Rob Zombie Directs ‘Clothes Torturer’ Woolite Commercial

Don’t run off and check your calendar after watching this commercial for Woolite, it’s not quite Halloween yet.
Rob Zombie directs Woolite Commercial

The Woolite commercial above was directed by Rob Zombie. (insert dramatic pause followed by blood curdling scream here) Yes ‘that’ Rob Zombie, Dragula driver, rock musician and director of movies like House of a Thousand Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects and the remake of Halloween. Zombie brings his dark, twisted vision to the laundry detergent brand courtesy of the New York office of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

In a recent NY Times article, Jiri Kulik, of Reckitt Benckiser said,

After “some of the consumers in our focus groups described what their clothes go through with laundry detergent like a ‘torture,’ we got this crazy idea of the washing machine like a torture chamber for your clothes, and then we describe Woolite as the savior.”

No mention in the ad of how well Woolite gets bloodstains out of your delicate laundry items, so make sure you check your labels.

Are There Muppets in This Movie?

MuppetsThis trailer for new Muppets Movie is so freakin’ brilliant. I had a ‘WTF moment’ while watching it for the first time, then with the reveal it was sheer joy as Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the gang appeared.

The Muppet Show ran from 1976-1981, which lined up perfectly with my high school years (please don’t do the math). Whether it was Pigs in Space, Veterinarian’s Hospital or Muppet News Flash (go Guy Smiley) I loved every insane moment of the going’s on at the Muppet Theatre.

The special guest star list on the Muppet Show is like a who’s who of late 1970s entertainment; from Alice Cooper to Don Knotts, from George Burns to Debbie Harry. No matter who showed up, they all had to face the ridicule of everyone’s favorite balcony-dwelling hecklers Statler & Wardorf.

It’s been 30 years since the Muppet Show went off the air, and while there have been motion pictures ‘Muppets Take Manahttan’, ‘Muppets from Space’ and the most recent a forgettable TV special ‘Muppets’ Wizard of Oz’ in 2008. Viewers of the original Muppet Show are now in their late 30s and 40s.

In 2009, a videos featuring the original Muppets appeared on YouTube. At Thanksgiving, we saw their version of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ which was soon followed by ‘Ode to Joy‘ (featuring Beaker) during the Christmas season. These helped to bring the Muppet brand back into the public view, reconnecting with their original audience and creating new demand amongst those who were too young to remember the original TV series.

We’re just getting into the summer blockbuster season, but you can expect a virtual Muppet frenzy leading up to the November 23rd release of the new Muppet Movie.

Who are your 3 favorite muppets? My list includes:

  • Animal
  • Sam the Eagle
  • Lou Zealand

Monsters; a Creature Feature on a Budget

Monsters PosterI finally watched the much-discussed sci-fi movie Monsters last night. I had been eager to see the movie since it first debuted at SXSW in March 2010. Much of the talk around the movie was about the relatively low production budget of $500,000 USD and the special effects which were produced by off-the-shelf software by the movie’s director Gareth Edwards.

To judge this movie against big-budget monster movies from Hollywood may be unfair, but Edwards did more with 500k than some of those did with tens of millions of dollars. It was inspiring how much could be done with that money. Granted having no stars, minimal crew, and improvised locations certainly helped keep the budget down.

The plot centres on Andrew, a photo journalist who has been asked by his boss to accompany his daughter Samantha back to the US from Costa Rica. In order to get back they must get through the Infected Zone, a region spanning Northern Mexico to the US border where a US space probe crashed ten years earlier releasing alien life forms.

The movie was shot by Edwards and a five-man crew in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Texas over a 3 week period. They shot guerilla style, finding interesting locations and persuading locals to appear in the movie as they went. Afterwards, Edwards sifted through over 100 hours of unrehearsed footage to eventually trim the movie down to 94 minutes. Edwards, an experienced digital effect artist, produced all the digital effects at home using off-the-shelf Adobe software, Z-Brush and Autodesk 3Ds Max.

I enjoyed the movie immensely and felt the tension as the couple moved deeper into the Infected Zone with their guides and then alone. By not following a traditional ‘monsters attacking cities’ plotline and focusing instead on the main characters, Edwards has created a believable world where monsters do exist.

Despite mixed reviews and a poor box-office, give credit where credit is due. Edwards, the producers and crew proved against all odds that decent monster movie could still be made without $100 million dollar Hollywood budgets. And further congratulations to Edwards who has been assigned the task of directing the reboot of the Godzilla franchise next year. Film fans should watch these breakdowns of Edwards digital effects work on the 2008 BBC docu-drama Attila the Hun.

Slash Film featurette on Gareth Edwards and the movie.
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Sun-Maid Uses QR Codes to Connect Product to Contest Site

Sun Maid uses QR Codes to connect consumers with contest entry
This week Sun-Maid Raisins launched a campaign contest promoting the Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda 2. Sun-Maid raisin six-packs and 24 oz cannisters feature on-pack QR Codes that direct users to a mobile web destination where they can enter for a chance to win a grand-prize trip for four to Zoo Atlanta for an up-close and personal experience with a panda cub.

Rick Bruno, Vice President — Brand Management at Sun-Maid explained:

“By keeping the promotion entry simple and easily accessible by mobile devices, we anticipate a lot of entries and overall site activity, and we look forward to awarding someone with an exceptional grand prize

Hmmm, so tell me how it actually works

When the QR code is scanned it takes the user to a mobile friendly landing page (pictured at right). So far, so good. Things get a little weird from there. When ‘Enter to Win’ is tapped, the user is taken to ‘‘, the main promotion site and one not optimized for mobile. The user is then required to click ‘Enter to Win’ a second time and then led to the entry form.

Considering the fact that the campaign materials and press releases focus so heavily on the use of QR Codes, it’s unfortunate that the same attention was not given to providing a complete beginning-to-end experience optimized for the mobile user.

‘Girl Walks Into a Bar’ Premieres on YouTube to 260,000 Viewers

On Friday March 11, Girl Walks Into a Bar, the first feature length movie specifically made for the Internet made its debut on the YouTube Screening Room. By Sunday night more than 260,000 people had viewed the 90 minute comedy.

According to the press release issued Monday by Shangri-La Entertainment the film’s online audience translates into $2.6 Million worth of ticket sales in its opening weekend. Of course, there were no tickets to sell, the movie was free to watch and the costs to stream it to viewers on YouTube were underwritten by Lexus.

Girl Walks Into a Bar produced by Sebastian Gutierrez and produced by Gato Negor Films and Shangri-La Entertainment is a comedy starring Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Josh Harnett, Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto and Emmanuelle Chriqui. The movie follows a group of seemingly unrelated people around Los Angeles during one night through lounges, bars, strip clubs and even the occasional nudist ping pong club.

Producer Sebastian said of the movie:

“This signals a new era in independent film distribution and leaves no doubt that audiences are willing to watch long form content online,” said Sebastian Gutierrez. “I’m so proud of the cast of this movie and fascinated by the direct interaction between them and the actual viewers, who have responded in numbers beyond our expectations.”

Unfortunately Girl Walks Into a Bar is blocked outside of the US. I, myself was forced to use… ahem, alternative methods in order to view the movie. The movie itself is fine, but seems to be trying way too hard to be clever. However it contains a few great scenes that anyone who watches will surely recall, including a robbery at a nudist ping pong club.

Is a web-only, brand-sponsored distribution model the way of the future? While this is a one-off experiment, I think that it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more of these web-premieres taking place as movie theatre attendance continues to decline and people get more accustomed to streaming movies through Netflix or iTunes.

When Branding Consumes All – Logorama

Logorama from Marc Altshuler – Human Music on Vimeo.

I was going to play ‘Count the Logos’ in the piece, but since there are as many 2,500 logos featured in this film, that’s impossible. I especially love the flying Bentley and MSN logos. And seriously, how could any piece be complete without a gun battle between Ronald MacDonald and the Michelin Man.

The 16 minute short film was directed by the animation group H5, made up of Ludovic Houplian, François Alaux and Hervé de Crécy. The team has made advertising campaigns and music videos for artists such as Massive Attack and Royksopp. The film has been public since 2009 when it was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then it opened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 Academy Award in the animated short category.

Inspiration for the Logorama project began with a 1999 typography-centric video produced for the group called French Touch. In 2003 George Harrison asked H5 to create a video for his song ‘Brainwashed’. They wanted to create a video addressing the culture of consumption, and the idea of using logos was born. Unfortunately Harrison died, but H5 decided to realize the project on their own.

The film was produced by Mikros Image, a post production company using Maya Software combined with rotoscoping done of the producers and members of their family.