Friday, June 30, 2006

Money Makes the Racecars Go 'Round

This week is race week in Kansas City. The Indy Racing League, Craftsman NASCAR Truck Series and the ARCA Remax Series come to town. You might notice that I included all of the names of the series' sponsors. That's because racing is all about money. Drivers always rattle off their long list of sponsors after winning a race, and I can only image how funny it will be to hear Will Ferrell do it in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. At Kansas Speedway, and all other International Speedway Corporation tracks, this happens in Gatorade Victory Lane.

After the driver finishes the long-winded sponsor tribute they do the "hat dance." This consists of taking pictures wearing a hat from nearly every team and race sponsor. It's pretty funny to see in person. However, it's not as funny as watching the television crews make the winning driver wait to get out of his car and celebrate until the station comes back from commercial so they can air the live shot.

The trend in many professional sports is corporate naming rights. Racing has been doing this long-before I was born. Before NASCAR was the Nextel Cup, it was the Winston Cup. These guys know that racing is expensive and the only way to keep racing is to find someone to pay for it. So when racing becomes the fastest-growing sport in the country, many companies realize associating their brands with racing isn't such a bad idea.

Superman Returns

I saw Superman Returns the other night and a couple of things jumped out at me. First, there was an incredible amount of advertising before the previews. Two of the spots were even from cable television stations advertising their line-ups. TNT had a spot for their show Saved, and the ABC Family Channel ran a commercial for their new show, Kyle XY. Advertising before the previews is normal, but I don't remember seeing this many ads, especially from national television stations.

The movie also featured a lot of product placement, courtesy of Jay May from Feature This. Product placement in movies has become such a big deal that companies such as Feature This now exist to handle all the commercial traffic. The movie features
Audi, Avaya, Budweiser, Nikon, Mountain Dew, Steinway and I assume Samsung because they are listed as a partner on the movie's Web site.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Survivor Front Men Faceoff in Starbucks and Bud Light Ads

Front men from the 80's band Survivor battle it out for jingle dominance of the world in classic Starbucks and Bud Light ads.

Survivor lead singer, Dave Bickler, is the hilarious singing echo from Bud Light's Real Men of Genius campaign. This is the same campaign from DDB Chicago that just took the Grand Prix at Cannes. You might remember one-liners such as, "I see Okinawa," from Mr. Nosebleed Season Ticket Holder Guy, "A giant wooly mammoth," from Mr. Tiny Bikini Thong Wearer or "You just said duty," from Mr. Jean Shorts Inventor. Bickler is so hilarious in this role that he now has the creative freedom to write his own lines to belt out for the spots.

His successor and current Survivor front man is
Jimi Jamison. The Starbucks Double-Shot Espresso commercial "Glen" features Jamison and the entire band singing a rewritten version of "Eye of the Tiger." The band rocks out during Glen's morning routine with lyrics like, "Glen's the man going to work. Got his tie got ambition...because one day he might just become supervisor." Pretty hilarious stuff.

Both are really classic spots
and picking a winner would be like comparing apples to oranges. That being said, the hands down winner is Bickler and Real Men of Genius. I have about 85 spots from the campaign on my iPod, and consistency like that from one campaign is unheard of. So here's to you Mr. 80's Rock Band Commercial Jingle Singers.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cars' Star Gets Celebrity Playlist on iTunes

Disney is everywhere. Seriously.

Now Lightning McQueen, the animated star of Disney's and Pixar's "Cars," has his own celebrity playlist on iTunes. Lots of movie stars have their own playlists, but the same can't be said for animated characters.

The playlist is basically just another extension of your typical character blog, but it seems much less contrived. The character might be fake, but the music is real. This leaves me more willing to listen to the fictional character's favorite songs than read his thoughts. So overall, not a bad idea.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Aap! Does Escalator and Subway Advertising

Whenever I see an ad that relies heavily on its non-traditional media placement, I wonder how it got there. Aap! Global is a company that manages advertising some of these non-traditional advertising spaces throughout the world.

Their two main offerings are Aap!Rails, which places messages on the belts of escalators, and metroVISTA, which puts seven-second commercials in train tunnels.

The latter is truly the cooler of the company's offerings. Their technology allows still images to be lit and displayed in rapid-fire succession so that they are viewable through each window of the train. This creates a visual seven-second commercial.

The company also has a blog, which isn't bad for a company blog. Aap! is definitely a unique little company that offers some cool stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cancer Community More Important Than Money

Once again, Lance Armstrong is accused of doping. The allegations stem from Betsy Andreu, wife of Lance's former teammate Frankie Andreu. The dispute is settled, and like all of the previous accusations, Armstrong came out on top. However, this accusation is probably the most serious he has faced.

Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the world. He has never had a positive test for any controlled substance. An official positive test would be disastrous to Armstrong and would cost him millions of dollars (just ask Tyler Hamilton). More importantly, it could result in the loss of respect and admiration for a hero to the cancer community.

Lance is motivated by these cancer survivors and those currently battling the illness. Although the potential loss of sponsorship or titles looms large, disappointing the cancer community is the most compelling reason for Armstrong to be clean. There are millions of people who look up to him because he survived the terrible illness that is ravaging their body. Being a role model for them makes staying clean paramount for Armstrong.

Clerks 2 Offers Downloadable Audio Commentary

The movie Clerks 2, which comes out July 21, will be the first major motion picture to feature an audio commentary track that viewers can download to their iPods and take into theaters. The commentary will be available after the move's first week in theaters so that fans can go back and watch the movie with commentary right away, instead of waiting for the DVD.

Director Kevin Smith is obsessed with the Internet and it shows. The movie also uses a video podcast, with 64 episodes dating back to September, and MySpace profiles for all of the characters to promote the sequel to the cult classic.

The movie is definitely low-budget by Hollywood standards. So this type of marketing effort it is highly cost effective and reaches their target extremely well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kansas, as big as you think

The state of Kansas began running 30-second ads promoting the state on the CBS Super Screen in Times Square yesterday. The ads ran during the World Cup and will air a total of 975 times over 18 days. The state also showed another spot from the campaign on all westbound US Airlines flights for a month. The spots tote the tagline, "Kansas, as big as you think." Whatever that means. The cost for production and placement of the ads was approximately $40,000.

I know that most state slogans seek to give the state an identity and make them appealing to travelers. No one ever said, "'Iowa you make me smile,' let's go vacation there." Most of these taglines are just garbage in, garbage out and should probably be thrown away.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Grand Prix Doesn't Stop Layoffs

Lego will lay off over 1,200 employees in Connecticut and Denmark and move most of their production to Mexico and the Czech Republic. This from the same company who won the grand prix at Cannes yesterday. Perhaps the ad was not as good as advertised.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Father's Day Tributes to the Deceased

Last weekend, lots of Father's Day ads ran, but two stuck out from the crowd. Both were from big-time U.S. advertisers and both paid tribute to the deceased fathers of some well-known sports figures.

Nike rolled out a tribute to the late Earl Woods, who passed away very recently. In fact, last weekend's U.S. Open was Tiger Wood's first event since the death of his father. The ad featured old pictures and home movies of Tiger and his dad. Pretty touching stuff.

Budweiser, who I'm absolutely sick of writing about, paid homage to the three generations of Earnhardt family racers during Sunday's NASCAR race. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also drove a car with a throw-back paint scheme in honor of his father and grandfather. (Maybe I should put a moratorium on all things Budweiser like many other blogs have done for CP+B. They just turn out so much high-profile stuff, making it so easy to comment.)

What's interesting is the difference in stature of the men being honored. Dale Earnhardt is an institution and will never be forgotten. Earl Woods was a good man who helped his son become the best golfer in the world and got a lot of attention in the process. However, he is by no means legendary.

In my opinion, this makes Nike's tribute to him all the sweeter. It's easy to honor an iconic figure. It's much more inspirational and meaningful to pay tribute to a regular guy who helped his son become

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Economist utilizes new online advertising model

Joesph Jaffe would be proud of The Economist. Not only do they have great advertising, they also understand the changing online advertising game.

To access any online articles from The Economist, readers must subscribe for the premium content or watch an ad to view it without paying. The brilliance of this new business model is the pay-to-play aspect. Normally, readers would revolt at the thought of viewing an ad before accessing content. But when faced with the alternative of shelling out money to read the article, watching the ad seems like a wonderful alternative.

Just because a reader chooses to view the ad does not mean that they actually pay attention. However, it seems reasonable that you would pay more attention to an ad you chose to view rather than an ad mixed in somewhere else.

This new model is becoming the standard online. ABC established the same policy for viewing complete episodes of their TV shows online. Viewers can pay to download commercial-free episodes on iTunes, or stream the commercial-filled shows for free. In the last month, ABC sold 6 million downloads on
iTunes, but viewers streamed the advertising-filled commercials more than 11 million times.

The best part this new model is that the content provider wins no matter what option viewers choose. If viewers pay for the content, it's money in the company's pocket. If they choose to view the ads, the company still gets paid and the advertiser gets a platform to deliver their message. So in true Joseph Jaffe fashion, I'll go ahead and declare The Economist and ABC my winners of the week.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Budweiser makes more news at the World Cup

Sorry to drop the "B word" so frequently, but Budweiser is kind of a big deal when it comes to advertising, especially in regards to the World Cup.
  • After each match of the World Cup, the most outstanding player receives the "Budweiser Man of the Match Award." However, the team from Saudi Arabia refuses to accept any award sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company. The predominantly Muslim nation of Saudi Arabia prohibits alcoholand flogs anyone caught imbibing the forbidden substance. So, the Saudis made it clear to FIFA that none of their players would accept the award, should it be offered. FIFA responded by making it clear that no Saudi player would be considered for the award, regardless of his performance. Just another case of FIFA protecting its big-time advertisers.
  • Budweiser also made waves in England with its World Cup themed television commercials. The spots tote the tagline, "You do the football. We'll do the beer." They are a poke at American soccer and play on the little respect it gets throughout the world. A little peculiar to see an American company bring up anti-American sentiments in its advertising. This is likely why you can't find this commercial anywhere on the Internet, and especially not on Budweiser's UK Web site. They don't want to piss off Bud drinkers who are soccer fans.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Guerilla Marketing Effort Stripped Down

FIFA goes a long way to protect its sponsors, who invest ridiculous amounts of money into the World Cup. In fact, they struck down a guerilla marketing effort by forcing Dutch fans to take off their clothes, forcing them to watch the match in their underwear.

Many Dutch fans wore garish orange lederhosen to the match against the Ivory Coast that bore the logo of Bavaria, a Dutch bewery. The ridiculous outfits were part of a guerilla marketing effort by the brewery.So when stewards at the stadium wouldn't allow anyone into the stadium wearing the branded threads, many Dutch fans watched the game in their underwear.

The sponsor FIFA sought to protect was Budweiser. So far there has been no comment from Bud, but the Dutch brewers say that FIFA wen to far. However, I say the incident creates more publicity than the guerilla effort would have produced. So instead of preventing the brewery from making a splash at the World Cup, FIFA has put them in the news throughout the world.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Chunky Creative Nightmare

When Ben Roethlisberger wrecked his motorcycle, he also wrecked a Campbell's soup commercial and some very unfortunate copywriter's week. Big Ben was scheduled to star in a $2 million Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial Wednesday at Heinz Field. However, Roethlisberger was unavailable due to the after effects of colliding head on with a car without the protection of a helmet.

With Roethlisberger unavailable and the shoot looming, Campbell's told Big Ben and his mom, "No soup for you." OK, they probably didn't use those exact words. But they did say, "We've reshuffled some of the creative elements of the commercial."

And when they say we, they means the poor copywriter Roethlisberger condemned to a rapid rewrite of the commercial. Just one of the perks of the job. In Big Ben's absence, his Pittsburgh Steelers' linemen starred in the "reshuffled" commercial.

On a positive note, Roethlisberger's jaw was not wired shut after reconstructive surgery. This means he can eat soft solid foods and won't be restricted to a diet comprised solely of Campbell's soup.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Population Control and Attacking Your Competitors

A new campaign from Panasonic Battery Corporation urges people to neuter their bunnies. Aside from population control, the obvious target of this campaign is Panasonic's main competitor and industry leader, Energizer.

Attacking your main rival is commonplace for marketers, but often puts them in a position of inferiority. Miller attacks Bud Light all the time, but except for a few instances, Budweiser rarely fires back because they are the industry leader and don't need to resort to "name calling." Budwesier clearly leads the industry with 50 percent of the beer market, while Miller has only 18 percent. So attacking the 500-pound gorilla in the market only compunds your inferior position.

One of these incidents stemmed from Miller's "President of Beers" campaign, which attacked Budweiser's Clydesdales. According a friend of mine in Bud's marketing department, the spots infuriated Anheuser-Busch so much that it swiftly created three retaliatory spots to fire back at Miller.

Other attackers include Diet Coke with their Kung-Fu Can Super Bowl commercial starring Jay Moore and Jackie Chan. I'll also include Apple for their recent PC v. MAC spots. They are quite funny and hit some good benefits, but they're a little polarizing. This makes it more difficult to convert PC users to Mac users, which seems to be the goal of the spots. I like the commercials but everyone always gives Apple a free pass because their stuff is so good, someone has to pick on them a little bit.

Taking pot shots at your competitors is lame, even though it may be funny. It's like using poo-poo jokes; it can be quite entertaining, but the message is shallow and rarely strengthens your brand. Marketers should build their own brands, not try to tear down their competitors.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GM Goodwrench Offers Mad Money For Wins

If Kevin Harvick can win two races on the Nextel Cup circuit, GM Godwrench will donate a total of $200,000 in the form of 29 scholarships to young men or women pursuing careers as automotive technicians. They will also give away 29 Chevy Avalanches should Harvick rise to the challenge.

The promotion supports GM Goodwrench's image that their mechanics are the best. By funding the training of new mechanics, they are walking the walk and giving back at the same time.

Should Harvick not win two races, GM will still give away an Avalanche and $25,000 in scholarships. While this is nice, it's significantly less than the offering if should Harvick win.
No pressure Kevin.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shock Value From Africa

Lots of ads try to catch your attention using shock value. I have never been so shocked by an ad. I had to read it at least three times because it left me absolutely stunned.

The ad says, "A roof without HARVEY TILES can't make your mind free; the same as sex with a baby can't cure HIV/AIDS."

What's even more shocking is that this ad wasn't created for shock value. It intends to dispel a rumor that having sex with a virgin protects you from AIDS. Becuase of this rumor, people were having sex with babies in futile attempts to protect themselves from the deadly virus. So surprisingly enough, this ad has a lot of social value.

I found this ad in an article on about the positive effect of sports in Africa. Much of this good work is the result of the Right to Play foundation, which benefited from US speedskater Joey Cheek's donated Olympic bonus money. Good man. Good foundation. Good ad.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wendy's Finds A New Way to Buy Into Reality TV

Many companies have bought in to reality television on shows like the Apprentice. They fork over the money, and their brand gets some love in one way or another on the show. For The Apprentice, this typically means the teams work on a project for the paying brand. For other reality shows, in particular anything on MTV, the sponsors provide the prize for a challenge or outfit the competitors in their gear.

However, tonight, I saw a marketer buy into reality TV in a different way. Most of the bikes made on American Choppers are for corporations. They hire Orange County Choppers to make them a bike, and as a result, end up on the show. What's unique, is that the company isn't buying in through the network, they are buying in through the subjects of the show.

The bike OCC finished tonight was for Wendy's Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. By commissioning this bike, Wendy's gets national airtime on a show that targets one of their key demographics, and also promotes its image and the charity. Wendy's also bought lots of commercials during the show to give more weight to the exposure. Pretty cool way to get some love on national TV.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mimes Speak their Minds

Mimes have gotten a lot of love in commercials lately. And apparently, the once speechless creatures are ready to break their silence.

The most recent mime appearance is in a Kia Optima commercial. The commercial brings up the question, why a mime? However, the other spots feature a yodeler and a comedian, who make the mime seem less out of place. Davidandgoliath of Los Angeles did the work.

The Discovery Channel also used some mimes to promote their Race 2 Replace Lance contest. The mimes co-star with Lance Armstrong and Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. To check out the commerical and see more mimes speak out, look under Race 2 Replace > The Commercials > "St
eve Irwin Race 2 Replace Lance"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Everyone Wants In On Pixar's Cars

After the success of Pixar movies like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, everyone wants in on their new movie, Cars. Disney is unleashing a huge marketing effort on the movie, and so are many big-time companies. Businesses like Kodak, Goodyear and McDonalds have jumped on board to sponsor the movie and try to capitalize on the success Pixar has had in the past. Some companies like State Farm, Hertz and AT&T even have Pixar created ads running on national television to promote the movie and their partnership.

Having this many advertisers integrated into a movie's marketing effort on this scale is unprecedented. Most of these companies are deeply involved with the movie, not just jumping on the bandwagon and putting their name on a list. It's also worth noting that the majority of these marketers are targeting children. Most want to reach the adults directly rather than pull them in through their children begging for the latest toy they saw on TV.

If these marketers experience success, expect this trend to continue. However, much of the marketers' success depends on the success of the movie itself. So if Cars bombs, the marketers will go down with the ship.