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60s Adman Gets a Job at Zulu Alpha Kilo; It Doesn’t Go Well

For the 2014 Strategy Agency of the Year Awards in Toronto, Zulu Alpha Kilo decided to take a look at how a sixties adman might fare in today’s agency world. Hint: Not so well.

The video opens with the adman, Dick, being told that he’s being let go due to his unacceptable behavior around the office. When he questions what exactly he did wrong, we’re treated to a montage of Dick’s antics, which include blowing cigarette smoke in the face of a pregnant coworker, exposing a testicle, questioning the need for agency partners, having sex with a prostitute on his desk and, of course, constantly drinking on the job. It’s a funny look at how much the agency climate has changed since the Mad Men era, with a slight twist ending, and well worth a look if you have a few minutes to spare.

Despite being fired, Dick somehow appeared at the awards show last night…

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PKT Tests ‘The Effects of Halloween Candy’ on Kids for Crest

Publicis Kaplan Thaler has released a new campaign for Crest testing “The Effects of Halloween Candy” on children.

The test is performed by a deadpan moderator who basically lets a group of children in Halloween costumes (the highlight being the little girl dressed as a piñata) binge on candy and records the results. And the results are? “It seems when presented with candy kids exhibit a pathological fixation bordering on psychosis,” according to the moderator. Oh, also, “Piñata has anger issues,” and one little boy threw up in the toilet. Whether you find this cute or annoying (or both) will depend largely on your tolerance for loud children. But then, this is targeted squarely at parents, with the payoff tagline being “Thanks to Crest their teeth are covered” following the message “Halloween candy may have an effect on your kids but not on their teeth.” Now where can we get a piñata costume? Read more

Superior Created The Most F***ed Up Halloween Ad of the Year for Vytautas

Halloween tends to lend agencies a certain leniency with how over-the-top, ridiculous and gory they can make their ads. Even so, Superior’s new ad for Lithuanian mineral water brand Vytautas stretches the limits of appropriateness for even this holiday, and is easily the most fucked up Halloween ad you’ll see this year.

Superior teamed up with director Tadas Vidmantas, who was responsible for this spec ad, which Adweek named “the single craziest commercial of 2012″ for the ad, which debuted online yesterday. In the spot, a man is visiting his friend, who lies unconscious in a hospital bed and enjoying a Vytautas. Then he gets the idea to replace the friend’s IV with a bottle of Vytautas, reviving and, uh, arousing the friend as a nurse walks in. What happens next is unexpected, to say the least, and involves flying buttons causing considerable damage. You really need to see it for yourself above because it kind of defies description. And, yes, this is a real ad (not a spec). According to Adweek, there’s even a (slightly tamer) broadcast version for Lithuanian television. The bar for Halloween craziness in advertising has officially been raised, or lowered, depending on your point of view. Read more

BBDO NY Teams Up with Tim & Eric, Jeff Goldblum for GE Lighting

BBDO New York has received a fair deal of attention for its recent work for GE, including an Emmy nomination for wistfully surreal “Childlike Imagination.” More recent spots like “Ideas are Scary” and “The Boy Who Beeps” followed in a similar tone, celebrating ideas and innovation in imaginative ways. So the agency’s fake infomercial for GE Lighting, directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (better known as Tim & Eric) and starring Jeff Goldblum, comes right out of left field.

The over two minute-long mock infomercial (mockfomercial?), entitled “Enhance Your Lighting” sees Goldblum playing “Terry Quatro, Famous Person” as he hocks the GE Link light bulb, which offers “successful guy lighting at normal guy prices.” It’s also so easy to install, you can do it while painting a portrait of yourself. It should come as no surprise that the spot is all over the place with random humor, but Goldlum plays the part perfectly and when it’s on it can be pretty funny. And while it may seem like an odd approach for the brand, especially coming off BBDO’s recent spots, it should garner some attention for the new product as the YouTube views (currently at around 115,000) inevitably pile up. Read more

W+K Portland Launches ‘Never Finished’ for Nike, Starring Richard Sherman

W+K Portland got Richard Sherman to star in its new spot “Never Finished” for Nike, following on the heels of Sherman’s recent appearances for Neff earlier this month and Campbell’s in August.

The new spot deals with the hype train surrounding Sherman, as he is constantly bombarded with media discussions of whether or not he is “the best.” “Never Finished” does a good job at finding humor in the situation, aided by a believably exasperated Sherman. The highlight is probably the made for TV biopic, starring Damon Wayans Jr.

Sherman’s roles in ads so far have mostly seen the Seahawks star not taking himself seriously and playing with his public persona. That definitely continues with “Never Finished,” but the schtick is much less over the top than some of his past roles, and the more nuanced characterization fits Sherman well as the spot, more than anything, mocks the media hype that surrounds star players. It makes for an entertaining ad, and Sherman’s most enjoyable performance by far.

The campaign, which runs until October 9th, also includes five additional videos, with special cameos from Johnny Manziel, Victor Cruz, Ndamukong Suh and Ken Griffey Jr.
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Ogilvy Makes Cats Very Uncomfortable for Kotex

Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai has a new campaign for Kotex built around the fact that people love funny cat videos.

The 30-second spot makes the point that cats are very sensitive, before showing obviously uncomfortable cats walking very awkwardly. “Women are as sensitive as cats,” the spot goes on, “Kotex provides soft and intimate protection for women.” Seeing the cats struggle, unhappily, while walking with tape on them is even more entertaining than it sounds. Unsurprisingly, Adweek reports that the spot has already gone viral in China, where it has racked up over one million views. Read more

OKRP Holds Pet Focus Group for Big Lots

Chicago-based agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has a new campaign for Big Lots, promoting its pet food and merchandise offerings with a focus group for pets.

Instead of writing a scripted ad, the agency got a group of pets together for “Pet Focus Group,” a digital video series. The videos feature moderators treating the group of pets like a focus group, with actors asking questions about Big Lots products and interacting with dogs, cats, and other pets. O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul chose to cast improvisational actors to interact with the pets, under the assumption that the animals would create funny situations on their own.

“We realized that instead of scripting this, it would be so much more fun to let pets be pets, and get really good improvisers to react in real time to whatever those animals are doing,” explains Sue Gillan, creative director at OKRP. And because you have these human facilitators in the room with the pets, they get to do the heavy lifting around uncovering the quality of the products without the event feeling commercialized. The result feels like a genuine discovery of the products.”

Stick around for “Cats Only” and “Pets with Style.” Read more

mOcean Helped Promote FXX’s Marathon of The Simpsons

mOcean helped FXX keep the fun rolling during the network’s record-breaking twelve-day marathon of every episode of The Simpsons with a series of Springfield-inspired promos.

Instead of just recycling footage from the show (which might get a bit redundant during a marathon, after all), mOcean took creative license with the Springfield universe, such as in the above promo superimposing Homer’s head and voice on footage of stunts gone wrong. Another spot takes Ned Flanders’ characteristic “Deedley” and gives it a musical makeover. Clearly, the agency had a lot of fun with these.

“This was by far the biggest, most exciting project with the FX family yet,” said mOcean SVP, Creative Director Greg Harrison. “The inherent challenge was doing justice to one of the funniest, most beloved TV franchises in history, not to mention the legacy of its creators Matt Groening and James L. Brooks.” Read more

DDB’s Rodgers Townsend Agency Livens Up the Office for The Hartford

DDB’s Rodgers Townsend agency, St. Louis, pumps some life into the office (via jams) for The Hartford, in the latest iteration of its “Play On” campaign.

The agency collaborated with The Hartford, which provides insurance to small companies, for the interactive YouTube video. Viewers choose a genre of music, and then the office breaks into a spontaneous dance party, before promptly returning back to work. It’s well worth a view for a quick chuckle. We recommend “Retro Tech” and “Renaissance,” although you can’t really go wrong.

“We wanted to connect people to the message, when the unforeseen happens, The Hartford helps businesses prevail,” Steve Jones, assistant VP-marketing, small commercial at The Hartford, explained to AdAge. “This time, we wanted to do something fun and engaging that’s right for social channels and online.”

FCB Chicago Helps Grandma ‘Shop Like A Boss’ for Kmart

FCB Chicago keeps things weird for Kmart in their latest spot for the brand, “Shop Like A Boss,” although it’s nowhere near as strange as the brand’s Christmas campaign.

The spot opens on a grandma-type, billed as “Shop Your Way Member Julia Ruiz,” sitting at her computer. After clicking a button, she throws on her hoodie, shades and bling as the soundtrack shifts from serene birds chirping to a hip-hop beat. Soon she’s joined by the two other members of her entourage, and the rest of the spot (the full-length version runs around 95 seconds) is basically a music video. Ruiz and her crew roll up to Kmart, dance around, and pick up her order.

It’s a pretty simple idea, but it’s not without its moments. In the full-length version some of the humor lies just in how the idea is drawn out to such great length, and also how well this Ruiz character plays the part. The spot is meant to promote Kmart’s “shop online, pay in-store” feature, which is touted by a voiceover at the spot’s conclusion. While some viewers may not draw the connection from “Shop Like A Boss” to the service, the spot is at least (quite) memorable and ties the idea to the brand.

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