Absolut Branded Entertainment: Spike Jonze and Jay-Z

Spike Jonze & Absolut’s free web film features robot love, long wait times but no Absolut
Absolut vodka and agency TBWA/Chiat/Day tapped director Spike Jonze to create a branded short — minus the branding — to premiere at Sundance. The film, “I’m Here,” follows an android who falls in love; the brand associations are attached through other marketing efforts around the film. “This is an emotional expression of the brand,” Absolut’s Anna Malmhake says. “None of us could see what a shot of the vodka would have added.” Anna’s right … but isn’t that the point of “branded” entertainment? The trick is to make sure that there is some link … and its not just an unrelated effort.

The Jay-Z Empire State Explored in Full Absolut Vodka Film
TBWA\New York (OMC) enlisted the directing services of noted music photographer Danny Clinch, who delves into the rapper/mogul’s Empire State of mind and gives us a glimpse at his preparation for a September 11 benefit concert, which took place at Madison Square Garden last year and helped kick off the Absolut Concert Series. Nice to see my old friend Colby in the credits!

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Beverage: Coke vs “The Road”, RangTang vs Urban Dictionary

    an interesting addition to the Coke Happiness advertising collection. During the filming of the Viggo Mortensen movie The Road (opened quietly last year in the U.S. and then big in the UK), we are told the actors and crew took a a break during filming to create this Coke Happiness commercial. It’s entirely believable too. After all, Coke is just bottled chemicals. There’s no reason it wouldn’t taste “good” even after years inside an old, decrepit vending machine.

    RangTang Vodka Tainted by Slang Definition
    So a new orange- and tangerine-flavored extension from Proximo’s Three Olives brand — which already offers a “citrus” and an “orange” — faced a tough task in trying to find a name that could differentiate it in an overcrowded market. They came up with “RangTang,” described as “a delicious blend of imported English vodka and the bold taste of outrageously juicy oranges and tangerines.” And that sounds tasty enough, if you can get past the “English vodka” bit. The problem for Proximo — which also markets 1800 Tequila — is that RangTang has another, less appealing definition, according to Urban Dictionary (see second, original definition). One so awful, we can’t even think about typing it on this site.

      Viggo Mortensen Will Take David Cronenberg’s ‘Talking Cure’ (cinematical.com)
      Day 42 Drink: Three Olives Rangtang Vodka (lyke2drink.blogspot.com)

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      Cadbury Goes Pop

      Cadbury to launch Dairy Milk record
      Cadbury Dairy Milk is following its “eyebrows” spot by launching a single and a music video to celebrate the brand’s conversion to Fair Trade products. The single has been written and produced by Fallon and released under the specially created label Glass and a Half Full Records. It will launch on television on 19 September as a 60-second ad in the form of a music video, which has been directed by Ringan Ledwidge through Rattling Stick.

      cadbury dairy milk

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      Branded Entertainment: Donaton’s Ensemble

      Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Mediabrands named former Entertainment Weekly Publisher Scott Donaton to lead a new branded-entertainment unit dubbed Ensemble. As president-CEO of Ensemble, he’ll have a shared reporting structure to stakeholders in the unit, which includes Universal McCann, Initiative and strategic-advisory firm Media Link. In his new role, Mr. Donaton will give clients of Initiative and Universal McCann a first look at projects and direct access to strategic branded-entertainment opportunities. Universal McCann works with marketers such as Microsoft and Nationwide, while Initiative’s clients include Home Depot, MillerCoors and Bayer.
      I hope Scott can move past mere product placement. Garden variety brand integrations are getting more screen time as TV producers and networks look to make up revenue lost in the ad downturn, with products increasingly garnering mentions in scripts. Dr Pepper was mentioned prominently by characters in a recent episode of “90210” on CW, while references to Coca-Cola Co. product vitaminwater made their way into a recent episode of the CW’s “Gossip Girl.” (The Boston Globe)
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      Branded Content: Catherine Zeta-Jones, All Too Much?

      Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in mini film for Lux shampoo
      Unilever has rolled out a seven-minute Hollywood-style mini film starring Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to market its Lux shampoo in China and Japan. The film, called ‘Alchemist’, features a motorcycle chase at a high security laboratory where a youth-enhancing beauty product is being produced. The product turns out to be Unilver’s Lux Super Rich Shine shampoo and its benefits are demonstrated by Zeta-Jones’s shimmering hair when she attends a red carpet ball. I never knew, but it seems Lux has a history of associating with starlets…


      Is It Time to Put an End to Brand Integration?
      I don’t think it is … unless its done badly…

      Branded Entertainment or Branded Utility? McCafe on Hulu

      I screengrabbed this a while ago and just got around to blogging it. I am a massive fan of brands bringing us entertainment or utility (getting away from the zero-sum value exchange, interruption etc). McCafe allegedly unleashed a “marketing blitzkrieg”, and I’m pleased they didn’t spend it all on McCafe TV ads.


      Hey, I am not going to knock a commercial-free Daily Show, but it would have been nice if there had been some raison d’etre (forgive my lack of circumflex) for this association. That said, I assume for a launch one of the main objectives would initially be “awareness” over “relevance” so all in all I give this a thumbs aloft.

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      Brands and Entertainment: KFC and Oprah, J&J and Private

      KFC reportedly was caught unprepared for the onslaught of customers trying to redeem coupons for free servings of its lower-calorie grilled chicken items after the offer got a plug from talk show host Oprah Winfrey. The Yum! Brands unit Web site couldn’t handle the number of requests for coupons, and patrons were not able to redeem them at some locations, some bloggers reported.
      kfc oprah
      Alloy Media and Marketing, known for transforming its books for young readers into movies and TV shows, is set to launch a new online video series based around its “Private” novels, which follow the adventures of a girl detective at an elite New England boarding school. Alloy has created a participatory online reality show that will serve as an audition for the scripted “Private” series. Four Johnson & Johnson brands will have a part in both shows, via brand integrations.
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