Out to Launch!

It's time for your weekly dose of launches. This week Out To Launch is brought to you by the letter "V," as it includes everything from video games, to Volvo, to vicious dogs. Enjoy!

Taco Bell has unveiled details of its promotional partnership with Microsoft to launch the Xbox video game system which includes an extensive national sweepstakes program that awards more than 6,700 consumers across the country with an Xbox system. Taco Bell is supporting the promotion with primetime network television, radio, print and online advertising. Taco Bell will also have in-game product placement in four video game titles being released with the Xbox system. Two new 30-second spots, created by Foote, Cone & Belding, will begin airing on October 18. As another part of the campaign, The Mplayer Entertainment Network launched a co-marketing campaign for the contest. After ten days of teasers, the full campaign debuted today and will run across several sites in the network through October 28. The campaign uses a variety of online ad techniques and technologies to generate excitement.



Speaking of online advertising techniques, Volvo has launched an online campaign targeting the African American and Hispanic American communities. The web-only campaign is the first major effort aimed at minorities by the automaker, which has suffered declining sales in this demographic. The campaign's budget was not disclosed, but if the past few years are any indication, it's sizable. According to CMR, Volvo spent about $2 million on interactive advertising last year and just under $1 million in the first half of this year.

In another first, DIY Network (Do It Yourself), the simultaneous on-air, online network that provides step-by-step guides for DIY enthusiasts, has signed HobbyTown USA as the premiere sponsor of Radio Control Hobbies, a new five-part TV workshop that debuted October 15. The sponsorship of Radio Control Hobbies marks the first time HobbyTown USA has engaged in a national advertising program. The sponsorship package includes visibility in Hobby Outlook Magazine, distributed in-store and to subscribers, and through in-store posters. DIY has also created in-store promotional videos with one- to two-minute clips of each workshop episode and tune-in information. The agreement also includes cross-promotion on and the websites.

If your hobby is collectables you'll be pleased to hear that Lenox Collections, a retailer of gifts and collectibles, announced the relaunch of its website with a host of features designed to enhance the online customer experience and simplify the purchase process. As part of its mission to provide a simpler, more intuitive online experience to consumers, has streamlined its checkout process, including a one-page checkout procedure with the ability for customers to include gift wrap and gift messaging. The addition of the "My Account" area allows consumers to easily alter personal information, such as updating names in their address book or changing passwords, all in one location.

Can't stop the shopping? That's OK, because NBC has contracted with ShopNBC to provide hosting, fulfillment and operations expertise for its new NBC Store site, which launches this week. The new NBC Store features an extensive array of NBC Experience Store merchandise. The site was designed by the ShopNBC interactive team, which will provide online maintenance and hosting services. Fulfillment will be facilitated from ShopNBC's 260,000 square foot distribution center in Bowling Green, Ky., and customer service will be handled by its call centers in Brooklyn Center and Eden Prairie, Minn.

Golf USA will rollout a layaway-centered Christmas ad campaign to its franchised stores worldwide this year, a first in the company's recent history. The campaign will be based upon a small down payment and no interest program for purchases. The ads will run in newspapers across the United States and abroad, and will also be supported by in-store signage.

An all-new advertising campaign by FedEx Corp. has debuted on network and cable television. Five 30-second spots with the tagline, "Don't worry. There's a FedEx for that," will highlight the broad portfolio of shipping solutions offered by FedEx. Created by BBDO New York, the campaign theme is consistent with each ad and features the same, two small-business employees bantering about an office situation. In each story, they describe how FedEx was used in a wide variety of business situations that demonstrate the extensive service offerings of the FedEx family of companies.

Claritas Inc., a provider of marketing information and services, announced the launch of MyBestB2B, the fifth website in its ongoing MyBest series of sites designed to provide instant access to the most current and accurate marketing information. The other four sites are MyBestProspects, MyBestCustomers, MyBestLists and MyBestProfiles. The series, which is a major component of, debuted in July 2000 and in that time has played a key role in establishing the Claritas portal site within the market research industry.

A vicious dog, a slather of barbecue sauce and a guy with a wild eye come together to create a shocking commercial that's brutally honest about the effects of chewing tobacco: it'll take your tongue, part of your jaw, even your life. The Florida Department of Health's newest "truth" ad targets spit tobacco, the smokeless addiction that continues to be popular among those under 21 who mistakenly believe it is safer than smoking tobacco. The commercial, titled "Junkyard Dog," is now airing in North and Central Florida. The setting is a dusty junkyard, where a young man teases a dog, first by barking at him, then by slathering his tongue with barbecue sauce and sticking it through a hole in the fence separating them. The dog takes the bait. Heard in the background are the dog's lips smacking together, as the announcer asks, "How attached are you to your tongue?"

Lastly, a special thank you to those of you who have sent back responses to Out To Launch. Your comments are heard loud and clear. Please feel free to email any other opinions, and launches to Thanks!

This newsletter is complied weekly by MediaPost staff writer Adam Bernard. Your comments, questions and submissions are always welcome and appreciated.

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