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Leo Burnett London Warns World Cup Fans Not to Drive Drunk

The World Cup has been over for nearly twenty-four hours, but, knowing a tiny bit about sports, we’d guess that many in Germany, Brazil and Argentina are still celebrating/consoling themselves with the appropriate spirits.

On that note, the creative team at Leo Burnett London wants to remind footie fans around the world that driving under the influence is never an appropriate response–no matter whose team won or what the final score happened to be.

While the spot for road safety charity client Brake is, of course, very of-the-minute, its message is timeless: most cases of drunk driving have absolutely nothing to do with any given sporting event.

Also: fans will never forget that spray foam.

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McCann NY Takes Unique Approach to Gun Safety PSA

You might not associate a sex toy battle with gun safety, but McCann New York ties the two together in a new 30-second video entitled “Playthings” that (finally) takes a different approach to the familiar gun safety PSA, created for gun responsibility organization Evolve.

In the spot, a woman goes to pick up her son at a friend’s house and finds him locked in heated sex toy battle with his friend. The friend’s mother, of course, looks horrified, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any more awkward one of the kids turns on the vibration feature. Around this time the voiceover intones the message, “If they find it, they’ll play with it. So always lock up your guns.”

The humorous approach is a welcome departure from the typical gun safety PSAs — which we see a lot of. “Playthings” is a lot more memorable than those efforts, and a lot harder to ignore, which makes it more likely to effectively communicate its message and even reach people who might just tune out the more serious, stern warnings of other gun safety PSAs. Of course, some of those people will just find the suggestive humor packed on “liberal propaganda” that much more offensive. But then McCann and Evolve didn’t really have any hope of reaching them anyway. While this isn’t the first time Evolve has employed humor in its PSAs — Saatchi & Saatchi New York’s February effort “The Bill of Rights for Dumbasses” took a similarly lighthearted approach — it is definitely the most effective. “Playthings” has already generated a fair share of buzz, approaching one million views since being released Wednesday and eliciting mentions in myriad media outlets. Credits after the jump. Read more

Northern Ireland Safe Driving PSA Stirs Controversy

A safe-driving PSA for Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment by Belfast agency LyleBailie International has created an international stir with its disturbing imagery. The 60-second PSA, which only airs after 9 P.M., has been criticized for going too far to make its point, “and some news outlets have posted ‘trigger warnings’ about the strong content,” Adweek reports.

The PSA, entitled “Classroom” begins with a classroom of children preparing for a field trip and exploring a serene natural environment, with an ominous cover of “Sweet Child of Mine” hinting at the violence to come. At around the 30-second mark we see footage of a driver carelessly speeding along a country road, and around 10 seconds later the segments converge as the driver loses control of his vehicle, and launches off the road, killing the group of children. Although the scene is not particularly graphic, it has been met with varying criticism as being over-the-top, unrealistic, and even traumatizing. “Since 2000, speeding has killed a classroom of our children,” says the voiceover at the PSA’s conclusion. “You can never control the consequences if you speed.”

Whatever you think about the spot’s approach, it is gaining international attention for the issue of speeding, with over 1.5 million views on YouTube since being uploaded a week ago and plenty of media coverage. Read more

Merkley+Partners, The Ad Council Debut New Firearm Safety PSA

Merkley+Partners created a new pro-bono promoting safe firearms storage in conjunction with The Ad Council and National Crime Prevention Council.

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the PSA campaign encourages gun owners to safely store their firearms through television, print, outdoor and online ads centered around the tagline “Remember, Always…Lock It Up.” The television ad above, shot in black and white, features a group of children listing safety rules their parents taught them. They then go on to list the unsafe locations their parents have left a loaded gun, before asking, “How safe is that?” At the conclusion of the PSA, viewers are directed to, where they can learn firearm safety solutions for their household.

“We teach all drivers to buckle up in case of accidents and to lock their cars,” explains National Crime Prevention Council President and CEO Ann M. Harkins. “The same logic applies to this campaign; we want owners to lock up their firearms to prevent accidents and keep them out of the wrong hands. Safe storage ensures that owners are doing their part to increase public safety.” Stick around for credits and another TV spotafter the jump. Read more

Ogilvy & Mather Mexico Visualizes Psychological Abuse

Ogilvy & Mather Mexico teamed up with Central Films and director Rodrigo Garcia Saiz for Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred) to deliver a startling visualization of psychological abuse.

In the disturbing 45 second spot, a woman is seen casually strolling the produce section of a grocery store. When she receives a text she is violently propelled into a stand of avocados and proceeds to beat herself (which is meant to symbolize an invisible aggressor). Eventually she gets up off the floor and attempts to nonchalantly continue with her grocery shopping. It’s all very troubling and difficult to watch, which is exactly the point. The end of the spot makes the intent clear with the message, “Psychological violence is as serious as physical abuse. If you don’t speak up, nobody will see it.” It may be brutal, but it’s also impossible to ignore, while also combating the tendency (of perpetrators, witnesses, and often even victims) to minimize the effects of psychological abuse. Stick around for credits after the jump. Read more

Lowe Campbell Ewald Wants to Help Keep California Golden

Lowe Campbell Ewald, Los Angeles teamed up with newly created brand Energy Upgrade California in a state government effort to start a conversation around energy and water use management in anticipation of the summer drought season, predicted to be one of the worst in the state’s history.

Since California is a fragmented state, with its citizens pledging allegiance to a specific region, Lowe Campbell Ewald knew they needed to draw on a unifying factor. So they leveraged the bear from California’s state flag, turning him into a relatable character who sits atop the flagpole by day and enjoys all the state has to offer his work day is over, while also educating Californians on how they can help California stay golden. In the spot, he shares valuable tips like replacing old bulbs with LEDs and using a programmable thermostat. He concludes by directing viewers to Energy Upgrade’s site. With a perilous drought season ahead, hopefully citizens of the Golden State heed his advice. Credits after the jump. Read more

JWT Atlanta, Elastic Team Up for FEMA PSA

For hurricane season, JWT Atlanta teamed up with production studio Elastic and directing collective Headless (who provided colorful 3D animation) to create a PSA campaign for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

JWT Atlanta decided to go for an emotional approach, telling the story of a “nice house that lived with a family” as narrated by a young child, which makes for a more relatable and persuasive viewing experience than alarmist images of flood damage. Focusing on the relationship between the loving home and the family, the spot highlights that flooding can happen anywhere, not just locations that are historically at risk. The 60-second PSA ends with the tagline “Protect what matters,” encouraging viewers to learn their flood risk and protect their homes. Credits after the jump. Read more

Y&R New York Taps Historical Figures in Support of H2O

Y&R New York has launched a new campaign for Partnership for a Healthier America’s Drink Up initiative. The Partnership for a Healthier America, by the way, is the nonprofit, which works with Honorary Chair Michelle Obama, devoted to solving the childhood obesity crisis.

The campaign calls on the power of historical figures Muhammad Ali, Audrey Hepburn and Albert Einstein to celebrate the importance of drinking water. In the above 30-second spot, for example, Ali delights at a press conference while the camera slowly focuses in on his glass of water, followed by the line, “No wonder he never lost a press conference,” and then the “Water. So talented yet so humble tagline.” Other spots in the campaign employ a similar effect. The campaign also includes online banner ads, digital billboards, and a social media component utilizing the hashtag #spreadthewater. Credits and Albert Einstein spot after the jump. Read more

FCB West Celebrates Smokey Bear’s 70th Anniversary

This August marks the 70th anniversary of Smokey Bear (apparently Smokey the Bear is a misnomer and we’ve all been saying it wrong). First created by FCB West in partnership with U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council in 1944, the Wildfire Prevention campaign is the longest running, and one of the most successful, PSA campaigns in America. 96 percent of the U.S. adult population recognize Smokey Bear, while 70 percent can recall Smokey’s “Only you can prevent forest fires” tagline without prompting.

“Few advertising icons have become as much a part of the American vernacular as Smokey Bear,” said Peggy Conlon, soon-to-be-retired president & CEO of the Ad Council. “Smokey’s persistent popularity from generation to generation is not only a testament to the quality of work done on his behalf pro bono by FCB, but also ensures that his legacy will be one that results in continued impact in the area of wildfire prevention.”

For Smokey’s 70th birthday, FCB West worked with Butcher Editorial to create two new PSAs (running in both 30 and 15 second versions) that celebrate Smokey’s milestone, while still spreading his message of forest fire prevention. In one of the spots (above) a group of children and park rangers bring Smokey Bear a birthday cake. Seeing only the fire hazard of the candles, Smokey reaches for a bucket of water, but thankfully one of the children has the presence of mind to blow them out. In another 30-second PSA, which really ups the creepiness factor, Smokey sneaks up on a man to inform him of a fire hazard. Both spots end with Smokey rewarding fire safety prevention with a bear hug. Read more

Serve Marketing Launches the ‘Spot Abuse Project’

Serve Marketing, the country’s only all-volunteer nonprofit ad agency, has launched a harrowing new public service campaign in Milwaukee in an attempt to combat both domestic and animal abuse.

The campaign, entitled the Spot Abuse Project, is based on research from the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys  which found that 76% of animal abusers go on to (or already) abuse a family member. By convincing more people to dial 911 to report animal abuse, Serve is hoping police will then uncover a higher number of domestic abuse cases. Since domestic abuse so often goes unreported and animal abuse is generally viewed as easier to report, Serve is hopes to benefit both animals and domestic abuse victims with the campaign.

The campaign kicks off today across television, outdoor, radio, and social media. Billboards for the campaign show pictures of abused pets next to young children with the troubling message “He’s next” or “She’s next,” imploring viewers to dial 911 to report abuse. The effort is already being lauded by domestic abuse organizations and local law enforcement, but has also met with some controversy. The outdoor campaign was originally planned to run at over 30 bus shelters in Milwaukee but was deemed “too vulgar” by the Milwaukee County Transit System.

“We’re not going to change people’s behaviors by showing warm and fuzzy pet pictures,” Serve Marketing executive director Heidi Sterricker said of the controversy. “Considering the images that are shown on magazine covers on newsstands and on the news every night what’s at stake here, I think people can handle seeing a picture of a dog with a bandage and a little blood on it if it saves a few lives.”

Credits after the jump. Read more