Out to Launch

Whopper Virgins gets spoofed. Even Presidents slurp their chowder. Let's launch!

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office launched its latest edition of viral Webisodes starring Groundhog and Shadow, in anticipation of Groundhog Day. I'm over winter already, but I have a feeling it's just the beginning. This year's campaign, called "Groundhog Dreams," begins with Groundhog getting hit by a truck. As Groundhog recovers, he vividly dreams while lying in a comatose state. He's haunted by his shadow, which is out for blood. The most important thing I learned is that groundhogs, like many humans, have the realistic "falling" dream. The videos can be found at, with three additional dreams set to launch before Feb. 2. The site also allows visitors to vote on Groundhog's chances of survival and read dream interpretations. And he has a Facebook page. The funniest part of the campaign comes in commemorative dinner plate form. That's right, Groundhog, with Shadow in the background, has his own plate... for sale on eBay. Red Tettemer created the campaign.



What's the difference between the Olympics and Special Olympics? Very little, according to three ads supporting the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, taking place Feb. 7-13 in Boise, Idaho. The campaign hopes to raise money, increase attendance and show that both the Olympics and the Special Olympics feature serious, competitive athletes. Print ads show a slalom course, an ice rink and a finish line from an Olympic course and a Special Olympic course. The difference? Nothing. "Support great athletes" read the ads, seen here, here and here. TDA Advertising & Design created the campaign and media buying was handled in-house.

Pepsi launched the second phase of its "Wordplay" campaign, focusing on the inauguration and positive vibes. The initial ad, seen here, featured lots of words with Os in them, for how else could the Pepsi logo fit in? It also contains a catchy tune of "yes we can yes we can can." The latest TV ad, "Pass," shows how Pepsi's logo changes generation to generation, but the drink remains a constant -- drunk by flappers, hippies and break-dancers. See the ad here. Outdoor ads, seen here, here, here and here, feature the Pepsi logo inside words such as "hooray," "yo" and "joy." Ads drive visitors to, where consumers are encouraged to upload a video stating what they would say to the President, regardless of whom they voted for. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the campaign and OMD handled the media buy.

You know you've made a serious dent in pop culture when "Saturday Night Live" spoofs you. Congratulations, Whopper Virgins. Neil Patrick Harris plays a spokesman for Burger King who asks residents from Budesti, Romania who've never tasted a Whopper or Big Mac, which one they prefer. One man refuses to eat either one, preferring to bring them back to his village and feed residents for one month. A woman, speaking through a translator, tells the spokesman that she is not a virgin -- and another man cannot believe his good luck, getting food AND drink. Food is thrown, played with and people freak out. Wait; didn't Burger King already have a Whopper Freakout? See the spoof here, edited by Crew Cuts and directed by Jim Signorelli.

Legal Sea Foods launched a great ad yesterday touting the fact that its New England Clam Chowder has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981. The 30-second TV spot chronicles how each of the past presidents during that time ate Legal's New England Clam Chowder. With the White House in the background, the names of former presidents appear, each with their own distinct slurping sound. Watch the ad here. DeVito/Verdi created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Skittles launched a new TV spot this month called "Tailor," that does not suit me. "Pinata," I enjoyed. The latest effort, not so much. A tailor fits a man in front of three full-sized, attached mirrors. The reflections in each mirror comes from a man of different ethnicity than the consumer, who mimics his moves perfectly, until one reflection starts eating a bag of Skittles. "Wait, I'm not eating Skittles," says the customer. The tailor then yells at the reflection in Thai, who eventually kicks and shatters the mirror. "Reflect the rainbow, taste the rainbow" concludes the ad, seen here. TBWA/Chiat/Day New York created the ad and Mediavest handled the media buy.

The Recording Academy launched a TV, print, online and outdoor campaign promoting the GRAMMY Awards, airing Feb. 8. "Celebrate The Music That Makes Us" creates musicians' portraits using song titles that influenced them. In a TV ad, seen here, Stevie Wonder describes the music genres that influenced him, while song titles, such as "Respect," "Georgia on my Mind," "Mrs. Robinson" and "Beat It," float past. The spot ends with a picture of Wonder, crafted from words. I loved rewatching the spot to see what songs of the past inspired Wonder. Print ads, seen here, here and here, feature Rihanna, Coldplay and Kanye West formed from influential songs. Rihanna loves her some Whitney Houston. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the campaign and Initiative handled the media buy.

Peugeot 207CC launched a print campaign in Greater China that positions the car as a must-have accessory for thirty-something men and women. "Be Magnetised" features trendy cookie-cutter men and women who are drawn to the stylish car. See the ads here and here. A Web site uses a city skyline as the backdrop for both the car and the models. Consumers can watch videos of the car and register to receive additional information. Spark Communications created the campaign and DMG handled the media buy.

The Acura RDX is ready for anything a city has to offer. "Wall Art" combines stop-frame animation and street art and follows a man as he leaves his house, maneuvers though traffic and arrives at a restaurant. See the ad here and the making of the commercial, which is impressive, here.  RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.

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