Out to Launch

ESPN launched "A Short Time Ago," the latest TV ad for the network's "It's not crazy, it's sports" brand campaign. The campaign exposes strange occurrences taking place in the sports world. Of course, these events are only strange to non-sports fans. In "A Short Time Ago," viewers learn about students at theUniversity of Mississippi who recently tried to elect Admiral Ackbar, a Supreme Commander of the Rebel Alliance Fleet in "Star Wars," as their on-field mascot. Crazy but true. The university hasn't had an on-field mascot since 2003, and, sadly, Ackbar won't be the one. LucasFilm informed Ole Miss that Ackbar is busy "fighting evil forces in another galaxy." Watch it here. Earlier ads included footage of Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971 playing golf on the moon. I especially loved the Chi-Chi Rodriguez shout-out at the close of "Miles and Miles." See it here. "Hauler Race" pays homage to "Smokey and the Bandit," with a race between big-rig trucks hauling NASCAR vehicles. Watch it here. In "Jocks," baseball stats make everyone a bit nerdy, jocks included. The school math nerds take note. See it here. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign.



The Royal Bank of Canada is sponsoring this year's Toronto International Film Festival, running through Sept. 19. Three TV spots promote the festival's theme to "see something original." In "Western," a boy watches a cowboy ride off into the sunset. The second, more original, take features the boy saying goodbye to a Centaur. See it here. A young woman brushes her teeth during a thunderstorm, and then sees a man with a scarred face and a hook for a hand in "Mirror." In the second half, we find the hooked man is brushing his teeth and being reminded by his girlfriend to clean his hook. Watch it here. Two men working in a golf store need "$50,000" and fast. They can either enter a golf tournament that day or use their golf clubs to beat a man covered head-to-toe in $100 bills. See it here. BBDO Toronto created the campaign, directed by Scott Corbett of Holiday Films.

What did Saturn ever do to you, Ray Lewis? Old Spice launched its latest TV and print campaign, starring NFL linebacker Ray Lewis. While Isaiah Mustafa was smooth and spoke to the ladies -- check out his video to me here -- Ray Lewis is hard, angry and clearly speaking to men. I miss my gentle Isaiah.In the ad, seen here, Lewis is covered in bubbles, has no time to play fantasy football, but has time to wear Swagger and hop on a raven, whose black eyes become lasers that destroy Saturn. Lewis plays for the Baltimore Ravens, for all you non-football fans. Print ads, seen here, here, and here, show Lewis releasing his rage... and still covered in bubbles. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign.

Google has yet to disappoint me with its online videos. The company previously told stories of love, having a baby and sibling rivalry. This time around, the brand uses Bob Dylan's song "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to promote Google Instant, its real-time, predictive search results. As Dylan sings, Google Instant demonstrates how quickly search results appear. A user types "Subterranean Homesick Blues" lyrics and Google Instant finishes his search query. Watch the ad here, created by Google Creative Lab and Johannes Leonardo.

FedEx launched four TV spots last weekend under its "We Understand" umbrella. A businessman poses as an "exchange student" in China, hoping to land international clients. The family housing him overhears a business conversation and realizes they've been duped. The exchange student does a poor job pretending he's youthful, spouting terms like "for reals, player" and rushing off to soccer rehersal wearing khakis and carrying a briefcase. He does respect curfew, however. See it here. A man can't enjoy his retirement party because his boss is singing about unfinished tasks to the tune of "For he's a jolly good fellow." Watch it here. Two co-workers passing through airport security have their business presentation critiqued by airport security: "Never kick off with sales figures." See it here. A boss who has a hard time remembering "Names" incorporates his employees names into memorable phrases such as heavens to Betsy and magic Wanda. The group tells Dan fool not to take his name to heart. Watch the ad here. BBDO New York created the campaign.

Nissan LEAF has replaced Lance Armstrong with a "Polar Bear" spokesanimal in the latest TV ad promoting the zero-emission, 100% electric vehicle. The ad begins in the polar bear's Arctic home, where he sits atop a floating chunk of ice. The bear sets off on a journey that takes him through a forest, walking on a train track, highways, through city streets and lastly the 'burbs, where he finds an owner of a Nissan Leaf and hugs him. Watch it here. The ad has a few similarities to this 2008 ad for National Grid, namely the polar bear traipsing through city and family lives. TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles created the campaign.

Corona Extra launched "Moments," a TV spot that encourages consumers to find their beach. In other words: your happy place doesn't have to be drinking Coronas in the sand. It can be on a golf course, a city rooftop or snowy mountainside. The spot closes with a couple clinking Corona bottles on a beach. Watch the ad here, created by Cramer-Krasselt.


Keeping with the happiness theme, BMW launched its "Story of Joy" campaign earlier this year with a TV and print campaign that illustrated the definition of joy using three words. "Story of Joy" features snapshots, both old and new, of people experiencing happy moments of life behind the wheel of their BMWs. "Joy is inspiring" is paired with a BMW making art from a blank canvas, while the phrase "Joy is collectable" shows a young boy playing with his collection of toy cars. Watch the ad here. Print ads stick with the three-word copy, highlighting the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept Vehicle using the tag line "Joy Is Futureproof," or coupling an older man with his BMW and the tag line, "Joy is youthful." See creative here and here. GSD&M Idea City created the campaign and Universal McCann handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: Crush and sister company Lollipop created an app for the production community, called Crush Tools. The app helps clients frame their commercials in multiple formats. For example, an ad might be filmed for television and wind up playing in movie theatres. The app allows the director, cinematographer, art director or producer to upload a pre-existing photo so they can visualize the framing for both TV and theatre formats. The app can be downloaded for free in the App Store.
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