April 4 - 10, 2005

Branding Cultures Weekly Update

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Domino's and American Eagle in The Apprentice
Both Domino's and American Eagle got shafted this week by The Apprentice:  "And speaking of last week's task, here's something you didn't know. Both teams created meatball pizza. But if you'd done your market research like Domino's did, you would have discovered that customers don't want meatball pizza. What they want is cheeseburger pizza. The lesson: Always pay attention to your customer."  Right. It's only that Papa Johns, who learned about the episode in advance, has launched what? Meatball pizzas. Guess which design - cheeseburger or meatball - got more airtime.

And this week, American Eagle's wearable technology task winners were rewarded by a shopping spree in what Trump called "one of the great stores anywhere in the world."  No, not American Eagle. Bergdorf Goodman.

79% think branded entertainment deals too pricey; 63% are not spending much
(from a hard-copy AdAge article)

Seventy-nine percent of major marketers polled in an Association of National Advertisers' survey believe branded-entertainment deals are overpriced.

The survey, presented at last week's ANA's annual Television Advertising Forum in New York, was designed to gauge ANA member companies' attitudes and activities related to branded entertainment. The 118 respondents included United Airlines, Tyson Foods, Campbell Soup Co., Best Buy, Ford Motor Co., KB Home, MasterCard and Visa.

A sizeable 63% said they are already participating in branded entertainment projects, with another 11% saying they plan to do so in the next year or so.

But 71% of those that have gotten involved are spending less than 5% of their total marketing budgets (much of the money, it appears is coming out of TV budgets, with 52% dipping into that pot for their Mad & Vine plays), and many (56%) felt branded entertainment was hard to measure, and overpriced.

  Get an industrial-grade
  summer intern.

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MTV Goes Into Overdrive
The kids at MTV have launched a beta version of "the ultimate broadband video channel" featuring news, music, live performances, short form shows and music videos. "MTV Overdrive" is a free service with no registration and no required download, although the optional "Overdrive Video Optimizer" helps expedite playback.
http://WWW.lostremote.com/archives/004282.html, http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/index.jhtml

McDonald's call for Hip-Hop endorsement has been answered
You may recall that McDonald's intended to pay for Big Mac product placement in hip-hop songs that air on the radio. Less than a week after this news hit the web, a group called the Gatbustaz released an over-the-top Hip-Hop parody called McGangsta (caution: explicit lyrics).

Random McDonald's-related Serendipity
- McChronicles chronicles experience in McD franchises around the country.
- The web is abuzz about a recently surfaced print showing a baby sucking on a hamburger.

McDonalds takes on Starbucks
Care for a McLatte with that stack of pancakes? Hoping to win back breakfast business it's losing to Starbucks and other cafe chains, McDonald's says it's ready to brew some new coffee flavors. McDonald's coffee sales have dropped by a third over the past 10 years under more heated competition.

Starbucks is pouring itself deeper into the music landscape.
The coffee retailer -- which serves more than 33 million customers a week worldwide -- has been building itself into a kind of ``half-caf'' version of a music store, selling selected CD compilations from well-known artists, such as Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell and Frank Sinatra, as well as more eclectic mixes of lesser known singer-songwriters. But an announcement this week that its 4,400 shops around the nation will market and sell the debut CD of Antigone Rising, a relatively unknown band, signals an innovative step in delivering music from new and developing artists to consumers.

Starbucks Delocator Launched
On the delocator.net web site, users are enlisted into a temporary coalition to post information about cafés in their neighborhood (for instance, location, hours, open mic. nights, local artist exhibits, book readings, wireless internet service availability, organic and/or vegetarian food options, etc.

Coke Launches New Drink
Coca-Cola North America has announced a relaunch of their Hi-C brand in a new single-serve package renamed Hi-C Blast. The new package is designed to appeal to older youth by moving to more familiar plastic packaging.

Coke Looks for Fizz in Marketing
To get a sense of the direction Coca-Cola is heading, consider these three drinks that the company introduced last year in Japan. There was Body Style Water, a "near water" that is marketed to women and contains grapefruit flavor, caffeine and seaweed extract. And then there were two new varieties of Coke's enormously popular canned coffee, supercaffeinated and bitter

Viral Marketer Slams L'Oreal Brand to Promote Leukemia Cause
In an effort to draw attention to the worthy cause of Children with Leukaemia, AsaBailey has created a series of ads trashing cosmetics company L'Oreal as if they are related to the cause of Leukemia.

Time Warner's New Inventions
A couple smart ideas. TW Cable is testing a pull-down menu that lists a particular channel's sister properties. For example, hit the button while watching CNN and the navigation menu would include CNN Headline News and perhaps links to CNN VOD content. Time Warner is also set to test a new service, called Startover, that lets viewers who miss the first few minutes of a show start from the beginning of the broadcasts. (Thanks, DCG from What's Happening at CNN!)

Panasonic Releases A Wide Range of New Devices
Pansonic has busted out a whole mess of goodies in the home theater realm. Above is a new range of plasma and LCDs in the Viera lineup. They'll go from 37 to 50-inch versions sporting 3000:1 contrast ratios. Click on for the rest.

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Cookie Monsters Cut Down on Cookie Intake
My beloved blue, furry monster who sang "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me" is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food," where Cookie Monster learns there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods.

No More Stolen Razors: Schick Releases Quatro for Women
This month Schick (owned by Energizer) has launched an advertising campaign for a new women's razor, the Schick Quattro for Women. The idea behind the innovation of the razor is that Schick found that many women stole "their man's razor" and so looked for a way to incorporate what women liked about male razors into this new one.


Statutory Rape Not So Good For Gap
Gap may be having second thoughts about hiring 17 year old Joss Stone as their new spokesmodel especially since in California it's considered statutory rape for someone of millionaire boyfriend, Beau Dozier's age to have sex with Stone.

Radio Comes to Cell Phones
Yesterday, MSpot launched MSpot Radio, a satellite radio-like, subscription streaming radio service designed for reception on cell phones. Currently used by Sprint, the service costs $5.95 per month and offers 13 channels of music, news, sports, finance, weather and talk including National Public Radio.

Dockers Co-Ops 'The Apprentice' in Online Promotion
Dockers, along with FHM has created a site that features the cast of The Apprentice modeling the company's clothes and answering probing interview questions such as "What's your best pick up line?" and "What wouldn't you be caught dead wearing in the boardroom?"

Steve Madden Ad Campaign Celebrates Return From Prison
The New York Times highlights a new campaign from footwear maker Steve Madden celebrating the return of founder Steve Madded upon release from prison after serving a 41 month sentence for stock fraud.

BovineUnited Makes Clandestine Viral Debut
This one's called BovineUnite and it's all about cows uniting in a clandestine, Nazi-esque manner. It's promoting something that will launch May 5 and tells visitors to "tune into the networks between 8:45 and 9PM for further instructions." It's got everything: videos, a blog, wallpaper, IM icons, games and lots of moo sounds. Some thing that Chick-Fil-A could be behind the campaign, but nothing is confirmed.


Gore and Google launch TV network
Featuring user created content and professional content, television network, "Current," aims to attract younger viewers with short videos and a tie-in with the popular Google Inc. search engine. Like a BlogTV.

The Return of Muscle Car
Now the muscle car is roaring back into the American pop culture landscape. Discarded during the gas-strapped 1970s as drivers surrendered RPM for MPG, their resurgence has been fueled by the Internet, media exposure and baby boomers yearning for their youth.

Compiled by Alfred, Andre and Ilya.
Edited and signed off by Ilya

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