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Apprentice Runner Up to Host TV Show

Kwame Jackson, runner-up on the first The Apprentice is said to be finalizing a deal with CNN to host a weekend business show. The show is described as a "Inside the Actor's Studio" for CEO's. Whether this will be any good or not is irrelevant. Jackson has found yet another way to put himself in front of CEO's. You can believe he'll be hitting them up for work if this show tanks.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




Comcast Expands Ads-On-Demand Service

Following its launch in Philadelphia, Comcast has expanded its Ads-On Demand service to Baltimore. The service provides subscribers the same features of its content On-Demand service but provides consumers the ability to select commercial to view just as they might select a movie.

The trend towards consumer control over media consumption and the increasing ability to skip ads, forces this model. Of course, the time will come when a person can insulate themselves completely from all advertising messages. But, at the same time, people will still need stuff. One place to get info on stuff is ads. In a sense, this service is a benefit to people as they will now be able to seek out and view new product information and offers just as they do now on the web.

With this move to everything-on-demand, one hopes, marketers won't stop with :30's. In fact, everything should be on demand. Entire websites and ecommerce capabilities should be readily available through the TV remote control. Besides, shopping from the couch is a lot more comfortable then when hunched over a keyboard.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




Viral Ad Experiment to Feature Victoria Beckham Look-A-Like

Most, if not all viral advertising is created to be just that - an ad that, hopefully, is engaging enough to be passed around like wildfire. Viral marketer Asa Bailey wants to try something a little different. He wants to create viral content for content's sake with sponsorship as an afterthought. Of course, sponsoring content is nothing new. It's been done in all media since advertising was invented. And certainly there has been viral content online that has been loosely tied to sponsorship before.This is a bit different.

Bailey wants to see if there is a new online viral advertising model.

One, in which sponsorship is secondary. To test his theory, he has placed an ad on eBay (where else?) soliciting sponsorship of a viral video he plans to create. The video, called Knocking Down Victoria Beckham, will feature a Victoria Beckham look-a-like prancing about a store, incognito, shoplifting items from the baby section, escaping, seeing hubby David across the street then running to him only to be smacked down by a bus. We do love whacking our celebrities, don't we? The sponsorship of the viral includes opening and closing logos as well as the pervasive presence of a URL along the bottom of the film. The bid and details can be viewed here.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




NHL Dies A $230 Million Death

The IEG Sponsorship Reports estimates the NHL stands to lose $230 million in sponsorship dollars due to the season being officially called off last week.

"Assuming the league resumes play at some point, whether (the NHL) will again appear on those lists depends on whether the fans come back to the game," said IEG VP Jim Andrews. If they don't, then the league will have to win the fans back before it can even think of winning sponsors back." Things are not looking good for the sport or its sponsors these days.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




Designer Gives Oscar Acceptance Speech

UK Designer Stuart Wilson, who's done some great work and is currently lending his expertise to TBWA in London has created his own acceptance speech.

While it's likely the sort of thinking that goes through a designer's mind when accepting an award for work that's been dumbed down by committee, it's also a great example of what you won't hear during acceptance speeches at this year's Oscar ceremony.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




Yahoo Gets Phat With 'Fat Actress' Webcast

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Perhaps because no one is actually going to watch Kirstie Alley's Fat Actress, Showtime has signed a deal with Yahoo to have the entire first episode of the series webcast on Yahoo. The episode will be made available in it's entirety, including commercials, March 7 through March 12. Maybe the air valve in our head is loose this morning, but we wonder why people would go out of their way to watch the episode online with commercials when they could view it offline on commercial-free Showtime. Check that valve for us, would you? Chiding aside, we think it's a great idea to take TV programming to the web. With audience segmentation growing, TV viewing down, multitasking up and personal video player usage growing, it makes perfect sense to "broadcast" programming from the web where it can be viewed at a time of people's choosing just as the TiVo and On Demand services provide offline. Additionally, actual viewership can be tracked more effectively online than off and advertisers will love that.

Yahoo Media and Entertainment honcho Lloyd Braun tells Ad Age he has plans for a "big signature event" that he likens to the sea changing qualities of I love Lucy and The Sopranos. We hope it's not all talk.

by Steve Hall    Feb-22-05    




Abercrombie Legal Slap Down Gets Company More Unwanted Press

Sadly, it's predictable. A company reacting to the defacement of its brand almost always goes down the wrong road. Rather than enter into a conversation (or better yet, simply ignore these small stunts) with those defacing its brand, it calls in the lawyers. That's what Abercrombie & Fitch did after we called their attention to the existence of some Nazi-esque posters branded with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo but, in reality, were just social commentary. Now, like PUMA, Abercrombie & Fitch would like this to all go away but all they've done is fan the flames.

sfist has a lengthy interview with Chris, the creator of the A&F parody and, much to A&F's chagrin, even more Nazi-esque images from the parody. In the interview, Chris, while having nothing against Abercrombie & Fitch, says he is irked by "groupthink" which he likens to a "mindless conformity - that people are willing to adopt a logo." Going further, he adds, "the mechanics of wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt are identical to wearing a Nazi armband."

While we're positive Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing teens have not joined a cult in preparation for world war III, the parody does raise intriguing questions about the power of a brand and how much importance it should have in one's life. It's not over for A&B either. Chris has plans to post A&B parody poster in the future.

by Steve Hall    Feb-21-05    




Red Meat Rocks In Australian Ad

The Meat and Livestock group in Australia is running a campaign, called The Feel Good Campaign, promoting the benefits of red meat. In one commercial, the rock group is reveled to be something other than one might expect. Their performance, apparently, powered by the consumption of meat. Thanks to Rick.

by Steve Hall    Feb-21-05    




Momints Calls Ice Breakers Campaign Bubble-Headed

No sooner do Hailey and Hilary Duff (what's with parent's obsessive need to make their kid's names rhyme or begin with the same letter?) become the new talking heads for Hersey's Ice Breakers mint do we receive some anti-PR from competing mint company, Momints. Positioning themselves as the intelligent choice to the bobble-headed Ice Breakers, the press release reads, "Not every company wants bubble-headed celebrity siblings who feign disputes over whether a product is liquid or ice a la Hershey's Ice breakers with the Simpson sisters, and now Hilary and Haylie Duff. Momints, America's original and boldest liquid filled breath mint, has just announced a search for a brainy spokesperson who's able to identify the contents of Momints. Momints' manufacturer, Westfield, NJ-based Yosha! Enterprises, invites these intellectually gifted consumers to apply at www.momints.com The release goes on to skewer its larger competitor and clarify its position as the company that started this whole liquid filled breath mint thing. "Siblings worldwide are in unanimous agreement that Momints is liquid, according to e-mails and letters received by Yosha! Enterprises, the manufacturer of Momints, the original liquid filled breath mint that was introduced to the American market in March 2003.

While a Johnny-come-lately Goliath liquid mint brand features a series of confused celebrity siblings who are unable to discern liquid from ice, Momints, the original liquid mint - and strongest on the market - has continually attracted intellectually gifted and sophisticated consumers who can differentiate solid bodies from liquid ones. The winning spokesperson, who will receive a lifetime supply of Momints, will embody the bold innovation and sophistication of the Momints brand."

We love a good underdog story.

by Steve Hall    Feb-21-05    




Blockbuster Ads Amount to Big Fat Lie

In another example of a company attempting to compete with a competitors superior business model, Blockbuster has been caught with its pants down regarding its new "No More Late Fees" ad campaign. Unbeknownst to most, the video rental company's largest campaign to date amounts to a lie. New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey filed a lawsuit last Friday claiming Blockbuster did not disclose the reality of its new program.

While it's all in the fine print, Blockbuster's program does not do away with late fees. It simply recategorizes them into a "sale" on the eighth day. If, after 30 days, the video is returned, the charge is credited but then the company imposes the well known, "we'll do anything for a buck" trick and charges a restocking fee. Even if all is disclosed, this has to be one of the sleeziest marketing stunts in recent memory. "Blockbuster boldly announced its 'No More Late Fees' policy, but has not told customers about the big fees they are charged if they keep videos or games for more than a week after they are due," Harvey said. "Blockbuster's ads are fraudulent and deceptive. They lead people to believe that an overdue rental will cost them absolutely nothing when, in fact, customers are being ambushed with (a) late fees in some stores, (b) so-called 'restock fees,' and (c) credit card or membership account charges equal to the purchase price of the video."

Blockbuster, of course, in a desperate attempt to cover its ass, issued a statement claiming they were very thorough in explaining to customers how the program works. Even if Blockbuster bought all the time on the Super Bowl to announce this service, it's still a lie. The company not done away with late fees. It's just converted them into something else using deception and creative accounting. NetFlix all the way, baby.

by Steve Hall    Feb-21-05    




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