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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

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

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.”

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Celebrates ‘Irrepressible Spirit’ of Rugby for Guinness

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has launched a new campaign for Guinness celebrating the “Irrepressible Spirit” of some lesser-known rugby greats for Guinness, just in time for the sport’s end of year Autumn Internationals.

The campaign is composed of four spots celebrating Jonny Wilkinson, Shane Williams, Bill McLaren and the Munster rugby team of 1978, which debuted yesterday in the UK and Ireland. Each ad focuses on “the inspirational character and integrity that is central to the sport,” Stephen O’Kelly, marketing director, Guinness (Western Europe) at Diageo, said in a statement.

In the spot above, for example, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO tells the inspiring story of Bill McLaren who was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told he would never play rugby again. Rather than accepting defeat, McLaren found his way back into the game as an announcer and became the “voice of rugby.” It’s an emotional approach that should appeal to diehard rugby fans and casual viewers alike, which should be a winning combination for Guinness. Read more

adam&eveDDB Crafts Holiday Epic for John Lewis

adam&eveDDB crafted what is sure to be one of the most talked about holiday ads of the year with “Monty The Penguin” for John Lewis.

Of course, this hardly comes a surprise, given the pair’s track record with holiday advertising. But “Monty The Penguin” still manages to stand out. The two-minute ad tells the story of a boy and his best friend, a penguin named Monty. We follow them through scenes of their day-to-day activities, and get an idea of their relationship through a charming montage set to a cover of the John Lennon-penned “Real Love” by Tom Odell. Somewhere along the way it becomes apparent that Monty is missing something, as he wistfully watches couples in the park and in movies. The conflict reaches its adorable conclusion on Christmas morning, coupled by a reveal that is effective even if it doesn’t come as a surprise.

The broadcast spot, which cost around $1.6 million dollars to make, is part of John Lewis’ overall $11 million holiday campaign. It is supported by a children’s book called Monty’s Christmas, an audio app version of the book narrated by Dermot O’Leary, a single release of Tom Odell‘s version of “Real Love,” and an in-store experiential event called Monty’s Den, created in partnership with Samsung and including Monty’s Goggles, an Occulus Rift like technology created using Google Cardboard.

“At John Lewis, this time of year is all about helping our customers create their dream Christmas,” Craig Inglis, marketing director at John Lewis, told Adweek. “We hope this uplifting tale of Sam’s love for his friend Monty will remind people of the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes and inspire them to think how they can make the festive season extra special for their friends and loved ones.”

BLITZ Gets Cheesy for CiCi’s Pizza

BLITZ has a new campaign for CiCi’s Pizza, touting the pizza buffet chain’s recent improvements following the arrival of new CEO Darin Harris last year.

The “Better. Believe It.” campaign acknowledges that the brand “listened to and acted upon its customers’ desire for product improvements.” At the beginning of the spot a CiCi’s manager says, “At CiCi’s pizza, we notice things,” like how a customer named Cristy would always look for the cheesiest slice, so CiCi’s made improvements like a garlic butter crust, more meat toppings and “to see Cristy smile, more real cheese.” Speaking of cheese, the ad ends with the man crooning to Cristy in a reworked version of a certain disco hit.

The ad represents the first broadcast work for CiCi’s by full-service digital agency BLITZ, and is part of a larger brand revitalization effort which aims to “enhance the brand’s engagement with its customers online.” English and Spanish language versions of the ad break on national cable today.

“Everything we’re doing is about improving our relationship with our guests, and their relationship with our food,” said CiCi’s Pizza CEO Darin Harris. “This is just the beginning of our work to improve our food, and our guests will continue to see changes as we pursue our goal to offer ‘Remarkable Products.’”

“CiCi’s is really tapping in to who our guests are and what they want, and this campaign is a reflection of that,” added CiCi’s Chief Marketing Officer Sarah McAloon. “We want to become a guest favorite, so it’s important that we reach out and give guests an opportunity to voice their opinions as we continue to make changes at CiCi’s.” Read more

JWT London Shows How Unsatisfying 25% Is For Listerine

JWT London teamed up with production company th2ng (pronounced “Thing 2,” even though the number 2 looks nothing like an “I”) and directorial team “The Queen” (Dan Lumb and Crinan Campbell) for a new spot for Listerine.

The ad is based around the idea that, since teeth only make up a quarter of your mouth, brushing only cleans 25 percent of your mouth. It opens on a man holding balloon receiving a pizza delivery. When he opens the box he finds only two slices and exclaims “25 percent!?” This opens up with concept for a series of sight gags showing how unsatisfying 25 percent is: including a mini martini, unfinished haircut, an incomplete spray tan and a punchline-less joke. It ends with the man walking in on a woman brushing her teeth and informing her she’s only cleaning 25 percent of her mouth, really hammering home the ad’s message.

The ad was filmed over the course of just two days on a crowded beach on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Despite having to conted with throngs of beachgoers, land to water shots, children and cats, the crew enjoyed the shoot.

“This was a fun and challenging shoot,” said Dan Lumb. “We were determined to hit all of the humor notes on this one, which was so contingent on comedic timing and working around the elements. With such a limited shoot time, we had to rely on the talent and preparedness of the team to make this a success. I think everybody did their part to make it come together in a hysterical way.” Read more

Stopp Tells Viewers Adidas Outdoor Is ‘Open All Winter’

Stopp, “an integrated production company that combines creativity, technology and VFX disciplines to create innovative work with emotional connections” has launched a new broadcast and digital campaign for Adidas Outdoor promising the brand is “Open All Winter.”

For the campaign, Stopp partnered with extreme sports stars Hayley Ashburn (slackliner), Jean-Baptiste Chandelier (paraglider) and Junhee Han (ice climber) to show off Adidas’ range of Climaheat products boasting an insulation design that keeps the wearer warm in extreme winter conditions. The spot opens on a seemingly abandoned town as a sign reading “Closed for winter” swings in the breeze. A group of determined runners bust through, undeterred. Then the spot focuses on ice climber Junhee Han as he takes on a steep slope, followed by the other featured extreme athletes showing off their skills, before ending with the “Open All Winter” tagline.

In addition to the broadcast spot, which also runs online, the campaign is supported by digital elements and a competition running over the course of twelve weeks, inviting participants to share winter pics on Instagram and Twitter. A new winner will be picked every week, with an athlete jury selecting one grand prize winner to receive a winter road trip across Canada with four friends.

GoldieBlox Introduces Female Action Figure with Orwellian Ad

Upstart girls engineering toys brand GoldieBlox is back, following up its “This Is Your Brain on Engineering” spot from April with a new Orwellian ad introducing an action figure for girls.

The ad, created in collaboration with production company Society and director Megan Griffiths, opens with the message “Fashion dolls teach girls to value beauty over brains. One is sold every three seconds.” Then a screen shows a Big Sister figure repeating, “You are beauty, and beauty is perfection,” as identically-dressed girls line up to receive Barbie-like dolls from a conveyor belt. Then one girl, dressed in overalls and Chuck Taylors, breaks from his spot in line and smashes the screen, causing GoldieBlox’s action figure to be produced instead.

“There’s Bob the Builder, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jimmy Neutron—they’re all boys with IQs off the chart,” Goldieblox creator Debbie Sterling told TIME. “That’s intimidating for all kids, but particularly for girls who suffer from this thing called math anxiety where they have really, really high standards for themselves when it comes to math.”

While it effectively communicates its message, the spot lacks the same staying power as the clever “This Is Your Brain on Engineering” and the video that catapulted the brand onto the scene early last year. Still, the real question is whether it’s enticing enough to get girls to replace Elsa with GoldieBlox’s new offering. Stick around for a “behind the scenes” video after the jump. Read more