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FCB Chicago Unleashes ‘Masters of Madness’ for Kmart

FCB Chicago has launched another goofy spot for Kmart, promoting the chain’s in-store pickup of online purchases with a new holiday ad entitled “Masters of Madness.”

The 60-second spot follows a family as they receive notification that their order is ready for pickup, and then bust some choreographed dance moves to “Just Got A Check” by DJ Milad as they strut through the store to pick up those items. “Masters of Madness” follows the same basic formula as this summer’s “Shop Like A Boss” spot, swapping out that ad’s grandmother for a young family. Unsurprisingly, the joke isn’t as funny the second time around, although the actors turn in some convincing performances. Anyone familiar with the previous ad will recognize the Kmart shoppers acting like they’re in a hip-hop formula immediately, pleasing those not already tired of the joke but turning off those who’ve had enough of it. Either way, it’s hard to imagine this schtick having much more life to it.

FitzCo//McCann Earns it for Coca-Cola, Walmart


FitzCo//McCann created a holiday spot for Coca-Cola and Walmart entitled “Earn It” which features a sentimental twist designed to tug at heartstrings for the holidays.

The spot shows a teenager working odd jobs around the holidays to earn some extra money. After finally earning enough money he heads to Walmart to make his purchase, which is revealed in the next scene. Without giving too much away we can say that the spot is built around this reveal, which positions Coca-Cola and Walmart alongside some cute holiday sentimentality. Splitting an ad between two brands is no easy feet, but FitzCo//McCann manages to avoid shortchanging either party. In the opening shot, the protagonist is seen thumbing through a Walmart catalog while drinking a Coke. One of his money making schemes involves selling bottles of the soft drink for $1.25 each and he drinks a bottle again at the conclusion of “Earn It.” It also works surprisingly well with Coca-Cola’s larger “Open Happiness” campaign, albeit with the kind of sentimentality that might seem too much at any other time of year. Read more

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

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.

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

Clemenger BBDO Celebrates ‘Local Legends’ for New Zealand Transport Agency

Wellington agency Clemenger BBDO has a history of releasing intriguing road safety PSAs, forgoing the typical heavy-handed scare tactics in favor of nuanced spots that tell stories rather than beat viewers over the head with a message. Their track record includes last year’s “Blazed” stoned driving PSA and this effort from January. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the agency has once again delivered with “Local Legends,” but it just may be their best attempt yet.

The spot takes an intriguing approach to the problem of drunk driving, targeting not drivers themselves but bystanders who witness people getting into their cars drunk but are unsure how to act, or if it is their place to do so. In the ad, two elderly gentleman at a gas station see a group of rowdy youngsters getting into their car. “They’re just kids, if we don’t say something” one of them says, gesturing toward the group. “Why don’t you get a lift home tonight?” one of the men asks the boys, who are initially dismissive. Eventually, after much discussion, they convince the group to let one of them drive them home. What really sets the ad apart is how convincing the dialogue is, with awkwardness and humor that pulls the viewer into the story.

Clemenger BBDO also manages to incorporate a clever social extension, with local newspapers, radio and street posters asking public “What would you say?” and allowing them to respond via phone, text or Facebook, and then sharing the best responses. Rather than feeling tacked on, it engages viewers with a question the PSA implies and gets people thinking about what they’d do in a similar situation. Not only does this increase viewer engagement with the PSA, it may even help change bystander behavior, ultimately the goal of the campaign.

“The purpose of this strategy is to get people to be their own legends,” explains Linda Major, head of social marketing at Clemenger BBDO. “By thinking about what they would do in a similar situation people will be better prepared intervene in a way that defuses a real situation.” Read more

Click 3X Creates ‘The Nat Geo Contraption’

Creative digital studio Click 3X worked with National Geographic and Kinema Films to create “a four-ton scientific contraption with 38 triggers and 71 moving pieces” that they’ve dubbed “The Nat Geo Contraption.”

Drawing inspiration from the gadgets depicted by American cartoonist Rube Goldberg (although many viewers may be reminded of the board game Mouse Trap), the contraption combines items including “nine globes, three tires, one billiard ball, one VW Beetle, a set of bowling pins and a variety of everyday objects” for a fun chain reaction promoting the network’s “science-minded block of programming” which includes Brain Games, Science of Stupid and Street Genius. The programming bloc is set to air on National Geographic in 170 countries, and in 45 different languages, beginning in January 2015. A contraption of such size, of course, wasn’t built overnight. Click 3X and director Manny Bernardez worked diligently with production designer Bernardo Trujillio for over two months to bring the creation to life.

“It’s the celebration of human ingenuity, to highlight the smart and entertaining lineup of the shows coming up on Nat Geo” explained Emanuele Madeddu, senior vice president of creative and marketing, NGCI. “I have always been fascinated by these devices, and I want our viewers to experience science in a uniquely National Geographic way. You can’t miss the reveal at the end.” Read more

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