Age of Bret McKenzie, the world’s most unlikely new ad star. His extremely brief (three-second, nonspeaking) appearance in the Council of Elrond scene in the first Lord of the Rings movie earned the New Zealand native an immediate cult following. His character had no name but was dubbed “Figwit” (which stands for “Frodo is great … who is that?!”). Web sites about him multiplied into the hundreds, and now he is starring in his first ad—a spot by Cheetham Bell JWT in Manchester, England, for cell-phone marketer Phones 4U. In it, he and Jermaine Play (with whom McKenzie formed a folk-comedy band that played at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival) are kiwi backpackers touring the U.K., singing about Phones 4U through a huge speaker mounted atop their minibus.
Feet in diameter that Big Ass Fan Co.’s fans reach. That is no excuse, says Lexington, Ky., city councilman David Stevens, for the gigantic mural the company has put up in town that primarily shows a donkey’s backside. “Is there anything we can do to make such signs—lewd and other signs—illegal?” Stevens asked a council committee last week. The company’s marketing chief, Bill Buell, responded: “It’s mentioned in the Bible: Mary rode into town on an ass. What we’re showing [in the ad] is literally a big ass. If people read something else into it, it’s not our problem.”