Freak Week

As a rule, banks ads usually don’t depict heads of state having sex, particularly when one is living and the other died almost 150 years ago. But that was the case with a weird, not-safe-for-work animated spot by German agency GRabarz & partner for Bontrust Bank, showing Queen Elizabeth II and Abraham Lincoln — or rather, the versions of them that appear on their country’s currency — courting, sleeping together and having children. The idea: Multiply your money with Bontrust. The Queen, it turns out, is insatiable, as she turns her attention to Chairman Mao at the end of the ad, despite already being saddled with four infants.

Among the animals we ran across in ads last week, the most memorable was Denny’s seemingly stoned unicorn, who stumbled into the restaurant in a new commercial from Filter Creative Group. He was part of a motley crew of late-night Denny’s eaters that also included a dinosaur and a leprechaun. As stand-ins for non-mythical Denny’s patrons, they seemed realistic enough — loud, bickering over cash and, in the case of the unicorn, presumably ravenous. The unicorn, though, flat-out denies any illegal drug use, writing on Twitter: “Can I just point out that when we filmed that commercial I was just really tired.”

The runner-up in the category of memorable new ad animals was Orangina Light’s hyena, who cackled endlessly at a fellow café patron who tripped and fell in an odd new spot from Fred & Farid in Paris. The creature was meant to reflect the product’s “Wickedly light” nature, but just came off as annoying. Another spot in the series had a roller-blading giraffe who was also meant to be “wicked” as she picked up (literally) a hot dude headed to the beach. Mostly, though, she was just reminiscent of Jar Jar Binks.

Last week we also posted a handful of America-themed ads commissioned by Paper magazine, which had asked 15 top “visual communicators” for ideas on how to rebrand the U.S. Alex Bogusky, Kevin Roberts and Wieden + Kennedy’s in-house ad school W+K12 were among those who submitted ideas. Bogusky showed Che wearing an Obama shirt; Roberts had the Statue of Liberty giving birth to President Obama. But none of the ads was quite as memorable as the fat Ronald McDonald from artist (and sometime fake-billboard creator) Ron English.

Art museums aren’t known for their breakthrough advertising, which may be why the Museum of modern art in New York enjoyed such great reviews for its “I See” spot from ad shop Taxi in New York. Featuring a fine performance by Henry Gummer (the son of Meryl Streep), it made the case for fine art’s ability to deliver a revelatory and cathartic experience in times of personal and global crisis.

BEST OF TWEETFREAK: Spamming Alex Bogusky on Twitter

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Last week, an unemployed copywriter named Chris Kahle (@chriskahle) dreamed up a novel way to get his dream job at Crispin Porter + Bogusky: get Twitter users to spam Alex Bogusky (@bogusky) with messages imploring him to hire Kahle. The ex-Publicis Vancouver writer then sweetened the pot (cynically or not) by promising to donate $1 to charity for the first 200 people who sent messages. Over on his Web site, Kahle penned a letter to Bogusky in which he said he couldn’t shake a recent visit to the shop’s Boulder, Colo., office. “Where normally I’d be playing free-association drinking games by myself and inventing new words to rhyme with smegma, now I just think of you guys,” he so charmingly wrote. The stunt, lacking in subtlety, seemed destined to fail, and was vocally opposed by many on Twitter. But by Thursday, Bogusky said he was impressed by Kahle’s initiative. “I love what this guy did. Really smart and it got everybody’s attention,” @bogusky wrote. Unfortunately for Kahle, Bogusky’s enthusiasm didn’t translate to a job offer. “Hiring him probably isn’t the point,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. “We literally get 2,000 e-mail applications a month. He got himself and his work noticed.” Hiring him wasn’t the point? Kahle would likely disagree.