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There's a lot going on in this new ad from India, and the Internet is fired up about it.

The spot, for mobile provider Airtel, opens on two working professionals in a meeting. A woman, who's the boss, gives her male employees a task, and one protests, claiming there's not enough time to finish it. The boss is sympathetic, but lets him know it has to be done.

She heads home for the day, while he begrudgingly burns the midnight oil. We watch her make dinner, and then there's an O. Henry twist.

Watch the spot before reading further:

Now, I don't speak the language, so maybe I'm missing something. But still, I'm confused. The mix of progressive and regressive messaging here is mystifying. At work she's a strong, resolute boss, but at home she's a lonely housewife pleading for her husband to leave the office and spend the evening with her? Or maybe she just really likes to cook?

Whatever the case, the Internet is certainly taking sides.

Also, I'm probably being picky in pointing this out, but reporting to your spouse is sort of a corporate no-no, isn't it?

What say you?

Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners has won the creative, media and digital business for Blue Shield of California.

The Sausalito, Calif.-based shop won the business after pitching against 13 other agencies. San Francisco-based Blue Shield did not have a single lead agency but worked with several shops on the business, according to a spokesman, who explained that the company was looking to consolidate its business, streamline capabilities and reduce agency fees.

"Butler Shine stood out because they are capable, credible, local and have experience in the health care sector," said the spokesman in a statement. "They were also cost competitive and have the ability to scale with Blue Shield of California as needed."

The scope of the assignment includes brand awareness, marketing analytics and media buying across all of the company's consumer and employer group businesses. Media spending is estimated at $10 to $15 million. The first work for Blue Shield is slated for the end of the year.

More than 750 marketers from brands and agencies of all sizes turned out on Twitter yesterday for the inaugural #adweekchat, Adweek's one-hour digital conversation about marketing and media.

The topic, inspired by our coverage in this week's issue about how brands are looking beyond Twitter for real-time marketing, was, "How are social networks evolving?"

Our guest experts for the discussion were Mondelēz International global media and consumer engagement vp B. Bonin Bough, Edelman Digital global strategy director for key accounts David Armano and Fifth Third Bank vp of social media strategy Shannon Paul. These veteran social marketers were joined by hundreds of other Twitter users who had plenty to say on the topic.

Check out a selected transcript below to revisit the questions and some of the more interesting replies. For your convenience, the earliest tweets appear on top, allowing you to scroll down and follow the conversation pretty easily.

(Viewing on mobile? You might want to try reading the transcript on Twitter.)

The next #adweekchat will be held Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Stay tuned for the topic and details about our next VIP guests!

If the true measure of an ad's popularity is the afterlife it enjoys through parody and satire, then this 1989 LifeCall ad-featuring Mrs. Fletcher and her infamous line, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"-may be the best-loved commercial of all time.

In the past year, thousands of Vine users-many born years after the ad was made-have been using the 6-second format to parody the cult classic (and the '90s remake). To date, there are over 6,000 posts tagged "Life Alert" (as the company is now known).

Below is just a sample of some of the ways teens and tweens (and a few ridiculous adults) have spoofed this well-meaning but terribly melodramatic spot. It starts to get even more meta when the Vines start spoofing other Vines.

(Click to play each clip, click again to stop.)

Lyin' on the cold hard ground.

If I lie here...

Fallin' and callin'.

Do I look like I care?

Banana operator (with cameo).

Basketball fakeout.

A little help from The Beatles.

Have you ever used tape before?

Have you ever used tape before? (version 2)

If you ain't talkin' money, I don't wanna talk.

Careful with that button.

I can lift you up!

One of America's finest.

I've fallen and I can't turn up!

Don't dubstep and fall.

Go on...

Don't act surprised. You knew it was coming, and the brands knew it was coming.

The bad-on-purpose Sharknado 2: The Second One premiered last night on Syfy, and people watched it. Everyone did what they were supposed to do, which was to go on Twitter and live-tweet this carefully planned and manufactured cultural phenomenon.

Good job, everyone. Meanwhile, somewhere in the basement of NBC Universal a bald man strokes his cat and chuckles.

Take a look below at some of the (presumably intentionally campy) tweets that brands posted while this disaster happened-in real time:

This is so dumb, it might be the best one.


What am I looking at here?

Fine. This one made me laugh.

Get it? It's a shark!

Get it? It's also a shark!

We know you had to, but still.

Bud's motion graphics department moves quick!

A bit of a reach.

We're gonna need a bigger sandwich?

Sometimes when you watch an ad, you can't quite believe it's real. Then you learn about the backstory, and you watch it again, and you still can't wrap your head around it.

Take Johnny Dronehunter, the hero in a real new commercial for a real new shotgun silencer, from a real company called SilencerCo.

If you are, like Johnny, a man who drives through the desert in aviators and a beat-up '80s-era Cadillac, then finds himself in combat with a fleet of flying surveillance robots, then this is the shotgun silencer for you.

If your response to growing privacy concerns around the increasing use of drones by domestic law enforcement doesn't include overtones of a paranoid dystopian fantasy in which people run around shooting drones out of the sky, then it's still pretty amusing to watch the clever melodrama of a well-produced drone-hunting video. It feels a bit like a Tarantino-esque take on grindhouse cinema (even though the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men is more famous for its silenced shotgun, it was also quite a bit more serious).

If you were worried that Johnny Dronehunter might not be coming soon to a town near you, SilencerCo's CEO tells Vice's Motherboard that the brand plans to film future Johnny Dronehunter ads in cities and suburban settings, but he admits it's harder to shoot and blow up robots in less desolate locales, because, you know, laws.

If you're still wondering why anyone would need a shotgun silencer in the first place (especially in the desert), it's because shotguns are loud, which means it could give away your position to the government. Just kidding. Shotguns are incredibly loud, and a suppressor can help keep it from damaging your ears while shooting clay pigeons or hunting live animals. Though it's generally worse for the duck.

In the eight years since he last released a full-length film, David Lynch has amassed a list of projects almost as bizarre as his signature directorial style.

His efforts in the world of marketing have been especially notable: In the past few years, Lynch has launched his own line of coffee (and made a couple of suitably Lynch-ian spots to sell the stuff), written and directed a video for Dior, designed limited-edition labels for Dom Perignon, and earlier this month lent his name to a capsule collection of women's workout apparel. (David Lynch Leggings, anyone?)

Lynch's latest work is this minute-long spot for Christian Louboutin's brand-new $50 nail polish, Rouge Louboutin.

What could possibly make this bottle of nail polish worth $50, you ask? According to the brand, this "true objet d'art" has a "tall slender cap, inspired by calligraphy" that "turns the application into a luxurious experience." The "highly pigmented, super glossy formula delivers in just two coats the effect of 20 layers of traditional lacquer."

And, of course, it's the same exact shade of red as Louboutin's famous crimson soles, the earliest versions of which were actually painted with nail polish (which presumably didn't cost $50).

Now that we have that sorted out, let's return to Lynch's ad. It is, to no one's surprise, very strange. The spot opens on a 3-D outer-space cityscape that appears to have been rendered on a computer running Windows 95. Cut to the image of a frighteningly fetishistic Louboutin ballet pump, which gives way to a fleet of Rouge Louboutin bottles, looking quite menacing with their black, spiked lids.

After some camera shots of a woman's red-lacquered nails (which would look very much at home framed on the wall of a tacky beauty salon) and a brief return to Mykonos-by-way-of-a-far-away-galaxy, the spot ends on a close-up of the woman's hand delicately clutching a bottle of Rouge Louboutin in a shiny protective case.

After watching the spot several times, one begins to wonder whether Lynch, sensing that Louboutin must be trolling its customers by attempting to sell them $50 bottles of nail polish, is simply perpetuating the scam with this dreadful mishmash of New Age-y music and terrible computer graphics that was probably called "transcendent" by a team of marketing executives.

Otherwise, let's hope Lynch sticks to coffee.

Marketers like to talk about stuff that's "disruptive." And when it comes to advertising-actually, when it comes to pop culture in general-few things are quite as disruptive as a woman in a red dress.

A popular cosmetics brand in the postwar years, DuBarry
skillfully correlated its red lipstick shade with a red dress,
which in this 1962 ad captures all the excitement of a night
out. "She's looking fashionable and sophisticated, and
pleasing her husband, which was culturally appropriate to
the time," Darroch said. Already a sexually charged garment,
the red dress here gets an extra boost from that feather boa.

Care for some proof?

When celebrity photographer Milton Greene shot Marilyn Monroe in 1957, he made sure she wore a red dress. Chris de Burgh was a little-known singer until 1986, when he crooned about his Lady in Red. In 1999's The Matrix, young Neo nearly took a bullet in the head-and why? Because he was distracted by a woman in a red dress. And while few remember much about Queen Elizabeth's 2012 jubilee, who can forget Kate Middleton showing up in that red Alexander McQueen dress?

So potent and enduring is the "Red Dress Effect" that behavioral psychologists have studied it-and demonstrated that women who don red are not only regarded by men as more physically and sexually attractive, but also tend to have more money spent on them. In fact, the dating site OKCupid discovered that women wearing red in their profile photos have a greater statistical chance of being asked out.

What's going on here? Two things, actually. First, red is a color with a long history. "It has always signified power, wealth and passion," said brand consultant Liz Dennery Sanders. Second, according to professor Jenny Darroch of Claremont Graduate University's Drucker School of Management, the true alchemy takes place when red bedrapes a tall, beautiful woman. "Through time," Darroch said, "there's been a common meaning for the red dress: It's love, lust and sex."

Marketers are no strangers to this mystique, of course. Through the decades, women in red dresses have popped up in ads from Barbasol to Buick. But as the two ads here show, the power of the symbol isn't always easy to manage. As Darroch put it: "The meaning of the red dress has remained constant-so the question comes down to how it's executed."

Both the 1962 DuBarry and 2014 Loews ads shown here execute it equally well, according to Dennery Sanders. "In the older ad, wearing red means snaring your suitor, so it's about a woman's power over her man," she said. "The Loews ad is about power, too. There's no man in the ad, so it's about a woman's own power for herself."

Darroch, however, isn't so sure. The red dress' obvious sensuality feels "culturally appropriate" in 1962, she said, mainly because it's playfully directed at the well-dressed gentleman. But in the Loews ad, the absence of a man (or a mate of any sort, really) allows the red dress to slink into dangerous territory. "I see an elegant, sophisticated woman-without a partner, in a hotel, about to hop a red eye and wearing a red dress," Darroch said, asking a question that's bound to occur: "Is she a career woman or a high-end escort?"

Maybe she's both, maybe neither-and maybe that's the point. We know that the Red Dress Effect works; we'll just never know why.

‘Through time, there's been a common meaning for the red dress: It's love, lust and sex.' | Jenny Darroch, professor of marketing at the Drucker School of Management, author of Why Marketing to Women Doesn't Work

The color red has its share of cultural baggage (think: The Scarlet Letter), but since red also represents wealth and power, Loews has apparently doubled down by throwing in some red curtains, too.

Catching the red eye is presumably meant to suggest that this woman is a high-powered executive, but Darroch believes the connotation is confusing. "If she's getting a nighttime flight, I don't know why she needs a hotel room," she said.

Dennery Sanders observes that the length of this red dress keeps the imagery from sinking into red-light territory. "If they'd put her in a tight dress showing more skin," she said, "it would be a different ad."

Who (From left) Xavier Facon, chief technical officer and founder; Tom Jones, chief revenue officer; Stacey Hafers, chief financial officer; and Jason Young, chief executive officer
What Mobile ad-tech provider
Where New York office

Since launching in 2002, Crisp Media has been on a mission to convert Sunday circular promos to location-based mobile advertisers that change on the fly with personalized products. The New York-based mobile tech player has evolved from building rich media ads to developing hyperlocal mobile promos aimed at tracking the entire path to purchase for clients like Unilever, Walmart, McDonald's, American Express and Chrysler. "We believe there's a huge opportunity in the combination of mobile, digital and shopper marketing programming," said CEO Jason Young. The tactic is paying off-Crisp's revenue has grown 50 percent in each of the last two years. When they're not looking for the next slam dunk in mobile, employees blow off steam shooting hoops at the office's Pop-a-Shot basketball game.

People often question why documentary filmmakers direct commercials. What's the motivation? Ask just about any documentary filmmaker worth his or her salt, they'll tell you. It's the opportunity to capture humanity in short form.

Capturing humanity is a very important part of making an effective commercial, or any film. Let me preface that statement. It's important for the soft-sell approach, not the hard-sell campaigns with actors holding up product and announcing this is "new and improved." Stories about the interesting lives of real people who are motivated by honest emotions are entertaining, powerful and uplifting. And like a rising tide that lifts all boats, these stories create an uplifting experience for the brands involved and a feeling of trust.

How do you capture humanity poignantly in 30 seconds, or three minutes? Here are six principles that have helped me.

Emotions at Light Speed-In commercials and short films, you have a short amount of time to get to know your subjects. The first thing you do is gain their trust. Let them know who you are, what you're looking for, what do you find interesting about them. You end up having a very intimate relationship that passes very quickly, yet it can be very deep.

There should be a word or phrase for it, emotions at light speed; you go in there and have an incredibly full experience in a short amount of time. When it's over, it feels like you've been with them for months.

Surrender-Put your ego and needs aside, and surrender to the story. Dive into it and explore. Surrender yourself to the people you're talking to. Devote your full attention to them so they feel really comfortable and know you're listening to them, so they'll know through your interest there's no reason to be nervous about a camera pointed at them.

The conversation becomes candid, real and authentic. You're not just making the film as a director. You're making it as a person.

Structure-You should always hope that the people you're filming surprise you and take you on an unexpected journey. But you have to know the potential of the story, and prepare yourself in case the story isn't as strong as you hoped, or the characters are not as charismatic as you hoped, or they don't know how to articulate their experience.

You need to have prepared questions and a structure. You have to determine the beginning, middle and end of a story. If you have all that, it's going to be a more satisfying experience for audiences.

Sweet Spot-There's always been a stigma about documentary films and sometimes about nonfiction work in general, that it's "serious" and people say they are glad they watched it but it was like eating a vegetable.

Go ahead and give them the vegetable, but also make viewers feel like they've had something sweet and enjoyable as well. You're not just competing against other nonfiction filmmakers; you're competing against Spider-Man and The Wire. You have to make your work entertaining, and you want to be entertained while doing it.

Context Is King-Lately, people keep saying content is king. I believe context is king. When you can tell a meaningful story and tie it to a product, it makes that product meaningful. Look for a way to focus on a product, and show how it really worked and affected someone's life.

Documentary filmmakers have an advantage: They're capturing something that really happened. Also, working with real people allows the director to turn the "brand" or the "specific product" into a viable character within the story. Highlighting the brand or product as a character presents a true-life experience of how that brand or product was used. There is nothing made up.

Swell Times-Having a good time on set or location is incredibly important. There's no place for egos and tantrums. The best thing is to work really hard and have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.

The people on camera feel it. I can't tell you how often the on-camera talent asks me: "Do you work together all the time?" And the answer is no, but that's the kind of atmosphere you need to create, because it makes the subjects feel good, and our job is to make them feel good so they'll be candid and liberated.

In fact, making commercials should be a little bit like surfing. As I always say about surfing, all you have to do is get out there and ride, that's all that matters. The person who's having the most fun in the water, no matter the skill level, that's the best surfer out there.

-Stacy Peralta is the director of Dogtown and Z-Boys, about the birth of skateboard culture in Southern California; Riding Giants, about big-wave surfing featuring Laird Hamilton; Crips and Bloods: Made in America, about the tangled history and relationships of gangs in Los Angeles; and Bones Brigade: An Autobiography. He shoots commercials through Nonfiction Unlimited.

Here is his latest commercial, for Holiday Inn:

Boys & Girls Clubs of America took a new, more emotional approach in its latest campaign, created with Crispin Porter + Bogusky in L.A.

The ad explores the dangers that students face at three o'clock, when the school bell rings and millions of children are "out on their own, out with nowhere to go, out with nothing to do, out all afternoon when anything can happen."

It focuses on situations that imply danger without showing any direct harm: a strange man beckons for the attention of two girls walking home; a group of boys jumps a fence; a large group of children loiters around without purpose. But the PSA ends on a positive note, with Denzel Washington saying: "Every afternoon is a chance to change America's future. All you have to do is open the door. It's time to support the Boys & Girls Clubs. Great futures start here."

The fear-stoking approach may come across as over-the-top at times-such as when a boy plays on train tracks, seemingly oblivious to an oncoming train's horn-but it was designed to address a specific image issue for the organization.

"They have a unique problem in that they do amazing, amazing work," Sue Anderson, ecd of the Los Angeles office of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, told The New York Times, "but because they essentially are keeping children happy and well looked-after, there's no sense of urgency to people donating."

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America hopes the new approach will give people that sense of urgency. A print campaign further addresses the charity's perception as a "swim and gym" club by showing children engaged in activities such as guitar lessons, tutoring and robotic engineering.

While the broadcast campaign is reliant on donated advertising placements, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America told The New York Times the organization "already has commitments to run the commercial broadly from networks including NBC, ABC and ESPN." The campaign will be introduced this Thursday in Times Square at 3 p.m., timed to coincide with school dismissal. More than 60 websites will simultaneously run digital ads at the same time (with some sites even sounding a school bell), including Pandora, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, celebrity supporters of the organization, including LeBron James and Jennifer Lopez, have signed on to send out messages to their followers on social media.

In the past, the charity tended to rely on the star power of such celebrity alumni as Washington, Lopez, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Martin Sheen, while showing young people enjoying their facilities. While Washington narrates the latest ad for the Atlanta-based charity, it is otherwise a stark departure from previous approaches.


FORMAL CLIENT NAME: Boys and Girls Clubs of America






SR. ART DIRECTOR(s): Mary Dauterman

SR. COPYWRITER(s): Chelsea O'Brien

VP / Director of Video Production: Kate Hildebrant





PRODUCTION COMPANY & CITY: Little Minx, Santa Monica, CA

DIRECTOR: Rodrigo Prieto




POST PRODUCTION & CITY: Black Hole, Santa Monica, CA



EDITORIAL COMPANY & CITY: Lost Planet, Los Angeles, CA



EDITOR: Hank Corwin

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Federico Brusilovsky



SOUND DESIGNER: Richard Devine

MIX STUDIO: Lime Studios, Santa Monica, CA

MIX PRODUCER: Jessica Locke

MIXER: Mark Meyuhas


GRAPHICS COMPANY: Elastic, Santa Monica, CA

GRAPHICS PRODUCER: Jamie McBriety, Carol Collins







text 5 Agencies Chase Juice Press
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:50:38 PDT

The primary challenge facing contenders for Juice Press' creative account is how to do more with less.

The New York-based chain that sells pressed juices, smoothies and raw food entrées, which began four years ago with a store in the East Village, has since expanded to 19 locations, with plans to open another five this year. But as a classic challenger brand, its marketing budget is only $200,000, according to an initial request for information that the company issued to about a dozen agencies in early July.

The five agencies that have reached the final round are well aware of the budget limitations, though. Their interest is the brand stems chiefly from the chance to work closely with its founder, Marcus Antebi, and lead investor Michael Karsch, as well as marketing and communications chief Roxanne Palin. And who knows, Juice Press could become the next Honest Tea or Chobani-little engines that became big influencers in the realms of beverages and yogurts.

Juice Press executives briefed the finalists this week; the next step is a work session on Aug. 8, followed by final presentations in mid-August, according to Lisa Colantuono, co-president of AAR Partners, a New York-based consultancy that's managing the search.

Juice Press identified the contenders as Concept Farm, People Ideas & Culture, Oberland, Triptent and dc3, all of which are based in New York.

In the past, Juice Press worked with shops like NSG/SWAT on a project basis. Going forward, the company will establish an ongoing retainer relationship. A selection is expected by the end of next month.

Twitter and Facebook are killing it with mobile ad sales right now chiefly because they are expanding their customer base from smaller direct-response and app-install players to big brands, according to industry observers. While Facebook is clearly out in front of Twitter in terms of getting packaged goods and carmaker spends (see graph below), increasing business with such deep-pocketed marketers will likely be key to each of their long-term futures.

"[Facebook is] getting these CPG companies-the Cokes and the Pepsis and the automotives -to look more seriously at their mobile advertising products," said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at Altimeter. "I think we are going to see a continuation of this for at least the next year or two."

Twitter yesterday reported that it raked in $224 million in mobile ad sales during the second quarter, up from $180 million in Q1. The newest figure also represents a 36 percent jump compared to 2013's fourth quarter, when the social media platform brought in $165 million. The San Francisco-based tech company will achieve more than $800 million in mobile ad revenue if it keeps the pace it has set in 2014 so far. Facebook's Q2 mobile ad sales were 34 percent greater compared to Q4 2013, and it could draw a whopping $6 billion from the marketing category with a strong finish to the rest of the year.

"It is difficult to reach consumers on their mobile devices, and the Twitter and Facebook feeds represent two of the better opportunities for advertisers to do that," said Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow, which focuses on earned-media marketing. "Put another way: Attention follows eyeballs, and money follows attention."

And so, they follow brands such as Heineken, Tide, Charmin and McDonald's, which have invested in paid ads on the social-mobile platforms. (Neither Facebook nor Twitter categorically break out, as one example, their number of CPGs vs. e-tail advertisers.)

"Everything is moving mobile as our agency is seeing a huge lift in mobile ad spend and response rates when comparing our client data from the end of 2013 to Q2 2014," said Dinesh Boaz, managing director and co-founder of Direct Agents. "Both Facebook and Twitter are positioned so well for the mobile paradigm shift that the surge in revenues comes as no surprise."

Alex Taub, SocialRank's CEO, added, "I believe Facebook and Twitter's paid mobile advertising revenues will continue to surge."

Well, they will for a while-but probably only as long as the data warrants the spend.

"They are going to have to answer to the results," Lieb from Altimeter said. "And I know that Facebook is very assiduously working with its largest advertisers to help them craft really compelling mobile campaigns."

2012 called, and it wants its prankvertising back.

Danish real-estate site Lejebolig.dk and production company Mayday Films staged a hidden-camera apartment haunting that was designed to warn the public to use common sense and avoid rental rip-offs.

The scenario is well staged and restrained by the standards of the genre. Still, the basic setup seems stale from its use in other campaigns, and there's a disconnect between intent and execution that further lessens its impact.

An actor plays a landlord seeking to interest tenants in the Copenhagen flat of his recently deceased father. He leaves for a few minutes, and the weirdness begins. Picture frames, lamps, cookware and a clown doll on a mini-tricycle-the latter a nod to the Saw films-move by themselves. There are also freaky noises, and a radio suddenly springs to life.

Frankly, I'd take the place. Who cares about ghosts? That living room is huge!

Some of the victims scream a lot, probably horrified that they're trapped in yet another "spooky" ad stunt. Indeed, it's scary how familiar such pranks have become, so it's probably time to exorcise them from the marketing playbook.

Via Adrants.

We'll always listen and be here for you. Even when you're wrong.

That's the somewhat odd message that Johnson's Baby offers consumers in this video emphasizing the Johnson & Johnson brand's commitment to the safety of its products-to the point of reformulating them even when there's nothing wrong.

The ad, "Our Safety Promise," explains that Johnson's Baby heard the worries of customers bothered by news that "chemicals of concern" had been found in its products. "Although always safe, for your peace of mind, we removed them," the video says of the chemical.

That message may be transparent. To me, it's also condescending. It's like saying, "We're doing this to appease you. But we still know better than you." Perhaps it's a legal thing. Still, the wording could be much better.

The brand then goes on to celebrate its bigheartedness by having its employees make 1,000 origami storks, which apparently signify "a hope granted and a promise fulfilled," according to a Japanese legend about origami cranes.

It could be I'm just not the target for the ad, which is obviously meant to be touching and sweet. (I'd call it more feel-good for feel-good's sake.) But after watching, I was even more curious about the controversial chemicals.

The spot is part of a new social-media effort that will see 40 more videos released throughout the rest of the year. Let's hope they're less awkward than this one.

While a whopping 91 percent of the advertisers polled by data company Jivox said their companies will spend more on mobile ads this year, many reported feeling frustrated by new technology and the need for better insights as they attempt to navigate the industry-wide shift in spending.

Infographic: Carlos Monteiro

Some aspects of the techno-utopian fantasy are especially worth skewering, and Dutch insurer Centraal Beheer does a pretty nice number on one of them: the self-driving car.

The brand has a knack for making disaster funny by casting some obnoxious stereotype as fictional villain. A couple of years back, it was a moron in a red Speedo doing circus tricks with his speedboat wheel. Now, in a new ad, it's a self-important ass reading the paper in the backseat of a Volkswagen that's being driven by a computer.

The commercial does bear a resemblance to Liberty Mutual's 2012 spot about human error, but adds another layer to the slapstick joke, and keeps it au courant by blaming the escalating fiasco on the disbelief of spectators distracted by the driverless VW. That premise is a stretch, but it's definitely good for a chuckle.

Now, if only the computer chauffeur would take its passenger into the ocean, or maybe just into a shipping container bound for a remote island inhabited entirely by robots.

Client: Centraal Beheer Achmea
Agency: DDB & Tribal Worldwide, Amsterdam
Production Company: Passion Raw
Director: Owen Trevor
Director of Photography: Tim Hudson
Producers: Dan Scott-Croxford, Kwok Yau
Editor: Guy Savin
Grading: Brian Krijgsman
Online: Ton Habraken, Stephen Pepper, Jeroen van Berkel
Sound Studio: Rens Pluym, Wessel-Jan van Zijderveld
Music: Massive Music

Jude Law hasn't had the best of luck on boats in the past. But he puts that behind him for this stylish short film for Johnnie Walker Blue, directed by Jake Scott.

It begins with Law and co-star Giancarlo Giannini kicking back luxuriously on a fabulous handcrafted boat in rich waters somewhere in the world. (The ocean scenes were filmed in the British Virgin Islands.) Law wants the boat for himself, but Giannini says it's not for sale. The only way Law can get it is through a friendly gentlemen's wager. And it turns out Law wants to dance for it-which he does, in between sips of Johnnie Walker Blue.

Later we discover the real nature of the betting between the two, and the reveal is firmly in line with traditional luxury marketing-they're just two regular old consumers of ultra-expensive goods relentlessly seeking something money can't buy.

"The film is about improvement and progress, and this is something I try to do in my work and my everyday life," says Law. "I had to learn new skills shooting this film that combined with the places we visited and shot in, alongside working with Jake and with Giancarlo, made it a truly rare experience."

For my money, though, if you're going to go over five minutes with a Johnnie Walker spot, it needs to have Robert Carlyle and be shot in a single take.

"The Gentlemen's Wager" was made by Anomaly in New York and is being distributed by Unruly Media.

Client: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Spot: "The Gentlemen's Wager"
Agency: Anomaly, New York
President: Karina Wilsher
Writers: Mike Byrne, Dave Douglass
Art Director: Mark Sarosi
Account Director: Lauren Bozarth
Executive Producer: Winslow Dennis
Director: Jake Scott
Production Company: RSA Films
Video Distribution: Unruly Media

Business-to-business content marketing isn't known for its riveting campaigns, but this might be changing. The most notable B2B success story in recent memory comes not from the executive suite, but from Hollywood's most flexible action-star of all-time: Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Check out Contently's new e-book, "State of B2B Content Marketing: The Van Damme-ification of Business Storytelling"

If you're wondering what "The Muscles from Brussels" has to do with B2B content marketing, then you apparently are not one of the 74 million people who have watched "The Epic Split," Van Damme's viral video from Volvo Trucks. It represents what some marketers see as a changing tide in business storytelling.

With the ad, Volvo Trucks succeeds in drawing a connection between its dynamic steering technology and an almost forgotten pop culture figure. And it paid off in a big way.

Not only did the video rack up millions of views, but more importantly, almost half of truck drivers who watched the ad said they were more likely to choose Volvo the next time they bought a truck, and approximately one-third of those surveyed contacted a dealer or visited Volvo's website to research information after seeing the video.

Such engagement doesn't come easily. Many B2B companies have niche audiences and limited budgets. The key is to strike a balance between focusing on information your audience needs and delivering creative content that is appealing enough to generate new customers.

In Contently's new e-book, "State of B2B Content Marketing: The Van Damme-ification of Business Storytelling," we examine the major trends driving the evolution of B2B content marketing and the tactics of those companies that are successfully infusing their content with the type of creative punch usually associated with B2C brands.

To learn more, read the "State of B2B Content Marketing" e-book.

Not every marketing agency can be an architectural marvel, but they do all tend to have at least one oddly compelling bit of decor that reminds you you're not in a law office.

Just for fun, we decided to ask our Twitter followers to share some of their favorite pieces of office decoration, and they did not disappoint. Below you'll find a recap of our favorites.

Leave it to an ad guy to write his own hilariously entertaining obituary, and have it go viral in the days after his death.

Kevin J. McGroarty, who died last Tuesday at age 53, had worked in advertising since 1983 and ran Rhino Media in West Pittston, Pa., until 2006, according to the obituary in the Wilkes Barre Times Leader-a 500-word mini masterpiece that gets off to a flying start with the line: "McGroarty achieves room temperature!"

Every paragraph is amusing, though the high points include:

• He was preceded in death by brother, Airborne Ranger Lt. Michael F. McGroarty, and many beloved pets, Chainsaw, an English Mastiff in Spring 2009, Baron, an Irish Setter in August 1982, Peter Max, a turtle, Summer 1968; along with numerous house flies and bees, but they were only acquaintances.
• McGroarty leaves behind no children (that he knows of), but if he did their names would be son, "Almighty Thor" McGroarty; and daughter, "Butter Cup Patchouli."
• He would like to remind his friends: "Please, don't email me, I'm dead."
• A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Cecilia Church of St. Barbara Parish, 1700 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, following a brief rant of how the government screwed up all of the Bugs Bunny cartoons trying to censor violence.

God bless him. Read the full obituary below.

Obituary: Kevin J. McGroarty

WEST PITTSTON, Pa.-McGroarty Achieves Room Temperature!

Kevin J. McGroarty, 53, of West Pittston, died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, after battling a long fight with mediocracy.

Born 1960 in the Nesbitt Hospital, he was the bouncing baby boy of the late Lt. Col. Edward M. McGroarty and Helen Jane (Hudson) McGroarty, whom the New York Times should have noted as extraordinary parents.

He was baptized at St. Cecilia Church, Exeter, which later burned to the ground, attended Butler Street Elementary, which was later torn down, and middle school at 6th Street in Wyoming, now an apartment building.

He enjoyed elaborate practical jokes, over-tipping in restaurants, sushi and Marx Brother's movies. He led a crusade to promote area midget wrestling, and in his youth was noted for his many unsanctioned daredevil stunts.

He was preceded in death by brother, Airborne Ranger Lt. Michael F. McGroarty, and many beloved pets, Chainsaw, an English Mastiff in Spring 2009, Baron, an Irish Setter in August 1982, Peter Max, a turtle, Summer 1968; along with numerous house flies and bees, but they were only acquaintances.

McGroarty leaves behind no children (that he knows of), but if he did their names would be son, "Almighty Thor" McGroarty; and daughter, "Butter Cup Patchouli."

McGroarty was a veteran of the advertising industry since 1983. McGroarty was a pioneer in Apple computing, purchasing one of the first in the Wyoming Valley in 1985. He would like to remind his friends: "Please, don't email me, I'm dead."

McGroarty was a founding partner of Pyramid Advertising, and finally principal owner of award-winning Rhino Media until 2006. He was also an adjunct instructor at Luzerne County Community College, from 2005-2009.

He will be laid to rest at Mount Olivet Cemetery, section 7N. He asks to please make note of his new address. McGroarty's headstone reads: "I'll Be Right Back," one of his favorite sayings. He leaves this world with few regrets, one being told in grade school, his adult life would see the Hershey candy bar rise in cost to over a dollar. He maintained given the resources and initiative, he would rally the good citizens of the Commonwealth to a revolution that would force that price to its original 35-cent market value, a dream he was not able to fulfill, by his own admission the reason: "I was distracted by many beautiful women."

In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to please give generously to the Pennsylvania State Police Troop "P" Camp Cadet Fund.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Cecilia Church of St. Barbara Parish, 1700 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, following a brief rant of how the government screwed up all of the Bugs Bunny cartoons trying to censor violence. This will be presented by his attorney, Bret Zankel, Esq. Friends may call from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday in the church.

McGroarty leaves behind a thought for all to ponder, given years of gathering wisdom from different religions and deep study of the Greek philosophers: "It costs nothing to be nice" and "Never stick a steak knife in an electrical outlet."

Arrangements by the Metcalfe-Shaver-Kopcza Funeral Home Inc., 504 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming.

The New Yorker has a redesigned website, a new paywall system in the works and now an ad agency to promote it all.

SS+K in New York has landed the assignment after a review, outstripping a handful of other, undisclosed shops. The New Yorker's media spending approached $20 million last year, according to Kantar Media.

The venerable media brand hasn't had an agency for several years, so there was no incumbent.

Initially, SS+K will develop a brand campaign and marketing around The New Yorker's 90th anniversary, which is in February. The brand push is expected to break around the time the new paywall meter takes effect, in October.

Agency co-founder Rob Shepardson described the Condé Nast-owned magazine as the "gold standard for writing, whether reporting, commentary or criticism."

With The New Yorker, SS+K adds to stable of media accounts that also includes HBO. To promote HBO's mobile offering, HBO Go, the agency in the spring created ads that captured the discomfort of the alternative: young adults watching adult-themed content on TV with their parents. That campaign was dubbed, "Awkward Family Viewing."

The numbers don't lie: When a YouTube preroll ad comes on, users are primed to click the "Skip Ad" button the very millisecond it appears on screen. Research says 94 percent of preroll gets skipped shortly after the first five seconds (which are unskippable). And frankly, that number seems low.

The seemingly obvious solution is to make the first five seconds so compelling that people have to watch the rest-rather than just post your TV spot and hope for the best. Embracing the former, ad agency Nail in Providence, R.I., did a simple experiment. It tried to come up with an unskippable YouTube preroll ad.

See the results below.

It's not very subtle, and it uses a trick from an old National Lampoon magazine cover. It's also super low budget. Yet it got a view rate of 26 percent, which is impressive. And it made a few bucks for charity along the way.

What do you think? Is it worth building ad executions specifically to work better as YouTube preroll? Or is that just too much of a bother?

Here is Nail's blurb about the dog video:

As marketers, it's time we change the way we do YouTube preroll.

The current model seems to be to simply throw your TV commercial in front of any video a loosely defined demographic happens to be watching.

What a missed opportunity. The skip rates are unbelievable (94 percent is a generous estimate). And when there is no skip button, you can practically feel the resentment oozing through the Internet. Hardly the temperament most brands want to inspire from their customers, right?

Yes, content is king. But here, context is also king. (A gay royal couple if you will.)

Think about what we know at that moment: we know what they're going to watch, we know what they just Googled, we know where they are, we know what device they are watching on, heck, we know they can skip the ad. All of this information is an opportunity to customize a message that respects the viewer and the platform.

We need to stop repurposing content designed for other channels and start taking advantage of the amazing abilities YouTube is throwing at us.

It's like we're NASA and we're only using the Hubble Telescope to look at our neighbor's boobs.

YouTube ads should be designed for YouTube. They should use the tools and features given to us and interact with the user and the platform in a way that can't be rivaled. They should be self-aware. They should talk to one person at a time.

What the heck are we talking about, you ask?

OK, here's an example. We wanted to raise awareness and money for an organization near and dear to us: the ASPCA. We had virtually no money but had given ourselves a serious challenge: can we make a skippable YouTube that virtually no one skips?

Did we do it? You tell us.

Ah, the barter system, humanity's oldest economy. And it's alive and well in the modern marketplace-at least if you're using slow-cooked meat as currency.

Canadian restaurant chain Montana's Cookhouse & Bar has created an entire ad paid for with meat to promote its Best of BBQ Sampler. The crew offered Montana's smoked meat spread to a wide range of merchants in exchange for goods and services ranging from massage and yoga lessons to a manicure and permanent tattoo.

Even the ad agency (One Twenty Three West) and production company (OPC Family Style) agreed to work on the project in exchange for barbecue.

When the crew went door to door, not everyone said yes. But they seemed to have a pretty good success rate, and it's good to know that if I'm ever strapped for cash and need an MMA lesson, I can always bring a billfold full of brisket.


Agency: One Twenty Three West
Client: Montana's Cookhouse & Bar, Cara Operations
Creative Directors: Rob Sweetman, Bryan Collins
Art Directors: Rob Sweetman, Paul Riss
Copywriter: Bryan Collins
Account Services: Christina Tan, Scot Keith
Production Company: OPC Family Style
Director: Max Sherman
Director of Photography: Kiel Milligan
Executive Producers: Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden, Liz Dussault
Producer: Dwight Phipps
Editor: Oleg Jiliba
Sound Design, Music: Six Degrees

A poster for the Australian release of the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot-showing the half-shell heroes leaping from an exploding skyscraper and advertising a Sept. 11 release date-met with widespread criticism after being tweeted by Paramount Pictures.

The poster image, tweeted by @ParamountAU, was accompanied by the message "Check out the official poster for #TMNT in cinemas September 11!" The tweet was deleted several hours later, after being passed around Twitter by offended users.

Paramount's social media gaffe, as The Daily Dot pointed out, was likely a result of slapping the Australian release date on the pre-existing poster art. The movie is slated for an Aug. 8 release in the U.S. and the studio seemingly overlooked the signifigance of the Australian release date and how it would change interpretations of the poster.

By the time the tweet was deleted, it had made the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere.