Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Thom Forbes, August 23, 2006, 12:45 PM
  • Parents' Group Slams Some Marketers, Praises OthersAd Age

    A parent's watchdog group has given its seal of approval to Ford Motor Co. and Coca-Cola, but General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan are among the brands in the dog house. The group, the Parents Television Council, issued its fifth-annual list of the best and worst of prime-time TV advertisers this week, based on how often advertisers aired spots in "wholesome, family-oriented" shows rather than on programs containing "sexually graphic, violent or profane material." All the analyzed ad placements appeared on prime-time broadcast TV during the last season. "There is good news and bad news," says PTC President Brent Bozell. "We compliment those who made the best, but some [on the worst list] need to take responsibility." Last year, all the car companies were on PTC's worst list and most still are, save for Ford. PTC officials say Ford's active sponsorship of "American Idol" helped it move to the best list. Officials at some carmakers defended their advertising. "Our brands advertise using a wide variety of programming to reach the diverse and broad audiences that make up the American public," says Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines. Two of last year's "best"--J.M. Smucker and Merck & Co.were dropped from this year's best list. Coca-Cola topped the best list this year, rising from eighth last year. Read the whole story...

  • YouTube Introduces Video Opportunities For MarketersReuters

    Marketers have a new venue to place video ads, one that attracts millions of viewers daily:YouTube. The online video-sharing company says it will offer video brand advertising on its site to complement the minimalist text and small graphical online banner ads, promotions and sponsorships. In addition to video ads, YouTube is offering advertisers two other advertising options. One is called Brand Channels, in which advertisers will be allowed to customize the channels and create subscriptions so viewers are alerted whenever a new video is added. Another option is the Participatory Video Ad, in which a user-initiated video advertisement allows consumers to rate, share, comment and embed advertising content they find interesting on their own pages. The company says the new business models were the first of a new range of ad types which will be rolled out over the coming year. Industry watchers say the moves are part of YouTube's efforts to find ways to convert its soaring popularity into revenue.The site currently serves an average of more than 100 million video showings daily and has nearly one-third of the U.S. Web video audience, twice that of rival MySpace and three times that of Google Inc. Read the whole story...

  • KFC Turns to Moms For Marketing Advice Brandweek

    KFC is turning to moms to help the company improve its marketing methods. The fast-food chain, owned by Yum! Brands, is creating a new entity it has dubbed the "KFC Moms Matter! Advisory Board," which the company says is designed to put KFC more in touch with family needs. The group will work online and offline and will offer opinions and advice on topics ranging from new product ideas to trendspotting. An online community for moms is scheduled to go live next year, while the group will meet offline twice a year, hold quarterly conference calls and host monthly dinner meetings in their hometowns. KFC received a blow in June when the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a suit against the chain. CSPI said, in a statement, the use of partially hydrogenated oil "puts customers at risk of a Kentucky Fried Coronary." The suit aims to compel KFC to eliminate or disclose the use of "artery-clogging frying oil." Observers note that the advisory board move resembles KFC rival McDonald's "Global Mom's Panel," which was announced in early May. The burger chain chats with moms from six countries about issues regarding the brand. Read the whole story...

  • Marketers Join HBO's "Entourage"The New York Times

    A handful of leading consumer-product marketers has decided to join "Entourage." Diet Pepsi, Gap, Cingular Wireless and Hyundai Motor America are among the advertisers connecting their brands to the HBO series about the adventures of a young movie star in Hollywood and his group of pals. "Entourage," with its ensemble cast and its plots centered on four men about town, reminds many viewers of "Sex and the City." The similarities have attracted marketers seeking to appeal to younger consumers. "In Generation Y, it's all about belonging," says Susan Cocco, svp and executive marketing director at Colangelo Synergy Marketing, which works for brands like Fram, Guinness and Schick. One example is a campaign for Diet Pepsi that features "Entourage" actor Kevin Dillon, who portrays a character named Johnny Chase, nicknamed Johnny Drama. The campaign playfully presents Diet Pepsi as if it were a human celebrity; Mr. Dillon, in a magazine ad, is helping a can of Diet Pepsi hook up with a hottie. Mr. Dillon is appropriate for the campaign because "the show pokes fun at the celebrity phenomenon in the same way we're doing," says Pepsi spokesman Russell Weiner. Read the whole story...

  • Foster's Beer Offers Interactive Promo ToyAd Age

    Fosters, the Australian beer,is bringing new meaning to the term action figures. The brewer has a new promotion that involves a talking figurine of cricket legend David Boon equipped with 32 phrases. Many are connected to the beer marketer's sponsorship of the 2006 cricket season in Australia. The figurines, designed to stand on their own or sit atop a can of beer, were given away when a consumer purchased two cases of Foster's. The can-topping talker is programmed to comment on cricket action, spurred on by encoded signals embedded in the broadcast. Phrases uttered by the toy include "Show us a replay of that," "When are we going to the pub?" and "I'll drink to that." The talking Boonys were also equipped with timed sayings that offered a code word of the day--bat, for example, which viewers could text to win an SUV, a trip or a cricket jersey. Foster's used point-of-sale materials to promote the figurine. It kicked off the promotion with a series of TV and radio spots that established the legend of Boon. Read the whole story...