Out to Launch

"Star Wars" goes postal. IBM cuts the cord. Shoppers at Bloom get happy. Let's launch!

2007 is shaping up to be the year of the resurrected brand spokesperson, real or fake. First came Orville Redenbacher, complete with digitized face and body. Not good. Then Uncle Ben was resurrected. Not good. Wine cooler brand Bartles & Jaymes is scouting for new actors to portray Frank and Ed, the iconic old men who promoted wine coolers while sitting on a porch. And now comes Mrs. Butterworth. At this point, I won't be surprised to see an adult "Mikey" return to shill Life cereal. Mrs. Butterworth has been an icon since 1964, and this campaign marks the first advertising for the brand in more than a decade. "Then & Now" targets moms familiar with Mrs. Butterworth with 15- and 30-second spots. The 15-second spot stars a male version of Cindy Brady talking to Mrs. B. and referring to her as thick, but "in a good way." Watch the ad here. Mrs. Butterworth is shown throughout the years in the 30-second ad, which looks like a compilation of ads of the past, but it's not! It just has that vintage look. Nicely done on the '70s wallpaper. Click here to see the ad. The spots launched this week on broadcast and cable networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, Hallmark, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Style and TV Land. The budget for the initial 12-week launch period is $5 million. Merkley + Partners created the ads and PHD handled the media buy.



He's got a hard body, he's rock-steady and now he has a MySpace page. Travelocity's Roaming Gnome is "still that shy chap from the garden," according to his MySpace page, where he's already accumulated more than 5,000 friends. No shock here, but add the gnome as your friend and you'll receive travel deals from Travelocity. Also included on the site are downloadable icons and profile skins, videos, ringtones, games and a link to the Gnome store. Roaming Gnome will also blog on a regular basis. He recently revealed that he sports a tattoo on an undisclosed area. I now have a strong urge to watch "Amelie." Click Here created the site.

Moen launched a multi-language print and TV campaign this month to promote its kitchen and bath products. "My World" consists of an English- and Spanish-language TV spot, along with print ads in English, Spanish and French. The TV ad portrays a Moen shower as a "rainforest in a concrete jungle" for a woman who's had a stressful day. Watch the ad here. One print ad is a photo of the woman from the TV spot, along with copy used in the ad. See it here. Another ad shows a man splashing water on his face from his knickknack-free sink. Click here and here to see the ad in English and French. "Where I learned manners. Where I learned patience," begins copy of an ad featuring a couple washing food in the kitchen. Click here and here to see the English and Spanish versions. All ads continue to use the tag line, "Moen. Buy it for Looks. Buy it For Life." Print ads will run in shelter and lifestyle titles throughout North and Central America. MARC USA and MARCA created the campaign. General market media was planned and bought by MARC USA, and all Hispanic media was planned and bought by MARCA.

Luke... I am your father. Didn't you get my letter? The U.S. Postal Service redesigned its Web site last week to coincide with the launch of "Star Wars" stamps commemorating the 30th anniversary of the franchise. The promotion consists of a homepage takeover where users can buy stamps, envelopes and vote for their favorite stamp. I'm partial to the Darth Maul and Yoda stamps. Users can change the skin on the site or turn it off completely. The movie motif ends on April 7. The best element of the campaign, hands down, is the R2D2 mailboxes. 400 were created. Click here to have a look.AKQA redesigned the site.

Sometimes you just need to cut the cord, or in IBM's case, the cable. The company launched a print campaign in IT pubs such as Computer World, Information Week and Eweek to promote IBM BladeCenter, a brand of servers that are light on wires and cables, making for a happy, less-stressed IT department. Print ads show large bundles of cables, at a quick glance resembling giant rubber band balls, on the beach, at a gas station and outside an office. The ads feature no copy, only the URL Click here, here and here to see the ads. Ogilvy New York created the campaign. Mindshare and NEO handled the media buy.

In its first-ever TV campaign supermarket Bloom channels the Partridge Family in three ads promoting the launch of 40 stores in the D.C. area. The $4 million budget also includes radio spots, and all components, targeting women 34-50, will run through November. "Come in, shop happy," sing Bloom employees when a customer enters the store. They don't stop there. The overzealous employees follow shoppers throughout the store, basically ensuring that they'll be in and out in no time. Click here, here and here to watch the ads. Look out for catchy song lyrics such as "Wife sent you over to pick stuff up for dinner. How 'bout some Angus steaks or fresh seafood?" BooneOakley created the campaign and Ames Scullin O'Hare handled the media buy.

Starburst launched a 30-second spot for its berries and crème flavored candy that features an Englishman in doll-like clothes dancing and clapping and freaking me out. The pale man approaches two kids who are eating the candy at a bus stop, singing "I'm a little lad who loves berries and crème." This doesn't happen to me when I eat candy. Watch the ad here.TBWA/Chiat/Day New York created the campaign and MediaVest handled the buy.

Honda Racing kicked off its national ad campaign last month on ESPN. The different sounds of racing, such as revving an engine, turning on headlights and speeding down a racetrack are featured in "Starting Up," which promotes Honda racecars, speedboats and motorcycles. Click here to watch the ad. Print ads are running in racing-centric publications -- and USA Today, in an effort to reach a broader audience. One ad promoted the start of Honda's racing season while a second ad lists this year's IndyCar Series racing dates. Click here and here to see the ads. Online ads will drive traffic to the Honda Racing Web site. RPA handled all aspects of the campaign.

The Advertising Council partnered with a coalition of state attorneys general, SADD and AAA to launch"UR the Spokesperson," a campaign educating teens on the consequences of reckless driving. Two TV spots encourage teens to speak up if they're driving with a friend who's careless behind the wheel. One ad shows a teenage boy trying to find his lost cell phone while driving. An imaginary back-seat driver enters the car and offers safety tips to the driver. "There is no spokesperson to prevent reckless driving. There's only you. Speak up," concludes the ad. Another spot stars a careless girl joyriding with her friends and the safe-driving pitchman. The ad concludes with the back-seat passenger taking charge and telling her friend to pay attention. Watch the ads here.North Castle created the pro bono campaign.

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