Out to Launch

Converse has Invisible Game. DIRECTV promotes NFL Sunday Tickets. Toys "R" Us brings back 'Geoffrey' the Giraffe. These are just a few of the ad campaigns launched this week. Read on for more details.

In its new "Invisible Game" commercial unveiled this week, Converse re-establishes its leadership position as "The First School" of basketball, leveraging its authentic heritage of innovating performance footwear, evangelizing the sport, and staying true to the fundamental spirit of the game -- a position no other brand can own. Inspired by its "First School" origins, Converse distills the game of basketball to its very essence through imaginative visuals - stripped clean of all but the basketball and hardwood court - that reconnect viewers to the soul of the game. Set in a classic gymnasium, the basketball is dribbled, passed, shot and dunked by a team of invisible players exhibiting the game's grace, originality and athleticism as evidenced only through the ball's deft movement. Rapper/actor/poet Mos Def, whose voice anchors the "Invisible Game," is enhanced only by subtle sounds of rubber-soled shoes squeaking on the hardwood floor. Created by Converse agency-of-record, Modernista! of Boston, the 30-second spot begins airing August 4, 2003, and is slated for a three-week run on national television and cable networks, including MTV, Comedy Central, ESPN/ESPN2 and BET. Converse will air its "Invisible Game" television campaign during the critical back-to-school period as part of its, "The First School" advertising campaign, which includes in-store and print components.



DIRECTV, Inc., has launched a national advertising campaign for its NFL SUNDAY TICKET package that features John Goodman. Created by Deutsch LA, Goodman celebrates the passion of NFL fans by performing a lively reading of a fan letter from a DIRECTV NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscriber who writes "Dear DIRECTV: Since 1995, I've had NFL SUNDAY TICKET*. I haven't missed one second of any Colts game since!" As a motivating call-to-action, consumers are encouraged to "Sign up now and get DIRECTV's best programming package free for 4 months." The :30 spot broke this week and will begin airing on programs such as The Today Show, Law & Order, 60 Minutes, etc. The integrated national campaign for DIRECTV NFL SUNDAY TICKET * includes radio ads that feature the iconic comedian and Emmy-award winning political satirist Dennis Miller. NFL All-Pros Peyton Manning of the Colts; Donovan McNabb of the Eagles; and Marshall Faulk of the Rams appear in national print ads and remind football fans that "DIRECTV Gives You More NFL Games than Anyone Else."

Back by popular demand, Showtime Networks Inc. has teamed up with Toys "R" Us and their well-known mascot 'Geoffrey' the Giraffe, to provide consumers with something that everyone, young or old, can enjoy - a $50 gift card good at Toys "R" Us with a new subscription to SHOWTIME. The campaign begins September 1st and runs through December 31st. The holiday season has been a great time to target non-SHOWTIME subscribers. Last year affiliates participated in a big way- greater than any standard Showtime Networks exclusive campaign in the 4th Quarter. And, the campaign delivered for them- generating a 22% lift over total business as usual activity. Previous in-market testing indicated the Toys "R" Us overlay generated a significant lift over an affiliate's standalone offer. The campaign is consistent with SNI's overall marketing strategy to deliver strong added value partners packaged with flexible creative that help drive affiliate revenue.

Red Robot, Inc. has launched a website, radio, and email marketing campaign for The Rick Smith Golf Institute (RSGI). Red Robot also provided RSGI with tagline/logo development, strategic consulting and media buying services. Rick Smith is among the world's premier golf instructors and is ranked #5 among "America's 50 Greatest Teachers" by Golf Digest. His clients include Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and Lee Janzen. The company's marketing efforts are based around the tagline "Aspire, Advance, Achieve" and are targeting golfers who would like to receive the kind of comprehensive instruction, until now, only provided to PGA touring professionals. Although the institute is available to golfers of all skill levels, specific programs have also been created to attract women golfers, and to properly introduce youth to the sport of golf. A unique corporate program is also being offered to executives who use golf as a tool to develop business relationships. The Rick Smith Golf Institute is owned and managed by the World Golf Institute in Denver, Colorado.

TrueCredit, a provider of consumer credit management services, is teaming with Chicago-based agency TargetCom to develop its first television advertising campaign. Testing nationally this summer, the campaign will promote TrueCredit's signature 3-in-1 Credit Report and the theme "Manage your credit. Manage your life." The commercials depict a blindfolded runner stumbling over hurdles and then removing the blindfold as a metaphor for the importance of checking one's credit before major purchases.

Clio-winning visual effects and design company A52 has recently unveiled the details of their visual effects work for Biscuit Filmworks and director Noam Murro for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners San Francisco's Goodyear broadcast campaign. The campaign's first :30 spots - one entitled "Balls" and a second entitled "Screw" - continue airing nationwide, and a third spot will debut soon. This campaign features dramatic scenarios wherein harmless, mundane objects become threatening... thereby revealing the advanced safety features of Goodyear's products. In "Screw," the latest spot, a two-inch steel screw takes on a life of its own to plummet from the top of a city skyscraper, work its way into a busy street and then align itself with the front tire of a speeding BMW and stand upright. Fortunately for the driver and everyone else on that street, this is no ordinary tire; the vehicle continues racing along, as announcer Marcus McCollum says, "Sharp steel is no match for smart rubber. Tires with run-flat technology... On the Wings of Goodyear."

As the summer vacation season swings into full gear and many Americans head out for their annual road trip, Hampton Inn launches a major, integrated advertising campaign on The Weather Channel and its website, , targeted towards consumers who plan on traveling the nation's interstates. On July 1, Hampton Inn began sponsoring the network's Travel Desk during the hours of 5-7 a.m. As part of this sponsorship, The Weather Channel will present a customized "Interstate Driving Forecast" segment, during which Hampton Inn will air a 30-second commercial that will include a tag directing viewers to the Interstate Forecast feature on, which will also be sponsored by Hampton Inn. Both the on-air segment and the content on helps travelers prepare for weather conditions along the particular interstate they will be traveling? tomorrow or 10 days in advance. Hampton Inn's sponsorship will run through August. In addition, Hampton Inn has also purchased 300x600, or half page ad units, on, which are targeted to users who have expressed an interest in travel. The most recent ad unit to launch on, half page ads were specifically designed to strategically position the large ad so that it can be viewed in its entirety along with content.

The latest literacy ad from the Newspaper Association of America features Carmen and Juni, the title characters from Dimension Films' upcoming "SPY kids(tm)3-D: Game Over." The continuing campaign promotes literacy through newspaper readership to young people, their parents and others. Last year, the characters appeared in an ad timed with the release of "SPY kids(tm)2: The Island of Lost Dreams." The latest ad shows the Spy Kids reading "The Spy Times." On the paper's front and back pages, pictures pop out as if three dimensional. The ad's headline reads, "Let the headlines reach out and grab you!" The copy continues, "The world jumps out at you when you read the newspaper. The SPY KIDS know, it's the best way to discover the world and stay on top of what's happening. Read the newspaper and see your world in a whole new dimension." The ad closes with the tagline "It all starts with newspapers." The ad is available in two-column, quarter-, full- and half-page sizes, in color or black-and-white, for standard and 50-inch web formats. It can be downloaded at, and is timed to coincide with the nationwide release of the three-dimensional film on July 25.

Corbis (the image licensing company owned by Bill Gates) is launching a major multi-tiered advertising/marketing campaign to announce the introduction of 24-hour/7-day-a-week service in the U.S. The roughly $1.2M campaign, titled "Open," consists of double-leaf spreads in print, guerilla marketing through a 3-part sidewalk-graphic effort in New York City, Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles, a 3-part interactive direct email campaign, and branded tie-in merchandise giveaways. The campaign targets Corbis' advertising agency, graphic design, editorial and publishing clients, and centers on a night theme punctuated by a full-moon driving home the message that Corbis is now open all night. The ads break this week and run through the end of Sept.

The Advertising Council, in partnership with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has announced the launch of new public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage individuals and groups to become involved in community anti-drug coalitions. This campaign encourages individuals, and the social, business, and community groups they belong to, to join community coalitions in an effort to prevent youth drug use. The new television and radio PSAs will begin airing nationwide later this month. According to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), approximately 11% of youth ages 12-17 report that they are currently using some form of illicit drugs and more than 17% report current alcohol use. When communities come together as coalitions, they can and do have a positive effect on the drug and underage drinking problem as well as other problems facing the community.

See the Derm...Lose the Zits kicks off with :60 spots running on cable stations such as MTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, etc. and drives consumers to a website where they can download tons of information, find a dermatologist in their area, request a free Zit Kit mailed to their home with personalized information for the teen and their parents, get $50 worth of rebate coupons for prescriptions for Galderma's Differin acne cream and to be used towards a doctor visit co-pay, and enter the See the Derm...Lose the Zits sweepstakes to win college scholarship prizes. A dedicated effort to doctors brings the program full-circle. Over 20,000 requests for the Zit Kit have been received since the campaign launch this month. See the Derm...lose the Zits will run through October and is being handled by Nelson Communications out of New York City.

In website launches this week:

What do websites and apple pie have in common? At first glance, the answer would appear to be absolutely nothing! Take a second look, though, and you may discover that Tradition and Simplicity fit the bill. It is precisely this second look that Internet business directory is counting on. The company introduced its "Old and Improved" website after more than seven years as the most easily recognized yellow pages provider on the Internet. By embracing a '50s retro style and several more efficient functionalities, is looking to prove to its users, advertisers and the yellow pages industry that technology can be both functional and fun. The new site also includes advanced search options and multi-media presentations for its advertisers. The re-design was a domestic and international project. The conception phase and major UI work was handled by Tribal DDB out of Sydney, Australia, while concept development and final deployments were handled internally by

And last, but not least, Hoyt Publishing Company has launched the In-Store Marketing Institute, a new, membership-based association aimed at fostering marketing excellence at retail. Positioned as a for-profit trade association, the new venture is member-supported and offers an online information portal featuring a wide range of business intelligence and other resources. The Institute website was created with the assistance of four supplier organizations dedicated to the growth and success of the in-store marketing industry: Alliance, a Rock-Tenn Company; RTC Industries, Henschel-Steinau and United Displaycraft. The Institute also features a blue-ribbon advisory panel that includes senior marketing executives from companies such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi-Cola, Miller Brewing and Gillette. The site features a searchable database of more than 3,000 marketing case studies; an image vault with more than 8,000 images of displays, signs, marketing collateral and store environments; hundreds of research articles; and profiles of the marketing and merchandising strategies at leading grocery retailers. Memberships are available to brand marketers, retailers, agencies and suppliers involved in marketing at retail. Costs are $2,950 a year per company or $995 annually per individual member.

Next story loading loading..