The Truth’s new campaign shows teens how Big Tobacco not only harms their bodies, but hurts their paycheck, leaving them with less cash to have fun with friends.

Smoking Leaves Teens #Squadless in Latest Work from truth and 72andSunny
In its latest anti-smoking campaign, which will debut on TV during MTV’s Video Music Awards, truth and 72andSunny return to show teens the unexpected ways smoking impacts their lives now.

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Creative Credits:
AD AGENCY: 72andSunny
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Allbriton Robbins
STRATEGIST: Alexandra Mathieu
GROUP CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Mick DiMaria, Justin Hooper
WRITER: Matt Garcia, Reilly Baker, Drew Burton
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING: Jasmin Malone, Mary Dominguez
COMPOSER: Justin Hori
ARRANGER: Squeak E. Clean Productions, Inc.
VISUAL EFFECTS: Jogger Studios
PRODUCER: Annabelle Dunbar Whittaker, Ben Sposato
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Michelle Eskin, Rhubie Jovanov
COLOURIST: Mike Pethel
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Hungry Man Productions
PRODUCER: Craig Repass
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Kevin Byrne, Dan Duffy, Mino Jarjoura
DIRECTOR: Dave Laden
PARTNER: Kevin Byrne
via: LittleBlackBook

December 5, 2013, was one of the most memorable days at TEDWomen — and everywhere else in the world, too. The world lost one of its great leaders, Nelson Mandela, and I will never forget the way we heard the news at the TEDWomen gathering in San Francisco.

A young South African, Boyd Varty, was scheduled to give his TED Talk that day, and as he came backstage to get miked, the news came through on our phones and computers: Mandela had died. I knew that Boyd and his family were close to him. Mandela had visited the Varty family’s game preserve, Londolozi, on one of his first retreats after being released from his long prison term.

I saw the tears well up as Boyd absorbed the sad news. I suggested that we rearrange the schedule so he could take a break and deliver his TED Talk later in the day. But he assured me he was ready to go, and asked if he could mention the news to the audience. Of course, I said yes. Who better than someone who knew him personally to share this tragic news of the passing of the great South African leader admired by the world for leading his country from the violent policies of apartheid through truth and reconciliation trials to the vibrant country that it is today?

Boyd stepped on stage into the red TED circle and, his voice shaking, told the audience the news. I was quite worried that he wouldn’t be able to deliver the TED Talk he had prepared to give, but he did brilliantly. In fact, his talk, which was posted immediately on, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times since.

Boyd shared childhood memories of Mandela’s visits to Londolozi, connecting the values he observed in Mandela to the values that are the foundation of his own life’s work protecting the natural resources of his homeland. One of South Africa’s greatest resources is its natural environment and the big animals that are endangered by hunting and poaching. Boyd and his family are committed to preserving these great resources so that generations to come can visit Africa and witness the majesty of its animals in the wild.

Boyd spoke about growing up in the Bush and the lessons he learned from tracking the animals there — lessons he recounts in his book, “Restoring Eden,” and lessons he is now applying to some exciting new work. We met recently for coffee at one of my favorite places in the world, Londolozi game preserve in the Sabi Sands — coincidentally on Mandela Day — to talk about the responses to his TEDTalk and to get an update on what’s he up to now.


Boyd says he gets emails and comments every day about his TED Talk, and he noticed a theme emerging: an emotional connection people from all over the world were making with his stories about animals and tracking. So he decided to explore how his skills as a highly trained ranger and wildlife tracker might be applied to life tracking.

In his new “Track Your Life” retreats, he guides small groups of men on a “shared endeavor in the wild” to teach them “the ancient and powerful art of animal tracking.”

He’s already led a few of these workshops with men of all ages from diverse backgrounds and will be coming to the US with more soon.

Tracking a lion through the bush in Sabi Sands might seem a long way from tracking one’s life and career, but I’m sure that many men — and perhaps he will offer the course to women soon, too — will want to follow Boyd Varty on this special kind of “learning journey.”

I’m certainly not predicting that this year’s TEDWomen will have such a moment as the one that Boyd Varty shared with us that day, but I can predict that this year’s lineup will yield ideas and TED Talks that will shift perspectives for those present and the millions more who view them on

A few main theater passes are still available for TEDWomen 2016, to be held October 26-28 in San Francisco. Find out more about TEDWomen 2016: It’s About Time.

Photo credits: (top) Boyd Varty at TEDWomen 2013, courtesy of TED Talks. (middle) Pat visiting with Boyd Varty and his fiancée, Joelle Simpson, in South Africa, credit Scott Seydel.

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Creative agency Denizen has teamed up with organic clothing brand PACT to craft a literally fart humor-filled spot called “Skidmarks” that takes aim at the fashion/apparel industry and the somewhat suspect production means behind it.

With a title that perfectly fits the narrative, the black & white “Skidmarks” spot nods at the aesthetics of old Calvin Klein ads and features a bevy of beautiful people modeling in their skivvies who are beset by one small problem: an unfortunate stain on their underwear. “PACT engaged us to expose the dark side of the fashion industry in a funny way – the only logical place to go was a fart joke,” Denizen Co-Founder Joel Jensen explains. “The idea was based around a problem most of us have encountered at some point in our lives, skidmarks. We came back with a concept for the video that had all of us on the floor laughing. Our reaction was both delight and disgust, but we knew right away that we had to greenlight the idea.”

Shot over the course of a day in Los Angeles by director Kurt Schmidt, “Skidmarks” – complete with poo cannon and all – not only throws a lowbrow jab at a high-end industry but underscores the mission statement and production ideologies of PACT, which works with Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard and others to ensure its supply chain’s integrity.

“We wanted to subvert the tropes of the fashion industry,” Jensen adds. “It’s a flawed industry and as PACT rightly points out, it’s an industry that refuses to look at itself honestly. There is an ugly reality lurking beneath the surface and it’s very easy to be distracted from that when beautiful, titillating imagery comes with the package. We wanted to undermine that very frankly; and to be honest, doing it in an immature way felt like the right way to counter and call out the self-absorbed way the fashion industry talks about itself. We felt that sometimes nuanced critique isn’t as effective as throwing a brick through the window or, perhaps more relevantly, smearing poop on underwear.”

Creative Credits:
Patrick Bernard – Sr. Digital Manager
Brendan Synnott – CEO
Brad Chen – VP of Operations

Ad Agency: Denizen

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“Mancave”, “You’re alive. Do you remember ?“, “Project Biennale “, “#Heldenkranz”(Crown of Glory) – 2016 has certainly been one of the richest and most interesting years ever for HORNBACH, the European Do-It-Yourself superstore chain , well known for its outstanding Bran d Communication.

The new campaign deals with freedom in the context of one’s own home – a place where the DIY enthusiast can really go all out. A place without any external rules or regulations. The claim, “Your project only belongs to you” , is the logical and inevitable conclusion.

“We’ve spent the past few months taking a long, hard look at the ever – increasing constraints on people’s personal freedom,” says Creative Director Guido Heffels. “We’ve looked at social regulations and laws, and also at the last bastion of liberty – one’s own four walls. A topic absolutely relevant to today.”

Working closely with British director Ian Pons Jewell (via Berlin-based film production company Anorak), HEIMAT has produced a visually stunning commercial capturing this topic . The narrative shows its charismatic protagonist hurtling through an extremely wide range of emotional states in the course of his DIY endeavours – from confident arrogance, frenzy, failure and triumph, to seemingly sado-masochistic tendencies . Backing the commercial is a whimsical, eccentric and highly eloquent voice – speaking, shouting and whispering.

The new campaign represents the very essence of HORNBACH and DIY projects,” says Thomas Schnaitmann, HORNBACH Head of Marketing for Germany and International Marketing Communication. “It makes the viewer want to charge in and do things, to create something – and of course to express their own personality. But despite the seriousness of the subject matter , the distinctive HORNBACH humour is never far away.

Creative Credits:
Agency: HEIMAT, Berlin
Production company: Anorak, Berlin
Director: Ian Pons Jewel
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– the book:  The Five Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness

– the brain:  Stephan Aarstol, the CEO and founder of Tower Paddle Boards.  You might have seen Stephan on Shark Tank a few years ago.  Although his pitch was considered a major screw-up by many (thanks to a computer glitch), he ended up with an investment from Mark Cuban.  And Mark has gone on to say, “Stephan has done an amazing job growing Tower into a dominant industry force.  He is one of my best Shark Tank investments.five-hour-workday-book

– the best bits:  As you can surmise from the title, The Five Hour Workday is about just that — designing your company so it operates only five hours a day.  It’s a practice that has produced great results since Stephan successfully implemented it at Tower a couple of years ago.  He reports that because everyone at his company only works five hours a day:

  • employees are more productive and happier — and they’re more loyal to the company
  • his company continues to experience phenomenal growth, with no decrease in customer satisfaction
  • he’s a better boss, partner, husband, and father

He also believes the five hour workday practice has the potential to solve some of the biggest issues in business today including the sluggish economy, widespread lack of work-life balance, and gender inequality.

Stephan was inspired to rethink work practices when he learned about Henry Ford and his approach to running the Ford Motor Company.  In an 1926 interview explaining why he reduced the working week in Ford plants to 40 hours with no cut in pay, Ford said:

The harder we crowd business for time, the more efficient it becomes.  The more well-paid leisure workmen get, the greater become their wants. These wants soon become needs…[They] have the leisure to enjoy life and the wherewithal with which to finance that enjoyment.”

Stephan has now adopted a similar stance with the five hour workday.  He writes:

You shouldn’t have to feel guilty for not working.  You get to choose what you do in this life, for the most part.  But in the current American culture, we seem to myopically be defined by how hard we work, and how much money we accumulate over the period of our lives…Most people are probably far better, and far more interested in other pursuits, than developing businesses or making money…That is what the five-hour workday is about.  Getting the ‘have to’ work done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then unlocking this other productivity of society that is largely hidden and repressed today.”

Sprinkled throughout the book are his observations, life philosophies, and advice for other business leaders.

– the brand story:

The story of Tower Paddle Boards is pretty incredible.  Stephan started the company to put his SEO expertise to work by selling paddleboards directly to consumers at a significantly reduced price.  In its first year the company did around $3,000/month in sales.  It closed out the next year just short of $250,000 in sales, and in year three, it did $1.5 million.

Stephan then set his sights on transitioning Tower into a lifestyle brand, rolling out two to three product companies a year for a beach lifestyle — from flip flops to bikes — using the same business model.  He’s already launched one, Sunglasses by Tower, and his company’s magazine Tower Magazine has over 25,000 subscribers.

He also wanted to create the best company culture in San Diego.  He writes that he realized as a brand Tower was “telling customers to take life by the horns. To live more extraordinarily.  To live differently.  To play more.  But were we really doing this ourselves?”  He discovered that the five-hour workday was the key to “authentically lead by example.  Leaving work at 1:00 p.m. every day would be an unavoidable daily reminder of the exact brand we aspired to be.”

Tower shows the kind of brand you can build when you combine a powerful market niche, a compelling brand vision, and an authentic commitment to corporate culture.

(In his book Stephan mentions my book, What Great Brands Doand the brand-building principle “Great Brands Start Inside” as an inspiration while he re-thought his company culture.  I couldn’t be prouder of Stephan and Tower and I’m so happy to hear about the impact I had on them.)

– the bottom line:  The Five Hour Workday is a provocative book.  Like me, you probably won’t agree with everything Stephan writes, but in no way should that diminish its significance as an important voice in the conversation about business today.

Listen to my interview with Stephan to learn:

  • the specific results including a 42% increase in revenue that his company has produced since introducing the five hour workday
  • how most successful independent workers are clocking productivity, not clocking hours
  • an easy way you can test the five hour workday at your company

P.S. You can learn more about Tower in my recent Forbes article.

The post brand book bites from the five hour workday appeared first on Denise Lee Yohn.

How Brands Should Take A Stand

How Brands Should Take A Stand

What have you got to say for yourself? How and when should a brand take a stand? And if you do, should you go hard or go soft? Talking is a critical part of brand behavior.

Soft Signals: Taking a stand this way is about clearly and simply stating the things that you cherish and value as a brand, in such a way that consumers have clear line of sight between what you say, what you offer, how you act and what you value. It’s positive. It’s connective. It’s constructive. It’s honest. It shows the strengths of your beliefs. Specifically, it signals your worldview. ‘We do this because …’ Or ‘we don’t do this because …’ It’s not emphatically saying we’re right or wrong. It puts opinions on the record and asks the consumer to sign up if they want to. It proves consistency.

Hard Signals: What polarizing brands do. They set out to set up sides and they do that by deliberately upsetting people, by getting under people’s skin, by provoking the response they want. Often they court publicity by working people’s biases – sometimes in a fun way, sometimes in a not so healthy way. They poke the finger. They call others out and signal they’re wrong. They accuse. They piss people off. It proves passion.

Both approaches work, but interestingly they work for consumers in different ways at different times. Because there are times and things we want our brands to be hard about, and times when we’d just like to softly know what they’re thinking. If we have passionate views of our own for example, we often side with brands that loudly articulate a similar viewpoint. That’s because we identify with the view they are expressing. It concurs with our own. We enjoy hearing them shout the odds. We urge them on.

On the other hand, there are times we just don’t want to hear too much about what a brand thinks. Providing they have a view that seems consistent with who they are, that’s enough. Often we feel like this about things that don’t really matter to us, or at least most of the time pass beneath or around our radar.

Brands need viewpoints. But they also need judgment. They need to know when it’s important to their consumers that they get on the soapbox, and when it is best to just have an opinion for those who are motivated enough to look.

Both hard and soft signals work, but in different ways at different times.

The same concern can call for very different stances from different industries. If you make toys, I’m very interested in your views on child labor, particularly if your products are made in some parts of the world. If you’re an accounting practice, I might still like to know what you think but, because it’s less directly relevant to what I buy from you, it might be less important to me to know what you’re doing about it.

Relevance Fuels Reaction. And Signals Expectation.

So if you do have a viewpoint that you hold to, and articulate loudly, you need to show your consumers why you’ve made it your business to get so hot under the collar about it. You need to connect the dots for them.

Markets are noisy. Everyone says you need to get consumers’ attention. They’re wrong. You need to get and hold consumers’ commitment. And sometimes the best way to do that is to shout what you think from the rooftops. And sometimes you just need to show you’re true to your word, and stop there and listen.

Just like in any relationship. Both sides need to talk. Sometimes loudly. Sometimes quietly. They just don’t need to behave and talk in the same way all the time. Or else the signals jam and someone switches off.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

USAA, the financial services and insurance group, recently used Facebook and Instagram video ads to supplement its TV ads and honor the nation’s veterans. USAA wanted to reach a wider audience with its TV ads and raise brand awareness and favorability ahead of Veterans Day by encouraging nationwide support for those who served in the Armed Forces. In this session, Verchele Roberts, VP of Member Insights – USAA shared how this campaign drove strong incremental reach and positively impacted key brand metrics for USAA.