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Would You Recognize a Loved One Dressed Like the Homeless? These People Didn't Hidden-camera stunt aims to 'make them visible'

Most city dwellers tend to avoid eye contact with the homeless, a fact that made one advocacy group wonder: Would you recognize your own relatives if they were living on the street?

New York City Rescue Mission partnered with agency Silver + Partner for a hidden-camera stunt that filmed people as they walked past loved ones dressed to look homeless. Later, the passersby were shown video footage of themselves walking past their relatives without a second glance. 

As you'd probably expect, no one recognized their family members. One woman even walked right past her mom, uncle and aunt.

The stunt doesn't lead to any emotional breakdowns or similar histrionics, which is somewhat refreshing at a time when "gotcha" videos focus so hard on over-the-top reactions and immediate life-changing self-reflection. But the unwitting participants clearly feel ashamed of their oversight. 

Director Jun Diaz from production house Smuggler tells Fast Company that one person who was filmed asked not to be included in the final video "because they couldn’t handle the fact that they walked by their family."

On a related website,, the rescue mission further humanizes the needy by sharing photographs of real homeless New Yorkers, smiling while sharing their personal passions and hobbies.

April 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

JetBlue's Pigeon Reflects on Human Foibles in Web Series From Funny or Die City birds, they're just like us

Humans generally consider themselves to be better than pigeons in all ways, significant or not. But are we, really?

JetBlue's "Air on the Side of Humanity" campaign from Mullen, which launched last fall in Boston and is now rolling out to New York and Florida markets, suggests we're actually quite pigeon-like ourselves—at least, those of us who don't fly JetBlue are.

Indeed, much like the humble pigeon, who flies in crowded spaces, gets crumbs for snacks and is generally ignored and/or despised, we tend to be unappreciated when we take to the skies aboard other airlines.

Along with the TV work, JetBlue has been running a new Web series from Funny or Die that extends this notion of pigeon-on-human empathy. Called "Shoo's Bird's Eye View," the series stars a pigeon named Shoo who watches humans go about their business—and wryly remarks on how odd people can be.

The idea is that, through his comical observations, we might come to see the errors of our ways—like flying those airlines that don't have JetBlue in their name.

"The idea of bringing these two brands together, JetBlue and Funny or Die, was really appealing from the start," says Tim Vaccarino, executive creative director at Mullen. "Both have great sensibilities and a unique perspective on things. A way of getting right at the truth in a smart humorous way."

He added: "The use of the pigeon POV was a conscious one. It allowed us a unique perspective on humans and all their quirks. It let us show things we humans do every day but may overlook or ignore. Through Shoo's simple yet comical observations, the hope is people will wake up and change bad behavior. Such as the behavior of accepting a substandard level of customer service when we travel, for example. Just a thought."

The "Air on the Side of Human Campaign" has also included custom homepage takeovers, branded Spotify playlists, an interactive mobile rich media game and lifelike Pigeon Props riding atop taxi cabs.

Click to Read More →

April 23, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

Honeybees Get Fed Up With Humans and Launch 'Greenbees' Protest Movement Ad features Greenpeace's tiniest chapter ever

Imagine if bees could stop humans from killing them by hijacking pesticide sprinklers, putting up banners and picketing grocery stores. That would be the bee's knees.

Greenpeace has conjured up just such a scenario in its latest ad, "Greenbees," aimed at raising awareness of the global colony-collapse epidemic threatening honeybee populations. In this spot, tiny hive-minded bee protesters hang signs with messages like "Honey You Sprayed the Kids" and "No Bees, No Future." (Unlike BBDO's Grand Prix-winning World Wildlife Fund campaign, these bugs are all computer-generated.)

According to Greenpeace's related website,, "Bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems. A third of all our food depends on their pollination. A world without pollinators would be devastating for food production."

All they are saying is it's really gonna sting unless we "give bees a chance."

Via Ads of the World.



Creative Director, Copywriter: Daniel Bird
Art Director: Jaroslav Mrazek
Music: Hecq
Production Company: Savage
Executive Producer: Klara Kralickova
Producer: Vojta Ruzicka
Director of Photography: Martin Matiasek
Postproduction: Progressive FX
Producers: Jan Rybar, Jirka Mika
Computer Graphics, Visual Effects Supervisor: Jan Rybar
Animation: Peter Harakaly, Jakub Sporek
Computer Graphics Modelling: Frantisek Stepanek, Martin Frodl, Hynek Pakosta,
Textures: Martin Konecny
Lighting Artist: Frantisek Stepanek
Grading, Compositing: Radek Svoboda
Additional Compositing: Pavel Vicik, Peter Orlicky

April 23, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

Mad Men Wishes You a Happy Secretary's Day. (Wait, Peggy and Joan Aren't Secretaries!) Hello, Dawn and Shirley?

It's Secretary's Day—the more politically correct name is Administrative Professionals' Day. And Mad Men, its feet still set firmly in the '60s, is wishing you a very happy former (with a hashtag nod to the latter).

In a curious move, the AMC show's Twitter account is celebrating the occasion with a photo featuring two former secretaries, Joan and Peggy. Why not use current secretaries Dawn and Shirley, both of whom had interesting arcs in this Sunday's episode?

Did they pick our two female leads from Sterling Cooper & Partners deliberately to show that you too can move up the ranks from secretary (administrative professional) to account man (Joan) or copy chief (Peggy)?

H/T: Gothamist's Jen Carlson.

April 23, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

Are You Charitable Enough to Suffer Through Gisele's 'Heart of Glass' Cover? H&M will give download royalties to Unicef

To promote its new summer line, H&M partnered with supermodel Gisele Bundchen to create a song that will be sold online as a Unicef fundraiser. Unfortunately, the song is really, really bad.

It's a cover of Blondie's 1978 hit "Heart of Glass," orchestrated this time around by French producer Bob Sinclar. The single debuted on Good Morning America this week and is set to be released on Ultra Records, with the royalties going to Unicef.

In the accompanying music video, Bundchen sings (with plenty of autotune backing) and dances in various pieces from H&M's new swimsuit collection. As you might expect, the swimsuits look great, especially on Gisele. 

But then there's the song itself, which is rather painful. I hate saying that because, you know, they're donating to Unicef and all, but surely they could have picked a different track? Or a different talent?

Normally I would just suggest muting the video and queuing up a better song, but it's the iTunes downloads that actually send dollar bills Unicef's way. So hopefully, for the kids, you disagree with me completely and think this track is amazing.

Or, as "Ethical Adman" Tom Megginson suggests, you could just buy Blondie's version and then make a donation to Unicef.

April 23, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT

Meet the Woman Who Downsized Her Life to 84 Square Feet and 305 Possessions Could you be like Dee?

Photo: Stuart Isett

84 square feet, 305 possessions.

The New York Times uses that tally in a Home & Garden story to sum up the day-to-day existence of Dee Williams of Olympia, Wash.

Williams, 51, runs Portland Alternative Dwellings, which builds small houses for people seeking to simplify their lives. That issue is literally close to her heart. Williams began downsizing after suffering a heart attack a decade ago. She sold her three-bedroom dwelling and lives in a "micro-house" the size of a large garden shed, which she built on a trailer and parked in the backyard of a traditional home owned by two close friends.

"I started seeing 'congestive heart failure' in my health records," Williams recalls. "If you look it up online, your life expectancy is typically one to five years. The notion of paying a 30-year mortgage didn’t make sense." Choosing a simpler life "gave me a chance to live close to my friends and be happy with the time that I have." She recently published a memoir, The Big Tiny, about her experiences.

Her 305 possessions include a mattress, quilt, propane burner and laptop. She's got clothes and some simple furniture, and a jewelry collection—four pieces in all (no rings). In my cluttered apartment, I might have that many possessions just in my immediate line of sight.

Williams' story isn't so much about about eschewing capitalist culture as it is about finding a community and lifestyle that fit her needs … and about discovering the things in life that really matter.

In some ways, as her home shrank, her world expanded. She came to rely on her neighbors—using their homes to take showers and bake pies, since her tiny house has no running water or oven. The backyard became a community unto itself, a vibrant social hub with different generations interacting in ways they'd never have done if she hadn't moved in. (Hmm … I've never even met the people who live next door.)

Williams gave up a lot, but gained so much more. "I started to feel that I belonged," she says. "It gave me a chance to live close to my friends and be happy with the time that I have."

Maybe those numbers, 84 and 305, are beside the point. Shouldn't life be measured in terms of fullness and satisfaction? After all, every life, no matter how fully lived or zealously guarded, is just a rental. Carpe diem.

See lots more photos at the Times story. Via Design Taxi.

April 23, 2014, 9:54 AM EDT

Neymar Takes On Ken Block in Soccer-Racing Battle of 'Footkhana' Castrol doubles up

You've probably never wondered whether Ken Block is better at playing soccer in a car than Neymar is at playing soccer not in a car.

Yet, in the run-up to the World Cup in June, Castrol presents Footkhana—a mashup of football (aka, soccer) and gymkhana (aka, course-based stunt driving). In other words, you get to watch the racing star spin donuts around the soccer player while the soccer player juggles the ball. Then you get to see how the two compete against each other in a shootout.

It does feel a bit like it's just riding the coattails of DC Shoes' wild success with the first five Ken Block Gymkhana videos (three of which are among the 20 most-shared ads ever posted online) and a sixth one promoting video game franchise Need for Speed). The soccer tie-in adds enough of a twist, though, to keep it from getting stale. And beyond the obvious excess of motor-revving noises, a couple of unexpected moments make up for the length.

Now all we need is Curlkhana. Ken Block vs. the Canadian curling team.

April 23, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

1973 Personals Ad Reminds You Trolling Was a Thing Even in 1973 Man misses girlfriend, or does he?

Ahh, the good old days, when men were men, women were women, the Internet didn't exist and one had to troll at a much slower pace.

According to this personals ad from 1973, found by a Redditor, there was still plenty of shenanigans happening in the hot social media of the day—aka, the newspaper.

These days, of course, men still troll their partners via newspaper personals. They just do it to their current ones, not their exes.

Via HuffPo.

April 22, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

Two Guys Suffer Through Relentless Downpours of Food for a Good Cause Cloudy with a certainty of meatballs

Attention large-hearted rubberneckers: Watching some dude making dumb faces and getting slimed, Nickolodeon-style, with all kinds of food stuffs is better when some of the proceeds go to an anti-hunger charity.

A pair of Internet personalities, Steve Kardynal (infamous for his bearded Chatroulette reenactment of Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball") and Alex Negrete (of meme animator Animeme), made these slow-motion, close-up videos of themselves getting showered by consecutive meals like hot dogs with extra ketchup and mustard followed by spaghetti and meatballs, and a Denver omelette followed by chicken and waffles. After releasing the clips, the duo decided to donate "a large portion of the profits" to Action Against Hunger, according to a fundraising page they set up to help the nonprofit's mission to feed malnourished children. (A number of YouTube comments had called out the video makers for wasting food.)

Presumably, any profits for the clips, which (as of this writing) have 1.5 million and 74,000 views, respectively, come from ad revenue earned via the video-sharing site.

As we saw with last week's Pedigree video, there's always the question of how much money viewers can actually generate just by watching videos, given downward pressure on YouTube ad rates. And sure, there might be better ways to raise awareness about hunger than dumping a bunch of edibles on your head for the amusement of others. But there's no use crying over spilled milk, and so far Kardynal and Negrete's fundraising page shows $280 committed of an $8,000 goal. At $45 to feed one starving child back to health, it's still a lot better than nothing—anything is.

As for the videos themselves, they're willfully stupid, disgusting and kind of amazing to watch, for a little while at least—beautiful in an odd way, but not anywhere near as charming as Proximity BBDO's masterpiece of pastry porn for French coffee brand Carte Noir.

On the bright side, these aren't likely to make you as hungry, either.

Via Devour.

April 22, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

Pizza Cake? Pizza Mints? Chain's Kickstarter-esque Campaign Brings Fan Picks to Life Boston Pizza's 'Game Changers'

America might be the global king of excessive consumption, but Canada's Boston Pizza is putting up a good fight with its Pizza Game Changers.

Basically, it's a crowdsourced voting campaign that pledges, "if you like it, we'll make it,” which is dangerous phrasing among pizza enthusiasts. So far, the chain has made pizza tacos, pizza mints (which sound disgusting) and a gas-powered pizza cutter (which sounds awesome).

They've also gotten some press for their six-layer pizza cake, though that's arguably little more than a doubly thick Chicago-style deep dish. Still, we should encourage Boston Pizza's overall flair for inventiveness, unless these game changers start combining pizza with poutine or Marmite. Some international boundaries are best left uncrossed.

Via Laughing Squid.

The gas-powered pizza cutter:

Pizzaburger sliders:

Pizza cheese clippers:

Click to Read More →

April 22, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT


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