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August 2009

Abbey Road is party central in new spot for 'Beatles: Rock Band'

Posted on Mon Aug 31 2009

The fall Beatles blitz is under way. In addition to multiple retail tie-ins for remastered Beatles CDs, the TV campaign for the long-awaited Beatles: Rock Band video game from Electronic Arts is out, and they seem to have pulled off a Forrest Gump-like special effect. The spot uses footage (one presumes) from the Abbey Road photo shoot and skillfully weaves in body doubles to show the Fab Four interacting with the masses. Don't worry, Beatle people. Only 10 more days until the game is available in stores. As the Beatles one sang, it won't be long, yeah, yeah.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

KFC hits the water with a 'float-thru' restaurant on Lake Michigan

Posted on Mon Aug 31 2009


Over the weekend, KFC's first "float-thru" restaurant enjoyed its maiden voyage on Lake Michigan, "offering captains and deckhands alike a taste of southern hospitality" in the form of free lunches. The ship was bobbing around off Oak Street Beach in Chicago, where KFC happened to be sponsoring a pro-volleyball contest. They don't say how the food got from the KFC ship to the salivating boaters and jet-skiers. Hopefully some kind of catapult delivery system was used, as you wouldn't want to get too close to a floating KFC kitchen. In the unlikely event that the ship was struck and subsequently sank, hopefully they had lots of Dawn dishwashing soap on hand to de-grease the marine life.

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Parody of Coke Zero body-parts campaign features NSFW guest

Posted on Mon Aug 31 2009

I suppose when you run ads featuring talking pink tongues, you're kind of asking for it. But here's a very well-done (and very off-color and not safe for work) spoof of the animated Coke Zero campaign by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam that imagines what would happen if other body parts got into the action. Though the depiction of the organ in question is pretty graphic, this spoof veers away when things could get really disturbing, which is a plus. But this is still not meant for the young 'uns. As for the target audience, though, some will no doubt echo one YouTube commentor who writes: "I want it on TV!"

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Classic literature getting repackaged to appeal to 'Twilight' fans

Posted on Mon Aug 31 2009


Take a classic piece of literature, add some monsters and create an everything-old-is-new-again phenomenon. It worked for the Jane Austen-meets-horror-flick mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and will surely spawn another hit with the upcoming release of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. So, why not use a hunky modern vampire to sell Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights? The novel, cited in the Twilight series as the favorite read of undead heartthrob Edward Cullen and his human soulmate Bella Swan, has gotten a sleek new cover and tagline, "Love never dies," in the U.K. "Love the Twilight books? Then you'll adore Wuthering Heights, one of the greatest love stories ever told," says the synopsis at retailer Waterstone, where the tragic novel has sold 10,000 copies, doubling the usual Penguin Classic sales and becoming the year's best-selling classic. It's a brilliant bit of coattail marketing, not to mention deft repackaging. But the 1847 story ain't no Twilight. Feedback has harped on the "bitterness and pain" in the classic, with tweens finding out there's no happily ever after for Cathy and Heathcliff. Love bites, indeed.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Six artists whip up some crazy-ass Mountain Dew bottle designs

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


Angry monkeys. Crazy eyes. Enormous octopi. Exactly the sort of imagery you want next to your mouth when you drink a soda. In early September, Mountain Dew will launch its third Green Label Art series, which consists of collectible aluminum soda bottles featuring designs by six contemporary artists. Each graphic is vastly different from the others, both in style and theme. One of the artists, Stephen Bliss, drew a gigantic octopus seizing a ship from the pirate era (the one before 2009). The olive-green water in the drawing looks almost as filthy as the Hudson River, which doesn't exactly give the consumer a good impression of what she's drinking. Claw Money, the first female artist of the series, drew her signature three-clawed paw with arrows winding around the bottle. While they are certainly interesting, there's really no connection between any of the six designs and Mountain Dew. Maybe the artists should have tasted the soda before setting up their easels. UPDATE: A rep for the brand wants to clarify that each of the designs was directly inspired by Mountain Dew. For example, here's Stephen Bliss talking about his octopus bottle: "I imagined there to be a world inside every bottle of Mountain Dew—an adventure—a huge ocean of Dew with sea creatures. The scene is frozen, on the brink of chaos; the ship is about to be pulled under the ocean and the volcano will erupt. The birds are scattering in anticipation. There's a different adventure in every bottle." See, the connection is obvious!

—Posted by Elana Glowatz

Kurt Cobain is brought back to life for Activision's 'Guitar Hero 5'

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


Kurt Cobain is making his first appearance in a video game. Clad in his trademark cardigan, the deceased rocker has been resurrected for Guitar Hero 5. Now, I was never alive to see Jimi Hendrix and some of the other rock gods who have passed on, so the idea of pretending to be them in a video game doesn't bother me that much. However, I did see Nirvana live and was one of the fans caught up in the whole grunge thing. Maybe that's why the creepy rendering of him that Activision sent me seems bizarre. For full disclosure, I haven't gotten hooked on Guitar Hero like some of my friends, so perhaps I'm missing the point. But really, the idea of emulating Cobain is absurd even if it just involves performing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (this is first time the song has been licensed, so Courtney Love must really need cash) or "Lithium" in a video game. I'm not sure why anyone would want their kids pretending to be someone who did a bunch of heroin and blasted himself in the face with a shotgun.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Sony hopes you'll start laughing with the PlayStation 3, not at it

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009

It's hard to say if Sony has learned its lesson from its disastrous 2006 launch of PlayStation 3 (the item has cost Sony more than $3 billion so far), but at least the company has kept what AdFreak has called the funniest man in commercials on board for a new fall campaign. The ads, breaking Sept. 1, were previewed on PlayStation's blog yesterday. It appears the company knows its audience, including a tubby computer geek identified as a "rumor monger" who is trying to confirm the item's new $299 price point. "You can't believe everything you read on the Internet," says the Funniest Man. "Otherwise I'd be a Nigerian millionaire right now." Despite the denials, FM is surrounded by signs announcing the $299 price point. Another spot shows an "unsatisfied girlfriend" who complains that her boyfriend hasn't hooked the PS3 to the Internet. "What's wrong with him?!" bellows FM. So far, so good, Sony. Now, don't screw it up this time.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

BrandFreak logo contest No. 2: Can you identify these 9 brands?

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


OK, BrandFreak's last logo contest may have been a little easy, but let's see how you do with this one. Since it's late summer and Labor Day is coming up, we'll give you until Wedesnday, Sept. 9, to figure it out. If you think you know the brand logos from which each letter above was taken, e-mail brandfreakcomments [at] gmail [dot] com and put the words "logo contest" in the subject line. Winners will get some (literally) priceless Brandweek paraphernalia, as sported below by one of our happy winners of last month's contest, Tatum Hawkins (at left, seen with Heather Tien on the right) of Boost Mobile.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


When no one else can help, turn to the Seth Godin action figure

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


It's not often that a PR kit gets my attention, but when I received an action figure of marketing author and blogger Seth Godin in the mail, I just had to acknowledge the originality of it. The action figure's packaging contains a sticker inviting me to the 2009 Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) Summit, where Godin will be featured as a keynote speaker. It also notes that Godin is "much more interesting (and flexible) in real life." (He also "has big ideas so you don't have to!") The back of the box contains info on the summit and a few fun facts about the marketing guru, like his weapons of choice: "neologisms and shiny head." The Seth action figure's actually been around for a while—it looks like MIMA just picked up a bunch of them to help advertise this conference. You can buy your own Little Seth here, where the description includes the following: "You could pay millions of dollars for consultants, but why not just get the Marketing Guru Action Figure? ... It's rumored that if you want an insight into what your customers want and how they'd like to be communicated with, you can rub Seth's bald head and all will be made clear." I'm giving this a thumbs-up for creativity, and of course, for Little Seth's mismatched socks.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

TENA ad says bladder protection is no longer stuck in the past

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009

Oo-la-la. Who woulda thunk bladder protection could be as sexy as fashion, evolving over time to be "less restrictive, more comfortable and figure hugging"? TENA, a maker of men's and women's bladder-protection products, seems to think it is, as evidenced by this spot from creative agency Zig. The ad opens with a woman dressed in 19th-century gowns, and with each peel of the zipper, she stylishly flaunts something else—a flapper's dress, a cocktail outfit and a silver, one-sleeved party dress. Hey, a commercial like this makes bladder weakness anything but taboo.

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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