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Allstate Has a Black Cat Who Will Predict the Loser of the World Cup Final Send bad luck to Argentina or Germany

Sure, we could listen to pundits or statisticians to try to predict the outcome of the World Cup final on Sunday. They've got suits and numbers. But what they don't have is a black cat.

Why listen to logic when there's a feline (named Lucky, natch) who can—and will—tell you who will lose the World Cup. At least, that's what Leo Burnett and Lapiz have cooked up for Allstate's interactive World Cup campaign. Let's not forget that Allstate is a fan of mayhem, and black cats, of course, are well-known harbingers of bad luck.

If you tweet the hashtag #EnviaMalaSuerte (translation: "Send bad luck") with the name of the team you'd prefer to lose, some cat food will drop into that team's bowl. On Sunday, before the game, during a live YouTube broadcast, Lucky will get to choose between the Argentina and Germany bowls. Whichever bowl Lucky chooses to nosh at—well, that team will not win the World Cup. Allegedly.

It's a silly (and cute) campaign. Rooting for sports teams can bring out some odd behavior, so why not play with people's fan rituals?

July 11, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT

This Girl's Facebook Cover Photo Game Is Next Level Genius Cameos in pop-culture scenes

Just when we thought Facebook couldn't get any more ordinary, we stumble upon a user who's taken the constraints of the platform and come in like a wrecking ball into its boring blue walls.

Facebook user "Nikki," better known as Reddit user rubberdogturds, had some fun with Facebook's cover photos by inserting herself into a slew of famous pop culture images. The results are fantastic, and will probably make you second-guess any social media savvy you may have. 

Check out the her entire body of work here, and some of these works of beauty and sheer Photoshop wizardry below.

Via Gizmodo.

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July 11, 2014, 1:29 PM EDT

What Apple's 'Pride' Ad Might Say About How the Company Is Changing More than support for LGBT rights

Hey, look, the new Apple isn't just the same old monolith after all.

A video released by the brand this week features thousands of the company's employees, including CEO Tim Cook, and their family members all gathering to march in last month's San Francisco Pride Parade.

It's unusual to see Apple's workers show up in its consumer advertising. It's also nice, especially in support of a worthwhile cause (even if Apple does, yes, just ultimately want to sell more gadgets). Set to Coldplay's new single "A Sky Full of Stars," the video opens on the company's prep for the parade, with rows of bicycles, and a barista pouring beverages, and staffers donning boxes-on-boxes worth of special Apple-logo T-shirts reading "Pride," before the montage crescendoes to the main event. Cook's appearance is brief, nestled among a sequence of less-recognizable faces. "Inclusion inspires innovation," says the closing copy.

That reads, though, as more than just a corporate show of force for LGBT rights, which the company has a history of supporting in its own employment policies. Everybody always knew Cook would have a hard time replacing messianic figure Steve Jobs as the face of Apple. The perhaps obvious answer, hinted at subtly here, is that Cook is not doing it alone.

After much handwringing in recent years over the new CEO's vision—or perceived lack thereof—the blueprint of Cook's Apple that's now trickling out suggests a company that's less closed off and more collaborative than during its mythic era under Jobs, a notoriously exacting master who crafted its reputation for shrouding itself in secrecy and keeping a tight focus on products—including in its advertising.

In other words, it's hard to imagine an ad featuring a smiling Jobs milling around with his underlings. Yet, here is Cook, doing just that.

The clip itself is a little slow to get off the ground, but the payoff, focused as it is on people—namely Apple staffers and the LGBT community writ large—is well worth the wait. That's something of a coup, considering the company's ill-fated detour into advertising around its corporate culture in 2013, by way of a botched attempt at a manifesto about the significance of products.

The new ad, meanwhile, also aligns with Cook's championing, including in his CEO role, of human rights broadly defined, as well as other causes like environmentalism. Such are the trappings of inheriting a powerful company with the ability, and arguably an obligation, to contribute more socially. But in 2011, Cook also made a point of saying that one of Jobs's last pieces of advice to him was never to ask what Steve Jobs would do, and instead to "just do what's right."

Maybe those who want to can still see Jobs pulling the strings, even from beyond the grave. Subtle perception games aside, that just might mean the next great Apple product everyone's been waiting for is just around the corner, too.

July 11, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT

Boyz II Men's Wendy's Pretzel Bun Love Song Is a Thing of Cheesy, Pretzelly Beauty Tweets, passionately crooned

Boyz II Men's Pretzel Bun Love Song for Wendy's is here, and if a fast-food ballad could make you swoon, it would.

The more generic first video in the campaign was pretty excellent in its own right. In the Boyz II Men clip, the core joke—mocking mawkish tropes—is the same. The lyrics are still crafted from consumer tweets, and there are still fun sight gags. But the classic R&B group's vocal chops alone add more to an already absurd premise than you might expect. Just listen to the trio (formerly a quartet) explain the meaning of an emoji, or harmonize a cappella on syllables like "omnomnom."

Clearly, the brand certainly picked the right act to poke fun at all things sappy. "We know all about romance, heartache, love lost and found, but we have never had the chance to sing sweet harmonies about, of all things, a pretzel bun," said Boyz II Men member Nathan Morris in a canned statement released by Wendy's. "We sing about searching for your better half on our new album Collide, and with our #PretzelLoveSongs video, we put a humorous twist on what some fans are saying is their better half—Wendy's pretzel bun."

Because these days in the music business, nothing tastes better than having a consumer marketer pay you lots of money so it can help you promote your new record … even if you also have to talk publicly about a sandwich as if it were a person.

July 11, 2014, 12:14 PM EDT

Spirit Airlines Is Suddenly Really Into Weird Crop Circles and Nasty Tweets From Haters A notorious brand tries to evolve

A bizarre crop circle appeared north of the Kansas City International Airport this week, causing a stir in social media. No, there were no aliens or incredibly talented goats involved in this one. The image of a man covering himself was done by ad agency Barkley as part of its work for Spirit Airlines' "Bare Fares" campaign.

Which means no free bag, no free drink, no carry-on luggage. Just you and a personal item (like a handbag or a backpack) origami'd onto a seat (they add extra seats to these flights, so no luck on legroom) for a really, really low price.

Spirit is often a target for hate in social media because of confusion about its unique model (super low fares, but fees for everything, like … water), so the carrier also started the Hate Thousand Miles Giveaway. Check out the video below.

"Air travel can suck. We get it. You wouldn't believe all the hate Spirit gets," the narrator says before singing angry tweets. Funny video, neat campaign, but the high-pitched (fake? real?) voice is grating enough to make me mute it. But maybe you like that. And body contortion, I don't know.

Barkley has been working with Spirit since the end of 2013, and is trying to steer its intentionally controversial marketing in a more productive direction—"provocative with purpose," as the agency says. But Barkley adds: "Spirit's main focus has and will remain heavily vested in PR, meant to drum up earned media without the financial outlay that comes with broadcast or digital campaigns."

Photo via.

July 11, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

Um, Did Pop Secret Just Make the Worst Commercial of the Year? It's like a sad, seizure-inducing nightclub for corn

You can almost picture the meeting that led to this ad.

"OK, we need to get millennials to like our popcorn. What are they into? What kind of ad would Miley make? You think we can get the popcorn to twerk?" The plan, obviously, was to have a cool EDM track playing over a kind of extended brand Vine taking place in a microwave—er, MicroRave (get it?)—in what looks like a Brooklyn back alley.

The result is that you'd think the "secret" in Pop Secret was ecstasy in every bag. The slow motion. The butter-grease-sweat. The weird and sad queue of kernels waiting to get in.

Some viewers feel there's a low-fi charm to the ad. And the agency, Deutsch/LA, points out the context for the spot: "This wasn't intended as an ad, but as a quickie video for social media meant to celebrate the EDC festival happening the weekend we launched it."

You be the judge. And consider this your photosensitive epilepsy trigger warning.

Via Ads of the World.

July 10, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

Colorless Coca-Cola Can Is Lovely, and Might Be Good for the World, Too Spec project by Ryan Harc ditches the red

Most spec redesigns of classic brand logos aren't that great, so I cringed when I saw that someone was putting a new spin on Coca-Cola cans. Turns out I underestimated Ryan Harc, whose colorless can with a convex logo pressed right into the aluminum is pretty snazzy.

This apparently might be more eco-friendly than painting the cans, as it could reduce energy use and pollution in both the production and recycling processes. Plus, it looks like it was dispensed from a vending machine in The Bourne Identity, which is a good thing.

Not that Coke is going to ditch its iconic red anytime soon, of course.


July 10, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Japan Is Selling Zoo Jeans, Fashionably Ripped by Lions, Tigers and Bears Charity project is pretty wild

Fashion designers can be temperamental beasts, but this is ridiculous.

Supporters seeking to raise funds to renovate the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi, Japan, have launched a brand billed as "the only jeans on earth designed by dangerous animals." Sheets of material are attached to tires and big rubber balls that are tossed into enclosures with lions, tigers and bears, which use their teeth and claws to give a whole new meaning to the phrase "distressed denim." That torn, chewed-up fabric is then used to create fashionably tattered Zoo Jeans.

Mithun Romandani, a men's buyer at swanky London department store Selfridges, told The Guardian that he was unimpressed with the results because "the rips are too sporadic" and they "don't look natural." Hey dude, tell that to the lions. (I wouldn't be so quick to give a bad review to an artiste that can sever your spine with a single chomp.)

Check out the video below, with the gnawing and the clawing and such. It's got more bite than Levi's new campaign, that's for sure.

Via (appropriately enough) Devour.

July 10, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT

German Radio Station Sums Up the Destruction of Brazil in This Simple 9-Second Ad Adding more insult to injury

Just when we thought we'd seen enough reaction to Germany's shellacking of Brazil in Tuesday's World Cup match, here is German radio station Radio Bayern 3 with a concise metaphorical translation. Um, cheers?

Via Digg.

July 9, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Even If You Hate Greenpeace and Love Lego, You Have to Admire This Gorgeous Attack Ad With Shell around, everything is not awesome

Greenpeace takes a page from Chipotle's marketing playbook—haunting animation plus a distressing cover of a well-known song—in its continuing assault on Lego for partnering with Shell on a set of Shell-branded Lego products.

Attacking a beloved brand like Lego isn't easy. But if you're going to do it, you need to do it right. And this spot, showing a Lego version of the Arctic drowning in a sea of oil, is incredibly well made by creative agency Don't Panic—which, you'll remember, also did the memorable Save the Children ad that brought the Syrian war to London.

The visuals in the Greenpeace spot are beautiful, and the ethereal cover of "Everything Is Awesome," from The Lego Movie, is the perfectly ironic backdrop. Yes, it is angering people (check out the YouTube comments if you're looking for a grand old time), but Greenpeace is rarely interested in making friends as it pursues its enemies.

You can debate whether Lego was right to partner with Shell—here is Greenpeace's point of view, and here is Lego's reply to the attack ad. But as a pure PR play, "Everything Is NOT Awesome" (which has topped 1 million views since Tuesday) is itself pretty awesome.

UPDATE: Greenpeace says the clip was pulled from YouTube because of a complaint from Warner Brothers. But is now up on Vimeo.

July 9, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT


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