Skittles, Comedy Central team up for some online time-wasters

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010

Skittles-pop

Skittles wants you to "play the rainbow." The Wrigley candy has teamed up with Comedy Central to launch a gaming arcade on ComedyCentral.com. One is a "Snood-like puzzle" called Skittles Pop in which you shoot similar-colored Skittles into a cloud of candies to make them "pop." (Line them up incorrectly, or have poor aiming skills, and the sky of Skittles slowly builds up to suffocate you.) The arcade consists of six "fun games for bored people," including "Important Things with Demetri Martin" and "Michael & Michael Have Issues." There will also be an "addictive soccer game" launching soon, Comedy Central tells us. Said Rebecca Keszkowski, vp of digital integrated marketing at MTV Networks' Entertainment Group: "We developed this concept to connect [the] humor of Comedy Central digital with Skittles' sensibilities. We wanted to create an interactive experience for fans to virtually taste the rainbow of Skittles and engage with [its] brand and brand message."

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Jon Stewart looks at mascots gone bad after firing of Geico guy

Posted on Wed Apr 28 2010

Without Jon Stewart's brand of in-depth investigation, I never would've known that the Pillsbury Doughboy engaged in some questionable behavior with a strudel or that the helping hand from Hamburger Helper had a Nazi past. On Stewart's late-night Comedy Central series, The Daily Show, those and other secrets came out during a segment on the voice actor from Geico who lost his job recently after questioning the mental capacity of conservative FreedomWorks members. Stewart figured it was as good a time as any to look at spokescharacters (purportedly) going off the rails. There was that Tony the Tiger mauling incident, and the Michelin man's sex trafficking charges. (Great mug shot!) Check out the clip, really, it'll explain everything.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

EA Sports, Tiger Woods take a beating in 'South Park' premiere

Posted on Thu Mar 18 2010

Hard to settle on just one favorite moment from last night's South Park season premiere, with its "preview" of the new EA Sports video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011. But it might be this: Kenny schools Cartman as Elin slices Tiger with a 7-iron in a game that looks less like a PGA tourney and more like Mortal Kombat. "Oh man, I just lost another endorsement," Cartman says. "How'd you do that?" Kenny's a sly little devil who apparently knows a thing or two about brand retreat in the face of controversy. He's also a really good Xbox 360 player, so he figured out a way to administer a beat down while hitting Tiger where it really hurts—in the pocketbook. Shades of real life! The fourth graders of South Park marveled at the violent video game, with Cartman saying, "EA Sports really outdid itself this time," and Stan deciding golf wasn't so boring after all if there's fighting and F-bombs. The Comedy Central show, an equal-opportunity offender and still the network's highest-rated show, makes fun of sex addiction, the CDC, David Letterman and Swedish accents here. So, EA Sports wasn't alone in having its name raked over the coals. Wonder if they're laughing?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Why should we believe Domino's now if they were lying before?

Posted on Mon Jan 11 2010

Hawking a product as "new and improved" has to be one of the oldest tricks in advertising, but Domino's has gone one better (or worse) with a new campaign that touts a from-the-ground-up rebuild of their pizzas. Why was that necessary? Because the old ones tasted like crap, according to the commercials themselves, which quote liberally from consumers who obviously weren't stoned enough to look past the ketchup-y sauce, cardboard crust and toppings of questionable origin. The irony of this campaign—look, real cheese now, we promise!—isn't lost on Stephen Colbert, who props up and deflates brands, including his Comedy Central show's sponsors, with equal gusto. Colbert last week named Domino's his Alpha Dog of the Week for "having the meatballs to say, 'We suck,' " while never apologizing for the steady stream of garbage they'd been shoveling out for years. To drive the point home, The Colbert Report compiled a highlight reel of prior Domino's ads claiming delicious, cheesy goodness and then showed the current CEO talking about "weakness in the core product." Colbert choked up on a taste test of the revamped recipe. If consumers do the same, we'll probably be hearing about that in the next round of advertising. Eat up, America!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Old Spice burnishes geek credentials with 'Krod Mandoon' deal

Posted on Mon Apr 6 2009

There's a six-degrees-of-separation thing going on here, so try to keep up, OK?
  Bruce Campbell starred in the cult-classic Evil Dead movies and also in an Old Spice ad campaign not long ago that played to his geeks-in-the-know fan base. Comedy Central is launching a new series in the Evil Dead vein: a fantasy action series called Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire that's a little Hercules and Xena and a lot of righteous warriors, evil rulers and exaggerated British accents. Ergo, Old Spice is sponsoring the premiere of Krod Mandoon with limited commercial interruption. You follow?
  The marketer, apparently a fan of genre-bending parody for young males, will be the exclusive sponsor of the one-hour series launch, airing this Thursday. And with the deal, Comedy Central gets into the game that a lot of cable channels and networks have been playing for some time—namely, selling a highly touted episode to a single advertiser. Old Spice will use the time to air its centaur spot. You know, the disconcerting one from Wieden + Kennedy and Digital Domain that lets us peek at a half-man/half-horse while he's sudsing up in the shower. Now, if the centaur could just get a Krod Mandoon cameo appearance, everything would be connected.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Colbert doesn't want his likeness on just any old Iranian product

Posted on Fri Mar 13 2009

It's perfectly OK for Stephen Colbert to endorse Slice, Doritos, Spider-Man comics and a dehydrated Colombian energy drink, but it's another matter entirely when somebody steals his likeness for an ad, or as the late-night host said Thursday night, tries to "take a ride on the Colbert turnpike without paying the toll." How dare they?
  Colbert found out that a clothing store in Iran was using a purloined photo of his mug to promote a 20 percent off "Persian New Year" clothing sale. He'll have no part in advertising these "slacks-es of evil," he said, and came up with a tit-for-tat sponsorship (of a fake product) for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That must be the Colbert equivalent of a cease and desist. Watch the video—you'll be glad you did.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

'South Park' takes the piss out of Pepsi with its own giddy spots

Posted on Mon Mar 9 2009

Sp-promos

The candy-colored Pepsi campaign was ripe for parody, and who better to do so than the kids of South Park? Comedy Central is airing a series of South Park promos that look just like the relentlessly peppy "Refresh everything" Pepsi commercial. Check out several of the promos here. Promoting the upcoming 13th season of South Park, they enliven Pepsi's transparent marketing message with disembodied heads and catch phrases (and sometimes gibberish) from the network's most-watched show. They're clearly having fun at the expense of the peace-and-love Pepsi vibe, as Cartman spouts his infamous "Screw you guys, I'm going home" and also offers up the lesser-known but still brilliant "Oh my Jesus Christ monkey balls." Sweeeet.
  The spots came from Comedy Central's in-house team of writer/producer Sarah Jackson, broadcast designer Dana Kinlaw, and director of on-air creative Jeffrey Blackman. South Park, no stranger to skewering well-known brands (and world leaders, celebrities, God, mom, apple pie, etc., etc.), kicks off its new season on Wednesday.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Visa and Tom's of Maine suffer at the hands of Stephen Colbert

Posted on Thu Feb 12 2009

Stephen Colbert is a friend to product integration—just ask Doritos, Wikipedia and Dr Pepper. But Visa and Tom's of Maine didn't fare so well during The Colbert Report on Tuesday night. Colbert, tongue in cheek, attacked an ad for the Visa Black card as just another sign of Age of Obama discrimination against white folks like himself. He was outraged! He took a line from one of the ads, "The Visa Black card is not for everyone," as a slight, and came up with a new tagline: "Visa. It's everywhere you want to be. Unless that place is a Jimmy Buffett concert."
  He also took a swipe at Tom's of Maine, the line of all-natural products, when he showed a clip of Obama talking about the economy shedding 598,000 jobs recently—the equivalent of every job in the state of Maine. "No, not Maine!" Colbert said as a picture of Tom's popped up. "Then where would we get our deodorant that doesn't work?"

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Demetri Martin mastering the art of low-tech social-network ads

Posted on Tue Feb 10 2009

It's not often that I write a fan letter, so you know I'm being sincere when I drop Demetri Martin a mushy note on MySpace to compliment him on his awesome moptop hairdo and stoner-comedy show, Important Things With Demetri Martin, which debuts on Comedy Central on Wednesday. The Viacom network has been plugging the program regularly for a month or so on air, and Demetri even got a little (hair and) face time during Sunday's Grammy Awards telecast on CBS. But on Monday evening, a MySpace bulletin from the Gen Y comic with the subject line "these = printable flyers for new comedy central show" was posted as a personal note to me (and Martin's other 145,473 site friends) in his own special, no-frills, Post-It-note style: "hi. i made these flyers for my show," the note began. "if you have time/interest, feel free to print one and tape it up somewhere. the show premieres on wednesday on comedy central at 10:30pm/9:30pm central. thanks. i hope you are doing well. demetri."
  The missive was followed by a quartet of hand-scribbled anti-ads with captivating headlines like "This is a flyer," "IGNORE THIS extremely new and good tv show" and "HOLY SHIT!" Golden lightning bolts were added for urgency and emphasis. God only knows what this kid has planned for Facebook.

—Posted by Beck Ebenkamp


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