Julian Assange of WikiLeaks will get you, American marketers!

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Dec 13 2010

Imagine my dad's surprise when he unwraps a copy of Everyone Poops on Christmas morning instead of the Mark Twain autobiography I thought I was buying him from Amaon.com. Damn you, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange! It wasn't really the self-professed outlaw Assange who threatened a bunch of American marketers like Netflix, Facebook and Orbitz. It was his Saturday Night Live doppelganger Bill Hader, who appeared in this skit during the weekend show to promise smug, self-satisfied retaliation from his hacker followers for his current stint in a London jail. Forget Mastercard—not even Farmville is safe! (Actually it is, because Assange/Hader thinks it's odious enough on its own.) Check out the skit above, or the whole Paul Rudd-hosted episode on Hulu or NBC.com, and see why some longtime fans, myself included, keep watching.

MasterCard 'Icons' ad reminds us of power of strong branding

Posted on Wed Feb 18 2009

This MasterCard "Icons" spot from McCann Erickson, which first aired during the 2005 Super Bowl, is back in rotation. It shows a "Priceless" collection of brand icons gathered around a table, eating broccoli for $1.79, three pouches of tuna for $3.99 and crescent rolls for $2.39. There's Count Chocula, Mr. Peanut, the Jolly Green Giant, the Gorton's fisherman, Charlie the Starkist tuna, Chef Boyardee, the Pillsbury doughboy, the Vlasic pickles stork, the Morton Salt girl and, doing the dishes, of course, Mr. Clean. The thing that makes these mascots so special is that many of them represent commodity items like salt, vegetables, pickles and biscuits. Without these familiar characters, the brands would be, well, just salt, vegetables, pickles and biscuits. The spot reminds us of the true value of creative branding versus just linking up with any old athlete or celebrity—who will probably just get themselves and your brand in trouble anyway. That could never happen with an animated brand icon, unless you're talking about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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