Taco Bell Goes Dark And Mobile, Cumberbatch Does Shakespeare: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Honda’s parallel universe, Patagonia’s goose, Taco Bell’s social silence, Benedict Cumberbatch gets interactive for BBC, and more.

It’s not too often a brand gets to turn a potentially embarrassing situation into a positive experience for both its products and its brand image. Patagonia’s managed to pull off the rare double with its traceable down program touted in its new animated short “What the Pluck?”


Four years ago the company was called out for getting the down for its jackets from the foie gras industry, which infamously uses inhumane force-feeding techniques on geese. The brand pledged to make all of its down traceable–sourced from birds that have been neither force-fed nor plucked for their feathers and down during their lifetime–by this year. And to announce the achievement, they enlisted artist Geoff McFetridge to create a brutal but delightful Chipotle-esque animated short about the issue.

Read more about that campaign and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.

Taco Bell “Blackout”

What: Taco Bell makes waves with the launch of its mobile ordering app, which allows customers to conjure up all manner of TB creations and have them waiting at a nearby store. To herald the big launch, the brand wiped its social channels clean and went dark, forcing fans to see what all the digital fuss was about. Just a day after launch, 75% of the chain’s restaurants had processed a mobile order.
Who: Taco Bell, Deutsch LA, Digitas
Why We Care: First the brand unveils an app that lets you create and order the bespoke Taco Bell combinations of your munchie dreams from where ever you are, giving the company more user data and more orders and gives users more convenience and variety, then erases its long active and illustrious presence on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook to promote it. An innovative platform hyped even more by a bold brand move.


BBC Drama Interactive Trailer

What: Benedict Cumberbatch gets Shakespearean in an interactive trailer for the BBC’s new season of TV dramas, allowing viewers to both enjoy the ‘Batch doing a classic monologue and to dip in and out of show previews.
Who: BBC, Wirewax
Why We Care: Just a great way to promote new content. Those that want to keep it short and sweet can stick with Cumberbatch in the conventional trailer, while others craving more can the deep dive into more than 28 minutes of extra content and clips from specific shows–like Call the Midwife, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Doctor Who, and much more.

Patagonia “What the Pluck?”

What: An animated short outlining the animal cruelty involved in sourcing traditional down, and what Patagonia’s traceable down actually means.
Who: Patagonia, artist Geoff McFetridge
Why We Care: It’s like going the full Chipotle on winter jackets. Transparency is always a good thing. Add in awareness of a little-known issue with the delightful work of McFetridge and it’s a win-win.


The North Face “Your Land”

What: My Morning Jacket covers Woody Guthrie’s classic tune in this exhilarating short film about enjoying the outdoors, to mark the brand initiative with the U.S. Department of Interior to support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.
Who: The North Face, My Morning Jacket
Why We Care: It’s impressive enough to see athletes like ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, free solo climber Alex Honnold and skier/mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill in action in breathtaking American locales like Death Valley National Park and Mount McKinley. But backed by My Morning Jacket singing “This Land is Your Land” makes it downright epic.

Honda “The Other Side”

Snippet of the Honda Type R interactive Video “The Other Side”

What: Two stories, one film. A parallel viewing experience viewers can toggle between with the touch of their keyboard.
Who: Honda, Wieden + Kennedy London
Why We Care: What must’ve been a technically challenging project to create, is stylishly simple to enjoy. A perfect use of the agility of online video to illustrate a point–in this case the dual personality of a Civic hatchback–but built on the foundation of a great-looking spot.


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.