Friday, February 28, 2014

New season TV show billboards filling L.A.'s skies in February 2014...

Living in the U.K. for most of my life I'm still always amazed by the sheer volume of TV shows we never got to see, either because they only lasted a few episodes or one lone season. That's why I love the new television seasons in the U.S., when networks and cable channels pump out a whole glut of new series, remakes and reboots, along with their accompanying billboard campaigns. Here's a selection of fresh ad creatives for some returning favourites, plus billboards for new midseason replacement shows gracing L.A.'s skyline in February 2014.

TV billboards
Bates Motel season 2 billboard
First up is the season two billboard for A&E's Psycho-inspired thriller, Bates Motel, about the twisted relationship between 'Norman' and his mother 'Norma Bates'.
Hannibal season 2 billboard
Another series that debuted last season and was inspired by the movies based on Thomas Harris' fictional creations, like Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, is Hannibal, back for a second killer series. Last season FBI profiler 'Will Graham' was framed for a series of gory murders committed by 'Dr. Hannibal Lecter', so I can't wait to see what happens next and I especially like this season two promo billboard with its updated spin on Hannibal Lecter's iconic mask.
The Americans season 2 billboard
Another show I enjoyed last season was The Americans, following the exploits of married KGB sleeper agents in 80's America. A little bleak at times, it was still a thrilling espionage adventure and this sophomore season billboard certainly puts the 'Red' in the Soviet spy drama.
Vikings season 2 billboard
History channel's first scripted drama Vikings is also back for a second season following the pillaging exploits of 8th century Nordic warrior 'Ragnar Lothbrok'.
Dallas season 3 billboard
The revival of legendary soap Dallas is back for its third season of back-stabbing, scheming and power-grabbing over on TNT, with lots of sexy shenanigans in the oil business now that Larry Hagman's iconic 'J.R. Ewing' is no longer with them on and off-screen.
House of Cards season 2 billboard
Speaking of scheming, NetFlix hit series House of Cards is back for a second season of binge-viewing. I've yet to watch either season of the political drama and am desperately trying to avoid the inevitable spoilers that surface from my friends and on social media.
Giant Real Time Bill Maher season 12 billboard
Speaking of politics and current affairs, Bill Maher is back to tell the truth with this giant billboard for the twelfth season of his HBO talk show of satire and comic observations.
Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon billboard
Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno and returned the late-night talk show to New York City this month to an impressive debut.
Late Night Seth Meyers billboard
However, there's a reason SNL's Seth Meyers is smiling in this billboard, as his ratings for his new Late Night show topped Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show premiere audience.
Voice season 6 billboard
In the world of reality talent competitions, the U.S. version of The Voice is already back for its sixth season, with Usher and Shakira returning as guest judges (although with Cee Lo departing as a founding judge, there's now an empty red chair in the future).
American Idol season 13 billboard
Even though it doesn't seem to have helped, I still applaud American Idol for focusing on their singing contestants in the advertising campaign for the thirteenth season. Maybe it's time to accept defeat, that this show is a tired concept that has run its course, especially when there's rumblings American Idol is making less in advertising revenue than the cost of paying JLO and Ryan Seacrest to appear.
Under the Gunn series launch billboard
One of my favourite guilty pleasures at the moment is Tim Gunn's new Project Runway spin-off series, Under the Gunn. He takes what he does best, mentoring, and applies it to a new show about previous Runway contestants who now have to mentor a fresh batch of talented fashion designers.
RuPaul's Drag Race season 6 billboard
Another guilty pleasure returning for a sixth fabulous season, is RuPaul's Drag Race, which mashes up Project Runway outfit making, with America's Next Top Model catwalk and singing competition performances (even if it is lip-syncing). This new season cleverly split the premiere episodes in two, allowing us to get to know the fierce new girls in smaller groups, before they're all throw together to compete for the grand drag prize.

If you're a fan of the audacious reality contest, be sure to check out these previous season billboards for RuPaul's Drag Race.
Wahlburgers series launch billboard
In other reality news, Mark Wahlberg and his family are the latest celebrity clan to get their own fly-on-the-wall series in Wahlburgers, following the expansion of his brother's restaurant business.
Game of Arms series launch billboard
Meanwhile AMC debuts a new unscripted series based on the world of competitive American arm wrestling in Game of Arms.
Preachers Daughters season 2 billboard
And over on Lifetime, Preacher's Daughters is back for a second season of temptation for these angels - let the sex, drink, drugs and partying begin again. No wonder these girls are praying for their souls, although who is at fault here, the children or their parents for prostituting their lives for money and fame.
Cosmos series launch billboard
From the battle between heaven and hell to the exploration of the entire cosmos. This modern space-time odyssey is an updated version of the popular 80's PBS show and is now hosted by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Check it out season 3 billboard
From science to comedy and John C. Reilly stars as 'Dr. Steve Brule', a naive and socially awkward guy exploring different life experiences, or 'checking it out', to comic effect on Adult Swim for a third season.
Workaholics season 4 billboard
Those slacker telemarketers who are anything but Workaholics return for a fourth season on Comedy Central and had this special extension billboard along the Sunset Strip to grab attention for the new episodes.
About a Boy TV remake billboard
This season NBC was once again plundering their cinematic vaults by adapting Nick Hornby's About a Boy for the small screen, although whether this TV remake of the 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult has enough substance to last an entire season, or seasons, is yet to be seen.
Growing Up Fisher series launch billboard
NBC's other sitcom this season is Growing Up Fisher, where J. K. Simmons stars as a blind lawyer in a family going through a divorce (which is apparently ripe with comic situations).
Red Road giant billboard
For more serious fare this season Sundance TV has The Red Road, which stars Game of Thrones 'Khal Drogo' Jason Momoa in a lead role, where a small town sheriff is torn between two communities, the place he grew up and the neighbouring Native American mountain tribe. This giant-sized billboard on the side of the Andaz Hotel would have stood out much more this month if The Americans striking red season two billboards hadn't appeared everywhere before it did.
Crisis series launch billboard
By now you can can probably tell that NBC is a big out-of-home advertiser spender, with a whole raft  of billboards for its new series and returning hit shows. One of their gambles this season is Crisis, which sees a bus full of kids on a school trip kidnapped and held hostage, the twist being these children's parents are some of the most powerful people in Washington D.C. politics and business.
Believe series launch billboard
Another show debuting this season is Believe which is from Gravity's director Alfonso CuarĂ³n and produced by J. J. Abrams, who's no stranger to making hit TV shows (although we'll forgive him for Undercovers). Let's hope this tale about a 'gifted' young girl pursued by evil forces can bring something magic back to NBC.
Dodgers Network launch billboard
Closer to home and this month the L.A. Dodgers got their own TV network so fans can enjoy even more of their favourite baseball team. If you're a sports fan, be sure to check out more L.A. Dodgers billboards from past and present.
45th NAACP Image Awards billboard
And finally, whilst the Academy Awards may be just around the corner, the 45th NAACP Image Awards also took place this month, honouring the outstanding contribution of people of colour in television, film, music and literature.

As you can see it's been a busy month for TV in the skies of L.A. during February, and all these shows have also been fighting for attention with all the new movie billboards and fashion and lifestyle billboards around the packed city streets.

Be sure to visit my Daily Billboard blog every day for all the very latest film ad campaigns, plus come back next month for more great billboard round-ups.

Until then I've got some new season TV to watch...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

7th time lucky at the L.A. Marathon 2014...?

Excitement builds as the big day is almost here and I get ready to run my 7th marathon and 4th L.A. Marathon on Sunday March 9, 2014.

L.A. Marathon 2014 bus advertisement
We are Marathoners L.A. Marathon 2014 bus advert
On Saturday we have our last group training run of 8 miles and then it's the final countdown to race day. Just as the rain has finally come to L.A., so too have the advertisements started popping up around the city for the annual event which sees over 20,000 runners take to the streets for the 26.2 mile route from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica.

1st Marathon - L.A. Marathon 2011
L.A. Marathon 2011 Finish Line
I still can't believe that after a few half marathon races I started training for my first marathon back in October 2010, it seems like a lifetime ago. And I certainly started my marathon career in style, running in what my fellow participants refer to as the 'Monsoon Marathon', when the heavens opened in L.A. and didn't stop for 26.2 miles.

It may not have been pleasant, but it was definitely a memorable experience and made even more so by just beating the four hour mark, with a time of 3:58:13

2nd Marathon - L.A. Marathon 2012
L.A. Marathon 2012 Finish Line
Obviously by that stage the marathon bug had well and truly bitten me and so once again, along with a few more half marathons, I signed up the for my second L.A. Marathon with T2: Team to End AIDS, with the goal to beat my time and raise more funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles.

In far more favourable weather I crossed the Finish Line in March 2012 shaving off ten minutes with a finishing time of 3:47:50. 

3rd Marathon - San Francisco Marathon 2012
Not contented to run just one marathon that year, I also signed up for two more races, the next in San Francisco at the end of July 2012. Running over the Golden Gate Bridge was certainly on my bucket list, so now that I've done that once, I'm not sure I feel the need to run that hilly marathon again. Still, I finished in under four hours again in 3:57:09.

4th Marathon - Honolulu Marathon 2012
Honolulu Marathon 2012 Finish Line
Next up at the end of the year was the Honolulu Marathon at the start of December 2012, which was quite possibly my most painful marathon with knee problems, jet lag and the humidity making it a race from hell, despite the beautiful Hawaiian setting. I was so relieved to cross that Finish Line in 3:55:06, cursing that infamous Diamond Head hill all the way.

5th Marathon - L.A. Marathon 2013
L.A. Marathon 2013 Finish Line
Glutton for punishment that I am, after that race it was straight back into training for my third L.A. Marathon. I was obviously on fire last year as I finished in a record time of 3:42:18, which I'm still slightly amazed by even now. And therein lies part of the problem, after several months of injury in late 2013 I'm going to have to run my heart out to come close to that time this year I feel.

6th Marathon - Vancouver Marathon 2013
Vancouver Marathon 2013 Finish Line
My last race of 2013 was the wonderful Vancouver Marathon in May, which was as beautiful course in a favourite city of mine. The last six miles around Stanley Park is probably the most scenic way to finish a marathon, and the best way to stay motivated in my experience. I completed that race in 3:50:26 and plan to return in May 2014 to try and better that time.

7th Marathon - L.A. Marathon 2014 (TBC)

So what will the L.A. Marathon 2014 hold I wonder? Will it truly be lucky no.7 for me? 

I always strive to improve my time each race that I repeat (you can't compare your race times when you run different courses in my opinion). I know the only pressure I'm feeling is coming from myself and it's not like I'm trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but after months of injury and physiotherapy followed by months of getting back in the metaphorical running saddle, I really hope I can better, or at least match, my previous L.A. performance.

Legs don't fail me now...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cool Oscar and movie billboards gracing the skies of L.A. in February 2014...

You can tell it's almost time for the 86th annual Academy Awards as the heavens are about to open here in L.A. for some much needed rain, and you can bet Hollywood stylists and starlets alike are hoping not to get drenched on the red carpet this year. The Oscars are the grand finale of a stretched out awards season and there've been more than a few movies campaigning around the skies of L.A. this month to secure those all-important votes. Here's a selection of Oscar consideration ad creatives, plus more new movie billboards from around the city streets in February 2014.

Movie billboards
Ellen Degeneres 86th Oscars billboard
This year lesbian comedienne and daytime talk-show host (and voice of 'Dory' in Finding Nemo), Ellen Degeneres, returns to preside over the prestigious award ceremony (the last time was in 2007), which can often be hit or miss depending on who's hosting. Fingers crossed she does a good job as this year promises to be an interesting night, as the Oscar winners are by no means sure things this year.
Disney Frozen Oscar nomination special billboard
Disney is obviously hoping that its phenomenally successful animated musical Frozen will win a few Oscars, both for Best Animated Feature Film and for Best Original Song. I loved the movie and can't stop playing the soundtrack, so I cheered with delight when I saw this 'Elsa' special extension billboard for the movie garnering Oscar voting consideration in the skies of L.A. this month.
American Hustle Oscar nomination billboard
Another movie in the running for multiple Academy Awards is David O. Russell's American Hustle. I loved the 70's setting and costumes in this film, but did think it was filled with caricatures and there was lots of overacting involved compared to other films nominated for Best Picture and acting awards.

I did love this striking Amy Adams ad creative though, and if you like this, be sure to check out these other Oscar consideration billboards for American Hustle I spied this month too.
Because its awesome Wolf of Wall Street Oscar billboard
Speaking of Oscar campaigning, the creatures that The Wolf of Wall Street employed took a whole other approach this year, which made for a refreshing change. If you also thought Martin Scorsese's latest film was awesome, be sure to check out these Oscar billboards for The Wolf of Wall Street, and more besides.
Bad Grandpa Oscar nomination billboard
Maybe a surprising Academy Award nominee amongst these other dramatic offerings, is Jackass presents Bad Grandpa, which has been recognised for its makeup in transforming Johnny Knoxville into a cantankerous 80-year-old.
Philomena Oscar nomination billboard
Speaking of older characters and actors, I'm delighted that Philomena received several nominations this year (and a billboard along the Sunset Strip to celebrate), including Dame Judi Dench for Best Actress for her performance as the Irish Catholic woman forced to give up her baby when she became pregnant as a teenager, and her hunt to find her grown-up son in America years later with the help of a British writer.
Nebraska Oscar nomination billboard
Another film receiving an Oscar nomination billboard was Nebraska. Both of the films obviously had lower marketing budgets which meant no pre-release out-of-home advertising support, but following their award success they've at least received these billboards to help promote them amongst Academy voters and encourage some pre-Oscar viewing at the cinema.

If you like these ads, be sure to also check out more movie awards billboards from last month's round-up.
RoboCop 2014 remake billboard
From highbrow dramas to more blockbuster fare, and this month has seen its share of big screen remakes. RoboCop got a darker, sleeker makeover for 2014 which took the character and his origins win a slightly different direction.

The billboard campaign was great as you can see, but ultimately I found the film totally unnecessary, and had some truly dodgy CGI which totally spoiled the believability factor of our central hero character.
Vampire Academy movie billboard
Meanwhile Hollywood studios are still desperately searching for the next young-adult movie phenomenon to follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games. Percy Jackson, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and The Host have all proven less than stellar at the box office, and now Vampire Academy is the latest cinematic flop (and may suggest it's time to give those supernatural bloodsuckers a well deserved rest too).

Maybe studios should actually concentrate on making great films and stop trying to make franchises happen. Next up though is Divergent, so let's see how that fares.
Pompeii movie billboard
Pompeii may have had some great optical illusion ad creatives with this erupting Mount Vesuvius mock-destroying the billboard hoarding, but the historical fantasy was easily buried at the box office, not by volcanic rocks and ash, but by lego bricks, and the unstoppable Lego Movie.
300 Rise of an Empire movie billboard
Another movie set around Roman times is the sequel to 2006's bloody 300, which was a stylistic triumph and also championed the use of spray-painted six-packs on its scantily-clad Spartan warriors. Let's hope 300: Rise of an Empire is not a bloody mess.
Non-Stop movie billboard
More forthcoming action movies filling the skies of L.A. with billboards this month included Liam Neeson's new in-flight thriller, Non-Stop. Obviously no one told his air marshal character about what happens when you fire a gun inside an airplane's cabin.
Need For Speed movie billboard
Aaron Paul follows up the end of the hit TV series Breaking Bad with the big screen adaptation of the video game franchise, Need For Speed, obviously hoping for a new Fast & Furious type film franchise.
Mr Peabody Sherman special movie billboard
On a lighter note the latest computer-animated movie on the way is Mr. Peabody & Sherman based on the world's smartest bow tie-wearing dog and his time-traveling adventures with his adopted human friend.
Winters Tale movie billboard
February was also a month for all those couples in love, with several movies trying to cash in on Valentine's Day. I think this romantic Winter's Tale got lost amidst America's polar vortex this month though.
About Last Night 2014 movie remake billboard
Whilst the all-black cast remake of the 80's About Last Night had strong date-night appeal, but ultimately lost out to funnier animated antics in The Lego Movie at the box office.
Tyler Perry Single Moms Club movie billboard
Tyler Perry continues to churn out movie after movie and his latest offering is The Single Moms Club, supported by this celebratory ad creative.
Gabby Douglas Lifetime movie billboard
And finally for movies, at the start of February Lifetime brought us The Gabby Douglas Story, about the African-American gold medal winning gymnast, just in time to get audiences in the mood for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Personally I boycotted the Winter Olympics because of where they were held and Russia's treatment of its LGBT community, which sadly will probably continue and get even worse now that the spotlight is no longer on the country's horrific crimes against its gay citizens, and celebrities and politicians can conveniently forget about their plight again.

Theme Park billboards
Universal Studios Hollywood Despicable Me ride billboard
Universal Studios Hollywood is getting a new Despicable Me-themed ride this Spring, so these Minion billboards started popping up this month to advertise the new attraction.

Music billboards
The Beatles 50 music billboard
In music, this 50th anniversary billboard for The Beatles invasion of the U.S. could be seen along L.A.'s infamous rock 'n' roll destination, the Sunset Strip.
Giant Ingrosso Light nightclub Las Vegas billboard Sunset Strip
And even though I'm not a huge fan of ads for Las Vegas nightclubs, as they tend to be very basic in their design, this super-sized wall wrap for Ingrosso playing at the Light club certainly made a splash along the Sunset Strip, especially now that they've started demolishing the old buildings that used to obscure this giant billboard site, to make way for a new hotel and accommodation development.
Beck Morning Phase album billboard
And finally here's a billboard for Beck's twelfth studio album, Morning Phase, snapped along Melrose Avenue.

As you can see there've been lots of eye-catching billboards this month and there's still the TV billboard round-up yet to come, so be sure to stay tuned to check those out too.

Now I'd better go get my best frock ready for that Oscar red carpet on Sunday...

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