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BBH NY Visits ‘Hotel’ for Axe

Unilever’s Axe brand has been moving away from the sex-fueled image that first gave it notoriety and eventually turned into self-parody as the brand aims to attract a slightly older demographic than the hormonal adolescents those ads courted, and BBH New York’s latest effort for the brand’s White Label line, “Hotel” (featured above) continues that trend. The ad will make its broadcast debut on January 1st, during the College Football Playoffs.

“Hotel” follows a well-dressed man and those impressed by him, with voiceover providing their internal monologues as they guess just what it is the man does. These range from a woman who assumes he’s a movie to star, to a young boy who believes he’s  super-spy, to an elderly gentleman who thinks he’s a comedian. Things go over-the-top when a dog offer the interpretation that “No, he won Best in Show.” At the end of the ad, the man’s true profession is revealed.

The strategy, clearly, is to promote Axe not simply for sex appeal but instead as a sign of distinction and a confidence-booster, as exemplified by the tagline, “How you feel says it all.”

“If you’ve ever been in a restaurant in L.A. and someone with confidence walks in the door, the whole restaurant turns and looks at that guy,” Ari Weiss, executive creative director of BBH, New York, told AdAge. “There’s always this assumption that he must be famous.”

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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.

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

BBH London Champions Sharing for KFC

BBH London tells the story of “The Boy Who Learnt To Share” for KFC in a 60-second holiday spot for the brand.

The ad shows the selfish nature of a young boy who refuses to share. He hogs up all the snow when making snowmen with his sister, won’t share an umbrella with his mother, writes his name on all the Christmas presents and, when cast as one of the wise men in a Christmas pageant, he won’t even give a gift to the baby Jesus. When the family gets KFC he initially holds his arms around an entire bucket, declaring it for himself. But when he sees the rest of the family happily sharing the rest of the meal, he finally decides to share, offering his sister a drumstick.

The whole “learning to share” angle is not a bad approach for a heartwarming holiday spot, and the spot is mostly put together well, but there’s one problem I can’t seem to get over with this one. At no point in the ad do we see the parents actually try to teach their son to share, something he should presumably have learned at least a little about from them. Instead, the parents seem to just ignore his bad behavior as if there’s nothing they can do and let him continue to act like a little snot. Wouldn’t the boy finally learning to share mean more if they had made attempts to teach him before? Understandably the spot is attempting to show KFC as the catalyst for the revelation, but this comes across as a bit random and forced since viewers aren’t really presented a window into his motivations or given the impression that the parents have done anything to try to change the son’s behavior.

“The Boy Who Learnt To Share” is supported by a social campaign in which KFC is calling on fans to tweet using the hashtag #KFCSharesies for the chance to participate in a campaign challenge and win a prize. Read more

BBH London Celebrates Girls’ Night Out for Bailey’s

BBH London targets millenial women with a new spot for Bailey’s entitled “Global Girls Night Out.”

As you may expect from that title, the ad follows several groups of friends from around the world as they celebrate a girls night out. It’s a simple concept, but BBH executes it rather well, with perfect pacing and an inspired soundtrack choice in girl group The Go-Gos hit “We Got The Beat.” The spot begins with each group getting ready and heading out for the night and ends with scenes of them enjoying Bailey’s at their respective bars.

According to The Drum, the 60-second spot “was directed by thirtytwo at Pulse Films with an all-female agency team and predominantly female production team.” In addition to the broadcast spot, the global “Here’s To Us” campaign is supported by a print component shot by fashion photographer Steve Heitt.

“Baileys was due a shake-up, a reintroduction to a new generation of women, a meaningful role in a girls night out – the brand having had been hidden at home for far too long,” Caroline Pay, creative director at BBH London, told The Drum. “We had a lot of fun shooting this, and I really hope that comes across on screen.”

“Here To Us” will debut in the UK, US and Western Europe before expanding globally.

BBH NY Shows Gamers How to Do a Proper Victory Dance for PS4

BBH New York enlisted dancers from the New York City Ballet for a series of ads depicting victory celebrations for PS4, an extension of the “Greatness Awaits” campaign.

Each of the six spots begins with a group of dancers performing classic ballet moves in scenery/dress meant to evoke certain styles of games (sports, space, war, etc.) before a musical change signifies a shift in style and they perform a more modern victory dance. At the end of each 30-second spot, viewers are invited to contribute to the linked social initiative, calling on gamers to submit their own victory dance on Instagram for a chance at winning a PS4. At this point, any gaming advertising that tries something different is a welcome departure, and the social initiative has the potential to lead to some fun engagement with fans. We do wish, however, that they had managed a take of “Dunk” (stick around for it after the jump) where she actually makes the shot. Read more

BBH London Launches ‘The Welcome of Home’ for British Airways


BBH London has crafted an ambitious online spot for British Airways entitled “The Welcome of Home.”

The four minute long ad tells the story of a Canadian woman named Chitra visiting her grandmother in India, and bringing along a bit of a surprise. It is an emotional journey, perhaps a bit too saccharine for some, dealing with themes of family, love, culture and the true meaning of home. “No matter how many years I’ve been away, home will always be India,” Chitra says at the spot’s conclusion, before the message, “We know how important home is appears onscreen.” There’s little overt branding in the ad until its conclusion, with BBH London instead tying British Airways to the idea of home and the emotional tone of the ad. It’s well produced and, unlike a lot of long-form ads, doesn’t feel stretched beyond its limits. Still, getting people to sit through a four minute long ad for an airline is an uphill battle, making the attempt perhaps too ambitious for its own good. Read more

BBH London Hires ECDs Behind Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’

BBH Logo

BBH London has hired Beto Fernandez and Paco Conde as executive creative directors, Campaign reports.

The pair gained notoriety for their work on Dove’s Titanium Grand Prix-winning “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, while also helping Ogilvy Brazil win Agency of the Year at the 2013 Cannes Lions. Conde currently serves as director general creative at Ogilvy Brazil, while Fernandez is an executive creative director at sister agency David. Conde and Fernandez first worked together at Ogilvy in 2012, and currently work with such clients as Coca-Cola, Unilever, FIFA, Philips, GlaxoSmithKline and the United Nations.

“We want the best people in the world here,” said Nick Gill, executive creative director at BBH London. “People with diverse skills and fresh ideas to point this agency firmly at the future. As such, I couldn’t be more excited about Paco and Beto joining us. They are as good as it gets.”

Fernandez and Conde will begin their roles at BBH London early next year.

BBH London Brings Together Rivals for KFC

BBH London has released a new spot for KFC in the UK entitled “Fans.”

In the 90-second spot, two brothers support rival footie clubs — Stirling Albion FC and Dunfermline FC — and each attends a match with one of their parents. Both diehard fans are quite serious about the match but only one team comes out on top. But in heartwarming yet predictable fashion, KFC brings the family back together, and soon the boys are bonding over the new Colonel’s Brownie Bucket. While it may not exactly be breaking new ground, it’s a cute spot and well-executed enough to not seem over-the-top. Read more

BBH Introduces Sofa Bear for Virgin Media

BBH introduces the likeable Sofa Bear in a new ad for Virgin Media, plugging its “Big Kahuna Movies Bundle.”

The 60-second spot opens on the bear, sprawled out on the couch watching The Wolf of Wall Street. “That’s Ed,” intones a nature documentary-esque narrator, “He’s a sofa bear, obviously.” He goes on to explain that, since sofa bears can hibernate for entire weekends, they go for Virgin Media, “so they can access an immense library of movies and box sets.” It’s a fun character, and one that fits in with the advertised service. If there’s a complaint with the ad, it’s that the music at the end for the explanation of the “Big Kahuna Movies Bundle” is a bit invasive, but aside from that it’s a clear winner. Let’s hope BBH can find a way to utilize Sofa Bear in other Virgin campaigns in the future.

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