Brands v Content: Bacardi, Pepsi, Kraft, Kellogg’s

Bacardi v Groove Armada
Six weeks before Groove Armada will be releasing their new EP through traditional download stores, the first track appeared Bacardi B-Live, where registered users can download it for free. They can access the second track as soon once they’ve shared the first with 20 friends. The third MP3 can be heard when the first has been shared 200 times, and the fourth when 2,000 ‘friends’ have hear the first track. Sharing is made easy by supplying users with widgets for their websites and Facebook profiles. The sharing application was launched last week and will be available until 2 March 2009.

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In a move that some viewers considered shocking, cast and crew from the Peacock Network’s venerable “Saturday Night Live” crafted three ads for Pepsi that essentially grafted mentions, cans and logos of the famous soda into three different executions of “MacGruber,” a long-running spoof of the old “MacGyver” TV series. The ads looked just like “SNL” skits but ran during commercial breaks on the Jan. 31 edition of the show. One of the ads also appeared during the recent Super Bowl. Pepsi’s ad agency, Omnicom Group‘s change-resistant TBWA/Chiat/Day, had little if any involvement in the commercials.
Kraft is “getting the b(r)and back together” and building a campaign for Crystal Light around Estelle and her upbeat song, which is centered on a special Web site (upumpitup.com). Site visitors will be able to download free copies of a full-length version of “Star” before it is available for sale in March on Web sites like Amazon and iTunes.

Kellogg’s drops Phelps after bong controversy
Kellogg’s has become the first major sponsor to end an endorsement deal with swimmer Michael Phelps, calling his behaviour “not consistent” with its image, after the News of the World published photographs of the Olympic gold medallist smoking out of a glass pipe. The US cereal manufacturer said it would not renew its contract with Phelps, which expires at the end of the month.

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Obamas vs J. Crew

Obamas ring in inauguration with J.Crew
At today’s inauguration, Michelle Obama accessorized her yellow Isabel Toledo sheath with cashmere-lined green leather gloves from J.Crew, while daughters Malia and Sasha were dressed almost entirely in the retailer’s preppy fashions. But don’t rush out to the nearest J.Crew store to get the same look: The only items that came off the rack were Michelle’s gloves. The girls’ overcoats were designed exclusively for them and were made in “one-of-a-kind colors,” said J.Crew spokeswoman Margot Fooshee. “Some of the pieces, including the coats they were wearing, we’re looking at incorporating into our fall assortment for 2009,” Fooshee said. In recent months, Michelle Obama has been a vocal supporter of J.Crew, telling Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show” in October (while wearing a sweater, tank top and skirt by J.Crew): “We ladies, we know J.Crew. You can get some good stuff online.”

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Some inauguration viewers were fascinated by the historical tidbit that President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. Others were more interested in the J. Crew sage green leather gloves that Michelle Obama wore to hold the Bible for her husband — not to mention the pale pink and royal blue wool coats the Obamas’ daughters wore, also from J. Crew.
For media companies and marketers riding the wave of interest in President Obama’s inauguration with tie-ins, promotions and advertising, it amounted to a slam dunk. But some played it smarter than others. Audi, J. Crew Were Two of the Biggest Winners; Twitter Battled Delays.
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Rugby v Mills & Boon

What an excellent idea – and untraditional approach. British Rugby is seeking female fans through Mills & Boon novels. The Rugby Football Union has licensed its brand to romance books publisher Mills & Boon, which is publishing eight books with plots linked to the sport. The first book in the series will be published on February 1 to coincide with the RBS Six Nations tournament, followed by another title every month.
The Prince’s Waitress Wife‘ opens at a Six Nations match at Twickenham with a sex scene in the President’s Suite after heroine Holly is seduced by a prince. The RFU hopes the books, which will bear its logo and include an explanation of the rules of the game with tips on what to wear to matches, will help bring more women fans into rugby.
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Clare Somerville, sales and marketing director at Mills & Boon, said the books have familiar ingredients such as “jet set locations, hunky alpha male hero … but in a rugby context”. Somerville added: “The RFU may not seem like a likely partner but it’s an apposite match. About one third of rugby supporters are women and the RFU is obviously keen to widen its female audience.The RFU has been great to work with and hasn’t been so precious about its image, it has let us get on with it. There is quite a bit of naughtiness that goes on, but the RFU has realised that it is all about good wholesome fun.”

Disappointingly this isn’t a brand new idea. Mills & Boon’s parent company Harlequin already has a similar licensing partnership with the American racing car body Nascar.

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Branded Entertainment/ Utility: Dairy Queen Tycoon, Kraft iFood

Video games usually put players in a sexy role they will never actually have a shot at: a “High School Musical” dancer, a guitar hero or an auto thief. Now, a new game created with the help of Dairy Queen, DQ Tycoon, lets players run their own fast-food franchise. “Oh, come on, who hasn’t wanted to run and own a DQ?” Michael Keller, the chief brand officer of Dairy Queen International, said. “Maybe everybody doesn’t, but so many Americans have grown up with the DQ brand, and have had that experience of stepping up to a DQ window on a hot summer day.” DQ Tycoon is a time-management game, one of a genre of anxiety-inducing games requiring players to race against the clock to complete mundane tasks — in this case, preparing Peanut -Buster Parfaits, taking orders, restocking the refrigerator, and dipping cones. It is available for download at BigFishGames.com for $19.99, but can be played free for an hour. It is also sold at Target stores.

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Kraft’s New iFood App
Kraft Foods is making it easier for busy consumers to plan meals, search recipes and even locate the nearest store through a new downloadable application for iPhone an iPod touch users. The application, iFood Assistant, was developed in conjunction with interactive agency Genex, a division of Meredith Corp. It is available on the Apple App Store for 99 cents and is billed as the first of its kind for a food or consumer packaged goods company. Similar Web applications link users with external Web sites, where iFoodAssistant is considered a resident program installed on any iPhone or iPod touch. “People’s lives are becoming increasingly complex and they’re looking for relevant content and solutions to make their lives easier,” Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovation, new services at Kraft, said in a statement.

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Branded Entertainment: Macy’s, Kraft, Diet Coke, Publicis

Macy’s is no stranger to TV, what with fireworks displays and parades down Broadway. But the retail giant is coming to the small screen this holiday with a new 3D animated movie that was put together in collaboration with its agency of record, Mediaedge:cia.
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Kraft branded entertainment for the holidays
Today, Nabisco-owned Kraft unveiled a new print and online campaign that narrates the story of three crackers: Ritz, Triscuit, and Wheat Thins. The new campaign comes at a time where brands expect increased eat-at-home consumption for the holidays. To create the campaign, Kraft contracted the services of four ad agencies: Euro RSCG, Momentum WW, the Starcom MediaVest Group and interactive agency Digitas. The campaign evolved from holiday recipe booklets that Kraft inserted in numerous holiday publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies Home Journal and Country Home. Over a million US magazine subscribers will be receiving a complementary copy of “The Tale of the Magical Crackers,” which tells the story of the three Kraft crackers that magically regenerate each time the narrator—a dog—of his care takers take a bite at them.

Diet Coke has long associated its brand with style and entertainment. Now it’s kicking off a new program that it hopes will continue this by melding branded entertainment with the latest in digital syndication strategies.
The “Style Series presented by Diet Coke” starts Tuesday with appearances by singers Robin Thicke and Rihanna and designer Cynthia Rowley. Fans can watch the show on billboards in Times Square, through their mobile phones, online at Diet Coke.com and through ad placements on sites like People.com, Instyle.com and DailyMotion. Two more specials are set for early ’09.

Publicis Groupe Media creates branded entertainment division
Publicis Groupe Media is launching a new division solely dedicated to branded entertainment: Core. The division aim to deliver “true branded entertainment that builds a deeper emotional relationship with consumers, and ensures clients’ products and services are seamlessly embedded within media channels.”

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    Links for 2008-04-07: iPhone Impact, Havas Likes Cake, Integration Rocks

    Links for 2008-03-22 : Torchwood ARG, Google Barcodes, Creepy Robot, iPhone v HiPhone,