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Branding

The New Happy Meal Brand Ambassador is Scaring the Daylights Out of People

happy meal ambassadorMcDonald’s has introduced a new brand ambassador for its children’s Happy Meal, named Happy. It’s going to be nationwide on May 23 “and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.”

Of course, because the Internet shows no mercy, they jumped all over this new character. Example: “It’s the meal that eats you.”

Time points out that McDonald’s has a history of creating the brand ambassadors of people’s nightmares. Seriously, take a minute to look at the creepy poop pile that once was Grimace. Also, that article reminds us about the Quizno’s radioactive rat that it used to sell sandwiches before the company filed for bankruptcy.

We thought we’d help out with three tips for creating a mascot that doesn’t scare people.

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Lunar Advertising: Japanese Company to Launch Can of Soda to the Moon

LUNAR DREAM CAPSULE PROJECT | キミの夢を、月に届けよう。

Japanese soda company Otsuka is about to take “one giant leap” for advertising.

The moon’s surface, once described by Neil Armstrong as “magnificent desolation,” is about to become a bit less desolate thanks to a 2.2-pound titanium capsule filled with “powdered sports drink and children’s dreams,” which the beverage maker, in partnership with Pittsburgh-based aerospace company Astrobiotic Technology, plans to bestow upon our lunar neighbor.

Astrobiotic is currently in competition for the $20-million Google Lunar X prize, which will be awarded to the first company to land a payload on the moon’s surface that can travel at least 1,640 feet and transmit high-definition images back to Earth. To fund such a project and to purchase a spot on a launch vehicle (which, in this case, is the Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX), the company needs sponsors, and Otsuka has offered Astrobiotic a hefty half-million in exchange for a can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink acting as a stowaway. Read more

Bored on Your Lunchbreak? Chipotle Prints Literary Works on Bags and Cups to ‘Cultivate Thought’

chipotle-cups-hr-hed-2014Remember, as a kid, sitting at the kitchen table and reading the back of the cereal box over and over again? We don’t know about you, but once we had figured out the puzzles and read the stories, if there was still milk in the bowl, we’d move on to reading the ingredients — we needed to keep our eyes and brains busy while mindlessly munching on Cheerios.

Now, Chipotle is betting that we haven’t outgrown the impulse to scan for something to read while eating alone; next time you find yourself eating a burrito bowl solo, there will be no need to reach into your pocket for your phone or dig through your bag for your Kindle — works by literary giants will now appear conveniently on the bags and cups containing your culinary delights. Read more

A.1. Steak Sauce ‘Breaks Up’ with Its Brand and Gets a #PRWin

A1 old school

That’s right. Old school! It’s how we roll.

I have shared this with many people in the advertising and PR industries:

“Advertising and PR intersect all the time without either industry knowing it. Ads establish position. PR creates perception.”

We need to work together. You know? Like “We are the World,” only without all that mushy singing and fighting world hunger stuff. That said, when a brand or an agency has figured out how to do both, it’s a golden day.

A.1. Steak Sauce did just that via Facebook of all places, and it was glorious in the world of social media, PR, and whatever the hell they put in that hazy brown elixir of yumminess.

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Hollywood, Marketing Execs Talk Trends in Branded Entertainment

Madison & Vine BookBrands partnering with entertainment outlets to produce content represent an effective, though selective phenomenon, according to entertainment executives at a recent Creative Week panel in New York. They were there to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Scott Donaton‘s book, Madison & Vine that spotlighted the trend.

“It was about marketing in an end-user controlled world. It was initially fear-based, that TV viewers would skip ads because of the introduction of TIVO. The thought was that brands could say worthy things that are story-based”, explained Donaton, former editor of Ad Age, and currently global chief content officer at UM Studio.

Key takeaways revolve around the evolution and dynamics involved:

Defining moments of branded entertainment abound, especially BMW Films (aka the gold standard) and BMW videos featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond. The Restaurant TV show also broke new ground. “The show’s thesis was that restaurants were the new theatre”, said Ben Silverman, founder and chairman of Electus. Of course, it’s easy to see that now, but it was rather novel at the time. Among other notable collaborations are American Idol and Coca-Cola, The Biggest Loser and 24-Hour Fitness, and Transformers movie and Hasbro.

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Kevin Bacon’s Brother and Oscar Mayer’s Turkey Bacon Team Up to Challenge Their More Famous Siblings

It’s tough to be the equally talented, more heart-healthy sibling of a famous celebrity; if you’re going to have to share their last name, shouldn’t you be able to share their spotlight, too? Now, the other Bacons (Kevin’s brother Michael and Oscar Mayer‘s turkey bacon) are teaming up to help make this underdog fantasy a Twitter-fueled reality.

Sure, Michael Bacon might be 50% of the band The Bacon Brothers, but Kevin is likely almost 100% of the reason people want to hear them play. And while turkey bacon is undeniably delicious, T-shirts, recipes, and burger joints all celebrate its porkier counterpart. This campaign aims to change all that.

The campaign urges people to celebrate the story of the #UnsungBacon by following Michael on Twitter, with the eventual goal of overtaking his movie-star-brother’s number of followers — a lofty goal to be sure, as Michael currently has 1,680 followers while Kevin boasts over 431,000. But Oscar Mayer, brand king of all processed meats, really believes in Michael (and its own product), and is determined to show the world the wonders of both. Read more

Consumers are Clueless Sheep in ‘Marketing: The Musical’

Marketing_ The Musical! - SHOES - CMA National Convention - YouTube

How do you get a bunch of marketing and branding professionals to attend a convention? By reminding them that they have a deeply important social responsibility to hone their skills, because without them, consumers would be lost, doddling oafs unable to make a single decision or find direction or meaning in their empty, uninformed lives. Obviously.

Oh, and making that reminder musical doesn’t hurt, either.

The invitation to the Canadian Marketing Association‘s 2014 convention states matter-of-factly, “People want to want things. Consumers need you to go.” And to hammer that message home, Toronto agency Cundari has created musical numbers from fictional production “Marketing: The Musical,” which feature lyrics like these:

“Should I buy the red one or the blue? I wish someone would tell me what to think; then I would know what to drink.”

And:

“Our cars are pretty much identical in every single way, so I really need some branding to know how much we paid. Without a logo or hood ornament, I’m in a big predicament.” Read more

Maybe Lupita’s Fashion Misstep Was a Good Thing?

lupita met galaIn case you forgot, the other night was Met Gala night, the most fashionable night of the year.

The style star of the moment, no doubt, is People‘s most beautiful person, Lupita Nyong’o. So for an event like this, everyone was waiting. And then she steps onto the red carpet wearing a green net dress with lots of sparkle and bauble (the theme was “White Tie with Decorations”), a nude body suit and a matching headband. Sooo…

Nyong’o has made a name for herself for scoring on the red carpet time and time and time again. And while she has taken risks with her makeup — lipsticks and eyeshadows in bright oranges and pinks, for instance — her outfits have been a little more traditionally elegant and beautiful. With a season’s worth of fashion successes and a slew of magazine appearances under her belt, she may have thought it was time to break out and spend some of the style currency she’s amassed over the past few months.

And the fact that there are a fair  number of people who didn’t like the outfit might be a good thing.

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20 Brands That Brought the Force for ‘Star Wars Day’

StarWars

In case you weren’t aware, May 4th has been known as “Star Wars Day” since way back in 2011.

While the phrase “May the 4th be with you” technically entered our vernacular in 1979, it’s really just a fake holiday invented by marketers to sell Star Wars and all things related to it.

In other words, it’s like Valentine’s Day.

At any rate, quite a few brands (and some not-quite brands) took the opportunity to promote themselves to the millions who still love the franchise, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite posts after the jump.

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12 Brands Reminded You That ‘Mean Girls’ Turned 10 Today

meangirls15

Did you wear pink today?

As many brands and other disparate parties reminded us, today is both Wednesday and the tenth anniversary of Tina Fey‘s greatest cinematic achievement to date (on a side note, let’s all pretend ‘Admission’ never happened).

Of course, we knew that clever copywriters would take this golden opportunity to loosely tie their clients’ brands to the movie. It’s like we have ESPN or something.

Now who wore it best?

Whatever. We’re getting cheese fries.

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