barclaycard + the mill: rollercoaster.

In 2008, BBH London created a refreshing and beautifully executed spot for Barclaycard called “Waterslide.” For 2010 they’re back at it, this time with a Nicolai Fuglsig-directed spot called “Rollercoaster.” If you’re wondering what it’s about, the title is pretty self-explanatory.

Created by VFXperts (I just made that term up, I’m not sure I like it, but I’ll keep it for now…) The Mill, the spot is sharp, tight, fearless, and seamless. But despite the technical radness, the best part is that it really does capture the joy behind the idea. It looks good enough to be real and so it feels good enough to be real.

And they were even nice enough to put up a killer making-of vid. I’m always blown away by the level of detail and skill that goes into making motion design of this calibre, and it’s totally worth checking out the process behind “Rollercoaster.”

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Via Motionographer

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daniel kleinman + plane stupid: polar bear.

Ok, so first off, holy fuck! Secondly, this is really not very subtle. I’m not sure when polar bears became the sole animal mascot for global warming (I get it, ice caps melting and all, they’re relatively close to panda bears, but still…) Thirdly, the connection between the carbon footprint of your flight equating to the weight of a polar bear is a little tenuous for me and the message isn’t insightful, just shocking and heavy-handed. But, back to my original thought, which was… holy fuck! It affected me enough to post it, so there must be something going on. Or maybe I’m just stressed out now. Holy fuck.

No holds barred work for the Plane Stupid campaign from Mother London, directed by Daniel Kleinman and produced by Rattling Stick.

Via Feed

martin de thurah + ikea: home.

This is a match made in advertising heaven. The brilliant Martin de Thurah (whose recent vid for Fever Ray’s “When I  Grew Up” kicked some serious ass…) worked with advertising innovator and fearless marketers Ikea (who, besides having a history of working with the world’s best directors also promote tolerance and human rights with their forward-thinking depictions of “families” – check out my post on their hilarious and controversial ‘Tidy Up” campaign) to create “Home.” 

This gorgeous ad is a perfect example of what advertising can and should be: simple, beautiful, artistic, and willing to slowly draw you in until you wonder what’s going on instead of bashing you over the head in fear that you won’t get it. 

I really need to move to Sweden.

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(Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded. Post: Duckling.)


Via No Fat Clips!

diem chau + publicis hal riney: crayons.

I don’t know anything about U.S. Cellular except they have a really boring, literal company name. I am impressed, though, with their new Publicis & Hal Riney created spot “Crayons.” Way impressed.

Taking the incredible crayon sculptures of Diem Chau, melting them, and then rolling the film backwards, the rainbow pools of wax climb back up into works of art. Visually, it’s a poetic and beautiful metaphor for something as dull as backing up your mobile phone contacts.

(Agency: Publicis & Hal Riney. Director: Tim Godsall Post: Biscuit Filmworks.)

Via Coloribus

coca-cola: encounter.

So I’ll admit that maybe this ad treads a little closely to sappy, but there’s something about it that totally got to me. In back-lash to economic-misery and the general doomsday feelings of the recession, I think advertising is going to keep shifting towards the abandonment of feel good and speak directly to a need to be positive. And, yeah, we’re not idiots, if it sells some Coke in the process then that obviously helps.

In this lovely Spanish Coca-Cola spot, “Encounter”, a 102 year-old man is brought to meet a new-born baby boy. They’re not related, and have no reason to meet other than the connection of both being human. The old man’s face when he first sees the boy brought me to the edge. He then gives the youngin’ some sage advice that would normally be a bit obsequious, but seems so genuinely heart-felt and honestly-meant that I let myself go and went for the emotional ride of it. And you should too. Sometimes, it just feels good to feel good.

(Agency: McCann Erickson Madrid. Director: Andy Fogwill.)

volkswagen + bitt: fishdog.

There are dog people. There are fish people. Now, thanks to Bitt Animation, there are fishdog people.

(Agency: Almap BBDO. Director: Armando Bo. Production: Rebolucion.)

burger king: whopper virgins.

Following in the much-buzzed about footsteps of “Whopper Freakout” (which was released around the same time last year, coincidentally) comes the latest Burger King web vid from mega-agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Welcome “Whopper Virgins.”

In it, BK’s globe-trotting burger flippers head to three places with cultures where burgers aren’t normally on the menu – the Hmong of Thailand, the part of Romania that used to be called Transylvania, and the Inuit in Greenland – and visit remote areas looking for people who’ve never eaten one before. Then they do a taste test between a Whopper and Big Mac and asked them to choose which one they preferred. That bit is simple; it’s classic advertising schtick.


After that, it gets messy. If you read marketing/ad blogs regularly you’ve no doubt already heard about “Whopper Virgins.” That’s because everyone’s been talking about it since it debuted last week. Fierce debate has ensued: people in uproar, offended beyond belief at how callous and corporate Burger King is. The vid has been covered in publications and newspapers around the world, like The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, and The Huffington Post, and caused a full-on controversy on the net. All over a hamburger.

Watch “Whopper Virgins” so you can decide what you think for yourself. Then I’ll tell you what I think:

So I think it’s pretty clear that the video is tasteful, well-done, and respectful to everyone involved. I think the most offensive complaint, and the one I’ve read the most often on the blogs, is people saying either that this vid promotes the heartless Westernization of other cultures (some comments I’ve read go so far compare it to Colonization or even Christian Missionary conversion tactics) and that we’re in some way taking advantage of the naïvte of the savage foreigners. The brand of pseudo-respect that some completely ignorant Westerners pretend to display through their condescending “offense” is degrading to these people and revolting to the rest of us. The thought that we’re somehow going to have such a dramatic impact on these people, by offering them a hamburger, is so sanctimonious it’s ludicrous.

First, I’d be interested to know how many of these offended-by-proxy commentators have actually even been to any of these three places? Second, when did we all pre-suppose that simply because these people live in villages on other continents that means they’re impoverished? Marilyn Borchardt, Development Director for Food First, called the campaign insensitive: “The ad’s not even acknowledging that there’s even hunger in any of these places.”

So I suppose there should be no food advertising anywhere in North America then, because there’s just as much, if not more, hunger and poverty here as there is in any of these countries. It’s not like they went to Darfur or something – it’s Greenland. The assumption that they’re all suffering from mass starvation simply because they live a more rural existence shows more arrogance and ethnocentricity than anyone involved in creating this ad has. You get the feeling from some of these comments that just because these people aren’t white and don’t speak English that they’re all living in shacks and digging for vegetables, innocently corrupted by the evil fast-food bearing conquerors.  It’s beyond insulting.


But it gets worse: Sharon Akabas of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, told the New York Daily News “It’s outrageous…What’s next? Are we going to start taking guns out to some of these remote places and ask them which one they like better?”

Are you fucking kidding me? Romania went through a blood-filled communist revolution less than 20 years ago. They publically shot their dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, to death in the  the street; you think these people have never seen a gun? The people of Thailand, nestled between Burma (a human rights-violating military dictatorship) and Cambodia (home of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, and the genocide of 1.5 million innocent Cambodians), might have seen a gun or two in their time as well. I don’t say this to be flippant; I say this because to assume they’ve never seen a gun is to completely disregard the violent history of their region as well as any of the human right battles that have been won there since. I guess it’s easy to assume, since they’re not running around polishing Glocks and shooting each other, like many people in certain Western countries do, that they’ve never seen a gun. Perhaps they’ve seen so many of them that they’re smart enough to know not to use them. If this is the type of person leading thought and debate, in any way, at a university as prestigious as Columbia, then I’m worried. Guns? It’s a hamburger!

In the same article that Ms. Akabas was quoted in, the New York Daily News went to a Burger King in Times Sqaure to get some opinions on the street. That’s when Irvin Gatone, 42, from the Bronx, said: “That’s a stupid commercial, because when you’re hungry, anything tastes good.” I think maybe, just maybe, that might be the epitome of Western ignorance right there folks. They like the burger… because they’re so stupid and hungry. Well said, Irvin.

These are vibrant, healthy, well-fed cultures. They’ve been quite successful at feeding themselves for a few thousand years. To assume that our introduction of the burger will completely westernize them and make them unhealthy and fat, (essentially, turning them into us, oddly enough) is both the height of arrogance and our part and greatly underestimates the strength, beauty, and vitality of these cultures.

At the end of the day, though, to anyone who would protest so loudly, it’s just a hamburger ad. It’s an interesting idea to bring them something not typically found in their culture – a harmless burger – and interact with them and watch a human connection unfold. But that’s me looking on the bright side of it. More cynical people might say it’s just an ad, all it’s doing is trying to sell hamburgers. Well, guess what? It’s an ad for hamburgers! And it’s doing its job really well.


The thing that’s most interesting to me about it, and this is where CP+B really gets their brilliance points, is that people simply won’t stop talking about this. Not only in the world’s biggest newspapers, but in blogs and all around the net. People literally ranting on and on about how terrible it is, driving conversation, sending it to friends, rallying opinions… which is exactly what Burger King wants!

Like your Mom told you about the bullies at school, ignore them and it will go away. People who really find this that offensive should realize that by contributing to the discussion they are propagating it, and through that inevitably promoting the King. Remember that age old adage “there is no such thing as bad press, just make sure you spell my name right.” It’s totally true. Burger King doesn’t give a shit about who hates this ad. But if you do, they want you to hate it enough that you’ll talk about it, which is precisely what people are doing.

That, from a marketing standpoint, is utter fucking genius.

hp + framestore: in the air.

This looks so slick. Killer VFX work from the amazing Framestore for HP’s latest spot “In The Air.” I dig the American Beauty-esque score too. Totally tight. The reflection in the astronaut’s helmet is so hot. It makes me want to be a better man. That’s how good it is.


(Agency: Goodby Silverstein. Director: Dante Ariola. Production: MJZ.)

barclaycard: waterslide.

When you die, you go to heaven. And heaven is a world made of waterslides. Apparently, you also get some kind of British debit swipe card, but that’s beside the point. The point is… waterslides!

(Agency: BBH London. Director: Peter Thwaites. Production: Gorgeous.)

Watch the Making Of.

Via my always on-the-ball friends at The Denver Egotist

cbc + the accident factory: macs vs. pcs.

So, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the fuck is going on here. At first it’s not so confusing: we’ve got Macs, we’ve got PCs, we’ve got “West Side Story”, and we’ve got “Dawn of the Dead.” It’s almost Hallowe’en, they’re hoping this shit goes viral (and I’m blogging it, so I’m contributing to its viral-ness.) Got it. Then I realized that it’s commissioned by the CBC, and that’s where I’m lost.

For those of you who don’t know, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a media dinosaur; generally dull and plodding and slow-moving and about as hip as trucker hats. But it’s Canadian and it’s ours and Canadians love anything that’s been around for 100 years and we’re not about to do something crazy like criticize it. Like the monarchy; we simply don’t question it.  It’s a very Canadian thing to secretly believe that any kind of major change will lead to the downfall of our society. It’s possible that universal healthcare is somehow based on the existence of the CBC, so let’s not rock the boat. We like to keep on keepin’ on.

For a general example of how quick the CBC is to trend-spot, they’ve recently discovered… reality television! Basically they like to wait until something becomes really popular everywhere else, wait a few more years so that it can start to become unpopular, and then do a not-quite-as-good version of what’s now almost throughly unpopular… and somehow hope it becomes popular again.  I imagine a bunch of men, scratching their heads, sitting around a boardroom wondering to themselves “what will those whacky kids do next?” So, the fact that they managed to catch on to something culturally current while it’s still actually culturally current is a little mind-blowing. If they can make it a trend, good for them. I won’t hold my breath though.

Also, since the CBC is publically-funded, that means my taxes have somehow funded the making of this vid. And, thus, I’ve given myself a producer credit. See below…

(Agency: The Accident Factory. Director: Kirby Ferguson. Tax-Based Public Partial Producer: Jeremy Elder and all other tax-paying citizens of Canada.)

Via Wired