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WWII Video Game Will Pause for 1 Minute Today to Remember the Warsaw Uprising Enemy Front marks battle's 70th anniversary

A video game set amid the resistance to Adolf Hitler's war machine and played globally 24/7 will pause for 60 seconds today to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II's Warsaw Uprising.

Enemy Front, created by Polish game studio CI Games, will halt at 1 p.m. Eastern, coinciding with an annual minute of silent remembrance held in Polish cities. 

The Warsaw Uprising was a two-month effort by Polish freedom fighters to evict Nazi invaders, but the hard-fought rebellion suffered from a lack of support by the Soviet Union's nearby Red Army. Thousands of Polish fighters were killed, as were more than 150,000 civilians, many of whom were slaughtered in mass executions such as the Wola massacre.

The action in Enemy Front, a first-person shooter released a month ago, takes place among WWII resistance groups, with the Warsaw Uprising providing a major focus.

During the game's freeze today, players will be directed to to learn more about the uprising. They will also be encouraged to share that knowledge on social media. The site will stream a two-minute film that shows footage of modern Warsaw's automobile and pedestrian traffic coming to a standstill as sirens wail and the residents remember the sacrifices of the past. McCann Worldgroup in Poland devised the campaign.

"We hope that through this event, we can help the world understand the importance of that fateful day in Warsaw and why it is important to honor the memory of all those who fell in combat, helping us to achieve freedom," explains CI Games CEO Marek Tyminski.

Some might criticize the maker of a violent video game for tying a promotion to an event with such deep significance. I find it refreshing, even brave, to give players historical context, reminding them of the title's basis in history, when there was no reset button, and the stakes of the "game" were life and death.

August 1, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Amy Poehler's Newest Job for Old Navy? World's Worst Spelling Bee Moderator Comedy queen is becoming the retailer's go-to ad star

Amy Poehler goes to the top of the class in her latest Old Navy commercial, in which the Parks and Recreation actress moderates a spelling bee.

Of course, we've seen her schtick for the retailer before, in ads where she's played, among others, a lawyer, politician, soccer coach and burrito server, all obsessed with the retailer's prices and fashions.

Still, Poehler's sarcastic delivery never fails to please. Her snark is perfectly balanced by the fact that her characters aren't always thinking straight, their heads clouded by unnatural preoccupations with checked shorts, sleeveless jackets and such. We don't mind letting her have the last word, because we get the last laugh.

At one point in this new spot from Chandelier Creative, Poehler misspells "four"—Old Navy's back-to-school sale prices start at $4—as "f-o-r-e." But that's OK. As she wryly notes in the amusing outtakes reel, "We have computers, who cares about spelling?"

August 1, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Charmin Proudly Tweets That It Will 'Take Care of Uranus' A Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in done right

Oh, Charmin. Don't ever change.

The toilet paper brand, which previously chickened out and deleted its Thor-related joke about being the original "Asgardian," has apparently come around on potty puns. Charmin's newest tweet to cherish is a loose tie-in to summer sci-fi flick Guardians of the Galaxy.

"While they're out guarding the galaxy, we'll take care of Uranus," the twitter image notes. 

My favorite part? It's hashtagged #astronomy. Because if there's one crowd that loves Your Anus jokes, it's astronomers. 

That wasn't the brand's only space-themed Twitter shenanigans. Check out its mildly uncomfortable repartee with Star Trek legend and social media superstar George Takei below.

Hat tip to Marc Graser on Twitter.

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July 31, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT

Kids on Vine Are Weirdly Obsessed With Spoofing 'I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up' Mrs. Fletcher would be proud

If the true measure of an ad's popularity is the afterlife it enjoys through parody and satire, then this 1989 LifeCall ad—featuring Mrs. Fletcher and her infamous line, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"—may be the best-loved commercial of all time.

In the past year, thousands of Vine users—many born years after the ad was made—have been using the 6-second format to parody the cult classic (and the '90s remake). To date, there are over 6,000 posts tagged "Life Alert" (as the company is now known).

Below is just a sample of some of the ways teens and tweens (and a few ridiculous adults) have spoofed this well-meaning but terribly melodramatic spot. It starts to get even more meta when the Vines start spoofing other Vines.

(Click to play each clip, click again to stop.)

Lyin' on the cold hard ground.

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July 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Brands Jump the Sharknado With a Whirlwind of Fishy Pun Tweets Syfy sequel seemed designed to chum up the social waters

Don't act surprised. You knew it was coming, and the brands knew it was coming.

The bad-on-purpose Sharknado 2: The Second One premiered last night on Syfy, and people watched it. Everyone did what they were supposed to do, which was to go on Twitter and live-tweet this carefully planned and manufactured cultural phenomenon. 

Good job, everyone. Meanwhile, somewhere in the basement of NBC Universal a bald man strokes his cat and chuckles.

Take a look below at some of the (presumably intentionally campy) tweets that brands posted while this disaster happened—in real time:

This is so dumb, it might be the best one. 


What am I looking at here? 

Fine. This one made me laugh. 

Get it? It's a shark!

Get it? It's also a shark! 

We know you had to, but still. 

Bud's motion graphics department moves quick!

A bit of a reach. 

We're gonna need a bigger sandwich?

July 31, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

Swarmed by Government Drones? This Ad Suggests Blasting Them With a Silenced Shotgun Meet Johnny Dronehunter, privacy enforcer

Sometimes when you watch an ad, you can't quite believe it's real. Then you learn about the backstory, and you watch it again, and you still can't wrap your head around it.

Take Johnny Dronehunter, the hero in a real new commercial for a real new shotgun silencer, from a real company called SilencerCo.

If you are, like Johnny, a man who drives through the desert in aviators and a beat-up '80s-era Cadillac, then finds himself in combat with a fleet of flying surveillance robots, then this is the shotgun silencer for you.

If your response to growing privacy concerns around the increasing use of drones by domestic law enforcement doesn't include overtones of a paranoid dystopian fantasy in which people run around shooting drones out of the sky, then it's still pretty amusing to watch the clever melodrama of a well-produced drone-hunting video. It feels a bit like a Tarantino-esque take on grindhouse cinema (even though the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men is more famous for its silenced shotgun, it was also quite a bit more serious).

If you were worried that Johnny Dronehunter might not be coming soon to a town near you, SilencerCo's CEO tells Vice's Motherboard that the brand plans to film future Johnny Dronehunter ads in cities and suburban settings, but he admits it's harder to shoot and blow up robots in less desolate locales, because, you know, laws. 

If you're still wondering why anyone would need a shotgun silencer in the first place (especially in the desert), it's because shotguns are loud, which means it could give away your position to the government. Just kidding. Shotguns are incredibly loud, and a suppressor can help keep it from damaging your ears while shooting clay pigeons or hunting live animals. Though it's generally worse for the duck.

July 31, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

People Terrified by Haunted Apartment in Real Estate Company's Ad Prank But it's the disconnect that's really scary

2012 called, and it wants its prankvertising back.

Danish real-estate site and production company Mayday Films staged a hidden-camera apartment haunting that was designed to warn the public to use common sense and avoid rental rip-offs.

The scenario is well staged and restrained by the standards of the genre. Still, the basic setup seems stale from its use in other campaigns, and there's a disconnect between intent and execution that further lessens its impact.

An actor plays a landlord seeking to interest tenants in the Copenhagen flat of his recently deceased father. He leaves for a few minutes, and the weirdness begins. Picture frames, lamps, cookware and a clown doll on a mini-tricycle—the latter a nod to the Saw films—move by themselves. There are also freaky noises, and a radio suddenly springs to life.

Frankly, I'd take the place. Who cares about ghosts? That living room is huge!

Some of the victims scream a lot, probably horrified that they're trapped in yet another "spooky" ad stunt. Indeed, it's scary how familiar such pranks have become, so it's probably time to exorcise them from the marketing playbook.

Via Adrants.

July 30, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT

Johnson's Baby Is Sorry Not Sorry in Awkward Reply to Customer Concerns Here, these origami storks might help

We'll always listen and be here for you. Even when you're wrong.

That's the somewhat odd message that Johnson's Baby offers consumers in this video emphasizing the Johnson & Johnson brand's commitment to the safety of its products—to the point of reformulating them even when there's nothing wrong.

The ad, "Our Safety Promise," explains that Johnson's Baby heard the worries of customers bothered by news that "chemicals of concern" had been found in its products. "Although always safe, for your peace of mind, we removed them," the video says of the chemical.

That message may be transparent. To me, it's also condescending. It's like saying, "We're doing this to appease you. But we still know better than you." Perhaps it's a legal thing. Still, the wording could be much better.

The brand then goes on to celebrate its bigheartedness by having its employees make 1,000 origami storks, which apparently signify "a hope granted and a promise fulfilled," according to a Japanese legend about origami cranes.

It could be I'm just not the target for the ad, which is obviously meant to be touching and sweet. (I'd call it more feel-good for feel-good's sake.) But after watching, I was even more curious about the controversial chemicals.

The spot is part of a new social-media effort that will see 40 more videos released throughout the rest of the year. Let's hope they're less awkward than this one.

July 30, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

Indian Ad With Female Boss Sparks an Uproar: Is It Super Feminist or Super Sexist? Strange plot wants it both ways

There's a lot going on in this new ad from India, and the Internet is fired up about it.

The spot, for mobile provider Airtel, opens on two working professionals in a meeting. A woman, who's the boss, gives her male employees a task, and one protests, claiming there's not enough time to finish it. The boss is sympathetic, but lets him know it has to be done.

She heads home for the day, while he begrudgingly burns the midnight oil. We watch her make dinner, and then there's an O. Henry twist.

Watch the spot before reading further:

Now, I don't speak the language, so maybe I'm missing something. But still, I'm confused. The mix of progressive and regressive messaging here is mystifying. At work she's a strong, resolute boss, but at home she's a lonely housewife pleading for her husband to leave the office and spend the evening with her? Or maybe she just really likes to cook?

Whatever the case, the Internet is certainly taking sides.

Also, I'm probably being picky in pointing this out, but reporting to your spouse is sort of a corporate no-no, isn't it?

What say you?

July 30, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

Self-Driving Car Wreaks Havoc, but Not for the Reasons You Think, in Hilarious Dutch Ad Boon for an insurance company

Some aspects of the techno-utopian fantasy are especially worth skewering, and Dutch insurer Centraal Beheer does a pretty nice number on one of them: the self-driving car.

The brand has a knack for making disaster funny by casting some obnoxious stereotype as fictional villain. A couple of years back, it was a moron in a red Speedo doing circus tricks with his speedboat wheel. Now, in a new ad, it's a self-important ass reading the paper in the backseat of a Volkswagen that's being driven by a computer.

The commercial does bear a resemblance to Liberty Mutual's 2012 spot about human error, but adds another layer to the slapstick joke, and keeps it au courant by blaming the escalating fiasco on the disbelief of spectators distracted by the driverless VW. That premise is a stretch, but it's definitely good for a chuckle.

Now, if only the computer chauffeur would take its passenger into the ocean, or maybe just into a shipping container bound for a remote island inhabited entirely by robots.

Click to Read More →

July 30, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT


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