Out to Launch

David Beckham signs with Sharpie; teaser ads only show his John Hancock. Coldwell Banker brings Coldwell and Banker back from the dead. Have we learned nothing from the resurrection of Orville Redenbacher? Let's launch!

Columbia Sportswear launched its new line of warm weather sun-protective apparel, Omni-Shade, with a TV campaign that chronicles company president Tim Boyle personally testing the products after being dumped in the middle of the desert by his mom, Columbia Chairman Gert Boyle. Ad number one shows motherly tough love as Boyle is thrown from his mother's moving vehicle, left to find his way back from the desert. See the ad here. A lounging frog becomes snack food for Boyle in the next ad, seen here. A weathered signpost offers little help in Boyle's quest for direction. See it here. A sandstorm arises on Day 7 of Boyle's unexpected experiment. He still looks good. What about food? A vulture keeps Boyle company on Day 8. He looks well-fed and surprisingly clean. I'm not buying it. Day 11, Boyle rolls the window down in a rusted car door. Bring on the sun. Ads are running on Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, with an additional four ads launching later this year. Borders Perrin Norrander created the campaign and handled the media buy.



GE launched three new TV ads under its "Imagination at work" umbrella. The company created a portable electrocardiogram device that fits into a "Backpack," making it available to residents of remote villages in India. Watch the ad here. "Love Story" is very sweet. A young man in China sees a woman, experiences love at first sight, and causes unexpected pain to himself and his village. The man is x-rayed using a localized x-ray machine, and lucky for him, the doctor happens to be his crush. Click here to see the ad. Nature reuses water, as does GE's water reuse technology. The ad beautifully depicts an image of the calm before the storm, using oversized watering cans and a team of workers on cloud 9. Watch the ad here. BBDO New York created the campaign and OMD handled the media buy.

What happens when the clock strikes 12? I learned from "How I Met Your Mother" that nothing good happens after 2 a.m., and Nike's Brand Jordan tells me there is no such thing as Cinderella. Basketball players review old games, players sprint indoors and out, and the lone sound in the 60-second spot is that of a clock striking midnight. Talk about a long day. The ad, the third in a four-part series, supports the launch of the Jordan XXIII shoe. The first ad, you may recall, used only the sound of a train. Click here to watch "Clocktower." Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign and handled the media buy. 

A man walks into his office lunchroom, looking worse for wear, as he throws a package of Chocolate Skittles at his co-worker. "Did you think you were going to hit me with that bat and little chocolaty candies would come pouring out?" screams the man, who upon closer inspection is a human "Piñata." "I have to buy my Skittles downstairs, like everybody else," he says, as he hobbles out of the room. So. Very. Funny. Watch the ad here. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the campaign and MediaVest handled the media buy.

OK, this campaign isn't nearly as bad as the Orville Redenbacher debacle; actually, it's pretty funny. Coldwell Banker Real Estate launched a set of TV ads that bring back to life founders Colbert Coldwell and Benjamin Arthur Banker in the form of portrait paintings hung in the lobby. In "Holiday Party," Coldwell and Banker converse about being in business for more than 100 years. "Remember the 1947 holiday party?" asks Coldwell. "That's not what I meant," Banker quips. Watch the ad here. Coldwell describes how he invented the company's "Rapid Response" system... after inventing the Internet, in another ad, seen here. The portraits complain that despite the copious offerings the company provides its clients, they are unable to get new portraits painted of the two in different positions. "My legs have been asleep since the '70s," says Banker. Watch the ad here. There's even a fun Web site where Coldwell and Banker travel the country, blog, and partake in activities such as riding roller coasters and an airboat. McKinney created the campaign; Kinesis Marketing created the microsite and MediaCom executed the media buy.

This is my kind of gig. David Beckham became global ambassador for Sharpie --and he doesn't even have to show up for work in the teaser ads! Sadness for me, but less work for him! A golf ball morphs into a soccer ball, courtesy of a Sharpie retractable in ultrafine. Beckham then signs the ball, and tees off. Watch the ad here. Beckham-less print ads feature a golf ball and a ping-pong ball decorated to resemble a mini soccer ball. See the ads here and here. Brand Buzz New York created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Define road. Everything is a road that's waiting to be traveled in a BMW X3 TV spot running in Spain. From dance steps, watching a girl as she walks away, to the start of a film and an opening door, anything -- even you -- can be the road. Well done. Click here to watch the ad. SCPF created the campaign and Carat handled the media buy.

This ad for Sharp Aquos flat-screen TVs launched late last year, and watching it still puts me in a mellow mood. A series of "Floating Screens" show a bird's-eye view of riding a roller coaster, surfing in crystal-clear water, a track meet, and a home run hit in Fenway Park. Watch it a few times and you forget that people are actually moving the screens back and forth. Click here to see the ad. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign and handled the media buy.

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