The first half of 2015 has brought with it some amazing advertising campaigns that leverage TV, film or gaming brands in one way or another. The work featured here are mostly out of the US, but also include work from Belgium, UK, Australia and Germany. A range of clip licensing techniques have been used so far this year including usage of existing footage, character likeness, thematic elements, recreation and new animation.

Let’s kick off (!) with Superbowl, which presented a range of advertisers who reportedly spent a whopping $US4.5 million per 30 second slot, but arguably was money well spent considering viewership reached a historic high of 114.5 million! Tying in TV, film or gaming brands into advertising is popular around Superbowl time and this year we saw 5 of those.

Real Life Pacman #UpForWhatever

Client: Bud Light
Creative Agency: Energy/BBDO
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Pacman

Retro gaming brand Pacman is used in this commercial to create a life sized game which most of us are desperate to be a part of. The maze was created with fine attention to detail, to the point that it was actually entirely to scale down to the spacing between the power pellets and each curve in the walls. By Superbowl evening it has reached over 13 million views on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9A1NowrnGI

Brady Bunch

Client: Snickers
Creative Agency: BBDO NY
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: The Brady Bunch

Snickers launched ‘A Very Brady Teaser’ a few weeks before Superbowl which created a lot of buzz. The full version was released on YouTube 4 days out from Superbowl, and had racked up over 7 million viewers by Superbowl evening. The spot continued with the popular ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ Snickers theme that has in the past featured Betty White, and has been a regular advertiser at Superbowl. Using existing footage, mixed with new footage, this had early speculation on being the favourite for the year. It went on to win the Silver Lion – Film Sweet Foods and Snacks at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbomTIWCZ8

Clash of Clans: Revenge

Client: Clash of Clans
Creative Agency: Barton F Graf
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Taken

Now Liam Neeson is not actually playing his character from Taken, however the script and themes are clearly borrowed from the popular movie. It seems that Neeson applies the same gritty approach to Clash of Clans as his character does in the Taken franchise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC2qk2X3fKA

Say My Name

Client: Esurance
Creative Agency: Leo Burnett
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Breaking Bad

This was a surprise, mainly because there was no tease and no release of the ad prior to Superbowl. It launched during the 2nd quarter and featured Walter White from Breaking Bad, giving fans of the show something to talk about after the series finished in 2013. It was also shortlisted for 2 Lions at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ufrTjEY5dU

Newfangled

Client: BMW
Creative Agency: Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Today USA

This is a very unique and the first clip licensing commercial we’ve seen using a show format like Today USA. Here we take a look back at 1994 where personalities Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel were trying to get their head around something called ‘the internet’. 20 years on, and the same conversation is happening in the new BMW. It was also shortlisted for 1 Lion at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival.

http://youtu.be/U1jwWwJ-Mxc

The next big event was 87th Academy Awards, which is also a big opportunity for advertisers to reach an enormous amount of eyeballs at once – 36.6 million of them.

Emily’s Oz

Client: Xfinity – Comcast
Creative Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, New York
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Wizard of Oz

This spot introduces us to a 7 year old girl called Emily who was born blind. Emily gives us an idea of how she imagines the classic Wizard of Oz film looks when she watches it. It was shortlisted for 4 Lions at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU7NU_fsaSU

Dream On

Client: Adobe
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Shrek, Avatar, The Hobbit, How to Train a Dragon

Another Oscar night launch, here we see some great creations in Adobe Photoshop including some of the most visually impressive and well known movies. The spot was so well received that it went on to win 1 Gold and 2 Silver Lions at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmYc1MNJaQc

Ingredients

Client: McDonalds
Creative Agency: Energy/BBDO
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: King Kong, E.T, Jaws, Die Hard, Silence of the Lambs, Rocky, Psycho, When Harry Met Sally, Taxi Driver

Also debuting during the Oscars, here is a really great example of leveraging some well known movie references without any existing footage or character likeness. The spot uses text references to thematic elements of each movie, played out to classical “Clair De Lune” by Debussy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIsv-Oo4en8

While on the topic of McDonalds, that wasn’t their only campaign in early 2015 that referenced TV, movies and games. This spot launched on January 2 and was the first clip licensing campaign we spotted of the year.

Brand: McDonalds
Creative Agency: Leo Burnett
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Pacman, Batman, Wizard of Oz, Spongebob, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Mario Bros. Smurfs, Looney Tunes, King Kong, Grumpy Cat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDYIpSejTmw

50 Shades of Grey was one of the many anticipated movie releases in early 2015 and Audi leveraged the launch with a campaign in USA and Germany.

Client: Audi USA
Creative Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: 50 Shades of Grey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utP3ROiT_DM

Client: Audi Deutschland
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: 50 Shades of Grey

Audi Deutschland chose to take a more sophisticated approach to the movie tie-in, focusing on the thought of ‘who is Christian Grey?’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Eu2WSjCUQ

The Watch Reimagined

Client: Apple
Creative Agency: TBWAMedia Arts Lab
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Mickey Mouse

2015 will be known as the year that Apple launched their first watch. They chose to include a well known character in their first commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ql0Z8Il73s

Lumbergh Returns

Client: HipChat
Creative Agency: Brass Ideas
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Office Space

This one proves that movies don’t necessarily need to be big box office hits to be leveraged in advertising. To help launch software maker Atlassian’s new “HipChat” service, Gary Cole reprised the role of Bill Lumbergh, the famously clueless boss from Office Space. The campaign included a range of TV commercials, online banner ads and outdoor.

It’s What You Do

Client: Geico
Creative Agency: The Martin Agency
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Dora the Explorer

I bet Dora the Explorer never thought she’d end up in the North Pole . . . . or in an insurance commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amy3mFmCDSU

Ride Through Time

Client: Renault
Creative Agency: Publicis Conseil France
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: American Beauty, House of Cards and Usual Suspects

Kevin Spacey is well known for many of his movie and TV roles, some of which are cleverly referenced in this commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1GmAl9I-E4

Assemble part 1

Client: Samsung
Creative Agency: 72 and Sunny
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Marvel Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel and Samsung partnered for the simultaneous launch of Marvel Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Samsung Galaxy 6.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0vk87z3sPA

Jake from Planet State Farm

Client: State Farms Insurance
Creative Agency: DDB Chicago
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Coneheads

Saturday Night Live’s Coneheads returned to the small screen for this commercial which was the first of many for State Farm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvusIRKLYC4

It’s Time

Client: AT&T
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Game of Thrones

AT&T’s on demand service U-verse took advantage of all the Game of Thrones hype with this spot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzxjyEAfDvM

Bird’s Behind Bars

Client: Virgin Media
Creative Agency: BBH London
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Orange is the New Black

In 2014 Virgin Media introduced us to Ally McNab, the night owl that stays up all night watching TV on Netflix (we can all relate, right?). Now McNab finds himself in orange and behind bars in this spot that generated a lot of industry chatter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_COajwpuzE

Mr. T the Wingman

Client: Fuze
Creative Agency: Lambesis
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: The A Team

Iconic 80’s character Mr. T is turned into a butterfly in a spot filled with ridiculousness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrtCpjXDyqM

Iron Man Collective Project

Client: Microsoft
Creative Agency: Possible
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Iron Man

Here’s a online campaign that went viral on social media as soon as it launched. A heartwarming story that inspired Robert Downey Jr. to get involved, describing it as a privilege.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEx5lmbCKtY

Find Your Fast

Client: Nike
Creative Agency: Must Be Something
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Looney Tunes

Nike commercials often include a raft of leading athletes and here is no different. Oh and there is a cameo appearance from a Looney Tunes character.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fUpnKAR9lk

Summer Nights

Client: Uncle Ben’s
Creative Agency: CLM BBDO
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Grease

Tell me more, tell me more! Who thought that rice and quinoa getting together would be so much fun?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ8ZJQ_hLd8

So far this year there’s also been some great outdoor and print campaigns featuring TV and movies brands.

Life’s Better with a Dog

Client: Pedigree
Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Scooby-Doo

Pedigree’s Adoption Drive used kids animation Scooby-Doo to effectively demonstrate what the show would be like without a dog.

Hello Kitty

Client: Duracell
Agency: Grey London
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Hello Kitty

Grey London walked away with a Bronze Lion at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival for this Outdoor campaign that featured Hello Kitty

Volkswagen

Client: Volkswagen
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: The Lion King, ET, King Kong, Titanic, Up

Out of Belgium we saw Volkswagen leverage a range of iconic movie moments in these print ads.

Client: SPI Entertainment
Agency: Rubecon
TV/Movie/Gaming Brand: Batman, Jaws, Forrest Gump, Minions

SPI Cinemas

A cracking first half of 2015 for clip licensing, and I’m sure we’ll see many more throughout the remainder of the year. Stay tuned . . .