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Fufeng Toy Trademarks 'Happy Birthday' Brand

A Chinese toy company, Fufeng, has registered the words "Happy Birthday" as its trademark in 25 countries including the U.S., Japan and the European Union. Accordingly, marketers may now face legal difficulties when tying their brand to the words "Happy Birthday." One hopes the company won't be too hard on little girls who are planning birthday parties for their Barbie dolls.

by Steve Hall    Oct-18-04    

Marketers: Wake Up And Smell The Consumer Control Coffee

Writing in Clickz, Sean Carton gives marketers a swift kick in the ass and tells them DVRs are ready to wipe out television advertising as we know it. We've heard this warning over and over but marketers need to hear it again. Begin right now. Today, envision your media plan with no commercial pod television element. Foresee a media landscape in which the consumer has complete control over every piece of content fighting for their eyeballs. It's not science fiction. It's happening right now.

Plan for it.

by Steve Hall    Oct-18-04    

SC Johnson Goes Limp, Quits TBS's 'He's A Lady'

There's a lot of pulling out going on these past few days. Following Lowe's and Tyson Chicken's pullout from ABC's Desperate Housewives, SC Johnson is pulling out of the TBS cross dressing reality show He's A Lady.

It seems marketers are having difficulty completing the task at the last minute. Perhaps Viagra can fill in for these less than virile marketers.

by Steve Hall    Oct-18-04    

Ford Dealers Experiment With Addressable Advertising

A group of New York and New Jersey Ford dealers are experimenting with addressable advertising - the practice of delivering customized advertising using database marketing. The dealer association is running nine versions of the same spot with each delivered based on geography, income and demographics as determined by zip code. Granted, this is hardly what addressable advertising will resemble in the future with true, individualized message targeting but marketers are at least getting their feet wet.

To put the campaign in place, the dealership group worked with its agency, J. Walter Thompson and Visible World's Intellispot software.

The first :15 seconds of each :30 are the same. The second :15 uses the same footage but superimposes different financing options over the second half of the spot.

Visible World EVP Claudio Marcus acknowledges the industry is in its infancy. "We are in the diaper stage right now," Mr. Marcus said, "and many marketers and media buyers are just beginning to understand what it could mean to execute cable TV campaigns in much the same way as direct marketers use household data to plan and execute mailings."

by Steve Hall    Oct-18-04    

Online Gaming Ad Network Announced

New York-based Massive Inc. has announced its introduction of the first online gaming ad-serving network. Similar to online ad banner networks, Massive Inc. will enable advertisers to embed their advertising messages within gamescapes. Unlike product placements in games, Massive Inc.'s system, like current ad banner networks, will allow for the placement of messaging based on dayparts and other targeting criteria.

Massive Inc. has signed deals with gaming companies such as Ubisoft, Universal Games, Atari and Konomi. The company has signed RealNetworks as its first client. Estimates claim 10 million PC gamers and 3 million internet connected consoles. Massive predicts internet connected console players to double every 12 months.

by Steve Hall    Oct-18-04    

Science Says Coke Wins Pepsi Challenge, Supports Branding

A study conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston into the preference for Coke versus Pepsi found Coke is preferred only because of its cultural brand iconography and that there is no perceived difference in taste between the two when tasted blind.

In the study, when asked to taste the two soft drinks blind, participants showed no preference. However, when the participants were shown company logos before they drank, the Coke label, the more famous of the two, had a dramatic impact: three-quarters of the tasters declared they preferred Coke. Perhaps branding does work. Afterall, it was Coke that got us all to believe Santa wears red.

by Steve Hall    Oct-17-04    

Free Speech And Government Don't Mix

The incredibly intelligent and insightful Jeff Jarvis writes an extensive piece about the importance of keeping government out of media and out of the business of censoring speech.

It is utterly wrong, completely unconstitutional, and fundamentally insulting for the FCC, both parties in Congress, and the White House to think that they should protect us from ourselves and have the ability to fine companies and citizens millions of dollars for uttering even one word. According to the FCC, we are ruined and corrupted by: 1. Fart sounds.

2. Titanium tits.

3. Whipped cream.

4. F words.

Who do they think we all are, their children? And who do they think they are, our parents?

by Steve Hall    Oct-16-04    

U2 Promotes New Single In iPod Ad

We love getting tips from our readers and this one especially caught our attention. Submitting a new Apple iPod commercial, the sender wrote, "I'm not sure if this is worthy of publishing... it doesn't involve boobs, sex, or smarmy ad execs, but it is interesting." We pondered for a moment over whether that was a compliment or insightful commentary into our questionable editorial morals. We thought for a moment and accept both gleefully as fair comment.

That said, Apple has partnered with U2 to promote its new single, Vertigo by creating a iPod silhouette ad with Bono and the silhouettes doing their usual gyrations to the tune of U2's new creation.

by Steve Hall    Oct-15-04    

Ford Uses Digital Version of Steve McQueen in New Ad

Ford is using imagery of Steve McQueen, who died in 1980, in a new television commercial for its Mustang and other new vehicles. In one version of the spot, McQueen is seen stepping out of a cornfield as he did in the movie "Bullitt" and into the Mustang. The commercial is part of a third quarter, $200 million effort to promote the new Ford Five Hundred, the Freestyle and the Mustang.

The campaign will break this Sunday with the Steve McQueen ad airing in November.

by Steve Hall    Oct-15-04    

SEGA Launches 'Gentleman Farmer' Viral

SEGA has launched a viral campaign for the European launch of its Football manager 2005. The video shows a gentleman farmer on the English countryside watching his dog herd sheep. Suddenly, it turns into a game where the gentleman farmer turns into a coach and begins screaming at the dog for his poor herding performance. Predictably, its raised the ire of animal lovers. Viral agency ASABAILEY is seeding the launch, its first for SEGA. The ad was produced by Maverick Media and directed by Seamus Masterson, for SEGA Europe.

Seeded in two versions, the first comes complete with language befitting a football couch and is being seeded as "The Banned Country Sports Video" and targeted to the 18 - 30 online gaming crowd. A second, softer, yet still funny version has also been seeded to a younger, more "morally conservative" audience.

by Steve Hall    Oct-15-04    

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