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A Lone Red Balloon's Journey Ends Joyfully in Latest 'Practically Magic' iPhone 7 Spot Apple pushes iOS 10's expressive messaging

Among iOS 10's shiny new toys is a messaging feature that allows you to add effects to your message bubbles, send full-screen animations with your messages, add handwritten notes and more. Apple pushes those capabilities with a pretty new spot from TBWA\Media Arts Lab that focuses on one full-screen animation in particular.

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September 29, 2016, 3:46 PM EDT

Who Is Louise Delage? The Troubling Truth Behind an Overnight Instagram Success When likes act as enablers

We all know a girl like Louise Delage. You've been on Instagram for years and are scraping by with 50 likes on a good day—then she appears on the scene, with her fun little life, and cultivates over 16,000 followers in a few months.

In the years following LonelyGirl15, we learned to be wary of that kind of success. Who is this girl, and what does she do? But "personal branding," Instagram stardom and the overall pressure to demonstrate the most photogenic parts of our lives have perhaps blunted our critical knives. Aren't we all stars for somebody? 

So when Louise Delage arrived on Instagram on Aug. 1, bearing drinks and a cheerful, sun-soaked smile, few wondered who she was. Many assumed she was one more chic Parisian. Maybe she had one of those depressed Instagram husbands whose sole role in life is to capture their muses for an insatiable audience.

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September 29, 2016, 9:55 AM EDT

Columbia Sportswear Is Making Job Candidates Literally Climb Mountains for Interviews Seeking a 'director of toughness' to travel the world

There's been no dearth of dubious job titles in the recent years, thanks in large part to the tech boom. But outerwear marketer Columbia Sportswear is reaching for new and awesome heights with its tongue-in-cheek "director of toughness" role—and this time around, it's really making candidates work for the gig.

A new ad from agency North shows potential hires interviewing for the position, largely by taking a surprise, semi-coerced trek up to the top of a mountain, only to suffer the verbal abuse of an HR rep camped out 8,000 feet above sea level. Because if they really are qualified, such trivial exertion and feeble taunts shouldn't faze them at all.

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September 29, 2016, 8:44 AM EDT

How the Title Sequence Can Become the Single Best Ad for Any TV Show A moment's invitation into a whole universe

What makes a good TV title sequence?

YouTuber Ryan Hollinger of Screen Smart explores that question in a video of nearly seven minutes, using the starting sequences of American Horror Story, Twin Peaks, Stranger Things, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and many more. What you'll learn here, though, can apply to any title sequence you watch—and will definitely up your geek cred at future binge-watching fests.

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September 28, 2016, 9:03 AM EDT

Need a Little Sausage Support? Johnsonville Experts Are Now Just a Phone Call Away With recipes, meat-themed jingles and more

Sooner or later, everyone's sausage needs some support.

If you find yourself in such straits between now and this Friday—say, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time—go ahead and call Johnsonville HQ at (844) 9-SAUSAGE. Company employees will be serving up all manner of advice on pork-pipes and cow-casings as part of the marketer's "Sausage Support Center."

Live! Unscripted! Sausage talk! That number again: (844) 9-SAUSAGE.

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September 28, 2016, 8:04 AM EDT

New York City FC's First Brand Spot Is a Gritty Paean to the City It Calls Home Johannes Leonardo takes us inside the soccer team's new ad

When Major League Soccer began play in 1996, those of us who lived in New York City had only one team to root for—the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. But despite their odd hybrid name, they were pretty solidly a New Jersey team. They played out at Giants Stadium, and those of us coming from Manhattan would often arrive late to games, as they never scheduled enough buses from Port Authority. Intentional or not, the indifference to fans east of the Hudson was palpable. 

That franchise has since cleaned up its act, and become the formidable New York Red Bulls. They still play in Jersey, though, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison (which is, admittedly, a lovely stadium). But luckily for New York City fans, there's been another option over the past two seasons—New York City Football Club, a new MLS franchise that plays its home games at Yankee Stadium. 

NYCFC clinched its first MLS Cup playoff berth this past weekend, and is celebrating with a gritty new spot from Johannes Leonardo, its first-ever brand commercial.

The poetic spot, called "Along These Lines," is as much a tribute to the city as the team—rallying New Yorkers to get behind their soccer team, using a theme of connection that's both literal (the subway system connects everyone, and of course stops at Yankee Stadium) and figurative.

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September 28, 2016, 7:00 AM EDT

Step Right Up and Watch This Air Acrobat Attempt the Most Irresponsible Circus Act Ever Branded stunt is madness, or is it?

One December day at the International Scene of Contemporary Dance in Stockholm, Sweden, a man named Olle, one of the best air acrobats in the world, did a triple-somersault jump. It was a jump like hundreds of others he'd done before, but this time was different. 

He fell on his head. 

"Within that second I heard my neck break. A moment devoid of time," Olle writes. "The sound of the neck break echoed in my head, itself an endless, dark, spherical space in which I was hovering weightlessly." 

Olle crushed several cervical vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord. He was paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors couldn't say how much brain functioning he'd regain, or even whether he would walk again. One thing was sure: He'd never jump again.

It's been 10 years since then. Olle has miraculously recovered. Many people like him would count their blessings, move to a quiet town and take up gardening. But in what's being dubbed "the most irresponsible circus performance ever," Olle is gearing up to repeat the same jump, with just one difference. This time, he'll do it from up to 12,000 feet in the sky.

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September 28, 2016, 6:43 AM EDT

U.S. Cellular Made a 7-Hour Preroll Ad That Just Lets You Watch Grass Grow With a few Easter eggs thrown in there

U.S. Cellular sets a new standard for tedium with this preroll ad that lasts seven hours.

It's about as exciting as watching grass grow. In fact, that's mostly what happens during its 420-minute running time: Grass grows ... and grows ... and grows. Imperceptibly. As grass is wont to do.

Crafted by MullenLowe, the ad opens with brand spokesman Darien riding a lawnmower across an expansive green field. "Switch to U.S. Cellular," he says, "and get seven gigs of data for just $49 per month. You'll have so much data, you can stream almost anything. Even hours and hours of grass growing. Enjoy!"

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September 27, 2016, 3:29 PM EDT

The Official Name of Volkswagen's New Car Is a Hashtag: #PinkBeetle Fuchsia model gets flashy debut

It's not every day that an automaker launches a new, brightly colored car based on social media demand. Or names the model after the hashtag that helped bear it.

The 2017 Special Edition Volkswagen #PinkBeetle (its official name) hits showrooms this fall, and the brand is celebrating with a blatantly magenta ad from agency ISL, running exclusively through marketer-owned channels like Facebook.

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September 27, 2016, 11:53 AM EDT

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally Revisit the 1991 Clio Awards, Advertising's Most Surreal Night Funny Or Die skit re-enacts that evening's insanity

It remains the most notorious night in advertising history—June 13, 1991.

The Clio Awards were scheduled to hand out their radio and print awards. But as Adweek later told the story, "what ensued was less an ad-award show than a tawdry circus, an event so grossly mismanaged that its trajectory from embarrassing to appalling seemed, in retrospect, almost destined—'beyond the beyond-o,' as Ruth Ayres of DDB Needham put it.

"The ceremony started late, was hosted largely by the caterer, featured presenters who (when they weren't singing Irish lullabies) tried to guess the agency winners since they had no list, and was aborted when fevered, greedy ad types rushed the stage in a mad grab for Clios they hadn't won."

It was quite the shameful scene indeed. But now, at least, Clio can laugh about it. 

On this 25th anniversary of the 1991 debacle, Clio got Funny Or Die to re-enact that fateful night in an amusing video starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman—the latter acting as host of a fictitious show called Unresolved Mysteries.

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September 27, 2016, 10:52 AM EDT

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AdFreak is a 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.

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