TV Viewers Get a Taste of Craft Brew Ads

TV Viewers get to taste some new craft brew ads these days as the breweries are serving up some cool new ads.

Craft Brewers Kona and New Belgium are fired up to take on the big dogs as they experiment with TV ads in a top heavy industry.

Smaller craft beer brands have been rising in popularity due to their variety of rich flavors, compared to the watered down name brands typically stereotyped to be bought by college frat bros. When it comes to spending on ads though, major brands still dominate.

Hawaiian-born Kona Brewing Co. launched its first ever TV ad campaign called “Dear Mainland” seeking to build awareness for the brand, which is well known in Hawaii but less so in the other 39 states it is sold in. The ad encourages mainlanders to stop multitasking and worrying about their jobs to instead hang back and “single task,” drinking beer. Because that’s the best way to be productive.

New Belgium Brewing is in it’s second year of TV advertising as well but both campaigns are only regional and don’t come close to the advertising power of larger companies like Boston Beer Co. who has a 1.4% of the entire beer market which goes to show that there’s a crap ton of beers out there! If you’ve been drinking only one beer your entire life, you might want to start exploring a little more.

Boston Beer Co. spent $38 million in the media but that still didn’t stop craft brewers from selling 15.6 million barrels of beer. Perhaps it’s the quality of the craft beers that speak for themselves, allowing them to not have to worry about advertising as much.


Axe Puts Phermones In Business Cards

Dudes at Axe can now have their pheromones infused into their business cards. Gross. Axe‘s totally misogynistic and epically douchey ads along with their overpowering fragrances make me gag.

I’m so disgusted. The “male grooming product” brand has reached a new low by putting the sweat of its employees on small strips of paper and saying the sweaty pieces of paper will help those employees get laid. Gag (again).

The “Pheromone Business Card” campaign shows Axe “associates” –aka, bros- working out and sweating into headbands where lab technicians extract a concentrated solution and then drop it into business cards. The business cards openly declare that they’re “infused with the essence of Kyle” suggesting something more than just sweat, which is the point.

Union in Toronto helped Axe promote this sexy sweat nonsense and push the stinky crap off the shelves into the mating game. Allegedly, the card’s scent is supposed to help employees attract females like their products claim to do, extending their brand. Yeah right.

This campaign, of course, is only for the male employees. As the provided video suggests, any woman who comes into contact with one of these employees will take them in back to show them a good time, because duh, that’s the way Axe works.

My pheromones and I will stick with fragrance and aluminum free Tom’s of Maine.

Howard Davidson, Arlington MA


Heineken Targets Women During UEFA Champions

Leave it to Heineken to spare men during the UEFA champions league final with a shoe sale for women.

Heineken’s latest advertising campaign is to actually organize a shoe sale for women Brazil during the UEFA Champions League final.

Men like football and women like shoes. Well, according to Heineken. Women will stop men watching football so they must be distracted with shoes. And so is the simple logic behind this campaign.

Not worried about charges of sexism, Heineken is working with Shoestock stores to orchestrate a 50 percent off shoe sale for the three hours that the game between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid.

In a press release Heineken stated that the idea “is entirely good-natured and will generate conversation.”

“Our goal is to run a fun campaign unlike anything we have ever organized in Brazil,” said Bernardo Spielmann, director of the Heineken brand and sponsorships at Heineken Brazil. “Therefore, the Heineken Shoe Sale will be announced with a humorous tone in the digital environment, including teasers, email marketing and videos.”

With this campaign, men will be able to watch their beloved game in peace while an argument is made that their wives and girlfriends will have something interesting to do during that time. While there is a lot of generic stereotyping of the sexes with there campaign, there is mainly positive feedback to the shoe sale.

One can only hope that Heineken is prepared to sponsor a shoe sale for half of June and July when the World Cup happens in Rio.


Samsung Users Get Exclusive LeBron App

Samsung released an app to its users all about LeBron James.

Thought you had enough of LeBron James? Well now there’s an entire app dedicated to the NBA star providing exclusive information. The app, which is simply called ‘LeBron’ gives users behind the scenes access on and off the court during the Miami Heat’s pursuit of their third NBA championship in a row.


Whether or not this is seen as more bloatware for android devices is still up for debate. Besides the typical social media content that is typically seen with big brand players, the LeBron app also features downloadable custom lock screens and wallpapers, stats, and highlights that work with any Galaxy device. The app features four sections to browse that highlights different aspects of LeBron’s life: Athlete, NBA Playoffs, Style, and Journey.

Samsung has had an increased interest in giving more exclusive apps and content to its users. The goal is to sway potential buyers to choose a Samsung phone over other competitors.

By making this app for Galaxy devices only it is expected that many fans of LeBron looking to upgrade phones will switch over to a Samsung device. The LeBron app was created in association with the NBA and is available via Google Play for Galaxy devices. It also works alongside the new NBA Game Time app.


REI Blows Up Inflatable Billboard

Outdoor sports retailer REI has blown up an inflatable billboard campaign.

The rugged retailer launched it’s first transitional, inflatable billboard with multiple reveals used to communicate sale information. The “billboard,” created by REI, Spark and production partner MMT is actually a huge (46′ 4″) inflatable, iconic REI sleeping bag on a billboard in Philadelphia. The bag debuted with viewers seeing the sleeping bag nearly closed, illustrating that the sale is set to arrive.

The sleeping bag covers the entire billboard and has gone through multiple reveals, with each transition revealing more information about its upcoming anniversary sale. The whole REI inflatable sleeping bag promotion is supported with additional out-of-home in the Philadelphia market, as well as digital, audio and newspaper media.

This campaign seems like an attempt to stand out, inspire, and be conversationally contagious. Sure, people might start talking about the giant inflatable sleeping bag they saw on a billboard; but how much? How often? And will these discussions translate into higher sales?

When you google “sleeping bag billboard”, REI’s brand or its sale is nowhere to be found! This is an epic failure in an attempt to go viral and trigger the appropriate word-of-mouth discussions. Instead of wasting time trying to get some “Oohs” and “Aahs” by making this sleeping bag look realistic and transitionally unzipping, maybe REI should have just gotten to the point right away and uncover the whole darn thing.

Seems like a lotta hot air.


Grandpa Frank Returns to Oscar Mayer Spots

Oscar Mayer is throwing down the gauntlet in the deli meat debate with the return of crabby “Grandpa Frank” in an effort to convince us that their packaged meats are fresher than anything behind a deli counter.

The new spots hearken back to a commercial that aired last year which showed Frank giving unfiltered advice and stray observations to all those unlucky enough to cross his path. Bluntly remarking that a family friend has “had some work done”, the 2013 Frank seemed a lot more vicious than his current form.

Nowadays the cantankerous old timer is standing in line at his nondescript supermarket’s deli hurling various zingers at the uninspired meats behind the glass: “The only thing that’s been here longer than us is that turkey”.

This ad campaign is clearly more about the non-politically correct grandpa than the thing he’s buying. No packaged meat could be as memorable as Frank’s personality. And while level of his vitriol has subsided a bit from year ago, it looks like Oscar Mayer is going to be slowly releasing a series of spots with Frank in his usual form. A newly released commercial sees him berating a deli employee for just being “a guy who happens to be standing behind a deli”.

Snarky older people have been popping up in ads a lot recently, with Betty White famously sassing some football players in a beloved Snickers commercial. But will Grandpa Frank’s resurrection be enough to help Oscar Mayer rise above playing second fiddle to traditional deli meats? With 70% of surveyed customers apparently not finding flavors they want in the deli case, I’m sure Frank would have a quick answer.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Australia’s TAC Is Worried About Your Sleeping Habits

Australia’s TAC really worried about your sleeping habits. The Transport Accident Commission in Australia has spent their waking hours with BBDO and produced new spot to promote road safety.

The spot ambiguously shows a woman peacefully falling asleep on what might be a pillow but actually turns out to be an airbag. She’s in a car that has just crashed into a light pole and her wreck could have been avoided. The stern narrator warns that sleep inducing chemicals build up in your brain all day and apparently not sleeping for 24 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of .10.

The ad is tremendously effective because of its shock value; it takes something like sleep that is supposed to be innocuous and jolts the viewer out of their complacency. Like managing partner of BBDO Lee Simpson said: “Falling asleep at the wheel, we wanted to show through the narrative, physiologically will eventually take over.”

In a slightly more questionable move, Australians who use the hashtag #yawnchallenge to caption a picture of themselves yawning are entered in a contest to win various prizes. I’m all for generating buzz via social media but some might take this challenge the wrong way and indulge in some vehicular selfies. Plus, who wants an up close and personal look at the inside of anyone’s mouth? Whatever the gimmicky ploys, a lot of drivers worldwide drive tired and the ad packs a pretty heavy punch that won’t put anyone to sleep.

Nice work, Aussies.

Howard Davidson from Arlington MA


Energizer Bunny Is Beating It’s Own Drum

The pink and fuzzy Energizer bunny is beating it’s own drum and marching away from about half of its holdings.

I guess keeping in line with its industrious nature, the Energizer brand had a slew of other sibling brands like Playtex and Schick. So instead of all products being made under the auspices of Energizer, the personal care segment of the operation will now be left all on its lonesome.

This move seems to have come out of nowhere, with Energizer CEO waving away the plausibility of them leaving the personal care brands to their own devices back in March. And from a financial standpoint, all of Energizer’s endeavors have been making staggering profits. Was this cleaving the result of some behind the scenes drama? Boardroom intrigue? Does anyone really care?

It looks like a lot of conglomerates are trying to cure their attention deficit disorder business strategies by focusing in on fewer products. P&G, whose heels Energizer has been trying to nip at for some time now, just sold off their pet food division for a cool 2.9 billion. And underneath the surface, the recent Energizer divorce is apparently beneficial on all sides, as the companies might be valued higher on their own and Energizer won’t have to worry about strange brand associations like battery acid getting into shaving cream. Did I mention that this decision will also result in some “cost cutting�? measures? In which case, some Energizer employees and production plants will also undergo some surprise separations. And to think that the bunny always looked so warm and friendly.

Some facts:  The bunny is a parody of the preexistent Duracell Bunny, still seen in Europe andAustralia. It has been appearing in television commercials in North America since 1989. The mascot is promoted as being able to continue operating indefinitely, or at least much longer than similar toys using rival brands’ batteries.   There will be no Howard Davidson marching bunny anywhere, anytime.


Coca-Cola Just Got Caught (Not) Juicing

Coca-Cola got caught (not) juicing ‘pomegranate juice’.

Apparently some of Coke’s self-labeled ‘pomegranate juices’ only have 0.2% of the juice and the Supreme Court seems to have gotten wise. When the nation’s highest court isn’t making watershed rulings on things like campaign finance laws or gay marriage, I guess it’s busy mediating semantic squabbles between beverage companies.

Pom is taking Coke to court over allegedly misleading labeling that slaps ‘pomegranate juice’ onto a product that has a laughable amount of that juice actually in it. And things are looking pretty good thus far for Pom. During the ever exciting oral arguments, the Justices looked to air on the side of common sense by calling out Coke’s argument that their customers weren’t “unintelligent�? enough to see for themselves what the actual juice content of their drinks are. If indeed the justices do side with Pom, this would possibly open the floodgates for similar lawsuits and more honest labeling.

But do I, or anyone else, really want to know what’s in supposedly healthy products? I only want the warm and fuzzy feeling inside that I’m doing something good for my body. And if it turns out that 99% of my ‘pomegranate juice’ is actually apple juice, I’d like to live my pseudo trendy healthy life in blissful ignorance, thanks. Isn’t the nutrition label’s font smaller for a reason?


McDonalds is Lovin’ It in China

I’m lovin’ it got a whole lotta love as an international branding campaign by McDonald’s Corporation. It was created by Heye & Partner, McDonald’s agency based in Unterhaching, Germany, a member of the DDB Worldwide. Well now, McDonalds is lovin’ in the China with concept eateries.

McDonalds has dished out some love in China with new décor in Guangzhou, China. Their ‘concept eatery’ looks much more upscale than anything on this side of the pacific, replete with hanging lights modeled after bamboo baskets. Coinciding with a fierce competition with Colonel Sanders for fast food supremacy in China as well as a 3% drop in sales last year, Ronald is trying on some new makeup; the tables are now circular so that watching others enjoy greasy goodness is much easier.

The geniuses at McDonald’s are obviously making this move to conform more to Chinese culture that dictates eating as a time of togetherness, not as a time to guilty wolf down 99 cent fries in your car in an effort to avoid the in-laws. This whole redesign also applies to a new spot that shows a young couple wistfully eating McDonald’s on a balcony and voyeuristically eyeing a guy with a sleek new sports car who is free of anything McDonald’s related. In line for a promotion, the youngster sees dollar signs and fast cars in his future, just like the man below. The underlying message of course being that someday you might earn enough to never have to eat another McDonald’s fry.

Sounds like a recipe for a new fast food nation.