Commentary

Out To Launch!

Every week new ad campaigns and websites are launched, and it's hard to keep up with them all. If you missed a few, here are this week's highlights - hands, feet, drinks and fruit, all in this week’s Out To Launch!

The country's fourth-largest computer maker took to the airwaves last week in a bid to rally consumers against a copyright-protection bill that would prevent computers from playing pirated movies and music. Gateway Inc. launched radio and TV ads urging consumers to visit its website to download free music and learn more about a copyright debate that so far has been dominated by Washington lobbyists and corporate lawyers. The ad campaign was the latest volley in the battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over online piracy that has raged since the Internet song-swapping service Napster gained popularity two years ago.

Invacare Corporation, a home medical products company, launched an ambitious home health care marketing campaign with the release of a television commercial featuring golf legend Arnold Palmer. The direct-response TV spots are part of a $5 million branding campaign that is designed to encourage older and disabled individuals to fully participate in the activities of life with Invacare's power scooters, wheelchairs and other products. In addition to the television commercials, Palmer will be featured throughout radio, print advertising, point-of-purchase displays and merchandising materials. Invacare also signed a three-year deal to be an associate sponsor at Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational golf tournament, starting in 2003.

SkyTeam is launching its newest advertising campaign, an - $18 million ad buy - with print placements appearing in business and consumer print publications around the globe. SkyTeam -- the international airline alliance made up of Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta and Korean Air -- once again turned to BETC Euro RSCG to create the “Caring Hands” campaign, emphasizing the alliance's focus on passengers. SkyTeam and BETC Euro RSCG tapped into the distinctive style of photographer Jean-Pierre Khazem to create the “Caring Hands” campaign. With unique, dreamlike imagery, Khazem uses a woman's hand to represent SkyTeam in different settings to illustrate the alliance's strengths. In the advertisements, the hand helps to find a short-cut home, creates a spot in the shade to relax and leads the way to a vacation destination.

SKECHERS USA, Inc. is launching a high-energy, colorful advertising campaign for Britney 4 Wheelers, the pop star Britney Spears' signature roller skate line from SKECHERS. The campaign will be comprised of a series of ads depicting Spears in her signature roller skates in five different outfits. The Britney 4 Wheelers ads, photographed by renowned fashion photographer Stephane Sednaoui, will appear in leading trade magazines and national teen, lifestyle and fashion magazines worldwide beginning this month. The publications include Teen People, Seventeen, YM, Entertainment Weekly and US Weekly, among others.

Visual effects and design company A52 has announced details of their visual effects work for the "Defining Mia" Gatorade Ice spot, which debuted this month. U.S. women's soccer star Mia Hamm takes to the field in the campaign's "Defining Mia" spot with Gatorade Ice in her veins that helps her seize a heated game's "defining moment" and score the winning shot. At that critical moment, a sequence of X-ray shots shows the Ice at work inside Mia's body. Led by visual effects supervisor and Inferno artist Simon Brewster (who is also A52's creative director), A52's team created the CGI skeleton X-ray effect, handled extensive crowd and stadium replacement and created the spot's explosive end-tag.

Ekaya Institute, an educational nonprofit organization based in California, has developed a TV commercial campaign called "Take a Fruit Break." The "Take a Fruit Break" campaign was designed in response to the rise in serious childhood health problems like juvenile diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which are at record highs. Ekaya Institute is offering an ebook featuring fruit and vegetable recipes with donations of $1 at their website. With these donations Ekaya Institute intends to produce and purchase air time for high energy 30-second TV commercial spots called "Take A Fruit Break." Corporations who donate to the campaign receive a 10 second credit at the end of "Take A Fruit Break" commercials, saying "This Fruit Break was brought to you by..."

IBM Corp. is spending an estimated $350 million on a new campaign designed to promote the company as a whole. The new effort, which will use the tagline "E-Business is the Game. Play to Win," includes daily and trade print, outdoor, radio, online and direct marketing. The newspaper ads, which started Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, will promote several company units, while other print, radio and outdoor executions will focus on particular clients, showing how they're "playing to win." eBay, Saks Inc. and Bank of America are featured in the ads.

New nationwide phone business The Neighborhood, built by MCI, launched a fully integrated marketing campaign on April 16. Created by marketing communications company Deutsch Inc., the fully-integrated marketing effort, the first in MCI's history, debuts with a sixty second commercial titled "Anthem" that will air on national network and cable television, kicks off with a media roadblock on the morning shows of NBC, ABC and CBS. Focusing on the value of talk, and not the cost of calling, there are also two :30 and one :15 commercials supporting the Print ads will appear in USA Today, local newspapers and in a variety of magazines including Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. An extensive Interactive push was also created by Deutsch, including Eyeblasters and the design/creation of The Neighborhood website. A large-scale direct marketing effort reaching 17 million will begin at the end of April and will target prospects, current customers and airline partner customers.

In website launches, Airwalk has announced the launch of their new website. This interactive and user-friendly site features a clean, yet technical interface that offers extensive information on products, athletes, news and upcoming events set to the sound of original music by Denver Punk Band, The Eight Bucks Experiment. The site is divided into sections that focus on airwalk's core competencies, skate, BMX and snow with access to secondary navigation bars where visitors can get extensive information on riders and products, ask questions to the omnipotent airwalk guru, register for regular updates, access dealer locations and purchase product.

Genetic shoes, the skate industry's technical skate shoe brand, also launched a new  interactive website. The Macromedia Flash-based site features an interactive product analysis section, the ability to locate retailers, provide access to helpful links, and keep up on the latest genetic skate team rider news from around the globe in the rider journal. Developed by Xylem Interactive, the new site has been elected as one of five 'Motion Graphics' finalists in the Flash Forward Film Festival, San Francisco, a worldwide competition for Macromedia Flash design.

Direct marketing firm RuffinDirect has announced the launch of their website, as well as more detail on their customized eMarketing services dedicated to the Financial Services Industry. RuffinDirect focuses specifically on Wholesalers, Brokers/Dealers, planners and advisors within the Financial Services Industry and offers everything from marketing consulting and planning to campaign development and deployment. RuffinDirect.com allows visitors to not only discover the many eMarketing services offered to the Financial Services Industry, but they can also see campaign examples, sign up for a Direct eMarketing tip sheet and learn exactly how a Direct eMarketing campaign is designed.

This newsletter is compiled weekly by MediaPost staff writer Adam Bernard. Past issues are archived at the MediaPost website. Your comments, questions and submissions are always welcome and appreciated.

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