Ad Roundup: Can all airplanes be this dreamy?

We’ll call this weeks Ad Roundup up a rather quirky one. I’ll admit I am sort of nutty about airplanes and airports and frequent flying… and all that goes with it. On occasion, say, if I am flying out of the North Terminal in the evening, I will go a bit early to see Lufthansa’s big old A340 blasting off the runway on its daily service to Frankfurt. And yes, that’s probably a bit weird to most people. I can probably safely blame it all on my Dad who used to take me to airports as a kid where we would watch planes land and take off. In those days, you could get pretty close and in the off-chance you caught one of Northwest Airlines’ 747s landing at DTW from either Tokyo or Osaka it was quite a spectacle– to say the least. The wall in my office is adorned with an Airbus A380 for crying out loud:

Ad Roundup Can all airplanes be this dreamy?

Anyway, this week’s Ad Roundup focuses on some dreamy visuals of airplanes and how cool that can be… And yes, for the record, we want to do some of this type of work. Ha.

Thanks for stopping by.


Wolfe Air Reel from 3DF on Vimeo.

LOT Embraer 175 “RetroJET” – Livery Timelapse from Paweł Szczypek on Vimeo.

Ad Roundup: The Shock Value of Wieden + Kennedy

Wieden + Kennedy, the global powerhouse ad agency, has had a rather explosive week on the circuit and dominates in this weeks Ad Roundup. Their new ads for GAP directed by Sophia Coppola are getting a lot of attention, and many ad industry folks are calling their latest ad for the Honda Civic perhaps the most innovative approach to automotive advertising in 2014. W+K is well known for their knack with shock-advertising: they create a moment on screen that stops you in your tracks and in turn creates a memorable moment for the brand. It’s worked wonders for their ongoing work with the GAP– most recently with the Coppola ads, and not long ago with those directed by David Fincher. With Honda, the rather simple innovative approach to the video is that it contains a dual storyline– revealed if, and only if, you hit the “R” button on your keyboard while watching.

Happy viewing!


Honda’s “The Other Side” for starters– click the image below to be taken to a separate page to view the video (it’s not able to be embedded).

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 5.13.24 PM

And the most recent set of ads directed by Sophia Coppola for GAP:

Ad Roundup: Sprite, Spotify and IKEA. Oh my.

For this week’s Happy Halloweeny ad roundup we’ve gathered some fun ads that we’ve been digging lately. There’s no discernible trend to glean from this week’s bunch, just some brands doing good work that we’ve enjoyed: Sprite taps Lebron, Spotify hits home with hair metal and IKEA Singapore cashes in with cleverness around Halloween. Here we go!

New Client Work: NEIdeas $10k Challenge

The NEIdeas small business challenge was built on the premise that a great idea can help a business grow. The NEIdeas $10k Challenge was thus born: existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park were asked to submit a statement on their idea and how it would impact their business. 600 ideas were submitted and evaluated by a panel and a selection of businesses were awarded $10,000 each to bring their idea to life. When we were asked to create some content to support the campaign, we were pretty excited, starting first with an introduction to the challenge itself. Next, and most recently, we finished a video looking at the first batch of winners for the $10k challenge. It’s been a pretty rewarding project to work on. We’ve met some hard-working and talented people while learning about businesses we never knew existed. See the first video here, and the second below:

NEIdeas – “Winners” from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

Ad Roundup: “Give Me Your Classics And I’ll Show You The Future”

So, I’m constantly watching video online given the nature of our work here. It’s fun and provides inspiration when we need to pitch or create work for clients. I am going to start regularly sharing some of the videos and ads I really like. I’ve just decided this right now, on a Tuesday night at 11:06pm while sitting on the couch with the Smithsonian Channel (“Aerial America”) casually providing noise in the background.

Last week on Facebook I wrote, “Gap’s new ‘Dress Normal’ ads are alluring in a weird way. Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven, Gone Girl, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), the series of four new ads have a cryptic storytelling approach with no clear beginning, middle or end.” My favorite of the four ads in the series is here:

This week I watched an ad from Reebok promoting their Reebok Classics line with a short film shot in the city where the shoes were born: Manchester. It’s reminiscent of the Gap ads with its off-kilter approach to storytelling, and it makes me wonder if this is the beginning of a larger trend for production companies and directors. The Reebok ad can be seen here:

I’ll keep this discussion ongoing and somewhat regular with thoughts on ads I come across which seem to be particularly good.


Call for Walls: Mural Project Needs You!

Here at DL!, we have a pretty simple business model– 70% client work, 30% whatever. That’s a head scratcher, sure, but the “whatever” is what keeps the business true, playful and honest. The “whatever” has created some of our best work: the documentary After the Factory, the clothing line, posters on your walls, the remote-control race car track at Georgia Street and all the public art projects. In truth, the “whatever” is that thing we call the “social brand.”

For the last few years we’ve been chipping away at a mural series called MANTRACITY. The project is heavily inspired by the work that Stephen Powers started in Philadelphia with “A Love Letter For You.” We paint message-based murals in locations throughout the city that aim to uplift and bring a smile. It’s that simple. Here are some of them:

photo (36)



We’ve done four murals, which is cool, with all of the labor and cost coming out of our pocket. Each of the murals still stand today, and each has taken on a little life of it’s own: the “Kahn” mural amidst countless “taggings” has been mysteriously cleaned up (fixed) by strangers, wedding photos have been taken in front of the Martian Mural, magazines have included photos of the “Dreaming” mural, etc. This is part of the whole process for us.

Thing is, we want to do more. A lot more. So, we’re making a “call for walls.” We need walls with permission to paint, and we’ll work on handling the rest. So, if you’ve got any ideas on locations, give us a shout (, send us a tweet, a FB message… or, hell, a smoke signal. The key is this: we need you.

Vote for DL! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge


Click here to vote for Detroit Lives! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge.

For the past few months we have had an absolute blast writing a story and film for Nokia as part of a campaign to support the release of a new smart phone, the Lumia Icon. We pitched them on a story we had developed, the main character of which, Harlan Ruddecksplainer VII, is pictured above.

The basic of the story: The life of a bathroom attendant… the love of the hospitality industry… Harlan Ruddecksplainer is a fifth generation bathroom attendant. His Great-great-great-great grandfather stood outside an outhouse with a bucket of water, and that level of Ruddecksplainer service continues today. In the face of flatulation and loud-mouth jerks, Harlan maintains his post with impeccable composure and sage like words of wisdom. But what happens when the ladies room across the hall gets a cute new attendant? Without the luxury of “a bathroom break,” Harlan will have to get crafty with his approach.

We are competing against four other filmmakers to be awarded the grand prize, and so we need your vote via Facebook every day for the next 10 days. Voting went live today and the winner will be announced next week.

The link to vote: Click here (no sign ups necessary, just click a button)



Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge: Make a Video With Our Smart Phone

We recently learned via Rippld of a project that Nokia was launching across the US in promotion of their newest smart phone release: the Lumia Icon. The phone is being marketed for its exceptionally good video properties along with four onboard microphones for recording audio. So, naturally, the premise of the contest was to make a video with the phone: submit in 600 characters or less an idea for a story you want to tell with a video shot exclusively on the smart phone, and then another 600 characters of why you should be chosen. We submitted our idea and ended up getting selected as one of the five finalists. Then this Pelican road case showed up on at our office:

photo (53)

Inside were three Nokia Lumia Icon smart phones, a tripod, a clip that would allow us to mount the phone on the tripod and some literature to read. We were kind of impressed.

Next thing you know, the script is written, locations are secured, we’ve got some folks lined up as talent and we’re ready to roll. Day one shooting looked something like this, kudos to anyone who can guess where in Detroit we are shooting:

photo (54)

From here, we continue shooting and submit the video back to Nokia by the end of the month. We’ll keep our idea a secret until the official release 🙂 But make sure to stay tuned to Twitter and Instagram as we’ll surely be posting some updates from time to time about the project.

Revealed! The Secret Weapon to Any Film

Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest hotel is a wonderful film. It seems that he has finally made the movie and story that perfectly encapsulates his signature style of filmmaking. All the quirk, style and detail in Grand Budapest Hotel is completely necessary to the characters and plot as compared to previous efforts (“Life Aquatic” comes to mind) where you’re left wondering if some of the quirk is just overkill.

One of our absolute favorite part of the film is the attention to detail. Anderson’s puts prop design front and center with GBH, and it really made the film that much more lovable. The letterhead on written notes, the packaging for a pastry, the mailing label on a parcel:



GHB_0341 20130131.CR2


And so it seems that sometimes, it is in fact all in the details.

Images taken from Annie Atkins’ full interview in Creative Review
Additional commentary in this months issue of Fast Company

5 Effortlessly Catchy Ads from 2014 Viral Video Awards

Practically every client wants their brand video to go viral. Well, here’s how you do it. Apparently. The winners from AdAge’s annual Viral Video Awards lend insight in to what the modern consumer is amused, intrigued and inspired by– from style to delivery. We’ve picked our five favorites of the fourteen in total. You’ll see why these are a fun representation of the power of video storytelling, something we love to do here at DL!:

Our very favorite, a fantastic story, and a deed worth noting that surely improved WestJet’s reputation in an industry that often isn’t so pretty with customer service.

Humor done well is just as effective as a tearjerker. Poo Pourri did just exactly that. Hearty laughs combined with explicit product information equals a job well done. Would you ever buy this stuff?

Disruptive advertising can also create some waves. Beer brand Newcastle did this by making fun of itself. And it was a smash hit (and cost much less than the Super Bowl ad buy):

Samsung, the world’s most viewed brand in video campaigns, tapped Jay Z and his new album release to expose a story of process that was just as much fun to discover as it was to experience:

Finally, our second-favorite, if only because it accentuates the real value of short and sweet, comes by way of Stuey from Family Guy and Google Chrome. It’s shocking to see what 16 seconds can do: