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SS+K Dreams of Midnight for Smile Train

SS+K launched a holiday spot for Smile Train enititled “Dreaming of Midnight.”

“Dreaming of Midnight” tells the story of a Mexican New Year’s celebration through the perspective of a young girl with an unrepaired cleft palate named Camilla. A narrator tells the story with a rhyming scheme reminiscent of a storybook, as the interactive experience prompts viewers to donate by clicking on glimmering objects, giving them the opportunity to help change Camilla’s story.. As the story unfolds, tugging at the heartstrings, the suggested donations increase in size. The ad continues the “Power of a Smile” campaign SS+K launched for Smile Train back in April, and continues the approach of focusing on a single child’s story to allow the viewer to empathize with their plight.

“‘Dreaming of Midnight’ has a charming, storybook perspective of the world of a child looking forward to a special party and feeling wistful and hopeful about the new year,” said Bobby Hershfield, partner and chief creative officer at SS+K.  “Instead of directly asking for a donation, Smile Train pulls in the viewer and makes them feel like a part of the story.”

You can check out a triler for “Dreaming of Midnight” above, or head here for the full interactive experience. Read more

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22squared Uses Singing Sloth to ‘Save the Americans’

If you love sloths, cheesy musical parodies or the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” you may just appreciate 22squared’s spot for the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

The ad features a reworking of the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (popularized by The Tokens in 1961), as sung by a chorus of animals, beginning with a sloth. In the spot, entitled “Save the Americans,” the lyrics are changed to address the overworked and in need of a vacation and tell them to visit Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the song becomes a bit grating over the course of the online spot, which clocks in around two minutes. The campaign began running in the US and Canada last week, and includes broadcast, print and online components. According to Adweek, the Costa Rica Tourism Board spent around $3.3 million on the campaign.

McCann Spain Presents ‘The Other Letter’ for IKEA

McCann Spain and IKEA get sentimental for the holidays with longform online spot “The Other Letter.”

The ad opens with a provocative question: “Why do we insist on not getting our children the things they really want for Christmas?” Then the video introduces the experiment the agency conducted with ten families, in which they ask children to write a letter to the Three Wise Men (which is a cultural variant on letters to Santa), with predictable results. The twist comes with the follow-up question, asking the children what they want from their parents. Rather than ask for additional toys or material items, the children’s responses tug at the heartstrings. One child asks to spend more time with his parents and “to do more experiments at home,” another wants to be listened to more, one child asks for more meals as a family, another to spend a whole day with his parents. “You always try to substitute. To fill what’s missing with a new toy,” responds one mother, touched by her child’s letter. “They have far too many toys anyway,” says another.

The ad ends with the message, “At Christmas things can get a bit jumbled. There’s nothing like home for getting your head in order,” which finally (tangentially) ties the message to the brand. It also invites audience participation via the hashtag #LaOtraCarta. It’s a bit heavy on the sentimentality, but then this is the holidays. A bigger problem may be that people remember the message, but forget that it has anything to do with IKEA.

There’s also a 60-second broadcast spot delivering a similar message via more traditional means (featured after the jump), but it’s the online effort people will be talking about. Read more

Ogilvy Canada Presents ‘The Warmest Tim Hortons in Canada’

Ogilvy Canada yarnbombs the shit out of a Tim Hortons in this online spot, ostensibly making it “The Warmest Tim Hortons in Canada” in the process. The approach of giving a Tim Hortons location a makeover calls to mind this summer’s “Dark Experiment” spot from JWT Canada, introducing the brand’s new dark roast.

The spot begins by introducing Fort Frances, “One of the coldest places in Canada.” Some children discover a yarnbombed tree and then follow a string to the local Tim Hortons. Inside the location, customers are jazzed to fine yarn around all the furniture and a knitted cap topping the roof. It’s a nice little gesture, which recognizes that Tim Hortons is a place many of their customers go to for a respite from the cold, and visitors to the location seem to really appreciate it. The online video ends with  the message, “On December 13th we brought a little warmth to a small town. And wound up knitting an entire community together.”

The Viral Factory Introduces ‘Exobaby’ for Hyundai

Well here’s a strange one. The Viral Factory created the online spot “Exobaby” for Hyundai, likening Hyundai’s safety features to a baby wearing a robotic exoskeleton.

“They made him a suit to make him more than human, he’s Exobaby,” says the booming, over-the-top voiceover at the beginning of the spot, as the character is introduced. Features of the Exobaby include “advanced high strength steel,” “smart trunk” (for pooping), “blind spot detection,” “lane departure warning system,” “forward collision warning system,” “bath evade,” and “smart parking assist system.” Just in case the Hyundai logo on the suit and car-related features weren’t obvious enough to clue you in, the voiceover concludes by saying, “Oh, let’s be honest: the baby in the suit is you in the new Hyundai. You get it?” If you don’t, you probably should not be behind the wheel.

The idea is ridiculous and is stretched pretty thin by the end of the 90-second spot (somehow it feels longer), but the worst part has to be the “let’s be honest” bit calling attention to the blatantly obvious. There must have been a better way to transition to the footage of the car than saying, “By the way, we were obviously talking about the new Hyundai the whole time.” Since the ad features a baby doing baby stuff (and even manages to work in secondary view bait via a dog), however, it stands a chance of going viral no matter how crazy the premise is. Stick around for behind the scenes footage after the jump. Read more

McCann Melbourne Decks the Halls with Dumb Ways to Die

McCann Melbourne has rolled out another “Dumb Ways to Die” spot supporting Metro Trains Melbourne for the holidays, following this Halloween effort.

The simple 30-second ad is centered around a re-working of “Deck the Halls,” replacing “fa la la la la” with “dumb dumb dumb dumb.” For the song itself, which is available on iTunes, McCann Melbourne teamed up with Emily Lubitz, Tangerine Kitty’s original vocalist for the “Dumb Ways to Die” song and lead singer of Tinpan Orange, along with  members of the Salvation Army Choir. All proceeds from the download will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. In the spot, the song is accompanied by the “Dumb Ways to Die” characters dancing around festively, concluding with Lubitz saying, “Be safe around Christmas, a message from Metro.” Fans of the “Dumb Ways to Die” phenomenon should find plenty to enjoy in the video and may even find they want to download the song to play at holiday parties, with proceeds going to charity designed as an added enticement (although you have to wonder at the choice of charity, given that the Salvation Army has come under scrutiny in recent years for its discrimination against the LGBT community, and in Australia particularly for its handling of sexual abuse claims.) Read more

Rokkan Plays on Yule Log with ‘Winter Wondersteak’ for LongHorn Steakhouse

Rokkan offers up a meat lovers take on the yule log tradition with “Winter Wondersteak” for Longhorn Steakhouse.

The online ad replaces a warm fireplace with the enticing sizzle of a juicy steak, footage of which runs continuously for just over an hour. In addition to the obvious homage to The Yule Log television program, the effort also calls to mind Arby’s 13 hour live-streaming spot of a brisket being smoked this May. According to the agency, the effort was created to cut through holiday social media clutter in an appeal to a younger audience of “festive carnivores” and the “fireplace challenged.” If watching a steak sizzle for an hour straight is your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as we’ve included the video above. Read more

Blue Hive Goes Further for Ford

Here’s one we missed from a few weeks back. Agency Blue Hive created a new online spot for Ford promoting the new Ford EcoSport and its keyless entry feature, entitled “Go Further.”

In the spot, a tanned beach dude, wearing a very small bathing suit walks along the beach to the tune of The Chordettes’ version of “Lollipop,” which fits the scene well. As he garners stares from onlookers, it becomes clear he’s heading back to his car. But how is he going to open it? Where could he possibly have put his keys? While the onlookers in the ad and viewers alike wonder this, he approaches the car, it beeps, and he gets in and drive away, followed by the suggestive message, “Where you put your keys is up to you.” The message is pretty clear: instead of rummaging around in a sandy bag for your keys after a day at the beach, you can just tuck your key fob in your crotch at the beginning of the day and forget about it. Thanks, Ford!
Read more

mcgarrybowen Surprises Customer with Carol-Fueled Shopping Spree for Sears

mcgarrybowen employs a different type of social engagement with its new “#MoreToYou” holiday campaign for Sears, which debuts with “Kirsten’s Holiday Shopping Spree at Sears” (featured above).

In the spot, Kirsten laments the difficulty of finding gifts for her large family and then hears her doorbell ring. At her door is “Brad from Sears” there to bring hear some good news: Sears saw Kirsten’s tweet complaining about the difficulties of holiday shopping and has decided to give her a shopping spree so she can cross everyone off her list. She’s pretty excited by the shopping spree, and the prospect of getting all her shopping done in one place, if a bit taken aback at the carolers suggesting presents for her family. The spot ends by asking viewers to tweet using the hashtag #MoreToYou for a chance to “surprise and delight another customer in the future” (their words).

“#MoreToYou” is supported by Sears social media team and blogger engagement, with “Kirsten’s Holiday Shopping Spree at Sears” as the latest chapter in an ongoing campaign. Read more

Tribal Worldwide Strikes Up the ‘People’s Choir’ for Volkswagen UK

Tribal Worldwide, London created this online Christmas effort for Volkswagen UK, featuring a “People’s Choir” singing carols in public locations.

It’s a pretty straightforward approach, the “People’s Choir” is transported via Volkswagen Sharan to various locations where they spread some holiday cheer to random passsersby. The 90-second spot will run across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube starting today as “part of the brand’s social initiative to thank Volkswagen enthusiasts for their support during the year.”

“Volkswagen is a brand that’s all about people and making life better for them,” said James Hogwood, creative director, Tribal Worldwide. “So when we’re trying to put seasonal smiles on the faces of our Volkswagen fans, it felt natural to bring those values to the fore.” Read more

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