Oh it's been a while since the "blogosphere" - to coin a humorous and long-dead term - got their panties in a twist over some stunt a brand pulled. But these "kerfuffles" - to coin yet another humorous term - are always great fodder for a good 'ol internet bitch-fest.
So what's all the hubbub about? In August, ConAgra Foods, parent to the Marie Callender's brand of frozen foods, invited food bloggers to a New York restaurant they were told was owned by TLC Ultimate Cake Off Host George Duran and where they would receive a special, four course meal.
But instead of a meal cooked by George Duran, the bloggers were served frozen lasagna from Marie Callender's. Hidden cameras were in place to record diner's reactions. As it turned out, about 62 percent of the food bloggers actually liked the dish. But they were miffed and claimed they had been misled.
Now here's an interesting way to sell condoms. Attached to lime green fanny packs which were distributed on bikes left in parks in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boulder, Austin and San Diego are 2" square hang tag/booklets which read, in part, "This is a complimentary fanny pack. When worn as a fashion accessory by a man, it makes for excellent birth control. No man has ever been seduced while wearing a fanny pack in the history of the fanny pack. In the event you prefer your birth control to involve actual intercourse, may we suggest Sir Richard's Condoms."
The campaign comes from TDA_Boulder.
- Be careful when you pick up your next bowling ball. It might stare back at you with the menacing eyes of a decapitated head.
- If you find your friend drunk at a party, be sure to split her in half. Or something like that.
- Newcastle Brown Ale has found a use for bottle caps. It's constructed a 256 square foot shadow sculpture out of 3,000 bottle caps.
- And speaking of Newcastle, here's that installation in San Diego everyone's talking about.
Admitting it isn't at the top of the list when it comes to digital agencies, EURO RSCG Brussels set out to change that by becoming the most visible virtual agency. How? It set out to check in on Foursquare at 42 of its rivals until it became mayor. When it did, it posted the mayorship on Facebook along with a message encouraging area creatives to join the agency to help make it better. Sadly, no word on whether or not the effort actually paid off.
To hype its Dollar Days $1 drinks, McDonald's Canada placed 4,000 Canadian dollar coins arranged like the golden arch inside a giant block of ice and asked passersby to chip away at the structure to retrieve the coins. It took just five hours for all the coins to be retrieved. Some would jump to the conclusion this was a tremendously successful stunt. We'd call it a success if McDonald's knew just how many of those 4,000 coins made their way into the chain's coffers.
To induce trial, brands have, forever, been giving away their products hoping they are actually good enough for people to come back and buy. Over at Activate, it seems, that free ride is over. In its place is a ride that requires a person to do some actual work before being given a product to try.
In LA, Activate drinks has set up what it calls a human-powered vending machine. Angelenos can hop on, peddle for 30 seconds (way too short if you ask us but we're sure Activate doesn't want to cause any fat, lazy Americans a heart attack) and get a free drink.
Not a bad approach if you ask us. Americans have been fat and lazy for far too long and could use a reminder that it takes actual work to get things in life.
Attempting to offer what every man is this world wants - to truly understand what goes on inside a woman's head - Thinkmodo and Clockwork Apple came up with an interesting concept to allow guys to achieve (albeit virtually) just that. They made a box with four iPads affixed to it, placed it atop a woman's head and had her walk through New York City's Bryant Park.
Predictably, people can't figure out what the hell is going on. Finally, one guy approaches the girl as she;s sitting and reading and begins to swipe the screen which reveals Cosmopolitan's Cosmo For Guys, an online magazine designed to...help guys get inside the mind of women.
Ingenious stunt if you ask us.
This morning Greenpeace launched a guerrilla campaign attacking Volkswagen's environmental record. The campaign consisted of banners which were placed on London billboards paid for by other advertisers including Budweiser and Schweppes.
Of the campaign and the Force ad it imitates, Grenpeace's Emma Gibson said, "Volkswagen has spent millions on its new advert, using children and Star Wars iconography to persuade the public that it's a responsible company. It was a stunningly successful advert, so VW can hardly complain if we now turn its own tactics back on the company to shine a light on its poor environmental record."
The billboards feature an image of Darth Vader with the VW logo as the mouth. Copy reads, "Volkswagen. The Dark Side." Activists also dressed as Stormtroopers walked the streets in protest.
The campaign includes an online video which further pokes fun at the brand's Star Wars imagery and its alleged poor environmental performance.
T-Mobile makes another cultural coup with its ongoing and highly social "Life is for sharing" campaign. On May 11 in Barcelona, the firm set up a huge live Angry Birds installment inviting people to play.
A few curious stragglers were drawn to a booth, where they found a smartphone with Angry Birds loaded. They'd casually draw the slingshot back (the birth of an addiction) -- and find to their surprise that the result was replicated in real life. It goes without saying that a crowd formed fast.
I know. You're thinking, "Why haven't all the perpetrators of this kicked-to-death gimmick been banned to an island yet...?" The easy answer is, brands still pay for them.
We give you Dodge's Rock N' Roll Marathon Flashmob. The brand was a title sponsor for the event this year.