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March 2009

Captain Morgan desperate to be a role model for good behavior

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Morgan

When March Madness descends upon Detroit's Ford Field this weekend for the Final Four, Captain Morgan will be on hand to make sure everyone has a good time but stays safe. In a city best known for producing automobiles, the mischievous captain will be trying to keep drunk drivers out of theirs. From April 3-5, the "Captain's Caravan" will provide free rides around town. There will be two 20-passenger shuttles and one 56-passsenger bus cruising around Motor City from 2 p.m. EST to midnight each day. The shuttle will offer complimentary water and "the Captain's beautiful Morganettes as they drop off adult consumers at hotels in the Downtown Detroit area," reads the press release. Sounds almost like an escort service.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

What madness is Google planning this year for April Fool's Day?

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Google-gulp

When it comes to April Fool's pranks, Google takes the prize for creativity. One prank from past years that stands out is the Google Gulp "smart drink," supposedly launched by the Internet search giant to "maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty." The Snapple-like bottle was said to contain technology called Auto-Drink, an embedded DNA scanner "reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time." Offered in four mind-blowing flavors—Glutamate Grape, Sugar-Free Radical, Beta Carroty and Sero-Tonic Water—the Google Gulp created major buzz across the blogosphere. Will Google be able to top itself this year? We won't have to wait long to find out. UPDATE: Looks like this year's joke is the introduction of the "world's first 'artificial intelligence' tasked-array system," called "CADIE."

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Dannon has crush on Disney's Sprouse twins in latest campaign

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Twin tween heartthrobs Cole and Dylan Sprouse of the Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack & Cody are the stars of Dannon's new campaign for its Danimals Crush Cups. The accordion-style cups allow the contents—yogurt—to be pushed upward with a pinch of the fingers. This spot shows the twins "crushing" an alien, a director and a Tiki while lounging around on set. Cole then shows Dylan a Danimals Crush Cup. "You crush it and slurp it," he says while demonstrating with his fingers. "Cool. No spoon?" his twin brother asks. "Nope, just crush and slurp for a blast of fruity flavor," Cole replies. Darn. Why didn't they think of this earlier? We've eaten yogurt without a spoon when on the go—or on deadline—many times. Now, if they could just crush those Sprouse twins.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Beggin strips glad to produce you and your dog's first rap video

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Beggin

It's not Hammer time. It's Beggin' time! Purina wants you to bust a move with your pooch and post the evidence online. Inevitably, your dog dances better than you anyway, so avoid the embarrassment and just upload photos of you and your canine to be incorporated into a pre-made music video. Your heads will go on two animated rapper bodies as you belt out a remix of "U Can't Touch This." With a direct upload option to Facebook, you have no excuse not to show how much you love your pet and/or bacon-flavored treats. If only your dog had thumbs, he would already have it posted!

—Posted by Yana Polikarpov

PETA won't let a KFC stunt proceed without a little harassment

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

KFC

PETA isn't one to chicken out of a challenge, particularly from Kentucky Fried Chicken. When KFC said last week it would fill potholes in five major U.S. cities and then stencil the over the spots the words "Re-freshed by KFC," PETA offered to double KFC's payments to one city—Louisville, Ky.—if the city would agree to have the line "KFC tortures animals" on the fixed potholes instead. "Louisville streets may have suffered winter damage, but it's nothing compared to what chickens endure on the way to KFC's buckets and boxes," PETA evp Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "KFC needs to focus on the holes in its animal welfare policy and try to patch up its reputation for cruelly produced food." Reiman wrote a letter making the offer to Jerry Abramson, the mayor of Louisville. According to a local TV station, the mayor declined through a spokesman. "Well, we are certainly happy that PETA cares about potholes in Kentucky. But I think I'll pass on this offer," Chris Poynter, a rep for Mayor Abramson's office, told NBC affiliate Wave3. PETA has a long history of opposition to the chicken chain and most recently got a "sexy leprechaun lady" to stand outside a KFC on St. Patrick's Day to urge customers to chase a pot of gold instead of buckets of chicken.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

7-Eleven among the advertisers salivating over new 'X-Men' film

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Wolverine

The Blob can't just count on his thick hide to save him from Wolverine's razor-sharp claws. He needs liquid fortification ... from a giant Slurpee? It's a winking bit of product placement that fans will see in the upcoming summer tentpole X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with the villain chugging the popular 7-Eleven drink during a key scene. (He gets his blubbery butt kicked anyway). 
  The convenience-store chain will be an X-Men headquarters of sorts, with a new "mutant berry" Slurpee flavor, collectible Big Gulp cups and straws featuring the Marvel superheroes, an X-Treme Energy Cappuccino with Red Bull amounts of caffeine, and a stainless-steel mug with Wolverine's trademark slashes. The deal to hype the flick's May 1 release is part of a studio effort "to look at the property in a different way and challenge partners to do something unique that we haven't seen in the previous incarnations," says Rita Drucker, Fox's senior vp of feature film promotions. Wolverine is the fourth installment in the $1 billion-plus-grossing action-movie franchise.
  Other marketers jumping on the superhero bandwagon: Papa John's is offering a themed value meal and a coupon for the first three X-Men movies on Blu-Ray; the milk-moustache "Got milk?" campaign is using Wolverine as a strong-bones spokesman; and Schick Quattro Titanium trimmers and shavers are advertising him as an example of someone desperately in need of its products (he's a hairy dude!). Let the summer blockbuster season, and the brand tie-ins that love it, begin.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have CiCi's pizza

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009

Cici's, the family pizza chain, is leveraging the power of the Honest Abe in its latest campaign from Deutsch. The brand is dropping pennies on the sidewalks outside its 650 eateries nationwide to get budget-conscious consumers to eat out. Each penny carries a special offer for a free meal, drink or pizza on its back side. Cici's CMO Tom Koenigsberg hopes the promotion will get customers to rethink the lowly penny when bypassing it outside. "When they walk by a penny, they're going to pick it up and go to CiCi's," he said. We have to admit: A promotion like this is a lot better than another free pizza or what-have-you stimulus package.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Further proof that the newspaper industry has gone to the dogs

Posted on Mon Mar 30 2009

WHH

People, as we're told again and again, just don't want to read newspapers anymore. That dismal reality has meant drastic cutbacks at most every tabloid and broadsheet. But things couldn't be better over at the West Highland Herald, which launched just today and is already being nosed through by panting readers across the country. Haven't heard of it? Oh, that's because you're not a dog.
  To add some woof to the launch of its new Sunrise breakfast-entree line, dog-food company Cesar (which makes "canine cuisine" exclusively for small breeds) is printing the first-ever newspaper that pledges to "portray the world from a small dog's point of view." The inaugural issue, created by BBDO's San Francisco office, features stories about new software that enables dogs to understand humans, an Oregon bulldog's quest to see in color, and a scandal piece about a dachshund photographed inside a hot-dog bun. What's a newspaper got to do with gourmet dog chow? Ceasar's top dog of marketing says that "breakfast time can be a bonding experience for small dogs and their owners." Even more so, presumably, when Fido has a paper to read, just like his master. The idea is cute, even if the master has canceled his own subscription. Street teams will distribute the Herald—including a possible second edition—until the end of next month. And when it's all over, well, you know Fido uses the newspaper for more than reading, anyway.

—Posted by Robert Klara

Honda creates its own light show, but with cars instead of sheep

Posted on Mon Mar 30 2009

As Samsung has shown, if you get enough sheep and lights together, you can simulate a giant videogame. Honda has apparently upped the ante by doing something very similar with what look like hundreds of cars turning their lights on and off. The fleet of cars were brought together by Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam, to promote the Insight, a vehicle Honda describes as "the most affordable hybrid on the market." The ad breaks in April to support a European launch (no word on whether the ad is coming to U.S. TV), but it's already logged more than 120,000 views on YouTube, thanks to its arresting imagery and what the company describes as a "bespoke version" of the gospel children's song "This Little Light of Mine," which has been performed by Bruce Springsteen, among others (though the ad leaves out the Jesus parts). Though the response has been pretty positive on YouTube, a one wag couldn't help commenting that Honda "had to do something with all those cars they can't sell."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Hornitos tequila campaign feeling woozy after a long night out

Posted on Mon Mar 30 2009

Hornitos copy

This latest ad campaign from Hornitos tequila wallows in booze-fueled debauchery. First off, the campaign's theme—"Mischieve," a fusion of "mischief" and "achieve"—approximates the slurred speech of someone who's had a few too many. Then, the copy lines invite disaster. "If you're going home one hour late, may as well be three" sounds like an invitation to throw down some more shots, and "We'll just cuddle" probably isn't the best course of action (or the stopping point) for most folks after doing so. The artwork, reminiscent of horror-film posters, seems to depict lost souls peering out from a stint in rehab. Honestly, they don't look like they're having too much fun. (The photos are apparently candids, taken at some private party in January to which I was not invited.) The overall effect is oddly sobering, like a warning of what could befall "Overmischievers," which probably isn't what the client had in mind.

—Posted by David Gianatasio


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