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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.”

Rokkan Plays on Yule Log with ‘Winter Wondersteak’ for LongHorn Steakhouse

Rokkan offers up a meat lovers take on the yule log tradition with “Winter Wondersteak” for Longhorn Steakhouse.

The online ad replaces a warm fireplace with the enticing sizzle of a juicy steak, footage of which runs continuously for just over an hour. In addition to the obvious homage to The Yule Log television program, the effort also calls to mind Arby’s 13 hour live-streaming spot of a brisket being smoked this May. According to the agency, the effort was created to cut through holiday social media clutter in an appeal to a younger audience of “festive carnivores” and the “fireplace challenged.” If watching a steak sizzle for an hour straight is your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as we’ve included the video above. Read more

The VIA Agency Ropes Golden Corral

GoldenCorral_logo

Yesterday we wrote that casual dining chain Golden Corral was down to three agencies in its search for a new creative lead. Since then, Adweek reported that the chain has made its decision, choosing Portland, Maine-based independent The VIA Agency over other finalists Merkley + Partners and Mullen Winston Salem. The pitch was run by Hassan and Partners and, according to Kantar Media, the brand spent approximately $55 million on media in 2013.

Prior to the review, Golden Corral had relied on freelancers and in-house production for its advertising, so The VIA Agency will act as its first lead creative agency. Adweek suggested the change in strategy could be due to the chain’s recent soft sales in the overall slumping casual dining category. The VIA Agency, who recently released a new campaign for Three Olives Vodka, has previously worked with restaurant chain Friendly’s, and currently counts Romano’s Macaroni Grill among its clients, which may have helped them land the account. Other prominent clients for the agency include Unilver, Klondike, Perdue and Welch’s.

Johnnie Walker Walks On to Anomaly


Diageo has selected Anomaly as its new creative agency of record for Johnnie Walker, Adweek reports, the culmination of a review which launched in October. The decision marks the end of the brand’s fifteen year relationship with BBH, which defended in the review. Other finalists in the review included W+K, Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO. Johnnie Walker spent an estimated $40 million on media in 2013.

Given the success of BBH’s “Keep Walking” campaign, the review came as a surprise to many in the industry, including the agency’s competitors. Upon launching the review, Guy Escolme, the global brand director at Johnnie Walker, stated that ““The brand’s relationship with BBH has been hugely successful, with the agency producing award-winning work of outstanding creativity,” but that “the time is right to invite selected agencies… to look at how we take the brand forward into the future.”

The final selection shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as Anomaly previously worked with Johnnie Walker on “The Gentleman’s Wager,” the online spot starring Jude Law which came out this summer and ultimately topped 11 million views on YouTube.

The brand’s decision comes right on the heels of the release of BBH’s ambitious “The Next Step” spot celebrating the impending new year. That ad will now serve as the agency’s swan song to their long relationship with the brand.

For Anomaly, meanwhile, the decision follows the agency picking up Budweiser’s “Made In America” festival earlier this month and Panera Bread back in September.

Blue Hive Goes Further for Ford

Here’s one we missed from a few weeks back. Agency Blue Hive created a new online spot for Ford promoting the new Ford EcoSport and its keyless entry feature, entitled “Go Further.”

In the spot, a tanned beach dude, wearing a very small bathing suit walks along the beach to the tune of The Chordettes’ version of “Lollipop,” which fits the scene well. As he garners stares from onlookers, it becomes clear he’s heading back to his car. But how is he going to open it? Where could he possibly have put his keys? While the onlookers in the ad and viewers alike wonder this, he approaches the car, it beeps, and he gets in and drive away, followed by the suggestive message, “Where you put your keys is up to you.” The message is pretty clear: instead of rummaging around in a sandy bag for your keys after a day at the beach, you can just tuck your key fob in your crotch at the beginning of the day and forget about it. Thanks, Ford!
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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

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