Out to Launch

Another season of baseball has come to an end. My Mets, once again, stink, leaving me searching for someone to root for during the post-season. Thankfully, the National Hockey League launched an ad campaign this week, allowing me to educate myself about the sport, its players and upcoming season. The "Five Questions Will Become Answers" campaign launched Friday on NHL Network. Players practice rigorous off-ice training exercises while two sports analysts provide running commentary. Every ad poses a question that can only be answered on the ice. Montreal Canadiens player Mike Cammalleri is shown flipping a huge tire, similar to those seen on "World's Strongest Man" as commentators ask, "did the Canadiens just get hot at the right time, or are they really that good?" See it here. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is a determined man. Just look in his eyes as he snaps two tabata ropes while commentators wonder if his team can handle the playoffs. Watch it here. Sidney Crosby of the Penguins throws a heavy medicine ball while balancing on a piece of wood atop a moving metal pipe. See it here. Analysts wonder if Buffalo is a Stanley Cup contender while goalie Ryan Miller rapidly bounces tennis balls off a wall. Watch it here. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks squats with weight on his shoulders and mind as analysts wonder if his team can win the Stanley Cup a second straight year. See it here. Young & Rubicam created the campaign.



One minute I've never heard of Alex Ovechkin and the next, he's starring in another ad campaign -- this time for Reebok CCM U+ Crazy Light skate. In actuality, it's just his head that appears in the ad. And so close to Halloween -- how appropriate. A kid opens his "Locker" and finds the head of Ovechin on the top shelf, asking if he bought U+ Crazy Light skates. The student obliges, prompting Ovechin to declare "soon the championship will be ours," as he manically laughs, showing a gap where a front tooth once lived. See it here. Cramer-Krasselt Milwaukee created the campaign and Carat handled the media buy.

Nike encourages runners to "run unleashed" in a spot for its LunarGlide+ 2 shoes, airing online and in-store. The feet of eight runners wearing LunarGlide+ 2 shoes are followed closely through an outdoor run. As each CG shoe hits the ground in "Dynamic Support Run Unleashed," different colors of light expel from the soles, illustrating each runner's stride pattern. See the ad here, created by Nike Brand Design Media and Hinge Digital.

Apple Auto Glass ensures drivers are safe following a visit to repair a cracked windshield. The company rates its seriousness about safety alongside those who are obsessed with safety in all aspects of life. A safety-conscious father reads safety manuals on cutting grass, so naturally he gives his daughter a blanket and can of navy beans to store in the car for emergencies. And he gets the crack in his windshield repaired. Watch it here. A germaphobic mother uses a retinal scan to unlock knives, hides cleaning supplies behind paintings and forces her cat to wear a surgical mask. Don't be surprised when she gets her cracked windshield replaced. See it here. JAN Kelley Marketing created the campaign, directed by Matthew Swanson of Sons and Daughters, Toronto.

EA Sports FIFA11 launched "We Are 11," a global two-minute video that celebrates the excitement and competitive spirit experienced while playing the football game by yourself or against additional players. Anywhere from 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 gamers can play the game together. The ad shows footballer Wayne Rooney entering an empty stadium to play a video version of himself. The stadium quickly becomes packed with fans, gamers, and footballers readying for the virtual games of their lives. Regardless of how many gamers are playing, the magic number is 11. Watch the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

I've always thought of maneuvering through airports with luggage in tow as a workout, but never a bullfight. Samsonite launched a TV ad for its Spinners brand of luggage where a real-life matador trades in his colorful cape for some spinning luggage. Matador Christian Aparicio stares down a bull, puts his luggage handle in the upright position and awaits the beast. Once the bull is near, Aparicio turns his handle, spinning all luggage wheels away from the bull. Victory? Did he make his flight? So many unanswered questions. See the ad here, created by Connelly Partners and produced by Moxie and Superfad.

Parenting is an emotional roller coaster; Huggies transforms parenthood into a carnival in "Love the Joy Ride." A mother rides a roller coaster with her child, who calms her fear of sitting in the front seat. Carnival games include "Cave of Courage," where a dad looks more traumatized than his son, "Up all nighter," "Feed the baby" and "Kissing booth," where parents can snuggle with their babies. Watch the ad here, created by Ogilvy Johannesburg, produced by Stink London and directed by Christian Bevilacqua. is a Web site that allows visitors to privately compare information about themselves with others across the country to determine how they stack up. Users can compare subjects like income ("Am I making enough money for my age?"), real estate values, health, sex statistics, education, athletic performance and IQ ("Are my kids really that smart?"). There is also social community that allows people to connect via shared interests. Looney Advertising created the site. 

Random App of the week: AKQA and Fiat created eco:Drive Fleet, a free desktop app that enables fleet managers to help Fiat drivers cut down on fuel consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and save money on fuel costs. Here's how it works: A driver's in-car telemetry data is transferred from a Fiat to a computer via USB stick and Fiat's Blue&Metechnology. The app analyzes the driver's acceleration, deceleration, gear changes and speed, awarding a mark out of 100 according to how well they drove. Step-by-step tutorials help drivers improve their score by using information from rides to offer advice on how to improve their driving style.

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