Out To Launch!

Did you know Craig Kilborn is from Minnesota? Or that bears can play pool? Or that Mountain Dew has a Diet version? Time to go Out to Launch.

Commercials featuring a flying golf cart and an old woman tossing a businessman from a taxicab will usher Diet Mountain Dew back to television after eight years without new ads. PepsiCo Inc. unit Pepsi-Cola North America will launch new commercials next week to draw attention to the diet drink whose sales volume grew even without advertising during last year's carbonated soft drink slump. Expected to debut during NCAA college basketball games, the commercials will be Diet Mountain Dew's first new ads since 1994. BBDO created the ads, using the tagline "Do the Diet Dew." Cie Nicholson, vice president of marketing for Mountain Dew, said the spots can broaden awareness of the brand, which came out in 1988. She said research shows that only 75% of consumers are even aware Diet Mountain Dew exists.

Southern Company, the Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR and one of the largest generators of electricity in the country, is launching two new 30-second television ads featuring PGA TOUR players from the Southeast and their wives. The spots will run during the PGA TOUR season from March until October. The first ad, featuring PGA TOUR player Billy Andrade and his wife Jody, began airing this Saturday, March 9, in 18 cities across the Southeast region during the Honda Classic golf tournament. The second spot, featuring PGA TOUR player Stewart Cink and his wife Lisa, will air starting Saturday, March 23 on NBC, during the network coverage of THE PLAYERS Championship. The campaign was developed and produced by Southern Company's advertising agency, Fitzgerald+CO of Atlanta, which previously produced a Southern Company commercial with SENIOR PGA TOUR player, Joe Inman. The ads were created to promote Southern Company's business strategy of planning for the region's future energy needs.

Craig Kilborn, host of CBS's “Late Late Show,” has joined forces with the Minnesota Office of Tourism (MOT) to promote tourism in his native state. In a series of television spots that will run in Minnesota and the surrounding states of Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Illinois as well as southern Manitoba, Kilborn reminds us that even the busiest of lives call for the occasional time out. With Kilborn-esque quips interspersed throughout, the campaign plants the idea that we should be making as much of our few vacation days as possible. The television spots are central components of a larger integrated effort featuring print, radio and outdoor ads. The campaign is slated to break in mid-March and run through April. The campaign is the work of Colle + McVoy.

Internet Security Systems, a global provider of threat protection solutions, announced the launch of an aggressive advertising campaign designed to demonstrate the multitude of threats that can compromise the security of a companies' networks, servers or desktops. Bates Technology, the Atlanta-based technology marketing practice of Bates Worldwide, developed the campaign, which includes three TV spots, seven print executions, and several interactive elements. The marketing effort primarily targets corporate executives, telling them, “In a world where there's a different kind of threat every day, you need a different kind of security.” The campaign reflects the company's commitment to providing the most comprehensive system available to detect, prevent and respond to attacks or misuse aimed against companies and organizations.

Bulldog Drummond has created a new “Let There Be Rock” campaign for Virgin Megastores. The idea that rock is almost a religion of sorts, and the subtle positioning of Virgin at the pinnacle of this religious practice, inspired the creators to use old world language and looks mixed with very current rock bands to showcase the breadth of the offering and the expertise of the store. Posters display Virgin's extensive rock knowledge by delivering a rock lineage, such as "the Yardbirds begat Led Zeppelin, who begat Pearl Jam, who then begat Nickleback."

Ameritrade has released the next two commercials in their ongoing Bull and Bear ad campaign. The commercials again feature the animated characters "Bear" and "Bull". The characters represent the views of individual investors, each with their own investing style and market outlook. The new spots features the bear and bull discussing market predictions in a coffee shop, as well as bantering while playing billiards. The commercials focus on Ameritrade's commitment to provide best execution for clients as well as Ameritrade Advantage products. Ameritrade's agency, Ogilvy Chicago, designed the campaign. The animation for the new television spots was created by Aardman of London, the same animation house behind the movie Chicken Run. In addition to the television spots the campaign includes new print and online advertising efforts.

The spring allergy season is upon us and so is Schering-Plough Corp.'s advertising blitz to woo allergy sufferers to its new prescription drug Clarinex, successor to Claritin. Schering-Plough launched a multimedia advertising campaign, with television commercials, online ads and full-page splashes in major U.S. newspapers declaring, “Clarinex Has Arrived.” Schering-Plough also set up a website, which offers a free 7-day trial supply of Clarinex with a doctor's prescription.

Staying with combined ad and site launches, OPS-OnLine Power Supply, Inc. (OPS) announced that its new advertisements will debut in trade magazines and on electronics industry websites this month. OPS' in-house creative team produced a total of 12 print ads for the campaign, each focusing on the specifications of the company's new 48-volt, 1000-watt AC-DC power supply that was unveiled in December 2001. The ads are geared to design engineers who specify power supplies for their systems and products. The ads will direct readers to a specialized landing page within the OPS website, where prospects can download product information sheets or contact the OPS sales team to request a 60-day evaluation of the OPS-1000-48 unit.

Staying with websites, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. launched the complete version of civictour.com, the official Civic Tour website in support of the “Incubus Morning View” live concert arena tour. The newly expanded site will provide music fans with full details about the 2002 Civic Tour, the “Drive Away With Incubus Sweepstakes” and Civic Tour's headlining band, Incubus. Honda introduced 2002's civictour.com as a sitelet on February 16 to conduct the exclusive “Civic Tour Presents Incubus Morning View” online ticket pre-sale, which gave fans who logged on the opportunity to buy the best tickets before they went on sale to the general public. Now, the site will give visitors the chance to check out virtual views of the 2002 Honda Civic Si custom-designed and autographed by Incubus, including all the details about Incubus' selected custom options. Fans can win this unique Civic Si when they visit civictour.com by entering the “Drive Away with Incubus Sweepstakes.”

Garden Design has launched its new website. Gardendesignmag.com is made in the spirit of the magazine, but adds an interactive option. Sections include "Showcase," featuring articles and photo galleries of gardens across the country, and "Growing," which includes tips and ideas for planting and caring for different types of plants and gardens. Gardening expert Jack Ruttle answers readers' questions in "Sage Advice." The "Professional Services Locator" enables the reader to enter a ZIP code and find a variety of businesses in the area, such as home-improvement warehouses, landscape architects, garden designers and nurseries. Businesses can list their companies on the locator free of charge.

This newsletter is compiled weekly by MediaPost staff writer Adam Bernard. Past issues are archived at the MediaPost website. Your comments, questions and submissions are always welcome and appreciated.

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