Looking for a Mother's Day gift with character? Have you considered some nice arse? A friend passed along this head-scratcher of a print ad from a local jeweler in my Alabama hometown. Hard to believe someone didn't notice before it went to press, but maybe America's love affair with "Britishisms" hasn't made its way down here yet.
Nicole Kidman frolics around in some fields, giggles a lot and just generally looks happy and healthy in her first ad campaign for Swisse Wellness, Australia's No. 1 multivitamin brand. And this isn't just some act. "During the shoot, which took place at the historic Terrara House Estate on the Australian New South Wales south coast, Ms. Kidman surprised the crew by diving into the Pacific Ocean for a spontaneous early morning swim at Seven Mile Beach," the brand tells us. "She drove a pickup truck around the rural estate and enjoyed fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden." See, truth in advertising! The spot, the first of four, was done by Melbourne-based ad agency Noisy Beast, which is said to be planning to open an office in Chicago this year to handle U.S. marketing for the Swisse brand. The shoot was styled by a fellow Australian Oscar winner of Kidman's, costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, and directed by U.S. photographer and filmmaker John Urbano. "I joined Swisse because I wanted to help bring awareness to the importance of living a healthy lifestyle in a busy, often stressful world," said Kidman, who signed up as the brand's global ambassador last year. "I love feeling healthy and fit."
The 139th Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The spectacle is as much a soiree and fashion occasion as it is a prestigious horse race. Thousands will flock to the grounds in their Sunday best. For women, flowered floppy hats and sundresses are always a hit. As for the men, a seersucker suit with a festive tie will do. But all that beauty and enimence won't hide the fact that horse racing can be, and often is, a dark sport. To that effect, PETA is launching a new mobile billboard, which will be driven outside the racetrack, to remind visitors of the cruelties that can lie beneath the surface of the thoroughbred sport. The ad, created by a Temple University student, shows a horse with a marking on his nose that looks like a syringe. (He probably races under the name Old Needleface.) The copy reads, "Drugs. Breakdowns. Death. Horse racing is a bad bet." PETA had better get the ad out there early tomorrow, though, because we all know no one remembers anything after that second mint julep.
McCann Worldgroup prevailed in a holding company shoot-out for Zurich Insurance Group, beating contenders that included the incumbent Publicis Groupe and WPP Group. The Worldgroup pitch team represented parent Interpublic and included efforts from McCann Erickson, MRM and UM. The global assignment covers advertising, media and digital marketing.
Account revenue across all Worldgroup marketing units is estimated at more than $10 million. Global media spending on Zurich was not available. Spending in the U.S., where Zurich is a leading commercial property and casualty insurer, approached $10 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure, however, does not include online outlays.
The Swiss-based financial services company launched the agency review nearly a year ago after having picked Publicis in 2004 as a marketing partner in most of its key markets like Europe, North America and Asia. In that earlier review, the Paris-based holding company replaced 3,700 marketing vendors and competed against WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather unit for the business.
Some smartphones are smarter than other smartphones," Samsung proclaims in this new 90-second spot, which aired Thursday night on Conan. But mostly, some smartphones appear to be younger than other smartphones. Every adult at this graduation pool party has an iPhone, and every kid has a Samsung Galaxy S4—just like the real world, where iPhone popularity is plummeting and…
No, I'm sorry, that's not happening. But you can't blame Samsung for trying. A company that comprises 20 percent of the GDP of South Korea has a lot of mouths to feed, to say the least.
This is a good ad, but it is a little strange that there's only one joke feature in an ad about really neat stuff that actually does seem kind of off the wall and science fictional. Smellable photos aren't coming out until the GS6, at the soonest. (The phone does all the other stuff, though, right? I mean, I used to have a Palm Pilot that could turn on the TV. God, I'm old, you guys. Like, iPhone old.) I'm also not entirely clear on what the hovering-finger text-reading thing actually is.
72andSunny's best idea here is the music, a plucked-string, piano and viola combo that points up the humor and easily accommodates breaks for punch lines. The casting is good, too, especially the girls by the pool and every one of the parents, who are all very game about playing baby-boomer cluelessness.
As a devoted Apple denialist, I am always up for a few cheap shots at the iPhone. But this ad actually has more on its mind than "Apple users are cultists," which was the point of its very funny campaign for a while. Now, Samsung is actually emphasizing the features of the phone itself, which is … yes, I'm going to definitively call that a good idea.
Agency: 72andSunny, Los Angeles
Mindshare’s Bacardi win in the U.S. comes on the heels of a couple of other significant prizes so far this year.
Last month, the WPP Group shop successfully defended its global HSBC business, with annual media spending estimated at $400 million, and in February, the agency won the U.S. account of Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment, which collectively spend about $250 million each year. Bacardi's annual spending totals $130 million.
In the Lionsgate and Summit pitch, which came after the former acquired the latter last year, Initiative was the incumbent on Lionsgate, and Mindshare on Summit. Horizon Media also competed for the consolidated account.
The other finalists for Bacardi were Horizon, TargetCast and the incumbent, KSL Media. Ark Advisors in New York managed the process.
Mindshare, which declined to comment, will run the business out of its New York headquarters. Beyond its namesake brand of rum, Bacardi’s portfolio of brands includes Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Dewar’s scotch and Martini vermouth.
Ark referred calls to the Coral Gables, Fla.-based Bacardi, which confirmed the hire, adding that the handoff from KSL will be completed by July 1.
Instagram has a new logo, and it's lovely. In particular, the "I" at the beginning looks more like an "I," but the company kept a script-style font (a nod to the brand's love of all things nostalgic) and generally cleaned it up a bit. Designer Mackey Saturday worked with Instagram on it, and explains more here:
I had the opportunity to work with the fantastic team at Instagram to create their new logo. It has been a long time coming, and I'm honored to share the result with you. It was always essential that the design maintained everything that we've all grown to know and love about Instagram while creating a logotype that was more refined, durable, and that positioned the brand for expansion. Looking to the past to inspire the future, the script connects with the nostalgia that Instagram was built from, maintains the important character of the original typeface, and places the brand in a unique and prominent position both in the current and future landscape.
Some more images from Mackey after the jump.
I'll admit to not seeing the twist ending coming in this evocative new spot by BBH London for fruit-drink brand Robinsons. You could quibble with the end lines, perhaps—and here's why—but that's overthinking it. It's an extremely sweet ad, expertly shot by the directing duo of Si & Ad at Academy Films. The commercial breaks Saturday in the U.K. during Britain's Got Talent and will run in 30- and 60-second executions. Credits below.
Agency: BBH, London
BBH Creative Team: Matt Moreland, Chris Clarke, Sarah Hardcastle, Elliot Shiels
BBH Creative Directors: Hamish Pinnell, Justin Moore
BBH Producer: Glenn Paton
BBH Strategic Business Leads: John Harrison, Becky Russell
BBH Strategist: Lilli English
BBH Team Director: Alex Monger
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Si & Ad
Executive Producer: Lizie Gower
Producer: Dom Thomas
Director of Photography: Barry Ackroyd
Postproduction: The Mill
Editor, Editing House: Joe Guest @ Final Cut
Sound: Nick Angell
Adrants draws our attention to this odd campaign by True&Co, an online bra outfitter. True&Co is trying to reclaim the pejorative acronym MILF. Specifically, they'd like to turn "Mom I'd like to f--k" into "Mom I'd love to fit'—as in, fit for a bra. You see, they have the same setup as Warby Parker. They send you five bras to try on at home, you send back what you don't want. Presumably, this means you get the perfect fit. And, during this promotion, you also get a free MILF temporary tattoo!
"Mommy, what does MILF mean?" "Um. That's how you spell milk." "Cool! Can I have a tattoo, too?" At this point, it's best for True&Co to just apologize, act contrite and enjoy the attention. The company did offer this explanation on its website: "The term brings to mind pervy frat boys but who says they should own an acronym? … We think there's nothing objectifying about a woman owning her sexuality. We'd be proud to be considered a MILF (Mom I'd Love to Fit)."
Now, I'll admit, there are moms out there who would like to be considered MILFs, but the weirdest part about this whole thing is the art direction. It's all adorable pictures of moms with their kids, and True&Co even wants you to send in your cute pics for its Mother's Day contest and online gallery. The truth? Even if you are sex positive and proud of your smoking-hot MILF status, you probably don't want to involve the kids.
A bunch more images below.
Instagram added a new Facebook-like tagging feature on Thursday that could give brands higher visibility on the youth-oriented photo-based platform. Called "Photos of You," the feature allows any Instagram user to tag any other Instagram account in their photos.
This means that the Instagram accounts of businesses and products can tag regular users. So if, for example, H&M were to tag Beyoncé, she could choose to add the photo to her stream, exposing the ad to her 3.6 million followers. Beyoncé (and everyone else) can curate the photos tagged with her name, choosing which to showcase on her profile.
Instagram sees the feature as a way for consumers to interact with brands. "People can now add their favorite band to their concert photos from last night, the clothing brand they’re currently wearing or the coffee roaster who brews their morning cup of coffee," the company said in a blog.
So if, for example, Beyoncé wanted to post a Hefe-filtered photo of herself at the combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell, she could tag the two chains, and the businesses could showcase her user-submitted photo that highlights the product. This feature is meant to add a personal dimension to corporate photo-sharing as well as unprecedented consumer reach.
The change comes as Instagram moves into its second year under Facebook ownership. Though the fast-growing photo-sharing site—which now has 100 million users—does not yet sell ads, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said ads are "something we're thinking about." Ads could in fact stunt Instagram's rapid growth, so Zuckerberg is looking for other ways to commercialize the platform.
"They're really doing well and growing quickly and that is the right focus for them," Zuckerberg said in an earnings call on Wednesday. "They have the opportunity to . . . build community."
The photos in the "Pictures of You" section will become public to Instagram users on May 16. This gives users some time to fiddle with the features and figure out privacy.
You can build almost anything with Legos—even controversy!
The company came under fire this week for a licensed sticker set that includes a leering, waving male construction worker and the caption, "Hey Babe!" Journalist Josh Stearns set off a mini firestorm after spying the stickers in a store and calling out Lego on his Tumblr. "I was stunned … street harassment is the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women in the United States," he writes. (He also pointed to a great Lego ad with a girl from 1981 to show "how far they have fallen" in their treatment of gender issues.) Some also noted that the stickers are exclusionary—no women on that crew—and generally portray construction workers as insensitive loafers.
Lego initially responded by saying, "We firmly believe in the play experience we offer, a system that lends itself to years of unlimited play possibilities for any child. To communicate the Lego experience to children we typically use humor and we are sorry that you were unhappy with the way a minifigure was portrayed here." (The "humor" remark subsequently came under fire.) Turns out the product was discontinued in 2010, and the company that made it, Creative Imagination, tanked two years later. Ultimately, Lego told Stearns, "We would not approve such a product again." That's good news, and to its credit, Lego has built up plenty of goodwill through the years, particularly recently. Still, even before stickergate, the company was taking heat for reinforcing gender stereotypes, and they need to do more to counteract that or risk looking like a bunch of blockheads.
CenturyLink, one of the biggest telecommunications companies you may never have heard of, is talking to search consultants about its advertising business, sources said.
Executives from the telco are examining their creative account with a primary focus on digital marketing, according to sources. CenturyLink's media spending totaled $89 million last year, down from about $107 million in 2011, according to Nielsen. Those figures, however, do not include online spending.
After acquiring Qwest two years ago, CenturyLink claims to be the third-largest telecommunications company in the U.S. (behind AT&T and Verizon) in terms of the number of lines served. (Much of Qwest was once US West after the breakup of AT&T.) CenturyLink has 17 million access lines, 5 million broadband customers and 1.4 million video subscribers across 37 states.
A CenturyLink representative declined to confirm the company’s review plans or say whether a consultant had been selected. Execs at Vendi didn’t return calls and those at Peter Mayer could not be reached.
In addition to Qwest, CenturyLink has made other acquisitions in recent years. In 2009, it acquired Embarq, the former local telephone division of Sprint Nextel and the company, known then as CenturyTel, was rebranded as CenturyLink. In 2011, it went on to buy Savvis, a global provider of cloud infrastructure and hosted solutions.
In March, CenturyLink launched a TV, print and online campaign that focused on the company’s business offerings across network, managed hosting and cloud capabilities.
At the time, Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink’s CEO and president, said, “We believe our new campaign helps reinforce CenturyLink’s competitive position by highlighting our unique ability to provide fully integrated, scalable end-to-end solutions for businesses of all sizes.”
Post added that "though this brand campaign focuses on our business offerings, our strong commitment to our residential customers remains. We are dedicated to being the leading broadband provider in our markets and we continue to roll out new and innovative products such as CenturyLink Prism TV.”
The phrase "debt management" doesn't exactly scream "horror film," but that's the unusual route that SS+K took in teasing a program that helps college students and graduates face up to their debt.
The New York-based agency produced The Red, an eight-minute psychological thriller (scroll down to watch it) that premieres Thursday night before screenings of Iron Man 3 in Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C. In the film, a ruby-colored fog haunts a twentysomething woman until she manically retreats to her bedroom and seals the door with duct tape. It feels like a cross between The Blair Witch Project and Black Swan, with a dash of Lost.
Five weeks ago, the agency began marketing The Red simply as a new film from award-winning directors Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin and Josh Mond of Borderline Films. (The editor was Andrew Marcus, who also edited American Psycho.) Through wild postings, a Web site and trailers at college movie theaters, SS+K built anticipation for the release. At the end of the premiere tonight, screen copy will reveal that "The Red is real. It's a suffocating cloud of student loans, debt and financial woes."
The copy also will include references to FaceTheRed.com and SALT, a debt management program from American Student Assistance in Boston. The Web site, which previously served as a promotional tool for the movie, now morphs into a hub for SALT, which isn't an acronym but rather a sly nod to an early form of currency.
ASA hired SS+K last fall, based on some of the agency's past work, including a documentary to introduce Korean pizza chain Mr. Pizza to the U.S. and brand consulting work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which gave rise to the name Livestrong. The Red represents the shop's first work for ASA and the nonprofit's biggest marketing push ever.
Beyond the film screenings and Web site, the campaign includes digital ads and a Facebook application that registers users for a $10,000 sweepstakes contest. ASA also is partnering with The Onion (for a behind-the-scenes spoof of the making of the film), MTVu (to give away a college scholarship) and CollegeHumor (for a contest called the Broke-Ass Student Scholarship).
The film cost less than $1 million to make, and total media spending will be in the range of $3-5 million, according to Sue Burton, ASA's managing director of consumer product and marketing. So, the horror-film route was not only unusual for an organization known historically as a guarantor of student loans but also cost-effective.
Selling the approach to ASA's board of bankers and educators required some priming. Burton reached out to select board members individually before presenting the film concept to the group. The resulting campaign represents just what Burton was looking for: something edgy that captures the paralysis that students feel when they're in debt and the catharsis that ASA can provide through SALT. The movie ends with the frenzied woman being rescued by her roommate after the fog pins the woman against a window ledge. That scene gives way to the screen copy reveal.
Will the reveal of a debt-management program be a letdown compared to the intense drama of the movie?
"It was something that we were really aware of the entire time we were writing the script and coming up with it. You know, 'How do we end this so it's not a groan?' " said Bobby Hershfield, chief creative officer at SS+K. "We hope that the ending feels like the happy ending, a kind of resolve. And then it drives you to the site, and they can actually engage in the site, learn about the tools to help conquer the debt and face the fears. The solution and the ending sort of play into the proposition that we introduced."
Burton, who'll see the reaction firsthand at a Boston theater tonight, doesn't seem worried. After all, there are strands of the subject matter seeded throughout the movie. In one scene, for example, the main character vents to her mom on the phone about mounting bills.
"There are clues all along, and the surprise is that this is a movie that has more meaning. I think that it's just another layer," Burton said. "It's like The Sixth Sense. You're like, 'Oh, that was there all along and I didn't see it.' You know, 'I see debt people.' "
"I don't think it's a twist as much as it's, 'Oh, there's more here than I thought,' " added Burton. "So much of this financial information and debt management talks to people in rational terms, assuming that they're proactively shopping for information or going to research things. I think this hits you in your gut."
There's nothing that car companies seem to love more than showing off their creativity by producing short films that have practically nothing to do with their actual products.
Such is the case with this new Lexus spot from CHI & Partners, the first in the automaker's "Amazing in Motion" series. Titled "Steps," it follows an 11-foot-tall metal puppet—and his five black-clad puppeteers—through darkened city streets, searching for something.
Sound odd? It is. But it's also strangely beautiful, from the slow-motion shots of the puppet walking down crowded sidewalks to the feeling of complete isolation and longing it manages to capture. The puppet lifts his head from his shoulders to peer through a window at a man sitting alone in an office. Later, he stands on the edge of a building, apparently conjuring thoughts of puppet suicide. Eventually, he finds what he was looking for—his (presumably) female counterpart, for whom he shows as much joy as a giant metal puppet is capable of displaying.
The ambition behind "Steps" makes quite a bit more sense when you consider that its director, Daniel Kleinman, is the man responsible for designing every James Bond opening title sequence since GoldenEye (with the exception of Quantum of Solace, which was pretty lackluster anyway). Kleinman was also Adweek's official choice as the best commercial director of the '00s for ads like Guinness's "Noitulove."
Given his talent for the dark, moody and fantastic, it's no surprise Kleinman was able to translate the tale of an enormous puppet—handlers in plain sight—into something so visually impactful. Slightly more surprising is that this is, ultimately, a spot for Lexus—not exactly the world's most out-there brand.
But if they're going for cool, hiring the man behind some of 007's most iconic scenes is a good place to start.
Advertising Agency: CHI & Partners
Creative Directors: Monty Verdi & Micky Tudor
Agency Producer: Rosie Evatt
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Executive Producer: Johnnie Frankel
Producer: Chris Harrison
Editor: Steve Gandolfi @ Cut & Run
Flame: Duncan Malcolm
Flame: Iain Murray
Flame Assist: Nina Mosand, Warren Gebhardt
3D: Adrian Russell, Roman Polanski, Matt Lowery, Matt Fletcher, Krzysztof Klimczyk
Telecine: Ben Rogers
Producer: Kirsty Rutherford
Shoot Supervisor: Ruben LLusia
Little Debbie did not consult with Gap, JCPenney or any other noted logo overhaulers before updating its own logo—the first tweak to the design since 1985. The change is remarkably subtle, so much so that the dessert-snacks brand is challenging its fans on Facebook to see how many differences they can find. "Leave a comment with the changes you can spot, and share it with your friends to see how keen their eyes are," the brand says. For hints, check out the 1,200 comments left so far.
UPDATE: Below, check out the original 1959 photo of Debbie McKee, and the first logo, from 1960, which was based on the photo.
Get scarred for life for a little extra cash! That's the tempting offer being floated by New York City's Rapid Realty, which is offering employees 15 percent raises if they get the company's logo tattooed on their person. Some 40 employees have already done so—either because they love the firm, need the money, or both. "I was like, Why am I throwing my money away when I could get myself from $25,000 to $40,000 for the same amount of work?" Stephanie Barry, who might not understand what 15 percent means, tells CBS News. "My wife was a little concerned but I said, you know what, it was the best commitment I could think of," said another employee, who's been on the job all of one month. There are no size or placement restrictions—one clearly ashamed employee got a tiny tattoo behind her ear. And actually, the design isn't terrible. Rapid Realty owner Anthony Lolli pays for the tattoos, which cost up to $300 each. But tellingly, he has yet to get one himself.
Reflecting a slowing of business in North America, Havas reported flat first-quarter revenue of $504 million. Organic growth declined 0.9 percent compared to an increase of 3.5 percent in the year-earlier quarter.
The company said results were broadly in line with internal expectations.
“The group held up well against the sharp downturn in the European market overall in the first quarter of 2013, achieving positive performances in the key markets of France and the UK,” Havas CEO David Jones said. “Business in North America slowed after outperforming the market in Q4 2012, but emerging markets remain solid. Digital, media, advertising and healthcare communication all made significant contributions to group performance.”
In North America, where revenue slumped 3.9 percent, Havas was impacted by account losses last year that included Dell at Arnold and Sprint and Exxon at Havas Worldwide. (The company expects those losses to tail off in the second quarter.) Havas noted healthcare communications continued to “outperform,” despite significant declines in Pfizer business, and media delivered strong growth as well.
Interestingly, the Paris-based holding company said organic growth rose 1.2 percent in its home country of France, a Eurozone country that continues to be a challenge to other competitors. Those gains came across the board in advertising, media and digital. The rest of Europe showed a 2.4 percent decline, with the exception of digital which continues to perform well, the company said. Germany and Turkey also continue to report good growth. The UK showed modest growth, despite cuts in certain client budgets.
Without releasing revenue specifics, Havas said Latin America, driven by digital, media and operations in Mexico, reported good growth and the Asia Pacific region also grew despite a significant account loss in Australia and the slowdown of the corporate communications business in Hong Kong.
In March, when Havas released its fourth quarter and full-year earnings Jones told analysts he expects a level of organic growth in 2013 that is in line with last year when the company reported a 2 percent increase in organic growth.
Havas is the last of the major industry players to report first-quarter numbers and that forecast is similar to what other companies, like Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic and WPP Group, are forecasting as they continue their climb out of the lingering recession.