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April 2009

'GQ' readers not afraid to spend, spend, spend despite downturn

Posted on Thu Apr 30 2009

Gq

Recession? What recession? The readers of GQ don't seem to think there is one. According to a consumer trend study, "What Men Are Buying," the Condé Nast magazine concludes that male consumer attitudes toward current and future purchasing are right on par with ... those of the advertisers that GQ seeks to retain and attract, oddly enough. According to the study, men say they are least likely to cut back on fragrances, grooming, apparel, and footwear. The unemployment rate is hovering around 9 percent, and men are into grooming now more than ever. You don't say?! Here are some survey results straight from the metrosexual's mouth:
  -- 81 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "The best investment is on myself." Uh, leading the witness? Likewise, 71 percent said they would rather curtail elsewhere than cut back on the items related to personal appearance. Uh huh. I always thought if a man were given a choice between a stick of deodorant and any kind of food on a stick, he will choose the latter.
  -- 76 percent of the men agreed that "in these tough economic times it is more important than ever to buy products and services that have a reputation for quality, even if it means spending more money." Nothing but the best for GQ readers, who never settle for plain wrap when they can buy expensive, ego-stroking, logoed crap.
  -- 70 percent said they'll be spending more or the same amount on wine and liquor, and drinking more at home. Bottlers of booze, you obviously need to tap the bachelor-pad market asap.
  -- 92 percent honestly believed they will be "earning more or the same amount of money in the next 12 months." All that drinking can lead to delusions of pink elephants, too.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

London shop Curb advances environmentally friendly marketing

Posted on Thu Apr 30 2009

Adsm3

When it comes to advertising, you can't get much greener than this: A London firm called Curb uses all-natural settings and materials as its canvas for marketing messages. That means crop ads, mow ads, rake ads, compost art, solar art, snow tagging, sand carving and field ads, among other techniques. The shop has lined up some big-name clients, including Budweiser, Kia and Nike. Curb's latest innovation is "sea tagging," which uses sea water to stencil and create temporary ads on the sidewalk. (Sea water evaporates more slowly than regular water does.) Curb recently sea tagged images of turtles to advertise the London Sea-Life Aquarium. Would something like this work in the U.S.? Well, Snapple already kind of tried it in 2005, when it tried to erect the world's tallest popsicle in New York's Times Square. That didn't work out so well.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Consumer Reports cleans up ShamWow's messy product claims

Posted on Thu Apr 30 2009

An unexpectedly snarky Consumer Reports takes on the vaunted infomercial rag (and BrandFreak favorite) ShamWow in this video, spurred into action by pitchman Vince's claims that the product holds either 20, 12, or 10 times its own weight in water. The correct measurement, as it turns out, is 10. Not bad, but regular sponges hold the same amount, Consumer Reports found, and they cost a lot less than a pack of ShamWows, which also streak the hell out of your kitchen counter. Color us shocked that a product sold by the doofus who made The Underground Comedy Movie isn't entirely on the level. But we'll reconsider if Vince used one to clean himself up after fighting that hooker in South Beach.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

A few free Cinnabon rolls is the least we can do for the nurses

Posted on Wed Apr 29 2009

Cinnabon

On a daily basis, nurses are treated to cranky patients, doctors with God complexes and stressed-out visitors who treat them like waitresses in white. Sure, a few Nurse Ratcheds strong-arm their way in with the Florence Nightingales, but overall, they average out as angels of mercy. Now, as a thank you for the extraordinary services they provide, Cinnabon and The DAISY Foundation are rewarding nurses with free pastries during Nurses Week on May 6-12. Hey, it's better than a sharp stick to the eye (which could get infected, so don't try). Nurses who flash their healthcare ID or badge at one of the bakeries during that week will receive a free Cinnabon Classic Roll in return. Bonnie and Mark Barnes established The DAISY Foundation in 2000 and have presented 4,000 nurses with the DAISY Award, which honors outstanding patient care. Mark's son Patrick died of complications from an auto-immune disease after an extended hospital stay in which he insisted on sharing his preferred food—Cinnabon Classic rolls—with his caregivers. Gift certificates for the pastries have been part of the Foundation's awards package as a nod to his sweet tooth. The press release notes that the offer is only valid at participating U.S. bakeries—not locations at airports or travel plazas—so RNs won't likely be getting hopped up on an 813-calorie Cinnabon and hopping on a plane.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

Hey look, it's a package design by Peter Arnell that doesn't suck

Posted on Wed Apr 29 2009

SoBe

Not all of Peter Arnell's designs are bad. The ad-agency head took some serious heat earlier this year for creating the new, and subsequently killed, Tropicana packaging. At the time of its launch, PepsiCo North America president Massimo d'Amore joked, at a Tropicana press conference, "Peter thinks he is Michelangelo." Yes, Michelangelo if he had plummeted from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel while painting his masterpiece. Still, Arnell's SoBe Lifewater packaging is pretty inspired. It features the brand mascot Lee the Lizard. His tail wraps around the bottle, squeezing it. Wherever his tail lies, there are grooves that allow the bottle to fit snuggly in your hand. The new look is original, which was important for this growing enhanced-water brand. Prior to the repackaging, virtually every player used a knockoff of the Vitaminwater bottle. So much so that the Coca-Cola-owned brand sued a number of competitors and won. SoBe's bottle aims to look the least like Vitaminwater as possible as it works to forge its own identity. If Tropicana proved anything, it's that repackaging efforts can have a powerful effect—for good or bad.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

NBC's '30 Rock' gives its latest batch of free love to the Slanket

Posted on Wed Apr 29 2009

The NBC show 30 Rock has a well-earned reputation for trying to pass off product placements in a tongue-and-cheek manner, even though some of the placements, like the infamous McDonald's McFlurrygate incident earlier this year, apparently weren't pay-for-play deals. The latest product to get ironic placement is the Slanket, the forerunner to the Snuggie. In last week's episode, Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, was seen sporting the Slanket several times, including once in her office (at 7:44 in the video above), where she says defensively, "It's not product placement. I just like it." (That's apparently true. According to Gizmodo, Fey bought Slankets for everyone on the 30 Rock staff.) The coup de grace, however, is at the end of the episode, where Salma Hayek's character lays into Fey/Lemon with the following oughtta-be classic line: "Lemon, isn't there a Slanket somewhere that you should be filling with your farts." Yet another use for the self-proclaimed "best blanket ever."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Folgers admits it probably can't beat the 'Wakin' up' campaign

Posted on Wed Apr 29 2009

Folger's is re-airing this classic ad from 1998—one of the old "The best part of wakin' up is Folgers in your cup" spots. Oh, joy. The J.M. Smucker Co., which now owns Folgers, resurrected the spot to commemorate their recent acquisition of the coffee brand, and because this year marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic "Wakin' up" theme. Also, as some have pointed out, it's cheaper to recycle old spots and rake in nostalgia points from gullible thirtysomethings than it is to come up with new stuff. Which is fine for wholesome companies like Folgers. But some companies—Goodyear, for example—might be more reluctant to turn back the clock.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

New Cricket spot encourages respect, except for one's parents

Posted on Wed Apr 29 2009

Table Manners 101: Do not jump on the table when ma and pa are eating. Also, do not text when eating. This teenager in this commercial from Element 79 breaks both rules, finding the audacity to not only dance but kick a half-full glass across the table (thankfully Dad catches it) when her friend texts her. After strutting out some moves and belting it to the tune of Aretha Franklin's "Respect," she hops off the table. Point is, wireless provider Cricket gives your wallet such great respect in down times that people all over are choosing its plan. As the voiceover says, there are "no contracts, no overages, on America's most affordable, 3G network." Plus, you pay $45 a month for talking, texting, pictures and nationwide long distance calling. Now that's what we're talking about, sister.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Hollywood taking swine-flu outbreak, GM's problems personally

Posted on Tue Apr 28 2009

The swine flu continues to ravage Mexico, where upwards of 150 people have died. And General Motors is hemorrhaging jobs and shuttering brands, including the legendary muscle-car maker Pontiac. But what does it mean to Hollywood?
  Various trade publications today are pointing out the real victims here—namely, the X-Men Origins: Wolverine premiere in Mexico City, which has been canceled—canceled!—as has star Hugh Jackman's planned publicity stop there. First the piracy and now this? It's just too much. Let's just hope nobody describes it as a business pandemic. As for GM's announcement, TV networks and film studios will see ad money and bad-ass chase scenes slip away without the Firebird and its brand brethren. Not to be totally flip about the entertainment trades—they know their audience, and Variety does give an interesting run-down of starring roles for Pontiacs going back decades, like the Trans Am that Burt Reynolds drove in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy (see the video above), the G6 sedans that Oprah gave away to 276 shrieking audience members, and the Solstice roadster that got creamed in the first Transformers flick. That's all history now.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

BrandFreak caption contest: Juicy Couture

Posted on Tue Apr 28 2009

Jc

Some ads beg for an extra line of copy. Which is why, from time to time, we'll be holding caption contests here on BrandFreak. The inaugural image: this Juicy Couture ad. Leave your suggestions for a caption in comments, or e-mail us using the link in the upper right. Come up with the funniest caption and you win ... the respect of your peers and bragging rights. A winner will be announced at noon EST on Friday.


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