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As Scotland Counts Votes, Groundskeeper Willie Offers Himself Up as the Nation's Leader Simpsons character's ambitions grow

Should today's vote lead to an independent Scotland, the country will need a fearless leader to represent it on the world stage. Obviously, Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons is that man. It's the latest bit of genius from the Fox show, and expect a lot more of it very soon.

September 18, 2014, 8:16 PM EDT

Travel Ad Features Singing Fart Bubbles, and That Might Be Its Least Crazy Part The wonderful world of Wotifia

OK, you world-wise travel people. Ever been to Wotifia? Never heard of it? It's right next to Freedonia, that fake country invented by the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup.

Wotifia is actually the brainchild of ad agency M&C Saatchi in Sydney, which borrowed a page from the Marx Brothers—and early Terry Gilliam's work for Monty Python—to help rejuvenate the image of Australia's largest online travel site, Wotif.com.

The agency created a short buddy movie that features two clueless looking dudes literally falling into surreal travel adventures in an animated world called—what else?—Wotifia.

The adventures are set to a ridiculous music track with ridiculous lyrics that sound like a mashup of Barry Manilow and Lionel Richie after you've taken a whopping dose of hallucinogens.



The boys encounter dancing llamas in South America, a soil-your-swimshorts experience with sharks, a bone-breaking ski trip to the Alps, a run-in with a 100-foot bikini clad beauty who emerges from the sea like Godzilla, and a lazy Susan full of Chinese food like it's a merry-go-round.

Michael Betteridge, Wotif's general manager of marketing, says the campaign, which launched last month, "is designed to reach the 'next generation' of travelers and introduce them to our brand, our range of travel products and experiences, and to our irreverent and fun approach to travel."

Irreverence is certainly the theme. Credits below.

Click to Read More →

September 18, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT

How 9 Brands Used Twitter's Sign Bunny Meme to Make Little Billboards And what its creator thinks of that

Illustration: Alfred Maskeroni

Watching brands fail at Twitter has become cliché at this point. And just when you think they've gotten the idea, it's fail whale all over again.

Still, they keep trying.

Earlier this week, a fun meme spread through Twitter starring a cute ASCII bunny holding a sign. If you were on Twitter that day, you couldn't miss it. If not, a few explainers will bring you up to speed.

Amber Gordon, a creative strategist at Tumblr and former community manager at Denny's, is credited with starting the meme and has since seen it go viral.

Of course, brands—ever vigilant to real-time trends online nowadays, quickly noticed. And many of them whipped up little corporate bunnies of their own, brandishing pithy little branded signs.

We spoke with Gordon about the phenomenon and what it was like watching big brands attach themselves to a meme in real-time. And she also has some advice to the community managers of the big brands, too. 

How does it feel to see big brands joining in the fun?
Seeing brands use these types of silly Internet trends is so exciting. Using a native language that's become relevant to your audience is exactly what more brands should be doing, but in an authentic way. Meaning, research it before you post! (knowyourmeme.com is a great resource.)

Will it break the Internet if @Energizer does one?
If Energizer does one, I might cry tears of joy.

Does it feel weird that the bunny signs have now basically become little billboards for corporations?
I love them. Twitter itself is just words, and ASCII art makes them visually interesting. Honestly I think a message has a stronger impact (for me personally) when you can associate an image with it. That's why Tumblr is so great, because you can do all of that there!

Below, check out nine brands that have given the sign bunny meme a shot:

September 18, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

This Dog's Road Trip Stretching Routine Might Be the Best Reason to Buy a Citroen Well, or maybe the fuel efficiency

Citroen puts on the dog once again in this commercial with an anthropomorphized mutt who charmingly works out the muscle kinks and stiffness of a long drive when its owner pulls in to a desert gas station.

The spot, from Les Gaulois in Paris, promotes Citroen's BLUEDi engine, which, according to the title card, allows drivers to "stop less often at the pump." Some versions of the ad substitute the line, "Next stop is in 1,520 km." That's a whole lot of miles in dog years.

Directed by Control's Joachim Back, the lonely, sun-baked locations succeed at suggesting a winding, hours-long journey where the stops are few and far between. So does the use of "Sixteen Tons" on the soundtrack, which will now be rumbling through my head for the duration of my lifespan.

Your enjoyment of the spot—a companion to Citroen's canine love story (I mean, woof story) from last year—will probably hinge on your attitude about ads where special effects are used to make animals and babies act like adult human beings.

In my view, it's no stretch to say this puppy's a winner.

September 18, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

Stunning PSA Shifts Time to Undo the Killing on a Syrian School Playground NGOs band together in appeal to UN

Martin Stirling already directed one powerful PSA about Syria—Save the Children's incredible spot from last spring, which imagined if the crisis were taking place in London. But the Unit 9 director wasn't finished.

With the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week, the world's leading NGOs—Oxfam, Save the Children, Care, Amnesty and a hundred more—have banded together for a new PSA, directed by Stirling, that attempts to capture the horrors being endured by ordinary Syrians on a daily basis.

See the spot here:



The stylistic choice of using reverse footage almost becomes a moral choice here—it's the hook that makes the piece haunting, and shareable, and thus capable of making a difference. The film is the centerpiece in the NGOs' #WithSyria campaign, which drives viewers to a petition asking the UN Security Council to take next steps to protect civilians.

ISIS is dominating the headlines today, but the plight of ordinary Syrians remains critical. The death toll in Syria is now close to 200,000. Most of the civilian deaths are caused by "barrel bombs"—oil drums filled with explosives, chemical weapons and rusty nails, dropped from Syrian regime helicopters into populated areas. The same areas are often hit twice in quick succession in order to kill first responders.

"I really had no choice about whether or not to make this film," Stirling says in a statement. "I was swamped by a couple of projects, and I tried my best to walk away but found it impossible. Whenever I thought about not making this film I was haunted by the images and stories I had come across in preparation for the 'Most Shocking Second A Day Video' earlier in the year.

"This film felt like an appropriate follow-up to that first one—it was creatively and stylistically different in a way which would hopefully capture the attention of a wide audience and the hearts of influential policy makers."

Credits below.

Click to Read More →

September 18, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Old Spice's Man-Robot Sits Down with Drew Brees, and It's Awkwardly Amusing Cue the jazz, the laughs, and the pain

If watching Drew Brees talk to a hyper-awkward robot for six minutes is your kind of thing, then Old Spice has an ad for you.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback keeps his cool during "4th and Touchdown," a fictional sports news show hosted by Old Spice's new mascot, who in the recent past has been doing well with human women, despite his total lack of social skills.

Absent that context, the moral now seems to be that viewers should act like Drew Brees, not like a hyper-awkward robot, which is pretty sound advice regardless. Even if the robot claims to have great hair thanks to Old Spice, he's not the most reliable narrator.



The pair's antics range from fairly grating to pretty amusing, with some sharp writing and and a lot of waiting between the high points (see: roughly 4:15, Brees pretending to be a brass instrument). In a way, the finale rewards your patience, though may not be quite enough to compensate (perhaps a shorter edit would be in order?).

Anyway, the whole thing deserves credit for trying to send up the tradition of senseless televised sports coverage, even if the pass doesn't quite connect. That robot does a solid impression of a smug anchor.

And if you do like it, stay tuned for more. The brand is promising appearances from Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and Seattle Seahawks defensive back Earl Thomas.

September 18, 2014, 7:52 AM EDT

Naomi Campbell Loses Her Arms on the Cover of W's October Issue But who needs them with a face like that?

Photo: Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for W magazine

W magazine has just released five different covers for its October issue, each featuring a woman dubbed one of "The New Royals" by the oversized fashion glossy.

You'll find Kristen Wiig in a retro bouffant; Ellen Page sporting a menswear-inspired ensemble; model Cara Delevingne looking '60s chic; Monégasque royal Charlotte Casiraghi in a glamorous black gown; and supermodel Naomi Campbell looking ... armless. 

Yes, poor Campbell (this may be the only time you'll ever hear that) appears to have had her arms removed in her cover portrait, which was shot by the fashion industry's beloved photography duo Inez and Vinoodh. Presumably, this isn't an all-to-common Photoshop fail or the result of a tragic accident, but rather just an awkward pose that hides her arms completely hidden behind her torso. (At least, we hope so.)

Otherwise, she looks stunning!

September 17, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

People in Japan Are Making Tiny, Adorable Beds for Their Wallets and Purses TV personality inspires odd way to 'recharge'

Here's an odd slice of weird from Japan. As seen on Japanese blogs, people are putting their purses and wallets into tiny beds before going to sleep themselves. The resulting pictures are strangely charming.

Kazuyo Matsui

TV and Internet personality Kazuyo Matsui recently made the following statement on air: “We sleep to recharge ourselves, don’t we? Well I believe that if we don’t let our purses and money sleep and recharge, they won’t have any power.”

This has inspired several people to start photographing their tiny little sleeping money holders in the hopes that the next morning their wallets or purses won't be tired, and perhaps good luck will follows the.

If you've got a little extra cash in your pocket, and you're not really feeling the DIY thing, you can order one of these restful creations from Matsui's blog for ¥2,800 (which is about $26). Take a look below at some of these perfect little sleepy bundles of Yen.

Via Rocket News 24.

Sleepy guy. But that poor little iPod left out in the cold!


Butterflies and floral patterns inspire wealth, apparently.


But real flowers might just inspire more.

Click to Read More →

September 17, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

Benedict Cumberbatch Gets Wet, Mr. Darcy Style, for Charity Campaign Because there's nothing quite like a grumpy wet Cumberbatch

Photo: Jason Bell

There are moments in cinema when a collective wetting of panties results in an advertising ripple heard through the decades, as marketers struggle to give the people what they want.

One such moment was when Colin Firth exited a lake in a dripping-wet white shirt during the BBC's 1995 remake of Pride and Prejudice. The moment so captured the minds and eyes of the viewing public that just last year, a 12-foot-tall statue of Firth's wet torso was erected in a British lake and summarily moistened.

Now, in a genius move, Benedict Cumberbatch, today's No. 1 British heartthrob, has been talked into recreating the Mr. Darcy scene and is about to win a bazillion pounds of awareness for his chosen charity, the anti-cancer initative Give Up Clothes for Good.

The photographer was Jason Bell. He's a guy whose photos you've seen even if you've never heard of him. He was the official photographer for Prince George's christening, and you might also know him as the guy who took that picture of Kate Winslet that GQ Photoshopped into controversy back in 2003.

Boy, did he do a most excellent job capturing a grumpy wet Cumberbatch. You almost get the impression that you've dumped him in the lake and when he gets out he's going to be very PUT OUT. You might also imagine that inspiration for the execution came from Cumberbatch's recent viral Ice Bucket Challenge video, in which he got soaked in not one, not two, but three various states of undress. Or the cut shower scene from Star Trek Into Darkness, which also went viral.

It's like a Russian nesting doll of surly wet Cumberbatches—a batch of 'Batches, if you will. Also, we may have found something to rival cats in Internet ad stardom. Shirtless torsos of hot dudes. Also known as Cold. Hard. Abs.

The Give Up Clothes for Good campaign of getting celebrities to take off some clothes, all PETA style, is going on its 10th anniversary, and there are a bunch of other celebrities lined up to remove their clothes to celebrate this year. But who cares?

September 17, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

Woman Gets a Giant Reebok Tattoo, and Her Very Own Ad to Go With It Camilla Nilsson marks a remarkable journey

When Reebok urges its most die-hard fans to get a big tattoo of the brand's logo, it means a big tattoo.

Last month, the sportswear company set up a pop-up tattoo shop at the Tough Viking competition in Stockholm, and promised to give a one-year sponsorship, worth some $5,800 in Reebok gear, to whoever walked away with the biggest version of the brand's new triangle logo on his or her body.

Well, the results are in, and the prize went to a 24-year-old woman named Camilla Nilsson, who got a massive Reebok logo on the back of her right thigh.

Eight other people got smaller versions of the tattoos at the Aug. 30 event, while 94 more who couldn't be accommodated in time put their names down on a waiting list, according to agency The Viral Company, also based in Stockholm.



The delta logo, born of Rebook's booming CrossFit business, is generally meant to signify transformation. Nilsson describes hers as a memento of going from out of shape in 2012 to exercising at least five times a week, and ultimately finishing the Tough Viking obstacle race this year—a story arc presented in a new print ad featuring her and her ink.

"It's a really cool looking graphic, but mostly it symbolizes the changes I've gone through over the past year," she adds in a statement. "Why not?" she says in the video above.

It's hard to fault anyone for reveling in a sense of personal accomplishment, even if the celebration is funded by a corporation and ultimately designed to benefit that corporation. The whole campaign certainly fits Reebok's mission of focusing on hard-core fitness junkies, and is appropriately captured in the tagline, "Pain is temporary. Reebok is forever."

Of course, the partnership is perhaps more uncomfortably permanent for the individual than it is for the corporation—some might call it a bold move, others silly.

But if Reebok ever proves less than true to its current identity, at least Nilsson doesn't have a brand name printed on her leg.

September 17, 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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