This week was Jon Stewart’s last as host of The Daily Show and, understandably, the road to his departure has been paved with a wide variety of tributes to the comedian’s work over 16 years and nearly 2,600 episodes behind the fake news desk at Comedy Central.
But perhaps none of these high fives and accolades were as surprising, and surprisingly funny, as the one from Arby’s. Yep Arby’s, the brand Stewart has called “shock and awe for your bowels” and “as if your stomach could get punched in the balls.” This week the fast feeder took the high road to honor its long-time frenemy (and let’s face it, cash in on a major media event for its own self-aware brand advantage) with a pair of ads that confronted his merciless mocking head-on, while serving up only praise in return. They used The Golden Girls theme, people.
Read more below about this and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.
What: The day before the long-awaited first official trailer for Marvel’s Deadpool was to launch during star Ryan Reynolds’s late-night appearance on Conan, the studio offered up this cheeky trailer-for-the-trailer.
Who: 20th Century Fox
Why We Care: Sure trailer teasers are nothing new, but this one put some extra mustard on the concept by introducing Deadpool’s sense of humor, and tendency to break the fourth wall, and poking fun at Reynolds himself, all in one shot. Ever since that Comic Con footage leaked, fans have been in flop sweats in the hopes of seeing something official, and this was the perfect lead-in to the main event.
What: To promote a new line of headphones, the Real Madrid and Portugal soccer star went undercover in a Madrid city square to play a little footie.
Why We Care: The world of global football may even beat Hollywood in obsessive coverage of stars, paparazzi, and tabloid action. Add to that the reach of social media and you’d think it impossible for a star of Ronaldo’s stature to go anywhere without being recognized. Turns out all it takes is a wig, fake beard and some padding. It’s a charming stunt, thanks to almost nobody noticing Ronaldo for an hour, and the young boy who finally plays along. It almost makes us forget some of Ronaldo’s other commercial endeavors.
What: Arby’s pays tribute to Jon Stewart during the comedian’s last week hosting The Daily Show.
Who: Arby’s, Fallon
Why We Care: Last year Arby’s scored a self-aware social media hit with Pharrell to prove it was a brand with a personality. But essentially making a greatest hits mixtape of Stewart’s most eviscerating insults might be the funniest all-press-is-good-press marketing ploy we’ve ever seen.
What: Legendary stunt rider Robbie Maddison fitted a 250-pound KTM 250 SX motorbike with custom skis and skegs beneath to act as rudders, as well as a special paddle tire on the rear wheel, and drove into the ocean off Tahiti to surf some waves.
Who: DC Shoes
Why We Care: This four-minute mashing of two action sports looks almost too impossible to be true but is easily the coolest action to hit the web this week. It’s also a reminder that Red Bull and GoPro aren’t the only ones producing high-quality adreno-entertainment, and can’t rest on their laurels.
What: Blake Griffin is forced into a dunk contest against the Looney Tunes favorite Marvin the Martian in order to save the world. And to promote the new Jordan Super.Fly 4 sneakers.
Who: Jordan Brand, Wieden + Kennedy New York
Why We Care: It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s fun. Yes, yes, and yes. But what really has people excited is the idea that this could be the first shot fired in a brand entertainment onslaught that will eventually lead us to Space Jam 2. No word from Bill Murray yet, though.