Ugly Reality of Child Abuse Rears Its Head in PSA

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It seems public service advertising is the only kind which contains any sort of meaningful drama or that's allowed to depict reality without being glossed over by meaningless creative pontification. All other forms of advertising pale in comparison. Mostly because PSAs depict real life. And real life is a far cry from the kind of fairy tale life painted inside the cozy confines of an ad campaign.

British children's charity Barnardo's is out with a powerful commercial in which a girl is repeatedly subjected to the after effects of child abuse. As the commercial progresses, the girl's troubled life is repeated with increasing intensity until it culminates with the rapid fire reality of child abuse, a cycle that, if unchecked, is doomed to repeat tself over and over again until dramatic steps are taken to prevent it.

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by Steve Hall    Dec- 2-08    
Topic: Best, Cause, Commercials, Creative Commentary, Opinion



LL Bean Paints White Christmas on Cozy Canvas

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Every scene in "Making Christmas," a glimpse into one family's holiday, belongs in a frame on a department store mantelpiece. It's a painfully pretty picture of someone else's life -- never mine, maybe yours; you can almost touch the glossiness.

I like the scene where The Men walk in with the presents, then there's coloured paper everywhere, then this short gorgeous shot of a doe-eyed freckled boy. Moments like that make an otherwise-discreet* ad priceless -- part of the narrative of a viewer's season.

All that lux, casual idleness is punctuated by a page number -- "Page 55," "Page 49" -- printed in LL Bean's catalogue typeface. Nice tie-in.

By GSD&M Idea City with help from Sticks+Stones. Background track is Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne. More fun facts here.

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by Angela Natividad    Dec- 2-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Television



Starbucks Goes (red).

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Late to a party long populated with the likes of AmEx, Apple, Converse, Motorola, Microsoft, Dell, The Gap, and Giorgio Armani, Starbucks finally joins the Product (red) brigade, spearheaded by U2's Bono to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Buy a Starbucks exclusive beverage, save lives in Africa! If the watch-worthiness of the ad isn't equal to the cause, it's at least a tribute to the crippling mediocrity that halos brands grown lazy and slow. Way to go, BBDO!

If I'm shocked, it's only because this didn't happen sooner. Really. This has to be a record for the amount of time a top-heavy "lifestyle" company's spent resisting the rejuvenating call of Bono.

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by Angela Natividad    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Cause, Commercials, Promotions, Television



Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss Commercial An Awkward Mess

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Straight out of advertising's Book of Awkward Moments comes this Thanksgiving-themed commercial for Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss who, after giving thanks and offering prayer for President Bush, President-Elect Obama and the troops, gives his granddaughter a very creepy chest grope.

Creepy as that move might be, it's made even creepier by the two grand kids who utter "...and vote for my big daddy." With the commercial just dripping with overtones of family value, the ending is a bit shocking. Even more shocking is the fact no one noticed Chambliss' awkward hand movement before the commercial hit the airwaves.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Bad, Commercials, Political, Strange



TD Bank Uses Regis and Kelly Puppets to Attract Young People.

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And it's like ... it's like ... a less funny Terrence and Phillip.

By Tierney Communications/Philly, which hopes to draw 18- to mid-twenty-year-olds choosing a bank for the first time. Two other spots, "Lincoln" and "Operator" -- use your imagination! -- are currently in production. Keep an eye out for those bad-boys at TD Bank Theater.

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by Angela Natividad    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Celebrity, Commercials, Online, Television



Chivas' Chivalrous Chivalry Leaves Us Wanting More

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Euro RSCG is out with a new commercial for Chivas Regal. The agency was asked to "strengthen Chivas Regal's premium positioning in mature and emerging markets by giving it a strong and distinctive point of view."

The spot opens on a man trudging his way to work on a cloudy day in a sea of lemming-like people. He's clearly questioning his purpose in life as as he voiceover intones, "Millions of people. Everyone out for themselves. Can this really be the only way? No." And with that, the man turns and goes his own way.

The spot then toasts life with words and phrases such as gallantry, doing the right thing, giving a damn, straight talk, freedom, true meaning of wealth, the brave and "a code of behavior that sets certain men apart from all others."

And, finally, "Here's to us." Live With Chivalry.

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by Steve Hall    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Commercials, Creative Commentary



What's that Underfoot? ...No, Not a Bell.

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"We're opening more lanes than ever ... to make Christmas shopping easier!"

Given what happened at its Long Island location, I think it's sorta weird that WalMart's still airing this ad. I saw it at least eight times this weekend -- and each time, without fail, it brought to mind the Black Friday Death Trample.

In it, lights from open aisles flicker to the tune of Carol of the Bells, which always struck me as a semi-creepy song anyway. (Don't make me explain why.) But now it also rings with the heavy panting of crazed, slightly overweight bargain hunters, indelible red splatters ... and the cracking of bones.

The spot first aired during the 2007 holiday season. Co-workers claim a woman was trampled then too, but that's cool because she was "a repeat stampede faker, from what I read," one dutifully disclosed.

WalMart, what good are extra checkouts without an orderly entering and exiting process? Stampedes don't organize themselves.

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by Angela Natividad    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Promotions, Strange, Television



Adidas House Party A Celebrity Hipster-Fest

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Everyone loves a good house party, right? Especially one with lots of good music, dancing, (drug-induced?) finger painting, pixie dust, fireworks, gambling and celebrities. So if this all came together and Russell Simmons, DMC (nice guy), Ilie Nastase, David Beckham, Kevin Garnett, Young Jeezy, Katy Perry, Estelle, Ting Tings, Missy Elliott, Jeremy Scott, Kazuki, Dynamo, Ryukyudisko, Afra, Method Man, Redman, Mark Gonzales showed up, it'd be the perfect party, right?

Sadly, it's just an ego-fueled, self-indulgent, hipsteresque celebu-fest akin to, oh, say, the recent AgencySpy party (kidding, Matt. Seriously!) masquerading as an Adidas commercial. And if this weren't enough, there's a two minute version of the commercial coming out after the New Year.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Campaigns, Celebrity, Commercials



Throw Your White in the Air Like LeBron!

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For his signature sneaker the Zoom LeBron VI, "Chalk" lovingly exploits LeBron James' habit of throwing talcum powder into the air before each game. Watch as others follow suit -- with contagiously patriotic reverence -- to the slightly narcotic Candyman by Cornershop.

The spot aired on Thanksgiving day and features cameos by Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hicks and Lil' Wayne. By Cohn & Wolfe in tandem with Wieden & Kennedy/Portland.

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Just Imagine if 'The Network' Could Clone You.

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It's common during the holidays to wish you could be many places at once: everywhere you're obligated to be, and everywhere you actually want to be. So instead of promoting the girth of its network, Vodafone claims it'll let you make the most of now.

In this ad, a guy on an iPhone traipses casually around town, doing everything he wants to, and ends up at the door of a booty call. (Well, I guess it could also be his sister.) Anyway, as he walks, he's joined by clones that have done still more.

Expect the song, Because I Do by Katie Sutherland, to stick with you awhile.

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by Angela Natividad    Dec- 1-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Commercials, Television










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