Out to Launch

Asics gets reflective. Giraffes take over San Francisco. Alton Brown has some interesting fans. Let's launch!

Food Network has launched a print, TV, outdoor, and online branding campaign highlighting host Alton Brown, the types of fans he attracts (eccentric!) the network's new tag line, "Way More Than Cooking," and the campaign's sub-tagline, "You Can Always Spot an Alton Brown Fan." One TV spot, "Egg," shows a group of kids waiting to egg a minivan. The female driver races out to catch the kids responsible. Instead of lecturing them, she describes how older eggs separate easier on impact. Click here to watch "Egg." "Shiner" shows a kid holding a piece of steak on his black eye. His father takes the Kobe beef, admires its well-marbled texture and asks his son, "What were you thinking?" And he's not talking about the black eye. Click here to watch "Shiner." Print ads feature images such as an atom made out of spaghetti and meatballs and the formula e=mc2 using carrots, onions, string beans and peas. Billboards feature shots of Brown with the line "His mother was a chef. His father was a Vulcan." TV spots are airing on Discovery, USA, VH1, Travel, TLC and E! Print ads are running in Entertainment Weekly. Online ads are running on AOL, Yahoo, Ain't it Cool News,, and Uproar. Outdoor ads can be found in New York and Los Angeles. Filter created the campaign and Media Storm handled the media buying.



HELIO has launched two TV spots that make two points: DON'T call them a phone company and DON'T call their phone a phone. "Meet the Parents" shows a woman bringing home her new boyfriend to meet the family. She's more upset at her grandfather calling her boyfriend's HELIO a phone than her parent's embarrassing antics. Click here to watch "Meet the Parents." "Frenchie" shows what happens when you call a Frenchman's HELIO a phone. It involves bad acting and a fork fight. Click here to watch "Frenchie." The campaign is airing on cable channels such as MTV, Comedy Central and E! for an initial five week run. Deutsch handled all aspects of the campaign.

Onitsuka Tiger, ASICS' retro shoe brand, is launching a campaign next month entitled "Proverbs." The campaign features the original artwork of a Japanese wise man from Japanese illustrator Anna Tsubaki. Copy for the three ads has a Confucius vibe. "He who follows in the footsteps of others, never leaves a footprint of his own," says one ad. The second says, "Never try to fill the shoes of another unless you're also prepared to wear his belt." The final ad states, "He who looks in your eyes is likely honest, he who looks to your feet is likely envious." The campaign will run in underground publications such as URB, Tokion, Giant Robot, XLR8R, and Metro Pop.VitroRobertson handled all aspects of the campaign.

EBay Motors launched a national print campaign in the July issues of Money and Time magazines, to name a few. Three different ads were created, each using eBay's popular "It" in place of a car, while explaining that users can both research cars and purchase them via eBay Motors. One ad shows an enormous "It" hauling a boat with adjoining copy: "The 2003 IT. It hauls. In every sense of the word." Another ad features a picturesque mountain scene along with the copy: "The 4WD IT. Why should mountain goats have all the fun?" BBDO New York created the ad and OMD handled the media buying.

Wunderman's MSN Trade team has created a print, online and direct marketing campaign for Microsoft adCenter, a paid search advertising solution that competes with behemoths Google and Yahoo Search Marketing. The campaign centers on research findings stating that advertisers want more than just clicks; they want clicks that convert to sales. Seems logical. The ads tout adCenter's higher conversion rates compared to Google and Microsoft. Print ads are currently running in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. Online ads also take a stab at Google and Microsoft, with copy stating that adCenter has a 57 percent higher conversion rate than Google and a 48 percent higher conversion rate than Yahoo. Universal McCann handled the media buying.

Verizon has launched the Verizon Beatbox Mixer, an interactive video and music tool that allows users to combine beats from five of the country's best beatboxers. Each beatboxer recorded dozens of beats, and users can create, save, and share their own performances, and even listen to the most popular ones created. In addition to the beatbox microsite, the homepage has received a much-needed makeover that cleanly outlines Verizon Broadband products. R/GA created both sites.

Keeping with beat boxes, HBO launched to promote the second season of "Entourage" on DVD. Visitors can watch clips from the second season, purchase the DVDs, and mix show sound bites with gritty, rock, funk or disco beats. Hearing Ari say, "We're going to hell, so bring your sunblock," over a gritty beat made my morning. The rest of the "Entourage" crew has ample sound bite time as well. Deep Focus created the site.

Toyota launched a massive campaign in the spring promoting its new car Yaris, on TV, mobile phones, online, print, video games and outdoor. One ad shows Yaris "gently" opening a piggy bank; another spot demonstrates that Yaris is mp3 compatible by showing an iPod emulating a fly and Yaris the frog capturing lunch. Other ads show a black Yaris and a white Yaris competing against one another with extreme consequences. Yaris also has a MySpace page (at this point, I'm no longer shocked), where members can design and share templates. The brand also partnered with Xbox to launch a driving game for Xbox Live Arcade. Print and outdoor ads complete the campaign--it seems like I see a Yaris ad in Entertainment Weekly... weekly. Saatchi & Saatchi LA created the campaign and Zenith Media handled the media buying.

The streets (or should I say streetlights) of San Francisco have been invaded by giraffes in a campaign for The San Francisco Zoo. The light posts are wrapped to resemble giraffes, and just below the light itself are banners with a giraffe head and the copy, "Meet a Giraffe." The banners were erected on July 10 at five different locations in the city. Adult giraffes can range from 12- to 15-feet tall, around the height of your average light post, making the campaign a clever way to drum up visitors. BBDO West created the pro bono campaign.

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