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The Diner Announces New Partnership With Felt Music

Newly inked deal merges powerhouse US and UK production music catalogues giving the North American market exclusive access to Felt by way of The Diner

The Diner announces that London-based Felt Music has signed an exclusive partnership deal that will incorporate Felt into The Diner’s library for licence in North America. With a music library that houses over 700 albums consisting of nearly 11,000 original tracks, Felt is a rich and robust music collection in its own right. The coalition of Felt Music and The Diner powerfully combines two of the industry’s most cutting-edge music catalogues, creating one of the most diverse and potent sonic palates in the industry.

With this new merger, content creators from the advertising, film, TV and video game industries will now have greater access to an expansive and customisable music portfolio that spawns from the combined expertise of these two award-winning music teams.

“Felt Music is thrilled to announce its partnership with The Diner in the US,” said Felt co-founder and music director Natalie Dickens. She continued, “The careful curation and standard of music offered by The Diner team is superb. The music featured on their website aligns perfectly with Felt Music’s repertoire, mission, and values.”

“Like The Diner, Felt’s ethos is to serve not just as a music provider, but as creative partner,” said Diner president, Sydney Ferleger. “Their world-class creative team has committed themselves to innovation while staying acutely dialled into current trends in licensing and content production, and that is reflected in the relevance and success of their catalogue,” Sydney added.

Felt augments The Diner’s library with genres ranging from Indie Pop to Klezmer to Afrobeat just to scratch the surface. Creative director Christian Celaya added, “Lately, we’ve seen an increased demand for quality vocal and lyrical elements in advertising production. Felt’s library is well-known for having head-turning vocal content. This will be a tremendous asset to our clientele moving forward.” Building on the foundations of their sizable back catalogue, Felt’s tenacious production schedule will deliver multiple new albums to The Diner’s clientele monthly.

In addition to the music itself, The Diner and Felt’s music supervision teams will join forces and collaborate on client requests. “The Felt family comprises a diverse group of forward-thinking, multi-generational music enthusiasts and industry experts. Working in tandem with The Diner’s talented music supervision team, we are poised to provide clients with curated playlists that will exceed expectations in terms of quality and accuracy,” remarked creative licensing director, Charlie Cervone.

With the recent acquisition of the Felt Catalog, The Diner rises to over 60,000 thoughtfully curated songs, positioning itself as one of the leaders in the production music industry.  From SoHo to Soho, The Diner and Felt creative teams now work together to provide top-shelf, customisable music solutions to clients across North America.

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CREATIVITY SQUARED: Christian Celaya on Experimenting with All Possibilities


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Creativity Squared: Christian Celaya on Experimenting with All Possibilities

The Diner Music creative director on constantly thinking of new ideas, thriving on collaboration and how the music industry is evolving at such a high rate

Christian has been in the music industry for 23 years; 10 as a signed and touring artist and 13 as a composer, producer, and music supervisor for the advertising, film, and TV industry. Of note, Celaya has composed, produced and licensed music for noteworthy brands such as Nike, Adidas, Chevy, Netflix and Hershey’s, TV shows including Shameless, Riverdale, Lucifer, Elementary and Silicon Valley, as well as several trailers. He has also produced and collaborated with artists such as Omar Rodriguez Lopez (At The Drive In, Mars Volta), Deantoni Parks (John Cale, Flying Lotus), and Le Butcherettes, to name a few.

Christian now serves as creative director for well-known US production music company, The Diner, where his leadership and vision provide clients access to a laundry list of well-established and sought-after creative talent, including William Ryan Key of Yellowcard, Benny Trokan of Spoon, and Travis Stever of Coheed & Cambria, to name a few. These artists, along with hundreds of others, help to create authentic music in all genres available to pre-cleared licensing for film, TV, video games and more.

Read our Q&A below to learn more about Sydney and her wealth of production experience!


I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer in life and in art. Constantly thinking of new ideas and once I land on something, it’s difficult to shake my focus. And while that can be an individual process, I thrive on collaboration; open to experimenting with all possibilities and welcoming of any counterpoints. I’ve learned over the years that it’s helpful for someone in those partnerships to be the organised one and that’s usually me, given my personality. I love making lists, following a routine, and keeping track of the process and progress.

When it comes to creative stimuli, my taste and interests are diverse, which I feel has positively contributed to the work I do. Taking a “mixtape” approach and extracting elements from different genres, styles and techniques to build something new. This type of creativity is something I’ve learned over the past couple of decades as an artist and creative. While I associate my talent with starting out as an innate ability (the music gene runs deep in my family dating back over a century), I truly believe that can only get you so far and that education and/or training are just as important to developing innate talent.


Creativity is a tricky and interesting thing. It is something that is completely subjective and is entirely evaluated on an individual scale. I consider a few different factors – the innovativeness, the authenticity, and the feeling it inspires.

I feel the criteria for judging art has shifted with the implementation of AI into music and design now that some artists are relying solely on that approach to create. Without investing the work to mould a creation into something that is unrecognisable from the source media, sheer laziness has begun to sprout up in the industry. It is something to be cognizant of.

When I self-reflect on the work I’ve done over the years, I judge myself on the factors outlined above. One noteworthy project that comes to mind due to the levels of authenticity and collaborative spirit is a longform spot the Diner (and our sister companies, The Music Playground and The Station) executed for the soda brand Starry. This ran during the 2023 NBA Finals and covered the history of the three-point shot. The concept covered different eras of basketball and therefore we needed to find the appropriate music for each time period depicted: the ‘70s, early ‘00s and modern day. Part of The Diner’s new creative initiative is to work with recognisable artists who are experts in their respective genres. This particular job included looping in powerhouse producer Yxsh (Aftermath, Cerebral Music) for the contemporary hip hop direction and Benny Trokan of the band Spoon for the ‘70s retro soul sound, among others. Not only was this opportunity a highlight given the clients and brands involved, but it was the perfect showcase of our initiatives in action.

As far as assessing the current level of output within this industry, I feel the field is over-saturated. Agencies, and edit and post houses have a plethora of options when it comes to sourcing music. The exciting part of that is it pushes us to innovate and elevate our production and creative process to standout in that crowd. The frustrating part of it is running into music companies setting a precedent for licensing below market rates, which devalues the music. This pushes us to emphasise authenticity and quality because in the end, you get what you pay for, and our clients, thankfully, trust us to provide that.


When it comes to kicking off a campaign or creative project, it’s key to have a focused creative brief. Musical references and descriptive keywords really help us “see” the vision and allow us to deliver at a high level without any ambiguity.

In terms of staying tuned in, I’m always listening to radio and streaming charts as well as paying attention to what music is being used in ads, TV and trailers. The music industry is evolving at such a high rate that a specific sound may be fresh at the start of the year and dated by the end of it. It helps me to get a sense of what new music trends are on the horizon so that our team can get ahead of it, production-wise.

One of the things I enjoy about where I am currently is providing guidance to artists and composers who are new to the sync side of the industry. Because I’ve been in this industry for 14 years and have had so many great mentors, it’s important to me to support and encourage the knowledge transfer process. Writing songs for albums uses a different formula to write for ads and TV shows. I enjoy having conversations about these differences to support the next generation of sync artists. To this point, I’m a big proponent of sharing what I’ve learned with students and have lectured at various music schools, including BIMM Institute in Berlin.


As far as my background, I grew up just outside NYC in Nyack, NY. It’s very similar to Woodstock in terms of the concentration of artists and creative spirit, with the convenience of being so close to the city. Growing up playing in bands in the ‘90s, this town had several music venues where kids could cut their teeth on stage. Of course, the goal was to be good enough to “play in the city.” Because NYC is so close, it was easy to commute to see concerts, art openings, observe fashion trends, and more.

When it comes to honing my craft, higher education was the first step. I graduated from SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Music, which truly opened my mind to the history of music, versatility as a writer and performer, and forging strong creative partnerships. Both in class and outside of it, we were constantly analysing songwriting and production. Those skills were then used as an artist signed to both major and indie labels and touring the world for the next decade.

Upon transitioning into the advertising, film, and TV industries, I’ve operated in a variety of work environments. The most memorable ones fostered a culture of positivity and encouragement. I think that approach brings unity and empowerment to a team. People are more inclined to invest themselves in that environment. In those instances, the culture started at the top with upper management demonstrating their openness to new ideas and solutions. Even if they didn’t agree with an approach or idea, they were all open to that creative exchange. I think those qualities are key to getting the best out of a team.

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The Diner Announces Brand Refresh and New Collaborator Series

Production music catalogue and industry veteran, The Diner, unveils a new sonic and aesthetic identity

NYC-based production music house, The Diner, announces a rebranding campaign that incorporates powerful new creative partnerships, new graphics, and a new website. As an established music library that has been the choice of the industry’s top creators and brands for over 16 years, The Diner’s rebrand reflects its commitment to innovate and inspire. Spearheading this reinvention is creative director, Christian Celaya.

“Our biggest initiative in the plethora of recent upgrades has been our new Collaborator Series,” says Christian. Christian was a touring musician and is a seasoned production music professional. “I’ve been tapping into my network of household name artists that I’ve toured with and performed alongside over the years. We are guiding well-known writers that are interested in spreading their wings, outside of their respective projects, into the music licensing and production music space.” “We are now working with artists who have earned their reputation by honing and perfecting their sound and craft. Leveraging each composer’s unique creative strengths and expertise into music that is curated with the content creator in mind has added an industry-redefining authenticity to The Diner’s catalogue,” adds creative licensing director Charlie Cervone.

Producing new music for The Diner’s ever-expanding library are names such as Benny Trokan from the world-renowned rock band Spoon, Travis Stever from Coheed and Cambria, and William Ryan Key from the newly reunited emo act Yellowcard – all of whom are currently selling out theatres and arenas across the nation.

“The beauty of our new collaborations is that our clients now have access to A-list talent without the astronomical licensing fees associated with popular music,” Charlie says. Christian adds, “The best part is that all of our collaborators’ music is customizable. We have splits and stems on hand and we are ready and able to sculpt these songs however our clients require.”

Refreshing the look and feel of the brand has been another key priority in the process of reinvention for The Diner. Moving towards a more modern aesthetic of sleek minimalism, their new colour palette features stainless steel set to black and white, allowing the music to shine through above all else. An updated logo in stainless steel rounds out the new look, staying true to The Diner’s name.

In addition, The Diner has a completely redesigned website, featuring more about the company by highlighting its employees, collaborators, and recent work. There’s also seamless access to its most recent albums and playlists without any extra clutter. Currently in development is a revamp on the back-end music search engine, allowing users a more intuitive way of navigating creative ideas without getting lost in a sea of subjective keywords.

“The Diner is better than ever,” says Christian. “We’re thrilled to be building on our longstanding reputation for production music excellence with our new ventures in creative partnerships, our updated look, and our redesigned user interface. Ultimately, it’s all about getting uniquely outstanding music solutions to our clients in a way that feels intuitive, easy, and fun.”

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Our Q&A with with Telly Judge Sydney Ferleger


For this month’s Judge Spotlight we sat down with Sydney Ferleger, President and Executive Producer at The Music Playground, The Diner, and The Station. Sydney is a strong stakeholder in the advertising and entertainment industries. Starting her career at animatic shop, Animated Storyboards, she learned about commercial testing, previz, animation, marketing, production and sales. She quickly became the Sales and Marketing Manager there. In 2017 Sydney switched gears and took on a role at post house Crew Cuts, gaining knowledge on everything post-production has to offer.

Shortly after, Sydney was offered a role to help run three companies at the same time as Executive Producer of The StationThe Music Playground and The Diner. At The Station, she produces projects from creative ideation all the way through post. At The Music Playground and The Diner she has found a place to explore her love for music at a more extensive length, expanding her skillset further. Being able to combine her knowledge and experience of the full scope of a production with her enthusiasm for music has made her one of the most well-rounded players in the game.

At the end of 2020, Sydney became the President of The Music playground and The Diner, while still maintaining her role as Executive Producer for The Station. In 2021 The Music Playground took home 3 Clio awards, 2 Telly awards, and the shots award of The Americas: Ad of The Year “Use of Music.”

Read our Q&A below to learn more about Sydney and her wealth of production experience!

How do you define creative success? 

First and foremost, I believe that creative success comes from within. How do you feel after you’ve pitched a new creative idea to a client or a colleague (or even a friend, etc.)? Did you give it everything you’ve got? Are you proud of the work? Feeling accomplished? and all that jazz. If you’ve checked all those boxes then I think you’re off to a great start for creative success. I also think the quality of the content matters. There are so many pieces to a creative puzzle when it comes to content. How it’s written, shot, edited, colored, mixed, etc. all of this matters! But in order to do this you have to have the right team and the right tools to do so! Find people you love to work with and people that you trust with your creative ideas. They will help to make sure your creative is successful because they believe in you and what you are doing. Those nourished relationships go a long way and only make your creative and production teams that much stronger. They will amplify & strengthen everything!  This takes time, of course, to build those types of relationships. You learn as you go what works for you and what doesn’t. But, a visually stunning video paired with the perfect audio can be extremely effective and make for a fantastic campaign. I work in commercial advertising and when I know that a commercial I worked on had direct and positive effects on the brand sales, I am thrilled! Every. Damn. Time. It feels good.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

I think our industry is more connected and fluid now than it ever was before. I know that sounds crazy because we are slowly creeping towards the endemic and most people are still working from home, but it’s astonishing to me that we just now discovered the power of Zoom! Yes, nothing, literally nothing, beats an in-person meeting, and I strongly believe that, however, I am getting face time with clients in different states, cities, and even countries now more than I ever was before! And it really does make the in-person experience that much more special, when you do finally get that moment to be together. The bad part of it, in my opinion, is that our perception and appreciation for time has been warped. Expectations seem to assume that you don’t do anything else but work for 16 hours a day, which is just unfair when it comes down to it. However, there’s freedom in the way that we work now. Our understanding of work-life balance, time, appreciation for the in-person moments, etc. is all changing. And hopefully for the better.

What project are you most proud to have worked on in the past year?

I think on a very personal level, I am most proud of a commercial I worked on for DoorDash in the fourth quarter of 2021. The reason this project sticks out to me is because I found a way to really bear fruit for all three of the companies I help run.  Combining all of my resources for the greater good. Not to mention I was able to work with a very close colleague and I can’t stress enough how important it is to find people that you really know, trust, and want to work with! It makes all the difference.

What are you working on currently?

Bunch of projects in the mix currently! Everything from graphics for a Mercedes F1 101 Campaign, to the original music score and sound design for an Amazon Prime Video project. Here‘s an article about it! I have also involved in post production of the feature film “He Went That Way“, featuring co-stars Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto.

What advice would you give someone beginning a career in post-production or music supervision? 

I’m going to separate my advice because I think these are two very different spaces.

For those going into post production, I would advise that there are no dumb questions. In fact, I think your colleagues and clients would appreciate you doing your due diligence in asking any question you may have to make sure you are prepared and doing what needs to be done to get to the next step in the process properly. Post production is complicated! Especially when you get into the world of visual effects and compositing, etc. It can be a very technical practice and there is a lot to learn.  Take your time, listen to your senior advisors, and trust the process. Trust your internal teams and appreciate the teamwork and communication from within! The second best thing I can say is to manage expectations, specifically client expectations. Exporting graphics can take 4 hours sometimes, you just have to be realistic about when you can post the next batch of revisions for your clients, etc. The more you communicate, the better!!

For those going into music supervision, I would advise to not give up!! Music supervision is an exceedingly tough field and role to break into. You really have to climb the ladder and take faith in the opportunities you have to break into the biz. You gotta start somewhere! Roll with the punches, take a music business role that will help guide you to where you want to be, etc. And network like crazy. This industry is all about “who you know.” So get to know people! Go to events, try to get meetings with other music supervisors or creatives at sync music shops, etc. Learn who the players are and build your rolodex. Open those doors for yourself. All of us started at the front desk, I promise.

What is a creative challenge you faced recently and how did you overcome it? 

I’m not sure if this fits the question, but creatively having to make a crappy production budget work while still maintaining the highest of quality to meet client expectations seems to be a recurring theme in this biz, haha. Who’s with me!? (Pretty sure that all producers will raise their hands here). So yes, on a recent shoot, we had less money than we needed (realistically) and we still kicked out some INCREDIBLE content, if I do say so myself. It’s a fun, and sometimes very stressful, puzzle to figure out how to creatively build production sets with limited dollars. It’s very rewarding when you get the job done, are proud of the outcome, and handle the budget well.

What are some of your creative and/or business goals for the upcoming year? How do you plan on achieving them?

This year we are seeing production come alive again like it was in the before times, meaning before COVID. It’s so wonderful to chat with colleagues who are busy and to see all of my friends and clients working full time again. The entertainment world was hit so hard throughout all of this so it really does warm my heart to see people thriving again. My goal this year is to touch all of it! I want to reconnect with old colleagues and introduce myself to new people. I want to introduce our newest team members to our network and really ramp up our business. There’s so much opportunity out there.

There are a couple of key goals I have: take as many meetings as possible to get our name out and to continually refresh the sonic palette of our music companies. We’re constantly writing new music and signing new artists. We stay on top of market trends. We pride ourselves on creating or finding what is new, trending, or just the perfect soundtrack for any media project need. Partnering with high caliber talent from the inside out. For example, we recently promoted a new Creative Director at The Diner, Christian Celaya, and he is killing the game. Under his lead we have well-established and sought-after creative talent collaborators writing for The Diner such as Cru the Dynamic, William Ryan Key of Yellowcard, and Benny Trokan of Spoon. Furthermore we are creating strong partnerships both for The Diner and The Music Playground. The Diner is working on a collaboration with a company called Muxic, the Music Tourism Office for the government of Mexico. This will open us up to the Latinx music community in ways that we have not been exposed to before or been able to expose our clients to. At The Music Playground we are signing deals with major labels all over the world to represent their catalogs for sync and we started our own label last year, Sessions, where we collaborate on songwriting, production and sculpting amazing tracks with artists on our roster for release.

As a Telly Judge, what do you look for in a piece of work that makes it stand out as a winner? 

I look for quality. The quality of the writing/creative, production quality and effective content messaging; was the message clear, was it well shot, edited and finished. Did it make me feel something? Did it look and sound good?

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? 

I help run three different companies. I am the Executive Producer for The Station, which is an all-in content studio that can handle everything from creative ideation to finishing. I am the President for The Music Playground and The Diner. At The Music Playground we handle original music creation, band and artist licensing, and music supervision. The Diner is a customizable production music library. At the music companies we can also handle audio-post. Collectively, we are an all encompassing solution for any music and/or audio need for your media. I want people to know how deeply embedded I am in the production process and community! I feel honored that I was selected to be a judge this year and I feel very strongly that my capabilities and successes in this field helped me to be a qualified and seasoned judge! Thank you to the Telly team for this opportunity!

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Get your dog paws ready. The New York Lottery is launching the new $1,000,000 Lucky Dog Scratch-Off Series. McCann New York helped develop and create both the product and the campaign, which asks the question, how would your dog spend a million dollars?

The tickets themselves are elegantly designed with bright colours and twelve different dogs begging to be scratched. The campaign launches on National Pet Day (April 11th) with a spot called, ‘Road Dogs.’ Directed by JJ Adler of Ruckus, the piece features a pack of dogs hitting the road in winning style. It leans into the joy that every dog feels when they stick their head out of a car window. But in this case, the car is a limousine. Delightfully shot, it’s full of wind-swept hair, flopping tongues, and a little bit of drool.

Local dog influencer @HudsonBeGood will be playing along, encouraging New Yorkers to share pictures of their dogs on Facebook and Instagram for the New York Lottery’s Daily Doggo Photo Challenge where players can participate from April 11th through April 17th.

The campaign continues on May 18th, with the release of Doggy Tracks. We’ll be releasing an original song created using the sounds that dogs love. It features sounds like wind chimes, squeaky toys, bird chirps, and more, remixed for dogs and hoomans alike. Doggy Tracks will drop as a music video directed by Juan Zuleta. Dog influencer @marleyinnyc will also be spreading the word and encouraging New Yorkers to submit reaction videos of their dogs listening to the track.

Follow the campaign using #NYLuckyDog and It will be carried across TV, radio, OOH, print, social, and other digital executions April 7 through June 5.

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Award-winning production music library welcomes new CD to the team


The Diner has announced that Christian Celaya will be stepping up as its new creative director. Celaya has been working with The Diner since 2008. First, as composer for over a decade where he licensed hundreds of tracks for sync over the years. After that, in the spring of 2021, he moved into a licensing coordinator and business affairs role before finally landing his new official title as creative director. “We knew pretty quickly how special Christian was and what he could bring to the table. It was a no brainer promoting him to be our creative director for The Diner. He has opened new doors for us almost immediately and we cannot be more elated to watch him and our business thrive,” says president of The Music Playground and The Diner, Sydney Ferleger.

“I am incredibly excited to assume this new role as The Diner’s creative director and lead the way to refreshing The Diner’s sonic palette. Our amazing team at The Diner is focused on taking decisive actions to transform the business and to continue to innovate and expand our business models,” states Celaya. Christian has been in the music industry for 23 years; 10 as a signed and touring artist and 13 as a composer, producer, and music supervisor for the advertising, film, and TV industry. “Christian has approached this role in a way we have not seen before. Already he’s enlisted a number of exclusive, top tier artists to write on our new albums,” exclaims founder Drew Stein. Christian’s leadership provides The Diner’s clients access to a laundry list of well-established and sought-after creative talent including Cru the Dynamic, William Ryan Key of Yellowcard, and Benny Trokan of Spoon. “There are many things in store for our clients, including noteworthy artist collaborations, a strategic and relevant expansion of the catalog, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the production process of making new albums,”  states Celaya. “Our goal is to create multiple new albums a month for The Diner. We’ve been having high-level creative conversations with our clients and colleagues alike and basing our latest albums on addressing current industry needs,” adds Celaya.

Of note, Celaya has composed, produced and licensed music for noteworthy brands such as Nike, Adidas, Chevy, Netflix and Hershey’s, TV shows including Shameless, Riverdale, Lucifer, Elementary and Silicon Valley, as well as several trailers. He has also produced and collaborated with artists such as Omar Rodriguez Lopez (At The Drive In, Mars Volta), Deantoni Parks (John Cale, Flying Lotus), and Le Butcherettes, to name a few. “We will showcase the extent we go to when producing authentic music that enhances the listening experience, whether it’s synced to motion or bumping in your earbuds,” states Christian. “I cannot be more thrilled to be leading creative for The Diner and to take the company to new heights.”

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New York (CNN Business)-The Super Bowl already has a winner: E-Trade.

The online broker, now owned by Morgan Stanley, is bringing back its famous talking baby for the February 13 big game.

A source close to the company confirmed that E-Trade will run a commercial during Super Bowl LVI on NBC and its streaming service Peacock that will feature the voice of comedian Pete Holmes as the chatty E-Trade baby.

NBC has said that virtually all the ads have sold out, with some 30-second spots costing a record $6.5 million. E-Trade would not confirm that the baby is making a return…or how much its ad will cost.

But the company posted a video for a commercial on YouTube, titled “The Search is On” that features two executives talking on what viewers assume is a speaker phone to a person that they are urging to come back.

The ad ends with the camera zooming in on a baby monitor, which briefly flickers, prompting one of the adults to ask if it’s past his bedtime.

The baby first appeared in an ad for the company during the Super Bowl in 2008. The cute baby, sitting in a high chair, touted how easy it is to invest online. (Holmes made his first appearance in an ad in 2010.)

“Click. I just bought a stock. You just saw me buy a stock. No big deal. I mean, you know. if I can do it. You can do it,” the baby says before spitting up milk in the original ad. (Some would argue that throwing up after buying a stock was an apt metaphor for 2008. The market plunged later that year.)

The baby starred in more ads for E-Trade, including some commercials with multiple baby friends buying stocks, until the spots were retired in 2014.

So why is Morgan Stanley (MS), which bought E-Trade for $13 billion in 2020, resurrecting the baby now? Will he be touting the virtues of cryptocurrencies and meme stocks?

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management chief marketing officer Andrea Zaretsky was coy. In a statement to CNN Business, Zaretsky said simply, “We’ve reached out to an old friend to help us” tell the story about the combined E-Trade/Morgan Stanley.

E-Trade ran a Super Bowl ad last year too, after several years away from the big game. The company also had a famous series of ads in the early 2000s (at the height of the dot-com bubble) featuring monkeys. E-Trade joked in those spots that it was wasting money on the ads.

E-Trade and Morgan Stanley said that the new commercial was created by agency MullenLowe. Tor Myhren, the creator of the original baby spots for marketing firm Grey, is now the vice president of marketing communications for Apple (AAPL).

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General Mills Creates Limited Edition Monster Mash Cereal for 50th Anniversary

General Mills is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its monster-themed cereals with the debut of a new “Monster Mash” campaign.

The CPG company is bringing together the iconic characters Boo Berry, Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute to form a supergroup that performs the Halloween classic “Monster Mash.” The cereal characters will be mashed up for the first time in a limited edition cereal box, which drops just in time for Halloween.

“We wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monster Cereals in a big way, so for the first time in over seven years, all five monsters are back in market,” said Mindy Murray, senior marketing manager at General Mills. “Monster Cereal has etched a place in pop culture with a cult fan following that spans generations. That’s why we knew we needed to lean on culture to tell the unique history of the brand through the Monster Mash Cereal, Monster Mash song remake, and Monster Mash documentary featuring Travis Barker. People may be quite surprised to know he’s a longtime friend of the Monster gang!”

To promote the new product, General Mills has kicked off a new campaign, which includes a new behind-the-scenes style music documentary. The characters are inspired by vintage cartoons and old horror movies – the source of inspiration for the original cereal boxes when Monster Cereals debuted in 1971 with the introduction of Count Chocula and Franken Berry.

“First and foremost, we wanted to reach the Monster Cereal super fans that anticipate the cereal arrival every season and have been loyal for decades through throwback packaging on our seasonal Monster Cereals,” Murray said. “The Monster Mash Cereal is a first-of-its-kind, and the packaging reflects the same retro Monster character designs with the classic crew all together as they jam to The Mash.”

“Our Monster Cereals have been a special tradition since the fall of 1971. At the time of their debut, Count-Chocula and Franken Berry were the only chocolate- and strawberry-flavored cereals on the market,” Murray condition. “Just a year later, we introduced Boo Berry, the first blueberry-flavored cereal, as well as fruit-flavored cereals, Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute, shortly thereafter. We’re continuing to offer fans something different with the limited-edition, Monster Mash cereal, featuring all five Monster Cereals in one bowl. Through product, music, video and merch, this anniversary celebration tells an all-encompassing story behind the history of these iconic characters and pop culture icons in the 21st century.”

General Mills has also partnered with toy company Funko POP to produce limited-edition vinyl figures and collectible discs.

“To engage our loyal Monster fans even deeper, we’re also releasing Monster Cereals Funko Pop vinyl figures and brand new Funko Pop Watches for Funkoween, as well as NEFF apparel and CROCS Jibbitz,” says Murray. “These fun extensions enable our loyal fan following to celebrate their favorite Monster characters outside of breakfast.”

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Brand debuts its third animated tale from McCann starring character Sam

Created again with Chick-fil-A’s agency of record McCann, the new film takes place in Sam’s hometown of Evergreen Hills, at the abode of Sam’s friend CeCe. There, the two help to decorate the family tree until a little accident with a precious ornament sends the pair to “The Whoopsery,” a part bakery, part fix-it shop where they discover that mix-ups and mess-ups aren’t things to cry over, they can actually lead to something good.

The two-minute ad, once again directed by Marie Hyon of Psyop, broke online today at the campaign site It will debut on broadcast on NBC on Thanksgiving Day and will continue to run on TV and in cinema through the holidays.

Ashley Callahan, senior director, integrated creative at Chick-fil-A, said that the ad’s story takes inspiration from the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, which involves mending broken pottery by binding its pieces with gold. It “suggests that the value of an object is not in its beauty, but in its imperfections; and these imperfections are something to celebrate, not hide,” Callahan said. “Once we landed on this idea, we were affirmed in the insight and reminded of this important message in a quote by Chick-fil-A founder, S. Truett Cathy, who said: ‘Many of the unexpected opportunities we encounter are small but significant.'”

Like the brand’s first holiday ad, which allowed consumers to send their loved ones snail-mail certificates to redeem for quality time to spend together, this year’s campaign invites customers to send a holiday recipe card with instructions for a Peppermint Milkshake Pie, plus a bonus” a coupon for a free Peppermint Chip Milkshake at the restaurant. Chick-fil-A will send the cards directly to chosen recipients at no cost.

The push also includes a behind-the-scenes video, and in December, the brand will be sharing on its social channels and in its digital magazine The Chicken Wire holiday recipe hacks using Chick-fil-A products, inspired by The Whoopsery’s theme of “turning something unexpected into something wonderful.”

With each holiday push, Callahan said that Chick-fil-A has tried to speak to the current sentiment of consumers. Last year, for example, “we thought it was important to align the message with how people were feeling in the middle of a global pandemic, which is why we centered on sparking hope.”

For the 2021 ad, the company started planning a year in advance, which made for some challenges. “Trying to predict where culture will be and how people might be feeling in the future is always a little risky” Callahan said. The struggles everyone endured during the pandemic helped to shape the story’s less-than-picture-perfect message, she added. “We leaned into a story that could encourage people to be in the moment, embrace what’s messy and unplanned and create something new, different, and perhaps even better than before: real moments happening in real time, enjoyed together,” she said.

As with all the festive films starring Sam, the Chick-fil-A brand takes a back seat to the story, with its logo only appearing at the end. “The decision to keep branding light within the spot is very deliberate,” said Callahan. “At the end of the day, the idea we want people to remember and embrace the most is the key message – whether that be giving the gift of together time, sparking hope, or turning the unexpected or the messy unplanned moments into something wonderful. That’s the most important part to us.”