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Back To School With Clearasil, Back To The Future With Toyota: Top 5 Ads Of The Week

James Harden plays your tweets for Foot Locker, Mercedes-Benz teases kids with safety, and Westin provides a valuable vacation service.

Back To School With Clearasil, Back To The Future With Toyota: Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Imagine a reality in which everything seems to repeat itself. The same days, the same situations, the same conversations, the same fart and boob jokes. Wait, what? It’s not Blade Runner-meets-Groundhog Day, but the reality of being a high school teacher. A life of not only listening to teens giggle at Uranus, but also see them fret and stress about zits. This week, Clearasil leads off the list with a reminder to teens that one day you’ll be old enough to barely even remember stressing about those annoying pimples, and too worried about being bald and fat to care. Onward!

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Clearasil “Teacher Truths”

What: A cross between a teacher sympathy campaign and It Gets Better for your face. Teens could submit photos of their own teachers sharing a Teacher Truth, using the hashtag #TeacherTruthsContest on Twitter or Instagram, to win a $5,000 college scholarship.
Who: Clearasil, Droga5
Why We Care: The sentiment that teachers are one of our most under-appreciated (and underpaid) public servants is well-trod territory, but here the brand smartly identifies them as the knowledgable stewards of adolescence they really can be, good for much more than marking book reports and yelling at you to stop hanging out in the hallway.

Foot Locker “Play My Tweet”

What: On October 8, NBA star James Harden played a game with the Internet. Fans had submitted requests, dares and more for Harden via Twitter, and a selection of the tweets were printed on basketballs. While fans watched a live online stream, Harden read a tweet on a ball and took a shot. If he made the shot, he was safe, but if he missed he had to fulfill the request. There was a camel.
Who: Foot Locker, BBDO New York
Why We Care: Harden’s long been a good sport for the brand, last year doing something similar by playing a game of HORSE against online fan challengers, but this steps things up a notch. Sure for Harden, but more for Foot Locker and BBDO New York in having the creative cajones to try and pull it off. Everyone loves an epic athlete ad, but this type of effort helps push the level of possibility for athletes, brands and fans.

Mercedes-Benz “The Uncrashable Toy Cars”

What: To promote Mercedes’ Brake Assist System Plus, the brand gave kids toy cars fitted with magnets to illustrate how safe the real cars are. Let’s just say the wee ones didn’t exactly appreciate the new safety features.
Who: Mercedes-Benz, Jung von Matt/Alster
Why We Care: Look, we’re all suckers for a well-acted ad starring kids. But finding a product insight in every kid’s first instinct when given two toy cars is just simply brilliant.

Toyota “Diner: Fueled By Future Teaser”

What: Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd talk Back to the Future shop in this charming teaser for an upcoming Fueled By Everything short film timed to the October 21, 2015 film anniversary date.
Who: Toyota, Droga5
Why We Care: Marty! Doc! Between this and seeing how the brand works with these two in the actual short film, it ranks about a 1.21 gigawatts on the ad scale.

Westin Hotels & Resorts “Out Of Office Generator”

What: The hotel brand partnered with McSweeney’s to create the ultimate out-of-office message generator.
Who: BBH New York, Westin Hotels & Resorts, McSweeney’s
Why We Care: If we’re honest, we thought these would be funnier. But! These long-winded, bespoke out-of-office messages are still pretty good. The best part is how the brand got the insight for this in all the vacation days we don’t take, and then had the creative wherewithal to team up with the minds of McSweeney’s.

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About the author

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

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