Sunday, May 29, 2011

AT&T Flash Mob of One

Have you ever had that uncomfortable feeling of standing out in a crowd ... for all the wrong reasons? Such is the case with the new AT&T 4G commercial.

The clock strikes the magic hour of 12 and the businessman in the train station strips out of his trench coat, and exuberantly breaks into dance ... to the awestruck silence of the subway crowd.

It finally dawns on the flash mob dancer that something is a bit remiss with the situation. He glances down at his phone, only to see the urgent message: "FLASH MOB MOVED TO 12:30."


Up comes the AT&T super: Don't be the last to know. Get it faster with 4G.

Contemporary message, both from the perspective of technology and pop culture. The "rug pull" at the end brought a smile to my face.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Donate 4 Hours, Get A Ticket To A Gig

Orange RockCorps in the UK has created a very interesting concept to encourage Brits to give a bit of their time and their hearts.

Their idea is simple: donate four hours of your time and you'll receive a ticket to a gig. What's fascinating is that you can't buy a ticket to any of these concerts - you can only earn a ticket by volunteering your time.

Visitors to the Orange RockCorps website vote for where volunteers will head next: community, health and well being, or sports & play initiatives.

Musicians from around the world have generously given of their time and talent. Past performers have included star-studded musicians like Lady Gaga, John Legend, Ludacris, Taio Cruz, Snoop Dog, Nelly and Akon.

Communications efforts are pretty stellar too.

In Paris, the Echafaudage Orchestra (translated = Scaffolding Orchestra) broke into musical stylings by drumming pipes, scaffolds and buckets to the delight of spectators.

The Orange RockCorps TV commercial is fascinating to watch, as a myriad of individuals morph to reveal numerous races, shapes, sizes and personal tastes.  Its point? No matter how different all these people may appear to be, they all have one thing in common ... they volunteer their time to help others.

Users can follow the action with Orange RockCorps on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and on their blog.

Volunteers coming together to make life better for others, all while enjoying some great tunes ... music to anyone's ears.

Post-Its Announce Will & Kate's Engagement

Truth be known, I am a romantic at heart. So, when I saw this Post-It outdoor campaign in London, I offered a double thumb's up!

I must admit that I didn't immediately draw the link between the Post-It product and a newly engaged couple ... until I ready the copy:

Will <3 Kate.
May you stick together forever.

Post-it Notes Super Sticky.
Holds stronger and longer.

Charming campaign.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bernie The Brewer Is Missing - Help Find Him!

All baseball teams have mascots, but the Milwaukee Brewers have a mascot that has become so synonymous with the team that attempts to build a new park without him were banished from the start.

For those of you that have not had the pleasure of attending a baseball game at Miller Park, a little explanation is in order.

When the Milwaukee Brewers were still a young and fledgling baseball team, Milwaukee County Stadium was struggling to get fans to attend their games. A devout 69 year old baseball fan by the name of Milt Mason decided to do something about it.  He vowed to sit on top of the scoreboard until the Milwaukee Brewers drew a fan base of 40,000. Approximately 40 days later, the Brewers drew a record crowd of 44,387 fans and Mason delighted the crowd by sliding down a rope into the stadium.

A Milwaukee tradition was born.

Today, Bernie Brewer resides in a Swiss chalet during every home game. Whenever the Brew Crew scores a home run, Bernie descends down a long slide into a giant beer stein that is being tapped from a Milwaukee Brewer keg of beer.

To say that Bernie is a crowd favorite is totally underestimating his worth ... Bernie symbolizes everything that is right about the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball, in general.

So, the promotion that the Milwaukee Brewers are currently hosting with the Milwaukee County Park system is guaranteed to be a hit.

Together, they are planning a statewide "Where's Bernie?" scavenger hunt. As legend would have it, Bernie has planted 1,400 Bernie Brewer lawn ornaments across the fine state of Wisconsin. About one in four of these ornaments (400) will have special prizes attached to them ... Brewers game tickets, an evening in a Miller Park Suite, game-used memorabilia and Milwaukee County Park passes for golf, water parks and the Mitchell Park Domes. Also, 100 of the ornaments will be autographed by Brewers players and personnel.

The big event begins at 5am on Tuesday, May 24. Those on Twitter can follow @Bernie_Brewer and the hashtag #wheresbernie to be clued into the location of these ornaments.

So, Wisconsites, get your engines ready to be on the lookout for Bernie bright and early tomorrow morning!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friskies Creates iPad Games ... For Cats


Friskies has found a novel use for the iPad ... as a game counsel for cats.

They have actually created three games you can use to torment your kitty. Challenge your cat to go Cat Fishing. If that isn't his or her scene, maybe they will enjoy going on a Tasty Treasure Hunt or participating in a Party Mix-Up.

According to Friskies, "the colors, movement, and game-play have been researched and tested for maximum feline fun" and can be used on an iPad or an Android.

Judging from traffic on YouTube, Cat Fishing is the favorite feline game. Check out these cute videos of Mr. Kitty, Kiki, and Callahan fishing on their owners' iPads. Doxi, the Dachsund, violated the official Friskies rules and got in on some of the action, too.

It would appear from all the videos showing up on YouTube, Friskies has indeed created games that will feed your cats’ senses.

My only concern is ... what happens if your cat hasn't been declawed?

Homeless Become Part of the Fabric of Society

If you live or work in a decent sized city, chances are you no longer see the homeless you pass every day. You've become adept at hurriedly walking past them, with your eyes staring straight ahead or averted in the opposite direction. Pleas for money or food are ignored as if we never heard a word.

Plainly and simply, we have become desensitized to the homeless population. 

Such was the impetus behind the ad campaign created for Samu Social in France.  Their goal was to raise awareness of the growing homeless population. Their poignant copy states:

"The longer you live in the streets, the less chance you have to come back."  

This campaign sent me to the web to do a little research on the homeless. 
  • According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 20-25% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness.
  • A 2005 Science Daily article revealed that investigators at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have determined that 15% of people with serious mental illness are homeless.
  • The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty estimates that globally, between 20 and 40 million urban households are homeless and that as many as 1.3 billion people live in inadequate shelter, largely because they cannot afford to do otherwise. 
  • In the United States, it has been estimated that more than 12 million Americans have experienced homelessness at some point during their lifetimes.

While it is true that some people are homeless for reasons that may fall under their own control, many do not have the capacity or ability to leave the streets.

So, the next time you walk past a homeless person, will you possibly look at them with different eyes?

Plastic Can Be Destructive To Wildlife

In an effort to impress upon South Africans that litter can be destructive to wildlife, The Endangered Wildlife Trust partnered with TBWAHuntLascaris to create a print campaign that is guaranteed to get the attention of all who see it.

The ads showcase graphic images of the insides of albatross chicks, which are filled with garbage that was carelessly deposited in the ocean.  The message is slammed home with copy which states, “If you don’t pick it up they will.”

You may wonder how or why these chicks chose to eat plastic. The cold, hard truth is their mothers soared over the ocean, collecting what she thought was food and then feeding it to her nesting babies. According to, "On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking."

I would love to speak with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to better understand the impact this campaign has had on South Africans. While the images are horrifying, are they sufficiently motivating to change decades long behavioral patterns? One can only hope so.

ManpowerGroup's New Image Takes Root

In March 2011, Manpower - a global provider of employment services - officially changed their corporate name to ManpowerGroup, simultaneously launching a new ad campaign to help mold their corporate imagery.

In spring of 2011, I had the opportunity to spend a day at ManpowerGroup's Milwaukee headquarters to help judge their internal Peak advertising award entries. We evaluated marketing and advertising initiatives from around the world, including Canada, China, Hong Kong, Sweden, UK, Argentina, Netherlands, France, and the U.S., among others.

After the judging was complete, we were treated to a tour of their new LEED certified building ... and what a treat it was! The headquarters is remarkable. The building itself is quite beautiful, with great meeting spaces, comfortable offices, spacious hallways and poetic images adorning the walls. But, what really surprised me was how much the building is a visual representation of their new brand.

Mounted images of their print ad campaign, like the one below, are hung on the walls right next to the prop that was expertly created for the photo shoot. My favorite was the campaign pictured below. This had to be one of the coolest artistic creations I've ever seen ... a chair that is blossoming into a tree. The campaign is intended to communicate that relentless growth is humanly possible when the ManpowerGroup is your trusted partner.
Great positioning delivered masterfully and eloquently. It would appear that if ManpowerGroup can deliver on all they promise, they will have an exciting future.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

McDonald's Shares Happy Tales & Happy Meals

McDonald's has taken a bold step into the world of animated fantasy with their most recent ad campaign.

In the first ad, called Suzi Van Zoom, we witness the tale of a young girl learning to ride her bike without training wheels. Her adventures take her from the zoo, where she meets adorable giraffes, elephants and gazelles, to the far reaches of Timbuktu. At the end of her bike ride, she takes a McDonald's break to enjoy lunch with her new zoo friends. Interestingly, the first head nod to McDonald's doesn't occur until 12 seconds into the ad when the golden arches make a very subtle debut.

In the second ad, entitled Apple Tree, a cute white "Twitter like" bird flies through the seasons of the year.  Summer arrives and the buds on the tree blossom, giving birth to new apples. Magically (at 23 seconds), the nest transforms into a McDonald's box, which is filled with healthy looking apples.

Interesting campaign. Throughout most of the two ads, I was engaged by the playful music and the soft and dreamy images (although the girl was a tad strange for my tastes). Plus, I found myself wondering ... whose advertising is this?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I had to watch the scenes unfold several times before I was able to truly understand the storyline. But I suspect that McDonald's ad budget will allow all of us the opportunity to see these ads several times...

Ford Soars with American Idol Fireflies Ad

In previous years, I have really enjoyed the Ford commercials created with the cast of American Idol. The ads were innovative, inspiring and fun. I found myself looking forward to the ads nearly as much as the Idol performances.

But, I must admit that I have found this year's ads to be less than inspiring.

That is until last week, when the Ford Fireflies commercial aired, showcasing the top four American Idol finalists - Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina

The ad was upbeat, fun and innovative, harkening back to the magic recipe Ford followed in recent years. Judging from the "Making of Fireflies" video, it looks like the cast enjoyed creating this ad, too.

Any bets on who will win the new Ford Focus?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Navy Beckons Ladies To Raise The Cuff

A few months ago, Old Navy rolled out an ad campaign showcasing their new ankle jeans. The ad opens with a musical number, telling viewers, "Ladies, it's time to raise the cuff." This ad is one of a series focused on reinforcing Old Navy's new tagline ... Turn Up Today!

According to the Music Industry Report, Old Navy is launching new original styles alongside new original musical hits, taking a step into the hallowed halls of pop music. The goal of this campaign is to engage their target - women 25-35 years who are often moms - on a more emotional basis.

"Combining music and fashion, 
Old Navy invites customers to participate in a campaign 
rooted in music video commercials and 
downloadable Old Navy branded songs
about the brand’s target customer
and the must-have looks of the season."

Employing the concept of 360 branding, the campaign will be brought to life in advertising, stores, online, Facebook, and on mobile devices.

Now, I realize that I gave up the right to call myself the Old Navy target some years ago, but I can't help but wonder if 25-35 year olds find this ad a bit corny. True, it is lighthearted and original but I feel a bit like I'm watching a Broadway musical gone bad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coca-Cola Lights Up The Sky For Its Birthday

Coca-Cola was first launched on May 8, 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. John Pemberton.  While the bottle has evolved over the many years the brand has been in existence, its iconic shape - capped off by the signature red top - has remained relatively constant over the years. 

Additionally, throughout its many years of advertising, Coca-Cola has always delivered refreshment. The first ad, dating all the way back to 1886, proudly stated, "Delicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! Invigorating!"

Coca-Cola defined advertising in the early days of this country. It created the iconic image of Santa Claus that we all know and love. It was the key advertiser of the 1920 World's Fair. It was the first to use testimonials in advertising and the first advertiser to create a two-page print ad spread. It created and advertised the first centerfold (although their model was clothed, albeit in a revealing swimsuit). In 1962, it was the first brand to show people of color in advertising. In 1986, Coca-Cola became known as An American Classic and that title has held to this day.

Coca-Cola has had a rich and storied 125 year history. So, it is only fitting that they would invite all of us to their birthday party. On every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening during May, Coca-Cola will send a spectacular Thank You to all of Atlanta, when they display the world's largest single building illumination of its headquarters tower.  The display features 125 years of Coca-Cola advertising. Photos and messages from Coca-Cola's Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts will also be showcased.

So, in honor of Coca-Cola's 125th birthday, have a Coke and Smile! :-)

Target Makes Hemingway Proud With 12 Word Ad

"It came out wrong and I just...what I wanted to say ..."

Remember that famous book,  Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, written by John Gray in 1992?  You know the storyline ... men and women are different species. We speak different languages, often resulting in missed communications and hurt feelings.

In their most recent commercial, Target does a masterful job of recreating this sticky communication scene with only 12 words.

Obviously, not the right words for this husband.

Ernest Hemingway would be proud.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sete Léguas Staves Off Enemies of Feet

With an average temperature falling within the range of 63-84 degrees Fahrenheit (17-29 Celsius), it's no surprise that Brazilians are often found walking barefoot on the beach or decked out in their latest Havaianas.  But, just like any other country in the world, there are times when sandal-clad feet are just not appropriate.

In steps Sete Léguas (aka Seven Leagues), a brand of Brazilian boots with a reputation for safety. Consumers across Brazil are seen wearing these boots while working in hospitals, industrial kitchens, gas stations and farms. 

Question: How do you convince someone to protect their feet with Sete Léguas boots?

Answer: You create a stunning print and outdoor campaign that reminds consumers that their feet have a lot of enemies in the workplace.

No doubt, the beauty of this ad campaign breaks through the clutter, dreamily drawing you in to learn more.  The 2010 Cannes Lion International Festival agreed, awarding a bronze metal to Sete Léguas for this campaign.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nikon Helps You Lose Yourself

Nikon and Cheil Worldwide earned a bronze medal in the 2010 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity with this print campaign, which aired in Seoul, Korea last year.

I think this campaign is brilliant in acting as a megaphone for a hardcore consumer insight, which is mainly this: When you are working hard to bring your vision to life, you get totally immersed in the moment. You become so focused that everything else around you fades from vision. And you will stop at nothing to get that perfect shot ... whether it involves climbing a wall, balancing yourself at a precarious angle, or even risking life and limb.

Nothing stands in the way of a perfect shot.

Brilliant consumer insights are often the most obvious of insights. Nikon merely acknowledges what any great photographer already knows ... that it's easy to lose yourself in your photography.

Attention-getting. Intriguing. Memorizing.

Well done Nikon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Intuitive, Inspiring, Powerful. New Ipad 2

The new iPad 2 ....
 To a parent, it's intuitive...
To an artist, it's inspiring...
To a doctor, it's groundbreaking...
To a CEO, it's powerful...
 To a teacher, it's the future...
To a child, it's magic...
And if you ask Apple... 

We'd say it's just getting started.

Such is the copy behind the newest iPad 2 TV commercial.

In a recent analyst briefing, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Openheimer claimed they have sold every iPad 2 they have made.

iPad has rapidly moved from being a high-tech, innovative device idolized by those always in search of the "latest and greatest" to a device that is becoming ingrained in the lives of children.

Talk about an impressively rapid life cycle.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Subaru Fights Mediocrity ... With Mediocrity

Every so often an ad comes along that makes you stop and pay attention. I mean, stop and really pay attention.

Enter Subaru.

Subaru has chosen a tongue-and-cheek approach to prove that their Legacy is anything but vanilla. Their website touts the launch of a brand new car called .... Legacy? No, not exactly.

The new auto is called Mediocrity, a car that is defined as not extraordinary, but extra-ordinary. The announcer issues a challenge, "I dare you to look at this car and find something that stands out." Marily Reiter, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Development, declares: "Doors? Check. Windows? Check. Steering Wheel? Check. Bells and whistles? Not on my watch."  The site also invites participation from those that visit, allowing them to build their own car, painting it in various shades of beige, medium crumb and stale biscuit, harkening back to the days of Henry Ford when consumers were invited to select any color of automobile they wanted ... as long as it was black.

As you are exploring this website, you find yourself wondering who the sponsor is behind this incredibly professional, yet comical, marketing effort.

Looking up at the URL will lead you to the path of enlightenment. Or clicking on the arrow which reads "or click here if you don't subscribe to these principles at all" will take you into the Subaru Legacy site which promises to help you fight mediocrity.

Overall, I really like this campaign because of its intrigue and its declaration of independence from mediocrity.

My only concern is that you have to dig a bit to find where this campaign is leading and once you leave mediocrity behind and enter the Subaru site, there is nothing linking the spoofed campaign to the car. It left me a little sad. I went from being thoroughly entertained to just viewing another boring car ad.

In my mind, Subaru and their agency demonstrated some brilliant thinking with the launch of Mediocrity. But, unfortunately, I think they missed the mark on closing the loop on their final delivery.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tropicana Is Wired To Have Fun

Oranges have long been thought of as a great addition to anyone's diet. Among other things, they are loaded with Vitamin C, providing tons of natural energy. 

Inspired by the natural goodness of oranges, Tropicana along with their agency partner DDB Paris, decided to take the concept of natural energy one step further.

Together, they created a billboard completely powered by oranges. Yes, you heard me right ... oranges.

Approximately 2,500 oranges were fastened to a wood billboard with zinc and copper spikes. The natural acidity of the orange juice dissolved the metals, causing the electrons to react and form an electrical current.

Voila! Oranges are transformed into electricity!

The Tropicana Energie Naturelle billboard is accompanied by a YouTube campaign which unveils the science behind making Tropicana's "beautiful sparks."

Inventive. Intriguing. Fun.

Anyone interested in buying an orange-powered hybrid?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"My Best Fit" Sizes Women Up

If you're anything like me, shopping for clothes isn't always such a great experience. You take several pieces of clothing - which are the same exact size - into the dressing room.  Some fit well. Some are too tight. Some are too loose.

How can clothing that is the same size have so much variability in the way they fit???

That is exactly the question a company called My Best Fit sought to find an answer to. After much effort and research, they are offering up a solution that is guaranteed to streamline the clothes buying process. offers an easy three-step process to finding clothes from 30 major retailers, including American Eagle, Gap, Levis, Mavi, Old Navy, and Talbots, among others, that will be a perfect fit ... every time.

1) A body imaging system scans your fully clothed body for 10 seconds
2) Mybestfit™ matches your measurements to clothes that will fit your shape
3) A Shopping Guide recommends the best fitting styles for your body

Currently, this equipment is only available at the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania. But, the excitement it seems to be generating will likely lead to other installations in the near future.

The Foundation for a Better Life Passes It On

According to The Foundation for a Better Life, the values we live by are worth more when we pass them on. Their belief is that - at their core - all people are basically good.

But, unfortunately, all too often the pace of life takes over and we forget to pass on our goodness to others. Sometimes ... we just need a little reminder to open our minds and our hearts. 

The Foundation for a Better Life provides that reminder in their recent TV campaign.

What began as a kernel of a good idea has blossomed to global proportions. Feel-good ads like the ones on honesty and on offering encouragement to others are now seen in over 200 counties, in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Award-winning artists and writers like Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, and Randy Travis have donated their music to this campaign ... promoting positive change around the world.

Viewers of the advertising are directed to The Foundation for a Better Life's website,, where messages of hope, love and encouragement are shared with readers.

In a time when our world news is dominated by disturbing images of war, deadly tales of natural disasters, and crimes of epic proportions, it is uplifting to see an organization enlighten and inspire us all.

So, instead of holding all your goodness inside your heart, take a lesson from The Foundation for a Better Life and pass on a piece of your kindness to others.
Sue Northey - Find me on