Medical Students Get Trained Using Origami, Sushi and Insects

Ad agency TBWA conjured up an ad that identifies medical students who have the dexterity to make brilliant surgeons.  The clever ad is helping to train medical students – using origami, sushi and insects..

Medical Students - Surgeon Tryouts

Countdowns, Bright Lights and Unexpected Challenges

Keep all the multicolored production lights, countdown buzzers and come-from-behind dramatic finishes from Ninja Warrior, but replace those agility and upper body strength obstacles with challenges that aim to identify steady hands, scalpel precision and staying calm under pressure.

Kurashiki Central Hospital in Okayama, Japan partnered with advertising agency TBWA/Hakuhodo to develop a practical examination striving to identify elite ninja surgeons.

Medical students applying for surgical rotations at Kurashiki Hospital were required to perform three, 15 minute challenges in game show-esque fashion to showcase their coronary artery tweezing, scalpel slicing, combo move potential.

Using Tradition To BREAK Tradition

To protect unsuspecting patients from a rag-tag gaggle of newbie medical doctors, Kurashiki Hospital’s actual Surgeon Tryouts were designed around popular Japanese art forms including origami paper folding, reconstructing dead-dismantled beetles, and preparing immaculate plates of various sushi dishes.

Watch Kurashiki Central Hospital’s new recruitmentment video below to see why these modified tests of Japanese tradition were so unique for evaluating surgeon slashing potential:

Now I know there’s a certain kind of pleasure one gets from watching over-achieving med students sweat bullets from the pressure cooker that is folding microscopic origami paper and rolling ant-sized sushi rolls, but the most striking point about this recruitment ad is how Japanese tradition is being used to break Japanese tradition.

In The Land Of The Rising Sun, Test Scores Rule Supreme

Doctors, technical specialists and even graduating high school seniors in Japan are hired, selected and accepted to university based almost entirely on their entrance exam test scores.

As you can imagine, this creates a national culture that values book knowledge and rote memorization over practical skill potential.

Kurashiki Central Hospital’s Surgery Tryouts go completely against the Japanese, sticky-rice cultured grain here because they’re filtering applicants based on actual ability to perform precision skills every future surgeon should show a propensity for.

Seriously, leave it to an ad agency like TBWA to help institutionalized traditionalists like Japanese medical doctors think outside their delicious bento boxes! Maybe modern ad agency creative departments have finally reinvented themselves in this emerging, modern day niche of developing practical skill tests for industries that usually exhibit unquestioned obedience to authority and legacy hiring practices.

Consider Surgeon Tryouts For Your Next Regularly Scheduled Dissection

Although most surgical procedures won’t require your doctor to fold 5 millimeter squares of colored paper into teeny-tiny origami cranes…

 

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Poo-Pourri Lawsuit Stinks up Federal Court

The smell of potpourri really stinks. And now there’s a lawsuit with Poo-Pourri that’s stinking up federal court.

Scentsible LLC, the Dallas-based company that owns Poo-Pourri, is suing the makers of V.I.Poo for its marketing tactics.  Once the Dallas-based toilet deodorizing line Poo-Pourri got wind of what their rival V.I.Poo was doing, it aired its grievance in court.

There’s a rotten smell floating through the corridors of a United States District Court in Texas, and it’s not the scent of dirty politicians. Pou-Pourri – a company that sells air-freshening toilet sprays – is suing a British competitor for copyright and trademark infringement.

International manufacturing goliath Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is the defendant, and it would appear that Poo-Pourri’s claims of crappy conspiracy hold some messy merit. According to Poo-Pourri, RB intentionally copied Poo-Pourri’s popular “Girls Don’t Poop” YouTube video, as well as several images from advertising materials.  Based on the wording in the suit, Poo-Pourri is the leader in the market, with V.I.Poo “a distant number two.”

While RB removed their English-language video for V.I. Poo – the British company’s take on Poo-Pourri – it’s still available in other languages. There’s certainly some stinky idea-theft going on here, as the two spots are remarkably similar, even with the language barrier.

Still, it’s hard to see Poo-Pourri dropping a victory in this case’s bowl. V.I. Poo’s marketing absolutely lacks in originality, but I don’t think it crosses the line into copyright infringement – especially since V.I. Poo is not sold in America, calling into question whether U.S. laws apply to a product that isn’t available here.

No matter how the case ends up, I got to say the phrase “Pou-Pourri is suing V.I. Poo” with a straight face. That’s a win for everyone.

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Nadkins: A Refresher Towelette for Masculine Hygiene

Finally, a refresher towelette for men and their most treasured region: Nadkins.

Nadkins is a new cleansing wipe for men dubbed “Male Jewels Refresher Towelettes.”  After all, a guy can’t make it through a day with sweaty balls, right?  

Wet nap for the crotch

The towelettes are “100% natural, non-toxic towelette specifically formatted for a man’s most sensitive area.” But of course.  What guy wants a lavender scented and toxic wet nap schmeared on his crotch?  After wiping down the area, users will get a “cooling and refreshing feeling without any irritation,” according to the press release. It also removes dead skin and helps protect against added aggravation.

Hardly something new

Nadkins, which is a new brand from Manager Inc., is one of the few brands aimed at this small but growing niche. Other products released in recent years such as 2009 Fresh Balls brand liquid soap for masculine cleansing and the 2013 Depend pads aimed for light bladder leakage for men show an increasing interest in this sensitive market. Now manliness can be added to the age old proverb “cleanliness is next to godliness.”

In the past, the men’s hygiene market has been widely overlooked. Umm, let’s not discuss Woody Wipes. And I having none of Mangroomer Biz Wipes, a drugstore gem that provides “a masculine executive scent.”  Then there’s Niche from Birchbox. These things can also be used on a guy’s face. If it’s safe for your penis, it’s probably great for your cheeks, I presume.

Mad dogs and Englishmen love it

If mad dogs, Englishmen and dancing whistling men love it, well you should too. Displayed proudly in a 46 second video, those sensitive areas are apparently quite thankful for the release of Nadkin’s new Male Jewels Refresher Towelettes.

Dancing triumphantly in the clip to the famous whistling theme from “The Bridge Over the River Kwai,” the anatomy of men ranging from boardroom executives to friendly mailmen seem totally elated that their jewels are ferociously fresh.  Gotta love the “when they’re happy, you’re happy” tagline.

So…

As for me, I’ll stick with unscented powder, thank you.

 

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Taco shop turns tables on robbers with a tasty ad

A taco shop has turned tables on some robbers with a tasty new ad.

A Las Vegas taco shop, Frijoles & Frescas Grilled Tacos, was robbed, but they turned the ordeal into an ad and created a hilarious YouTube video.

Taco ad campaign with robbers

You know when you are totally bummed and some way to chipper person says “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade?” Well Frijoles & Frescas did much more – they turned a burglary attempt into comedy gold. And a great ad for their brand.

Not only did they make fun of the robbers, by picking on one guy who’s weaker than a soft shell taco since he couldn’t manage to break a window with a rock, but they also flipped the script on the negative situation by pretending that the burglars were just looking for food.

Can you really blame the bad ass guys? With all the Chipotle news they’ve probably fallen on tough times, and hungry people do desperate things.

The video uses security footage and comedic subtitles as it follows the robbers breaking in, searching around, and finally leaving as the video points out when their “mom” comes to pick them up. The subtitles include lines like: “Homeboy checks the storage room. No tacos.” And “Maybe they keep tacos in the register.”

At the end, everything wraps up as nicely as a big, juicy burrito with  a great pitch for the brand: “We take full responsibility for what our tacos cause people to do.” But that’s not the only twist. There’s one frame that shows photos of the suspects with the words, “Please help us find these guys.” Just when you think they’re starting to get serious, the words “so we can get them the tacos they rightfully deserve” appear on screen.

I think Frijoles & Frescas won a lot of new customers with their creativity. It’s nice to see them have such a lighthearted attitude when a lot of other business owners would freak out. By staying positive and having fun, they’re able to gain great brand exposure and get almost 4 million views on YouTube.
Hopefully, now people come when the restaurant is actually open. Sometimes, revenge can taste pretty sweet.

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Coke Zero Brings Drinkable Commercials to Football

While thirsty for marketshare, Coke brings drinkable commercials to football.

Coke Zero celebrates third year of partnership with largest fully integrated campaign yet, to get fans even more excited for game day through drinkable advertising.

Coke Zero Brings Drinkable Commercials

Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero brand is 10 years old (and became a billion dollar brand in only 2 years) which may or may not come as a shock (as the product is not much more than a masculine adaptation of Diet Coke), but you will be shocked to find out that in the fall you will be able to get a free Coke Zero instantly…THROUGH YOUR TV. It’s got to be too good to be true, right?! When did reality morph into an episode of The Jetsons? !

The new campaign this fall in conjunction with ESPN’s College Gameday is called, “You Don’t Know Zero ‘Till You’ve Tried It”. Many of the ads include ESPN personalities such as Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit and will direct viewers to open the Shazam App on their smart phone or tablet and hold it near the ad. There will be a bottle of Coke Zero pouring on TV into a digital glass on the viewer’s device. Along with a refreshing class of digital Coke Zero the viewer will be delivered a coupon for a free 20-ounce bottle that will be redeemable at retailers including 7-Eleven, QuickTrip, Speedway, and Domino’s.

I’m a sucker for a free product and I do love the occasional Coke product, but this seems like quite the financial undertaking for a product that is already successful and is a mere clone of your own already existing product. Differencebetween.net has done some further scientific research to back my earlier claim; Coke Zero is just Diet Coke in a masculine guise. But here’s the rub, Coke Zero may actually be hurting it’s “feminine” counterpart. As Coke Zero has rose (6% growth in the second quarter) Diet Coke is down 6% in the last year. Now, this may certainly be a logical fallacy, and Coke’s new gimmicks such as “drinkable jerseys” are appealing, the product remains the same.

It surely seems as if Coca-Cola is growing one of it’s brands at the cost of another, this may be the strategy they are aiming for, but it’s got be wondering, will this new offensive tactic lead to Coca-Cola playing defense against themselves?

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Oreo Thins: A Pinkie-Raising Classy Cookie?

Oreo is pushing its new Thins brand with a campaign suggesting a more grown-up cookie.

An Ode to the Forgotten Finger” – Oreo’s new 60-second video spot – starts as a playfully humorous examination of each finger’s role, before lamenting the lack of usefulness for the pinkie. Thankfully, Oreo Thins are here to give the pinkie something to do.

Oreo Thins: A Pinkie-Raising Classy Cookie?

The pinkie’s life-changing new role? Standing high in the air with pride as its owner eats a new Oreo Thins cookie. The video – produced by 360i, Oreo’s digital marketing team – is narrated by the pinkie itself, which is grateful to finally have importance.

One minor issue I have with this spot is that the pinkie still isn’t doing anything. It is literally the only finger not being used to hold the cookie at the end of the spot. Isn’t that what the narration was complaining about all along?

In all seriousness, I get the idea that Oreo Thins are an attempt to break into a demographic that has outgrown traditional Oreos. On paper, the idea of presenting them as a high-society cookie – in a tongue-in-cheek fashion – is a good one.

Still, something about it just feels forced. I personally haven’t eaten an Oreo in years, and the fact that they’re now available in a different shape has in no way triggered cravings for them.

Oreo Thins are simply a gimmick, nothing more. Its sleek shape isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking they’re somehow a healthier snack option than before. You can just eat more of them now. Yippee.

I guess you could say that I’m not a big fan of processed cookie-food at any size.

Do not get me started about Mint Milanos.  They are my weakness.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Volkswagen Enlists Senior Siblings to Dispel Diesel Myths

Have you seek how Volkswagen has enlisting senior siblings in their new commercials?  I have.

Volkswagen’s funny new campaign features viral video stars to dispute old wives’ tales about clean diesel vehicles.

In an effort to renew interest in the carmaker’s TDI (clean diesel) line, Volkswagen launched a video campaign starring the Golden Sisters, an improv comedy trio. The Sisters are indeed real-life siblings, who have risen to popularity in recent years thanks to their natural comedic chemistry.

In the six videos, the sisters show concern over common misconceptions regarding diesel fuel, only to have them quickly dashed by a Volkswagen TDI vehicle. The ads aim to alter consumers’ beliefs that diesel is smelly, or hard to find, doesn’t accellerate quickly, etc.

The spots are sure to earn a chuckle or two, as the natural comic timing of the sisters shines through, even in commercial format. The reason for this is that – just like their YouTube videos and Oprah Winfrey Network reality show – the sisters were given only a rough outline, and encouraged to improvise the ads.

Pete Favat – chief creative officer of Deutsch North America, who produced the spots – says that “they’re sisters, so they’ve probably been acting this way their entire lives. So, we gave them kind of a structure in which to go by, and what to talk about, and we worked within that structure.”

Kudos to Volkswagen and Deutsch North America for latching onto a viral phenomenon, while still maintaining the core of what made the sisters popular in the first place.

And then there’s Maude.  Don’t get me started on the Golden Girls.

Howard Davidson Arlington, MA

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Domino’s Teaches Consumers and Competition How to Make Pizza

Domino’s takes a clever jab at its competitors, while also entertaining consumers with an interactive website.

Domino’s Pizza School is now open for enrollment. The pizza mega-chain unveiled an interactive website, which teaches consumers how to make their own Domino’s pizza step by step. Along the way, the brand takes shots at its competition, implying that they’ll steal Domino’s recipe by taking the online course.

The main reason I like this campaign is simply because it’s so much better than the brand’s advertising from the last few years. Remember the “Oh Yes We Did” campaign? Yeah, that’s the one in which Domino’s chose to “face our critics and reinvent our pizza from the crust up.” (Surprisingly, the website for that campaign is still up.)  I was having none of that.  Not to mention that I have not ordered Domino’s since the 197o’s.

“The Pizza Turnaround” was the first time I can recall a company using the “our product has always pretty much been total crap, but we promise it’s better now” strategy. Ever since those ads, Domino’s marketing has had a stench of desperation to it. For years now, company CEO Patrick Doyle (who’s compensation was $7,453,021 last year) has constantly been on television, reminding consumers of how great Domino’s ingredients are, and stressing the craft of making pizza.

The Pizza School itself is nothing more than a momentary diversion. However, the very fact that this new Domino’s campaign shows the company exuding confidence – rather than desperation – for the first time in years indicates a serious step in the right direction.

Let’s see if the school can help roll in some dough for Domino’s.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Macy’s Sings Consumers Back to School

Macy’s is welcoming students back to school with an a cappella challenge.

With a cappella on a surprising popularity surge – thanks to the “Pitch Perfect” films and vocal groups like Pentatonix – Macy’s is looking to cash in on the craze. The retailer has set up a challenge for elementary, junior high and high school students, in which three winning schools will receive $25,000.

The retailer’s campaign kicks off with a 15-second video spot starring Pentatonix, as the group sings the Jackson Five classic “I Want You Back.” The band members urge students to check out Macy’s YouTube page, where students are challenged to “Bring it like Pentatonix.”

Macy’s is making a smart move here, as the campaign blends interactivity with creativity. Classrooms all over the country will be filled with song – and increased Macy’s brand awareness with a young target market.

A Macy’s spokesperson correctly points out that “millennials turn to social media platforms to understand what’s hot in fashion. It’s imperative that we as a retailer stay on top of how fashion trends are being communicated.”

The a cappella push comes on the heels of Macy’s 2014 back-to-school lip sync challenge, amplifying that campaign’s creative aspects without sacrificing any of its interactive nature. The fact that the a cappella challenge targets an age group that may not typically get excited about department stores is icing in the cake.

And what’s up with me writing about back to school the first week in August?

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Australian PSA Shows Kids Picking Up Parents’ Bad Driving Habits

A minimalist Australian PSA depicts children as puppets, mimicking parents’ bad driving habits.

Australian PSA Shows Kids Picking Up Parents' Bad Driving Habits

“What kind of driver are you raising?” That question is at the heart of “Strings,” a one-minute public service announcement video from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. The spot – created for Australia’s Transport Accident Commission – reminds parents that their children learn how to drive from watching them.

Filmed on a dark soundstage, the spot shows a young boy sitting in the back seat. With wires attached to his arms and legs, the boy mimics actions of a distracted driver. He checks his text messages, shouts at other drivers, takes a phone call, etc.

Eventually, the camera pans to reveal that the boy is connected to his father by puppet strings. Each of dad’s bad habits as a driver is instantly transferred to his son. It’s a rather chilling reminder of how parents must be aware of how they act around their children at all times.

A Clemenger BBDO Melbourne representative says that “parents can’t deny that their kids copy them. We just want to get into their psyches a little bit, to have them question how they act behind the wheel.” I’d say they succeeded in doing just that.

The next time you strap your kids into their car seats, remember that behaviors are learned everywhere – not just in the controlled environment of your home.

-Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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