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3 Girls Smash Gender Roles to Smithereens in Toy Company's Glorious Debut Ad


One of the most anti-feminist songs of the 1980s, "Girls" by the Beastie Boys, is recast as an empowering theme for young women in a new toy ad looking to break gender stereotypes.

The spot is a holiday promotion for GoldieBlox, a construction-themed board game that nearly doubled its Kickstarter goal in 2012. Game developer Debbie Sterling designed GoldieBlox to combine young girls' love of reading and characters with the engineering themes of toys typically more popular with boys, like Legos and erector sets. To that end, the ad features a massive Rube Goldberg scenario, designed by OK Go contraption collaborator Brett Doar. As the machine's workings unravel, the girls sing modified Beastie Boys lyrics: "It's time to change/We deserve to see a range/'Cause all our toys look just the same/And we would like to use our brains."

And this is just the start of what could be a crazy few months for GoldieBlox, as the company is one of four finalists angling for a free Super Bowl ad paid for by Intuit as part of a small-business contest.

Hat tip to @rjgnyc on Twitter.

Client: Goldieblox
Title: "Princess Machine"
Goldieblox CEO: Debbie Sterling
Goldieblox Creative Director: Beau Lewis
Goldieblox Machine Creative Director: Brett Doar
Production Company: The Academy
Director: Sean Pecknold
Co-Director: Zia Mohajerjasbi
Executive Producer: Harry Calbom
Production Designer: Jason Puccinelli
Editor: James Lipetzky (Foundation Content)
Asst. Editor: Jesse Richard (Foundation Content)
Post Producer: Stacy Paris (Foundation Content)
Line Producer: Mark Campbell
Production Supervisor: Sarah Archuleta
Steadicam: Ari Robbins
1st AC: Canh Nguyen
Gaffer: Osha Mattei
Key Grip: Michael Moeller
Swing: Bobby Bradshaw
Prop Master: Eric Lathrop
Art Intern: Chris Hannemann
Stylest: Alina Harden
Location Manager: John Schaunessy
Music: Pico Sound
Animation: Ed Skudder, Lynn Wang, Mike Holm

Ad of the Day: Tyson Returns Holyfield's Ear in Foot Locker Spot That Rights Many Wrongs


It's been more than 16 years since Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during a heavyweight championship fight. Now, in a Foot Locker ad from BBDO, New York, Tyson is giving it back.

That's just one bit of pop-culture brilliance in a spot that also sees national embarrassment Dennis Rodman buying a one-way ticket to North Korea—to the glee of everyone. NFL Bop Bag Brett Favre, meanwhile, waxes poetic about knowing when to quit, and sportscaster Craig Sager builds a bonfire out of the hideous suits that are his signature.

Alas, it's all a fantasy of NBA baller Kyrie Irving (aka, Pepsi MAX mischief maker Uncle Drew), who is dreaming of a world put in order by a weeklong Foot Locker shoe promotion. Sure, the premise is a bit of a stretch (and we won't delve too far into the many worse wrongs currently in need of righting, because sneaker ads are not about perspective). It's nonetheless fun—good, and simple—to watch Tyson and Holyfield hug it out over a chat about formaldehyde.

Plus, it's nice to see Irving do something in an ad other than dress up like an old man and school hapless street ballers over and over again.

Client: Foot Locker
Spot: "All Is Right"

Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief Creative Officer: David Lubars
Senior Creative Directors: Chris Beresford-Hill, Dan Lucey
Senior Content Producer: Tricia Lentini
Creative Director, Copywriter: Alex Taylor
Creative Director, Art Director: Jason Stefanik
Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester

Senior Account Director: Troy Tarwater
Account Director: Janelle Van Wonderen
Account Executive: Nick Robbins
Assistant Account Executive: Samuel Henderson

Production Company: O Positive Films
Director: Jim Jenkins
Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella
Executive Producer, Line Producer: Marc Grill
Director of Photography: Ramsay Niokell

Music House: South Music

Edit House: Mackenzie Cutler
Editor: Ian Mackenzie
Assistant Editor: Nick Divers

Visual Effects House: Schmigital

Sound Mix: Heard City
Sound Mixer: Keith Reynaud

Famous Instagram Pets Adorably Urge You to Adopt One of Your Own


Arrghh … can't breathe … too much cuteness! TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles crafted these 60 seconds of adorable hi-jinks as part of Best Friends Animal Society's pro bono campaign to raise awareness for pet adoptions, a cause near and dear to the heart of legendary adman and agency chairman Lee Clow. The clip shows Instagram photos of four rescued pets—Lil Bub, Nala Cat and two pups named Ginny and Tuna—who each enjoy various measures of Internet fame. Ginny's got a space helmet. She's a widdle dog-stronaut! Sorry. This stuff's face-meltingly cute. And I don't even like cats. But I'll make an exception here. Clow says, "Wouldn't it be great if we could get people to see that the smart, cool and socially responsible thing to do is to rescue a pet rather than buy them from a breeder or a pet store?" Fair enough. Plus, if they had pets, folks wouldn't act all catty like that woman in the Tenth Life Rescue spot from a few months back.

Create Your Own Overly Emotional, Click-Baiting Headline With the Upworthy Generator


You've undoubtedly seen them: the saccharine-slathered headlines of Upworthy.com, promising you'll "never see the world the same again" after watching some YouTube video about bullied kids or racism or whatever. Now you can create your own must-click words of wisdom with the Upworthy Generator, which combines random emotional video screen grabs with cobbled cliches for results like "Try Not to Let Your Jaw Hit the Floor When You Hear These Twelve Words."

Created by digital content mastermind Mike Lacher, who penned McSweeney's beloved article "I'm Comic Sans, Asshole," the Upworthy Generator mocks just about all the stereotypes you'll find in the site's overly optimistic presentation style. Lacher, a man all too familiar with headline trappings from his days as a creative director for BuzzFeed and creator of that site's Pepsi-branded "Listiclock," nails Upworthy's recurring themes of wisdom from children, popular icons fallen from grace, emotional righteousness and David-versus-Goliath battles against bullies/authority/oppression.

A few of my personal favorites, randomly created by the Upworthy Generator:
• Think Things Used to Be Better When You Were a Kid? Maybe You Should Listen to This Disgraced Former Model.
• That Moment When an Oscar Winner Doesn't Accept Bullying.
• Here Is What Happens When a Beauty Queen Gets Real About the Biggest Problem in America.
• Try Not to Shout With Rage When You Hear the Eighth Word.
• Watch a Bullied Veteran Become an Inspiration With Five Words.
• What This Transgender Mother of Three Did Is Genius.

Try it out for yourself on UpworthyGenerator.com. Hap to to Jelena Woehr for sharing this one.

Site Promises Talk About Birth Control That's 'Not Awkward,' but the Ads Sure Are


Bedsider.org, a free online resource for birth control, has teamed up with BET Networks to target African-American women ages 18-29 through a series of TV spots from Havas Worldwide portraying painfully awkward discussions about sex and birth control with family and friends. The idea is cool. Talking about sex can be awful, but checking out a website about sex and birth control is awkward free, as long as you're not in a library or synagogue or elementary school.

The three spots feature a young woman having cringe-worthy conversations with 1) her grandmother, 2) her boyfriend and 3) her mother.

A little old lady delivers the line "Oh, you're very supple" to her visibly uncomfortable granddaughter in the best of the three ads. The spot featuring the IUD conversation with the boyfriend doesn't do it (pun!) for me. You guys are having sex, but you can't ask your boyfriend to tell his dog to stop humping your leg? Strange. The video featuring the daughter—wrapped in a towel, fresh out of the shower—and the overeager mother is the weirdest of the three. The line "We should talk, like, vagina to vagina" is seriously grossing me out.

Bedsider's goal is to make us all cringe; mission accomplished. I've maxed out my quota for hearing the word "vagina" today. Nobody talk to me until tomorrow.

Bedsider 2013 Awkward Campaign

Agency: Havas Worldwide New York
Chief Creative Officer Global Brands: Lee Garfinkel
Chief Creative Officer: Darren Moran
Executive Creative Director: Lisa Rettig-Falcone
Creative Director: Jeremy Pippenger
Art Director: Thomas Shim
Copywriter: Catherine Eccardt
Global Chief Content Officer: Vin Farrell
Integrated Producer: Candice Vernon
Group Account Director: Tamara Goodman 
Account Executive:  Alexandra Litzman
Senior Content Strategist: Shawn Shahani
Strategy and Analytics: Chris Lake

TV Production Company:
Director: Clay Williams
EP: Scott Howard
Producer: Debbie Tietjen
DP: Stefan Czapsky

Editorial:Mackenzie Cutler
EP: Sasha Hirschfeld
Producer: Evan Meeker
Editor: Dave Anderson
Telecine: Company 3 NY
Colorist: Tim Masick

Coke Zero Invites You to Design, and Perhaps Even Wear, the Ugliest Christmas Sweater Ever


Christmas is coming, and along with it comes the worst part of the year: ironic ugly sweater parties. Formerly the sole domain of grandmothers and Bill Cosby, ugly sweaters are some kind of awkward hipster mating plumage now, so it's only ill-fitting that Coke Zero has capitalized on it with the Coke Zero Sweater Generator, built by Droga5. You design a sweater with minimal Coke branding, and it goes into an online gallery where other people can vote on the best/worst designs. The top 100 will be made and sent to their creators, who will probably model them on Facebook. Above is the one I made.

This Romantic Ice Cream Ad Got 26 Million Views Without You Noticing


You've seen most of the big viral ads of the year, but not this one—because it was made for the Turkish market by Unilever's Cornetto ice cream brand. It's a short film about a fateful teenage romance, set to a track by Turkish pop singer Yalın. It's gotten more than 26 million views on YouTube since April, which is pretty incredible, given the market. Notably, though, the spot doesn't even feature ice cream—it's simply presented by Cornetto.

The brand did some similar films in the U.K. this year; the Turkish work was the pilot program. Ben Curtis, senior brand development manager for Cornetto, told Marketing Week:"The short films allow us to take more time to develop a deeper connection with teenagers in a way that we can't in a 30-second spot. Also we know that our teens are always online, and are so creative."

JCPenney Advises Kmart After Boxers Ad: Cover Up Those 'Twigs and Berries'


Kmart has a big viral hit with the guys playing "Jingle Bells" with their privates. Now, another retailer, JCPenney, is trying to draft off that popularity by tweeting a coupon for pants in Kmart's general direction. A back-and-forth ensued, with the phrase "twigs and berries" eventually being used. This is what American corporate retail has come to, people.

Air New Zealand Once Again Says Its Flights Are Full of Hobbits and Dwarves


There is one good reason to visit New Zealand (not counting you already happened to be in Australia so why not swing by). It's because you wish you lived in The Lord of the Rings instead of in the real world.

Just ask Air New Zealand, which appears to have conceded this in its latest Middle-earth-themed video—not its first. The new spot urges you to pack your bags with golden baubles and helmets and shields, then board a giant eagle-winged aircraft piloted by bearded dwarves. A man in a wizard's hat will use a gnarled wooden staff to wave the fowl plane down the tarmac. Hobbit-footed and pointy-eared flight attendants will serve you the Shire's crunchiest vegetable produce.

If you do go, be nice to the real Air New Zealand staff, as many of them debased themselves to bring you this fantasy—all because the airline wants you to know that what you see in the cinema is not just "a load of fanciful imaginings." Alternately, you could just use the million-hour flight to marathon all of the J.R.R. Tolkien movies. And then do it again when you get to the hotel, too.

Because you, Bilbo Baggins, sure aren't going to defeat that dragon while sitting comfortably in the Bag End replica you've built in your girlfriend's mother's basement.

College Recruitment Ad Hides a Real Graduate in a 'Digital' Kiosk


Soliciting testimonials from alumni isn't a new way to advertise a university, but this example definitely takes it to a new and charming extreme.

Canada’s Royal Roads University decided to let alumni speak for themselves by physically embedding them in what passers-by assumed to be digital ad kiosks.

In the case study below, the university and agency Cossette Vancouver show how they constructed a special display box that hid a live alumna inside. When people pressed a "Connect" button on the display, a panel dropped down, revealing the actual woman they thought they'd be hearing from digitally.

Some were so surprised that they thought she was a very realistic video or perhaps a robot.

Nothing screams "I love my university" louder than a woman’s willingness to stand in a claustrophobic box all day and talk to surprised strangers. But the clip would obviously be more effective if we saw high schoolers or even parents praising the approach rather than hearing seniors talk about how nice it was to talk to a "real person." Still, I look forward to other inventive executions in this campaign.

Agency: Cossette Vancouver
Client: Royal Roads University
Creative Director: Michael Milardo
Art Director: George Lin
Copywriter: Pierre Chan
Director of Account Services: Chris Miller
Strategic Planner: Ute Preusse
Account Supervisor: Robyn Smith
Account Team: Philippa Groom, Megan O'Rourke
Producer: April Haffenden

Zappos Hilariously Takes Down Kanye West, but CEO Insists: 'I Admire Him'


Kanye West takes no prisoners, as displayed during his rant against Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on novelist Bret Easton Ellis's podcast on Monday.

"I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos that he's trying to tell me what I need to focus on. Meanwhile, he sells all this shit product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling shit product."

Zappos swiftly responded by launching a new item on its website called "Sh-t Product," a $100,000 plunger complete with product photos and a video demonstration. Item information includes the bullet point "The perfect gift for the man who has everything"—which is linked to Kanye's tirade. Zappos enthusiasts are leaving rave reviews: "Yo Zappos! Imma let you finish … but this is the best Sh-t product of all time!"

In an interview with AdFreak, Hsieh says, "We don't have a formal process or team to respond quickly to media events … the Kanye thing was just a random fun idea that someone came up with yesterday morning and then a bunch of employees from different departments jumped in to help make it happen quickly. As for Kanye himself, I admire him for always being on brand."

Shots fired!

Zappos wins this round, Kanye.

Watch the Year's Most Beautiful Ad About Booze, Rain and Death


A dreary rainstorm and a friend's apparent death might not seem like promising raw materials for an uplifting ad. But this one takes place in Ireland, so it all makes sense. The two-and-a-half minute spot for Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey was made by New York ad agency Opperman Weiss and directed by Laurence Dunmore of RSA Films. It features four friends all dressed up and trudging through the gloriously bleak countryside of Ireland, bottle of booze in hand, seeming to eulogize a fallen friend by singing the Irish folk song "A Parting Glass." Lovely stuff. Fast Company has an interview with creative director Paul Opperman, who says the men recorded the song in Saint Kevin's, the stone church in the film, known for its great acoustics. The film tries to capture what Irish music is like, he adds—"that sense of both melancholy and victory at the same time."

Adweek's Top 5 Commercials of the Week: Nov. 15-22


This week's top commercials really couldn't be more different. In this corner, you have five guys suggestively swinging their "ornaments" in a festive holiday song for Kmart. In that corner, you have three girls gleefully tearing down gender stereotypes for toy company GoldieBlox.

Throw in Foot Locker's hugely enjoyable new spot, in which Mike Tyson returns Evander Holyfield's ear, and garnish that with two more ambitious holiday ads from Britain—for Sainsbury's and Baileys—and you've got quite the impressive plate of advertising.

Which was the best spot of the week? Vote below. And if you're favorite isn't here, tell us in the comments.

Kids Point to British Airways Flights as They Pass Overhead on Magical U.K. Billboards


Last fall, Norwegian airline Wideroe used a child's glee at his grandfather's airplane-conjuring trick to create one of 2012's best ads. Now, British Airways is showcasing a digital version of a similar concept.

A billboard at London crossroads Piccadilly Circus is programmed to show a virtual boy standing up and pointing at actual British Airways flights as they pass over the ad, which also identifies each plane's flight number and place of origin or destination. It's a nifty illusion, if a little less magical than the Wideroe ad, which managed to capture a credible slice of cross-generational life in an incredibly charming story. Then again, it's kind of apples and oranges—the BA bit is definitely way cuter than your average airline billboard.

"We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination," Abigail Comber, head of marketing at British Airways, said in a statement. "The clever technology allows this advertisement to engage people there and then answer that question for them. We hope it will create a real 'wow' and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be."

Maybe next time the marketer just needs to add a twee tortured soundtrack like the Daughter clip that Wideroe used.

Agency: Ogilvy 12th Floor. Via Creative Criminals.

Beastie Boys, GoldieBlox Fight Over 'Girls.' Is It Copyright Infringement or Fair Use?


UPDATE 2: The Beastie Boys released this statement Monday:

    Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial "GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys," we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
    We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
    As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.
    When we tried to simply ask how and why our song "Girls" had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

UPDATE: A rep for the Beastie Boys tells the Huffington Post that the band has not made any claim against GoldieBlox, saying: "There was no complaint filed, no demand letter (no demand, for that matter) when [GoldieBlox] sued Beastie Boys."

Original item below:
The feel-good ad of the month has taken a feel-bad turn. The Beastie Boys apparently have a problem with GoldieBlox's version of their song "Girls" in the overnight smash-hit "Princess Machine" commercial, which recast the track with new lyrics as an empowerment anthem for little girls. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the band has allegedly threatened legal action, claiming copyright infringement, and the toy company has preemptively filed its own lawsuit asking that its version of the song be considered fair use—a common defense in cases involving parody material. The sticking point for GoldieBlox may be that "Princess Machine" is expressly designed to sell toys, and thus is a commercial endeavor at least as much as it is a sociological statement, but it will be up to a court to decide. The Beastie Boys, meanwhile, risk looking like they're censoring a worthwhile message that has enthralled millions—though of course it's hard to protect your intellectual property if you're willing to look the other way now and then based on ideology or pressure from the public. You can read GoldieBlox's full complaint here.

Will Ferrell’s Anchorman 2 Is Changing the Way Movies Are Marketed


In a video that will soon be making the rounds in Ireland and beyond, Ron Burgundy—as if he had been cryogenically frozen since the late ’70s—offers his congrats to Irish actor Jamie Dornan for landing the lead role in the forthcoming erotic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey.

Photo: Mark Seliger/Paramount Pictures

In the run-up to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the fictional blowhard TV newsman opines: “I can only imagine it’s a charming documentary on the low-barometric pressure that often occurs in Ireland, resulting in various shades of overcast skies, as the Irish are known for having a strange obsession with their weather. I imagine this is a big win for them. So good job, boyo!” (To pick at just one of his points, in classically absurd Burgundian “expertise,” men from the Emerald Isle do not typically refer to each other as “boyo”—unless they want to accuse an Irish friend of being Welsh, that is.)

In addition to being just plain funny, the 27-second video perfectly captures the snackable, custom-made social content that is the tent pole of the film’s global campaign, led by the studio, Paramount Pictures, and digital-focused shop Zemoga but creatively masterminded by Anchorman 2’s talent. From Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy) to Steve Carell (Brick Tamland) to Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana) to David Koechner (Champ Kind) to the folks behind the camera, it’s an all-hands-on-deck affair. “This has been the most comprehensive amount of material I’ve ever participated in,” Ferrell tells Adweek in an email. “I’m taken aback.”

Actually, Ferrell and his merry troupe are moving social media as marketing tool forward, as they get themselves up to speed with the discipline’s ever-changing argot. “I barely knew what a meme or GIF was when we started the campaign,” confesses Adam McKay, the 45-year-old director of Anchorman 2, who also co-writes the franchise with Ferrell. “But those terms starting coming out and I would be like, ‘You mean a good joke?’ To me, those are just new words for premises, tropes or riffs. The only big difference to me is the riff is now often going on a loop.”

Paramount has struck the deepest movie partnership to date with Tumblr, which represents the linchpin for a digital appeal that bristles with more social lingo than a Facebook developer’s powwow. The studio has been seeding the social media ecosystem with Burgundy’s essence at just the right pace in recent weeks, placing several of 50-plus videos and social nuggets cooked up by the Ferrell-McKay duo and content shop Jetset Studios. (Anchorman 2 hits theaters nationwide on Dec. 20.) “The concept of social media barely existed at the time of the first Anchorman,” notes Andrew Runyon, Paramount’s vp of interactive marketing. “Facebook had just been conceived a few months prior, and YouTube and Twitter hadn’t been created. But social has allowed Anchorman to live on as a film. And it makes us believe that we have something really zeitgeisty here that we can capitalize on.”

The campaign is not only very 2013 but is also a model for the future of movie marketing. It encompasses native ads on The Huffington Post, including taking over the news site’s homepage logo on Dec. 16. And in an Onion-like gag, Burgundy will take to Huff Post to pontificate for several hundred words on something, well, newsy.

Paramount has also teamed with CNN for comedic opportunities employing storylines from Anchorman 2 that fit like an Isotoner glove from the Carter administration. (The movie centers on Burgundy’s involvement in the creation of the first 24-hour news channel—Global News Network, or GNN.) The New York-based narrative is set as America transitions into the garish decade that brought us Miami Vice, Ghostbusters and massive cocaine abuse. So what if Burgundy and his network buddies end up testing Bolivian marching powder’s stimulative effects? After all, they’re going to need as much help as they can get producing news segments around the clock.

Working with Zemoga, Paramount is employing a social media-styled casting call. The talent show-like initiative, “Join Ron’s News Crew,” asks people from around the world to audition for the positions of anchor (#TeamRon), meteorologist (#TeamBrick), sportscaster (#TeamChamp) and live reporter (#TeamBrian). International bloggers have been enlisted to weigh in, posting video of the screen tests and outtakes, tweeting the bits with the appropriate hashtags. There’s no actual prize for winning—other than the 15 minutes of fame participants will reap from big-time YouTube views and social buzz. 


DJ Edgerton, Zemoga’s CEO, says contestants will be able to concoct Anchorman-minded personalities from scratch. “There will be characters out there that can work themselves into the DNA of the Anchorman phenomenon,” Edgerton explains. “One of the beautiful and disruptive components of social is that the cream rises to the top. The creative director doesn’t decide what’s best at the end of the day—the audience does.”

Taking a cue from shows like American Idol and The Voice, the competition will include Web voting and a panel of celebrity judges. (Paramount execs remain tight-lipped about the details.) Videos of the tryouts will be promoted via Anchorman and Ron Burgundy’s enormous Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest followings. And Paramount’s sibling pay TV channel Epix has invited Instagram users to submit videos of their best Burgundy imitations. (The winner will be invited to walk the red carpet at the New York premiere Dec. 15.)

Although so much of Paramount’s strategy revolves around user-generated content and earned social media, Facebook and Twitter ads and homepage takeovers on sites like Yahoo and MSN will bolster those elements. “Our fans have been creating content and essentially marketing for us,” says Megan Wahtera, Paramount’s svp of interactive marketing. “But it’s our job to feed the frenzy.”  

Photo: Mark Seliger/© Paramount Pictures

Indeed, the paid elements are designed to piggyback on the momentum generated by thousands upon thousands of GIFs on Tumblr—where “Ron Burgundy” and “Anchorman” have been some of the most popular search terms this year among people hunting for memes. (In one GIF, Burgundy is seen pouting in a phone booth, the text reading: “I AM IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION.”)

When it comes to why user-generated GIFs are a boon to Anchorman 2, the film’s marketers compare the format’s entertainment value to clips from the silent film era. Looked at another way, Ferrell essentially is the Buster Keaton of the social media age.

But it hasn’t been all fun harnessing the Burgundian social effect for Paramount’s interactive leads. “The fans, due to the nature of the Internet, are quite disparate,” Runyon explains. “So we had to collect and organize these fans from channels and discussions that are already going on about the film.”

What’s more, global-marketing issues often arise—especially given that comedy doesn’t always travel easily from continent to continent compared to other genres. “Comedy is very subject to local and cultural sensibilities,” Runyon points out. “It requires a little bit more customization.”

So Ferrell and McKay got to customizing, hatching dedicated videos for far-reaching markets like the U.K. and Australia. Besides his Irish-targeted video, Burgundy recently delivered his postelection musings on the presidential race Down Under in a 30-second video. In the vid (which drew 585,000 views), he intones: “We laughed. We cried. We became distracted by [Prime Minister] Tony Abbott’s banana hammock. [Burgundy chuckles.] I know I certainly did. And forgot a Labor Party ever existed. Good times, Australia.”

In an era in which every brand has a social-data dashboard, Paramount, Zemoga and the principals are closely watching how their videos and memes perform in real time. “We can see how the trailer and one-liners are doing, helping reveal which ones are watercooler moments,” says Wahtera. “The data allows us to see what fans are interested in, and then we can push those materials accordingly.”

Such data helped inform the Scotch Toss, a mobile game via Paramount and comedy site Funny or Die (founded by Ferrell and McKay). The game—enabled for social sharing, naturally—features 300 voiceovers by Ferrell, who, in the character of Burgundy, eggs on players to flick ice cubes into his scotch. If the player is successful, he might hear a line like: “Bull’s-eye! From that Latin ‘bullseyellius,’ which means ‘eye of a whale.’” Or miss and you might get: “Do that again, and I’ll batter your kidneys!”

“It’s really silly, addictive and stupid, which a lot of these mobile games are,” says Mike Farah, president of production at Funny or Die, a strategic partner that helped Wieden + Kennedy develop the Dodge Durango spots that have people talking—and sharing. The spot “Staring Contest” alone has garnered more than 2 million YouTube views.

For the Anchorman 2 push, the team is especially bullish about the movie’s Tumblr hub featuring all those GIFs—including one in which a bandana-wearing Fantana lifts weights along with the text “PUMPIN’ FOR A THUMPIN’.” As inherently social brands, Anchorman and Tumblr seem made for each other. (If Burgundy and Facebook are the same age, then Tumblr might as well be the mustachioed one’s little bro.)

“Paramount has taken a lot of our recommendations to heart, and they are blowing it out of the water,” says David Hayes, lead in Tumblr’s brands-focused department called Canvas. “It’s a studio that we are pointing to when we talk to entertainment brands.”

Hayes says Hollywood is slowly but steadily coming to employ user-generated GIFs and memes as branding vehicles. The memes may start out at Tumblr, but more importantly—and this is key—they’re often exported to Facebook and Twitter’s broader platforms. Hayes points to an effort last spring for Paramount’s Star Trek: Into Darkness as an “aha” moment. Nine animated GIFs were pieced together to create a socially embeddable poster for the latest installment in the iconic franchise.

Might GIF mashups even be the future of movie posters in a digital era? It’s possible, says Cliff Marks, president of National CineMedia, which is trying to reshape in-cinema advertising with interactive bells and whistles. “These small, chewable formats are a cool way to present your content,” he says. “And the studios are starting to make that content a focus.”

While some say Anchorman 2’s elaborate social media plan is a sign of things to come in movie promotions, still others believe the strategy could have a much broader impact. “We think product marketing is going to look more like movie campaigns in the near future, with longer narratives and more stage craft,” offers Pete Stein, global CEO of Razorfish. 

Photo: Andrew Macpherson/© Paramount Pictures.  

Guy Longworth, svp of marketing for Sony’s PlayStation Network, also thinks Anchorman 2’s long-tail social approach will inspire copycats in categories outside entertainment. “In this day and age, you really have to seed ideas,” he says. “Take how Google didn’t just come out with Google Glass. They have people who spent $1,500 to be among the first with Glass learning the product and creating content. We are increasingly thinking about taking products to market with longer-term [marketing] models.”

Anchorman 2’s social nature inspired some unusual—and highly creative—partnerships. The Washington, D.C.-based Newseum, a museum of media and journalism, partnered with Paramount on an exhibit that runs through next August. It enables visitors to interact with “#AskRon” displays with Burgundy’s answers to questions posed on Twitter. As with other elements of the campaign, Ferrell recorded the responses. “We are using the hashtag #StayClassyNewseum in our print and online ads,” notes Scott Williams, marketing vp for the Newseum. He adds that around Halloween, people were asked to share stories about themselves dressed as Burgundy, “and we got a ton of content.”

Dressing up as Burgundy on Halloween also changed the life of an enterprising Idaho sportscaster. Paul Gerke of KIVI-TV in Boise impersonated Burgundy during his Oct. 31 broadcast, nailing the character despite only three hours of preparation. Before leaving work that night, the 28-year-old saw a video of his shtick on the hugely popular sports blog Deadspin. From there, the video went viral, collecting millions of views.

“When I witnessed that, I knew it was game on,” Gerke says. “By the time I woke up the next morning, it was in USA Today, the U.K. Daily Mail, Japanese websites and the front page of Yahoo and MSN.”

Meanwhile, Gerke’s Twitter followers went from 300 to 11,000 overnight. He appeared on CNN, and NBCUniversal requested a meeting to chat about a potential gig. The quick-thinking team at Zemoga also reached out to see whether Gerke would participate in the “Join Ron’s News Crew” events, to which he agreed.

Now, thanks to Ron Burgundy, maybe Gerke will become kind of a big deal, too. Gerke is cautious. “A social media-driven world has a fickle personality,” he acknowledges. “This could all be over tomorrow.”

Ephemeral as fame can be, it’s a sure bet Anchorman 2 won’t be the last movie to employ social in a big way.

There’s definitely more social business to be had out of Hollywood, says Tumblr’s Hayes, who worked in marketing at distributor Lions Gate Entertainment before joining the social site earlier this year. Studios’ attitudes toward social media continue to evolve, says Hayes. Case in point: director McKay tweets from Ron Burgundy’s Twitter account whenever he wants to share something he thinks is funny.

Apparently, that’s pretty unusual as the movie business goes.

“With some studios, single tweets actually have to wait for approval,” Hayes notes. “But Paramount has really turned the table on that idea. Part of the splendor of a socially progressive movie campaign is that you turn some of the control over to the fans.”

And who knows? Maybe Baxter, Burgundy’s faithful pooch, can be president of the fan club. But only if he has time. Yes, the dog has a social presence, too—and a couple thousand Facebook fans to manage already.

Kevin Garnett's New Beats by Dre Ad Is Tough, Brave and Relentless


"Hear what you want" is the theme of this intense, nearly three-minute Beats by Dre spot starring Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Garnett, who's shown using the brand's wireless studio headphones to cancel out angry, often ugly catcalls from fans on game day. Haters viciously taunt him for being too old, at 37, to lead the team to a championship, and the racist epithet from a red-capped rowdy around the 55-second mark—he calls the power forward a "gorilla motherfucker"—is especially jarring. Aloe Blacc's uplifting, anthemic track "The Man" works well as a counterpoint, and the fact that Garnett and the Nets have stumbled badly out of the gate this season adds power and poignance. I'll be rooting for K.G. to tune out the static and make some noise the rest of the way.

UPDATE: R/GA did the creative on this, with Prettybird doing the production.

Client: Beats by Dre
Agency: R/GA
Production Company: Prettybird
Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Damion Clayton

Depressed About Having to Shave That Movember 'Stache? Watch This and Feel Better


Dec. 1 will be a tough day for a lot of guys, including Dan. That Movember mustache, the object of so much spousal derision for weeks now, must come off. Shaving brand Harry's tries to lessen the blow in this amusing video from Droga5 in New York, in which a guy and his mustachioed, cool-but-not-cool alter ego come to terms with the day of reckoning in the morning mirror. Harry's is also going a step further by declaring Dec. 1 to be an invented holiday called "National Shave Day," and has built a whole nationalshaveday.com site to promote it. Sure, that may be (literally) bald-faced marketing opportunism, but it could help ease the grief for guys nationwide on Sunday—as Harry's is partnering with barbershops and boutiques nationwide to give out free shaves and limited-edition razors.

Client: Harry's
Agency: Droga5, New York

Production Company - Arts & Sciences
Director - Tom Scharpling
DOP - Paul Yee
Production Designer - Ada Smith
Producer - Rob Hatch-Miller
Producer - Puloma Basu
Executive Producer - Mal Ward
Executive Producer - Marc Marrie

Editorial - Production Company Productions
Editor - Rob Hatch-Miller

Post Production - The Room / Lively Group
VFX Supervisor - Russell Mack
Color - Benjamin Murray

Sound - Silver Sound
Mixer - Ted Robinson

Sound Design - Dan Dzula

Ad of the Day: Melissa McCarthy Is Game for Old Navy's Black Friday Campaign


Old Navy parted ways with longtime agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky over the summer, but it looks like its holiday advertising will remain as quirky as ever.

Last year at this time, the clothing retailer got George Takei to sing an epic power ballad promoting an epic Black Friday sale called "Cheermageddon." This year, it's Melissa McCarthy's turn to bring the funny.

She plays a contestant on a faux game show called Overnight Millionaire—and gets miffed when her big prize isn't actually a million bucks. Old Navy, however, is giving away $1 million to one lucky shopper on Black Friday. The first 500 shoppers in line at every Old Navy store when it opens at 7 p.m. Thursday will have a chance to win the jackpot.

McCarthy, as usual, is great. And the vintage look of the game show, nicely pulled off by director Roman Coppola and Old Navy project agency Chandelier in New York, certainly helps the work stand out in a crowded field. (The spot is running on TV as a :30.) Alas, there is no overnightmillionaire.com.

The retailer is also offering 50 percent off the whole store on Thursday and Friday—a tempting offer, so long as you're not among the critics angry at retailers for opening on Thanksgiving at all.

Client: Old Navy
Agency: Chandelier, New York
Production Company: The Directors Bureau
Director: Roman Coppola
Executive Producers: Lisa Margulis and Elizabeth Minzes
Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Carlos Arias

Verizon Hangs Rivals' 4G Coverage Maps in a Gallery Because They Look Like Abstract Art


Remember the "map wars" of 2009, when AT&T and Verizon spent a combined $4 billion on ads (and went to court) to claim coverage-area supremacy? Well, it looks like Verizon is firing another round of salvos.

For a new installment of its "Reality Check" campaign, Verizon and McCann New York (and director Peyton Wilson of O Positive) created a modern art gallery featuring 4G coverage areas offered by competitors AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Visitors are asked to describe what they see, with the point being that few can recognize the illustrations as maps of the U.S.

It's a clever gag and not overly aggressive, but will it mark the start of another round of cartography conflict?