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January 2009

Captain Morgan trots out Stacy Keibler for its Super Bowl stunt

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

Keibler-final

Many a drunken lout has struck the good-spirited Captain Morgan pose. Now, the spirits brand is urging NFL players in Sunday's Super Bowl to assume the signature pose during the game.
  For every player who mimics the Captain, the spiced rum will donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice. It will donate up $50,000 under this "Pose for Play" program. The brand has tapped former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader (and professional wrestler) Stacy Keibler to serve as the spokeswoman for the contest. In other words, to pose for leggy pictures like this one.
  "As a former professional football cheerleader, I know nothing revs up the crowd more than a big play," says Keibler. "Now, by striking the Captain's pose, players can turn a good play into a great deed."
  Thanks, Stacy.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Lionsgate throwing kitchen sink of marketing at 'New in Town'

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

It's Bridget Jones moves to Fargo. It's Baby Boom without the baby. It's Legally Blonde meets Sweet Home Alabama. Huh?
  Lionsgate, a studio best known for its gory horror franchises like Saw and Hostel, is launching the Renée Zellweger romantic comedy New in Town today and trying, at the same time, to bust into the potentially lucrative chick-flick genre. To that end, the studio's marketing team has been throwing a boatload of movie clichés at the wall to see what sticks. "She's a fish out of water," says one TV trailer about the Miami exec who goes to Minnesota to hack and slash her company's factory personnel (recession humor!). Other previews show the Oscar-winning actress repeatedly falling on her face in the snow and running into doors. Wacky!
  It's an icy wasteland out there—and by that we mean first-quarter movie releases. And it's Super Bowl weekend. In other words, it just might work.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

The Boss apologizes for Wal-Mart deal, AC/DC is not sorry at all

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

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Bruce Springsteen, champion of the working class and all things New Jersey (and the halftime entertainment for Sunday's Super Bowl), has officially apologized for striking an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart to sell his current greatest-hits CD. The Boss tells The New York Times that he dropped the ball by not taking notice of Wal-Mart's labor practices. In one of the retailer's lowlights, it paid out $11 million for using illegal immigrants as janitors.
  AC/DC, meanwhile, is sleeping soundly after striking a similar deal earlier this year. The resilient Aussie rockers' new album went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. After 14 weeks, it's still at 43. I'm sure Bruce will feel terrible if Working on a Dream, which has been met with lukewarm reviews, enjoys similar success.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Brands keep blurring the line between the real and the fictional

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

The world of thirtysomething, where a fictional ad agency created campaigns for faux brands, is starting to look positively quaint. Well, it was the '80s.
  Now, there's nary a movie or TV show about the ad business that isn't plastered with real-life brands, and surrounded by their multi-tentacled marketing campaigns. All that Victoria's Secret face-time in Perfect Stranger, the Halle Berry/Bruce Willis thriller that also name-dropped real-life ad agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners," was no accident.
  The just-launched TNT drama Trust Me, with Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanaugh as Chicago ad execs, will weave Dove hair-care products and Rolling Rock beer through the season. The Emmy darling Mad Men has had prominent integrations, including Heineken, with ad wiz Don Draper figuring out how to push the beer to suburban housewives like his own.
  And the Mark Burnett reality show Jingles is in the works, where contestants will form their own mini ad agencies and come up with slogans, musical or otherwise, for sponsor brands. It's the new paradigm: The entertainment is an ad, and the ads are the entertainment.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Crest Whitestrips is very much into 'He's Just Not That Into You'

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

Procter & Gamble has managed to get its new Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal product into the movie He's Just Not That Into You, which comes out next Friday. The brand extension is the latest from P&G's research labs, and boasts a four-layer whitening system that adheres to teeth, no matter what you do.
  The whitening kit co-stars in a scene where Gigi (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) tries to freshen up before a mini make-out session in her date's bathroom. The film chronicles the romance and breakup sessions of nine friends/lovers in Baltimore. "We always seek ways to make our brands relevant to consumers, and that means inserting them into relatable situations," says P&G rep Laura Brinker. There are also Facebook and radio promotions, in-theater sampling and promotional events at local screenings.
  We might buy ourselves a pack for that sizzling post-movie kiss!

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Maybe that 'Paul Blart' film wasn't such a bad thing for Segway

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

Ready for a sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop? Anyone?
  In fact, there are so many fans of the surprise hit from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions that there's already talk of another installment. Paul Blart, which centers on a husky Segway-riding security guard who ends up foiling a real crime, has made a whopping $64.8 million at the box office in less than two weeks. (That's on a frugal $26 million production budget.)
  If there's a clone, it'll be a rare step for Happy Madison. They're purists over there, and they don't try to make franchises out of movies like The House Bunny, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and The Benchwarmers. The exception: Deuce Bigalow, which had a sequel.
  Paul Blart, starring everyman comedian Kevin James, is expected to cross the $100 million mark, joining other Happy Madison releases like Click, Anger Management and Bedtime Stories and proving that there's real profit to be made in pratfalls.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Nike founder Phil Knight gives moviemaking a try with 'Coraline'

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

Go see Coraline. Just do it!
  That's not the actual tagline of the upcoming animated flick. (It's "Be careful what you wish for." But the film, based on the best-selling book, has a lot less than six degrees of separation from that famous ad slogan. Coraline, directed by The Nightmare Before Christmas stop-motion master Henry Selick, is the first film to be released by Portland, Ore.-based Laika Entertainment, run by Nike co-founder and legendary marketing maven Phil Knight
  Can the guy who made athletic shoes entertaining make it in the cutthroat world of Hollywood? Coraline, coming out Feb. 6, is about a little girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who finds a door to an alternate world where all is not sweetness and light. Knight, 70, a longtime film buff, seems to have an eye for edgier fare than the typical Disney fuzzy-talking-animals stories. Focus Features, the movie's distributor, is showcasing Coraline's visual punch and slightly off-kilter sensibility in its heavy TV campaign. What remains to be seen: if people will just show up.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Nothing about this crisis that a dollop of Pepto-Bismol can't fix

Posted on Fri Jan 30 2009

Pepto-small

Marketers want you to know they really feel your pain on this whole economy thing. While you're obsessing about the Dow, they're obsessing about ways to tap into your idée fixe to sell you more stuff.
  Houlihan's has already tested the waters with its promotion rewarding customers when the Dow rises (or falls). Hollywood has also sought to comfort the public with films featuring an array of banking heavies getting their much-needed comeuppance. Now, Procter & Gamble's Pepto-Bismol is sending out a similar message with a newspaper ad showing the Dow covered with oozing pink Pepto. See the full ad here.
  Who are we to argue? Come to think of it, pouring Pepto-Bismol all over your morning paper is as reasonable a way to deal with this crisis as any.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Ask your fancy liquor bottle which designer it's wearing tonight

Posted on Thu Jan 29 2009

Corzo-baron

People used to call good liquor "top-shelf." Then it was "premium," and then "ultra-premium." And how were you supposed to know it was worth 39 bucks? Easy. Just make sure the bottle looked like a half-melted icicle or a turret from Neuschwanstein. Yes, kick-ass bottles have been de rigeur for wine and spirit brands for a while now—but there's more to the story.
  These days, a fancy bottle's just not fancy enough if it isn't made by an über-hip designer. Take Corzo, which just began a major marketing push this month. The tequila's rectangular, cologne-like bottle is the work of Fabien Baron (shown here), who's designed everything from Calvin Klein magazine ad spreads to hotels for Ian Schrager. A limited-edition Dom Perignon bottle designed by fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld was reportedly a brisk seller this past holiday season. And debuting this winter is Danzka vodka's "snowflake" bottle, which bears an unsettling resemblance to a fire extinguisher—created by the svelte 28-year-old Danish designer Sidsel Ludvigsen.
  These chic intoxicant brands aren't the first to ask a famous designer to tell the glassblowers what to do. In 2004, Wyborowa vodka recruited architect Frank Gehry to design its twisting, prismatic bottle. And a humble entrepreneur named Donald Trump signed up industrial designer Milton Glaser—the man behind the "I ♥ NY" logo—to help design the bottle for his premium vodka. (Shockingly enough, it was called "Trump.")
  We're tempted to say that water brands are next, but it's already happened. Pininfarina crafted the tall green bottle of Italy's Mattoni brand. If you don't know Pininfarina, it's the family firm that designs Ferraris.

—Posted by Robert Klara

Will Fox have any luck with the next 'Chronicles of Narnia' film?

Posted on Thu Jan 29 2009

Dawntreader copy

Let's hope it works out better than City of Ember.
  Fox has stepped in where Disney retreated, going into business with Walden Media on the special-effects-laden Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. They're looking at a holiday 2010 release date for the all-family flick.
  The best-selling book-based franchise, with two successful movies under its belt, had been profitable for Disney but not enough to justify the anticipated big budget for No. 3. So, Walden went shopping for a new distributor and ended up with Fox, where it already has a long-standing partnership.
  But there's the wrinkle. The two have launched a number of box-office duds, like Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, and last fall's much-hyped fantasy adventure City of Ember, which pulled in less than $8 million domestically. Only Nim's Island has broken through in the hot PG market, grossing $48 million in the U.S. Those are hardly Aslan-sized numbers.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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