Out to Launch

1Not having your eyesight checked regularly can mean the difference between finding a mannequin or dead body in a dumpster. You decide. Richmond Optometry launched four amusing TV ads illustrating how easily a harmless item can be mistaken for something harmful. And vice versa. Each story is told through a Phoropter, the machine used by an optometrist that contains different lenses to test your eyesight. A hunter sees two different things through his lenses in "Buck." The first sighting is a large buck; in reality, it's a man gathering wood. See it here. "Dumpster" is my favorite ad. A doctor asks his patient what image is clearer: that of a mannequin in a dumpster, or a dead body. Love the police sirens playing in the background. Watch it here. An innocent trip to your backyard could result in a homeowner picking up a garden hose -- or a garden snake. See it here. Eye drops and superglue should not be packaged in similar bottles. The end result would be open and shut. Watch it here. Red Urban Canada created the campaign.



2"Happy Honda Days" is back with a trio of TV ads and a fun Facebook app. The animated voice of the Honda spokesman has been morphed into an average-sounding voiceover, coupled this year with holiday music from Vampire Weekend. Honda promotes its Civic and Accord brands using stop-motion visuals, tacky Christmas sweaters and one extremely catchy song. Watch "Civic" here. "Accord," seen here, uses the same catchy holiday song along with ice-skating lovebirds and cross-country skiers. "People Movers" shows the remaining fleet of Honda vehicles plus snowboarders, shoppers and kids dressed as snowflakes, reindeer and presents. See it here. Be sure to check out Honda's "NaughtyOrNice-a-tron" app that patiently combs through a year's worth of status updates, friend approvals and "likes" to determine whether you've been naughty or nice. It was fun to see old status updates pop up and get fed through an archaic-looking data cruncher. Plus, I came out nice. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.

3War Child, an organization that helps families torn apart by war rebuild their lives, launched two humorous videos demonstrating how bad holiday gifts can save lives. In "Holiday Heimlich," a piece of sushi becomes lodged in a man's throat. He attempts the self-Heimlich using three chairs in his apartment. No luck. He makes his way to an ugly statue of a tiger, still partially wrapped, which dislodges the sushi. I'm shocked he made it that long without passing out. See it here. A woman hanging holiday lights falls off a ladder in "Holiday Mishap." The sound that rouses her is "Jingle Bells" sung by a meowing cat. A singing cat pillow broke her fall. Watch it here. "Bad gifts don't save lives. War Child gifts actually do," concludes both videos. john st. created the campaign, directed by Jon Barber of OPC.

4The Partnership at, formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, launched two TV spots and a Facebook app that tackle the problem of prescription drug abuse among teens. "Today" depicts a typical day in the life of an average teenager, from meeting a new friend, getting a drastic haircut, having their first kiss, or beginning a new job. The spot turns serious when an alarming statistic is shared: "Today, 2,500 kids will abuse prescription drugs for the first time. And tomorrow, some will wish they hadn't." Watch it here. "Surgery" shows a teenager on an operating table with a massive incision in his stomach. Initially, viewers believe he's simply being operated on, but it's revealed that the teen is actually operating on himself. "Every year, 2 million kids play doctor by taking pills not prescribed to them," says the voiceover. See it here. A "Reality Check" Facebook app is pretty freaky. It streams live tweets that mention prescription meds. As tweets pour in, prescription meds fill an adjoining box. Users can scroll over the pills to learn about sedatives, stimulants and prescription drugs, and why teens abuse them. TBWA/Chiat/Day New York created the campaign.

5A child's racecar bed takes him on a whimsical journey over the Golden Gate Bridge, on a beach, past a spaceship, train and medieval knights in "Sweet Dreams," promoting the 2011 Kia Optima. His storybooks come to life when his closet opens to reveal an open road full of amazing characters. When the boy drives through a tunnel, he emerges from the other end as an adult driving a Kia Optima.  "No one ever dreamt of driving a midsize sedan... until now," says the voiceover. Certainly not your typical car commercial. I didn't expect the end product advertised to be a mid-sized sedan. Watch the ad here, created by David&Goliath.

6Proximity Chicago launched Chair-Free Chicago, an initiative aimed at residents who use chairs and traffic cones to block off a public parking space they shoveled out. provides signage that Chicagoans can use to declare their neighborhoods chair-free zones, as well as flyers that can be placed on items in the street. These flyers are quite funny: "Free!!! Please take me home, I'm all yours," says the flyer, seen here. Flyers range from Minneapolis Mad: "It's just so gosh darn snowy here in Chicago, if everyone started saving spaces, why, we wouldn't have anywhere to park!" to New York Mad: "Consider yourself a selfish prick, you selfish prick." Saying the New York flyer is stereotypical is beyond an understatement. New Yorkers are not as bad as they're made out to be. Check out full flyers here and here. Signs and flyers can be downloaded for free, while sturdier options can be purchased.

7American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning launched "Tongues" back in October, but it's perfect for the holiday season since it pays homage to "A Christmas Story." The ad shows a boy sitting inside his home on a stairwell. His tongue finds its way to the railing... and promptly gets stuck. His mother is brushing her teeth upstairs and hears his cries for help. Naturally, she touches the faucet with her tongue, and she, too, is stuck. "When inside feels more like outside, it's time," says the voiceover. Watch the ad here, created by Carmichael Lynch.

8Anorexia is a serious disease in Mexico, yet it's not perceived as one. Comenzar de Nuevo, a nonprofit that raises awareness about anorexia, ran a bus shelter campaign in Mexico City in an effort to educate a broad range of people about the disease. Plates of oversized food, like a jumbo shrimp, extra-large strawberry and piece of pasta, are coupled with a tagline: "A person with anorexia sees everything much bigger, except for their disease." See ads here, here and here, created by Dieste.

9Random iPhone App of the week: Sometimes, you just need some mindless entertainment to get through the day. Since "Rock of Love" is long over, how about "Let's Scratching." This app is also ideal for anyone allergic to pets. The concept is easy. Pick a cat -- Korvaz, Rheingold, or Bijou -- and relax with them by scratching their bellies. They will love it, and your blood pressure might return to a normal level. Blacklist's Pistachios created the app, available for 99 cents in the App Store.

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