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Advertising profiles, assignments & the best new creative commercials
Advertising profiles, assignments & the best new creative commercials

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"Whatever happened to Dennis Quaid, the highly likeable star of 80s sci-fi romp Innerspace?" That's what the creative team at Leo Burnett Chicago was asking itself when batting around ideas for a rebrand for Allstate's second string insurance brand Esurance. So here he is in an enjoyably self-mocking campaign that is itself also highly likeable. Quaid does a fine job of poking fun at himself and the advertising industry in general.
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Is there something your friends aren't telling you? This entertaining campaign from Leo Burnett Thailand is for local product Focus. We won't spoil the surprise by telling you upfront what kind of product that is. You'll have to work it out for yourself. We didn't get it until the final product shot. Though of course most Thai consumers at whom the ad is aimed will already know... It's a clever reminder for teenage boys that there are more important things to think about than their image.
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72andSunny unveiled its first collection of ads for US condom brand Trojan, a unit of Church & Dwight. They're rather more adventurous (in more ways than one!) than most of C&D's other brand advertising - for Arm & Hammer, Oxi-Clean and so on - even if they're also a little hit and miss. Here's the best of the bunch. It just so happens that we love peanut butter too! We prefer crunchy but we sometimes like creamy... Clearly that means more than we'd realised...
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Here in the UK we tend to think of wild raccoons as being exclusively a North American problem. In fact, Germany too is overrun by the little beasts, and they're spreading fast across Europe. (According to legend, in WWII an Allied bomb hit a German fur farm, where they were being bred for their pelts, releasing hundreds into the Bavarian forests). Their mobility is helped by an ability to break into parked cars, or so suggests German indie Grabarz & Partner in this great new campaign for Volkswagen. Sadly, it could be one of the agency's last for VW, which is planning to consolidate all its business into an international network. The carmaker's new GPS app helps you find your parked car easily, reducing the risk of four-footed auto-thieves...
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Earlier this year, British bank Halifax moved on from splicing old Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons into its ads with a raid on the classic movie archives. The Wizard of Oz was the first film adulterated by Adam&Eve DDB to promote Halifax financial services. Now another family favourite - Ghostbusters -undergoes similar treatment. The digital wizardry required to combine new footage with scenes from the movie must already be hard enough. Even tougher was the airbrushing necessary to remove Bill Murray from the resulting film. Unlike Dan Aykroyd and the heirs of the late Harold Ramis, Murray was clearly unwilling to have his likeness co-opted. Who you gonna call? Bill Murray's lawyers probably.
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Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam is throwing literally everything including the kitchen sink at the screen for this extraordinary new campaign for Nike Football. Not just a big name movie director (Matthew Vaughn); not just all of its hottest endorsement partners (Neymar, Coutinho, Mal Pugh, De Bruyne etc etc); but also a hundred different scene set-ups and more special digital effects than your average Marvel movie. (Or at least that's what it feels like). And all for what is, after all, just a new football boot. Adidas may have more street cred in football (arguably), but Nike, this ad sets out to remind us, is still the guvnor when it comes to spectacle. You can't help but be impressed.
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DDB Chicago and State Farm's other agencies churn out dozens of ads for the auto insurer each year and the results can be a bit hit and miss. As a perfect example, there are two new spots out today. One features a guy fantasising he's a secret agent while he thinks about getting a car loan from State Farm. That's the miss. But this one is a veritable hit, helped by a laugh-out-loud final reveal. Ah, the Good Life! It's never what it's cracked up to be...
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Friday Classic: "E*Trade Babies" Grey New York (2008). The "E*Trade baby" became one of the iconic marketing campaigns of the late 2000s. First unveiled in January 2008 during the Super Bowl, it carried E*Trade through the global financial crisis that erupted a few months later and then beyond into what would turn out to be a extraordinary seven-year run. Here's the original spot from 2008 - known as 'Whoa!' - and 'Wings', a sequel from the following year, post-credit crunch.

Nick Utton was E*Trade's chief marketing officer. "In September 2007 we were looking at which advertising campaign we might run in the following year's Super Bowl," he said. "E*Trade happened to be going through a very tricky patch at that point in time because we had to declare some loan loss provisions on our mortgage book. It was important to maintain awareness with customers so we made the decision to spend more money on advertising to make sure that E*Trade stayed front and centre. Out of sight means out of mind, and consumers want to be reassured. And there's also the logic flow that consumers have, 'Well, if they're running on the Super Bowl, they must be a healthy company.' So we really pushed the agency, we said 'Whatever advertising we run, if it's running on the Super Bowl, it has to be outstanding. It has to break through the clutter and connect; and more importantly it has to ensure that millions of consumers become more interested in the E*Trade proposition'."

Grey's new chief creative officer Tor Myhren had recently joined the agency from Leo Burnett's Detroit office. "The year before I had done the first Super Bowl spot of my whole career, and it was a complete flop," he said. "It was largely blamed for our agency losing Cadillac. So all of a sudden it was like 'Ok here we go again'. I've gotta make it right this time. So personally there was a lot of pressure on this spot." Grey initially came up with a concept showing real people communicating directly with the audience as if over a webcam, talking about how E*Trade helped them make better investing decisions and choices. They put several scripts into testing, including one which happened to feature a talking baby. That was the one that got the best results from the focus groups.

Myhren: "When we first created the baby, we had no idea if it was the dumbest thing we'd ever done or if it was genius. I was terrified. I had just come to New York, and this is my big chance and it's a talking baby, which had been done a million times. It was scary." Utton: "They came back with the idea of having a baby saying, 'Look, if I can do it, you can do it.' It had the humour we wanted but it also had a very very practial message. When I saw the initial testing results, I loved it. What I didn't know, what none of us knew, was how big the baby would become..."

The idea is one thing; making it work on camera is another altogether. Myhren: "The first thing we did was go out and we shot a lot of babies. But out of 100 babies that we shot there was really only one that was usable, just this one baby, this amazing baby." They filmed him sitting in his high chair, acting up for the camera; but of course he couldn't voice the lines, so a different four-old was filmed for the mouth movements, which were then digitally overlaid onto the main baby. Comedian Pete Holmes provided the actual voiceover. The fact that the results were shaky and raw only seemed to add to the effect. Myhren: "It was all about the humour... we were, like, 'Let's not worry about the craft; in fact let's go almost anti-craft'. It was totally by the seat of our pants." The first spot came out so well, that after Utton saw it, he decided to buy another Super Bowl spot, giving Grey just three weeks to devise a completely new script (this one featured a creepy clown), shoot it and edit it. Then it was a question of waiting to see the reaction...

Myhren: "There's nothing more intense than sitting watching a Super Bowl with all your friends and you know that your spot is going to be coming up. '*I* think this is funny... but who knows if America is gonna think it's funny.' But the minute it hit, the text messages were blowing up, everyone was messaging, calling, 'Oh my God! I saw it! It's amazing'..." It was almost certainly the most popular ad of the whole Super Bowl, and the following day, E*Trade registered more new accounts than it had on any other day in the company’s history. The effect on Grey's reputation was also dramatic, finally putting to bed those old snipes of 'Grey by name, grey by nature'. "We won a lot of business based on the success of the E*Trade baby," said Myhren.

The campaign was a huge hit for the next seven years. Over that time, the original baby was replaced a couple of times, and he also gained a few onscreen friends. But nothing lasts forever, and gradually the formula got harder and harder to build upon. There was also a big shake-up in E*Trade's management team following another run of disappointing financial results. In 2013, new CEO Paul Idzik decided that the company needed to be more scientific in its marketing. Nick Utton was replaced, and the account was put into review. Grey declined to defend, and eventually the business was awarded to Ogilvy. A final ad was filmed by Ogilvy in which the E*Trade baby quits because he's been saddled with a new sidekick, a talking cat named Beanie. "The baby was a wonderful iconic expression of what we were," said new marketing chief Liza Landsman. "But we want something that better reflects our present and where we are going." But, boy, was it fun while it lasted...
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Prepare to be chilled to the bone by this stunning and essential spot from Droga5 NY for the US Ad Council, on behalf of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. It presents an all-too-believable dilemma for American families under current gun ownership laws. No matter how sensible you are yourself and how well you think you've hidden your family firearm, it's almost certainly not hidden well enough from a curious kid. The film is all the more compelling for containing no violence, nothing more than suggestion. Fine work from an agency at the top of its game.
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Here's a completely new approach from Ogilvy for Dove, produced globally in partnership with Cartoon Network. We're already familiar with Dove's well-established goal of promoting self-esteem among women. In an admirable new initiative, this latest campaign targets perhaps the hardest to reach and also most vulnerable demographic of teenage girls, using animated sequences to embody their innermost fears and concerns. Anyone with a teenage daughter of their own will be familiar with that blank "I'm fine" response, and the ensuing worry that there is more to it than that. Inevitably, social media envy plays a significant role. Here's the first of what will eventually be four films, in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, for Dove's main global markets.
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