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.

These condoms are pricey, but much cheaper than having a child

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 9 2010


That little Sophie is one pricey bundle of joy, especially when you compare her to the $6 box of condoms you could've used to avoid her "blessed" arrival in the first place. Sir Richard's Condom Co., a new Colorado-based marketer of upscale prophylactics in several sizes and stripes, is launching into the category with nary a mention of the oft-touted pleasure and sensuality. Quite the reverse—the ad campaign is focused solely on how much it will cost you (in dollars and cents, not emotional turmoil) to raise a child in today's economy. Buzz kill! But the numbers don't lie: When a year's worth of diapers cost $1,100, a Bugaboo stroller sells for $750, and private school can run $35k, just $13 for a dozen condoms seems like the ultimate bargain.The ads, breaking this month, are outdoor, online and on-pack. The company, a joint venture between equity partners and TDA Advertising & Design, which also handled the ads, is trying to draw attention to its charitable mission. It will donate one condom in a developing country for each one bought in the U.S., in kind of a randy (and public-health-conscious) version of the Toms Shoes program. Sir Richard's Condoms aren't looking for just any penny pinchers out there, though. The product will sell at fashionable haunts like Fred Segal, Viceroy hotels, Paul Smith menswear boutiques and Whole Foods grocery stores. But boy will it save you later.

DeLorean goes back to the future with a slew of licensing deals

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Dec 7 2010


Dust off that Member's Only jacket, and spike up your Flock of Seagulls hairdo—the DeLorean is back in a big way. The marketer of the iconic '80s sports car is taking advantage of its splashy exposure around the 25th anniversary of Back to the Future by signing a flurry of licensing deals that are putting the brand in toy aisles, hipster boutiques and sporting-goods shops. DeLorean Motor Co., based in Humble, Texas, is working with Mattel, Nike, Gateway Global, Microsoft and others to fuel the resurgent interest in all things '80s, specifically the car that epitomized new-money success/excess. There's a DeLorean Nike Dunk limited-edition sneaker (above), launched on Black Friday and already popping up on eBay for upwards of $350; a DeLorean Hot Wheels car; branded clothing at Urban Outfitters; placement on Facebook's Car Town (the gearhead version of Farmville); and a role in Ubisoft's Driver 5 video game. And from Hollywood, there are more than a few movies kicking around in development about John DeLorean's life and times (and arrest for coke dealing), which will revolve around his sleek and speedy creation. The privately owned DMC says core DeLorean enthusiasts have helped keep the brand alive all these years, and no doubt loyalists and nostalgia have stoked the fire. But the automaker is showing that, when you do it right, licensing can be the best marketing.

Haul videos come out of the closet for holiday shopping season

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Dec 3 2010

Girlfriend, I just heard about the most amazing bronzer, and I can't wait to skip on over to Sephora and load up. That's the intended reaction, anyway, to this short clip from Macbarbie07, one of the most popular creators of haul videos on YouTube. The chatty teenager has this whole haul video thing down pat—she talks about what products she likes and holds them up so we can see the packaging. There's usually a comment or two about how it changed her life/made her day/saved her from fashion frumpiness. She's part of a trend that the pop-culture mavens at Intelligence Group say will become more pronounced as the holiday-shopping season gets into full swing. Macbarbie07 is a good example of the millennial generation's need for visual cues and peer reviews. It's the "just talk to me" generation, IG says, where haul videos from the likes of JuicyStar07, AllThatGlitters21 and RiceBunny are as important to certain demographics as paid advertising. Brands have already taken note, with North Face, Maybelline and others compiling haul videos that feature their products. Some sponsor the vloggers, who are obliged to disclose that fact but haven't seemed to suffer much of a backlash as a result. Though I’m not exactly the demo, I'll admit that a good tip can come from anywhere, and I'm inexplicably curious about what Macbarbie07 bought on her most recent Forever 21 shopping spree. It should be great for age-inappropriate ideas, and I have parties to attend. Fellow revelers, brace yourselves.

Michael Bay tones down explosions in new Victoria's Secret spot

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Dec 3 2010

New Yorkers got to play dress-up as Victoria's Secret angels this week, but the marketer's real models didn't make out so well. In the latest ad from the brand's biggest cheerleader, filmmaker Michael Bay, they take to the streets in their lacy underthings to tempt us all to buy push-up bras and satin panties. It's more of what the leering Bay loves to do—slide the camera all over the ladies' gorgeous, scantily clad bodies, lingering on the hair tosses, the lascivious looks and the stilettos. Lots of slow-mo and wind machines—you get the picture. This time, there's architecture and cityscape as backdrops, but none of the explosions that inexplicably dotted last year's Christmas campaign and made it look like a Bay action flick. There's still the surreal touch thrown in for this commercial, though. Look, at the 1:00 mark—she's on a horse! It's been a banner week for Victoria's Secret, with its annual special on CBS drawing 9 million viewers, up 17 percent from the previous year's telecast. Looks like they're on to something.

Gatorade discovers latest favorite sport is … women's bowling?

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010


Beer guts, sweat stains, cigarette smoke and PBR. That's what bowling means to me. To be fair, those are really old memories, formed long before rock 'n' roll bowling and hipster-magnet retro joints like Lucky Strike. Apparently there's a whole new breed of bowler out there—young chicks!—and Gatorade is poised to take advantage of the trend. The PepsiCo brand is on the verge of announcing its first-time sponsorship of the U.S. Women's Open, and that G2 is now "The official thirst quencher of Bowling's U.S. Women's Open." The marketer says it's jumping in because of a 12.9 percent increase in participation over the past several years to 24.5 million people, with a major spike coming from the growing numbers of women who have taken up the sport. Gatorade, obviously looking beyond its core pro athletes, recently hooked up with contestants from Fox's hit reality show So You Think You Can Dance. Now, it's attractive women who bowl. (Check out Emily Maier, a member of Team USA, who looks nothing like anybody I recall from Ken-Bowl in Louisville, Ky., in the '70s.) Go grrrls!

Carl's Jr. munches on some 'Green Hornet' in unlikely placement

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010

It's a distant memory that the upcoming comic-based action flick The Green Hornet got shopped to auto manufacturers as part of a whopping $35 million product placement deal. (This was 2003, but that seems like a very long time ago. Back then, there was a decent amount of interest from marketers in putting their nameplate on the hero car, the Black Beauty. It would've been record-breaking in car/movie marriages if it had happened.) Now, after years of development hell and script, studio, director and star changes, there's—wait for it—a Carl's Jr. tie-in! Carl's Jr.? Anyway, throw in sister chain Hardee's and it's a national promo and a source of added media for the movie, which needs all the help it can get launching in the early-January dead zone. The burger chain is giving away a tricked-out version of the Black Beauty, a vintage Chrysler Imperial, and just released its first commercial with stars Seth Rogan and Jay Chou as the movie's masked crime fighters. The spot blends explosions, gadgets and wisecracks in a way that's probably indicative, judging by early reports, of what we can expect from the flick. In other words, yikes. At least the car's really hot.

Hollywood A-list actors can't hide their overseas ads any longer

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010

Once upon a time, A-list American actors like George Clooney and Brad Pitt starred in ads that were intended to be seen only overseas, a practice that lined their pockets but didn't ding their personal brands at home. Over time, we all figured out how it worked. Conan O'Brien had some fun with the concept in a meta Super Bowl spot for Bud Light, and before that, Bill Murray gave us the Lost in Translation spin. Nowadays, anytime a celeb shills for a product, we're all likely to see video evidence of it immediately, even if we're not the target. Case in point: Julia Roberts plays a mute and radiant Venus in a new Italian commercial for A Modo Mio coffee. Since I don't speak Italian, I'm guessing from the context that she likes the brew enough to smile, laugh and wink in response to a taste test. For a reported $1.5 million payday, she's pretty convincing. It's no Alec Baldwin and mom strolling through Wegman's, but it'll do.

Leslie Nielsen perfected the bumbling fool in TV commercials too

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Nov 30 2010

Surely you recall Leslie Nielsen's commercial career. (Insert worn-to-a-nub yet still somehow funny joke from Airplane here.) The beloved actor, who died Sunday at age 84 after starring for six decades in movies and TV, traded on the bumbling persona he perfected in the Naked Gun franchise and Airplane for a series of spots for Medicare.gov. They're fun to watch, if only to be reminded of his perfect mix of authoritarian straight man and goofy pratfall master. The star of dramas like Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure earlier in his career, Nielsen found his stride as a comedian in the '80s, which led to endorsements like Dutchtone. He'll surely be missed.

Disney makes fake pharma, fragrance commercials for 'Tangled'

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 29 2010

Disney's animated movies aren't just for kids. And to prove the point—and maybe to keep up with Pixar and parody-loving competitors—the studio has created a couple of mock commercials for its new animated feature, Tangled. Pretty convincingly produced in the styles of pharmaceutical and perfume ads, Disney aims for the clips to go viral (not sure how that's working out, but the spots are fun anyway). The fake ad for Rapunzhair, above, with a soothing-toned voiceover recognizable from a million drug commercials, aired recently during Saturday Night Live, obviously aimed at an audience that may or may not have kids to take to the 3-D reimagining of Rapunzel. (And it has spoilers!) See the fake fragrance spot after the jump. Tangled, which opened the day before Thanksgiving, had a good weekend at the box office, though it didn't catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Grownups welcome.

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