Another month, another clever This is Sportscenter spot from W+K New York. “Keeping Up with Fashion” shows Sportscenter anchors dealing with the residual effects of a new uniform reveal, considering the new uniforms are skin-tight catsuits that come in sizes meant for babies. The uniform farce is actually a spoof of the recent redesign trend in football, whether it be for college, the NFL, or the Pro Bowl. Nike keeps shrinking the unis that aren’t made for everyone (cough, offensive linemen). In a way, ESPN, which is a huge brand itself, is actually mocking the increased branding that comes from Nike, Under Armour, etc. Glass houses and all that, but this spot actually has layers to unpack in addition to the requisite punchlines. I’ve always said that ESPN anchors could act, as they do here, but the topic and writing in this ad digs deeper than we’re used to when it comes to ESPN. A lot to think about in 30 seconds.
We’ve covered a few W+K New York RV spots for NBA on ESPN in the past here at Agency Spy including this recent effort. In the latest installments including the one above dubbed “Notebook,” we have yet another healthy dose of awkward humor from the cavalcade of ESPN and Association talent.
The spot features NBA commentator Mike Breen, Warriors head coach/former ESPN analyst Mark Jackson and his shooting star, Steph Curry. The trio stumbles upon Jackson’s old draft notebook while storing luggage, complete with some rather unflattering notes on Curry. Predictably, this results in the comic awkwardness that’s been synonymous with this ongoing campaign and continues the long line of funny RV spots W+K NY has created for ESPN.
The second spot of the campaign, “Clapper,” is not as noteworthy. It features Breen and Curry in some by-now old hat clapper humor. You can view this quick spot and credits after the jump.
From NYC-based All Out, this two-minute short film shows what it would look life if a gay Olympic medalist were able to celebrate with her partner in Sochi. Of course, it’s not that simple in Russia, where public displays of homosexuality are banned by the government, and systemic discrimination has prevented gay people from simply feeling like people in their own country. All Out is hoping to change that, at least legally, before the Sochi Games start in February 2014. The organization is asking that people share the video with #LoveAlwaysWins on social media. The goal, as the video shows, is to close the gap between what should be allowed and what is allowed. I wouldn’t bet on it, considering that the Olympics has always struggled to balance the messy mix of politics, human rights, and competition, but at least someone is trying. Credits after the jump.
Debuting during tonight’s Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers Monday night match-up is the latest in State Farm’s Discount Double-Check campaign from DDB Chicago. And, folks, it is a doozy.
Again, we find Packers QB Aaron Rodgers flanked by the SNL ”Superfans,” George Wendt and Robert Smigel, on a flight that has now lasted two months since these guys first showed up. Rodgers, who you may know is as bad at acting as he is incredible at football (the worst and best, respectively), faces his biggest challenge yet: Portray someone who isn’t Aaron Rodgers looking uncomfortable while trying to deliver scripted lines. The results are, well, watch the clip.
In Rodgers’ defense (and it’s easy for me because he is my favorite player ever), a Chicago accent is hard to replicate. In DDB’s defense, I sympathize with how many takes of Rodgers’ “acting” they had to do before just saying “fuck it” and going with the above spot. And, in everyone’s defense, this campaign has been incredibly successful for State Farm over the years. Don’t like Rodgers’ acting? Think the spot isn’t funny? Well that’s too bad, because the rest of America loves these things. This is advertising, and the will of the consumers wins (haha). Credits after the jump.
After all of the recent Derrick Rose Basketball is Everything TV play, let’s not forget that Adidas’ slim basketball holdings do include the mercurial superstar-child, Dwight Howard. TBWA\Singapore and Dwight teamed for a new international spot way east of America, where 180LA handles domestic duty. The Phillipines is thoroughly obsessed with basketball, and Howard’s Houston Rockets recently traveled to Manila for some preseason play and NBA global brand-building. Adidas wisely used the setting for some brand-building of their own. And as a result, here is the one-and-a-half minute intro video for Signature Shots.
Instead of receiving handwritten autographs from Dwight, fans were able to play him one-on-one as a machine captured their movement on the court and translated that into a unique signature that could be printed onto merchandise. I’m all for the riff on standard sit-and-sign celebrity sessions, even if some of the signatures look like seismograph scribbles, but this spot just feels underwhelming. The clip starts off with some promising B-roll footage of Manila and it’s young hoopsters.
However, all of the vibrant colors and sounds of the city are soon replaced by action shots of machines printing the movement signatures and Dwight playing one-on-one. Rather than wash out all of the sensory details with some techno track, Adidas and TBWA would’ve been wiser to let Manila create its own soundtrack. Watching a printer spit out signed memorabilia is just time wasted. There was a missed opportunity here to create a commercial worthy of Manila’s love for basketball. There will be more opportunities in the future, but Adidas will have to wait. Credits after the jump.
Lexington, KY-based Cornett-IMS, the agency behind “Beardvertising” and whose creative/biz dev guy Whit Hiler also co-masterminded “Kentucky Kicks Ass,” have crafted the best long and short-form advertisements for a horse farm I’ve ever seen (and also the only long and short-form advertisements for a horse farm I’ve ever seen).
They teamed up with Eye Level Films to create “The Lane’s End Experience: A Short Film,” actually a long ad for Lane’s End Farms, which we’re told is “one of the world’s premier Thoroughbred farms.” It’s not hard to believe that after watching the video. There’s rolling green grass as far as the eye can see, attentive caretakers, and plenty to eat. If I was a horse, I think I’d really enjoy living at Lane’s End. The ad tells the story of Lane’s End beginnings and rise to prominence, with plenty of breathtaking scenery and majestic horses galloping through the countryside. If you’re looking for a horse farm, are a horse, or just love horses, it may be worth sitting through the 4:20 ad.
All kidding aside, it’s very well put together, managing to tell a story in a visually stimulating way over the course of its somewhat long running time. “The Lane’s End Experience: A Short Film” is available at the new Lane’s End website. There’s also a :30 version, which will premiere (appropriately enough) this weekend during the 30th Annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships on NBC Sports.
We are now in the season of LeBron James commercials. He’s like Victor Cruz, only taller, better, richer, and not a Time Warner Cable lackey. If you happened to watch the opening night of the NBA season, you saw three different LeBron endorsements, including a new two-minute Samsung spot (:60 version with just the family after the jump) that gives viewers a glimpse into the family life of the best basketball player in the world.
If you care about such things, you may remember last year’s Samsung/LBJ launch, which also premiered on opening night as the Miami Heat were getting their first set of rings. That 2012 spot was more about LeBron and his friends ruling Miami in barber shops and ice cream trucks. This year’s version is all about LeBron and his family: his sons hanging out in the pool or on a driveway basketball court as his wife films from a Samsung Galaxy. ”The Next Big Thing is Here” flashes on the screen as LeBron’s son celebrates after swishing a jump shot. We get it, but it’s still fairly interesting to let two little boys take some of the spotlight away from the real star.
The spot is an easy watch, a relaxing tone that rubs off on the viewer. Life is good for LeBron, and even though I typically prefer product-focused ads to lifestyle ads, when the spokesman is one of the most famous people on the planet, customers may take notice. Smiles all around and credits after the jump.
We wrote about the launch of The Marketing Arm’s fun “Uncle Drew” spot for Pepsi Max last year. Uncle Max is Kyrie Irving transformed into an old baller who teaches “young bloods” a thing or two about fundamentals. The Marketing Arm has revived Irving’s character for “Uncle Max: Chapter 3″ (which Irving also wrote and directed), featuring Nate Robinson as “Lights” and WNBA star Maya Moore as”Betty Lou.”
The spot, directed by O Positive’s Jonathan Klein, shows Uncle Drew attempting to get the old team together, starting with “Lights.” Drew visits “Lights” at an old jazz club, and convinces him to join him for a game, against the best advice of Betty Lou. If you want to skip past the setup and get to the action (it’s a long spot and we know a lot of you have short attention spans), fast forward to around the 2:25 mark.
While it’s hard to believe anyone but the most gullible of people would fall for Kyrie Irving and Nate Robinson in makeup, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun watching the two made up as old men school a bunch of ballers. Uncle Drew and “Lights” are killing it when they’re interrupted by the arrival of Betty Lou, who shows up to drag “Lights” from the court, concerned about his bad hip. But when someone in the crowd calls her an “old lady” she changes gears and joins in on the action. Watching the three taunt and destroy their opponents is a whole lot of fun, especially when “Lights” dribbles off an opponent’s head or Betty Lou and “Lights” bow to each other following an alley-oop. At the end of the spot “Lights” asks Uncle Drew who he’s going to pick up next. “We’re going to get the big man,” he says, “We need him.” Looks like we can expect more Uncle Drew spots from The Marketing Arm in the future. No complaints here. Check out the second chapter of the Uncle Drew saga after the break. Read more
With a new NBA season comes new spots for Kia from David&Goliath starring L.A. Clippers superstar Blake Griffin. This season, though, Blake, aka “The Endorser” as he’s known in other campaigns, is joined by a small sidekick, Jack McBrayer, who is best known for playing the bizarre but sweet NBC page on 30 Rock.
While this spot, “Trailer,” adorably portrays Griffin and McBrayer as a noble superhero team saving citizens from purchasing non-Kia vehicles, it lacks what has made Grffin’s spots for Kia so memorable over the years: Blake’s inherent weirdness. Not once does Blake open his mouth to tell the camera something strange while giving his off-putting stare. Neither does McBrayer, whose unhinged 30 Rock performance allowed him to frequently stand out amidst a large cast filled with other unhinged individuals.
I certainly hope that “Trailer” is aptly named, released only to build excitement for forthcoming “feature presentations.” If we never get to see two superpowers of weird actually interact with each other, then all may be lost. The next spot, “Zipline” is slated to come out early next month. Credits after the jump.
They take their baseball pretty seriously in St. Louis and Boston, and that includes at each city’s respective ad agencies. The ad agencies for each team –Boston based CTP and St. Louis based HLK — have thrown down for the Beards vs. Birds challenge, which includes some unique betting terms that you can read below.
1. The losing team donates to the winning team’s charity. CTP would donate to Cardinals Care a “non-profit foundation providing assistance to children’s agencies through efforts such as building baseball fields and supporting youth baseball teams,” while HLK would donate to Red Sox Scholars, a program providing “mentoring, enrichment activities and college scholarships to 220 Boston Public School students.”
2. The losing agency’s CEO will intern for a day at the winning agency.
3. The losing agency serves the winning agency dinner. If the Red Sox lose, CTP will bring Harpoon ale, Fenway franks and clam chowder to HLK. If the Cardinals lose, HLK will bring Budweiser, toasted ravioli and pork steaks to CTP.
4. The losing agency will turn over their website and social media sites to the winning agency the day of the victory parade. The winning agency will also get to re-write the email signatures of the losing agency. Plus the losing agency’s receptionist must answer the phone, “Congratulations to the World Series Champion (Boston/St. Louis), you have reached (HLK/CTP).”
5. The losing agency will rename their softball team in honor of the winning team.