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Archives: December 2009

The Church of England Tackles Product Placement Issue


The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has turned to some holier advisement as part of its 8-week consultation on whether to allow product placement on the telly.

Brand Republic reports that The Church of England has offered its own submission to the consultation, which was launched by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw on November 9th after the government outlined support for product placement in September following decades of opposition.

The Church’s POV in a nutshell? Product placement won’t work, as the original ban is part of “a general convention enshrined in broadcasting history” and that easing regulations would blur the lines between editorial and commercial messages. According to BR though, ad revenue is taking a hit and commercial broadcasters would welcome a bit of product placement to generate new income. The consultation closes on January 8, 2010.

More: “UK Scribe Dreading Product Placement Invasion

Today in Awful PR Pitches…


Comes courtesy of Gawker fave Ronn Torossian and his 5WPR fold. With the heightened security and long lines that have resulted from the foiled terror attack on Xmas Day, why shouldn’t airlines be able to take advantage of the marketing opportunities?

Thankfully, HuffPo and Fast Company columnist Adam Hanft, who “sees the extra security precautions as an opportunity for airlines rather than a challenge”, is here to talk about the branding bonanza. Ugh.

A couple key bullet points from the pitch verbatim:

- “Consumers will start loving any airline with the courage to take a public stand. Flyers know that the airlines don’t set security policy, but they’re hungry for them to step forward and be as angry and frustrated as they are.”

- “Airlines also need to rush in and make the long lines at security as tolerable as possible. They should set up flat screen TVs along the path, hand out milk and cookies, and have magicians to occupy crying kids.”

Magicians?? Really? As my cohort Matt Van Hoven says, “this is beautiful like a car wreck.” Kudos Ronn…

More: “Vodka Brand Nees Better PR Flack/Editor/Proofreader

Former Starbucks Venue Trades Baristas for Booze


While the April closing of one of two Starbucks locations in the E. Village/Astor Place led many of its former patrons to wax nostalgic, the fact that the defunct venue has now been plastered with Absolut ads is leaving them feeling just as bitter as Starbucks coffee itself.

Since the closed locale is attached to Cooper Union’s old engineering building, incensed commenters on Curbed like “IvoryJive” say the booze branding is not only tacky but foolish. “Very responsible for a college building to be advertising Vodka. Maybe they could also advertise where to go after you get raped at a frat party.”

More: “Starbucks CEO Attributes Recent Success to Mickey D’s

Most Popular Stories on AgencySpy From the Last 7 Days

Tuesday Odds and Ends

-Slate reveals its “Ads We Hate” list for 2009, with Charmin’s kinda gross, animated bear spot earning a place on the list. link

-Abbot Labs eyeing WPP’s Mindshare to handle media buying/planning duties. link

-Is this the lamest holiday offering from an agency this year? link

-The Martin Agency launched the new “Rhetorical Questions” spot for GEICO. link

-The Village People are now singing S-U-I-T. link

-Facebook was the #1 most visited site in the U.S. on Xmas Day. link

-Where is digital marketing heading in 2010? Take it away, AdAge. link

-Google launched a search app for ad professionals. link

-A political candidate with a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric who’s been deemed “unfit” to practice law is using radio ads to quesion the sexual orientation of his more popular opponent in Illinois. link

-ING Direct’s Sharebuilder launched a new TV ad campaign. link

-You’ll need a fitting beverage to go along with your recent weed dispensary purchase, right? link

More: “Monday Odds and Ends

Real Housewife Cops to Airbrushed PETA Ad, Blames ‘Rogue Boob’


Though she initially denied any airbrushing in her own “I’d Rather Go Naked” PETA ad, Real Housewives star Bethenny Frankel came clean to the always hard-hitting Today host Matt Lauer this morning. She told Lauer, “There was a rogue boob they took out. It’s a little airbrushed, but the truth is, here it is. I don’t care. It wasn’t like I was posing for a fitness video or I was trying to be a model. It was about not wearing fur, which I’m really passionate about.”

Still, it’s safe to say that the “rogue boob” removal is nowhere nearly as egregious of an image alteration as those seen on Ralph Lauren ads from earlier this year.

Via Gothamist

More: “Ralph Lauren’s Photoshop-gate Saga Continues

Is Alfa Romeo’s Latest Campaign Faked?


A new campaign for the Alfa Romeo 147 claims to have placed a poster for the car at the lowest point on earth, a section of the Mariana Trench, off Guam, that is some seven miles deep (or 36,200 feet). The correlation: Alfa Romeo is selling the 147 for the lowest price possible, €14990, or $21,511.86. It seems a bit loony to go to such great lengths for a campaign (video below), and Jalopnik purports that based on information presented in the video, the whole thing could be a fake.

Basically, Alfa Romeo is pointing to one spot as the deepest, when there’s another that’s more widely believed to be “the deepest” &#151 called Challenger Deep. This spot is 190 miles off Guam, and the pressure there is 1,099 times greater than sea level, versus 1,000 times at Alfa Romeo’s spot.

Writes Jalopnik, “All this leads us to believe that the sign was, at best, lowered into a shallower area of the Marianas trench or, at worst, the whole thing was faked. All that means that Alfa Romeo can, in fact, go lower. We wonder just how cheap we could really get a 147 for.”

It’s a bit confusing, but hopefully the folks at Duval Guillaume Agency (the campaign’s creators) will have some answers.


More:Who Else is Pitching Chrysler? We hear, Y&R

Tiger Woods’ Libido Costs Loyal Sponsors $12 Billion


That’s the tally according to E! Online, which cites a recent study conducted by UC Davis econ professors who researched stock market returns for Tiger’s sponsors in the 13 trading days immediately following his Thanksgiving debacle. Nike, Gatorade and EA Sports took a $6 billion hit combined for standing by Woods, while Accenture basically disappeared from his life unscathed.

More: “For the Last Time (Maybe), TAG Heuer and Tiger are Simpatico

Daily Misogyny: Goodyear’s Polyglas Will Save Your Wife

Just in time for the snowy weather comes this “classic” Goodyear spot pimping the brand’s polyglas tires, which at the time were wider than most, making them the choice for men with wives. Er, basically women are not capable of driving on regular tires. Try telling Danica Patrick that &#151 and you’re likely to get a size 7 up your ass.


More:Creatives vs. Quants: Who’ll Come Out on Top?

Pepsi’s the Big Winner in GameSpot’s ‘Despicable’ In-Game Ad Awards

Adverlab proprietor/Hill Holiday emerging media strategist Ilya Vedrashko gives us his review of GameSpot’s (not to be confused with GameStop) annual “Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising” honors. The big winner is Pepsi, which ends an already stellar 2009 complete with misguided apps and forgetful secretaries with a hat trick of sorts thanks to this honor from the videogame resource site.

Somehow, pristine Pepsi vending machines found their way into Capcom’s Bionic Commando, which the publisher says is more of a tribute to the soda brand created by the developers. After all, sugary soft drinks and gaming do go hand-in-hand if the stereotype holds true.

Still, GameSpot wasn’t having it, pointing out the ubiquity of the vending machines and their excellent condition in a post-apocalyptic setting. The site editors add, “[It's] as if the Pepsi machines of the future were constructed out of an indestructible alloy while the rest of the world burned to the ground. Soda may be refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but this despicable product placement consistently reminds you that you are playing a game, and it will leave a sour taste in your mouth.” But worst… Probably not.

Other “winners” included a T-Mobile sidekick in the Tony Hawk Ride game and an iPhone mysteriously appearing in Return to Mysterious Island 2: Mina’s Fate.

More: “Pepsi Ends 23-Year Super Bowl Ad Run