Out to Launch

Pier 1 ditches celebrity endorsers. Dasani gets the animals talking. Falcons hawk beer. Voicevertising! Let's launch!

DASANI bottled water brought in a panel of "experts" in its latest campaign - a talking bear, hamster, and dog - and even brought in director Wes Anderson to direct three of its four new spots. Each spot features animals discussing the fresh taste of Dasani. Carrying the tag line, " Dasani. The Water That Makes Your Mouth Water," this is the first campaign to focus on the taste difference people experience when drinking water. The ads launched on March 18 during NCAA Championship Basketball broadcasts. In addition, the brand is the official bottled water of the NCAA Final Four Tournament, so the spots will air throughout telecasts of March Madness. During the Final Four weekend, the brand will host the second-annual Dasani Fest -- featuring live performances by headline music acts -- and sampling of both regular Dasani and lemon and raspberry flavored water. Anomaly New York, created the campaign and redesigned the company's Web site.



PETCO launched four ads earlier in the year featuring a life-size hamster ball, cat condo, and dog toy. The "EXTRA CARE" TV spots feature a 25-foot tall cat condo, an 8-foot high by 6-foot wide Kong dog toy, and a 20-foot high by 40-foot wide aquarium complete with virtual tropical fish. And last but not least, a 7.5-foot in diameter hamster ball. The concept was to design familiar pet items so they could accommodate PETCO sales associates. "Hamster Ball," "Kong," "Cat Condo," and "Aquarium," air nationally through December 29. The Phelps Group created the campaign.

I don't know what I love more about this campaign. The fact that's it's a quirky idea and the ideal brand signed on to sponsor it or that was nowhere to be found. Floyd Hayes, a Brooklyn, N.Y. resident, went to the mother of all appendage advertising, eBay, and put his "voicevertising" services up for sale, offering to shout out a brand name every 15 minutes for an entire week -- no matter where he was or what he was doing. HALLS Fruit Breezers purchased Hayes' voice for $750. This campaign differs from the buys for many reasons. The obvious one is that this product and the service purchased actually GO TOGETHER. There's a connection between a man yelling every 15 minutes for a week and throat drops. Becoming a modern day town crier, Hayes may lose his voice and I'm sure he'll have a sore throat. Gee, whatever could he use to help said sore throat? The idea of "voicevertising" was embraced to the point that Cadbury Adams USA LLC has actually integrated "voicevertising" into its marketing mix to promote HALLS Fruit Breezers.

This next campaign is another example of a clever guerrilla marketing stunt. Let's see how long this one lasts. Now for some background info. The Peregrine Falcons mate each year in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. The event (from mating to birth) is streamed online for the bird watchers throughout the world to view. Some employees at the Neiman Group, a Pennsylvania-based agency, were watching the Webcast and admiring how many places near the falcon's nest ads could be placed. One angle shows the birds' perch where they bring their prey and literally tear them to shreds. I've been watching and have not seen a killing -- just a lot of scratching and flying feathers. Neiman decided to give the birdwatchers a little more to look at by placing a 40-foot billboard in the backdrop of where the Falcons kill and eat their prey. The company advertised worldwide is Troegs Brewing Company, a beer made by two brothers using all natural ingredients. They also have a small ad budget so this plays in perfectly. The ad is simple. It says "Natural Selection?" and shows the Troegs URL with a beer bottle next to it. The campaign gives this small company worldwide exposure and will remain up until someone catches on and asks for its removal. Just another example of why I love creative guerrilla marketing stunts.

Brickyard VFX completed visual effects for "the check up," the six-and-a-half minute theatrical ad for Volkswagen that debuted at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Arnold Worldwide created the short film that opened as the lead-in to "Strangers With Candy" starring Amy Sedaris. "The check up" stars Joe Pantoliano as a fictitious special agent, resembling a cross between a probation officer and a life-coach. The agent checks in on one of his toughest cases, Mike (Kevin Connolly of HBO's "Entourage"), a thirty-something who shares his apartment with pizza boxes and video games (read: he needs to grow up). When the agent insists on reform, the two agree on a number of improvements: from poster framing to purchasing a more adult car. This last task is easy for Mike, as becoming "adult" means upgrading to the new version of the VW Jetta that he currently drives.

The Jeep brand is plunging back into the branded entertainment world (think "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life") by featuring the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in "Sahara," a movie opening April 8. In the film, an explorer relies on his Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to venture into some dangerous terrain. The Grand Jeep Cherokee is also featured in the film. As part of the promotion, special scenes were filmed for TV commercials that promote both the Jeep brand and "Sahara." Antfarm edited the film's trailer, and will also edit the TV spots in conjunction with BBDO Detroit, Chrysler Group's agency of record. TV ads debuted this month, along with print, online, gaming, and dealer promotions. The Arnell Group brokered the branded entertainment relationship. has placed its largest ever national ad buy, running through October. Featuring's "Find the right car for you" message, the campaign will have a dominant media presence on sports programs, including sponsorship of ESPN's "SportsCenter." will also sponsor the upcoming NFL Draft, scheduled to air April 23 on ESPN. For the first time, will also advertise during live sporting events, including Major League Baseball, NBA, and PGA Golf. Ads are running on Discovery, Food Network, TBS, TLC, TNT, USA, and WGN. The site also has local promotion partnerships with more than 200 newspapers, TV stations, and their Web sites, including Los Angeles Times, The Arizona Republic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post. DDB Chicago created the TV spots.

American Honda Motor Co. launched the first U.S. Hispanic national advertising campaign for its truck, the Ridgeline. The Spanish-language TV spot will air nationally with a corresponding national print campaign soon following. Radio spots are planned for later in the year and outdoor ads will be placed in the Los Angeles DMA. "Kingdom" uses footage of the Ridgeline exploring the rough terrain of Death Valley, Calif. to show off the truck's capabilities. The voice-over states, "Your kingdom, your throne." The print campaign uses a similar theme in the headline: "Every King Deserves a Throne." La Agencia de Orcí & Asociados created the campaign.

The American Red Cross launched a PSA called "Help America," which features actress Julianna Margulies and singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. Margulies narrates the ads and Mann donated the ads' instrumental track "Wise Up" from the "Magnolia" soundtrack. The campaign, created by the New York office of Hill, Holliday, includes TV, radio, print, and outdoor ads promoting a range of Red Cross services. The campaign's tag line: "When you help the Red Cross, you help America," focuses on bringing Americans together under these common ideals. One ad states: "I don't look like you. I don't laugh at the same jokes as you. But I'm ready to save your life."

The American Legacy Foundation is sponsoring a public health campaign, launched with the Ad Council, to educate Americans about the dangers of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke puts Americans at risk for serious health consequences, including cancer, respiratory diseases, and sudden-infant-death syndrome (SIDS). "Don't Pass Gas" consists of radio and TV PSAs and include family members "shooing" away gas, holding their noses, and blaming dad or grandpa for the offensive behavior, before the audience learns that the "gas" is actually secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical substances, including several known human carcinogens. Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the campaign.

Pier 1 is letting its products do the talking in its latest campaign. Gone are Kirstie Alley and Thom Filicia. The company is making changes intended to positively impact sales and create a deeper connection with customers. The merchandise assortment will be more select and stores will be organized to appeal to time-challenged customers. The campaign includes TV, radio, newspaper inserts, direct mail, public relations, and online components. The company is also unleashing a new tag line: "Life More Interesting." TV ads debuted March 21 and are running during "Desperate Housewives," "The Apprentice," "Lost," and "CSI," to name a few. Radio spots launched that same day. Deutsch created the campaign.

In Web Site launches this week:

WorldPitch.Com, a site designed to allow anyone to effectively pitch their film and television work directly to top executives at leading film and television companies, has launched. Writers can post their treatments, log lines, synopses, and trailers within WorldPitch's online database. Real time updates are available to give insight as to who is accessing their work. Additionally, live online pitch sessions will take place for an entire weekend each month. For executives: The service provides an opportunity to access an endless database of pitches, treatments and movie and pilot trailers from their home or office.

This is a great card site, especially if you are tired of hearing hokey music when you open up a birthday card. allows users to send free eCards from categories such as Yoga a Go Go and Strange Clowns. The site is working with studios and record labels to create dedicated eCards that will go live this spring. One of the goals for the site is to provide interactive options for brands to connect with younger consumers.

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