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July 2010

Snuggie + Macarena create a potently cheesy combination

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Jul 30 2010
There are precious few reliable sources of entertainment these days—the Real Housewives of New Jersey, Sumner Redstone's sexploits, Mark Zuckerberg's white boy dancing—but allow me to add Snuggie commercials to the list. See the latest here and spend exactly no time wondering why it's set to the Macarena song. It just is. Dubbed "Snugarena," this spot shows how easy it is to go about your everyday life wearing a Snuggie, if your activities include eating fast food, line dancing and sideline cheering, that is. (Hey, the dog can wear one, too!) This ad is supposed to serve as inspiration—as if you need it!—for the ongoing contest for Snuggie video parodies. The winner gets $5,000 and a chance to create the brand's next infomercial. There's also a trip to New York for the first-ever Snuggie Choice Film Awards, where the finalists will be screened and everyone will be wrapped in fleece. See some of the entries so far here. And if that still doesn't waste enough of your day, get Snuggie-fied. It's like Mad Men-ing Yourself, except with a lot more lint.

Don't call it a comeback: Bounty's rapping scientists return

By Elaine Wong on Fri Jul 30 2010
Procter & Gamble's rapping mad scientists are back! In this new spot for Bounty, Mr. Absorbent and Dr. Spotless, as they call themselves, reprise their roles as the music-bopping, dare-loving laboratory brainiacs from the brand¹s first "Bring It!" music video. This time around, the focus isn't on absorbency (i.e. pouring a huge bucket of water over 11 pool balls suspended by a single sheet of Bounty), but the paper towel's ability to immaculately clean up spills. In the video Principal Simmons (hip-hop legend Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons) tells the class two substitute teachers will show up. The duo drives up in a sleek convertible and transform Mr. Lee¹s "Chemistry 101" class into a live science (and music) demonstration. As the two start groovin' and touting Bounty's benefits, the kids all join in (to the point where everyone's dancing in a neon-black background.) Then, of course, ta-da, the demonstration: Bounty paper towels clean up spills better than the "bargain brand," as indicated by an impeccably white hand glove, which goes over the surface. The idea's been done before, but it's got a good beat and you can dance to it, so I'll give it a thumbs up.

Colgate-Palmolive calls out Dove in soap scum fracas

By Todd Wasserman on Thu Jul 29 2010
No one wants to hear that their product is on the scummy side. Hence Colgate-Palmolive's recent challenge to Unilever over a Dove Beauty Bar ad. In advertisements and online videos, the soap is shown to be different from other soaps because it doesn't leave soap scum. Dove's claim in the ad is backed by a putative scientist who explains that the soap doesn't interact with calcium the way other soaps do. Colgate-Palmolive, which makes Irish Spring, disagreed with the assertion and went to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which decided that Dove's claim was bunk and so is a "mirror demonstration" in the ad which NAD believes is rigged. This isn't the first time that Dove has been accused of disingenuous claims in its marketing. According to some reports, the "Real Beauty" ads for the brand were Photoshopped and a recent casting call set exacting terms for what exactly "Real Beauty" is. On the other hand, does anyone believe that the Irishmen in the old Irish Spring really cavorted in cable-knit sweaters, cutting their soap with pocket knives?

Spike TV's Pros vs. Joes gets Amp-ed up for new season

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Jul 29 2010
Mountain-dew-amp  If you were mixing it up with Terrell Owens, Donovan McNabb and Hakeem Olajuwon, you'd probably need an Amp energy drink, too. In this season of Spike TV's Pros vs. Joes, the caffeine-spiked beverage will be littered around the set as regular guys compete against sports legends. (They probably won't have to be persuaded to drink up). Amp gets product integration, along with various on-screen signage, as part of its advertising deal with the popular show, which just launched its fifth season. Other sponsors include Subway, with its endorser Michael Strahan returning as host of the series, and vignettes themed to its "fresh" message. (Fresh Buzz will feature interviews and audition tapes from the Joes; and Fresh Take of the Week will showcase a notable play from the Joes). The U.S. Marines have in-show branding, and Verizon has bought out commercial pods in select episodes. The pro athletes and weekend warriors square off in three-on-three contests in football and basketball this season. Catch the show on Wednesday nights.

Brands line up for Undercover Boss' kid gloves treatment

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Jul 29 2010
Undercover-boss  Producers of the surprise CBS hit Undercover Boss had an uphill slog in the first season getting CEOs of recognizable companies to agree to expose internal flaws and problems for a national prime-time audience. (The docudrama follows that incognito honcho as he finds out about ills in the system and promises to fix them). Now that the show's a ratings winner, bigwigs are coming out of the woodwork to get their brands featured on the feel-good hour. They've also discovered that it's not actually a warts-and-all look into the corporation. More like a couple warts, followed by a quick resolution. Cue tears! CBS just announced the lineup at Wednesday morning's kickoff of the annual Television Critics Association press tour in L.A. Next season, look for top dogs from NASCAR (Steve Phelps, svp and CMO), DirecTV (Mike White, chairman, president and CEO), Chiquita Brands International (Fernando Aguirre, chairman and CEO) and Great Wolf Resorts (Kimberly K. Schaefer, CEO). And definitely expect more water works.

Michael Jordan and that damn mustache return for Hanes

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Jul 28 2010

This latest ad for Hanes starts out promising. A seatmate of Michael Jordan's addresses the NBA legend with a peeve about previous commercials for the underwear maker: "Mike, I've got a little constructive criticism for you. There's one thing I don't like about your commercials..." Now, I know what your thinking. They're finally going to address that Hitler mustache. But no, it turns out to be a dumb rant on another topic. And Jordan is still sporting that 'stache. I realize that he probably shot a series of ads in one day, but couldn't they erase it with CGI? Meanwhile, we'll all keep speculating on why the world's most beloved basketball player continues to offer a furry homage to the world's worst dictator. Best theory: He lost a bet with Charles Barkley.

Abandoned New York storefronts used to shill Bols Genever

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Jul 28 2010
Day As we’ve previously noted, the phenomenon of recession-driven abandoned storefronts has been an opportunity for guerrilla marketers. Where most people see urban blight, they see a canvas for brand promotion. The latest to embrace the idea is Bols, the Dutch distiller, which is promoting its Genever product with abandoned storefront takeovers in New York. The one pictured, in Williiamsburg, features a small slot (between the “f” and the “e” in “perftect”) where passers-by can peer into what looks like a modern art painting/display. (To get a better idea what it looks like, click here.)The slot is also lit up at night, adding to its curiosity factor. That’s just one part of a campaign from Beattie McGuinness Bungay that also includes logoed stainless steel straws at high-end bars and a Facebook page where attendees at Bols’ parties can tag themselves. As for the spirit, it’s been around for a long, long time and is described as tasting like a cross between vodka and scotch.

Eat Pray Love spawns attempt to license, market, profit

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Jul 28 2010

Eat-Pray-Love Fans of the Elizabeth Gilbert travelogue/romance novel Eat Pray Love might've wanted to wrap themselves in a paisley tunic, put Juti sandals on their feet and toss a prayer shawl over their shoulders while writing their own soul-searching prose in a colorful leather journal. Now they can. These items, most of them branded Eat Pray Love after the best-selling book and the upcoming Columbia Pictures movie with Julia Roberts, are available at Cost Plus World Market. There's a whole themed shop-within-a-shop, in fact, featuring copies of the book, Indonesian sarongs, handmade stationery, yoga mats, beaded necklaces, tea pots and meditation bells. (There's also a contest attached that sends winners trekking Gilbert's path through Italy, India and Indonesia). It's not the first time that an upscale adult-targeted flick has created licensed product and/or retail boutiques—see: Sex and the City, Moulin Rouge, Memoirs of a Geisha—but it's an especially clever partnership. The demo of boho World Market shoppers and Gilbert aficionados match up perfectly, and the promotion has just the right mix of function and aspiration. It can live with or without a hit movie. In a word: brilliant. (But don't bet against Roberts—the movie opens Aug. 13. Watch the trailer that recently launched on TV here.)

Peacock mascot's origin story not a proud moment for NBC

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Jul 27 2010
If a network is stinking up the place, aren't fart jokes completely appropriate for a branding spot? That might not have been what animation studio Nathan Love and NBC Artworks had in mind, but that's how this little piece of video reads to me. It's supposed to "explore the origins of the NBC logo," according to the animation house, with a look at how the peacock got its colors. Instead, it may just convey some viewers' reaction to The Marriage Ref. (Read: likely to cause intestinal distress). The network tied for third place with ABC in this past season's ratings race, down 4 percent in viewers from the previous season. (If it hadn't been for the well-watched Winter Olympics, NBC could've claimed the fourth-place network "prize.") Watch the video and feel free to interpret it differently. And give that peacock some Rolaids.

G4 to become 4G for the week, confusing old people

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Jul 27 2010

Images In the tech world, 4G stands for fourth-generation cellular infrastructure. On the TV dial, G4 stands for...who knows? So does it make a difference if one swaps out for the other? Probably not. It makes marketing sense, says Sprint Nextel, a brand that's inked an unprecedented deal to rename a cable network to reflect the product it's hawking at the moment. G4, the channel best known for nerd-friendly "it" girl Olivia Munn and loads of video game coverage, becomes 4G this week. Along with the new moniker, the network will feature a number of on-air graphics, vignettes and branded entertainment segments that will weave the Evo 4G next-generation smart phone into series like Attack of the Show and X-Play. That's in addition to media buys that will tout the wireless device. The rabid gamer fans of this network, accustomed to seeing consumer products embedded in their video games, may not consider the promotion an intrusion. Sprint hopes they get the message, though, because G4 caters to just the coveted 18-to-34-year-old influencer audience that's a prime target for new internet-enabled gadgets. It's an interesting experiment that could probably only happen on a low-rated, eager-to-please-advertisers cable channel. In other words, don't expect ABC to suddenly become ABC Carpet & Home or USA Network to be US Airways.



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