The Jim Henson Company and MasterCard announced this week that the Muppets will star in a new television commercial in the latest rendition of MasterCard's award-winning "Priceless" campaign. The :30 and :15 second spots, which support MasterCard's "Priceless Memories Sweepstakes," will air through the holiday season. During the sweepstakes, each time a U.S. cardholder uses their MasterCard card for a domestic transaction they are automatically entered for a chance to win one of 1,000 "get together" prizes. The commercial plot features Kermit the Frog as the contest winner, who then invites pals like Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo and Fozzie the Bear to join him in a trip to New York City where they create their own "priceless" memories. "I'm glad MasterCard put a cap on Miss Piggy's spending allowance while we were filming the 'Priceless' commercials in New York," says Kermit the Frog. "There's nothing more dangerous than a pig in the city with plastic."
Homer Simpson is the star of new commercials this week that introduce the new X-treme Bacon & Cheese WHOPPER Sandwich! from Burger King. "Oooo ... Flame Broily!" proclaims Homer when he first lays hands on the limited-time-only sandwich available now through December 29. According to Rick Dow, Senior Vice President, Marketing Programs and Sales, Burger King Corporation: “We are delighted to continue our exclusive partnership with THE SIMPSONS and Fox Entertainment Group, Inc. by creating a WHOPPER(R) that is Homer-worthy. THE SIMPSONS have extraordinary breadth and appeal across genders, ethnicities and ages -- our customers love THE SIMPSONS and THE SIMPSONS love BK!" In-restaurant displays as well as television ads featuring custom animation of Homer Simpson winning the "Springfield Cook-off" with his favorite burger, will support the limited time offer. The television spots will run through November 24.
Best Buy stores have launched a new television advertising campaign for the holidays highlighting key alliances with a variety of entertainment groups including MGM Studios, Activision, Sega and rock band Aerosmith. Each ad features a customer so engaged in the shopping experience that they actually become part of the action: fighting Mr. T in "Rocky III," fighting crime with Spider-Man, and rocking out with Aerosmith. The four ads demonstrate how people use technology products to connect with the entertainment they love and brand Best Buy as a true entertainment destination where there is "something fun for everyone." The ads, created by Best Buy Advertising, are currently running throughout the U.S. and in Canada on national network and cable television.
Pop icon Madonna is featured in a new campaign for the women's channel Oxygen beginning this week. The new campaign, called "Oh! Oxygen!" was created by Dale Pon Advertising, New York. Other celebrities promoting the network will include Carrie Fisher, Candice Bergen, Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Isaac Mizrahi. The spots will focus on original programming such as Oprah, After the Show and The Isaac Mizrahi Show. The ad campaign will run for four weeks on Oxygen, national cable networks, local cable systems and on more than 60 major broadcast TV stations.
Canadian diva Celine Dion has signed a deal worth around $10 million with US-German automaker DaimlerChrysler that kicks off an extensive, multi-media advertising campaign scheduled for print, broadcast, and the Internet over the next two years. Dion will be featured in a series of television commercials for the world's number-three automaker beginning in early 2003 that will include a new song created specifically for the ad campaign. Other elements of the campaign include personal appearances by Dion, special consumer promotions, dealer tie-ins, interactive communications, owner communications, retail initiatives, television programming and recording tie-ins.
Frank's Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce, one of the premiere entrants in the suddenly competitive market for hot sauces, is receiving an ambitious makeover from its new agency, MVBMS Euro RSCG in New York. A humorous radio campaign, now under way, is to be followed by television commercials and print advertisements, all seeking to appeal to younger men rather than the brand's traditional targets of women and gourmet cooks of either sex. The attitude of the eight radio commercials for Frank's is summarized by the theme, "A thrill a bite." The campaign is indicative of the growing interest among food marketers in revitalizing venerable brands they already own rather than trying to introduce products, which can cost far more to establish in the crowded minds of consumers and the cluttered shelves of supermarkets.
Another example of a food company attempting to reinvigorate an old brand: Hormel Foods will try to attract young families to its 67-year-old Dinty Moore brand in a humorous national integrated campaign next week. The TV and radio effort, via BBDO, Minneapolis, is the first major marketing push for the brand. A TV spot, "Rock Stars," will break on Monday featuring a family in which the parents switch careers after realizing they’re rock star material. The new job, however, requires them to be away from home at night, leaving their teenagers to fend for themselves for dinner. The spot ends with the kids microwaving a can of Dinty Moore for a quick meal as mom and dad run out the door to their first gig.
Sound design and music company Endless Noise announced details of their music composition, arranging and production work for the new Axe Deodorant "Mannequin" series of television spots directed by @Radical Media's Rick Lemoine and Steve Miller and produced for New York's Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Each of nine :15 spots uses the same set and art direction, featuring a female spokesmodel demonstrating on a male mannequin the means of applying the product.
In a new campaign created for the email and web filtering company SurfControl Inc. by Bandujo Donker & Brothers, the message is loud, clear and ominous: Financial firms must secure their email content or face serious legal liability. This direct mail campaign features an image of a glossy black box on a desk with a cover that reads in bold white letters: “Secure Now.” Inside the box is a real pair of silver handcuffs and the line, “or secure later.” Affixed to the inside cover is a brochure which has the dead-on appearance of a supermarket tabloid with headlines screaming about executives being arrested. “The handcuffs send a very real and powerful message,” says agency Creative Director Bob Brothers. “You either do something about your email security now, or your boss may be the next executive featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.” With many firms scrambling to address this very situation, the direct mail campaign is aimed at the top one thousand financial services IT executives with an additional 50,000 firms receiving a postcard version of the “Secure Now. Or Secure Later” ad.
Gateway will debut a new television advertising campaign employing its new "A better way." tagline. Produced by New York's Arnell Group, the campaign delivers multiple messages simultaneously by employing an innovative grid design template that further reinforces the company's fresh new look. The first TV spot of the campaign, "Anthem", depicts a young woman in her apartment expressing herself using a variety of Gateway digital media products and exploring how the word "way" is used throughout our language. As her vignette plays, other boxes in the grid feature product offers, information on Gateway's direct sales channels and the new Gateway logo. The commercial also communicates that Gateway now has a complete selection of digital cameras, MP3 players and video gear in stock. More commercials will follow in the coming weeks.
Universally, women are more likely to buy an item online that they can almost "touch" through the screen. These insights led to the recently redesigned Spiegel.com, which was developed in response to the need to please the millions of women who already shop the award-winning Spiegel website for fashion. Utilizing consumer research and usability testing results, Spiegel redesigned almost every aspect of spiegel.com, from the color scheme that changes with the seasons to the enhanced searching and viewing technology.
-- 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.