Out to Launch

HBO launched a great in-house ad July 12 encouraging subscribers to "Stay Home" Sunday nights. The spot places characters from Sunday night shows like "Entourage," "True Blood," "Big Love," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Flight of the Conchords" into average households. In one scene, a man bites his tongue while eating a slice of pizza. He asks Bill Compton, a vampire from "True Blood," if he's ever done that. "Unfortunately, no, but I understand it's delicious," replies Compton. "You stay home. We come to you," ends the ad, seen here. Viewpoint Creative made the ad.

Sept. 27. That's the premiere date of the fourth season of "Dexter." Until then, let's have a look at a TV spot promoting the series in Amsterdam. Voiced by Dexter himself, the ad drips with questions and reflective moments plaguing the serial killer. Dexter's words appear on-screen, in blood, alongside bloodstained microscope slides, latex gloves, a scalpel and knife. "Am I evil? Am I good? I'm done asking those questions. I don't have the answers," he says. Watch the ad here, created by 60 Layers of Cake.



Mr. Met has a starring role in the latest ESPN "This Is SportsCenter" ad. I'm so happy, unlike Mr. Met. The mascot is conversing with Stuart Scott in ESPN's lunchroom when Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers comes in to microwave his lunch. Hamilton receives an angry look from Mr. Met, who throws down his cup and storms off. Hamilton wonders what he did to anger Mr. Met and Scott informs him: "A couple of those homerun derby balls you hit? They were his cousins." See the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy New York.

The Most Interesting Man in the World is back as the spokesman for Dos Equis beer. Copy is almost as smooth as him. In one ad, seen here, we learn he lives vicariously... through himself. In the next spot, we find that "people hang on his every word. Even the prepositions." Love it. See it here. The remaining three ads feature advice on pick-up lines (never use them), self-defense (master a look) and the two-party system (attend the after party). See the ads here, here and here. Euro RSCG New York created the campaign and Mediavest New York handled the media buy.

Mobile phone provider 2Degrees is making its debut next month in New Zealand. Supporting the brand launch are two TV spots starring comedian Rhys Darby, known for his role as Murray in "Flight of the Conchords." Darby acts out scenarios such as being locked into a cell phone contract or choosing which group of friends to add to a savings plan. The comedian sits in prison with his cellmate, who's clad in a pink dress, wondering how to get porridge in one setting, and shooing away a friend not good enough for his calling plan in another. I bet he saved the pal sporting an "I love Rhys" shirt. Watch it here. Darby encourages New Zealanders to have a "good-old fashioned chinwag" rather than spend time on MySpace, Facebook or Twitter. It's a step closer to having people conversing face-to-face. See the ad here. TBWA/Whybin created both ads.

Google launched a global campaign for Google Maps that promotes both Google Maps and local businesses in 13 cities worldwide. Participating cities include New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Madrid and Prague. The most interesting part of the campaign is various celebrities sharing their favorite restaurants, stores or exhibits. In New York, for example, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa recommends his favorite restaurants; Diane Von Furstenberg and Isaac Mizrahi share their favorite places to shop; and Moby tells us his favorite dog park. Restaurateur Danny Meyer loves to people watch in Grand Central Terminal. So do I! Stars: they're just like us. Ads can be found on bus top shelters and street pole banners throughout the city. Each celeb participant has his or her own custom interactive display. Yo-Yo Ma's is a cello; Tony Hawk's bears a skateboard. See ads here and here. Ads were created in-house, with New York media supplied by NYC & Company.

LendingTree encourages people to become superheroes of their financial destiny in a set of TV ads running nationally during cable and network news and entertainment and sports programs. Who better to voiceover the ads than Adam West, who once played a superhero on TV? A depressing financial world is described in one ad, as seen here. "It's time to rise and take control of your own financial destiny," says West, as a man's reflection in his car window is that of a superhero. In the second ad, we meet Scott, who's in a pickle. An inner pep talk changes him from Scott, to great Scott. See the ad here. Mullen created the campaign and mediaHUB handled the media buy.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation launched a nationwide campaign honoring Mandela with the first-ever "Mandela Day" which took place in New York City on his birthday, July 18th. "It is in your hands to make a difference," begins Mandela in the first ad, seen here. It shows moments of achievement from Mandela's life and encourages people to make an imprint by volunteering 67 minutes of their time, a number representing the years Mandela has spent fighting social injustice. Another spot features sets of helping hands delivering food, planting seeds and giving a vaccination, once again driving the message to "make an imprint." Watch it here. Images of celebrities' hands were placed throughout the city, alongside quotes pledging 67 minutes of volunteer work. See them here, here and here. Gotham created the campaign.

Random iPhone App of the week: The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions launched an App that allows vacationers to explore Amsterdam from their mobile device. The free App features images of Amsterdam's museums, restaurants, bars and hotels, with information updated regularly. Features such as Google Maps and the GPS "Near Me" function can navigate travelers in real-time through historic canals and shopping districts. The App was created in-house.

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