• Companies Face Problems With Consumer-Made Ads
    While inviting the public to create commercials for a brand seems like a cheap and easy way to get attention, there are big drawbacks to letting just anyone try. For instance, among the videos H. J. Heinz is garnering on YouTube is one where a teen rubs ketchup over his face and puts pickles on his eyes. Others feature folks chugging straight from the bottle or shaving with the product -- and ends up looking a lot like blood. Heinz plans to pick the best five and show them on TV. Other companies using similar approaches include ...
  • Denny's Rolls Out New Breakfast Campaign
    To tout its breakfasts, Denny's is rolling out a new ad effort with an original song from Air Supply: Two 15-second TV spots that show disappointing breakfast experiences to a background of the group's "All Out of Love." In one, a driver with a fast-food breakfast hits the brakes, with the predictable messy results. The campaign, created by Publicis Mid-America Dallas, is running on national network and cable TV. It is designed to reinforce the chain's "unique ability to provide a complete breakfast experience 24/7," says Margaret Jenkins, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. ...
  • Bottle Campaign Kaput, Absolut Tries New Tack
    The Absolut vodka bottle ad campaign may have been one of the most effective brand-building efforts ever in the booze business, but the company has pretty much kicked it to the curb. When introduced in 1979 with the "Absolut Perfection" print ad, the brand had a lot of cachet -- and no real competition. But with today's multitude of pricey alcohol in fancy bottles, Absolut has fallen to No. 2 behind Grey Goose and perhaps become the Bud of vodkas. As Tim Murphy, vice president-marketing for Absolut, puts it, "When people think of vodka in the generic sense, ...
  • Scarborough To Replace Imus?
    MSNBC is considering former Republican Congressman and right-wing TV host Joe Scarborough as one replacement for "Imus in The Morning," dumped last month after its host made racially insensitive remarks. Executives says they have yet to make a final decision, but Scarborough has impressed them on trial runs. Currently the host of "Scarborough Country" on MSNBC Monday through Thursday, he filled in the week of May 14 in the morning. "Joe was on a week ago, and he put together a team of people [including African American screenwriter and frequent NPR guest John Ridley and MSNBC commentator ...
  • Reilly To Exit NBC
    NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly will leave the network three years after he got the job -- and just three months after signing a new contract, according to insiders. The decision to step down is thought to have been the result of NBC Universal's decision to pursue investing in Ben Silverman's successful production company, Reveille, while recruiting Silverman for a top executive position. And that would be at odds with NBC's previous plan to put all development at the network and sibling NBC Universal TV Studio under executive vice president Katherine Pope, who is also considering leaving. ...
  • Rare Good News For Newspapers
    While newspaper circulation in the U.S. continues its seemingly inexorable decline, the picture in the rest of the world is much brighter, according to a study by the World Association of Newspapers. Globally, paid circulation is up 1.9% in the last year and 8.7% over the last five. On an average day, 510 million newspapers are sold and 1.4 billion people worldwide read them. And the number of paid newspapers launched last year pushed passed the 11,000 mark, a record, WAN says. And when free newspapers are factored in, global circulation grew 4.3% year-over-year. Meanwhile, newspaper ...
  • "Grey's" Actor Doing PSA Penance
    A public service announcement from Isaiah Washington is set to begin airing this week on ABC, part of the "Grey's Anatomy" star's penance for twice uttering an anti-gay slur. The spot is the result of a January meeting with Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, after Washington used the word "faggot" during a heated exchange with a colleague and again at the Golden Globe Awards. Washington later apologized and entered treatment for anger management. His future on ...
  • MMA Keeps Getting Bigger
    The success of mixed martial arts, usually measured by the progress of the heavily marketed Ultimate Fighting Championship, has been building for a while, but the sport seems to have finally hit the mainstream -- at least in the media's collective mind. It is Sports Illustrated's cover story this week; champ Chuck Liddell graced the front of ESPN the Magazine; and "60 Minutes" recently ran a piece about the sport. And the hype will only help Saturday night's fight between Liddell and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in Las Vegas, before a crowd of more than 13,000 and a gate of ...
  • Dead Celeb Ad Prompts Dr. Martens Apology
    The head of Dr. Martens shoes has apologized for an ad featuring Courtney Love's dead husband, Kurt Cobain, along with other deceased rock stars. "We are really, really, really sorry," says CEO David Suddens. "We do think that it is offensive. We made a mistake. My message to Courtney Love is: This is something we shouldn't have been doing." Earlier this week, Love attacked the company, with her publicist saying she had "no idea this was taking place and would never have approved such a use. She thinks it's outrageous that a company is allowed to commercially gain ...
  • Golf Channel Comes To Cablevision
    Cablevision subscribers will soon get to watch The Golf Channel as part of a basic-cable package, along with high-def content, as part of a new distribution deal between the two companies. The pact moves Golf from a $4.95-per-month sports-tier package to the regular digital lineup in Cablevision's New York-area subscriber base of more than 3 million. It also lets subscribers access a composite Versus/Golf HD channel that features the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Finals and other sports content from Versus, along with the PGA Tour coverage from Golf. Cablevision Vice President of Video-product Management Theresa Chillianis noted that the ...
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