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Hootsuite's Holiday Video Is 40 Minutes of an Owl Perched by a Roaring Fire Really, why overcomplicate it?

Hootsuite knows how to celebrate the holidays. On the heel of its great Halloween ads, the social media aggregation site has now rolled out a simple, awesome Christmas ad playing off its owl mascot. The brand explains:

This year for the holidays we wanted to do our own take on the popular yule log videos. This is Hootsuite's Holiday Owl, 40 minutes of pure, cute, heart-warming Holiday owl perched by a roaring fire.

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December 17, 2014, 4:16 PM EST

Grammys Ads Show the Peculiar After-Effects of Loving Taylor Swift and Lorde You're never quite the same

The Grammy Awards will make even a long-maned, bearded, hard-rock dude head bang to Taylor Swift, according to this new ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day.

It's a preposterous conceit, even if Taylor Swift's long hair at last year's Grammys show generated the illusion of impressive head banging skills. Hard-rock dudes do not head bang to pop-country music. At least not in public places—even while wearing earbuds.

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December 17, 2014, 1:57 PM EST

Sarah Koenig Buckles Under the Pressure of Serial's Final Episode in This Outstanding Parody Funny or Die prepares us for the worst

Fans are already preparing themselves to be disappointed when Serial releases its final episode tomorrow, a fact that Funny or Die has captured masterfully in its new parody.

In "The Last Episode of Serial," versatile comedian and SNL alumna Michaela Watkins puts herself in Koenig's shoes as the tremendously popular podcast prepares to come to a close. The host faces not only her own doubt about who killed Hae Min Lee in the real-life murder mystery, but also the pressure from listeners and sponsors (like MailCrimp...MailKimp?) who want the show to end on a satisfying note.

While largely light-hearted, the parody also has a few biting moments that remind us the show's pop culture success was born from the death of a bright and well-loved 18-year-old. But most fans will simply enjoy the clip's reference-packed, all-too-real depiction of what it's like to be obsessed with something that may never come to any sort of clear conclusion. 

December 17, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

Employees Get Pelted With Snowballs in Super Slow Motion in This Agency's Holiday Card That's cold, Exit10

Employees at Baltimore agency Exit10 get pelted with snowballs in slow motion in this flaky and—let's be honest—rather painful-looking holiday video. No one got hurt during filming. Not much, anyway.

The idea "came out of that dark place where all holiday video concepts come from," says Eric Hartsock, Exit10's managing partner and creative director, "meaning, the small conference room the creative team refuses to leave until they come up with something that sticks."

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December 17, 2014, 11:42 AM EST

Agency Pitches Christmas to a Focus Group, and Their Reaction Is Anything but Merry Scrooges run amok

So, you hate focus groups. Understandable. They can make a mess of anything. In fact, they can even hate Christmas.

Ogilvy & Mather in Paris put together this entertaining little (fake) hypothetical experiment called "Ho Ho No Go," where the concept of Christmas itself is pitched to a group of random strangers. Let's just say they don't react too positively. Yet the roundtable does shine a light on how bizarre the holiday is as a marketing concept. 

Take a look below, and have a very Merry Sparktazzle.

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December 17, 2014, 10:42 AM EST

14 Brilliant Outdoor Ads That Rocked the Real World in 2014 Beautiful, subversive, playful and magical

As usual, many of this year's most inspired and delightful advertisements weren't found on TV, in print or online. They were found outside, where marketers played off the real world to bring completely new dimensions to their brands.

Below, check out 14 of our favorite out-of-home executions from 2014—all of them a potent reminder that outdoor can make brands instantly relevant and incredibly cool.

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December 17, 2014, 6:57 AM EST

You'll Love This Beautiful and Inspiring Holiday Ad, Particularly If You're a Writer Field Notes' meditation on remembrance

Field Notes, the paper products and accessories brand best known for its stylish notepads—designed by Aaron Draplin, whom you'll remember from yesterday—attempts to convey the intensity and magic of the written word in this holiday film appearing on its website.

The moody 80-second clip began as a purely creative project "about remembrance and family," says director Matthew James Thompson, before he pitched the project via production house North of New York to Field Notes as a piece of branded content. "I shot on a 5D using only natural light over Fourth of July up in Maine," he tells AdFreak. "I wanted to keep it extremely natural, like a video diary, so I kept everything very small and non-invasive."

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December 16, 2014, 2:27 PM EST

This 2014 Year in Review Video Starts Off Extremely Confusing, Then Gets Painfully Clear Clever twist on Google Zeitgeist

It's that time again, when we take stock of the year—to revisit all the moments that passed, some we remember, some we've long forgotten. All of our favorite sites are releasing their year-in-review videos, and we are getting nostalgic.

But here's one that will catch you a little by surprise, and give you a whole new perspective on how 2014 unfolded for millions of people.

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December 16, 2014, 1:34 PM EST

Airbnb for Gingerbread Houses? Fully Baked Parody Is a Sweet Fundraiser for Homeless McKinney turns bookings into donations

Well, this is adorable. 

For its pro-bono holiday project, agency McKinney created Gingerbreadbnb.com, a site that mimics Airbnb but lets you book virtual stays at confectionary cabins instead.

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December 16, 2014, 1:21 PM EST

The 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014 The year's silliest, scariest and stupidest screw-ups

What were they thinking?

That's about all you ask from the marketers on this list of 2014 brand fails, which run the gamut from arrogant to sexist to obscene to just plain stupid. Settle in and get your annual dose of ad-enfreude from these deliciously embarrassing marketing moments.

Whatever you did or didn't accomplish this year, be thankful you weren't this dumb.

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December 16, 2014, 12:03 PM EST

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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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