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Friday Odds and Ends

-The Father Bob Foundation’s “Win Happiness” competition (video above) has an unusual grand prize.

-Content-driven ad network OneSpot has partnered with Time Inc. and Meredith’s branded content studios, among others.

-ShurTech Brands LLC, best known for its Duck Tape brand duct tape has contracted with Pittsburgh agency Brunner for digital marketing assignments on a project basis, following a two month review.

-Healthcare communications company LNNS announced the appointment of Ellen Fields as its first Chief Sharing Officer, tasked with leveraging “the principles of the sharing/collaborative economy to get ahead of the rapidly changing needs of pharma clients.”

-Adweek keeps you in the loop on “Accounts in Review.”

-Uber’s latest scandal has made a dent in its brand.

-WCRS launched a global campaign for King’s Candy Crush Soda Saga.

Agency SFST Had Trouble Finding a Grandma Who Hasn’t Smoked Pot for This Viral Video

Seattle-based agency Super Frog Saves Tokyo is behind the above hilarious and endearing video of three grandmothers smoking cannabis for the first time, followed by Jenga using “all your hands,” discussions about ironing and attempts at opening a bag of chips. The agency created the video, which has now surpassed the 12 million view mark on YouTube, as a side project, but told The Wall Street Journal it plans to host a whole series of “entertaining yet thought-provoking videos” on the new site Cut.com beginning next week.

“Cut.com is an experiment for us,” Mike Gaston, SFST’s creative director, told that publication. “BuzzFeed is really good at getting content spread, and Vice is good at creating really thought-provoking content, but I think there’s space in between. I think it’s possible for us to create culturally relevant videos that are also entertaining…”

Gaston stressed that the video “isn’t simply a marketing tool for the agency,” despite all the publicity afforded to Super Frog Saves Tokyo as a result of its viral success. “This isn’t a business development tool,” he said. “Right now I’m only really looking for long-term, strategic partners for SFST.” He did add, however, that the agency “would happily turn Cut.com into its own business.”

One of the more interesting (and funny) facts to emerge from the Wall Street Journal interview was an unexpected challenge in creating the video. “Surprisingly, the hardest part of the entire video was finding grandmas that haven’t smoked weed,” Gaston said.

SFST initially attempted to use their own grandmothers, only to discover that they’d all tried cannabis at least once — as had all their friends. Next they turned to a talent agency, but even then only managed to find two candidates who fit the bill. Funnily enough, they resorted to using the talent agent’s own grandmother as the third party. According to The Wall Street Journal, Cut.com has already recorded more content, which will be uploaded to the site and its corresponding YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Let’s hope they can live up to their initial success.

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

DPC Goes Satirical for Get Covered Illinois

The time has come, yet again, to talk health care enrollment. The numbers are good, though they might not be as good as some claim…but the goal for the parties running various states’ healthcare exchanges will always be increased enrollment.

While The White House has turned to celebrities for promo purposes, President Obama’s home state of Illinois went with local agency DPC, which created TV/print/OOH/digital work for Get Covered Illinois, the group dedicated to teaching residents the ins and outs of insurance and convincing them to sign up.

Earlier this year, Get Covered went with The Onion for promo purposes, running “native ads” in the pub’s voice. DPC sticks with the satirical theme — here’s the TV spot, as embedded in the “Luck Plan” microsite:

Images and credits after the jump.

Read more

FCB West Gets Interactive for Dragon Age: Inquisition

FCB West created a campaign promoting the release of Electronic Art’s Dragon Age Inquisition, centered around broadcast and online trailers.

The trailers feature dramatic gameplay footage designed to pique viewers interest in the game, which was released this Thursday. In the 80-second broadcast spot, “The Breach,” for example, an epic battle ends with a dragon blowing fire at the screen, which turns into the title and release date, accompanied by the tagline “Lead them or fall.”

But FCB West’s campaign doesn’t end with the trailers, as the agency created a whole interactive experience which “both challenges and rewards fans with bonus content like no other advertising campaign to date.” The agency created “Quest for the Red Lyrium Reapers,” an interactive experience at DragonAge.com which challenges players with finding hidden content within the game’s campaign videos, and offers a unique incentive: an in-game weapons pack. It’s an interesting approach to get fans engaged with FCB’s campaign, and one that makes the content relevant past the release date. Stick around for the online trailer (along with credits) after the jump. Read more

VICE Media Insiders Defend Outgoing Creative Director

VICE-logoVice Media may not be a traditional agency, but it does have a lot of clients and, depending on who you ask, some quality creative talent.

Holding companies are certainly interested: you may recall that Sir Martin and WPP bought a stake in the still-growing company in 2012 before Rupert Murdoch could climb on board.

Vice also acquired Carrot Creative back in 2013, and Carrot CEO Mike Germano assumed the chief digital officer position.

There’s no denying that Vice Media does real work: in July we posted on in-house creative studio Virtue’s Spanglish-flavored campaign for AT&T. Based on what we hear from both an inside source and a report in this morning’s New York Post, the company seems to have all the interpersonal drama of a traditional ad agency as well.

Read more

Martin Williams Unveils ‘Sparkle’ for Mall of America

Martin Williams has unveiled its holiday campaign for Mall of America, focused around a 30-second broadcast spot entitled “Sparkle.”

The spot highlights all the different finds visitors can pick up at Mall of America, with an emphasis on women’s clothing and jewelry. Set to a “modernized” version of “Carol of the Bells,” the spot intersperses shots of models showing off different clothing, jewlery, makeup, etc. with messages like “Always elegant,” “Always stunning,” and “Always festive,” ending with the tagline, “Redefine your holiday.”

A print campaign running in newspapers regionally and nationally in magazines focuses on the message that Mall of America offers “More choices than anywhere else in the nation, all under one roof,” while additional support is provided by six different OOH executions. Additionally, Martin Williams created a Digital Buyers Guide for Mall of America, which will be released on a microsite on Black Friday. The campaign follows a rebranding effort from the agency for the Bloomington, Minnesota retail complex in April.

“The Mall of America has so many options to fit anyone’s need or mood,” said Laura Terry, SVP and chief marketing officer of Martin Williams, in a press release. “No matter what people are looking for, the new holiday television spot reminds them that there is always something new and fun at the mall.”

W+K Explores Virtual Reality for Chrysler

Heard of Oculus Rift but still not sure what it is, exactly? Now you can become a little more familiar with the experience thanks to Wieden+Kennedy Portland.

But first, this September entry from W+K for client Chrysler is less an ad than a short “making of” documentary about the company’s interactive factory tour project:


New work after the jump.

Read more

Jim Parsons Stars in mcgarrybowen’s First Efforts for Intel


Ubiquitous Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons stars in Intel’s new holiday campaign, the first work from agency McGarryBowen since being named agency of record in October.

The first spot for the holiday campaign (featured above) breaks Monday, and the campaign will run for six weeks as the other ads gradually roll out. In it Parsons plays himself, running amok a restricted access area at Intel and gawking at Intel’s RealSense technology, until he is eventually thrown out by a security guard who tells him not to talk about anything he saw. Parsons’ broadcast spots will be backed by a social media campaign featuring companion videos and photos.

“The decision to approach this in a comedic way was one that intrigued me from the beginning,” Gordon Bowen, chairman and chief creative officer of McGarryBowen, told The New York Times. The campaign “is really just the beginning,” Bowen added. “It sets us up for a campaign that tells you there’s a new Intel that is bringing things to market that will surprise and delight you.”

Friday Morning Stir

-Agency OSJL launched a holiday campaign for a Rhode Island based chain store called Ocean State Job Lot that is a little…odd (video above).

-Google launched Contributor yesterday, a tool which “lets readers pay their favorite publishers in lieu of seeing ads.”

-What to expect from Twitter in 2015.

-Native ad spending continues to grow.

-Domain registration site NameCheap.com created The Hipster Business Name Generator.

-TNS announced the appointment of Will Galgey as CEO for TNS UK, effective mid-January 2015.

-VCCP created this O2 ad featuring Ed Sheeran.

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