How are indie video stores managing to stay alive? Tanning beds

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Sep 16 2010

Tanning

We all understand the combination retailer, from the Starbucks in the supermarket to the glorified-in-song Pizza Hut/Taco Bell. But a neighborhood video store with a tanning salon? Turns out these two aren't as odd a match as it would sound, according to our sister pub The Hollywood Reporter. Mom-and-pop video shops, beset by the same problems as behemoths like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, are installing $15,000 tanning beds to drive foot traffic. And with Redbox, Netflix and on-demand breathing down their necks, the independently owned stores say they've found a lifeline. (It's not just the tanning but the ancillary stuff that's helping the bottom line, the entrepreneurs say.) These 10,000 small businesses have also started touting their early access to studio movies, something their competition can't claim, as marketers like Redbox have a 28-day wait before they can rent new releases. Might I suggest some crossover packages, like a bundle deal for tanning, the Jersey Shore DVD, the gym down the block and the dry cleaner next door? Worth a shot.

Calgon wants videos of your stressful 'Take me away!' moments

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Aug 25 2010

If you were born before, say, 1980, you probably remember the "Calgon, take me away!" tagline, which was sort of the "Serenity now!" of the pre-Seinfeld era. The premise of those bath-soap ads: An overworked woman starts stressing about her boss, the baby, the traffic, etc., and then utters the catchphrase. Cut to her luxuriating in a bath. Now, after years of obscurity, Calgon is back. Not surprisingly, the brand, working with ad agency Alliance, is exhuming its old tagline with a social-media twist: Consumers are now asked to send in YouTube videos of themselves explaining what stresses them out. The winner gets $1,000. So far, most entries are pretty lame. One woman complains that her kitchen is messy. Another pretends to miss a train. One that stands out (shown here) is a woman who recreates an incident in which she walked around the office with toilet paper spilling out of the back of her pants. Give that lady some Calgon, and the $1,000.

Wieden ads put Old Spice back in touch with its seafaring roots

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010

If you've seen the Old Spice ads featuring a swarthy and shirtless ex-football pro Isaiah Mustafa, you've seen the latest hot dude sending the message you can blame Axe for telling not-so-hot dudes back in 2005: Psst, dudes, if your armpits smell good, you'll get some. But enough of that. Look a bit more closely at these spots from Wieden + Kennedy and you'll see something else at work: The crafty return of a device that built Old Spice into one of the first dude brands of the 20th century: the ocean.

Continue reading "Wieden ads put Old Spice back in touch with its seafaring roots" »

Mitchum deodorant looks for America's hardest-working person

Posted on Thu May 27 2010

Dude, you think you work hard? Well, think again. Mitchum, the antiperspirant/deodorant brand owned by Revlon, last week kicked off a contest to find the "The Hardest Working Person in America." It's asking the nation's workaholics to upload video nominations of themselves to the brand's YouTube page, where friends, family and the rest of the sweaty masses can vote. (Contestants can also campaign for themselves via social media.) TV spots, now airing, show some of the country's hardest workers. One is a police officer who goes home to take care of his wife and four kids. Another is a coach who can't stand the thought of "free time." Mitchum is awarding two prizes: One for the hardest-working person, and another for "most captivating video." The former gets $100,000. The latter gets $5,000. In other words, only the winner gets to take a nice long holiday.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Nair gets you ready for summer with Joey Company commercial

Posted on Fri Apr 23 2010

OK, ladies. Summer is coming, and it's time to get those legs silky smooth before going sunbathing. Thank goodness for Nair, or so we would hope after watching this new commercial, from parent company Church & Dwight, for its hair removal product. The spot, by agency The Joey Company, shows women then and now relying on Nair to show off their legs. "For years, Nair freed women to move like never before," the female voiceover says, as a group of dancers groove to the beat with perfect symmetry and choreography. The ad promotes a handful of Nair products, including the new Shower Power Max product, which has a "fresh lavender scent" and purportedly "stays on in the shower." Okie dokie. We're off to see if we can pull off some of those dance moves. (Oops, gotta shave first.)

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Degree Natureffects targeted at women who adore purty flowers

Posted on Fri Apr 9 2010

Degree-small

Some chicks sweat, and some perspire. I figure the new ads for Degree Natureffects are aimed at the latter. There's a lot of talk, after all, about cranberry and orange flower and matching body mists. Very ladylike. The new product, from Degree Women, "celebrates women and hopes to help them release their 'outdoorphins,' " says the marketer, adding another piece of ad-speak to the already jam-packed marketing lexicon. The outdoor campaign, in cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington, came from the marketer's research that shows the closer a person lives to nature, the healthier she's likely to be, and that a touch of nature improves a woman's mood throughout the day. The study also found that 86 percent of women said they're more productive if they eat their lunch outside. (There were no stats to tell how many ditched the rest of the day.) The ads, from indie ad and marketing agency Walton/Isaacson, do spruce up some plain-Jane billboard and bus-shelter spaces with girly flowers, botanicals and foliage. See a larger image here. Plastic? Who cares? They're purty. Look for them to brighten up some dank transportation hubs, and let's hope the smell-o-vision version is coming up next. Mmmmm, honeysuckle!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Old Spice teaches guys another neat party trick: the pec bounce!

Posted on Fri Apr 2 2010

Shirts off to the deodorant category for teaching we fellas how to do some nifty things. First came Axe in 2009. With some help of a sweat-streaked skateboard god Ryan Scheckler, the company taught us "double pits to chesty"—a Z-shaped motion designed to deposit Axe's coitus-inducing scents under our arms and on our chests, too! Now we have "Punch," a new Old Spice spot from Wieden + Kennedy in which retired linebacker Terry Crews shows us guys yet another dude maneuver. Pitching the new Old Spice Odor Blocker Body Wash, the former NFL star stands shirtless in the locker room and alternately flexes his pectorals so they bounce. No, we're not kidding—there are squishy sound effects to accompany it. Hey dudes, you gotta go home and try that. Too bad getting rock-hard pecs isn't as easy as buying some Old Spice.

—Posted by Robert Klara

Come on, you know you want to take the Kotex Panty Challenge

Posted on Mon Mar 1 2010

Kotex

Kimberly-Clark has so much confidence in its Kotex brand that it's asking consumers to "Take the Panty Challenge." The point is, Kotex's Ultra Thin with CleanSorb pads "break down heavy flow" so fast that you don't need to worry about "leaks [that] might crash the party." The personal-care products maker has launched an online campaign that lets women record the brand's effectiveness during their monthly cycle. For the dissatisfied, K-C is offering a rebate of $4 for the purchase of new panties. (You can even win a $100 panty shopping spree and take a quiz to see what kind of panty wearer you are.) An ad in this month's Redbook magazine proclaims, "Join the undie ground party." (We just did.) "Protection and comfort. Now that's worth celebrating!" (You got that right.)

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Advertisers that don't hate 'Jersey Shore' cannot get enough of it

Posted on Wed Jan 6 2010

There's an uptight few advertisers that want nothing to do with Jersey Shore, the delicious new show on MTV that follows self-professed (and -poofed) guidos and guidettes like Mike "The Situation" and Nicole, aka Snooki. But while Dell, American Family Insurance and Domino's have pulled their spots amid protests from Italian American groups about the Thursday night series, a number of other marketers have stepped in to fill any potential void. Hollywood studios haven't been the slightest bit shy about sharing screen time with the drunken catfights, serial hookups and other "classy" shenanigans of the reality-show housemates. Universal is promoting the rom-com Leap Year, Warner Bros. is hyping The Book of Eli, and MGM's touting R-rated Hot Tub Time Machine. One sponsor even got a shout-out in the content itself. As the stars spend their requisite three hours primping and gelling for a night on the beach town, the camera pans to a dresser in their lair, showing a bottle of Body Heat, the Parfums de Coeur cologne that's not afraid of controversy. (See: half-naked ad for its Hottest Body in the World contest to launch the fragrance in the fall, rejected by MySpace for being too explicit.) In fact, the brand's glistening, sculpted-body ads (like the one above), which air during breaks, fit right in with the Jersey Shore sensibility, and there's every reason to believe cast member DJ Pauly D is a customer. Spokesman next? As the show continues to gain outrage/momentum, look for more (not fewer) advertisers muscling in. Fist pump!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

If you're going to eat a giant block of lipstick, make it Burt's Bees

Posted on Thu Dec 10 2009

Burts

Who's up for a lovely big block of lipstick for lunch? Burt's Bees, the natural products maker owned by The Clorox Co., has set up eye-catching installations (created by ad agency Zig) inside Toronto and Vancouver shopping malls to argue for natural versus synthetic personal-care products. The company, which makes facial, skin and hair products, claims its goodies are "95 percent natural or higher." Better to absorb that stuff into your system than lots of chemicals. Another installation shows a load of baby products stacked up to look like a giant bottle. The placard asks: "How much of what you put on your baby ends up in your baby?" Yikes. When quantified like this, advertising really hits home.

—Posted by Elaine Wong


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