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David&Goliath Present ‘Showdown’ with Blake Griffin for Kia

After teaming up with LeBron James back in October, David&Goliath returned to working with Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin in its latest effort for Kia, entitled “Showdown.”

The spot features Griffin cast in a Western, but instead of riding a horse he improvises and rides in on a Kia Optima instead. Initially reluctant to the change, Griffin eventually convinces his director to go with the decision. All the while Griffin plays on the kind of goofy persona he’s displayed in the past, such as David&Goliath’s September effort for VIZIO. While fans of Griffin’s humor will find plenty to like, whether this translates to casual viewers will depend largely on how much they can get behind the ad’s premise.  The best moment of the 60-second spot doesn’t come until the very end, with a throwaway line that throws extra light onto the ridiculousness of an NBA star in the American frontier. Read more

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W+K NY Flies to the Grammys with Delta, Ryan Lewis

W+K New York teamed up with M ss ng P eces and producer Ryan Lewis (of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fame) for this spot promoting Delta Air Lines’ and LinkedIn’s Innovation Class offering.

The “Innovation Class” program from Delta “offers LinkedIn members the opportunity to meet and fly with select industry leaders on designated flights,” with Ryan Lewis its latest mentor. In the spot, Lewis talks about his experiences in the music industry, how he got started making music (playing guitar) and his upcoming involvement in the program en route to the Grammy Awards.

If, after watching Lewis make obnoxious airplane noises, you’re somehow still interested in paying to sit next to him for an entire flight, you can apply for the Grammy edition of the Innovation Class series hereRead more

Damian Lillard, ‘Rookie’ Tracy McGrady Star in New Foot Locker Spot from BBDO


Here’s another one from BBDO, which seems to be the only agency releasing major campaigns today. The agency continues its humorous approach for Foot Locker with the new spot “Rookie” featuring Damian Lillard and Tracy McGrady.

“Rookie” opens on the pair chatting about their Adidas kicks at a party, when McGrady drops the line, “Young guys like us, we can’t get caught looking old.” McGrady then informs a perplexed Lillard, “I play in China now, I’m a rookie” before having to deal with some unfortunate rookie responsibilities. BBDO has built a consistent and distinct humorous voice for Foot Locker, and while it’s not on par with the agency’s most memorable work for the brand, fans of the style should find plenty to like here.

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.

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W+K Amsterdam, Blake Griffin Rise ‘Above Expectations’ for Foot Locker, Nike

W+K Amsterdam looked to Blake Griffin to celebrate the arrival of the new Nike Jordan collection to Foot Locker with a new ad entitled “Above Expectations.”

The 30-second spot, filmed in black and white by director Paul Hunter, addresses Griffin’s naysayers, who pigeonhole the Clippers star as “just a dunker.” Addressing those expectations right away, the voiceover advises viewers, “If you expect another Blake Griffin dunk compilation, change the channel,” before going on to commend the star on his rebound, passing and ball-handling skills. Thankfully, it doesn’t highlight Griffin’s slam poetry skills. “That’s the thing about expectations,” the spot concludes, “you can live up to them, or rise above them.” Playfully, the online version of the ad then advertises a link to “See the jump man dunk, man” which links to a video where Griffin concedes “Alright, you’ve come this far, I’ll give you just one.”

The spot is airing on broadcast in France and Italy, as well as online across Europe, where it is supported by digital and social initiatives.

“The Jordan brand has a long tradition of showing athletes in a unique light, so it was nice to show the world a whole other side to Blake Griffin,” said David Smith, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam creative director, in a press release. Read more

Droga5, Nas Take ‘The Ride’ for Hennessy

Droga5 enlisted New York rapper Nas in its latest spot for Hennessy, entitled “The Ride..”

Nas‘ association with the brand dates back to his classic 1994 debut Illmatic, where the brand is mentioned on the very first track. He signed a deal with the company at the beginning of last year to appear in the latest iteration of its “Wild Rabbit” campaign, which finally comes to life with “The Ride.”

The 60-second spot channels Nas‘ own past with a re-worked version of the song “New York State of Mind” from his debut. Over Nas‘ recitation of the re-imagined lyrics he steps on a subway car and is seemingly transported back in time to the 80s, with time progressing over the course of the ad so that when he emerges from the car later, he is back in the present day. A newspaper headline reading “Panic on Wall Street” at one point signifies a transition to the modern era. It’s all very slick and stylish, with plenty of attention to detail lavished on the concept. The spot ends with Nas walking toward a stage after uttering the line “It was only right that I was born to use mics,” and the text “I tell the stories that need to be told” appearing onscreen, followed by the “What’s your Wild Rabbit?” tagline. Read more

Saturday London Brings Together Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett for H&M

Saturday London enlisted Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett for a new, glitzy holiday ad for H&M which doubles as a promotion of the pair’s album Cheek to Cheek, which was released in September.

The spot, entitled “Magical Holidays” features a Gatsby-esque holiday party,with Bennett and Gaga (decked out in a Cher wig) performing a duet version of the Duke Ellington/Irving Mills-penned Jazz standard “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Don’t Got That Swing)” while a room full of party-goers dances. “Magical Holidays” arrives at, and later departs from, the party scene in a strange, surreal way that does, indeed, seem to imply some holiday magic (just don’t try to make much sense of it). Fans of Gaga and Bennett (who, we imagine, are mostly separated by a few years) should enjoy the duo’s performance which also functions to drive album sales for the holiday season, and H&M should be able to count on winning over some Gaga fans by association. Read more

Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard Decorate for the Holidays with Samsung

Back in September, McKinney created an ad for Samsung starring the almost-too-cute Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard preparing for a night out only to stay in wasting time on their Galaxy Tab S. Now the couple has returned in a holiday effort for Samsung, presumably also from McKinney that sees Dax decorating the house with a little help from a very pregnant Kristen.

In the spot, entitled “Home for the Holidays,” the couple communicates via video as Dax scours the attic for decorations and goes to the store for holiday treats and Dax shows off Samsung’s smart watch when he takes a call from Kristen while setting up lights on the roof. When they finally complete decorating and switch the lights on Kristen says suggestively, “You know what this gets me in the mood for?” — but it’s not what you think. Viewers who enjoyed the cutesy appeal of the couple’s previous Samsung ad will find plenty to like here. Those who found that spot a little cute for its own good will probably want to skip this one.

If you’re wondering how close to real life the couple’s antics in the spot are, the answer is pretty close. According to Todd Pendleton, chief marketing officer at Samsung Telecommunications America, “Kristen and Dax go big for the holidays and their traditions from wearing matching pajamas and sweaters to decorating the house Griswold style are all true to what they do in real life.”

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Grey NY Introduces Yet Another Rob Lowe for DirecTV

Grey New York has introduced yet another Rob Lowe in its ongoing campaign for DirecTV.

Following on the heels of “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe,” which apparently drew some criticism from shy bladder sufferers, the agency has returned with the self-explanatory “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe.” The formula is the same as in previous spots, with Rob Lowe introducing himself as a DirecTV customer before a more unfortunate version of himself, who also happens to be a cable customer, comes along for comparison. In the new spot Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe watches ping-pong on a small screen and attempts to open a jar of mayonnaise. Like previous ads, it ends with Lowe saying “Don’t be like this me.”

While it may be that the series is running out of steam, “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe” just seems like the weakest of the bunch so far. Whereas “Super Creepy Rob Lowe” and “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe” found convincing ways of tying Lowe’s alter egos to the inferior quality of cable, “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe” feels like an empty gimmick. Let’s hope Grey can up the ante with the inevitable follow-up and recapture the potential of this campaign. Read more

Jim Parsons Stars in mcgarrybowen’s First Efforts for Intel


Ubiquitous Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons stars in Intel’s new holiday campaign, the first work from agency McGarryBowen since being named agency of record in October.

The first spot for the holiday campaign (featured above) breaks Monday, and the campaign will run for six weeks as the other ads gradually roll out. In it Parsons plays himself, running amok a restricted access area at Intel and gawking at Intel’s RealSense technology, until he is eventually thrown out by a security guard who tells him not to talk about anything he saw. Parsons’ broadcast spots will be backed by a social media campaign featuring companion videos and photos.

“The decision to approach this in a comedic way was one that intrigued me from the beginning,” Gordon Bowen, chairman and chief creative officer of McGarryBowen, told The New York Times. The campaign “is really just the beginning,” Bowen added. “It sets us up for a campaign that tells you there’s a new Intel that is bringing things to market that will surprise and delight you.”

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