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Slow-Motion Baby Chickens Fall From the Sky in Cutest and Saddest Easter Ad Ever Students donate spec spot to PETA

Male chicks are adorable, majestic, tragically doomed waste products in this student-created ad that PETA loved enough to turn into an official spot.

German director Djawid Hakimyar tells AdFreak the story behind this Easter-themed spec ad that he and his fellow film school students created and donated to the anti-cruelty organization:

"We rescued three male chicks from a hatchery in Germany. Usually they would have been killed by a grinder or gas. We shot just half an hour with them on a farm with a Phantom Flex camera and a blue-screen background. The three little male chicks now live free on this small farm.

"After we finished the 'Flying Chicks' ad, we showed it to PETA and they loved our work. We and the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg donated the ad to PETA and they will spread it in a couple of days on the Internet."

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April 10, 2014, 10:16 AM EDT

Here's What Happens When You Ask Netflix to Go to Prom With You Teen's tweet leads to a memorable, movie-fueled night

Muthana Sweis, a student at Marist High School in Chicago, took two dates to his junior prom—and one of them was Netflix.

In a January tweet, the 17-year-old asked the company if it would accompany him on March 29 if his request got 1,000 retweets. (He probably asked Netflix because everyone knows that Comcast is taking Time Warner this year.) Netflix agreed, raising the question of how exactly a streaming service goes on a date.

In the end, the site's accompaniment consisted of providing a tuxedo, car and chauffeur based on movies and TV shows it carries. Sweis chose a classy James Bond Skyfall tux and a classic '50s Buick from Grease, along with John Travolta's character as his driver. (Breaking Bad's mobile meth lab was among the vehicle choices. Too bad Sweis didn't pick that one and really get the prom cooking.)

Beyond being a fun way for the brand to build buzz by leveraging its connection with fans, the episode reflects how deeply media have become woven into the fabric of our lives. Film content informed key aspects of the evening, there's a nod to Samsung's Oscar selfie, and the whole thing played out on social channels. It's especially telling that Sweis approached Netflix in the first place, tapping into our shared media experience to write his script for the prom.

April 10, 2014, 9:27 AM EDT

The Story of Microsoft's 'Bliss,' One of the Most Famous Photos Ever Taken Photographer of XP wallpaper tells all

Microsoft wants to make sure you remember the famous image of the blue sky and rolling pasture that graced so many computer screens for so long.

As the world mourns (or not) the end of the road for Windows XP—as of Tuesday, Microsoft is no longer offering support for the operating system—Microsoft Netherlands has posted this nine-minute film on its YouTube channel about XP's famous default wallpaper.

The backstory is told by Charles O'Rear, the photographer who snapped the iconic picture, aptly titled "Bliss," in 1996 along a California highway north of San Francisco (reports seem to differ on whether it's Napa or Sonoma).

The video is a bit slow moving, but is worth watching mostly because of O'Rear's amusement at having stumbled, quite literally, into the background of history, and because of the irony that the photo was, contrary to much speculation, shot on the kind of analog film that digital has rendered obsolete (though Microsoft ultimately cropped the shot and pumped up the greens before presenting it to users).

Notably absent is any specific discussion of how much Microsoft originally paid O'Rear for the rights to an image that this video touts as perhaps the most viewed in history. O'Rear does point out that the original print was valued too highly for regular shipping services like FedEx to be willing carry it … but the courier's current maximum declared value for packages containing photos clocks in at a whopping $1,000, not counting for inflation.

O'Rear has said in other interviews that the fee was the most he, previously a photographer for National Geographic, ever received for a photograph, and one of the largest amounts ever paid for a single shot.

Regardless, the fact is, the use of the photo was marketing genius, as it projects natural serenity in a totally generic kind of way. (Guesses as to its provenance ranged over the years from New Zealand to Ireland to Washington state.)

Still, as inoffensive—pleasant, even—as it is to look at, it's memorable mostly because it couldn't be avoided. So, while Microsoft deserves credit for having some fun with the news that it's retiring an era-defining product, it's also hard not to interpret it all as a legacy technology company lamenting its once-great history as its modern significance has waned.

Via Devour.

April 10, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT

If You Can Sit Through This 7-Minute One Direction Perfume Ad, You're a Better Tween Than I All about That Moment

They pout, they preen, they shill. And more than likely, they score.

The members of One Direction, boy band and global merchandising phenomenon, star in a new video that's not a total goof (not intentionally anyway) despite the presence of a fussy photographer named "Girolle." The short film, with its photo-shoot setup, hypes the singers' second perfume, called That Moment.

Not a card-carrying member of the 1D fan club? Then watching the vignette might be as painful as gargling a cucumber and cedarwood-scented cologne. But it comes as no shock that the young Brits are extending their female-fueled brand again. Their first perfume, Our Moment, was the fastest-selling fragrance of last year.

And so what if the just-released video is a mishmash of worn clichés, bad accents and faux seriousness? (And one bejeweled crotch!) Any glimpse of the superstars making silly faces, mugging for the camera or even drawing breath will probably move product.

What does That Moment really smell like? Green apple and greenbacks.

April 9, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

J. Crew Brings Back a Discontinued Swimsuit Just Because One Superfan Asked Nicely 'Your wish is my command'

Open letters to brands rarely work, though it might help your odds of success if you happen to be a fashion writer for New York magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

Last August, freelance writer Jenni Avins penned an impassioned plea in New York magazine's The Cut blog, asking J. Crew to bring back its scoop back tank swimsuit.

"What I want is smooth, taut fabric that stretches from my shoulders over my chest and ribcage, with hip-high leg holes and an open back to expose my skin to sand, sunshine, and seawater. I want it available in evocatively named colors like hibiscus, marine, and bottle green (in black, it's simply unstoppable.)"

The letter touched the fashionable heart of J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, who immediately responded, saying she'd see what she could do. A few months later Lyons announced the swimwear's triumphant return in a two-page New York ad with a sassy, handwritten note that reads, "Dear Ms. Avins, Your wish is my command ... within reason. XO Jenna."

It's an excellent example of a brand listening to and responding to the wishes of a loyal customer, buoyed by the PR boost of that customer being a writer for a high-profile publication. The only thing sad about it is that we, even those of us who are writers with decently large audiences, don't expect brands to actually listen.

So congrats, J. Crew, for being decent human beings who just couldn’t let a woman drown in a sea of shitty swimsuits.

April 9, 2014, 3:23 PM EDT

Oops? Rolling Stone Has John Hancock Sign the Constitution on Julia Louis-Dreyfus Cover But a source claims it was intentional

If you've seen Rolling Stone's latest cover featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep fame, your initial thoughts were probably along the lines of "Elaine from Seinfeld is naked!" or perhaps "JLD looks damn good for 53!" or maybe even "I want a tattoo of the U.S. Constitution on my back, too!"

But if you paid attention in history class (nerd alert), you'll notice something else: The big ol' "John Hancock" tattooed just north of Louis-Dreyfus' derriere is a mistake. Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

Always quick to ruin everything, the Twittersphere wasted no time in pointing this out.

Louis-Dreyfus also addressed the gaffe in her own Twitter account, putting the blame on her Veep character Selina Meyers' generally incompetent communications director, Mike.

A source at Rolling Stone, however, said the John Hancock signature was deliberate and was meant to be "in the spirit" of Veep's farcical tone. "The Declaration of Independence is on the other side, but we couldn't fit all the signatures on there," the source said.

UPDATE: A day later, Louis-Dreyfux continues to have fun with it:

April 9, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT

Can You Please Watch This Romantic Turkish Ice Cream Ad, and Tell Me What's Going On in It? A little help here

So, here's a lovely little four-minute love story from Unilever's Cornetto ice cream brand in Turkey. And you're probably smarter than I am and can figure out what's actually going on in it. I've watched it at least five times, and I'm still confused.

I think it's kind of adorable and features the product in an unobtrusive way. And it's also a nice follow-up to last year's viral video from the brand.

It opens with the main character, a good looking guy, catching the eyes of the other main character, a good looking girl. I get that part. They spend the rest of the ad trying to find each other via social media. It's all set to a track by Turkish pop star Yalın, who also makes an appearance … as a matchmaking fairy godfather. Maybe?

I can't really follow the plot, but it ends with the good-looking couple finishing off their Cornetto ice cream cones and making out while Yalın looks on approvingly. I don't get that, either, but it's so cheesy it's cute.

I also find that the ad is much better if you mute the audio and play some Vivrant Thing instead. Your mileage may vary depending on your musical tastes.

April 9, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

First Wine in a Box, Now Wine in a Can? Agency promotion puts Beaujolais in paint packaging

Raise your brushes and rollers to toast Lithuania's McCann Vilnius, which recently packaged France's famed Beaujolais Nouveau in limited-edition paint cans for a fun self-promotion.

McCann says it wanted to show clients "that we are constantly reinventing ourselves and looking for a fresh perspective."

The creative concept began with a discussion about how the annually anticipated Beaujolais stains drinkers' teeth and lips purple. So the paint cans include a color chart showing how much you'll need to drink to achieve a specific hue.  

For the promo, bags filled with wine were placed inside the tins, so there's no fear of a metallic taste. If you're in Lithuania, pick up a few when you head out to paint the town red!

Via Design Taxi.

April 9, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT

Devastating Gun-Control Ad Reminds You That Kids and Firearms Don't Mix Grey's follow-up to Lion-winning 'Ed' spot

Grey New York and its client, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, won a silver Lion in Film at Cannes last year for "Ed," their brutal spot about gun violence, set in a workplace.

The sequel, released today, titled "The Monster Is Real," takes place in a family home. Directed by Hornet's Yves Geleyn, the spot may be a cartoon, but that makes it no less devastating. We won't give away the plot, though the conclusion doesn't exactly come as a surprise. But again, that doesn't dull the impact much.

Critics will say that the kid wouldn't play with the gun if he was this afraid of it, though of course children aren't known for tempering their curiosity, either.

"In the wake of so many tragic mass shootings, the nation's focus has been on strengthening gun laws," says Sue Hornik, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. "But one preventable threat to children's safety is unlocked and loaded guns found around the house ... the proverbial 'monster in the closet' of our new public service announcement."

In a release, the group also offered these sobering statistics:

• 1.5 million American children live in homes with unlocked and loaded firearms.
• Every day at least six children 18 and under are injured in an unintentional shooting.
• 75 percent of gun shot injuries to children under 10 that are serious enough to require hospitalization are due to unintentional shootings.

Credits below.

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April 9, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT

Meet Comic Neue, a New Version of Comic Sans That Might Not Make You Vomit For the 'typographically savvy'

A heartfelt hatred of Comic Sans is required for every graphic designer and anyone who happens to have good taste. But while most people use it as a cruel joke or ironically, Craig Rozynski, an Australian designer in Japan, set out to fix the font's many shortcomings.

Figuring there is value in having a casual script typeface for informal documents, Rozynski created Comic Neue to challenge Comic Sans's supremacy in that area.

Available in two variants and three weights, Comic Neue "aspires to be the casual script choice for everyone including the typographically savvy," Rozynski writes. "The squashed, wonky, and weird glyphs of Comic Sans have been beaten into shape while maintaining the honesty that made Comic Sans so popular. It's perfect as a display face, for marking up comments and writing passive aggressive office memos."

In other words, it should appeal to the very people who are still defacing the world with Comic Sans.

You can even download the font for free right now. So get it for yourself and give it to friends. Together, we can stop the disease that is Comic Sans.

• Comic Sans

Comic Neue

April 9, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT


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