatible with latex condoms. And as DDB reminds us, old people have STDs, too. More images and credits below.

Client: Damiva
Founder, CEO: Chia Chia Sun
Agency: Open, Toronto
Partner, Creative: Martin Beauvais
Partner, Strategy: Christian Mathieu
Project Lead: Anne Ngo
Writers: Kate Thorneloe, Claire deMarco
Writer (French): Laurent Prud'Homme
Art Director, Designer: Jessica Carter
Mac Artist: Dwain Jones

Grabbing a Red Stripe Causes Store's Other Products to Break Into Music


Here's a pretty awesome stunt from London by Red Stripe. Ad agency KesselsKramer (along with Stinkdigital director Greg Brunkalla and creative technology consultancy Hirsch&Mann) rigged up scores of products in a corner deli to suddenly start dancing and making music whenever an unsuspecting customer grabbed a Red Stripe from the cooler. It's really the perfect expression of the Red Stripe brand—fun, musical, handmade, a bit rough around the edges. Half the time it's obvious the people in these kinds of videos are actors—but not in this one. The behind-the-scenes video (posted after the jump) is interesting, too, and shows how much fun they all had making this store come to life.

Ad of the Day: Honda


At least one person in each of these "Happy Honda Days" holiday ads deserves a big lump of coal. George the grouchy father. Steve's smother—sorry, mother—Nancy. Bratty sister Samantha. Lisa's terrible kids. OK, maybe Pete, whose only crime is accidentally breaking something off camera, should get an orange or something.

There are more or less two ways to go with family-themed holiday ads—the nauseatingly perfect household, or the rambunctious family of crazy people you're going to be locked in the house with for a solid week. Honda, admirably, has chosen the second way, although the automaker is perhaps pushing it with the gloriously multiethnic Odyssey-ful of thirtysomething suburban women rocking out to Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis." Someone in that minivan is uncomfortable, or should be.

Casting is pretty near perfect here. Nancy the overbearing mom is fantastic, bellowing "TRASH CANS!" in exactly the right leonine register to her poor son. And Samantha the evil sis has the little-princess act down cold. My personal favorite character is Steve's beautiful date, who gets to hear Mom call in on the convenient Bluetooth connection to ask about Steve's rash and who wordlessly goes through what appear to be the five stages of grieving in about two seconds. What's funny is that in each of these ads, one of the car's standard features is being horribly abused—by bratty sisters who hog the iPod connection or grumpy dads who don't want to listen to Pandora.

The ads—from RPA and Moxie Pictures director Frank Todaro—do promise more happiness at the sales event, though. (This is the ninth year of the annual "Happy Honda Days" holiday campaign.) But while it's been a few years since I visited a car dealership, I don't remember finding the glove compartment filled with happiness when I left the lot. "More happiness and standard features," guys? If these ads prove anything, it's that happiness is part of the LX package.

Agency: RPA
EVP, CCO: Joe Baratelli
SVP, GCD: Jason Sperling
VP, CD: Curt Johnson
CD: Alicia Dotter
ACD: Sarah May Bates
SVP, Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff
Agency Senior Producer: Fran Wall

Production Company: Moxie Pictures
Director: Frank Todaro
Executive Producer: Robert Fernandez, Karol Zeno, Roger Zorovich
Producer: Laura Heflin

Editing Company: The Reel Thing
Editor: Lance Pereira
Flame Artist: Moody Glasgow
Executive Producer: Doug Kleckner

Telecine: Co3
Colorist: Beau Leon

Audio Post: Lime Studios
Mixer: Dave Wegg
Music: Wojahn Brothers