Charlotte, N.C., tops America's Manliest Cities survey by Combos

Posted on Mon Jun 28 2010

Combos

This was a pretty well kept secret, but according to Combos, the salty snacks made by Mars, Los Angeles is wussyville. Must be all the Pinkberry fro-yo shops we have here. In the brand's second annual America's Manliest Cities survey, Charlotte, N.C., ranked at the top on the testosterone-laden scale, while L.A., Miami and Portland, Ore., dragged up the rear. (Charlotte had an inside line on this, if you ask me, because it's home to Nascar, for which Combos has been "the official cheese-filled snack" since 2002.) The study judged 50 U.S. cities on criteria like how many pickup trucks and motorcycles they have per capita, the availability of steak houses, pro athletics and home improvement stores and, of course, Combos consumption. They're also rated by their manly occupations—lots of firefighters, cops and mechanics push the numbers higher—and manly leisure activities. (L.A. probably lost points for all its non-manly mani pedis.) Oklahoma City, for the second year in a row, led the study in its salty-snack sales, driving up the city's ranking (and, no doubt, its blood pressure). New York only got to No. 35, while Midwestern cities like Chicago and Kansas are near the top. (Could it be all that barbecue?) The Combos brand launched a Zone Sweet Home sweepstakes along with the research, offering guys a manly home theater, gaming systems and other gadgets.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Snickers kindly asks you to start speaking like a blithering idiot

Posted on Wed Mar 11 2009

Snickers

Snickers has been making up funny words for its advertising for a couple of years. But now the habit is being formalized with the new "Snickers Speak" campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, which encourages you to learn "Snacklish." Adland has a bunch of the ads here, showing the distinctive blue, red and white bold-type logo now spelling out a series of puns aimed at the average working/schooling American. These ads are all over the subway cars here in New York, enticing me to "Take night classes at the CHEWNIVERSITY," "Pledge SIGMA NOUGAT" and "Enroll at CITY CHOCOLLEGE." And enticed I often am, heading to take a midterm exam on an empty stomach. Non-collegiates, meanwhile, are encouraged to "File for workman's CHOMPENSATION" or simple "NOUGETABOUTIT."
  If you love it enough, friend it on Facebook, leave it messages, and make your own Snacklish-like logo here (and post it wherever you want). Stay away from words like "NUTSRAWESOME," though. Some people haven't heard about the campaign yet.

—Posted by Yana Polikarpov

Guzzle down the alcoholic rainbow with Skittles-flavored vodka

Posted on Mon Mar 2 2009

1 copy

For those who haven't been paying attention, the marketing people at Skittles are really making an effort to break away from the wholesome, kid-centered positioning typically associated with candy products. First, there were those odd ads with the deadpan, almost mordant humor. Then, last week, the brand rolled out an "un-site" that substitutes Wikipedia, Twitter and other sites for Skittles home page (an effort that some say is too close to ad agency Modernista!'s Web site for comfort). Now, without help from Mars brand's marketing department, Skittles is the center of a Mentos/Diet Coke/geyser-style Web phenomenon. Consumers are apparently using the candy to color and flavor vodka. Just pop a few Skittles (of the same color, preferably) into a bottle of vodka, and voila! Instant color and flavor. Have a closer look at the finished product here. Taste the rainbow!

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Green M&M bares all for the 'Sports Illustrated' swimsuit edition

Posted on Wed Feb 11 2009

Beach-cropped

Take it off! Take it all off, Ms. M&M!
  The chocolate candy's sassy green model bares all in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. See the full ad here, along with another pic of Green in her swimsuit/shell. (She looks hotter than the real models in the magazine, no?) With the soft-core ad, parent Mars Snackfood hopes to build buzz for its limited-edition Valentine's Day green M&Ms. Called "The Green Ones," the candies feature teaser messages like "Hug Me," "Hey Baby, Surprise Me," and "XOXO." (Couples can also learn how to say, "I love you," in different languages at mms.com.)
  There's also an online contest for a steamy trip to Paris. With more than 6,800 entries already, we gotta get our act together. Oh, Ms. Green M&M, will you be our Valentine?

—Posted by Elaine Wong

The red M&M cannot outrun the conveyor belt or his destiny

Posted on Wed Jan 14 2009

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
  That's the theme of this new M&M's spot from BBDO, New York, which shows the red M&M trying to outrun certain doom on a conveyor belt. At first, he avoids the same fate as the chips, pretzels and paper cups that have already made their way into the shopping bag. But eventually he relents, and allows himself to get scanned (does he even have a UPC code?) and bagged. "Hey, look! We're on the guest list," says the dumb yellow M&M at the end. "Ugh, that's the menu," Red replies.
  M&M's isn't advertising on the Super Bowl this year, but the quick tag at the end would make you think otherwise: "M&M's. Have 'em at your Super Bowl Party." Ryan Bowling, a rep for Mars Snackfood U.S., says the brand is a natural fit for the big game. "Our new M&M's 'Checkout' TV spot reminds consumers to enjoy M&M's at their party, and what better time to celebrate [than] with the upcoming Super Bowl?" he says.

—Posted by Elaine Wong


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