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June 2010

Crunchy Cheetos and Puffy Cheetos fight to death in Web game

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

Cheetos

"Everyone appreciates a good food fight. So does Cheetos," writes our snack contact at PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay. (Hell yes!) The opponents in a new online Battle of the Cheetos game from the cheese-curl brand are Crunchy Cheetos and Puffy Cheetos. Choose one or the other, and let's hope your warrior is tough enough "to survive and not turn to crumbs," writes the Frito-Lay rep. You can play on your own or against friends who happen to be online (hey, this is the digital/social age). To make your army stronger, simply collect more "Cheetle" (that's brand-speak for Cheeto crumbs). The game is supported online by a range of partner sites, including Break.com, Digg and Boing Boing. We just tried the game. Team Puffy. Argh, Chester, we let you down!

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Wieden ads put Old Spice back in touch with its seafaring roots

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

If you've seen the Old Spice ads featuring a swarthy and shirtless ex-football pro Isaiah Mustafa, you've seen the latest hot dude sending the message you can blame Axe for telling not-so-hot dudes back in 2005: Psst, dudes, if your armpits smell good, you'll get some. But enough of that. Look a bit more closely at these spots from Wieden + Kennedy and you'll see something else at work: The crafty return of a device that built Old Spice into one of the first dude brands of the 20th century: the ocean.

Continue reading "Wieden ads put Old Spice back in touch with its seafaring roots" »

Old El Paso gets in melodramatic mood with a telenovela parody

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

Old-el-paso

Old El Paso, the Mexican-food brand, has advertised during soap operas before (this gem from 1997 aired during Days of Our Lives) but now, thanks to Fjord, the interactive division of Cossette, they made one. Titled Mi Marido, Mi Angel (My Husband, My Angel), it's a Spanish soap-opera parody that mines all the traditional genre jokes. The difference here is that the moms who apparently watch this sort of thing can customize each of the show's three episodes with Facebook Connect. Prepare for a lot of out-of-sequence shirtless hunk montages. Or, if you're Canadian, you can catch the show on CTV, because they actually picked it up. Somehow, I don't think it's as "indistinguishable" from shows like Lost as the agency wants it to be, but whatever. It's also not too much different from the good old days when programs were outright sponsored by one or two companies. They didn't create the show, of course, which is the main difference here, but the concept is as old as the hills. All the same, it's a worthy, if culturally insensitive, bragging point for the brand.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Insurance companies race to help you prepare for Hurricane Alex

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

Catastrophe

The advent of social media has prompted a new style of communication between brands and consumers: pre-emptive communication. If you've friended Progressive, State Farm or Allstate on Facebook, for instance, you will have received tips from them in your Facebook stream on how to prepare for Hurricane Alex. I'll have to assume Allstate's five tips aren't rated in order of importance (No. 1: Check your insurance coverage. No. 5: Plan your evacuation.) Progressive, meanwhile, earns points for focusing on safety (as does State Farm) but loses a couple for alternating its dire warning with a prompt to see a new ad starring spokeswoman Flo and Pickles, a dog that does tricks.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Dove is seeking more 'real women,' but they shouldn't be too real

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

Dove

What's been real about Dove's "Campaign for Real beauty"? Is it the non-models used on billboards, TV spots and print ads? Or the supposed lack of airbrushing that didn't shave off pounds or years? Was it the breakthrough concept that there's no one definition of beauty—i.e., the size-0 supermodel variety—and that women are gorgeous in all shapes, sizes and colors? Well, that's the theory. Now, I'm rethinking all that goodwill the marketer built up in light of a Craigslist casting call for participants for the next flight of Dove commercials. A few of the requirements: "beautiful arms and legs and face," "flawless skin, no tattoos or scars," "naturally fit, not too curvy, not too athletic." So, as long as you're perfect and blemish-free, and qualify on all the other levels, feel free to step up and get photographed in a towel for the chance to sell soap and lotions. (There's as much as $4,000 in it for you!) Hat tip to Jezebel for pointing out the Craigslist ad. Dove has responded by saying it didn't approve the wording of the ad, telling StyleList: "Unfortunately, this casting notice was not approved by the brand or agency team and did not reflect the spirit of the brand team's vision. We appreciate that this has been brought to our attention, and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future. We believe our images demonstrate that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and we remain committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising." Still, just how real is their campaign? Really disappointing.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Pepto-Bismol finally sponsoring Nathan's hot-dog-eating contest

Posted on Tue Jun 29 2010

Nathans

Even professional eaters, it would appear, get tummy aches. Or maybe the Pepto-Bismol sponsorship of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest this weekend is aimed at those of us watching fully grown adults shoveling food into their mouths with reckless abandon. Somebody's likely to puke, and it probably won't be the tiny Japanese guy who wins every competitive-eating contest on the planet (if he makes it this year). There's maybe no more logical marriage of brand and event than this. But you have to ask yourself, is any of this really necessary? And why does it commemorate the Fourth of July? Freedom to binge! The Pepto deal comes on the heels of a Zantac promotion with Travel Channel and Man vs. Food, with the brand setting up an interactive exhibit—with samples, coupons, episodes of the show and other attractions—at outdoor fairs and food festivals where people are likely to stuff their faces. Check out the video interview with George Shea, mastermind of the annual Nathan's contest and the Major League Eating phenom (it's going global, people!). And try to hold down your lunch.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Walmart returns for another season of 'My Manny' sitcom shorts

Posted on Tue Jun 29 2010

My-manny

There's a question swirling around the would-be couple at the center of the My Manny videos that may be even more pressing than, "Will they or won't they hook up?" And it's this: "What will they buy at Walmart?" The retail behemoth is sponsoring this season of the branded entertainment shorts, airing on TBS during Tyler Perry's sitcom Meet the Browns and online. My Manny launches its fourth season on Wednesday with hardworking single mom Jennifer finally agreeing to date Mike, the "manny" to her young son, even though it may get complicated. Nothing a trip to Walmart can't fix! The marketer will have extensive product placement in the videos, including a Fourth of July shopping spree to get ready for a backyard barbecue. Walmart, which also sponsored last season's two-minute vignettes, has layered on an interactive shopping video on TBS.com, where fans can get information about the products shown in the sitcom-esque clips. Next up: Jennifer primps for a night out with cosmetics, jewelry and an outfit from Walmart, while Mike cruises the store to load up on toys/bribes for the kid, while Grandpa/new babysitter makes dinner from Walmart's vast fresh food supply. … Oh, this could go on and on. And it just might.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Abraham Lincoln still tops among your dead-president endorsers

Posted on Tue Jun 29 2010

The hottest star in commercials these days is our 16th president. We're used to seeing Abe Lincoln in Presidents Day sales, but now he's positively everywhere. The latest example is Geico, which follows the question "Can switching to Geico really save you 15 percent or more?" with "Was Abe Lincoln honest?" The answer, as we soon see, is that he was so honest, he couldn't even bat away the question "Does this make me look fat?" from his wife. In addition to the Geico ad, a green Abe is also starring in an ad for TD Bank. Lincoln also used to appear in ads with a beaver for the sleep drug Rozerem. And strangest of all (yes, stranger even than that Rozerem ad), he appears in a zombified state in an ad for Alabama Congressional candidate Rick Barber comparing the healthcare bill to slavery. On the eve of our nation's birthday, I, like Barber, feel I have to speak out: Hey, advertisers, leave Abe alone. He's not the freakin' Burger King.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Charlotte, N.C., tops America's Manliest Cities survey by Combos

Posted on Mon Jun 28 2010

Combos

This was a pretty well kept secret, but according to Combos, the salty snacks made by Mars, Los Angeles is wussyville. Must be all the Pinkberry fro-yo shops we have here. In the brand's second annual America's Manliest Cities survey, Charlotte, N.C., ranked at the top on the testosterone-laden scale, while L.A., Miami and Portland, Ore., dragged up the rear. (Charlotte had an inside line on this, if you ask me, because it's home to Nascar, for which Combos has been "the official cheese-filled snack" since 2002.) The study judged 50 U.S. cities on criteria like how many pickup trucks and motorcycles they have per capita, the availability of steak houses, pro athletics and home improvement stores and, of course, Combos consumption. They're also rated by their manly occupations—lots of firefighters, cops and mechanics push the numbers higher—and manly leisure activities. (L.A. probably lost points for all its non-manly mani pedis.) Oklahoma City, for the second year in a row, led the study in its salty-snack sales, driving up the city's ranking (and, no doubt, its blood pressure). New York only got to No. 35, while Midwestern cities like Chicago and Kansas are near the top. (Could it be all that barbecue?) The Combos brand launched a Zone Sweet Home sweepstakes along with the research, offering guys a manly home theater, gaming systems and other gadgets.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

AT&T creates lavish undersea adventure in 3-D in new BBDO ad

Posted on Mon Jun 28 2010

Moviegoers would be forgiven for assuming this latest AT&T "Rethink possible" ad is a coming attraction for Finding Nemo 2. Shot in 3-D, the BBDO-produced animated spot shows a small fish trying to squirrel away a small orange ball. Being a small fish, he gets harassed by bigger fish and eventually drops his prize. Then he breaks away toward a light visible above the surface. Looking over the waterline, he spots endless trees dropping the orange balls. The message: Look beyond your current comfort zone, and you may be lavishly rewarded. Or something like that. Does it relate to AT&T? Yeah, I guess, if you think about it. Maybe more if you look at the big picture: AT&T has produced a cinematic 3-D spot with an original score, therefore allowing viewers to rethink what's possible in a TV/cinema spot. Note: A BBDO rep said the spot, which was produced with movie audiences in mind, made its debut yesterday during ESPN's 3-D's coverage of the World Cup.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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