In the Wow category, VW has taken its $345 million creative business away from Arnold, the car makers agency for ten years, and handed it to golden boy agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. In a statement, VW EVP Len Hunt said, "Volkswagen needs to take bold steps to turn this business around in the U.S. and Canada. "We're reviewing all aspects of our operations, and with the addition of CP+B on our team we'll now be equipped to maximize our marketing efforts. U.S. and Canadian consumers have always had a special relationship with this brand and today they want more from it—more interesting products which we now have and more captivating communications which CP+B will help develop."
Following a post to the WhereSpot discussion group and a story here on Adrants, Coke has called off its lawyers, who had threatened photographer Paul Papanek with legal action over a couple of spec spots he had created, and said it's fine the spots remain in existence as long as Papanek disclaims them as unaffiliated with Coke. It all seems very logical. A creative is allowed to express himself. A brand gets additional exposure without spending a cent. Everyone's happy. Except the lawyers. After three threatening letters, Coke's legal army was, apparently, called off and sent back to the dungeon to dream up other methods of charging Coke a fortune just to type up a few simple letter.
Writing in the WheresSpot discussion group, Papanek gleefully reports Coke representative Ms. Perlstein told him "everyone at Coke is talking about it" and even the brand managers are checking the spots out. Oh, and the lawyers? They're not all bad. They contacted Papanek directly and had amicable conversations.
Next time, perhaps, Coke will realize the value of consumer created media and leave well enough alone. Or, at least, approach the situation with less legal stiffness. Unless of course the work harms the brand which, clearly, Papanek's work did not.
Growing up, our house was always full of LEGOS. Boxes and boxes of LEGOS. There were elaborate trucks made out of LEGOS; strange flying machines; entire cities constructed out of LEGOS. Friends would come over and spend hours playing with LEGOS. Grandparents, aunts ans uncles would marvel at the creations. It was fun. It kept us out of Mom's hair. As entertaining as this was, we never knew that every time we uttered the word LEGOS, we were pissing off a member of the LEGO brand management police. That's right. LEGO has no 'S.' It's just plain LEGO. Though, since time began, it seems kids the world over have been abusing the LEGO brand by calling them LEGOS. We know of no one who "plays with LEGO." Everyone "plays with LEGOS," of course.
Clearly the result of waring factions caught up in weeks of pompous, self-important, white-boarded, conference room mission/vision/essence/position marketing pontification, Sprint, today, launched its new look incorporating its recent acquisition of Nextel. The new logo features the word "Sprint" along with an innocuous graphic and the words, "Together with Nextel." Huh? Which company is this? Together with who? Sprint? Nextel? Help. We are very confused. And we actually know what's going on. Pity the poor consumer who has to wade through this morass of compromise. Please let this be very temporary.
To persuade hipster fools to spend $200 on a pair of jeans, Levi's has enlisted the help of Andy Warhol, the granddaddy of all things hip. Called "Warhol Factory X Levi's," the jeans are priced between $150 and $250 and will be available next Spring.
General Motors has signed a deal with computer maker Itronix to manufacture a Hummer-branded laptop, ruggedly designed for those who work outside or just plain love all things Hummer. Priced at $2,988, the laptop isn't cheap but it is said to survive repeated 30 inch test drops and remain functional.
Bucky Turco reports Scion's latest hip hop promotion, NEXT UP, an unsigned emcee search, has recently faced backlash from the very community it was trying to reach. The car company disqualified an emcee because of his politically charged lyrics about President Bush and the war. The track, entitled Black Gold, is an obvious reference to oil and the war.
The rap artist, Bavu Blakes, was willing to alter his lyrics a bit so he could advance to the next round of the competition and potentially win a $50,000 marketing deal, but Inform Ventures, the marketing company handling the promotion for Scion, said he was disqualified because his lyrics were too political.In fairness to Scion, Bavu entered the "underground" category rather than the "political" category but many still believe Bavu was censored.
Without kids and still doing the Hollywood singles scene, albeit with older men because she thinks guys her age are too immature, Jessica Alba has decided to launch a line of baby clothing to help style-conscious parents make their kids look as hip as they do. Naturally, as with all things celebrity, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity - in this case, orphanages and women's shelters. The brand is set to launch next April.
Television commercial director and photographer Paul Papanek who, a few years ago, directed a couple of spec spots recently received several letters from Coke's in-house and out-of-house legal councils informing him he used Coke's logo without permission. His spots have been featured on his websites as well as on The Spec Spot and Boards Magazine. Each of the three letters Papanek received were increasingly threatening with the last one, dated August 15, informing him he must remove the spots from all the sites within 14 days or suffer nastier legal ramifications.
While Coke is well within their rights to protect their logo and brand, Papanek, writing in the WheresSpot Yahoo news group, wonders about the implications of Coke's request. Papanek cites the common practice of directors and production companies producing spec spots to promote their businesses, build their freelance careers or to pitch new business and wonders how this might affect spec creative. We wonder if new businesses pitches and creative reels will now be required to have logos digitized out. The two spots in question can be seen here and here. Papanek has commented and posted Coke's letters here.
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.