Brunch Forum: Colbert’s Hummus, Wayback Wednesday, Apple’s Reveal, DDB & Grovo, Cage-Free McDonald’s, Instagram, Star Wars & More

by James Thompson

Enjoy AdForum’s daily round-up of the latest news, trends, and notable work in the advertising industry.

Instagram Unveils 30-Second Video Ads to Attract Big Brands

“Just three months after launching a full-blown ad business, Instagram is kicking things into another gear, announcing today that marketers can utilize 30-second videos in campaigns. Before, ads were capped at 15 seconds—the same length of video that users can post. The new video ads can be posted in landscape mode to support the app's recent formatting update. By upping the video for 30-second creative, Instagram said in a statement that the move will ‘give ads a more cinematic feel.’” Read the full story at Adweek

Interstellar Advertising: How a Toy, BB-8, is Promoting the New Star Wars


“Move over, R2-D2 and C-3PO. When “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters in December, it will feature the debut of a new droid, BB-8, whose spherical body makes him look a bit like a high-tech snowman. And based on early sales and online buzz around the many Star Wars toys that hit shelves last week as part of the“Force Friday” launch event, it appears that BB-8 might be a breakout merchandising star. In particular, the toy made by Sphero called the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid was an early hit with customers. The robot, which costs $149.99, can zip around your house based on voice commands or directions you give it via smartphone or tablet app.” Read more at The Washington Post

Stephen Colbert Uses Irony to Advertise Hummus on The Late Show


"'Not the first night, it's too soon,' Mr. Colbert wailed, holding a tub of the hummus."
Colbert’s disarming blend of sincerity and humor allows him to advertise to viewers who are innately cynical when it comes to advertising and hawking goods through TV ads. Read the full story at Ad Age

Walmart Courts Parents in Effort to Revitalize the Tonka Trunk Brand

“What kid wouldn’t be enthralled by a 12-foot-high, black-and-yellow Tonka truck jacked up over gigantic wheels, armored with steel bumpers, roof racks, side steps and ladders, and mounted with a constellation of blinking LED lights? Never mind the kids. It’s their parents the folks at toymaker Funrise are going after with these life-size promotional trucks like the 10,000-pound Tonka T-Rex. The Van Nuys, Calif.-based company takes them to events like the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, where souped-up trucks (some sponsored by Tonka) chew up hilly tracks at insane speeds. The hope is that they’ll inspire nostalgic adults who remember pushing Tonka trucks in the sandbox to buy pint-size versions for their little ones.” Read more at Forbes.

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday at AdForum!


Every Wednesday AdForum will feature a seminal ad from the past that in some way revolutionized advertising by profoundly impacting our industry, our culture, or the way our society interacts with commerce. Today we look at the year 1984, and feature the eponymously titled ad “1984” that introduced the Apple Macintosh to an American audience captivated by Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa, Florida, where the Washington Redskins played the Los Angeles Raiders. Read the full story on “1984.”  

Job of the Day: Art Director at Mullen Lowe in Boston, Massachusetts

We are seeking an Art Director to join our Boston creative team. We are a culture of makers; we make stuff better, smarter, innovative, and more effective. The ideal candidates will be conceptual, strategic, collaborative and all around creative stars. We are looking for writers who are capable of coming up with big ideas and experiences, and executing them across all channels. You will provide creativity that inspires greatness in others. Humor, craftsmanship, intellectual curiosity, and ownership are all qualities we desire for the candidates in this role. You should have a great design range and the work in your portfolio should showcase that. For more information visit Mullen Lowe

Right on Cue: World Totally Freaks Out Over New Apple iPhone, Apple TV, & Apple iPad


AdForum didn’t have a team of journalists canvassing the latest Apple release party, but we can report there were enthusiastic rounds of applause, a few muffled comments about the state of affairs if Steve Jobs were still at the helm, and much hand-wringing over screen sizes and force-touch capabilities. For more real-time details from the actual event, however, visit the Live Blog over at Wired

Agency News: DDB Teams Up with Grovo to Train New Employees


“Shrinking margins at ad agencies has translated into fewer swanky lunches and lower pay — but it has also had a crippling effect on employee training. A couple of months ago, DDB began testing a new method. Working with online learning startup Grovo, the agency created 10 ‘micro-learning’ videos — each under a minute. They covered personal topics like stress management as well as management skills. A few are training videos sent to new employees. Last week, the agency pushed out a new talent assessment system that was explained via a a minute-long video.” Visit Digiday for more. 

McDonald’s to – Eventually – Use Cage-Free Eggs in Attempt to Improve Brand Identity


“The 10-year transition will have a huge impact on chicken-farming practices in the US, where McDonald's buys more than 2 billion eggs annually. The decision to go cage-free is the latest in a series of steps McDonald's has recently taken to improve the quality and perception of its food. The company also committed earlier this year to removing antibiotics from its chicken by 2017.” Visit BusinessInsider for more information.

Agency of the Week

Mekanism creates advertising at the intersection of technology, design, culture and brand stories. We help brands build loyalty, authenticity and love. Mekanism boasts 80+ employees across two offices (San Francisco and New York) with key clients including Pepsi, Ben and Jerry’s, Jim Beam, Nordstrom Rack, The North Face, The White House and the NFL.

Learn more about the creative culture and talented people at Mekanism by visiting their AdForum profile.

Because it is Wednesday and you need a visual sugar fix accompanied by music that feels like a shoulder massage, check out this ad for Milk by Goodby Silerstein & Partners

(Bloody Mary photo courtesy of Anthony. Thank you! It looks delicious!)