Google Used Clickable Paper in Posters Asking People Which Nonprofits It Should Fund Choosing from among 10 Bay Area projects

The nonprofits competing in the second Google Impact Challenge have some pretty innovative ideas for how to make the Bay Area a better place to live. And Google's method of soliciting votes for the contest is pretty cutting edge, too.

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October 9, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

This Agency Knitted Outfits for Street Signs as a Way of Asking for Clothes for the Poor Heartwarming OOH ads

Wool is cool again, and yarn-bombing is a thing. In a nod to the trend, creatives from Wunderman Brazil started "Doe Agasalho," or "Donate Warm Clothes," a campaign that reminds people to offer clothing to the poor.

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October 9, 2015, 12:28 PM EDT

Airbnb Offers the Ultimate Halloween Sleepover: A Night in the Paris Catacombs Get cozy in costume with 6 million resting souls

Looking for the ultimate scare? Airbnb is running a contest that will give two lucky people the chance to sleep in the Catacombs of Paris, home to over 6 million dead and labeled "the world's largest grave."

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October 9, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

USA Today Used Facebook's New Emojis on Its Front-Page Stories, and It's Awkward Update: Editor says goal was to show how communication is evolving

Via The Newseum

Facebook's new emoji-esque "Reactions" haven't launched stateside yet, but USA Today decided to give them an early test run—on its own front page.

The results are ... rather awkward. 

A sad face next to a stabbing story? An angry face next to an item on Russian missiles reportedly hitting unintended targets? (There's no questioning the "wow" emoji for Kevin McCarthy's shocking withdrawal from the House speaker race, though. That one's dead on.)

While they stop short of editorializing, the icons do feel like they're trying to reflect how you should feel about the news, which blurs the line of journalistic neutrality a bit. 

We've reached out to the USA Today staff to learn the background of the decision and confirm it wasn't any sort of official partnership with Facebook. We'll update this post if we hear back.

UPDATE (12:20 p.m. ET): We received the following answers from USA Today's editor-in-chief:

AdFreak: I'm assuming this wasn't any sort of official Facebook partnership and was just a way to integrate the idea in a unique way?
David Callaway, editor-in-chief, USA Today: There was no official partnership with Facebook. This was fully an editorial decision. The front page editors discussed putting the new FB emojis on the top of the front page, as a reference to a story about them in our Money section, which brought about the discussion of whether to use them on the stories.

Was there any concern about these emojis seeming too flippant next to serious content like the stabbing or Syria?
Yes, of course there was discussion about being too flippant.

Whose decision was it to use the emojis? Was there much debate among the editorial team? 
My feeling (as editor-in-chief) is that a billion FB users may soon start using these to share stories—all kinds of stories—which of course is Facebook's intention. Social media and its icons are becoming a dominant form of communication in our world. We wanted to show what they would be like if transferred to print.

October 9, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

Kids Are Given Toy Cars That Can't Crash in This Amusingly Mean Mercedes-Benz Ad Clever way to talk about brakes

Mercedes-Benz's new ad doubles as a social experiment for children.

The automaker installed heavy-duty magnets inside toy cars to highlight its Brake Assist System PLUS. The video then shows kids—who are delighted, of course, by crashing toy cars into each other—playing with the magnet cars. Let's just say they're not in love with them.

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October 9, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

Al Gore's Stirring New Climate Change Ad Calls on World Leaders to Be Accountable Edward Norton, Richard Branson add star power

Al Gore's Climate Reality Project tries lighting a fire under world leaders in this two-minute film directed by Hungry Man's Richard Bullock.

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October 9, 2015, 10:20 AM EDT

Your Life Should Be This Dreamy, Say 6 Beautiful New Ads for the Apple Watch Because reality is just too messy

Get an Apple Watch, and replace the ice cream cone your daughter just dropped without even having to free your hands.

In the first of six new beautifully designed Apple Watch ads, a mother deftly prevents a small mishap from devolving into a full blown tantrum: With a few quick wrist taps, a new treat magically replaces the old one as if the spill never happened.

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October 9, 2015, 10:02 AM EDT

Victoria's Secret Ignored the Anger Over This Photo, So a Facebook Fan Fixed It (NSFW) Is the brand now flat-out trolling?

Is Victoria's Secret now trolling its Facebook fans with intentional Photoshop fails?

Some seem to think so, after the lingerie brand posted a photo of a model who has clearly suffered the digital removal of a butt cheek. Eyebrows were particularly raised in this situation after VS captioned the photo: "Truly. Madly. Cheeky."

Note: The photo is mildly NSFW.

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October 9, 2015, 9:17 AM EDT

Belize Offers a Free, Relaxing Vacation to Next Stressed-Out NFL Kicker to Miss Adam Vinatieri and Nick Novak have first shot tonight

NFL kickers seem to be stressed out this season, as there's been a rash of missed kicks, including 18 this past week alone. But now, the country of Belize is here to help—offering a free bye-week trip to Belize to the next kicker who misses a field goal or extra point attempt.

The offer, dreamed up by Belize's PR/social agency Olson Engage, is made in this video starring Belize national soccer defender Ian Gaynair, who'll give free kicking lessons to the lucky "winner." (Because missing kicks isn't embarrassing enough.)

The Colts' Adam Vinatieri (seen above, missing a kick in the AFC Championship Game last January) and the Texans' Nick Novak, who play Thursday night, are first in line for the chance to get rewarded for sucking.

Olson Engage has done a bunch of fun stunts for Belize, including making the most of an unflattering mention on Breaking Bad as well as recording "Don't Stop Believin' " parody "Don't Stop Beliezin' " to thanking Journey's keyboardist for visiting.

October 8, 2015, 2:38 PM EDT

Campbell's Cleverly Used Star Wars in Gay-Themed Ad, but the Comments Are on the Dark Side Brand heads into Honey Maid territory

Campbell Soup Company's newest ad, featuring its Star Wars inspired soup, is centered around a popular line from the movie, although maybe not in the way that you'd think. The 30-second ad features a father feeding his son, and quoting Darth Vader's "I am your father." But then there's a clever twist that makes the spot unique.

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October 8, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT


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