The clearing house for internal media conglomerate memos, otherwise known as Gawker, reports Time Inc is tightening the old Travel & Entertainment budget across all properties. This intercepted memo to Sports Illustrated employees urges them to "adopt a heightened awareness with regard to spending and be as frugal with the company's money as you would with your own." Staffers are urged to take Yellow cabs versus, we assume, limos; to fly only in cattle-class; to limit submitted entertainment expenses to story subjects and source - as opposed to, oh, friends, aunts, girlfriends; and staff meeting may not be catered. Oh, the horror of it all!
OK, there's just way too many things to do during our day to play check out every little viral campaign that comes our way so we're leaving it to you, Adrants readers, to tell us whether this new make-your-own-horror-movie viral for Old Navy is any good. In a similar vein, the upcoming movie, Cry Wolf, a horror flick, is also doing the viral thing. Treat it as a contest. Which one is better?
Sullivan Higdon & Sink VP Creative Director and one half of the American Copywriter podcast team John January has weighed in on the recent Project Wannamaker study by The PreTesting Company which found creative effectiveness burns out after two to three weeks on the air.
In response to a blog post by Business Week's David Kiley which, in part, predicted a trend towards increasing offshore commercial production, January wrote, "Outsourcing production to India? Come on, kids. We can figure this out. Can't we? All it takes is open minds. Open-minded creatives, open-minded producers, open-minded production partners. So simple in pixels. So not simple in real life. But we'd better get our collective heads around this."
Kiley also mentions one agency is exploring how MTV produces so many high quality promotions and videos at low cost and how media shops, with their number crunching efficiencies are about to take on the bloated world of advertising production. Forget weblogs. That shift, if it sees light of day, is something to seriously ponder.
Actor Ben Affleck has signed a $1.8 million deal to become the new face of British deodorant Lynx - known as Axe in America. Affleck will appear a campaign airing early next year which is said to maintain the tongue-in-cheek tone of current campaigns. Oh, he just quite smoking, just got married to Jennifer Garner and is expecting a child. Bennifer who?
Cosmetics company Flirt! has signed a deal with tennis pro Serena Williams under which she will become the company's new Guest Creator, a position offered to celebrities that provides them input into new product lines. Williams (or more likely the person writing her press releases) says she is a beauty junkie. "Now I am able to create makeup that works with what is in style. Creating cosmetics allows me to be glamorous and adventurous plus show off my flirtatious side, a fun contrast to my life on the court." Williams' creation, whatever it may be, will debut at Kohl's Department store in February 2006.
American Beauty, American Pie and Six Feet Under actor Mena Suvari will become the new face for non-profit, anti-smoking group Circle of Friends. Suvari, a former smoker and whose aunt died from smoking, will appear in ads for the group.
Explaining her decision, Suvari said, "One of the things you learn being in the public eye is that you have the ability to raise awareness about serious issues, and, in the process, really help people. I've chosen to get the word out to women, especially young women that tobacco is not glamorous - it's addictive and smoking takes a serious toll on your health."
Placing jokes about digits aside for a moment, lad-mag granddaddy Playboy will launch a digital addition of the magazine with its October issue on September 13th. The digital addition will be powered by Zinio Systems. As with the print edition, the digital version will be available for subscription and single copy sale. While Playboy does have a website with some of the magazine's content, Zinio systems will reproduce the magazine online exactly as it appears in print. Playboy's Lingerie is already produced digitally by Zinio.
Hoping for further worldwide reach, the move is more likely in reaction to the publication's declining numbers. Year-to-date ad pages are down 15 percent, the magazine missed its 3.15 million rate base by 35,002 and newsstand sales are down 23.2 percent. Zino says circulation of digital editions, on average, amount to five percent of print circulation. All other variable being equal, that brings an additional 157,500 readers though, likely, a considerable percentage of digital subscribers will come from canceled print subscriptions lessening the increase.