Cute animals, musical numbers and tearjerkers abound in 2016’s top viral ads

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Adorable critters, elaborate song-and-dance routines, tearjerking tales of inspiration — these are the staples of advertising virality, and each was in abundant supply among this year’s most-shared commercials.

Video tracking firm Unruly tallied up some of 2016’s biggest hits from around the world in its annual ranking released this week.

Topping out the list, unsurprisingly, is British department story John Lewis’ mood-brightening story of a puppy seeing its Christmas wish come true. Some other notable ads that made the cut include an inspirational musical act performed by people with disability for the Paralympics and a fan-made Doritos Super Bowl spot.  Read more…

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The Anti-Defamation League was surprised to find its ads appearing on Breitbart

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The Anti-Defamation League has been one of the most outspoken critics of Donald Trump’s appointment of Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon to a top White House post.

So it came as a surprise to the Jewish anti-bigotry group this week when it discovered that it actually numbered among the far-right news site’s advertisers.

They weren’t the only one. Because many of its digital ads are placed by a third-party network through automated exchanges, the group doesn’t have a direct hand in every online ad transaction. The same goes for other advertisers including Kellogg, which also pulled its ads from the website. Read more…

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Soap company uses bacteria-coated billboards to prove how dirty your stuff is

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Soap brand Lifebuoy has launched some truly grimy billboards.

The company’s new shopping mall ads are essentially giant Petri dishes in which bacteria swabbed from everyday objects grows before the eyes of passers-by over the course of days.

The end result is a colorful pattern of living bacterial colonies splayed out around their comparatively small source.

A time-lapse of the bacterial growth

A time-lapse of the bacterial growth

Image: the electric factory

The stunt is intended to demonstrate on a super-sized scale the amount of bacteria and fungi that lurk unseen on household items like smartphones, dollar bills and game controllers.  Read more…

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The (former) Most Interesting Man is now selling wi-fi routers

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He doesn’t always change career paths, but when he does, he prefers to join a tech startup.

After Dos Equis blasted him to Mars last spring to make room for a younger pitch man, former “most interesting man in the world” Jonathan Goldsmith has made his grand return to advertising with a new gig selling wi-fi routers.

In an ad for hardware maker Luma, the debonair actor sports hip glasses and a skinny tie as he rants about how “weak-ass wi-fi” is an affront to human rights.

“Yeah, it’s me. The guy from those ads you liked a lot,” he says to the camera. “Turns out I’m a real person.” Read more…

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Activist’s Twitter campaign prompts advertisers to flee Breitbart

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Several major brands are scrubbing their ads from far-right news outlet Breitbart following pressure from social media users.

A makeshift campaign at the center of the boycott effort called Sleeping Giants claims that more than 20 advertisers have either publicly or privately agreed to remove ads from the site, including Kellogg, U.S. Bank and Warby Parker.

Their decisions come amid renewed backlash against the site prompted by Donald Trump’s recent appointment of Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. Critics say the agitative outlet frequently traffics in racist, misogynist and homophobic content. Read more…

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Instagram expected to have more advertisers than Twitter by next year

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As Twitter struggles to keep advertisers interested, Instagram may soon take a lead over its beleaguered competitor.

A new report from market research firm Emarketer is projecting a big jump in the number of American brands that will make use of the Facebook-owned image-sharing app in the coming year.

The study predicts that nearly three quarters of American companies with 100 employees or more will turn to Instagram for marketing purposes in 2017 — up from a little more than half this year. 

Meanwhile, Twitter’s popularity among marketers is expected to continue to stagnate at around 66 percent. According to the firm’s data, the number of brands using Twitter has grown less than two percent since 2014. Read more…

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Samsung brand autopsy: How can the company earn back trust?

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Now that the figurative smoke has cleared from the dozens of literal fires caused by faulty Samsung smartphones, the Korean electronics giant has entered into that most craven of corporate actions: Brand-repair mode.

Its advertising — which went completely dark for much of October — is back to pre-recall levels, a date has been set for the release of a full-scale autopsy on the problem and the company is even exploring splitting into two in response to investor backlash.

The immediate financial damage has been rough: The Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost the company as much as one billion dollars, and all the flux left a big opening for competitors like the iPhone and the newly released Google Pixel to carve into its market. Read more…

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Spotify outs its listeners’ embarrassing habits with billboards

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Your guilty pleasures and weird obsessions have apparently not escaped the notice of Spotify’s number crunchers.

The streaming service is singling out some of its customers’ quirkier habits in a new billboard campaign that hit the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany this week.

Among the company’s revelations: A repentant lover who played the song “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, a Hamilton stan who racked up thousands of soundtrack listens in New York’s theater district, some monster of a person who started listening to holiday music in June and thousands of dark-humored Brits who streamed “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” the day after the Brexit vote. Read more…

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‘Final Fantasy XV’ has killer product placement

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Before we get started, while nothing you’ll read below has any bearing on Final Fantasy XV‘s main story, some might construe details of a side quest as spoiler territory. So consider this your spoiler warning.

So. There is an entire quest in Final Fantasy XV that worships at the altar of Nissin’s instant ramen noodle snack, Cup Noodles. It is a magical work of product placement that’s so inappropriate and out-of-place that it actually works.

It all starts when you reach the first major city in the game. As you climb out of your car and step out of the car park, a familiar logo comes into view. Read more…

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwayne Wade pull off amazing trick shots in new ads

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Waking up is easy — at least if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwayne Wayde.

The two athletes showed off their athletic prowess in a new ad campaign for PokerStars, an online poker site, Thursday.  

From inside a bedroom with photos of himself as a child and a blanket bearing his own name, Real Madrid player Ronaldo reveals his early morning football skills. On cue in five seconds after his alarm clock rings, a ball comes flying toward his bed. 

Open your eyes @DwyaneWade – this is how I wake up 🙈 #raiseithttps://t.co/i6J4wmrc1W pic.twitter.com/QIAujMQnW6

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 24, 2016 Read more…

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