Los Angeles agency 72andsunny and New York animation firm Pandapanther teamed up here to give us an animated concoction of toddler obsession with stuffed toys and teenage adventures in hallucinogens. As the two armies of pudgy cute characters seem to re-enact Braveheart, the psychedelic sounds of The Black Angels' "Young Dead Men" give the scene an unexpected nightmarish quality. But it's when the two leaders exchange battle helmets that the echoing guitars and fuzzy grooves really take the psilocybin-inspired visuals to new heights.
Ikea "Living Room"
Everyone's been there. An aunt's house, a neighbor's house ... hell, it could've been your own house where the mood was kept library quiet and the number one rule was the same as most art museums – Do not touch! SCPF, Barcelona and Lee Films take all those scolding orders barked at many a curious kid and turns them into a delightful little ditty. The fact it's sung out of a megaphone further accentuates the robotic and unfeeling nature of the rules themselves, while the visuals and music actively betray the vocal messages. Go ahead, jump on the couch.
The holiday season is a time for people to unleash the kindness and generosity they keep buried in their cold, cold hearts the rest of the year. Here, Ogilvy & Mather, Buenos Aires and director Armando Bo take the old adage "pay it forward" a step further by adding "with a beard." Music company Music Box lays down a brass-laden tune with only one, admittedly obvious, lyric "Hohoho." As the beards get passed around town from kids to dogs to the elderly, we're treated to some standout tuba and kazoo solos and have probably landed on the can't-get-this-damn-melody-out-of-my-head song of the season.
Socalled "You Are Never Alone"
Socalled is Montreal-based "musician, photographer, magician and writer" Josh Dolgin, who's gained a significant amount of attention over the last few years for his clever combo of hiphop and traditional klezmer. Not that his affinity for rap beats and Jewish tunes is all that clear in this visual puzzle directed by Benjamin Steiger Levine that exhibits one man's ability to transform his head into an intricate film projector. The bigger effects are impressive, but what really gives this piece its heart is the Gondry-esque attention to detail, like the aged film of the singer's mouths or the paper animation cowboys squaring off on the mountain tops.
Nike "Better Than Me"
For this Hughes Brothers-directed spot, LeBron steps away from the comedic stylings of The LeBrons and throws down his own, athlete-narrated, beautifully shot, inspirational epic that we've all come to know and (mostly) love from the Swoosh. The directors take us to a darkened court backdropped with various portraits of King James as we're treated to his dramatized evolution, from kid to wunderkind to the inked pro baller. The final LeBron is slowed down in the air mid-monster dunk and viewers are left to guess whether he makes it or not.
Guitar Hero III "Slash"
Sure Slash can rip, but it wasn't until he did it on a tiny guitar for this spot and typed out the sordid details of his pursuit of oblivion (Slash—the book!) that we knew he deserved entrance into the pantheon. DDB worked with MJZ's Blue Source, The Mill and Stan Winston Studios to get the best of both worlds here —in camera effects as well as post work. Like an elaborate modern dance composition, Slash would punch through the mouth of a prosthetic body in front of a green screen while a green-suited Winston team pulled off the fake skin covering. Paradise City is now your couch. Population: You.
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