Out to Launch

Tommy Lasorda delivers tough love. Ringtone outs a covert affair. BBC World News makes a lasting impression. Let's launch!

Universal Studios Hollywood has resurrected its Halloween Horror Nights following a six-year hiatus. Supporting the comeback is a TV and online campaign featuring a scary character called "The Director." Online components broke first; a ghoulish microsite was created along with a series of Webisodes that remind me of "Saw," but with a younger, greasier-looking villain. Here's a predictable plot twist: he has a MySpace page and 1,273 friends as of this morning. TV ads promote the event's scream contest, where each night videos of two visitors with the best set of lungs are posted online for viewers to select the best scream. davidandgoliath created the campaign. Media buying and planning was handled by DDB Los Angeles.



BBC World News bowed a thought-provoking campaign earlier this summer to support the launch of its 24-hour news channel in the U.S. I still see these ads at the train station, and I'm still drawn to them. The outdoor campaign began with an interactive digital billboard in Times Square encouraging visitors to "Develop a Point of View." The billboard displayed news photographs and invited people to text in their votes on whether illegal immigrants should be considered "citizens" or "criminals"; U.S. soldiers, "occupiers" or "liberators"; bird flu, "imminent" or "preventable"; and for China, whether to "befriend" or "beware." My favorite ads remain the maps that tell a story. Initially the ads look like a part of a map, but look closely and you'll find the countries are positioned as a soldier with a gun; a hostage being detained; a city under water; and a worker holding an infected bird. Click here, here and here to see the ads. BBDO New York created the campaign.

Continuing with its ads that give you a bigger picture, as long as you're up to finding it or reading between the lines, BBDO New York has created another fabulous campaign, that's yet to launch, for BBC World News. Using the tagline "Get the complete picture," creative is a series of words on a blank canvas. Separately, the words don't add up to much, but the way they're arranged, they create a sentence of sorts that's also a current news headline. Sentences include " child child child ball child landmine," "border border border border immigrant immigrant immigrant border border border" "oil oil oil oil pelican oil oil" and the most compelling: "student seamstress mechanic suicide bomber school teacher nurse bus driver." Click here, here, here and here to see the ads.

First we had the boxer who wasn't fit enough to handle an out-of-control microphone, and then we had the inventor who could fly but not swim. Next came snowball, where one tiny event snowballed into something extreme, an ad that many readers described as a rip-off of the video game Katamari Damacy, where a player's goal is to collect as many objects in its ball as possible. The fourth ad for Travelers Insurance, launched Oct. 16, features a man who went from being chummy with the sharks to chum for the sharks. "Shark Cage" shows an underwater photographer taking pictures of sharks from the safety of his steel cage. A feisty shark leads the man to shoot his spear, although he hits his boat instead of the intended target. The spot ends with the boat and steel cage making their way to the ocean's floor. Click here to watch "Shark Cage."Fallon Minneapolis created the campaign and Starlink handled the media buy.

I laughed hard at these ads when the Mets were still in the playoffs. Now, I feel the pain. Tommy Lasorda is the star of this year's Major League Baseball postseason ad campaign urging fans to watch the playoffs, even if their team isn't in the race. The spots, launched Sept. 29, will run throughout the postseason and are supported by print, radio, online and mobile messaging elements. One ad shows a Boston fan holed up in her dorm room because the Red Sox didn't make it to the playoffs. My favorite line from the ad is, "October is the time to root against the Yankees." Truer words were never spoken. The spot ends with Lasorda shouting, "It's October! I live for this! You live for this! The world lives for this! To the TV!" Click here to watch the ad. Another ad shows a family of Cleveland fans emerging from various hiding spots in the kitchen. Watch it here. The final ad features a man sitting in a tree, refusing to come down. The funniest part of the ad is when Lasorda asks what team the man roots for, finds out it's the Cubs and says, "oooh." Click here to watch the ad. The ads are running on ESPN, FOX and Turner Sports. Print ads are running in Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Baseball America. The ads were developed under MLB's "I Live for This" campaign, which debuted in September 2003. McCann Erickson created the campaign and Universal McCann handled the media buy.

Jeep Wrangler has launched a TV, outdoor and print campaign promoting the 2007 Jeep Wrangler two door and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, the first-ever four-door Wrangler. The TV ads didn't do it for me, although the print and outdoor ads are a sight to see. One TV ad features a gorilla mistaking a Jeep for an afternoon snack. Watch it here. Another spot shows an eagle racing toward land to scoop up its prey, only to wind up with a dented beak. Click here to watch the ad. Print ads feature a set of framed, collectable bugs, aka Jeep Wranglers, where wings are opened doors and kayaks, surf boards and luggage portray the bug's exterior. Click here to see the print ad. New York's Time Square has a billboard with an actual Jeep Unlimited affixed to it; continuing with the bug motif, the car has tangled with a fly swatter... and won. See it here. There's even some great subway art where Wranglers are burrowing through dirt. Straphangers entering and exiting the subway look like little ants. View the ad here.BBDO Detroit created the campaign and PHD handled the media buying.

Ringtones can get you into trouble. I guess one can consider "Busted," an ad promoting T-Mobile's my Faves feature, an educating and amusing PSA. When questioned by his friend as to why he has the pal's girlfriend in his top 5, the man sheepishly tells the friend to stop acting so paranoid. That is, until his phone rings and the song "Secret Lovers" starts playing. Busted. Watch the ad here.Publicis West created the campaign and Optimedia handled the media buy.

The Advertising Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expanded their "Buzzed Driving" campaign to include PSAs targeting Hispanic young men. The latest TV spot, in both English and Spanish, shows a picnic partygoer who's clearly intoxicated and trying to play soccer; the shot focuses on his friends who might have had just one drink too many, but still consider themselves capable of driving. The ads conclude with the tagline "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" or "Manejar Entonado Es Manejar Borracho." Mullen created the campaign.

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