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Get Familiar—“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

A few months ago I received some really bad (borderline devastating) news in reference to something I worked hard towards. I spent a good day in bed with a cheese pizza and Kit Kat bars when an episode of Oprah’s Life Class came featuring Carnegie Mellon professor, Randy Pausch. In the episode, Randy explained that while he was dying from pancreatic cancer he wanted to leave his children and students with something to remember him by. To do so, he gave a lecture aptly titled, The Last Lecture (below). The lecture went over my deaf ears as I was so frustrated by my dissipated opportunity, until Randy said a sentence that changed my perspective. He said, “Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.” With that one line I got out of bed and tossed out the pizza.

I later received the book as a gift from a coworker named MaryRose. I was thankful that she bought it because from start to finish, The Last Lecture is an insightful read. While it was written to immortalize the final words from the intellectual man, it is honestly a profound and motivational book that offers advice to a multitude of situations. Whether it’s going after a dream, falling in love, or raising children Randy tells his life story in a way that helps others redefine their own. It’s not your typical pauper to prince success narrative, but rather a man who was raised well and whose life lessons made his life better. His accounts opened a new perspective to a dreary situation in my life considering that Randy, a dying man, explained to me how to live my life fully. From finding a silver lining in the worst ideas, taking needed breaks, or most importantly living like optimistic Tigger instead of pessimistic Eeyore, there’s a pleasant and refreshing outlook that this books provides which everyone should take in. The book doesn’t aim to have you jot down important facts or memorize terminology; it simply shows you a way to live the life you dream about regardless of the roadblocks. Randy describes it best when he says:

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

The Last Lecture
book image: Danielle Salmon
Randy Pausch Last Lecture – Achieving Your Childhood Dreams video: Carnegie Mellon University YouTube Channel


Mothers Have a New Campaign Against Drunk Driving

In 2000, The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes put out a remarkable stat that stated, “Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash” (via MADD). Interestingly enough, that stat only tells the beginning of the story and rarely translates much about what happens as a result. With information such as that and much alike, the folks at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the Emonton, Canada area took action. The Irving, Texas based non-profit organization has worked to instill a stricter alcohol policy and prohibit drunk driving since 1980 and now has a print campaign and video to get their message out.  Working with the Canadian full service agency FREE (formerly McRobbie Optamedia), MADD was given the Stick Family Campaign. In the new endeavor, MADD shifts focus from drunk drivers and focuses on the family of those affected. The campaign makes use of the decal stick figures you find on the back of vehicles and animates them to illustrate what happens after a tragic event has occurred. What makes this an interesting campaign is that when we tend to think of drunk driving we usually reference the driver and the person injured, this campaign makes you take into consideration the relatives who lost a loved one. The campaign is designed to make you think critically about a serious situation because, as the commercial shows, it has long and devastating effects.

MADD Edmonton & Area: Stick Family Campaign

MADD Edmonton & Area: Stick Family Campaign images: Ads of the World
MADD Edmonton & Area: Stick Family Campaign video: FREE Vimeo Channel


Kate Upton is Having the Best Week Ever

Well maybe not ever, but it’s probably the best week this month. Aside from being announced as the cover model for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit magazine on Monday, supermodel Kate Upton just landed a commercial deal with Carl’s Jr. & Hardees (aka Carl’s Jr.). The 19 year old Michigan native is the beauty in the upcoming commercial for Carl’s Jr.  Southwest Patty Melt (below). Since the 70+ year old restaurant chain has positioned its U.S. commercials heavily to men, incorporating some of the country’s hottest women has always been a focal point in their ads. Previous faces have included Kim Kardashian and most recently Gizem Mimec (Ms. Turkey). Now that Kate is the cover girl of Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit edition, it looks like Carl’s Jr. pulled the year’s best woman for the new job.

To create the ad, Carl’s Jr. agency 72andsunny went to IMG Models (New York) to negotiate a deal of Kate working for the fast food restaurant chain. Although the commercial won’t air until late this month, both Carl’s Jr. and 72andsunny have dropped the behind the scenes video (below) to get you amped for the finished product. What you get from the sneak peak is more than Kate eating the burger, but a look at the strategy to create the spot. To tell the story of the all American style patty melt, 72andsunny gives you a 50s inspired commercial set at a drive in movie theater. Kate came into play primarily for her sex appeal, but also because of her “American qualities” that were evident during her work with Guess back in 2010. Combine it all together and you can drool over Kate as she seductively eats the spicy patty melt with jalapenos atop a vintage car from various angles. Filmed in Los Angeles, Glenn Cole, Chief Creative Officer at 72andsunny, explained that “if Kate Upton is not giving young hungry guys what they want, I don’t know what young hungry guys want.”

So what do you think, the does the sneak peak look hot or not?

Behind the Scenes: Kate Upton Commercial for Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s

“Behind the Scenes: Kate Upton Commercial for Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s” image and video: Carl’s Jr. YouTube Channel


Nicki Minaj & Ricky Martin for VIVA GLAM’s Global Campaign

MAC Cosmetics just launched a new global campaign for its VIVA GLAM product line. As the backbone to the MAC AIDS Foundation, VIVA GLAM’s limited edition makeup line donates every cent of its sales to the MAC AIDS Fund which helps support those living with HIV/AIDS and educating people on how to prevent the spread of the disease. To bring awareness to the campaign and the products, MAC pulls in popular celebrities as the ambassadors of their bold line. Since the start of the foundation and campaign in 1994, ambassadors have included RuPaul, Pamela Anderson, Sir Elton John, Missy Elliott, Dita Von Teese, and Christina Aguilera. This year, that roster will include rapper Nicki Minaj and singer Ricky Martin. With its newest ambassadors, VIVA GLAM introduced Nicki Minaj’s pink lipstick ($14.50) and Ricky Martin’s lip conditioner ($15.00) to U.S. stores February 15th and internationally next month.

John Demsey, Chairman of MAC AIDS Fund and Group President of Estee Lauder Companies (parent of MAC Cosmetics) explains that the foundation has raised over $235 million from the sales of VIVA  GLAM to date. The primary goal with Nicki and Ricky at the forefront is to raise at least $250 million by this July. VIVA GLAM selected the two musicians as the face of this year’s campaign due to their connection to the cause. Since 2009, over 2 million people in Latin America are living with HIV and the Caribbean is the second most affected region with people between 15-24 years old affected. Ricky and Nicki’s Latin American and Caribbean heritage (respectively) make them perfect to represent the brand, speak on behalf of the campaign, and connect with a new generation in order to motivate education and change.

I like this campaign because it utilizes two icons to generate product sales which will benefit others. By selling the VIVA GLAM products, the MAC AIDS Foundation can support its programs and grants that offer HIV tests, nutritious meals, free beauty tutorials to make people living with the disease feel better, and shelter for homeless people with HIV/AIDS. Together, Nicki and Ricky are creating buzz by taking to press releases, social media (below), and interviews to help fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. With the campaign’s print ad (above) shot by renowned photographer David LaChapelle and a behind the scenes video, VIVA GLAM brings you directly into the campaign and the foundation so you can be part of the change—one bold lip product at a time.

Nicki and Ricky for M∙A∙C Viva Glam Behind the Scenes

Nicki Minaj Tweet image: Nicki Minaj Twitter
Ricky Martin Tweet image: Ricky Martin Twitter
Viva Glam Ad:
Nicki and Ricky for M∙A∙C Viva Glam video: MacCosmetics YouTube Channel


Rest in Peace Whitney!

This past Saturday the world was shocked when Pop and R&B diva Whitney Houston passed away at the age of 48. While the cause of death is still unknown, one thing that is certain is that her abrupt departure was unexpected. Knowing that she is no longer with us is much more than many are willing to take, but the fact of the matter is that she left us with profound music, amazing videos, and loads of images. Whether it’s “I Will Always Love You”, Waiting to Exhale, or the thousands of photos you can pull in a Google search I must admit she did give us with a great deal of content to keep her spirit alive. One of my favorites is her work with brands and their products.

Whitney Houston has had her share of being featured in commercials all over the world for top brands such as Canada Dry, Coca Cola, AT&T, and Sanyo (below). Starting back in 1983 at the young age of 20 to 1995, in the U.S. and even in Japan, Whitney knew how to put her name next to the biggest brands at the time. A great move on her part since it gave her the chance to showcase her voice and even acting ability to a wider audience. If someone was unfamiliar with Whitney, they knew her when she was singing her heart out for Diet Coke. In each one of her commercials you get the loveable, charming, and sweet Whitney that translates on TV and on a track.

We had Whitney for a good amount of time and unfortunately she left earlier than we would hope. But one thing is for sure, heaven’s choir just got a whole lot better. Rest in paradise Whitney Elizabeth!

Coca-Cola Commercial

Canada Dry (1983)

“Just for the Taste of It” Diet Coke Commercial (1986)

“Just for the Taste of It” Diet Coke Commercial (1988)

“Takin’ a Chance” Sanyo Commercial (1990)

AT&T Commerical “True Voice” (1994 & 1995)

Whitney Houston image: Zimbio
Coca-Cola commercial: Jayblum1’s YouTube channnel
Canada Dry (1983) commercial: WhitneyTheGreatest’s YouTube channel
“Just for the Taste of It” Diet Coke Commercial (1986): RetroTy’s YouTube channel
“Just for the Taste of It” Diet Coke Commercial (1988): MercuryWH ‘sYouTube channel
“Takin’ a Chance” Sanyo Commercial (1990): WhitneyWorldMusic’s YouTube channel
AT&T Commerical “True Voice” (1994 & 1995): WithoutAnyGreen’s YouTube channel


What Were They Thinking (Again!): Cousins Edition

Los Angeles agency Cousins is back on the “What Were They Thinking (WWTT)” list for their second speculative (spec) ad. If you don’t know their first ad, Skittles “Newlyweds”, then you can check the  “WWTT: Cousins Edition” post and see what got them on the list in the first place. While there was so much attention around the ad, keep in mind that a spec is a piece of work created for a brand that hasn’t actually approved it. The point of the ad is simply to showcase an agency’s creative capabilities with a goal of gaining profitable business. In hopes of showcasing their developed capabilities, Cousins decided to create a sequel to the “Newlyweds” spec. Working with One Lung Films, they bring you ‘Reese’s Pieces “Love Child”’ (right and below).

After the “romantic” honeymoon Skittles sex in the “Newlywed” ad, you get to fast forward 9 months to the delivery of Austin and Ashley’s candy baby. SPOILER ALERT: He’s not the father. With all the makings of a Maury episode, Cousins gives you infidelity and baby momma drama surrounding a Reese’s pieces—not a Skittle. Surprise! Sweet Ashely was cheating on loving Austin with Craig the guido.

So here’s why they’re on this list…

When you look at the ad, you do get some nice technology and s semi funny spot—but it’s not effective. Tim Nudd of says it nicely by stating “Spec work seems to be their specialty”, but realistically they don’t do much else. The thing is, even though their work goes viral and gets publicity it’s profitably unsuccessful. You get millions of views and you’re featured in major adverting sites, yet you don’t get even a mid-size client and you only have 400 Facebook followers. Hmmm…doesn’t sound good. If it didn’t get you clients the first time, what makes you think that upping the technology and recreating the same spec is going to do the trick? On top of that you keep making these ads for brands that don’t sync with the message. If you’re so tied to this crazy plot, wouldn’t it make sense to use a relevant brand? Maybe Hustler would have made more sense, incorporating Maury Povich would have been hilarious, and they would show you can think strategically. Creating something that doesn’t connect won’t yield a profit and doesn’t positively build your brand. If your capabilities are only praised by YouTubers and not seen worthwhile by potentially lucrative clients…then what are you thinking?

Reese’s Pieces “Love Child” (Extended Cut)

Reese’s Pieces “Love Child” (Extended Cut) image and ad: Cousins Vimeo page


Target’s Ad Puts the Fans in The Grammy’s

I’m not a fan of taking the bus because I run into too many crazies and I’m trapped trying to ignore them until my stop. Worst of all is when there’s someone who sings and won’t shut up; it makes me want to slap them with a bag of bus tokens. But when I saw Target’s commercial for The Grammy’s I put aside my dislike for the locos on my MTA ride—temporarily. Portland based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) created a musically themed campaign for the discount retail chain that I adore! Having a tagline of, “Fans who know [musician name here] best know the best place to buy the album”, W+K pulled some of the musician’s vocally gifted fans and put them in a commercial. While W+K created multiple spots for the campaign, my frontrunner is the “Rolling in the Deep” ad (below) inspired by Adele’s hit. In a flash song style, W+K lets a young girl and an outstanding set of backup singers sing the British songstress’ 2010 breakup hit on, you guessed it, a bus. The adorable 11 year-old whose chops catch your attention is Denise Bestman (right) of the elementary school chorus from Public School 22 (PS22) of Staten Island, NY.

PS22’s 64 student singers received nationwide attention when they closed the 2011 Academy Awards. Denise’s vocal ability was seen then and most specifically when she sang the “Rolling in the Deep” track with the PS22 choir (below). It was that video that had Target and W+K put her in the commercial. Seeing as she is a talented singer who may be on track to a musical career, being featured for such a big brand during music’s biggest night is a great opportunity and offers significant visibility for the teen. Working with Denise in the promotion Adele’s albums through Target was a great idea and it lives up to the simple and straightforward message of the commercial. You have a fan, you have vocal ability, you have the track in mind, and Target as the locale for purchase at the end of it all. It’s easy to grasp and that’s all that is needed for Target to get its point across. It instills in music lovers the idea that because Target can make such a great ad, maybe it is the place to buy music. On top of that, you don’t see similar commercials from big box retailers like Wal-Mart suggesting you buy music from them. Interesting…

The only thing that was missing from this commercial, the only thing I wanted, was a download of the fan’s full cover in the Target spots. If Target had it so people could download the cover sung by the fans, I feel like the commercial would have left the TV medium and could truly become a music campaign. Especially having the song available on the Target site would have been a great way to get more traffic to the company website and to show that Target really understands both music and the wants of music lovers. This says to me as the music aficionado that even though Target sells music, it’s willing to give me access to an exclusive track just for visiting the site.  And what music lover doesn’t want free music?

Now that this spot is out, I just pray that more people won’t start singing on the bus in hopes of having the same luck as Denise. If they do, my bag of tokens won’t be far.

“Rolling in the Deep” Ad

PS22 Chorus “Rolling in the Deep”

Target “Rolling in the Deep” image and commercial: Target YouTube Channel
PS22 Chorus “Rolling in the Deep”: agreggofsociety YouTube Channel

What Day is It?

July 2018
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Quote of the Week

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” - Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture"


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