The winners of the Viral Awards were announced last week in London at the Royal Society of Arts for an evening of viral celebration. More than 200 members of Europe's advertising community turned out for the festivities. Winners included Crispin Porter + Bogusky with three first prize awards including Best Writing, and Creative use of Media; Matt Vescovo picked up an award for Best Use of Humor for a series of "Instructoart" spots for MTV; McCann Erickson USA took the Word of Mouth Award for their work on the Masterclass “Priceless” campaign. The Best Campaign went to The Viral Factory for its "Trojan Games." A full list of winners is here.
At first look, sex, drugs and rock and roll might not be an environment in which a bible advertiser would want to associate with but for Zondervan, publisher of Today's New International Version of the Bible, it's right where its target audience of 18-34 year olds hang. So maybe Rolling Stone isn't completely about sex, drugs and rock and roll but the iconic publication doesn't want religious ads in its magazine and has rejected an ad for Zondervan's new edition of the Bible.
The word "truth" in the ad's tagline, "Timeless truth; Today's language," raised the eyebrows of Rolling Stone parent company Wenner Media General Manager Kent Brownridge who said, "The copy is a little more than an ad for the Bible. It's a religious message that I personally don't disagree with [but] we are not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages."
Fifteen years is a long time to commit to anything especially in the fast paced world of marketing but that's exactly what Electronic Arts decided to do with ESPN. The video game maker will pay ESPN between $750 and $850 million for the exclusive right to use the ESPN brand name in at least nine of its sports games. The deal follows another in which EA paid the NFL $300 million to use the likeness of the League's players, stadiums and uniforms.
Even though the episode originally ran five years ago, FOX, in light of the recent FCC crack down, decided to digitally cover the butt of the baby Stewie character in a recent re-run of The Family Guy. The move is, perhaps, in reaction to its recent run in with the FCC which, in October, fined 169 FOX stations $7,000 each for a Married By America episode in which whipped cream was licked from a strippers body.
While Anheuser-Busch has already stated one of its spots will make fun of last year's Super Bowl halftime show which kicked off all this insanity, there are sure to be more humorous references to this year's heightened sensibilities.
Writing on Micro Persuasion, Steve Rubel sums up a percolating rumor which points to Google's pending announcement it will kill weblog comment spam in it's tracks. Through the simple application of code by bloggers and blog software publishers which informs Google robots not to follow/index certain pages (blog comment pages), links in blog spam, which spammers use to move up their position on search results pages, will become useless and, over time, blog spammers will realize the pointlessness of their scum sucking ways.
Recovering former Mr. Aniston, Brad Pitt will shill for Heineken during this year's Super Bowl. In the spot, directed by David Fincher, Pitt is seen buying a six pack of Heineken. He is then chased by paparazzi who, in a far-from-reality twist, are after the beer instead of Pitt.
With millions of dollars flowing into Tsunami relief funds and donating companies receiving press for their good will, one small moving company, without millions to donate, did their part right at home in New York City. FlateRate Moving engaged in a bit of "Philanthropic Advertising." Over the holidays, a slow time in the moving industry, rather than laying off workers and letting trucks remain idle, the company donated time, trucks and people power to pick up furniture from well-to-do families and donate it to formerly homeless. With 17,000 homeless families in New York alone, they were able to make a big difference. Along the way, the company garnered press for its efforts which brought awareness of its services to those in need while gaining a little publicity for itself.
Already with 1,200 locations, China can't get enough of the Colonel's fried chicken. With America eschewing any food with two or more grams of fat per serving, KFC is looking outside the country for growth hoping to fool China and other nations into thinking their food is healthy before they wise up. With profits of $200 million in China, KFC already has a strong foothold. The company launched 275 stores last year and plans to open the same number in 2005. Skinny Asians may become a thing of the past as China latched on to American glut.
Calling attention to the recent over flow of scandalous behavior in the media and advertising industries, Ad Age Editor Sott Donaton says it's time to "cut the crap." Citing the Armstrong Williams "No Child Left Behind payola scam, the Bush administrations fake "No Child Left Behind" video news releases and, among others, Pfizer's stretching of the truth for its Listerine brand, he says the only solution is simply to stop. We agree. Trust between consumer and marketer is nearing the breaking point. Honesty is in short supply. Truth is the only medicine that will turn this train wreck around.
Going against the "he who smelt it, dealt it rule," poor grampa gets fingered by his family for passing gas in a new spot for the American Legacy Foundation and the Ad Council. Of course, it's not exactly gas he's passing. It's from our Subservient Chicken friends Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Also in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week is a very innovative and effective spot from Nextel by TBWA which features construction site employees working in perfect concert like ants, a spot for Vonage from Arnold in which a snowmobiler does something stupid that is then related to making better phone service choices, a boring spot from the New York Jets by Grey Worldwide in support of the New York Sports and Convention Center, a fairly hilarious spot from Dairy Queen also from Grey which promotes its new calorie-laden, artery-clogging, heart attack-causing Quarter Pounder and the fact it takes two hands to eat, another fat-burger spot from Jack in the Box by Secret Weapon Marketing which shows the company icon ogling and commenting on health club imagery and, lastly, an Ad Council spot by Merkly & Partners illustrating that a space suit really isn't necessary to avoid catching the flu.