Out to Launch

Every week new ad campaigns and websites are launched, and it’s hard to keep up with them all. This week Kohl’s dabbles in reality TV with real-life Valentine’s Day marriage proposals, new PSAs debut that will help educate the public about bipolar disorder, and Hershey’s unveils an updated “Happiness” website via Tribal DDB.

This Valentine's Day, Jason Stone and Michael Murphy are chosing to surprise their girlfriends on national TV, taking reality TV to the next level. The two guys were plucked out of obscurity to star in Kohl's Department Stores' commercials, per Ziccardi Partners Frierson Mee in New York, where they ask their girlfriends to marry them. The simple 30-second spots each feature a single continuous, unedited take. Unscripted, the men were directed only to start their proposals with their respective girlfriend's first name. The commercials, which debuts nationwide on "American Idol" and "Survivor" this week, are the culmination of months of planning, including two months for casting. Makers of the commercial canvassed the nation last fall - advertising in newspapers and on the Internet, and visiting shopping malls. Because the commercials were shot in December, both young men had to keep their involvement secret from parents and friends, and especially their girlfriends. Porter Gale, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of Porter Pictures, directed the commercials.



The Baby Einstein Company, the creator of developmental media products for babies and toddlers, this week announced it has extended its ad campaign with a second multi-million dollar media buy. Executions include three full-page and one half-page ads that feature the company's familiar, whimsical iconic characters. With headlines including "All you want is a healthy, happy baby. Our specialty is the happy part." and "The world is a really interesting place. You and your baby should see it together;" the ads are fun and communicate the simplicity and interactive nature of the brand. The ads showcase new packaging and Baby Einstein's growing product line that includes the spring release of "Baby Neptune Discovering Water" on video/DVD, puppets, new books and a new music CD. The print campaign will break this spring in major parenting publications, including American Baby, BabyTalk, Child, First Years of Life, Parenting, Parent's Expecting, Parents Magazine and Scholastic Parent & Child. Online ads will appear on key parenting websites with streaming video product/brand samples. The ads were created by VitroRobertson, a San Diego-based agency.

Nike’s newest series of television and print advertising via Wieden + Kennedy displays the passion and emotion synonymous with "the battle." The spot pits Gary Payton against Steve Nash, and Tony Parker against Jason Kidd, in a demonstration of this will to succeed, with the accent on lightning quick guards, who possess elite levels of speed and intensity. For every quick crossover, fake, behind-the-back handle a player uses, their opponent matches the move, in this mirrored-effect sequence. The one-on-one match-ups play to an edgy, competitive hip-hop soundtrack recorded by The Neptunes, one of the most well-known and respected production teams in the music industry. The :60 spot and the :30 takedown broke during the NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 8 and will continue to run through March. Print, outdoor and retail campaigns will also highlight the dueling nature of competition, with split-frame layouts showing head-to-head competition among the NBA and WNBA elite players. The featured shoe in the first ad is the Nike Air Zoom Ultraflight.

Burrell Communications next week unveils three TV spots in the "Real" campaign for Coke Classic targeting African-American consumers. Breaking on Feb. 17 is "Session," which features Nu Classic Soul recording artists Amel Larrieux (pictured here), Musiq, Angie Stone, Questlove, Scratch, Donnie and Aaries, and visual artist Mike Thompson. A week later, "Inspiration" breaks showing Mike Thompson, a graffiti artist, spray painting a portrait of the artists. "Mountain Music" follows on Feb. 28 featuring Angie Stone, Questlove and Donnie in a karaoke contest singing their version of the Alabama song "Mountain Music." Malik Hassan Sayeed, best known for directing music videos for Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z, directed the Coke spots, all shot in New York City. Coke is planning to use the same artists in a print campaign.

SIRIUS, a premier satellite radio broadcaster, is launching its largest national advertising campaign to date. The new campaign is embracing music fans and challenging them to elevate their expectations and demand access to the music they love. Debuting last week, the campaign kicked off with the first of six :30 spots all featuring a different music genre and using computer animation to illustrate what that style of music might look like. The first spot features music by Hip-Hop turntablism artist Dr. Octagon, and it also takes the unconventional step of crediting the artist for the music heard in the ad. Other spots will highlight Hard Rock, Electronica, Jazz, Dance and Classical music. SIRIUS will also debut additional spots during the 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast airing Feb. 23 on the CBS Television Network. The SIRIUS brand campaign features the tagline, “it’s_ON,” and demonstrates in all its components SIRIUS’ philosophy about being true to listeners, not corporate agendas. Created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the multimedia campaign includes television, cinema, magazines, newspaper, direct mail, outdoor and online components.

New York-based advertising agency Cossette Post has embarked on a winter campaign for KeySpan Energy Delivery. The new campaign, entitled “Conversion,” has been appearing on television and radio throughout the company’s service territories in the New York Metropolitan, Long Island and Boston markets. Television and radio spots began airing in late January 2003. Cossette Post’s slice of life campaign uses humor to educate consumers about the benefits of natural gas. The new campaign communicates that choosing natural gas is a quality of life “upgrade” by focusing its versatility and reliability. The tagline: “The Energy to Think Ahead.” conveys KeySpan’s commitment to the ever-increasing value that natural gas brings to its customers. In one spot, entitled “Barb and the Kids”, the reliability of KeySpan’s natural gas is depicted by a middle-aged man in his pajamas freezing outside his suburban house because his oil burner is broken. While he waits for the repairman, his neighbor emerges from his warm, natural gas-heated home to invite him over. As he confirms that his happy neighbor is a KeySpan customer, the rest of his family runs over to the neighbor’s home.

The National Mental Health Association is releasing a new public service announcement this week to help educate the public about bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by violent mood swings. Sufferers can feel a high level of energy, have grandiose thoughts and ideas and become reckless or highly optimistic. Soon after, they'll lose interest in things around them and experience high levels of despair and anxiety. The campaign, designed by DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, comes just weeks after revelations that the Oakland Raiders center Barrett Robbins dropped out of the Super Bowl after suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. This is the first time the organization has commissioned TV work on bipolar disorder, and the aim is to educate people who may not know they are suffering from the disease. The NMHA is working through its 340 affiliates to promote the campaign to news directors nationwide. The organization is also finalizing a radio script and is directing people to an area of its site at

Uncle director Rick Rabe recently completed a four-spot campaign for SBC to help promote the company's name and brand identity change from a variety of regional telcos to simply SBC. The spots include a variety of vignettes featuring a company employee implementing the name change on trucks, uniforms and coffee mugs as others continue to go about their work showing that despite the name change, the service remains the same. From a group of four regional companies to one national identity, the four-spot campaign uses a straightforward narrative to show how SBC will seamlessly manage the transition. The spots close with the taglines, "New look. New way of looking at things." or "New look. Same great service." Rick Rabe recently joined Uncle, a new production company founded by a former A Band Apart executive producer Eric Bonniot and director Jason Farrand.

G4, the TV network for video game junkies, recently announced a major on-air, cross-channel and online campaign, in conjuncion with game publisher Eidos Interactive and game developer Core Design. The new effort will cast superstar video game character Lara Croft in a marketing program to promote both the cable channel and Eidos’ popular Tomb Raider franchise. As part of the million-dollar agreement, G4 will produce three network image promotional commercials featuring Croft. The spots will continue airing for six months and go into higher rotation during Eidos’ launch of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, opening in July 2003. The campaign’s treatment of a video game character as a pop-culture icon, and irreverent commentary on the relationship between celebrities and the media is definitely a unique concept, and the Lara Croft promos will also be integrated into g4’s online marketing program. Spots will stream from the G4 website and link to Eidos Interactive’s site.

Tribal DDB has extended the fun and playful characteristics of Hershey's offline ad campaign to the Web. Just in time for Valentine’s day, the site features a "love letter generator" that lets users customize messages to loved ones with pull-down phrases. It also includes screensavers, recipes and a quiz that determines which Hershey's chocolate matches a person's personality. The latest ads from Tribal DDB parent DDB in New York are also available on the site. In the spots, chocolate lovers express the happiness associated with a Hershey bar.

Also…The New York Times announced recently that it has relaunched The New York Times Job Market website with a new look, streamlined functionality and new ad positions. The site provides useful career information such as relevant Times articles on particular industries, proprietary Job Market research, and expanded job search capabilities. The new offering aggregates Job Market’s recruitment services and provides new benefits for advertisers, job seekers and employers across all industries. The oversized, rich-media ad position on the homepage and job category pages, called the "Commercial Position," was increased further to provide a highly visible and targeted opportunity for recruitment advertisers. Additionally, the new ad position called “Featured Jobs” provides a way to reach every job seeker that visits the site. It allows advertisers to post their job by title in a prominent position under the “Featured Jobs” header, on the right-hand side skyscraper ad, and is linked to the job posting.

Last but just as important: A new website this week provides advertsiers, agencies, media planners and buyers with easy access to the most extensive database of syndicated programming available anywhere. The new site,, offers a wealth of information on syndicated TV programming, including details on nearly 100 shows from the leading syndicators who distribute programs such as Friends, Entertainment Tonight, Porah, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy and Live with Regis and Kelly. Launched by the Syndicated Network Television Association, it also offers access to program syndicators and their offerings.

-- 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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