Bic Apologizes for Women's Day Ad That Mostly Just Made Women Furious

Bic continues to have trouble talking to women.

The pen maker, which was the object of ridicule a few years ago for its absurd “Bic for Her” pens, failed spectacularly in South Africa this week, posting a tone-deaf ad on social media for national women’s day that drew swift criticism—and soon led to an apology.

The “Look Like a Girl” and “Think Like a Man” lines were both pretty infuriating, and the Internet reacted mercilessly to the brand’s misstep. Bic made things worse by trying to defend itself in one half-apology before deleting that (further angering people who’d commented on it) and posting a second apology.

That one read: “Hi everyone. Let’s start out by saying we’re incredibly sorry for offending everybody—that was never our intention, but we completely understand where we’ve gone wrong. This post should never have gone out. The feedback you have given us will help us ensure that something like this will never happen again, and we appreciate that.”

FCB's Giant Eco-Civic Project Would Create a South African Flag Visible From Space

FCB South Africa is running an idea up the flagpole. A really big idea. In fact, the idea is ginormous. And its main component is a South African flag so large, it will be visible from space, 30 miles above the Earth.

The Giant Flag project was put in motion last month by Guy Lieberman, the agency’s head of green and social new business development. The initiative is ultimately designed to foster national pride, improve the lives of people in need and make a lasting impact on South Africa’s economy and environment.

“Yes, it is big. And it is wild,” Lieberman tells AdFreak. “It’s both an unreasonable project—in the good sense of the term—as well as a practical one.”

So, how big and wild are we talking?

The proposed flag will measure 66 hectares—that’s nearly 165 acres, about the size of 66 soccer fields. Its red, green, blue and gold sections will consist of millions of cacti and succulent plants that can thrive in the semi-arid Karoo region, offsetting some 90,000 tons of carbon emissions annually. Solar panels designed to power the equivalent of 4,000 homes will make up the flag’s triangular black patch. (They will also “harvest” rainwater to feed the flag’s living components.) The white areas will be access roads.

The project will provide more than 700 jobs in Camdeboo Municipality, where the unemployment runs over 40 percent, and support tourism, hospitality and various enterprises over the long haul. Moreover, Lieberman says, it will serve as a symbol of hope, cooperation and sustainable growth for South Africa and beyond.

But … where did the whole giant-flag idea come from?

Lieberman drew his inspiration from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, noting “the nation’s huge emotional response to our flag.” After the World Cup, FCB launched the much-praised “Keep Flying” campaign to encourage the nation to maintain its momentum. “The CEO of FCB South Africa [John Dixon, since succeeded by Brett Morris] called me into his office,” Lieberman recalls, “and said that while the [“Keep Flying”] campaign was amazing, it was fleeting and we needed to look for a legacy project on the flag, something that could live on. And so the Giant Flag idea was born.”

Of course, a 66-hectare flag can’t be built on the cheap. What’s the price tag, and who’s footing the bill?

Crowdfunding and corporate efforts are under way. All told, it will cost about $20 million, with $2 million being the threshold to begin the massive germination project, followed by clearing the land, fencing off the site, building roads and constructing the solar field. “There has been half a million dollars sunk to date,” says Lieberman, “and a variety of commitments, soft to definitive, of around $6.5 million.”

Individuals can donate $10 to sponsor a plant, $100 for a section of road and $250 for a solar panel. What’s more, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs is lending its support, and corporate sponsors such as Google and Toyota “have come on board because they see the value this will have on the nation, as well as on their brand,” Lieberman says. “It also speaks to their commitment to game-changing initiatives, and in this sense the Giant Flag is not tied to any one nation—it is global.” (Google is providing a monthly $10,000 AdWords grant to promote the project, as well as cloud services for the Giant Flag app.)

In a way, the initiative represents the confluence and expansion of two industry trends—agencies launching intellectual property efforts and creating installations designed to have a broader social impact. Many such projects have succeeded (including FCB’s own fascinating billboards in Peru), but they have been far less ambitious, and staged on a more manageable scale.

So, how does Lieberman respond to critics who say the Giant Flag is a grand idea, and great PR for FCB, that will probably never fly, owing to its cost, complexity and all manner of potential pitfalls?

“I understand why they would say that,” he says. “It’s unlike anything that has come before—there is no easy framework for them to grasp on to. How could they possibly see it happening? But that’s OK. The Giant Flag will happen. … There are too many people who can already feel it in the landscape.”

Sprite's 'Bill the Billboard' Keeps Drivers Entertained by Cracking Endless Jokes

If it’s more comedy you want from your billboard, Sprite is happy to oblige.

Ogilvy Kenya recently put up “Bill the Billboard” at a busy intersection in Nairobi, and programmed him to endlessly crack jokes. He’s sort of an outdoor version of the famous Pringles banner ad from 2009, offering seemingly stream-of-consciousness quips to keep viewers entertained.

The jokes aren’t exactly side-splitting, and the case study’s boast that Bill is the “first ad ever with mental issues” isn’t exactly P.C. But at least he’s a little different than your typical boring digital ad.

Five Red BMWs Drift Together in Automaker's Latest High-Octane Stunt

If you like watching pretty cars dance with each other, check out this new stunt driving ad from BMW South Africa.

Five cherry red M235i coupes spin around each other in a tightly choreographed high-speed sequence on a closed traffic rotary. Titled “The Epic Driftmob,” it takes pains to emulate a human flash mob. That means showing a woman dressed as a cop blocking several cars (including a Honda) from entering, and cutting in some unconvincing footage of confused and excited spectators.

Ultimately the stunt, orchestrated by Interone in Cape Town, feels more like it’s paying homage to Esther Williams than Improv Everywhere. Maybe that’s because it’s clearly too high-budget and well-planned to feel believable as a spontaneous event. Or maybe it’s because the fast edits and burning rubber can’t hide that there’s a sort of grace to the whole thing—especially if you watch the clip on mute, and spare yourself the obligatory but grating sounds of revving engines and screeching tires.

It also doesn’t look quite as dangerous as some of BMW’s other stunt commercials from recent years, which saw cars drifting through car-shaped holes in walls and around the edges of skyscraper helipads. But while less risky, at least we know the new spot is real (the brand says so on the YouTube page) and not CGI—unlike the recent aircraft carrier ad, which was almost certainly not real. (In the making-of video for the new spot, stunt driver Rich Rutherford points out the thin margin for error in coordinating the fast-moving cars, steered by pro drivers including drifting champions Rhys Millen and Samuel Hübinette).

And of course, the ad has a happy ending: The hot lady cop pulls off her hat and does a dramatic hair toss before climbing into one of the Beamers. Because the brand couldn’t resist suggesting its product will get you laid, too.

Each Page of This ‘Drinkable Book’ Is a Water Filter That Removes Deadly Bacteria

Drinking is fundamental.

With that thought in mind, DDB New York and Water Is Life have authored a Drinkable Book that not only educates at-risk populations on sanitation and hygiene, but also provides a means to purify contaminated water.

The pages are coated with microscopic particles of silver. When water passes through, more than 99 percent of harmful bacteria—like cholera, E. coli and typhoid—are destroyed, and the resulting liquid is safe to drink. Theresa Dankovich, a chemist, invented the paper. The text, printed in food-quality ink, provides basic safety information, such as reminders to keep trash and feces away from water supplies. The filter paper costs pennies to produce, and a single book can provide a person with drinkable water for up to four years.

DDB and Water Is Life have teamed up before on notable humanitarian efforts. These include an award-winning campaign that saw impoverished Haitians read actual tweets that people jokingly marked with the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag, and "Kenya Bucket List," which focused on what third-world kids hope to accomplish in their lives.

The Drinkable Book is a refreshingly creative (but practical) approach that marks a new chapter in combining communications with real-world action, a direction also championed by the Peruvian billboards that generate clean air and water.

Via Devour.

African Hotel by Regional Associates

L’Eco Tourism Resorts est un hôtel qui a été construit en plein coeur de l’Afrique, à Uganda, par des architectes travaillant chez Regional Associates. Très boisées, les chambres sont situées dans des sortes de petites chaumières au sein d’une nature profuse. L’hôtel est à découvrir dans la suite.


Ethiopia Photography by Steve McCurry

Focus sur le photographe américain Steve McCurry qui propose la série « Omo Valley » en Ethiopie. Il réalise des portraits des africains en tenues traditionnelles, mais aussi des photos de moments de fête et de rites religieux. Sa série est à découvrir en images sur son portfolio et dans la suite de l’article.

Site officiel Steve McCurry


Novo filme da Brahma mostra a cevada plantada na Granja Comary

Lembra da edição especial de Brahma com cevada da Granja Comary?

Agora a agência Africa lançou um filme para promover o projeto, mostrando o plantio, colheita e depoimento do técnico Felipe Scolari.

A primeira safra será vendida apenas através do site: São 2014 kits – iguais da foto abaixo – e que no mês que vem também estarão disponíveis nos pontos de venda.

A campanha só erra em chamar a Granja Comary de “solo sagrado” do futebol brasileiro, pois é óbvio que o único campo sacrossanto vai ser lá em Itaquera.


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Vivo e Samsung prestam homenagem a Raul Seixas

Quase 3 anos depois do sucesso do clipe de “Eduardo & Mo?nica”, a Vivo – dessa vez em parceria com a Samsung – faz uma nova homenagem musical.

“Metamorfose Ambulante”, canção composta há exatos 40 anos por Raul Seixas, é exibida aqui como uma analogia para a transformação que a tecnologia proporciona na vida das pessoas. Começando na Idade da Pedra, onde um portal se abre para gadgets atuais (todos da Samsung, é claro).

Assim como no caso da música do Legião Urbana, a iniciativa teve aprovação da família de Raul Seixas. Não que isso diminua um possível mimimi dos fãs, mas em tempos em que até o Bob Dylan – em carne e osso – faz comercial de carro, todos terão que rever conceitos.

O clipe foi filmado na Argentina, nas montanhas de Sierra de La Ventana. A criação é da Africa, com produção da PBA Cinema.

Raul Seixas
Raul Seixas
Raul Seixas

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Most Beautiful Villages Around The World

Focus sur les plus beaux villages visibles à travers le monde, du Mali au Tibet en passant par l’Iran. Cette sélection de photographies a été faite par différents photographes aux quatre coins du monde où les couleurs et les architectures se font écho ou contrastent selon les niveaux de vie de chacun.


Popeye Village à Malte, par Mosin.

Village au Niger, Mali, par Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Mountain Village en Iran, par Mohammadreza Momeni.

Village africain, par Michael Poliza.

Village au Tibet, par Coolbie Re.

Gàsadalur Village aux Iles Féroé, par Gareth Codd.

Fort Bourtange aux Pays-Bas, par Jan Koster.

Village dans le Sud-Ouest de l’Angleterre, par Bob Small.

Village caché dans le Sud de la Chine, par Christian Ortiz.

Hobbiton Village, lieu du tournage du Seigneur des Anneaux en Nouvelle-Zélande, par Weta Workshop.

Village de La Spezia en Italie, par James Brandon.

Hallstatt en Autriche, photographe inconnu.

Beautiful Villages 11
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The Lede: A Twitter Message About AIDS, Followed by a Firing and an Apology

A Manhattan public relations executive loses her job after a post on Twitter about AIDS, race and Africa created an online furor.


Justine Sacco Fired by IAC for ‘Hope I Don’t Get AIDS’ Tweet

UPDATE: Justine Sacco has issued the following written apology to South African newspaper The Star, according to ABC News:

"Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.

"For being insensitive to this crisiswhich does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformlyand to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed.

"This is my father's country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused."

Original item below:

Website parent company IAC, owner of, Vimeo and many other popular services, announced today it has fired PR chief Justine Sacco for her instantly infamous tweet about AIDS in Africa.

"The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC.  We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question," the company said in a statement emailed to journalists.

"There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally. We hope, however, that time and action, and the forgiving human spirit, will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core."

The whirlwind story of a successful PR pro's downfall on a global social media stage unfolded in little more than 24 hours. Sacco's tweet—"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"—was posted shortly before she boarded a flight, leaving her likely unaware of the worldwide consternation and mockery she had instigated.


Brands, Web Celebrities and Anonymous Join Global Mockery of PR Pro’s AIDS Tweet

UPDATE: Despite an overwhelmingly positive response from Twitter users, Gogo has apologized for its tweet making fun of Justine Sacco:

Original item below:

By the time her tweet mocking AIDS in Africa had been deleted tonight (followed shortly by her entire Twitter account), corporate PR director Justine Sacco had already become more than a target of public loathing. She had become a hashtag. 

#HasJustineLandedYet was popping up across Twitter as word spread faster than an intercontinental jet about the IAC spokeswoman's tweet, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

And in a marketing coup de grace so pointed it's almost painful, Gogo in-flight Internet used Sacco's lengthy silence as an example of why you really need to use Gogo in-flight Internet: "Next time you plan to tweet something stupid before you take off, make sure you are getting on a @Gogo flight! CC: @JustineSacco."

Here's the original tweet:

And here's a sample of a few other tweets of note arising from Sacco's situation:


Itaú transforma o Brasil em um grande estádio de futebol

Depois do bom filme em alusão aos sorteio dos grupos da Copa do Mundo 2014, o Itaú estreia nesta quinta-feira, dia 12, o seu segundo comercial se promovendo como o banco oficial do torneio e da Seleção Brasileira.

“A Grande Transformação” mostra o Brasil se alterando geograficamente, enquanto vai sendo “abraçado” pelas estruturas de um estádio de futebol. O filme traz a assinatura “Quando o brasileiro entra em campo, ele muda o jogo”, materializando o conceito de união da população para fazer a Copa do Mundo acontecer.

Criação da Africa, com produção da Killers.


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SAIH critica estereotipização em campanhas beneficentes

Rusty Radiator Awards é o nome de uma premiação promovida pelo SAIH – Fundo de Assistência Internacional de Estudantes e Acadêmicos da Noruega – para apontar campanhas beneficentes que mais abusam dos estereótipos. Segundo a organização, no texto de apresentação do projeto, o uso contínuo deste recurso “fere tanto a causa quanto as pessoas retratadas. Ela tira a dignidade e ação das pessoas, enquanto cria apatia em vez de ação nas pessoas ao redor do mundo”. Para divulgar o prêmio, o SAIH criou o filme Let’s Save Africa! – Gone Wrong, que apresenta Michael, um ator especializado em comerciais de caridade.

É claro que a organização assume que esta é apenas uma brincadeira e que, na realidade, não existem atores especializados em comerciais de caridade. O propósito, então, é mostrar que infelizmente, esta é a impressão que acaba ficando, quando todas as histórias contadas são iguais e contribuem para a estereotipização dos problemas enfrentados pelo povo africano.

“Precisamos mudar a maneira como as campanhas de arrecadação de fundos estão comunicando os problemas relacionados a pobreza e desenvolvimento”, diz o descritivo do prêmio.

Além do Rusty Radiator Awards, o SAIH também oferece o Golden Radiator Awards, que faz o caminho inverso, premiando os bons comerciais. Segundo a organização, as melhores campanhas são aquelas que permitem que as pessoas contem suas histórias e mostrem diferentes pontos de vistas, criando engajamento com base no conhecimento. Um dos concorrentes deste ano é o incrível 4 Years Old’s Bucket List, da Water Is Life.  A votação termina no dia 3 de dezembro.

A produção é da iKind Productions.


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Itaú mostra como a música pode mudar o dia de alguém

E por falar na importância da música para se criar conexões emocionais, o Itaú promoveu uma ação que ilustra muito bem o poder que a música tem sobre as pessoas. Dias antes do início do Rock in Rio, um músico foi escalado para tocar nas ruas do Rio de Janeiro, aparentemente esperando ganhar alguns trocados. Acompanhado de sua guitarra, as pessoas que passavam por ele reagiam de maneira curiosa, enquanto ele tocava uma versão instrumental de Change the World (mais conhecida pela interpretação de Eric Clapton para o filme Fenômeno), música-tema da campanha do banco.

Toda vez que alguém contribuía, ele agradecia pelo incentivo e, apontando para o estojo da guitarra, indicava para que a pessoa pegasse algo lá dentro: um inesperado par de ingressos para o Rock in Rio, com os cumprimentos do Itaú, principal patrocinador do evento.

A ação, criada em parceria com a Africa, foi registrada por câmeras escondidas e distribuiu 40 pares de ingressos. A ideia era mostrar como a música sensibiliza as pessoas, razão pela qual o banco costuma associar sua marca a eventos culturais. O resultado ficou bacana e ainda ajudou a lembrar dessa capacidade incrível que a música tem de mudar não só o dia de alguém, mas quem sabe até mesmo o mundo.


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Universe’s Most Indulgent Gum Gets a TV Commercial to Match

Stimorol Sensations, a South African gum that appears to be the same thing as Trident Layers, claims to be the most indulgent gum in the universe. In its latest spot by Ogilvy Cape Town, an office drone pops the layered gum, slips away into an indulgent fantasy of synchronized swimmers and fruit waterfalls that cop a feel, and, of course, walks across water to play a saxophone duet with a parrot. The whole thing was put together using an indulgent set that included 30 tons of pink goo. Check out the behind-the-scenes video for shots of the set and a delightfully unenlightening interview with the quirky director, Trevor Clarence. Credits below.

Client: Stimorol Sensations
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Cape Town, South Africa
Executive Creative Director: Chris Gotz
Associate Creative Director: Tommy Le Roux
Creative Group Head: Prabashan Panther
Agency Producer: Anthea Beylis
Art Directors: Reijer van der Vlugt, Matthew Pullen
Copywriters: Justin Osburn, Dean Paradise
Production Company: Your Girlfriend
Director: Trevor Clarence
Executive Producer: Linda Bogle
Postproduction: Black Ginger
Sound Design: We Love Jam
Voiceover Artist: Adam Behr


National Geographic registra leões do Serengeti com drones e robôs

Depois de cinco anos de planejamento e quase dois anos de captura de imagens, a National Geographic revelou os resultados de sua expedição tecnológica ao ecossistema Serengeti, região de cerca de 30000 km² no norte da Tanzânia e sudoeste do Quênia.

Com drones e robôs, o fotógrafo Michael Nichols e o cinematógrafo Nathan Williamson procuraram registrar os leões do local da maneira menos intrusiva possível. Com cameras controladas remotamente, a rotina dos animais não foi interferida pela presença humana, o que geralmente causa stress nos felinos.


Foram registradas mais de 242 mil fotos e 200 horas de vídeo no total

Nichols e Williamson contam que os robôs foram vistos com desconfiança pelos leões nos primeiros dias, mas pouco tempo depois já estavam acostumados com o mini-tanque fabricado pela SuperDroid Robots, e com o MikroKopter alemão que capturava fotos aéreas, inclusive dormindo tranquilamente ao lado dos equipamentos.

No total, ambos registraram 242 mil imagens e 200 horas de vídeo, que deram origem ao incrível site The Serengeti Lion, que conta como se deu a expedição e detalha diversos momentos da vida dos leões.


A expedição questiona a indústria de caça legalizada, que já aprisionou e matou mais de 3,500 leões

A viagem também foi relatada em uma matéria desse mês da National Geographic, que fala sobre a conservação dos grandes felinos e seu desaparecimento de quase 80% do território africano.

Tanto o artigo como o site, mostram fotos das fazendas de caça legalizada na região, que existem em quantidade alarmante. Trata-se de uma prática covarde, perpetrada pela falência humana, em que milhares de leões são capturados e criados em cativeiro para que turistas endinheirados possam caçá-los em uma área cercada.


Diversas organizações tentam junto aos governos, incluir o leão africano na lista de espécies ameaçadas pela extinção. Dessa forma, mesmo com a caça legalizada na África, os caçadores – que só são corajosos enquanto protegidos por barreiras – seriam impedidos de levar qualquer troféu (como crânios e ossos) para outros países. A verdade é que isso já se tornou uma grande indústria, cheia de lobby e interesses, que já aprisionou e matou 3,500 leões apenas para o prazer sádico de milionários.

A constatação de que existe gente idiota no mundo acontece o tempo todo, mas não deixe de explorar todas as seções do site: O vídeo abaixo mostra como a tecnologia colaborou para a experiência inédita:


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Itaú lembra que todo mundo já precisou de um “empurrãozinho de pai”

Aprender a andar de bicicleta exige, pelo menos no início, um apoio em quem você pode confiar. E, assim como em determinados momentos da vida, a gente também precisa colocar os pés no chão, para evitar de se machucar. É um momento de confiança e cumplicidade que muitas crianças dividem com seus pais, e que rendem histórias inesquecíveis, como as contadas no novo filme da Africa para o Itaú.

Empurrãozinho de Pai traz depoimentos muito legais de homens contando como seus pais os ensinaram a andar de bicicleta e, de repente, hoje se veem no lugar deles, ensinando seus filhos.

A produção ficou muito bacana, com emoção na dose certa. Uma boa forma de homenagear o Dia dos Pais que vem chegando.


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Incrível animação da Gillette apresenta nova liga de MMA, o UFCecê

A Procter & Gamble tem tentado investir em diferentes abordagens para suas campanhas brasileiras, como os casos recentes de Duracell e Head & Shoulders. É um flerte com branded content, mas ainda com medo de que, talvez, os consumidores não entendam a mensagem e a empresa esteja gastando dinheiro “só para divertir” as pessoas.

O novo comercial de Gillette corrobora isso. É um incrível trabalho de animação do estúdio brasileiro Techno Image, em parceria com os suecos do Mindbinder, responsáveis também pelas divertidas vinhetas do Cartoon Network. No filme, dois lutadores mal cheirosos se enfretam em uma sub-liga de MMA, o UFCecê, para promover o desodorante antitranspirante da marca.

O excesso de discurso vendedor e as inúmeras repetições do conceito – “elimina, não mascara” – não deixam dúvida de que é um comercial da P&G, mas ainda assim é um destaque em comparação com toda a comunicação da empresa.

A criação é da Africa.


Procter & Gamble

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