JCPenney Says Thanks for Coming Back, but Isn't It a Little Soon for a Victory Dance? What a difference two weeks makes
Is JCPenney stocking up on slacks with extra room in the crotch? I'm inclined to think so, judging from its ballsy move of releasing a feel-good commercial from Young & Rubicam thanking consumers for "coming back" to the troubled retailer just two weeks after an ad apologizing for missteps under ousted CEO Ron Johnson. Many web commenters have posed the obvious question: "Isn't it too soon to say thank you?" Sure is. Just do the math, Einstein! Penney is set to release first-quarter earnings this week that reflect a 16 percent sales slump following a $4.3 billion loss in sales last year. In fairness, the chain has begun making changes under new CEO Myron Ullman, reviving coupons, sales and its St. John's Bay collection. And its recent mea culpa and #JCPlistens social outreach campaign have been well received. Still, two weeks of anything—and Penney offers no particulars—won't right this ship. Heck, even two good quarters probably wouldn't be enough. That doesn't mean I don't applaud JCP's moxie. For all its muted, mom-centric imagery, the new spot bespeaks a certain swaggering style—i.e., "We're back because we say we're back!" At least there's some substance here, with Penney returning to its roots and focusing on core values. That beats another troubled retailer's strategy of tossing Robin Thicke and phallic symbols into a video and hoping for the best.
May 14, 2013, 10:28 AM EDT
Oreos Can Tame Any Bloodthirsty Beast in New 'Wonderfilled' Campaign Martin Agency spots are catchy and colorful
Closing the books on a yearlong anniversary celebration double-stuffed with buzzworthy work, Oreo is now launching "Wonderfilled," a colorful new campaign celebrating sharing. The TV spots, Oreo's first from The Martin Agency since signing with the agency late last year, are infectiously catchy thanks to the custom soundtrack featuring Adam Young of Owl City fame. The premise is that passing along an Oreo could probably turn all manner of murderous beasts into kind-hearted souls. Who knew? "The ability to wonder is something we all share, but too often forget or ignore," the agency writes in its description of the campaign strategy. "Wonderfilled captures the universal human feeling that kids are naturally so good at, yet adults need to be reminded of: a sense of wonder in the world." Check out the anthem spot below, along with a shorter version and a print piece after the jump.
May 13, 2013, 4:18 PM EDT
Carve Watermelons and Master Butt Ping Pong at Windows Training Camp Were Microsoft ads really for 'Asian markets only'? Doubtful.
Gape in awe at these impressive "Windows 8 Training Camp" videos that dramatize product benefits through the goofiest of competitions. In "Makeup," three women have 10 seconds to apply cosmetics, with results that are hilariously mixed. In "Piano," we are introduced to two men who balance work and play by tickling the ivories while playing pingpong with their buttocks. They’re actually quite talented. And in "Watermelon," three skilled martial artists carve and suggestively finger some watermelons. Microsoft told bloggers the online-only videos were created specifically for Asian markets and were only posted to the global Youtube channel by mistake, but we're not buying it. While I don't speak Korean or Chinese, commenters who are native speakers of both have said on The Verge that the actors in the ads are actually speaking a fake language that's just gibberish, which makes you wonder if the whole odd-Asian vibe and vague backstory for the spots are signs that these were intended to be viral videos from day one. More spots after the jump.
May 13, 2013, 10:10 AM EDT
Lingerie Celebrates Japan's Plan to Stimulate Growth 'Abenomics Bra' is named for inflation-oriented prime minister
Triumph, a marvelously named Swiss-owned women’s clothier in Japan, has unveiled its annual concept bra, which might just be the first economics-themed lingerie. The Abenomics Bra, named after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's “three arrow” economic plan to achieve 2 percent inflation, aims to grow bust sizes with 2 percent extra padding. The golden bra features ceremonial Shinto arrows and is paired with a skirt adorned with a target. According to Triumph’s lovely model in the video below, “If a woman thinks she looks beautiful, she will work harder. And that will surely increase inflation and boost the economy. Right?” I’m sure there’s some evidence that attractive bras stimulate growth, but it's probably not the kind Prime Minister Abe is aiming for.
May 13, 2013, 9:22 AM EDT
Theater Regrets Having Body-Armored, Assault Rifle-Carrying Cosplayers at Iron Man 3 Premiere Police received 911 calls fearing Aurora-like shooter
A Missouri movie theater today apologized "to those who felt they were in harm’s way" when cosplayers arrived for the Iron Man 3 premiere in Jefferson City carrying fake firearms. The incident was initially described as a "publicity stunt" for the movie's opening weekend, but Capital 8 Theatres says it was simply a group of costumed fans who dressed as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to make the premiere more entertaining. Unfortunately, several moviegoers were reportedly alarmed by the sight of a man walking into the theater with what looked like body armor and an assault rifle, which some felt was reminiscent of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting during the 2012 opening weekend of The Dark Knight Rises. (However, some attendees and friends of the cosplayers have stated online that costumes were only worn inside the theater.) The theater has since been skewered in social media, sparking the following apology on Facebook: "We apologize and are sympathetic to those who felt they were in harm’s way with our character promotion for Iron Man 3. This was not a publicity stunt. We have worked with the Cosplacon group on many movies to dress up and help entertain our customers. We have had many complaints about the members dressed specifically as S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns. We didn’t clearly tell our customers and some people didn’t realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theater. We have a wonderful working relationship with the Jefferson City Police Department. Going forward we will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Security and safety for our customers is our number one priority. " The photo above is part of an Imgur gallery featuring shots reportedly taken at the theater the night of the premiere.
May 10, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT
Can You Hear the Tone Hidden in This 'Vision Test'? Ad tricks viewers into seeing need for hearing test
Don't believe everything you see and hear in Draftfcb Toronto's deceptively clever TV and interactive poster campaign for Union Hearing Aid Centre. Known for its tricky advertising, the client's new "vision tests" display letters in successively smaller fonts in typical eye-chart fashion—but there's quite a surprise in store. Those who can read the final line of tiny type on the poster and in the commercial are told that there's probably nothing wrong with their eyesight. But they might want to visit Union and get their hearing checked, because a "really annoying, really loud high-frequency sound" has been playing throughout the test, and those with sharp ears would've reacted to it and likely sought relief before they'd finish the exam. (The hearing center ran similar spots last year.) During the eye-test phase of the TV spot, I couldn't hear the high-pitched sound; but at the end, with the ruse revealed and the tone cranked way up, making it detectable to just about everyone, the message got through loud and clear. And given how many YouTube commenters mention being annoyed by the tone through the whole spot, I suppose I probably should book an appointment. Via Media in Canada.
May 10, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT
Chalk Billboard, Redrawn Twice Daily, Highlights Freshness at McDonald's DDB Warsaw partners with graffiti artist for hand-crafted ads
If the crowds seem larger than usual at a certain McDonald's in Warsaw, Poland, chalk it up to the menu. We're talking about a billboard-sized menu, hand-drawn in multicolored chalk twice daily by graffiti artist Stefan Szwed-Stronzynski as part of a campaign cooked up by the local office of DDB, art studio Good Looking and Krewcy Krawcy Productions. The goal, per the creative team, is to capture "the freshness of McDonald's food" and the breadth of its offerings in a highly flexible way. I'd say they've succeeded, but no matter what this McD's is serving, the menu itself is the special of the day.
May 10, 2013, 7:41 AM EDT
Coke Dispenses Danish Flags Hidden in Its Logo Airport stunt welcomes visitors to world's 'happiest country'
When Coca-Cola discovered that part of its classic logo looks like the Danish flag, the brand (or at least agency McCann Copenhagen) decided to make an interactive airport ad that dispenses flags. Why? Apparently it's a Danish tradition to greet arriving travelers by waving flags, and Coke wanted to help make a bigger show of the fact that passengers were arriving in Denmark, ranked as "the happiest country in the world." You can watch the results in the case study below. I personally doubt this hidden flag was a real "discovery" on Coke's part so much as a forced connection, but it's a nice gesture.
May 10, 2013, 7:31 AM EDT
The Story Behind 'This Is Water,' the Inspiring Video People Can't Stop Watching Without permission, Glossary created an amazing homage to David Foster Wallace
It’s been viewed a million times since last night alone and has single-handedly resurrected the voice of troubled literary genius David Foster Wallace, bringing his words to a global audience that might not even recognize his name. And it was all done without permission. “This Is Water,” a cinematic interpretation of Wallace’s bleak-yet-inspiring 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, has quickly become one of the week’s most passed-around videos. It was created by The Glossary, a small video production shop in Los Angeles. We wanted to know the story behind the video, and the team that created it was kind enough to answer a few questions. Check out the video below and our Q&A with the creators after the jump.
May 9, 2013, 12:06 PM EDT
Flight Attendant in Czech Drink Ad Fantasizes, 'You're All Going to Die' Because she's relaxed, apparently
The Prague office of Lowe & Partners heads into some dangerous airspace with its ad for the "relaxing drink" Zenonade, which apparently motivates a flight attendant to fantasize about all her passengers dying. Admittedly, I too find myself thinking we're all going to die whenever I get on an airplane, but I doubt this ad was delving into my paranoid subconscious so much as intentionally courting controversy. As a provocative ad for a new product, however, the spot seems to fail on two fronts: It doesn't do much to explain the product, and it hasn't even drummed up the outrage its creators had intended. (Agency CEO Martin Lochmann seemed disappointed when he told the Huffington Post that he “expected it to be worse.”) A related spot for the drink, which you can watch after the jump, avoids threats of imminent death—unless you happen to be a piece of Ikea furniture.
May 9, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT
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