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Fellas, Bill Kurtis Wants You to Go on a Mancation to Illinois With Him News veteran's tourism spots rally the bros

Legendary anchorman Bill Kurtis is a man's man. Just ask Ron Burgundy ... or the Illinois Office of Tourism.

A new campaign from JWT Chicago features Kurtis, a veteran Chicago journalist best known today for hosting cable crime shows like Investigative Reports, Cold Case Files and American Justice. This time we see a new side of Kurtis, pitching his home state as an ideal destination for "mancations"—getaways that focus on stock car driving, gambling and—wait, wait... don't tell me—golf.

These trips are cast as reciprocation for womanly leisure activities like book clubs, because, the argument goes, if a guy suffers in the name of love through a sentimental novel, he should be rewarded.

Kurtis oozes charisma, and the message is certainly more down to earth than the zany miniature replica of Abraham Lincoln the state has been using to appeal to potential visitors. The world didn't really need another advertising portmanteau, but the real risk for the brand is that Kurtis's outsized personality eclipses a concept that, at its core, doesn't add much new to the resurgent trend of testosterone-drenched advertising

Then again, if a person in a bear suit playing a bugle comes standard with vacations to Illinois, sign me up.

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July 18, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

Devin SuperTramp Creates a 260-Foot Water Slide Down a San Francisco Street Bear Naked Granola is YouTube influencer's newest client

YouTube influencer Devin SuperTramp is a man who knows how to get what he wants. And in this case, he wants to ride a 260-foot water slide down the streets of San Francisco. 

The video for Bear Naked Granola, with more than 600,000 views in its first few days online, is basically two-and-a-half minutes of young people screeching and squealing as they slosh down the steep track on inflatable rafts, boogie-boards, various rubber sea creatures and, in some cases, their bare bellies.

(I'm sure the locals who spend a zillion dollars for their shoebox-size garden apartments were just thrilled with all the brand-fueled water tomfoolery.)

Street surfing is rapidly becoming a thing. Last year, an artist turned a boulevard in Bristol, England, into a 300-foot water slide to highlight the intricacies and costs of urban planning, because, clearly, only a giant water slide could communicate those complex points.

Check out a behind-the-scenes video below to see the equipment, logistics and rapid jumping reflexes required to pull off a shoot like this.

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July 18, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT

The Other Bieber, Letterman and Zellweger Star in Ads for the Other Amazon Agency finds people who share its famous-name problem

Sharing a name with a celebrity has got to be a blessing and a curse. But it can also make you mildy famous.

Lynda Pearson and Millie Olson co-founded Amazon Advertising, an agency based in San Francisco. In the video below, they explain that while they and the e-retail juggernaut have filed seperate trademarks that keep each from encroaching on one another's business, it's gotten harder to maintain an identity as the Amazon that's not THE Amazon.

"We just didn't know they were going to take over the entire world," Pearson says. 

Taking a page from Jack in the Box and Taco Bell's "Real Ronald" and Seattle's Best's "Real Duncan" campaigns, the folks at Amazon Advertising have started the Mistaken Identity Project, recruiting real people with famous names to help explain their dilemma.

The results are pretty amusing too. "The real" Justin Bieber explains how he's been kicked off Facebook (for not being the douchier but more famous Bieber), and Jon Stewart talks about how he dated a girl named Hillary Clinton (who incidentally wasn't so proud to share her name when the Lewinsky scandal broke). 

As for Amazon Advertising, you'd think they're quite lucky to share a name with America's most popular brand.

Take a look below as Bieber, Stewart, Zellweger, Letterman, Alice Cooper and the Amazon Advertising team give us a taste of what it might be like to be famous...ish.

Via Creative Criminals.

Justin Bieber

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July 17, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

Nike Boosts Brazil's Morale After World Cup by Looking Ahead to the Olympics 'Tomorrow Starts Now'

Nike doesn't want Brazil to linger on its loss in the World Cup. Instead, the brand's new ad is aimed at pumping up the passionate nation of sports fans for their next global event: the 2016 Olympics.

"Tomorrow Starts Now" is a beautiful tribute to the outstanding athleticism of a country whose chances at glory were abruptly and embarrassingly snuffed out by a 1-7 World Cup loss to Germany.

But instead of trying to tend the wounds of Brazil's futebol fan base, Nike is instead looking ahead to the many events where the country is expected to do well when the world returns to Rio de Janeiro for the next Summer Games.

The spot from Wieden + Kennedy São Paulo is a solid minute packed with diverse talent like track athlete Ana Claudia Lemos, beach volleyball siblings Clara and Carol Salgado, basketball players Leandrinho and Anderson Varejão, and Yane Marquez, a bronze medalist in the pentathlon at the London Olympics.

As usual, Nike is on top of its game, finding those perfect moments that celebrate the unparalleled power of the world's best athletes. It's also a moving reminder that the soul of sport lies not in winning, but in the passion it takes to keep going after a defeat. You can make it, Brazil. You can get past this.

July 17, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

Walter White Boldly Goes Where No Meth Dealer's Gone Before Social app tvtag let users pick which bobblehead to launch

When you have zero coding skills, how do you keep busy at your company's hackathon? For the non-engineers at i.TV, the answer was to send a meth dealer into space.

"The hackathon leaves those of us without coding skills regretting the fact that we're not technical wizards," marketing director Johnny Galbraith says. "So instead of sitting on our hands, we decided to launch Walter White into space and get it on film." 

The second-screen company owns the social networking tool tvtag (formerly GetGlue), and users were asked to pick which popular character should get launched: Walter White (Breaking Bad), Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) or Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones). In the end, White won the chance to be tvtag's first Space Ambassador.

The tvtag team spent a day building the White bobblehead vehicle and then drove out into the Utah desert to launch. The video shows the team launching the vehicle, and a camera records White's glorious flight through the atmosphere and its landing, where the bobblehead sadly becomes decapitated. (Symbolic of the Breaking Bad series, perhaps.)

The reactions on YouTube are, as expected, full of comment gold. They range from a Jesse Pinkman-esque "Science, bitch!" to "Misleading, thought he would be hustling meth to aliens."

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Like us, so many Breaking Bad fans are still bummed that the show is over. So it's been awesome reading through all the 'Yeah, science!' comments. One person was mad that we would endanger the International Space Station with our project, but we're happy to report we dodged that bullet by about 1 million feet in altitude," Galbraith says.

Galbraith recognizes they're certainly not the first to send a bobblehead into space. Earlier this year, snack brand Little Debbie launched a carton of Cosmic Cupcakes and a bobblehead into space.

This is a fun new trend, but I'd like for someone to focus resources on figuring out how to get a pizza to my house while it's still hot. Maybe we could strap some rockets to those fancy Domino's motorcycles?

July 17, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

Toshiba Creates Futurama-esque Ad Mocking Its Own Industry Brand distances itself from the hype of 'Sillycon Valley'

Toshiba skewers a certain hype-driven West Coast tech-topia in the brand's new animated spot, "Sillycon Valley."

Packed with fun visual gags, the spot from goodness Mfg. takes us to a highly caffeinated zone of hyperactive technophilia that boasts computer goggles for canines (doggles!), WirelessWater (the bottles are WiFi hotspots), Asimo-type robots on public-works details and 5-D printers that inadvertently summon slimy tentacled monsters.

A java-drone flying Starbucks colors soars above the local wind farm—and almost everyone's eyeballs are glued to their smartphones, if they're not hip enough to have Google Glass. 

"Animation is a great way to deliver over-the-top humor," goodness Mfg. ecd Tom Adams tells AdFreak. "It immediately transports the audience into another world where they don’t take things too seriously."

Of course, tech excesses have been parodied to death—in HBO's Silicon Valley and just about everywhere else—so Toshiba's not doing anything especially innovative. Plus, this is a commercial, ultimately promoting the Encore 2 tablet for the back-to-school season, so the satire can't bite too deep, lest it risk being branded as hypocritical.

All that said, the spot hits just the right tone. It's snarky, but not too mean-spirited, with a look that fits the tech biz to a T—busy yet sleek, over-bright and self-consciously befuddling.

The commercial feels kind of like a spoofy segment on The Simpsons or Family Guy, which makes sense, as Friends Night, the studio that produces Fox's Animation Domination HD programming, worked on the project.

"Because they come from a TV background, they were able to move quickly, which was very important to us," Adams says. "We were able to complete the project from concept to the final approved version in about six weeks."

Overall, the effort seeks to position Toshiba as "providing products and services that offer solutions, not empty promises," Adams says.

(That's also the thrust of "Unleash Yourself," a live-action spot with a cartoon-y feel that shows Satellite Pro laptops magically morph into useful or fun items in various situations. You can watch that one below as well.)

"Today’s savvy consumers are constantly questioning the practicality of new technology," Adams says. "We decided to have fun with this shift in attitude [emphasizing that Toshiba makes devices to] meet the real-world needs of today's consumer."

Laptops and tablets are great, but I'll take a pair of those "smart-scissors" revealed during the animated extravaganza's crazed climax. It looks as if they'd cut through the clutter—and just about anything else.

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July 17, 2014, 10:43 AM EDT

Bosch Breaks Into People's Homes in What We're Supposed to Believe Is a Real Stunt Prankvertising's not even trying anymore

Recent years have seen a slew of hidden-camera prank ads, and many of them are of dubious authenticity. But this new effort from Bosch in Belgium might take the prize for most laughably fake stunt commercial yet.

(You can watch the clip below before reading further, if you don't want us to spoil the supposed twist for you.)

The plot line, such as it is, goes like this: Apparent cat burglars turn out to be creepy do-gooders (a.k.a. Bosch representatives) who just want to break into homes so they can vacuum downstairs while the owners are upstairs sleeping. The take-away here is, of course, that the vacuums are surprisingly quiet.

Come daybreak, the owners are met at the door by strange men with video footage from within their homes while they slept. You know, the stuff of horror movies. But instead of slamming the door and calling the police, each homeowner seems quasi-delighted about the whole thing.

Sure, it's a cute idea tailored to the merits of the product. But they couldn't even get one or two of the residents to pretend to be indignant? Instead, the brand and agency BBDO Belgium in Brussels seem to have abdicated any sense that they were trying to make the illusion seem real.

In the end, ads like this need to go one way or the other: Either go for vaguely realistic (if largely questionable) reactions or just take a hard turn and let audiences enjoy the ride.

July 16, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT

Sean Astin Is Back (Again) as Rudy in ESPN's Excellent College Playoff Promo He also had a cameo in this year's Super Bowl

A college championship that's both national and rational has long been the dream of American football fans. In fact, Rudy dreamed up the solution 40 years ago, according to this fun bit of alternate history from ESPN.

Sean Astin reprises his 1993 role as Notre Dame's plucky 1970s walk-on Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger in an ad created by Wieden + Kennedy New York to highlight ESPN's coverage of the College Football Playoff system debuting in the 2014-15 season. For now, the sports network is mostly focused on just helping casual fans make sense of how the whole thing will work. 

Oddly enough, this is the second time Astin has returned to playing Rudy in 2014. His cameo was definitely the highlight of CarMax's "Slow Clap" Super Bowl ad.

We asked Wieden + Kennedy New York if this second Rudy reprisal was just a coincidence, and a spokesperson sent along this statement:

"Our campaign is all about fans' excitement for the inaugural college football playoff season. Rudy is not only one of the biggest icons of college football, but he's also one of the sport's biggest fans. His passion for the game is representative of the passion of all college football fans," the statement said.

"So we thought he should usher in this new and exciting era. The fact that Sean Astin was recently in another spot this year was only brought to our attention after the idea was concepted."

The real question, of course, is which brand will talk him into reenacting a rousing Goonies monologue. Down here it's our time. It's our time down here.


July 16, 2014, 5:02 PM EDT

50-Foot Dead Parrot Drops Into London to Promote Monty Python Reunion Remarkable bird, beautiful plumage

Photo: David Parry/Press Association

What's a Monty Python reunion without a dead parrot? And why settle for a simple prop you can bang on the counter when you could have a monstrous, 50-foot-tall dead parrot?

To promote the live broadcast of the comedy troupe's July 20 performance, UKTV's Gold channel and sculptor Iain Prendergast created a massive fiberglass dead parrot, which was suspended from a crane and laid talons-up in London's Potters Field this week.

The bird is, of course, a reference to Monty Python's enduring "Dead Parrot Sketch," which you can watch below.

"The key challenge for us was capturing the comedy value of the dead parrot," Gold general manager Steve North tells RadioTimes, "keeping the realism of the bird [while] also adding touches like the bloodshot, stunned eyes."

Photos by David Parry, via Flickr.

July 16, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

We've Just Discovered Business Pogs, and the Ad Makes Us Want to Order 10,000 of Them Faux retro clip is fresher than the Funky Bunch

Are you tired of plain old traditional self-promotion? Business cards? What is this, the 1980s?

No, clearly this is the 1990s, and you need to log on to your personal computer right now and design your very own Business Pogs!

Remember pogs? Basically, they were little cardboard circles with pictures on them that were a fad in the early '90s, lasting about as long as the Funky Bunch before Marky Mark married Mark Wahlberg.

With this service (the amazingly retro video below and associated website actually date back to 2012 ... how are we just discovering these treasures?) you can get all kinds of cool designs on them: eight balls, yin-yangs, cobras, skulls! And your very own name, phone number and electronic mail address!

What's that? You want to "go viral with QR codes"? Well, you've found your place. 

This seems legit too, but the minimum order is $100.

So, if the GIFs above weren't enough, take a look below at the full video, in all of its faux '90s glory. As of post time, the folks at Business Pogs could not be reached for comment. We'll try again in a year or two. 

July 16, 2014, 9:26 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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