Become an Arby's mascot with chain's Juniorize Me online app

By Elena Malykhina on Mon Jul 19 2010


To promote its new Jr. Deluxe value-menu sandwich, Arby's has launched its first online application that allows consumers to morph themselves into the fast-food chain's 3-D animated Junior character. The Juniorize Me app uses imaging technology that transforms a photo once it's been uploaded. Users can add an audio message to the character—either a male or female voice—and share it with friends on social nets, blogs or via e-mail. While similar apps from other brands may be ambiguous at times, the advertising message isn't lacking in Arby's case. Junior holds an Arby's meal in his hands, while his hat reads: "Arby's roast beef sandwich is delicious." The fast feeder is touting the new app everywhere, including its Facebook page. I tried uploading my own photo, but the end result was too creepy to share with the world. (The robotic voice made it even creepier.) Don't take my word for it though. Try it for yourself.

Reckitt Benckiser's idea of fun is working at Reckitt Benckiser

By Elena Malykhina on Wed Jul 14 2010


Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a marketing executive at a large company (if you're not one already)? Thanks to social media, and a new game from packaged-goods maker Reckitt Benckiser, you don't have to wait to land an actual job to find out. A new game, dubbed poweRBrands, is now live on Facebook. It lets you (virtually) join the firm as a marketing executive, and move up the corporate ladder by completing various tasks. The ultimate reward? Becoming president of Reckitt. According to the company, the game is part of an initiative to "make learning about our industry and marketing both relevant and fun." PoweRBrands is aimed at 18- to 30-year-olds, or those who may be early in their careers and looking to learn how Reckitt's marketing division operates. Come on, marketing must be as fun as farming, right? This is yet another example of a company using social-media games to raise brand awareness. See more examples in our special issue this week on digital gaming.

KFC offering free food in exchange for your World Cup vuvuzela

By Elena Malykhina on Tue Jul 13 2010


The World Cup has come to an end. Some are celebrating Spain's victory, others are mourning the Netherlands defeat, but most are just wondering what to do with their vuvuzelas. KFC has come up with a solution for the latter. The fast-food chain has kicked off a "Vuvuzela Exchange Program," which urges soccer fans to mail in their noisemakers. The first 500 people to do so by July 15 will receive a gift check for a KFC Doublicious sandwich. KFC says its goal is to cheer up bummed-out fans with some free comfort food. Of course, it's also a smart way to drive traffic to restaurants. My question is: What will KFC do with all those vuvuzelas? Anyway, here's the address:

KFC Corporate Headquarters
Attention: Vuvuzela Exchange Program
1900 Colonel Sanders Lane
Louisville, KY 40213

Martha Goodbody out to spoil fun of Stride's Mega Mystery gum

Posted on Thu Jun 24 2010

Every good story needs a villain. For Stride's Mega Mystery gum, it's Martha Goodbody. Martha has formed a group called C.R.A.M.M. (Concerned Relatives Against Mega Mystery), and she's determined to ruin the fun by unveiling the secret flavor of the Stride gum. In this video, Martha is getting ready for a press conference. Meanwhile, a nosy teenage girl and a cameraperson are shown secretly taping Martha discussing her big flavor reveal. This is only one in a series of videos created by Stride to market the Mega Mystery gum, including an elaborate April Fool's stunt.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

New Balance footwear getting in a patriotic mood this summer

Posted on Thu Jun 10 2010


When times are tough, patriotism is one way to lift spirits. I'm guessing the underperforming retail market is part of the reason (if not the main reason) why New Balance has slapped a red, white and blue logo on its website and debuted a new online video that carries the tagline: "Committed to American workers." In the video, posted after the jump and narrated by motorsports broadcast announcer Dr. Jerry Punch, the Home Depot pit crew of Joe Gibbs Racing is invited to swap jobs for a day with New Balance factory workers in Skowhegan, Maine. The video makes several references to New Balance shoes being U.S.-manufactured. For instance, a worker is shown putting a "Made in the U.S.A." sticker on the shoes, while a Home Depot crew member says he admires New Balance because it keeps American workers employed. Later, New Balance associates are shown switching jobs with the Home Depot pit crew, and performing maintenance on a Nascar race car. The video leaves you with a happy, all-American feeling and this statistic: "1 in every 4 pairs of shoes we sell in North America are made in the U.S." On a larger scale, the brand is kicking off a national awareness campaign this summer that will include in-store materials and footwear hangtags. So, even if you missed the online video, you won't miss the "Made in the U.S.A." messaging when you're buying New Balance shoes.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Continue reading "New Balance footwear getting in a patriotic mood this summer" »

Semifinalists crank it up in search for next FreeCreditScore band

Posted on Tue Jun 8 2010


It's no secret that Experian is saying goodbye to its band. The credit bureau is searching for a replacement band as it reinvents itself as The band search was announced last month, and this week 12 semifinalists have been chosen from live performances held in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Visitors to are asked to vote for four finalists. The company is accepting online video submissions through June 16—it has collected 31 so far—and bands from that pool can be voted into the final round, too. Then things will really get competitive, as Experian dangles a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to become the next face of, among other rewards. Based on the feedback we received to a story I wrote on, consumers aren't exactly thrilled about the departure of the old band. Those guys have apparently made a long-lasting impression, and Experian must now face a bunch of unhappy groupies.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

WNBA's New York Liberty taking a gamble with Foxwoods logo

Posted on Fri Jun 4 2010


Logos are everywhere! If you don't believe me, check out the new jerseys of the WBNA's New York Liberty. Starting this week, the team's uniform will sport the Foxwoods Resort Casino logo, as part of a multi-year deal. The Liberty will unveil the logo during a game at Mohegan Sun on Friday. Foxwoods claims it's the first resort/casino to have branding on the front of a professional sports jersey. But like many other brands, Foxwoods is tapping into the world of sports for a little extra exposure. Sports fans are already bombarded with brand messages on stadium signage, billboards and concession stands. Foxwoods is taking that to the next level by ensuring that its name gets noticed each time a player dribbles a basketball.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Skky happy to put a cocktail in your hand for 'Sex and the City 2'

Posted on Wed May 26 2010


As Sex and the City 2 hits U.S. movie theaters on Thursday, women across the country will be organizing ladies' nights to mark the occasion. (I know, because my girlfriends are among them.) As is the case with other potential high-grossing films, marketers like Skyy Vodka are jumping at the opportunity for tie-ins. The spirits brand partnered with T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants to offer patrons Sex and the City-themed cocktails. With names like Park Avenue Princess and Glamour Gal, the pink-hued drinks are sure to cater to the female demographic. Or so Skyy Vodka thinks. You won't see Carrie Bradshaw sipping a beer or Jack and Coke, but I know plenty of women who do. Marketers may risk turning off some women with "girlie" stereotypes. But then again, Sex and the City is as girlie as it gets. So, pink drinks with glamorous names are a perfect fit.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Behind every cool kid is a hip and happening JanSport backpack

Posted on Thu May 20 2010

Every marketer's goal is to establish a brand that is widely recognized by consumers and, ultimately, one that becomes part of the culture. JanSport says it has achieved such status and released this ad to show the popularity of its brand. The video, from ad agency Creature in Seattle (with help from digital studio TEAK), is titled "500 Pine St.," and starts out as a four-screen color montage showing young people in parks and on the streets, painting murals and having picnics. A JanSport backpack flashes on the screen, and the montage turns to black and white shots of Seattle. As the video returns to a montage, people are seen at dance parties and concerts, wearing JanSport backpacks—even a DJ sports one. The ad ends with the tag: "Discover freedom." It's obvious from the video that JanSport's idea of freedom is the art and club scene, where people express their individuality, but there's one thing that ties them all together: the JanSport trend. Even the choice of music fits in with the theme. The song heard in the background is by an indie band called the Broaderick. I don't see many JanSports on the streets of New York. But maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places. I probably need to find out where all the cool kids are.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Holiday Inn the latest to revoke its hospitality toward Glenn Beck

Posted on Fri May 14 2010


This will come as a surprise (well, not really), but another sponsor has reportedly pulled its ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News show. Holiday Inn has stopped running commercials during the show, per The hotelier joins dozens of companies boycotting Beck following his controversial broadcast last July when he called president Obama a "racist." Like other brands, Holiday Inn has deemed the show's content questionable and is worried about upsetting consumers. Among other advertisers who have done the same are General Mills, Geico and AT&T. The man has clearly pissed off a lot of brands, since the Glenn Beck Program is now losing more than 50 percent of its weekly ad revenue due to the boycott, according to reports. It will be interesting to see how long the show will go on without much ad support.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina



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