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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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



Bud, Two Hotties, Parties Combine For SI Swimsuit Promo

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In a perfect alignment, Budweiser has signed on as exclusive promotional sponsor of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue and will also team with SI supermodel Molly Sims who will appear in the brewer's point of sale material. Budweiser will host pre-issue promotional parties in 50 cities on February 13. Budweiser will also place a six-page fold out in the issue featuring FOX Sports Best Damn Sports Show Period hottie Leann Tweeden.

by Steve Hall    Jan-12-06    
Topic: Brands, Magazine, Promotions



Coke Lies, Misleads With Fake 'Zero' Blog

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To appeal to men, many soft drink makers have dropped the word "diet" from the name of their products or introduced newly named products. In Coke's case, there's Coke Zero. A clandestine element of the campaign urging men to consume Coke Zero is a weblog, with no mention of Coke's involvement (Note: apparently in reaction to negativity about this effort, the page is now clearly branded with a Coke Zero bottle), named The Zero Movement on which a guy rants about why life is so full of stuff to do and how it would be so much nicer if there was, well, zero to do. It's written in typical character blog prose, devoid of personality and full of whiny banter which comes off like it's a product of a creative brief. There's even fake, supportive comments to go along with it.

While the blog's archives indicate the site's been up since June, 2005, Whois information tells a very different story. Not only does the information reveal the site is a product of Coke, it clearly states the domain for the site was registered November 21, 2005, a full five months after the site, according to its archives, launched. On top of this, blog monitoring service BlogPulse has little to no information on the blog. Had The Zero Movement blog been pumping out posts since June 2005, BlogPulse would have had a sizeable profile for the site. Blog search engine Technorati, aside from some recent referrals, doesn't have much either. In creating The Zero Movement, Coke has lied, misled and misrepresented. Some would call this reprehensible and irresponsible. We'll just call it stupid.

more »

by Steve Hall    Jan-11-06    
Topic: Brands, Opinion, Weblogs, Worst



Apple MacBook Intro Causes Powerbook Post-Purchase Regret

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Jason Kottke, New York blogger extraordinaire, purchased a new Apple Powerbook three weeks ago and,according to Kottke, three weeks too soon. When he watched Steve Jobs reveal the new MacBook at CES MacWorld last week, tears rolled down his eyes, onto the keyboard of his Powerbook as he wrote Apple a disheartening letter wondering, humorously, if his Powerbook, victim of his grief, was covered under warranty.

by Steve Hall    Jan-11-06    
Topic: Brands










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