'Are you injured enough for some football?' ask ads for the UFL

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Aug 31 2010

How cool is the United Football League? So cool that the two guys in this TV spot will beat each other silly just so they can have the privilege of watching the full season from hospital beds. At least, that's the premise behind new work for the UFL from BBDO. For the uninitiated, the UFL launched last year and is looking to establish a name in cities "underserved" by the NFL, including Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay Area. In the ad, two idiotic men hit each other with a crowbar and a baseball bat, and the action, which opens with a signature from-the-car-trunk Tarantino shot, is surprisingly hard edged. (Also surprising: No warnings not to "try this at home.") The ultraviolence will no doubt get some attention for the league, at least from bloodthirsty types.

AT&T creates lavish undersea adventure in 3-D in new BBDO ad

Posted on Mon Jun 28 2010

Moviegoers would be forgiven for assuming this latest AT&T "Rethink possible" ad is a coming attraction for Finding Nemo 2. Shot in 3-D, the BBDO-produced animated spot shows a small fish trying to squirrel away a small orange ball. Being a small fish, he gets harassed by bigger fish and eventually drops his prize. Then he breaks away toward a light visible above the surface. Looking over the waterline, he spots endless trees dropping the orange balls. The message: Look beyond your current comfort zone, and you may be lavishly rewarded. Or something like that. Does it relate to AT&T? Yeah, I guess, if you think about it. Maybe more if you look at the big picture: AT&T has produced a cinematic 3-D spot with an original score, therefore allowing viewers to rethink what's possible in a TV/cinema spot. Note: A BBDO rep said the spot, which was produced with movie audiences in mind, made its debut yesterday during ESPN's 3-D's coverage of the World Cup.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Have a crushed and squeezed Starbucks Frappuccino your way

Posted on Wed May 5 2010

There are many, many ways you can have your Starbucks Frappuccino. So much so that the coffee chain this week launched "However-You-Want-It" Frappuccino drinks. The blended ice drinks, which include top-selling flavors like Strawberries & Crème, Mocha Light and Extra Coffee Caramel, can now be further customized to your liking (e.g, hold the whipped cream, extra shot of espresso, nonfat milk, please?). Ads from BBDO, New York, show the different ingredients of a (yum!) Strawberries  & Crème Frappuccino coming together. (It's pretty fast. You'll have to watch it multiple times.) In between the strawberries smashing, ice blending and slurping consumers is the phrase, "Amazing. Ice. Bliss." Which pretty much sums it up. We're off to get one—OK, a second one.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

BBDO and Tropicana brighten up one of Canada's darkest places

Posted on Thu Mar 4 2010

Americans in the lower 48 states who experience seasonal affective disorder might be interested in the latest doings from Tropicana in Canada. In January, the Pepsi brand and its agency, BBDO Toronto, visited the northern town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, which experiences weeks of darkness during the depths of winter, and brought the sun—or actually, an artificial, electric-lit facsimile of the sun—to incredulous, grateful residents. Footage from the event is being used in a campaign breaking this week in Canada that's built around the theme, "Brighter mornings for brighter days." Though the stunt is a bit reminiscent of Juan Cabral and Fallon's Cristo-esque work in Europe, it seems a better positioning than what Tropicana has going in the U.S., which might be summed up as "Weirder packaging for confused consumers."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Crazy people would be less crazy if they ate more Hormel foods

Posted on Wed Feb 10 2010

Hormel

These three spots for Hormel Foods from BBDO Minneapolis had us falling off our chair. In the first ad, a man explains to his curious neighbor why his house and yard are overgrown with weeds, a goat is eating grass off the roof and his wife is standing naked behind some gardening equipment. (With Hormel, you don't have to "go all out to go all natural.") In the second spot, a father decides it's a brilliant idea to have remote-control toys serve his family dinner. (It's not such a great idea after all.) And in the third ad, a time-starved office worker races down street to buy lunch, only to slam into and roll over a car on way back. (His female colleague much more calmly microwaves some Hormel Compleats.) The campaign is part of the client's "Life better served" effort, which aims to get consumers thinking of the company's entire Hormel-branded portfolio.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

FedEx drop-off boxes would love to chat with you about Nascar

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Fedex

How would you like it if your mail drop-off box talked? (As in, reassured you that the package you just put inside it was going to get to its destination as quickly as possible?) FedEx is making it happen in a campaign by BBDO, New York, that will have more than 700 drop-off boxes nationwide carrying a recording that says, "Hi, it's Denny Hamlin. If you like fast, you just dropped that package in the right place." (Listen to the audio embed below.) Hamlin is the driver of the FedEx Toyota Camry, and the effort is intended to drive excitement around the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Nascar's championship series. The promotion kicked off this week with 300 sound-activated boxes, and FedEx will install an additional 400-plus more in key Nascar markets like Greensboro, N.C., Birmingham, Ala., and Miami, Fla. Don't be afraid. It's just a recording.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Guys, give your phermones a workout with Dial's new body wash

Posted on Mon Aug 10 2009

Smell-taller

Guys, add this to your recession-blues-busting grooming routine: Dial for Men has launched its new "attraction enhancing" Magnetic body wash. Parent company Henkel calls it the first "phermone-infused" male body wash on the market. TV and out-of-home ads via Energy BBDO, launching this week, refer to the product as "The Slumpbuster" and encourage guys to "Turn 'no' into a definite 'maybe,' " and to "Smell taller." (Really?!) There's also a Web site, GetMagnetic.com, by Night Agency in New York, which contains such "scintillating" features as an "Ask the Sexperts" column and a Magnetic 101 presentation, with answers to such questions as, "How did that guy end up with that girl?"

—Posted by Elaine Wong

With Orbit's Big Pak, curse words will become a thing of the past

Posted on Thu Jul 16 2009

Orbit's Big Pak is the miracle gum for cleaning potty mouths. That's according to this spot from Energy BBDO, which shows the brand's spokesman, Big Pak, rapping about how the gum cleaned his mouth for good. "My mouth is so clean now, swear words are not in my vocabulary anymore," he says. "They're replaced by motha hubbard, feather pluckin', you know, motha lovin', motha huggin'." The approach is not new for the Wrigley brand. In 2006, Orbit aired a spot called "The Affair," which shows a woman cursing out her husband and his mistress by using mickey fickey language. "We know it resonates. It's something kids really get into because it's fun, in that you know what the dirty words are, but you laugh about the ones used in its place," says Paul Chibe, Wrigley's vp and general manager for U.S. gum and mints.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Spam can get even the most bored piece of food up and dancing

Posted on Thu Jun 18 2009

Hee hee. Leave it up to Spam to energize eggs, bread and mac 'n cheese. A handful of exquisite new animated spots from BBDO Minneapolis and Laika (the studio that produced the film Coraline) show how the lunchmeat takes such kitchen staples from grinding boredom to exuberant life. There's also this behind-the-scenes video by Laika that shows how the stop-motion animation came together. Almost makes you want to get Spammed after all.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Seriously, America, you really think Starbucks is the best coffee?

Posted on Fri Jun 12 2009

87709-Starbucks_Zagat copy

"Zagat says we're the country's No. 1 best coffee. Actually you said it, but Zagat repeated it (which is nice)," says Starbucks. Are you for real, America? You think Starbucks is the best coffee? You were fooled by the smiling naked mermaid mounted on every cup, or perhaps by the seemingly innocent media promotions in which Starbucks posed questions like, "What if we all cared enough to vote? Not just 54 percent of us, but 100 percent of us"? Clearly, Starbucks has become an omnipotent and dominant force. In the 1999 film Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil's lair is, in fact, Starbucks. I don't believe in coincidences. Not only has Starbucks taken over almost every street corner, infiltrated mainstream media and pop culture, but the brand is also aggressively forcing its way into the Internet in the form of digital ads, e-mails, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Enough is enough, Starbucks! Give the little guys a chance. Have we no time to pause in a small café, sip quality coffee and appreciate life, rather than turning to quick fixes like Starbucks? Ah, but look again, Starbucks won for best coffee in the fast-food section of Zagat's 2009 survey. That's like being the best of the worst. In that case, congrats Starbucks!  

—Posted by Allison Shafir


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