Anheuser-Busch to Launch Network


Anheuser-Busch will use its Super Bowl commercial time to launch a direct-to-consumer network called "The Bud Screen." The network will offer all manner of programming, branded content and advertising delivered to the desktop or an iPod. The brewer intends the network to be long-lived and to eventually be named "Bud TV." We've said it before and we'll say it again, the middleman - the networks - just aren't needed any longer. When a brand or program producer can deliver content directly to the consumer, there's no need for the current TV network set up. Oh sure, big changes are years away but it's happening and it will continue to happen faster and faster as more brands and content producers realize they can have their own channel of distribution.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 2-06    
Topic: Brands, Online, Television, Trends and Culture

IKEA Dresses Filipinos As Swedish Maids In Kuwaiti Ad


Kuwaiti Art Director and Ad Blogger Tata Botata (or whatever his real name is) pointed us to this Kuwaiti IKEA ad on the back of a local dining guide that shows Filipinos, apparently the predominant wait staff in the country, portrayed Swedish maids. While Botata tells us its very common to see Filipino wait staff in Kuwait, he took issue with IKEA dressing them up in stereotypical Swedish garb and headlining the ad with, "Enjoy the Swedish hospitality at IKEA store."

We don't pretend to understand all the cultural ramifications of this but we prefer our Swedish maids blond, buxom and holding beer St. Pauli Girl-style. Then again, that's got its own nasty, sexist, stereotypical baggage.

by Steve Hall    Jan-30-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Magazine

Wonder to Spend $10 Million to Stop People From Wondering


We always wondered if there actually was any bread in Wonder Bread since you can compress a slice into a ball the size of a marble but no matter, the company is launching a $10 Million campaign to introduce Wonder "made with" Whole Grain White. That "made with" phrases casues one to...uh...wonder whether just how real this new bread will be. Well, we'll give it the compression test and let you know. In the meantime, all you TV and print sales reps enjoy your slice of that $10 million. We bet it's a lot more substantial than a slice of Wonder.

by Steve Hall    Jan-26-06    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Magazine, Television

Couple Gets Years in Prison For Planting Finger in Wendy's Chili


As you may recall, early last year a couple reported finding a finger in a cup of Wendy's chili and then went all ballistic on Wendy's with legal threats and insurance claims only to be called out for planting the finger themselves after paying $100 to a construction worker who lost it in an industrial accident. Well, payback's a bitch and the couple has been slammed with years of jail time. Anna Ayala, 39, was sentenced to nine years and her husband Jaime Placencia, 43, will serve 12 years, four months. While a finger may have been lost, it was the couple's moral compass that was lost according to Superior Court Judge Edward Davila who said, "Greed and avarice overtook this couple."

by Steve Hall    Jan-19-06    
Topic: Brands, Policy, Strange

Toyota to Run 'Hybrid' Camry Hybrid Ad During Super Bowl


MPH thinks Toyota's plans to run a "hybrid" English/Spanish commercial for its Camry Hybrid during the Super Bowl is less than smart writing, "They better have one heck of a commercial because the concept sounds like a dud. Just sell cars, don't try to preach. Especially during the Super Bowl." Well, as we all know, the binoculars will be on hand to scrutinize every marketers' offering during the game so we'll all know soon enough if Toyota's hybrid/hybrid wittiness bombs or soars.

by Steve Hall    Jan-19-06    
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Super Bowl 2006, Television

Urban Outfitters Highjacks Brand...Again


Back in May 2005, we reported on an incident in which clothing company Crown Farmer claimed Urban Outfitter had stolen its designs and sold them without proper license. It appears the retailer is, again, up to no good, this time, with Johnny Cupcakes which claims the retailer has produced designs very similar to Johnny Cupcakes' which Urban Outfitters had previously seen but declined to license. It appears Urban Outfitters has borrowed heavily from a Johnny Cupcake bomb-dropping design. One time is, perhaps, a coincidence. Two times and it's time for Urban Outfitters to come clean.

UPDATE: Someone's started a blog called Urban Counterfitters taking Urban Outfitters and other retailers to task for their "borrowing" of other's designs.

by Steve Hall    Jan-18-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands

AT&T Delivers Blogging, Has No Idea What A Blog Is


This at&t billboard from their new campaign has been floating around Flickr for some time now. It, of course, alludes to the SBC acquisition of at&t (guess their doing the lower case thing now) and how that somehow delivers blogging. We suppose it just means they own more of the world's bandwidth so they have the right to say they deliver whatever they want.

Humorously, as is usually the case with large corporation sticking their feet into niche spaces, a Flickr user points out at&t, apparently, has no idea what a blog is according to a screen shot of a search on their website. One would assume these not so trivial oversights would be handled prior to the launch of a multi-million dollar campaign. Oh sorry. We forgot that thing they say about assuming things.

by Steve Hall    Jan-18-06    
Topic: Bad, Brands, Outdoor, Strange

Anti-Advergame Slams FedEx Kinko's


Random Culture points to Disaffected, an anti-advergame of sorts in that, rather than lauding a brand, it pokes fun at a brand. It was created by Persuasive Games to show distaste for the apparent lack of competence displayed by FedEx Kinko's workers. As described on Persuasive's site, "Disaffected! gives the player the chance to step into the demotivated position of real FedEx Kinkos employees. Feel the indifference of these purple-shirted malcontents first-hand, and consider the possible reasons behind their malaise - is it mere incompetence? Managerial affliction? Unseen but serious labor issues?"

While there are plenty of brand hate sites out there, Persuasive Games created the game to demonstrate that all advergames don't have to be all about brand love. We haven't played the game nor do we know if this is a first but we do like the idea. Gotta love dissent.

by Steve Hall    Jan-17-06    
Topic: Brands, Games, Online

Absolut Rebrands With Older-Focused Iconic Imagery


We aren't normally a fan of iconic brands drastically changing their image, logo, tagline and overall marketing but we've taken a quick look at the new Absolut campaign from TBWA/Chiat/Day New York and we like it. We really like it. Gone is the bottle, mostly, and gone is the print heavy focus. TV has been added to the mix showing iconic imagery such as an image of Steve McQueen with the tagline, "The Absolute Man," an image of the Statue of Liberty with the tagline, "The Absolute Welcome" and an image of the moon rover with the tagline, 'The Absolute Road Trip." Clearly, the over crowded, hipsteresque vodka landscape has required a different tact for Absolut to set itself apart. This just might work.

by Steve Hall    Jan-17-06    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Creative Commentary, Opinion, Television

Deutsch Back From Dead With IKEA

Woe was Donny this past Summer with account losses from Monster, Old Navy, and Revlon not to mention that Speedo picture but things are looking up for his agency Deutsch which, today, was awarded with the return of its former $60 million client IKEA. Most recently, IKEA was with Secret Weapon and has returned to Deutsch without a review. Welcome back, Donny.

by Steve Hall    Jan-13-06    
Topic: Agencies, Brands

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