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Corbis Acquires Dead People

Archival photo house Corbis, yesterday, announced the acquisition of Beverly Hills licensing firm Roger Richman Agency which represents the likes of Steve McQueen, Sigmund Freud, Vivien Leigh and the Marx Brothers. The acquisition gives Corbis deeper reach into the rights management of dead celebrities, used heavily in recent ad campaigns. The move is part of Corbis' strategy to position itself as a bigger player against its larger rival, Getty Images

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Comcast And TiVo to Provide More Ads to Skip

Comcast and TiVo are in cahoots on a new advertising system that will insert news ads over old, previously recorded ads when the recording in played back. It a seemingly futile effort to force people to watch commercials, TiVo, again, is grasping at the ever disappearing straw. Apparently oblivious to his customers desires, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, "In the long term, advertising is going to be a big winner. They're going to get more bang for the buck."

One could argue the insertion of newer and, perhaps, more relevant ads is a good thing. The bigger issue, though, is one of control. Consumers have it and marketers don't like it. The VCR, for example, though far less usefulness in terms of usability, put the owner, rather that the manufacturer in the driver's seat with a simple inexpensive box. Now, with TiVo, there's still a box but there's also that endless monthly fee just for the privilege of being forced to watch ads (TiVo has a new experimental system that places banner-like ads over ads while they are being fast forwarded through. It's all very insane. Kinda makes the VCR look pretty good.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Bloody Sheep Butt Serves PETA Cause

Showing a lamb’s butt that has been mutilated with a pair of gardening shears, next to the tagline "Help Stop Cruelty to Animals—Boycott Benetton" and steering viewers toward UnitedCrueltyOfBenetton, PETA is at their finest again with a brand-new ad has just gone up at in San Francisco at Lombard and Fillmore streets, facing east. The ad is the latest in PETA’s international campaign against two forms of cruelty in the Australian merino wool business, which has involved protests on three continents, an advertising blitz, and a burgeoning boycott. PETA has targeted Benetton for refusing to join other major retailers—including Abercrombie & Fitch, J.Crew, and U.K.-based New Look and George—in refusing to buy wool that comes from mutilated Australian lambs. Gross.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Spears Federline McMarriage Becomes UPN Reality Series

The blissful innocuousness of MTV's The Newlyweds is about to get slapped upside the head by UPN which is launching a new reality series focusing on the much trashed lives of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. Denied by the couple but filmed over the past year or so, the series will follow the odd couple from courtship through marriage and, as rumors have hinted, perhaps, through pregnancy. Debuting at the end of May, the series will have an initial six episodes

UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff explains the series saying, "I don't think there's anything sugarcoated about this. It's pretty raw and pretty real. I don't think (viewers) have ever been exposed to people being so honest and open about their lives." That's code for lots of bitch fighting/slapping. We're there.

By the way, what the hell's up with Variety's invented slang? Prexy? Skein? Competish?

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Huggies Promotion Gets Dumped On

Metafilter creator Matthew Haughey and his wife were out shopping buying diapers for their impending newborn and stumbled upon a cross-promotion involving the placement of Disney characters on Huggies diapers. While his wife thought this attempt to brand her child at such an early age un-nerving, Matt put it all in perspective saying, "Yeah, but think about it, these are diapers -- our daughter will get to shit right on Mickey!"

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

VW Screws Up Their Own Jetta Commercial

Volkswagen has always developed small but nifty features that really make a difference such as all the windows rolling up at the turn of a key in the outside door or a miniature visor behind the rear view mirror to catch the sliver of sun that always slips past the two big visors. There's even a helpful feature on the new Jetta's radio which, when turned on, automatically adjusts the volume downward to a more sane level from the previous night's earsplitting head banger session enjoyed while driving home from the club. Seems that feature would be ripe for riffing on and, in a new Jetta commercial, it has been, just not correctly.

Autoblog brings to our attention a reader who points out a flaw in the commercial. In the ad, a young man is trying to impress his older client with his spanking new Jetta but when the stereotypically old and un-hip client turns on the radio, seemingly looking for sedate news, and gets an earful of high decibel heavy metal, the plan goes awry. In real life, as opposed to fake advertising life, this guy would have been saved from humiliation. One would think this inaccuracy would be quickly pointed out by the marketing team at Volkswagen following the agency's presentation of the concept but, apparently, not even Volkswagen knows how cool their cars are.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-05    

Steve Madden Ad Campaign Celebrates Return From Prison

The New York Times highlights a new campaign from footwear maker Steve Madden celebrating the return of founder Steve Madded upon release from prison after serving a 41 month sentence for stock fraud. The campaign will appear in national consumer and trade magazines as well as newspapers and bus shelters. It certainly seems to make sense following the welcome Martha Stewart received upon her return.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 5-05    

The Thermasilk Ashlee Simpson Ad Campaign

Not really all that new but for history's sake, here's the Thermasilk campaign featuring vocally challenged Ashlee Simpson. Of course, it's all tied into her "Rockstar for a day" sweepstakes and ongoing tour which, humorously, has only sold out for three of the 36 dates.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 5-05    

Paris Hilton Promotes Movie With Podcast

The girl who's famous for nothing is joining the geek squad by launching, on April 29, a podcast to promote her upcoming Stephen King movie House of Wax releasing May 6. Yes, now you can hear celebutante Paris Hilton coo, witlessly in your ears about her life, shopping and her tribulations making the movie. Podcasting has entered the building.

OK, so it's really Warner Brothers that's launching the podcast and using Hilton's popularity to promote it and the movie. As BL Ochman points out, this a good thing and a bad thing. It's good that podcasting will get major play. It's not so good the world's going to be introduced to podcasting by listening to Paris whimper about her life. On the upside, the movie stars Elisha Cuthbert.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 5-05    

Viral Marketer Slams Brand to Promote Leukemia Cause

In an effort to draw attention to the worthy cause of Children with Leukaemia, AsaBailey has created a series of ads trashing personal hygiene cosmetics company L'Oreal as if they are related to the cause of Leukemia. While the "send to a friend" campaign is branded L'Orael (note different spelling), it's a brazen attempt at publicity at the expense of a brand that, as far as we know, doesn't kill kids.

While wrapped in the Leukemia flag and enabled by Bmycharity, the stunt is promoting Paul Tomkins' participation in back to back marathons to raise money for the charity. The cause is just but the tactics are questionable especially the non-sensical promotional cards showing Paul interacting with other brands for no apparent reason.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 5-05    

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