Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 24/01/2014 - 11:17
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It’s easy to forget that something as simple as taking a selfie can also be the hardest.

After all, the most modern of acts of self expression can also lead to a lot of self-doubt and self-criticism, particularly among young women.

It’s something Dove is keen to remind us in its new short film “Selfie” – a campaign that marks the 10-year anniversary of the Unilever brand's very successful "Campaign For Real Beauty."

They set up a social experiment in which they challenged young women from a US high school and their mums to take an honest selfie which they feel represents their unique beauty.

No hiding the mole on the side of your face you have hated for years. Or the brace you wear on your teeth. Or the nerdy glasses you usually take off whenever someone takes a picture of you. Just point and click.

It may sound easy to some of you, but as we see in the three and eight-minute edits, it leads to a lot of self-examination from both daughter and parent.

Some openly admit that they get a lot of their insecurities about their looks from their mothers.

The portraits are then shown in a gallery, where visitors attach post-it notes pointing out what makes the portrait beautiful.

Of course, the campaign will inevitably draw comparisons with Dove’s record-breaking 2013 hit, “Real Beauty Sketches”, which highlighted the stark differences between how women describe themselves and how others perceive their beauty.

And, well, that’s a very tough act to follow. After all, Real Beauty Sketches is the most shared commercial of 2013 and the most viewed ad of all time.

But, while lacking some of the emotional punch of its predecessor, “Selfie” can certainly look at itself in the mirror with pride.

Despite its length, it does not drag. Plus the conversations between the mum and daughter are compelling.

But don’t just take our word for it. In its first 36 hours, the three-minute version had already attracted more than 4,000 shares and 27,269 views, which means just over one in six people who saw it were compelled to share it – a fantastic result.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 23/01/2014 - 13:09
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If the Super Bowl itself can have a puppy version, why not the commercials?

That's the thinking behind CarMax's campaign, who's game day advert has just been released along with a frame-by-frame copy, where puppies replace the actors.

The plot is simple - a guy buys a used car at CarMax, and receives a slow clap from the salesman for his savvy decision, which is then echoed by all of the people in the neighbourhood - from park rangers to cheerleaders. (Watch out for Sean Astin - a.k.a Samwise Gamgee - and his puppy equivalent joining in the action).

The ad itself might not be groundbreaking, but CarMax's decision to involve our four-legged friends is an interesting one in terms of stats.

The internet loves puppies, and while the online-only puppy version has a lower viewing figure than its human counterpart (24k vs. 100k), the sharing figure is much higher, at 629 shares vs. 42.

Which one do you prefer? Watch the puppies here and the humans below.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 22/01/2014 - 12:43
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Toyota has assembled a crack team for their Super Bowl effort this year, including Terry Crews (of Old Spice fame) and those smile-inducing creatures, The Muppets.

The car brand has just released a teaser for the much-anticipated campaign, and it's as good as it gets for all-round entertainment.

We see Crews (who just so happens to be a former NFL star) cruising along a desert highway in the new Toyota Highlander. He then pauses as he comes across an abandoned bus, only to get a little more than he bargained for.

While the teaser only stars one Muppet (Rowlf the Dog, who delivers a stellar deadpan performance), the film-trailer style is a surefire way to ramp up the excitement, and play on that nostalgic theme we've been seeing so much of recently.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 21/01/2014 - 16:06
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Volkswagen has a long and fruitful relationship with the Super Bowl, so it's no surprise we've been waiting for their 2014 campaign teaser with baited breath.

Well, it's here, and it's slightly more tongue-in-cheek than you might be expecting.

We're greeted by an (apparently German) scientist, who explains that the VW laboratory has found the perfect advert to appeal to the American public

Cue puppies and babies, Abraham Lincoln, cowboys and indians and Carmen Electra all writhing over a VW Saloon. All to the tune of Wang Chung's Eighties hit, 'Everybody Have Fun Tonight'.

The one-minute spot has an undoubtedly nostalgic feel (Electra, like Budweiser's Arnie, probably hasn't had this much lucrative screentime in a while), which is a technique being used by the big players this year to reel in those Super Bowl fans.

Watch out for  Kia's Matrix-esque effort featuring Lawrence Fishburne, and Toyota's collaboration with The Muppets, expected to be announced soon...

Ultimately, tack is at the centre of this teaser, which might seem strange for an auto giant's campaign, but I get the feeling that VW might have a little more up its sleeve come game day.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 20/01/2014 - 12:09
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Bud Light released a swarm of Super Bowl teasers over the weekend, two of which starred everyone's favourite Austrian action-star-turned-politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The veteran actor, who's easing himself back in the Hollywood game, dons his sportswear and picks up a table tennis bat for the 16-second teasers.

'Arnold Warmup' shows him limbering up for a big game, while 'Arnold Zipper' hints at the bizarre nature of the alcohol giant's campaign, whose other teasers include an appearance by Don Cheadle, a talented hen party singer, and a llama. 

Bud Light VP Rob McCarthy said in a statement to Ad Age: "Our six Super Bowl ad teasers give viewers a peek behind the curtain, but fans will have to tune-in during the game to see how these seemingly unrelated events form one cohesive story," adding that Arnie is just one of "five special cameos".

Accompanied by the Game Of Thrones-style tagline, 'whatever is coming', Bud Light's efforts so far are intriguingly strange - a trend we've noticed before in this year's Super Bowl teasers - but the inclusion of Arnie has definitely had the desired effect for Bud, with this video attracting over 750,000 views in its first couple of days.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 17/01/2014 - 13:06
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It's a well-known fact that brands shell out huge amounts of money for an ad slot during the Super Bowl. 2014's $4million asking price for 30 seconds of airtime is a record-breaking high, so for smaller companies, purchasing one can be a big risk.

Web company Squarespace, which provides a slick Content Managemant System and website builder, has taken the plunge this year, and just released a teaser for its 'A Better Web Awaits' campaign

At first glance at the spot is a hodge podge of memes: face swaps, epic fails, a cheeky Joseph Ducreux... But the maniacal screeching violins, back-alley setting and all-round creepy atmosphere soon turn the well-known images into threatening oddities.

It's an effective teaser from the internet company, and hints at a full-length ad that should get the crowds talking. The question is, will Squarespace end up seeing any bang for their buck?

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Name: David Waterhouse
Post date: 16/01/2014 - 10:33
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Axe is rightly famed for their bold marketing moves. Just last year, they offered 20 would-be Neil Armstrongs the chance to go to space with the help of its Axe Apollo campaign.

Now the Unilever brand has come back to Earth with an even more ambitious objective: world peace.

Though that goal seems a little lofty for a deodorant brand, Axe is apparently a bunch of hopeless romantics. Their latest campaign with BBH London, “Make Love, Not War”, is a tongue-in-cheek, but nonetheless epic, tribute to love conquering all.

In a sweeping cinematic montage, we see familiar scenes of turmoil and political strife – the rice paddies of the Vietnam War, a besieged urban landscape and a military rally led by someone who looks suspiciously like a certain North Korean dictator.

If newspapers and pop culture have taught us anything, these scenes can only end badly. However, in an act of rug-pulling typical of Axe, these moments resolve in a manner more appropriate to Valentine’s Day.

Weapons and tanks are cast aside as fireworks blaze and couples embrace. If “Make Love, Not War” is anything to be believed, all politicians, no matter race or political persuasion, are united by a love for grand romantic gestures.

“Make Love, Not War” is Axe’s entry for the upcoming Super Bowl, and the concept and execution are suitably grandiose for the slot.

While we can only wish real geopolitics was this fuzzy and heart-warming, Axe has certainly made a good case for popping some flowers in any nearby rifle barrels.

In fact, roses would probably be best.

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Name: David Waterhouse
Post date: 14/01/2014 - 22:47
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There's something very, very rotten in the Big Apple. But if you think we're talking about thugs roaming the streets or armed criminals, think again.  

No, this menace comes from a very unlikely source - a baby. However, this is no normal child. This one chases people down the street, projectile vomits (OK, this is pretty normal behavior), and flips off the police (not so normal). The youth of today... 

It's the latest campaign from the dastardly minds at Thinkmodo - who scored a major viral hit with their Telekinetic Surprise prank for the remake of horror film Carrie last year.

This time it's for another horror flick - Devil's Due - which is due to be released this Friday. And if first impressions are anything to go by, it's well worth a watch.

The new video shows what can only be described as a demon baby scaring well-meaning New Yorkers out of their wits.

Anyone nice enough to check on the crying baby in the pushchair is soon left to regret it as it bolts upright and starts screaming looking like something out of The Exorcist.

Of course, it's not a real baby, rather a incredibly realistic robot that could well haunt your dreams for the next few days. You have been warned.

However, plenty have watched the ad already and are evil enough to want to share it with their friends and peers. The ad has so far attracted more than 3.5 million in just 24 hours.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 14/01/2014 - 12:17
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Jaguar has been quick out of the blocks this year, releasing a teaser for its 2014 Super Bowl campaign before many other participating brands.

It's the first time the luxury car manufacturer has taken a Super Bowl slot, and its 'British Villains' campaign may well hit a sweet spot in the US market.

From Royal-mania to affection for the 'Inglish ecksunt', jolly old Britishness often goes down well across the Pond. Jaguar's new campaign taps into this, hiring veteran actor Ben Kingsley to play the part of a classic British villain.

Every villain needs a decent ride, leading nicely to the introduction of the campaign's co-star, the new F-Type coupe, which Jaguar is hoping will become the object of desire for many an American come Super Bowl Sunday.

The ad is directed by Tom Hooper, who won awards for his work on The King's Speech, and certainly looks slick - I'm just interested to see if the all-things-British strategy pays off.

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Name: Claire Roberts
Post date: 13/01/2014 - 13:00
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You may have been under the impression that Apple's iPad was only useful for playing Candy Crush and taking awkward selfies, but think again.

This new ad from the tech giant brings the popular gadget out of the sitting room and shows it being used in unexpected environments - a helicopter, where pilots use it for navigation; an ice-hockey rink, where a coach illustrates tactics; a hillside where storm-catchers are monitoring the intensity of a hurricane.

The footage is surprising, captivating and well-edited, but perhaps the most effective aspect of the 90 second spot is its voiceover. Pulled directly from Robin Williams' acclaimed turn in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, the lengthly quote imagines that we all have a verse to contribute to the universe's poetry.

Apple wants us to share ours with the new iPad Air.

It's a bold campaign, accompanied by a site that tells the story behind some of what we're shown. In just one day the ad has been viewed almost 300,000 times, and shares will soar over the next week. Take a look below and see what you think:

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