Here we are, less than 10 days away from the biggest
advertising football day of the year, and one of the best ads of the week is a 12-minute video of quantum chess from Caltech. I know, I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. But in a week in which a famous rapper insists the Earth is flat, maybe we need a bit more science in our lives, eh?
You may also notice the conspicuous absence of even a whiff of Super Bowl ad teasers, which many brands began rolling out in earnest this week. This is intentional. Not because the very idea of wasting people’s time with an ad for another ad makes us question our own sanity and society’s swan dive towards our Demolition Man-prophesied future. No. We’re saving all that for a special edition Super Bowl Teaseriffic Adstravaganza early next week, so keep an eye out. Onward!
What: A short film in which Paul Rudd challenges Steven Hawking to a game of quantum chess.
Who: Caltech, Trouper Productions
Why We Care: Quantum science is hard. It’s super interesting and probably key to our future but you need more than that to keep people’s attention on YouTube. Rudd trash-talking Hawking over quantum chess is a perfect middle ground. Add to that the excellent Wyld Stallyns reunion by way of narrator Keanu Reeves and director Alex Winter, and this thing is just weird enough to work.
What: Marvel’s newest hero keeps his movie advertising hot streak alive with . . . a testicle cancer PSA.
Who: 20th Century Fox, Ballboys
Why We Care: Deadpool is a bit of an oddball (heyooh!) in the Marvel universe but even for him, a testicle cancer PSA is a bit out there. Until, of course, you realize that Deadpool is a guy obsessed with dick jokes and actually had cancer. A perfect marketing pair.
What: Ellie Kemper (The Office, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) daydreams her way through the new Buick line.
Who: Buick, DigitasLBi
Why We Care: Even though she doesn’t have a deep gravelly voice, Kemper brings the goofy to this charming Kimmy-meets-cars ad that may help 30- and 40-somethings picture Buick as something other than their grandparents’ car from the ’80s.
What: A blunt assessment of the downside of being bunged up.
Who: Fiber One, Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Why We Care: It may not hit the Michael Bolton high notes of “Expecting,” but here Fiber One continues its brave move of not shying away from what people need fiber for. It’s like the advertising lessons of Crazy People come to life, and it’s glorious.
What: A 30-min doc on the state of online privacy.
Who: Silent Circle, Chapter, Guardian Labs
Why We Care: The doc, directed by Aleks Krotoski, was part of a content deal between encrypted communication firm Silent Circle (makers of the Blackphone) and The Guardian‘s native ad division, Guardian Labs. As only the best brand content can do, it is first and foremost a piece of interesting editorial on a compelling subject, with little to no branding. Sure it leaves you paranoid and panicked, but still, a great ad.