Out to Launch

Athletes train in inclement weather conditions. Starbucks bows a holiday campaign. A Kia car salesman channels Jennifer Beals. Let's launch!

EA launched three TV spots in support of the game "Rock Band." A "band" is on its way to perform when a member asks his band mate if he's seriously going to wear a Sheryl Crow T-shirt at the concert. Come to find out, all the other band mates, and even the limo driver, are fans of Crow. Watch the ad here. Dueling guitar players see who has the higher scissor kick in the next ad. Loser does the windmill. The spot ends with the sound of a familiar song with prominent cowbell usage. Another ad debates the use of the word "the" in band names. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.



Zippo launched an online game reminiscent of the game show "Concentration," using lighter designs as pieces to remember. The game will be live through Dec. 16 and it's hard to play just once. My best time was 57 seconds! Once the game is complete, players are prompted to either play again or shop for a lighter with the USMC emblem, the Rolling Stones tongue, a Playboy bunny or AC/DC logo, among others. The game is supported through banner ads and email blasts. Blattner Brunner created the campaign and handled the media buy.

GameStop launched a holiday TV spot created in machinima style, which blends scenes from pre-rendered gaming engines into one film. "The Dance" features a dwarf and werewolf describing their disappointing Christmas gifts while a dancing gnome describes with enormous pleasure the video game he received in his stocking. Watch it here. The brand launched two TV spots in October that also used machinima techniques. "The Breakup" describes the relationship woes of a gamer, in avatar form, and his enemy. "It's not you guys, it's me," says the gamer. His enemy encourages him to sell back his game to GameStop so "we'll meet somebody who will really enjoy being snapped in half, the way you used to." See it here. In "The Drop," an alien from "Enemy Territory: Quake Wars" has his ambush plot foiled by a human soldier with insider knowledge from GameStop. Click here to watch the ad. The Richards Group created the campaign and handled the media planning and buying.

Starbucks launched a print and TV campaign set to leave users with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Or the need for a peppermint mocha. A "Ski Lift" stops mid-air, leaving a man face to face with a reindeer. He shares his thermos of coffee until the ski lift is fixed. Watch it here. A woman encounters a bear while snowshoeing in the next ad. Rather than run for the hills, the woman gives the bear a bear hug. The smartest character in the ad is the bunny that runs away with the coffee. Click here to watch. The final spot stars a window washer who cleans a window and finds a group of penguins dressed to the nines. They send him on his way with a warm beverage in hand. Watch it here. Print ads are equally sweet, encouraging people to "pass the cheer," the campaign's tag line. My favorite print ad couples a man and woman via a long scarf. Click here, here, here and here to see the ads. Print ads are running in the December issues of Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Esquire, InStyle, Lucky and O, The Oprah Magazine. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Was "Flashdance" re-released on DVD? There are two recent ads that pay homage to the film. Is Jennifer Beals entitled to royalties? Last week an Orangina ad airing in France paid tribute to the movie and this week it's a Kia car salesman. The overzealous salesman dances to "Maniac" with as much enthusiasm as Beals' dance double. In between moves, he pairs prospective car buyers with the vehicle that suits them best. Watch it here. davidandgoliath created the campaign and Carat handled the media buy.

The Sports Authority bowed four TV spots that promote the passion athletes feel for sports along with the company's goal to keep prices low. Your body suffers enough, why should your wallet? One ad shows a skier describing how anything can happen atop a mountain, but frostbite will be eluded this time around. A runner continues her workout through rain and hills (been there, done that) while flashing copy states the obvious: "You're a runner, you've paid enough already." There's a similar ad replacing the runner with football players. Athletes from various sports face off with an opponent in the final ad. "Look good while making someone else look bad," says the voiceover. The campaign features a new tag line, "Dedicated to the Dedicated," and will run throughout the remainder of the year. DeVito/Verdi created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Any sport can be difficult to play in wintry weather, but wearing the proper gear makes it bearable. Reebok launched a "Prayer for Snow," starring Nathan Vasher, Mushin Muhammad, Rex Grossman, Desmond Clark, and Brandon Ayanbadejo of the Chicago Bears. Each player is looking forward to snow, to the point of actual disappointment upon hearing a weather forecast of sun and clear skies. "Welcome Winter," concludes the ad.mcgarrybowen created the campaign and Carat handled the media buy.

Visa launched a techno version of its ongoing campaign promoting the Visa check card. Dancers glide seamlessly across a storeroom floor, swipe their card and continue their flawless movements until one dancer whips out his checkbook and leaves everyone else hanging. Watch the ad here. "Life takes rhythm. Life takes Visa," says the voiceover. TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles created the campaign and OMD handled the media buy.

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