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Friday
Jul192013

Coca-Cola Smiles At Strangers - And You Should Too

Judging by their recent campaigns, Coca-Cola is on a quest for the cheeriest form of world domination.

They've created the world's first sharing can, made bottles out of ice and even had a stab at international conflict resolution. For their next stunt, they've gone back to basics: smiling at people in the street.

Now, if that sounds a little more lacklustre than the brand's previous efforts, that's because it is. But 'Smile Back' is also the company's entire brand message condensed into a tight two minutes.

The concept is simple: enlist a platoon of red-garbed, grin-ready men and women and send them off to spread smiles to the people. If the general public smile back, they get a free soft drink. Or some sunglasses. Or, in one particularly cute case, a little girl gets a bike. 

While Coca-Cola and agency Victors and Spoils are incredibly canny with their use of music and editing, there are points where the social reality of the stunt threatens to overcome its cutesy concept. You can't look at someone blindly smiling at a stranger without feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Or maybe you can. In a world where any strange person speaking to you is assumed to be a) selling you something or b) insane, perhaps the ad does have something to say.

Whether or not 'Smile Back' makes the world a better place, it's already striking the same note as those previous ads, with nearly 12,000 shares since its release on Wednesday. Even if this spot lacks a killer concept, Coca-Cola are undeniably masters of shareable content

Thursday
Jul182013

Enter The David Beckham-Multiverse For New Sky Sports Ad

If the British tabloids are anything to go by, we know everything there is to know about David Beckham's home life. This may not be the case, according to an illusion-shattering new spot from Sky.

Produced by agency Brothers & Sisters, the ad posits some kind of Beckham-multiverse in which every possible iteration of the football player can, and does, exist. While Becks-1 heads to the gym, Becks-2 watches some telly and Becks-3 enjoys his morning espresso. 

While the point is to highlight Sky Sport's multi-platform capabilities, we can't ignore the sci-fi potential here. If these David Beckhams can comfortably co-exist, does this mean there's a two-headed Beckham somewhere? Or maybe a Beckham who avoided that injured Achilles tendon and went on to the storm the 2010 World Cup final with a 7-0 victory against North Korea? The mind boggles.

The ad raises a few more head-scratchers. For example, Becks-1 seems to be heading to some kind of celebrity appearance. But then wouldn't the value of such an appearance be totally devalued by the overwhelming ubiquity of Beckhams?

Also, when the Beckham collective sit down together to watch TV together at the end, why is only one of them wearing 3D glasses? Weird.

While we've clearly read far too much into this, the ad has so far failed to ignite a similar passion in viewers. With only 4,900 shares since its release earlier this week, we'll have to wait and see if the public want another visit to Earth-B.

Wednesday
Jul172013

Kmart Turns "Yo Mama" Taunts Into Compliments In Funny New Ad Campaign

Kmart has once again gone back to the schoolyard with its latest ad campaign - only this time quite literally!

"Ship My Pants" and "Big Gas Savings" may have appealed to the 11-year-old in all of us with its use of childish puns. 

But in the latest commercial from the retail store, "Yo Mama", once again created by draftfcb, schoolyard kids take centre stage, turning Yo Mama insults into compliments to promote the store's free back-to-school layaway plan.  

The script may lack the clever wit of the previous two ads, but it does boast some gems. My personal favourites are:

"Yo mama get that hoodie at Kmart?" "Yeah, dawg." "Well, yo mama must have cavities, 'cuz that hoodie is sweeeeeeeet!"

"Oh yeah, well, yo mama's like a tasty cheese plate, 'cuz she saved a bunch of cheddar on them Kmart jeans!"

And the brilliant, "Yo mama's so fiscally responsible, she got all that on free layaway!"

With 20,000 shares so far, the ad has got off to a decent start, but certainly has a long way to go to match the success of the previous two. Between them, "Big Gas Savings" and "Ship My Pants" amassed almost 3.5 million shares.

Tuesday
Jul162013

Through The Grape Vine: Honda Uses Social Platform To Promote Cars, Revive YouTube Stars 

As usage of the short-form video platform Vine continues to explode, brands have been looking for inventive ways to stand-out in this new landscape. Honda's answer? Start a real-time conversation.

With this enticing ad released on Friday, the car manufacturer proposed their game-plan: to respond to customers' vines with their own vines all day yesterday. 

The project all started, the ad claims, with a glut of tweets expressing dissatisfaction with their cars. Grumpy customers communicated their annoyance through the language of hashtags: #ihatemycar, #moneyprobbz, #neednewcar, the people cried!

Honda responded with their own slogan, #wantnewcar, and asked customers to send in vines with their auto complaints. The results could all be found on Honda's Twitter account and, as their teaser ad promised, anything could happen.

This turned out to be true enough, with one particular vine standing out from the pack. In response to @nickminers' tweet, Honda posted a vine starring none other than Rebecca Black, star of annoying viral sensation 'Friday'

While it was Old Spice who first broke this ground back in 2010, Honda's Vine use gives customer interaction an even newer spin. 

Tuesday
Jul162013

No Pain No Gain For Toronto Waxing Salon

One male model got himself into a rather hairy situation during a street promo for Toronto's Fuzz Wax Bar. 

In a stunt organised by Lowe Roche, he was covered almost from head to toe in wax strips, each with their own cartoon smiley or unhappy face depending on the level of pain anticipated and funny slogans, such as "from bear arms to bare arms". He was then asked to walk around town and invite people to tear them from his skin. 

Cue lots of squeals of pain and contorted faces from the model, who earns every penny of his hourly rate for the stunt. 

There is also an unexpected bonus for the sadistic people who step up to literally tear strips of this guys - a 25 percent discount at Fuzz Wax. Although, I'm not sure I would want to put a sweat-drenched, furry ticket in my pocket. 

With fewer than 50,000 views since its launch, the video itself has been less than an event, but as a PR stunt, we think it's a real winner.

Monday
Jul152013

Bill Hader Gets The Smartphone Blues In T-Mobile Spots

I just got a smartphone and as a result, I relate all too well to T-Mobile's new series of short ads.

Supporting their 'JUMP!' campaign, the new spots star comedian Bill Hader as the hapless victim of every smartphone-related disaster possible.

Crushed screens, failing battery life, an accidental drop in the urinal: these are the waking nightmares which colour my newly tech-centric life. No one warns when you join the touchscreen club the stress you're signing up for: it's like having a glass, rectangular, 3G-ready baby.

T-Mobile exploits these worries beautifully, with the help of their Saturday Night Live-regular leading man. While funny ads can be hard to pull off, these spots succeed on their incredibly short run-time and strong comic timing.

While their quick-and-breezy format means these spots may have trouble going viral, the situations in 'JUMP!' will be instantly recognizable to those who've looked up how to dry a smartphone in a bag of rice.

It's funny because it's true.