Out to Launch

Mark Cuban found in both ESPN and American Airlines ads. Burger King encourages Whopper eating and voting on Election Day. Let's launch!

"Where there's life, there's music," says an ad for Quebec's Contemporary Music Society. And if there's death, the society is moving on to the next sign of life. The ad promotes the society's new season, and founder and conductor Walter Boudreau plays the role of maestro in the spot. We begin with the sound of gunshots and a shotgun-wielding man scurrying off into an alley. The man collapses; he's been shot and he's losing blood. A band appears wearing both their instruments -- and CSI-looking gear -- and begins to perform. Once the man dies, however, the band quickly scurries off in search of their next... victim? See the ad here, created by TAXI Montreal.



Peyton Manning stars in a World MasterCard ad, breaking this Sunday during the Colts vs. Patriots game. The funny spot is part of MasterCard's "No Matter Who You Are" campaign, and follows the "priceless" commercial theme. Manning scores an extra night in hotels located in rival cites -- Boston, Cleveland and San Diego -- because of his World MasterCard. He mistakes the snippy comments from hotel employees as friendly hospitality and responds back with friendly remarks. "Don't choke on it," says a hotel employee who delivers a fruit basket to Manning's room. "Good call. I'll just cut it up and put it into a fruit salad or something," replies an appreciative Manning. See the ad here.McCann Erickson created the campaign and GSD&M Idea City handled the media buy.

ESPN launched three TV spots and a Web site promoting its NBA game coverage on Wednesdays and Fridays. Now in its second year, "Your NBA destination" follows a diverse group on a road trip to each ESPN telecast. In "Adjustments," ESPN announcer Mike Breen describes new and exciting updates to the RV. Think beaded cover for the driver's seat and hydraulics. See the ad here. Shaquille O'Neal teaches Stuart Scott and Breen how to play Scrabble. In Shaq's world, there's an abundance of "qs" available to use. Watch the ad here. Mark Cuban makes a run for the RV when the check comes in "Diner." According to Stuart Scott and Jason Kidd, he does it all the time. Billionaires. See the ad here. Wieden + Kennedy New York created the campaign.

Mark Cuban appears again, ever so briefly, in an American Airlines spot called "Big Man." Here we meet Milos, the basketball player. He and his agent are making the rounds, looking for a basketball team to sign him. He has the height, but not necessarily the talent for the game. Milos visits the Mavericks, Barcelona, Moscow, Paris, Rome and Shanghai, hoping someone will sign him. Shanghai signs Milos, prompting his agent to hug a stranger. "Going the distance for your client" ends the ad, seen here. TM Advertising created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Travelers Insurance launched two TV ads starring a dapper man, red umbrellas of all sizes and people who stress about things they care about. Dapper man makes his rounds in one ad, protecting just-made cheesecakes, a daughter with a driver's license and a freight ship. See the ad here. In the second ad, people describe the fears they had before Travelers came into their lives. Shopping carts, trees and dust are no longer frightening. Ninjas, on the other hand, remain scary. Watch the ad here, created by Fallon Minneapolis.

When I think of exercising my right to vote, I also think of Burger King. Am I alone here? A TV spot of consumers' hidden-camera moments at a drive-thru window ordering sandwiches made to their liking closes with BK urging consumers to vote. "We know you have a voice. We hear it every day. Use it Nov. 4. Vote," says the ad, seen here. There's also a Web site that encourages users to download an application on their Facebook or MySpace profiles called the "Poll-A-Rizer." The application allows people to answer a series of questions and compare them with friends, who will be classified as "advisors" or "opponents." Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the campaign and Mindshare handled the media buy.

Apple mocks Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign again in the latest Mac vs PC ad. Last week, "Bean Counter" poked fun at the amount of money put towards advertising rather than fixing Vista's problems. This week, PC attempts fundraising by hosting a bake sale whose proceeds will contribute to fixing Vista. The price of one cupcake is $10 million. Watch the ad here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

BooneOakley Charlotte is turning North Carolina stoplight signs into pro-Obama ads. The agency printed up hundreds of black and see-through decals of the Obama "sunrise" logo that are sized to fit over the green circle in a stoplight sign. Make sense? Have a look here and here. The end result may be obvious to some, but not all passersby, depending on your speed. It's quite subtle. The decals are popping up on street signs throughout North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, placed by agency staff and friends.

Sheetz Brothers Coffeez launched a print and outdoor campaign that recreates the hip, irreverent world of the beat generation coffeehouse. Black-and-white pictures of coffeehouse beat poets are combined with color photos of beverages, and copy is delivered in beat poetry form. "Bliss in a cup. Steamed milk on top" and "High-test escape from the rat race" read the copy, seen here, here, here and here. Smith Brothers created the campaign and Harmelin Media handled the media buy.

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