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Ad of the Day: Adult Swim Cooks Up a Great Faux Infomercial for Subway

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Adult Swim is veeeery, very gingerly getting into product placement, and this first big ad from the network, for Subway, is a big win.

It's hard to mesh Adult Swim's sensibilities with the innate conservatism of most product brands, but Subway has spent a lot of time and energy on appearing unpretentious and cool (remember Britta's love interest on Community, the man named Subway?), and this is right in its wheelhouse.

As with recent spots for Old Spice, this piece is funny mostly because of how expertly it mocks the whole medium of advertising, particularly infomercials. Adult Swim's pods are very short, and this piece is the right length to fill one (yup, it's 90 seconds long, and it will air Wednesday night on the linear network). Irony or no irony, the piece manages to get across everything Subway wants you to know: cheap eats, healthy, easy, located everywhere.

The star is Mookie Blaiklock, late of ABC's very funny, over-titled Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, as well as Comedy Bang! Bang! on IFC. Adult Swim tends to get up-and-coming comedians for this sort of thing—witness its 2011 spot for Wendy's.

The Subway work is a good riff on old-fashioned infomercials of the kind arguably perfected by Dr. Nick Riviera and Troy McClure (you may remember him from such films as P Is for Psycho and The President's Neck Is Missing) in their ad for the Juice Loosener on The Simpsons. Blaiklock is a lot of fun as Sal Lami, and the sound editing on this piece is tops—the air guitar/drum solo/three-pointer finish is great.

Overally, it's a well-crafted spot that points up many of the good things a smart team can do when they've got plenty of time to work up a head of steam. Adult Swim is a network that will absolutely lose viewer share if it starts to clutter the airwaves, so making ads that fit in tonally and keep the joke rate high is important. Given those requirements, this seems like a pretty safe bet.

Second Lovely Ad for the iPhone 5C Suggests You Might Want to Play With It Instead of Eating It

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Say what you will about the iPhone 5C—the ads for it are gorgeous and bubbly. Apple this afternoon released the second 5C spot in the space of three days, this one a 55-second jaunt through another candyland. It's not quite as chocolatey as the first, but then, this spot focuses a bit more on what's inside the thing—not just on the edible polycarbonate exterior.

Terrie Hall, Star of the CDC's Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign, Dies at 53

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Terrie Hall, who starred in Arnold's brutal national anti-smoking campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, died this week in North Carolina. The image of Hall hiding the ravages of smoking-induced cancer with a wig, false teeth and a scarf is pretty harrowing, and the same can be said for her artificial voicebox. Those get used a lot in anti-smoking ads, but there's always something heartbreaking about them. I often wonder if people like Terrie are being exploited, if their real suffering should be harvested for a marketing effort, even one that's relevant to their condition. But the CDC says the campaign, called "Tips From Former Smokers," prompted 100,000 people to quit."She was a public health hero," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said of Hall. "She may well have saved more lives than most doctors do." Hall was 53.

Ad of the Day: Alexa Ray Joel, Dhani Harrison Play Their Fathers' Songs for Gap

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Talk about "pop" music.

I'm both attracted to and repelled by this "Back to Blue" campaign for Gap—by ad agency Peterson Milla Hooks—featuring Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy, and Dhani Harrison, son of George, singing their fathers' songs.

Alexa performs a snippet of classic-hits staple "Just the Way You Are," accompanying herself on electric piano. Dhani plays an acoustic-guitar version of the funky "For You Blue." Harkening back to past Gap TV campaigns—this is the retailer's first TV work in four years—the 30-second spots, directed by Danny Clinch, keep things simple. The superstar progeny, clad in denim, do their thing in spare settings, without sales pitches or embellishment save for the Gap logo and the #BackToBlue hashtag.

The ads were posted to YouTube a day earlier than planned due to interest on Twitter, and they've amassed 330,000 combined views since Friday (mostly for Alexa). Naturally, there's been lots of free media coverage, too. The approach is compelling and should prove popular. Plenty of celebrity offspring would love a shot at this particular action. Maybe they'll all go out on a Gap-financed tour someday.

The songs themselves, available as full-length downloads at iTunes, are quite good, and in a way, it's an emotional kick seeing Dhani, 35, and Alexa, 27, perform them. There's a continuity and sweetness here that's unforced and genuine. For a moment, I almost got choked up.

On the other hand, the concept feels a bit creepy and sad. This isn't the fault of the performers. They can't help who they are—the children of world-famous fathers whose songs are legendary. It's not exactly surprising that their takes on the music are so close to the originals. Dhani's timbre and phrasing are right in sync with his late dad's, and Alexa's version isn't very different from her father's. In both cases, there's a strong family resemblance. For me, these factors combine with the ads' sparseness to make things seem oddly off.

I suppose the goal is a putting a modern, accessible spin on nostalgia, making the familiar seem fresh and new. But using the children of stars—musicians who aren't nearly as celebrated as their parents—seems like a manipulative way to go. It's as though Gap wants us to blithely blurt out, "Hey, that's almost George Harrison and Billy Joel singing those songs!" and, for that reason alone, think well of the brand.

"The entire 'Back to Blue' campaign embodies what it means to be comfortable in your own skin," Seth Farbman, Gap's global CMO, said in a statement. "As a brand that is known for expressing itself through sight, sound and motion, we wanted to bring this idea to life through the voices of two individuals who are recognized for staying true to who they want to be."

OK. I suppose you could say Dhani and Alexa are comfortable with who they are because they've come to terms with being the children of—and therefore forever associated with—their famous parents. (Getting paid by Gap to star in ads probably helps the comfort level.) Still, the campaign stresses their family ties, not their individuality. It pigeonholes them as George and Billy's kids, mouthing their father's songs to sell jeans rather than creating art of their own—which in fact they do. We're left with a convoluted message stuck somewhere between "Be yourself" and "Sell out."

Maybe I'm missing the point, but I feel a generation removed from whatever these ads are trying to say.

CREDITS
Client: Gap
Agency: Peterson Milla Hooks, Minneapolis

Adobe Shows You the Colorful, Weird, Scary, Brilliant Faces of 'The New Creatives'

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Adobe just passed the 1 million subscriber mark for its Adobe Creative Cloud and is celebrating with this eye-catching spot from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners—a salute to "the new creatives" in art and advertising.

"Creatives today do a little bit of everything, from illustration to filmmaking to Web design," says GSP associate creative director Will Elliott. "We wanted the spot to celebrate how all these different disciplines are coming together."

The spot features a series of artists whose work is projected across their faces. The artists include Joshua Davis,Dylan Roscover,Anita Fontaine,Jeremy Fish and Alejandro Chavetta. Additional artwork was crowdsourced from Behance.

The soundtrack is "Default" by Django Django. Full credits below.

CREDITS
Client: Adobe
Spot: "I Am the New Creative"
Campaign: "The New Creatives"
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Creative
Co-Chairman, Creative Director: Rich Silverstein
Associate Creative Director: Will Elliott
Senior Art Director: Patrick Knowlton
Art Director: Sam Luchini
Copywriter: Roger Baran

Production
Director of Broadcast Production: Cindy Fluitt
Executive Producer: Cat Reynolds
Director of Graphic Services: Jim King

Account
Associate Director, Account Management: Todd Grantham
Account Director: Joel Giullian
Account Manager: Varoon "V.J." Jain
Assistant Account Manager: Laura Black

Strategy
Group Brand Strategy Director: John Thorpe
Brand Strategy Director: Brendan Robertson

Media
Group Communication Strategy Director: Dong Kim
Senior Communication Strategist: Nicole Richards

Production Company: eLevel Films
Director: Brady Baltezore
Executive Producers: P.J. Koll, James Horner
Producer: Chris Whitney
Director of Photography: Juli Lopez
Stills Camera: Claude Shade

Postproduction: eLevel
Post Producer: Katharine O'Hara
Visual Effects Supervisor: Nathan Shipley
Animation: Jessica Gibson
Editor: Erik Johnson
Assistant Editor: Quinn Moticka

See the New York City Ballet's Remarkable Film That Quietly and Beautifully Honors 9/11

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Most of the brand talk around 9/11 this year was about marketers doing it wrong. But DDB New York and the New York City Ballet quietly did it right with a wonderful tribute called "New Beginnings," intended as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a tribute to the future of the city.

The video shows NYCB principal dancers Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour performing on the 57th-floor terrace of Four World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The backdrop, of course, is One World Trade Center. The dancers perform an excerpt from choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's poignant "After the Rain" pas de deux—signifying new beginnings in New York City. 

The film, directed by Davi Russo and produced by Radical Media, was posted at sunrise (6:34 a.m. EST) on Sept. 12 to NYCB's social channels, with the hashtag #NewBeginnings. "Our hope is that 9/12 can now be rebranded as a day of optimism and new beginnings," says Matt Eastwood, chief creative officer of DDB N.Y.

Check out the film, and full credits, below.

CREDITS
Client: New York City Ballet
Project: "New Beginnings"

Agency: DDB, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
Executive Creative Directors: Menno Kluin, Andrew McKechnie
Art Director: Joao Unzer
Copywriter: Rodrigo de Castro
Management Supervisor: Lauren Neuman
Account Executive: Cindy Nguyen
Head of Production: Ed Zazzera
Executive Producer: Teri Altman
Producers: Nina Horowitz, Zamile Vilakazi
Teaser Editor: Alec Helm
Head of Design: Juan Carlos Pagan
Designers: Brian Gartside, Aaron Stephenson
Illustrator: Steven Wilson

New York City Ballet
Ballet Master in Chief: Peter Martins
Executive Director: Katherine Brown
Choreographer (After the Rain): Christopher Wheeldon
Principal Dancers: Maria Kowroski, Ask la Cour
Managing Director, Communications and Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Senior Director, Marketing and Media: Karen Girty
Director, Media Projects: Ellen Bar

Production Company: Radical Media
Director: Davi Russo
Editor: Tim Zeigler
Executive Producers: Gregg Carlesimo, Maya Brewster
Producer: Logan Luchsinger

World of Pure Manipulation: An Honest Version of Chipotle's 'Scarecrow' Ad

Voice Actor Gives Himself a Shout-Out in Little Caesars Radio Ad

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OK, Alan Varner, you probably think it's real cute that you broke through the "fourth wall" in this Little Caesars radio ad from Barton F. Graf 9000, inviting listeners who visit the restaurant to "tell 'em Alan Varner sent you. They won't know who that is, but as a voice actor, I'm always trying to get my name out there."

Oh, I imagine you fancy yourself "clever" and "innovative" for lines like, "Check me out at AlanDoesVoices.com. That's A-L-A-N-does-voices.com. But first, get the new Deep! Deep! Dish Pizza. It's hot and ready every day from 4 to 8 p.m. for just eight bucks." This isn't about you, Varner! This is about selling pizza … pizza so deep that the word "deep" gets repeated with exclamation points.

Do I insinuate myself into my AdFreak posts, Varner? I'd never sully this blog's reputation with shameless self-promotion, because I'm not even completely sure what the word "sully" means. I'm providing this link to my work and giving out my Twitter handle, @davegian, as a service to our readers, nothing more.

KitKat's Amazing Website Confirms It's the Most High-Tech Candy Bar Around

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We've written about Google's upcoming Android KitKat operating system. But check out the KitKat website, itself upgraded to tie into the tech theme—it's a scrolling compendium of factoids proving KitKat to be the most high-tech candy bar around. So, while Google and Apple are being more candy-like, KitKat wants to be more Google- and Apple-like. Also, if you missed it, check out KitKat's great "Future of Confectionary" video below, posted earlier this month. Via Adverblog.

Ad of the Day: Chatty, Indignant Child Delivers the Speech of His Life for Ikea

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When you watch an Ikea ad, you can generally expect one of two groups to be the target: One, style-conscious twenty-somethings looking to furnish their cramped apartment on a dime; or two, busy young families that need their coffee table to double as toy storage and a mobile workstation.

"Teddy's Speech," a spot from Ikea Australia's "Make Time for Living" campaign, fits squarely in the second category. Like so many other family-oriented Ikea ads, it stars a precocious-but-not-cutesy child (the titular Teddy, in this case), but rather than using Teddy to show how much easier life can be with the proper Ikea furnishings, the two-minute spot barely focuses on the store's offerings at all. Instead, it revolves around a simple message: Your home isn't just a place for catching up on emails or stopping by between appointments. It's a place for living.

That's a noble sentiment in an age when getting the family together for a meal can seem impossible. Unfortunately, the execution of the spot—by ad agency The Monkeys—leaves the viewer as exhausted as a 12-year-old with a dozen after-school activities.

As Teddy gives his speech, the camera follows him on a brisk walk around his underused home. Or is it homes? Every time he rounds a corner, we seem to have entered a new house, but the brisk pace makes it hard to tell. Poor Teddy can barely keep up himself. He looks (and sounds) perpetually out of breath as he enters room after room.

Presumably, there's a point behind the disordered visuals of "Teddy's Speech." Perhaps it's meant to mirror the hectic schedule of the modern family, never stopping to sit down and take a breather. But the spot ends up keeping viewers too busy trying to get their bearings to appreciate the message.

CREDITS
Client: Ikea Australia
Agency: The Monkeys
Film Production: Revolver
Director: Matt Devine, The Glue Society
Post: The Editors
Sound: Nylon
Content Production Company: Will O'Rourke
Director: Richard Bullock
Photography: Michael Corridore, Carine Thevenau, Jeremy Shaw
Media Agency: Match Media
Communication Director: Nick Wokes
Communications Manager: Mark Echo
Communications Manager: Russell Dowse
Online Content Hub Agency: Lavender
Client Services Director: Gayle While
PR Agency: Mango
GM: Claire Salvetti
Account Director: Ella Tacchi

L.A. Agency Shines a Light on Former Gang Members Trying to Make Peace

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Spend a broiling hot summer on the streets of South Central L.A., a time grimly known to locals as "the killing season," to document some former gang bangers who now try to make peace? That's the idea behind LTO: License to Operate, a documentary from Culver City-based ad and marketing agency Omelet and production partner Foundation Content. The project, now in Kickstarter mode to raise money for post-production and music, started when Omelet, Foundation and director James Lipetzky shot a promotional video for non-profit group A Better LA. Deciding there was a larger story to tell about former gang leaders working to stop violence and rebuild communities, Omelet and private investors ponied up money to get a full-length film off the ground. Omelet, an indie agency whose clients include blue-chippers like AT&T, Microsoft and Sony, wanted to shed light on inner-city gang crime and the dent that can be made when former gang members turn into peace ambassadors. They plan to finish the movie by October, with distribution still to be determined and the $50,000 Kickstarter goal still to be reached.

CREDITS
Omelet Credits
Producers and Omelet Creative Leads:
Steven Amato, President and Chief Content Officer
Mike Wallen, EVP Content and Development
Executive Producer:
Don Kurz, Chairman and CEO

Foundation Content Credits
Executive Producer from Foundation Content: Samantha Hart
Director: James Lipetzky
Associate Producers: Stacy Paris and Matthew Goodhue

Ad of the Day: Adobe Knows What Your Marketing Is Doing, Even When You Have No Clue

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If you're at Advertising Week in New York this week, chances are you'll see this new Adobe commercial quite a bit. The good news is, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has produced another winner for the company.

The spot, for Adobe Marketing Cloud services, will run at 64 seminars and events during Advertising Week, and is also airing all this week on CNBC and Bloomberg. (It's Adobe's first TV buy in 10 years.) And it humorously makes the case that the Marketing Cloud's suite of services—from campaign analytics to a media optimizer and more—could help you avoid disastrously misinterpreting your customer data and give you a better handle on just who, exactly, is clicking on those banner ads of yours.

The fictional product in the spot—a set of hardbound encyclopedias—is the kind that seems eminently unlikely to enjoy a sudden sales spike. But that's just what happens—or at least, it appears to. The punch line at the end of the ad reminds you not to make too many assumptions where your marketing is concerned.

"Do you know what your marketing is doing? We can help," says the copy at the end.

The new ad follows a great spot from last winter—it aired right after the Super Bowl—in which a chimp and a horse discussed how ludicrous it can be to shell out millions to advertise on the big game. Adobe says that first campaign targeting marketers helped drive a 25 percent increase in Adobe's digital marketing business, which now represents 25 percent of the company's total revenues.

Adobe is also running a full-page ad in the media section of The New York Times today.

CREDITS
Client: Adobe
Campaign: Do You Know What Your Marketing Is Doing?

Ad Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Creative Department
Partner: Rich Silverstein
Associate Creative Director: Will Elliott, Patrick Knowlton
Art Director: Nick Luckett
Copywriter: Drew Burton

Production Department
Broadcast Producer: Sara Krider

Account Services Department
Associate Partner: Todd Grantham
Account Director: Joel Giullian
Account Manager: Melody Cheung
Assistant Account Manager: Laura Black

Business Affairs
Business Affairs Manager: Chrissy Shearer

Outside Vendors
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: Isaiah Seret
Co-Founder/Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
Executive producer: Ali Brown
Line Producer: Bridgitte Pugh
Director of Photography: James Whitaker

Editing House: Cut + Run
Editor: Pete Koob
Executive Producer: Deanne Mehling
Producers: Amburr Farls & Kelly Koppen-Manjon
Assistant Editor: Regina Rivard

Color: a52
Colorist: Paul Yacono

VFX: a52
EP: Megan Meloth / Jennifer Sofio - Hall
Producer: Daughn Godd Ward
VFX Supervisor: Andy Rafael Barrios
2D: Steve Wolff, Dave Levine, Bruno Parenti, Christel  Hazard, Cameron Coombs, Enid Dalkoff, Eric Mattson
3D: Kirk Shintani, Adam Newman

Music House: Squeak E. Clean Productions
Composer: Jason Murgo for Squeak E. Clean Productions
Executive Producer: Carol Dunn
Music & Sound Design Producer: Jack Catlin
Sound Designer: Andres Velasquez for Squeak E. Clean Productions
Mix: Eleven Sound
Audio Mixer: Jeff Payne
Audio Assistant: Ben Freer
Audio Producer: Suzanne Hollingshead

 

Fans Waiting in Digital Line for Samsung Galaxy S4 Move Up by Tweeting

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Here's a pretty clever new chapter in Samsung's long-running mockery of Apple line-waiters. For the launch of the Galaxy S4, New Zealand agency Colenso BBDO created a "Smart Phone Line"—a digital queue that fans could join and then move up in line by posting in social media about the phone. A large screen in Auckland actually showed the avatars waiting in line, sharing tweets in real time and skipping ahead. (The fan who worked his or her way to the front of the line by launch got a free S4.) As a subtle jab to Apple fanboys notoriously willing to endure anything for a new iPhone, Samsung's virtual line-waiters curled up in sleeping bags at night and put up umbrellas when it rained. Watch the case study below to see how it worked and hear the results. Via Ads of the World.

Campbell's Wisest Kid Mascot Isn't the Soup Company's Wisest Idea Ever

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Oh, a wise guy, eh?

Just in time for Advertising Week, BBDO and Campbell Soup introduce a new brand mascot, "The Wisest Kid in the Whole World"—basically a little boy with a really long beard who sits atop a pile of rocks, guru-style, and dispenses soup-related advice for parents. Most of what he says—"When the mouth slurps the belly smiles," "More ways to dunk than can be thunk" and "Mealtime is no paradox"—reminds me of the stuff I read on lists of crappy brand tweets.

In one especially awful commercial, Mom wants to be more fun, so she dances in an especially irritating and unfunny way. In another spot, not nearly as awful but still kind of pointless, the Wisest Kid unfurls an impossibly long "Scroll of Infinite Deliciousness" down a suburban neighborhood and into a family's kitchen. The young actor, who resembles Macaulay Culkin at his Home Alone peak, is quite good, but every other element in this campaign is about as sharp as a wet noodle.

"The campaign was inspired by the wise things that kids say, when you really listen to them," says Ed Carolan, president for U.S. retail at Campbell. "Who knows what makes kids happy but other kids? So we might as well ask the Wisest Kid in the Whole World."

Puh-lease, Mr. Soup Man, stop spoon-feeding us nonsense. What we're dealing with here is soulless, derivative, über-corporate advertising that plays like a mishmash of ingredients someone forgot to heat up.

M'm! M'm! Bad! (Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!)

Patrón Aims for Perfection in an Artful Return to TV

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IDEA: Patrón, the world's No. 1 ultrapremium tequila, suddenly has more to say. "They've always told people that Patrón is 'Simply perfect.' Now, for the first time, we're telling people why it's 'Simply perfect.' We're delving into the backstory, and they have a pretty rich backstory," said Larry Hampel, executive creative director and writer at Cramer-Krasselt in New York, which won the account after producing last year's holiday campaign as a project.

After years away from TV, Patrón is rolling out four impeccably designed 15-second spots from C-K that reveal facts about the product that make it so unique—from its distinctive bottles to its ingredients. "We wanted to communicate our quality message," said brand spokesman Greg Cohen. "We've become a big brand, but it's still the same small-batch process. It's exactly the same recipe as the day we started."

COPYWRITING: The bottle is the hero in all four spots, as facts about the product are revealed in the briefest of voiceovers.

"You're looking at a handmade picture of a handmade bottle containing handmade tequila," says one spot, as a person paints a picture of a Patrón bottle. Says another, as the bottle appears as an X-ray: "There's nothing inside but 100 percent Weber Blue Agave from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico."

A third shows a pen swirling across paper, later revealed to be a bottle's label: "Like all great works of art, every bottle is hand-signed and numbered. No two are exactly alike." The fourth has passport stamps magically appearing on the bottle's surface: "Every bottle of Patrón is handcrafted in Mexico. The finished product is coveted worldwide."

Each spot ends with a full product shot, the URL simplyperfect.com and the voiced and on-screen line: "Patrón. Simply perfect."

FILMING/ART DIRECTION: "They have a lot of equity in simplicity, white space and big, heroic bottle shots," said Hampel. "Executionally, we led with print. We had these poster-like print ads, and the challenge was to bring them to life in 15 seconds. The spots are all sort of poster-like, too. In each of them, we're doing something with the bottle that brings the message to life."

Director Brian Mah used style frames to work out things like cameras angles, perspectives and cropping—teasing out the storylines visually by not revealing too much too soon. "It makes the viewer say, 'What is this?'" said Mah. "You build a little tension before revealing the product."

Mah's strong background in macro photography allowed him to film incredible close-ups around the bottle. His director of photography, Patrick Otten, had a camera lens outfitted with an endoscope—usually used in medicine to look inside a body cavity. "We could get the lens literally skimming right over the surface of the glass and the label," said Mah. "It put us right in the scene and made the bottle feel that much more dramatic."

Three-quarters of the visuals were filmed in camera; the rest, like the passport stamps, were added in post. It was important that the spots feel tactile, not digital, so Mah worked to accentuate textures like the brush strokes on the canvas and the undulating glass of the bottle—all nods to the brand's craftsmanship.

TALENT/SOUND: John Ventimiglia, who played Artie Bucco on The Sopranos, does the voiceover. "He sounds authoritative, but warm and approachable as well," said Hampel. "It's the first big voiceover job he's done. He's got a terrific voice, and I think he could get a lot of work after these ads break."

Music house Stimmüng crafted atmospheric tracks for each spot, ranging from light and classical (painting) to droning and electric (X-ray).

MEDIA: Print broke in July magazines. TV is a mix of cable and spot network buys, including late-night talk shows and Saturday Night Live.

THE SPOTS:









THE PRINT ADS:

CREDITS (TV)
Client: Patrón Tequila
Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Marshall Ross
Executive Creative Director/Writer: Larry Hampel
Executive Art Director: Dean Stefanides
Executive Producer: Noel Tirsch
Production and Post-Production: Alma Mater
Director: Brian Mah
Executive Producer: Kathy Kelehan
Line Producer: Adam Lawson
Director of Photography: Patrick Otten
Editor: Keith Roberts
CG: James Anderson, Lead Artist
Illustration: Gregory Manchess
Music: Stimmüng
Executive Producer: Kristina Iwankiw
Record and Mix: PlushNYC

Abercrombie & Fitch Covers 'What Does the Fox Say?' in Mind-Blowing Parody

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Dog goes woof. Cat goes meow. But what do the shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch models say? They're so good looking, who cares?!

Behold A&F's hunks, stripped to the waist and pleasingly pumped, preening in the woods for a parody of "The Fox," the viral novelty track by Ylvis, which, without any hyperbole, has amassed 900 mega-billion views since its early-September debut. Actually, the count is about 52 million, and the A&F parody is approaching 600,000 after just five days. The spoof is even more Fellini-esque than the absurdist original, owing to the black-and-white photography and denim-clad, half-nude studs high-steppin' with gorgeous gals clad in furry animal costumes.

I guess only two things are left to say. First, A&F's elitist brand attitude still sucks. And second, Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!

What Creatives Can Learn From Great Ideas That Go Terribly Wrong

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It's an established truism among creative people that you have to fail—and learn from those failures—in order to succeed. But is this really true? And what do you learn, exactly, from a failure—besides not to try that particular idea again?

JWT explored the topic at Advertising Week on Monday, as panelists on stage and other guests in taped audio interviews revealed the "best worst idea" they've had in their careers, and what they learned if it all went down spectacularly in flames.

They learned perspective. They learned humility. They learned not to take their whole agency on a cruise. They learned that fairy-tale beginnings can have fairy-tale endings, but only with some unpleasant realities along the way. And in the case of panelist George Lois—well, it appears he learned nothing at all from his mistakes, of which perhaps there were none in the first place.

Lois spoke first, introduced by JWT moderator Matt MacDonald, and was the least representative member of the group. He showed several of his revolutionary TV spots from the early '60s, for brands like Puss 'n' Boots cat food and Olivetti. Then, admitting to one misstep, he mentioned Mantle Men & Namath Girls, the employment agency he opened in 1968—and which closed a year later as the economy floundered.

But Lois, 82, in his typically blunt manner, refused to admit he'd learned much from the experience. "A creative can never learn anything from his mistakes," he said. "The first time you learn from a mistake, you turn into a piece of shit. … The business world says you have to do that—you make a mistake one day, you learn from it the next day. Not a creative. You can be cautious. Or you can be creative. But there's no such thing as a cautious creative. Don't give your failures a second thought."

By and large, the other panelists respectfully disagreed with that. Darren Moran, chief creative officer at Havas Worldwide in New York, recalled an AIDS prevention spot he made for MTV years ago, in which Gilbert Gottfried did a version of "The Aristocrats" joke made famous in the documentary of the same name. The ad bombed.

"It ran once. Kind of like Apple's '1984,' " he joked. "It got letters. Angry letters. From teenagers. For teens to write angry letters to MTV, you really have to have done something wrong. And what I had done wrong was, I got so caught up in my desire to shock people into action that I was blind to whether it was even relatable. They didn't get it. Not a lot of teens watching documentaries about a 100-year-old joke. … It was a good idea, I think, but I had forgotten the audience."

The lesson, he said, was to focus on making the next spot relatable—which he did with the subsequent "Whatever Your Into" spot.

Vivian Rosenthal, the founder of Snaps, spoke next, and told an emotional story about her best worst idea—starting her previous business with a man she had fallen in love with. Over time, the relationship soured, and she had to leave the company in which she had invested so much of herself. The experience was excruciating, but Rosenthal—who is now writing a book called Becoming a Confident Woman—said it was transformative as well.

"It was absolutely, incredibly empowering to realize that out of a bad decision came something quite good," she said. "It was a sense of not having to rely on someone. That was the ounce of confidence that I felt all of sudden. And I said, OK, I'm going to do this again, but in a slightly different way. I'm going to start a company by myself, with no partners, certainly not with a boyfriend. And that's what I did. And it was exciting to see how such a bad idea became, in the end, a good idea for growing as an individual."

Finally, MacDonald, JWT's chief creative officer in New York, offered his own story of failure, recalling a two-hour live TV broadcast the agency once did for Macy's. The production was beset by problems, but in reviewing the tape recently, MacDonald realized it hadn't been as bad as he remembered. He had only remembered the bad stuff—which taught him a lesson in perspective.

"I had seen only the flaws of other people screwing up my idea," he said. "And that was really illuminating, and harder to deal with than the fact that this thing got screwed up."

Throughout the panel, MacDonald also played some very funny animations featuring audio recordings from special guests—Perry Fair, Wayne Best, Jeff Goodby, Pat Chiono and Kathy Hepinstall—recounting their own failures. Check out those videos below.









Ad of the Day: ESPN Takes the Sounds of SportsCenter Beyond the Network

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ESPN has traditionally aired ads for SportsCenter, its famed highlights show, only on ESPN networks—a strategy that senior marketing director Seth Ader told Adweek last year was "a treat for our viewers to stay tuned during the commercials."

Well, now everyone's getting a treat.

A new SportsCenter campaign that broke on Saturday will air beyond ESPN properties, and takes a different approach than the deadpan "This Is SportsCenter" work, which has been widely celebrated.

The 60-second launch spot, posted below, features a range of athletes, from amateurs to pros, who sing the "DaDaDa, DaDaDa" sound that plays at the beginning of SportsCenter broadcasts—as they perform impressive feats in their particular sports.

"Fans have a strong emotional connection with the show," said Aaron Taylor, ESPN's svp of marketing. "And what we realized is that 'DaDaDa' is emotional shorthand for not only the great moments that happen in sports, but how SportsCenter presents those moments—giving context to them with perspective and personality."

Athletes featured in the ad include Chris Chester, Robert Griffin III, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Alfred Morris, Tyler Polumbus, Trent Williams, Stephen Curry, Landon Donovan, Sam Gagner, Jimmie Johnson, Patrick Kane, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutcheon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Paul Rabil, Maria Sharapova, Bubba Watson and Russell Westbrook.

The campaign, from Wieden + Kennedy in New York, will include digital creative that will be updated over time to include timely "DaDaDa" moments.

ESPN is looking to boost the profile of SportsCenter, whose ratings have slipped slightly of late as other networks have developed similar formats.

CREDITS
Client: ESPN, SportsCenter
Spot: "DaDaDa DaDaDa"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York
Executive Creative Directors: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal
Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Brandon Henderson
Interactive Creative Director: Gary Van Dzura
Copywriter: Will Binder
Art Director: Jared White
Head of Content Production: Lora Schulson
Executive Producer: Temma Shoaf
Producer: Kelly Dage
Brand Strategist: Marshall Ball
Account Team: Brandon Pracht, Casey Bernard, Brian Racis, Jonathan Chu
Business Affairs: Sara Jagielski, Lisa Quintela

Production Company: RSA Films
Director: Jake Scott
Executive Producer: Tracie Norfleet
Head of Production: Elicia Laport
Line Producer: David Mitchell
Director of Photography: Crille Forsberg

Editing Company: Mackenzie Cutler
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Post Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
Editorial Assistants: Ryan Steele, Pamela Petruski

Visual Effects Company: Framestore
Visual Effects Supervisor: Mike McGee
Visual Effects Composite: David Forcada, Ben Cronin, Chris Redding, John Loughlin, Yoon Sun Bae, Raul Ortego, Jessica Laszlo
Visual Effects Producers: Sarah Hiddlestone, Heather Kinal, Sarah Dicks

Telecine Company: CO3
Colorist: Tom Poole

Mixing Company: Heard City
Mixer: Keith Reynaud
Sound Designer: Henry Boy
Producer: Kate Gibson

Song: "Yell It Out"
Artist: The Derevolutions

Brewer Secretly Rigs Plumbing in Man's House to Make Beer Flow From Every Tap

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Those jokers at Saatchi & Saatchi and Tui Brewery have a viral hit on their hands, notching more than 5 million views in about a week for various versions of a video that shows some New Zealand dudes pranking a pal by rigging the plumbing in his house so that every tap dispensed beer. An integrated campaign will follow.

Russ, the good-sport prankee, seems understandably surprised, though not especially upset, when intoxicating brown brew starts flowing from his kitchen and bathroom spigots. (The tap water in my apartment looks like that, and I get kinda woozy when I drink it, but I'm pretty sure it's not beer.)

Tui's technicians and a master plumber painstakingly hooked up kegs to the pipes supplying Russ' house. "It went without a hitch," says Saatchi creative director Guy Roberts, "although the plumber did have to make sure it was properly connected so we didn't feed beer back into the city water supply." (Now there's an ad campaign I'd like to see!)

The effort's not upsetting like some prankvertising stunts, but there is a certain inherent creepiness in having friends and strangers invade your space and make "alterations" when you're not home. Hopefully they removed all the surveillance hardware—14 tiny hidden cameras were used to make the video—or footage of Russ's butt could wind up on YouTube any day now.

This is the kind of stunt Anheuser-Busch could never attempt. If you replaced tap water with Michelob or Bud, who'd notice?

Print Ads Just Can't Keep Up With the Porsche 911

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Here's a nice, fun, simple campaign for Porsche China by the Shanghai office of Fred & Farid. And kudos to the client for agreeing to lose the beauty shots of the vehicle almost entirely. Three more ads plus credits below.

CREDITS
Client: Porsche China
Campaign: "Away"
Agency: Fred & Farid, Shanghai
Executive Creative Directors: Fred & Farid
Creative Director: Gregoire Chalopin
Copywriter: Gregoire Chalopin
Art Director: Pierrick Jegou
Brand Supervisors: Carsten Balmes, Estella Yang
Agency Supervisors: Vivian Wang, Kylie Wang
Retoucher: Hongxia Wang