Isotoner introduces smart-screen-enabled winter gloves

By Todd Wasserman on Thu Oct 28 2010

While 1 billion or so people around the world are still struggling with daily subsistence, in America we have our own problems. Like isn't it a bitch when you're driving around in your car and it's cold so you still have your gloves on, but then you can't activate your GPS touchscreen? Or if you're outside during the winter and want to use your iPhone? Luckily, Isotoner has come to the rescue with Isotoner's smarTouch gloves, which not only keep your hands warm, but can still use those touchscreens, thanks to a conductive thread on the glove's index finger and glove. A two-minute film from Empower MediaMarketing makes the case, and it is a compelling one, particularly for those who dream of taking their iPad with them for that dead time on the ski lift.

Carhartt ad makes you appreciate the jackets' wolf-proof nature

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Oct 27 2010

Just in time for Halloween comes this somewhat scary ad from Carhartt featuring three buddies who are camping in the wild. At 11 seconds in, we get the surprise, which is fairly bracing and well-done, at least the first time you see it. Best of all, the ad has a point, too: That Carhartt jackets are strong enough to withstand whatever nature throws at them, including a pack of hungry wolves. As a bonus, the company also has some alternative endings to the spot here

Travelocity gnome is cited for exaggerating hassles of Priceline

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Oct 20 2010

Bidding on a hotel via a service like Priceline can be a bit stressful, I suppose. But can it be likened to being put on a spinning wheel as people hurl knives at you? Or being in a tank with piranhas? Those were the analogies Travelocity used in recent ads, and according to industry watchdog the National Advertising Division, they were a bit of a stretch. The NAD suggested the commercials, which feature the company's gnome mascot suffering such indignities, "be modified to avoid overstating the difficulty of and stress associated with using Name Your Own Price and discontinue the depictions (the piranha tank and the knife thrower's wheel) that help convey the unsupported message." The NAD also took issue with an image of the gnome roasting on a spit. In response, Travelocity said, basically, chill out. The company "does not dispute the NAD's holding that using 'Name Your Own Price' is not as excruciatingly awful as being eaten by piranhas, being the target of a knife thrower, or being burned alive on a spit." Neverthleless, Travelocity agreed to pull the ads.

Ken Jeong finally put to good use in new Adidas TV commercial

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Oct 19 2010


Ken Jeong, who BrandFreak earlier noted was wasted in an Emmy tie-in with Infiniti, redeems himself in this new Adidas spot from 180LA. Jeung seems to be in character as Mr. Chow from The Hangover here, riding his solid-gold jet ski and acting the fool as his butler takes a leaf blower to all that cash on the lawn. In the end, Jeong can't beat D. Rose in a game of one-on-one, but it doesn't seem to bother him. After all, Jeong can still stand atop a "lady pyramid." See the spot after the jump.

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Baby carrots prepare to shove sugary candy aside on Halloween

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Oct 12 2010


Does this fall under the heading of "trick" or "treat"? A Bunch of Carrot Farmers and Bolthouse Farms, the people behind this summer's $25 million "Eat 'em like junk food" campaign from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, are launching Scarrots, a bag of 25 single-serve 1.7-ounce bags of baby carrots that are intended for distribution to trick-or-treaters. At the very least, it's a good alternative for the old lady on your block who used to give out apples. It's harder to get razor blades into a bag of sealed carrots.

Ironman champion Chris McCormack makes it to Wheaties box

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Oct 11 2010


When it comes to endorsement deals, endurance athletes don't really get their due. If you can hit a baseball well, you'll make millions. If you can win a 140.6-mile race that includes swimming, running and biking, you consider yourself lucky to take home the $20,000 in prize money. But now General Mills is recognizing Chris McCormack, who won the grueling Ford Iron Man Triathalon in Honolulu by putting him on the iconic Wheaties box. Since Wheaties' Fuel is a tie-in partner for the event, the deal makes sense, especially in an age when baseball heroes are often found to be steroid users. Speaking of ballplayers (not steroids), the first athlete to grace a Wheaties box was Lou Gherig, whose picture ran on the back in 1934.

Vodka makers now sticking their bottles between anyone's legs

By Todd Wasserman on Fri Oct 8 2010


Why are vodka bottles so irresistibly phallic to some advertisers? First, there was that Skyy ad that featured a bottle between a woman's legs. And now, another vodka maker, Wódka, has rolled out this ad featuring a bottle shooting out of a greyhound's Chihuahua's nether region. The motif of the campaign, from agenct MMG, is to play off the names of famous cocktails (like, ahem, Sex on the Beach). But did you have to put the bottle down there? According to Brian Gordon, managing partner of MMG, it's all in good fun: "Our comical return to classic, simple drinks is resonating," he says, "and we felt that the campaign was a breath of fresh air for a category that now takes itself way too seriously."

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Making ads for Samsonite is easier in real life than on 'Mad Men'

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Oct 6 2010

In the latest season of Mad Men, Don Draper and Peggy Olson spend a memorable night trying to come up with a campaign idea for Samsonite. In the real world, no one at Connelly Partners pulled an all-nighter for Samsonite's latest campaign. "That's a fake badge of honor that's worn by so many in this business. and it's the worst thing for productivity," Steve Connelly, president of the Boston agency, tells BrandFreak, referring to such overnight work sessions. Nevertheless, Connelly says many people at the shop are big fans of the show and were as surprised as anyone else that the client showed up in a plot line. Though we don't know what Don and Peggy came up with yet, Connelly's campaign shows a bullfighter wielding a Samsonite Spinner suitcase against his prey. If the luggage vs. nature idea sounds familiar, think again. The famous ad that featured a gorilla taking on a suitcase was for American Tourister, not Samsonite (though Samsonite later bought American Tourister). And for the record, Steve Connelly doesn't consider himself a latter-day Don Draper. He says he can't even bring himself to watch the AMC show. Says Connelly: "It turns my stomach to see the smoking and drinking."

Pom Wonderful ad puts pomegranate at heart of Garden of Eden

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Oct 4 2010


Talk about a strange marketing message. A new campaign for Pom Wonderful makes the claim that the Fall of Man was the result of a pomegranate. See three spots, and a behind-the-scenes video, after the jump. In one of the Malcolm McDowell-narrated ads for the pomegranate juice, Eve (played by Sonja Kinski—yes, the daughter of Natassja) is shown seductively writhing around with a snake beneath a pomegranate tree. McDowell's claim that "some scholars" think the forbidden fruit was a pomegranate is apparently true. Other guesses range from figs to carob. Either way, we get treated to a sort of visual allusion in which the daughter evokes the famous picture of a young Natassja and snake. Other ads make similarly bold claims about pomegranates being an aphrodisiac and something that warriors in Persia used to drink, which means Pom missed a perfect tie-in opportunity with The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time earlier this year.

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Frightful changes are in store for Chipotle's Halloween giveaway

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Sep 29 2010


Fans of Halloween promotions and bad puns will be saddened to hear that this year, Chipotle is overhauling its long-running "Boo-rito" giveaway. Under the promo, as many college students know, you get a free burrito if you show up at a Chipotle location dressed as one. But Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's CMO, told attendees at an Advertising Week session on Wednesday that Boo-rito will look different this year. For one thing, you now have to dress up like a processed food item (a Twinkie, for example) to claim the prize. For another, you have to pony up $2 as well. The cash goes to fund a Jamie Oliver charity (Crumpacker didn't specify which one). The nominal charge and the more challenging costume will no doubt result in fewer freeloaders this year. Crumpacker said the promo costs Chipotle about $3 million. We say: Boo!



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