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Archives: July 2013

Venice Shop Makes an Arcade Game with Bloody Bears

Instead of comparing fuel band scores or enjoying an office taco Tuesday, Venice, CA-based agency Ted Perez + Associates banded together to create something that would push their boundaries as storytellers and technologists. Their idea was an arcade game, made from scratch. Their designers created the characters, their copywriters (presumably) wrote the words, and their programmers built the code. Altogether, they made Gnarnia, a Wii-enabled arcade game that tells the story of an idyllic camp invaded by pesky woodland creatures. Players have to shoot the animals to stay safe and win points.

The idea is fun, and I appreciate the mashup of a title. But in reviewing this project, I wonder a few things: first, could Ted Perez and his associates have used those 26 days it took to bring this project to life for something a bit more…productive? Maybe I’m a total grinch, but because this isn’t particularly funny or nuanced, it seems like a waste of time. And second (in an admittedly off-topic issue), the tiny text on their website makes me feel like I’m about to turn 40. If an ad agency is about storytelling and technology, they should manage to put their website’s font in black, size 12. And get someone with a non-monotonous voice to narrate future promotional videos.

ESPN, Jason Sudeikis Count Down Best of ‘This is Sportscenter’ Spots

I was just a kid when Charley Steiner yelled “Follow me! Follow me to freedom!” at the end of the “Y2K” This is Sportscenter ad. ESPN was a much simpler network then, before screaming heads led by Messers Bayless and A. Smith really damaged the reputation of everyone’s go-to sports network. Back then, the anchors of Sportscenter, like Steiner, were the stars, and the audience got to see anchor personalities shine through during these 30-second spots. Sometimes the spots featured professional athletes; sometimes they didn’t. But the spots were almost always funny and ripe with self-deprecation.

More than a decade later, Steiner is gone from the network. ESPN has chosen to count down the 50 greatest “This is Sportscenter” commercials from the past 18 years on August 1, with irrelevant host/SNL member Jason Sudeikis. As always, W+K New York ran point on this project with “the worldwide leader in sports.” I’m not sure why the network has chosen to unroll the countdown now, but we’re told that there will be bonus footage and interviews with the actors, athletes, and producers who helped shape the commercials. So for one last day, we can all follow Charley Steiner to freedom.

You can watch a few of the top spots after the jump, including a great bit featuring the entire Manning family from a few years ago.

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Deutsch NY, Cheryl Greene to Part Ways

There’s no acrimony with this split it appears as we’ve been told by Deutsch itself that ad vet Cheryl Greene, who’s spent the last three-plus years as partner/director of business initiatives at the IPG-owned agency’s New York office, is preparing to retire from the agency world altogether. A Deutsch NY spokesperson adds and clarifies, “We have been working together to take the steps needed for a smooth transition – for example by reducing hours and client interface.  We are happy that we are able to help her ease her way into retirement. We will not be looking to replace her.”

In early 2010, Greene rejoined Deutsch , where she initially spent sixteen years and worked in positions including brand strategy advisor, after a stint as managing partner, director of integrated brand strategies at KBS+.

Person in Charge of Delta’s Twitter Apparently a Sir Mix-a-Lot Fan

We’ve certainly seen worse Twitter offenses over the years when it comes brands, like this one from two years ago. So, let’s just be like the kids these days and let out a loud SMH at what whoever handles Delta’s Twitter account just posted and already has several commenters and tipsters expressing everything from eyerolls to WTFs. Consider this a little mid-afternoon respite from all the agency-related madness of the week. The only good thing that can come out of this is that the self-proclaimed “Mack Daddy” is collecting a damn check somewhere.

Digitas Associate Art Director Runs a One-Stop Shop for All Your Creative Needs

Stephen Icardi, associate art director at Digitas, and writer Catherine Penfold-Waxman, have assembled the ultimate shopping destination for the ad world. Because nothing is buyable yet, you may find yourself salivating at the possibility of the David Ogilvy Magical Tagline Pipe, or Talent Nurturing Breasts. (“Who knows when your junior help will become your future boss, so start them off right with some sweet nurturing.”)

Creative Miscellaneous Materials LLC stocks something for everyone: an Acronym Polishing Kit for account managers, a Meeting Fodder Detector for hungry interns, and Work Party Unmemory Drops for the CD who drinks the pain away. My favorite is the “Make it Digital” Powder, which is funny because it already seems to exist, in the form clients who refuse to acknowledge the possibilities of online advertising.

This is a fun little piece of gentle in-joking, and I hope that Icardi plans on making actual fake products, because they’ll be perfect Christmas gifts. I would like the Criticism-filtering Head Gear, please, to deal with some of the more uncouth commenters out there.

Oh Yeah, There Are Just a Few Days Left to Vote for ‘Internship King’

It’s that time again, interns of the world, to cast your votes for the best agency intern program in Internship King’s annual poll. Last year, we saw the likes of The Richards Group, McKinney and 22squared topping the list. This year, as you can see, it’s a whole different ballgame thus far, though voting will continue through end of Friday so who knows how this will turn out. Just to remind you students out there, the Internship King site not only allows you to vote but view ratings, reviews, and salaries of agency internships as well.

Tuesday Morning Stir

-London-based integrated agency Space has welcomed Mat O’Brien as creative director.

-D.C./New York-based digital animation/visual design shop Pixeldust Studios has brought on Julie Fischer as its new senior VFX producer.

-Leo Burnett’s non-profit division Leo Burnett Change has been tapped by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to develop what the parties involved say is the UK’s first national water safety awareness campaign.

-Indie production outfit Blacklist has teamed up with streaming music service Rdio to promote the latter’s New Weekly Music series (Gogol Bordello effort above, see the rest here).

-Don’t worry, the CBS/Time Warner Cable haggling will continue. link

Applebee’s, CP+B Bring Back the Lunch Decoy

CP+B originally ran with the idea of a blow-up doll lunch decoy last year, suggesting that people could secure more time at Applebee’s by tricking their bosses. In 2013, the same old bag of tricks comes in the form of a longer ad – 102 seconds – showing various worker bees running out of the office to indulge in some Applebee’s. I’ve never been a fan of the fine dining cuisine at such establishments, but I’m told customers can enjoy hundreds of lunch combos starting at $6.99. If you can get a restaurant combo for that cheap, you may want to think twice.

The spot itself isn’t digging much into new ground. There is one interesting bit, when a black construction worker uses a white lunch decoy. I’m not sure what that is trying to say, if anything at all, but the man’s boss must not pay very good attention to his staff if the lunch decoy can be effective while using a different skin color than the man who is jolting to Applebee’s (Ed. update: CP+B clarifies that it did use the likeness that most resembles of its construction worker as part of the campaign. Go here). Maybe the man’s boss is using his own lunch decoy, at which point the men would run into each other at an Applebee’s and ruin the trick for everyone. Credits after the jump.

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Monday Odds and Ends

-Starcom USA has appointed Xi Chicago (formerly Energy BBDO unit Proximity Worldwide) alum Andrew Kasprzycki as EVP/managing director on the Microsoft account. Kasprzycki will work out of Starcom’s Chicago office.

-Grey New York has teamed up with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch the NYC-based campaign, “Recycle Everything” (one print example above).  link

-A week after bringing on Matt Ian as its new creative boss, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York has welcomed former Barneys e-commerce director Jordan Holberg as director of technology. link

-After spending the last three years at the likes of Blast Radius and SapientNitro, Scott Weisbrod has returned to his old stomping grounds at Critical Mass Toronto to take on the role of VP/strategy. link

-It was only a matter of time before The Onion covered the Publicis/Omnicom merger. link

-Aaannnd our pal Rich Siegel chimes in on you know what. link

-New York-based prodco Rascal Films has signed director Adam Bonke for exclusive U.S. representation.

-Former Atomic Playpen project manager Julie Salfer and Periscope alum Abbey Jensen have joined fellow Minneapolis shop Clarity Coverdale Fury as account manager and production/traffic manager, respectively.

-Health/wellness firm inVentiv Health has opened two new offices in Tokyo and New York for its medical communications business. link

Subaru, Carmichael Lynch Find Love on the Road

Chances are, you’ve known a good Subie. Whether you rode to school in your mom’s, drove one yourself, or cherished your significant other’s, the thoughts are fond. Now, with their latest campaign from Carmichael Lynch, Subaru has incorporated that adoration.

In one new video, a Subaru makes an unexpected first date possible with diner milkshakes and roadside farmer’s market fun. In the second spot, “Redressing Room,” a mother puts up with her son’s affinity for nudity. The tagline for both ads is, “Love: It’s What Makes a Subaru a Subaru,” and I now wish I could be driving a car while hugging myself for maximum endorphins. These ads are sweet without being saccharine; a heartwarming play on Subaru’s role as an all-purpose family car, more a character in a story than its means of transportation. It’s a good way to win our hearts; if love is all we need, we’d better get a Subaru.

Credits after the jump

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