• ESPN Launches MLS Ad Effort
    ESPN is rolling out its first big marketing push behind coverage of Major League Soccer. The effort, themed "You are a fan. You just don't know it yet," includes three 30-second spots that will air on all ESPN networks and ABC. Other support includes print and radio. The work taps into basketball fans watching the NCAA tournament and NBA games. With text reading "things you love about basketball," an animated player is shown displaying things like "quickness," "athleticism" "teamwork" and "desire." He is then intercut with live MLS action that shows similar attributes. ESPN and ABC's ...
  • Kimmel To Host ESPYs
    Jimmy Kimmel and LeBron James will co-host the upcoming 15th anniversary of ESPN's ESPY Awards. The two-hour show will air July 15. And to celebrate the anniversary, the sports net will add programming to the lineup, including "The ESPYs Nomination Special," "Arthur Ashe Special," and "ESPYs Backstage." More content will run on various multimedia platforms, like ESPN.com, ESPN360.com and ESPN International. And for the fourth time in the show's 15-year history, fans will pick the winners in all categories, save a few special ones like the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
  • Qwest In Market For New Agency
    Qwest Communications will launch a search for a new ad agency, but does not as yet know when. Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding won the account almost five years ago, snatching it from DDB in Chicago. And following the merger of FCB and Draft, the new agency formed a separate unit for Qwest to avoid a conflict with its Verizon account. That unit, called Rivet, operates in Chicago, New York and London, and is managed separately. Recent Qwest materials have touted the company's "Spirit of service." But now the company is "formalizing a new internal process about creative development ...
  • Unlikely Allies In Political Ad Case
    Groups from across the political spectrum want the U.S. Supreme Court to kill a ban on organizations airing issue ad on TV or radio 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election. "The work of the government does not cease in the days leading up to an election, and those who seek to comment on key political and cultural issues should not be silenced during that period," says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of conservative group American Center for Law and Justice. Sekulow adds that "citizens enjoy a fundamental right to petition for a redress ...
  • Buyers Brace For Chaotic Upfront
    Ad buyers and sellers should get ready for late nights and long negotiations in this year's broadcast upfront. It will be a much more complex bazaar this time around, as both sides attempt to use a lot of new data points to measure viewership and thus determine pricing. "I've never seen an upfront like this," says Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's president of research. "There are many different metrics being bandied about." While ad time has long been based on live audience measurement of a show from Nielsen, the research firm is now offering a tally just of ad viewing ...
  • "Super Duper" Tuesday Means Ad Strategy Changes
    The "super duper" Tuesday on tap for the presidential primaries next year could bring some big changes to the way political ads are bought -- and possibly even their content. With so many huge states like New York and California moving up their primaries to Feb. 4, it could give the broadcast-TV networks a piece of the action for the first time in years, while boosting cable and national radio. At the same time, local TV stations may see cutbacks in buys while the ads themselves may contain broader appeals. More than a dozen states plan to hold primaries ...
  • Ethanol Links Up With Indy 500
    Ethanol producers are tying their product to auto racing in a new ad campaign, one of many marketing tactics the industry will use in it attempt to tout ethanol directly to consumers. The new Ethanol Promotion and Information Council recently rolled out its first TV ads, two 30-second spots that aired on ESPN2 during the 2007 IndyCar Series season preview. All cars in that series, which includes the Indianapolis 500, have switched over to 100% fuel-grade ethanol this year. "It puts us in the national spotlight," says Reece Nanfito, EPIC senior director of marketing. For the half of ...
  • Plug Pulled on "Punk'd"
    MTV celebrity prank program "Punk'd" will be gone after the upcoming season, during which victims will include Hilary Swank, Magic Johnson and Evangeline Lilly. But this isn't the first time the show has been on its last breath. About three years ago, after the show's second season, the producers said they would pull the plug -- but it returned anyway. This time, MTV Networks Music Group entertainment president Brian Graden says the show is officially finished. MTV will debut all eight episodes of the last run in a "sneak peek" marathon starting at 1 p.m. on April 7. ...
  • Consumers Decide On Dorito Brand Survival
    While Doritos aired consumer-created TV ads during the Super Bowl, now the public gets to pick which one of the two new flavors to throw overboard. A new "Fight for the Flavor" campaign urges consumers to go online and vote whether Doritos Smokin' Cheddar BBQ or Doritos Wild White Nacho chips, will become a permanent staple of the snack aisle -- and which ends up in brand heaven. "The idea of Doritos fans continuing to take control of the brand is what excites us about the "Fight for the Flavor" campaign," says Ann Mukherjee, vice president-marketing ...
  • WPP Buys Chunk Of Media Rights Capital
    WPP Group has bought a piece of Media Rights Capital, a company that brings money and partners to create content for a variety of media like TV, the Internet and cellphones. "Essentially, Media Rights custom builds content from scratch," says one insider. The company pulls talent, distributors and producers and determines the most suitable media platform, along with providing financing. WPP, along with investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. and AT&T, has put $400 million in MRC that will be used for content production. The ad agency group's interest is both financial and practical. "We do this to have ...
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