Out to Launch

I am TIME Magazine's "Person of the Year"--if only for a few seconds. Message from Don't read. Which came first: Colorado Avalanche the hockey team, or beer? Let's launch!

I never played capture the flag quite like this. Thankfully. FOX Sports launched a campaign last weekend to promote its 2006 NASCAR coverage. The spots will appear in heavy rotation on FOX Sports' coverage of regular season and post-season NFL games. The three ads feature Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. playing an intense version of "Capture the Flag." NASCAR drivers are awarded the checkered flag when they win a race; in the ads, the drivers are on foot, maneuvering through an automotive obstacle course chock-full of flying debris, overturned cars, piles of wrecked cars, and fire. With the aid of their pit crews, the drivers make their way toward the coveted checkered flag, sitting high atop a pole. TAXI New York created the campaign.



TIME Magazine launched its Red Border campaign in Times Square on Dec. 1, promoting its upcoming "Person of the Year" issue. Headshots of the nominees appear on the Reuters sign... and so can yours. The magazine's red border surrounds the billboard and copy states, "Person of the Year. Who would you choose?" Those looking for 15 seconds of fame can upload a picture online until Dec. 18, when TIME reveals its "Person of the Year." The winner's headshot will remain displayed through Dec. 19. In addition, a street team will take pictures of pedestrians traipsing through Times Square and transmit those photos onto the billboard within minutes. Once your picture has appeared on the billboard, you are e-mailed a URL to your picture, which can be printed out or sent to friends. I thought it'd be ideal to upload my own picture to use in this space... so here I am! But I wasn't the only one hatching this idea. Fallon created the site.

Audible, provider of audio entertainment, information and educational programming, has launched a campaign designed to spoof the American Library Association's "Read" public service announcement posters. "Don't Read" hopes to increase awareness of via online, mobile and e-mail components. Online ads feature a nun, athlete, nerd, police officer, and others listening to Audible programs on MP3 players featuring the headline, "Don't Read." A digital audio player built into the ad allows users to listen to 28 different audio clips directly from the ad. In addition, users can forward the audio clip to friends, who can then listen to the clip at one of two new Web sites, or on their mobile phones. Ads are running on AOL,, eTrucker, eBay, iVillage, Fandago,, Salon, Wired, NYMetro, Gawker and The Onion, among others. created the campaign and handled the media buying and planning.

PepsiCo is making its foray into healthy snacks (the timing could not be more perfect) with Tropicana FruitWise, a line of fruit strips, bars, and drinks made from real fruit and juice. Three 30-second regional TV spots have launched using the tag line, "Goes where other fruit can't." In "Family," a woman leaving for a vacation with her family explains to "someone" that they can't come along because they "wouldn't do well on the plane," and "would never make it through customs." Viewers soon find out that the disappointed party is a life-sized strawberry. "Businesswoman" and "Surfer" follow the same premise. FruitWise launches nationwide in January. Heat San Francisco created the campaign.

Breckenridge Brewery of Denver is exploiting the fact that its Avalanche Ale shares its name with a NHL hockey team in its latest campaign. As it should, since the Ale was created in 1988, seven years before the NHL team made its debut in 1995. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that it's a cheap shot... The campaign uses the tag line "Boys and Beers, Back on Ice. Refreshing, Isn't It?" a direct reference to the fact that the NHL is back in business. Launching this month, the campaign features merchandise giveaways: tickets, jerseys, pint glasses, and other Avalanche paraphernalia. There are even game day specials at local bars and restaurants, along with newspaper ads and bar and liquor store posters. Cultivator Advertising & Design created the campaign.

The Fruit Guys are in a festive mood in the latest TV campaign for Fruit of the Loom. "Holiday Lights" shows The Fruit Guys in the midst of decorating the outside of their house and yard with lights. After overcoming some setbacks, the boys take their cups of hot chocolate and view their accomplishments. The spot ends with a close-up of the rooftop lights that spell out "Comfort & Joy." The ad will air throughout the holiday season. The Richards Group created the campaign; UNCLE produced the ad.

To celebrate and drive tune-in to its Video Game Awards 2005, Spike TV launched a mobile campaign in New York and Los Angeles last week. Women with Xbox and Playstation screens on their chests traveled through the cities inviting guys to play a game of Madden, Gran Tourismo, or LA Rush right on the street... and on their chests! The girls dressed in sexy costumes themed around the games and were chauffeured in a Spike-branded Cadillac Escalade. The campaign was produced by the michael alan group.

Smith Brothers has launched a campaign for a dessert treat available at Kings Family Restaurants, aptly named "The Frownie." Frownie is a chocolate-frosted brownie with a white icing scowl. To support the Frownie, an outdoor and POP campaign was launched, along with PR events featuring Frownie in the flesh. Outdoor ads that feature headlines such as, "We Make A Mean Dessert!" and "You Want A Piece Of Me?" are running in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, where Kings Family Restaurants are located, through the end of the year. TV and radio spots will follow.

This week's Web site launches are all business.

The Economist has redesigned its global Web site, making stories easier to read and giving articles titles that match those of the print edition. The site launched in 1995, and visitors can sign up for seven different newsletters and special alerts. The site added columns and tools usually found only in the print edition, including "Buttonwood," a weekly column covering the financial markets, and "Cities Guide," a reference tool for international business travelers, covering multiple cities, from Atlanta to Zurich.

ABC Radio Networks has relaunched, the first in a series of online improvements. The site incorporates new features that provide a hub for listeners, advertisers and affiliates to obtain information related to all of ABC Radio Networks' News/Talk, Sports, Music & Entertainment, and Urban & Hispanic programming. One main site update includes an ABC/ESPN Radio podcasting directory. The site also features free on-demand streaming audio clips from most ABC Radio Networks programs, including "The Sean Hannity Show," "Mike and Mike in the Morning," and "The Dan Patrick Show."

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