Polaroid and Vitaminwater caught up in CW's 'Gossip Girl' drama

Posted on Wed Apr 7 2010

Lady Gaga. Gossip Girl. Assassin. Polaroid. What do these things have in common? I asked myself that question during Monday night's episode of Gossip Girl on the CW. (Big fan—don't judge me.) And I've started to connect the dots, so try to keep up, OK? Lady Gaga had a much-buzzed-about cameo on the soapy series last fall. Then, a couple of months later, she became Polaroid's creative director and inventor of specialty products. On Monday's GG, Serena organized an elaborate game of Assassin for hot boyfriend Nate's birthday. Centerpiece of the game: Polaroids hanging around every player's neck. Lose your pic, lose your "life." The camera dispensing the photos got screen time, as did plenty of Upper East Siders' mug shots on Polaroid instant film. Coincidence? I think not. Maybe one of Lady Gaga's job responsibilities is to get Polaroid placed on as many hip, young TV shows as possible. She already did her part in her own new music video for the single "Telephone." (Or more likely, there's a deeper relationship between network and brand.) Bloggers and fans are chattering about the episode—"Blair and Chuck broke up? What, what, what?"—but mostly about whether rich prep schoolers in Manhattan would play a nerdy game like Assassin. (Consensus: Sure, why not?) I say it was a prime opportunity for Polaroid placement, and the CW, keen on such deals, took full advantage. Also Monday night: a cool, vintage-looking vignette of Chuck Bass, the ultimate ladies man, sponsored by Vitaminwater, a brand that's had prominent placement on the show before. CW integration folks, give yourselves a raise!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

You, too, can dress exactly like Serena, Blair, Jenny and Vanessa

Posted on Wed Feb 17 2010

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Gossip Girl has been a major influence on hot young things' fashion choices since it launched three seasons ago, and now the CW show is getting into the rag trade itself with a line of branded frocks. That term seems appropriate because a) it's a group of dresses and b) said garments will appear at a proper-sounding U.K. retailer called Miss Selfridge, via a deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products. There will be eight outfits (yet to be unveiled) inspired by the show's costume designer, Eric Daman, and based on four main female characters: Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Jenny Humphrey and Vanessa Abrams. The choices include a leopard-print boho maxi dress, a ruffle-front shift dress with floral skirt, a black body con bandage dress and a nude-and-black lace tutu. If you don't know which design stems from which spoiled Upper East Sider, then you have some reruns to watch. The series, which has been on a scheduled hiatus, comes back March 8. (The CW said Tuesday that it's ordered season 4.) No doubt the U.K. launch is a test. There's no word yet if the clothes will make an appearance stateside.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Virgin America flight attendants to show off high life in CW series

Posted on Thu Sep 24 2009

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Remember that swinging-'60s saying, "Coffee, tea or me?" That's when flying was special, stewardesses were hot, and Austin Powers drank himself silly and chased them around the plane on transatlantic jaunts. Memory jogged now? If you still need help, the CW network plans version 2.0, an unscripted docu-drama that promises some vestiges of the days when traveling was a luxurious affair and flight attendants (all of them female) were considered party hostesses in the sky. Fly Girls, with eight half-hour episodes scheduled for a midseason launch, follows "five beautiful Virgin America flight attendants" who really are "down-to-earth" but "happen to have landed in an exceptionally glamorous, high-flying career filled with exotic locations and handsome strangers," according to CW exec Kristen Vadas. Last time I flew anywhere, it was like riding a giant city bus at 35,000 feet. The flight attendants seemed nearly as miserable as I was, maybe because they were schlepping oversized bags of crap and trying to pacify screaming babies, instead of serving cocktails and freshening their makeup. But then, it wasn't Virgin America, which already has a cool aura that's likely to be enhanced by this loving TV exposure. Wonder if it'll do the same for the profession itself, which could coin a new tagline: "Coffee, tea or reality?"

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

CW holding blood drives to give 'The Vampire Diaries' some bite

Posted on Wed Aug 26 2009

It's tough for the undead these days. First, they're expected to drink a tepid synthetic blood substitute instead of the real deal in HBO's True Blood. (And warming the stuff up in the microwave doesn't seem to help.) And now the CW is promoting its upcoming drama The Vampire Diaries with a blood drive under the tagline, "Starve a vampire. Donate blood." The stunt, happening at more than 200 high schools and colleges over the next five weeks, will dole out themed swag and "special snacks" for those who donate to the American Red Cross. (The newly drained will be able to watch scenes from The Vampire Diaries while they recover their strength.) Support includes cast appearances, PSAs, college-newspaper ads, fliers, posters, Channel One News, digital and online efforts from the CW and Alloy Media and Marketing (whose sister division, Alloy Entertainment, is one of the show's producers). The Vampire Diaries launches Sept. 10. The blood-drive idea isn't new, but it's been effective for entertainment properties in the past. Lionsgate has been sponsoring drives since 2004 for its Saw franchise. (Those sexy/creepy nurse posters work every time.) There's another one planned for Saw VI, which premieres Oct. 23, under the perennial tagline, "Give 'til it hurts." There's lots of bloodshed in this Saw series, but at least they're not trying to deprive a vamp of a good meal.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

'Beautiful Life' is about runway models, but ads skimp on clothes

Posted on Thu Aug 20 2009

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From the folks who brought us the infamous "OMFG" ads for Gossip Girl (you know the ones—intertwined limbs, simulated sex) comes a campaign for new melodrama The Beautiful Life. And it has even fewer clothes! (Links to three more ads are available here.) It's a show about runway models, but all they seem to be wearing are their birthday suits. (Damn recession!) The CW, the network that caters mostly to young girls and lives to court controversy, is tossing out this campaign knowing it'll shake up the Parents Television Council and their ilk. In fact, execs are probably counting on it to get extra mileage for The Beautiful Life's launch on Sept. 16. So far, the new series has had some early, ahem, exposure from star Mischa Barton's recent trip to the hospital for "personal issues." But that's probably not enough to put it in the buzzed-about Gossip Girl league. Time to bare some boobage! (The CW isn't alone in this. Check out NBC's new ad for Heroes. Our brother blog The Live Feed asks: Share the cleavage, save the show?)

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

New York TV station's bus ads recall a golden age of dumbness

Posted on Fri Jan 9 2009

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New Yorkers of a certain age may have noticed bus ads around town for the local CW affiliate WPIX-TV that read, "I ♥ PIX." The reference made BrandFreak flash back to the 1980s, when WPIX pioneered a forerunner of Internet gaming (that's probably overstating it) with a show called TV PIXX.
  Here's how it worked: The station would call a local kid who had sent in a postcard and put him or her on the air. The kid would tune into Channel 11 and play a video game live, shooting bullets by saying the word "pix" into the phone. (The smarter kids figured out that saying "Pix, pix, pix, pix" as fast as they could worked better than trying to time their shots more deliberately.) It was one of the stoopidest/most brilliant promotions ever.
  The new campaign has nothing to do with TV PIXX. It's for the channel's morning show. But Jessica Bellucci, the station's PR manager, is a TV PIXX fan herself, and says one of the perks of the job is that she's met engineers who manned the controls back in the day. Plus, she says, "I keep hearing that we should bring [TV PIXX] back. There's been talk of that, so stay tuned."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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