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Air New Zealand Gets More Epic Than Ever With Its Newest Middle-Earth Safety Video Star-studded clip precedes final Hobbit film

The wizards at Air New Zealand have conjured up their third J.R.R. Tolkien-themed video in as many years, ahead of the final installment of Peter Jackson's second Middle-Earth trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Directed by Taika Waititi, the new clip is modesty titled "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made," and it features appearances by Elijah Wood, Dean O'Gorman and Sylvester McCoy, all stars of the upcoming movie. No Ian McKellen, though. I guess he took the bus. Jackson also appears quite a bit, and his production company, WETA Workshop, helped develop the spot, along with Kiwi ad agency True.

"This latest offering combines members of our cast and our locations with Air New Zealand's unique personality." says Jackson. "I had a lot of fun on the set with Taika and the team and look forward to seeing the video on board."



Elaborate effects—including one big-ass bird—and pointy-eared pageantry propel demonstrations of life vests, oxygen masks, aircraft exit procedures and the like. There's plenty to savor, but one of the coolest elements is among the simplest: wood-carved tablet-type devices that perfectly capture the "magic mirror" ambiance of modern technology. MGM should market them as movie tie-ins. I want one!

"May your path always be guided by the light of the stars," Wood says near the end, once that ginormous eagle has, presumably, landed. It's a fitting way to round out the sublime spell woven by the four-minute-plus presentation.

Air NZ's first Hobbit-inspired flight-safety foray, "An Unexpected Briefing," took off in 2012. A second spot, "Just Another Day in Middle Earth"—a fanciful long-form commercial sans safety message—taxied down the runway a year ago.

Apart from its elvish travels, the carrier's taken off on other flights of fancy through the years. Far from the Shire, Air NZ visited a different land of enchantment in this Sports Illustrated safety collaboration, made its cabin attendants' clothing disappear for no good reason, and let Richard Simmons exercise his own strange magic.

October 24, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

Infographic: The Ideal Length of Everything Online, From Tweets to YouTube Videos Is your brand going on too long?

Brands generally understand the most engaging lengths for billboard headlines, print copy and TV spots. But what about tweets, Facebook posts and online videos?

The infographic below crunches some data to suggest the ideal length of everything online. Rules are made to be broken, of course, and this isn't to say other lengths can't work. A lot depends on the type of content, and audience.

But it's a decent primer on how not drone on too long with your content.

Top photo via Flickr.

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October 24, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT

Agency Gives You Free Beer for Filling Out Your Timesheets, Because Nothing Else Ever Works Colle+McVoy taps the TapServer

The industry is rapidly changing, but one thing remains the same: Literally the only thing that gets agency people to fill out their timesheets consistently is free beer.

The latest example comes from Minneapolis, where Colle+McVoy has built a wondrous machine called the TapServer—a "multi-keg beer deployment system" that uses RFID and custom-written software to verify whether you've stopped being a lazy git, finished your timesheets and earned your free pint. (According to the agency, the technology used includes "several Arduinos, a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi." For all we know, so could the beer.)

Check out more pics below. And yes, similar things have been done before, including the beer fridge at JWT agency Casa in Brazil that unlocks only when timesheets are done.

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October 23, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

GoPro Ad With Toddlers Sledding Is the Most Adorable 30 Seconds You'll Watch Today Their first time in the snow

Being a little kid is the best. Everything is new and different, the world is your oyster, and you don't even know it. And your first snow day ... wow, words can barely express the magical bliss for a toddler.

GoPro does it again, this time with a perfect vignette of a California brother and sister's first snow day in Vermont. First, we see Quincy rollicking around having an amazing time, and then Stella, who looks to be just old enough to talk, gets on a camera-mounted sled, and we experience her mind being blown on her first ride down a hill. Her reaction is truly priceless.

You'll want to watch it "again."

October 23, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

Are These Feminist Superhero Panties Empowering, or a Tiny Bit Weird? Amelia Earhart and more join this Dear Kate collection

The underwear brand Dear Kate, a big proponent of using real people instead of models, has a new plan to empower women: It's putting inspiring female faces right on its panties.

Its League of Ladies Collection features illustrations of four historical women—Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart and Frida Kahlo—reimagined as superheroes.



Additionally, Dear Kate has called on real-life influencers to model the collection, including science communicator Kelly Carnes, actor and playwright Zoe Travis, Golly Magazine editor Roxanne Fequiere, and comedian Jackie Zebrowski.

With names like "Supermarie" and "Superfrida," the panties feature a cartoon depiction of each woman's face on the front and a design on the back. Which begs the question, are women even wearing panties with cartoons on them? I asked Twitter, where reactions varied from a resounding no to an open-minded maybe:

I love the idea of celebrating extraordinary women, but I wonder if this is an idea best suited for a (much) younger crowd.

I highly respect and admire Amelia Earhart, but I don't know if I want to see her face every time I pull off a pair of jeans. I would, however, absolutely buy an 8-year-old girl a cute camisole and panties set featuring Marie Curie with a little hang tag that gives her a short lesson on Curie's scientific accomplishments. (Business idea, Dear Kate, if you want to come out with a Dear McKenna line.)

We've seen how people react to brands that empower women, and I'm reulctant to criticize any effort to promote strong women. So allow me to soften the blow by saying that while I wouldn't buy superhero panties for myself (and I am the target market), Dear Kate's Sporty Bralets are off the chain.

October 23, 2014, 1:54 PM EDT

People With No Brains Star in Hilarious Ads for Other Kinds of Organ Donation Utter stupidity put to good use

Next time you're at a party and some bro is doing a kegstand on a diving board over an empty swimming pool, you might consider letting the situation play out. 

Ad agency Duval Guillaume and Belgian nonprofit Reborn to Be Alive take an amusingly fresh approach to organ donation in a new campaign—with photos and videos of people doing seriously dumb and dangerous things, followed by the line: "Eight of his organs can be donated. Luckily for us, his brain is not one of them."

Take a look at the ads below, see these Darwin Award contenders in action.

Via Design Taxi.

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October 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

Organic Food Snobs Are Unknowingly Fed McDonald's, and They're Lovin' It In unofficial prank, experts can't tell the difference

You probably have a few friends so opinionated about the sourcing and quality of their food, part of you wants to test whether they'd really know the difference between crap and cuisine.

You love those friends, but you also think they're being snobs, and you'd just love to troll them hard. 

Well now you don't have to, because two guys named Sacha and Cedrique did it for you. As you can see in the video below, they're on a mission to prank organic food experts in the Netherlands. They pack their bags full of a mix of McDonald's food and real organic food and present it to these connoisseurs of the finer things in life.

Check out this hilarious culinary experiment and skip to about the 2-minute mark if you want to see the real golden nuggets.  

Via Gizmodo. 

October 23, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

Brad Pitt Dodges Insults to Make a Charity Pitch on Zach Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns Actor plugs a few projects amid a hail of abuse

One of the best things about Between Two Ferns is how the guests have to plug their projects in the least comfortable way possible—indeed, while getting showered with insults.

Brad Pitt is the latest victim, sitting down with Zach Galifianakis to discuss acting, handsomeness, his wife and his ex-wife (well, the character she played on Friends). But he does manage to get the job done—plugging both his new movie and his Make It Right charitable organization.

He gets away mostly unscathed, too.

 

October 23, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

Infographic: What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Brand Also, how much some famous logos cost to design

Photo: Getty Images

Few design projects seem to require as much deep thinking as a corporate logo (some would say overthinking—remember Twitter's tortured explanation for its new logo in 2012)?

One of the most basic decisions for any logo, though, is color. And if you think color choice isn't really that important, well—someday you're going to be beaten up by a psychologist.

The infographic below explains a bit more about logos and their color—as well as the cost, value and evolution over time of some well-known corporate marks.

October 23, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT

Brita Built a City Out of Sugar to Show You What a Lifetime of Soda Looks Like A can a day eventually adds up to 221,314 cubes

In the past, water filter brand Brita has targeted plastic bottles as public enemy No. 1, but now it has its sights on a new foe: soda.

A new spot created by DDB California uses towering piles of sugar cubes to show the impact of drinking one sugary soda a day (which would be pretty a moderate intake for some families). In the ad, we see a stack of cubes illustrating a single day of cola, followed by a skyscraper modeled from a year's sugar, ending on a cityscape built from the 221,314 sugar cubes a soda fan could consume "over an average adult lifetime."

It's a striking visual, one taken even further by the brand's #ChooseWater campaign in an exhibit this week at New York's Chelsea Market, where roughly 1 million sugar cubes (weighing 7,000 pounds) were shaped into an even larger skyline to reflect the amount consumed by a family of four over their lifetimes:

The sculpture features 28 buildings, varying in height from 2 to 7 feet. That's one tall drink of terrifying.

October 22, 2014, 7:27 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 and David Griner.

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