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Venables Bell & Partners

Venables Bell & Partners Veers Off-Script for Audi

Here’s another clever entry in the “meta/self-aware” category via Venables Bell & Partners for client Audi.

The first spot is particularly appropriate considering the fact that it will run during tonight’s Emmy Awards:

The second spot offers a brief extension of that intro after the jump.

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Venables Bell & Partners Go ‘West of Expected’ for Skyy Vodka

Venables Bell & Partners have an off-center campaign for Skyy Vodka, introducing the new tagline “West of Expected” for the California brand.

The new campaign sees improv actor Paul Welsh play a spokesman for the brand, lecturing in some kind of planetarium setting and using cosmic terminology as an analogy for drinking/bar culture. In the 30-second “Tipping” for example, Welsh explains that tipping (in this case giving a mouse in a maze a piece of cheese, for some reason) brings order to chaos, forming a connection with the bartender and getting you good service all night. In the similarly-toned “Attraction” a wing lemon (used to exemplify a wing man) bring together opposites: apples and oranges. It’s a strange approach, for sure, but then Skyy Vodka is an unusual brand — a California company with mostly Old World competition. The “West of Expected” tagline fits Skyy perfectly, and leaves room for a wealth of different approaches going forward.

“In the industry as a whole, and especially vodka, everyone is trying to out-cool themselves and appeal to people’s ego and vanity,” VB&P Executive Creative Director Will McGinness told Adweek. “We wanted to push off the industry norms and the Russian or Eastern European vodka companies and do our own thing and celebrate this different kind of vodka.”

Stick around for “Attraction”and credits after the jump. Read more

Working Not Working Lists Most Desirable Full-Time Gigs

wnwlogoanimated1Freelance network Working Not Working has unveiled a list of the top 46 companies its freelancers “would kill to work” for full-time, and the list includes several advertising agencies. Among the agencies Working Not Working freelancers would most like to work for are: 360i, 72andSunny, Barton F. Graf 9000, BBDO, BBH, Droga 5, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Mother, Periera & O’Dell, Venables Bell & Partners, and Wieden+Kennedy. The list also included a wealth of design and production companies, as well as Google, HBO, Cartoon Network, Tesla, and NASA (for some reason). Stick around for the full list after the jump. Read more

VB&P Quotes Queen in Star-Studded Audi Spot


Venables Bell & Partners have released a new, celebrity-packed spot for the release of the new Audi A3 entitled “Dues.”

The 60 second spot features celebrities reciting lines from Queen’s ever-popular “We Are The Champions,” inclduing comedian Ricky Gervais, chef David Chang (of Momofuku fame), photojournalist Lynsey Addario, comedian Kristen Schaal, gold medal winning boxer Claressa Shields, street artists Cyrcle, and inner city church choir Voices of Destiny. Lines to Queen’s anthem are delivered as a means of expressing the uncompromising nature of those who never settle, interspersed with shots of Audi’s latest in action and easing into Audi’s “Whatever you do, stay uncompromised” tagline. Between the bevy of celebrities and the instantly recognizable (and arguably overused) Queen song, the spot should succeed at getting people’s attention.

VB&P’s campaign extends the star power beyond the “Dues” spot, through an online video series called “Uncompromised Portraits” on Audi’s YouTube channel. Some highlights include “Names,” in which a child in the back seat reads mean tweets aloud to Gervais (highlighting the A3′s 4G LTE connectivity), and “Touch,” featuring David Chang showing off the vehicle’s MMI® touchpad with handwriting technology. It’s a clever extension of the campaign that does a lot to highlight the A3′s new features, and in the case of “Names” is arguably more entertaining than the television spot. You can watch “Names” below, and stick around for “Touch” after the jump. Read more

VB&P Nabs Reebok Biz

reebok-pump1

Well, that didn’t take long. Just a week after word spilled out that DDB and Reebok were parting ways (yet again), the sports apparel/shoe brand has found a new lead global agency in San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners. VB&P won the assignment after a review conducted by SRI. In a statement, Yan Martin, head of global brand marketing for Reebok, says, “VB&P demonstrated a deep understanding of our brand purpose and culture and developed thinking and creative that excited everyone involved in the process. We’re confident that VB&P will help maintain the brand’s forward momentum and raise the strategic and creative bar for the Reebok brand.”

Reebok now joins a VB&P client roster that includes Audi of America, Intel and SKYY vodka.

VB&P Crafts Inspiring ‘Look Inside’ for Intel

For the follow-up to the popular “Look Inside. Jack Andraka” video which garnered over 2 million views on YouTube, VB&P decided to tell the inspiring story of Erik Weihenmayer.

Erik is a mountain climber who has climbed the seven tallest summits on earth, one of only 118 people in history to accomplish this feat. That would be impressive enough, but Weihenmayer is the only person to do so while blind. Weihenmayer was born with retinoschisis and was fully blind by the age of 13. Three years later, at a recreational program for the visually impaired, he was introduced to rock climbing, and it changed his life forever. “I wanted my life to be an adventure, I didn’t want to be shoved to the sidelines and forgotten and just sit in a dark room listening to life go by,” Weihenmayer said. “Rock climbing for me was sort of a symbol that I could get to the summit of whatever I wanted to do, but I had to do it differently.”

In 2001, Weihenmayer became the first blind man to reach the top of Mount Everest, and by 2008 he’d accomplished the amazing feat of scaling the seven tallest peaks in the world. “In an ironic way, that thing like blindness or that barrier you face, if you attack it the right way, it can become a catalyst to moving yourself to a new place that you may not have gone to in any other way,” Erik said.

Erik’s story can be viewed online, in the above film directed by Christopher Hewitt of Knucklehead. Intel has also launched a social media program, where if Erik’s video is shared 2,900 times they will donate $30,000 to No Barriers USA, an organization offering “transformative experiences that allow people to embrace a ‘no barriers mindset’ and discover the potential that lies within themselves and the world.” After viewing Erik’s “Look Inside” video above, you can head here for the full story. Stick around for credits and “Look Inside. Jack Andraka” after the jump.

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Venables Bell & Partners, Audi Present ‘A Special Message from Sarah McLachlan’

We know what you’re thinking: “Holy shit, Sarah motherfucking McLachlan!!” But you should probably sit back down, take a deep breath, maybe drink a glass of water. You don’t want to get yourself too worked up. We don’t want you to start pounding your desk and throwing chairs in excitement. Hopefully you didn’t just scream that out loud for your boss to hear.

The Lilith Fair founder stars in this bizarre Super Bowl teaser that Venables Bell and Partners put together for its longtime client and perennial big game advertiser, Audi. In the spot, McLachlan parodies her own advertisements in support of the ASPCA, offering up a “special new song” to raise awareness for “misunderstood animals.” In this case, the “misunderstood animals” are Doberhuahuas (a cross between a Doberman and Chihuahuas, get it?). The freaky-looking things populate the spot, pictured hanging on couch by the fireplace, on a walk along the beach, tearing up a couch, and hanging out with kittens, ducklings and bunnies. It’s a bit bizarre, but it certainly should get people’s attention. And it features the always exciting music of Sarah McLachlan. You might want to wait until later to watch this, so you can appropriately rock out and get your Sarah on. Just saying.

The ad marks the second teaser from Audi, following “Dog Show,” which debuted earlier this week. Audi’s latest Super Bowl effort will be promoting the automaker’s all-new A3, billed as “the brand’s entry-level luxury sedan.” It will mark Audi’s seventh return to the Super Bowl. Keep an eye out for the spot during the first in-game break and following the third quarter kickoff. Stick around for “Dog Show after the jump. Read more

VB&P, McAfee Think Your Digital Self is a Complete Idiot

 

San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners continue their ”Protect Yourself from Your Digital Self” campaign for McAfee LiveSafe, produced by its in-house content production facility, Lumberyard, with a new spot entitled ”Beth vs. @simply_the_beth.”

The spot builds on the notion of the careless, naive digital self they’ve explored in the past. In this case, @simply_the_beth’s carelessness leads to identity theft, an opportunity for VB&P to tout McAfee’s identity protection. The way in which this happens is a bit over-the-top, and I have to think the spot would be more successful if  @simply_the_beth got in trouble in a more realistic way. I understand the ad is attempting to be humorous, but it really pushes things way past believability. Aren’t you trying to get people to identify with Beth and her digital self? And by making Beth’s digital self a complete idiot, aren’t you kind of insulting your potential customers? Making @simply_the_beth so unbelievably stupid just seems like a big misstep. On an unrelated note, I really want that owl mug Beth is holding.

In the slightly more successful Gregg vs. @greggs_benedict (featured after the jump), VB&P plays on the animosity between Greg and his digital self without making the digital self quite so cartoonish (he’s more of a dick than a moron). Let us know what you think of the new spot, and the ”Protect Yourself from Your Digital Self” campaign in the comments section.  Read more

Goodby Vet Davidson Assumes Top Strategy Role at VB&P

Michael_Davidson1After spending over six years at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, where he last served as group strategy director, Michael Davidson is heading over to fellow San Francisco agency, Venables Bell & Partners, to assume the title of head of strategy. Davidson (the staring far off into the distance look never fails), who actually had two stints at Goodby, first serving as planning director at the agency in the early aughts, will now head up said department at VB&P, which of course counts notable clients including Intel, Audi and Google. This marks for a reunion of sorts for Davidson and current VB+P managing director, Paul Birks-Hay, as the pair worked together at AMV BBDO earlier in their careers. In addition to AMV, Davidson spent two years in the U.K. at TBWA London, working on Labour Party’s General Election Campaign and reporting directly to Tony Blair.

Along with new head of strategy, Venables Bell & Partners has added more to the department in group strategy director Leander Chapman, aka “Chappy” (we can dig it), who most recently ran his own consultancy and has previously served strategy director for Translation among other agency gigs.

VB&P, Audi Chase the White Whale in ‘Ahab Redux’

In 2012, a creative director fell into Herman Melville’s 720-page trap and reimagined Ahab as a tow truck driver, madly chasing his white whale, an Audi Quattro. “Sometimes, I actually think it’s mocking me,” Ahab says in a gruff voice, anxiously twisting his thermos as he waits in the arctic tundra.

Said creative director then got distracted by Cetology, but has now resurfaced to produce “Ahab Redux,” in which, obviously, our automotive whale has yet to meet his driver. Ahab has retired on an island “most folks would call paradise,” but he can’t escape his all-wheel drive demon. “There isn’t a road on earth that can stop it.”

Thankfully this ad is a departure from the old winding-mountain-road glamour reel, and I appreciate the attempt at literary allusion. We’re all familiar with Moby Dick, whether we became obsessed like Ahab or SparkNoted its entirety. “Ahab Redux” is a bit of a cop-out due to its repetition, but the general idea probably gives Audi’s target affluent audience a twinge of self-satisfaction: “Oh, I know that story!”

Credits and original Ahab after the jump Read more

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