i was hesitant at the beginning of this video but by the end i was ready to give audi a round of applause for this branded campaign. take a look:

good, right? a couple of things i like about this piece:

- it has a "this is bigger than us" feel which allows for the impact of this to go far beyond audi customers.

- the campaign is connected to the core of the brand. i love when brands do thoughtful, cause-related work but sometimes it truly has no connection to their brand or product. the result is that it feels nice but doesn't really resonate. here, they've taken an issue, found a way in which their product is affected by it and blown it way up. the result? cause-related work with brand-related impact.

- the goal is clear: take ownership of the hashtag.

- BUT. it doesn't have enough of an action. they want you to retweet their tweets, but they're not giving you a real next step. there is no microsite or facebook page or campaign around this. so, while the video is a great first step, without a true action at the end driving viewers to share it, connect with audi, read more or sign up, it's a great video and a missed opportunity. 

more here.

via adweek


you know i have a thing for VW ads. whether it's their visual simplicity or their conceptual simplicity, they are masters of minimalism and beautiful execution. so, when i saw these new ads I had to share. first, because they are hilarious. but also because the concept is so simple, the message is so clear, it is so on brand and it employs one of the best brand strategies of all time, feisty grandmas being hilarious.

these ladies are known as the golden sisters and are youtube famous for their commentary on kim kardashian, amongst other things.

let's also take a minute to recognize the work of tuna, the dog. he is both weird and endearing and also decidedly not a golden retriever puppy which (whether you realize it or not!) is very different from most dogs in ads. and this makes tuna - and these ads - stand out. also the use of the hashtag is hilarious and brilliant.

well done, VW.

agency credits here.


very cool initiative from chipotle i wanted to share. the fast food mega-chain is partnering was writers and illustrators to do more with their packaging through a new series called “cultivating thought.” authors provide mini essays and illustrators provide accompanying illustrations. and voila! your burrito stimulates your belly and your mind.


the idea actually came from jonathan safran foer, the new york times best-selling author  of extremely loud and incredibly close and everything is illuminated. apparently, he was eating chipotle one day, found himself with nothing to read and had an aha moment. he approached chipotle with his idea to expose customers to creative people and kudos to chipotle for taking an idea from an outsider and running with it.

the contributers are pretty amazing: toni morrison wrote a piece called “two-minute seduction." sarah silverman has a funny piece called “two-minute index.” steven pinker presents “a two-minute case for optimism.”

i love the idea of stretching your product to do more. i appreciate the creativity and thought behind it. i think the biggest win of this initiative is that it comes from a customer. it comes from putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and saying, when our customers are engaging with our product what are they missing? how can we enrich the process of engaging with our product?

i do think that not featuring mexican or hispanic authors right off the bat was a missed opportunity. not just because there are so many great hispanic authors, but because it’s an opportunity to connect the campaign back to the brand - which is what branded content is all about. but chipotle got that feedback after it launched this initiative and (again) kudos to them for correcting the mistake quickly!

all in all, a great example of smart, thoughtful branded content.


interesting new series coming from gap. in preparation for spring, gap has launched a 12 part "microseries" on instagram. the series is called "spring is weird." every week a new (15-second) episode will be rolled out on instagram.

gap says the series will be about "the burgeoning romance between slate and dano, as they navigate chance encounters, first dates and moody spring weather in the hope of finding their perfect fit. as they grapple with what is real and what is social "content," they begin to suspect that their lives may not be theirs alone."

here's the first one:

definitely one to watch! no one has really done this before and as big brands try to figure out how to best leverage instagram it's interesting to watch new creative attempts to leverage instagram's community and format. the instagram community is deeply connected and creative so i'm into the fact that gap is taking a slightly more weird and creative approach on this platform. also, any time a platform or medium forces a brand to be tighter and more deliberate about their branded content i think it does a lot of good (from both a creativity and a content perspective). excited to watch this unfold. who knows? maybe it'll make gap cool again. probably not, but i'm open to the idea!

more here.