Goodby’s Adobe Stock campaign is a work of art

It’s rare when advertising can be called a work of art, but that’s the best way to describe this campaign for Adobe Stock.

If you didn’t know that Adobe had a stock image offering, I’ll forgive you because I honestly didn’t know either. Of course we’re all familiar with the usual stock image suspects – and I say suspects because have you seen some of their cheese-tastic images? Don’t get me started on clip art, BTW.

Well apparently Adobe wants to compete with the likes of Getty Images and shutterstock, so they tasked Goodby Silverstein & Partners with promoting their brand.

Those who use cliches (I would never) might say a picture is worth thousand words, but the Make a Masterpiece campaign says a whole lot more about Adobe Stock. Four digital artists from around the world were hand-picked from Behance to show off their digital brush-work skills by re-creating lost, stolen, or destroyed art using Photoshop and images from Adobe Stock.

So far, four paintings from Frida Kahlo, Carvaggio, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and Rembrandt have been recreated and showcased in Adobe’s video series. There’s a plan to bring even more masterpieces back to life, and to have “how to” tutorials. Right now there’s a time lapse, behind-the-scenes video of artist Ankur Patar from India recreating “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” after it was stolen in 1990 from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Goodby’s associate partner and creative director Will Elliott said, “No one can truly replace these lost paintings. But by faithfully re-creating them with Adobe Stock, we can remember them again and reshape what the world thinks about stock photography in the process.”

Goodby managed to take an artist community owned by Adobe (Behance) and combine that with software from Adobe (Creative Cloud/Photoshop) to promote a third Adobe product – Stock. It’s a campaign that matches different pieces better than the most perfect color palette, and truly shows that for a digital artist/designer, Adobe has everything you need.

Visit the Masterpiece site to watch the transformation that happens during this process. You’ll get to see work that’s a thousand times better than some paint-by-numbers watercolor creation.


MTV says “Elect This” to Millennials

MTV is telling millennials to “Elect This” and vote in November.

The network has an edgy campaign to get millennials, who are often criticized for being too entitled, to show that they care enough about politics to take action. This might seem like mission impossible, but MTV had a genius idea: only talk about issues that millennials care about because they’re directly affected by them.

Basically MTV wants to inspire people to go from watching Real World to actually doing something to change it. And yes, I’ve watched the show — many times.

The main spot touches on gun control, student debt, immigration, LGBT rights, and the war on drugs. It’s a very upbeat video that features an “Elect what?” “Elect this!” call-back chant. We’ve also heard (and seen first-hand in some cases) that millennials are narcissistic, so it makes perfect sense that this video ends with a re-purposed Leonardo DiCaprio quote saying, “You are the last best hope of Earth.” Talk about inflating egos, but can someone really go from unpaid intern to the best hope for Earth in under a minute? That’s pretty scary.

If you aren’t sick of the election yet, then you’re really in luck because this campaign is a lot more than just one video. There’s a whole “Infographica” series, which is a collection of 30-second clips featuring quick-hit facts about many of the same hot button issues from the first video. Give it a watch if you care to find out what percentage of millennials support gun control.

I find this interesting because it seems like more of a peer pressure tactic doesn’t it? What happens when you find out that you don’t agree with 80% of people your age? I would think this would make you less likely to want to vote, but then again I think it’s crazy to pay $5 for a single slice of pizza even if it is “artisan,” so what do I know about millennials?

Just when you thought it was over, there’s more! This is starting to feel like an infomercial, but MTV added another leg on to this campaign with a “Robot Roundtable” video series. This is a big shift from focusing on the seriousness of issues, to making fun of them with talking stuffed animals. It appeals to a totally different audience from the first two ideas, so if weed smoking parrots is more of your wheelhouse, then give these a watch.

Finally, there’s a celebrity component that features Melissa McCarthy and Common among others telling the viewer their stance on the important issues. Again I find myself asking “how will this convince people to vote?”

This campaign truly has something for every millennial, but the biggest thing I take away is that neither candidate is mentioned – at all. Not sure if that says more about the mindset of millennials, or the quality of our nominees, but 74% of voters age 18-35 have said that they’re embarrassed by the current election because it reminds them of a bad reality show (and MTV seems to know enough about those).

Every 4 years we can count on MTV doing an election campaign, but do they really work? We see stats about issues millennials care about, but where are the stats that prove MTV actually influenced people to go out and vote? If they’re not making an impact, then they’re just adding more to all this election noise. Maybe MTV should treat these campaigns like they treat music videos now – just not show them.


Aetna Pays Employees To Sleep

If you work for Aetna Inc., you can get paid to sleep and count sheep.

According to a CNBC interview, Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna Insurance, is offering his employees up to $500 to get more sleep. Sleeping on the job? Gotta love it.

I’m not sure if Bertolini and George Costanza are somehow related, but great minds surely think alike. And enjoy their beauty sleep, of course.

The perk is a part of Aetna’s ever-improving wellness campaign for their employees. While many companies offer wellness benefits such as gym memberships or smoking cessation assistance, Aetna is going straight to the core of wellness by providing incentive to wake up refreshed and well rested, and not just to lower annual coffee bills.

Improved shut-eye is something Bertolini claims is “really important.” The program is offering employees $25 per night of 7 hours plus of sleep for 20 nights in a row, with an annual cap of $500. The sleep will be tracked by the ever-popular fitness trackers you can see on the wrists of nearly everybody these days, which apparently are more useful than checking your heart rate after walking up a flight of stairs.

The program isn’t solely vested in the interest of good sleep or more time spent dreaming, but in pursuit of a more effective and alert workforce. According to the National Institutes of Health, 7 hours of sleep per night is the recommended minimum a person should get. But I am so done with recommendations for anything other than desserts.

Bertolini is hoping this incentive will help show up in Aetna’s revenue down the road. He quoted in a CNBC interview saying “It’s going to show up in our bottom line and in the Street’s confidence that we can do it quarter after quarter; year after year.”

I’m all for a good afternoon nap at work. But getting paid for doing so it truly a dream come true.


Dyson Goes from From Vacuum to Vroom

.Dyson is is not sucking wind. They’ve gone from vacuum to vroom. Racers, start your silent electric motors. It looks like a new competitor in the race to produce the best electric car may be soon in the running next to Tesla.

A History of Innovation

The Dyson company has long been known to be forerunners on innovation and design. Their bagless vacuum cleaners were the first of their kind, and other products like the Air Blade and BallBarrow have shown Dyson’s commitment to providing the consumer market with new and unique twists on everyday necessities. No bathroom is complete without an Air Blade, right?

In an interview with The Independent, Dyson CEO Max Conze said how the Dyson company is similar to Apple in their desire to perfect their products. Apple has seen its fair share of rumors recently around the creation of electric cars as well, which could be yet another product the company could slim down until perfection. Products like their Rotork Sea Truck, a cargo boat used by the military, have shown an interest in transportation for Dyson. Maybe it’s time to evolve from sea to land.

It’s All About the Batteries

When it comes to building the next electric car to race Tesla to the finish line, the battery and electric motor are the keys to success. We’re not talking about AA’s here either, these batteries are top-notch and are what keep these cars and inventions high-powered for extended use.

Creating a electric car won’t be as simple as throwing a few wheels on a vacuum cleaning however, but the Dyson company appears to be ready for the challenge. Their acquisition of Sakti3, a solid-state battery company, in October points to a line of improved batteries for all their electric products. Improved batteries are the key towards efficient electric cars, which is one of the reasons Tesla’s promise of a Gigafactory creates so much hype in the tech market.

Additionally, in 2014, Dyson spoke out publicly on working towards improved electric products over the coming years. Dyson claimed his company would dedicate 1.5£ billion on research for new electronic products, and would aim to have 100 new products on the market by 2018.

Maybe one of these products will be a car? If nothing else, hopefully they will at least make a ride-on vacuum cleaner to make house chores a little more fun.

The Waiting Game

Only time will tell what Dyson has in store for us as far as electric cars go. That market, however, is seeing a significant growth of interest with Tesla leading the way. With all the technological advances in electric motors, batteries and cars on the horizon, it sounds like our future transportation may be a lot quieter and easier on the gas stations.

There is still one last burning question we have about the potential Dyson electric car: regardless of price, ingenuity and reliability, is it self-cleaning?


The Fat Jew’s Kingdom Tumbles Down

Comedian Josh Ostrovsky – AKA ‘The Fat Jew’ – has seen his comedy kingdom destroyed by plagiarism accusations.

It would appear that The Fat Jew‘s rise to fame will be snuffed out as quickly as it started. For weeks now, Josh Ostrovsky has been under fire for stealing jokes, pulling the rug out from beneath the social-media phenomenon.

Joke-stealing is an unfortunate part of comedy that will never go away. It’s often hard to prove whether a gag was actually stolen, or whether two people simply had a similar, funny idea. Regardless, while I’m more ‘Dad bod’ than fat, as a fellow Jew, I was rooting for Ostrovsky – that is, until he was exposed as a fraud.

After he landed a deal with big time talent agency CAA, joke-theft accusations came in a flurry from high-profile comics like Patton Oswalt and Michael Ian Black. Perhaps more damning was the media storm, with The Hollywood Reporter, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post tearing Ostrovsky apart in quick succession.

As a result, The Fat Jew lost a TV deal with Comedy Central, and pre-orders for his upcoming book are nearly non-existant. Though his once-anticipated book is due for release soon (November 3), “Money Pizza Respect” currently ranks as the No. 42,957 best-selling book on Amazon.

An additional intriguing angle to all this is that Ostrovsky built his Fat Jew comedy empire in the most modern way possible. He essentially just mined the internet for jokes, aggregating the results into sketches and routines. He’s like a human SEO device.

Shame on you, Fat Jew!


Starbucks Expands ‘Evenings’ Program Across US

In an attempt to widen brand versatility, Starbucks is taking its ‘Evenings’ menu to more American locations.

When you think of Starbucks, what crosses your mind first? If your response is anything other than the word ‘coffee’ – or perhaps ‘scones’ – you’re part of a tiny minority. Starbucks is looking to change that, with an expansion of their ‘Evenings’ line.

Starbucks Evenings includes a menu of beer and wine offerings, along with small appetizers and tapas. The idea, of course, is to change the image of Starbucks as a morning-only destination. After picking up a caffeine jolt on the way to work, most consumers likely don’t have Starbucks on their minds later in the day.

Truth be told, there is a demand for the sort of casual drinking environment offered by Starbucks Evenings. Unlike traditional bars and pubs – where ‘chatting’ often means ‘shouting at each other over loud music and even louder customers’ – Starbucks offers a laid-back atmosphere that’s ideal for book clubs or Bible-study groups.

Test locations in America have been quite popular with women, who make up 60 percent of Evenings patrons. That makes quite a bit of sense to me. How uneven is the ratio between male- and female-targeted bars in America? There’s countless male-oriented sports bars – such as Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings – but coming up with counterexamples that market primarily to women is a difficult venture.

As Starbucks expands ‘Evenings’ to over 2,000 of its 12,000 US locations, don’t be surprised if the after-dinner scene makes its presence felt at a franchisee near you.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Scandal Alert: $20k Bag of Brooklyn Air Posted to Ebay

Scandal Alert: $20k Bag of Brooklyn Air Posted to Ebay

Now here’s a true scandal. A bag of air from Brooklyn, NY post to Ebay for $20,000. I’m completely undone. Is this a scandal or sheer brilliance?

Leave it to Williamsburg to cull yet another use for Mason Jars: air. Bidding for “Air from Williamsburg, Brooklyn! HIP COOL BROOKLYN LENA DUNHAM 11211” originally started on July 6th at $39.99 and as of Thursday, July 9, the air was going for $20,100.00.

Excuse me, but the bid is more than some people pay annually to actually live in North Brooklyn.

“What you are bidding on here is a sample of air from the COOLEST neighborhood in the world: Williamsburg, Brooklyn!” the seller, theedgedweller, who has apparently never sold on the online auction site before, writes. “This might be your last chance to afford air from this much coveted zip code (11211),” reads another part of the description. This special, but also incredibly mundane air, can be shipped anywhere in the United States “either in a Ziploc bag or in a mason jar from one of our many, many mason jar specialty shops.” “$20,000 may sound expensive now, but at the rate prices go up in Williamsburg, this bag of air will be one million dollars by the end of the year,” wrote a satirist at Brokelyn.

While I get the joke, eBay put on their party pooper pants and made sure someone wasn’t stupid enough to buy a ziplock bag full of oxygen for a small down payment. They removed the listing since the post didn’t include “physical items or actual services.” While the idea is creative, the execution is what ended up falling short. This winter a Boston man, Kyle Waring, set up a website that sold batches of the record breaking snow for $89 a pop. Maybe “theedgedweller” should’ve gotten into the entrepreneurial spirit and taken matters into his own hands.

As it turns out, thanks to live feeds, maybe the joke is on me (and everyone else) The mysterious man is actually Dan Ozzi, Vice music editor. Maybe he knows of a bridge that he can sell us.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Pizza Hut’s New Box Doubles as Movie Projector

Pizza Hut’s clever new pizza box is also a film projector for smartphones.

Ordering a delivery pizza and watching a movie is pretty much the quintessential American “family night.” Pizza Hut is capitalizing on this synergistic relationship with a brilliantly conceived marketing ploy called the Blockbuster Box.

The brand’s new pizza box comes with a lens, which fits into a perforated hole at the front of the box. All consumers have to do is scan the codes on the box to ‘unlock’ their movie choices, then attach a smartphone to the lens. Moments later, you’re watching a movie projected from the box your pizza came in.

Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr said that “pizza is a social food, and movies are a social event. Perfect match.” I have to agree with Terfehr. While the Blockbuster Box is clearly just a novelty – and not something you’re going to use more than once – I can see little kids going wild over the idea.

For now, the only movies available are short films produced by Pizza Hut, but I would be shocked if they don’t expand on that at least a bit. I’m not sure anyone wants to sit down and watch a two-hour movie projected out of a pizza box with sound from a smartphone speaker, but including a couple episodes of popular TV sitcoms sounds like a great move.

Sure, it’s just a silly novelty, but sometimes silly novelties sell. I think this is one of those cases. Clever stuff from Pizza Hut.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Netflix Changes Lives While Streaming

Netflix is now changing lives while streaming. The company is changing the ways the streaming service can – and can’t – improve people’s lives.

The latest spot for Netflix Europe starts out like one of those anti-cable TV spots – you know, the ones popular with satellite providers. A deadly serious voiceover details the many different ways that Netflix’s streaming service changes your life (along with a few ways that it can’t).

The 60-second spot, produced by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, focuses mostly on Netflix’s original programming. For example, one man develops a love for scuba-diving after watching the documentary “Mission Blue.” An angsty teenager trades in her frown for a smile while watching “Arrested Development.”

An awkward partygoer makes a new friend, thanks to their shared love of “Orange is the New Black.” Two couples having an awkward dinner break the ice by discussing “House of Cards.” Not quite everything is possible in Netflix-land, however – the ad makes sure to let everyone know that the service cannot turn you into the leader of an alien race.

Let’s toss aside for a moment the notion that Netflix is probably responsible for more nights home alone with the cat, than it is a social matchmaker. I love this ad for two reasons. First, it’s a funny, effective spot in a vacuum. However, it’s even better when you realize that it’s also a thinly veiled jab at two of Netflix’s greatest enemies – cable and satellite providers.

Can Netflix really change your life? In a minor way, sure. Just keep in mind that subscribing isn’t likely to lead to a scuba-diving excursion with whales.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Struck by a Rainbow: A Man Made of Skittles

Skittles examines the life of a man whose skin turned to candy when he was struck by a rainbow.

Skittles has an oddly proud history of creating TV spots in which the candy is involved in anatomical wackiness. For example, who could forget the guy who feeds himself Skittles with his beard? How about the human pinata confronting his co-workers in the break room, begging them to stop hitting him with bats and just buy their own Skittles?

Now, the brand has taken this gimmick to its limit, creating a new mockumentary video spot about a man made of Skittles. The 3 minute, 30 second spot tells the story of a man who was struck by a rainbow, and now finds himself trapped in a body comprised entirely of Skittles.

The man discusses the struggles of living with his affliction, such as leaving behind a trail of candy wherever he goes, or the weird looks from strangers on the street. Finally, he learns that life goes on: “I am a man made out of Skittles, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

Skittles and BBDO Toronto went all-out with the spot, enlisting Cannes Film Festival award-winning director Conor Byrne to direct it. Byrne finds the perfect tone for the video, nailing the popular Hollywood mockumentary style.

This entire campaign has been a home run for Skittles. The spots are pretty darn ridiculous, but this is a candy company we’re talking about here. Their entire business is based on appealing to children – and also the childlike aspect of adults that makes us occasionally ignore the nutrition facts and buy a bag of Skittles.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA