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Master and Apprentice Are Back, and Ridiculous as Ever, for Steak 'n Shake New spots from Carmichael Lynch

The latest ads in Carmichael Lynch's master and apprentice campaign for Steak 'n Shake continue to use sound effects and choice props to comic effect.

This time, the main featured sound effect is the comically exaggerated air karate chop. The latest series of wooshes reminds us fondly of Weird Al's absurd dance sequence in his 1988 parody of Michael Jackson's Bad ("Because I'm fat ..."). As for the prop, it's a black blindfold that Master wears in his "Pin the tail on the donkey" like search for a milkshake in the desert. The tagline remains, "Hunger wisely."

As with last year's spots, these were directed by Harold Einstein.

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August 28, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT

Tweet This Hashtag in NYC, and Reebok Could Run a Pair of Sneakers Over to You Floor-to-door service is yours

Starting today, New Yorkers who tweet their shoe size and address with the hashtag #ReebokHDS could get a visit from the brand's Human Dispatch Service.

The team of runners will personally rush pairs of Reebok's new ZJet sneakers to people at home or at work. Venables Bell & Partners devised the stunt, which, according to Reebok, "brings the ZJet concept to life" by demonstrating how the shoe—which features air channels for maximum cushioning—"propels the runner forward with the power of air."

It's a fun idea that harkens back to a bygone era of personal service, at a time when many advertising stunts strive to confuse and frighten consumers to generate viral videos.

This is the client's second creative promotion this summer, following its July CrossFit Games tie-in from VB&P that saw Reebok send bacon to athletes abiding by Paleo diets. The HDS team won't be delivering any savory pork products, but the focus on shoes gives the ZJet stunt some steak to go with the sizzle.

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August 28, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

Nocturnal Beer Drinkers Just Hang Around in This Batty Ad From Brazil The freaky bat-people come out at night

When you get to a certain point, usually around your mid-20s, you realize there's not much more to life than drinking delicious beer. Imagine a world where you only wake up when it's time to imbibe a bottle of suds. 

That's the strange reality in this dark, surreal Brazilian ad for Skol by agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, in which sleeping bat-people, hanging upside down all over town, wake up when they hear a Skol Beats beer opening.

I can dig it. Take a look below, and see if you're willing to suspend your disbelief (from the ceiling ... without spilling your beer).

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August 28, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

Instagram Users Are Obsessed With Recreating Its Logo, and the Results Are Quite Wonderful How many sites get this kind of love?

Photo: ThatGoldenDog on Instagram

You don't hear a lot of users gushing about their social networks these days, but Instagram seems to be a noticeable exception—as illustrated by the recent trend of photographers creating artistic homages to its logo.

Hundreds of people having been posting their interpretations to the photo network, using objects that range from the obvious end of the spectrum—rocks, seashells, and candy—to the unusual, like axes and dog treats. Coffee cups are popular, as are lenses from actual cameras.

Many of them appear under the hashtag #myinstagramlogo. There's a pretty astounding level of diversity and creativity in the mix, and all in all it makes for a nice example of consumers putting their own stamp on a product they're passionate about.

Some of the versions are quite abstract, though. Out of context, one might just look like, for example, an odd (if pretty) flower arrangement, or a pepperoni pizza.

So is this an official marketing promotion created by Instagram, or was the Facebook-owned brand at least behind the original idea? If so, there's no obvious evidence. We've contacted the brand to find out and will update you if we hear back.

UPDATE: An Instagram rep has confirmed to AdFreak this trend is 100 percent organic and was not seeded by the company.

Check out some of our favorites below. 

Via Design Taxi.

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August 28, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT

You'll Be Uncomfortably Surprised by This Honda Spec Ad That Just Got Leaked When road trips get awkward

There are lots of things to like about the Honda Fit. But one feature in particular might present some issues while you're out there cruising for hours on the open road, music blasting and the wind blowing through your hair.

We won't spoil the punch line of this spec ad, created by A2F Pictures in Minneapolis. But take a look below and enjoy. After the video, check out our Q&A with the director, James Rautmann, in which we ask just what, exactly, he was thinking.

AdFreak: What was the inspiration for this ad?
James Rautmann: The inspiration came from wanting to make an ad that used text to give the punch line in a subtle way. Create an ah-ha moment. Let the audience make the assumption on what is really going on in the scene.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for the plot.
I was returning home from a shoot, and long story short we had to move white wine to an empty two-liter bottle for a shot. When I arrived home, I had to carry the bottle in past my neighbors. It definitely looked like it was filled with urine.

My business partner Mark, who co-wrote the spot with me, was with me, and I remarked how funny it would be if we told my neighbors that we had just returned from a long road trip and let them think what they wanted to about what was in that bottle.

With the help of Phil Jones, who not only helped in the writing process but also beautifully art directed the spot, our approach to a fuel-efficient ad was born.

Do you hope to create more spots like this?
Like as a campaign? It's possible. I think overall the idea of creating a unique scenario that turns meaningless text into a joke is something I definitely want to keep pursuing.

Director: James Rautmann
Writers: James Rautmann, Mark Mazur, Phil Jones
Producers: Mark Mazur, Trent Hilborn
Executive Producer: Elizabeth Ryan-Govrik
Cinematographer: Scott Regan
Art Director: Phil Jones
Color, Finishing: Matt Collings @ ditch
Production Sound: Nick Leisenheimer
Sound Design, Mix: Nick Christopulous
Production Company: A2F Pictures
Talent: Eric Pierson
Song By: White Dads
Special thanks to Tracy Tabery-Weller, Chris Govrik

August 27, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

Life Alert's New Ad Is Terrifying, and People Are Not Happy About It Brand says the end justifies the means

Life Alert now takes its marketing very seriously. Maybe too seriously.

Rather than just have its old commercials be the laughing stock of anyone who's ever seen them, the company is doing its best to scare the living crap out of everyone who watches TV.

The new ad below ditches the brand's trademark testimonial cheesiness for straight up creepiness, with an old lady lying unnoticed in a heap at the bottom of a flight of stairs, screaming. It's quite disturbing, and a lot of viewers are leaving pissed-off comments on the brand's Facebook page.

"My own grandmother fell and cracked her hip and we brought her to the hospital immediately, but this just makes me feel so awful inside I start crying," writes one. "I'm 17 years old and this is way too scary. I don't want to see anyone in that much pain and crying when I'm just trying to enjoy my day. Please take it off the TV."

In fairness, some people are praising the commercial for driving the point home with a realistic depiction, and helping to convince their stubborn elders to buy the product.

Life Alert's response is basically that the whiners should suck it up, because it's sick of hearing them go on about how bad its prior ads were.

"We consistently hear horror stories of how families procrastinated in getting a Life Alert only to discover their loved one had fallen and was on the floor for hours (sometimes days) before someone found them," reads part of a statement posted at Consumerist.

"They have even complained that our commercials are corny, and NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH, and that our message doesn’t get through. The guilt and fear these families feel after a preventable tragedy is very real and far worse than any commercial."

Of course, punishing a mass audience for the unreasonable griping of a few who wouldn't take responsibility for their own failure to act doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Even if the old ads weren't effective.

Also, says Life Alert, it's the good guy: "Our goal is to wake people up to the realities of what is going on with the elderly and to get a medical alert system as a PREVENTIVE measure, not a reactionary result to a tragedy."

As reasonable—and somewhat noble—as the for-profit company's intentions may be, its posturing also kind of misses the point. There might be some middle ground between an ad that is an unintentional self-parody, and one that terrifies children. A less ham-fisted approach might persuade even more consumers, or at least alienate fewer.

Then again, when demand for your product is based on the ample supply of consumer anxiety about death, it's not surprising they're leaning in.

August 27, 2014, 9:48 AM EDT

See the Painfully Funny Science Museum Ad That Was Too Violent for Canadian TV Man takes a licking, keeps on ticking

The guy in this sublimely sophomoric spot for a Vancouver science museum should be in a world of hurt.

Yet he smiles and shrugs off a nail through his shoe, a bitey dog, a neighborhood kid's expertly executed kick to the crotch and a couple of even more potentially painful (probably deadly) indignities. His resilience throughout his 30-second odyssey, promoting Science World at Telus World of Science, is explained at the end with a little scientific factoid. (The wimpy Walmart clown could learn a thing or two from this guy.)

This latest installment in the client's "Now You Know" campaign from ad agency Rethink was deemed too violent for TV by the Television Bureau of Canada. Of course, that's the perfect formula for maximizing press coverage and interest on the Web.

Among the campaign's many notable past efforts, you might recall these racy ads from 2012 that promoted a "Science of Sexuality" exhibit and scored significant media exposure.

After 15 years on the business, Rethink's got this stuff down to a science.

Credits below.

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August 27, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman Are Telenovela Foes in This Insane Ad for Fox Sports Ay, dios mio

What would happen if football didn't exist? Well, for one thing, Fox Sports announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would have very different jobs.

The two hombres star in this perfectly executed spot made in the style of a Latin telenovela. And it's glorious. While their Spanish is downright remedial, they make up for it with absurd soap-opera melodrama. (Fox Sports seems to be going full comedy this fall, having also rolled out the "Sorry About All the Football" campaign.)

You could take issue with the premise, though. It's highly doubtful, outside of football, that these two guys would have ever ended up in the same room. Unless baseball still existed, and Aikman played on the Red Sox.

The YouTube page says this is "the first of a series of videos featuring NFL on Fox talent, so it will be fun to see what happens next as the "drama unfolds."

A world without football is, of course, inconceivable. But a world with more of these ads?

Si, por favor!

Via Awful Announcing.

August 26, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

Belize Thanks Journey's Keyboardist for Visiting by Recording 'Don't Stop Beliezin' Salute to Jonathan Cain, who wrote the original

Photo: Getty Images

You can't make this stuff up.

Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player for Journey and writer of perhaps the band's biggest hit, "Don't Stop Believing," vacationed in Belize recently—and tweeted about what a fantastic experience it was.

The Belize Tourism Board got wind of this, and with help from its ad agency, Olson, orchestrated an elaborate thank-you to Cain—in the form of a cover song, "Don't Stop Belizein." Popular local Belizean group The Laru Beya Boys recorded the song, which you can hear below.

Olson and the Belize Tourism Board have collaborated on quirky campaigns in the past. Last year they offered free vacations to Vince Gilligan and eight members of the Breaking Bad cast—after the phrase "taking a trip to Belize" was used on the show as a euphemism for getting murdered.

August 26, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT

DJ Samples Thousands of Sounds From GE Machines for a Track Called 'Drop Science' Matthew Dear is the brand's second musical collaborator

GE doesn't just do whatever it is that GE does. It makes beats, too.

Last year, GE brought you an electronica song featuring the sounds of shipping containers, as interpreted by Reuben Wu of Ladytron. Now the engineering brand is back with a sequel that graduates to samples from a broader range of GE's heavy machinery—thousands, we're told, including a jet engine—as assembled by artist Matthew Dear.

Created with The Barbarian Group, the campaign essentially argues a natural alignment between GE and music, focusing on the brand's use of acoustics to test that its equipment is functioning properly. Andrew Gorton, an acoustics engineer for GE, worked with Dear to record sounds at a GE research facility in Niskayuna, N.Y., a process documented in a video produced by m ss ng p eces. A package of the loops Dear created is available to download via BitTorrent so that anyone can remix them.

While the symbiosis might seem like a stretch, it's hard to fault GE for not wanting to bore regular people with too much geek talk about turbines and who cares what else. The resulting track, titled "Drop Science," is certainly worth a listen.

That is, if you like the electronic music genre in general, it's fun. If you don't, you might think it sounds like a bunch of beeping machines. 

August 26, 2014, 3:07 PM EDT


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AdFreak is your daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd. Updated every weekday, with a weekly recap on Saturdays.

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