Out to Launch

The last of the holiday ads. Using sex in an anti-smoking campaign. Monk gets a killer workout. Let's launch!

The Vermont Department of Health is hitting below the belt in its anti-smoking campaign by emphasizing a possible side effect of smoking is sexual dysfunction. The campaign targets young adults aged 18 to 24, who have a higher smoking rate (30 percent) than Vermont adults as a whole (19.5 percent). Matchbook condoms and napkins with humorous messages were distributed to bars, colleges, select community organizations and events throughout the state. Copy includes: "Your spaghetti isn't quite al dente?" "Your train is stuck in the station?" and "Your little general won't salute?" Radio spots with similar messages will support the campaign, created by Kelliher Samets Volk.

I feel like this campaign is speaking directly to me. To promote Dr. Phil's latest book, "Love Smart: Find the One that You Want--Fix the One that You Got, " Hanft Raboy & Partners launched a print and outdoor campaign that's as abrasive when it comes to dishing out "tough love" advice as Dr. Phil is. The campaign tag line is, "Don't Love Dumb. Love Smart." Print ads are running in USA Today and outdoor ads launched in New York and Chicago earlier this month. Tough love copy includes, "Wishing for love on a shooting star will only get you a big digger," and, my personal favorite, "A rabbit's foot won't find you love. Just a three-footed rabbit."



Northern Lights Post put the finishing touches on an image spot for the USA Network series "Monk." I still miss Sharona. "Mr. Monk at the Gym" shows our favorite obsessive detective at a gym, preparing to work out. Poor Adrian can't get into the swing of things because of all the sweaty bodies around him, not to mention having his rear slapped with a towel by a passing admirer. He escapes the madness in the weight room by rearranging weights according to size. When a body builder needs a "spot," Monk wipes the beads of sweat from his forehead. When Natalie asks how his workout went, Monk replies, "Killer." The 60-second spot promotes the new season on "Monk," beginning in January.

Tijuana Flats has created a nontraditional holiday campaign showing that when it comes to gift giving, gift cards are the safe, clean way to go. Three thirty-second spots ("Taco," "Burrito," and "Queso") show that it's not easy to wrap food. Have you ever tried tying a bow around a burrito? Aside from selling gift cards, the campaign also hopes to increase brand awareness and sales of Tijuana Flat's holiday hot sauce "Smack My Ass and Call Me Santa," which benefits The Red Cross--and makes me laugh loudly every time I read the name. PUSH created the campaign. To watch all three spots, follow the hot link.

Verizon has launched "We Know the Holidays Around Here," a campaign that rewards users for searching the site, writing user reviews, referring friends to the site, printing coupons and downloading the toolbar. The promotion gives users weekly chances to win cash and prizes. On January 6, the Grand Prize winner will be selected and can choose $25,000 in cash or a combination of prizes such as a beach vacation, a personal chef for a week, maid service for a year or a one-year gym membership. Print, radio and online ads will run through January 1. Online ads are running on American Greetings, AOL, Daily Candy, Discovery, E! Online, IBS, IMDB, The Onion, and WeatherBug, to name a few. TM Advertising created the campaign.

I enjoy seeing guerilla marketing stunts in cities not named New York and Los Angeles. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau took Chicago by storm on December 15, in an effort to mark the official debut of the King Tut exhibition in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Models dressed as King Tut passed out Greater Fort Lauderdale-branded "hand warmers" to commuters, tourists and passers-by. In addition to the King Tut models, Greater Fort Lauderdale's "Beach on Wheels" rolled through Chicago Dec. 10 through 16. A glass-enclosed "beach" was mounted on the back of a 22-foot truck and features sand from Greater Fort Lauderdale, palm trees, and a replica of Greater Fort Lauderdale's Wave Wall and promenade. Next stop for the beach on wheels is Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Washington, and Boston.

Toronto Crime Stoppers unveiled a PSA campaign to curb the wave of gun violence that is plaguing the city. The campaign offers up to $500 cash for a tip leading to the seizure of an illegal or crime-related handgun, using outdoor, print and radio elements to target individuals who might have first-hand knowledge of where an illegal handgun can be found. Ads show an oversized handgun hiding between two mattresses, inside a dumpster and inside the trunk of a car. The tag line, "Your tips make them easier to find," encourages the community to play a role in stopping gun violence in Toronto. The ads will appear on subway platforms, billboards, and garbage cans. DDB Canada developed the pro bono campaign.

One Web site launch this week shows that the business world is no game, while the other provides excuses to bail out of holiday parties.

Enlighten launched The Holiday Party Excuse Generator, a viral campaign that enables visitors to create a customized e-mail excuse for any party they wish to avoid. Users begin by answering a few questions with the help of a snowman in a snow globe. Does the hostess remind you of Martha Stewart? Do you like or loathe said hostess? How believable do you want this excuse to be? The end product is a hysterical letter filled with snappish remarks. Or better yet, clues to how you're really feeling. For example: "I will be unable to attend your picture-perfect holiday bash. I will be fixing the plumbing and thus at a safe distance from your plastic smile and your unnaturally white teeth." Ouch.

Wunderman New York has created The Turnaround Game, the latest installment to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' campaign, entitled: "Start Here. Go Places." The site offers high school and college students the opportunity to find out what really happens in the world of accounting, by allowing them to experience some of the real-life challenges CPAs face in today's business environment. The online effort is complemented by "Start Here," a magazine that features stories on the diversity of job opportunities open to accountants/CPAs.

Out to Launch will not be published next week. Happy Holidays to all and see you after the new year!

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