For the Unloveables on Your List.

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I have this cousin, Dave, who spends every Thanksgiving prancing around and telling everyone to get him gift cards from a strict selection of stores, otherwise "I'LL RETURN YOUR PRESENT AND CALL YOU CHEAP!" after Christmas.

Seriously. We're in our mid-twenties and he still does this.

One year, to curb expenses following a rabbit-like baby boom, the family held a Secret Santa and I was unfortunate enough to draw his name. After ferreting me out with admirable speed, he spent the next three weeks SMS-bombing me with potentially awesome gift options.

When the holidays roll around, there are few things I want to do less than shop for Dave.

The Ungiftables by Cafepress is a site for exactly these people. Who's the bane of your list? Critical Mother-in-Law? Emo Nephew? Flip-Flop Wearing Liberal Activist Uni Brat?

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-26-08    
Topic: Brands, Online, Promotions



For that Reluctant Kiss, Cake it On with Sephora!

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To better equip users for that awkward mistletoe moment, makeup purveyor Sephora launched MistletoeMakeover. Upload your face and watch with glee while the internets hoochie you up.

At left is the perennially-demure Alex Bogusky in Santa's Little Temptress mode. (Steve Hall is arguably prettier though. Also, he winks, which gave me the most delicious chills.) Other potentially traumatic beautification options include O Tannen-Babe, Smokey Sugar Plum and Merry Berry.

If for some odd reason one of these looks puts you in impulse-buy-mode, hit "Get This Look" and snap up promo code KISSorWINK. Turn it in at Sephora.com for free lashes or a lipstick sample with a purchase.

Be quick! Like your youth, mistletoe wilts.

By EVB/San Francisco in conjunction with TAAZ.

by Angela Natividad    Nov-26-08    
Topic: Brands, Online, Promotions



McDonald's Brings Holiday Cheer With Coffee-Ring Snowflakes

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As the holiday season draws near, marketers are rolling out holiday offerings and McDonald's is no exception. With its McCafe Make Your Own Coffee-Ring Snowflake site, visitors can get all festive and create their own floating masterpiece. All in the name of promoting McDonald's various holiday lattes and cappuccinos.

Get started early this season and make a flake.

by Steve Hall    Nov-25-08    
Topic: Brands, Online



Sexting, Nuggnuts, Blogger Bailouts, In-Game Ads on Saints Row

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- Massive inked a multi-year, in-game ad deal with THQ. So far, the only game that will for certain feature dynamic advertising is Saints Row 2.

- Queen Rania of Jordan has won the first-ever YouTube Visionary award for her daily videocast. I kind of love her.

- Six Apart has launched something called the TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. Under it, about 30 ex-bloggers or journalists will receive a free TypePad Pro account, tech support, representation on Blogs.com and auto-enrollment into Six Apart's ad network. 300 applications were received in less than two weeks.

- "Diddy is so Sarah Palin."

- Close-up on crotchvertising.

- New buzz word: sexting! Almost as fun as nuggnut. (Click on "Nuggnut pledge" for awesome brainwashing action.)



No, Even Lexus Can't Top the Big-Wheel Memory

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Every holiday season Lexus busts out with a campaign featuring some pearl-coloured vehicle with a bow on top. Far from perfect -- whose pursuit Lexus claims to champion -- it's mediocre and irritating. Like weathered nativity scenes.

Last night we thought we saw something different. The comfortingly low-fi "Big Wheel" bears the consistency of old home videos or a classic holiday movie. In it, a kid with a new plastic trike faces us and cries, "Stop! What are you doing? You can't top the big-wheel memory!"

We ruminate on our own '80s-era big wheels as he reprises us on its merits: the freedom! The wind in your hair!

Then there's an awkward cut. The kid is a man, and now he's facing a Lexus -- with a bow. And we're like, "Fuck, this could have been so much better."

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-25-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Television



Gay Marriage Should Not Be Such A Big Deal

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Is it really that difficult to let two people who love each other live their lives they way they choose? After all, what business do people have sticking their noses into the business of others? Is it really so hard to just live one's life and allow others to live theirs without judgment? If two people love each other, who are we to judge?

While a marriage between two male priest performed by a female priest may not yet be as innocuous as the next, Swedish fashion designer Bjorn Borg asks us to envision such a world.

Must we be so judgmental of others? Can't we just appreciate the happiness and love shared between two people? Is it really that difficult?

by Steve Hall    Nov-25-08    
Topic: Best, Brands, Commercials



Levi's Brings Us Back to the First Time

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Levi's is Ad Land's Lolita: perennially young, sexually voracious.

"First Time," a spot for the "Live Unbuttoned" campaign, holds that reputation up nicely. In it, two beautiful adolescents stand face to face in the open air, unbuttoning their jeans.

"You've never done this before, right?" she asks.

"No," he murmurs.

"It's my thirty-fourth time." O_O

They volley around a few more cliches: I'm scared. Don't you trust me? Then, after the long unbutton -- what's Levi's got against zippers? -- nuddified boy and girl take hands and leap off a high dock: as good a metaphor for losing your innocence as any.

Pretty work by the would-be John Hugheses at BBH/London. Good media placement, too: I saw it last night during Heroes, which is positively bursting with hormonal tension.

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-25-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Television



Victoria's Secret Collegiate Collection: Hijacked for the Lulz

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Victoria's Secret Pink Collegiate represents everything wrong (but sellable!) about college: bright-eyed, gum-popping sorority girls that coordinate dog leashes to their shoes, non-merit-based exclusivity (unless heart-shaped hickeys count), high-pitched voices, strawberry blondes, fruity body spray, polka dots, and pink.

Victoria's Secret recently gave unrepresented schools the chance to join the Pink Collegiate Collection -- a pupil-dilating clothing line sporting Pinkified uni logos and mascots. Probably for the above-mentioned reasons, a passel of hackers decided to have their way with the system.

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-25-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Online, Trends and Culture



A Crowd-Pleaser that's Fun to Sing. Nice Thinking, TAG!

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I don't think I could properly describe "Lips" even if I wanted to. It's an ad for Xbox game Lips, which is pretty much karaoke for the Guitar Hero generation. (The microphone's motion sensitive, and you can select songs from your own collection.)

Agency TAG enlisted Tom Kuntz to conceive a strolling pair of lips, singing Take on Me and going about his business. Then he walks into a house party and traipses creepily up the sleeve of a guy who, right on cue, belts out the chorus to A-HA's greatest hit.

I don't know if it's the lips' cheer that got to me, or the natural seratonin-explosion resulting from Take on Me, but this is an insanely infectious spot. We loves it.

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-24-08    
Topic: Best, Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Games, Television



Goblet of Stella > Legacy, Glory, Pride.

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Two brothers duke it out in a tandem bike competition pour papa in Stella Artois' "The Race." Hijinks ensue when they drive over a nail and their chances of winning are dramatically decreased.

Instead of trucking on, the boys furtively decide to lift their spirits at a nearby pub. As they wrap their lovin' fingers around two glasses of Stella, they look up at the pub wall and find papa -- right where they need him to be.

"Perfection has its price," Stella smugly reminds us.

A treat to watch, and in keeping the brand's high-brow sense of humour. By Lowe/London and Lowe Roche/Toronto. MPC/London conducted post-production. Props to Brentter for bringing it to our attention.

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by Angela Natividad    Nov-24-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Good, Television










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