Activia yogurt, a brand sold in Europe, Canada and elsewhere, reportedly set to hit the States this year, is being hyped as a digestive aid, featuring an allegedly unique "probiotic culture," according to client Danone. In Germany, this selling point is illustrated, by Y&R/Frankfurt, with Op Art-ish designs accompanied by a line that the agency somewhat indelicately translates as "When bloated." The concept, according to CCO Christian Daul, was inspired by "art of the '70s and some postcards we found in an Amsterdam psychedelic shop." We should've known Amsterdam had something to do with this. At any rate, "We used strong, clear graphical patterns and distorted them because we feel it's far more interesting and attractive than showing real balloon bellies," Daul adds. "They jump right into the eye because they're based on fundamental principles of perception."
Client: Danone Agency: Young & Rubicam, Frankfurt CCO: Christian Daul CD: Uwe Marquardt Art Director/Illustrator: Monika Spirkl
Nissan Takes On Vodpods
Operating under Nissan brand mantra "Shift," TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. has created three branded films that will appear on the menus of on-demand television services like TiVo and DirecTV's Sunday Ticket. Dubbed vodpods, for their four-minute video-on-demand pockets, Nissan's media buys started in the fall with ads and behind-the-scenes films for the Z car and Titan. But at the end of November, remote-wielding football fans had the choice to watch branded films about the love of football. "Good Vibrations" is a documentary about obsessed enthusiasts of the near-antique game of electric football, while "Covered in Gold" is a fictitious account of a man who poses for athletic trophies.
Client: Nissan Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. ECD: Rob Schwartz CD: Joe Shands "Good Vibrations" ACD/CW: Mike Yagi ACD/AD: Chris Lynch Directors/Editors: Adam Forstadt, Matt Kalish/Mutiny Productions/Studio B "Covered in Gold" ACD/CW: Steve Morris ACD/AD: Barney Goldberg Director: Richard Sears/Green Dot Films Editor: Jack Douglas/Cosmo Street
18th Century Party People
With a print and outdoor debut in Belgium, scheduled to run in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan shortly, Piper Heidsieck pulls out the party stops in true "Let them eat cake" style. According to agency BETC Luxe, "Piper Heidsieck, founded in 1785 under the reign of Louis XVI and his amazing wife Marie-Antoinette, expresses all the creativity, fun and party spirit that have marked out its history." It was the fave bubbly of Marie-Antoinette as well as Marilyn Monroe "and, by extension, glamorous Hollywood, which preferred its red color," claims the agency. Marie-Antoinette died at age 37, Monroe at 36, but, whatever. With photography by the fashion team of Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, the intended vibe is "daring to be nonconformist to the point of extravagance," but it "shouldn't be understood as the constant quest for excess, folly or madness," the agency hastens to add.
Client: Piper Heidsieck Agency: BETC Luxe, Paris CD: Marie-Laure Billette CW: David Azencot AD: Carole Ser Assistant AD: Amandine Garracio Art Buyers: Jean Luc Chirio, Corinne Blancheton Photographer: Sofia & Mauro
really Big Babes, really Tiny Cars
Germany not only has its first female chancellor, it also boasts this impossible to overlook campaign, even if the product is really hard to see, for a store in Berlin called Cars-and-Boxes (www.cars-and-boxes.de). According to Hamburg agency Jung von Matt, "The Matchbox cars are so authentic that the clich?d 'women and cars' concept still works." It no doubt works for little boys, too, but they're not the target; "the core market is the collectors community of adult men who love model cars and who also love the great freedom and the aesthetics involved in muscle car culture." So say hello to Alexandra, who's glute-ifying a BMW Z4. The work is also seen as in-store posters, and muscle car aesthetes will be glad to know there's a 2006 calendar.
Client: Cars-and-Boxes Agency: Jung von Matt AG, Hamburg CDs: Jan Rexhausen, Doerte Spengler-Ahrens CW: Simone Nobili AD: Jens Petter Waernes Designer: Erik Dagnell Photographer: Stephan Abry
Driving Under Your Influence
What's more entertaining than watching an unsuspecting passenger get tossed around like a rag doll in the back of a cab? Having complete control over that cab, of course. That's the idea behind a truly interactive web video created by Organic to demonstrate the benefits of Sprint's new entertainment-oriented wireless service-and entertain sadistic web surfers in the process. By using the arrow and space bar keys on your computer keyboard, you can veer left or right, speed up or slam on the brakes, then watch the previously-filmed reactions of the live-action passenger as he suffers the consequences of the laws of physics.
Client: Sprint Agency: Organic GCD: Christian Haas ACDs: Roger Wong, Ben Citron Designer: Maria Tyomkina Developers: Aaron Clinger, John Belew Video Director: Tom Gatsoulis
The Talented Mr. LeBron
Twenty-one-year-old baller LeBron James plays four members of a family called The LeBrons-Wise, All Business, Athlete and Kid-meant to represent the facets of the man and his brand. The characters interact around the house, at the dinner table and in an impromptu celebratory dance party in subtle and skilled performances.
Client: Nike Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland CDs: Mike Byrne, Hal Curtis, Jim Riswold CW: Brian Ford AD: Jayanta Jenkins Director: Stacy Wall/Epoch Editors: Haines Hall/Spotwelders, Matthew Hilber/Joint Editorial VFX: Ring Of Fire
Like a Rolling "Human Ball"
To demonstrate the rapid spread of AIDS in Africa, Doctors Without Borders presents a stylized animated village in which one man trips, starting a chain reaction of tangled people that grows into an enormous human ball. With a hauntingly sweet soundtrack and symbolic but devastating visuals, the spot makes its point without getting sappy or gory.
Client: Medecins Sans Frontieres Agency: Duval Guillaume, Bruxelles CDs: Katrien Bottez, Peter Ampe, Xavier Bouillon CW: Tiny Nys AD: Alexander Cha'ban Director: Andreas Hasle/Caviar VFX: Grid Music: Marie Daulne/Doctor Swing
Songs of the Season
Chrismahanukwanzakah may only come once a year, but now you can celebrate the all-encompassing holiday anytime you want, thanks to a micro site at the center of Fallon's sublimely surreal campaign. Holiday joy seekers can watch the TV spots and sing along with the caroling Hindu Santa and Jewish Twins, or listen to a cell phone-toting angel's rendition of the Chrismahanukwanzakah jingle. The site also directs visitors to the campaign's toll-free hotline, where you'll hear hilarious gift-giving advice from your favorite Chrismahanukwanzakah character-and even a special reading of "'Twas the Night Before Chrismahanukwanzakah" by Paula Abdul.
Client: Virgin Mobile Agency: Fallon, Minneapolis ECD: Kevin Flatt CD: Paul Bichler CW: Rich Black AD: Jesse Kaczmarek Producers: Tom Kunau, Michelle Domeyer, Wade Stuart
The Devil in Ms. Christian
Seen in mags like Filter and Juxtapoz, aimed at "young urban trendleaders," as Attik co-founder Simon Needham puts it, gatefold Scion ads feature front-page illustration in the interests of customization-the latter being pretty much the essence of the Scion brand, according to Needham. "At the moment, the Scion campaign is all about inspiring our audience to trick out their cars," he explains. "We realize that members of our target might be inspired by a color, a shape or an item of some kind, for a few examples, so we usually try and find cool stuff that will make a subconscious, positive connection-then make a car that matches that style"-the interior pages of the gatefold feature the customized car. This devil babe in fetishwear is an oil on board by painter Sas Christian, inspired by a "Snackcake Head" series of wall pieces created by her sculptor husband, Colin (see www.hotboxdesigns.com for the work of this duo). The mech illustration belongs to Danny Rubyono.
Client: Scion Agency: Attik, San Francisco GCD: Simon Needham CD: Wayne Hanson Illustrators: Sas Christian, Danny Rubyono, Brand X Pictures
Campaign: Gamer's Paradise
Game Tap, Turner Broadcasting's broadband network of on-demand videogames old and new, is the force behind a massive campaign now working its way through integrated channels from Mullen Advertising, Wenham, Mass. With broadcast, print, online and viral executions, the brand sought out ways to find enthusiastic gamers by positing that videogames are culturally relevant and proving that thesis along the way. "What we were going for was to connect with the gaming crowd outside of the gaming format," says creative director Ted Jendrysik, "but what we really wanted was to show that games have a much longer life than the one inside the console. Outside of their arcade life, they've fed our culture and become beloved characters. We wanted to put it in a low-tech environment and show the love that people have for games. There's a lot of surrealism and farce that goes with that, too. " The results are fantastic lo-fi executions such as the viral-turned-broadcast spot "Mexican Puppet Show," directed by Mekanism's Tommy Means. The spot features an older man who puts on a puppet show for the children of the town, his show following the super-simple story of a winning game of Pac Man.
However, the viral portion of the campaign-executed with the help of the Boston-based Barbarian Group-is some of the most covert and strategic of the campaign. The team made a small network of targeted sites and blogs, then rewarded people who clicked through by giving them a "Power Up," a free trial, and telling them that they were among the first to find the site. The blogs included one called Get Goatz, a fictional school teaching videogame jumping skills in the real world, and another that represented the fictional Department of Gameland Security to address issues like dealing with space insects. "The strategy was to trick people into discovering GameTap and finding out about us and our point of view before they even get there," says Jendrysik. "Once they get there, they are in on the joke and that created an underground buzz." Friendster profiles, Flickr accounts and viral videos rounded out the digital barrage.
Client: Turner Broadcasting Agency: Mullen CCO: Edward Boches CDs: Ted Jendrysik, Jim Amadeo Director: Tommy Means/Mekanism Editor: Edward Feldman/Umlaut Interactive Partner: The Barbarian Group
The Art of the Craft of Bowling
Hey, this is awful purty for a bowling ad, isnt it? "After a big strategic planning project, we unearthed a discovery that revealed a strong connection between professional bowlers and the kind of thinking we refer to as 'Man-telligence,' " explains Creature's Matt Peterson. "This kind of knowledge is similar to the thinking that goes into building a deck or grilling the perfect steak. It requires the skills of a craftsman." Bowling, Peterson points out, "is about self-reliance. It's a mental game; it requires persistence. It's all about watching, learning and aspiring. Bowlers must constantly choose the right tool for the job. They must make adjustments on the fly to changing oil conditions. They, too, are craftsmen. They're the master craftsmen of the sports world. This campaign introduces that thought while educating potential fans to the intricacies of the sport." Or the craft.
Client: Professional Bowlers Association Agency: Creature, Seattle CDs: Jim Haven, Matt Peterson CW: Matt Mulvey AD: Lawrence Melilli Designers: Jonathan Harris, Dave Herrick Strategy: Dan Carlton, Holly Petitjean
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut
With the primitive and edgy pencil-drawn stylings of Hornet director Monkmus (aka Ken Wong), the new PSP campaign uses eccentric animations as web films, spots and cinema ads, showing entertainment-obsessed fur balls who marvel over the wonders of portable diversion. Two of the characters actually are fur balls-those who wish to get technical will call them dust bunnies-who enjoy watching carpet for fun, while two squirrels play nut and two rats listen to cheese. When they learn that their precious pastimes are portable, their reactions are just nutty.
Client: PSP Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. ECD: Rob Schwartz CD: Jerry Gentile ACDs: Brett Craig, Doug Mukai CW: Patrick Almaguer AD: Blake Kidder Director: Monkmus/Hornet Editors: Peter Smith, Anita Chao Sound Design: Slappo
Honda Has a Dream
Honda's follow-up to "Grrr" is a musical tour de force set to a "The Impossible Dream," as sung by Andy Williams and mouthed by its protagonist, a mustache-clad speedster. The guy, whose retro attire suggests a racer's suit, emerges from a trailer on the seaside and mounts a humbly small motorbike. As the spot progresses, he upgrades to faster and bigger vehicles as the song crescendos to a high-flying finale along Niagara Falls.
Client: Honda (U.K.) Agency: Wieden + Kennedy/London Creative Directors: Tony Davidson, Sean Thompson Director: Ivan Zacharias/Stink Producer: Nick Landon VFX: The Mill/London Music: Wave Musical Artist: Andy Williams Song: "The Impossible Dream"
Truth or Dare
Bud Light introduces us to Ted Ferguson, the self-proclaimed "Bud Light Daredevil." Ted straps on pads, helmet and goggles to attempt the most frightening of stunts-staying at work after five on a Friday (gasp!), enduring an entire John Tesh CD (groan), and listening to his girlfriend (the horror!). After each terrifying stunt, the only thing that can revive his sweaty self is a cold brew (cheers).
Client: Bud Light Agency: DDB/Chicago CCO: Bob Scarpelli CD: Dan Fietsam Group Creative Director: Mark Gross CW: Jeb Quaid AD: Aaron Pendleton Director: Bryan Buckley Editors: Matt Wood, Grant Gustafson/Whitehouse VFX: Filmworkers Club