Out to Launch

Make the penny trendy. Spitzer lets it shine. Find the rabbit. Let's launch!

Acura launched a national ad campaign this week promoting its SUV, the RDX. The SUV is tech-loaded, with Bluetooth capabilities and an MP3 auxiliary jack, and the ads target urban dwellers. TV ads were shot using computer-generated animation and are airing during top-rated TV shows such as "Lost," college football, and in movie theatres. One spot shows how the RDX connects with the road and the driver. Another ad shows a group of computers bowing down to the RDX with a voiceover stating the car is "praised by man and machine." Print ads will reach a diverse audience in publications such as Wired, Sports Illustrated, Time, Paper, Paste and Seed. Beginning Aug. 15, users can take a photo of the print RDX ads with their mobile phones, e-mail it to win@acura.com, and receive a message explaining how to get a CD containing tracks from electronic artists. Users can also enter a sweepstakes to win one of five all-expense-paid trips to Los Angeles. RPA handled all aspects of the campaign. Click here, here, here, here, and here to watch the Acura ads.

The transit ads I see for Dunkin' Donuts smoothies either make me thirsty or remind me that I really need to organize my desk. Ads demonstrate that regardless of how stressed and busy you are, there's always room for Dunkin' Donuts. One ad shows a stack of files and a gap where a smoothie once resided. Another ad shows a datebook chock full of appointments, with smoothie time penned in. My favorite ad shows an innumerable amount of reminder Post-Its®, with a gap for a smoothie in the middle. The ads are running nationally in select markets throughout the summer. Hill Holliday handled all aspects of the campaign.

The latest issue of Playboy magazine contains a first: the front cover features Hugh Hefner's girlfriends (and stars of the E! show  "The Girls Next Door." Yes, I watch it.) and the backside is both a reverse image of the cover photo and an ad for Volkswagen. The ad promotes the VW Rabbit (bunny... rabbit, get it?) and features the VW Rabbit hidden on the backside of one of the girlfriends with the headline, "The Rabbit's back. From Volkswagen." Unbeknownst to me, Playboy hides its iconic bunny logo on the magazine's cover each month. Crispin Porter + Bogusky handled all aspects of the campaign.

Virgin Mobile is on a mission to make the penny popular again. The company launched a penny texting program where consumers receive 1,000 text messages for $9.99 a month. Supporting the "Giving the power back to the penny" initiative are three TV spots, print, outdoor and online components, and even a "Total Request Live" billboard in Times Square. The first spot, "Penny Neglect," shows the decline of the penny, from currency to children's artwork, and the lengths people will go to "bring back the penny." "Loafer" amusingly shows the egregious misuse of the penny... in loafers. The pro-Lincoln crew (wearing Lincoln masks, no less) target a man's loafers to rescue the pennies inserted within. "Cornerstore" shows the Lincoln crew storming a convenience store and spreading the pennies to unsuspecting shoppers. TV ads are airing on Fuse, MTV, VH-1 and Comedy Central until Sept. 17. Print ads are running in Nylon, Fader, Vibe, Jane, Cosmo Girl, and Revolver, to name a few. Wildpostings can be found in New York, Boston and DC/Baltimore. Check out the companion Web site, Serving the Greater Good and follow the cross-country journey of a penny that's been implanted with a miniature tracking chip. Mother New York created the campaign and Starlink handled the media buying.

Wrigley's Juicy Fruit brand has launched a strange ad called "Thumb." The spot shows a teen buying the last pack of Juicy Fruit from a vending machine, much to the chagrin of his friend who also wanted the gum. The friend that lost out offers to thumb-wrestle for the gum... until he sees the size of his friend's thumb (freakishly big). The ad is running on cable networks such as Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, G4 and MTV and also on syndication through mid-September. Energy BBDO created the campaign and Mindshare handled the media buying. Click here to watch "Thumb."

Keeping with Wrigley, the company also launched two ads promoting its Orbit brand of gum. "Moneybags" begins with a trio of bank robbers attempting to make a quick getaway. The driver fumbles with the car keys and one of the robbers picks up a dye pack that explodes inside the car, turning the robbers blue... on many levels. I almost gagged watching "Refill." The minute-long spot shows a woman fresh out of lemon-lime Orbit. She makes her mouth feel dirty by licking the bottom of her shoe, eating a bagel that she dropped (cream cheese side down!) on a dirty carpet, and munching on plant dirt. Ick. The spots are running nationally on network, cable and syndication through mid-September. Energy BBDO created the campaign and Mindshare handled the media buying. Click here to watch "Money Bags."

Eliot Spitzer is tugging at my heartstrings. Is it election time? Spitzer launched a 30-second spot called "Let it Shine" highlighting the New York gubernatorial candidate's priorities: smaller classes and safer schools. The ads show kids doing what they do best: playing and acting like kids. The campaign was created in-house and Crew Cuts handled the editing.

Ziff Davis Game Group has launched a trio of sites for all you gamers. MyCheats.com is a game help site created for and by the gaming community. Think of it as a gamers' version of Wikipedia; users are rated so the best content and contributors are at the top of a search. Gazerk.com is a vertical search engine built specifically to find videogaming content. You can thank me later... And GameVideos.com features user-submitted videos related to gaming culture.

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