Just as it was at the Super Bowl and at every other ad-heavy event, the FIFA brand police are out at the World Cup protecting the brands that have paid for the privilege of sponsoring the event. The BBC reports 1,000 Dutch fand had to watch their team play Ivory Coast in their underwear because they were all wearing orange pants branded with a Dutch Brewer which had been provided by the viewer. It's the whole ambush marketing thing and everyone's doing it. But, those that tried should have followed Heineken's lead used in a recent viral that ended with fans expanding little green hats into Heineken-branded megaphones. The article goes on to explain how marketers have earned the right for exclusivity and how some feel they should be able to wear whatever they want. As it is every time this comes up, it's the same old thing. Nothing is resolved. Marketers continue to complain. Officials do their thing and people continue to wear whatever they want.
Commenting on a recent Virginia ruling banning liquor ads from the state's college newspaper and the subsequent lawsuits filed by V Tech and University of Virginia students against the ban which the American Civil Liberties Union supports, Jossip wonders which came first: drunken college kids of liquor ads. Jossip even puts forth a tagline Bud Light might consider: The more college girls drink, the hotter they get.
The Human Rights Commission has subpoenaed 16 executives at New York agencies to probe their supposedly poor history of hiring black people at public hearings during Advertising Week September 25 through September 29. A nifty strategy by the Human Rights Commission but one question that doesn't seem to have been addressed publicly surrounding this issue is how many black people actually want to work for an ad agency. Currently, in the 16 agencies the Commission is looking into, nine percent of employees are black. In New York, blacks represent 25 percent of the population. It's the gap between Nine and 25 that have critics steamed.
Silicon Valley Watcher digs into a situation whereby Cox Interactive is throttling its customer's access to Craigslist because, perhaps, Cox Interactive parent company Cox Enterprises feels people should read classified ads in Cox Media newspapers instead of on Craigslist. It appears Cox Interactive has been working with security software from Authentium since April 2005 and on February 23 of 2006 Authentium did acknowledge it was, in fact, blocking Craiglist from Cox Interactive users. Craigslist has asked Authentium several times to stop blocking their site to no avail. It's one thing to get competitive when your business is on the way to the toilet. It's entirely another thing when that competitive spirit turns nasty and wreaks of illegal activity.
Another agency throw down is about to take place. Euro RSCG 4D is suing is former CEO Charles Tarzian and has filed suit in the New York Supreme Court. Euro RSCG 4D claims Tarzian tries to steal clients, used confidential information to do so and recruited the agency's employees after he had left. Apparenlty, he also lied to 4D clients to seemingly place a bad taste in their mouths which might give them cause to leave 4D and to go with Tarzian. Someday, we'll all learch to get along and be honest.
When one thinks of Maine, one usually envisions beautiful mountain landscapes, endless coastline and a land made for vacationing. That all may be true but recently, at least in the ad industry, things have been pretty ugly. A blogger, Lance Dutson, has been sued by Warren Kremmer Paino Advertising for defamation, libel and copyright infringement. Basically, Dutson called attention to an ad he found on the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development website which carries a telephone number that, apparently by mistake, leads to some sort of dating/phone sex operation. The Maine Office of Tourism and its agency Warren Kremmer Paino weren't too pleased Dutson called attention to the ad which, according to Dutson, was publicly available on a website. While we don't claim to have intimate knowledge of all the details (there summed up here) the saga, it seems, is yet another example of how poorly large organizations react to having their dirty laundry aired when a simple, "Oops, we're sorry, we goofed," would suffice.
Ray Del Savio has launched a weblog in an effort to drum up support for getting the word "concept" added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary as a verb. Of course, all of us in the business who've been using the word to describe the act of coming up with an overall ad or campaign idea have been using the word as a verb forever. Savio's blog cites the Dictionary currently only recognizes the word as a noun and adjective.
The blog links to a petition that asks everyone to get behind its proposed addition to the Merriam-Webster listing of the word "concept." The proposed addition is al follows:
to con cept (knspt) - co cepted (knspt-ed) - con cept-ing (knspt-ing)
1. A process whereby ideas are generated for the purpose of creatively solving a problem: "The team set aside some time for concepting in order to flush out some plausible directions."
There are 56 signatures so far. We're all for it. What about you?
The future of the American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign could be in jeopardy following a Delaware Supreme Court case next Wednesday, April 26 during which Lorillard Tobacco Company will appeal an earlier ruling which found the American Legacy Foundation Truth campaign did not, as Lorillard claimed it did, vilify the tobacco company. If Lorillard wins, the tone of the campaign may have to change dramatically and Lorillard has asked the approximately $1.5 billion in money provided by manufacturers to American Legacy Foundation be returned to an escrow account making it, the organization claims, impossible to continue with its anti-smoking efforts.
The American Legacy Foundation claims the Truth campaign is crucial to maintaining and lowering youth smoking. The Foundation claims the campaign aided the decline in youth smoking 22 percent from 2000 to 2002 resulting in 300,000 teens choosing not to smoke in 2002. There are simple truths here. Every human knows this. Smoking is bad. If a person wants to smoke, they can make that choice. But cigarette makers should not be able to stifle organizations that are trying to provide information that helps a person decide whether or not they will take up smoking. That's just wrong.
Software developer Teletype has filed a suit against the Audit Bureau of Circulation alleging the organization turned a blind eye to Laptop magazine's inflation of its circulation. The suit, filed last week according to Newsday, names Laptop publisher Bedford Communications, Bedford executives Edward Brown and John Jay Annis, defunct distributor Inflight Newspapers and former Inflight executive Remy Lehner. In the suit, Bedford is accused of paying Inflight "to accept delivery of tens of thousands of copies of Laptop magazine each month in return for paperwork showing that Inflight had 'accepted' the copies for distribution" but were never delivered.
Just as Howard Beale screamed in the 1976 movie, Network, so too are network execs, today, screaming "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" in reaction to the FCC's piling on the final straw that broke the camel's back. After the FCC levied $3 million in fines last month for various indiscretions including a sexually charged Without A Trace scene, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have banded together to sue the FCC claiming, "The FCC rulings underscore the inherent problem of government involvement in deciding what viewers should and shouldn't see on television." Broadcasters claim those concerned about television content have plenty of means at their disposal to block content they individually deem inappropriate and the government need not involve itself as it does.