This roundup is devoted to agencies and agency types branching out beyond ads and exploring their entrepreneurial sides (and to random ad stuff I like).
BRANDS TREAD THE BOARDSThe first trailblazer is, unsurprisingly, Mother. The agency's excellent Eurostar-backed, award-winning film, "Somers Town" was praised just north of this space a few weeks back. Previously, the London shop had also turned out a series of comics in conjunction with Time Out called "Four Feet from a Rat." Now, in its ruthless bid to conquer all entertainment platforms, Mother has taken its act live with the world's first (to my knowledge -- I'm confident you'll correct me if I'm wrong) branded musical. The hour-long musical, produced for client Pot Noodle, will play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month. Pot Noodle marketing has long and successfully wallowed in the humble nature of the starchy snack, and the musical continues that low tradition -- the story follows Steve and Digger and their battle against the evil noodle-factory boss. The agency worked with real theater people on the project, director David Sant and composer Peter Coyte. The show opens July 31 in Edinburgh.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS AT BROOKLYN BROTHERSIt's not the first kids' book from an agency founder (Ground Zero's Court Crandall was on the case with 2005's more touchy-feely "Hugville") but it's probably the first kids book from an agency founder about an elephant. It's certainly the first whose message to kids is, essentially, "Pipe down."
New York agency Brooklyn Brothers has been reaching its tentacles beyond communications and into products for the past few years with ventures such as chocolate brand Fat Pig. Now agency founder Guy Barnett has penned "Gently, Elephant," "a story for noisy children" illustrated by U.K. artist Adrian Johnson. The Brothers' next media foray: "Cagefighter," a documentary about mixed-martial artists, produced with client Versus and directed by Derek Cianfrance.
CELEBRITY SHAMEIf you've watched "Family Guy" tot Stewie Griffin's rendition of William Shatner's rendition of Elton John's Rocket Man more than 10 or 11 times, you'll probably like 180 L.A. creative Tom Hamlin's "Celebrity Vinyl." Hamlin has amassed a mind-numbing collection of albums made by people who had no business making albums and showcases their unforgettable cover art in this just-published book. Highlights include: "20 Golden Pieces of John Travolta" and Tony Perkins' "On a Rainy Afternoon."
CHANGE IS WEIRD AND FUNNYI'm not sure why, but I'm hooked on the "Change Is Beautiful" mini films created on behalf of Washington Credit Unions by Seattle's Big Bang Electrical. The ongoing series (posted at changeisbeautiful.net) has Carl Weathers riding around town, startling strangers with sweet, sort of inscrutable monologues on change, delivered with bonhomie and just a hint of menace. Many have found them creepy. I find them inspiring and crack-like.
A COLD, BLOODY TREAT FOR SUMMERFans of John Carpenter and GI Joe, be on the lookout for the music-video homage to "The Thing." Filmmakers Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann re-create the 1982 film to the tune of Zombie Zombie's "Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free," coaxing improbably realistic movement from the campy action figures.
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Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Creativity magazine and Creativity-Online.com.