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March 2010

Wrigley getting all secretive and sci-fi to introduce 5 React gum

Posted on Wed Mar 31 2010


Upon visiting 5react.com, you will feel as if you've entered a virtual world or a preview for an upcoming video game. It's hard to believe that such large theatrics (a spaceship-like landing page, sci-fi music, secret messages) were created for the launch of such a small product: gum. How did I find the site? By being one of the lucky ones to receive a black envelope containing a sample of Wrigley's new 5 React gum, 3-D glasses, and a code that promises to "unlock your personalized sensory experience." But it can't be unlocked unless you connect with Facebook and share your experience with friends. I won't spoil the fun for all those waiting for their black envelopes, especially considering the traction this viral effort is getting on 5 React's Facebook page. (It has more than 1 million fans.) I'm putting on my 3-D glasses as we speak.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

We'll happily try chocolate samples … but in boxes, not baggies

Posted on Tue Mar 30 2010


So, we get back from Texas (we were at the IRI CPG Summit—did you follow us on Twitter?) and there's this bulky package on our desk. We open it, and lo and behold, there are itty-bitty, bite-sized pieces of chocolate and cocoa powder in Ziploc bags. Color-coded, too. Yikes! Reminds us of the time we served on the jury of a major Philadelphia narcotics bust. The National Confectioners Association's Chocolate Council apparently sent us these chocolates, and they're part of an educational, behind-the-scenes look at chocolate making. (The press kit even comes with an instructional CD, complete with two videos by master chocolatier Jacques Torres.) The white chocolate, for instance, is made of "a blend of cocoa butter, milk, sugar and flavor. No chocolate solids are present, which explains the lack of brown color," the Chocolate Deconstructed Tasting Guide says. Gotta give 'em props—the package caught our eye. But even our senior researcher, Jim English, who loves all things sweet, took a pass on it. Stuff that comes in little baggies is a tad scary.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

H&M dancers keep wheezing death rattle of the flash mob at bay

Posted on Tue Mar 30 2010

Retailer H&M got considerable bang for its buck with this video—in fact, there was probably no buck involved at all. Yet the clip, shot in San Francisco's Union Square, has gotten more than 28,000 views in the space of about two days. Apparently, few can resist the charms of 55 break-dancing youngsters clad in the latest Euro fast-fashion clothes. Though some bloggers have moaned that flash mobs are oh so 2008, this San Francisco stunt, engineered by Mr. Youth, at least has the virtue of showing off some new product. And at least they're not singing the "I'm a Pepper" song.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Do you feel lucky? The folks in Valley View Casino's ads sure do.

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010

Making any kind of claim in broadcast or print media has always been a bit of a tricky affair. If you sell an anti-aging potion, you obviously can't say it makes people younger, so you'd better stick with something suitably loopholed like: "May help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles." OK, but what if you're in the casino business? Assuming the odds of winning are the same at your place as they are on the felt in Vegas or Monte Carlo, you'd better not say your place is luckier. But judging by a new TV spot from San Diego's Valley View Casino, your customers can—or at least come awfully close. In this 30-second ad (shot by Peter Rodger, who directed the 2009 documentary Oh My God), casino guests look at the camera and say why they bring their quarters to Valley View. "These must be the loosest slots!" chirps one. "I feel more lucky here than in Vegas," says another. Affirms a third smiling guest: "I win here—I like that." Hmmm. Well, one thing's for sure: Even if you lose your shirt, the lobster buffet's free on your first visit.

—Posted by Robert Klara

You, too, can save the country of Sweden in this viral campaign

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010


If you saw Service International Union and MoveOn's "Enemy of America" Glenn Beck viral video, you're aware that we've entered an age where stuff like "Elf Yourself" looks laughably primitive. If you haven't seen the "Enemy" video—imagine that someone created a video with Glenn Beck ranting about you and intimate details of your life (which you had providing by agreeing to share your Facebook information). Now, Sweden's TV licensing body, Radiotjänst, and Draftfcb Stockholm are experimenting with the technology, too. Behold this ad, and you will see a dramatic announcement about the "hero" who is making life better for the average Swede—who is making sure they can trust what they see on TV and hear on the radio, and that the voices of the weak are heard. Yes, we're talking about ... me. I got a cheap ego boost watching hordes of Swedes cheering my image on billboards and being referred to as a Swedish hero. Why not try it out as well, at least until every advertiser under the sun runs a similar viral this summer.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Lady Gaga brand keeps growing with fun Sesame Street mashup

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010

Earlier this month, we wrote about Lady Gaga's latest video, "Telephone," and how it has reached new heights in terms of product placement. It's quite clear that the pop star has turned her music and personal style into a successful brand. And then her fans extend the brand with their own mashups, like this Sesame Street-themed version of the "Telephone" video, with the song blasting to images of a disco party, Bert and Ernie talking on the phone and segments from Gaga's actual video. It doesn't appear to be an official Sesame Street production, but pre-schoolers are about the only ones not getting a heavy dose of Gaga these days.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Americans are a joke in Burger King's Middle East commercials

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010

Stupid Americans are the focus of a series of Burger King ads running in the Middle East. The premise is that two Arab men are having a BK meal with a pair of American girls who really aren't very bright, or at least aren't all that worldly. "So, you're from the Middle East. Isn't that like the capital of Arabia or something?" one of them asks. "Isn't that, like, the desert or something?" Then the camera goes inside the dense woman's head to show how her views of life in the region are based on Star Wars movies and maybe Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. "You all must be loaded!" she says at another point, to which one of the men replies, "We have oil wells in the, uh, backyard." To be sure, the Americans are presented as thick, but nice, sort of like the American couple in Slumdog Millionaire. Still, it's not clear how this creative will go down with BK's stalwart customers back home. I guess we'll find out. According to the story linked above, the ads were done by Dubai-based Tonic Communications for the Gulf region's Burger King franchise holder, Riyadh-based Olayan Group, a Saudi-owned international conglomerate.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

The best of South by Southwest branding, from Door Number 3

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010


By Bryan Keplesky, Door Number 3 art director
  It's been a week since the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Conference came to a close. The taped-up posters and trash on the streets of downtown Austin have been swept away. All the free schwag has been itemized and tossed or stowed. And every brand that came into town to promote itself has packed up and gone home. In fact, right now, from Door Number 3's Austin perch, it doesn't look like one of the largest annual conferences in the country even took place. So, with another SXSW gone, the question remains: What is there to take away from a branding, marketing and advertising perspective?

Continue reading "The best of South by Southwest branding, from Door Number 3" »

Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to a theater near you

Posted on Sat Mar 27 2010


How to Train Your Dragon, the latest 3-D spectacle, isn't the only entertainment rumbling at the multiplex this weekend. Ultimate Fighting Championship, for the first time, will air a live welterweight fight Saturday night in 300 AMC, Regal and other movie-theater chains via a deal with NCM Fathom. UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET. The UFC, which stages about a dozen pay-per-view events each year for cable and satellite distribution, has pummeled its young male target with marketing for the new venture. There have been trailers on 7,500 screens, e-mail blasts to half a million UFC fans, Google and Yahoo! search-engine marketing, video clips in 600 sports clubs, theater posters, college-newspaper ad buys and grassroots outreach to 500-plus mixed martial arts clubs. The pact calls for more UFC events this year with NCM Fathom, which has screened everything from operas and faith-based movies to Golden Boy Promotions' pro boxing. More info here.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Leave the world a better place, says cremation company's pitch

Posted on Fri Mar 26 2010


Let's all contemplate our mortality, shall we? And this question: Just what kind of dead guy will you be—the afterlife version of a Hummer, resting under a giant marble monument to your fabulousness, or an eco-friendly pile of ashes that can easily fit into an old flower vase? If you're interested in the latter, the Neptune Society would like a word. For the first time ever, the country's largest independent cremation company has launched an ad campaign in USA Today with the tagline: "Think outside the wooden box!" See the full ad here. I'm still trying to decide if that's the best use of marketing jargon ever or the worst. The marketer, aiming to take advantage of a steady uptick in cremations, will run the print ad once a month for the rest of the year. It has the industry stock-in-trade language about planning your great getaway now so your grieving relatives don't have to do it later and saving money by choosing cremation over old-school funeral services. But the hat tip to the environment, referenced in the "Leave the world a better place" kicker? Smart and zeitgeist-y! So there you have it. No matter how green you think you are, apparently pushing up daisies doesn't reduce your carbon footprint.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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