Out to Launch

All together now: Holiday campaigns! Sarah Jessica Parker shows too much skin in Jerusalem. Toyota gets wrapped up with trains. Let's launch!

OfficeMax launched a "Rubberband Man" commercial promoting office product solutions for Holiday problems under the "What's Your Thing" tag line. The 60-second commercial, created by DDB Chicago, blends "Rubberband Man" with holiday animation techniques. The commercial launched on Nov. 21, and will run on national network and cable channels through the first of the year. OfficeMax also launched a companion Web site, accessible from, where visitors can view the commercial, make a gift "wish list" and play holiday games. Users can even leave messages for the "Rubberband Man." Alrighty then.

Also launching a holiday campaign is Office Depot. Keep up with me, people. Office Depot has compiled a list of the Top 100 Gifts for businesspeople. Dubbed "Gifts That Mean Business," the list highlights Office Depot's commitment to helping customers find the perfect present for the businesspeople in their lives. The campaign consists of TV and radio spots, direct mail, e-mail and in-store displays. The two thirty-second TV spots were created by BBDO New York. Titled "Because" and "It's for you," the ads feature several items from the company's Top 100 Gifts list. "Because" focuses on various small business owners giving gifts to people that help their businesses succeed and "It's for you" promotes Office Depot's exclusive deals on select HP and Compaq desktop and notebook computers. The radio spots tout Office Depot's relationship with Donald Trump. TV spots debuted on Nov. 24 and are running on both network and cable TV during primetime, late night and early morning.



Apollo Interactive has designed an online holiday campaign for Chili's to help it promote the sale of Chili's Gift Cards. The campaign will run the three weeks before Christmas. This marks Chili's first ever online initiative, and ads will appear on Yahoo!, eVite, and, to name a few.

This holiday season, AFLAC will air an "unfortunate" TV spot, starring the AFLAC duck encountering an experience alarming enough to be right out of a movie. Say "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events," for example. The ad showcases a partnership with the insurance company and the movie's film studio, Paramount Pictures. The campaign has been lauded as the first-ever marketing partnership between an insurance carrier and a film studio.

Lugz Shoe Company and hip-hop artist Bryan "Baby" Williams (aka Birdman) teamed up again for a holiday line of last spring's "Birdman" collection. To kick off the launch, Lugz teamed with Margeotes Fertitta and Partners to debut the "Never Fold" concept. Ads featuring Baby in several challenging situations where he "never folds" began airing last month on channels such as MTV, BET, and Spike TV. The print campaign launched simultaneously in publications such as The Source, XXL, Vibe, ESPN, and The Fader. Lugz also used guerrilla marketing street teams from New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, and New Orleans to brand the "Birdman" shoes and the "Never Fold" concept.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation hosted a press conference in front of KCBS-TV, the Los Angeles CBS affiliate in Hollywood, yesterday to denounce a decision by most local Southern California network television affiliates to reject a 30-second, "Stop the Sores" paid public service announcement for syphilis prevention and testing, part of a social marketing campaign that features "Phil, the Sore," a six-foot tall, animated character. The television spot previously ran for five weeks this summer on L.A. area cable channels including CNN, A&E, HGTV, and Bravo. The campaign, created by Better World Advertising, San Francisco, also features print, bus bench ads, and billboards. The TV spot uses the same character -- Phil the Sore -- in both animated form and as a live-action figure.

Draft London has created a direct marketing and online campaign for Vauxhall's Agila mini people carrier (MPC), using the theme "small on the outside, big on the inside." The online campaign uses rich media overlays, expandable banners, skyscrapers and a new online format, "Hoover." The campaign targets adults looking for a practical, economical, and reliable car. Roughly 60,000 prospects will receive the direct marketing pack; the outside of the package has a small picture of the car and the line "Small on the outside"; inside, the pack opens out to a poster of the car's interior with the line "Big on the inside." Ads will run on Yahoo! and the Daily Mail Web site, among others.

This campaign is fabulous! As part of the marketing campaign for the Toyota Tundra double-cab full-sized truck, images of the truck have been painted on the sides of two Amtrak locomotives, one running the "Texas Eagle" route segment from Chicago to San Antonio, and the other running the "Silver Service" route segment from Washington, D.C. to Miami. Saatchi & Saatchi came up with the idea, and is the first automaker, and only the second company, to use Amtrak locomotives for this form of advertising. Toyota Tundras ride the rails through the end of the year.

Sarah Jessica Parker showed too much skin recently in a billboard campaign in Israel. According to a recent Associated Press story, Parker, hawking Lux, a soap brand manufactured by Unilever, wore a skimpy dress which revealed her arms and back. Ultra-Orthodox consumers, who make up 10 percent of the Israeli population, complained about the ad, and the billboard was changed to cover up the scantily clad New Yorker.

In Web site launches this week:

VNU has launched an online information hub called Smart Supplier to Wal-Mart, a Web site that provides information on the marketing, merchandising, logistics, technology, and supply chain strategies of the retailer. The site aims to be an information-rich source on how to do business with Wal-Mart. In addition to the Web site, a bi-weekly headlines news service is distributed by e-mail to 20,000 industry executives.

TV Guide Online has made some changes to its site, including enhanced search capabilities, personalized features, and the addition of "The Big Movie Guide" and "The Big Sports Guide," searchable databases to movies and sports on television. The new TV Guide Online has improved its search functions, implementing site-wide search capabilities that enable registered users to determine what they want to watch. Users can also personalize how they receive the information by establishing a default time for their listings to begin that coincides with when they most frequently watch television. "The Big Movie Guide" allows users to search by actor, network, film name, airdate, time, and TV Guide rating, and features detailed information about the film. "The Big Sports Guide" is searchable by sport, time, date, network, and program.

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