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Robert Downey Jr.'s HTC 'Change' Campaign Pays Homage to Classic Ad Film, Putney Swope

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It's just really hard to fathom that Robert Downey Jr. used to be a drugged out, has-been actor on the brink of death. The dude truly has become the Iron Man. His latest commercial outing, aside from his many successful films, is a two year deal with HTC that will place Downey front and center in a new campaign for the brand, launching August 15, that will playfully endeavor to define what HTC stands for.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-12-13    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Celebrity



Topless Alien Sings in Shower to Sell Car Insurance

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Hey, we didn't lie. The top of the alien's head is, well, topless, right? Anyway, here is a really goofy new commercial for Budget Direct, an Australian car insurance company that used to have an equally goofy commercial that featured a woman singing about Budget as if it were the Tar-Jay of car insurance.

The new commercial, created by Hulsbosch, is just like the old one. It features an alien doing the Tar-Jay/Boo-Jay thing just like the woman in the original. Why the shift to aliens? We have no earthy (or galactic) idea. All we can figure is the creatives were bored and just finished watching a cheesy 1950s sci-fi movie. Goofy seems to be the overriding vision and mission of Budget Direct so we guess the new commercial does the brand justice.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-12-13    
Topic: Strange



Do Advertising Awards Matter?

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Just over a month ago, the world's advertising industry descended upon Cannes, France, for its annual Festival of Creativity. At this event, agencies the world over are awarded for their creativity and, in a few small cases, for work that actually increased sales.

Cannes of course, is but one of many advertising awards festivals that occur over the course of the year. But it's the biggest, the brightest and the most coveted of all. Certainly much of the entered and winning work is worthy of praise. And certainly the individuals behind the work deserve to have the spotlight shown on them in the presence of their colleagues, coworkers and friends. But...do awards matter?

By matter, I mean a few things. Do awards generate business for the agency? Do they further the career of the individual creative? Do they positively affect the brand for which the agency won the award? Are they a metric a brand can use to determine the capability of an agency? For an article I wrote for Central Desktop, I turned to a few in the industry to help answer these questions.

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by Steve Hall    Aug-12-13    
Topic: Opinion



Eight O'Clock Coffee Rebrands, Takes Design to Fashion Week

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Venerable coffee brand Eight O'Clock Coffee has been given some new clothing. The 154 year old coffee brand has redesigned its packaging and launched some -- yes, it's true -- fashion-related promotions.

One such program, Spot the Red Bag, begins today and encourages people to submit pictures of red bags, whether it's the newly design Eight O'Clock Coffee packaging or or a swanky red bag spotted on the runway during Fashion Week. Or even a red bag spotted on the street. All for a chance to win a trip to New York Fashion Week in February. Pictures can be uploaded to Instagram and given the #SpotTheRedBag hashtag.

A second program will, no joke, involved designers showcasing Eight O'Clock Coffee-inspired handbag designs during this Fall's Style360 during New York Fashion Week.

Coffee packaging as high fashion. That's a new one on us. But an interesting approach none the less.

by Steve Hall    Aug- 9-13    
Topic: Brands



Domino's Apologizes to Customer Who Praised Product in Yet Another Social Media Screw Up

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It was quite hilarious (though completely expected if you are a customer and have ever dealt with them through any communications medium) when Bank of America's Twitter bot (or idiot who runs the account) had multiple brain farts when assuming non-customers where customers.

It's entirely another thing when a brand is so stupid that it actually apologizes to a customer who just heaped praise on the brand. On Wednesday, a Domino's customer posted a picture of a Domino's pizza on the brand's Facebook page along with the statement, "Best Pizza Ever! Keep up the good work guys!"

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 9-13    
Topic: Brands, Social, Worst



Nate Silver Trashes New York Times Sales Force

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For a man who has the ability to predict presidential elections, Nate Silver's recent comment about the sales staff at The New York Times was shortsighted and displayed a surprising lack of understanding of the tectonic shifts that are occurring in publishing and advertising. It's as if he hasn't realized that the disintermediation of the ad sales process through trading desks, RTB and other forms of ad tech has had a decimating effect on CPMs and, hence, the ability of a publisher and its sales force to generate healthy revenue.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 9-13    
Topic: Online, Opinion, Publishing



Elite Cow Chocolate: So Good Anyone Can Advertise It

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It's a well-known fact marketers are obsessed with pretty people when it comes to selecting spokesmodels for their advertising campaigns. But what happens when a product is so good, just about anyone can step in and promote it?

That's the silly notion behind this BBR Saatchi & Saatchi-created campaign for Elite Cow Chocolate...which is so good it can turn anyone into a windblown hottie.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 8-13    
Topic: Commercials



Study Says Quality (Thank God) Will Overtake Quantity in Content Marketing

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Today, Expion announced the results of its first FAVE 50 Social Retail Report which revealed the first half of 2013 to be the slowest growth period for retailers on Facebook since 2011, marked by a decline in fan engagement and volume despite an increase in the number of brand posts published.

The report analyzed the top 50 retail brands' performance in H1 2013, identifying two luxury brands, Tiffany & Co. and Victoria's Secret (natch), as leaders in Facebook engagement across the retail industry.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 8-13    
Topic: Research, Social



Yet Another Study Confirms Shift of TV Ad Dollars to Digital

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Grace Park Knows the Deal

In early May, the IAB held its Digital Content Newfronts. And today, it has released an attendee survey providing some insight into the digital upfront marketplace. The survey revealed one in three buy-side attendees felt the digital upfront marketplace positively impacted their plans for digital video advertising buys, with 78% stating they walked away with at least one new opportunity for their company or a client.

And in the no-brainer category, 70% of agency and marketer attendees also said they think it is likely that buyers will shift more budget away from television and into digital video over the course of the next year.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 8-13    
Topic: Research



Chopped Cabbage Represents Effects of Malnutrition

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This project -- which, according to the press note, aims to raise the IQ of an entire country -- envisions the brain as a cabbage. More precisely, a cabbage hacked down in size by a machete so as to represent a malnourished brain that has had its potential reduced by 25%. A brain that, because of the effects of ongoing hunger, disease, and the lack of education has, according to this effort from Dallas-based Firehouse Agency for St. Lucia, been forever stunted.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 8-13    
Topic: Cause



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