• Quite a Pickle
    "Geh churba tinheer," "Doned beeyan id eeyot," and "Fud fors mahrt peah pal" are three of nine new billboards puzzling drivers across Denver. The campaign is for the Spicy Pickle sandwich chain and launched last month in the mile-high city, where 15 of the chain's 37 outlets are located and will expand nationwide later this year. Translated, the billboards read: "Get your butt in here (our artisan breads are waiting for you)," "Don't be an idiot (let us cater it for you)," and "Food for smart people (you don't have to understand, the flavor speaks for itself)."
  • Three Ways to the Second Coming
    With the release of the new iPhone 3G, Apple has once again given innovative brands and advertisers reason to sit up and take notice. Full of juicy new additions, the iPhone 3G has three features in particular that top my list of mobile marketing goodness.
  • Lesbos Takes on Lesbians
    Legal action, publicity stunt, blatant act of homophobia or desperate cry for attention? Any way you look at it, the recent lawsuit involving citizens of the island of Lesbos and the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece is just plain silly. Claiming that the gay rights organization "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos, three locals are asking the government to force the group to remove the word "lesbian" from its title.
  • Reality Sets In
    Competition-themed reality series have been among the few programs in the new millennium consistently able to draw the kind of viewer levels - in the 20 million to 30 million range - that would be considered a "mass audience" by the standards held by broadcasters back in TV's halcyon days of the old millennium.
  • Hot Air
    If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So while green-conscious consumers might like the idea of a "carbon-neutral" luxury airline that plants a tree for every pound of carbon released, they shouldn't really expect to park their ever-expanding rears in the airline's seats. That's because "Derrie-Air" - an airline that charges passengers per pound - is a fake. Philadelphia Media Holdings, the newspaper holding company for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, ran print and online ads for the fake airline in both venues. The goal? "To test the results of advertising in our print …
  • Axe to Grind
    Not all of tomorrow's guitar heroes are jamming on the Wii or showing off their picking chops on YouTube. The real players still spend long, lonely hours creating "tabs" - short for tablatures, or guitar notations - and sharing them with like-minded friends.
  • Fresh Meat
    The typical PETA Campaign turns heads (and causes them to shake in disgust and ridicule shortly afterward), usually involves some level of nudity and sometimes (we're being generous here) even helps animals. A recent effort led by Lindsay Rajt, manager of vegan campaigns, involved wrapping half-naked interns in plastic like flank steaks and labeling them FLESH on a muggy 80-plus-degree day in Memphis. Traditional marketers could learn a lot from PETA. Like how to get people to do really ridiculous and dangerous things for nothing. As is the case with many organizations with limited resources, PETA relies heavily on shock …
  • DVD Deviants
    Will Smith has taken on aliens, zombies, robots, and now, cable operators. Sony plans to stream movies to the TV set starting with Sony Pictures' Smith vehicle Hancock, which will be offered on Sony Bravia TVs in the fall prior to its DVD release, a move that circumvents cable companies.
  • Not-So Citizen Journalist
    Amateurs don't seem to be making such great journalists after all. Despite high-profile stories of "citizen journalists" besting the pros - most recently Mayhill Fowler, who scored a brief interview with former president Bill Clinton and quoted him making disparaging remarks - hard evidence that hobby journalists are as effective as the paid variety is harder to come by.
  • Don't You Know That You're Toxic?
    One of SC Johnson's latest marketing campaigns touts the company's commitment to the environment and to its customers' health. After all, nothing says "planet friendly" quite like a big can of Raid. The commercials feature the company's Greenlist label, a seal of approval that identifies products "made with a commitment to a more positive health and environmental profile." But since the Greenlist label comes from SCJ itself, the company can essentially slap it on any item it wants to claim as healthy for consumers or the environment (heck, make it both).
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