Conan O'Brien's TBS show proving more than friendly to brands

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Nov 17 2010

Conan-chevy

We've now seen the first brand integration into Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS talk show, and if this is any indication of how marketers like AT&T and Microsoft will share the screen with the lanky host, we say bring it. General Motors, one of the flagship sponsors of the new 11 p.m. chat fest, got a cheeky throwback segment Monday to introduce its "20 Pine Tree Air Fresheners in 20 Nights" sweepstakes. The contest gives away 2011 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in which to hang those "mega-fragrant" deodorizers. With help from audience members and/or ringers in the crowd, O'Brien and sidekick Andy Richter did their best Monty Hall (or would it be Carol Merrill?). They chatted about the 10 airbags, Bluetooth capability, MP3 player and other features of the car, which sells for "less than $17,000 MSRP," while admiring the on-set vehicle. O'Brien said it's so well-equipped for its size that it's nicknamed "the Seth Green." Advertisers including Coca-Cola and News Corp. are paying between $30,000 and $40,000 for 30-second spots on the show, according to The New York Times, putting it in league with rates for Leno and Letterman. Those who'll get product placement and the Coco treatment should consider it money well spent.

Chevrolet drives into 'Hawaii Five-O,' along with defunct Mercury

By David Kiley on Tue Oct 12 2010

Mercuryfive-o

General Motors' Chevrolet division has a product integration deal with CBS and its new hit series Hawaii Five-O. Before I hit on the absurdity of Monday's episode, and how GM factored into the plot, let me take a minute to express my sadness that Ford did not take the opportunity, as it did back in the 1960s with the original show.
  Not only did Steve McGarrett drive big black Mercury cop cars in the original, but the show was filled with Fords driven by bad guys, politicians and the other cops (Chin Ho, played by Kam Fong, and Kono played by Zulu ... why did they change the actors' names anyway?). McGarrett drove a 1967 Merc Marquis, a Merc Park Lane Brougham and then a 1974 Merc Marquis until the show wrapped in 1980. Yes, they had Steve driving a 6-year-old car. I can recall one bad guy who drove an awesome Ford Bronco open-top SUV.
  It's not like Ford could have re-upped with Mercury for the new series. The automaker announced this year that it is phasing out the brand. Still, in the second episode this year, Mercury got a nod when young Steve was in the garage of his just-killed father. In the garage, there was a car with a cover on it. Steve partially pulls the sheet off the nose of the car to show the Mercury name above the grille. That scene has no other purpose but to pay homage to the cars Jack Lord drove in the original. Indeed, actor Alex O'Loughlin, who plays McGarrett, will be seen restoring the old Merc as a sub-plot.

Continue reading "Chevrolet drives into 'Hawaii Five-O,' along with defunct Mercury" »

What's in a name? Chevy ponders question (again) with the Aveo

By David Kiley on Mon Oct 11 2010

2012-Chevrolet-Aveo

In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the latter utters the infamous line: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet."
  That pretty much sums of the attitude of General Motors president Mark Reuss, who has yet another model-naming debacle on his hands. GM is trying, like Ford, to create a roster of global model names. The current problem on the table is Aveo, the little, cut-rate, slow-as-a-Rascal rental car Chevy now sells as its entry-level car (starting price: $11,965). An all-new and pretty respectable Aveo is due out next year. It looks and performs better than the current model in every way. It is called Aveo in other markets. But Reuss is contemplating a name change for the U.S.? Why? He says people aren't sure whether to pronounce it "a-VAY-o" or "A-vee-O" (rhymes with Fabio).
  At GM, naming meetings are the worst, according to insiders. The talk and the numerous PowerPoint presentations (you can't go to the bathroom at GM without a .ppt presentation) revolve around the cost of establishing a new name versus the baggage of the old name. Most meetings are guaranteed to have 50 percent on one side and 50 percent on the other. The most recent example of this was the Buick Regal. For most baby boomers, the dictionary meaning of Regal is "flaccid rental car. Also see: Uncle Morty's car from the '80s with the weird interior cloth that reminded us of Aunt Rose's couch … the one with the funny smell and color that had no name."

Continue reading "What's in a name? Chevy ponders question (again) with the Aveo" »

Howie Long becomes an arrogant ass in new Chevy campaign

Posted on Tue Jan 13 2009

[Reposting this from yesterday, now that we have the ads.] That Howie Long sure is a jerk. Or at least, the Campbell-Ewald copywriters on the new Chevy ads have scripted him to be one. See five ads from the campaign here. In one new Silverado spot, a heavy man gracelessly steps out of the flatbed of a Ford F-150. Long tells the embarrassed-looking fellow that he forgot to put his "man step" up—alluding to a feature on the truck that's evidently for wussies only. Long's delivery completely smacks of the arrogant jock making fun of the fat kid in school. In another ad, Howie ridicules a metrosexual for enjoying his heated steering wheel. But the one I found most absurd was his pitch for the Chevy Traverse. Long takes aim at the Honda Pilot's poor storage capacity. Having owned a Pilot in the past, I know it has tons of storage space. It seems like an odd thing to pick on. Perhaps Long could have just said, "Hey, Honda, up your nose with a rubber hose," or spouted off some "Your mama" jokes. All in all, it's another reason he should never have left those RadioShack ads.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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