Go Places With Robert De Niro. Also, It's Never Too Late to Bust Out Your Ribbon Dance

Our weekly roundup of the ad scene in Europe

This week is hefty on fantasy, maybe because the veil is thin, as people get so fond of saying before Halloween. We've got a dad who doubles down on his 15 minutes of fame, a young actor who scores the ultimate bestie in Robert De Niro ... and even a dose of dark, spiralling rumination, with an ad about postnatal depression. Bonus points if you catch the (only partly) gratuitous mention of LSD.

Our European ad spotlight falls on "MobilePay Makes Difficult Easy," by &Co. for Nordic company Vipps MobilePay. Parents in an auditorium muse that they should start collecting money for summer camp … but gosh, how will they? One dad proposes MobilePay, which lets you pool cash. You know that fantasy where you save the day in a mundane manner, but everyone sees you differently afterward—heroic, brimming with hidden talents? The work gives over to this guy's version of that. It involves ribbon dancing, gymnastics, raucous applause and kids nearly weeping from joy. It's Flashdance fatherhood in a red sweater.

"It’s Sweden, Not Switzerland!" A prime minister figure for Visit Sweden appears in this piece by Forsman & Bodenfors, proposing once and for all that the two countries disambiguate their oft-confused identities. The PM suggests doing this by defining which topics they're going to own in public discourse. If you're wondering who got LSD, it was Switzerland. (But they also got yodeling, so pick your poisons carefully.)

"A lot of people don't realize that I started out as a magician." That's something we didn't know about Robert De Niro. We learned it in this long but entertaining ad, where he becomes ultra-besties with Asa Butterfield, who we will forever remember for his awkward slide-projector moment in the last season of Sex Education. But back to the ad: It's quirky. It's romantic. It's, improbably, for Uber One: "A membership for people who eat food and go places." Brought to you by Mother London. 

ChatGPT can help make chamber music now! "The Tapestry of Spaces," an art project for Serviceplan Group's Innovation Day conference on Oct. 10, included an AI-composed performance. No artists were harmed in its making. In fact, the collab included cellist Jakob Haas of the Munich Symphony Orchestra.

It turns out Mercedes-Benz is the most mentioned car brand in music history, clocking no less than 16,415 songs. In partnership with Radio Nova, Universal Music in France and Omnicom's Team x, the automaker created "The Iconic Playlist." On Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to midnight, songs mentioning the brand will be dissected on Radio Nova. The collab will also produce a limited-edition double vinyl, with artists ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Ella Fitzgerald. A showcase evening is planned for Nov. 28. Supporting collateral will appear online, in dealerships (where you can hear the songs in cars!) and on the métro.

We always wondered how Marvis would position itself ad-wise relative to its category, where brands can't stop harping about how much whiter they'll get our teeth. Marvis didn't disappoint. "Marvel Your Routine," an illustrative explosion conceived by LePub, is as random as expected. We'll think about it when gargling out the remains of its Creamy Matcha Tea flavor (a weirdly delightful toothpaste, but maybe not for everyone).

"Reconnecting," created by Calling for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the U.K., and featuring Eastenders' Louisa Claire Lytton, is a bleakly realistic take on postpartum depression. Not much happens; you don't even hear a baby cry. That's the point: "Not much" becomes the abyss you stare into until it starts staring back. The agency says demand for perinatal mental healthcare rose 40 percent between August '22 and March '23. The NHS reports that 30,000 women are on waiting lists.

Hosiery shop Calzedonia worked with LePub to celebrate every step forward a woman might make, even if it looks like a step back (as illustrated by a bride sneaking out a window in Converse kicks). Forward is whichever direction you decide. Cool idea, very much of its time. It'll go live throughout Europe.

Goings-on: 57 percent of U.K. teen girls drop out of sports—twice the rate of boys—because of low body confidence. (53 percent have also been body shamed.) Hence Dove and Nike are combining powers to create a coaching initiative called, on-the-nosishly, Body Confident Sport. (73 percent of girls say their confidence was positively impacted by a coach.) Venus Williams will bring star power and sympathetic capital to the cause, which stems from two years of work alongside the Centre for Appearance Research and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. Agency: Halpern.

Givenchy launched a new perfume, L'Interdit Rouge, in Madrid with a Callao City light show on El Corte Inglés screens. It was performed on four occasions last weekend, during which street lamps were switched off and fog cannons were fired.

Desperados wants to make dance floors throughout Europe safer with an initiative called F.R.E.E., created with We are Pi in Amsterdam. It kicks off with the "Doorperson Diploma." Launched alongside Good Night Out, it's designed to train bouncers and other nightlife security staff in developing "soft skills" for making party people feel safe.

Moving, shaking: Marcel Paris appointed Léoda Esteve as managing director. Digitas in London hired Eric Chia as ECD of design, the first senior hire by chief creative officer Carren O'Keefe, who joined the agency a few months ago.

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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