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July 2009

Evian's dancing babies revealed to be Eurotrash poseurs

Posted on Fri Jul 31 2009

Wiseass talking babies. They're all the rage these days on Madison Avenue. First we had those chatty E*Trade babies who sounded like world-weary 30 year-olds complaining about the economy and now those Evian dancing babies from Euro/RSCG are revealed to be Eurotrash poseurs. That's the conceit behind this "behind-the-scenes" look at the making of that spot (you know, the one your lonely female cousin forwarded to your wife the other day.) Baby Tom Morse's prep for the ad, for instance included "nine months of intensive tumbling" while Anna states in an accent somewhere east of Prague that "ever since I was a kid I have LOVED dancing." Best of all is Vince, the Kangol-sporting Asian baby with a deep admiration for hip-hop. As with the E*Trade spots, the synching of those unpredictable baby movements and adult voices still amuse, though I think after this, babies can go back to what they do best: Pooping and throwing fits.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

And you thought the new Palm Pre ads couldn't get any creepier

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Why pay $10 to see a horror movie? Watch this YouTube spoof of Palm's new Pre smartphone ads, and prepare to be creeped out. Hundreds of YouTube users who have commented on the video share the same opinion. The maker of the spoof took a Palm Pre commercial by Modernista!, featuring soft-spoken Canadian actress Tamara Hope, and slowed down the speech, manipulating the video in a way that breaks up its fluidity. To the already ghostly image of a browless woman (who resembles Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"), add some background piano music and strange references to a female juggler—and what you get is a horror movie in the making, not a phone commercial. Of course, the really scary part is, the original was just as eerie.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in an Ikea ad?

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Playing "house" isn't just for children anymore. In this Ikea commercial (viewable after a pre-roll ad), young lovers played by indie-film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel hit Ikea and mess around in the various full-room set-ups. After dinner in the kitchen section, they run past a sea of couches and get cozy on a bedroom set. The spot plays with the popular notion that a joint trip to Ikea is a sign that a couple is settling down, an idea that's become somewhat of a punch line among the terminally single. Oh, wait a minute ... sorry, this isn't an Ikea ad but a clip from the new rom-com (500) Days of Summer. The Swedish furniture chain exchanged a day's shooting in its Burbank, Calif., store and $10,000 in Ikea goods for this intense product placement. Particle board never looked so glamorous.

—Posted by Elana Glowatz

Unilever urges Canada to think about where its food comes from

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

As part of its "Eat real. Eat local" campaign in Canada, the Unilever mayonnaise brand Hellmann's is running ads that make the citizens up north wonder how far their food travels to get to their dinner tables. Foods like cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, which Canadians can grow in their own backyards, actually travel many miles over land, air and sea, and are hardly fresh by the time they're eaten, according to the ad above, from Sons And Daughters director Steve Gordon and production company Crush in Toronto. Case in point: "In 2004, Alberta imported over $170 million worth of fresh vegetables. Their exports? $400,000." And for every pear they ship out, 700 come in. Whole Foods mulled doing something similar, via Twitter earlier this month. All this emphasis on local sourcing and food miles might have to do with the fact that the Obamas have their own vegetable garden. So, go plant one!

—Posted by Elaine Wong

You know people miss the '90s when MC Hammer is everywhere

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Is '90s nostalgia already here? First, Arsenio Hall is back on the tube with The World's Funniest Moments. And now, the world seems to be once again in the thrall of MC Hammer. Hammer, who first performed his hit song "U Can't Touch This" on Arsenio's show in 1989 (though it wasn't a hit until the following year), is back in the limelight with his reality show Hammertime on A&E. Meanwhile, "U Can't Touch This" has become something of a hit again as a punch line for various viral videos. A&E did a mob-dance spot using the song (and the Hammer pants). And now we have Darth Vader (well, a guy in a Vader suit) dancing to the song to promote Disney World's Star Wars weekends. The video has garnered more than 400,000 views on YouTube since July 5. If the '90s momentum continues, expect to see Darth and Co. grooving to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" any day now.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Coors Light cools down classic songs in rockin' radio campaign

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Coorslight

Coors Light has radio advertising down cold. The beer brand, which has owned the concept of Rocky Mountain cold-refreshment thanks to incessant TV ads and some nifty packaging, has now successfully leveraged radio as well. Its summer campaign from Draftfcb in Chicago takes familiar songs that feature the word "hot" and replaces that word with "cold." The first ad featured a man deadpanning the word "cold" throughout Nelly's "Hot in Herre." This morning, while listening to a classic-rock station, I heard Coors nailed it by tweaking Foreigner's "Hot Blooded." The ad (embedded here) started with the familiar guitar lick, leading me to believe I was going to hear the actual song, until words like "cold," "frosty" and "thermometer" were suspiciously dubbed over key lyrics. It's a nice evolution of the ad campaign. I look forward to hearing what songs they will chill out next. Perhaps Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff," The Power Station's "Some Like It Hot" or maybe the dreaded Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot."

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Kellogg's Apple Jacks caught up in New Jersey corruption probe

Posted on Wed Jul 29 2009

Applejacks

Cereal companies have been offering prizes in their boxes for years, but Kellogg's Apple Jacks recently contained a real whopper. According to The New York Times, one interesting tidbit from the New Jersey federal corruption case, which resulted in 44 arrests, including that of three mayors and a few rabbis, was that $97,000 in cash was distributed to one informant in an Apple Jacks box. While that may sound like a huge amount to fit in a 21.7-ounce container, Slate ran the numbers and found you could actually fit $9 million in such a box if you had enough high-denomination bills. Many bloggers also mentioned the Apple Jacks connection to spice up their headlines about the case. While it's unclear what effect, if any, this will have on the brand, it's worth noting that Kellogg still gives the cereal a fair amount of support. According to Nielsen, the Apple Jacks brand got $7 million in measured media support in 2008 (excluding online). For those of you playing at home, that's a lot more than $97,000, but still enough to comfortably fit in the box.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Nike crushes Converse in a battle of skateboarder commercials

Posted on Wed Jul 29 2009

Since Converse's attempt to co-opt skateboard rebellion flat-out sucked, Nike decided to take a shot at it for Paul Rodriguez's third shoe. The results are better than expected. Setting fairly inoffensive street skating to "Today Was a Good Day" is the most laughably white creative decision I've ever seen, but the spot is saved by Ice Cube playing the Mr. Wilson role and running over Paul's board. There's also a Web-exclusive extended version of this spot in the works—it premieres on Nike's Web site on Friday. No idea what they could possibly extend here, but maybe they'll explore Rodriguez's passing resemblance to Adrian Grenier, or have grumpy old Ice Cube run over more of his possessions. But all nitpicking aside, the shoes themselves were worked into the spot pretty well, and the synchronization between the tricks and the song's lyrics was clever (particularly that "hit the switch" moment). At the very least, Nike comes out looking somewhat knowledgeable about skateboarding.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

HBO bringing bloodsucker beverage from 'True Blood' to market

Posted on Wed Jul 29 2009

Trublood

First, there was Booty Sweat. Now, there's Tru Blood. For at least the second time in recent memory, a real product is springing from a fictional world. The very meta Booty Sweat energy drink came from the Ben Stiller/Robert Downey Jr. comedy Tropic Thunder. Now, it's HBO's turn, with a signature drink hitting the market in September inspired by the hit series True Blood, in which vampires no longer feed on humans and have assimilated into society. If the show's creator, Alan Ball, had his way, the soda would be a heady mix of Vicodin, Viagra, Ecstasy, vodka, cabernet and other ingredients, he said at last weekend's Comic-Con convention in San Diego. But that would be, you know, illegal. In fact, Tru Blood is blood-orange soda. Tagline: "All flavor. No bite." As he announced the drink, Ball held up a crimson bottle that's an exact replica of the ones used on the Louisiana-based drama. That "synthetic blood" is served to vampires trying to wean themselves off live victims. It comes in A, B, O-positive and other appetizing flavors, and it's often heated in the microwave before serving (to 98.6 degrees, perhaps?) so the vamps don't miss the real thing. When it existed only in the show, Tru Blood was a lynchpin of True Blood's launch, turning up in vending machines and on billboards for an added sense of realism. Just in time for the season finale, fans can drink the "real" thing.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Come on down, it's time to play a new game show on YouTube!

Posted on Tue Jul 28 2009

YouTube has been a forum for many things: rants, cute cat antics, cute baby antics, embarrassing public moments. But how about a game show? Since last fall, Eric Friedberg, a partner at Newton, Mass., promo agency Cohen-Friedberg Associates, has spent more than $45,000 of his own money trying to get the concept of an online game show going on ItsEasyToWin.com, which garnered about 18,000 page views. This week, he moved the idea on to YouTube. The new game, State Your Case, is a riff on Deal or No Deal, and shows Friedberg presenting a metal case, which he says contains a license plate. Guess the correct state, and you will be put into a random drawing to win prizes starting at $1,000. Freidberg, who attracted Jolly Time Popcorn and Aruba Tourism to ItsEasyToWin, currently lacks a sponsor, but says the game-show format is a great way to get consumers to research a product. For Jolly Time, for instance, part of the show involved getting consumers to answer trivia questions about the brand. Freidberg says the recession hasn't helped sell the idea: "A lot of marketers these days are just excited that they have a job."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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