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A Couple in Creative Crisis

At one point in “Private Life” the soundtrack is graced by a Billie Holiday classic, “Getting Some Fun Out of Life.” Seldom has a song been used to more ironic effect. The middle-aged wife and husband at the center of the story aren’t having any fun at all. This difficult, formidably tough-minded black comedy by Tamara Jenkins is autobiographical, at least in its clinical details; you might guess as much early on from the intensity of the pain. It’s about trying to conceive through in vitro fertilization, while pursuing adoption as a fallback. The euphemism for the medical process is assisted reproduction, though that hardly hints at what the couple must endure. They find themselves trapped in a high-tech hell on earth until an unexpected source of life enters the picture.

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The stars are Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti. She is Rachel, a writer; he is Richard, a director of minor-league theater. Like many professionals of their generation, they’ve postponed having children for the sake of their careers. Now, in their 40s, they’ve been hit with a double whammy—infertility that promises to be unyielding, at least in the normal course of events, and careers that have failed to thrive.

In other words, two people pursuing what may be a fantasy, and an expensive one, with ever more obsessive fervor. In Rachel the filmmaker has written—and directed—what seems to be an unsparing version of herself. Ms. Hahn is an exceptional comedian, yet there’s only so much she can do to soften the edges of her stridently neurotic character. In Richard Ms. Jenkins has created a role that fits Mr. Giamatti, who has always been great at comic gloom, like a glove that should have been one size larger. Richard, along with the movie as a whole, suffers from a surfeit of gloom until the plot takes its surprising turn and the tone, which has wavered between grimly and glibly funny, lightens quite delightfully under the influence of a young woman named Sadie, who is played by an endearing young actress named Kayli Carter.

McCann Worldgroup Japan bolsters creative offering

McCann Worldgroup Japan has appointed Caspar Ouvaroff (pictured left) as representative director, president of MRM//McCann, and Alex Lopez (pictured right) as chief creative office with immediate effect.

Ouvaroff has joined MRM//McCann Japan with more than 25 years of experience in building clients’ businesses through innovative marketing and communication solutions across the advertising spectrum. From digital to direct response, broadcast to data analytics, Ouvaroff has worked across each to deliver for all his clients.

He now reports to Charles Cadell, representative director, president and CEO of McCann Worldgroup Japan, and Kate MacNevin, global president of MRM//McCann.

“Ouvaroff brings a history of innovation, a proven track record of creative and business success, and a well-honed marketing sensibility to our Japan team. I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand his commitment and success in helping brands grow meaningful relationships with people,” commented MacNevin.

Ouvaroff spent the last four and half years working in MRM//McCann’s New York office running the office’s largest account, United States Postal Service (USPS). During that time he worked closely with a broad spectrum of McCann Worldgroup companies, including McCann, IPG Mediabrands/UM, Momentum, Weber Shandwick, FutureBrand and Casanova//McCann.

Before joining MRM//McCann, Ouvaroff worked at TBWAChiatDay New York, running a number of accounts across the telecom and financial services categories. He also launched and ran his own boutique agency in New York City with clients, including AXA Financial, Victoria’s Secret and Grand Marnier.

“This is a time of incredible opportunity in the market and an amazing challenge, and I look forward to helping our team and our clients achieve and surpass their business goals,” said Ouvaroff.

Meanwhile, Lopez will work closely with each group agency’s executive creative director and senior management to continue raising the creative output, foster a more collaborative environment and strengthen the creative culture to deliver better solutions to clients, according to a press release from the group.

“He (Lopez) truly is a unique talent with a shared vision of where we need to head creatively – he brings a combination of global experience together with over 10 years of experience working in Japan as well as expertise in digital, content and big data, “said Charles Cadell, whom Lopez reports to.

Lopez is a digital native with passion and interest in new tech trends in mobile, interactive retail, and big data. He decided to explore diverse creative fields, from digital movie studios to tech startups all in pursuit of innovation.

Possessing more than 20 years of experience in the creative industry, Lopez kicked off his career in advertising with Leo Burnett from 1988 until 2001, which took him to multiple countries including Venezuela, Germany, France and Japan. He then spent five years at Beacon Communications in Japan, a Leo Burnett, Dentsu and Publicis joint venture, where he served as chief creative office for three years until being promoted to managing director.

Speaking of his recent appointment, Lopez was excited to return to Japan and apply his expertise in the country combining with digital prowess. “I am committed to creating new tools, resources and talent from one of the most exciting places on the planet, and with some of the most talented and gracious people I have had the good fortune to know,” concluded Lopez.

Case Study: Bonfire Creative unveil brand identity for Eagle Brewery

The Eagle Brewery was born from the sale of the brewing and brands business by Charles Wells Ltd to Marston’s PLC. Marston’s approached Bonfire to create a bold new identity and branding, for the newly named brewery, that was fitting of an organisation with an enviable heritage as a master brewer and a long-standing relationship with the town of Bedford. Home of many famous beers such as Bombardier and Eagle, plus others bearing the Wells family name, the new brewery identity and branding needed to retain its associations, while reflecting a more modern contemporary style to help it remain relevant in years to come. The branding also needed to translate across multiple touchpoints including signage and uniforms to lorry liveries, bottle lables and point of sale material.

Home of many famous beers including Bombardier and Eagle, the new brewery’s identity and branding needed to retain its associations with its brewing traditions but also align with Marston’s plans for the site and it’s vision for the future of the business. The branding also needed to translate across multiple touchpoints from signage and uniforms to truck livery and digital assets.

There has been a long tradition of brewing in Bedford and The Eagle Brewery site has played an important part in that local story. Similarly, the eagle has been associated with the town for centuries so we looked at how it is used locally and beyond, both historically and now, to help us on the journey to create the brand story and identity.

The eagle is a powerful symbol of pride and has provided a strong mechanism for uniting the town in common cause. In this case, the eagle as a symbol would unite drinkers in a pride that their town creates quality beers. We also believed that it created a resonance among local businesses and organisations, subconsciously embedding the brewery in their minds and encouraging them to act as ‘partners’ in its promotion.

These elements had a strong influence on how we settled on the final creative concept. The Eagle Brewery’s new brand identity draws on these stories with a bold, contemporary rework of its existing eagle symbol. Unlike the way the bird is typically represented in heraldry however the Bedford eagle, and therefore the brewery’s, looks left to signify a unique point of view, and position the brand as progressive and forward thinking. A colour palette draws on Bedford’s historic association with the colour blue (the town’s highly regarded independent schools and rugby union club have both long sported the colour), partnered with a modern metallic copper, to give a contemporary, quality feel and deliver high impact. A modern font, Montserrat, was selected and appears in capitals to give the logo a clean bold look while allowing the eagle graphic to remain the focal point.

Twitter Canada Partners With Hxouse to Provide a Creative Space for Toronto’s Rising Entrepreneurs

When Hxouse (pronounced House), the mentoring and incubator program for Toronto’s emerging artists, entrepreneurs and other innovators formed by The Weeknd’s creative director La Mar Taylor, launches next month, it will do so with the support of Twitter Canada.

After all, it was on Twitter where the idea for Hxouse spread its wings.

“Since the beginning of our creative journey Twitter has always been a platform that allowed us to express ourselves in our own unfiltered voice,” Taylor, co-founder of Hxouse, creative director of The Weeknd’s XO label (andan) Adweek Toronto Brand Star, said in a statement. “It is only right that we align with the platform that allowed for us to build such a resource beyond vision.”

The ideation behind Hxouse dates back to Dec. 5, 2016, when Taylor issued a series of tweets addressing a creative problem in Toronto. He wrote that “our kids/Toronto need a place to build. I’m tired of seeing missed opportunities for creatives who didn’t have the tools.” Taylor then followed up with a pledge to “build a facility for all the young creatives in Toronto” by the time he hit 30, giving him four years to accomplish his goal.

In under two years, he hit that goal.

Taylor put that promise “out into the universe to hold himself accountable,” Hxouse co-founder Ahmed Ismail told Adweek. Ismail saw the original tweets and then quickly reached out to his long-time friend and fellow Toronto native to help.

From there, it took off. The Toronto facility will open its doors on Nov. 6, admitting its first wave of students. The program will give students the chance to work on XO projects and other activations at Taylor’s branding agency, Hxouse Creative Studios, which will be located at the same site.

Twitter comes into the equation by providing access to resources, strategic mentorship and opportunities for students to advance their careers.

“This was a natural alliance for us,” Ismail noted. “The Twitter relationship will create bespoke content, mentoring and career opportunities for the next generation of creative leaders, which is the ultimate goal for Hxouse.”

To announce the partnership, Twitter and Hxouse hosted an activation in Yonge-Dundas Square for Nuit Blanche last week, an annual arts festival in Toronto that brought 78 installations to the city this year. Hxouse’s activation illuminated the square with its animated video by JonJonAnimation, which included music from MyBestFriendJacob, to illustrate the journey Taylor and his fellow Toronto natives have been on to launch Hxouse since those initial tweets.