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DDB Promotes State Farm’s Other Services

DDB Chicago is taking a break from reviving old Saturday Night Live characters to remind viewers that State Farm offers financial services, life and home insurance.

Two weeks ago, DDB Chicago launched the campaign with the sentimental spot “Never” (featured after the jump), depicting a man who says he’ll never get married getting married, having kids, moving to the suburbs and buying a minivan. Now, the agency has unleashed the next ad in the campaign, the similarly-minded “At Last.” The spot continues aiming for the heart, depicting a second marriage between a man and a woman who each have children. “Sometimes at last doesn’t happen at first,” says a voiceover as the couple tie the know. “Your dad just kissed my mom,” says the daughter and hugs her new brother as the voiceover ties the scene to State Farm: “Turning two worlds into one takes love, helping protect that world takes State Farm.” The spot debuted yesterday on ABC.

“It’s important for us to shift the way people think about us instead of just reinforcing what they already think,” Patty Morris, director-marketing and brand content at State Farm, explained to AdAge. “It’s all about the balance.”

The campaign will continue to roll out over the next 6-8 weeks, with at least two additional ads planned. According to AdAge these include a spot about a young man leaving home and a woman retiring early thanks to savvy financial planning. “They show things working out, but not how you planned,” said John Maxham, chief creative officer at DDB. “Theres a great human truth to that. And State Farm is there with you to handle these twists and turns.” Read more

Apple Launches ‘Change’ for iPad Air 2

Apple has launched a new campaign promoting the iPad Air 2, entitled “Change.”

In the 60-second broadcast spot, billed (in DesignTAXI, at least) as a follow-up to the brand’s “Your Verse” campaign (and thus, presumably, like that campaign, created in-house), Apple shows all the different ways various types of people use the iPad Air 2. That strategy is very much a continuation of previous efforts, and while there’s not really anything new here, the spot is well-produced and stylish (no surprises there). Some of the more clever/unusual ways the tablet is used include a motorcyclist inserting it into his center console, a carpenter who blows stray wood chips off the tablet while utilizing it in his studio, a woman making a stop-motion animation video. One interesting stylistic choice in the spot is that it starts full-screen and becomes thinner and thinner to show off the iPad Air 2′s thinness, eventually culled down to representative width and rotating across the screen over a white background. The spot ends with the footage turning into the iPad Air 2 itself, followed by the tagline, “Change is in the Air” a clever attempt to talk up the tablet’s capabilities.

Gwen Stefani Stars in McCann XBC’s ‘Priceless Surprises’ for MasterCard

McCann XBC teamed up with Gwen Stefani in a new 30-second broadcast spot for MasterCard directed by Wondros’ Sophie Muller.

The spot focuses on MasterCard’s integration with Apple Pay and the “priceless surprises” the company is giving away to customers using the new feature. Stefani works a rocket launcher, sending these surprises — including a hand bag, concert tickets (to see Stefani, naturally) and a “golf experience” represented by a golf kart — flying through the air toward unsuspecting MasterCard users. At the end of the spot, an unsuspecting fan rocking Stefani’s old haircut wins a chance to meet the woman herself.

It’s pretty basic stuff, with McCann XBC and MasterCard counting on Stefani’s star power to win over viewers and the potential prizes to get them excited for MasterCard’s Apple Pay integration. The choice of Stefani isn’t simply a nostalgic one for the brand, as the singer’s recent single “Spark The Fire” is used as the spot’s soundtrack and she has both a solo album and an album with No Doubt in the works.

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

EVB, Victors & Spoils Give ‘The Gift of Giving’ for JCPenney

EVB and Victors & Spoils give “The Gift of Giving” in a holiday campaign for JCPenney which asks shoppers to give a gift to a complete stranger.

Filmed last month in JCPenney stores in Illinois and Indiana the video follows as customers are told to find someone in the store to give a gift to. That person then travels with them around the store and together they pick out a gift, with JC Penney picking up the tab. The gifts range from jeans and a jacket to a sofa and even an engagement ring as participants engage in tearful signs of appreciation and hugs. It’s designed to be a heartwarming affirmation that giving is better than receiving; in other words, the polar opposite of Harvey Nichols’ cynical “Could I Be Any Clearer?” spot from adam&eveDDB.

“The idea of having to give something to a complete stranger can be very scary,” JCPenney CMO Debra Berman told Adweek. “And it’s that vulnerability that made this experiment so real and interesting. It brought out emotions in both the giver and the receiver.”

Sainsbury’s Does Complete 180 with New Holiday Spot from Gravity Road

Last month, Sainsbury’s unveiled a high-budget holiday ad created by agency AMV BBDO commemorating the famous “Christmas Truce” of World War I. Unfortunately for the brand, it didn’t find the reception it was looking for, with many in the British public finding the ad distasteful or even hypocritical (Sainsbury’s is planning to knock down a Bristol rugby stadium built in honor of World War I veterans to make way for one of its stores).

So now the brand has completely reversed course with an online holiday ad from Gravity Road entitled “Dads Pull Out Surprise Dubstep Dance for Christmas.” Whereas the “Christmas Truce” spot was clearly labored over with a large production budget, this effort was shot with a handheld camera in an attempt to seem like a homemade video. And while the previous ad was serious and somber, this effort couldn’t be more goofy and lighthearted. As the title implies, the spot sees some dads pull out a surprise dance routine. That the dads do so while wearing jumpers (sweaters as they’re known here in the states) seems an attempt to cash in on this year’s craze for the “ugly sweater.” Their dance is performed to a re-mixed version of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from The Nutcracker.

“The piece was always designed as a piece of content that would live on Facebook primarily,” Pete Conolly, creative director at Gravity Road, told Digiday.

Since being uploaded around a week ago, the video has racked up over a million views on Facebook and YouTube, with at least one fan calling for it to be shown on television. The ad is unlikely to generate the same kind of backlash as Sainsbury’s previous effort, as it’s hard to get too offended over Christmas sweaters.

Publicis Wishes You ‘Merry Beeping Christmas from Oral-B’

Publicis London turns to beeped out cursing in its irreverent holiday ad for Oral-B, entitled, “Merry Beeping Christmas from Oral-B.”

The spot opens on a woman stepping on an angel ornament while tip-toeing around the house barefoot carrying presents. She lets out a few bleeped out choice words, and quickly we’re on our way to the next profanity-inducing situation. These scenarios run the gamut from ugly sweaters to cooking accidents and trouble with the lights but each result in an expected torrent of profanity. The ad ends with the tagline “At least you don’t have to worry about your smile,” accompanied by the Oral-B logo. It may be a bit of a stretch, but tying oral care to the holidays isn’t the easiest proposition in the world and the spot is fun and clever enough to fit in with other cheeky holiday ads we’ve seen this year from brands in the UK. Read more

Deutsch LA Gets Aggressive for Sprint

Deutsch LA announces Sprint’s latest price offering in the new 30-second broadcast spot, “Cut Your Plan in Half.”

In the spot, Sprint promises customers who bring in an old Verizon or AT&T bill and turn in their phone that Sprint will cut their rate in half. It’s an ambitious (and/or desperate) offering from the struggling company, and Deutsch LA keeps the message simple and focused, while also following through on President/CEO Maurcelo Claure‘s promise that the company would be “more aggressive” in its advertising by directly calling out its competitors. Customers talk about their troublesome bills with AT&T and Verizon before announcing they’re switching to Sprint and (literally) cutting their old bills in half. The spot debuted this past Friday on national networks and cable during primetime, and will be supported by a Spanish-language spot and print ads.

Despite the launch of this spot by Deutsch LA, the agency’s preceding ad for the brand, and heavy rumors that Deutsch has already won the account, Sprint maintains that the creative review is still in progress, according to AdAge. Sprint spokesman Dave Mellin told that publication, “Deutsch L.A. did the creative work on this campaign.They are doing some work for us on a project basis.”

Sprint’s review was initially announced back in September, with the field narrowing to five agencies a month later. According to some sources, it then came down to a race between Deutsch LA and Arnold. Despite claims that Deutsch has been awarded the account, including a linked internal memo from Arnold  (which we reported on last month), Sprint continues to avoid making an official decision.

CHI&Partners Celebrates Holiday “#ColourInvasion” for Carphone Warehouse

CHI&Partners launched a new holiday campaign for Carphone Warehouse enititled “#ColourInvasion” promoting the large number of color exclusives available in its stores for the holiday season.

The spot is set in a dark, gloomy seaside town that (as you may have guessed from the title) receives a sudden invasion of color. That color arrives courtesy of a group of bikers, all decked out in colorful clothing to create a kind of motorcycle chain rainbow. Keeping things on the minimalist side, the spot lets the color speak for itself, without any intrusion from voiceover. The campaign is running online on Carphone Warehouse’s YouTubeFacebook and Twitter channels, as well as the brand’s online content hub, The Lowdown. Yesterday the rband also launched a competioon across its social channels, affording customers the opportunity to win an “exclusively colored handset every day for two weeks” and the chance to win a grand prize of a Harley Davidson 883 Matte Black Roadster.

“The work is an epic, vibrant, dollop of colour hitting Britain’s shores with impact,” said Rob Webster and Alexei Berwitz, creative directors at CHI&Partners, in a press release. “Here, the team have created a campaign which is as joyously simple as the brief that inspired it.” Read more

Union Made Creative Inspires Girls for Lego

Union Made Creative recently launched an inspirational ad for Lego targeted at young girls and for many the reaction will be: “It’s about time.”

Despite its roots of mostly gender-neutral marketing (which makes sense, given that there’s no real reason to attach a gender to building blocks), Lego has come under fire from many, including feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, who devoted two segments of her “Feminist Frequency” series to the subject, for its overt marketing towards boys in recent decades. The “together” in the brand’s “Let’s Build Together” campaign, for example, was limited to fathers and sons. In 2012, the brand reacted by releasing its Lego Friends line, marketed towards girls, but the extension was viewed by many as an after-thought at best and by its more vocal critics, as Sarkeesian put it, a “a pastel-colored gender-stereotyped suburban wasteland.” That Lego Friends is “for girls” only reinforces the problematic notion that the rest of Lego’s products are intended for boys. The majority of sets in the line feature stereotypically feminine constructions like beauty salons and bakeries, and are dominated by soft pastel colored blocks.

A kind of tipping point came early this year when a letter from a 7-year-old girl went viral and put renewed pressure on Lego to better serve its female fans. The company showed that they might finally be getting the message this summer when they released the Lego Research Institute, developed by Swedish geochemist Ellen Kooijman through the fan-sourced Ideas platform, which features three female scientists. The limited-edition set sold out within days, delivering a clear message to the company that there’s a demand for such products.

All of which brings us to “Inspire Imagination and Keep Building” from Union Made Creative, which (finally) addresses many of the sexist tendencies in Lego’s advertising. “I don’t always want you to help me,” says a girl narrator at the beginning of the ad, “Do you know why? I want to figure it out on my own.” While the ad shows the girl playing with figures from Lego’s Friends set, it shows her using those pieces in creative ways, and she doesn’t play with them exclusively. She also makes a hospital bed and plays doctor, creates a helicopter and a maze for a hamster. In short, it explores the wonder and imagination at the core of the brand. “Because you taught me how to think and how to dream,” the narrator says at the conclusion of the spot, “I’m about to make something that I know will make you proud.”

The ad is very well crafted and would be emotionally powerful even without the background of the brand’s gender-biased marketing, but is all the more so because of it. At the very least it is a big step in the right direction for Lego, as they hopefully continue to move toward making all of their fans feel equally welcome, regardless of gender. Read more

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