Out to Launch

1ESPN launched "Opening Day," a TV spot celebrating the most wonderful time of the year: baseball season. I'm still a long-suffering Mets fan, but I know I'm not alone. Kevin Costner narrates the countdown to MLB's first game of the season, taking place March 31. "It's more presidential than president's day," says Costner, while past and current presidents throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Chase Utley drives past Phillie fanantics as he enters Citzens Bank Park, home of the Phillies. My favorite scene came from San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, who delivers a scorching fastball engulfed in flames. See the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York.



2Muscle Milk launched two outrageous TV ads starring Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers as guests on the fictitious "You, Your Awesome Body, and You, Show." The men learn how to cope with their spectacular bodies and attention from women, thanks to a crazy host who believes that drinking Muscle Milk, like the pair of highly conditioned athletes do, puts him on their playing level. A female doctor once asked Braun to strip for an eye exam, and the host relates to this odd request by lifting his shirt to reveal his average-looking chest. Watch it here. Matthews has large, NFL biceps. The host warns him that pairing Muscle Milk with big biceps makes women "wanna play on you, like a jungle gym." See it here. The spots are running on ESPN, ESPN2, Fuel, Fuse, G4 and MTV2. Pereira & O'Dell created the campaign, directed by Jim Hosking and edited by Arcade Edit.

3I'm thrilled the mini giraffe came back, along with the Russian mogul in "Gym," an ad for DIRECTV. "Opulence," the first ad starring the mogul and mini giraffe, launched last August. See it here. The latest ad launched last Wednesday, starring actor Timothy V. Murphy as the wealthy Russian who's unafraid to spend money on pointless objects, like a gold treadmill for his mini-giraffe or a machine that works his biceps while he sits and relaxes. Fans of the TV show "Criminal Minds" will recognize Murphy as IRA hottie Ian Doyle, whose latest appearance coincided with the ad's launch. I wonder if the DirecTV ad ran during Murphy's "Criminal Minds" episode? Watch the ad here, created by Grey New York.

4The Truth anti-tobacco campaign asks viewers "Why Do They Make Tobacco Taste Sweet?" in its latest TV ad featuring former smokers riding a candy-themed float. "Unsweetened Candy" shows six real people suffering from tobacco-related disabilities singing and waving to pedestrians on a parade float driving through Hollywood. The ad illustrates the fact that smoking not only kills, but also leaves survivors with debilitating physical disabilities. In addition, the spot informs viewers that tobacco companies "can't sell candy-flavored cigarettes anymore, but they still sell other tobacco products in over 45 candy flavors." See the ad here. Arnold Worldwide created the ad, produced by Harvest Films and directed by Baker Smith.

5Kelliher Samets Volk launched two TV ads for the Vermont Department of Health. Always go with your gut feeling. The ads target teens in an effort to prevent them from even starting to smoke. Teenagers play the role of lungs, a brain and stomach. Brain grows bored hanging around playing darts with his organ pals, so he decides to smoke, causing stomach to throw up his taco dinner. Watch "Taco" here. Brain lights up again in "Pickles," causing lungs to smell like an ashtray and stomach to smell like an ashtray and pickles. Go figure. See it here.

6Nokia launched a global TV campaign for its Nokia E7 device that defines success as something that doesn't need to take place at a desk. One woman conducts her daily work on a boat, while a man uses his phone to get coordinates to climb a mountain and leave a message in a bottle. "Success has friends not contacts... Success is what you make of it," says copy in the ad, seen here. Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam created the campaign.

7A man grows multiple heads in "Tree," the latest spot for Samsung's Galaxy Tab. The spot shows the Tab's ease of use and compact size, making it easy to carry around. The spot launched during SXSWi and was conveniently timed to debut right around the Apple's release of the iPad 2. The ad is running on ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, MTV, and CNN. Watch the ad here, created by VIA.


8Keeping with the SXSWi theme, FedEx turned its delivery truck into a food truck there, feeding attendees while illustrating its international shipping capabilities. I love everything about this initiative... especially the food. Every day, a different international meal was delivered, in packaging designed to mimic FedEx boxes. Napkins and cups also touted FedEx capabilities like its Print & Go service. See the truck and food here and here, created by BBDO New York.

9Smart Canada created a clever campaign to illustrate its smart fortwo coupe's smallest turning radius. The company placed decals of the car on cement trucks. Each rotation of the cement drums equated one rotation of the smart fortwo coupe. Pretty neat stuff. The branded trucks drove along construction sites and passed through high-trafficked areas of the city. See pictures of a truck here and here, created by Proximity Canada and BBDO Toronto.

10Random iPhone App of the week: Interested in barefoot running but not sure where to begin? Merrell wants to ease you into minimalist running with a free app that educates users on taking the plunge, along with promoting the brand's barefoot running shoes. The app gives runners tips on proper running form, body alignment and barefoot walking, apparently the easiest way to begin using minimalist running shoes. The application also hosts a Merrell Barefoot iTunes mix, based on the 180 beat-per-minute rhythm of a natural running stride. I can't wait to see what songs match running strides. Download it in the App Store.

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