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Campaign launch

Felons Create Powerful Brand Campaigns and PSAs through ‘Concepting with Convicts’

A good idea can come from anywhere.

That was the revelation that led two interns at DigitasLBi in San Francisco to utilize the prison pen pal system to startConcepting with Convicts,” a project that helps convicted felons tap into their creativity by designing campaigns for major brands and PSAs.

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Inspired by powerful pieces of art made by felons, Ben Pfutzenreuter and Pat Davis, with the help Marcus Lof, sent hundreds of emails through prison pen pal websites seeking people who might be interested in the project. “We realized that if we could contact convicts themselves, maybe we could also show them that their creative talents can translate into a real career on the outside,” Davis told PSFK.

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Openings: Make Them Big, Just Don’t Focus on Making Them ‘Grand’

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Today we bring you a guest post on campaign launches and media strategies by Todd Graff, VP of PR at Boston-based digital agency CTP.

Nothing says Grand Opening quite like a “ribbon cutting” ceremony. A few VIPs, a big pair of scissors and, voila, your operation is off and running. There was a time when that type of ceremony, including the stock photo and a couple of nice media placements, was a good way to hit the ground running.

These days, however, if you’ve waited for the Grand Opening to make a big splash then it might just be too late. What you do beforehand in the weeks, if not months, prior to the big day is just as important to what you do when the doors open.

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Not Sure What to Do in the Dark During Earth Hour? Durex has a Suggestion

Durex #TurnOffToTurnOn - OFFICIAL - YouTube-2The lights and TV are off, the router is unplugged, and you’re stuck in the darkened house with your significant other for a whole hour…what, oh what could you possibly do to pass the time? Pick up your cell phones to check Instagram?

Think again.

Condom brand Durex, which recently announced its partnership with the green initiative Earth Hour, has a better suggestion: Use this time to “reconnect with each other whilst the lights are out.” *Wink, Wink*

That means not only unplugging your electric devices, but powering down your mobile ones — the brand’s Turn Off to Turn On campaign maintains that we should take that extra step on March 29, because it’s hard to connect to each other when you’re busy connecting to five different social networks, your text history, and your email (shocker).

In a release, the company muses, “By not only turning off all lights on March 29, 2014, but also switching off all gadgets and gizmos, people can use this opportunity as an excuse to swap their laptops for some loving and ditch their phones to enjoy some foreplay….The wonders of technology help to bring people together, but is it also a key factor in keeping them apart? With today’s couples interacting with their devices more than each other, could gadgets and gizmos be the main reason behind the fact that people are having 20% less sex than in 2000*?”

Very possibly, yes. Read more

The GOP Knows What the Kids Are Wearing

Today in Same Old Story news, someone in the Republican Party anticipated the results of this study about changing political alliances among Millennials and got to work making some ads to appeal to that key demographic: Audi-driving early-30′s yuppies battling problems with facial hair.

Like all political ads, these are collections of cue card quips designed to reduce incredibly complex economic issues into simple talking points.

Of course the ad offers no specifics explaining why an easing of regulations on any given industry would lead to more jobs, much less better jobs. Nor does it explain moves to cut short the unemployment benefits earned by all those friends who (allegedly) can’t find work because of the same regulations…as if this guy’s “friends” work in fossil fuels.

The next ad makes the same points:

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Graham Cracker Company Attests That All Love Is ‘Wholesome’ in Diverse New Ad

Well, the people who (inexplicably) freaked out about the Cheerios ad featuring a multiracial family a few months back are about to blow their stacks. This new commercial from Honey Maid sends the clear message that nothing’s more wholesome than the love of a family — no matter what that family might look like.

The genuinely heartwarming spot features families of all kinds — multiracial, single-parent, same-sex — all enjoying the two most wholesome things in the world–love and, of course, graham crackers. If not done just right, squeezing all of this sweetness and diversity into a 30-second spot for a snack could easily have come across as heavy handed or pandering, yet it doesn’t, and we’re willing to bet that’s due in large part to the fact that the people cast in the ad are real families, not actors, and so the love is palpable.

The company also released a few short documentary-style videos (after the jump) introducing these families and their stories in greater depth, furthering its message that it’s love, not demographics, that makes a family.

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Some Writers Not So Hot on Amtrak’s ‘Writers’ Residencies’ Campaign

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Oh hai there, 1991

Today in This Might Be Too Good To Be True news, we really liked the story about Amtrak’s (proposed) “writers’ residencies” campaign, in which the company would provide round-trip tickets for working writers as long as they agree to mention the program on social.

Some writers (well, one particular writer at n+1 magazine) question the wisdom of the idea. Evan Kindley writes:

“Clearly online publicity is an essential part of the Residency: a single free round-trip train ticket (for a seat that, in all likelihood, would have remained empty otherwise) has now resulted in several significant online clips for the company’s press kit, not to mention however many hundreds of tweets and Facebook posts referring directly to the company’s largesse, many of them conveniently logged with the hashtag #AmtrakResidency.”

He’s onto something here. Key fact: the writers themselves would not get paid to do this.

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HBO Drops Beats and Rhymes into Game of Thrones Promos

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The sigil of House (Big) Boi

HBO wants more hip-hop heads and reggaeton lovers to watch Game of Thrones this season—and The Wall Street Journal is ON IT.

This Friday the network will drop a free mixtape featuring top rhymers ranging from Wale to Daddy Yankee, who riff on Seven Kingdoms themes in order to raise awareness of the show among more “multicultural” audiences (their word).

Unfortunately, Drake sat this one out; he was too busy firing his PR firm.

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New Jersey Unamused by Dove’s ‘Armpit of America’ Billboards

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A few days ago, Dove unveiled plans to post billboards in The Garden State that would declare, “Dear New Jersey, when people call you ‘The Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.”

The company was hoping to send the message that an armpit is actually quite a lovely thing, and assumed the majority of its audience would understand and appreciate the joke. Matthew McCarthy, the senior marketing director of deodorants at Unilever, told The New York Times last week, “I don’t expect that there will be a lot of people who misunderstand, but to the degree that they do, we’ll be open about what we’re really trying to say…The message that we want to get out there is that the armpit is not a bad thing, and that we stand for caring for the armpit.”

Talk about misreading your audience — Unilever may want to invest in a new crystal ball.

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The Muppets and Lipton Team Up to Make Life ‘More Tea’ (More Harmonious)

I always knew Kermit and I were soulmates.

If I attempt to start my day without my cup of tea, the whole world (and everyone and everything in it) seems utterly intolerable. But with a mug of that calming, revitalizing elixr in hand, all things are possible. And if the below cross-promotion for Lipton and the upcoming “Muppets Most Wanted” movie is any indication, Mr. The-Frog feels the same way.

The spot from London agency adam&eveDDB shows Kermit navigating a hectic, noisy, zany and muppet-filled New York City with harmonious ease, all because he knows that the secret to a balanced, calm, and happy life lies within oneself (and a steaming mug of Lipton tea).

I have to admit that the accompanying hashtag #BeMoreTea doesn’t quite make sense to me; I think the campaign is trying to make the word “tea” work as a synonym for “calm” or “harmonious,” but it just doesn’t quite seem to get there, and so the hashtag feels like it’s missing a word and should read something like #BeMoreLikeTea or #HaveMoreTea or something. That said, I get what it’s aiming for, and the whole thing is just too sweet and too much fun to knock too harshly.

Plus, it seems the age-old question of how Kermit could possibly tolerate the abrasive, self-absorbed, shrill Miss Piggy has finally been answered: his blood must be pure Lipton tea.

Putting Down Your Smartphone for Ten Minutes Can Help Get Clean Water to a Child in Need

2009_03_tap_projectSome creative campaigns have been popping up around the idea of breaking our all-encompassing smartphone habit; brands from Coca-Cola to Ikea have touted the importance of being present in our non-virtual lives. Now, UNICEF is giving us a tangible reason to step away from our phones for a few minutes (in case reconnecting with loved ones, nature, and the real world in general weren’t compelling enough prospects).

As part of its annual “Tap Project” effort to bring clean drinking water to those most in need, UNICEF, in partnership with Droga5 and MediaVest, has launched a new campaign via its website UnicefTapProject.org. When you visit the site on your mobile phone, you’ll be able to follow a few simple instructions on how to proceed. Once you begin, for every minute that you don’t touch your phone, the project’s sponsors will fund clean water for needy kids worldwide. Just ten minutes of inactivity is enough to provide one day’s worth of water. Read more

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