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Erik Oster

Erik Oster is a freelance writer and editor from Connecticut. He’s previously written for The New York Egotist, Podium Ventures, and The Faster Times. He still pines for a second season of “Freaks and Geeks.”

Thursday Morning Stir

-Here’s a look at the making of Apple’s “The Song” (video above).

-Some advertisers, including Honda and Carmex, are pulling ads from the VH1 show Sorority Sisters following viewer backlash.

-Fast Company picks “The 20 Best Ads of 2014.”

-AdAge takes a look at YouTube’s most popular ads of 2014.

-Old Navy launched this “White Elephant” holiday Vine campaign.

-The Drum examines “Why creatives need time to play.”

-Hootsuite unveils 40 minute brand holiday video of an owl in front of a fire.

Wednesday Odds and Ends

-TM Advertising released “I am a March of Dimes Baby,” voiced by Chris Pratt (video above).

-Indianapolis independent, full-service agency Young & Laramore announced the beginning of a new partnership with Boulder, Colorado-based camping gear manufacturer Kelty.

-Lowe Roche promoted Mark Mason and Jane Murray, both creative directors, to executive creative director roles.

-UK-based creative agency Brave is relaunching audio brand Technics after a six year absence with the music download platform Technics Tracks.

-Rochester-based agency Partners + Napier announced the appointment of two new presidents: Sarah Hanson, formerly chief growth officer, will head the agency’s Rochester office; and Matt Dowshen, formerly managing director, will serve as president of the agency’s New York boutique.

-Wellcom has rebranded to Wellcom Worldwide following the acquisition of theLab, USA, and announced the appointments of Andrew Sidwell and Chris Grawe to the roles of managing director and creative services director, respectively.

-Kia Motors Europe announced the appointment of SapientNitro as its lead digital agency following a review, tasking the agency with “evolving its internet portal across Europe, taking responsibility for everything from concept development, user experience and design to implementation and support.”

-Loyola Marymount University’s M-School asked students to “rebrand” Los Angeles — and the results are in.

mcgarrybowen Surprises Customer with Carol-Fueled Shopping Spree for Sears

mcgarrybowen employs a different type of social engagement with its new “#MoreToYou” holiday campaign for Sears, which debuts with “Kirsten’s Holiday Shopping Spree at Sears” (featured above).

In the spot, Kirsten laments the difficulty of finding gifts for her large family and then hears her doorbell ring. At her door is “Brad from Sears” there to bring hear some good news: Sears saw Kirsten’s tweet complaining about the difficulties of holiday shopping and has decided to give her a shopping spree so she can cross everyone off her list. She’s pretty excited by the shopping spree, and the prospect of getting all her shopping done in one place, if a bit taken aback at the carolers suggesting presents for her family. The spot ends by asking viewers to tweet using the hashtag #MoreToYou for a chance to “surprise and delight another customer in the future” (their words).

“#MoreToYou” is supported by Sears social media team and blogger engagement, with “Kirsten’s Holiday Shopping Spree at Sears” as the latest chapter in an ongoing campaign. Read more

The Year in 360i

If you work in advertising, chances are at least one of your coworkers (or possibly you) has a desk cluttered with toys. For its agency holiday card effort, 360i is calling on advertising professionals to use these toys for good, and they don’t even have to give them away to do it. The effort, as described in the video above, asks people to share a photo of their favorite toy using the hashtag #AgencyToyDrive on Twitter or Instagram and 360i will donate a matching toy to charity. It’s a clever fundraiser, tapping into the agency toy phenomenon to give back during the holiday season.

360i’s agency toy drive caps off the year for the agency, following being added to Nestle’s digital roster and promoting Toyota’s “Teen Drive 365″ effort last month. More news and campaigns from 360i, which was named one of the most desirable full-time gigs by freelance network Working Not Working, after the jump. Read more

Tribal Worldwide Strikes Up the ‘People’s Choir’ for Volkswagen UK

Tribal Worldwide, London created this online Christmas effort for Volkswagen UK, featuring a “People’s Choir” singing carols in public locations.

It’s a pretty straightforward approach, the “People’s Choir” is transported via Volkswagen Sharan to various locations where they spread some holiday cheer to random passsersby. The 90-second spot will run across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube starting today as “part of the brand’s social initiative to thank Volkswagen enthusiasts for their support during the year.”

“Volkswagen is a brand that’s all about people and making life better for them,” said James Hogwood, creative director, Tribal Worldwide. “So when we’re trying to put seasonal smiles on the faces of our Volkswagen fans, it felt natural to bring those values to the fore.” Read more

R/GA Tells Story of ‘Holiday Dreams’ on 74 Screens for Samsung

R/GA teamed up with production company 1st Ave Machine to tell the story of a young girl’s “Holiday Dreams” for Samsung, using 74 different screens, from a 2-inch smart watch to a 65-inch curved HDTV, in the process.

The animated story begins with the girl sleeping in her bed on a winter night when her stocking “caught a ride, escaping to the cold outside.” From here, the girl searches for the stocking throughout various dreamscapes on different Samsung devices, until finally she finds herself “safe and sound and back in bed.” The ad ends with Samsung wishing viewers, “May all your holiday dreams come true.” We’re guessing, though, they might rescind that wish if your holiday dream includes a new iPhone.

It’s a cute story, and the way it’s told is certainly intriguing. Everything in the spot was shot in real time, with the devices all synced to communicate with each other as the animation jumped from one screen to another. If you’re wondering how exactly, R/GA and 1st Ave Machine pulled this off, stick around for behind the scenes footage after the jump. Read more

Johnsonville Hands Over Creative Duties to Droga5

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Wisconsin sausage brand Johnsonville has selected Droga5 to handle its creative duties, following a review, Adweek reports. Annual media spending for the brand is estimated at approximately $30 million. Media buying and planning were not included in the review, and will remain at Compass Point Media.

Other finalists in the review, as previously reported by Adweek, were Fallon, CP+B and incumbent agency Cramer-Krasselt. Cramer-Krasselt had handled creative duties for the brand since 2008.

The news follows a slew of account wins for Droga5 this year, including Clearasil, Quilted Northern, Jockey, Dixie, and Airwick, for which the agency recently debuted its first work. For Cramer-Krasselt, meanwhile, Johnsonville is the latest in a line of setbacks. In August, Cramer-Krasselt declined to defend in a review for Patrón, after opting out of a review or resigning from Panera Bread (depending on whose story you believe) back in June. The agency was one of three finalists in a review for Hilton’s Hampton review, but that account ultimately went to GSD&M.

Wednesday Morning Stir

-Seiden once again documents the year in cultural phenomena with their holiday video (above).

-FleishmanHillard announced the promotion of Stefan Gerard, formerly regional SVP and senior partner, to the role of global strategic innovation lead.

-Sprint announced it will not be extending its contract with NASCAR beyond 2016.

-Reebok partnered with UFC fighters Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey.

-Marriott launches Snapchat campaign.

-MediaPost ponders whether agencies will be left behind in the impending “era of people-based marketing.”

-Havas Media announced a partnership with real-time TV ad buying platform FuturesMedia.

-Adweek looks at some of this year’s best outdoor ads.

Tuesday Odds and Ends


-Young & Rubicam and The Joyful Heart Foundation released emotional outtakes from their “No More” PSA campaign against domestic violence (video above).

-Adweek examines “The 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014.”

-Senior Copywriter Erica Pressly and Senior Art Director Emmie Nostiz — both formerly with The Barbarian Group — have joined Droga5.

-Twitter is divided over the decision to implement autoplay videos.

-The Drum speaks to creative technologists at R/GA New York.

-According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 100 percent viewability on digital ads isn’t possible.

-Here are the UK’s top-Shazamed ads this week.

-The Washington Post examines “The top websites visited each December since 1996.”

BBH Takes ‘The Next Step’ for Johnnie Walker

While everyone is still looking back at the year in retrospect, BBH looks ahead to 2015 in “The Next Step” for Johnnie Walker.

The 60-second spot is notable for its unusual visual style, accomplished by filming in one continuous take on a moving set that took around three weeks to complete. Once filming started, it took approximately 50 takes and three days to get everything right. “It really didn’t start to come together until the final takes,” BBH Copywriter Mikio Bradley told Adweek.

The spot opens on an actor at a holiday party as the lights go out. As the actor — who happens to be named Oliver Walker — begins walking, the voiceover begins: “The first step of a new year, we’ll all take one, but where will a step take you? How high could you climb, and how far?” As the voiceover continues philosophizing, the actor continues walking through his vision 0f 2015, until he eventually finds himself back at the party where he started. “The new year begins with the next step,” concludes the voiceover, how far will it take you?” As fireworks explode overhead, the text “Here’s to 2015″ appears onscreen, followed by the “Keep Walking” tagline. In the online version, which made its debut on December 4th, this is then followed by the question, “How Will You #Keepwalking in 2015?” The broadcast version is set to run from December 22nd through early January.

While this is clearly an attempt at social engagement, BBH may as well be asking the question of Johnnie Walker. The Diageo whiskey brand is currently in the middle of a global review, with BBH defending the account, which has been with the agency since 1999. BBH vowed to “vigorously defend” in the review, and this ambitious effort certainly makes a good case for the agency as they hope to celebrate retaining the account in 2015. Read more

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