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And Now, a First Kiss That Smells Like Doritos from Taco Bell

We all remember our awkward first kiss stories, full of nervousness and rapid heartbeats. Based on “First Kiss,” the new 30-second ad in the Taco Bell Live Mas campaign that came through the tips line, we can now add sticky fingers and spicy breath to the list of uncomfortable descriptors.

Mixing Doritos Locos Tacos and kisses may not seem like the best idea, but this spot might strike the right cord for those who value some teenage sentimentality and John Hughes movies. Associating Taco Bell with cuteness is a tough trick to pull off, you know, with the greasy smells and penchant for attracting drunk college guys as a significant customer base, but Deutsch LA and director Zach Math found a way to pull it off. Taco Bell seems to have tapped the right nerve with Doritos Locos Tacos: the product helped create 15,000 new jobs. Maybe the company can use the profits to provide complimentary mouthwash with any purchase, so young lovers who want to make out in Taco Bell parking lots can have pleasant memories.

Credits after the jump.

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We Hear: Hunter Out at Deutsch LA?

Multiple reliable sources have been telling us over the last few hours that Mark Hunter, who assumed the chief creative officer post at Deutsch LA at the end of 2010, has been let go from the agency. We’ve inquired a couple of times for official word, have yet to hear back, but sources say this move happened as of this morning, is “100% legit” and was made at Deutsch’s request.

Hunter, who essentially replaced Eric Hirshberg after the latter quit Deutsch L.A. to join Activision, headed to the former after spending time as ECD at TBWA/London. During his career, the senior creative also worked at the likes W+K Amsterdam on Nike as well as Euro RSCG. While at Deutsch, as one would imagine, Hunter has overseen all notable creative for past and present clients including VW and PlayStation (we believe you know quite a few, lest we run it down). We’ll update, of course, if and when we hear more.

Gardiner Resigns from Deutsch

Yes, we have received confirmation that after 13 years at Deutsch, serving as partner, chief media officer most recently, Peter Gardiner has resigned from the agency this week. Here are the statements from all parties involved:

“Today Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo announced that Peter Gardiner, Partner, Chief Media Officer, would be leaving the agency to pursue entrepreneurial interests and investments in the media and tech space.  Gardiner joined Deutsch in 2000 and during his tenure helped grow Deutsch’s media offering at a time when many agencies were unbundling their media operations.  He was an important part of the agency’s success and we wish him well.  Gardiner’s last day will be February 28th.

An announcement will be made early next week regarding the plans we have in place, it’s a 1 + 1 = 3 approach that will continue to keep us ahead of the curve.

And from Gardiner himself:

“Having been a Partner of one of the best agencies in history has been incredibly rewarding and fun. But leaving Deutsch now gives me the opportunity to find, grow, and nurture startups in the media and tech space. I’m excited about what’s ahead and I thank everyone at Deutsch for the best years of my professional life, so far…”

During his time at Deutsch, Gardiner  helped launch Media Bridge Entertainment, a product placement company that introduced pay-for-performance as its core offering, nearly a decade ago as well as research unit, Consumer Prime.

Deutsch L.A. Quickly Finds Richmond’s Replacement

Well, that didn’t take long (though we’re assuming it probably did, technically speaking). Less than a week after we reported that Deutsch L.A. parted ways with director of digital production, Derek Richmond, the agency has quickly found his replacement in Pam Scheideler, who has spent the last 18 months as head of production and operations at Google Creative Lab.

Prior to joining up with GCL, Scheideler, as some of you may recall, served in a similar role for approximately the same amount of time as a director of digital production at JWT New York (she was eventually replaced by Suzanne Molinaro, who subsequently split for Deutsch NY after spending less than a year in the role). During her career, Scheideler also spent three years at CP+B, where she last served as VP/executive integrated producer, working with clients including Coke Zero, Microsoft, Burger King and was part of the team that picked up Titanium Lion in 2010 for the Best Buy “Twelpforce” effort.

Richmond Out at Deutsch LA

Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Deutsch LA’s Derek Richmond is no longer with the agency. The now-former exec, who as we’ve pointed out in the past made his primetime debut on Full House back in the late ’80s, joined Deutsch’s L.A. office less than a year ago as SVP, director of digital production. We’ve been told that a replacement has not yet been named for Richmond, who prior to Deutsch held a similar role for approximately the same amount of time at 180LA, where he served as director of integrated production.

During his career, Richmond also spent over four years at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, last serving as director of digital production.

Deutsch LA, PlayStation Let Fans Vote for ‘MLB13′ Coverboy

Choosing between Andrew McCutchen and Matt Kemp may be a more difficult decision than Obama v. Romney, but Deutsch LA and Playstation have empowered baseball fans by letting them vote on the cover subject of MLB13: The Show. Think of it as an election with no negative campaigning, backstabbing, or general political pessimism. The only sad part for me is that no Mets are on the ballot, but for everyone’s sanity, that’s probably a good thing.

The video game will hit shelves March 5th, and fans can select from a pool of seven different players including McCutchen, Kemp, Buster Posey, C.C. Sabathia, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, and Bryce Harper. Each player made 30-second clips explaining why he should be chosen over the other candidates. Athletes can’t act (other than Victor Cruz), but you should check out the videos on Youtube if you want to learn how to get dreads like McCutchen or hear trophy cleaning techniques from Mr. Posey.

Let’s hope this baseball vote goes differently than the Hall-of-Fame vote from earlier in the week, otherwise Playstation might have to go to Plan B and put a Met on the cover.

VW Teaches Your Son How to Throw a Baseball

It’s coming up on two years since VW and Deutsch LA’s beloved “The Force” aka “Little Darth” spot captured the hearts of America during Super Bowl XLV. While most agree that “Little Darth” was worthy of the acclaim and awards bestowed upon it, the VW/Duetsch duo has had a difficult time following it up. Last year’s “The Dog Strikes Back” fell well short of its predecessor, and perhaps this is due to an erroneous insight into what the public loved about “Little Darth.”

Yes, the Star Wars tie-in to “Little Darth” was great, but it wasn’t the reason the spot became one of the web’s biggest hits. “The Dog Strikes Back” also had a pretty blatant nod to Star Wars as well, but the spirit of “Little Darth” was lost, and the spot became more of a sequel than a standalone ad. The real reason the public loved “Little Darth” so much was because it was just so damn adorable, and judging by the above new spot for the VW Passat, this insight is now crystal clear.

What we have here is a great (and simple) slice-o-life spot, with an absolutely perfectly timed punchline that will make you giggle and then give a long “awwww.” It’s a bit surprising that VW didn’t hold the spot until this year’s Super Bowl, but I’m quite excited for what Deutsch has planned next. Credits after the jump.

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Dr. Pepper, Deutsch LA Continue Advocating Individuality, Now with Slice of Life Approach

Alas, there are no “T-shirt uniforms” to hammer home the message of individuality in this latest Dr. Pepper campaign from Deutsch LA, which is now eschewing grandiose productions and blockbuster cross-promotions to instead focus on real people, real stories. The above spot, dubbed “One in a Billion” (title track courtesy of the Vinyl Hearts), should give you the basic gist of how the agency’s ongoing “Always One of a Kind” campaign for the soda brand is evolving.

The heartwarming, human interest angle is one that’s been tread on aplenty, but it’s a somewhat interesting detour considering that at the end of the day, all agency and client are doing are selling soda. Will it take this year? Who knows, but in the meantime, check out out two specific stories, one focusing on a model-turned-boxer and the other a mother of five/roller derby queen along with credits after the jump.

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New Outback Holiday Spot Doesn’t Pass The Smell Test

There are two versions of Outback’s “12 Days of Leftovers” commercial: a shorter 90-second video where talking leftover foods like Fuzzy Macaroni and A Half-Eaten Leg of Turkey sing an annoying riff on “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and  a ridiculously long version that drags for 3 minutes and 13 seconds. Christmas songs are already annoying, but with this new holiday push from Deutsch New York, you will hate them passionately.

Never before has the phrase “Congealed Creamed Corn” sounded so ugly. Also, when does macaroni turn fuzzy? Serious questions to ponder when your mind wanders during that long version.

Just a lazy effort to drum up support for a restaurant that offers low prices and the Bloomin Onion. It’s too bad, because when I think of enjoying the holidays, I used to think of Outback Steakhouse. Now, all I can see is the Slab of Slimy Ham. Credits after the jump.

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Lester Partners with Elm on PlayStation Biz at Deutsch LA

Once again, our props go out to the tipsters as we’ve received confirmation that Gavin Lester, who’s spent the last six months or so on the freelance circuit, has joined Deutsch LA as EVP/group creative director. Lester will partner with 14-year Deutsch vet Jason Elm on the Playstation account, and on other accounts as needed. You might remember Lester from his most recent full-time gig as a CD/art director at 180LA, where he spent nearly three years and led creative on several campaigns for Sony including the ambitious “Project Shiphunt.”

During his career, Lester has also served as a GCD at Saatchi & Saatchi’s Team One on Lexus (of course), an ACD at Goodby and had a lengthy stint as an art director at BBH London. According to the Deutsch LA camp, Lester has already started at the agency.

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