Out to Launch

LeBron James goes Sublymonal. Mazda opens a museum online. NASCAR on ESPN bows branding campaign. Let's launch! has changed the way it uses spokesman William Shatner in its ads; rather than playing himself, he has morphed into the character of chief negotiating officer. It's a refreshing change--both ads made me laugh out loud, and a certain roaming gnome should be shaking in his boots. Much like the way the "Bat Phone" worked, each spot opens with a call to the Negotiator's secret lair. "Naughty" shows the Negotiator working his magic on a hotel employee, convincing her to slash a room's price in half. The Negotiator makes house calls in "Dad." A father planning his family's vacation is stun-gunned by the Negotiator to prevent him from making a wrong, expensive deal. "Did you just zap Daddy?" asks the child. "No, no, no... I did zap your daddy," responds the Negotiator. Watch the ads here. The campaign also consists of print and online elements. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners created the campaign and Ocean Media handled the media buy.



I need therapy, stat. Orville Redenbacher is back from the dead. This says a lot, seeing that I watch "Dexter." Note to Wendy's, Perdue Chicken and KFC: Keep Clara Peller, Frank Perdue and Colonel Sanders where I remember them fondly: in my childhood memories. The Redenbacher ad, where the iconic ad figure is seen listening to an mp3 player, needless to say, is scary--and this opinion is coming from a fan of a TV series about a forensics analyst who moonlights as a serial killer. Watch it here and tell me if you agree. Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the ad and Mediacom handled the media buy.

McDonald's launched an ad in the Kansas City area promoting breakfast for a buck from its dollar menu. It sounds too good to be true, thinks the man in "Recurring Dream." Sitting at his work desk in his tighty whiteys, the man is so convinced he's in the midst of his recurring dream that he dances around the office, throws papers around and tells a co-worker how he really feels until a female co-worker approaches him with some bad news: he's not dreaming. Watch the ad here. I hope this spot generates enough buzz to land a larger audience. Bernstein-Rein handled all aspects of the campaign.

What goes on before a NASCAR race? That question is answered in one of three TV ads launched in phase one of a branding campaign for NASCAR on ESPN. Drivers sign autographs and mentally prepare for the race; cars are checked, then checked again; fans get out the food; and the race begins. Watch the ad here. Another ad emphasizes the importance of family, whether it's on the racetrack or in the stands. Click here to watch the ad. "Sound of Speed" is my favorite ad. It shows the many decibel levels of speed, from a girl playing with her food, a boy racing his remote control toy car, to a boy vigorously riding his bike to the racetrack to watch a race from behind a fence. Watch it here. Print and outdoor ads emphasize family, fan dedication and future drivers in training. Even the family dog is a hardcore devotee. Click here, here, here, here and here to view the ads. Outdoor ads are running in eight markets and print is running in Sporting News, NASCAR Illustrated, NASCAR Scene, USA Today and Sports Business Journal. Wieden+Kennedy New York handled all aspects of the campaign.

LeBron James is the star of a Sprite ad circulating online and the latest addition to the beverage's Sublymonal campaign. The 78-second ad features James and two teams of paintballers; team lemon and team lime. Their target? A tongue. The music is hypnotic, the paintball masks are very cool and the final 30-plus seconds of the ad invites users to create their own soundtrack for James at Click here to watch the ad. The top three mixes will air in an ad during NBA All Star Weekend next month. The winner will create a theme song that will play each time James takes the court. Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the ad.

T.G.I. Friday's latest ad promotes the resurrection of its $12.99 three-course menu. I should not be writing about this on an empty stomach. The ad features a woman unable to decide what to order. There are 210 possible combinations to create... Watch the ad here. Previously ads starring a Richard Simmons in training promoted the restaurant's spicy Jack Daniel's Grill entrees. Click here, here, here and here to watch those ads, which ran through December. My favorite Friday's ads promote a new line of appetizers--crispy green bean fries, fried mac and cheese, potato skinny dippers--using people stuck in the past and unable to grasp the new concept. Look out for the man stuck in the 80s, a hippie, and a very passionate Italian. Click here, here, here, here and here to view the ads. Deutsch handled all aspects of the campaign.

Exeter Hospital launched a print, radio and outdoor branding campaign throughout New Hampshire supporting the hospital's Center for Cardiovascular Specialties, Center for Cancer Care and Orthopaedic Care Center. Creative consists of artwork with technological visuals of cutting-edge diagnostics, such as CAT scans and MRIs. The campaign's tag line, "The Art of Wellness" goes hand in hand (or brush in hand) with one print ad's headline, "Restoring the masterpiece of you." Just make sure your doctor isn't Steve Wynn. One ad features an impressionist painting of a woman getting her hip X-rayed and another shows a woman getting a mammogram. Click here, here, here, here and here to view creative. Winsper created the campaign.

Mazda Motor Corporation created an online museum that brings to life, online, the existing MazdaMuseum at the company's Hiroshima Design Center. Visitors can learn about the company's milestones, from its LeMans winning RX-7 to the development of the Rotary Engine. Visitors can also watch video clips of designers talking about how cars are developed and view 30 of Mazda's cars, such as the 1967 Cosmo Sport, the MX-5 Miata and the 1991 787B, up close and personal. The site's "Special Exhibition" section highlights concept cars launched during the 2007 auto show season. "Wow" was all I could muster. Sarkissian Mason created the site.

Alizé has revamped its Web site. The site taps into its core relationship with the urban markets, and hypes its new brand spokeswoman, Wendy Williams. The site offers drink recipes, listings of local events and a section to collect visitor data in an effort to build an online community. ID Society created the site.

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