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Kia's Hamsters Are Back, and Getting Lucky With Sexy Lady-Hamster Girlfriends Electric vehicle tests lead to some unsettling experiments

Kia's oddly endearing and enduring hamsters have returned, this time dabbling in experiments that make Weird Science look scientifically responsible by comparison.

The new ad from David&Goliath for the plug-in 2015 Kia Soul EV takes us into a laboratory, where everyone's favorite human-size hamsters are performing tests on the electric vehicle—and, inadvertently, their normal-size pet hamster. The results change the researchers' priorities faster than you can say "hamster balls."

Check it out below, and know that any feelings of discomfort are totally normal. But also know that life can be lonely for terrifyingly huge man-rodents, and they need love, too.

Credits below. Hat tip to our friends at Unruly Media.

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August 21, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Anthropologie Learns a Lesson in How Not to Treat Breastfeeding Moms Cautionary tale from Beverly Hills

It's World Breastfeeding Month, but Anthropologie doesn't want to see your boobs.

Ingrid Wiese Hesson claims she was unceremoniously escorted off an Anthropologie sales floor and into a stock-room bathroom for breastfeeding her baby. (Remind you of any ads?) Here's the email she sent to the company, and then posted to Facebook:

I'm writing to share an unfortunate event that occurred at the Beverly Hills anthropologie location. As a long time Anthro member and loyalist, it seemed natural to do my first postpartum shopping outing at Anthroologie. Anxious to use my birthday discount, I brought my six week old infant along and we both smiled as I walked away from the register with $700 worth of Breastfeeding friendly clothing. But baby began to cry and I found a chair at the back of the store and sat down to feed him. Imagine my surprise when the manager Meredith approached, "I'm here to escort you to the ladies room where you can finish feeding your baby." Shocked. I unlatched the infant, he began to cry, and we did the walk of shame to the stock room bathroom. There was nothing but a toilet in the room. "Sorry we don't have a chair." I left the store embarrassed and called back to talk to Meredith and verify what I had just experienced. "I thought you and the other customers would be more comfortable off the sales floor," she explained. Please inform Meredith that CA law grants me the right to Breastfeed in public. As a store that caters to women, I would hope your staff would be more understanding. Meredith said, "we must be fair to all the customers, not just moms." Meredith, moms are customers too. At least the many women that have already liked my Facebook post in the past hour seem to think so. Shame on you anthropologie.

Hesson's story has been circulating through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram like wildfire. The Anthropologie manager's actions were not just unwise, they were also in violation of Hesson's legal rights. From the California Civil Code: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present."

People have been tweeting and leaving messages on Anthropologie's Facebook page, threatening to boycott. A nurse-in at the specific Beverly Hills Anthropologie was arranged:

Finally, Anthropologie responded with a somewhat vague PR cut-and-paste, saying:

We are disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store. As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff's dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women—all mothers—be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.

The craziest part? All of this has gone down in the past 23 hours. Technology is wild and impressive, but somehow people are still asking me to fax them documents? Weird.

Photo via Flickr.

August 20, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

Nike and AKQA Create an LED Basketball Court to Help Kids Learn Kobe's Moves Visual display fueled brand's search for Chinese talent

Global design firm AKQA and ubiquitous shoe manufacturer Nike have collaborated on a full-size LED basketball court for Nike Rise, a program designed to train Chinese youth based on the techniques and practice drills of Kobe Bryant.

Called House of Mamba (a reference to Kobe's Black Mamba nickname), the LED court guides and reacts to the players' movements with an impressive range of visual displays, to the point where you wonder how the athletes aren't distracted by it. 

Nike Rise centered on a reality show where 30 Chinese teens trained with Kobe and LeBron James, and three of them will go on to the Nike World Basketball Festival next month.

Via DesignBoom.

August 20, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

Reggie Watts Has Created Truly Odd Greenpeace Ads Aimed at the Tech Industry 'My grandma clicks dirty'

Reggie Watts yodels, raps, hangs with woodland fauna, floats on a giant leaf and generally goofs around in a quartet of new videos from Greenpeace.

The environmental group is sending a message to certain tech giants about using sustainable energy sources. "Some of the Internet's biggest and most innovative companies, such as Apple, Facebook and Google, are powering with modern, renewable energy," Greenpeace rep Dave Pomerantz told BusinessGreen. "The #ClickClean movement expects the rest of the companies behind our online world, like Amazon and Twitter, to join them."

No firms are named in the ads, which were created by The VIA Agency.

"We set out to develop a campaign that had humor at its core and that people would rally behind and share," said Via executive producer Mary Hanifin. "Reggie’s unique brand of comedy, devoted following and ability to convey complex themes through humor made him a perfect fit."

The comedian and musician has some experience with the clean-power issue, having contributed to a Climate Reality Project spot last year. For Greenpeace—fresh off its gorgeous ad attacking Lego for partnering with Shell—Watts sustains a tone that gives the material an offbeat, non-judgmental spark. He uses improvisation to amp up the scripts, and his silly, slightly subversive comic energy feels just right.

Via Fast Company.

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August 20, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

W+K Develops a Series of Underwater Apps for Sony's Waterproof Phone The life aquatic, half an hour at a time

If you ever hoped to pretend your phone were a fish or an aquatic plant, Sony would like to present its Xperia Z1S.

The brand, along with Wieden + Kennedy and development partners Motim and SoftFacade, is demonstrating the phone's waterproof technology by developing apps designed to be used in and under the water.

A new feature on the phone uses ultrasound to sense when the phone is submerged. A handful of 30-second videos (directed by Sean Pecknold of Society) demonstrate the apps, which capitalize on that detection technology in ways unusual, somewhat amusing and mostly frivolous.

One of the apps is "Goldie," an on-screen fish that flops around like it's dying when you take the phone out of the water. Another is "Plantimal," a modern cross between a Tomagotchi and a Grow Monster. There's also "Rainy-oke" for, quite literally, singing in the rain, as proven by a drag queen performing Cyndi Lauper.

"Photo Lab" mimics the process of developing photos by hand, in an extra cutesy twist of the knife to a practice all but eradicated by the digital age. "Sink Sunk" offers perhaps the funniest and most practical application of the water detection technology: It's a simple game for when you're bored and cranky, hanging out in your kiddie pool.

That's it, at least so far. The brand is making the source code for the feature available via Github, so other developers can play with different uses, too.

In the meantime, it's a reasonably fun way for Sony to promote waterproofing, even though that feature is not unique to the smartphone manufacturer or model. And it fits well enough into the art-meets-engineering motif of the brand's "Be Moved" platform, launched with W+K early this year—even if it does feel a little heavier on the engineering part.

The brand recommends you avoid submerging your phone for more than 30 minutes at a time, though. Just in case you were planning to take it on a nice long scuba dive.

August 20, 2014, 9:18 AM EDT

Lovely Ad for Pinterest Shows How It Can Inspire Collaborative Brilliance (or at Least Dinner) Messaging opens up new possibilities

Pinterest touts its newly unveiled messaging feature in this handsomely shot two-and-a-half minute video from production house Strike Anywhere.

The clip is Apple-esque, as are so many personal-tech ads these days, celebrating Pinterest's heightened functionality as a means of enhancing everyday life. Using the new messaging system, people engage in pithy yet productive text conversations about pins showing canoes, casseroles and spaceships. This demonstrates Pinterest's ability to help folks collaboratively plan outings, dinners and work projects. (Of course, it could also create fresh opportunities for advertisers.)

The music track, Kishi Bashi's "Philosophize in It! Chemicalize With It!" is a fine choice. It's uplifting and accessible, but doesn't overpower the spot. It works here, and would work equally well in any number of recent ads for Apple, Samsung or Microsoft. In fact, this spot, while true to Pinterest's vibe, is a good example of how ads for tech companies increasingly blur the picture, instead of putting their services into sharper focus.

But for Pinterest, building on earlier long-form ads, it represents a noticeable step toward being a major marketer in the social tech arena. Take a look below and see what you think.

August 19, 2014, 3:39 PM EDT

Creator of That Godawful Viral Shopping Mall Ad Isn't Surprised You Love It So Chris Fleck's plan works like a charm

A laughably bad commercial for the East Hills Mall in St. Jospeh, Mo.—which we wrote about yesterday—has gained a rather large following this week. A piece of ironic Internet treasure, it's already well on its way to a million YouTube views. 

Given the amount of Internet hoaxes, though, and the ad's perfectly executed terrible-on-purpose quality, we wondered if it was real—and who was responsible for such a jewel.

Well, according to the report below by a local Fox affiliate, the spot is indeed authentic. In fact, it's the work of local producer Chris Fleck. In the interview, he tells Fox he isn't really surprised at the enormous popularity of his masterpiece.

"The whole time we pitched this idea, we said, 'Maybe it would go viral.' Boy, it did," he says with a laugh.

This isn't Fleck's first time at the rodeo, either. He's amassed a few thousand clicks on some other spots, including one with a rapping Mitsubishi dealer and another for a liquor store featuring a jockey riding a cooler.

His advertising philosophy is simple: "If you can entertain, and then slide the message in, you’ve accomplished your goal. I just love that it's getting this much response. That's what commercials do, you get response."

Check out the mall ad, and a few of Fleck's previous works, here:

August 19, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

Meet the Hero Designer Who Publicly Shamed Showtime for Asking Him to Work for Free How Dan Cassaro's tweet became a rallying cry

When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design "contest" he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it.

The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime's use "could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!," the network told Cassaro in an email.

After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm ("I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs"), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

Here's the screenshot of the conversation (click to expand):

In the week since, Cassaro's tweet has become a viral rallying cry for creatives who feel besieged by expectations of free work. It has more than 5,000 retweets and 5,600 favorites, and has become one of the topic's most electrifying moments since Mike Monteiro's "Fuck You Pay Me" speech in 2011. 

Showtime issued a response to BuzzFeed, saying the network is "a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional."

We caught up with Cassaro to ask what it's been like seeing his frustration go global.

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August 19, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

Newcastle Asks for Fan Photos, Which It Promises to Photoshop Poorly Into Terrible Ads Brewer proudly does its own 'lazy branded content'

On Monday, we posted Miller Lite's new national TV spot, featuring a handful of fan photos selected from some 180,000 gathered through the immensely successful #ItsMillerTime hashtag campaign.

Now, with impeccable timing, Newcastle is here to call bollocks on the whole idea.

The British brewer, known for its anti-marketing marketing, just launched its own hashtag campaign, #NewcastleAdAid, in which it's also asking for fan snapshots—and promises to use the wonders of Photoshop to turn them into really shoddy-looking ads.

Why the sudden embrace of low-cost user-generated content? Because it blew its marketing budget on celebs for the Super Bowl and the Fourth of July.

"Newcastle recognized it needed more 'engaging social content' to keep all of its new followers interested, but this lazy branded content wasn't going to make itself," the brand tells AdFreak. "Newcastle definitely is not the first brand to ask fans to post photos on social media to 'build a stronger community' and whatnot, but Newcastle definitely is the best at turning those photos into into obvious, exaggerated, poorly executed ads."

Here's the pitch video from Droga5, running on Twitter and Facebook:

August 19, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

Are Highway Billboards Becoming the New Home of High Art? Advocacy groups turn interstates into galleries

Advertisers may dominate the lion's share of America's billboards, but roadside signs seem to be an increasingly popular medium for artists as well.

A number of billboard installations have been popping up around the country, reports The New York Times. In Missouri, there's the "I-70 Sign Show," which seeks to spark political debate with images like a Mickalene Thomas piece on female sexuality.

In Cincinnati, the "Big Pictures" show aims to break up the daily routines of passersby with images like a toucan surrounded by Post-it notes, created by artist Sarah Cwynar. And along cross-country Interstate 10, "The Manifest Destiny Billboard Trip" has since last fall sought to call attention to issues concerning the history of westward expansion, with some 100 signs featuring the work of 10 artists.

Each example offers a bit more art theory and cultural critique than your average billboard. They're also more modest in scope than the massive "Art Everywhere" initiative launched this summer, which has seen an advertising trade organization team up with a group of major museums to bring more than 50 crowd-curated paintings, including classics like Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, to more than 50,000 outdoor ad spaces.

While the smaller works might not be as inventive as turning billboards into houses for the homeless, they are a nice change of pace from, say, Ashley Madison.

August 19, 2014, 10:06 AM 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. Updated every weekday, with a weekly recap on Saturdays.

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