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Freak Week

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We ran across some seriously good ads last week, and none better than the first teaser spot for the upcoming videogame The Beatles: Rock Band. Directed by Pete Candeland (the guy who did the Gorillaz music videos), the two-and-a-half-minute animated piece follows the Fab Four from the Cavern Club to Shea Stadium and into their psychedelic years and beyond. These rock-band videogames have teamed up with other artists before, but when it's the Beatles, you have to do something special. Candeland delivered with possibly the greatest opening cinematic of any game in history.

Philadelphia agency Red Tettemer created the week's best internal communications with posters reminding the staff to take advantage of summer Fridays. The ads brand anyone who works past 1 p.m. on Fridays this summer as a "Frienemy" who is 1) no better than a "shithead"; 2) deserving of "blows to the groin" ("Not good blows. Hard punches"); and 3) probably just staying late "to molest Woodbine," the agency cat. There's really nothing quite like obscenities, threats of violence and accusations of bestiality to get people out the door for the weekend.

The most bizarre ad story of the week involved a family in O'Fallon, Mo., who learned that a group photo of theirs had somehow wound up in a poster ad in the Czech Republic. A family friend happened upon the ad in Prague and sent cell-phone pics back to Jeff and Danielle Smith, who were flabbergasted. How the photo traveled across the Atlantic is still a mystery. Danielle Smith said she no longer plans to upload high-resolution photos to the Internet.

The New York installment of Portfolio Night 7 is happening this Tuesday, and it got some great promotion last week thanks to a hilarious video by Tim Piper, the Ogilvy creative who came up with Dove's famed "Evolution" spot. The promo shows an agency guy pitching a completely fishy idea for a fish-sticks commercial to his bosses. The proposed spot involves a woman cheating on her husband with a dolphin and giving birth to a mermaid baby. He suggests the tagline: "It's not the home. It's the fish you bring home." The on-screen text for Portfolio Night 7 then reads: "We'll kill your bad ideas before they kill you."

Finally, the week wouldn't have been complete without a totally absurd infomercial for a truly bizarre product. We found it on Friday: an ad for the Comfort Wipe, an 18-inch-long "sanitary paper-extension arm and holder." Basically, you attach toilet paper to the end of it and wipe yourself with the stick instead of your hand. (Yes, it seems like a parody but is apparently real.) The spot suggests that the Comfort Wipe "allows you to maintain your dignity while you maintain your personal hygiene." Honestly, it's hard to see how it does either.

BEST OF BRANDFREAK: Microsoft's IE8 will cure what ails you

AdFreak sister site BrandFreak looked at a couple of amusing new mock PSAs for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser last week. The spots, by Indiana agency Bradley and Montgomery and starring an impressively deadpan Dean Cain, introduce a couple of maladies that IE8 claims to be able to treat. The first is F.O.M.S. ("Fear of Missing Something"), a condition in which you frantically try to keep tabs on all facets of your online life and "eventually you start to go nuts" -- and a bearded man in a silver unitard starts taunting you. The second disorder is S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. ("Sharing Heavily Yet Not Enough Sharing Still"), an inability to send as much stuff to your online friends as you'd like. IE8 comes to the rescue in both cases. Microsoft is pretty into treating supposed illnesses these days. Ads for its new Bing search engine, by JWT, claim to treat "Search Overload Syndrome."

BrandFreak also looked at the continuing abolishment of the AIG logo following the public outcry over the insurance company's executive bonuses following its collapse. AIG had already removed the logo from its headquarters building in New York; last week, it stripped it from employee business cards and badges, after some staffers had reportedly been harassed. Soon the AIG logo will be a collector's item.