Singer James Brown and actors Gary Oldman and Ray Liotta will appear in the latest round of BMW short films, set to break on Oct. 17. The films, created by BMW North America and Publicis Groupe's Fallon in Minneapolis, will be shown in movie theaters, as well as on the Internet. A hybrid of cinema and campaign, the initial five films debuted last year on BMWFilms.com and featured the work of acclaimed directors, including Ang Lee and Guy Ritchie. Already available for viewing on BMW’s website: “The Hire”, a BMW digital film series executive produced by David Fincher and starring Clive Owen. The series of four films brings the power and quality of feature-length movies to a format designed for the Internet.
The FedEx Corporation has launched "Business Legends," a new campaign per the New York office of BBDO Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group. The effort began a year ago, but returned last week with three new commercials. The energetic commercials continue the approach introduced in 2001 of presenting the humorous stories in flashback form as recounted by a fast-talking, sharp-tongued 30-something to his somewhat slower-on-the-uptake friend and coworker. The interjections of his sidekick only momentarily interrupt the story of how a business found FedEx to be the answer to a particularly thorny problem. That is underlined by the theme of the campaign, which also returns from last year: "Don't worry. There's a FedEx for that." The commercials first appeared on ABC's "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 9, and will continue to run on news, sports and entertainment programs on broadcast and cable TV networks.
Die-hard NFL fans will now have a new showcase for their fame. They star in a commercial, debuting Saturday, to advertise a Pepsi-Pizza Hut promotion, which offers customers a free 2-liter bottle of Pepsi when an extra large, one-topping pizza is purchased on NFL game days throughout the football season. The effort, dubbed "the NFL XL deal," is the first time PepsiCo Inc. tests the power of its National Football League-partnership on national television. The TV spot, created by Omnicom Group Inc.'s BBDO, opens to a Pizza Hut manager fielding a call from a shaken delivery boy who is trapped inside his car surrounded by fanatical, crazy-looking football fans hungry to receive their NFL XL deal. The voice-over asks: "Wanna see the crowd go wild?”
Peoples Energy has launched an aggressive outreach campaign to highlight the programs that Peoples Energy offers to help customers manage their gas bill. The campaign, themed "Don't Wait," is designed to encourage all Peoples Energy residential customers to prepare now for the upcoming winter through payment plans, financial assistance, and conservation. To support the campaign, the company will utilize radio and print advertising, spread the message through bill inserts and on PeoplesEnergy.com, attend neighborhood expos and festivals, and partner with churches, community organizations, City Departments and elected officials to distribute bill management information and financial assistance materials directly to customers.
In a similar effort, Southern California Gas Co. has launched a new advertising campaign that encourages eligible Spanish-speaking limited-income customers to apply for monthly bill-payment assistance. The four-week promotional campaign running during Hispanic Heritage Month is targeted to Spanish-speaking residents in Los Angeles and Orange Counties through newspaper and radio advertisements. The ads promote the state-sponsored California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, which offers limited-income utility customers a 20% rate discount off their monthly energy bills. The ads increase awareness of the CARE program, focusing on the potential alternate uses for the money saved from energy-bill discounts. For example, one ad running in local newspapers will portray a young boy named Carlitos whose parents have enrolled in CARE and use their increased savings to help pay for a new pair of soccer shoes for their son.
Covad Communications outlined the launch of its campaign to "popularize broadband." The consumer advertising campaign features television ads that recently began airing in Washington, DC and start running this week in the San Francisco Bay Area. The campaign will run in both areas through the end of the year and will also include radio, online and newspaper inserts. The consumer campaign, dubbed "Power to the People," uses a lighthearted hero character who entices consumers and entrepreneurs alike to "free themselves from the tyranny of slow dial-up connections" and to "Connect Smarter" with affordable high-speed Internet access from Covad. Gee Jeffery & Partners from Toronto developed the creative. Wunderman Worldwide of San Francisco handled all media. The media purchase was approximately $15 million from June 2002 to the end of the year.
Intel Corporation this week will launch a global advertising campaign of its own to show consumers that the right computer can indeed better their lives. Using the theme "Yes," the ad campaign is designed to build preference for the Intel Inside brand and to demonstrate how PCs based on the Intel Pentium 4 processor and the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M can enhance people's lives. Featuring two lifestyle spots and one education spot, the TV ads ask questions such as "Can a better computer really change your life?" and "Can a better computer change your child's life? The answer, of course, is "Yes." The new ads, which will run in more than twenty countries, will begin in the United States during the primetime Emmy Awards telecast on Sept. 22, followed by introductions in key global markets in late September and October. The campaign will also include targeted online advertising. Print advertisements will appear in select countries. The ads will run through the end of the year. Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, created the "Yes" television and print advertisements, while the consumer online advertising campaign was developed by Modem Media, San Francisco.
U.S. Jewish groups plan to spend more than $1 million in their first-ever American TV advertising campaign in support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. The ads are to run on cable news stations in 100 cities nationwide and carry the message that Israel is a democracy just like the United States, where Arabs, Jews and Christians enjoy the same freedoms. Political consultant Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, who worked on the campaign, likened the commercials to the advertisements candidates often run to introduce themselves to voters. The campaign is being funded by the American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest and largest U.S. Jewish organizations, and Israel 21c, a Silicon Valley-based group supported by executives of high-tech companies. While the ads do not mention the ongoing violence in the Middle East, supporters say the goal of the campaign is to build support for Israel.
Toronto's The Studio Upstairs was contracted by BatesUSA to design and produce "Pulse," a :30 narrowcast commercial for KOOL cigarettes intended to be displayed on Nbox video screens positioned in restrooms of nightclubs across the United States. The Studio Upstairs returned a spot that features pulsating light grids and a pyrotechnic dance environment intended to entice adults to try Brown & Williamson's menthol cigarettes.
Capitalizing on continuing strong sales growth for Stolichnaya Vodka, Allied Domecq Spirits North America plans to expand the brand's playful ad campaign in some nontraditional ways during the upcoming holiday season. Market research shows that the unique campaign -- featuring surreal, colorful images of elegant origami animals "crafted" from Stolichnaya labels -- is resonating with target consumers and contributing to double-digit percentage growth trends for both the base brand and Stoli flavored vodkas. As a result, the Stoli team is evolving the campaign this fall, with an origami polar bear image scheduled to appear not only in print ads, but also in unexpected out-of-home locations and other media.
Website launches: Ikea this week rolled out a website that further illuminates people's tendency to hold on to old, outdated furniture. The site, features a flash animated version of "The Unboring Manifesto," a mini book that describes the importance of an unboring lifestyle and the history of Ikea. It also includes empowering quotes, images of the company's product lines and anecdotal stories behind select designs. Euro RSCG's Circle in Boston created the "Unboring" site in partnership with Ikea's lead agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami. The site will soon feature Ikea's new TV ads from Crispin. One ad focuses on people's sad feelings for an old lamp that has been replaced by a new one. In response, a Swedish man says, "Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because you are crazy. It has no feelings and the new one is better."
Lastly: The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a six-year-old association that represents the online ad community, has redesigned its Web site in a way that it will serve as a hub of information for its members. The site includes examples of rich-media and interactive broadcasting, as well as interactive advertising standards and guidelines developed by the association. It also contains archived copies of "The Informer," the IAB's newsletter, research findings and a list of current and future IAB events. The new site was designed Montgomery & Partners, a division of WestLawn Graphics.
-- This newsletter is compiled weekly by MediaPost staff writer Lindsey Fadner. Past issues are archived at the MediaPost website. Your comments, questions and submissions are always welcome and appreciated.