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MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER Launches ‘First Comes Like’ for Zoosk

MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has launched a campaign for Zoosk entitled “First Comes Like.”

Instead of hard-selling the percentage of matches who end up married or implying that Zoosk can be used as a hookup site, the agency takes a middle ground, showing a couple’s misadventures on their first date and beyond. It’s an interesting approach that positions the brand as an alternative to both dating sites that push marriage (such as Match) and more hookup-centric sites like Tinder. Instead, Zoosk appeals to young people looking for a relationship, but not ready to think of marriage.

The way the spot portrays the excitement and awkwardness of a budding relationship is charming and feels more honest than the typical portrayals of couples in the category. There’s also a 60-second online version (featured after the jump), offering a more complete glimpse of the relationship.  Read more

PETA Aims for ‘#WoolFreeWinter’ with Provocative Campaign

PETA is certainly no stranger to provocative advertising, and its latest attempt to take on the wool industry with its “#WoolFreeWinter” campaign is no exception.

The group created two separate ads featuring models in open red long johns scratching their junk, one male and one female, ending with the tagline “Scratch Wool From Your Shopping List” and directing viewers to watch a video exposing animal cruelty in the wool trade. Both ads were intended to run on digital billboards, above 42nd Street and at 1500 Broadway from November to January, but Neutron Media deemed the male version — which, unlike the female one, contains a hint of pubic hair, too suggestive, so it is running on PETA’s website instead. The website also features an editorial questioning if Times Square is sexist for rejecting the male ad. We’ve included it after jump, so you can decide for yourself.

“PETA routinely uses both men and women in sexy ads advocating for animal rights,” said PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. “It was especially important in this campaign, as wool is marketed to both men and women who have no idea how violently sheep are mutilated in the shearing process.”

Read more

Dollar Shave Club Makes Broadcast Debut

Following a string of viral digital ads, Dollar Shave Club is making the leap to broadcast television.

The move follows the company’s recent success, as, according to founder and CEO Michael Dubin, the brand “finished October with 1.1 million active subscribers, $7.2 million in monthly sales and what the company estimates as a 10% volume share of U.S. cartridges.” Dollar Shave Club also recently raised $50 million in venture capital funding.

“It’s no secret that advertising on television is a great tool in building your brand,” Dubin told AdAge. “Some of the messages we wanted to communicate felt really right for television.”

Dubin declined to specify if the budget for the broadcast campaign came from revenue or the recent round of venture capital funding. A former improv comic, Dubin co-wrote the ad, entitled “Security” with Alec Brownstein, Dollar Shave Club’s creative director. Radical Media’s Steve Miller, who has worked on the “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, directed the spot. “Security” pokes fun at the extreme lengths many stores go through to keep their razors from being stolen, often placing them under lock and key. “It’s almost like they don’t want you to buy their razors,” the ad jokes. A second spot, “Free Gift” takes a similar approach, employing mocking humor. Read more

Zeus Jones, Tim & Eric ‘Fun Harder’ for Totino’s

Agency Zeus Jones worked with comedic duo Tim & Eric (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) to create a truly bizarre ad for Totino’s.

At the heart of the long ad is a really catchy jingle, which Tim & Eric sing along to and dance around. But add in some strange characters, such as Hard Rock Joe, the song’s supposed writer, some trippy, intentionally bad production and the duo’s typical brand of zaniness and you have “Pizza Freaks Unite” — which is to say one of the stranger ads for a pizza product you’ll ever see. Of course, the spot’s WTF factor is what makes it so memorable (along with the catchy song) and should lead to it being shared across social channels. Of course, Tim & Eric are no strangers to advertising, having most recently made waves with this ad for GE Lighting starring Jeff Goldblum. While “Pizza Freaks Unite” doesn’t quite live up to that recent success, it’s still worth a view if you have a couple minutes. It may be the strangest thing you watch all day. Unless, of course, you watch this.

Dick’s Tugs on Heartstrings for Holidays

Dick’s Sporting Goods has launched its holiday campaign with an ad meant to tug at viewer’s heartstrings via a basketball hoop, presumably from Anomaly.

Said piece of sporting equipment is given as a gift from a father to his daughter at the beginning of the spot. We then see the girl grow up via a montage of moments with the basketball hoop in the background, until, finally the family packs her up for college and the father is left to shoot hoops alone. The ad does a great job of building emotion and seamlessly leading into the “Give a gift that matters” tagline. At any other time of year, this kind of approach would run the risk of being deemed to sentimental, but that sentimentality fits pretty perfect with the holiday season.

The ad will run on 19 networks beginning this Sunday and running for several weeks. It kicks off Dick’s “Gifts That Matter” campaign, which will also be supported by social media and digital elements.

Mistress, Ubisoft ‘Make History’ for Assasin’s Creed Unity

Multi-disciplinary agency Mistress worked with Ubisoft to create a cinematic trailer for the upcoming release of Assasin’s Creed Unity, the latest in Ubisoft’s long-running franchise which is set for a November 11th release.

Mistress teamed up with production company Mothership Media and VFX studio Digital Domain to bring the trailer to life. The spot opens on in-game action, which text informs the viewer takes place in 1789, during the French Revolution. Then the action cuts to a group of friends sitting in a row, each with controller and headset in place, demonstrating the game’s new cooperative multiplayer feature. From here action switches between the friends and their in-game counterparts in the all too common “thrust into the action” trope. Still, Mistress and company pull it off better than most, pacing the transitions well and giving a good glimpse of the action gamers can expect while presenting a persuasive representation of being thrown into the world of the game. The ad ends with a new tagline for the franchise, “Make History,” which seems like a great fit.

“We loved working with Mistress because they had a distinct vision of what the spot should be, they stuck to it and Ubisoft trusted that instinct,” Director Neil Huxley said. “Using everything from the performances of the gamers which were edgy and fun to every weapon at our disposal from our VFX pipeline, helped us arrive at a very stylized cinematic spot we’re all very proud of.” Read more

360i Promotes ‘TeenDrive365′ for Toyota

360i has launched a new campaign promoting the latest installment in Toyota’s teen driving safety initiative, TeenDrive365.

Based on safety research by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Institute (UMTRI), the campaign aims to influence teens by targeting the number one influence on how they drive: their parents. The latest additions to the initiative include online tools, expert advice, local events and social media elements. To promote the effort, 360i worked with Toyota on a series of videos targeting parents of teen drivers.

Two of these videos focus on “Parents Who Drive Bad Anonymous,” a fictional (and grammatically challenged) support group for parents who drive poorly and are worried that they’re passing on their questionable practices to their children. In the above video, Deb attends a meeting and admits to texting while driving. “I know I’ve been a bad example. I’ve been texting while I drive and it’s got to stop,” she says to a mannequin wearing headphones, presumably a stand-in for her son. Another “Parents Who Drive Bad Anonymous” video focuses on a dad obsessed with checking on his fantasy team. Another video, part of the “Masters of the Wheel” series, focuses on NHRA driver Antron Brown and his teen daughter.

“As a mother of a teenager, I often remind myself that the things I do behind the wheel go a long way in setting a powerful example,” said Dr. Tina Sayer, Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center principal engineer and teen safe driving expert. “Experience and education certainly help your teen become a safe and more confident driver, but our research shows us that the biggest factor in how teens will drive is their parents.” Read more

W+K Amsterdam Takes ‘Leap of Faith’ for Audi

W+K Amsterdam have launched a campaign for Audi’s new TTS Coupe.

The campaign is built around a broadcast spot entitled “Leap of Faith.” Rather than build a case for the car in the usual format touting various features, W+K Amsterdam lets the vehicle speak for itself (sort of). The ad begins with what looks like a meteor in the sky. Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that it is in fact an Audi TTS Coupe rapidly approaching the ground. Luckily, rather than crashing into the land below, the car lands on an elaborately staged landing track and speeds off to the road ahead. A bit over the top, maybe, but it’s at least does something a little different for its category, ending wih the tagline, “The New Audi TTS Coupe. You Dare or You Don’t. Read more

Weird Al Stars in GSD&M’s Holiday Effort for Radio Shack

In an attempt to boost holiday sales, GSD&M enlisted the services of one Weird Al Yankovic on behalf of the struggling Radio Shack.

The resurgent Yankovic, of course, just had the first number one album of his career with his fourteenth full-length, Mandatory Fun. Radioshack CMO Jennifer Warren cited Yankovic’s resurgent popularity and “cross generational appeal” in explaining the decision to enlist the King of Parody, telling MediaPost, “He’s had a resurgence, including a No. 1 album, and an appearance on the Grammies, as well as a recent tour of the talk shows.”

And, indeed, Yankovic has appeal from everyone from those introduced to the parodist in the eighties, to those of us who bought Bad Hair Day on compact dist in elementary school, to the kids just being introduced to him today through the music videos he released to promote the new album. But does GSD&M make it work?

Kind of. Yankovic’s quirky, nerdy charm is certainly on display in the ad, and Radio Shack could benefit from the association, but the spot stops short of fulfilling its comedic potential. When a customer asks if Radio Shack carries HeliQuads, Shack employee Yankovic bursts into song about how it is the perfect place for holidays toys for, boys, girls, and your cousin Bob who is 43 and lives at home. GSD&M worked from a script, collaborating with Yankovic from there, according to GSD&M President Marianne Malina. Given Yankovic’s distinct personality (which is what you got him for), it may have made more sense to just let him come up with his own ideas.

Interestingly, the ad will debut in cinemas, where viewers can use the Shazam app to download a longer version. The ad is part of GSD&M’s larger “Gift Smart” campaign as the agency continues to attempt to start conversations around the sinking Radio Shack brand. Recent efforts include the suggestive back-to-school campaign, which ruffled a few conservative feathers with its innuendo.

“Everything we’ve done together…is about getting buzz, and getting back into the conversation,” Warren told MediaPost. Read more

OKRP Launches Holiday Anthem for Big Lots

O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul has launched a holiday anthem for Big Lots, which named the agency its AOR back in January, entitled “Nailing It.”

Also notable for the presence of Big Lots chief customer officer Andrew Stein, who was CMO at KMart for the infamous “Ship My Pants” campaign (and also part of the team behind this travesty), the ad continues O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul unfortunate penchant for musical ads. At least it makes some kind of sense in this setting (Christmas carols and whatnot). Still, while the “Nailing It” song, sung by America’s Got Talent finalist Deanna DellaCioppa, goes for catchy and “provocative” it arrives at something more like grating and over the top. The broadcast campaign is supported by a social effort around the #NailingIt hashtag.

“We’re really trying to create a new edge in the work that we do that shows we’re feisty and we’re different,” Stein told AdAge. “We’ve honed in, since I’ve been here, on who our customer is.”