Mindy Kaling Goes Nameless, Dove Turns Hacker: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

By Jeff Beer

I’m sure there were more than a few people–particularly those in advertising–who saw McDonald’s new campaign with Mindy Kaling this week and immediately held their noses. The gall! The presumption! The wasted opportunity to clearly cash in on a quirky, if altogether pretty decent celebrity endorsement! But beyond the data and insight behind the spot–outlined pretty clearly in the New York Times–it also assumes that smart, savvy people will understand and enjoy it. You know who likes to think they’re thought of as smart and savvy? Everybody. And for those who didn’t know the ol’ Coke thing before now, it’s new water cooler fodder to soak up some of that awkward silence between coworkers when you’re waiting for your report to print at the office copier. Win-win. Onward!

McDonald’s “That Place”

What: A new campaign starring Mindy Kaling that aims to tap into the power of word of mouth by not mentioning the brand at all.

Who: McDonald’s, We Are Unlimited

Why We Care: Last week’s sly Google Home trick from Burger King was cool, but this is taking things to a new level of trying to game the ol’ search giant. This campaign doesn’t even appear on McD’s social feeds or YouTube page. It’s cheeky, but also rooted in the insight that most young people are on their phones while watching TV, a real question around a quirk of quality between Coke and McDonald’s, and a real fan of the brand in Kaling.

Nike “Giannis Come Out Of Nowhere”

What: A new Nike spot for its Come Out of Nowhere campaign that tells the unexpected story of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Who: Nike

Why We Care: Okay, look, I’m a Toronto Raptors fan. Grew up a Celtics fan, but once my hometown got a team of its own in 1996, I went deep for the purple. And here we are in the NBA Playoffs, with the Raps in a tight series with the Bucks– battle of the Basketball Hinterlands! Dinos vs. Deer!–and the Greek Freak is tearing the dinos apart. Still, this is a great story, told in a quick, engaging way that makes even me want to read more.

IBM Watson “The Voice of Art”

What: IBM’s Watson becomes an art museum guide in Brazil.

Who: IBM, Ogilvy Brazil

Why We Care: The brand created an interactive guide that lets people have conversations with the artwork in the Pinacoteca de São Paulo Museum. A Watson-powered program built with data from books, newspapers, magazines, biographies, interviews, and the internet, replaced the traditional audio guides, and Watson’s AI capabilities were utilized to answer spontaneous questions about the museum’s collection. A pure example of innovation as marketing tool.

Dove “Image_Hack”

What: A unique–and totally legal–hack of stock photo site Shutterstock to change the perception of what a “beautiful woman” looks like to advertisers by submitting photos tagged with the terms that didn’t involve a bikini.

Who: Dove, Mindshare Denmark

Why We Care: The brand and agency teamed with leading ad photographers to take and upload shots of women in non-stereotypical settings–car mechanic, rugby player, academic–tagged to alter stock photo sites’ algorithms to force them to offer a more a realistic picture of women in today’s society. One cool effort, and a reminder we still have a long way to go, no matter what ol’ Mr. Hardee says.

MACMA “Everybody Loves Boobs”

What: A new nipple-tingling singalong PSA from the folks who brought us #manboobs4boobs last year.

Who: MACMA, David Buenos Aires

Why We Care: Last year, the Breast Cancer Help Movement (MACMA) launched an award-winning PSA campaign around breast cancer awareness that dodged social media platforms’ algorithmic censorship of nipples by performing breast exams on dudes. While it’s no #manboobs4boobs, these melodic mammaries–no doubt inspired by the 2004 video for Death From Above 1979’s “Sexy Results”–still get the point across.

Fast Company