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Sonic Signs Kevin Durant in Brand’s First Sports Endorsement Deal

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Sonic has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the brand’s first sports endorsement deal, Adweek reports.

As part of the deal, Durant will star alongside Sonic’s “Two Guys” in a national broadcast campaign expected this summer. The “Two Guys” in question, New York-based former The Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz and Chicago-based improv comedian T.J. Jagodowski, have been a staple of the brand’s advertising since being brought back by GSP+P in early 2012, two years after being phased out after their initial run with Kansas City-based agency Barkley. Durant will also be involved with Sonic educational charity Limeades for Learning and will help brainstorm new menu items.

Durant achieved instant-celebrity with his emotional acceptance speech for the NBA MVP award, which, coupled with his connection to Sonic’s hometown of Oklahoma City, attracted the attention of CMO Todd Smith. “What really happened was the MVP speech that he made last year really pushed him into a national presence more, but also, his likability is off the charts,” Smith told Adweek. “For us, we wanted someone who has a hometown feel with a national presence because that’s the type of brand we are.”

MMB Teams Up with Aggressive for Subway Holiday Push

MMB teamed up with production company Aggressive for a new holiday campaign for Subway employing a mix of methods in three different spots.

The animated 30-second “Winter Wonderland,” introduces Subway’s holiday “Customer Appreciation” event, which sees the fast food sandwich chain offering two of its most longstanding offerings — the meatball marinara and coldcut combo — for a reduced price. “Winter Wonderland” keeps the holiday vibe low-key, with the music and background animation celebrating the season in general rather than a specific winter holiday in particular. Two 15-second spots take a similarly laid-back approach, but swap out the animation for live action spots with appearances by NFL stars Justin Tuck and Robert Griffin III in “Famous Fans” and the brand’s longtime spokesman in “Jared.” There’s nothing particularly memorable here, as MMB and Aggressive seem to rely on the deal speaking to fans of the brand without any unnecessary bells and whistles. Read more

Anna Kendrick Stars in ‘The Waiting Game’ for Kate Spade

Anna Kendrick returns to the advertising world following her role in Newcastle’s “(Non-) Super Bowl Commercial” at the beginning of the year.

This time, Kendrick appears in an online ad for Kate Spade in which she has locked herself out of her apartment. Stranded on her stoop, Kendrick drinks champagne, chats on her cell phone, models her Kate Spade finds for her dog and loudly sings the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” while waiting for the locksmith to show up. Finally. she hatches a plan to reach her fire escape and get into the apartment, then opening the door to let her dog in. Kendrick brings her usual charm to the ad, directed by Michael Mohan, and keeps things amusing enough, even if it’s more cute than funny.

The video is also available in an interactive format, allowing viewers to “click on the items throughout to view behind the scenes footage and shop all of the Kate Spade looks featured.” Stick around for the interactive version, along with credits, after the jump. Read more

Drogba, Messi Square Off in ‘Epic Food’ Showdown for Turkish Airlines

After winning the Turkish Airlines business last September, CP+B’s “Selfie Shootout” spot for the brand, starring Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant, went viral, eventually reaching over 138 million views to become the most watched ad of the year on YouTube. CP+B brought back Messi again this year for the follow-up effort, this time pairing him with fellow soccer star Didier Drogba for the third and final spot in a series that began with the 2012 “Legends on Board” spot from Turkish agency Alametifarika, also starring Messi and Bryant.

In the new spot, called “Epic Food,” Drogba travels to different locations around the world for exotic meals (showcasing all the places Turkish Airlines flies to). At each restaurant he visits, however, he finds a photo of Messi, who has already been there. This only strengthens his resolve to find a place Messi has yet to visit, upping the ante with places farther and farther off the beaten path. If you enjoyed the previous spots in the series, chances are you’ll like this one as well. If not, “Epic Food” doesn’t change the formula up enough to change your mind. The spot will be hard pressed to outdo last year’s “Selfie Shootout,” this time without Bryant along for the ride, but should go viral even if it doesn’t reach quite the same level of success.

The 60-second spot is supported by an initiative calling on viewers to upload their own epic travel photos through EpicFoodMap.com with a competition offering a chance to win a trip to the locations featured in the commercial. Drogba and Messia will be kicking it off themselves, on November 18th, with their favorite foods. Read more

Mike Myers and His Brother Star in New Ad for Sears Canada

Mike Myers and his brother, Peter Myers, who has worked at Sears for 32 years, star in a new ad for Sears Canada.

In the spot, Mike talks about Sears Canada’s recent woes, asking if the retailer is going away. Peter reassures him that they aren’t going anywhere and asks if he knows anything about the retail business, to which Mike replies, “Not a lot. Just that Sears Canada has to demographically and psychographically alter the trajectory of its business model. But that would just be a wild guess.” Despite the two brothers’ natural chemistry, that’s as close to a laugh as the 60-second spot, which will only air in Canada, gets. Still, it’s not completely without its charm, as the brand being upfront about its recent struggles is refreshing. The spot ends with Peter asking if Mike is going to deliver the tagline, and Mike rehashing a long-retired one before offering up one of his own. 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

mcgarrybowen Presents ‘The Fall with James Franco’ for Droid Turbo

mcgarrybowen New York is launching a new broadcast spot for the Droid Turbo entitled “The Fall with James Franco.”

In the spot, James Franco is on a rooftop balcony attempting to help a lady friend retrieve a red scarf when he slips and falls. Most of the ad actually takes place with Franco in midair, in slow-motion, as he uses the phone to tell his friend to meet him downstairs and find a safe landing. He safely lands in a dumpster and then charges his phone in a restaurant, as the spot plugs the Droid Turbo’s ability to charge in fifteen minutes. It’s a pretty ridiculous way to get to this plug, so much so that it might actually detract from the message — even if it makes for a somewhat memorable spot. Read more

W+K Brings LeBron, Cleveland ‘Together’ for Nike

W+K has a new ad for Nike, promoting the launch of its new LEBRON 12 sneaker today with a celebration of LeBron James’ return to Cleveland directed by the Malloy Brothers.

Yes, that’s right: another LeBron James ad about the star’s return to Cleveland. This follows on the heels of Translation’s spot for Sprite (which we wrote about yesterday) and R/GA’s “Re-Established 2014″ for Beats, which deal with the exact same subject, as well as the recent Kia spot from David&Goliath, also starring James. Nike’s new spot will run tonight during the Cavs first home game, when it’s theoretically possible that ads featuring James will run back-to-back-to-back.

So there’s a bit of an oversaturation issue with this message, to put it mildly. But how does W+K’s version compare to the others we’ve seen? It might actually be the most melodramatic of the bunch. It opens on James giving a pep talk to his team about giving their all for the city of Cleveland. Soon the entire city is in a huddle, chanting, “Forward! Together!” It’s well-shot, in black and white, but the message comes across as a bit over-the-top, all the more so given the story’s overexposure. The spot will continue to run through November 17th. Read more

BarrettSF Gets Librarian Steve Nash for DailyMVP

BarrettSF enlisted the aid of Steve Nash to promote TopLine Game Lab’s DailyMVP fantasy game, which differentiates itself from other fantasy sports leagues by offering short-format games that last from a day to a week.

In the ad, Nash dons spectacles and a wig, appearing as an everyday librarian who can feel like an MVP thanks to the fantasy app. “I love being a librarian,” Nash says at the start of the spot, “but some days can be a little quiet.” He goes on to demonstrate the app and how it adds some excitement to his daily routine (while getting shushed). The spot ends with the tagline, “Have an MVP day,” emphasizing the short format. It was released to coincide with the start of the NBA season. A future spot starring Tom Brady will roll out near the end of the NFL season, when many players in traditional fantasy leagues have already been eliminated. Read more

Translation Presents ‘LeBron James’ First Home Game’ for Sprite

Translation recently debuted a new spot for Sprite documenting LeBron James return to his home town of Akron, Ohio.

Entitled “LeBron James’ First Home Game” the spot follows James as a driver takes him through Akron and to Patterson Park, where Sprite has restored two basketball courts. This footage is interpersed with Akron residents discussing how epic James’ first home game for the Cavaliers will be. James arrives at Patterson Park where a throng of excited fans follows him as he sits and watches a pick up game. “They say home is where your heart is. Well my heart is here, it’s always been,” James says. “This is my first game,” he adds, before telling the guys on the court, “I’ve got next.” (Good luck with that, guys.)

It’s an emotional approach, if somewhat muted from coming on the heels of R/GA’s ad for Beats carrying much the same message. Still, aside from the awful Imagine Dragons song used to soundtrack the spot, it’s well put-together and those not already feeling overly-saturated by ads starring James (he also appears in this recent Kia spot) should find it enjoyable enough, especially Cavs fans. A 30-second version of the spot will run during the Cavs first home game later this month, and Sprite has also issued “commemorative 12-ounce cans featuring James’ likeness that are available in Ohio stores,” according to Creativity.

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