Out to Launch!

Another week, another bunch of launches. This week we've got a thirsty Santa, free e-cards, and one very strange choice for a lipstick model.

News from the White House has the State Department launching an advertising program offering rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Palestinians who killed Americans in Israel and on the West Bank and in Gaza. The two-pronged campaign will be through radio and the print media. The department's website will also post the FBI's 22 "most-wanted terrorists."

Moving to things of a happier nature, this holiday season, Santa Claus will don a chocolate milk mustache in a special Milk Mustache ad, which debuted December 18th in USA Today. For the first time ever, a special holiday Milk Mustache e-card featuring this new Santa ad is available throughout the holiday season. The e-card can be found at



In other beverage news, NBC has become the first broadcast network to lift its self-imposed ban on hard-liquor advertising, as Guinness UDV, maker of Smirnoff and Tanqueray, became their first hard-liquor advertiser. Guinness, which approached NBC about advertising on the network, agreed to 19 ad guidelines constructed by the broadcaster's standards and practices department. Advertising will be limited to the hours of 9-11 p.m. EST and during "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." Telecasts at other times of day will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but only for NBC programs where at least 85% of the audience is 21 or older. Each advertiser must also agree to commit to at least a four-month branded on-air social responsibility campaign that will represent 20% of its total ad time. Guinness UDV will kick off a multimillion-dollar responsibility campaign on the network this week.

H&R Block launched the first wave in a multi-faceted, multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign, which is a reflection of the company's expanded lines of business. The financial services campaign, H&R Block's first effort highlighting financial services, embodies H&R Block's mission "to help clients achieve their financial objectives by serving as their tax and financial partner." The national broadcast and print effort specific to financial services through H&R Block Financial Advisors debuted in mid-December in business and news programs. Three 30-second television spots pair the Guess Who hit song "No Time" with imagery and messaging, while the accompanying print campaign provides a consumer call to action while featuring H&R Block Financial Advisors products and services.

Moving form the normal to the absurd, Elton John is going to pucker up as the face of a new lipstick. The British singer, never one to shy away from outrageous behavior, will help promote cosmetic company MAC's new Viva Glam IV, the latest in a line of lipsticks sold to raise money for the firm's AIDS fund. John will be joined in the ad campaign by soul singer Mary J. Blige, and Shirley Manson, lead singer of the rock band Garbage. The fundraising drive will launch in February with a "closely guarded" advertising campaign by celebrity photographer David LaChapelle.

Keeping things musical, but moving to website launches, Yahoo! Inc. opened its new music destination, Launch, this past Monday, featuring 7,000 music videos, artist interviews and Internet radio. The company, which acquired Launch last spring, plans to eventually enhance the service through its partnership with Pressplay -- an online music joint venture between Vivendi Universal's Universal Music and Sony Corp. -- which should provide access to a larger selection of songs, and offer the ability to download or burn them into CDs. In addition to providing a broad selection of music and music-related content, Yahoo hopes to eventually add premium services on Launch. It is also pursuing advertising and other promotional opportunities for artists and record labels.

eUniverse has launched Perfect Greeting, a new site offering free e-cards for every occasion ranging from holidays, to birthdays, to friendship. The launch of Perfect Greeting comes on the heels of other major portals and sites, such as BlueMountain, charging for access to e-cards. Perfect Greeting currently offers more than 1,000 e-cards with the goal to have more than 5,000 available within the next few months. The Perfect Greeting website and e-cards will be promoted across eUniverse's network of entertainment sites and email newsletters.

Lastly, this week also marked the launch of, a new site for Spanish-speaking web surfers who want to know the weather. The site gives access to the most complete weather website in Spanish. The site offers weather information for more than 30,000 cities in the U.S.; 42,000 U.S. zip codes; 1,300 cities in Latin America and 7,000 cities throughout the world.

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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