Another Mad World For “Gears Of War,” VW Loves Punctuation: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Apple Music pitches personality, Foot Locker gets awkward for NFL season, the Manning brothers regulate Gatorade sales.

Another Mad World For “Gears Of War,” VW Loves Punctuation: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Back in 2006, Xbox dropped a big ol’ emo ad bomb on the gaming world with the launch of Gears of War. Instead of the usual, testosterone-soaked soundtrack, the music backdropping scenes from the sci-fi shooter game was Gary Jules and Michael Andrews’ cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.” It was considered a milestone in video game marketing and ushered in the now-familiar trend of pairing game action with music that tugs the heartstrings over the trigger finger.


Now, to launch Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Xbox has created an updated tribute to that original trailer. While the 2006 version trades mostly in building anticipation, tapping the leverage of the lurking unknown, the updated trailer dispenses with the subtlety with quicker edits, more action, and a lot more gore. Still, it should put a nostalgic smile on the faces of veteran gamers and get them excited once again about the long-running franchise.

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

Xbox 360 Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Mad World

What: An updated version of the gaming franchise’s first, epic commercial.
Who: Xbox
Why We Care: It’s a tough task to follow up perfection. Which is basically what the 2006 “Mad World” ad was. But here Xbox comes pretty close. Sure, the footage is much more violent and less nuanced, but the sight of Gears of War set to the sounds of “Mad World” once again just warms the cockles of your heart enough to wipe away that single tear running down your cheek, pick up a gnasher shotgun and go hunt down some Locust.


Gatorade “Sweat It To Get It”

What: The Brothers Manning ambush some unsuspecting college kids in the student lounge to teach them that it takes a lot more than being thirsty and legal tender to get a Gatorade.
Who: Gatorade, TBWA/Chiat/Day LA
Why We Care: The sequel to last year’s impressive Candid Camera-style campaign is equally fun, thanks to the ease both Peyton and Eli Manning have in front of the camera playing the straight man role, as well as the reaction of the kids playing victim to the prank. Both Super Bowl champ siblings have some solid SNL bonafides, so it should come as no surprise how well they slip in to the role of unreasonably demanding coaches who surprise and berate students in search of a beverage.

Volkwagen “Boss”

What: A series of print ads that use punctuation to illustrate the power of its new braking feature. We picked this one because cannibalism is just funny.
Who: VW, GMP Bucharest
Why We Care: Fancy web films and immersive interactive experiences are great, but there’s still a beauty in the simplicity of a great print ad.

Apple Music “Discovery”

What: A new ad campaign that focuses on Apple Music’s ability to help fans find new music.
Who: Apple Music, TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Why We Care: Shot in an intimate black and white, the spots feature emerging artists like Shamir, Kygo, Flo Morrissey, Ibeyi, James Bay, and more, and are narrated by Trent Reznor in a very straight-forward tone that make most of the brand’s communications simple yet inspiring. Who knows if it’ll be enough to convince Spotify users to switch teams, but it does continue to effectively align the music service with the broader Apple brand image.


Foot Locker “Thoughts”

What: The brand brings together NY Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. in a friendly discussion about that time Cruz suffered a season-ending injury (last season) and Beckham Jr. took his job with one hand.
Who: Foot Locker, BBDO New York
Why We Care: Rarely do brands wade into the reality of the sports world. If they do, it’s in a Me Against The World type of way a la Charles Barkley or Richard Sherman. But here we have an ad that not only addresses an issue between two athletes, but two teammates, and they make fun of the entire situation in a way that’s almost as impressive as catching a long bomb in the end zone.


About the author

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