Coach Hits Up Hip Celebs to Push New Line

Coach has hit up hip celebs to push their new line. The fact that I don’t know many of these hip celebrities is another story.

It’s one of the oldest, and most effective, tricks in the fashion marketing handbook. Want to generate buzz about your new line? Dress up hot young celebrities in your new threads and watch the money roll in.

That’s exactly the strategy Coach is using to push their fall line of handbags. In the new campaign, Coach features striking black-and-white photography of musicians Zoe Kravitz and Banks, as well as actress Odeya Rush, all clutching to their fancy Coach purses.

Coach isn’t limiting this fall push to women, as the brand also features actor Christopher Abbott modeling satchels. As a fan of good photography, I appreciate the dramatic framing and composition of the photos. The shots of Kravitz and Abbott in the rain are particularly effective. Everything’s more dramatic with rain!

I don’t claim to be an expert on women’s fashion, but I’ve got some serious questions about Kravitz’s sweater. I’m pretty sure they stole that from my first-grade teacher. She wore a sweater just like that. Honest question, is frumpy cool now? That would be the ultimate irony.

All told, it’s a reliable, go-to campaign for Coach. There’s lots of overlap in the Venn diagram between consumers who read People magazine and those who follow fashion trends. Putting the “next big thing” celeb in your ads guarantees attention from your target market. I’m still wondering what’s up with that spaceship sweater, though.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Starbucks Pours Beer-Flavored Latte

Starbucks is pouring beer-flavored latte. Eew. Totally sounds gross to me.

This new dark barrel latte from Starbucks is an experiment in flipping the script on coffee-flavored beers.

Coffee-flavored beer has existed for ages. Whichever local microbrewery is nearest you likely has some sort of coffee stout. It’s a flavor profile with proven staying power…for beers. How would you feel if the script was flipped, and instead of a coffee-flavored beer, you were drinking a beer-flavored coffee?

That’s the selling point of Starbucks’ new Dark Barrel Latte, which is based on the rather insane concept that people over the age of 22 want beer for breakfast. The beverage – which is non-alcoholic, for the record – is geared to taste like a Guinness-type stout. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want my morning coffee to taste like is beer of any kind.

I was schlepping through grocery store the other day and saw cappuccino-flavored potato chips. Now I see that Starbucks is creating beer-flavored coffee. Can’t we just let things taste like they taste? If I want a mocha, I’ll order a mocha instead of eating mocha chips. Same thing applies to this new beer-flavored coffee. Enough is enough.

I’m officially declaring war on anything that is artificially scented or flavored to taste like a completely different food or beverage. I just don’t get it. Not to mention the fact that I can’t help but wonder what sort of crazy chemistry went into making coffee taste like beer.

Bottom line: If you’re the kind of person who needs your morning kickstarted by the flavor of beer, you probably have a problem that requires professional help. The kind that Starbucks can’t provide.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


PepsiCo Puts a Mustache on Quaker Oats

PepsiCo has put a mustache on the famous Quaker Oats man thanks to a deal between the PepsiCo-owned brand and milk processors.

The milk-mustached Quaker dude is featured at the end of a new ad in a campaign that includes Quaker’s tagline, “Quaker Up.”

Remember the long-running “Milk Mustache” Got Milk? campaign? Well, that changed to Milk Life in early 2014 to put an emphasis on milk’s nutritional benefits, including its protein content.

The wonders of milk are plugged at the end of a Quaker ad by Energy BBDO, which created the brand’s ads. Mister milk mustachioed Quaker Man will also be in People Magazine with text that says: “My outfit is from 1877. My mustache is from this morning.”

This marks the first time that the Milk Processor Education Program has partnered with a brand that will feature the milk mustache on packaging sold in grocery stores. Sounds there is a war for shelf space and mindshare what with all the other dairy products like tasty yogurt, colorful cheeses and snack bars.

The ad might help shake some sales. I’m a fan of daily oatmeal. sans milk. Hey, it’s cheaper than metamucil and does the same trick.. Although it doesn’t put hair on my upper lip.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts


Kotex Demeans Women and Cats

Kotex’s new cat filled Japanese commercial totally demeans women.

The feminine hygiene product company is on a tear to prove a point about their pads via a rather rude commercial. The ad shows cats walking around awkwardly because they have sticky tape applied to them. Just like when a feminine pad won’t stay in place and decides to adhere to a woman’s crotch. Yup, that’s the scene.

The spot has been viewed millions of times on various platforms in just two weeks. Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai created this well viewed ad and is clearly ok with equating worry free protection with slapping tape on cats. Along with the cat video, Kotex also did another spot comparing men to sanitary napkins.

What is going on with Asian branded cat videos? In Japan, Pizza Hut released a whole video series that show annoying uniform-wearing cats running the show at a restaurant. They even vacuum and take out the trash. Those are some serious pussy cats.

My guess is that Kotex decided ride the wave of feline-themed content that’s extremely popular and weirdly shareable.

I’m totally not into the LOLcats phenomenon or cats in general. Cats creep me out. But then again, I don’t like anything with four legs or tails. Oh, I also dislike ads that are demeaning to woman and pussy (cats).

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Buffalo Wild Wings Goes Wild With GameBreak

Buffalo Wild Wings is going wild.with GameBreak and adding this multi-platform fantasy sports and competitive game to their menu that already has 21 mouth-watering signature sauces and seasonings with flavor sensations ranging from Sweet BBQ™ to Blazin’®. Too much? Well, maybe not.

The game allows wings lovers and sports fans to play a wide range of fantasy sports games in the restaurant and on a mobile device. Buffalo Wild Wings is also offering weekly and season-long prize packs to winners with the ultimate prize of $10,000 given to one winner.

If you aren’t aware, I am not a sports fan, I don’t enjoy sports bars, and I’m not from Buffalo nor do I plan on visiting. But, I do eat up a good marketing campaign and game that drives sales. With that said, Buffalo Wild Wings hit a bullzeye with GameBreak. There is one thing testosterone-driven, hard-core, sports fanatics can’t stand….and that is losing. This is bound to be a hit within Buffalo Wild Wing’s target audience and undoubtedly will bring frequenters back every week.

I refuse to eat buffalo wings in public. I always forget all table manners and end up slurping the meat off the bone like a bowl of soup while my shirt turns greasier than the tablecloth.

So, Buffalo Wild Wings, you just solidified yourself as the ultimate restaurant for a sports fan and the last place you will ever find your wife.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts


Thank You, Bayer, for Berocca Hangover Pills

Thank You, Bayer, for Berocca Hangover Pills

A big thank you is in order for Bayer. The pharmaceutical company is bringing Berocca – a hangover cure popularized in Australia – to America. Aah, let the drinking begin…

Since the 1980s, drinkers in Australia and New Zealand have been fighting off hangovers using Berocca tablets. The effervescent drink contains a mix of B vitamins, zinc and vitamin C. It proved so popular that it spread to England, France, Korea and more, conquering hangovers one country at a time.

Now, Americans are finally able to try Berocca. While it’s never been advertised directly as a hangover cure, old television spots certainly hinted quite strongly as a cure.

A new spot, produced for American audiences, unfortunately misses the mark by a wide margin in almost every way conceivable. The spot starts with a relentlessly obnoxious loudmouth Joel McHale shouting his way through the entire 90 seconds, which grows very tiresome by the 15-second mark. I think Joel gives me the feeling of a hangover.

McHale plays a character named Brock Spedwell. Someone probably thought that name was funny. That someone was wrong. Spedwell is supposed to be “the world’s most motivational speaker,” which doesn’t make sense, seeing as his act appears to be some combination of a magic show and an infomercial.

Furthermore, all I learned from the painful minute-and-a-half video was that Berocca supports “mental sharpness” and “physical energy.” Those incredibly generic statements are just presented to the viewer at face value. I guess it’s up to us to figure the rest out.

Laura Pinkett, senior brand manager for Berocca, says that now is “the right time and the right moment” to bring the hangover remedy stateside. (I respectfully disagree – my college years were the right time and the right moment for this product.) While I’m not at all opposed to a means of minimizing the effects of a hangover, having Joel McHale scream at me for 90 seconds only makes my headache worse. I’m done with the pain across my temples.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts


Talking Water Fountain Says to ‘Drink Up’

An entirely too creepy talking water fountain now says when to ‘Drink Up’ in Partnership for a Healthier America campaign. Do we need more talking machines? I don’t think so.

Isn’t there enough noise on the streets? Don’t get me started about the chirping alert telling me it’s okay to cross the street. Then there’s trucks backing up for ten minutes. Oh wait, how about very large trucks idling (after their brakes screech very loudly to a halt)? Water fountains used to peaceful. They quietly spewed water that glistened. Now they need to talk? Please no.

Anyway, the PHA’s ‘Drink Up’ campaign is allegedly here to save the day with a talking water fountain. In a ridiculously unnecessary technological advancement, the fountain begins talking when the water hits your lips and completes the circuit inside. The trick is that the talking stops whenever you stop drinking.

“Water is often taken for granted,” says PHA Chief Marketing Officer Drew Nannis, in a statement that I’m not entirely sure is accurate. “The Drink Up Fountain is yet another effort to remind people that you are what you drink, and when you drink water you Drink Up.” I hope whoever wrote the fountain’s dialogue did a better job than whoever prepared that cringe-worthy statement from Mr. Nannis.

Apparently Michelle Obama is a big fan of the talking fountain, as her anti-obesity group Let’s Move praised the invention. If this all eventually leads to an army of self-aware water fountains declaring war on America’s fat people, I guess I’m on board. That actually sounds like a pretty great idea for a SyFy Original movie, if you ask me.

I fail to see how dehydration became such a crisis in a first-world country. I’m not sure it even is a crisis. I’m also not certain that I care. What I do know is that talking water fountains are creepy, and I’ll add them to the long list of things that send me to the pain management clinic for migraine treatment.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts


The Hartford Gives Businesses a Dance Break

The Hartford is giving small businesses a dance break with its snappy “Play On: Office Dance” campaign.

The Hartford fulfills the insurance needs of over a million small businesses. Now they’re breaking the monotony of office life by giving their online workers a dance break. While it is pretty catchy, albeit not as viral at Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” the video shows a variety of workers shaking their asses off in what one might call dance moves. Pretty fun for an old school insurance agency.

The ad is a rather interesting diversion for a few minutes. Think of it as the YouTube version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel (remember those?). There are six genres of music and three rooms in the office to click through. The workers’ goofy dance moves are certainly entertaining. After all, who doesn’t like to laugh at others who have bad dance moves? As soon as each segment ends, the employees go back to their routines and of course a link to The Hartford’s small-business landing page appears.

While the video is admittedly enjoyable, the novelty wears off after a couple minutes. The Hartford says they “expect to see a lot of sharing and interaction” with this ad. While I like the video, I certainly didn’t feel the need to Tweet about it or email it to friends. I’m not sure how many people will.

The Hartford as a brand is committed to helping their commercial customers be prepared, feel protected and ultimately prevail when the unexpected happens, so they can Play On. Well, that’s the jargon that’s on the company’s press release. So of course it’s the truth, right? All told, I’m of two minds regarding this campaign. On one hand, I can’t deny that the spot itself is pretty engaging. On the other, I wonder how many click-throughs they’ll actually get to The Hartford’s small-business homepage – even if the video does prove popular on social media. Regardless, The Hartford and Rodgers Townsend will get a lot of “did you see that’s” from this campaign.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Design an Acura on Twitter

Okay, it’s come to this. You can now design an Acura right on Twitter.

Acura now lets you design your own 2015 TLX right within Twitter. With options ranging from the engine to the exterior color, Acura puts the power of design at your fingertips.

Unfortunately, the engine and the exterior color are two of just three choices you get to make when designing your TLX. (Don’t worry, drivetrain enthusiasts, your voices will also be heard!) “That’s three more choices than Ford lets me make on Twitter,” you may be thinking to yourself. I really hope you’re not, but you might be. Let’s address it just for fun.

Regarding the ‘choices’ you get to make for your personal TLX, the first is between a 206 HP four-cylinder engine and a 290 HP V-6 engine. As if anyone is going to sit there and think, “You know, four cylinders is plenty of power for me. Save those other two for the next guy.”

Then, you get to pick your drivetrain. First up is Precision All-Wheel Steer, which I guess is Acura’s code phrase for what the rest of us call front-wheel drive. For those of you planning to drive this bad boy on ice, you might want the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Take that, Subaru! Your vehicles might have 4WD options too, but you can’t touch the majesty of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive!

The best part – and in this example, I mean the most unintentionally funny part – is picking the exterior color. Of course they can’t just say ‘blue’ or ‘grey’, so you’ve got Fathom Blue Pearl and Graphite Luster Metallic. But who would choose one of those when you could get your TLX in luscious Crystal Black Pearl or Black Copper Pearl? Yes, seriously. Two of the four color choices are just plain old black.

At the end of the day, Acura gives you a grand total of 12 possible customized cars, and half of those have a four-cylinder engine. So, in essence, Acura’s new campaign is asking consumers two questions: “Do you want four-wheel drive?” and “Do you like blue?”

As if that wasn’t enough, the Twitter campaign is supplemented by a TV spot which features the most offensively bad Frank Sinatra cover I’ve ever heard. Good job, Acura and ad agency Mullen LA. This will be trending in no time.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA


Penélope Cruz Does Striptease for Lingerie

Sultry Penélope Cruz does a striptease in L’Agent by Agent Provocateur’s sexy new campaign for lingerie… in the desert. Oy, the heat.

Cruz, who has co-designed the lingerie line with her sister Mónica (alongside Agent Provocateur creative director, Sarah Shotton), wrote and directed the label’s steamy autumn/winter 2014 campaign video. The hot campaign covers the vivacious sex appeal and youthful sass of the brand, and puts the actress herself front and center in the ad.

The provocative video is basically Cruz and a bunch of models going out into the desert for what’s more or less a striptease dance party. It’s provocative, kind of fun, and seems at first glance to have little point beyond being an excuse for a bunch of models to dance around in their underwear. So is that a bad thing?

With a lot of advertising, there’s an underlying point to the ad that people will hopefully associate with a product or service. Sometimes it’s pretty blatantly obvious, while other times it’s subtle or even subdued. Marketers want people to talk about their ads, regardless of whether the ads are funny, serious, or even kind of sad. An ad doesn’t have to have a deep meaning to be good, though.

There’s not much of a message there, but what you will see is people having fun. The whole ad is designed around sex appeal, which isn’t exactly uncommon for a lingerie spot, but the women involved seem to be having a good time.

A spot like this doesn’t have to be deep to make a point. In fact, sometimes it does even better if it’s not.

But does the ad make you shvitz?

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts