Another theme we’re hearing from the press cons is new outfit = new abilities/gameplay. Nintendo introduced this with The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes (where’s my bomb suit, anyway?). Sony had a dude come out during their show and pitch Shenmue 3 and announce he had opened a Kickstarter for it, which has raised $2.7MM as of this writing (the news broke Kickstarter for a time). That’s another theme: players becoming publishers/owners (or at least the VG companies hope they’ll feel this way). The dog-as-sidekick theme continued during Sony’s preview of The Last Guardian. We’re psyched for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. We think NOA has the lead in marketing to the burgeoning women 25-54 demo. NOA has another winner with this demo in Yoshi’s Wooly World. Who doesn’t want a plushy amiibo, right?
More Stuff We Love
Best news yet from E3 is Microsoft Hololens. Today’s Minecraft demo with the team from Mojang blew our minds. We also can’t wait for Cuphead. The graphics look awesome. Recore looks interesting, although there seems to be a theme of dog, or dog-like, sidekick that appears in multiple titles. Unravel reminded us of Kirby’s Epic Yarn crossed with Pikmin. We love the “self-expression” stuff in NBA Live. We saw the 3D scan-your-face technology 5+ years ago and it’s nice to see it making it’s way into games—without making people look funky. Looking forward to Sony later and Nintendo tomorrow …
A new wave of Indian cuisine has arrived in downtown LA. Taking centuries old recipes and refining them for modern palates is no mean feat but BADMAASH brothers Pawan and Nakul have turned the trick. From the minute you enter their inviting outpost on 2nd and Main you can smell that you’re in for a treat. The friendly hostess seats you promptly in this updated industrial space and you look at the menu – Short Rib Samosa – yes please, Butter Chicken – Yum with a capital Y. How about a Spicy Lamb Burger with Masala Fries? Yes, yes, and YES! You get the idea – its traditional faves with new twists. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Kingfisher or ThumbsUp cola while you watch a Bollywood film projected on the wall above the bar. Better curry on over (sorry!).
Samsung’s holiday ad (above) popped up in our news feed this morning. We love the simplicity of the animation and the story. We liked it so much that we watched the behind the scenes video (below). After watching this video, however, we wonder if they made the production more complicated than it needed to be. We love almost everything R/GA does (and especially everything Bob Greenberg does), but it seems they were more excited about the technical system they created to make all the machines work in tandem than making a beautiful story. Does this serve the client’s objectives, or the agency’s objectives? A client recently asked us to give them some examples of work we like but that we didn’t do. We would add this to that list. Happy Holidays!
Following in the footsteps of the entertaining Virgin America flight safety video, Air New Zealand has teamed up with Peter Jackson and Elijiah Wood for a flight safety video that will make Comic-Con-attending-Hobbit-watching-Lord-of-the-Rings-loving nerds find the nearest exist on their next flight to, or from, the land of the Kiwi. Kudos to whoever it was that decided it was OK to be funny in these videos, and that being funny would make people watch them over and over. We fly Virgin America all the time and we actually put our headphones on to hear the music on the flight safety video. We like an exit row, and we feel a little guilty about the extra leg room, so we feel it’s our duty to actually KNOW how to open the darn door if the plane goes down. Both the Virgin America and the Air New Zealand videos highlight key brand attributes in a fun and engaging way. See you in Middle Earth!
The answer to that question is authenticity. Derek Jeter is a smart dude, and he’s maximized his opportunities with virtually no tarnish to his personal brand. The farewell spot just released, called “RE2PECT” is a creative tip-of-the-hat to his greatness—and to great advertising for the Jordan brand. Wieden+Kennedy does it again with class and emotion. It’s just so smart, on all levels. Our hats are off to everyone involved. Watch the long version here.
E3 2014 seemed pretty quiet to us. We are big fans of Pokémon and Nintendo and we love the amiibo idea (it’s obvious Disney Infinity and Skylanders have influenced its development). It was also great to see so many people come out for the Super Smash Bros. invitational tournament. It was truly well organized and the fact that Twitch broadcast it throughout the entire con was great. People gathered round the TVs for the final minute of the competition and even Reggie Fils-Aime gave out the trophy.
We are big fans of collaborative and discovery games. We’re not big fans of first-person shooter games, and it seemed to us like the con was overrun by violent shooter games. We wish there was a little more love, and a little less violence, in gaming, but perhaps it’s a reflection of the culture. Or is the culture a reflection of what the publishers create? We like helping to put more love into the world.
The folks at Virgin America are testing a redesigned website (beta.virginamerica.com). It seems heavily influenced by the award-winning “Dumb Ways To Die” video (which has over 81 million views, as of this writing). The colors are beautiful and the design is consistent with VA’s hipster, I’m-smart-but-I-don’t-take-myself-too-seriously brand image, but the similarity of the character’s shape and color is so close to the “Dumb Ways To Die” characters that it hurts us, design-wise. Same thing with the Avocados from Mexico spots that have been running intermittently on U.S. TV.
From our CD:
Back in the day, I was a New York nightclubbing fool. Yes, its true. And the only after-hours bar to see and be seen at was Save the Robots at 25 Avenue B. Opening at a cool 4am, the club was supposedly a members-only hangout for “neighborhood artists and writers”. Far be it for me to dispute the claim, but I don’t think 90% of the people there were in it for, um, “culture”. My own memories are a bit, shall we say, fuzzy… at best. Anyway here’s my metal membership card and a book of great nu-wave designed matches from da club. Saved them all these years. Time flies.
So, Mr. Ronald McDonald got a makeover. His image has been updated and—wait for it—he’s now going to participate in social media. Ron’s new threads were designed by Ann Hould-Ward, who is a theatrical designer. Mustard cargo pants? Really ?! Seems kinda early aughts to us.
We have a policy here: no puppets and no clowns. Yeah, OK, the spot from DirecTV with the marionettes (notice they don’t call them “puppets”) is funny and surprising but, generally, puppets and clowns seem dated and relevant only to a very small target.
From a brand standpoint, it’s clear McD’s thinks this an opportunity to re-introduce Ronald McDonald to a new base of families. I hope they also re-introduce the other characters: Hamburgler, Grimace, and Mayor McCheese. Those guys need some love!