Looking at this week's five, a subtle theme of truth emerges. Not your noble capital "T" truth, pondered late in the throes of insomnia or after reading too many Making A Murderer think pieces, but the marketing kind that doesn't give you a sick feeling your emotions and wild consumerist tendencies are being played like a pan flute. Whether it's Dick's Sporting Goods maintaining its consistent support for amateur athletes while making an Olympic ad that actually feels original, Always once again finding an inspiring and very real issue for girls, Samsung acknowledging that all we need from a giant brand is fun and funny celebrity cameos en masse, Geico making light of how realistic it is for us to skip most insurance ads, or the Paris Opera knowing a little sex, guns, and booze goes a long way. Each taps its own truth and manages to entertain along the way. What more can we ask? Onward!
What: One wild night in the life of an opera singer, directed by Bret Easton Ellis.
Who: Paris Opera, Bret Easton Ellis
Why We Care: First, it's an incredibly modern look at an art form long associated with flowing robes, extended running times, and hefty waistlines. Second, Bret Easton Ellis? Of course the decadence and debauchery is probably to be expected, but it keeps its heart light while putting a pop culture spin on the classical.
What: A sober look at the struggles behind chasing Olympic success.
Who: Dick's Sporting Goods, Anomaly
Why We Care: A slick, stylish spot in its own right, but anchored in a Team USA sponsorship that actually employs almost 200 aspiring Olympic contenders, a few of which are the stars profiled here. CMO Lauren Hobart told us shining a spotlight on these athletes is a perfect fit for the brand. "It's a big part of our values to help them on that journey by providing them with flexible work hours, competitive wages, and help them make ends meet," she said.
What: The next intstallment of #LikeAGirl takes aim at a surprising target—emojis.
Who: Always, Leo Burnett
Why We Care: Girls send more than a billion emojis every day, but the brand asks girls if these cute little modes of visual communication really represent them, and the answers are pretty awesome. "There's no girls in the professional emojis, unless you count being a bride as a profession." Indeed.
What: A cavalcade of self-mocking celebs ask a laundry list of questions about what their new smartphone can do.
Who: Samsung, Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Why We Care: Because when it comes to smartphone advertising, we'd all like it to show if it can fit all 145 of Wesley Snipes's movies, show how rich and carefree Lil Wayne is, and make James Harden wait so long to do a celebrity sportsperson cameo. Wieden+Kennedy Portland creative director Craig Allen told us the strategy was less about consumer research and more about just seeing what's going on in advertising and poking fun at it. "If you watched the Super Bowl, or have turned on your TV this month, it's hard to find ads that don't have some kind of celebrity tie in," says Allen. "This is a giant product launch and debuting on the Oscars seemed like a perfect time to have a little fun with these cliches. We purposefully chose the celebs because we thought they would be funniest in those roles and the least expected. Also, we've always wanted to meet Lil Wayne and Wesley Snipes, so that was cool."
What: The follow-up to last year's insanely popular (and award-winning) unskippable ad, fast-forwards through the commercials so we don't have to.
Who: Geico, The Martin Agency
Why We Care: It's no adorable dog, but once again, with these quick skips the brands taps an undeniable truth—everyone races to the fast-forward button during an insurance ad. By making the no-context endings so far out, they actually make you want to go back and see what you missed. Giant eagle talons tend to do that.