Starbucks Goes Bananas, Mennen Spiffs, Cusack Talks Dirty Politics, Microsoft Bans 'Gay'

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- Can your manly-man hair pass the caress test?

- If a chaste mermaid won't save Starbucks, maybe frozen bananas will. (Ugh, dude.)

- Some celebrities educate the public on the Burma situation; John Cusack tallies similarities between McCain and Bush. MoveOn, as usual, is helping raise money to get the ad on air.

- Apparently the Copyright Nazis are after more than just pirates these days. In the UK, you can be prosecuted for playing music too loud or playing it for callers on hold without a license. From now on, let's just keep all music secret and see how the record industry fares.

- Baseball and the Tour de France aren't the only sports to disillusion one-time fans; almost half of Advertising Age readers believe the NBA rigs its games. I fondly await the day Canadians lose faith in hockey. Oh wait, many - already - have.

- A Microsoft Xbox Live group banned a player because he used "gay" in his gamer tag, "RichardGaywood." Upon discovering that was the guy's name, they BANNED IT ANYWAY. Microsoft, you charmers, you.

by Angela Natividad    Jun-15-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Cause, Celebrity, Events, Online, Political



Learn to Distinguish Between Storks. One of Them Isn't Carrying Children

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Some storks bring you babies. But watch out for the one with the glasses; he's got nothing but pickles.

Publicis & Hal Riney/SF is helping to reposition reinvigorate pickle company Vlasic and its 34-year-old stork icon. The stork's personality was modeled off Groucho Marx and appears in current TV ads* as a quirky friend of the family. Vlasic's tagline was also changed to "That's the tastiest crunch I ever heard."

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by Angela Natividad    Jun-13-08    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Online, Radio, Strange, Television



MySpace to Redesign. See Mock-Ups Here

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MySpace is redesigning its site, partly to make it more ad-friendly.

It also plans to improve nav, music and internal search, MySpaceTV (expect better embed/sharing options) and profile editing (kinda nifty).

Phase I of the redesign goes live June 18th. One advertiser bought all MySpace's ad real estate for that day. No word on who it is, but expect a major brand or an overhyped movie. (Film promotions for The Incredible Hulk are currently wreaking havoc on the homepage.)

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Yahoo Castrates Microsoft Talks, Forms Search Relationship with Google

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Yahoo to Microsoft: no, you can't have the company, and no, you can't buy our search, either. This follows FOUR MONTHS of hardcore media drama between the two of them. Here's a word from stock market angryman Carl Icahn (who, btw, is trying to oust Y!'s board):

In my opinion it will be extremely difficult for Microsoft or any other companies to trust, work with and negotiate with a company that would go to these lengths [to scuffle a deal].

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by Angela Natividad    Jun-13-08    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Online



Missy Elliott, Adidas Bring R-E-S-P-E-C-T Back to Fashion

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With help from Adidas, Missy Elliott has launched Respect M.E. Originals, a clothing line she plans to promote through mEgo.com's social avatars and widgets.

She's also picking five girls to serve as global brand ambassadors for Respect M.E.'s 2009 tour. Would-be models must register an mEgo account.

Respect M.E.'s promotional imagery brings Gwen Stefani to mind. She also launched a clothing line -- L.A.M.B. -- and lolled all over a gilded throne to promote it on an album of the same name. Guess that's the thing to do when you're a diva. But hey. If I were 15, I'd sooner play "brand ambassador" for Missy than for Macy's.

by Angela Natividad    Jun-12-08    
Topic: Celebrity, Online, Promotions, Sponsorship



Master Casters Bring Extreme Element to Fishing

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Here's something I've never seen before. For client Take Me Fishing, Colle + McVoy launched the Mastercasters, a site where you can watch some intense-looking guys do stuff like hit clay pigeons with their lures. Oh, and here's one where a dude shoots pyramids of empty cans by casting at them.

If master casting is the recreational activity for you (and how could it not be?), absorb some anglers' legacy and explore the available fishing and boating resources. Oh, I think I saw a Fishopedia somewhere.

by Angela Natividad    Jun-12-08    
Topic: Campaigns, Online, Promotions, Strange



Microsoft Angles for the Favor of Procrastinators

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To promote its MSN toolbar -- "Jet fuel for procrastinators!" -- Microsoft launched Start Procrastinating. You can either upload videos of yourself, flicking rubber bands around while putting off your creative brief, or watch three really stupid videos of a couple of dudes surf balling, folding shirts and sharpshooting.

Actually, the surf balling video's all right.

Start Procrastinating's no Clearification, which was appealing but a promotional flop for Microsoft. And avid procrastinators download StumbleUpon, not MSN. Sorry, champs.

Speaking of StumbleUpon, look what it found me! Free range workers. Yum.

by Angela Natividad    Jun-12-08    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Campaigns, Online



Panasonic Gives Us Worldwide Olympic Wave

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Oh look. You can do the virtual wave courtesy of Panasonic as if you were going to be at the Beijing Olympics this summer. Called the World Wide Wave, the site (accessed by clicking World Wide Wave on the lower left hand corner of the Panasonic site) lets people upload their image and become part of a virtual crowd wave.

It's consumer-generated media, you know, according to Hisato Tsugita from Panasonic's corporate communications department. Yea. CGM. It's sweeping the globe like an Al Gore-sensationalized ozone layer hole. Who knew?

by Steve Hall    Jun-12-08    
Topic: Brands, Consumer Created, Online



Life Changing Box For Sharp Aquos TV?

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The promise of the extraordinary. The surprise of something new. The power to bring change. It's... It's... It's... Life Changing Box, a Lowe-created site and Facebook game that involves a box, co-ordinated game play and prizes. Beginning today and running for a month, no one's saying who it's for right now so, if you care, you're just going to have to play the game and wait.

It's all fairly intricate but here are some overview points from the release:

  • There are 10 boxes total in the game
  • To gain possession of a box, users use a currency called a Touch
  • All players get 24 "Touches" per day
  • Each Touch enters the player into a Round
  • At the beginning of each Round, the box will randomly jump to one of the players who entered that Round
  • The player given the box holds it for the entirety of the Round, which lasts between 30 minutes and 8 hours, randomly decided by the application
  • If the box doesn't open in a Round for the player, a new Round will begin and everyone must Touch the box again to participate
  • 20 prizes will be awarded with values ranging from $400 to $14,000
  • If you invite a friend to the application and they win, you win a duplicate prize

Let's hope it is actually life changing and not some lame promotion for some lame brand. All the details are here, the box is here and the game is here.

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by Steve Hall    Jun-12-08    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Games, Online, Social



The Tour de France Needs a Champion: YOU

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Take Back the Tour -- not to be confused with Take Back the Night, though it wishes to be taken just as seriously -- is a movement that aims to "champion [Tour de France] riders who compete clean, while giving a platform ... to [their] passionate fan base."

More to the point, it reminds bike junkies that VERSUS (the sponsor!) is "the exclusive cable television home of the Tour de France."

"Show me another sport that's as tough, as demanding and as epic in its grandeur, grit and beauty than the Tour de France, but it's a competition that has seemingly lost its way over the past few years," said SVP Bill Bergofin of Marketing and Promotions for VERSUS. "[This] campaign ... will provoke a dialogue ... which will hopefully help to restore the Tour to its glory."

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by Angela Natividad    Jun-11-08    
Topic: Campaigns, Commercials, Events, Good, Online










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