Out to Launch

Every week new ad campaigns and websites are launched, and it’s hard to keep up with them all. This week Levi’s, Pepsi Twist and H&R Block are gearing up for the Super Bowl, Denny’s unveils its first network advertising campaign (with Hispanic spots to boot), and Viacom launches an unprecedented global media campaign to combat HIV & AIDS.

Levi's Jeans last week launched an interactive promotion to mark the launch of its Type 1 jeans that will culminate with a commercial during the second quarter of the Super Bowl. The 60-second spot will help solve a mystery surrounding the "virtual" hiding place of an $85,000 pair of jeans adorned with gold, diamonds and rubies. "Stampede," from Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, juxtaposes symbolic 'Old West' elements to represent Levi's 150-year-old heritage with a modern setting to represent the brand's denim innovation. Leading up to the game, ads on,, and others will encourage web surfers to visit the Lateral. Following the initial airing of the spot, viewers will have two days to enter their guess the jeans' location on the site. Correct entries will be submitted to a random drawing, and the grand-prize winner will receive the jewel-laden jeans stuffed with $65,000 in gold and cash.



Two soda brands, Pepsi Twist, a lemon-flavored version of Pepsi-Cola, and Sierra Mist, a lemon-lime rival to 7Up, will also be advertised during the Super Bowl game. Last month, a Pepsi Twist commercial with the Osbournes was filmed at the family's Los Angeles home, and that spot is expected to turn up during the Super Bowl. Executives at Pepsi-Cola and its agency, the New York office of BBDO Worldwide, part of Omnicom, declined to discuss their Super Bowl ad plans.

Also mum on specifics of their Super Sunday strategy are H&R Block and its agency, Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, part of the McCann-Erickson World Group unit of IPG. The agency gained attention for a spot during the Super Bowl last year using a re-recorded version of the Beatles song "Taxman." All that Richard Goldsmith, a spokesman for H&R Block, would say is that the commercial would be humorous and feature "a well-known and appropriate celebrity." According to Promo magazine, that celebrity is Mr. Nelson, the country singer who had to pay the government after his home and other assets were seized in 1990 by the Internal Revenue Service for nonpayment of $16.7 million in taxes. The commercial is part of a campaign to pitch a service from H&R Block called Double Check, which reviews a customer's previously filed tax forms.

Denny's is launching its first network advertising campaign featuring new commercials entitled "Denny's Wisdom." The campaign was created by Publicis in Dallas and is the first effort by the agency since its hire in September 2002. Kicking off the four-spot campaign is "Recess." It opens with a group of co-workers having lunch at Denny's, with one person continuously talking on the cell phone. A co-worker snatches the phone out of the hands of the talker and good-naturedly indicates that it's time to stop and relax. The voiceover leads with: "Lunch should be like recess, put your pencils down and relax with a Classic Lunch at Denny's." The spot also introduces Denny's new tagline, "A Good Place to Sit and Eat." The television spots, targeting adults 18-49, will air nationally in primetime and other day parts on programs such as ER, King of Queens, and The George Lopez Show, as well as national cable and syndicated programs. Radio spots will air on network and in spot markets. Optimedia Dallas handled media planning and buying.

Also making its debut this week is Denny's Hispanic television ad campaign aimed directly at Spanish-speaking consumers. The new commercial is the first creative effort by Denny's newly-appointed Hispanic AOR cruz/kravetz: IDEAS. The 30-second spot features Marta, a Latino actress who was selected because she captures the spirit and hospitality of the typical Denny's employee. Marta encounters a sleepy-eyed security guard who sips his early-morning coffee, a young boy mischievously enjoying his whipped cream topped hot chocolate, and an animated family sharing stories at the end of the day. The spot concludes with Marta saying: "All of us at Denny's are here to give you an enjoyable experience."

Wachovia Corporation launched a new retail advertising campaign to promote Wachovia Bank N.A. "Uncommon Wisdom for shared success," is the foundation for all of Wachovia's new corporate advertising. "Consumers are looking for a fresh voice in the financial services industry," said Denzil Strickland, EVP and Creative Director at Mullen, Wachovia's agency of record. "They are looking for relevance. The Uncommon Wisdom campaign is about living in this world. By learning from the real world, and by applying that knowledge to financial issues, Wachovia stands apart from other financial institutions." Like Denny’s new effort, this campaign also recognizes that a significant portion of the South Florida population is Spanish speaking. Therefore, some of the ads in the campaign have been transcreated (with the help of Zubi Advertising in Miami, Florida) to be culturally relevant to the Hispanic community. The new advertising will work its way up the east coast, beginning in Florida and ending in the Northeast in late summer. In addition to seven new television commercials, the campaign includes print, outdoor and radio advertising.

Nextel Communications has begun rolling out a new national campaign, also from Mullen, promising customers they will "Get right through" via the DirectConnect walkie-talkie feature of Nextel cellular phones. The work drops longtime spokesman Dennis Franz in favor of TV comedy stars Kristin Davis, George Lopez, Eric McCormack and film and TV actor Rob Lowe, who each appear in separate spots. The execution with Lowe debuted on Sunday's coverage of the NFL playoffs on CBS.

Nextel’s competitor, Verizon Communications, is set to unveil its first corporate-image ads from McGarry Bowen to show how folks stay connected in real-life, sentimental situations. The inaugural 60-second commercial, which broke last week, shows a 20-something guy who tries to make up with his girlfriend after a spat. "Scott" attempts to reconnect with "Catherine" through Verizon services. He leaves 17 voicemails, faxes the message "I'm sorry," and even emails photos of himself singing "All I need is you" - a line from the 1985 pop song, "All I Need Is a Miracle." Scott, who appears to be in a band, sings the song's chorus during a break in a rehearsal. Catherine ignores him until the end, when he knocks on her door. She opens it, and the hard expression on her face melts. The spot retains the "Make progress every day" tagline introduced last year by fellow Verizon shop Lowe.

Viacom Inc., one of the largest media companies in the world, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health information and research, this week launched KNOW HIV/AIDS, an unprecedented, global media campaign to combat HIV/AIDS through public service messages, television and radio programming, and free print and online content. The initiative targets the general population and groups hardest hit by the disease. Using the most recent research, Kaiser and an internal creative team at Viacom oversaw the production of 49 PSAs - 22 for television, 14 for radio, 13 for outdoor. Five agencies developed creative for the PSAs: Burrell Communications Group (Chicago office); DDB / Bass Howes (Seattle office); Prime Access Inc. (New York); Publicis Sanchez & Levitan (New York office); and Villains (Beverly Hills). All facets of the campaign direct audiences to the initiative's comprehensive website. Funding is being provided by Viacom, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mel Karmazin Foundation and Sumner Redstone.

The Quantum Group, CommonHealth's agency dedicated exclusively to building consumer healthcare brands, this week announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer television campaign for Novartis Pharmaceutical's Elidel (pimecrolimus) Cream 1%, the first non-steroid prescription cream approved for the treatment of mild to moderate eczema in patients two years of age or older. The Quantum Group has developed a :60 second television spot for Elidel in an effort to create an immediate connection with the eczema sufferer by visually depicting what it is like living with mild or moderate eczema. In the spot, the agency chose to present the problems associated with eczema, along with the relief Elidel offers, in a bright, upbeat way, as opposed to over-dramatizing the suffering.

The Bauer Partnership, Inc., a diversified holding company, announced this week the launch of the e-commerce site in conjunction with a multimedia marketing campaign designed to drive traffic to the Fat-2-Fit website. In the next several weeks, BAUER will be launching an integrated campaign that will include internet, radio, television infomercials, magazines, and newspaper ads designed to increase exposure for the Fat-2-Fit brand and website. Fat-2-Fit is a state of the art nutritional supplement that contains anti-aging and skin toning agents designed to rejuvenate your skin while tightening and toning muscles. Parent company, F3 Fitness, LLC expects to generate revenues in the first quarter of 2003.

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

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