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And Here Is Nike's Grand, Gritty Salute to LeBron James and His Return to Cleveland The homecoming ads continue

LeBron James can go home again. And again. And again.

The NBA star's return to Cleveland from Miami was always going to be fodder for numerous ad campaigns. And indeed, we've already seen spots from Beats by Dre and Sprite this week. Now it's Nike's turn to get epic—timed to Thursday night's Cavaliers home-opener against the New York Knicks.

It's suitably goosebump-inducing, as LeBron leads not just his teammates but all of Cleveland in a massive pre-game huddle—the ultimate come-to-Jesus moment for the city's once-and-again favorite son.

Nike Basketball partnered with Wieden + Kennedy for the spot, which was directed by the Malloy Brothers. LeBron's mom, Gloria Marie James, makes a cameo, as do Coach Dru Joyce and teammates Kyrie Irving, Dion Waters, Anderson Varejao, Shawn Marion, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Harris.

Nike is also introducing the LeBron 12 Hrt of a Lion shoe today, and is currently working on the nine-hour process of unveiling a 10-story, 25,000-square-foot banner on Ontario Street welcoming James back to Cleveland.

October 30, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

20 Years Before It Was Cool to Cast Gay Couples, Ikea Made This Pioneering Ad Patrick O'Neill looks back at his 1994 spot

The mini-wave of brands casting gay couples in TV ads this year continues to rise, with the likes of Honey Maid, Cheerios, and DirecTV all diving in. More power to them. But Ikea was the first marketer to feature a gay couple in a mainstream commercial. Twenty years ago.

The 1994 spot below, from Deutsch, ran after 10 p.m. in three markets where Ikea then had a significant presence: New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The late-night airing ensured that the ad wouldn't be seen during "family hour" programming. That concession, however, did little to quell the objections of the American Family Association and its leader, the Rev. Donald Wildmon.

Wildmon called for boycotts of Ikea stores, one of which, on Long Island, was the target of a bomb threat, which turned out to be unfounded. The retailer, however, continued to air the ad, which was part of a lifestyle campaign featuring different types of consumers (a divorced mom, adopting parents, empty nesters, etc.) that began in 1993.

The creative team behind "Dining Room," including creative director Greg DiNoto, associate cd Kathy Delaney, copywriter Dallas Itzen and art director Patrick O'Neill, are no longer at Deutsch. But O'Neill, who later worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day and now is chief creative officer at blood testing company Theranos, shared his memories of helping to create something that didn't win awards but was truly groundbreaking.

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October 30, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Honda's Double-Sided Story on YouTube Is Mind-Bendingly Brilliant Toggle between perfectly parallel lives

Well, this might just blow your damn mind.

Honda and Wieden + Kennedy London have created a rather incredible "double-sided story" on YouTube to promote the Civic and its sportier sibling, the Civic Type R. While watching "The Other Side," you can press and hold the "R" button on your keyboard to switch between parallel storylines. 

Watch it here: Honda's "The Other Side."

"We wanted people to feel Honda's other side as well as see it," W+K notes today on its blog, "so we dreamt up a technique that brings together both narratives through a simple interaction." (The technique is a bit reminiscent of Interlude's famous interactive music video for Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone.")

Without revealing too much, I'll just say the dual film directed by Daniel Wolfe follows the travels of a seemingly mild-mannered dad who leads a rather interesting double life. 

You can watch a few teasers below, but you really need to go see the full experience for yourself on YouTube.

October 30, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT

'Dumb Ways to Die' Returns With a Trick-or-Treat Halloween Special No one is safe when the ghouls come out

"Dumb Ways to Die," the famed Australian train-safety campaign from 2012, has done a couple of encores for special occasions. First it did a Valentine's Day ad. And now it's done a little choose-your-own-adventure Halloween special.

Should you trick or treat the little monsters who come to your door on Friday? Well, both approaches have their risks, it seems—for candy giver and candy seeker alike. "Be safe around Halloween ... and trains," says the copy.

Agency: McCann Melbourne.

October 30, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT

Lena Dunham Gets Her Famous Friends to Model Her Planned Parenthood T-Shirt Floods Instagram with message about voting

If you're one of the nearly 1.2 million people who follow Lena Dunham on Instagram, you might have noticed her posts flooding your feed this morning—shot after shot of her celebrity pals wearing a new T-shirt she designed for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. 

Dunham partnered with Planned Parenthood as part of her book tour for Not That Kind of Girl earlier this month. Proceeds from the $25 shirt will go directly to funding the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the electoral and political arm of Planned Parenthood. Oh, and if you haven't put it together just yet, the shirt seems to be part of a push to remind fans to vote on Election Day.

Check out the posts below:

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October 30, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

Wearing a Fake Ebola Hazmat Suit for Halloween? Donate a Real One Instead Publicis Kaplan Thaler brilliantly turns a joke on its head

Planning to dress up in fake ebola hazmat gear for Halloween? That's awfully douchey, don't you think?

Nonprofit humanitarian group Doctors of the World has an idea, though. Why not join the "More Than a Costume" campaign and help pay for real protective equipment used by medical professionals battling ebola in West Africa?

"Health workers needs a new hazmat suit for each of their rotations, and estimates indicate that over 1 million suits will be needed in the next six weeks," says the organization.

For $1 you can donate a glove, and $5 buys a mask. You can donate a hazmat suit for $250, and throw in a helmet for $500. (Or text EBOLA to 501501 to donate $10. C'mon, you'll spend more than that on Halloween candy.)

The initiative was developed by Publicis Kaplan Thaler ‚Äčin partnership with MediaVest and MSLGROUP. Pro-bono print and digital ads are running this week in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and elsewhere. "Here it's a costume. There it saves lives," says one headline.

Props for leveraging the ebola costume craze in such life-affirming fashion. They've created a program that lets people contribute to the greater good, even those who plan to clomp around in bogus boots and breathe through phony filters on Halloween.

See the full ad below.

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October 30, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

And Here's What Happens When a White Guy Walks the Streets of NYC for 10 Hours Bro culture looks out for its own

If you haven't seen the video of the woman walking down the street getting harassed by gawking dudes in New York City, you should probably check it out. It's truly a dispicable display of shameful behavior.

And while it might seem insensitive to parody such a sincere project, the folks at Funny or Die found a commendable balance with their satire showing us what it's like to be a man walking the streets of New York. The results are truly harrowing—but you might not be surprised at all by the way such men are treated. 

As a man who lives and works in the city, I can attest to being treated like this on a daily basis. Take a look.


October 30, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT

Patagonia Goes Full Chipotle in This Intense Animation About Goose Down 'What the pluck?'

You'll never think about down jackets or Blue Oyster Cult the same way again after watching Patagonia's darkly informative new video set to the tune of "Don't Fear the Reaper."

In the rather Chipotle-esque clip, we follow the journey of a naive young goose who's trying to enjoy some time on the ski slopes when a brush with the Grim Reaper turns his whole day upside down. The jacket-clad goose (don't overthink it) sees each step of how down feathers are harvested. As you can guess, it's not super fun for the geese involved.

Patagonia is using the video to announce its new commitment to only using "100% traceable down." That means the brand tracks its suppliers from hatch to harvest, ensuring that feathers are never plucked from live birds.

Much like Chipotle, the Omnivore's Dilemma morality here stops quite a bit short of PETA standards. The geese plucked by Patagonia are, of course, killed in the process, with most of their bodies being used for food:

"Only birds raised for their meat under strict non force-fed, non live-plucked requirements are slaughtered here. Following the Traceable Down Standard, slaughterhouses observe best practices for animal welfare including the transportation, holding and slaughtering of birds."

In usual Patagonia style, the transparency-obsessed company has an exhaustive timeline showing how it reached the 100% traceable down milestone.

So now you can at least rest assured that your Patagonia jacket was made from humanely butchered animals who weren't flayed alive or force-fed. But that cartoon goose wearing the byproduct of his dead brethren is still a bit of monster.

October 29, 2014, 8:46 PM EDT

Anti-Gun Ads Use Real Mass Shootings and Bloody Visuals in Attempt to Sway Voters Faulting politicians, and those who elected them

These ads for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence must rank among the most unnervingly visual—and potentially polarizing—this category has ever produced. And that's really saying something.

A somber soundtrack and director Mark Pellington's moody color palette build an atmosphere of extreme foreboding in these videos created by by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and production house Wondros. In one spot, a middle-aged man reads newspaper coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre. Another shows young people learning of the Virginia Tech killings via their mobile phones.

In each ad, a voiceover begins, "You did not buy the guns. You did not load the bullets. You did not empty the chamber. But you voted. You voted for politicians that refused to support common-sense gun laws. Vote only for candidates who would fight to reduce gun violence."

What do we see on screen during this narration? Let's just call it a blunt visual metaphor that's sure to rankle the coalition's opposition and generate lots of attention for the cause.

Ultimately, I'm not sure this approach succeeds, despite the fierce sincerity of its message. The intended audience could feel unfairly guilt-tripped, and many viewers, regardless of their position on guns, might find the imagery heavy-handed.

October 29, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

HP Celebrates Human Hands in This Ad for Its Wild New 3-D Touch Computer Sprout blends virtual and physical

We rely on our hands to get us through our various daily projects, whether it's typing on a computer, creating works of art or instructing others to follow a plan. Now, HP wants us to use the power of our paws in the digital space.

HP's Sprout is a new immersive computing platform that scans and senses objects in proximity of the device to allow people to create in real-time 3-D. In simpler words, you can put things directly on the touch mat and, thanks to a projector above, wave your hands around to virtually mold the design you want on the screen. As the ad shows, that includes spilling coffee beans on the flat surface to get that effortlessly strewn artistic look.

Watch the ad below, and then give your hands a pat on the back for all the work they do.

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October 29, 2014, 2:29 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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