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This Agency Is Giving $1,500 to Each Employee to Go on an Exotic Vacation. Here's Why 'Some people might call this crazy'

In our latest installment of places where you wish you worked, a California creative agency named thinkParallax recently gave each one of its employees $1,500 and an extra paid day off to travel somewhere they've never been and get inspired. The catch? They have to blog about their journey.

"Some people might call this crazy. We’re calling it Parallaxploration," says the agency. Which is great because parallax is the difference in perspective you get by looking at the same object from two different positions. In other words, the agency's very name suggests that traveling to new places gives you a new perspective on the same old thing.

"The goal of Parallaxploration is not only to ensure happy employees, but also to provide them with energizing experiences that will allow them to continue creating exceptional work for our clients," the agency adds.



The little design inspirations that naturally come from exploring new cultures are exactly what you see in the four blog stories already posted—Germany, Holland, Peru and New Zealand. From ancient to modern, pastoral to urban, those four locations have already created a breadth of influence for creative exploration.

The agency also says it hopes its experiment makes other companies think differently about employee engagement, and I wonder if this sort of thing could catch on. The agency where I work gave each of us a $1,000 Delta credit last year for the same reason, but we didn't blog about our journeys. (Missed opportunity? Or a welcome lack of corporate oversight?)

The important part is, there's nothing preventing this good idea from becoming a movement. Or an individual creative from remembering how important it is to always be open to travel and new experiences.

October 21, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

Philips Creates a Stunning Explosion of Color and Snow With 'Afterglow' Night skiing becomes a work of art in ad for backlit TVs

If you like any combination of amazing colors, night skiing and striking imagery, Philips has an ad for you.

To promote its color-backlit Ambilight televisions, the electronics manufacturer teamed up with Stockholm agency Ahlstrand & Wållgren, film company Sweetgrass Productions, and a crew of pro skiers to create "Afterglow," a 12-minute clip shot on the slopes at Golden Alpine Holidays in Aleyska, Alaska, under giant color lights during the dead of night. The result is snow like you've never seen it before.

Under 4,000-watt spotlights of varying colors, spraying powder takes on an iridescent quality, calling to mind the pigments thrown during Holi. (As such, it's slightly reminiscent of the project that photographer Chase Jarvis did for Samsung monitors, also featuring colorful dust clouds. Screen manufacturers are generally fond of playing up brilliant, hypnotizing palettes, the most famous example perhaps being Sony Bravia's bouncing balls.)

The skiers also strapped on 7,000-LED suits for some of their downhill runs, making for even more dramatic footage.

If you're not ready to commit to a 12-minute short film, which we've put at the bottom of this post, here's a 3-minute-plus short that gives you a solid idea of what to expect:

A cut of the LED-suit footage posted to Vimeo a week ago has over 1 million views.

Commenters there point out some similarities to other works—one to the 2012 art piece "L.E.D. Surfer" by filmmaker Jacob Sutton, featuring snowboarder William Hughes plying his craft in the dark (but without the polychromatic vibe of the Phillips clip), another to a Sony Xperia smartphone commercial from a few weeks ago featuring night snowboarders in color LED suits (though that one clearly took a fraction of the effort shown in the Philips spot). This summer, Lexus also put out an LED-suit nighttime acrobatics ad. So it's probably safe to call this a trend.

October 21, 2014, 10:58 AM EDT

Watch a Clerk Shock Customers by Haggling Over Groceries in Campaign for Edmunds.com You wouldn't do it for food. Why do it for a car?

It's common practice to haggle for a better price at a car dealership. But at a grocery store? In American supermarkets, at least, it just doesn't happen. Until now.

Car shopping site Edmunds.com, which is dedicated to hassle-free—and haggle-free—car buying, shows the absurdity of haggling in an amusing stunt (via Publicis Kaplan Thaler in New York) where it set up hidden cameras in a grocery store and had the cashier start bargaining with customers over the cost of items.

Edmunds.com found in its research that 83 percent of shoppers hate haggling, yet it's still the way most cars are purchased. And the customers here are clearly uncomfortable, though mostly because the clerk announces outrageously high prices for most things.

Credits below.

Click to Read More →

October 21, 2014, 8:01 AM EDT

Without Condoms, Threesome Night Becomes Puzzle Night in This Odd French PSA Don't let this happen to you

When the mood is right but you're all out of condoms, most amorous adventurers would simply run to the 24-hour pharmacy. But in France, the back-up plan seems to be a tad more mundane.

In a series of new anti-AIDS ads from TBWA Paris, the participants in a would-be threeway end up interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces rather than limbs, and several couples find equally bland ways to spend their naked time together. 

"No condom, no sex" is the tagline for these spots for Aides, the advocacy group behind a wide range of enjoyable videos.

While the premise is rather silly, it's a charming way to tackle a decades-old message that usually feels like a high school lecture. And hey, a naked puzzle party doesn't sound all that bad. 

Via Osocio.

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October 20, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

Infographic: How to Tell Client Tricks From Treats This Halloween Mistress breaks it down

Every day is a bit spooky when you're dealing with clients. But this Halloween, ad agency Mistress has made a little chart you might find useful—how to tell whether your client's double-speak is a trick or a treat. It's notoriously hard to tell sometimes.

Top photo via Flickr.

October 20, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

French Art Show About the Marquis de Sade Gets a Suitably Orgiastic Trailer (NSFW) Raunchy, but artistic

YouTube censors who greenlight nudity as long as it's artistic must have spent a fair bit of time on this video from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris—advertising an art show about the influence of the Marquis de Sade on representation of sexuality.

That's because almost every frame could be age-gated.

It was made by video artists David Freymond and Florent Michel. "In the end, it doesn't come off as something pornographic or obscene. It's rather beautiful, very aestheticized, like a painting by Renoir, Courbet, or a Rodin," Emmanuèle Peyret writes in Libération, per Artnet. "In brief, another artwork amid those already inhabiting the museum."

Video contains nudity and is NSFW.

October 20, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT

Here's Why Facebook Never Created a 'Dislike' Button Liking is universal, but negativity takes many forms, creator explains

As anyone who's posted something ostensibly insightful on Reddit knows, watching your comment get downvoted into a negative abyss can leave you feeling stung and downright pissed off.

That's exactly the kind of experience Facebook wanted to avoid when it actively decided not to create a "Dislike" button alongside the iconic thumbs-up Like button that debuted in early 2009.

In an interview with the creator of the Like button, former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor (who these days runs mobile app Quip), TechRadar reports that a Dislike button was often discussed but consistently scrapped because "the negativity of that button has a lot of unfortunate consequences."

While the Like button was born largely to unclutter feeds riddled with positive one-word comments like "wow" and "cool," Taylor says, Facebook felt that it was actually better to corner the more negative users into leaving a comment explaining their opinions.

"I have the feeling that if there were to be a 'Dislike' button is that you would end up with these really negative social aspects to it," Taylor says. "If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there's probably a word for what you want to say."

October 20, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

Job-Hunting Creatives Disguise Their Portfolio as a Copy of Lürzer's Archive One sure way to get some press

It can be tough to get your work featured in the advertising magazine Lürzer's Archive. But René Schultz and Casper Christensen found a way around that.

The Danish art directors, who were looking for a job, went ahead and created their own physical replica of the creative magazine, filled it with their own work, and sent it to agencies. See how they did it—and whether it worked—in the video below.

As you might have guessed, the whole thing came full circle when the prank was written up in Lürzer's Archive itself. "Of course I was delighted with this gem," writes Lürzer's editor Michael Weinzettl. "They copied the magazine to perfection."

UPDATE: And guess who did this 10 years ago!

October 20, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT

David Beckham Invites You to Travel the World, Drinking His Scotch, in Ad From Guy Ritchie Meet the very stylish Haig Club

If you're the type of jet-setter who flies a seaplane to a Scottish estate so you can put on a tuxedo and have a drink with a handful of your posh friends, David Beckham would like you to buy some of his new whisky.

The recently retired soccer icon stars in this glitzy launch ad for Haig Club, a single grain scotch that Beckham produced with liquor giant Diageo and American Idol creator Simon Fuller. Filmmaker Guy Ritchie, a friend of Beckham's—who directed him in this H&M ad last year—directed this one, too (and makes a cameo as the fisherman under the bridge).



It's worth watching mostly for the gorgeous scenery (shot in the Scottish Highlands, at locations like Glen Affric). The people are pretty, too. Alt-J's "Left-Hand Free" serves as the soundtrack. The storyline is thin, leaving you free to focus on the lush trappings—not unlike a fashion or perfume ad. That's all the more appropriate, given that the bottle looks like it should hold something you splash on your person, not pour down your gullet.

Regardless, you should also be ready to drink it at the Great Wall, Easter Island, the Egyptian pyramids and Antarctica, among other places. In other words, get your travel budget in order—and don't forget to bring your point-and-shoot camera, because everyone still uses those.

October 20, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

YouTube's Famous 'Slow Mo Guys' Get You Up to Speed in Ads for the Video Site They 'make every second epic'

The Slow Mo Guys are shifting into the fast lane.

As part of YouTube's ongoing effort to introduce its popular channel stars to a wider audience, Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy are appearing in a multimedia push that includes TV, print, billboard and online ads. The campaign, breaking now in the U.K., is tagged "You make every second epic," and also highlights Vice News and beauty vlog Zoella. (In the U.S., YouTubers like Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan starred in similar ads earlier this year.)

"YouTube stars are not only entertaining us through their quirky videos and updates, but building long-lasting relationships with their fans," says Ben McOwen Wilson, who oversees partnerships for the Google-owned service.



The 30-second Slow Mo Guys teaser shows highlights from some of their nearly 100 videos shot at 10,000 frames per second. Watermelons and paintballs explode in plumes of color, and a teacup tossed through the air disgorges its contents in caramel cascades. This sampling merely hints at the channel's treasure trove of dazzling footage, which has garnered almost 430 million total views and 4.5 million subscribers in the past four years.

It feels right that the Slow Mo Guys were chosen to take part in YouTube's mainstream crossover push, because their oeuvre encompasses elements of old and new media. Free and Gruchy condense the frantic, silly vibe of shows like You Can't Do That on Television and America's Funniest Home Videos into highly shareable bites. They add dashes of Bill Nye-style scientific curiosity and genuine artistry (some of their slow-motion work is amazing). Even their goofy Brit-bro personalities are in sync with the times, reminding viewers that these are average Joes using technology to create amazing stuff.

At times, the guys present serious, brand-centric material, including a couple of clips that showcase General Electric's cutting-edge tech. Such efforts are informative and boast hypnotic imagery, but the real fun comes from their sillier escapades. You'll gasp at the epic cuteness of dogs and cats frozen in mid-air, striking impossible ballet poses. You'll cringe as milky puke sluggishly slithers from Gruchy's twisted, lactose-tortured lips. You'll jump in your seat when dozens of mousetraps dance in an insanely prolonged (and painful) chain reaction.

These are awesome time wasters. No matter how slow the antics, the minutes fly by.

Click to Read More →

October 17, 2014, 2:37 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 and David Griner.

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