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Barton F. Graf 9000 Creates Somber Mini-Doc for the Esquire Mentor Project

Last month, we posted on 72andSunny’s irreverent take on men becoming mentors, best embodied by the tagline “F*ck off, I’m helping.

Today, Barton F. Graf 9000 gave us the polar opposite of that effort in the second of three campaigns created in partnership with Esquire magazine, also known as the “must-read” glossy for ad creatives everywhere. It’s a very different, very serious effort.

Two names come to mind: Errol Morris and Philip Glass.

Fairly dramatic departure from the agency’s most recent work, no?

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Wednesday Odds and Ends

-PFK launches first-ever digital campaign for Edmunds.com, entitled “The Absurdity of Haggling” (video above).

-Pereira & O’Dell named Matt Herrmann as its chief strategy officer. Herrmann joins from BBDO SF, where he served as EVP/director of strategy for four years.

-The Advertising Club of New York named Dana Anderson, SVP, CMO, Mondelez International as its 2014 Advertising Person of the Year.

-Saatchi & Saatchi, New York given expanded role for Walmart, tasked with presenting retail giant as underdog.

-Interpublic Group reports its net income nearly doubled in third quarter.

-Publicis North America Chief Digital Officer Dawn Winchester today announced the appointment of Eric Green as EVP, director of experience design, effective October 29, 2014.

-Mashable signs partnership with MEC, licensing its Velocity platform, “a technology that predicts and tracks the viral life cycle of digital media content.”

-Production company Über Content announced the addition Bethany MacMillan as director of East Coast sales.

Air New Zealand Returns to Middle Earth with ‘The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made’ from True

Air New Zealand, no stranger to well-publicized safety videos, is today launching “The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made,” created by agency True and directed by Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi, in anticipation of the December release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The airline has been cashing in on the popularity of Peter Jackson‘s Tolkien adaptations since his Lord of The Rings trilogy, and this latest installment marks the third themed effort for The Hobbit series (less than a year after the last campaign), and the second flight safety video. Shot over the course of six days, at numerous locations used in the filming of the series, the spot also includes appearances from Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), as well as Jackson himself. As cheesy as might be expected, the ad will undoubtedly appeal to the kind of diehard Tolkien/Jackson fans who would plan a trip to New Zealand based around the films. It’s a much more sure bet than the controversial “Safety in Paradise” from earlier this year, as Middle Earth tourism has been a boon for New Zealand.

Director Peter Jackson was pleased with the video, saying, “Air New Zealand has created yet another fantastic video to celebrate The Hobbit films. This latest offering combines members of our cast and our locations with Air New Zealand’s unique personality.  I had a lot of fun on the set with Taika and the team and look forward to seeing the video on board.”

NO MORE and Y&R Debut New Anti-Domestic Violence PSA

You may be aware that the NFL has on ongoing perception problem related to domestic violence — and now the league’s advertising reflects its efforts to address that issue.

Alongside the many spots promoting Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football and various consumer products, today brings a series of PSAs titled “NFL Anthem” and developed, pro bono, by Rachel Howald, CCO at WPP/Team BAC.

Take it away, Eli Manning:

The series includes a couple of variations after the jump.

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W+K Offers Cute Take on Modern Romance for Facebook

W+K crafted a cute little 30-second broadcast spot for Facebook taking on the subject of modern romance in a promotion of Facebook Messenger.

Entitled “Say Love You Better,” the spot shows a young couple attempting to bridge a long distance to communicate their love for each other. Beginning with a simple “I miss u” message, the spot uses the couple trying to find better ways to say “I love you” as a means to demonstrate the different ways Messenger lets you communicate: audio, photos, video, various emoji, etc. The couple, initially separated on opposite ends of the screen, fly towards each other and embrace, symbolizing how Messenger helped bring them together, ending with the “Say love you better” tagline. It’s an effective way to deliver the message, and perhaps rebuild the reputation of Facebook’s often-maligned mobile service (without addressing any of the criticism).

The campaign will also include OOH elements, a first for Facebook, with billboards in Los Angeles and Chicago rolling out next month.

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SpecialGuest Enlists Alex Honnold to Climb ‘Heaven’ for Squarespace

Agency SpecialGuest enlisted professional climber Alex Honnold to take on a route in Yosemite known as “Heaven,” in free solo fashion, meaning no rope or protective gear for an ad promoting Squarespace 7.

While Honnold is one of the world’s preeminent solo climbers, “Heaven” is no walk in the park, even for him. Before the ad was shot he’d only taken it on once without gear, and describes it as “the most severe route you’ll ever climb.” Since it also affords the best views in Yosemite, Honnold was happy to take on the challenge. A 30-second version of the spot debuted during the World Series last night, but we’ve included the full length version above.

The spot is part of a larger campaign promoting the launch of Squarespace 7 and Alex also helped inspire “Shift,” one of twelve new design templates in the latest version of Squarespace. As you may remember, he’s also not a stranger to advertising, having scaled the GS&P building this June for Stride Health. Read more

Deutsch LA Introduces ‘Randomly Chosen One’ for Taco Bell

Deutsch LA introduces Taco Bell to Destiny in a new ad promoting the chain’s PS4 Destiny bundle sweepstakes with its Quesarito Big Box.

In the spot, a small guy enjoying a Quesarito Big Box is thrown into the world of Destiny, where a commanding officer refers to him as “The Chosen One” and expect him to lead the vanguard. “I’m from New Jersey, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” the guy says after explaining (in a perhaps too obvious line) that he won bought a Quesarito Big Box and won a PS4. “The Chosen One” manages a blunder near the end of the spot that may make his leader second guess his notions that he’ll lead them to victory, leading into an explanation of the promotion, which runs until November 19th. The spot makes sure to mention that there’s “a winner about every 15 minutes,” a claim that may sound pretty convincing to young viewers with a hankering for some Taco Bell and PS4. Read more

Olson Acquired; No Real Changes to Report

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Last night after we left the office, we learned that another chapter in the history of independent agencies has closed with the acquisition of Minneapolis-based Olson by ICF International. (Law firm Hogan Lovells advised the parties on the deal.)

What is ICF? It’s a D.C.-based “provider of consulting services and technology solutions to government and commercial clients” that wanted to expand on the “customer engagement, e-commerce and system-integration” services it offers to clients in the public and private sectors.

The basic idea is that ICF, which was previously able to make recommendations to its clients regarding their marketing strategies, can now follow through on that advice via campaign execution.

It’s also worth noting that, while Olson still made the lists of top indie agencies before this week, its owner John Olson did sell to the private equity group KRG Capital Partners back in 2009.

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Little Girls Drop F-Bombs for FCKH8, Feminism

Activist t-shirt brand FCKH8 has stirred up some controversy with a new video that features little girls dropping f-bombs left and right (and seemingly having a blast while doing it).

The point of the profanity is that gender inequality should be more offensive than a child saying the word “fuck,” but it also serves to draw attention to the message, which otherwise offers up facts that aren’t anything new if you’ve been paying attention. The girls address such issues as the wage gap, objectification and sexual assault. The most shocking moment comes not from the girls use of profanity but when they say one in five women will be a victim of rape and sexual assault and then count off and wonder aloud which one of them it will be.

Unsurprisingly, FCKH8′s video has met with its fair share of criticism. The profanity proved too much for YouTube viewers, and the site has since removed the video. It lives on, however, at Vimeo, where the comments section is ripe with accusations of child exploitation (FCKH8 is a for-profit company) and open misogyny. Of course, the video was designed to stir up controversy and draw attention to the company, which donates five dollars from each fifteen dollar t-shirt to charities, so the backlash is entirely expected.

“Some adults may be uncomfortable with how these little girls are using a bad word for a good cause. It is shocking what they are saying, but … the big statistic that one out of five women are sexually assaulted or raped is something society seems to find less offensive than a little four-letter word, and we love how these girls draw attention to that imbalance,” video producer Mike Kon told Adweek.

Funnily enough, Adweek points out that FCKH8′s PR team couldn’t bring itself to be as brazen as the girls in the video, censoring the word “fuck” in its official press release.

Wednesday Morning Stir


-This Chevy spot (video above) featuring Little League star Mo’Ne Davis (the first pitcher to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series) was among the ads that debuted during the first game 0f the World Series last night.

-Consequences of company mistakes are made “much more serious” by social media.

-California agency thinkParallax gave each employee $1,500 to travel to a destination of their choice and blog about it.

-Rovio partners with YouTube to bring Slow Mo Guys to mobile game Retry.

-A look at Someecards’ strategy for native advertising.

-Eyewear brand Adlens is taking a programmatic approach to television advertising.

-A look at brands that are doing excellent work on Tumblr.

-Coca-Cola could end up paying out a cash settlement for misleading advertising and labeling of Vitaminwater.

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