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Stay Comfy, Even When You're Not, With Cotton Inc.'s Holiday Line of Clothes


The holidays are bound to lead to some awkward moments, like perhaps when Mom has a bit too much to drink. But if you're wearing comfortable clothing, they might just be a little more bearable.

A new campaign from trade group Cotton Incorporated and DDB New York offers suggestions on how to dress to get through your family time this Christmas season.

A cotton shirt will make it easier to sit at the kids' table, says the centerpiece ad, even if you're aged well out of the group. Cotton socks might take the edge off your grandma trying to play footsie with you (mistaking you for her boyfriend).

There's a cotton jumpsuit for when your least self-aware relative gives a gift of the massager you gave to him or her the year prior. (Benicio del Toro might also have some pointers on how to handle that one.) There's even a cotton hoodie, for when whoever is cooking ruins dinner and you have to venture out in the cold for Chinese takeout.

A website, meanwhile, will offer the fashions to anyone who wishes to buy them, part of the aptly titled "Comfortable Collection for Uncomfortable Holiday Moments."

Overall, it's a goofy idea, but endearing enough. While the claim that your duds will provide much material support during the annual horror-show may rate as a little thin, it's hard to argue against the basic premise.

And whatever comes, you'll be less miserable if you're not clad head to toe in scratchy wool.

Client: Cotton Incorporated

Agency: DDB NY
Chief Creative Officer - Icaro Doria
Creative Director - Cassandra Anderson
Associate Creative Director - Marilyn Kam
Associate Creative Director - Avinash Balinga
Art Director - Hedvig Kushner
Designer - Benny Ventura
Head of Production - Ed Zazzera
Executive Producer - Teri Altman
Integrated Producer - Kelly Treadway
Business Affairs Manager - Kelly McCann
Account Director - Deborah Broda
Management Supervisor - Lauren Solomon
Brand Planning Director – Jennifer Fox
Social and Content Strategist – Amanda Moreno

Production Company - Community Films
Marius Crowne - Director
Lizzie Schwartz - Executive Producer
Chris Spanos - Head of Production
Chris Marsh - Producer
Jacq Donegan - Production Manager
Alexander Hankoff - Director of Photography
Ciera Wells - Costume Designer
Jesika Farkas - Production Designer
Katie Wedlund – Hair/Makeup
Nick Wiesner - Assistant Camera

Editorial - Cosmo Street
Dave Otte - Editor
Maura Woodward – Executive Producer
Anne Lai – Producer
Viet-An Nguyen – Producer

Color & Finishing- Switch
Diana Dayrit- Executive Producer
Cara Flynn- Producer
Jon Magel - Andrew Rea - Flame Artists

Sound & Mix – Mr. Bronx
Dave Wolfe - Mix & Sound design

Samsung Wishes You a Happy Virtual Holiday With Gear VR Ads and Experiences


Finally, here's a holiday ad where people aren't pretending to like the gifts they're given! There's just one catch: We really can't tell what's getting them all so wound up.

Samsung is hoping to create what it calls "a new holiday tradition" with a campaign called "The Gift of Galaxy," which celebrates experiences both delightful and immersive. If you've followed Samsung's many VR-related ads this year, you won't be all that surprised at what this gift entails. 

A national TV spot kicks the work off.

Titled "Unwrap the Feels," it features families offering Samsung Gear VR headsets to family members, who enthuse, clip their phones in and experience a whole roller-coaster of emotions while others watch, pleased as punch. 

There is terror. There is joy. There are tears! Could they all be watching the same thing? Maybe they're overcoming their fear of heights.

The work feels like an effort to push VR to the mainstream, amid growing concern that companies are overinvesting in a market that's still a bit too green. With help from "The Gift of Galaxy," Samsung hopes to boost its prospects. From Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, people who buy a Galaxy S7 Edge or a Galaxy S7 will also score a Gear VR gift pack, which includes an Oculus bonus—making this ad a potential reality. 

The blue boxes you see are also key to the marketing. The brand's New York flagship store, Samsung 837, will be converted into a giant blue box from tomorrow to New Year's Day, to make blue boxes "synonymous with a magical gift-giving experience." Visitors can attend events and win prizes, and an additional VR experience—Samsung's version of Santa's sleigh ride—will also be unveiled.

Since all that unpleasantness about exploding Galaxy Note 7 batteries, Samsung's seen negative social chatter jump 187 percent. To its credit, "The Gift of Galaxy" shows it's not shying away from either the tarnished brand name or its aggressive tech-forward positioning. This year, in addition to going all-in on VR, it's impressively championed smart devices (like motorcycle windshields and surfboards) and 360 video, and made promising partnerships with everyone from Viceland to makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury.

The brand is well on its way to both overcoming an ugly setback and defining itself as a leader in VR and connected devices. But until VR effectively resolves its tricky content problem (among other challenges, like lack of platform agnosticity, bulkiness, cost, wires and just generally looking awfully complicated), Grandpa probably isn't taking that blue box back out after Christmas.

A Forlorn Wooden Doll Finds Love at Her Local McDonald's in Brand's Holiday Ad


Ah, the holidays! A time for sharing, love and ... McDonald's? 

In "Juliette the Doll," a charming little ad by Leo Burnett London, a toyshop owner pulls a vintage doll, Juliette, out of a fading box. "Maybe this year," he whispers, setting her in the window. Days pass. People make purchases. Unsurprisingly, our heroine is never one of them. (Who plays with dolls anymore when there are VR Gears to give?) 

Juliette peers forlonly out the window, offering passersby her best demure poses. Her eyes drift, ever more often, to the cheerful McDonald's across the snowy street, where people seem to be having a grand old time. 

Dec. 25 finally arrives. When the shopkeeper glances at the window, he finds Juliette has gone. We'll give you one guess where she went. 

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

There's a lot of love going on at McDonald's, but Juliette finally sets her sights on a shopping bag containing Meteor Mike, a kind of yellow Buzz Lightyear without the goofy helmet (and more hair). As Juliette slips into the bag with her new betrothed, she offers a last wave at her old caretaker. Boy, are those kids in for a surprise when they check their shopping at home! 

The piece ends with two simple words: "Good times." 

The work is an expression of McDonald's role as a fueling post for families amid the season's hustle and bustle, and kicks off an eight-week holiday campaign that features a lot more technology than meets the eye here: In addition to all the usual suspects (out-of-home, digital, radio and in-store ads), special tray mats will feature augmented reality technology from Blippar.

"Juliette the Doll" is also an innovation lovechild, despite its seemingly modest origins. Its creation included 3-D printing, puppeteering and CGI, with Juliette's face painted on by hand. 

"McDonald's may not be a brand people immediately associate with Christmas, but it plays a big, perhaps unsung role," explain Leo Burnett creatives Phillip Meyler and Darren Keff.  "Millions of people from all walks of life pass through the doors during the festive period, rich or poor, old or young—everyone from an old-fashioned girl from a bygone era, to a futuristic fella from another planet." 

It's good to know some things will last the ravages of time. And while it isn't exactly heartening to know that our need for fast food is what will last (as opposed to sweet hand-carved toys), the execution is just charming enough to compell us to concede the point. 

Client: McDonald's U.K.
Head of Marketing, Brand and Experience, McDonald's UK: Katie Parker
Brand Manager, McDonald's UK: Hannah Pain
Agency: Leo Burnett, London
CCO: Chaka Sobhani
Creative Director: Pete Heyes, Matt Lee
Art Director: Phillip Meyler, Darren Keff
Copywriter: Philip Meyler, Darren Keff
Account Team: Simon Hewitt, Sam Houlston, Ailsa McQuaid and Gracie Smith
Agency Producer: Lou Pegg
Director: Gary Freedman
Producer: Jason Kemp
Editor: Adam Spivey
Post Production: MPC
Sound Design: Sam Robson
Music: Woodwork Music
DOP: Jan Velicky
Model Makers: Artem

Ad of the Day: Ram Trucks Salutes Blue-Collar Workers in Big, Poetic Ad for Thanksgiving


Ram Trucks is giving thanks this holiday in classic Fiat Chrysler style with a big, sweeping, poetic paean to blue-collar American workers—in a 90-second spot from The Richards Group, airing Thursday, that gives praise to waitresses, janitors, mill and factory workers, fishermen and more, as well as the work they do.

The spot honors the "true everyday heroes" who may often struggle to make ends meet but always "labor to make their families and this nation strong," according to press materials. Each line of the poetic voiceover begins with the word "praise," lending an almost religious feel to the sacrifices these men and women make—the grueling workdays that help make their family time at home possible.

The spot will air on Thanksgiving Day during the NFL games on CBS and Fox.

"Appropriately airing on Thanksgiving Day when families across the country take time to reflect and give thanks, 'Praise' is the Ram brand's tribute to hard-working Americans and the story of people who are the backbone of our country," said Olivier Francois, global CMO of Fiat Chrysler.

The spot evokes the famous Ram "Farmer" ad that ran on the 2013 Super Bowl, which Francois references in speaking about the "Praise" ad.

"Just as the brand paid homage to American farm families a few years back during a Super Bowl telecast, we always look for opportunities to build unique, impactful creative around a defining cultural moment that allows us to reach large audiences in a very effective way. 'Praise' adheres to our marketing mantra of thinking boldly and making a difference in both the message and the way we deliver it." 

In the wake of this year's divisive election, the work might feel explicitly tailored to the blue-collar base of president-elect Donald Trump. But as with anything Francois makes, the politics here aren't that simple—for example, the spot at one point praises immigrant workers with green cards.

Ram is encouraging viewers to share what they are thankful for with the hashtag #RamGivesThanks. Ram country music partners, including Easton Corbin and Maddie and Tae, are also involved in the campaign—they will be performing in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which Ram also sponsors. 

The "Praise" spot is the second big new Ram commercial of the week. On Sunday, the brand aired the 60-second spot below—an ode to Fifth Harmony's "Work from Home" music video—during the 2016 American Music Awards. That spot aired on TV just that once, and was another example of the value Fiat Chrysler and Francois put in event programming. 

Fiat Chrysler aired a second major spot on the AMA's, too—the two-minute video below, "Music Brings Us Together," in which it thanked its music-label partners for driving 7.8 billion YouTube video views and connecting the company's vehicles to the world.

Client: Ram Trucks/Fiat Chrysler
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas 

The Salvation Army's Clever Facebook 360 Photos Show Poverty Lurking Just Out of View


Grey's holiday appeal for the Salvation Army in Canada makes impressive use of Facebook 360 photos to give users a more rounded view of poverty. 

At first glance, posts resemble typical yuletide fare, with smiling parents and kids wishing their families and friends a Merry Christmas, complete with festive trees and colorful lights in the background. 

But when users interact with the ads, they see things from a different perspective. Check out one of the 360 photos here. Below is the case study showing how they worked: 

"When people think of life in Canada, we certainly don't imagine one in 10 people here can't make ends meet, but that's the reality," Grey Toronto president Darlene Remlinger tells AdFreak. "Poverty isn't always easy to see. It's much closer to us than we want to believe it is. And during the holidays, that's a reality even more difficult to accept. So through these different executions, we wanted to show people that appearances can be deceiving." 

With this particular campaign, she says, "using Facebook and some of their new technologies was important for driving more interaction and more engagement with a simple, easily executed format," especially one that was cost effective and would appeal to millennials, who are comfortable with donating to causes online. 

Even without the 360, this next clip encourages viewers to do a mental 180:

"We ended up shooting inside real rooming houses and real impoverished homes," Remlinger says. "None of the scenes in any of these photographs or films are artificial sets. These are all actual homes in which real Canadian families and individuals live. Places like these are so much more prevalent than we ever imagine they'd be, often in neighborhoods and places you'd never expect to find them." 

Like the videos, the campaign's print ads provide a more complete picture of some quietly desperate situations: 

Client: Salvation Army

Agency: Grey Canada (with media planning/placement by Mediacom)
Executive Creative Directors: Joel Arbez, James Ansley
Art Directors: Oliver Brooks, Ryan McNeill, Janet Wen
Writers: Mike Richardson, Shirley Yushkov
Account Director: Siobhan Doyle
Account Executive: Kit Kostandoff
Strategic Planner: Jean Claude Kikongi
Producers: Vanessa Birze, Deena Archibald, Sam Benson
Digital Producer: Dominic Barlow
Director of Technology and UX: Marc Cattapan

Production Company: Westside Studios
Director/Photographer: Frank Hoedl

Editorial: Christina Humphries, Rooster Post
Post Production: Fort York
Colour: The Vanity
Audio: Boombox, Cylinder Sound

These Adorable Print Ads for Nutcase Helmets Show Protective Headgear Through Time


Bike helmets aren't exactly sexy items, but helmet brand Nutcase is hoping to at least make them fun. 

In a straightforward series of print and out-of-home ads, helmets throughout history are featured protecting brains from all kinds of baddies. These include a lion trying to chomp into a Roman gladiator (above), a dragon going for a knight, a Samurai protecting himself from a ninja, and a deep-sea diver with an octopus wound around his head. 

The accompanying bodies are super-tiny and riding bikes, tying back to the more modern (but no less harrowing!) use for helmets. The tagline reads, "Helmets. Protecting us since ever." 

Nutcase has been around for about a decade, and sells graphically appealing helmets with magnetic buckles for both children and adults. The underlying selling point is that if helmets can't be subtle, they can at least be cute and quirky; mousing over the helmets on the website reveals copy that reads, "I love my brain." 

The ads were created by agency The Community, which won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 2015 for another bike-related print campaign—for the city of Buenos Aires. The Nutcase work will launch in the U.S., Argentina and Brazil in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Check out the variants below.

Client: Nutcase
Marketing Manager: Meghan Sinnott
Senior Designer: David Kruger

Agency: The Community
Chief Creative Officer: Joaquín Mollá, José Mollá
Associate Creative Director: Fernando Reis, Marcelo Padoca
Art Director: Fernando Reis, Guilherme Nóbrega
Copywriter: Marcelo Padoca
Illustrator: Juan Bakea
Account Director: Mike Ridley
Account Executive: Alina Zuniga
Integrated Producer: Robert Hannau
Director Of Studio Services: Thomas Bolger
Manager of creative services: Maru Sokolowski

This Danish Travel Agency Dreamed Up a Fun Way to Get Parents to Have More Sex


It's no secret that having kids can dampen a couple's sex life. And travel agency Spies Travel has devoted its existence to championing sex among the Danish—by getting them to take more vacations, which they claim boosts the chances of getting lucky by 102 percent. 

For the third ad in the "Do It for Denmark" campaign, Spies came up with a compelling idea—a "Do It Forever" loyalty program, with a fertility bonus that gives you bigger travel discounts if you have more kids. 

Not just once or twice. For years. 

Some 46 percent of Danish partners with kids have less sex—a long-term threat to the growth of the Danish populace, which suffers from a low birth rate. The new ad follows couples whose passion has been dampened by progeny, and is peppered with all kinds of weird but nifty facts—how sleep can improve women's sex drives; how vitamin D from the sun increases male potency; how regular sex can lift life expectancy by eight years. 

All this is told in the roundabout, comedic way for which the campaign is now known. (Think awkward visual gags—like sexy banana-eating action, hard-ons in the pool and a suggestive sunscreen squirt.)

Spies kicked "Do It for Denmark" off in 2014 with a patriotic ad urging Danes to travel, have sex and have more babies. In 2015, it followed up with "Do It for Mom," which promoted the "Spies Parent Purchase"—a package that enables you to send grown kids on holiday so they can procreate.

"Do It Forever" is the third (and, they say, last) installment of the campaign. Created once again by Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, it concludes about as honestly as anybody can hope: "This way, we secure your health, as well as our future business."

Client: Spies Travel
Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, Denmark
Strategist: Søren Christensen
Creative Director: Heinrich Vejlgaard
Art Director: René Sohn Kammersgaard
Account Manager: Gitte Andersen
Film Production: Gobsmack Productions
Producers: Christina Bostofte Erritzøe, Cille Silverwood-Cope
Director: Niels Nørløv
Director of Photography: Bastian Schiøtt
Focus puller / B-Photography: Kasper Bylov
Drone Operator/ Still Photo / DIT: Frederik Kastrupsen
Editor: Dan Lochi
Visual Effects: Magnús Sveinn Jónsson, And Welcome Post
Sound Design: Bjørn Vidø / Freezone
Komposer: Henrik Lindstrand / Upwright Music
Interactive Developer: Ramiro Espada
Nordic Account Manager: Rasmus Mikkelsen
Campaign Manager: Louise Brogaard
Account Director: Mads Bech Larsen
Consultant: Cecilie Valentin, Katrine Lerche
Media Agency: Vizeum

Wes Anderson's New H&M Christmas Ad, With Adrien Brody, Is Totally Stylish and Delightful


H&M has had a very strong year in its advertising, and it's putting a festive bow on 2016 with this lovely short film for Christmas, directed by Wes Anderson (with help from London agency adam&eveDDB) and starring Adrien Brody.

It's set on a train—a favorite environment for Anderson—at the holidays, but bad weather has delayed the trip. So Brody, who plays the conductor, and his train colleagues put on a nice Christmas surprise for the passengers, including one diminutive guest in particular.

The film is shot in typical Anderson style, including tracking shots and great attention to detail. The final scene is quite emotional, which is nice, too, amid the exquisite design.

All the actors are wearing H&M's holiday line of clothes. 

"The winter train ride, under Wes Anderson's direction, is the perfect setting for H&M's holiday collection full of relaxed, wearable elegance," said Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M's head of design and creative director. "It's about mixing the informal with a sense of occasion, capturing the holiday mood for both dressing up and getting cosy with loved ones."

"This story may resonate more than ever at a time in the world where we could all do with giving a stranger a hug," Brody said.

H&M's previous advertising efforts this year included this wonderful "She's a Lady" spot for the autumn 2016 collection, which followed a magnetic anthem spot in late 2015—both made by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors.

Anderson, of course, has an extensive history of directing commercials. Check out many of them here.

Zales Jewelers Gets Heat for Putting a Lesbian Couple in Its Holiday Ad


A new ad from Zales Jewelers is just what you'd expect of a jewelry brand at the outset of the holiday season—30 seconds of beautiful couples, sparkly rings, heartfelt music and emotional voiceover. But its inclusion of one same-sex couple has some people up in arms.

More and more brands have been supporting the LGBTQ community, particularly since 2015's Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling. Jewelers, in particular, have generally embraced the community—it's a good market for selling rings, after all.

But ads with gay couple still provoke some outrage online. This time, the blowback is from usual suspect One Million Moms.

On its website, One Million Moms released a statement accusing Zales of attempting to "normalize sin." It calls for people to boycott the brand, stop into Zales stores and share concerns with store managers, and urge Zales to pull the commercial and "remain neutral" in the culture wars.

"An even greater concern is that the commercial is airing when children are likely watching television," the group says. "To make matters worse, this ad has aired during family viewing time such as football games and prime-time shows."

As a result, Zales social media channels have been flooded. And no post—not even an innocuous one advertising Bulova watches—is safe from outrage. LGBTQ supporters are being vocal as well, pledging to back Zales with their wallets this holiday season. 

These Provocative Ads for World AIDS Day Reveal a Little-Known Fact About HIV-Positive Partners


We'd all like to be seen as more than a condition or label. There's little worse than one that defines your life.

It is little known that HIV-positive people following treatment can arrive at a point where they may no longer transmit the virus, even with unprotected sex. But the stigma of HIV remains, which makes it hard for carriers to court intimacy. 

"It is our responsibility to reveal this information to the most people possible," says Aurélien Beaucamp, president of French advocacy group AIDES. "What weighs most on the quality of life of HIV-positive people today is not the virus. It's the daily discriminations they have to suffer." 

Some 86 percent of HIV-positive people who've been tested in France, and are currently being treated, have an undetectable viral load, making it unlikely they will pass the virus on, according to AIDES. But intimate rejection remains a critical part of their lives. Per an "HIV, Hepatitis and You" inquiry carried out in March, 49.1 percent of declared discriminations happen in a sexual context.

For World AIDS Day on Thursday, AIDES and TBWA\Paris released "Revelation," a series of racy—but also curiously serene—print ads that convey everything else an HIV-positive person has to share with a partner. 

Click the ads to enlarge.

The ads reveal couples in impressive acts of multitasking—parachuting, diving, dancing and studying the piano, all while naked. In each, one partner is HIV-positive ... but they're seen passing on knowledge and skill, not a virus. 

The photos were taken by Mathieu César, whose clients have included Louis Vuitton, Harper's Bazaar and British Vogue, and whose subjects are as diverse as Buzz Aldrin, Daft Punk and Natalie Portman.

"Fearing rejection, many people refrain from having sentimental or sexual relations," Beaucamp goes on. "They no longer dare talk about their pathology and avoid taking their medication in public. All these situations lock them up in a form of auto-exclusion, which is truly detrimental to their quality of life and capacity to take care of their health." 

The ads conclude with the tagline, "HIV-positive people on treatment have a lot to pass on. But not HIV." 

Unsurprisingly, "Revelation" has already received passionate reactions, most notably in Béziers, a more conservative region in the south of France, where a response campaign depicts a clothed heterosexual white couple in formal dress. 

The copy reads, "Loving one another. Giving to one another. Giving everything," coupled with the tagline, "Love should be protected." It ends with an appropriation of the French motto "Liberty, equality, fraternity"—with "fraternity" replaced by "fidelity."

The tweet above reads, "Our response to the French government's AIDS campaign. Appearing everywhere in #Béziers #fidelity." It was written by Robert Ménard, the mayor of Béziers, who in September notably told French news channel LCI that being French means, "in the words of Charles De Gaulle, being European, white and Catholic." 

The statement was made to lend context to his claim that 91 percent of children in some French schools are Muslim. An anti-racism organization, LICRA, submitted a complaint accusing him of hate speech. 

The backlash should feel familiar to those who've observed conservative groups leaning on romanticized vestiges of a time when society—at least the parts we saw—was a lot more homogenous. If nothing else, it's a reminder that the ideological battle we're engaged in doesn't just touch on the immediately obvious, but on more intimate aspects of our lives.

Advertiser: AIDES
Agency: TBWA\Paris
Advertisers Handlers: Christian Andreo, Nathalie Gautier, Antoine Henry, Charmaine Da Costa Soares
Account Handlers: Anne Vincent, Véronique Fourniotakis, Marion Floch, Mirella Ghil
Executive Creative Directors: Benjamin Marchal, Faustin Claverie
Art Directors: Sébastien Skrzypczak, Morgane Alexandre
Art Buyers: Carine Galluffo, Alexis Antigny
Print Producer: Laurence Collavini
Photographer: Mathieu César
Production : Iconoclast Image

Ad of the Day: How Would You Feel If Your 13-Year-Old Daughter Married a 30-Year-Old Man?


Lucas Alexander is lucky he didn't get punched in the nose by one or more of the fathers he met while filming this provocative public-service campaign for Danish nonprofit BØRNEfonden (Child & Youth Foundation.) 

The actor recently rang doorbells in suburban Copenhagen, telling dads that he planned to marry their daughters. Alexander is 30 years old. The girls involved are all about 13.

The stunt was designed to draw attention to underage marriages in the West African nation of Mali, where 15 percent of girls are wed before the age of 15, often to adult men, due mainly to poverty and lack of education and economic opportunities.

"We are targeting people between 30 and 50, and we knew we had to create some content that would make it easy for them relate to the problem BØRNEfonden is trying to solve," Kim Boisen, strategist and CEO at agency Robert/Boisen & Like Minded, which developed the campaign, tells Adweek. "That is why we decided to create a filmed experiment in Denmark portraying the challenge 82 families in Mali face every day."

By turns amusing, thoughtful and creepy—though never too heavy or over-the-top—the film goes a long toward building understanding and empathy for the cause. (Contrast this approach with the agency's sexy/playful ads for Spies Travel.)

Some of those daddy double takes are priceless, and the dude with the salt-and-pepper beard looks like his head's about to explode.

"The fathers knew absolutely nothing, but the mothers did," says Robert/Boisen art director Niklas Hultquist. "Prior to the shoot, we found the girls through a casting agency. In that way, we could let Alexander rehearse with the girls and practice all scenarios that could occur, depending on their fathers' reactions."

On the day of the shoot, "it was crucial that the girls and mothers made sure that the unknowing fathers were home when Alexander knocked on their door," he says. "That turned out to be much harder than we thought, as the weather outside was great that day. Luckily, the mothers found smart ways to keep their husbands busy with household chores."

Also, considerable pains were taken to keep the crew out of sight.

"Our DOPs had to be extremely stealthy when moving in for the perfect shot, so we equipped them with full camouflage suits, sniper style," says Mads Mardahl, also an art director at the shop. "That way, they could 'invade' the front yard of the houses minutes before Alexander moved in. One of the DOPs, Frederik, actually managed to climb a tree just before Alexander knocked on the door, to get a better angle on the interaction."

Given the nature of the doorstep encounters, the agency chose a lead actor who could defend himself in case the situations got heated.

"One of the reasons we had arranged for the girls to be present when Alexander 'broke the news' was that we believed it would hold the fathers back from taking any psychical action," Mardahl says.

"Luckily, all the fathers reacted very maturely and somewhat collected. That also helped us when we were to have the fathers sign the participation contract afterwards. It might not have been that easy if they had just beat up Alexander beforehand. The closest we got to anything physical happening was in the end of the film where Agathe's father suddenly takes a step toward Alexander, and understandably enough, Alex is very quick to reveal that it's all a hoax."

BØRNEfonden is a Danish NGO that works to improve the living conditions for children and young people in the poorest countries in the world. The video asks viewers at the end to become sponsors of the organization. 

Client: BØRNEfonden
Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, Denmark
Strategist: Kim Boisen
Creative Director: Heinrich Vejlgaard
Art Directors: Mads Mardahl, Niklas Hultquist
Account Manager: Sabina Langkilde
Film production: Gobsmack Productions
Producer: Christina Bostofte Erritzøe
Director: Niels Nørløv
DOP: Frederik Kastrupsen & Dan Aagaard
Editor: Frederik Kastrupsen & Thorbjørn Münter
Sound design: Bjørn Vidø/Freezone
VO: Sofie Gråbøl
Music: Upright Music
Nordic Account Manager: Rasmus Mikkelsen
Account Director: Mads Bech Larsen
Consultant: Ann-Marie Olsson

Spotify Crunches User Data in Fun Ways for This New Global Outdoor Ad Campaign


Spotify puts its vast trove of listener data to playful use in a new global out-of-home ad campaign—its largest OOH effort to date—with executions that playfully highlight some of the more bizarre user habits it noticed throughout 2016.

The work, developed by Spotify's internal creative team, began rolling out Monday in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany on Monday and is fully in market today. The ads use aggregate data, and even some individual data, to generate headlines like:

• "Dear person who played 'Sorry' 42 times on Valentine's Day, what did you do?"
• "Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton Soundtrack 5,376 times this year, can you get us tickets?" 
• "Dear 3,749 people who streamed 'It's the End of the World as We Know It' the day of the Brexit vote, hang in there."

Click the ads to enlarge.

A tagline on some of the ads reads, "Thanks, 2016. It's been weird."

It's a clever, engaging way to use data to humanize technology. And it works particularly well for music, since people do have such a passionate emotional connection to it—which does lead to some quirky data points indeed.

The ads above are U.S. executions. See some overseas executions below. 




Margaret Johnson Reveals Her 3 Favorite Ads, and Who Inspires Her Creatively Today



The latest installment of our "Best Ads Ever" video series features Margaret Johnson, the chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Asked to pick her favorite ads ever, Johnson chose three very different pieces, from a traditional spot to a long-form mini-doc to a daring, otherworldly stunt. What ties them together? Perhaps a sense of wonder and authenticity—and just plain fun. 

She also reveals the person who's been most inspiring to her creatively lately, and you might not be too surprised about who it is. (She's a pop star who's come up before in other videos we've done lately.)

For more from Johnson, check out this interview we did with her in Cannes back in June. And also check out Jeff Goodby's Best Ads Ever video here.

Here's the First Branded Mannequin Challenge Video That's Really Worth Watching


A few brands and agencies have tried the Mannequin Challenge, but here's one that has a powerful and compelling message to impart. 

The video below is set to Sremmurd's "Black Beatles." In keeping with Mannequin Challenge tradition, the camera pans smoothly through a laboratory, where everyone seems frozen in place—with vials of blood exchanging hands, smoke rising out of beakers and objects appearing stuck in mid-fall. 

Check out the full video before reading further. 

Yes, after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge's explosive success, it's only natural that an ALS organization want to get in on this latest social media craze.

Popularized with help from Rae Sremmurd, it's seen participation from Hillary Clinton and Bon Jovi, to those ladies formerly known as Destiny's Child. But Belgium's ALS Liga makes its video more than just a gag. At the end, people unfreeze around a guy holding a sign that reads "Every day is a Mannequin Challenge for ALS patients." 

ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can vary, but the conclusion at the end of ALS Liga video is apt: It can involve having trouble with basic motor functions, making it hard to hold a pen or lift a cup, or even control your voice.

It usually appears between ages 40 and 70. In addition to baseball star Lou Gehrig, Stephen Hawking is a notable sufferer. 

"In past weeks it was difficult not to see Mannequin Challenges on our social feed," says Publicis Brussels creative Marc Richard Vander Heyden. "Some were impressive and amusing. So it inspired us to make a touching one with a strong message." 

Asked how this builds on the Ice Bucket Challenge, Vander Heyden says the goal is ultimately the same: "This video is meant to make people think about the disease and to show the effect it has on your body. Encouraging them to donate and help the real researchers from the video find a cure will hopefully give ALS patients better life expectations." 

With the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association more or less sparked the flame on its own. It's since kicked off a 2016 Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money on an ongoing basis. But ALS Liga isn't so much starting a trend as following one—something that was expected, since the ALS Association was so instrumental in the last one. 

But Publicis isn't worried about whether this small drop in a bigger viral bucket will top the last. For them, the key is reminding people to keep contributing. 

Says Vander Heyden: "We're hoping to use the hype of Mannequin Challenge in the right way to give a single message: Keep the research moving, and find a cure for this terrible disease called ALS."

Ad of the Day: Ikea Touchingly Explores the Moment a Father-Daughter Bond Breaks Down


In Ikea Sweden's latest spot, "A Good Listener," a familiar family drama unfurls.

You don't get all the details, but you know the code: A teenage daughter, increasingly agitated for mysterious reasons, returns home every day and locks herself in her room. Her father sits just outside, waiting for the day she's ready to let him in. 

Then, shockingly, there's a product plug: 

Yes, the Oddvar stool, on which the father is perched—is going for 79 Swedish krona (about $8.50). Pick up one today! 

Time has shown us many sides to Ikea, which has been brought to life by a panoply of agencies. Mother London gave it a catchy beat with trendy spots like "Kitchen Party," featuring Jona Lewie. Crispin Porter + Bogusky bequeathed it quirkiness with the memorable "Lamp" ad by Spike Jonze. Buzzman Paris lent it familial pathos with "My Son."

But agency Åkestam Holst in Sweden, which created this spot, gives it yet another dimension.

If you watch it in a hurry, the ad risks looking more generic—even clumsy, with that Oddvar price slam—than we're used to. But "A Good Listener" requires time and an attentive watch. It's guiding us down a new path, one whose voice tells us that life at home isn't always about laughing around the table or sharing poignant moments. 

This is part of the brand's "Where Life Happens" campaign, which last manifested in "Every Other Week," another quiet piece, which explored divorce without trying to tweak our emotions. "A Good Listener" is a similar kind of animal: It's often said that fathers and daughters have a special kind of relationship, and here we see the moment when, in adolescence, that relationship begins to break down. 

It's a period that's inexplicably painful for both sides, a time when gender is beginning to matter in ways it didn't before, heralding a need to hide things but also convey problems now too complicated to solve with a Full House hug. They demarcate the start of adulthood, a drifting apart that won't end here. 

All this is most meaningfully expressed in what's not said: The girl who stares at the door. The father whose face is twisted in incomprehension and growing agony. Then there's the waiting—the slavish, martyrlike waiting of a loved one who has nothing else to offer. It's an act that's easy for a child in a violent state to hate, partly because of how much it hurts. 

In this context, that plug for the stool begins to make sense. What it tells us is that Ikea knows buying its products won't guarantee happiness, a perfect home or a better life—an advertising antithesis. Sometimes they'll be silent supports, steady witnesses in human drama, and hopefully also in resolution ... the moment the girl finally opens the door. 

A good listener, in other words. All for just $8.50.

The spot premiered last week in Sweden.

Client: Ikea Sweden
Agency: Åkestam Holst
Creative Director: Magnus Jakobsson
Art Director: Jesper Holst/Michal Sitkiewicz
Copywriter: Mark Ardelius/Rickard Beskow/Magnus Jakobsson
Graphic Design: Sara Bellafesta
Account Director: Kjell Mansson
Planner: Jerker Winther
Agency Producer: Leila Widgren
Account Manager: Agneta Oppenheim
Digital producer: Mimmi Grafström
Production company: Bacon
Director: Martin Werner, Bacon
Executive Producer: Ylva Axel, Bacon
Producer: Joel Rostmark
DOP: Mattias Rudh
Set design: Catharina Nyqvist Ehrnroot
Costume design: Johanna Borggren
Post Production: BaconX

Snowmen Migrate North to Colder Weather in Quirky Mockumentary About Climate Change


In the meadow, we can build a snowman … can't we?

Rising temperatures resulting from climate change can put the kibosh on such seasonal fun. And more important, increasing heat threatens all manner of species on planet Earth, including human beings.

That's the message of "Save Our Snowmen," a public-service campaign dropping today from Cool Effect, an online crowdfunding platform that backs carbon-reduction initiatives.

Developed by San Francisco ad shop Swirl, the work places its chilly tongue firmly in cheek—and imagines a horde of snowmen on the road, in search of colder climes. "Their habitat is threatened, their hope is dwindling," we learn in the trailer below:

Jeez, couldn't that pickup driver give those frosty folks a lift? Too bad they didn't have a slush fund for airfare to Alaska.

"We want to capture people's attention and highlight the startling statistics on climate change, and the beloved icon of snowmen made the perfect metaphor," Cool Effect marketing chief Jodi Manning tells AdFreak. "The snowmen represent the many species—animals and birds—that are going extinct, as well as the humans around the globe that are becoming refugees due to climate change."

Next comes the campaign's centerpiece, a three-and-a-half-minute mockumentary that follows the snowmen's migration to a special "sanctuary" up north, complete with karaoke nights and marshmallow roasts around the campfire. (Whoa, Frosty, don't get too close to those flames!)

Actually, those frozen freaks look kind of creepy—and they're peeved with us about global warming. Maybe it's a good thing they move at a glacial pace, or else they'd chase us down and enact their icy revenge by beating us senseless with their corncob pipes.

"We knew the snowmen would need to move to pull viewers in," says Manning. "The talented artists at [VFX house] Framestore added so many unique touches to emphasize the motion and make it look realistic. My favorite scene is the snowmen in the field when the truck zips by them. We laughed at the authenticity of the smallest snowman racing to catch up with the group."

She adds, "The scene in the diner where the snow couple is outside the window produced a lot of debate: How should they move, what should they wear, and how would we size them to scale? We looked at different types of motion—one moving faster, one ahead of the other—and finally got it right by creating movement that closely mimics how human couples interact."

Will New Yorkers warm to the anthropomorphic snowman gambit? Orange Is the New Black star Alysia Reiner hosted launch festivities at Manhattan's World Trade Center today. That NYC push includes "snowmen ambassadors" tooling around town in a double-decker bus. Because … well, why the hell not? They'll take selfies with Gothamites, and since this is #GivingTuesday, for every social share, Cool Effect will contribute $1 to the cause.

At the end of the mockumentary, a voiceover informs viewers that "for just $10, you too can make a real difference. The planet can't wait—and neither can he." On screen, a once-proud snowman slumps into a muddy puddle, its eyes of coal sinking sadly toward the ground.

Overall, it's an odd mix of serious issues and absurdist humor. Yes, the jokes get a bit strained, and the clip could be trimmed by a minute for greater impact. Still, the visuals are compelling, even haunting at times. And the tone is urgent but never preachy, well modulated to melt resistance and inspire donations from the faithful.

"We have to reduce carbon pollution, and we have to do it now," says Manning. "It's going to take all of us. We cannot wait for government or businesses. We have to take action and fight climate change today."

How will Cool Effect gauge the campaign's effectiveness? "The only success will be cooling temperatures," she says.

Client: Cool Effect
Director of Marketing: Jodi Manning
Title: "Save Our Snowmen"

Creative AOR: Swirl
EVP, Head of Marketing: Greg Johnson
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Kevin McCarthy
Group Account Director: Chris Chaya
Creative Director: Brian Shown
Creative Director: Kurt Herr
Senior Art Director: Matthieu Brajot
Copywriter: Justin Kramm
Broadcast Producer: Elissa Polls

Production company: Tool of North America
Director: Shawn Z.
Executive producer: Robert Helphand
Post-production supervisor: Tracy Helphand
Line producer: Dennis Beer

Editorial: NO6
Producer:  Yole Barrera
Editors: Dan Aronin & Chan Hatcher

VFX & Color: Framestore
Producer: Morenike Dosu

Music: MAS

PR + Social AOR: Demonstrate PR
Managing Director: Joey Hodges
Sr. Account Executive PR: Victoria Rainone
Sr. Social Content Manager: Cody Goins 

Ad of the Day: A Volvo Truck Tows a Paraglider in Brand's Latest Daring 'Live Test' Stunt


Volvo Trucks is spewing a bunch of technical information about its new transmission, including its "unique powertrain," D13 engine, I-Shift Dual Clutch and low-fuel consumption. But mainly what you'll remember about its latest video is a dude paragliding behind a massive rig while it speeds up to a narrow passageway under a low-lying bridge.

Is the guy about to be decapitated?

Of course the brand wouldn't let that happen (if it could help it). Volvo Trucks, home to advertising hits "Epic Split" and "Look Who's Driving," among other stunt videos, put pro paraglider Guillaume Galvani through some high-flying (and jogging-along-the-pavement, Looney Tunes-style) paces.

He ends the two-minute ad, dubbed "The Flying Passenger," seemingly intact. His shoes are probably shot, though.

The video, filmed in a mountain pass in the Croatian Alps, aims to show off updated features of the Volvo FH truck. To keep the paraglider aloft, the truck had to keep up its speed even on the ups and downs of the road. 

The bridge obstacle, in particular, called for "high-precision driving at a constant cruising speed without any room for error," says Volvo's news release.

Galvani does his best to create tension, shouting at truck driver Louise Marriott to "Pull me up!" and "Don't slow down!" But didn't we know it would all work out, no matter the gears, revs or torque? It's a "live" test, after all.

"The Flying Passenger," from Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, is a scenic addition to Volvo's growing canon of adventure videos, now 100 million-plus views strong. Is it as memorable as Jean-Claude Van Damme straddling two semis? Maybe that's just not a fair comparison.

Client: Volvo Trucks
Product: Volvo FH, Longhaul truck
Title: Volvo Trucks – Flying Passenger (Live Test)
Advertiser Supervisor: Ingela Nordenhav, Global Marketing & Communications Director
Advertiser Content Manager: Ida Mattsson
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Senior Account Director: Olle Victorin
Account Director: Cilla Pegelow
Account Manager: Anneli Kjellander
Art Director: Sophia Lindholm, Kim Cramer, Anders Eklind
Copywriter: Björn Engström
Designer: Jerry Wass
Planner: Tobias Nordström
Agency Producer, Film: Jens Odelbring
Agency Producer, Digital: Peter Gaudiano
Production company: Academy
Producer: Cathy Green
Executive Producer: Simon Cooper
Postproduction: ETC London
Stills Photographer: Robin Aron Olsson
Media Partner: Be On
Director: Nabil Elderkin
Music: Daniel Heath
Music Supervisor: Jenny Ring
Editor: Damion Clayton
Postproduction Sweden: Chimney
Post Producer: Louise Ahrén
Sound: Frippe Jonsäter

Cheetos Has a 2016 Winter Fashion Collection for Those Who Can't Get Enough Orange


Cheetos seems to have figured that if you're wearing their product anyway, they might as well make a wearable collection.

Chester Cheetah himself is said to have designed a new winter fashion line that elevates the typical orange fingers and striped clothing stains you get after eating a bag of Cheetos—all the way to leggings and male onesies.

So, it's not that far of a reach for the brand, which is why you can actually buy the runway for a reasonable price.

What impresses me is how much time they spent thinking about their target. Lounging on the couch eating Cheetos? Why not lounge in The Purrrfect Onesie, patterned like Chester and right on the Kigurumi trend all the kids love. Or take a cat nap in the Big Cat Nap Sack. It's literally a sleeping bag shaped like a Cheetos bag.

There are also products that are problem solvers. Tired of that orange dust all over yourself? Wipe your fingers clean with Chester's Toilet Paw-per, or just wear the Flaming Hot Leggings so no one can see your stains of shame. People teasing you that you smell like Cheetos? Own it completely with Cheeteau, a new perfume.

Finally, there's a nod to the fact that Cheetos has heard the jokes you've been making about a certain Cheeto-colored human, and they've released Cheetos Bronzer to give you that vibrant orange glow, while everyone stands by green with envy.

Some of the items are already sold out, so get your holiday hat on for the Cheetos lover on your list and get over there quick. All in all it's the kind of execution that walks the runway between brilliant and so utterly stupid it's brilliant.

I give it two Cheetos-coated thumbs up.

Minute Maid Opened a Store for the Holidays Where You Can't Buy Anything at All


Parents, man. Whatever they do, they traumatize you.

That's just something we like to say in hard times. But parenting is obviously a job best characterized by improvisation, one constantly learned and never really mastered. Around the holidays, it's natural for parents to feel wracked by self-doubt. 

In honor of the people doing their best to make functional adults, Minute Maid has launched "The Holiday Store with Nothing to Sell." At this paradoxical little pop-up, crammed with sparkly snowflakes and light-drenched Christmas trees, kids walk in and write letters to their parents while sipping on orange juice. (Hemingway would cringe.) 

The letters are boxed up and wrapped in pale green paper. In the video below, watch five kids reflect on their letters, and the parents' reactions upon opening the gifts. 

"She's gonna probably have a confused kinda look," one daughter predicts. "She's gonna think it's maybe, like, a ring, or a bracelet...?" 

But no, it will be none of those things! 

Created by agency Doner, the execution is part of Minute Maid's #doingood campaign, developed to help parents combat their internal struggles while trying to balance work, life and progeny. "Sometimes the best gifts can't be bought," the video suggests, and incites others to tell their parents they're #doingood, too. 

It ends with the campaign tagline, "Put good in. Get good out"—something that works as well for juice as it does for the holiday season, when everyone feels pressure to highlight the value of another person ... usually by spending money. 

While it isn't clear whether this'll sell more Minute Maid, it doesn't hurt to remind us that the best gifts we can give are the sometimes-muted truths about how we feel.

Because how often do we do that?

Client: Minute Maid/The Coca-Cola Company

Agency: Doner
President/CEO: David DeMuth
Global Chief Creative Officer: Eric Weisberg
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Brad Emmett
Creative Director: Jason Bergeron
Creative Director: Virgil Adams
EVP, Director of Content Production: Laurie Irwin
Executive Producer: Stacey Gizinski
Broadcast Business Manager: Theresa Bland
Senior Talent Manager: Jane Greening
EVP, Chief Integration Officer, Account Service: Monica Tysell
SVP, Brand Leader: Jim Vassallo
VP, Brand Leader: Adina Sigler
Senior Account Executive: Andrew Doyle
Assistant Account Executive: Brittany Durham

Production: HeLo
Director: Kyle Ruddick
Producer: Lawrence Lewis
Executive Producer: Brendan Kierman

Postproduction: The Underground
Independent Editor: Philip Owen
Producer: Stacy Langdon
Executive Producer: Chad Cooper

If You Cooked Up TV Shows in a Kitchen, It Might Look Like This Crazy, Delightful Ad


One reason people go for over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix is you don't have to worry about channels anymore. You can just run it and have this broad array of awesome content at your fingertips. 

Barring HBO, channels are too dispersed to put up much of a fight against that kind of variety. They're niches, and if you don't fit into theirs, it isn't likely you'll visit the channel all that often. 

Then there are bundles. Bundling is one of the things millennials would like to see vanish—you're paying for a few channels you like, and getting a whole bunch you don't care about. 

Even so, French network Canal+ has just released an energetic little ad that makes bundles feel a lot like ... well, Netflix, frankly. 

"Kitchen," created by BETC Paris, takes place in a bustling kitchen. You know something is off when the eggs cracked over a bowl don't drop yolks but shrieking velociraptors, ready for battle. Another cook walks by with a steaming city on a hot plate, while yet another scoops a tin of soccer players out with a spoon, like caviar. 

There's more where this came from. A wriggling cartoon character is sliced into colorful pieces, and a car chase ends tragically when one lands in a mound of flour ... and the other is snapped up to be grated. Meanwhile, a carton marked "series" is set on the table, revealing warriors on ice waiting to be shelled.

What the hell is cooking here? 

"Great channels make great TV," the ad concludes over the satisfying thud of an oven door closing. 

"We wanted to show that, with the best content, you can make the best TV. The cooking analogy seemed logical," co-creative director Jean-Christophe Royer tells AdFreak.

"With TV, you have a ton of channels, but none that are actually good," adds co-CD Eric Astorgue. "But with Canal, you've got nothing but good channels. Even if you have just 30, at least they're good."

"The idea is cool, the direction perfect. But conceptually, the angle isn't revolutionary," admits Royer. "We just wanted to find a way to convey all this great stuff. And with the kitchen, you also have that notion of the French Touch"—one of BETC's central tenets.

"Canal+ has always been proud of its role as a French network, even internationally. There's always this quality of assuming your Frenchness—even in the case of 'The Bear.' We're not trying to be Anglo-Saxon, and putting the kitchen in a big restaurant highlights French savoir-faire," Royer says.

If you ever watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you'll feel its spirit here—that mix of animated chaos with real-life mundanity. Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, with effects by Unit Image, "Kitchen" has been shared nearly 70,000 times on Facebook alone. 

The music is also meant to capture the attention of French fans: It's Vladimir Cosma's "L'aile ou la cuisse" ("The Wing or the Thigh"), from a 1970s comedy film by the same name, which follows the hijinks of a retired chef's son who inherits his dad's business (but really wants to join the circus).

So, there's a lot here to attract the attention, and not since Canal+'s "The Bear" have we felt this kind of revitalized energy out of the network. 

More important, it tells a story about what bundles have to offer: When you order one, you're not just paying for diversity to suit your moods. You're helping to underwrite a lot of content that isn't for you—networks and shows that wouldn't otherwise get the chance to exist.

And while we're not sure that message is particularly resonant for a generation that grew up with YouTube and really just wants to pay for what they want, it's worth hearing anyway, if only so we can reflect on how OTT content bundles—like Amazon Prime and Netflix—won't be all that different from what we're leaving behind. 

Still hungry? Check out the making-of below. It's just as fun as the final product.

Client: Canal+
Brand Managers: Guillaume Boutin, Audrey Brugere, Jordane De Villaret, Eugenie Rodrigues
Agency: BETC
Agency Managers: Bertille Toledano, Guillaume Espinet, Mathilde Lançon, Elsa Magadoux, Sophie Gustinelli, Marie Chapuis
Executive Creative Director: Stéphane Xiberras
Creative Directors: Jean-Christophe Royer, Eric Astorgue
Strategic Planner: Guillaume Martin
Traffic: Elodie Diana
Music Creative Director: Christophe Caurret
TV Producer: Isabelle Menard
Production Company: Partizan
Sound Production: Schmooze
VFX: Unit Image
Post Production: Royal Post
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
D.O.P.: Damien Morisot