Operating under the premise that "there are too many rote answers and not enough good questions," The Atlantic launched Think Again, for which rhetorical questions are posed in neon lights, foregrounding deserted industrial spaces.
Right now these ads are all over Internets. Videos, blog posts and photo variants are available on the site.
We like it -- it's a simple, but still eye-catching and occasionally even witty. Some we've seen:
o Should women settle?
o Why do presidents lie?
o Is the doughnut doomed?
Lately ad land is all about the rhetorical questions. (Maybe it's the economy.) See Google's T-Mobile G1 spot or those weire Ask.com pieces.
Speaking of Ask, it recently ran a banner ad campaign that posed questions, then invited people to click for the answer. The act brought them to Ask.com, where the answer appeared with a prominent heading and image.
That's one tactic that would've made The Atlantic's campaign better: if you could click on the banners and find news articles directly related to the question, maybe addressing it from multiple sides. As it is, the ads only bring you to the Think Again subsite.
Reminding us yet again that it's the best thing to ever happen to December, Target launched a swingy, charmed-life kinda ad for its Holiday Gift Finder.
In it, a postmodern Santa in a snowed-in aluminum tower locates the perfect gifts for Wifey, Child, Token Ethnic Friend and Skeptical Mother-in-Law, right from his laptop. Each present is beautifully wrapped and received with an acceptable degree of gratitude.
"That's Christmas wrapped!" quips an endorphin-soaked voiceover.
Because why ask over-obvious leading questions like "What do you want?" when you can pop psychographic data into a form, then peruse a list of age-appropriate products? Wow. Gifting is now as easy as advertising on Facebook.
We'd totally use the service, too, if FirstBank hadn't already handled our gift issues.
Scale Back Alabama is a yearly campaign to encourage state inhabitants to shake off some love handles. Those that register for the program, which is free, are encouraged to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks -- which isn't improbable to do in a healthy way, provided you have resources and encouragement.
This year, Alabamans are getting a little help from Roger Shultz, a finalist from The Biggest Loser. To promote the effort, Luckie Underground -- the basement-confined baby brother of Luckie & Co. -- launched "Gettin' in Shape," a playful PSA with its own YouTube channel.
Witness while a very large dude dressed like the Heart of Dixie pumps iron and selects fruit with conviction, all under the peppy direction of Shultz.
See that victory dance at the top of the library steps? That could be you, my friend.
Cyclists have it hard down under. All those hours pushing pedals literally chafes balls, which is funny from a distance but sobering enough that the condition requires an anti-irritant, aptly called "chamois cream."
To contribute to the well-being of fellow bikers, pro cyclist David Zabriskie developed a cream called DZ Nuts -- pronounced "deez nuts," a colloquial expression defined as "The large, sweaty, hairy dangling spheres of man-hood containing future illegitimate seeds that swing violently in the wind when slapped."
We're not really sure why, unless it's a pun on "Sweet," the spot's last word.
However you feel about sticky streams of chocolate dripping from the sky, the track in the ad is gratuitously cute and almost excuse enough to watch it a few times.
Directed by Tronic for Sony; music by Nylon.
"Photography is a journey. How will you remember the trip?"
Posing the question for its Rebel XSi, Canon aired a nostalgic spot where a mother records her son's frame-by-frame transition from boy to pro football player.
A perfect choice of music turned the memories of strangers into something more intimate. We were moved -- and plenty more engaged than with those Dolce spots.
Last year Apple charmed us with an unexpected Mac vs. PC holiday ad, produced in the style of season's classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The animated Mac and PC characters return in "Tree Trimming" and "I Can Do Anything," two spots guaranteed to make your pupils dilate to at least twice their natural size.
With low-key cheer (and not-so-nice intentions), each reminds us how feeble (but adorably!) petty PC is, and how Mac just can't help being awesome, chill and warm-hearted.
Even the bunnies know it.
Based on the premise that plants grow faster and more lavishly when spoken to, Heinz launched Talk to the Plant.
Help make the world's best ketchup by typing encouraging words to a growing tomato sprout, then choosing an automated voice to relay your message.
It's an appealing idea, but beware: the voices are about as soothing as the singing bot tenors in Yahoo's latest emoticon campaign. If I were a wee green, I'd drop leaf and crawl back into the blissfully silent soil.
By Swedish agency Daddy. Via Catch Up Lady, who has lots of other fun factoids about the campaign.
Despite appearances, "Listen to Your Lips" is an ad for Bailey's, not a trailer for My First Naked Kneel-Fest.
By JWT and Psyop, which wanted to create a "sensual but not overtly sexual" interpretation of the "Bailey's taste experience."
Maybe the "not overtly" part was lost in the editing room. Seeing drops of cream splash onto rows of shiny, slack DSLs don't exactly bring Moo Moos to mind. (Nice touch with the closing lick!)
Can somebody please page Alex Leo? She needs to update Section Five in her list of five sexist trends the ad world just can't shake.
Ad is SFW, even if your cheek-flushing suggests otherwise.
We've all fantasized about making a living out of sex, drugs and poorly-tuned instruments. So it's likely we've all played air guitar -- the process of using your fingers to make sweet love to an instrument that isn't really there.
Thus inspired, McCann/Paris launched Safe Air Sex, a campaign that takes the concept of air guitar and applies it to (SAFE!) sex. Confused? Watch Rabbit Man molest valuable O2 after shimmying an invisible condom onto his imaginary three-foot jimmy. (We love how, to segue into condom application, he goes, "Stop. In the name of love.")