Sundance Film Review: ‘The Discovery’

January 21, 2017  |  Variety  |  No Comments

After crafting 2014's delightful, original "The One I Love," director Charlie McDowell and scenarist Justin Lader have created a less playful speculative fiction as their sophomore feature.

Read More

A 53-Year-Old Ballerina Personifies Defying Age in This Skin Care Ad

January 20, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Beauty and skin-care products often have a similar goal—to defy age. When it comes to personifying that concept, skin-care brand No7 has chosen the ideal spokesperson: Alessandra Ferri, who was the youngest prima ballerina at London's Royal Ballet at 19 and is still dancing professionally at 53. Ferri's remarkable feat is celebrated in No7's campaign produced with Mother London and Mother New York that launched in the U.K. earlier this year and in the U.S. this month. In the captivating video, which is helping launch the brand in the U.S., Ferri, who was 52 when the ad was shot, dances beautifully on stage at the Royal Ballet with a hologram of her 19-year-old self performing alongside her. Ferri, who retired after 22 years as a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre in 2007, came out of retirement in 2013 and performed in a production of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York last summer. The campaign's tagline, "Ready for more," is about inspiring women to be ready to take on more, as Ferri has done, said Lyle Tick, managing director of Boots Retail USA, which markets No7. "Consumers told us that when they're feeling good about themselves and their skin, it helped them take on all of their responsibilities with their shoulders back and their chin up and be ready to take on the world," Tick said. "Alessandra Ferri is a great example of this. She's a real, beautiful, powerful woman who's taking on the world at 53.

Read More

Ad of the Day: Weight Watchers’ Remarkable Film Asks Why People Gain Pounds in the First Place

January 20, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's hard to make weight loss testimonials feel like anything other than hackneyed or seedy, preying upon the audience's insecurities to shame them into looking a certain way. But a new six-minute documentary-style ad from Weight Watchers in the U.K. and filmmaker Gary Tarn manages to render the genre into something more beautiful and intimate, through a mix of gorgeous camera work and a focus on why people put on pounds in the first place—and naturally, what inspired them to get back in shape. Anabel Bonner started stress-eating as a child when her parents got divorced. As a young bride preparing for her wedding, she decided to pursue a particular aesthetic—fitting into the kind of dress she wanted became a guiding star for her weight loss program.

Read More

There’s a High Bar for Trump’s Inauguration to Beat Previous TV Ratings

January 19, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Ratings are the currency of TV, and President-elect Donald Trump knows it. A TV star for the past decade and a publicity aficionado long before that, Trump, during his presidential campaign, based his cultural relevance largely on Nielsen numbers. The higher the ratings, the better he was doing. In fact, his fascination with ratings is rivaled only by the most passionate of network executives. Trump has been known to use Twitter to boast when programs or networks he's involved with deliver strong ratings. One of the best produced, including the incredible stage & set, in the history of conventions. Great unity! Big T.V. ratings! @KarlRove — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2016 The president-elect has also been known to gloat when programs he's not directly involved with struggle or when he's portrayed in what he believes to be a negative light. Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for...

Read More

Ryan Lochte Seeks Fresh Start From His Drama-Filled Past in PowerBar Campaign

January 19, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If anyone needs a fresh start, it's Olympic swim bro Ryan Lochte. PowerBar is giving him that, in a new tongue-in-cheek campaign from BSSP that encourages all of us to get healthier in 2017. The general public's New Year's resolutions likely aren't as extreme as Lochte's—after all, most of us don't need to get rid of blue hair, or repair our reputations after falsely claiming to be robbed at gunpoint at the Olympics in Rio. In the spot, though, Lochte takes things in stride, joking about how he wants to put "questionable hairstyles and stuff that happened" in the rear view. The ad encourages viewers to commit to something positive this year by signing up for its Clean Start Pledge online, just as Lochte promises to "recommit to pool sports." Lochte also reminds us that, "metaphors are chill." "We can all use a clean start, especially at the beginning of the new year," said Doug Cornille, PowerBar parent company Premier Nutrition's vp of marketing, in a statement. "We know athletes today are constantly striving to reach optimal performance, much like the PowerBar brand." "When PowerBar reached out to me, I jumped at the chance to work with them, because I've been eating PowerBars my entire swimming career," Lochte said in a statement. "My clean start is recommitting to swimming fast, because my biggest goal is going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo." After being dropped by major sponsors Speedo and Ralph Lauren in the wake of the Rio controversy, Lochte is dipping his toe back into the sponsorship arena—last month, he shot an intentionally weird spot for Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops that also centered on the theme of forgiveness and fresh starts.

Read More

It’s Time Marketers Rethink Their Commitment to Content

January 19, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Eighty-six percent of B-to-C marketers in a recent study say they will be including content marketing in their budgets this year. That makes plenty of sense because it's no secret that as consumer attention scatters across channels, devices, times and places, simply hammering people over the head with paid advertising is becoming harder to do. Adam Kleinberg The word "content" means something is more than an ad. Content implies value—perhaps utility, education, empowerment or entertainment. Regardless, content is powerful for brands because a value exchange is at play. The more value brands put in, the more value they get out—in currencies of attention, intention, loyalty, and ultimately, sales. Of course, content has very little value if it sucks. In fact, if your content marketing is lousy, it can actually hurt your brand. Doing content marketing well requires commitment on many levels. The same Content Marketing Institute (CMI) study mentioned above shows that 90 percent of the organizations deemed "most successful" were characterized as "extremely committed" to content marketing. That's compared to 37 percent of such commitment from organizations classified as "least successful." "We're committed," you might be saying, "We've allocated budget and a team to getting this done." Good on you. However, there are a number of dimensions of commitment that need to be attained to maintain a content marketing operation that delivers high value for your customers and your brand. Commitment to Insight It is trite to say, "quality matters," but what kind of content actually is good content? Too often the output of content marketing programs is a fire hose of crap across every imaginable channel that people don't actually want.

Read More

Palm Springs Film Review: A Jew Must Die

January 18, 2017  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Jacob Berger’s feature incorporates period-blurring anachronisms to underline how issues of anti-Semitism and fascistic violence remain sadly all too current today.

Read More

Will Millennials Care About The CW’s ‘Archie’ Spinoff?

January 18, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As they try to break through the Peak TV glut and grab viewers, broadcast networks have been relying heavily on new shows based on popular intellectual property (IP), like Lethal Weapon, MacGyver and the upcoming Training Day and Taken. But The CW's new drama Riverdale—based on the Archie Comics characters—offers the season's most intriguing test as to whether IP can truly help launch a show, even if its intended audience will likely have very little knowledge of the source material. Riverdale, which premieres Jan. 26, finds Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead entangled in racy storylines miles from the world of the squeaky-clean comics book, which launched in the '40s. The premiere episode alone features a murder, a hush-hush student/teacher affair and dark secrets galore. "It's an interesting conundrum: the IP builds awareness, but if you're then changing too much of the DNA, are you risking pushing the audience away?" said executive producer Greg Berlanti, who was intrigued by the opportunity to mine the originality of the characters, which had made the Archie comics so successful. "What was interesting to us was how much can we bring it into a new generation." While The CW's marketing campaigns for its other series based on comic books characters, including Berlanti's shows Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, relied heavily on consumers' awareness of those characters, its Riverdale campaign doesn't reference Archie at all, aside from a few subtle Easter eggs. "We assumed that everyone we're reaching doesn't know who Archie is," said Rick Haskins, evp, marketing and digital programs. "Thank goodness we have the experience of [former CW hit] Gossip Girl; we know how to do these sexy, gossipy, pop-y things. That's really the playbook we're pulling from: more Gossip Girl than DC Comics." To that end, as he looked to reach women 18-34, Haskins created five major spots, all featuring popular music. The campaign includes buys on musical.ly (the popular music video social network for tweens and teens), and for the first time ever for a CW show, VOD, to target the millennial audience on their preferred viewing platforms. Despite the marketing campaign's millennial focus, The CW president Mark Pedowitz argued that the Archie brand does have some value to viewers. "The importance of the IP was it gives you a hook and something to tag it with; it started a dialogue that Archie was coming back," said Pedowitz, adding that The CW's audience isn't as young as one would guess: its linear median age is around 43 (though its digital median age is 20 years younger than that). He expects at least some old-school Archie fans will be intrigued enough to give Riverdale a try.

Read More

Marketers Will Be Tempted to Dial Back Their Diversity Under Trump. We Can’t Let Them

January 16, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

"Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was 'well timed' in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.'" Edward Bowser Those words were penned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on scraps of paper nearly 54 years ago while he sat in a jail here in my home city of Birmingham, Alabama. Sadly, those same words could have been typed on a blog last week and still be just as relevant. Today, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose work has become the embodiment of racial harmony and inclusion. In four days, we will witness the induction of a president whose campaign was steeped in division and exclusion. Call it a dream deferred. As President-Elect Donald Trump's rise to power ran parallel with the nation's growing civil unrest, pundits quickly invoked MLK's name whenever they were shaken from their comfort zones

Read More

Gus Fring Was Behind That Clever Los Pollos Hermanos Ad for Better Call Saul

January 15, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul returns for Season 3 on April 10, the show will feature another familiar face from Breaking Bad: ruthless drug lord Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito. AMC teased Esposito's appearance last week by releasing a clever ad for Los Pollos Hermanos—the fictional fast-food fried chicken chain that Fring operates as a drug front—featuring Fring himself, which caused Breaking Bad fans to lose their minds. Esposito confirmed his return at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., when he appeared in character as Fring during AMC's panel for Better Call Saul, and handed out boxes of Los Pollos Hermanos chicken to reporters. The actor told Adweek that he came up with the idea for last week's pitch-perfect Los Pollos Hermanos spot himself. It's been gestating for years, Esposito said, since he first appeared on Breaking Bad in 2009. "I always say it was divinely guided, because it came out of a meditation. I always knew from the time I first started working at Pollos Hermanos that there might be some juice in doing something that was centered in the restaurant, that was commercial-like," said Esposito. "But when I thought of it earlier on, with Breaking Bad, it just didn't fit" with that show's dramatic tone. The idea resurfaced again as he began filming Better Call Saul. "It came back to me two or three weeks ago, and I thought, this is the perfect way to tease a Gus Fring return. Because this show has some comedy in it. It's a little funnier than Breaking Bad was," said Esposito. But still, the actor hesitated to share his vision with the show's co-creators Vince Gilligan (who also created Breaking Bad) and Peter Gould. "We're dealing with Sony [which produces Saul] and Vince Gilligan, who's a genius, and AMC, and I thought, 'Will they ever accept that idea? And then I thought, it doesn't matter whether they do or not, it came to you; put it out there!' So I did, and I even guided them as to what it might look like." Gilligan and Gould were on board. "We loved it, and fortunately, AMC decided to make it," said Gould. "We just sat back and enjoyed it." Added Gilligan, "I thought that was brilliant.

Read More