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Why Esurance Quickly Took Down This Billboard, Even Though It Looks Fine From a distance, there was a problem

Esurance learned a fun lesson this week: Always take a few hundred steps back and see how your billboard looks from a distance.

The Chicago board above, which carries the seemingly innocuous headline "Cover your home in a click," apparently looked mildly obscene to anyone who spotted it from afar. The "c" and "l" in "click" began to blur, and the sentence looked more like "Cover your home in a dick." (Which is clearly not sound advice from an insurance company.)

Things got worse when someone went and Photoshopped an image of the billboard to more clearly say "dick" and posted it on Twitter. And then, Esurance itself compounded the problem by replying to the tweet and saying the billboard had been taken down—but without clarifying that that particular image had been Photoshopped. (Deadspin, in fact, initially took Esurance's tweet as proof that it hadn't been.)

So, those are your lessons for the day. Look at your billboards from every vantage point. And don't admit to obscenities you never actually uttered.

This article was brought to you by the letters d, c, and lololololol.

September 4, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT

Hans and Franz Pump Up Aaron Rodgers in Hilarious State Farm Ad on Steroids Carvey and Nealon resurrect their classic SNL characters

Like two good neighbors, Hans and Franz have appeared from a Saturday Night Live sweat-dream to peddle insurance—and entertain us again after a few decades of hibernation.

State Farm and DDB Chicago trump their previous (yet still funny) SNL character resurrection with this gem of a 60-second spot featuring comedy legends Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon in their Austrian bodybuilder alter egos. Perfectly synced to the start of the NFL season, they team up with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a longtime State Farm endorser, and repay him for saving them money on insurance. 

"Hear me now and believe me later! You pumped up our wallets with the Discount Double Checking, so we want to repay the favor and PUMP [clap!] ... YOU UP!" Franz shouts at Rodgers in an amusingly clumsy blend of State Farm's branding and the characters' classic catchphrase.

Watch below as Carvey and Nealon prove they're still in prime shape.

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September 4, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT

Matthew McConaughey Talks a Lot of Bull With Just a Few Words in First Lincoln Ad Three spots launched Thursday

Matthew McConaughey takes his time in his first Lincoln ad through Hudson Rouge.

There are almost more pauses than words of dialogue in the 60-second spot, as the Oscar-winning actor and new brand endorser sits nearly motionless in his MKC on a country road, transfixed by a giant bull who won't let him pass.

There's plenty of Rust Cohle here, but this is also just pure McConaughey—quietly audacious. That could also describe the approach of the whole spot, in fact, which barely shows the vehicle in action. (Indeed, it's vanquished in the end by a creature clearly more powerful than itself.)

Two other spots rolled out Thursday—a :60 that's more conventional, with McConaughey driving around and philosophizing on whether you can or can't "go back," and a meta :30 in which he says straight out that he drove Lincolns long before he was paid to do so.

The spots were directed by feature filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who was last seen crafting this 90-second Grey Goose ad.

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September 4, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

Demented Shampoo Ad From Japan Has Everyone Screaming, Including Viewers Wash the insanity right out of your hair

When you think about all the people you need to appease in life, it can get pretty hairy. Your parents, your friends, your significant other, your boss, your co-workers—it's rough.

Well, here's a commercial that sympathizes, and presents a unique solution.

The downright hare-brained spot comes to us from Japanese shampoo brand Mesocare and agency Dentsu. It plays out like Rodgers and Hammerstein's insane night terror, and will freak you out, too. So, without further hairdo, watch people scream at each other while dangling from hair follicles.

Via Ads of the World.

And here's the extended cut (no subtitles), which is worth it for the ending alone:

Client: Mesocare
Agency: Dentsu, Tokyo
Creative Director: Yosuke Hiraishi
Copywriter: Yuto Ogawa
Director: Wataru Sato
Photographer: Onomichi
Producers: Sumina Sugita, Tomomitsu Nakano, Yuki Awatsu, Naomi Yamamoto

September 4, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT

Gillette Razors Are Great for Shaving. Or, You Know, Playing the Piano Son Lux shows you how in weird, cool stunt

Embracing music has become a popular strategy for making potentially dull brands seem cool, and Gillette is leaning hard into the approach with a new spot that turns its razors into part of an elaborate piano-playing machine.

Son Lux, an artist and producer who recently collaborated with Lorde, performs an original composition on the contraption, which rigs a second keyboard into a pulley system that controls the razors—which in turn press the keys on an actual piano.

The ad is meant to demonstrate the rotational capacity of Gillette's Flexball technology. That ends up succeeding well enough, which is a good thing, because otherwise it might just look like an awful lot of trouble to make a perfectly functional instrument unnecessarily complicated just to squeeze in the product. Regardless, Gillette, agency Grey and production company 1st Avenue Machine get props for helping to bring viewers a nice song.

The project also recalls Gillette's symphony of sweaty dudes on gym equipment from last fall (via BBDO), meant to promote the P&G brand's deodorant. GE, meanwhile, has been teaming up with electronic artists to sample the sounds of its heavy machinery, and turn them into very listenable records.

It's hard to say whether razors, free weights, shipping containers or jet engines make the best tunes, though.

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September 4, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT

Outdoor Ad Makes People Think They're About to Be Destroyed by a Tornado Mayhem comes to Sydney

You're trudging down a busy sidewalk, minding your own business, when suddenly the sky is torn apart by lightning, cars and lampposts are hurled across the street by the wind, and a tornado starts heading your way.

If you're guessing it's only an ad—you're right.

Augmented reality shop Grand Visual created the stunt in Sydney, Australia, to promote a tornado-themed disaster film called Into the Storm.

A typical movie-poster street display was replaced with a large, high-definition video screen. The monitor initially shows the "poster" getting blown away by rising gusts. This seems to provide a clear view of the street being thoroughly destroyed by insanely violent weather.

The visuals are impressive, especially the car appearing to slam into the display and smash the screen. And actually, this stunt—by the same team that devised PepsiMAX's apocalyptic bus shelter prank in London—seems more fun and enthralling, and far less unsettling, than some campaigns in the category.

Sure, some of the passersby look a bit stunned at times. But they're probably just perturbed that we're all living in a world that's morphing into one gigantic ad.

Via Digital Buzz Blog.

September 4, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT

Cutest Goth Ad Ever? It's Super Bleak, but You'll Be Smiling by the End Alienation never felt so good

Ad agency Heimat in Berlin has made the cutest teenage goth ad since Kodak film taught my generation that cheerleaders and dudes in fishnet shirts could be friends.

In this spot for German home improvement brand Hornbach, a gloomy-but-not-sour goth girl is soundly rejected by everyone in her community, who all wear pastels. The direction and camerawork make the contrast more subtle than it sounds. And let's also acknowledge that hers is a totally understandable response to life in that town. If everyone in my neighborhood dressed like extras from an Aaron Spelling sitcom, I'd start listening to Spahn Ranch and moping through gym class, too.

Fortunately, the girl's dad is much less of a douche than everyone else, and his obvious desire to relate to her comes through in the end. Yes, it's corny and tugs at the small (or large) piece of us that feels misunderstood and adrift. But it also highlights the too-often-overlooked moment when someone realizes his or her parents are also kind of weird.

For another great goth spot, take a look back at this vulgar yet ultimately sweet ad from Denmark, which was one of 2013's best candy commercials.

Via Co.Create.

September 4, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

SunRun Ad Is Delightfully Upbeat, and You Can Be Too If You Use Solar Energy Cutwater's stop-motion spot

All the electrical products in your house will start doing Busby Berkeley routines once you sign up with solar power company SunRun.

Cutwater in San Francisco crafted the stop-motion ad below with help from Australian animator Dropbear (aka Jonathan Chong), the creative force behind the music video for Hudson and Troop's "Against the Grain." It's funny that an environmentally friendly company like SunRun would tap an animator who wasted so many pencils (don't we need pencils?!), but such is life. 

All of the animation was done by hand, and it took the team roughly a month to complete the 30-second spot.

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September 3, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

This Is How You Make an Ad for Cat Treats Look Like a Nike Commercial Kitties got game for Temptations Tumblers

Want to buy Temptations' newest cat treats and throw them at your cat?

Better stretch out first, man.

The Mars Petcare brand just rolled out new Temptations Tumblers—treats that are apparently more perfectly spherical that regular old Temptations treats. ("Now you can roll, toss or bounce delicious treats for your cats," the brand says.)

And so, in the 60-second spot below, cats "play ball" with them, Nike style, in pretty hilarious fashion. The ad will, of course, get billions of views. But really, how is there not a Tumblers Tumblr?

September 3, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT

After 1,000 Meals, Here's What Made the Frozen Food Review King Call It Quits 'We should not be feeding our kids this'

Photo by Jonathan Fredin, Cary Magazine, courtesy of Gregory Ng

For six years, Gregory Ng has held the uncontested title of Frozen Food Master, a grocery guru who has eaten his way through 1,000 microwaved meals and recorded the results for a loyal audience. 

But a few days ago, in mid-review, he abruptly quit. The breaking point? A $2 children's meal that Ng felt was "breading with a hint of chicken on the inside."

"You know what? I can't do this anymore," he said into the camera after a pause. "This is horrible. We should not be feeding our kids this. We should not be eating this frozen food anymore. I'm done with this."

Obviously, it's not the frozen food industry that's changed since Ng's video review series, Freezerburns, began in 2008. What's changed is Ng himself.

In recent years, while working his day job as CMO for optimization firm Brooks Bell, Ng has become an advocate for healthy, active living. He even quit Freezerburns briefly in 2012, noting, "I was feeling great every day, and shooting more episodes of Freezerburns was my daily downer."

He soon returned to the show, reinvigorated with ideas for how to make it better. Today, he estimates the Freezerburns audience across multiple video platforms totals 75,000-100,000 viewers per episode.

This time, though, he says the end is truly the end. In a blog post, he explains how he's become increasingly uncomfortable with the influence the show has had on his life, such as motivating him to feature the unhealthiest items because he knew they'd be the most popular.

We wanted to know more about his decision to close down a niche he's spent so much time carving out. Check out our Q&A with Ng below:

AdFreak: So, what are the final stats for your time creating Freezerburns? How much frozen food did you eat? How much video did you create?
Gregory Ng:
I published my first episode on Oct. 4, 2008, and in the nearly six years since then I reviewed over 1,000 frozen food items in nearly 700 episodes. One fan calculated that it would take four days to watch every video back to back. Not quite the longevity of The Simpsons marathon, but still a lot of time to watch me eat.

Click to Read More →

September 3, 2014, 11:53 AM EDT


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