Ad Freak contends France made serious media history yesterday when at the stroke of midnight they officially lifted a ban preventing gaudy supermarket ads from chafing the eyes of its chic denizens. The moment was consummated when, moments after the ball drop into '07, an ad for cheap Systeme U washing powder debuted on the TF1 and M6 channels.
Opinions range from optimism as France makes a friendly leap toward the 21st century, and outraged notions of culture bastardization and handicaps for small businesses.
Cheery allies for the lift include Serge Papin, chairman of Systeme U. "This is a great opportunity," he said. "We have everything to gain from it." Well, obviously.
The release of the ban comes shortly after publicized concerns over the rampant commercialization of the Champs-Elysees, a wonderstreet rapidly devolving into strip mall fare. Looks like the charmed sophisticate haven is losing ground to, dare we say it? McDonaldization? Or is that a battle that's already been lost? Sometimes we fall behind.
AdTunes, the site that tracks music used in advertising has highlighted what it believes to be the Top Ad Music of 2006. From the odd combination of that haunting Gary Jules rendition of Tears for Fear's Mad World featured in the movie Donnie Darko with a Gears of War commercial to that elevator music-ish tune by Royksopp called Remind Me featured in the Caveman Geico Airport commercial, the list brings together some of the best musical choices of the year.
Inspired by the enduring Willy Wonka, First Flavor builds on film strip technology to create little taste samplers for food and beverage products for use in media kits, promos and soda machines.
The description of apple cinnamon oatmeal strips didn't bring the Wonka wallpaper scene to mind, which is what founder Adnan (himself somewhat Wonka-esque, though we can't quite say how or why) credits as his inspiration. Instead we recalled the three-course-meal gum, where Violet describes the flavors in vivid detail and then expands into a blueberry.
We don't think First Flavor does that but it's still pretty neat. The newscaster in the ABC video got to try some and not only was she impressed; she couldn't stop talking about the dieting possibilities of a zero-calorie taste explosion.
Once upon a time we noted ad people would rather shoot movies than make boring ads. To illustrate this desperation we get tons of contrived holiday videos. But considering adland's love of video production in general, you'd think more artists would be thinking, "By gad. I'll get Ogilvy to position my bikini-clad models!"
Well, U2 did. Nix the bikini model part. For "Window in the Sky" they tapped Modernista, the only agency we know that self-promotes to an audience that perhaps prefers to remain unawares about agencies lurking behind brands. The resulting video is gorgeosity and includes multiple musical influences, icons and audiences.
We really like these ads for Korbel Royal and Korbel Blue Hawaiian, which made Steve want to dive into his computer screen, pop the cork and down a bottle while I experienced a bizarre craving for champagne with essence of coconut.
Korbel tagged agency Carmichael Lynch and Gasket Studios, who with their animation wanted to turn the ads into an experience of "visual taste." Gasket founder Greg Shultz adds, "Fluidity, fun, Americana and nostalgia are mixed with a very current aesthetic - the very essence of the Korbel champagne cocktails." He appears to have some trouble committing to just a couple of good adjectives there. In any case the wine cooler - oops, champagne cocktail - ads leap off Time Square this month but expect to see them elsewhere.
We've all seen sterile ads for feminine products in which piss or menstrual fluid comes out blue. We all know that piss and menstrual fluid are not actually blue. Those crazy cats at Amalgamated, the very guys who brought us Ben & Jerry claymation, decide to stomp on the polite institution of blue bodily fluid for their client Clearblue Easy and its new digital pregnancy test.
We would have respected them for that. But they took things one step further and put the pregnancy test in space, a la Dark Star, and then let fall a stream of disembodied space piss! And then our brains exploded.
Check it out here. But be careful. It's a little crazy.
Vaseline releases a couple of ads lauding the magic of skin. There are a couple of versions; one esoteric and mystical, the other slightly more fast-paced with a beat made of babble. We'll let you guess which is which.
How or why is it that the USA versions of ads always seem crasser and dumber than UK ones or ads for Europe in general? - Contributed by Angela Natividad
Ads involving carriages in a desperate race against crocodiles, tigers, spherical killer rocks and Satan always make for promising fare, which is why Oregon Trail was so popular, and which is also why this Nissan ad by Curt Detweiler via TBWA\Chiat\Day is so awesome.
Curt's new to LA having just come from TBWA Paris and this work suggests he merits some watching - for slapstick entertainment value if nothing else. And by the way, that image at left has little to do with the video but lots to do with QuickTime being douchey. It is, however, part of the TBWA Nissan campaign. Try not to get confused. - Contributed by Angela Natividad
Where do soccer balls go when lost? All over the place, apparently. For client Submarino, agency Santa Clara produced this little ball ad out of Casablanca. We liked the whimsical song in the background because it made us think of Kermit the Frog.
Someone we know called this "yet another masturbatory effort from creatives that want to make movies instead of ads." After that we couldn't help but wonder - does that make a good ad then? - Contributed by Angela Natividad
To support the launch of Prison Break on the Portuguese FOX channel, Portuguese agency Torke created a guerrilla-style outdoor campaign with a band of chained prisoners walking the streets, posters with images of the show's cast placed behind the bars or windows and fences and small headshot posters and cards placed in shops. Accompanying the campiagn was a press kit a hidden spoon and a prison blueprint. See it all here.