Taco Bell's superheroes aim to do battle with the munchies

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Aug 2 2010
When your target audience is stoners, it stands to reason that you'd throw a few stoners in your ad campaign who play neon Frisbee at night—so trippy!—and come down with a massive case of the munchies. Taco Bell's launched its second animated short video giving college kids the pitch for its now-infamous "fourth meal."  (For the uninitiated, the fourth meal is the one between dinner and breakfast—9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.—that so many of us skip. Then again, lots of us don't. And on campus? Where do you think the freshman 15 comes from?) The ad, via Draftfcb Chicago/Orange County, stars members of the Super Delicious Ingredient Force who, you just have to consider, might've been dipping into the chronic, too. It's a decent parody of superhero cartoons, though watching the whole thing may require a certain wall-eyed stare that's usually associated with being extremely high (or writing about marketing for a living). Anyway, I think I need a burrito now.

Bull's-Eye barbecue sauce is only meant for bold, statue-like men

Posted on Fri Jun 18 2010

You can tell the type of guy he is by the type of sauce he uses when barbecuing. That's according to this new pitch for Kraft Foods' Bull's-Eye, which also happens to be the first time the barbecue-sauce brand has aired a national ad in 15 years. The spot, by Draftfcb in Chicago, is part of a larger campaign now running with the tagline, "The bold choice." It equates barbecuers' use of "bold" sauces (i.e., Bull's-Eye) with a strong character. After all, as the ad says, "They don't build statues of sweet men. Well, they do, but they're called figurines." And who wants to be called that?

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Singing cookies give way to dancing humans in Chips Ahoy! ads

Posted on Fri May 28 2010

What is it about Chips Ahoy! that makes kids start dance, dance, dancing when they see them? Kraft calls it the "little happy cookie dance," referring to what happens when fans of the chocolate-chip cookies see Mom take them out of the cupboard. Now, the food giant has set aside its Cookie Guys—those larger-than-life, clay-animated cookie characters that advertised the brand for eight years—in favor of a campaign showing real people dancing while eating the cookies. The spot here, by Draftfcb, New York, also introduces a new tagline: "There's a lotta joy in Chips Ahoy!" It's set to the tune of the 1979 R&B hit "Bustin' Loose" by Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers. BrandFreak will admit the ads are catchy, but sure does miss those good ol' Cookie Guys. Their sense of humor—despite the threat of always being eaten—extends even to the microwave, as evidenced in this "Big Meltdown" spot.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

You, too, can save the country of Sweden in this viral campaign

Posted on Mon Mar 29 2010


If you saw Service International Union and MoveOn's "Enemy of America" Glenn Beck viral video, you're aware that we've entered an age where stuff like "Elf Yourself" looks laughably primitive. If you haven't seen the "Enemy" video—imagine that someone created a video with Glenn Beck ranting about you and intimate details of your life (which you had providing by agreeing to share your Facebook information). Now, Sweden's TV licensing body, Radiotjänst, and Draftfcb Stockholm are experimenting with the technology, too. Behold this ad, and you will see a dramatic announcement about the "hero" who is making life better for the average Swede—who is making sure they can trust what they see on TV and hear on the radio, and that the voices of the weak are heard. Yes, we're talking about ... me. I got a cheap ego boost watching hordes of Swedes cheering my image on billboards and being referred to as a Swedish hero. Why not try it out as well, at least until every advertiser under the sun runs a similar viral this summer.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Mannings vanquish Trump and Hammond in Oreo cookie contest

Posted on Tue Jan 26 2010

Ah, yes! Just when we thought Donald Trump would get his grubby paws on "milk's favorite cookie" (i.e., Oreo), Kraft Foods on Sunday announced a much more pleasant outcome of its Oreo Double Stuf Racing League challenge. Last year, Trump challenged the Manning brothers—football stars Peyton and Eli—to a contest to determine Oreo's fate. If Trump and his look-alike partner in crime, comedian Darrell Hammond, won, Oreo would become his. But as seen in this spot from Draftfcb New York, the Manning brothers are as good at chomping down Oreo cookies as they are at throwing touchdown passes. (The contest called for players to lick, dunk and eat the cookies, and then show off their victorious milk mustaches to their opponent.) To celebrate the victory, Kraft has been giving out up to 150,000 packages—a "stadium's worth"—of Golden Double Stuf Oreo cookies on its Facebook fan page. It's also offering $1-off coupons. Just don't let Trump, or Hammond, get their hands on them first.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

What is this odd KFC sandwich, and should you be scared of it?

Posted on Wed Aug 26 2009

KFC's new Double Down sandwich raises a lot of questions: Is a sandwich truly a sandwich if it contains no bread? How do you eat this without getting your hands all greasy? Who's it for? Atkins fans? Gastronomic daredevils? Does this thing—which contains two fried chicken fillets, two slices of cheese and two strips of bacon—really clock in at fewer than 600 calories, as KFC claims? Consumers in Providence, R.I., and Omaha, Neb., may be mulling these questions, since those are the only two places you can buy the item right now. But KFC appears to be, uh, greasing the wheels for a national entry. There's a TV ad from Draftfcb, Chicago, that shows a bunch of guys complaining in helium voices that they're tired of chicken sandwiches that have a big bun and little in the way of chicken. Then the Double Down comes along, and they start speaking normally. Despite its limited introduction, the sandwich has gotten considerable buzz. A YouTube version of the Draftfcb ad has gotten more than 180,000 views, and a Fox News report has garnered more than 80,000. That anchor couldn't help musing that this may be the best thing since sliced bread.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Coors Light cools down classic songs in rockin' radio campaign

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009


Coors Light has radio advertising down cold. The beer brand, which has owned the concept of Rocky Mountain cold-refreshment thanks to incessant TV ads and some nifty packaging, has now successfully leveraged radio as well. Its summer campaign from Draftfcb in Chicago takes familiar songs that feature the word "hot" and replaces that word with "cold." The first ad featured a man deadpanning the word "cold" throughout Nelly's "Hot in Herre." This morning, while listening to a classic-rock station, I heard Coors nailed it by tweaking Foreigner's "Hot Blooded." The ad (embedded here) started with the familiar guitar lick, leading me to believe I was going to hear the actual song, until words like "cold," "frosty" and "thermometer" were suspiciously dubbed over key lyrics. It's a nice evolution of the ad campaign. I look forward to hearing what songs they will chill out next. Perhaps Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff," The Power Station's "Some Like It Hot" or maybe the dreaded Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot."

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Smokey Bear, 65, can still kick your irresponsible, oblivious ass

Posted on Wed Jul 1 2009

Smokey Bear turns 65 this year, and to celebrate the beloved forest-fire-prevention mascot reaching retirement age, the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters are running a slew of new PSAs on TV and online. Several spots by Draftfcb show a CGI Smokey teaching people better habits around forests. (They've posted some classic ads online, like this one with Smokey impersonating a sexy woman.) Since his introduction in 1944, Smokey has been credited with helping to reduce the number of acres burned annually by wildfires from 22 million to 7 million. Also, three out of four adults can instantly recall Smokey's favorite phrase, "Only you can prevent wildfires." Still, wildfires remain a problem, and this longtime trooper won't be retiring anytime soon.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Taco Bell employees turn tables on drive-thru rap shenanigans

Posted on Mon Jun 1 2009

Freestyling at the fast-food drive-through has been fashionable lately, and the quick-service clerks must hate it. (Don't pull an Eminem when the person behind you is drooling for that cheeseburger.) This Taco Bell chick, however, fights back in a new spot by Draftfcb Orange County. The ad shows two teens rapping their way through a Taco Bell Grilled Chicken Burrito order: "Don't want to spend dollars, just cents every time. We want grilled chicken for only 89. ... I know I'm talking fast. Did you get all that?" The clerk raps even faster: "Here we go. Watch me flow. Eighty-nine-cent grilled chicken burrito is chicken-licious. ... Hey, you want to keep it going? Let's battle all night." (Her colleague in the back is grooving.) The guys get shamed all right, but not as bad as Rhett and Link.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Windex works great, particularly when there's no glass involved

Posted on Tue Mar 17 2009

The cleanest clean you can get in this world is the invisible, see-nothing kind of clean. That was the thinking behind this ambient campaign for Windex, which recently held a one-week, outdoor street campaign on Chicago's busy Michigan Avenue. Workers dressed in white cleaning suits etched with the tagline "Glass so clean it's invisible" performed improv cleaning routines in the middle of streets, on sidewalks and outside stores, all in an effort to get consumers thinking of the S.C. Johnson brand. Instead of organizing cleaning demonstrations around panels of streak-free glass, the team left it pretty much up to the imagination, by scrubbing away at, yes, thin air. (Draftfcb in Chicago handles the Windex account.) The whole effort resonates with the clean-freaks here at BrandFreak. Argh ... just saw a spot on the monitor!

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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