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Yes, Barbarian Group Has a Waterless Hot Tub. But Look What Barton F. Graf Has Something better

These agency tours of The Barbarian Group are pretty impressive. But you know who's not that impressed? Fellow New York agency Barton F. Graf 9000.

When Barbarian Group released its Vimeo video showing off its giant, snake-like, resin-poured "Superdesk," Barton F. Graf responded with its own video about its own enormous piece of continuous furniture—called the floor.

Last week, Adweek went into the Barbarian offices for a closer look, and got to see the agency's waterless hot tub (see below). But once again, Barton F. Graf ups the ante with a waterless kiddie pool. Look at how childlike and playful it is. Clearly it must produce better ideas than the hot tub does.

Obviously Barbarian is cool, but it will never be the coolest.

September 29, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT

Jeff Goldblum Is Out of His Mind in Tim & Eric's Loony Ad for GE Lighting Brand does a 180 with fake infomercial

GE has been doing a lot of poignant ads through BBDO New York lately—the dreamy fantasy world of "Childlike Imagination" (an Emmy nominee this year); the haunting dystopia of "Ideas Are Scary"; the adorably odd science fiction of "The Boy Who Beeps."

So, obviously it was time to completely change things up—and hire Tim & Eric (aka, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) to direct a barely clothed but great-haired Jeff Goldblum in this totally bonkers fake infomercial for the GE Link lighting solutions.

It's kind of all over the map, but the two-minute spot has lots of enjoyable over-the-top moments—particularly the peppy transitions from super-suave Goldblum to the "unremarkable nobodies" who deliver the testimonials.

A fake infomercial isn't the route you'd typically choose for explaining new technology like GE Link. But this seems to be more of an awareness play. We'll find out later whether it really does make everyone look like a cocky, raven-haired movie actor.

Credits below.

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September 29, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Logos Are Ingeniously Redesigned for Breast Cancer Awareness Check yourself, not just your feeds

Ask anyone you know how they feel about boobs, and I'm pretty sure it will be positive. Indeed, you'd have a hard time finding anyone hesitant to sing their praises.

Below is a fun series of ads from DDB Singapore timed to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. They'll hit close to home for anyone who regularly uses social media and happens to have breasts, or knows anyone who has them (and wants them to be healthy). The familiar logos have been redesigned to anatomically pay homage to breasts and remind you to perform an exam—on yourself, or someone you care about—as frequently as you check your social feeds. 

The ads, for the Breast Cancer Foundation, also point to an online petition urging social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to actually change their logos temporarily for the cause. So, check out the ads below, and consider a screening so you can live longer to keep liking and faving.

Via Design Taxi.

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September 29, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

This Interactive Time Capsule Wants to Grant You Immortality as a Digital Avatar Yourbot preserves your persona for posterity

Today's cool but slightly horrifying vision of the future comes courtesy of Yourbot, which is a combination of a digital time capsule and man's search for immortality.

Yourbot is a service that creates a psychological profile of you, then uses photos of you to create a 3-D digital avatar that can be shared with your descendants after you pass on, fully capable of communicating your memories and personal anecdotes such as your first kiss.

While users will primarily interact with Yourbot on the Web or via a mobile app, the creators are also developing a voice-activated device featuring your interactive avatar. The device will only be available to Kickstarter backers. 

Via PSFK.

September 29, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

Volvo Really Takes the Plunge in Powerful Ad That Leaves the Car on Shore Grey London's 'The Swell'

In its first global campaign for Volvo, Grey London strives for a "quietly epic" tone to position the Swedish nameplate more firmly in the premium auto space. Director Marcus Söderlund, working through Academy Films, delivers the goods with a visually compelling minute-long film called The Swell.

We open on a moonlit beach, where a Volvo XC60 sits in the sand, the hum of its radio melding with the sounds of the sea. "To feel, to really feel, is a rare thing these days," a voiceover says. We watch a woman paddle her surfboard through dark, choppy water as a huge wave rises with thunderous force … and the tagline, "Seek feeling," flashes on screen.

The Swell weaves its tale in moody hues, offering glimpses of the car as it focuses on the lonely surfer and approaching wave. (Söderlund also directed Grey London's fiery Vodafone ad about emergency responders.)



It's an unexpected approach, and the first campaign from global creative director Hollie Newton, who joined Grey last year from Wieden + Kennedy, where she contributed to award-winning efforts for Lurpak butter. For Lurpak, she designed sensory experiences with cheeky, playful subtexts that reminded viewers not to take the ads too seriously.

The Swell shares this "sensory" sensibility, but ratchets up the intensity to a point where I imagine some viewers might be put off. Even so, Grey deserves credit for making a commercial that ripples with energy without drowning in car-ad clichés.

Credits below.

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September 29, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

Meet Frankenagency's Monster, a Beast Built to Handle Every Idiotic Client Demand Halloween comes early

If you've ever done any work for anyone, ever, you've hopefully learned a little something about how it works. Inevitably, the person will make your life hell the entire time, and then make it worse—by throwing a million dumb and unrealistic requests at you in the 11th hour. 

Folks in the agency world know this all too well in dealing with clients. And the hilarious cartoon infographic below depicts the relationship pretty well.

Meet Frankenagency's Monster. A terrifying beast out of myth and folklore. Or as the cartoon says: "A vile creature spawned from insane client expectations."

Highlights include the "Pixel Monkey," who can instantly make babies cuter, among other asinine last-second changes; the "Viral Wand," which can turn any terrible Web video into an Internet sensation. 

Take a look below, and weep.

Via The Agency Post. 

September 29, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

Dole Printed Some Very Special Bananas for 200 Runners of the Tokyo Marathon Finish times and more

Kudos to Dole and Denstu Y&R for making what might be the coolest bananas in the world.

At this year's Tokyo Marathon, 200 runners received personalized Dole bananas with information like finish times and praise from Facebook friends all printed in edible ink (though hopefully nobody tried to eat the peels).

The idea manages to be pretty sweet, even if it is a little silly … not altogether unlike a banana. It aimed to amplify Dole's broader role of handing out some 91,000 bananas to participants in the race, and by the agency's measures, it was a roaring success, earning some $1.1 million in media coverage.



Dole determined the winners of special trophy bananas by lottery, but even the boring, textless bananas available to all the runners were still "Gokusen," or the high-end kind that can cost $12 a bunch—or as much as $6 per banana with special gift packaging.

Then again, in a culture where gift giving is prevalent, and where supermarkets therefore tend to carry $300 cantaloupes—and where even more special melons have sold for  $16,000—a pricey banana starts to sound like a total steal.

Via Design Taxi.

September 29, 2014, 9:12 AM EDT

Breyers Shows You What Parents Do After the Kids Go to Bed, and It's Pretty Messed Up Cover your eyes and ears

After the kids are tucked into bed, parents like to turn the lights down low, put on some not-safe-for daytime programming, and get down and dirty ... with frozen desserts.

At least, that's what Breyers claims in this off-the-hook song-and-dance number from DDB that manages to get "I said so" to rhyme with "gelato."

The music video is an extended version of a concept visited in an earlier 15-second spot, in which a young son catches his parents snacking on Breyers Gelato Indulgences in the middle of the night. If you thought the first ad was cheesy, this cringe-worthy version goes on way too long, and really makes you feel like you did walk in on your parents doing something you shouldn't have seen.

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September 26, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT

Why Settle for a Standing Desk When You Could Have This Giant Hamster Wheel? Now march, drones!

Do you like the modern sensibility of a standing desk but wish it also served as a constant reminder of your work life's soul-crushing drudgery? Well then I've got good news.

This 80-inch-diameter Hamster Wheel Standing Desk, invented by two guys (artist Robb Godshaw and developer Will Doenlen) at 3-D software company Autodesk, is questionably necessary in a world where we already have treadmill desks. But it's also pretty awesome.

The whole project is clearly tongue-in-cheek, as you can tell from the description on Instructables.com, where you'll also find all the directions to make one yourself.

"Rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity."

The official video seems a bit languid for my tastes, but as you can see in the time-lapse below, this productivity wheel can handle some serious speed.

Via PC Magazine.

September 26, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

How to Use Animated GIFs on Twitter (While Muttering Obscenities Every Step of the Way) We tested three approaches and found them all lacking



Some people think animated GIFs are stupid. Some find them charming. Possibly because of this rift, Twitter seems caught in a pictorial purgatory that makes everyone unhappy.

Like it or not, animated GIFs have become a massively popular form of communication, quickly evolving from passive-aggressive zingers to earnestly useful bites of video that are convenient to watch on just about any platform.

While Tumblr and newer sites like Ello have readily embraced them, Twitter and Facebook have most certainly not. Aside from last year's quasi-hoax from Giphy, Facebook's been pretty consistent about not wanting animated GIFs in news feeds. (I originally took this as a stance on user experience, but now that all Facebook videos autoplay silently, I realize I was a chump.)

And then there's Twitter.

Its love-hate relationship goes back a few years. Here's a quick recap:

Click to Read More →

September 26, 2014, 11:11 AM 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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