Droid Launch Campaign

As late as Labor Day, McCann, Verizon’s longtime ad agency, still hadn’t come up with a name that was liked –– to say nothing of a $100 million fully integrated advertising campaign to be launched early November. Feeling cornered, John Stratton, Verizon’s CMO, reached out to Mcgarry Bowen, “We told them they had 10 days.” said Stratton

‘I Can’t’ TV

The campaign kicked off with this tease spot called, ‘I Can’t’. The execution is a parody of a typical Apple commercial, simple black typography on a clean white background animated to an overly cheerful tune extolling many of the things the iPhone can’t do, but Droid does.


‘Stealth’ TV

Then came the launch, a provocative :60 commercial, ‘Stealth’. Sleek futuristic bombers drop pods like bombs all across the country. Director Rupert Sanders of ‘Halo’ fame, brought major motion picture production values to the spot.


‘Big D’ TV

The first of two anti-iPhone brand spots, ‘Big D’, positioned the Droid as a tough, powerful machine that was ready for work.


‘Pretty’ TV

The other, ‘Pretty,’ positioned the refined iPhone as a trendy ‘Digitally Clueless Beauty Queen’.


‘All Comers’ TV

Too often a great campaign comes up short when demonstrating the product. We didn’t want to let that happen, our demo spots enhanced the powerful machine theme by having industrial robots perform the demonstration tasks.


‘Other Planets’ TV

There were about nine demo spots, created by The Embassy, who did the CGI effects for the movie District 9, which won the Academy Award for ‘Visual Effects’. The atmospheric backgrounds were shot in an abandon underground water system in Tokyo. The moody voice of actor Lance Henrikson of the TV series ‘Millennium’ enhanced the mysterious Sci Fi quality of the spots.



The implications of canceling the project were huge. Another dud, right on the heels of the disappointing G1, might cement the public’s perception of the Android smart phone as a flop. Executives at Verizon, who had agreed to serve as the phone’s exclusive carrier, would look inept. They were still taking heat for passing on the iPhone. And a failure would likely mean the end of Motorola. “There was a lot riding on it”, says Andy Rubin, CEO of Android, inc. “I was betting my career on it.”

A sense of doom pervaded the whole summer. Google engineers worried the phone wouldn’t sell but still found themselves working weekends and holidays to develop the software. Meanwhile, they were facing a November deadline.

As late as Labor Day, McCann, Verizon’s longtime ad agency, still hadn’t come up with a name that was liked –– to say nothing of a $100 million fully integrated advertising campaign. Feeling cornered, John Stratton, Verizon’s CMO, reached out to Mcgarry Bowen, a young ad agency known for its unconventional approach, such as the iconic ‘I am what I am’ campaign for Reebok. “We told them they had 10 days.” said Stratton. A few days later, Co-Executive Creators Mark Koelfgen and Warren Eakins came back and said, “What do you think when we say Droid?”

In retrospect, what the agency had done was simple. It turned the phone’s menacing looks into its biggest asset by marketing it as an anti-iPhone. The iPhone was smooth and refined, so they would position the Droid as tough, a powerful machine that was ready for work. “If there had been a phone in the movie Black Hawk Down, it would have looked like the Droid.” Eakins told the executives.

Apparently you didn’t have to work at Google to love the campaign. When the Droid launched, on schedule, it was a tremendous hit, outpacing sales of the original iPhone in its first three months. Motorola started to make an amazing turnaround; today, thanks to the Droid, it is profitable again. The Droid has proven to be the most successful franchise in Verizon’s history, selling millions of phones and garnering thousands of new customers.

I Am what I Am Campaign

The iconic ‘I am what I am’ campaign resonated with the urban community and put Reebok in the athletic shoe conversation for the first time in years. In developing the campaign we realized that Reebok’s assets were unique – they were flawed – but had achieved success by overcoming difficult obstacles early in life. Young urban men and women identified with and drew inspiration from the likes of Jay Z, Allan Iverson and Fifty Cent.


‘Jay Z’ Print

This campaign won many awards, The portrait of Jay Z helped photographer Jim Fiscus win International Photographer of the Year at the prestigious Lucie Awards. An honor for which he was selected from more than 16,000 photographers from more than 32 countries. The photo on the right is a re-creation of how Jay Z used rubber bands to keep track of crack cocaine sales when growing up as a teenager in the Marcy projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.


‘Jay Z’ TV

We chose to portray Jay Z as the business executive he was becoming. He is now worth an estimated $550 million and hobnobs with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The rapper said it best himself, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”


Allen Iverson’ Print

People had a love/hate relationship with Allen Iverson. He received constant criticism for his style; the cornrows, the tattoos, his brashness, and of course, his thoughts on practice.


Allen Iverson’ TV

In his stellar NBA career, Iverson won ‘Rookie of the Year’, was an 11 time All-Star and the league’s MVP. But his greatest achievement was being elected to the NBA Hall of Fame.



The 50¢ poster reflects the hard life he led growing up in a crime-ridden area of New York, South Jamaica, Queens. At the age of 12 he started his education in business by selling crack cocaine. Some years later,after recovering from being shot 9 times, he released the album, ’Guess Who’s Back?’, which led to his discovery by Eminem.



Mark Zupan was in a paralyzing auto accident when in college. He became captain of the USA Wheelchair Rugby Team. Mark is best known for his appearance in the documentary film, ’Murder Ball’, about the dangerous sport wheelchair rugby.



Yao Ming is a 7’6” eight time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer from Shanghi, China. Naturally shy, he had to over come massive media attention from being the first Chinese to play in the NBA and being the tallest player in the world. He was born under the sign of the monkey in the Chinese Zodiac; a leader by nature, charismatic and wise.



Andy Roddick is a winner of the prestigious US Open tennis tournament. Know for his fiery temperament and sharp wit, he once shouted at an umpire, ”You’re an idiot! Stay in school kids, or you’ll end up being an umpire.”


Nike Global Soccer Campaign

‘The Wall’ TV

This one TV spot instantly made Nike a global soccer brand. Until then Nike was known for running and basketball. The spot, directed by legendary Joe Pytka, won many awards including; a Gold Lion at Cannes, as well as the International Press’ favorite of the year,  D&AD Silver Pencil, ‘Film Epica d’Or’, Best of Show at the One Show, Communication Arts Advertising Annual and inclusion in to the Permanent Film & Video Collection of the Museum of Modern Art.


180 Campaign

‘Pillows’ TV

Nike’s ‘180’ campaign was daring and outlandish. The ‘180’ shoe was the ultimate in cushioning and the first shoe Nike introduced world-wide. The brief was simply, ‘Cushioning’. ‘Pillows’, the otherworldly black & white film was directed by Alex Proyos and won him a Silver Pencil for Best Direction at the D&AD Show.


‘Characters’ TV

For the 180 campaign we used filmmakers and artist from all over the world to reinforce the global aspect of the shoe’s launch. This charming spot is from Holland, created by award winning animator, Evert de Beijer.


Asian Big Man Basketball Campaign

‘Barkley vs Godzilla’ TV

An epic global film produced by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic. The brief was to introduce ‘Big Man’ basketball shoes to Asia. At the product briefing my partner, Steve Sandoz and I looked at each other and both said, “Barkley vs Godzilla”. The spot won a Bronze Lion at Cannes.


Droid-X The Next Generation Campaign

Droid-X, the second Droid, was introduced with this enigmatic :15 tease spot, with embedded codes that were clues revealing the whereabouts of free phones hidden across the country. If you could crack the code, that is.

‘Droid X Tease’ TV


‘Expedition’ TV

‘Expedition’, the launch film for the Droid-X, was done in the same genre as ‘Stealth’, the film that launched the original Droid. Director Noam Murro maintained the same high level of drama and production values that had been established.


Droid – Generation III Campaign

Charge Tease’ TV

The same principles of movie like quality held true for the intro of ‘Droid Charge’, the third Droid. It was the first smart phone powerful enough to run ‘4G’, the fourth generation of mobile network technology.

Charge Launch’ TV

The ‘Charge’ film depicts the fusing of the two powerful digital technologies, smart phones and the 4G network. Like ‘Expedition’ it takes place in a mysterious underground setting, one reminiscent of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.


Rule The Air Campaign

When we won Verizon’s Network business we told them they were no longer the phone company, but instead, a communications and entertainment company. With the evolution of the smart phone, together with the development of their powerful network, people were now able to send and receive massive amounts of data with a device they carried in their pocket. They Ruled the Air.

‘Towers’ TV

The campaign broke with two epic special effects spots called, ‘Towers’ and ‘Escape’. We felt it was important for the over all Verizon brand to maintain the same high-level production values that were established in the Droid advertising.


 ‘Escape’ TV


‘Prejudice’ TV

The third spot in the campaign, ‘Prejudice’, is very warm and human, it was inspired by a story of a woman who had become an important influence in the fashion world with her blog. Turns out she was a 13 year old girl. After all, air has no prejudice; it does not filter out an idea because of who you are.



‘Rule the Air’ OOH

Static media, print, OOH, banner ads, etc. used the graphic device of concentric circles, radiating from people’s heads, symbolizing the networks signal. Some executions had headlines such as, ‘Science Non-Fiction.’ – ‘Come Rain or Shine or Concrete Walls’ – ’Nothing Beats Instant.’ and so on.


Hard Core Basketball Campaign

The brief was to show hardcore teenage players, that Reebok understood basketball was more than just a game to them, it was a way of life. They were ‘Ballers’.

‘Jump Shot’ TV

The TV spot, ‘Jump shot’, is narrated by NBA Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson, the epitome of the tough kid who overcame troubles early in life (see the Reebok ‘I am what I am’ campaign). His voice lends credibility and authenticity to the lesson imparted – Hard work pays off.

Bball Print - I
‘Jumpshot’ Print

Bball Print- II
‘The more you play’ Print

Bball Print - III
‘Heaven or Hell’ Print

The campaign won many awards. The print ads, shot by photographer John Huet, won him the ‘Professional Advertising Photographer of the Year’ at the prestigious Lucie awards.


Brahma Beer Campaign

‘Dominos’ TV

Rooted in the authenticity of the real Brazilian people, instead of the oft-portrayed ‘Beautiful People’ cliché. The theme ‘Improvise’ comes from the Brazilian concept of Ginga, whose origins lie in the cultural fusion found in Brazil, it could be likened to, going with the flow, a rhythm of life. We shot on location in Rio and did street casting as a method of keeping it real.


‘Shopping Cart’ TV


Bell Tower’ TV


‘Spare Tire’ TV


Penfolds Bins Campaign

Tasked to develop a brand idea that builds an emotional connection between luxury consumers and Penfolds, while mindful of the fact that advertising in this category is often associated with lower quality brands.

The inspiration for the idea is Penfolds ‘Bin Series’, which is expressed in numbers. The numbers are used to unlock the stories and mystique behind the Penfolds brand.

Penfolds Wines_DPS 707 copy


Penfolds_DPS 9


Penfolds Wine_ 'Bins' 407


Penfolds Wine_DPS 389 copy


Wrapshear Campaign

‘Wrapshear’ TV

Reebok’s Wrapshear is an all around athletic shoe that employs an air pump for a custom fit. It became popular with Parkour enthusiasts, so we filmed an athlete putting the shoe through it’s paces in a fantasy world where down is up and up is sideways.


10 Years of Heart Campaign

’10 Years of Heart’ TV

This spot celebrates the 10 year anniversary in the NBA of the toughest man in basketball, Allen Iverson (ESPN). At just 5’10 and 165 pounds, Iverson battled under the boards with seven-foot tall centers weighing over 300 pounds.

I Am what I Am Campaign

‘Ghetto Park’ TV

Part of Reebok’s ‘I Am What I Am’ campaign, Stevie Williams was the first African American to gain fame as a skateboarder. He honed his skills on the rugged concrete of his North Philadelphia neighborhood park and earned his fame at Love Park in downtown Philly.


‘Run Easy’ Campaign

‘Run Easy’ TV

‘Run at the Speed of Chat’. You don’t have to run hard to enjoy the benefits of running. Don’t run any faster than what you can comfortably talk with your running mate. Directed by the legendary genius, Frank Budgen, he filmed the various runners’ conversations and artfully cut them together in a single narrative, like constructing a story with sentences from different books.


Nike European Women’s Fitness Campaign

Each of the two ads, ‘The Swimmer’ and ‘Beautiful Skin’ extol the benefits of working out, being in shape and looking good. No one had talked to European women about fitness in this manner before, that there was a beauty and fashion element to fitness. The ads conveyed a sense of supreme confidence to women.


‘The Swimmer’ Print



‘Beautiful Skin’ Print

World renowned photographer, Nadav Kander, shot both of the photographs. They were awarded a Gold Medal from the prestigious British Association of Photographers, Silver Pencils at the D&AD show and were juried into Communication Art’s Photography Annual. Nadav has sold numerous fine art prints of ‘The Swimmer’.


The Isle of Cruzan Campaign


‘Mermaid’s Trap’ Print



‘Dark and Stormy’ Print

“The Isle of Cruzan is a mysteriously romantic place with a slightly dangerous atmosphere where characters with dubious intentions come to drink exotic concoctions made from the islands’ dark rum. ‘Dark and Stormy’ was a popular choice and was rumored to be a particularly effective aphrodisiac.” Or so we pitched the client, but in the end they decided to promote their fruity flavored white rums. Too bad.


Nike European Basketball Campaign

‘Jordon 23’ TV

The budget was miniscule to produce two TV spots and two posters featuring Michael Jordon and Charles Barkley. We didn’t have the money to shoot or film anything. All we had for the TV was some out takes from a few previous shoots and some NBA video footage.


‘Barkley 34’ TV

Copywriter Bob Moore wrote a song for each, ‘23’ and ‘34’ and we had two rap artists record them, one of which was Neneh Cherry. I made motion collages by using layers of animated graphics to add depth and interest to the films.



‘Jordon 23’ Print


‘Barkley 34’ Print

I did the print as illustration collages using stock photography with the song lyrics becoming the copy. They both were juried into the design section of the D&AD Annual.


Its All About Me Campaign is an online retailer in the U.K. of premium health and beauty products who knows every woman wants to feel special. Over 100 unique and whimsical posters were created by noted U.K. artist Kerry Roper. The majority of the posters appeared in the many London Underground Stations as well as various online applications.


‘It’s All About Me’ Posters in London Underground



Create Amazing Campaign

‘Create Amazing’ TV

This film for HP introduced a new direction for the company, ‘Create Amazing’. It’s purpose was to generate excitement and enthusiasm amongst their 324,000 employees worldwide,.



Kobe Bryant Basketball Campaign


This film is the story of future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant’s first season in the NBA at age 17. Though he won ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors, it was a difficult year, as everyone seemed to be against him because of his age. When developing this spot we asked Kobe if his critics had given him fuel to succeed, he said no, it wasn’t like that, he didn’t care what they said, he just believed in himself. He won five NBA championships, one short of his hero, Michael Jordon. We also produced a comic book and posters from high resolution stills of the film. The spot was juried in to the D&AD Annual.


Portland International Film Festival Campaign

The festival was unable to feature the films before hand, so we promoted the aspect of Foreign Films themselves. My buddy and partner at Wieden + Kennedy, Steve Sandoz and I wrote and directed under the moniker, ‘Steve and Warren’s Excellent Ad Venture.’ ‘Foreign Food’ won a Gold Medal at Cannes.

‘Foreign Food’ Theatrical Trailer


‘Keep An Eye Out’  Theatrical Trailer

This strange and bizarre film made the Short List at Cannes. NOTE: Veteran indie auteur Gus Van Sant is the actor who keeps his eye out for the festival.


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