Recently, 110 employees of El Segundo-based David&Goliath headed to the rooftop of their building to shoot an ad for their new Brave house ad campaign. All went well until three police cars appeared with officers telling the agency to shut down the shoot immediately.
It seems the multiple flashes and smoke effects were interfering with LAX air traffic control. The agency co-operated and shut down immediately. But not before getting enough shots to make this promotional ad for the agency.
Luckily, that head didn't come from one of the police officers.
Remember when the whole anti-graffiti thing was all the rage with marketers trying to hire graffiti artists to "bomb" their brand all over the place? Well its back. OK, not really but here's a twist on the whole thing.
In Australia, there's an apparent bill posting problem causing undue visual pollution. Making matters worse are the ugly signs telling people bill posting is not appreciated. Well, always the category of company to put its mark on something, an ad agency has come to the rescue.
Happy Soldiers has taken it upon itself to rid the urban environment of bill posting and the ugly posters decrying it. How? With more postings, of course. But, this being the work of an ad agency, these are no ugly postings. Nope.
Have a look.
Imagine an "agency as family" meeting at your shop. Now imagine it taking place at the dinner table with your family. It might go something like this as envisioned by Please Feed the Animals' Erik Proulx:
"I've called this Proulx family meeting with some unfortunate news. As you know, we've just lost our main source of revenue - my job - so we had to make some tough decisions. Ben, as the eldest child you can stay but with 33% fewer meals. Clara, I'm sorry to say, your position as a child in this household has been deemed redundant. Since you were the last in, we thought it fair that Ben keep his position as Proulx spawn. However, because you have been here for 3 years, you qualify for a severance package, which includes placement assistance into a foster family. Feel free to use me as a reference. Really, I mean that. And thank you for all your cuteness and unconditional love. Best of luck."
Ah, the brutality of working in the ad industry.
OK so we trashed Gyro Worldwide for changing their name to Quaker City Mercentile but the agency is definitely onto something. We all know the ad industry is in a serious state of crash and burn. Spending is down. Layoffs are up. Agencies are dying.
What do smart investment advisers always tell you? Diversify. Yes, diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and that's just what QCM is doing. It's got a series of books. It's produced films. It has a brand of rum, Sailor Jerry. And now the agency has taken a major stake in New England's Narragansett Brewery. Yup. The agency is making beer now.
For those too junior or broke to go to Cannes this year, there was Wrath of Cannes in the "East Riviera,"* where advertising's overlooked enter work to win a trophy they can't actually take home. (It gets recycled for next year.)
This year's winner was ex-associate AD Alan Kwon of RTCRM (now freelancing). He entered a tear-out coupon for Crunch Gym, printed on Tyvek, which means the material was virtually untearable.
Saturday night: the show to end all shows, the one people actually queue in line for. (Though markedly less so than in previous years, as tweeted by Influencia.) And while recession-spawned conservatism was accounted for, the jury hailed from all corners of the globe and generated cheers -- like rock stars.
Saw some awesome work over the next two hours, but it remains a shock who ultimately won what.
There was a lot of talk about how Cannes Lions '09 differed from previous years. I'd say there was a greater focus on how efforts addressed users directly, although creativity remains a big part of that. And given who won the Grands Prix for Titanium and Integrated, it may be the first year agencies must take into account that the user has become a legitimate advertiser himself.
This is no death-of-the-agency foretelling; it's simply a call to listen more closely and respond more intuitively to the crowd. We have spent so many years trying to contrive artificial emotional connections between products and people; it is only natural that, now that they're able, consumers demand to know why those connections should exist in the first place.
What does your company stand for? Does it listen and respond to me? Crucially, is it as willing to incorporate me into its message as I am to incorporate it into my life?
Grand Prix recipients, and a wee bit o' work, listed below.
Last night was the Cannes Lions awards event for Design, Press and Cyber efforts. As always, for the full list of winners, go hithery-dithery. But here are the Grand Prix winners for each category:
For DESIGN: "Paper Battlefield" for Nike Hong Kong by McCann Worldgroup/Causeway Bay.
For PRESS: "We Are Animals," that creepy bejeaned-human-meets-carnal-instinct campaign by FRED & FARID/Paris for Wrangler.
For CYBER: "Best Job in the World" -- which is seriously cleaning up this year -- by Cumminsnitro/Brisbane for Tourism Queensland.
"Eco:Drive" by AKQA/London for Fiat also scored a Cyber Grand Prix, as did "Why So Serious?" for Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight. The latter campaign is a typical piece of elaborate genius by the folks at 42 Entertainment/Pasadena, whose every project is not so much advertising as it is grand oeuvre.
At 72 Croisette (the so-called Gutter Bar) last night, Shannon Stephaniuk introduced me to the members of Ogilvy Stockholm, which won a Gold Lion for its work for UNA Sweden.
Their objective was to raise funds to support the war victims of Georgia (the country, not the state); and to do this, they spoke with the locals and gathered small, specific and personal items that belonged to people affected by the war.
See Shoes, Sweater and Sheet; I found the sight of those scorched, warped items physically painful, and the stories still more moving.
It's my strong feeling that the work deserved a Grand Prix, but apparently you can't win one if the effort is nonprofit. Weird logics. In any case, I hung out awhile and talked to the guys about the work, what they did and how it made them feel in general.
Video interviews below. Given that it's the Gutter Bar at 2:00 AM and not, say, an Embassy lobby, try to bear with the background noise. Better yet, imagine you're there, stumbling around with your third vodka tonic, playing guess-the-accent with your group of chums-for-the-week.
Last night was the ceremony for Radio, Media and Outdoor -- not very exciting stuff, but you get a chance to review highly localized work you wouldn't otherwise be exposed to. Always good to remember what ad life is like outside internets.
Here are the Grand Prix winners for each category. Hopefully by now I don't need to tell you where to go to see the full list of oversized bookend recipients.
For RADIO: Net#Work BBDO/Johannesburg wins Grands Prix for "Dancer," "Dog" and "Ferret" -- three radio pieces for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, South Africa. Wanna hear? Listeny-listen.
For MEDIA: JWT Japan/Tokyo scores for "Kit Kat Mail 2009" on behalf of Nestle's Kit-Kat.
For OUTDOOR: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg wins Grands Prix for "Fight the Regime," "Cheaper than Money," "Trillion Dollar Billboard," "Z$250,000,000" and "Wallpaper" -- on behalf of The Zimbabwean. The campaign's objective was, in great part, to demonstrate the ridiculous rate of inflation affecting Zimbabwean currency as a result of the current regime.
We covered one execution in which trillions of Zimbabwe dollars were used to wallpaper a billboard. Trillion dollar bills were also used as flyers. See the rest of the work; if you're curious about the roots of Z's current political situation, read some colourful background.
- Boobs too big? Trouble sleeping while their spilling all over the place? Kush has the answer to that weighty issue.
- Want to watch the world's worst commercial? Here it is.
- ScratchIT. Go ahead. Scratch it. Really. Microsoft wants you to scratch it. S go on. Give it a scratch.
- Creative production company Stardust Studios is out with a new website. Founder/CD Jake Banks said, "Compared with our previous version, this site focuses more on movement and functionality, and aims to give visitors a unique visual experience that will heighten the creativity in each spot we present."
- Black Eyes Peas promote their new album...only at Target. Sell out? Just the way of things?
- BK's Super Seven Incher gets a blow job.