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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.”

Friday Odds and Ends


-FP7/DXB, UAE released this “Underwater Store” spot for Sony Mobile Middle East (video above).

-Matt Van Dzura and Fafu over at Translation produced this Serial/Notorious B.I.G. remix.

-Baltimore-based brand activation agency Harvey announced the addition of Jen Leah as art director.

-Here’s an “Agency Christmas Round-up” from The Drum.

-Adweek examines which brands were hit hardest by Instagram’s spam purge.

-LIFE Agency Director Leslie de Chernatony weighs in on “Who won the Christmas advertising battle?”

-Here are “The Five Most Engaging Ads on TV Right Now,” according to AdAge.

-CP+B’s Copenhagen office created “The Problem Solver” beer, which shows you on the bottle how much to drink to hit your creative peak.

Team Detroit Celebrates the ‘Most Distracted Time of the Year’ for Ford

Team Detroit is launching a holiday campaign promoting the 2015 Ford Fusion, entitled “It’s the Most Distracted Time of the Year” in a play on a certain popular holiday song (which, of course, is used as the soundtrack for each of the ads).

As you may have guessed, the campaign focuses on a variety of distracted drivers before touting the safety features of the Ford Fusion. In “Miss Multi-Task,” for example, we see a chronic multi-tasker carry a slew of gifts and desserts while talking on the phone. She then gets in her car (while still on the phone), prepared to drive off, oblivious to the cookies she left on the car’s roof. “There are a lot of naughty drivers out there,” says the voiceover as a list of the vehicle’s safety features appear onscreen, “Steer clear of them, with help from the 2015 Ford Fusion.”

“Miss Multi-Task” is the most realistic of the three scenarios presented in the spots, with “Icy Mad Man” and “Frazzled Father” stretching believability a bit with a man who attempts to see out of a completely iced over car by clearing only a very small circle for visibility and a father who completely blocks his view with the family Christmas tree. These over-the-top antics detract from the message, but the real problem with the campaign is how forgettable it is. There are a slew of automakers touting safety features in various ways (see Hyundai’s “Exobaby” for the most ridiculous of these) and Team Detroit doesn’t do much to differentiate the Ford Fusion here. Read more

McCann Spain Presents ‘The Other Letter’ for IKEA

McCann Spain and IKEA get sentimental for the holidays with longform online spot “The Other Letter.”

The ad opens with a provocative question: “Why do we insist on not getting our children the things they really want for Christmas?” Then the video introduces the experiment the agency conducted with ten families, in which they ask children to write a letter to the Three Wise Men (which is a cultural variant on letters to Santa), with predictable results. The twist comes with the follow-up question, asking the children what they want from their parents. Rather than ask for additional toys or material items, the children’s responses tug at the heartstrings. One child asks to spend more time with his parents and “to do more experiments at home,” another wants to be listened to more, one child asks for more meals as a family, another to spend a whole day with his parents. “You always try to substitute. To fill what’s missing with a new toy,” responds one mother, touched by her child’s letter. “They have far too many toys anyway,” says another.

The ad ends with the message, “At Christmas things can get a bit jumbled. There’s nothing like home for getting your head in order,” which finally (tangentially) ties the message to the brand. It also invites audience participation via the hashtag #LaOtraCarta. It’s a bit heavy on the sentimentality, but then this is the holidays. A bigger problem may be that people remember the message, but forget that it has anything to do with IKEA.

There’s also a 60-second broadcast spot delivering a similar message via more traditional means (featured after the jump), but it’s the online effort people will be talking about. Read more

Ogilvy Canada Presents ‘The Warmest Tim Hortons in Canada’

Ogilvy Canada yarnbombs the shit out of a Tim Hortons in this online spot, ostensibly making it “The Warmest Tim Hortons in Canada” in the process. The approach of giving a Tim Hortons location a makeover calls to mind this summer’s “Dark Experiment” spot from JWT Canada, introducing the brand’s new dark roast.

The spot begins by introducing Fort Frances, “One of the coldest places in Canada.” Some children discover a yarnbombed tree and then follow a string to the local Tim Hortons. Inside the location, customers are jazzed to fine yarn around all the furniture and a knitted cap topping the roof. It’s a nice little gesture, which recognizes that Tim Hortons is a place many of their customers go to for a respite from the cold, and visitors to the location seem to really appreciate it. The online video ends with  the message, “On December 13th we brought a little warmth to a small town. And wound up knitting an entire community together.”

The Viral Factory Introduces ‘Exobaby’ for Hyundai

Well here’s a strange one. The Viral Factory created the online spot “Exobaby” for Hyundai, likening Hyundai’s safety features to a baby wearing a robotic exoskeleton.

“They made him a suit to make him more than human, he’s Exobaby,” says the booming, over-the-top voiceover at the beginning of the spot, as the character is introduced. Features of the Exobaby include “advanced high strength steel,” “smart trunk” (for pooping), “blind spot detection,” “lane departure warning system,” “forward collision warning system,” “bath evade,” and “smart parking assist system.” Just in case the Hyundai logo on the suit and car-related features weren’t obvious enough to clue you in, the voiceover concludes by saying, “Oh, let’s be honest: the baby in the suit is you in the new Hyundai. You get it?” If you don’t, you probably should not be behind the wheel.

The idea is ridiculous and is stretched pretty thin by the end of the 90-second spot (somehow it feels longer), but the worst part has to be the “let’s be honest” bit calling attention to the blatantly obvious. There must have been a better way to transition to the footage of the car than saying, “By the way, we were obviously talking about the new Hyundai the whole time.” Since the ad features a baby doing baby stuff (and even manages to work in secondary view bait via a dog), however, it stands a chance of going viral no matter how crazy the premise is. Stick around for behind the scenes footage after the jump. Read more

Friday Morning Stir

-The folks over at BBDO San Francisco created “Yule Loggins” (video above).

-Fashion retailer AllSaints ignores traditional advertising in favor of content creation.

-AdAge examines “10 Things That Won’t Happen in 2015.”

-UNICEF created a fake video game to raise awareness of the crisis in South Sudan.

-Here’s a look at “Some of the very best Christmas inspired campaigns ever to feature at the D&AD Awards.”

-Creative Review picks its favorite ads of the year.

-New Samsung ad shows famous artists taking selfies.

Thursday Odds and Ends

-Cloudal Partners released this holiday effort for Field Notes (video above).

-Independent marketing consultancy R3 hired Taleah Mona-Lusky as senior consultant based in New York.

-Scream Agency, a full-service advertising, branding, digital and public relations agency located in Denver, announced the rollout of their new logo.

-L’Oréal is shifting U.S. communications planning to MEC.

-The Radio Mercury Awards announced the naming of Jim Elliott, chief creative officer, Y&R NY as chief judge for the 24th annual awards competition, which is now open for submissions.

-Minneapolis agency mono announced 15 new hires, most prominent among them being Group Account Director Alison Clark and Creative Co-Chair Joel Stacy.

-Carat USA announced the addition of Justine Bloome as head of strategy and innovation to lead the agency’s new Catalyst team.

Periscope Introduces ‘Ralphpunzel’ for Great Clips

Independent Minneapolis-based agency Periscope launched a new spot for Great Clips, entitled “Ralphpunzel.”

Ralphpunzel, is (shocker!) a man who has grown his hair out for twenty years, to a length of seventeen feet. In the spot, he decides to finally get a haircut and is able to book ahead on Great Clips’ website. Along the way he runs into some acquaintances who are quite surprised to see Ralphpunzel doing away with his locks, and he provides them with an explanation.

Aimed at millenial males, the spot will run during the most watched college football bowl games and during the College Football Playoff semi-final and championship games. Read more

McCann Melbourne Decks the Halls with Dumb Ways to Die

McCann Melbourne has rolled out another “Dumb Ways to Die” spot supporting Metro Trains Melbourne for the holidays, following this Halloween effort.

The simple 30-second ad is centered around a re-working of “Deck the Halls,” replacing “fa la la la la” with “dumb dumb dumb dumb.” For the song itself, which is available on iTunes, McCann Melbourne teamed up with Emily Lubitz, Tangerine Kitty’s original vocalist for the “Dumb Ways to Die” song and lead singer of Tinpan Orange, along with  members of the Salvation Army Choir. All proceeds from the download will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. In the spot, the song is accompanied by the “Dumb Ways to Die” characters dancing around festively, concluding with Lubitz saying, “Be safe around Christmas, a message from Metro.” Fans of the “Dumb Ways to Die” phenomenon should find plenty to enjoy in the video and may even find they want to download the song to play at holiday parties, with proceeds going to charity designed as an added enticement (although you have to wonder at the choice of charity, given that the Salvation Army has come under scrutiny in recent years for its discrimination against the LGBT community, and in Australia particularly for its handling of sexual abuse claims.) Read more

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

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