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W+K Plants Tongue in Cheek for Andy Awards

W+K finds a unique and amusing way to call for entries to the 2015 Andy Award in a new campaign featuring a a member of a bomb squad, neurosurgeon and firefighter all discussing a career that takes real courage: advertising. Each of the spots, which were directed by Clay Weiner of Biscuit Filmworks, ends with the tagline, “Where only the bravest get rewarded.”

In “Neurosurgeon” the discussion happens during brain surgery, as the surgeon in question asks, “How do you know when you sell an idea to a client that the idea is actually going to work?” He asks for the scalpel and then continues, “It’s like its one big conceptual umbrella and then what do you do with that?” He goes on with his hypothetical scenario, in which the client kills the idea in favor of a brand manifesto with “hard hitting VO,” he sighs. “And then wait ’til AgencySpy gets it,” the surgeon ads. “It’s brutal.”

In the other spots a firefighter marvels at the difficulty of balancing TV, digital and social, and the bomb squad member trembles at the thought of having to “come up with a groundbreaking social media campaign in a week.” Obviously the point of the ads is to point out that advertisers aren’t doing anything as courageous or important as saving lives, knocking down the self-importance of award shows a peg or two in the process. The videos are supported by display and social media ads depicting big name creatives like Gerry Graf, Susan Hoffman, Jeff Benjamin and Dan Wieden being congratulated by firefighters, astronauts, surgeons and the like. Stick around for “Hurt Locker” and “Firefighter” after the jump. Read more

Mediabistro Course

Copywriting: Creative Ad Writing

Copywriting: Creative Ad WritingWork with a freelance copywriter to build your advertising portfolio and land more copywriting jobs! Starting January 12, Kim Taylor will teach you how to make a complete ad using graphics and photos, write strong headlines and body copy for various advertising media, work from a creative brief, and jumpstart your ad portfolio. Register now!

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

adam&eveDDB Introduces a ‘Memorable Guest’ for Maille

With the holidays around the corner, it is the season of awkward conversations with relatives and family friends you’d rather forget. Picking up on this, adam&eveDDB explores a conversation a young man has with one particularly tactless guest, who makes a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons.

The woman tells the young man of the holiday she took with her husband in Greece. He initially appears bored, but soon the conversation veers from the mundane to the uncomfortable as the woman talks about the “very secluded balconies” in the hotel room and the opportunities they afforded. We’ll avoid giving away too much as the cringe comedy involved is fairly dependent on some level of shock value, but let’s just say things degenerate from there. It’s easily one of the funniest holiday ads we’ve seen. The comedy it manages to pull off is no easy feet either, as this kind of thing easily derails from awkward funny to just awkward. But the perfectly paced writing and stellar performances from the actors hold everything together with just the right amount of cringe. At the end of the spot, the camera cuts to a jar of Maille mustard, with the tagline “Be a memorable guest for the right reason” explaining the scene preceding it. The spot itself is more than memorable, and should get its fair share of attention leading up to those awkward holiday parties. Read more

Fallon Helps Arby’s Apologize to Pepsi

When Arby’s received a friendly reminder in October that they had yet to release the second of their promised ads featuring Pepsi they realized they had a problem. The brand and its agency, Fallon, had already wrapped on their creative for the rest of the year.

Rob Lynch, chief marketing officer and brand president of Arby’s, explained to The Wall Street Journal that with the brand focusing on its revamped marketing, centered around the “We have the meats” tagline, the obligations to Pepsi simply got forgotten. Lynch did not look forward to breaking the news to Fallon. “Their ads are kind of like their babies. To go in after we shot them and shoehorn something in is like the worst client move you could ever make,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

But Fallon proved up to the challenge. The Minneapolis-based agency created a new, 30-second ad poking fun at the whole debacle. A tall glass of Pepsi stays on camera for the entire ad as the sonorous Ving Rhames explains the situation: “Arby’s has an agreement to feature their good friend Pepsi in two commercials a year…Well Arby’s messed up and forgot about the second commercial!” In a clever touch, the ad ends by replacing the usual “We have the meats” tagline with “We have Pepsi.” So what did Pepsi think of the approach?

“We applaud Arby’s unconventional approach to marketing and when they came to us with this idea, we thought it would be a fun, creative way to highlight our partnership,” Roberto Rios, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s food service division, told The Wall Street Journal in an emailed statement.

So it seems like everyone is happy with the situation. The spot will run from December 7th-13th in the Minneapolis, New York, and Los Angeles markets, fulfilling Arby’s end of their agreement with Pepsi to feature the beverage in two advertisements this year. Presumably the creative Fallon had to put on hold for the ad will run in the near future.

W+K Sings ‘Dadsong’ for Old Spice

W+K has a new spot for Old Spice’s “#SmellcometoManhood” campaign entitled “Dadsong,” a follow-up to to the goofy musical “Momsong,” in which mothers lament Old Spice turning their sons into men while engaging in some pretty creepy behavior.

The follow-up, with music and lyrics written by Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets), reprises the sad moms of that spot, but with an answer from the dads. It opens on one of the moms from “Momsong” singing, “Where’s my little boy, I miss him so? Who’s this man living in our home?” while clutching her sons teddy bear as he slow dances with a girl. Soon a chorus of fathers replies that they’re “overjoyed” that they’ll be using their son’s room “for storage pretty soon.” The song is a step up from its predecessor — not a surprise given McKenzie’s involvement — and strikes more of a balance between goofiness and creepiness (which mostly comes across through visual gags). And while it deals in over-the-top portrayals of stereotypical motherly clinginess and fatherly aloofness, it’s also pretty clear that it isn’t dealing in anything resembling reality. Fans of McKenzie’s distinct style of musical comedy, and anyone who enjoyed the original “#SmellcometoManhood” installment, should get a kick out of “Dadsong.” Read more

Agency SFST Had Trouble Finding a Grandma Who Hasn’t Smoked Pot for This Viral Video

Seattle-based agency Super Frog Saves Tokyo is behind the above hilarious and endearing video of three grandmothers smoking cannabis for the first time, followed by Jenga using “all your hands,” discussions about ironing and attempts at opening a bag of chips. The agency created the video, which has now surpassed the 12 million view mark on YouTube, as a side project, but told The Wall Street Journal it plans to host a whole series of “entertaining yet thought-provoking videos” on the new site Cut.com beginning next week.

“Cut.com is an experiment for us,” Mike Gaston, SFST’s creative director, told that publication. “BuzzFeed is really good at getting content spread, and Vice is good at creating really thought-provoking content, but I think there’s space in between. I think it’s possible for us to create culturally relevant videos that are also entertaining…”

Gaston stressed that the video “isn’t simply a marketing tool for the agency,” despite all the publicity afforded to Super Frog Saves Tokyo as a result of its viral success. “This isn’t a business development tool,” he said. “Right now I’m only really looking for long-term, strategic partners for SFST.” He did add, however, that the agency “would happily turn Cut.com into its own business.”

One of the more interesting (and funny) facts to emerge from the Wall Street Journal interview was an unexpected challenge in creating the video. “Surprisingly, the hardest part of the entire video was finding grandmas that haven’t smoked weed,” Gaston said.

SFST initially attempted to use their own grandmothers, only to discover that they’d all tried cannabis at least once — as had all their friends. Next they turned to a talent agency, but even then only managed to find two candidates who fit the bill. Funnily enough, they resorted to using the talent agent’s own grandmother as the third party. According to The Wall Street Journal, Cut.com has already recorded more content, which will be uploaded to the site and its corresponding YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Let’s hope they can live up to their initial success.

The Richards Group Clowns Around with the Spurs for H-E-B

The Richards Group once again teamed up with Sugar Film Production and director Chris Smith for a lighthearted series of ads starring the San Antonio Spurs.

The new ads — “Toga,” “Slogans,” “Barbie” and “Wise” follow much the same formula as last year’s campaign, employing lighthearted, self-depreciating humor. In “Toga,” Tim Duncan returns to find Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili so enamored with H-E-B’s Greek yogurt that they’re all decked out in togas. ”Why is everyone Greek?” Duncan asks disdainfully upon seeing his teammates, before singling out Kawhi as looking particularly ridiculous. Other spots find different ways to poke fun at one or more of the Spurs players, whether its Patty Mills‘ accent in “Barbie” or Kawhi reprising a line from last year in “Slogans.” Spurs fans already know what kind of goofiness to expect from the annual campaign, and The Richards Group doesn’t disappoint.

“Working with these guys, you can really tell what makes them world champions”, said Chris Smith. “Their ability to go into a huddle, takes notes and run with them—while adding their own individual flavor—makes them a lot of fun to work with each year.” Read more

Poo-Pourri Drops a Load of Poo Puns in ‘Even Santa Poops’

Poo-Pourri made waves last year with the viral “Girls Don’t Poop” video introducing its toilet deodorizer with pun-filled toilet humor that went on to garner over 30 million views on YouTube. While the follow-up, “Second Hand Stink,” didn’t draw quite as much attention, the brand’s latest, “Even Santa Poops” has the potential to attract attention to the brand once more with the holiday season right around the corner.

Written and directed by Pete Marquis and Jamie McClelland, who worked on HelloFlo’s “Camp Gyno” and “First Moon Party,” in collaboration with copywriter Joel Ackerman, who was behind the original “Girls Don’t Poop” spot for Poo-Pourri, “Even Santa Poops” should prove a success. The setup is new: Santa is delivering gifts when all the cookies and milk catch up with him and he has to retreat to the toilet for relief. His stench wakes three British sisters, who attempt to blackmail him for extra gifts and inform him of the Poo-Pourri which he should be using to mask his odor. Otherwise the formula is familiar: plenty of poo puns and a quick introduction of the product as a solution. Mostly the puns are pretty clever and while some may object to the premise, others will be all too happy to gleefully share this with friends and the timing of the release works to promote Poo-Pourri as a holiday (gag) gift while people are shopping for the season.

Leo Burnett Motivates Employees with Shots, Slaps

In the latest parody video making the rounds from Strategy magazine’s Agency of the Year event in Toronto, Leo Burnett created a fake inspirational video demonstrating the effectiveness of the “Slapshot” method, giving someone a shot of liquor and then slapping them in the face.

“Sometimes we all need a little inspiration,” the video begins, which is why Leo Burnett created Slapshot, “A social experiment designed to spark inspired thinking.” The video goes on to explain that the system works in two phases: a shot of liquor for relaxation in stage one; and a slap to the face in stage two, to “remove tired or expected ideas from the brain.” Leo Burnett has been using the method in briefings, brainstorms and meetings, “or when someone just needed to calm down and get shit done.” According to the fake case study, the results have been great, including with productivity up 16 percent, deadlines met 100 percent of the time, a decrease in employee whining , and creation of award-winning work up 69 percent. If you enjoy parodies of case study videos and/or watching a lot of people get slapped in the face over the course of two minutes, you really owe it to yourself to check it out above.

adam&eveDDB Celebrates Holiday Materialism for Mulberry

In adam&eveDDB’s Christmas spot for Mulberry, a grandmother “wins Christmas’ with a Mulberry bag, trumping some pretty stiff competition in the process.

The ad follows a young woman as she opens a series of presents, beginning with a pointillist portrait of her painted by her sister. Each gift gets more over the top and ridiculous, verging into the absurd, until the girl’s reaction to the Mulberry bag from her grandmother reveals it to be the best gift of all. It’s an interesting approach, forgoing the typical sentimentality of holiday advertising for a tongue-in-cheek celebration of materialism. adam&eveDDB pulls it off well, slowly ramping up the absurdity and not taking itself too seriously while still effectively promoting the brand. That the agency was able to produce both the heartwarming “Monty The Penguin” ad for John Lewis and this, pretty much its polar opposite, shows impressive range. Read more

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