Out to Launch

Perform random acts of "Road Joy." Pennzoil print ads take on a vintage feel. Spalding balls are never flat. Let's launch!

I'm not the biggest basketball fan in the world, but Nike's latest ad, starring LeBron James, is winning me over. The 60-second spot begins with a young boy playing basketball who grows up to become LeBron James. His voiceover is tremendous: "You don't want to be LeBron James. I can inspire you, impress you, make you believe, but I am just one man," begins the ad. James continues to describe how he's a work in progress with numerous challenges left to face in his career. "You don't want to be me. You want to be better than me," concludes the ad. Click here and here to see 30- and 60-second versions of "The Beginning." Check out two print ads here and here that follow the same theme. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.



Volkswagen Canada launched three TV spots asking Canadians to perform random acts of Road Joy before they can purchase a hatchback or sedan model. This is hard-core. Potential buyers can visit to select an act from more than 150 random choices, such as taking a neighbor's pet for a drive or seeing how many truckers you can get to honk simultaneously. "Gridlock Bubble Brigade" uses the Death Cab For Cutie song "Your Heart Is An Empty Room," and stars two guys stuck in traffic blowing bubbles out of a VW Golf. Watch it here. There's a peaceful stare-down between a VW and another car in "Spot Donation." The VW driver gives up his space and continues on his search. Watch it here. I wish someone would perform a "Guerilla Carwash" on my car. Click here to watch. All ads end with a voiceover saying, "When you get into a VW, it gets into you." Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the campaign and Mediacom Canada handled the media buy.

It's all about you in the latest ads for Zune. TV ads contain a new tag line, "You Make It You," and along with print and online ads, creative looks at what you find inside a Zune: fingerprints of yourself. One TV spot, "Academy," has a "Being John Malkovich" feel that begins with a guy listening to his Zune, then literally falling into it and walking past his personal additions, such as music preferences and photos. Watch the ad here. "The Ballad of Tina Pink" features a young woman sitting at a café, who's transported into her Zune. This ad reminds me of the journey taken by "Alice in Wonderland." Click here to watch. Ads are running on Comedy Central, A&E, MTV2, Adult Swim and ESPN, to name a few. Print ads promote various Zune offerings and can be found in issues of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, USWeekly, Rolling Stone, Nylon, Fader and Blender. Click here, here, here, here and here to view creative. T.A.G. San Francisco created the campaign and Universal McCann handled the media buy.

PS3 launched a TV campaign last week coinciding with the debut of the 40GB PS3 in North America. The campaign is full of energy and highlights what's inside the PS3, namely its Blu-ray movie capability and clips from titles such as "Heavenly Sword," "Warhawk," "Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction," "Grand Turismo 5 Prologue," along with upcoming third-party exclusives such as "Haze" from Ubisoft and "Metal Gear Solid 4" from Konami. Click here, here and here to view the ads. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles created the campaign and OMD, Los Angeles handled the media buy.

American Airlines bowed three commercials under its "We Know Why You Fly" brand umbrella. The ads target business travelers in a fun, relatable manner. A man volunteers for every business trip, regardless of time and destination, in "I'll Go." His ulterior motive is racking up miles so he can break out his Hawaiian shirt. Watch it here. The next ad finds a straight-laced man getting bumped from a business trip to Tokyo in favor of his younger, Karaoke-prone colleague. Two desperate men make their escape from a kooky business-training seminar in the final ad. Click here to watch. TM Advertising created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Spalding launched a TV spot and revamped Web site that introduces its NEVER FLAT technology, familiar to basketball players, to the football realm. "Technology Transfer" stars Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards and Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans. Arenas covertly passes the torch, or football, in this 30-second spot. "You know what, you've earned this," says Arenas, as he leaves the package in the middle of a football field. What neither athlete realizes is that someone is taking pictures of the secret meeting and handoff. The spot ends with the copy "Continued at," driving viewers online to see what happens next. Watch the ad here, running on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, CSTV and G4. Winstanley Associates created the campaign, Visual Concepts created the Web site and KSL Media handled the media buy.

Magnivision, manufacturer of non-prescription reading glasses, launched a print campaign targeting men and women over 40 who may need glasses. Creative can be found in Good Housekeeping through the end of the year and early 2008, depicting a man in denial about his deteriorating vision. One ad shows the man at the breakfast table holding his newspaper at arm's length in an unsuccessful attempt to read. "My eyes aren't getting worse, my arms are just too short," reads the copy. Another ad features the same man attempting to read a road map while his frustrated family stands by. EastPark Drive created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Pennzoil went vintage in a series of print ads that debuted at the SEMA trade show in Las Vegas. The posters were printed on vintage paper stock and celebrate Pennzoil's heritage and involvement in NASCAR racing at famous racetracks including Darlington, Indianapolis and Talladega (my favorite of the ads). Click here, here and here to view creative. The posters were distributed to car enthusiasts and will be utilized in future campaigns. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles created the ads.

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