Ad Post: Google Chrome – The Web is What You Make of It

by Amy Yen

Google Chrome 1:00 spot
Agency: Google Creative Lab/Bartle Bogle Hegarty

The latest from Google’s “The Web is What You Make of It” series promoting their Chrome browser, “Jess Time” is every bit as captivating & lump-in-the-throat inducing as their first spot, “Dear Sophie,” which remains one of my very favorite pieces of creative from 2011.

Both ads tell such touching, relatable stories — capturing the moments as you watch your child grow up, staying close to your kids when they go off to college (I thought there was also such a beautiful underlying sadness to the “Jess Time” spot, with saying without saying it that this is also a family in mourning) — it’s remarkable that both spots also somehow manage to demonstrate the features of the product in such an inspirational way. I love that it actually inspires imagination, without any sense of manipulation. Isn’t that what really great creative is supposed to do?

Google is notably new to traditional advertising, and has put a lot of promotion into Chrome, which finally overtook Internet Explorer (who themselves have a solid, if not as emotionally resonant spot in rotation) in the browser wars earlier this year. In addition to “Sophie” & “Jess,” the Chrome campaign includes spots with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber & “It Gets Better,” a chronicle of the movement that began with Dan Savage’s inspirational video message, which is an especially wonderful in that it’s a true life example of how technology can change lives.

Top 5 “New Who” Doctor Who Episodes

by Amy Yen

In anticipation to the series 6 finale of Doctor Who this Saturday, I thought I’d do a post on my top 5 episodes since the show came back in 2005. Like a lot of people, I never saw Classic Who & honestly, as much as I like the show, I don’t really think I’ll ever feel the need to go back & watch those old episodes, with the low production values & cardstock companions who only function as damsels-in-distress. But since Russell T. Davies brought the series back, the characters have been admirably fleshed out & the season arcs have always been interesting, if not always successfully executed.

I should specify that this is my personal favorite top 5 episodes, not necessarily the 5 very best episodes, although my choices are all pretty popular episodes. I also changed my mind on a few of them, just to not always pick the Steven Moffat timey-wimey choice, although I am obviously a huge sucker for those stories. Here are my picks:

Honorable Mentions: Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Big Bang, The Girl in the Fireplace

5) The Girl Who Waited
Interesting, it’s one of two “Doctor-light” episodes in my choices. Not that I don’t love The Doctor, but this episode in particular is the best Rory & Amy story thus far & one of the best companion stories period of the new series. It’s a terrific standalone adventure, but it is also explores one of series 6’s most interesting aspects, the idea of a married couple in the TARDIS. What’s most wonderful about is, there are plenty of examples of how much Rory loves Amy, but this is one of the few stories that really shows how much Amy loves Rory. Rory is what separates Amy from Rose, why she’ll eventually be able to walk away from the Doctor for good.

4) The Doctor Dances
The second half of Moffat’s first two-parter that introduced one of his most famous creations, John Barrowman’s dashing, tragic Captain Jack Harkness, this episode features one of the Doctor’s greatest goosebump-raising, cheer-inducing speeches. “Everybody lives!” To me, it remains the high point of Christopher Eccleston’s short run as the Ninth Doctor.

3) The Eleventh Hour
Matt Smith’s first full adventure as the Eleventh Doctor was full of joy & wonder & magic, & to me, it got Doctor Who back to what it is when it’s at its best, in stark contrast to the cloudiness around it for Ten’s last few stories. And while Eleven’s run certainly has its ultra-dark moments, Matt Smith is such an energetic, compelling presence, the Doctor seems a little less weighed down by his past. “The Eleventh Hour” also introduces Amy Pond in one of the most creative & tragic companion backstories ever. What I remember most about it is its fantastical fairy tale imagery: Amelia Pond in her red jacket, the Doctor landing in her garden & the TARDIS in its bluest blue, ever.

2) The Doctor’s Wife
Neil Gaiman does Doctor Who, I mean, what can you say? What an amazing episode. I will admit, when I first saw “The Doctor’s Wife” in the episode titles, I was momentarily fooled into thinking this might be a River Song story, but the real story is so much better than that. The TARDIS personified is an inspired creation (“Did you wish really, really hard?”) & the best part of the episode might be that final scene, with the Doctor running around the console gleefully. “It’s always going to be you & her, isn’t it? Long after the rest of us have gone.”

1) Blink
I almost don’t want to put this as number 1 because it is both a Doctor-light & companion-light episode—Ten & Martha make the briefest of appearances—and my actual appreciation of the show has everything to do with the fundamental relationship between The Doctor & his companions. But “Blink” is a masterpiece, the original Moffat timey-wimey story. Because at the end of the day, it’s a show about time travel & nobody writes time travel like Moffat (I also think of “The Big Bang” as a great example of this, but “Blink” has the stronger narrative). “Blink” is also just a remarkable piece of storytelling, featuring possibly the scariest Who monsters ever, beautiful photography (those gorgeous, terrifying stone statues in the rain) & a one-off companion who feels as three-dimensional as anyone else in this universe. If it didn’t feature so little of the Doctor, I would call it the perfect Doctor Who story, if only for the brilliance of this scene:

So those are my picks, would love to hear yours in the comments. Doctor Who’s Series 6 finale, “The Wedding of River Song” airs on BBC America tomorrow, October 1 at 9pm ET.

Ad Post: CW The Secret Circle Entertainment Weekly Insert

by Amy Yen

The CW: The Secret Circle print insert
Agency: CW promotions department

Check out this elaborate print insert from the CW in the September 9th issue of Entertainment Weekly promoting their new fall show,The Secret Circle. The two-page insert opens up to an interactive ad of the show’s witch characters holding a candle, which the reader can light up by touching metal disks embedded in the ad. Touching the disks also activates an audio commercial for the show. The instructions on the ad tell the reader to blow out the candle to “protect [their] secret.” Sure enough, blowing on the ad activates a wind sensor in the ad & turns off the lighted candle.

An impressive, no doubt hugely expensive placement, it’s certainly attention-grabbing, with the insert bulking up the issue & the hardstock paper and various interactive components difficult to miss while flipping through the magazine. The CW is clearly putting a lot of promotion behind The Secret Circle, which is debuting behind their biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries, also from creator Kevin Williamson & also based on LJ Smith novels. I’ll definitely be giving it a shot, because of the good will Williamson buys, although honestly, despite the fact that the CW has successfully gotten my attention with its promotion, I don’t find the previews themselves to be particularly compelling. Watch a 6-minute preview here.

Instructions on the CW's interactive print insert for The Secret Circle (click to enlarge)

Ad Post: The Mechanic Movie Poster QR Code

by Amy Yen

image credit:

The Mechanic Movie Advertising
Agency: CBS Films/Millenium Films/Nu Image Entertainment/GmbH

So I’ve been walking by street advertising for the new Jason Statham movie The Mechanic for a few weeks now & just today noticed the QR code embedded in the guns-in-a-gun image on the signage & posters. While it can’t be that effective since it’s hard to notice unless you’re looking closely, it acts like kind of an Easter egg for those who do. The code, which in it of itself is designed to look like a target, leads to the mobile version of the official movie website, including the trailer & the definition for the term ‘mechanic.’ It’s an interesting & well-done use of the technology, at least for those who see it.

Ad Post: FOX – Fringe Moves to the Friday Night Death Slot

by Amy Yen

FOX 1:00 spot
Agency: FOX Marketing & Special Ops

This is a few weeks old, but I really wanted to give FOX some kudos for this clever & rather brave promo they released in response to the outcry over the recently announced move of Fringe to the supposed Friday Night Death Slot (as opposed to where it was before, otherwise known as the most competitive timeslot on TV). The 1:00 spot tongue-in-cheek threatens to “reanimate” Friday nights while actually quoting from the numerous blog and media posts lamenting the demise of the show. While, as a fan, I’ve been in the exact same state of emotion since the announcement—something in between unreasonable anger & self-pitying resignation—& as a pretty close observer of media trends, I cannot buy the idea that FOX can actually attract the teen demographic they are claiming to be going after, as an advertising & marketing junkie, I really admire FOX’s guts in putting out an ad like this.

As for Fringe’s chances of actually reanimating Fridays, I’m actually still clinging to a bit of hope. It’s no secret that the consensus is that this is Fringe’s best season yet creatively & it has a ton of critical support right now. I also think it’s pretty reasonable to think that its audience will follow it to Fridays, considering that, since they abandoned all notions of being a non-myth-arc-based show this year, the only people left watching are the die-hards anyway. As expected, the producers are spinning the move as positively as possible, but I do actually believe them when they say they’re still getting a lot of network support for the show. So, when Kevin Reilly says it’ll be a big win for FOX if Fringe can hang on to its existing (low) ratings on Fridays, I believe him. This is, after all, the man who renewed Dollhouse & gave Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles a full 22-episode second season. I also think that, with Fringe’s pedigree (I do think JJ’s name pulls some weight in this situation, particularly because Abrams’ Alcatraz is among FOX’s fall pilots), the idea that FOX might tell the producers up front that they’ll get a fourth season & it will be the last, for sure, isn’t out of the question.

At the very least, I expect FOX to give the writers enough notice to wrap up the story this year if it comes to that. And that will have to be enough. After all this, the move to the Fridays isn’t the one that upsets me. It’s the one to Thursdays, which I still don’t think should ever have happened. But what’s done is done & we might just have to be happy with three seasons of a great show. Let’s hope it’s four though.