Kleenex, Mizrahi, Encourage You to Sniffle in Style

Kleenex brand has revealed a stylish new ad campaign just in time for cold, flu, allergy, and all-around sniffle-season by inking a deal with fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Mizrahi, well-known for top-shelf fashion design as well as his unapologetic antics to the ’06 Golden Globe Red Carpet, was again in a media firestorm recently for working on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The oft-controversial Mizrahi was very publicly working and tweeting on the Jewish Day of Atonement instead of fasting, attending synagogue, and prayer.

Not taking the day off may not be unheard of, but doing it so publicly as a graduate from Brooklyn’s Meshiva of Flatbush, a private orthodox Jewish school, landed Mizrahi in hot water.

Despite the recent Semitic faux-pas, Kleenex has signed him on for a new marketing campaign and tissue box collection.

Kleenex is ramping up the marketing in celebration of the iconic brand’s 90th anniversary. The new Style Studio on Kleenex’s website allows customers to filter through Kleenex’s, and Mizrahi’s, new designs by designs, uses, and colors. The microsite provides the eye candy for casual surfers and provides an artsy-gallery feel to the usually bland and uninspiring realm of tissues.

Mizrahi has even integrated his own spring and home collection designs into the new Kleenex box designs. A Kleenex tissue won’t make you look pretty but it can give a pretty look to your designer lifestyle, a point emphasized by their Style Studio slogan “Find it, Flaunt it, Live it.”

Kleenex will reveal the new tissue box collection at a March 17th event before they become available at retail a month later on April 17th; just in time for flu season.

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SodaStream Stirs Up A User-Generated Ad Campaign

SodaStream has stirred things up with a user-generated ad campaign! It’s no secret that the line between consumers and marketers has become increasingly blurred in our social media dominant age. One interesting example of this tricky dynamic is the recent marketing push from SodaStream, a company that sells do-it-yourself soda making machines for home use. In a quest for greater market penetration, the company has started a campaign to feature user-generated advertisements – and the results have been pretty m/sodastream-pours-on-the-user-generated-content/article/324550/”>surprising.

SodaStream started by asking fans to upload their own photographs of the product onto the company’s Facebook page. SodaStream then selected a number of these photos to appear in their ad banners, alongside traditional paid content. So far, the metrics show that the public is far more responsive to the user-generated content than the traditional creative work. User-generated ads scored a 76% higher click-through rate, as well as a 136% increase in the engagement rate (which includes post likes, page likes, and overall photo views). The photos themselves scored a whopping 313% increase in viewing rate over the conventional content on social media.

As paradoxical as it may seem, there are plenty of strong arguments for getting consumers to, effectively, advertise to themselves. A representative for SodaStream touted the results as proof that people increasingly want to feel some sort of ownership over the products they buy – no doubt, it’s implied, because many people increasingly define themselves by what they purchase. In the case of SodaStream customers, creating ads for the company simply reinforces the scrappy DiY spirit of making your own soda at home, and it’s yet more evidence that self-expression sells.

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Experts Are Vocal About How To Fix HealthCare.gov

With only one week left to go until the deadline to sign up for health insurance on the federally-run HealthCare.gov website, experts (and non-experts everywhere) are vocal about to how fix Healthcare.gov.

It’s been a rocky ride since the site’s October 1st launch, and while many of the kinks have been smoothed out, there still remains quite a bit of retooling to do. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the debate surrounding the website’s botched rollout has been colorful, acrimonious, and wide-ranging. From bungling the political messaging of the site launch to blatantly failing “Web 101,” the various explanations for the failure have been as complicated as the site itself.

Last week, a panel of industry experts got together to offer their insights about what the Feds can specifically do to repair the site’s shortcomings and win back the trust of a skeptical public:

Wendy Lund, CEO of Health-Care Public Affairs Shop GCI Health

Eliminate confusion around coverage and restore credibility through testimonials: Reviving faith in HealthCare.gov will require two things. First, concrete action that assures nervous Americans that they will not have to pay more for coverage that gives them things they don’t necessarily want will be critical. Second, the government needs to start shifting the focus from the myriad problems that plague the site to success stories that demonstrate that the system is beginning to work. Now that HealthCare.gov is functioning better, these “successes” should be identifiable, and the government needs to seize on them to begin converting the skeptics, including those in the media.

Lindsay Resnick, CMO of Health Services at KBM Group

Run the cleanup effort like a political campaign: The quick answer is do what our government does best … run it like a political campaign. It’s begun to reset expectations around timing and process, and now it needs to rebuild trust among the voters. You’ll see much more outreach, especially over the next few weeks, around the enrollment deadline in January. It might include grassroots — including POTUS on the ACA campaign trail — to social and possibly an uptick in TV and radio. Basically, everything you didn’t see leading up to October because enough insiders were nervous about HealthCare.gov readiness. Welcome to Obamacare 2.0 … and it’s only two months in!

Matt Powell, Chief Information Officer, KBS+

Turn data into sharable content: Comparison information, benefits of insurance, relative cost of being insured vs. uninsured and even improvements made to HealthCare.gov are all kinds of “data” that lend themselves perfectly to infographic-style and short-form web-video formats. They’re sharable and they reach younger demographics of uninsured.

Relate to the uninsured through branded entertainment: New voices, particularly voices that are more relatable to the uninsured, might be very effective at getting people to reconsider HealthCare.gov. Imagine reality TV stars like the crew of “Duck Dynasty” going through the sign-up process.

Partner with community health centers and pharmacies, use street teams: Target the uninsured at pharmacies — the uninsured are heavy users of over-the-counter products — and community health resources, such as health centers and health vans and buses that serve neighborhoods on weekends. They can distribute training and content to their constituents in these communities. Street teams in key geographies nationwide, including volunteers to answer questions and tablet-based sign-up kiosks, can also help establish a beachhead of credibility and trust within communities that have less access to the internet.

“More than half a million Americans have enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the first 3 weeks of December alone,” President Obama said in his final press conference of 2013. “Millions of Americans are now poised to be covered by quality, affordable health insurance come New Year’s Day.” Good luck!

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Oreo Cookie’s Jingle Has Balls

Oreo, the best selling cookie in the United States since its introduction in 1912, now has a jingle with balls.

With more the 362 billion Oreo cookies sold to date, Oreo is taking a ballsy move this holiday season. The company has partnered with The Martin Agency and rolled out a Wonderfilled jingle celebrating the popular holiday treat, the Oreo cookie ball. This isn’t an actual product of Oreo, but rather a homemade delicacy of crushed up Oreos and cream cheese that are rolled into a ball and covered in chocolate (in case you’re one of the unfortunate few that aren’t familiar). The treat is so popular in fact, that the video makes no point of showing us how to make them. Alas, Oreo cookie balls are already a staple of our holiday cuisine and we need no instruction.

The jingle was recorded by upcoming rap sensation and MTV favorite JINX drops a seasonal rhyme to get you in a cookie ballin state of mind. The catchy tune makes no point of trying to sell us Oreos directly (sure, you might need a few to make the cookie balls), and the homemade treat is widespread enough to need no further push.

Beware; the jingle is a bit addictive. As you may have heard, Oreos are in fact addictive too. Connecticut College students and a professor of psychology have found “America’s favorite cookie” is just as addictive as cocaine – at least for lab rats. And just like most humans, rats go for the middle first.

So go ahead, decorate your cookie balls with pretzel antlers or a carrot nose as the video instructs. Meanwhile, good luck with getting it out of your head (and stomachs).

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Arby’s and Kraft Mac & Cheese: The Healthiest Choice For Kids

It’s true, Arby’s and Kraft Mac & Cheese: The Healthiest Choice For Kids.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem to be the best year for Kraft and their signature Macaroni & Cheese. Social media has been aflame in recent months over Kraft’s use of artificial (some would say “toxic”) dyes in their Mac & Cheese. A torrent of public criticism coupled with a popular Change.org campaign forced Kraft to announce the removal of said dyes from their food just last week. But as far as the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is concerned, Kraft Mac & Cheese is actually the healthiest fast food choice for children.

In the Yale Rudd Center’s new ranking of fast food combo meals for kids, the Kraft Mac & Cheese meal (served at Arby’s, no less!) seized first place. If that’s not shocking enough for you, different variations of the meal also placed second, third, and fourth. Of course, we have to keep in mind that Kraft is going up against potemkin foods like the McDouble, Chick-n-Strips, and Sonic Corn Dogs, but it’s still an impressive finding.

Even after this vindication, Kraft is pressing forward with its health initiatives. The company will soon start replacing some of its additives with natural spices like paprika. It will also deliberately incorporate many of these healthier natural ingredients into kid-centric variants like the Spongebob Squarepants Mac & Cheese.

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Kmart Promotes Layaway in an Evil Way

Kmart is known for selling cheap underwear and a having a clever ad agency. Now the company is promoting layaway in a very evil way.

Draftcb, the agency behind the “Ship My Pants” spot, continues their trend of employing off-the-wall humor in their campaign for Kmart. This time, they’ve added Satan, Genghis Khan, and a dance party to the mix to take a traditionally negative stigma out of layaway plans.

In their spot to promote Kmart’s layaway plan, “Boardroom,” has a boss and employees in a room full of evil workers — including Genghis Khan and Satan — for evil ideas to make layaway “as inconvenient as possible.” Genghis Khan suggests blackout dates, Satan offers up limitations like no clothes, and “Guy Who Always Takes the Last Donut” comes up with in-store only. The meeting is interrupted when a nun walks in, to which the boss running the meeting calmly replies “I believe we have the room until 11:30, sister.” I’m not quite sure why the nun is so unfazed upon seeing Satan in the flesh. You’d think she’d attempt to throw some holy water at him or something, at least. The spot ends by informing us of Kmart’s “Shop Your Way” layaway policy — basically the opposite of all the evil ideas thrown out at the board meeting.

November 25, 2013Howard Davidson, Arlington, MADraftcb, Kmart, layaway 6 Comments

Kmart is known for selling cheap underwear and a having a clever ad agency. Now the company is promoting layaway in a very evil way.

Draftcb, the agency behind the “Ship My Pants” spot, continues their trend of employing off-the-wall humor in their campaign for Kmart. This time, they’ve added Satan, Genghis Khan, and a dance party to the mix to take a traditionally negative stigma out of layaway plans.

kmart-satan-hed-2013

In their spot to promote Kmart’s layaway plan, “Boardroom,” has a boss and employees in a room full of evil workers — including Genghis Khan and Satan — for evil ideas to make layaway “as inconvenient as possible.” Genghis Khan suggests blackout dates, Satan offers up limitations like no clothes, and “Guy Who Always Takes the Last Donut” comes up with in-store only. The meeting is interrupted when a nun walks in, to which the boss running the meeting calmly replies “I believe we have the room until 11:30, sister.” I’m not quite sure why the nun is so unfazed upon seeing Satan in the flesh. You’d think she’d attempt to throw some holy water at him or something, at least. The spot ends by informing us of Kmart’s “Shop Your Way” layaway policy — basically the opposite of all the evil ideas thrown out at the board meeting.

“Boardroom” is worth a quick chuckle, even if it’s not quite as funny as the “Ship My Pants” spot, and should gain Kmart some visibility. And we all know Kmart needs all the help it can get. Maybe that nun can pray for them, too.

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Post Foods Now Sings and Dances

Post Foods has struck gold (or maybe honey) with a new campaign that tastefully touts Honey Bunches of Oats. The brand now sings and dances for oats, per say.

The famous cereal maker has enlisted pop duo Domino Saints for its latest ad campaign geared toward Hispanic markets. The pop duo from San Juan, Puerto Rico, collaborated in the exclusive “Smile While You Shake It” music video.

Post Food is banking on Domino Saints in hopes that their song helps secure the brand as the go-to cereal amongst Hispanics as they integrate Spanish lyrics into the primarily English song.

The campaign calls on customers to record their own dance moves to the song in order to win weekly prizes. Honey Bunches of Oats has optimism that this campaign will furry a nation-wide dance competition. You don’t have to know the Harlem Shake or know dance moves to win the competition. There’s a micro-site with some pointers that tell you how to smile while you shake to win it.

As for me, I’ll sit quietly with a cup of coffee in the morning. I’m having no booty shaking before dusk. You?

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ESPN Wants Your Nipples For Ad Space

ESPN is taking the needs of its viewing audience to an intimate level with a new promotional event and ad. During a pasta dinner in preparation for the New York City Marathon, reps from the sports-channel were handing out nipple guards, while a sign proclaimed, “It’s Not Crazy to Love Running More Than Your Nipples, It’s Sports.”

This is part of a new way advertisers are trying to connect with sports fans by siding with their obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The ESPN spot is reminiscent of Bud Light’s recent campaign celebrating and encouraging the superstitious rituals fans employ to “help” their team win. Their campaign is similarly titled “It’s Only Weird if it Doesn’t Work.”

Nipples have long been used as a draw with advertisers since the 70’s, when Farrah Fawcett alerted the country that women had them. But this may be one of the first mass ad campaigns that focuses on nipples as something other than an object of sexual fascination.

Maybe someday breastfeeding will work its way into advertising as well; marathon runners have nothing to worry about when it comes to chaffing in comparison to new moms.

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Ray Liotta Says Nothing for 1800 Tequila

1800 Tequila is no stranger to invoking some mobster swagger in its ad campaigns, and their newest one is doubling down on the trend. Legendary gangster-actor Ray Liotta has been enlisted for a series of new spots that will promote 1800 as being, in the words of the company itself, “The Tough Guy Tequila.” However, Ray Liotta says nothing for 1800 Tequila.

These new ads by the VIA Agency show Liotta in a variety of situations, often surrounded by men drinking insufficiently masculine cocktails. Liotta barely has a word of dialogue, but that’s just how VIA’s chief creative officer Greg Smith wanted it. He believes that Liotta projects the silent, masculine type of cool that 1800 is trying to capture with its new “Enough Said” campaign.

Noting the marketing approaches of rival tequila brands, Smith further noted that it’s “not about velvet ropes and artisanal bottles and all that shit.” He wants tequila to recapture its old cowboy attitude and reputation for being “a guy’s guy’s drink.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time that 1800 has flirted with Mafioso marketing. Their previous multi-year campaign featured actor Michael Imperioli, best known for his role as the drugged-out gangster Christopher on The Sopranos. This time, however, 1800’s ads will be cutting all the chatter and letting Liotta’s tough countenance – and his manly drink – do all the talking.

posted by Howard Davidson, Arlington, MA

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Huffing at Starbucks in Arlington, MA

Last week police removed a man from the Arlington Center Starbucks (in Arlington, MA) for alleged huffing.

Seemingly a venti mocha cappuccino wasn’t enough to get the anonymous Arlington man through the day. So instead of adding a couple of shots of espresso to his coffee he decided to sniff from two bottles of keyboard “dust off” (apparently he couldn’t get his hands on any glue).

Huffing is the colloquial term used to describe the sniffing of intoxicative inhalants. The fumes cause a slew of side effects, including light-headedness, dizziness, incoherence and involuntary loss of muscle control. While some might find these symptoms reminiscent of a bad case of the flu, others actually enjoy the high.

starbucks

However, if you’re planning on huffing you should probably do it within the privacy of your own home. As the Arlington Starbucks huffer has learned, sniffing from bottles in broad daylight in a crowded public place does, indeed, attract attention. A Starbucks manager noticed the man’s odd, erratic behavior and his bottles of dust off and promptly called the police. While the man was not arrested, the police did give the man a verbal no trespass order and encouraged him to seek out help for his problem.

I guess the huffer left the shop in a huff.

Posted by Howard Davidson in Arlington, MA

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