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An industry trade group in the city-state of Singapore is behind a new mobile phone app that will curl the toes of digital advertising companies.

In an effort to get smartphone users to stop staring at their devices and start talking to one another, the Singapore Computer Society awarded $24,000 to three students who developed an app that immobilizes handsets when two or more smartphones are placed together.

The app is called Apple Tree because an image of a tree begins sprouting on the mobile screen if the phones remain untouched. Apples grow on the tree and can be harvested and exchanged for rewards like discounts at local shops. The longer the phone is ignored, the more apples grow and the more can be harvested.

The app will be available as a free download to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday next year. It was the winner of the Splash Awards that judged entries on the theme: "Bringing Singaporeans Closer Together."

Apple Tree, however, may be poison to companies trying to make a digital advertising footprint in the region.

Singapore has invested $23 million to develop digital advertising, and Internet advertising is forecast to grow there, according to PWC, which predicts digital ads will account for $264 million by 2018.

text Heineken Is Cannes' Marketer of the Year
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:16:50 PST

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will honor Heineken its Creative Marketer of the Year at the festival in June.

Past honorees include McDonald's last year, Coca-Cola in 2013 and Mars in 2012.

The honor recognizes Heineken's past success at the festival. In the past three years, six of its brands have collectively won 41 Lions, including a Grand Prix in Creative Effectiveness.

"[Heineken] has a superb framework that allows its marketing teams the freedom to experiment while retaining the core essence of their many brands," said Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions Festivals.

And experiment it has. Throughout 2014, the Dutch beer giant made a 15-second film based on a tweet, ran an Instagram campaign for Gay Pride month, and trialed a mobile-only campaign for a new beer-tequila brand.

"This prestigious award is recognition of the great creative work our people and agencies are delivering," said Alexis Nasard, Heineken's president of Western Europe and global chief marketing officer.

The brand's lead global agency is Wieden + Kennedy, which created this year's "Cities of the World" campaign.

Heineken is the second-largest brewer globally by revenue, and claims to be the No. 1 beer brand on Facebook, according to a company fact sheet. It posted group revenue growth of 4.6 percent in the first half of the year, with beer volume up 3.1 percent.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is certainly on a roll. The Chinese e-commerce heavyweight that floated a $22 billion IPO on the New York Stock Exchange is now investing its money in an international version of its behemoth e-commerce portal, Taobao.

Taobao's global version will appear in multiple languages, including English, according to Reuters. Alibaba founder Jack Ma confirmed the plans in an unofficial remark made during a meeting with top Chinese and foreign Internet leaders in Hangzhou, home to Alibaba's headquarters.

Right now shoppers can use a field guide to navigate the site in English.

Alibaba runs a number of online companies, and Taobao is one of its cornerstone businesses. After it debuted in 2003, Taobao did so well it reportedly squeezed eBay out of China.

The Taobao site functions like eBay, as a consumer buying and selling marketplace for items sold at fixed prices or at auction. It is also a marketplace for merchants to sell directly to consumers. In fact, the company makes most of its money through merchant advertising, which secures page views. So there is every reason to believe U.S. merchants would use this gigantic platform as an advertising opportunity.

There are more than 800 million shoppers and 7 million merchants on Taobao, according to The Wall Street Journal, and they tallied $160 billion in transactions last year when combined with Alibaba's Tmall.

It remains to be seen if Alibaba will redesign its Taobao English site. The Chinese site looks like the digital equivalent of a market you'd find on the streets of Hong Kong, with every nook and cranny stuffed with merchandise.

Taobao's sister company Tmall is a more brand-focused site that allows big-name companies like Apple, Nike and the Gap to sell directly to consumers. Before its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, Alibaba cleaned up its act by trying to stop gray-market brands from being sold on Tmall.

Alibaba has also launched 11 Main, a boutique digital shopping mall that features smaller U.S. brands.

Months after splitting with Ogilvy & Mather, American Family Insurance this week found a new home. The New York office of BBDO will lead creative efforts for the big-spending insurer, which advertised on this year's Super Bowl. American Family's search was triggered by Ogilvy taking on a plum assigment for a competitor: Nationwide.

CarMax and the NBA, meanwhile, hosted final presentations in their creative reviews, with three agencies vying for each assignment. One of the CarMax contenders didn't have to travel far: The Martin Agency and the used car retailer are both based in Richmond, Va.

The 1 percent truly get everything catered to them.

Sex toy maker Lelo has launched Pino, a vibrator especially made for bankers. The device itself is your standard stretchable vibrating silicon ring, but the devil is in the packaging details. It comes with matching Lelo silver cufflinks, a money clip engraved with "Always Be Closing" and a pinstripe shirt inlay-all for the price of $159.

Lelo claims it made the product after realizing that 6 percent of its online sales in 2014 were delivered directly to financial offices and stock exchanges, and that 71 percent of people who make $200,000 a year or more that responded to its global sex survey owned more than five of its products.

Why "the ultimate stimulus package" is catered to those employed in the financial sector, and wouldn't work for the rest of us folks, doesn't really make any sense. But if you're in the market to buy something for the banker who has more money than he or she can spend, here's something that might be missing from their briefcase that you can afford.

The cuteness factor is awwwf the charts in "Saving Harry," a two-minute animated film by Wildlife Aid U.K. that follows the journey of the titular hedgehog from suburbia back to the woods where he belongs.

An adorable hedgehog puppet moves through an amazingly well-realized illustrated world. Every element is superbly crafted, from Harry's pale reflection in the puddle to the grimy, discarded food tins and liquor bottles in the alley, and ultimately, the soft sod of the forest floor and ringed bark of the towering trees.

"I'm Seeing Stars," the piano-based tune on the soundtrack, performed by the Elephant Rooms, creates just the right mood-slightly somber, but hopeful, too. Some versions of the clip include the vocal track, and the singer sounds a lot like Kate Bush. You can buy the song on iTunes, with all proceeds supporting the cause.

Though stylized, the presentation is also fairly realistic. (Thankfully, Harry doesn't sing or bust a move.) This approach underscores the seriousness of the message, as Britain's hedgehog population has dropped to 1 million from 30 million since the 1950s.

A tad too real, perhaps, and rather odd, is the sight of Mr. Owl perched on a branch overhead, observing Harry's return to the wild. Owls sometimes prey on hedgehogs. It sent a shiver down my spine(s).

text Facebook to Brands: No More Free Rides
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:46:16 PST

Facebook announced a move this month that will make it more difficult for brands to reach their fans through purely organic marketing efforts. Instead, if brands want to reach the widest possible audience on the social media site, they will need to invest in ads.

In January, the site will curb the number of overly promotional posts users see from brand and celebrity pages. The company says it's responding to users who are tired of seeing posts that push them to buy a product or app; enter promotions with no context; or view actual ads disguised as posts. However, it won't limit the visibility of paid ads.

The change will be large enough that research firm Forrester is encouraging companies to decrease their reliance on Facebook. Instead, the site recommends they add social relationship tools to their own sites and use email marketing campaigns to reach customers.

"If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time," wrote Nate Elliot on the firm's blog. He went on to note that an email will be seen by 90 percent of the people a company sends it to, and no one is looking over a brand's shoulders to dictate what it can write.

Facebook reported that in October, nearly a billion people visited pages created by brands and celebrities. (More than 750 million of them logged on with mobile devices.) But The New York Times estimated that only 2 percent to 8 percent of fans actually see brands' organic posts in the News Feed. And this already-low visibility will fade "significantly over time," Facebook noted.

Ultimately, the move could push marketers to buy ads. Facebook saw a huge increase in ad revenue in the past quarter: up 64 percent to $2.96 billion. It also boasts 25 times the number of advertisers as social rival Twitter. And today, Adweek learned the site will offer deep-pocketed brands exclusive information about users.

Lots of couples kiss in restaurant booths, but the ones doing so at TGI Fridays this holiday season might want to be careful: A device hovering overhead might be taking pictures.

The casual dining chain launched a camera-equipped drone to buzz around a U.K. restaurant this week. But they'd never get away with that in surveillance-wary America, would they? Sure they would. A spokesperson for the chain confirmed to Adweek: "Yes, the drones will be in the U.S."

Setting aside the fact that drones are a slightly delicate topic these days, Fridays isn't sending in the spy cam for the heck of it: This is a marketing mission. The drone is fitted out with both camera and mistletoe. Couples captured kissing beneath it will receive gift certificates. Fridays told the Manchester Evening News that the airborne cams will "help people get a little closer at this time of year."

How American couples will feel about having their picture taken while sharing more than potato skins remains to be seen. So far, one writer has called the device the "Big Brother drone." Meanwhile, here's a pre-holiday peek at TGI Fridays.

Social Media Profile (as of 11/20/14)
Facebook Likes: 1.4 Million
Twitter Followers: 114,000
Instagram Follower: 2,609

The restaurant chain has been promoting its new rib deal on its various social channels and seems to be having the most fun on Twitter, replying to random people tweeting about ribs (more people do this than you'd think) and suggesting they head to TGI Fridays.

Recent Advertising

Recent spots like the one above bring another casual dining joint to mind ("I want my baby back, baby back, baby back..."-it's Chili's if you haven't gotten it yet) and a TGI Fridays exec told the New York Post that the brand thinks of it as a "homage." Sure, whatever you say. At any rate, there's a bit of a rib war going on.

Fast Facts

Lexus's "December to Remember" ads, with the luxury vehicles done up in those famous giant red bows, have become as much a part of the holiday firmament as Santa Claus himself. And this year, Team One aims to capture the full spirit of the season by suggesting a new Lexus is the only thing that can give grown-ups that magical feeling of being a kid on Christmas morning.

Three spots feature parents telling their children fantastical stories of how they received a Lexus for Christmas. And no, one spouse didn't just surprise the other by festooning it in an oversize ribbon and parking it in the driveway.

"Christmas Train," which evokes The Polar Express, shows a Lexus IS F Sport sedan being delivered via rail from the North Pole. "Magic Box" shows how large objects, like a Lexus ES sedan, can come in extremely small packages. And "Teleporter" tells of a special ice-covered elf machine that transports a Lexus RX luxury crossover from a winter wonderland into a family driveway.

All three spots end with the voiceover: "The magic of the season is here, at the Lexus December to Remember Sales Event."

"I still remember getting bikes, Evel Knievel toys, Six Million Dollar Man dolls and so many more toys. What else, besides an awesome new car, could come close to that feeling now?" Jason Stinsmuehlen, group creative director at Team One, tells Adweek. "We're illustrating that with Lexus, you're never too old for toys."

Team One presented a dozen campaigns to the client, but this one stood out.

"We simply asked the question, 'If we were going to say Santa brought our new Lexus, and our kids wondered how that was possible, how would we say Santa was able to pull that off?' " Stinsmuehlen says. "Clearly the typical 'Santa's sleigh' narrative wouldn't explain how a new car could show up, so we embraced the innate creativity that exists in all parents. The overlapping storytelling voiceover that transitions to on-camera dialogue was the executional insight that made it work."

Motion Theory director Grady Hall and postproduction company Mirada wanted the spots to have the feel of timeless holiday magic.

"Our goal was to live up to the production values of any theatrical holiday film. It had to be epic, magical and yet totally realistic," Stinsmuehlen says. "We decided to shoot as much as we could in camera, including a giant train pulled on a flatbed truck down a Vancouver neighborhood street and building a huge LED arch for our teleporter to project believable light in our sets."

After changing creative direction on this ad franchise regularly over the years, Team One thinks this one might have more staying power.

"Visualizing a parent's imagination is about as free an exploration as you can ask for," says Stinsmuehlen. "My hope is that if this campaign gets traction, it'll be something we'll keep trying to top for years to come."

And don't expect the big red bows, which have been around since 1999, to be thrown out anytime soon.

"The bow is a Lexus holiday icon that people know without even seeing a Lexus logo. We'd never walk away from something that powerful," Stinsmuehlen says. "It is, admittedly, one of those ad images that some have lampooned. But like the [Coca-Cola] polar bears and [Budweiser] Clydesdales, we hope it's an icon that's as welcome as any marketing during the holidays can be."

Client: Lexus
Project: 2014 December Sales Event TV, Holiday Stories: "Teleporter," "Christmas Train," "Magic Box"

Agency: Team One
Chief Creative Officer: Chris Graves
Group Creative Director: Jason Stinsmuehlen
Copywriter: Daniel Streadbeck, Dave Carlson, Aroon Muhkey
Art Director: McKay Hathaway, Bernie O'Dowd, Amy Servidea, Bryan Carroll, Patrick Dougherty
Executive Producer: Sam Walsh
Producer: Amy Gershwin
Associate Producer: Tiffany Otoya
Account Director: Joel Dons
Account Supervisor: Trina Sethi
Director of Strategic Planning: Noel Sullivan
Senior Strategic Planner: Ashleigh Edwards
Senior Project Manager: Amanda Rackley
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Janet Anderson
Director of Product Information: Robert Jordan
Media Planner: Jarod Knight

Production Company: Motion Theory
Director: Grady Hall
Founder, Executive Producer: Javier Jimenez
Head of Production: Ben Leiser
Producer: Oualid Mouaness
Director of Photography: Trent Opoloch

Vancouver Production Company: Capitol Media
Executive Producer: Christian Allen
Head of Production: Keely Stothers
Line Producer: Abigail Flint
Postproduction Company: Mirada
President: John Fragomeni
Executive Producer, General Manager: Patrick Nugent
Visual Effects Supervisor: Zach Tucker
Creative Director: Jonathan Wu
Computer Graphics Supervisor: Michael Shelton
Senior Producer: Diana De Vries
Production Coordinator: Jami Schakel
Editor: Hal Honigsberg

Editing Company: Nomad
Executive Producer: Susye Melega
Editor: Tom Muldoon
Assistant Editor: Steve Miller
Postproducer: Tommy Murov

Postproduction Company: The Mill
Telecine: Adam Scott
Music Company: Robot Repair
Executive Producer: Doug Darnell
Composers: Aaron Alden, Josh Hawkins, Mike Schanzlin
Sound Designer: Doug Darnell
Voiceover: Maurice LaMarche
Recording Studio: Juice Studios
Sound Mixer: Bob Gremore

Earlier this fall, Intel marketing execs were visiting their new agency, mcgarrybowen, when they noticed a copy of Adweek featuring The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons on the cover. That chance encounter planted the creative seeds for the agency's first campaign for the semiconductor manufacturer, which breaks Monday.

The fourth-quarter push focuses on Intel's new technologies and products, emphasizing the company's new 3D camera technology, RealSense.

Intel invited mcgarrybowen's creative teams to its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., to see the new technology, which is easier to understand in person than explained from afar. There was the creative challenge: how to communicate a technology consumers need to see to believe. The agency decided to tap a high-profile celeb to bring the technology to life in an approachable, easily understood way.

Mcgarrybowen looked at more than 60 celebrities before selecting Parsons, whose quirky, smart persona dovetailed with Intel's positioning. Aside from bringing his huge popularity with millennials as the uber-nerd Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang, Parsons brought fresh endorsement value: This is his first alignment with a major brand.

"Jim's enthusiasm was so genuine and real," said Marianne Besch, executive creative director, mcgarrybowen. "When he actually saw the technology he became the embodiment of it."

In the mcgarrybowen spot, Parsons gains entry into a restricted Intel access area where he samples the new technology, only to be escorted out by a guard who warns him not to tell anyone about it. Just as you'd expect from Sheldon Cooper, Parsons starts blabbing to the first person he meets.

The campaign is also the first under new Intel chief marketing officer Steve Fund, formerly of retailer Staples, and who worked with mcgarrybowen previously. The effort centers around five TV ads that will run through Dec. 28, but they will have broader reach through YouTube with five videos that include outakes from the Parsons' shoot.

"This is the beginning of repositioning the brand," explained Teresa Herd, vp, director of creative development and production, Intel. "Before it was largely about Intel-inspired devices. While our chips are extremely important, we want people to knowthat we are innovating in so many new areas."

Additional digital work includes 35 pieces of social content that were created for platforms like Vine, Twitter and Facebook. Spending behind the campaign was not revealed. Last year, Intel spent more than $85 million in media, according to Kantar Media.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" video, posted to YouTube in June, is nearing 300 million views. So, what did the singer do for an encore to her No. 1 hit? She got a brand, an ad agency and social influencers involved.

HP and 180LA had been talking to labels, hoping to help craft a music video as a way to promote the Pavilion x360 tablet-laptop. And the 20-year-old Nantucket newcomer, signed to Epic Records, seemed perfect.

"Not only does her music work well with a fun, high-energy campaign, but she's also a young, socially active creator herself who we knew would inspire our influencers and their fans," said 180 creative director Adam Groves.

Young creators have been at the core of HP's "Next Gen" campaign, and they make up much of the cast and crew of the new three-minute "Lips Are Movin" video.

"So many young people have the talent and skills to do amazing stuff," said Groves. "We're just using the brand and the technology to give them a bigger platform to push the limits of what they're already doing."


TALENT: HP and 180 recruited a host of young influencers, many of whom have built-in online audiences, to work on the video as actors, choreographers, dancers, set designers, hair and makeup artists, stylists and photographers. They include American set designer Bri Emery, American actors Marcus Johns, Cody Johns and Robby Ayala, French dancers Les Twins, Spanish stylist Sara Escudero, American hair stylist Kristin Ess and Japanese nail artist Mei Kawajiri.

"The energy around the set was crazy," said 180 creative director Zac Ryder. "All of the influencers were busy working with the production team while creating their own content for their fans. … It was really cool to see [Trainor] interact with guys like Marcus and Cody Johns. She was just as starstruck as they were."

The x360 was the creative tool at the heart of the production-all of the influencers used it in some way. "A dancer from Houston was able to record herself choreographing her routine, then get suggestions from her fans and ultimately invite a few them to L.A. to star in the video with her," said Ryder. "As another example, our set designer used it to pull reference, create sketches and share them with the production team. Ultimately, her ideas came to life as the sets on the actual video."

COPYWRITING: The script had to communicate the influencers' involvement. So, director Philip Andelman suggested showcasing the crazy behind-the-scenes world of a music-video shoot-which ended up being the video's framework.

"Philip was really excited to work with all of these young creators," said Ryder. "Like all of us, I think he was inspired by their enthusiasm and fresh thinking. He understood how to pull all of the influencers' ideas together and craft the video in a way that showcased one of the hottest young stars in the world."

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Visually, it's a lot like the "All About That Bass" video, just with more colors than pink.

"Her team asked us to evolve the look of 'All About That Bass' without straying too far from it," said Groves. "She's still a new artist, and they're trying hard to build a consistent look around her. Our set designer/influencer Bri Emery is known for using bold bright colors. So when Meghan's team asked us to stay within that world, it was a really good fit."

HP is woven subtly into the video-the x360 opens the video with a digital clapperboard, and is seen briefly throughout.

"We knew the only way this would be successful is if it wasn't an ad. It had to be a legit music video," said Groves. "The couple of times you do see the computer, it's being used in a natural way. Plus, so many young people can see through marketing BS in a video like that, and are happy to call it out. To make sure the product story came through, we had our influencers post content that they created on set which featured the HP x360."

MEDIA: A companion TV spot is offers "a fun, highly stylized look at the music video set in the moments leading up to the first shot," said Ryder. "Viewers move through the set and see a few of our influencers using the x360 like they did throughout the production process. We constructed the story so that the spot ends where the music video begins."



Client: HP
Rob Le Bras-Brown, SVP, PPS WW Marketing
Vikrant Batra, VP, PPS WW Marketing, Consumer PC
Katie Nauman, PPS Product Manager
Melissa Barroso, Integrated Marketing Comm. Manager
Stef Brower, Social COE

Agency: 180LA
Global CEO: Michael Allen
Executive Creative Director: William Gelner
Creative Directors: Adam Groves, Zac Ryder
Copywriter: Trey Tyler
Art Director: Chelsea Cumings
Head of Production: Natasha Wellesley
Senior Producer: David Emery
Producer: Nili Zadok
Account Director: Mike Slatkin
Account Manager: Jamie Friedman
Account Manager: Allison Landrum
Social Strategist: Jessie Jo Blalock
Strategist: Andrew Zakim
Head of Business Affairs: Loretta Zolliecoffer

Production Co.: Identity
Director: Philip Andelman
DP: Frederik Jacobi
Executive Producer - Alana Hearn
Producer: Josh Goldstein
Shoot Location: Sony Pictures Studio, Culver City, CA
Shoot Date: November 12, 2014

Production/Music Video
Production Co.: Partizan Entertainment
Director: Philip Andelman
DP: Frederik Jacobi
Executive Producer - Jeff Pantaleo
Producer: Josh Goldstein
Shoot Location: Sony Pictures Studio, Culver City, CA
Shoot Date: November 11, 2014

Editorial Company: Cut & Run
Editor: Lucas Eskin
Producer: Remy Foxx

Editorial/Music Video
Editorial Company: Sunset Edit
Editor: Kenneth Mowe
Executive Producer: Nazeli Kodjoian

Company: Carbon FX

Finishing/Music Video
Company: Baked FX

Recording Mix/TVC
Recording Studio: ELEVEN SOUND
Mixer: Jeff Payne
Executive Producer: Suzanne Hollingshead

Strategic Partner: Giant Spoon

Social Partners: Niche, Collectively

Epic Records
Sylvia Rhone, President
Alla Benyatov - VP, Licensing and Brand Marketing

Here's everything you need to know about the last 24 hours in advertising, in case you blinked.

Buzzing on Adweek:

Stephen Colbert charms at Ad Council dinner
The comedian, on his way to take over CBS' The Late Show, was the emcee at this year's Ad Council fundraising dinner and won over the crowd with his ad jokes. (Adweek)

Italians weigh in on Pizza Hut's food
The company kicked off a major rebranding effort, from new ingredients and recipes to a new logo, and also rolled out a hilarious spot showing how the older Italian generation really feels about Pizza Hut pizza. (Adweek)

Kevin Durant joins Sonic
The NBA star will star in the company's national TV spots as the first sports ambassador for Sonic Drive-In. (Adweek)

Bob Marley-branded pot
The legendary singer has become the face of a new line of cannabis related products, from lotions to accessories, called Marley Natural. (Adweek)

The most viral ads of the year
Unruly Media pulled together a list of the 20 most viral and shared ads from this past year, which included the Always "Like a Girl" campaign and American Greeting's "World's Toughest Job" spot. (Adweek)

Around the Web:

Marissa Mayer is on an acquisition spree
After snapping up Flurry, and more recently BrightRoll, rumors surfaced that Yahoo may be looking to grow its advertising technology company roster even more with companies such as Turn, MediaMath and RadiumOne. (Re/code)

Uber hires lawyers
Following some concerns over the company possibly collecting some personal data on customers and journalists, Uber has hired a law firm to look into its privacy policy. (The Drum)

Lacoste experiments with Snapchat
The fashion brand rolled out five short videos on Snapchat that has followers searching for Lacoste's signature crocodile and trying to grab a screenshot of the animal before it disappears. (Digiday)

Apple pushes for Beats
Starting in 2015 Apple plans to incorporate the Beats Music subscription service into iOS software so every iPhone and iPad has easy access to it. (The Guardian)

Mozilla searches with Yahoo
Yahoo became the official search engine for Mozilla's Web browser Firefox, replacing Google. (Media Post)

Nikon charms millennial hipsters
For its holiday campaign, Nikon is pushing to reach a younger audience that takes pictures on smartphones, not digital cameras. (The New York Times)

Comcast wants better customer service ratings
The company announced it's testing a new feature in its app that will alert customers when a technician is 30 minutes away. (The Washington Post)

Arizona sues General Motors
The state of Arizona sued General Motors, claiming that GM put its customers at risk by delaying recalls and covering up important safety information. (Reuters)

Smartphones beat TVs
Flurry released data showing the average person spends about two hours and 57 minutes each day on a smartphone, as opposed to an average of two hours and 48 minutes watching TV. (Businessweek)

Twitter tests the 'Buy' button
AMC Theaters will try out the relatively new buy feature this holiday season, offering followers and other Twitter users the option to purchase a $30 gift card. (Mashable)

Industry Shake-Ups:

Crispin Porter + Bogusky enlists help from a rival
Until Crispin gets its office set up in Shanghai, China the agency will turn to sister agency Anomaly for some extra help on its new global Infiniti account. (Adweek)

American Family Insurance finds a new lead agency
BBDO will take over as the lead creative agency, previously Grey, for the brand which spends $150 million on media annually. (Adweek)

Three PR and ad vets start an agency
The KSW Agency is based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the agency's first client will be Sophisticated Rebel. (Adweek)

Forget all those sites that randomly generate band names, stripper names and hobbit names. This one could make you rich, my friends. Brooklyn rich!

The Hipster Business Name Generator creates a random combination of quirky nouns and drops them under a stylized X, with the requisite stylish dingbats and initials. The resulting names-such as Fox & Otter, Spyglass & Bean, Whiskey & Cake-are good for a laugh, especially when paired with icons of tiny rabbits, knives and muffins.

The site, which was quickly generating pass around among creative types today, seems to be a marketing effort for domain registration site NameCheap.com, where you can conveniently click off the generator to book a site for your lovely new business venture. Or maybe the creators simply picked a booking site at random, though that seems rather unlikely.

Try it for yourself and let us know your most fruitful combinations. A few of our favorites below.

Hat tip to my friend Paul Crawford for sharing this on Facebook, though to be clear, his agency's not the one behind it.

The unused and faintly depressing husks of pay phones around the city will soon be re-animated as WiFi kiosks.

Called "Links," the kiosks will be fitted with touchscreens and charging stations and will have access to 9-1-1 and 3-1-1, public service announcements and free phone calls to U.S. numbers. The kiosks will also have large digital advertising panels. The ads themselves will pay for the converted tech spaces, meaning the creation of these helpful hubs will be completely free to New Yorkers.

In what is considered a revolutionary and ambitious undertaking, the LinkNYC plan will stretch across all five boroughs and dramatically increase WiFi availability. There will be 10,000 Link stations, with 500 becoming available next year. About 6,400 stations will be made from old phone booths, the unused hardware of which will be auctioned off. Three original phone booths, all on the Upper West Side, will be preserved for nostalgia's sake.

The plan slides into place just after the city's contracts for its pay phones expired in October. Over the past year city officials have listened to ideas for making these miniature pieces of real estate both useful and profitable, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Mayor's office and CityBridge, a group of New York City tech, manufacturing and ad companies, struck a public-private partnership with the development of the Link stations.

Mayor de Blasio cited equality as being an important aspect of the project, explaining that "with this proposal for the fastest and largest municipal WiFi network in the world-accessible to and free for all New Yorkers and visitors alike-we're taking a critical step toward a more equal, open and connected city-for every New Yorker in every borough."

The WiFi at the kiosks will be 20 times faster than the average New Yorker's home Internet service, and will be 100 times faster than average municipal WiFi, according to the LinkNYC media kit. It will also be encrypted, protecting user data from advertisers, though law enforcement will have the right to certain data if deemed necessary.

The ads are expected to generate $500 million in revenue for the city over the next 12 years. The project will also create as many as 150 new full-time jobs, as well as 650 support positions.

Three veterans of the public relations and advertising industries have launched a new full-service ad agency in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The principals behind The KSW Agency are Barry Kluger, a longtime PR executive with MTV Networks and Prodigy; Rob Snyder, who helped found The Kaplan Thaler Group with Linda Kaplan Thaler and has a long history in content and creative; and Deborah Wagner, a veteran advertising creative with a deep history in production. The shop plans to focus its efforts on branding, concept development and PR.

The KSW Agency's first client is Sophisticated Rebel, which next year plans to launch a cosmetics jewelry accessory called The Forever Blade.

Despite all their turnover and relentless pursuit of revenue, ad agencies often end up feeling like big families. And announcing any sort of life change to your family, especially a family of 500 colleagues, can be daunting.

So, imagine telling this family that you'll soon begin transitioning from female to male, and you'll have the first inkling of the road Chris Edwards began traveling nearly 20 years ago.

Edwards, a longtime creative director for Boston-based Arnold Worldwide, announced his gender transition in 1995. Over the next 12 years, he underwent 28 medical procedures to complete the transformation. And throughout, he maintained his role as a writer and creative leader, working on major national and global accounts.

In his upcoming memoir, titled Balls, Edwards shares an array of stories about his gender switch, along with the more traditional reminscences about a life in the already unpredictable world of advertising.

This week is Glaad's National Transgender Awareness Week, and we asked Edwards to tell us a bit more about his story. Check out our conversation below.

AdFreak: So, what's the status of your book?
Chris Edwards: My manuscript is currently in the hands of a bunch of editors at various New York publishing houses. I'm hoping one of them will make me an offer soon. This is still a subject that makes some people nervous, so if I haven't found the right editor by January, I will likely publish it myself. Either way, interested readers can sign up to get an alert when the book is available at chrisedwardsballs.com.

Is it really going to be called Balls? Because that's amazing.
Ha. Yes it is. When I announced at work that I was going to be transitioning, so many people came up to me and told me I had balls. I always laughed it off with, "Well, that's a few surgeries down the road." But I knew what they meant, and it's true.

It takes a lot of courage to change your gender to begin with. But to stay at the same job and do it openly in front of 500 co-workers and clients, yeah, you've gotta have quite the set of cojones. I was telling this "balls" story to my former boss, Pete Favat, over a few too many vodka sodas, and he was like, "Dude, that should be the title!" And we both cracked up.

The next day I thought, do I really have the balls to call my book Balls? Looks like the answer turned out to be yes. I've been told I'll probably need a subtitle, though. I'm thinking "It takes some to get some," but that might be pushing it.

I'm guessing your target audience is a lot bigger than just those considering a gender switch. Who else do you think would enjoy this book, and what do you hope they'll get out of it?
Well, all you ad peeps will enjoy the book because agency life is the backdrop, and I name names, so you may read about someone you know. You'll laugh a lot, too. My sense of humor helped get me through 28 surgeries and innumerable awkward moments, so it was critical that the tone of the book reflect that.

Yes, this book will surely appeal to a transgender audience, but really it's for anyone who's ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin-for whatever reason. It's about having the courage to be true to yourself and realizing that, instead of fearing what other people will think, you can actually control it. I was able to use what I learned working in advertising to rebrand myself and market the "new me" to friends, family and co-workers with great success. I hope people read my story and come away empowered, inspired and more accepting of others who are transitioning.

At risk of one big spoiler here, how would you describe the way your colleagues and clients at Arnold handled your transition?
Ah, total spoiler! But without giving too much away … It was 1995. Transgender wasn't even really a word yet. The only frame of reference people had was Silence of the Lambs, The Crying Game and guests on Jerry Springer.

I knew I had my work cut out for me when it came to changing perceptions, so I took it upon myself to be the educator. Arnold was very much like a family back then, so it felt like everyone was on this journey with me, and we all learned as we went. Some people had issues. And there were definitely some awkward moments, especially around me using the men's room. But overall the response was incredibly positive. I'd like to think it was solely because of the way I handled the situation, but it probably didn't hurt that Ed Eskandarian, the agency's owner and CEO at the time, was also my father.

You were the creative director on McDonald's "Singing Fish" spot, one of my personal favorites. What other work are you most proud of?
Ah, yes, "Frankie the Fish" will always have a special place in my heart. You know, we made a toy replica that plays the original jingle and club re-mix. I think there are still a few left on Amazon if you're interested. Anyway, another McDonald's spot I'm proud of is "McNuggets Guys." I saw this YouTube video of two guys rapping about how much they love McNuggets (one of the rappers is now the star of the HBO series Silicon Valley) and turned it into a 30-second TV spot that went viral. I believe it was one of the first if not the first TV spot to use YouTube footage.

I'm also extremely proud of the early work I did for [the anti-tobacco campaign] Truth. Of all the spots I worked on, the most memorable one was probably "Project SCUM," which is the name of the actual marketing plan Big Tobacco used to target gays and homeless people. Insane, right? While the facts we dug up were disturbing, it was so satisfying to get to do creative work that actually made a difference. Since the inception of the Truth campaign, teen smoking has gone down from 23 percent to 9 percent. Feels great to know I had a little something to do with that.

What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about publicly changing genders but is worried it could create a difficult situation among friends, family and co-workers?
It's pretty much the same advice I'd give anyone about to undergo a major life change of any kind: Take the lead and develop a game plan in advance. Script out and rehearse what you're going to say. Make a list of who you want to tell personally and in what order. Educate and be patient-you may have been living with it in your head for a while, but it's still new news to everyone else. Be open and encourage questions. Use your sense of humor to put people at ease. Oh, and read my book.

Chris Edwards is a veteran creative director and copywriter based in Boston. To sign up for updates about the status of his memoir, Balls, visit his website.

It's a funny thing, really. A brand celebrates its 110th anniversary by showing how it's evolved and taking pride in the innovation that's led to its success in men's grooming.

Alas, no such love was reciprocated by Gillette's Facebook followers when it shared an image of a 1904 razor design this week-its very first patent, it happily told fans!

Practically everyone who replied said how disappointed they are with the way the product has evolved. They think the quality has gone way down while the price has skyrocketed.


A simple post on Nov. 17 was met with ... quite a bit of disdain.

You have to give the brand manager credit for staying professional and on brand here, despite the comments.

Still poised and steady-handed.

On the cover of 1973's Catch a Fire album, there's a photo of Bob Marley that's become an icon for the transcendent powers of smoking marijuana. The reggae master squints into the camera, a joint the size of a stovepipe sagging from his lips. Marley was the world's most famous proponent of smoking the sacred Rastafarian herb, so it was probably just a matter of time before his family placed his name on a brand of cannabis products.

The brand, called Marley Natural, will reportedly be available late next year and consist of cannabis-infused lotions, creams, accessories and-perhaps most appropriately-"fine cannabis," or what the website terms "some of Bob's Jamaican favorites."

Not surprisingly, the announcement of the brand's debut has caused a stir both in and outside the partaking community. ("Excited about this brand and products," tweeted Successful Stoners.)

Less certain is what Marley-who died in 1981, well before the cash-soaked age of celebrity branding and increasingly legal pot-would have thought of this latest venture. Marley's daughter Cedella told the BBC her father would have loved it. "My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb," she said.

Well, maybe. Marley Natural is being funded by Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based venture firm whose executives hail from sleek corporate megaliths such as Silicon Valley Bank, Cisco Systems and Wells Fargo. By most accounts, Marley himself was far closer to revolutionary socialism than venture capitalism.

"Bob Marley was a lot of things to a lot of people, but a corporate stooge, he was not," one marijuana blogger complained this week. "With dollars in their heart and a cynical marketing move they are trying to combine the love of greed with the loving life example that was Bob Marley. … I don't know what Bob would think of his name being used by a corporate investment fund, but it at the very least goes against his ideals of power to the people."

Marley's heirs-who have squabbled over licensing in the past-have slapped his name and likeness on a wide and occasionally bizarre range of products: T-shirts, backpacks, headphones, watches, a "One Love Doll" and in 2012 Marley's Mellow Mood drink, which reportedly sickened a bunch of New Jersey school kids. The value of Marley's estate has recently been pegged at $130 million, money that comes partly from the still-brisk sales of the singer's 1984 Legend album, but also through the sale of licensed merchandise.

At least cannabis is a product Marley himself actually used-even though his "Jamaican" pot will be cultivated in Washington state (where anyone over 21 can possess an ounce of weed). Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said in a statement that the new venture "was just a natural fit between Bob Marley and this product," and it's hard to argue the essence of that point. "If you were to look for the most famous human being who ever walked the face of the earth related to cannabis," he added, "it would be Bob Marley."

Ernest Hemingway novels are about a lot more than old men fishing and young men dying. But 75 years after their publication, they're often perceived as spartan scenarios accented by the occsasional bullets and bullfights.

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, Ill., is hoping to get past such misconceptions by embracing them in a fun and modern way. The nonprofit partnered with Ogilvy & Mather Chicago to create a series of 15-second Instagram videos that re-enact entire Hemingway novels.

Below, you can watch the ultra-compact versions of A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. I would give you a token spoiler alert, but part of the idea here seems to be to move beyond what happens in the books and get people thinking about what they mean.

Via Ads of the World and Agency Spy.

Client: The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Sciarrotta
Group Creative Directors: Chris Turner, Dave Metcalf
Creative Directors: Bowen Mendelson, Andrew Gall
Associate Creative Director: Isaac Pagan
Copywriter: Michael Franklin
Producer: Lisa Hinrichs
Account Executive: Jane Johnsen
Sound Design: David Axelbaum, Airstream
Audio: Joe Griffin
Production Company: Deboka Films
Director: Eduardo Cintron
Set and Puppets: Kate Stransky
CGI/Visual Effects Supervisor, Animator, 3D Design: Noah Schloss
Director of Photography: Jake Zalutsky
Character Modeling: Sebastian Szyszka
Character Rigger: Clark Stanton
Second Animator: Bradley Bischoff
Design and Animation: Juan Carlos Montes
Editor: Clockwork

The number of recent scandals involving athletes has driven advertisers away from young sports stars and toward long-retired-or even departed-legends.

When Major League Baseball sponsor MasterCard was planning its campaign for the 2014 World Series, it could have cast just about any baseball star. But with the Kansas City Royals reaching the Fall Classic for the first time in almost 30 years, it hired the most iconic Royal of all: Hall-of-Famer George Brett, 61, who retired from the game in the 1990s.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Among retirees, Michael Jordan still tops most advertisers' wish lists-and earns $90 million a year from Nike. Other old-timers like David Beckham, Arnold Palmer and Magic Johnson are pulling in endorsements as well. And don't forget Terry Crews, who played for the Los Angeles Rams before the team moved to St. Louis and is now thriving as Old Spice's screaming spokesperson.

To many sponsors, however, the safest endorsers are those who could never end up splashed across the gossip sites.

"I'm in meetings where they are talking about this. The goal is to be safe," said Mike "The Reputation Doctor" Paul. "On the other hand, how sad is it that we're having such issues with our athletes today, that it's safer to use somebody who's retired? Or deceased?"

This August, Jockey and agency Droga5, New York launched the new "Supporting Greatness" campaign starring late New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth, as well as General George Patton and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

"With a more modern athlete, you're not really sure," said Ryan Raab, a senior copywriter for Droga5. "They're great-but their legacy is not as cemented. With someone like (Ruth), you know what their legacy is. And their legend."

Raab said the shop did not set out to use dead legends versus live celebrities. But it is happy with the choice. American heroes like Ruth come with defined brands, he said. Their personal reputations-and consumer appeal-are not going to change overnight.

Other legendary athletes with recent commercials include Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson, who helped pitch Mazda and New Era ball caps this year.

Alcatel, the communications company that made the Gehrig ad, didn't stop with the sports great. It also decided to use one of the most evocative figures in history.

And who could sell telecommunications equipment better than Martin Luther King?

This article is the third part of Adweek's series on the decline of big-ticket athletic endorsements. Check out the other installments below.

Part 1: Domestic Abuse Allegations Cause Brands to Rethink Sponsorships
Part 2: Ad Competition From Big-Name Actors Pushes Athletes to the Sidelines

text The 20 Most Viral Ads of 2014
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:48:45 PST

It might seem early for year-end lists, but Unruly Media is out of the gate with its annual roundup of the most-shared commercials. And not surprisingly, the year's biggest global event-the World Cup-produced some of its most-viral ads.

Four spots created around the World Cup make the list, including No. 1 and No. 3. Sandwiched between them at No. 2 was the year's biggest prank ad. And right behind them at No. 4 was the best-loved Super Bowl ad of the year.

Elsewhere on the list are several female empowerment spots, a Thai tearjerker, a shocking PSA and a beloved Chistmas ad. Check out the full list below, and click here for Unruly's larger report on the video trends of 2014.

To handle a key market for its new global Infiniti business, MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky has turned to a rival, albeit one from the same holding company.

Until Crispin opens an office in Shanghai, China, Anomaly's office there will create ads for the region. The move is unusual, as Anomaly competed against Crispin for Infiniti's global account. But the luxury auto brand has immediate needs and high growth expectations in China, and starting an office takes time.

As such, Anomaly will handle the China portion of the account for at least a year-and possibly longer-until Crispin sets up shop. The account sharing also illustrates the imperfect choice that Infiniti faced when it selected Crispin instead of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to take on its global business. Goodby has no overseas offices and Crispin has just a few, in London; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the end, though, Crispin will get by with a little help from a frenemy.

Beyond the MDC connections, Infiniti vp of global marketing Vincent Gillet noted a "genuine cultural fit and respect between CP + B and Anomaly."

There's also, of course, a revenue benefit to Anomaly, whose Shanghai office employs about 40 people and is led by CEO Eric Lee, executive creative director Elvis Chau and chief strategy officer Richard Summers. Other accounts include Budweiser, Converse and Pepsi, for which it Mirinda, a citrus soda brand. The office opened in 2013.

In explaining the partnership with Crispin, Anomaly global CEO Carl Johnson cited an affinity with the car brand, its leadership and Crispin. "We are therefore delighted to help our sister agency in the first year or two as they set up operations in Shanghai," Johnson said.

Crispin CEO international Richard Pinder said the account sharing was borne of "trusting people rather than structures," adding that Anomaly Shanghai's leaders "know the market well, the issues." Besides, he added, "it doesn't take a rocket scientist to find out that when you're in the car business, China is kind of important."

The official drink of the Washington Redskins … and Dave & Buster's?

College Humor created this fake ad a little while back for Diet Racism-the drink that has all the sweet ignorance of regular racism but with none of the guilt or self-awareness. It's the drink of choice for people who don't realize that the phrase "I'm not racist, but …" doesn't magically make whatever comes after it less racist.

It's actually been quite a year for discussions of racism involving brands. Maybe this fake commercial could be a good hiring tool for potential brand or social media managers. If they laugh, maybe they'll be a little less likely to go full-on racist in a tweet.

If they tell you the Irish really were persecuted too, well, there's a red flag.

When Kevin Durant made his emotional acceptance speech earlier this year for the National Basketball Association's MVP award, Sonic Drive-In CMO Todd Smith's ears perked up. The national attention coupled with Durant's ties to Sonic's Oklahoma City headquarters led to the chain's first sports endorsement deal, which will be announced today.

"What really happened was the MVP speech that he made last year really pushed him into a national presence more, but also, his likability is off the charts," Smith said. "For us, we wanted someone who has a hometown feel with a national presence because that's the type of brand we are."

As part of the multiyear agreement, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward will star in national television ads with Sonic's famous "Two Guys" campaign, rolling out this summer. It's the first time a celebrity has starred in a commercial with Sonic's funny duo, played by actors T. J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz.

"[During] the first meeting that I had with Kevin, his first question was, 'Am I going to meet the two guys?' You'll see Kevin in a very relaxed way using a lot of that Sonic humor," Smith said. The athlete will also be included in digital, merchandising, packaging and social media.

In addition to promotions, Durant will also be involved with Limeades for Learning, Sonic's foundation that gives back to the education industry. The program funds items that teachers need in local cities.

The NBA star will also be used to help the brand brainstorm new menu items, which shouldn't be a problem since Durant is apparently already a fan of Sonic's food. Per Smith, he's a regular at a restaurant near the Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Thunder play.

"It felt less like we were going out to just find someone to endorse the brand and more like we were inviting Kevin-who is a big Sonic fan-to come endorse the brand with us," Smith said.

BBDO has outstripped Grey to claim lead creative responsibilities on American Family Insurance, which spent more than $150 million in media last year.

The two shops emerged as finalists for the account, which had been at the Chicago office of Ogilvy & Mather. Ogilvy created the marketer's Super Bowl ad this year featuring Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and a voiceover from Harry Belafonte.

American Family split with Ogilvy, however, after insurance rival Nationwide tapped the agency's New York office to handle a creative assignment featuring Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

The timing of the current decision leads some observers to wonder if AFI wanted an agency on board in time for another spot in the next Super Bowl. The New York office of BBDO will lead the account.

In a statement, AFI vp of marketing Telisa Yancy said the new agency would "play a significant role in helping us to continue to change the mindset of consumers about insurance."

The selection does not impact AFI's other roster shops, which include Mindshare and CommonGround. The Blamer Partnership helped manage the search.