All manner of wild promotions might not save 'Land of the Lost'

Posted on Fri Jun 5 2009

If Land of the Lost tanks this weekend, it won't be Will Ferrell's fault, at least not in the advertising department. Have you seen him lately? He's been a one-man marketing machine. Ferrell landed on the first Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and embedded himself in an episode of Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild with Bear Gryllis this week. Both shows pulled in record ratings, and Ferrell only had to eat reindeer eyes on one of them. (On the other, he called Liza Minelli a communist.) He also hosted the season finale of Saturday Night Live, and he's the star of a whopping 40 vignettes airing on USA Network talking about his Land of the Lost character, Dr. Rick Marshall. The studio distributor, Universal, has been busy, too, grabbing tens of millions of dollars in cross-promotions and media from Marriott hotels, Land O' Frost lunchmeats and Pop Rocks. The biggest partner, Subway, has a Sleestak-themed commercial running now (Sleestaks are the green humanoid bad guys in the movie) and redid one of its Los Angeles restaurants with the movie theme, à la 7-Eleven's Quik-E-Mart makeover for The Simpsons Movie. But the reviews are coming in, and they stink. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt calls it a "lethargic meander through a wilderness of misfiring gags." And only 6 percent of tickets buyers on Fandango say they plan to see Land of the Lost this weekend, which puts it far, far behind Vegas bachelor party comedy The Hangover and the current box office champ, the Pixar family flick Up. Ferrell is well loved (if he weren't, he'd have been risking overexposure backlash in recent weeks), but he can only so much to rekindle that nostalgic feeling some of us have for Chaka and the rest of the camp-filled Sid and Marty Krofft world.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Subway is eating it up as NBC renews 'Chuck' for a third season

Posted on Wed May 20 2009

Take an opportunistic marketer and mix with rabid, proactive fans of a TV show, and what do you get? In the case of Subway and Chuck, the answer is the renewal of NBC's marginally rated spy-lite series, with the sandwich chain added as a full-fledged cast member for season three.
  A few weeks ago, with Chuck on the verge of cancellation, fans banded together for a Subway-related stunt that involved watching the season two finale, buying a sandwich and registering love for Chuck on Subway comment cards. The idea sprang from a recent product integration in the show, where one character bribed another with a chicken teriyaki sandwich and soda, Subway logos blazing, all while singing the "$5 foot-long" jingle. The result? NBC picked up the show as part of its 2009-10 season, rolled out this week to advertisers, and Subway will have a recurring role in the dramedy. Chuck's girlfriend Sarah, who's an undercover CIA agent with a penchant for part-time jobs, might become a sandwich artist. There will also be traditional promotional tie-ins.
  NBC execs said the fan response—including a Facebook page, Twitter campaign and YouTube videos—made them take another look at the show, but it was obviously the sponsor heft that tipped the scales. At brand-integration-happy NBC or elsewhere, expect more of these kinds of deals, whether a TV show's on the bubble (read: in fear of its life) or not.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

'Chuck' fans stuff their faces at Subway to save the NBC show

Posted on Mon Apr 27 2009

Well, hit me over the head with a foot-long sub. In fact, that's what happened on a recent episode of Chuck, NBC's spy-lite series that's struggling in the ratings and might not make it back for another season. A really obvious product integration from Subway had the character Morgan plying his boss with a chicken teriyaki sandwich and soda, logos pointed conveniently toward the camera, and dropping in the "$5 foot-long" ad tagline. Not to be outdone, Big Mike, the chief at the fictional Buy More store where Chuck and his friend work, bites lovingly into the food and declares that the "flavors melt together in perfect harmony." So, that's a coup, yeah?
  While the Subway folks have already said they're plenty pleased with that placement, fans are going one further today by snapping up $5 foot-longs as part of their "Save Chuck" effort. It has a Facebook page and everything, and it coincides with the show's second-season finale tonight. Rabid fans in the past have pulled a lot of time- and money-wasting stunts to get network execs to renew shows that hardly anybody watches. But we've come a long way from 40,000 pounds of peanuts delivered to CBS a few years ago, with an advertiser standing to benefit directly from the groundswell. That could be a first. Chuck star Zachary Levi led a whole passel of people to a Subway in the U.K. yesterday, and if the blog chatter is to be believed, Subway should expect a sales spike today from the self-proclaimed nerd nation that adores the show. Is NBC listening? Chances are, a lot of marketers are.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Subway's big Rangers ad gets chilly reception from hockey fans

Posted on Mon Apr 13 2009

Subway is no stranger to over-the-top product placements. Many of the reviews of Adam Sandler's 1996 golf comedy Happy Gilmore noted the presence of the sandwich chain's logo, which is so ubiquitous in the movie that cable companies rebroadcasting it often blur it out. Subway's latest gambit is also sports-related, and fans aren't happy. Earlier this month, the New York Rangers began running a huge, superimposed CGI Subway logo on the glass boards behind the goal. According to Puck Daddy, a Yahoo! Sports blog, the "backlash was immediate," and one fan proposed a write-in campaign to abolish the logo. That fan has a point, because the logo is arguably more intrusive than standard signage at a game. This highlight clip of the April 7 Rangers-Canadiens game, for instance, makes you think you're seeing things because sometimes the logo is there (at 2:30, for instance), sometimes it's not. Which is quite a hat trick.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Domino's taste-test attack on Subway may be tough to swallow

Posted on Wed Dec 31 2008

Now that it has oven-baked sandwiches, Domino's is wasting no time going after the competition, launching a sub attack on Subway this week. The pizza purveyor has trotted out the good old taste test, claiming that people prefer its hot subs two-to-one over Subway. The debut ad attempts to quantify two-to-one by showing the world's smartest man (IQ 200) matched up against your average fifth grader (IQ 100) in a board game. The approach isn't too surprising, given that it's from the same ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, that did Burger King's "Whopper Virgins" taste-test campaign. But will it work? Subway isn't exactly known for its terrible-tasting food. In fact, according to a recent BrandIndex survey of 5,000 consumers, on a scale of -100 to 100, Subway food received an overall score of 55.1, while Domino's pulled in a -8.3. Maybe Domino's is the one with the fifth-grade IQ.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



search Brandfreak


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner