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The Internet really is a boon for pet-food marketers clever enough to capitalize on animal-obsessed Web culture without seeming too mercenary.

Pedigree New Zealand gets extra brownie points for this video of cute dogs being cute, which attempts to leverage YouTube's revenue-sharing model to raise money for dog charity … as if you needed another reason to watch dachshunds eating hot dogs. (No, it's not cannibalism, though it might count as a sort of professional discourtesy.)

The concept is all the more impressive in the way it take two things that are usually annoying-seeing ads on other ads, and being asked to share ads-and makes them kind of feel-good (even if, given YouTube's meager ad rates, it's hard to imagine the campaign actually making significant money).

Regardless, the spot, by Colenso BBDO, is a knockout delight when measured against the high bar for misery-inducing commercials in the pet-adoption genre. Unlike the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA sob fest that haunts an entire generation of U.S. TV viewers, this one doesn't hinge on making everyone feel awful about themselves.

Plus, the dogs are awesome to watch. Except for that winking puppy at the end, which clearly needs help for having confused itself with a cat. Only cats are supposed to be creepy.

Credits below.

Client: Pedigree
Agency: Colenso BBDO, New Zealand
Creative Chairman: Nick Worthington
Creative Director: Levi Slavin
Senior Copywriter: Matt Lawson
Copywriter: Ben Polkinghorne
Art Director: Scott Kelly
Business Director: Helen Fitzsimons
Senior Social, Digital Strategist: Neville Doyle
Senior Planner: Tamsin McDonnell
Production Company: Finch
Director: Nick Ball
Executive Producer: Rob Galluzzo
Producer: Karen Bryson
Associate Producer: Amy Dymond
Director of Photography: Crighton Bone
Production Designer: Sara Mathers
Animal Wranglers: Animal House
VFX Supervisors: Andrew Timms, Mat Ellin
Offline: Method Studios
Editor: Seth Lockwood
Visual Effects: Beryl
Grade: Pete Ritchie
Flame: Andrew Timms, Mat Ellin
Sound Design: Franklin Rd
Composer: Jonathan Dreyfus

feed text WWF Snaps #Lastselfie of Endangered Animals
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:39:19 PDT

The Danish branch of the World Wildlife Fund is taking advantage of the fleeting nature of Snapchat to illustrate just how quickly it takes for an endangered species to be wiped off this planet.

Taking a sobering spin on the selfie that seems to have become so pervasive in marketing, the #lastselfie ads feature one of five different endangered animals. They all send the same message, "Don't let this be my #lastselfie."

The animal conservation organization is encouraging users of the photography app to take a picture of its bleak ads and Snapchat it to their friends.

"In a way Snapchat is a mirror of real life. The images you see are transient, instant, unique, yet only live for a few seconds. Just like these endangered animals," a video for the #lastselfie campaign reads.

The #lastselfie campaign was done in conjunction with agencies UNCLEGREY and 41? 29!

Bud Light's spoof of the super-viral American Greetings "World's Toughest Job" video was a bit underwhelming. But now Funny or Die has delivered a more amusing one-even if the "punch line" isn't really a laughing matter. The hashtag is: #actualworldstoughestjob.

Wisely, they get to the point pretty quickly, and also spend quite a bit of time mimicking actual lines from the original. Plus, thankfully, it has nothing to do with dads.

Is it just me or did hair-loss products evolve a million years since the days of spray-on hair?

Bald dudes everywhere rejoice! Check out this demo for a product that appears to be real (although we've got our eye on you, Kimmel). With more than 5 million views in just a few days for this crazy ad-for a product that seemingly sprouts freaking hair on your scalp in seconds-the folks at Caboki may have a hit on their hands.

According to the company website, the product is all natural and works like this: "When you sprinkle Caboki into a thinning area of your hair, the fibers automatically cling to your hair like millions of tiny magnets. Each thin wisp of your hair instantly becomes thicker and fuller, eliminating those embarrassing thinning areas."

One reviewer warns, however: "There will be marks on your pillow covers if you don't wash your hair before you go to bed." Thanks, Debbie Downer.

Take a look below at this miracle of follicular wizardry.

UPDATE: This appears to be a reupload of an older video. And according to several commenters, stay away from this stuff!

Wonder Bread takes its fair share of abuse, but this campaign from Canada is a lot of fun-appropriately light and fluffy, and more fulfilling than you might think.

Produced by The Hive in Toronto, five ads use a pleasant stop-motion technique to show someone making a sandwich-though actually, it looks like the sandwich is making itself. The person is then heard in voiceover having a conversation with a loved one-a chat that is then cleverly mirrored somehow in the prep of the sandwich itself.

Example: A son who has recently gone off to college gets a call from his mom. As they're talking, he seems mildly exasperated by her questions about whether he's homesick. He flatly denies it. Yet we see that he's cutting the crusts off his PB&J, undercutting his protestations subtly and delightfully.

Each spot ends with the onscreen line, "The greatest thing since …" and a phrase relating to that particular ad. (The mom-son ad closes with "The greatest thing since moving out.")

The sandwiches become like little emotional canvases where small family stories can play out-pop art for the unpretentious. It's a nice, repeatable structure-one that TV viewers have surely come to recognize and enjoy. It's the kind of campaign where you'd probably feel inordinately happy when a new execution comes on.

The visual style draws you in, and the interplay between the animation and dialogue keeps you engrossed. The scenarios are simple and relatable, and they cast the brand as a ubiquitous and welcome bit player in warm everyday dramas.

As for "The greatest thing" line, Wonder Bread is often credited coming up with the phrase. But you can get the real story here.

Client: Wonder Bread
Agency: The Hive, Toronto, Canada
Executive Creative Director: Simon Creet
Associate Creative Directors: Brad Van Schaik, Klint Davies
Director: Shin Sugino
Post Production: AXYZ
Sound: Grayson Matthews
Producer: Jennifer Cursio
Planner: Michelle Prowse
Account Director: Skye Brain

I have a pile of business cards on a tray in my office, and I'd be hard pressed to remember where I met the people whose names are on those cards if it weren't for some hastily scratched notes in the white space. ("Start-up owner, kept joking about Mad Men, didn't catch my Tupac reference.")

It's generally hard to make an impression on a piece of cardstock that's 3.5 by 2 inches, but German agency Jung von Matt definitely found a winner with its incredible business card for jewelry company Marrying-which, as the name suggests, specializes in engagement rings and wedding bands.

The card rolls up, becoming a handy tool to measure one's ring size. The idea is that men who are shopping for a ring can use the card at home to subtly check the size of a woman's current rings, saving them the rather obvious reveal of saying: "Hey baby, what's your ring size? What? No reason."

The agency effectively married (sorry) utility with good advertising, and I like it.

Via Design Taxi.

text Wieden + Kennedy Lands Weight Watchers
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:48:38 PDT

Wieden + Kennedy has been given the Weight Watchers business, previously at McCann Erickson New York for the past seven years, sources said.

There was no review. Lesya Lysyi, who took over as president of Weight Watchers North America last November, worked with W+K when she was chief marketing officer at Heineken USA. At the time of her hiring last fall, Weight Watchers also appointed Dan Crowe as chief technology officer. Amid speculation of account consolidation, it's not immediately clear how his appointment will affect Weight Watchers' digital agency, Ogilvy & Mather.

Weight Watchers spends around $150 million a year on measured media.

McCann's most recent work has featured celebrity Jessica Simpson. Last January, McCann's Weight Watchers client, senior marketing vp Cheryl Callan, left the company to become CMO at New York & Co.

A McCann rep confirmed the account move but otherwise declined comment and referred calls to the weight loss marketer. Reps at Weight Watchers and W+K could not immediately be reached.

Belgium's B-Classic music festival, whose mission is to "give classical music the same recognition as pop and rock music," brings us a rather interesting sensory collision in the form of the music video below, promoting its "Classic Comeback" competition.

Korean pop-dance group Waveya interprets the godfather of Slavonik dance music (and Brahm's brosef) Antonín Leopold Dvořák in the three-minute synchronized bump-'n'-grind-gyration-twerk-fest set to "Symphony No. 9 Allegro con fuoco."

The video, shot by Raf Reyntjens in South Korea, is cleverly edited and choreographed, albeit shameless in its attempts at drawing in a younger demographic. See, the organizers of the festival believe "the kids" simply need more access to classical music.

Music videos, they believe, are the best way to do this.

In a short documentary also posted below, Frank Peters, a Dutch classical pianist and spokesperson for B-Classic, says he's "not convinced that youth are uninterested in classical music. I think that it's simply more difficult for them to discover."

Chereen Gayadin, a senior music programmer at MTV, adds, "I think that this is the first video in which one listens to classical music without being aware that it is classical music."

Via Ads of the World.

Client: B-Classic
Agency: DDB, Brussels
Creative Director: Peter Ampe
Creatives: Tim Arts, Stefan Van Den Boogaard
Designer: Christophe Liekens
Account Team: Francis Lippens, Kaat De Brandt
Strategic Team: Dominique Poncin, Maarten Van Daele, Michael D'hooge
Digital Strategy: Geert Desager
Digital Project Manager: Stefanie Warreyn
TV Producer: Brigitte Verduyckt
Production Agency: Caviar
Producer: Geert De Wachter
Director: Raf Reyntjens
Music, Sound: Sonicville
Aired: April 2014

In this two-minute clip from Ogilvy & Mather in New York, five Caterpillar machines play a giant game of Jenga using 600-pound wooden blocks, as I'm sure they often do at real construction sites all over the world. (From what I've seen of hard-hat areas in commercials lately, it's clear that all kinds of amusing stuff goes on.)

The work, part of Cat's "Built For It" campaign, showcases the machines' precision handling, strength and agility in an engaging way, and it's proven quite popular on YouTube, tallying 1.1 million views since its posting last week.

Of course, Volvo's already driven a similar road, producing high-octane b-to-b videos, with Van Damme doing the splits and hamsters driving trucks.

Still, it's fun to watch Cat's shiny yellow telehandlers and excavators push, pull and lift the huge game pieces. Will the 8-ton tower topple? WILL IT?! Careful … CAREFUL ...

Actually, this would be a lot more compelling if the vehicles transformed into futuristic robots that engaged in metal-mangling combat. Or if a cat drove one of the Cats. Sigh. Maybe next time.

Via Fast Company.

Here's a kitchen ad that might leave you a little nauseated, but for once that has nothing to do with food.

In Ikea's new spot from Mother London, promoting the retailer's first new kitchen furnishing line in 25 years, the set spins, spins and spins. It captures the vibe of kitchens as busy places for the whole family, often feeling like a whirligig what with all the pots and pans and plates and groceries flying around while pets and children scurry underfoot.

Luckily, thanks to Ikea's efficient drawers and cabinets and other space-maximizing furnishings, you can have a smooth-running ship, including putting your young offspring to work setting the table. There's even a place for the sullen teenager to sit and play with his smartphone instead of helping-just to show Ikea really thought of everything.

Helmed by director Keith Schofield, the spot continues Mother's 2014 "The Wonderful Everyday" campaign, which was kicked off with a much darker, almost creepy homage to energy-efficient lighting.

The agency describes its newest spot as a "dazzling and dizzying" portrayal of the Metod collection's customizability.

"To bring to life this new flexible kitchen," Mother writes in its video summary, "the advert shows the units smoothly coping with whatever the family throws at it. Even the dog."

The carousel is a fun and clear-enough metaphor, though in spirit the ad sort of feels like a more mundane version of the agency's 2012 Ikea spot "Playing With My Friends," which had a similar all-hands-on-deck theme and upbeat poise amid chaos vibe-though that one upped the ante by recasting the grown-up as giant toys, a clever play on the kids' imaginations.

This time around, the biggest thing you're left imagining is how much Dramamine this family must keep stocked in the medicine cabinet.

Every giant viral ad needs a parody (or a few dozen), and so Bud Light is here with a spoof of the American Greetings "World's Toughest Job" video-celebrating dads instead of moms.

The joke writing is a little odd-it's caught between wanting to honor dads and wanting to make fun of them, and doesn't really accomplish either one very well.

The gold standard for this kind of parody was the spoof of Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" where the guys suffer from excess self-esteem rather than the lack of it. That came from a comedy group, though, not from a brand with a vested interest in not making guys look too buffoon-like.

You can learn a lot from this week's best new commercials.

Centenarians shared the wisdom of their long lives in a Dodge ad highlighting its 100th anniversary. A boy with one leg teaches us about perseverance for Powerade. Duracell shows us the power of determination with a documentary account of the two youngest men ever to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Job seekers learn that the world's toughest job is one they've often taken for granted. And a touching breast-cancer awareness tribute teaches us that even as we face death, we can still choose to make a difference in someone's life.

Take a look at our picks below, and help us decide which commercial was the best of the week. And if your favorite isn't here, tell us in the comments.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday on a case that could significantly change the legal landscape for what name food makers give their products and how they market the product on the food label.

The case is Pom Wonderful v. Coca-Cola, a case that dates back to 2008, when Pom sued Coca-Cola for misleading consumers on the label for its pomegranate blueberry flavored blend of five juices beverage, which consists of 99 percent apple and grape juice and only 0.3 percent of pomegranate and 0.2 percent of blueberry juice.

Coca-Cola wasn't the only juice maker that Pom sued under the Lanham Act, which prohibits false and misleading statements about a product. It also sued Ocean Spray, Welch's and Tropicana. But only Coca-Cola prevailed against Pom, a decision that was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.

The legal questions before the Supreme Court are discrete, but boil down to whether a company like Pom can sue another company (Coca-Cola) for a misleading label that has been interpreted as permissible by the Food and Drug Administration.

"Depending on how the Supreme Court rules, the ramifications could be broad. This is a huge case for the food and beverage industry," said Linda Goldstein, a partner with Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. "No one has asserted that Coca-Cola violated FDA rules and law. The issue is whether the FDA regulations are the floor or the ceiling. Pom says it's the floor and that the label can still be misleading."

Pom has called out just about everything on the juice label, including the graphic design of the label showing an image of fruit, the name of the product, even the way the name was treated in type by putting "pomegranate blueberry" in larger type and on the next line in tiny type, "flavored blend of five juices."

"If Pom wins, then anything on a food label could be fair game for litigation. Pom's longest reach is for the actual name of the beverage," said August Horvath, a partner with Kelley Drye that represented Ocean Spray against Pom. "Coca-Cola named the juice by the taste, which is OK under the FDA rules."

Goldstein posits that a win for Pom could create a chaotic legal environment for food and beverage companies. "It will cause uncertainty and confusion and open the flood gates even further to class action litigation," Goldstein said.

A ruling is expected this summer.

Ironically, Pom is still in litigation with the Federal Trade Commission, which has charged the juice maker with false and deceptive advertising. That case is on appeal with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kimberly-Clark and Royal Caribbean are among the Mindshare clients that are interested in using data from The Weather Co. to adjust their media buys based on weather conditions.

Those clients and others will be able to access the media company's WeatherFX data platform via a partnership with WPP Group's Mindshare.

The partnership is non-exclusive, meaning that Weather can strike similar deals with other media agencies. Also, no money is changing hands, though Weather hopes that Mindshare will be more inclined to buy ads on its website, TV channel and mobile apps.

In a statement, Bob Ivins, Mindshare's chief data officer for North America, said that "people make a myriad of choices based on current and forecasted weather conditions-from what type of food or drink to consume [and] where to shop to planning vacations."

Ivins added that "linking TWC's current and predictive data with algorithmic research findings related to weather-related behavior allows us to shift relevant media to the right person in the moment it will resonate most."

Translation: we know when you're most likely to buy beer or least likely to go see a movie, based on where you live and the weather outside. Ah, and you thought the TV was just reading your mind.

In a world of crowded ad spaces and precious few parking spaces, Mercedes and Madrid agency Contrapunto BBDO are hoping to make the most of both shortcomings with these cleverly placed Smart car ads.

Printed on the narrow side of an outdoor ad display, the small image of a Smart is joined by the phrase "Siempre hay un hueco," Spanish for "There's always a space."

As commenters on Ads of the World were quick to point out, this idea isn't exactly a first of its kind. The line and basic premise were even used in a student project in Argentina last year.

Duplication aside, there's also a more pertinent issue: I doubt I would have even noticed it if someone else hadn't pointed it out as an ad.

text Fidelity Launches Creative Search
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:23:22 PDT

Fidelity Investments-an Arnold client since 2001-is launching a review of its creative business, according to sources.

Arnold handles broadcast advertising for Fidelity with other ads produced in-house or by smaller agency partners. Accounts revenue is estimated at $3-4 million. All told, Fidelity spent nearly $218 million in media last year, down slightly from about $223 million in 2012, according to Kantar Media.

Fidelity is the fourth Arnold account to go into review since last year. In January, CVS Caremark launched an agency search in which the Havas Worldwide agency originally participated but quit right before the business was awarded to BBDO in March. That move came on the heels of the agency's loss of anti-tobacco nonprofit the Legacy Foundation, a client since 2000, in February. In December, Arnold lost another of its major marketers, Volvo, to Grey London after a review.

It could not immediately be determined if a consultant is handling the Fidelity review, which agencies have been contacted or whether Arnold will defend. The review is in its early stages. Arnold declined to comment and Fidelity could not immediately be reached.

In December, Pam Hamlin, a 15-year veteran of the agency, was named global president after having served as head of the agency's flagship Boston office. She replaced Robert LePlae who served as Arnold's worldwide CEO for 11 months after joining in August, 2012 as global president.

Can't afford that furniture, those appliances or those electronics? Sure you can.

Aaron's, the lease-to-own retailer, has unveiled a new ad campaign that suggests leasing products from the company isn't just a wise idea for credit-challenged people-it's the first step toward becoming rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams.

The ads, from 22squared, feature characters-Bobby, Charmony and Emilio-who've become wildly successful, but as it turns out, they once didn't even know the basics of living beyond their means. A fourth ad stars Nascar driver Brian Vickers, who apparently just gets super excited about Aaron's in general.

The theme is "Own the life you want," which is certainly an interesting mix of aspirational and financial-a reminder that, for many, they're one and the same.

"It's proof that some denim really is just born that way," Steven B. Wheeler, lead designer at Betabrand, says in this promo for the fashion company's Gay Jeans.

What's cool about these pants is that when they are broken in, they reveal "brightly colored, rainbow-hued yarns underneath."

While Betabrand's rainbow denim may not be the first in its class, it's certainly the most philanthopic. Ten percent of proceeds from the crowdfunded project will be donated to the San Francisco LGBT Center.

Ame Corwin, advanced materials researcher at Betabrand, says on the website: "We hope Gay Jeans will help end generations of exclusion and unfair treatment for atypical denim. All jeans deserve equal rights, regardless of color, creed and fiber content."

If you'd like to order a pair of Gay Jeans, go to the site and drop $88 for "Slim-Fit" or $78 for the "Stretch-Skinny."

Are you straight? Don't worry. You can wear them, too. Gay Jeans won't make you gay anymore than "driving a Toyota will make you Japanese," the brand says in its FAQ. "If you put on a pair of Gay Jeans and begin experiencing gayness, chances are it's because you are gay."

Elderly people tend to get short shrift in commercials, much as they do most everywhere in life. Kudos to Dodge and The Richards Group, then, for celebrating the automaker's 100th birthday by putting the spotlight on humans born around the same time.

Not all of them are centenarians, but many of them are. (The rest mostly seem to be sprightly 90-somethings.) And they're here to dispense some hard-won wisdom about what they've learned in a century on this Earth. And they dispense it with humor, style and not a little defiance.

"You learn a lot in 100 years," says on-screen copy, as a 2015 Challenger screeches out of the frame. "Dodge. Born 1914."

Imitation is the sincerest form of fla-rather, great minds think alike.

Seattle's Best Coffee's new spot features various dudes who happen to be named Duncan proclaiming their love for the Starbucks-owned brand.

What's interesting here is that this video was published two whole days before Taco Bell's somewhat viral "Real Ronald" ads featuring guys named Ronald McDonald.

According to the coffee company's behind-the-scenes website, "The ad, which appeared before a fast-food chain launched a similar campaign, is part of a national taste test that found people preferred the new House Blend from Seattle's Best Coffee over a competitor's original blend coffee."

Given the close timing between these two, it's clear that neither brand was ripping off the other's idea. (As we've noted, it wasn't even a completely new idea in the first place.) Rather it reads as an uncanny coincidence fueled by the brand-obsessed zeitgeist.

So, take a look at the two ads below and see the uncanny resemblance for yourself.

Via Business Insider.

New Yorkers who gazed up in the sky yesterday and noticed that Ford had plopped a new Mustang on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building were (justifiably) awed. It was no easy thing for those clever marketing folks to take a 2015 Mustang, cut it into six pieces (reportedly using a Sawzall when necessary) bring it to the 1,050-foot observation deck, then put it all back together. Actually, Ford had had a little practice with this thin-air stunt, having done the same thing 50 years ago. "We are thrilled to be here in New York," executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement, "to recreate that historic event for today's Mustang enthusaists."

Ford also mentioned that the Pony Car had made its debut out in Queens, at the 1964 World's Fair. But what he didn't say was that Ford Motor pulled off another high-altitude marketing stunt out there, too. In fact, the World's Fair exploit was far more memorable than yesterday's exhibit (no disrespect, ESB): If you'd gone to the big fair 50 years ago, not only could you sit in a new Mustang, but ride in it-high over the heads of your fellow fairgoers.

Ford integrated its new car into a ride called the Magic Skyway, a glass-enclosed double-loop track hoisted several stories above the ground. After piling into the car, visitors got to "drive" the car, courtesy of a mechanized guide rail that pulled the convertible along the route (watch a video of it below). Ford commissioned Disney to build the ride, which wound its way through various historical vignettes, including the age of the dinosaurs. In fact, Walt himself did some of the pitching. "This is Walt Disney speaking," visitors heard over the PA. "I hope you enjoyed our show and your ride on the Magic Skyway in a new Ford product as much as I've enjoyed the Fords I have driven through the years."

In all, 160 Fords circled the track in the Magic Skyway, including the Galaxie 500 and the Falcon Futura. You had to be lucky for the Mustang to roll by when it was your turn. But the thousands who took that first ride in a Mustang convertible never forgot the experience-participatory marketing, if you will.

Happy 50th, Pony Car.

Row, row, row your boat … 3,000 miles without stopping!?

Meet Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks, two British endurance-sports mavens who recently became the youngest pair ever to row across the Atlantic. That's the Atlantic freaking Ocean! Shit, I get tired and cranky paddling an inflatable seahorsie around a swimming pool. They were both 21 when the trip began; Jamie turned 22 on the way.

2 Boys in a Boat, a brief documentary from Grey London and Duracell, which sponsored the voyage, vividly captures the harrowing 54-day journey. Most of the footage was recorded with their own cameras. It's a compelling piece of brand content, with the battery maker wisely playing second mate and discretely appearing only via onboard signage and at the end with the tagline, "The power to go further."

Luke and Jamie finished fifth overall and second in pairs in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which bills itself as the world's toughest rowing competition. The race stretches from San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. The guys piloted a 24-footer, the Maple Leaf, which contained a cabin that measured six feet high by three feet wide. They never left the boat and had no support vessel.

The trip took 1.5 million strokes. I would have had at least one stroke and multiple heart attacks a quarter mile from port. Luke and Jamie faced 40-foot waves, 40-mph winds, salt sores that look like radiation blisters and shark fins to the left and right. They lost about 25 pounds each from nonstop rowing (despite intense calorie consumption) and never slept for more than 80 minutes at a time. At one point, a Russian container ship almost mowed them down. (Putin's everywhere these days!)

Apart from the physical challenges, the psychological strain was equally draining. In the clip, Jamie says: "There's nothing to look at apart from dark blue sea, so you're left with absolutely nothing but your thoughts. I remember crawling into the cabin and just breaking down into tears. I had run out of things to think of."

During their voyage, they raised $500,000 for Breast Cancer Care. Luke's mom was diagnosed in the summer of 2012. She was in Antigua to greet them at the end of the race.

"Giving up was never an option," Jamie says in the film. "Not on the 12th hour, not on the 20th day, not on the 50th day. There was no way anything under our power was going to lead to us giving up."

Great going, guys! Next time, try the Pacific. Lazy millennials.

Client: Duracell
AMD WE Delivery & RPP BFO: Javier Hernandez
Duracell Brand Manager U.K., Nordics: Menna Zaghloul
EMEA External Relations: Kenyatte Nelson
Assistant Brand Manager: Alexander Radcliffe
Project: 2 Boys in a Boat
Agency: Grey, London
Creative Director: Andy Lockley
Executive Creative Director: Nils Leonard
Copywriter, Art Director: Andy Lockley
Creative Producer: Sam Morton
Planner: Bhavin Pabari
Media Agency: SMV
Media Planner: David Boast
Production Company: Greyworks
Editor: Emily Macdonald
Producer: Emma Hayton
Postproduction: Greyworks
Composer: Terry Devine-King
Audio Postproduction: Greyworks
Online, Public Relations: Exposure

Considering its position as the No. 1 brand channel on YouTube, it's really of no surprise that this insane video comes from today's prime purveyors of adventuretime content, GoPro.

What appears to be a lovely day on the slopes turns into a pretty thrilling minute of footage as skiier Eric Hjorleifson documents his terrifying run with a head-mounted Hero 3+ camera.

Unlike other recent videos that are totally and joyously fake, this one is for sure, very real.

Take a look below and be sure to watch this full-screen, with your headphones on. The skiier's breathing really completes this bone-chilling experience. Then you can go back and watch GoPro's even more terrifying 2011 avalanche video, which is one hopefully no one will try to top.

Revenue at Publicis Groupe, driven largely by digital operations, rose more than 3 percent organically in the first quarter, a "marked improvement" from the fourth quarter when it was flat, the French holding company said today.

Revenue from digital activities, which now account for nearly 41 percent of all revenue, climbed 10 percent.

First-quarter revenue rose to $2.2 billion, up 2 percent from the same period last year. Results were hurt by exchange rates that cost Publicis $93 million Euros or 4 percent. Without the exchange-rate impact, revenue growth was nearly 7 percent.

Separately, in a Euro Business Media interview about the results, Publicis chief Maurice Lévy shrugged off speculation the company's merger with Omnicom Group might fall apart even as he left open the door that could be a possibility. On April 11, J.P. Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani issued a first-quarter agency results preview where she said "OMC/PUB merger outlook growing more uncertain following several delays, but we see positives in either scenario."

Nine months after the announcement about Publicis and Omnicom's merger, its closing is now delayed until the third quarter, slowed by waiting for regulatory approvals in China, tax and domicile issues and, reportedly, disagreements between Lévy and Omnicom CEO John Wren, about who will fill top management roles of the joint entity. The deal was originally expected to close early this year.

In the EBM interview, Lévy said that while he doesn't believe there is "any reason why the merger may not happen," if it didn't come to fruition, Publicis Groupe is well-positioned to stand alone.

"However, as we are in a ‘What if?' situation, we should not forget that last year we have announced a strategy which is extremely clear. So, Publicis is today the best-positioned group, [better] than any of our competitors, with an extremely strong position in the digital world, extremely strong position in e-commerce and the most advanced group in the digital world. So, all this is making us a formidable competitor."

He added: "This being said, I feel extremely confident with the merger. I don't see any reason why this may not happen. But, as you say, ‘What if?' ‘What if?' We are serene and we have a very solid balance sheet, robust. If we need to make some financial movement, share buy-backs or whatever, we have the capabilities. If we need to make some investment, acquiring operations, we have the capabilities and on top of this, I am sure that we will grow faster than the market and deliver the best margin in the industry. So ‘What if?' Life is good."

Publicis said it spent $52 million on merger-related expenses in 2013; Omnicom took a $41.4 million pre-tax charge last year for professional fees concerning the merger.

While digital led first-quarter results at Publicis Groupe, revenue from analog operations declined about 1 percent. The company said the Eurozone remains feeble, despite some improvement in Germany and the U.K. The U.S., where revenue rose more than 4 percent, was buoyed by the economy's upturn and the company's share of digital operations there. Certain emerging markets remain challenging: Revenue in China was flat at 0.2 percent, although better than the 11 percent decline in the fourth quarter; India was down 18 percent.

Publicis Groupe is maintaining its full-year growth potential of more than 4 percent although it said growth in the second half will not be as strong as in the first because of higher 2013 comparisons.

If you're anything like me, you might get a little freaked out by the Internet.

Whatever you put out there exists, in some capacity, forever! But that neurotic voice in your head is probably drowned out when you capture the perfect photo of your dog giving you the side-eye (it happens), or you need to chat about the BIG THING that happened on whichever show has a BIG THING that week, and somehow you've become pretty active on various social media platforms.

No big deal, right? Wrong, according to AKQA's latest digital campaign for Ubisoft's game Watch Dogs.

AKQA created a site, Digital Shadow, that allows you to log in with your Facebook profile and see what your digital imprint says about you. (For the record, mine says, "You display a bleak outlook that can be manipulated for future gain." OK, then.) It also estimates your net worth and where you might be spotted and guesses what your passwords could be.

"We know everything about you." Spooky.