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Mazda Takes One Awesome Road Trip Through 60 Instagram Posts in Grid View Fun innovation by JWT Canada

For brands, the road to standing out in social media can be a slippery slope. But Mazda and JWT Canada collaborated on a pretty interesting marketing journey on Instagram.

Over the course of three months, the carmaker posted images and videos that plotted the course of a Mazda vehicle. But not only was each post meticulously detailed and art directed, they all fit together like puzzle pieces to make a growing scene of a road when viewed as a grid layout on Mazda Canada's mobile Instagram page.

Three posts were added at a time, every week or so, adding one more layer to the three-column grid. The project began Dec. 17 and wrapped up March 28.

Throughout the car's "Long Drive Home," the brand includes mentions of followers, videos of sponsored events and references to cultural happenings like Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl. It was then capped off by giving a new Mazda to a fan.

Below, check out a recreation of the layout. (All the images and videos are clickable through to the brand's Instagram pages.) And below that, there's a case study describing the process.

Buckle up and click around. There's some cool stuff in there. 

Click to Read More →

April 16, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

St. John Ambulance Hits the Pool for Its Latest Shocking First-Aid PSA Helpless once again

St. John Ambulance, the first-aid teaching and awareness organization, has put together some incredible, horrifying PSAs through the years.

We've covered many of BBH London's ads for the group. Last year, the agency won a silver Film Lion at Cannes for "Helpless," a two-minute film based around the statistic that first aid could prevent 140,000 deaths a year—the same number who die from cancer. BBH followed that up with the heartbreaking "Save the Boy" spot last fall.

Now, here's a new spot—for St. John Ambulance in Australia. Created by The Brand Agency in Perth, it's equally heart-wrenching and difficult to watch. And effective, at least in my case. After watching this, I found myself searching the Internet for local first aid courses.

Warning: The video below may be upsetting.

April 16, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Mini-Documentary Looks at Advertising's Most Unsung Artists Crafters of hand-painted outdoor signs

It's easy to forget that for every flashy, handpainted wall advertisement you see in a city, there are a handful of people who endure discomfort (and risk death) to put it there.

Online tabloid Vocativ made this mini-documentary about these painters, who call themselves "wall dogs," and it's a refreshingly straightforward and unglamorized piece of work. The painters mostly talk about how they prepare for a job where they spend most of the day hanging from a chain, at the mercy of the elements and unable to step back and get better perspective of their work until it's complete.

But there's no bitterness or false bravado in any of them. In fact, they all seem pretty happy with what they do, which isn't something a lot of us can say about our jobs. Watch this as an antidote to the other cynical garbage you read online in a given day.

April 16, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

Don't Drink and Drive. In This Powerful Ad, It Really Does Sound Like a Broken Record Snippets of disaster

This is what it sounds like when you drink too much, then get behind the wheel. Surprise: It does not have a happy ending.

A new PSA by ad agency La Chose for French road safety organization Association Victimes et Citoyens uses a simple yet effective single shot of a vinyl record player to offer a fresh version of a familiar and important point.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the absence of any violent footage actually increases the power of the message. The literal realization of the casual "same old song" metaphor (translated from "la méme chanson" in French) risks coming off as a little off kilter or even off color, since there isn't actually a song, and the subject matter is so serious.

But the whole concept hinges on the idiom, and the ad does too good a job of illustrating the point to nitpick much. The skips in the audio easily build suspense, to the point where, sadly, anyone with half a brain will know where the storyline is going—but has to hear it out to be sure.

La Chose also made 300 12-inch vinyl records featuring the ad's soundtrack and sent them to journalists. That should be a hit at parties.

Via The Denver Egotist.

April 16, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT

Samsung Ad Introduces the Cutest, Pluckiest Smartphone Memory Card Ever Little robot is impervious and cool

A Samsung SD smartphone memory card morphs into a cute, miniature robot action hero in this engaging 45-second clip from Cheil Worldwide in Seoul and Museum Film. The ad, running exclusively online at present, targets smartphone users in the U.K., North America, Europe and Japan.

RoboCard's adventures, directed by J.M. Lee, illustrate product attributes. He soars with a jetpack (demonstrating speed), repels thumbtacks and paperclips (the card is impervious to magnets) and makes a splash by riding a tropical fish rodeo style (it's waterproof). The details are great fun. Note how his metal feet sprout tiny flippers for his fish-tank dive. The cat's miffed reaction as the bot bursts above the water's surface is a neat touch, too.

I also like how his antics take place in a typical home/office setting, infusing the everyday world with some high-tech panache—which, after all, is part of the product's appeal.

Best of all, MemBot is much too adorable to join a robo-rebellion and subjugate mankind ... I think. Still, I wouldn't cross the little guy. He's got a long memory. (Up to 64GB!)

April 16, 2014, 8:50 AM EDT

Join a Conversation Headed for Catastrophe in Honda's Anti-Texting Ad A cautionary tale, told through emoji

On the heels of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's sobering scenario announcing National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Honda and agency RPA bring us the latest campaign in the effort to curb texting and driving. 

This spot (and accompanying print ad, below) pull the viewer into a text conversation happening on a mobile device, presumably on a road somewhere in America. 

The dialogue is an authentic glimpse into the life of a young adult, replete with the usual shorthand and emojis common in casual banter. Without spoiling exactly what happens next, the ad succeeds in creating a unique message that is graphically smart, simple and powerful. 

Click to Read More →

April 15, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

Klondike Bar Plays Doctor With a Hot Candy Nurse, and a New Product Is Born Sex sells, even with ice cream

Best ice-cream bar ever conceived? That would be the Klondike Kandy Bar, born an indeterminate number of months after an illicit tryst between a regular Klondike Bar and a tall, striking, chocolatey candy-bar nurse—according to a male shopper's adult-movie-addled brain in this sweet spot from The VIA Agency.

It's a fun idea, brought to life quite nicely. In particular, the visual look is pleasantly unique, blending real-world footage and animation. "A ton of ads use animated characters. So we made the decision to shoot as much as we could in camera," says Greg Smith, chief creative officer at VIA. "The awkwardness of putting 'real' characters on 'real' sets and then animating their eyes, arms and legs made it different and it helped us stay true to the lo-fi vibe we wanted to portray."

Turns out the Klondike-candy relationship extends beyond the '70s candy-porn set, too. Klondike is partnering with CollegeHumor to produce a comedy series about the couple. That should be interesting—particularly the inevitable reality-show squabbles over why she's the one who's way more phallic looking.

April 15, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

Southwest Shines With Flight Attendant's Viral Video as Social Media Sours for Other Airlines No arrests, no porn. Just laughs

Photo: Getty Images

It's been a weird week for airlines in social media, and it's only Tuesday. On Monday a Dutch teen was arrested for tweeting a threat to American Airlines, and US Airways accidentally tweeted a photo of a woman using a model airplane as a sex toy. 

But here's one airline that's actually getting some positive attention this week: Southwest.

Known for being the goofy uncle at the airline family reunion, Southwest (or at least one of its employees) is the star of a video that's quickly gone viral, tallying more than 1.2 million views in two days. The clip is totally safe for work, and no lives were threatened, so they're already winning by a couple of points.

In the video, a flight attendant delivers one of Southwest's famously reinterpreted safety instruction speeches prior to flying. But even frequent Southwest passengers will be impressed by the quantity and quality of zingers she manages to fit into a mere three minutes. 

Some excerpts:

"Flight attendants are coming by, hoping you'll tell them how good looking they are."

"As you know, it's a no-smoking, no-whining, no-complaining flight. It's a 'please' and 'thank you' and 'you are such a good-looking flight attendant' flight."

"If you're traveling with small children ... we're sorry. If you're traveling with more than one child, pick out the one that you think might have the most earning potential down the road."

"Sit back and relax—or you can sit up and be tense, either way."

April 15, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT

As Singer's Last Wish, 'I Touch Myself' Is Beautifully Reborn in a Breast Cancer PSA Stirring homage to the Divinyls' Chrissy Amphlett

Here's something I never thought I'd say: I just got weepy listening to "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls. 

In an incredibly touching tribute to the group's frontwoman, Chrissy Amphlett, some of Australia's top singers have recorded a largely a capella version for a video encouraging women to self-examine their breasts for lumps. 

Amphlett, one of the most shockingly sexual pop artists of the 1990s, died from breast cancer on April 21, 2013. According to Billboard, an ultrasound and mammogram initially missed the cancer, which Amphlett ended up finding on her own through self-examination. 

Friends say her dying wish was that her 1990 hit song could become a reminder for all women to check themselves regularly for lumps and other signs of breast cancer. So Australian advocacy group Cancer Council NSW (New South Wales) worked with Amphlett's widower and supporters to create the beautiful rendition below.

The singers are Connie Mitchell, Deborah Conway, Kate Cerebrano, Katie Noonan, Little Pattie, Megan Washington, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah Blasko, Sarah McLeod and Suze DeMarchi. You can watch interviews with each of them on Amphlett's YouTube channel.

"It is a song that celebrates female sexuality like no other. Like Chrissy, it is bold, brave and brassy," the group says in its video summary. "It rocked our world. And when Chrissy developed breast cancer, it was a song she wanted to become an anthem for spreading awareness about the importance of touching ourselves for early detection of the disease."

Note: The video below ends on a scene that might be NSFW. But you really shouldn't let that stop you from watching it.

April 15, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

Miller High Life Celebrates the Least Interesting Man in the World 'I Am Rich' ads go for everyman appeal

Miller High Life would like you to meet Rich, the least interesting man in the world.

The champagne of beers, absent on national TV since 2012, is returning to the airwaves Monday with a new campaign from Leo Burnett, themed "I Am Rich." The concept, on its face, is that you don't need lots of money, or fancy drinks, to be happy.

More subtly, it's also a dog-whistle shot at Dos Equis: You don't need to be an international man of mystery to have a rewarding life.

Instead of the aspirational charm of a high-flying, larger-than-life jet-setter, there's grainy footage of dive-bar billiards, shot on 35mm film, which somehow comes off as both artsy and mundane.

The core, populist idea is a nice one and makes you really want to like the ads. The opening of "Central Park," one of two spots, shows promise. It's endearing that the dude likes to think of the scraggly tree outside his window as a Fifth Avenue penthouse view. And what sane person doesn't consider his or her gregarious dog to be a butler?

Unfortunately, Rich is pretty obnoxious, thanks to purple prose masquerading as cleverness. "My helipad is being resurfaced, so tonight we travel by more humble means," says Rich. "At my country club, we play parlor games with members of the royal family."

Walking to the local dive, drinking Miller High Life, and shooting pool with the owners seems like fun. So does hanging out with Rich's dog. But listening to Rich while he's spewing anxious nonsense about how awesome his life is? Not so much.

In fact, Rich doesn't really seem that happy at all. Or maybe, the voiceover is just a little too real. The kind of deadpan inside jokes that might fly in a casual conversation among friends don't quite work as persuasive ad copy for the masses, especially when the grit and sincerity of the footage end up working against the try-hard irony of the voiceover.

The ad ends up feeling like it's mocking the demographic it's trying to court. At least Rich can rest assured that he isn't making any beer execs richer by spending what little money he has on High Life.

April 15, 2014, 9:41 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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