John Wall Sees Too Far Into The Future In Foot Locker Ad

In a new 70-second ad for Foot Locker, Washington Wizards guard John Wall gets a prophetic look into his future – and doesn’t like everything he sees.

John Wall Sees Too Far Into The Future In Foot Locker Ad

In a hilarious new spot, Foot Locker casts NBA star John Wall as a man who learns a bit too much about his own future. Referring to it as “The Process,” Wall’s friend tells him that – now that he has his own signature shoe at Foot Locker – his destiny awaits him.

This destiny includes becoming an all-time legend on the court, having his number retired, and opening a pretty awesome chicken-wing restaurant. It also includes being fleeced by his accountant and losing it all…before the release of Wall’s new “retro shoe” at Foot Locker revives his life.

The old adage, “It’s funny because it’s true,” fits this spot perfectly, as the future predicted by Wall’s friend is all too common among ex-pro athletes. The casting is commendable as well. Wall is a natural in front of the camera, easily holding his own with the professional actors in the spot.

The 70-second ad, created by BBDO New York, definitely takes some dark turns along the way, but Wall’s performance keeps it light. My favorite moment is when future-Wall, complete with a beer belly and a bad tie, does a local car commercial – a staple of hilariously bad pro-athlete endorsements. (This legendarily awful spot starring the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder is a perfect example.)

It helps that I actually like the shoes, as well. In contrast to the gaudy designs most other players choose, Wall’s kicks look like something a normal person would actually wear. All told, I can’t think of anything I dislike about this spot – and if you know me, you know that’s saying an awful lot!

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Surprise, Surprise: Burberry Targets Rich White People

In a move that is sadly not a surprise, Burberry’s new ad is an exercise in excess aimed at rich white people.

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Burberry’s official statement on their new video spot says, “The Burberry festive film is inspired by the golden age of cinematic musicals.” Okay, I’m with them so far, as this does aesthetically hearken back to the Hollywood musicals of the 1950’s. Then: “It tells the tale of a young couple falling in love, against a theatrical backdrop of London.” Poppycock, I declare!

So you can save yourself four-plus minutes, I’ll tell you what really happens. This is not some epic love story. There’s not even really a coherent narrative to speak of. The entire runtime consists of fur-coat clad dancers frolicking in the snow, with David Beckham’s son running around for absolutely no discernible reason.

The music sounds like a bad, raspy Coldplay wannabe (which I assume to be the British corollary to a Nickelback clone). The visuals are impressive, but they never change. This would probably work pretty well as a 30-second spot, but at four-plus minutes it’s simply self-indulgent nonsense.

Near the end of the spot, Beckham shows up wearing a hideously shiny, floor-length gold jacket that only James Brown could ever dream of pulling off. Speaking of James Brown…

Can we talk about this spot’s race issue? Among the dozens of dancers, I spotted one black man, who appears in the background of three shots throughout the spot’s nearly four-and-a-half minute runtime. Every other person is as white as the fake stage snow they’re dancing in. Burberry may as well have added the tagline, “Clothing for wealthy white people.” That’s not a message I’m comfortable with in 2014.

If you like your advertising to be elitist, race-exclusive, self-congratulatory garbage masquerading as art, “From London with Love” is for you. (The sad part about all this is that part of me thinks Burberry absolutely nailed their target market.)

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts

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KFC Serves Brotherly Love with Fans

KFC is now serving some brotherly love with their new fans campaign, complete with a side order of brownies.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA writes about how KFC Serves Brotherly Love with Fans

As if the Colonel himself isn’t wholesome enough for the brand, KFC is hoping to warm (or clog) the hearts of it’s target demographic with a heart-wrenching new ad.

Fans is salty story of two young, Scottish footballers, (and not the kind that make headlines for repeatedly “trying to get things right”), rooting for opposing teams. It’s kicked off by a sing-songy, maternal voice calling “Callum” to get ready for the game, juxtaposed with Callum’s brother doing a similar routine but with his father. Subsequent shots outline the two boys heading separately to the stadium, followed fan reactions of the game’s highlights. When all is settled, Callum is left with his head in his hands, his mother consoling him, as his brother and father approach KFC. It isn’t until nearly a minute into the commercial that the camera finds the famous red letters, the Colonel’s smiling face and trademark spectacles. And now thanks to the help of ad agency BBH London, the campaign goes for the sales close….

Meet the closer: KFC’s new brownie bucket. Aah, young kids player soccer, some tears and then the Colonel comes to the rescue with a bucket of goodness. Daddy’s home. And the crowd goes wild.

Apparently while aggrandizing his secret fried chicken recipe, Colonel Sanders was also an avid baker. Why each item has to come in a bucket remains mysterious – but hey, at least one guy found a great use for it after finishing his multi-thousand calorie meal.

Unfortunately, I don’t eat things that come in buckets.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Who Needs Stores? E-Commerce Taking Over China

With e-commerce taking over the marketplace, retailers are forgoing physical stores in China.

Who Needs Stores? E-Commerce Taking Over China

In America, Costco is known for their low prices and big-box stores. In China, they’ll still have the low prices. They’re just skipping the part about having a physical store.

In the last five years, e-commerce has grown from 3% to 15.4% of the total retail sales in China. For brands looking to enter the country for the first time, e-commerce provides a low-risk, high-reward scenario that is nearly impossible for retailers to pass up.

Take for example, British fashion retailer Topshop. The brand recently debuted in China, hosting a launch event where guests tried on outfits, or took pictures with London’s famous red phone booths. However, this physical, offline event was anything but. No cashiers were present to “ring up” customers’ orders. Want to buy what you just tried on? Scan it into your smartphone and simply walk away.

China’s combination of exploding rent prices and tough competition for good locations is somewhat unique. For example, Best Buy recently closed all of its brick-and-mortar stores in China. The company was simply unable to engage in competitive pricing while still maintaining physical locations.

While brick-and-mortar retail stores everywhere face stiff challenges from e-commerce, don’t expect major retailers elsewhere to follow the example in China just yet. In America, the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world can still affordably set up shop on a frontage road in the suburbs. (Obviously, under either model, the ‘mom and pop’ retailer is totally screwed.)

However, talk to me in 2025 and I bet I’ll have a different story to tell. E-commerce is the future everywhere. That future is simply arriving faster in some countries than in others.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts

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Gatorade Employees Sweat Out It Out

On a quest for wellness, Gatorade is making employees sweat it out. Literally.

On a quest for wellness, Gatorade is making employees sweat it out. Literally.

The Chicago-based sport drink brand is promoting workplace fitness by incentivizing employees to set personal fitness goals. Apparently company executives realized their sugary drinks needed extra exercise to burn off.

The PepsiCo-owned brand is providing a 6-month program for its 150 employees by providing subsidized program costs and access to trainers called G-Feat. The G-Feat plan includes a daily 60-second workout…at the office…with your officemates, making that mid-afternoon cup of coffee expendable.

So every afternoon all of the Gatorade coworkers have the opportunity to get up out of their chair for a minute of squats, planks, or jumping jacks. As if that wasn’t an opportunity for enough embarrassment, the G-Feat program encourages participants to make their goals public by posting them at the office so colleagues can keep each other motivated.

The G-Feat plan allows employees to be put in the consumer shoes. Gatorade executives are hoping training employees might notice a need to drink Gatorade at specific times or have a certain flavor. Either way, I doubt they want them even thinking about drinking a bottle of water. I bet if someone utters the words “Poland Springs”, they are ordered to do a pushups.

I’ll be staying far away from Gatorade HQ. I don’t shvitz with colleagues.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

 

 

 

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Starbucks Delivers Right to Your Desk

Watch out drones, Starbucks will soon begin delivering right to your desk.

Starbucks delivery

Starbucks delivery. Pumpkin spiced lattes right to your mouth, no movement necessary.

In 2015, the coffee giant will launch its new mobile-payment app allowing customers to order without waiting in line. Latter next year, they are plan on making food-and-beverage deliveries in select markets. Delivery will only be available to loyalty-program members though, but who isn’t going to become one after this news?

Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz believes delivery and mobile payment will be “E-commerce on steroids”. Forrester Research estimates that the mobile payments market in the U.S. will reach $90 billion by 2017 with restaurants like Taco Bell and Wendy’s already launching their own mobile apps. As if people weren’t staring at their phones enough.

By adding mobile payment and delivery, Starbucks is totally quenching consumer thirst for new technology. But this might come with some risks. Many of Starbucks’ drinks are temperature-sensitive. With time for delivery, an iced drink could arrive watered down, and a hot one could arrive lukewarm. And what about the coffee shop culture: the free WiFi, the hipster barista, the quirky name spelling on the cup. Oh, and, my favorite, listening to people place orders.

If only there was a way for Starbucks to deliver intravenously…. Someone tell them to get this idea brewing.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Planet Fitness Lifts Spirits

Planet Fitness is lifting spirits of gym members and supporting achievements by flexing a community-based campaign.

Planet Fitness is lifting spirits of gym members by supporting achievements by flexing a community-based campaign.

Planet of Triumphs is an online community platform that allows members to tell their personal success stories. The stories range from small feats like making it to the gym for the first time in 10 years to losing over 100 pounds. Umm, today, I successfully went up and down three flights of stairs…but I don’t think that counts.

Visitors to the site, PlanetOfTriumphs.com, will be greeted with a feed of triumphant tales from all across the Planet Fitness community. Then a whole lot of viral following and commenting of others’ posts pumps up the platform like crazy. And of course, the community site is linked to www.PlanetFitness.com for serious SEO juice.

To make sure this thing has some muscle and stamina, all registered members will be eligible to win weekly prizes and the chance to be named “Triumph of the Week.”

Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners created this clever campaign for the gym chain. They are hoping to win mindshare by preying on a “every achievement deserves to be celebrated” mantra.

But will this get across to the sleeveless t-shirt wearing meatheads who only hold conversations about protein shakes and “getting big”? Probably not.

And don’t get me started about the “I lift things up and put things down guy”.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Morris the Cat Purrs With Wearable Technology

Morris the Cat is now purring with wearable technology for 9Lives.

Morris the Cat Purrs With Wearable Technology

The feline mascot has made a comeback in ads for 9Lives. But this time he world’s most finicky cat is not snubbing cat food. He’s donning wearable technology.

Agency EVB features Morris in “Cat’s Eye View”. Morris tries on smart-cam glasses and invites you to join him on a journey around the house.

The website has you shadow Morris doing all the typical exciting things a cat does throughout the day like watching goldfish and unraveling toilet paper. The catch is that throughout the game, you can receive prizes like coupons for 9Lives or a downloadable poster of Morris wearing his wearable technology.

In a creative attempt to make 9Lives cat food and Morris the Cat relevant again, following grumpy Morris around the house with wearable technology is just as bland as it sounds.

While targeted at pet lovers of all ages (me excluded), EVB designed Cat’s Eye View to be natively mobile to introduce younger people to the cat serving company by following Morris on their smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Morris, who has been 9Lives’ mascot for nearly 50 years, is no stranger to social media and technology: The star of 50 ads (and two feature films) has a Facebook page with 250,000 Likes, and he has used it to publicize his 2012 presidential bid (his second) and ongoing pet-adoption program, Morris’ Million Cat Rescue, which was designed by Smith Brothers Agency. Earlier this year, EVB created the first feline online-funding platform, Catstarter, for Big Heart Pet’s Meow Mix brand.

Cats creep me out. I’m into the fact that Morris is a high-brow. But he has fur and four legs. Sorry, I can’t deal with anything that has legs and fur.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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