Imitating imitators, American Apparel presents line-drawing ads

By David Kiefaber on Mon Dec 6 2010


How can American Apparel cut costs and still provide entries for its pervert owner's whack stack? One way is to replace live models with line drawings for new ads that look just like pornographic fake AA ads posted around NYC three years ago. Those were better, in some respects, because at least they were daring—the new AA print series could be doing a lot more with this hand-drawn approach. For one thing, the over-sexualized images are boring, and also get in the way of what really sets AA apart as a company—for all his personal faults, Dov Charney's pro-fair wage and anti-outsourcing business practices are extremely rare in the corporate sector, and right now they're too easy for his rapacious CEO counterparts to discredit. If AA is going to survive, both the company and the guy running it need to stop tripping over their own dicks and re-examine how they want people to see them.

Audi spray-paints a ginormous ad in Germany for the all-new A7

By David Kiley on Mon Dec 6 2010

An ad in Berlin for the all-new 2012 Audi A7 Sportback looks fairly normal—except it was created with spray paint and takes up 10,800 square feet. Translated to English, the billboard reads, "Nothing is more inspiring than a blank sheet of paper. It is the opportunity to create something unique." The A7 Sportback is the German automaker's answer to the Porsche Panamera. Of course, that seemed like a good idea at Audi before its parent company, Volkswagen AG, actually decided to buy Porsche AG this year.

Haul videos come out of the closet for holiday shopping season

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Dec 3 2010

Girlfriend, I just heard about the most amazing bronzer, and I can't wait to skip on over to Sephora and load up. That's the intended reaction, anyway, to this short clip from Macbarbie07, one of the most popular creators of haul videos on YouTube. The chatty teenager has this whole haul video thing down pat—she talks about what products she likes and holds them up so we can see the packaging. There's usually a comment or two about how it changed her life/made her day/saved her from fashion frumpiness. She's part of a trend that the pop-culture mavens at Intelligence Group say will become more pronounced as the holiday-shopping season gets into full swing. Macbarbie07 is a good example of the millennial generation's need for visual cues and peer reviews. It's the "just talk to me" generation, IG says, where haul videos from the likes of JuicyStar07, AllThatGlitters21 and RiceBunny are as important to certain demographics as paid advertising. Brands have already taken note, with North Face, Maybelline and others compiling haul videos that feature their products. Some sponsor the vloggers, who are obliged to disclose that fact but haven't seemed to suffer much of a backlash as a result. Though I’m not exactly the demo, I'll admit that a good tip can come from anywhere, and I'm inexplicably curious about what Macbarbie07 bought on her most recent Forever 21 shopping spree. It should be great for age-inappropriate ideas, and I have parties to attend. Fellow revelers, brace yourselves.

Michael Bay tones down explosions in new Victoria's Secret spot

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Dec 3 2010

New Yorkers got to play dress-up as Victoria's Secret angels this week, but the marketer's real models didn't make out so well. In the latest ad from the brand's biggest cheerleader, filmmaker Michael Bay, they take to the streets in their lacy underthings to tempt us all to buy push-up bras and satin panties. It's more of what the leering Bay loves to do—slide the camera all over the ladies' gorgeous, scantily clad bodies, lingering on the hair tosses, the lascivious looks and the stilettos. Lots of slow-mo and wind machines—you get the picture. This time, there's architecture and cityscape as backdrops, but none of the explosions that inexplicably dotted last year's Christmas campaign and made it look like a Bay action flick. There's still the surreal touch thrown in for this commercial, though. Look, at the 1:00 mark—she's on a horse! It's been a banner week for Victoria's Secret, with its annual special on CBS drawing 9 million viewers, up 17 percent from the previous year's telecast. Looks like they're on to something.

Gatorade discovers latest favorite sport is … women's bowling?

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010


Beer guts, sweat stains, cigarette smoke and PBR. That's what bowling means to me. To be fair, those are really old memories, formed long before rock 'n' roll bowling and hipster-magnet retro joints like Lucky Strike. Apparently there's a whole new breed of bowler out there—young chicks!—and Gatorade is poised to take advantage of the trend. The PepsiCo brand is on the verge of announcing its first-time sponsorship of the U.S. Women's Open, and that G2 is now "The official thirst quencher of Bowling's U.S. Women's Open." The marketer says it's jumping in because of a 12.9 percent increase in participation over the past several years to 24.5 million people, with a major spike coming from the growing numbers of women who have taken up the sport. Gatorade, obviously looking beyond its core pro athletes, recently hooked up with contestants from Fox's hit reality show So You Think You Can Dance. Now, it's attractive women who bowl. (Check out Emily Maier, a member of Team USA, who looks nothing like anybody I recall from Ken-Bowl in Louisville, Ky., in the '70s.) Go grrrls!

Carl's Jr. munches on some 'Green Hornet' in unlikely placement

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010

It's a distant memory that the upcoming comic-based action flick The Green Hornet got shopped to auto manufacturers as part of a whopping $35 million product placement deal. (This was 2003, but that seems like a very long time ago. Back then, there was a decent amount of interest from marketers in putting their nameplate on the hero car, the Black Beauty. It would've been record-breaking in car/movie marriages if it had happened.) Now, after years of development hell and script, studio, director and star changes, there's—wait for it—a Carl's Jr. tie-in! Carl's Jr.? Anyway, throw in sister chain Hardee's and it's a national promo and a source of added media for the movie, which needs all the help it can get launching in the early-January dead zone. The burger chain is giving away a tricked-out version of the Black Beauty, a vintage Chrysler Imperial, and just released its first commercial with stars Seth Rogan and Jay Chou as the movie's masked crime fighters. The spot blends explosions, gadgets and wisecracks in a way that's probably indicative, judging by early reports, of what we can expect from the flick. In other words, yikes. At least the car's really hot.

Hollywood A-list actors can't hide their overseas ads any longer

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Dec 2 2010

Once upon a time, A-list American actors like George Clooney and Brad Pitt starred in ads that were intended to be seen only overseas, a practice that lined their pockets but didn't ding their personal brands at home. Over time, we all figured out how it worked. Conan O'Brien had some fun with the concept in a meta Super Bowl spot for Bud Light, and before that, Bill Murray gave us the Lost in Translation spin. Nowadays, anytime a celeb shills for a product, we're all likely to see video evidence of it immediately, even if we're not the target. Case in point: Julia Roberts plays a mute and radiant Venus in a new Italian commercial for A Modo Mio coffee. Since I don't speak Italian, I'm guessing from the context that she likes the brew enough to smile, laugh and wink in response to a taste test. For a reported $1.5 million payday, she's pretty convincing. It's no Alec Baldwin and mom strolling through Wegman's, but it'll do.

Starbucks celebrates season of sharing with big fake snowflakes

By David Kiefaber on Thu Dec 2 2010

Starbucks heralds the beginning of winter with this snowflake kite ad, complete with an indie-pop song by Matt Pond PA. The ad directs viewers to a 12 Days of Sharing site, which is basically an advent calendar of daily special offers. You can also watch a video by the Killers and prompt a 5-cent donation to the (Red) campaign. All of which is quite festive, and sweeps Starbucks' recent price rise under the rug. But no matter. It'll take more than a $2 tall coffee to scare the Starbucks faithful away.

Las Vegas refining its ad strategy for a post-recession consumer

By David Kiefaber on Wed Dec 1 2010


Las Vegas's bold new post-recession branding initiative is ... doing the same crap they've always done. They're trying to lure "recession survivors," defined as people 21-54 with money to burn, back to Sin City with $8 million worth of advertising in 2011. The new campaign will highlight discounted travel packages and the value of the Las Vegas experience to a "more prudent" consumer. Which, again, is pretty much what they were doing before the country went broke. Vegas has always offered travel discounts to that demographic because it's essentially Pleasure Island for adults; the only difference now is that the stakes are higher. Visitors are spending less now—about $590 per trip—but there are still 150,000 rooms to fill. If they're going to make this work, they need to shift their image from one where lucky rollers get rich (or laid) to one where people with extra cash can have fun and blow off a little steam. In other words, it's all about subtlety and moderation. How Vegas will navigate such unfamiliar territory is anyone's guess.

You, too, can be an angel with Victoria's Secret sidewalk wings

By David Kiefaber on Tue Nov 30 2010


Victoria's Secret has bolted nine sets of its famous wings onto bus-stop kiosks around their SoHo storefront in New York, allowing people to pose in front of them and pretend they are angels. Unlike the models, you don't have to be in your underwear to participate, although that probably won't stop the Naked Cowboy if he finds out about this in time. (The wings are coming down at the end of the day today.) You might even see your picture on the company Facebook page if you're lucky. This is a cool piece of consumer outreach for a company whose chief product doesn't make that very easy. After all, soliciting customers to talk about, much less take pictures of, their underwear is a little sketchy no matter how you dress it up. Picking one of their less obvious trademarks to facilitate the interaction was a smart move. Now, I'm wondering if the models have posed in front of them, too—some of those wings are 35 pounds, and Lily Aldridge can't weigh much more than that.



search Brandfreak


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner