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David&Goliath Present ‘Showdown’ with Blake Griffin for Kia

After teaming up with LeBron James back in October, David&Goliath returned to working with Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin in its latest effort for Kia, entitled “Showdown.”

The spot features Griffin cast in a Western, but instead of riding a horse he improvises and rides in on a Kia Optima instead. Initially reluctant to the change, Griffin eventually convinces his director to go with the decision. All the while Griffin plays on the kind of goofy persona he’s displayed in the past, such as David&Goliath’s September effort for VIZIO. While fans of Griffin’s humor will find plenty to like, whether this translates to casual viewers will depend largely on how much they can get behind the ad’s premise.  The best moment of the 60-second spot doesn’t come until the very end, with a throwaway line that throws extra light onto the ridiculousness of an NBA star in the American frontier. Read more

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W+K NY Celebrates Arrival of College Football Playoffs for ESPN

W+K New York has been hyping the new College Football Playoff for ESPN since July. Now, with the inaugural edition of the contest impending, W+K New York is launching the conclusion to its “Who’s In?” campaign — which launched back in August with “Different Ways In” — with two new spots promoting the College Football Playoff on ESPN: “New Year’s Spread” and “Playoff Ride.”

In “New Year’s Spread” (featured above, in its 60-second version) W+K New York displays some truly impressive game day spreads, including a Rose Bowl stadium made out of hors d’oeuvres and a Sugar Bowl cake. The ad ends with the voiceover, “Six classic bowls, two playoff games: all in 36 hours on ESPN. New Year’s will never be the same,” followed by the “Who’s In?” tagline. “Playoff Ride” takes a different approach, focusing instead on the agony of defeat. To visualize this the spot shows two walls closing in on a series of televisions showing college football games. Gradually, the televisions are crushed, representing teams being eliminated, until only four are left. 30-second versions of both ads will be broadcast in anticipation of the College Football Playoff on ESPN, with the 60-second extended versions living online. Stick around after the jump for “Playoff Ride” and “The Making of New Year’s Spread.” Read more

Damian Lillard, ‘Rookie’ Tracy McGrady Star in New Foot Locker Spot from BBDO


Here’s another one from BBDO, which seems to be the only agency releasing major campaigns today. The agency continues its humorous approach for Foot Locker with the new spot “Rookie” featuring Damian Lillard and Tracy McGrady.

“Rookie” opens on the pair chatting about their Adidas kicks at a party, when McGrady drops the line, “Young guys like us, we can’t get caught looking old.” McGrady then informs a perplexed Lillard, “I play in China now, I’m a rookie” before having to deal with some unfortunate rookie responsibilities. BBDO has built a consistent and distinct humorous voice for Foot Locker, and while it’s not on par with the agency’s most memorable work for the brand, fans of the style should find plenty to like here.

W+K Amsterdam, Blake Griffin Rise ‘Above Expectations’ for Foot Locker, Nike

W+K Amsterdam looked to Blake Griffin to celebrate the arrival of the new Nike Jordan collection to Foot Locker with a new ad entitled “Above Expectations.”

The 30-second spot, filmed in black and white by director Paul Hunter, addresses Griffin’s naysayers, who pigeonhole the Clippers star as “just a dunker.” Addressing those expectations right away, the voiceover advises viewers, “If you expect another Blake Griffin dunk compilation, change the channel,” before going on to commend the star on his rebound, passing and ball-handling skills. Thankfully, it doesn’t highlight Griffin’s slam poetry skills. “That’s the thing about expectations,” the spot concludes, “you can live up to them, or rise above them.” Playfully, the online version of the ad then advertises a link to “See the jump man dunk, man” which links to a video where Griffin concedes “Alright, you’ve come this far, I’ll give you just one.”

The spot is airing on broadcast in France and Italy, as well as online across Europe, where it is supported by digital and social initiatives.

“The Jordan brand has a long tradition of showing athletes in a unique light, so it was nice to show the world a whole other side to Blake Griffin,” said David Smith, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam creative director, in a press release. Read more

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

Sonic Signs Kevin Durant in Brand’s First Sports Endorsement Deal

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Sonic has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the brand’s first sports endorsement deal, Adweek reports.

As part of the deal, Durant will star alongside Sonic’s “Two Guys” in a national broadcast campaign expected this summer. The “Two Guys” in question, New York-based former The Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz and Chicago-based improv comedian T.J. Jagodowski, have been a staple of the brand’s advertising since being brought back by GSP+P in early 2012, two years after being phased out after their initial run with Kansas City-based agency Barkley. Durant will also be involved with Sonic educational charity Limeades for Learning and will help brainstorm new menu items.

Durant achieved instant-celebrity with his emotional acceptance speech for the NBA MVP award, which, coupled with his connection to Sonic’s hometown of Oklahoma City, attracted the attention of CMO Todd Smith. “What really happened was the MVP speech that he made last year really pushed him into a national presence more, but also, his likability is off the charts,” Smith told Adweek. “For us, we wanted someone who has a hometown feel with a national presence because that’s the type of brand we are.”

SportsCenter Experiences Technical Difficulties in W+K’s Latest, Starring James Harden

Houston Rockets star James Harden takes center stage in W+K’s latest “This is SportsCenter” installation, entitled “Satellite,” which also features SportsCenter anchors Neil Everett, Kenny Mayne and Stan Verrett.

In the 30-second spot, which will run for six weeks, Harden fields a call from a mission control center as Everett and Verrett call with a technical problem on the set of SportsCenter. From here things take an unexpected turn, with a cameo by Houston Astros mascot Orbit. Without giving too much away, we can say that as far as “This is SportsCenter” spots go, this one is certainly on the stranger end. Harden, who also appeared in this memorable spot for Foot Locker a few months back, plays his part well, but we think this one will leave some people scratching their heads. Read more

MMB Teams Up with Aggressive for Subway Holiday Push

MMB teamed up with production company Aggressive for a new holiday campaign for Subway employing a mix of methods in three different spots.

The animated 30-second “Winter Wonderland,” introduces Subway’s holiday “Customer Appreciation” event, which sees the fast food sandwich chain offering two of its most longstanding offerings — the meatball marinara and coldcut combo — for a reduced price. “Winter Wonderland” keeps the holiday vibe low-key, with the music and background animation celebrating the season in general rather than a specific winter holiday in particular. Two 15-second spots take a similarly laid-back approach, but swap out the animation for live action spots with appearances by NFL stars Justin Tuck and Robert Griffin III in “Famous Fans” and the brand’s longtime spokesman in “Jared.” There’s nothing particularly memorable here, as MMB and Aggressive seem to rely on the deal speaking to fans of the brand without any unnecessary bells and whistles. Read more

W+K Asks You to ‘Choose Your Winter’ for Nike

W+K Portland launched a campaign for Nike’s Hyperwarm line with the 60-second broadcast spot “Choose Your Winter.”

The spot enlists an unexpected guest for the brand in Chris O’Dowd (who you probably remember as Kristen Wiig‘s love interest in Bridesmaids). O’Dowd plays an alarmist newscaster making dire predictions about a “snow-mageddon” or “snow-tastrophe” — even claiming that ancient man went extinct during the Ice Age. His over-the-top warnings about the cold and snow are contrasted with images of athletes — including NFL stars Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, figure skater Gracie Gold, soccer players Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans, middle distance runner Mary Cain and snowboarder Johnnie Paxson — decked out in Nike Hyperwarm and powering through the cold. The message is clear and effective: you can exaggerate the effects of the cold and use it as an all encompassing excuse or you can tough it out with help from Nike. 

Nike told Adweek the spot is the first in a series. Athletes who will appear in future spots include NHL star Dion Phaneuf and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is currently playing in the 2014 Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series. Read more

Adidas Promotes NBA Swingman Jersey with Damian Lillard

Adidas is celebrating the launch of its revamped NBA Swingman jersey line with a new spot starring Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard.

The spot follows Lillard as he is shadowed by his “swingman,” who is as devoted to being a great “swingman” as Lillard is to being a great basketball player. He sets out to “think like Damian, act like Damian, smell like Damian,” even if he can’t play like him. The ad attempts a humorous tone, but while it shoots for laughs, it ultimately comes up empty. Additional ads in the series featuring Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls will follow in the coming days. Adidas’ NBA Swingman jerseys are available now at NBAStore.com and the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue and retails for $110.

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