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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That’s So Obama, Twitter Brands, Duffel Coat, PI&C, Starbucks v Oprah, Obama v Atari, Shiner, Audi

New Slang
Each year ushers in a bevy of new words you might hear and may even want to use (though you may choose to do so sparingly). 2009 ushers in a vocabulary inspired by pop culture and technology, and here are a few of the favorites heard from the streets, our bloggers, and Gen Ys who know…

My top vote?

Obama/Not Obama
adj. London street reporters proclaim that our new President has become synonymous with “cool”
“Yeah, that is so Obama!”

obama-shark-oops-too-cool

40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them
Mashable highlights the 40 best brand accounts on Twitter — including Ford, Jet Blue, Hertz and Home Depot — and the people behind them. Well, behind 38 of them. The only two identities Mashable doesn’t get to the bottom of are of the people behind the Burger King and Popeyes Chicken accounts. That is, if the Popeyes Twitterer is indeed a person. The BK Twitterer goes by “King,” but as Popeyes VP-Communications and PR Alicia Thompson told Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove, “The author of the Twitter character is too chicken to share his real identity.” She added that he or she (or it) sees Twitter, “as a way to stay abreast of what our consumers are up to, and to get a leg up on the competition.” Groan.

The Duffel Coat Crosses The Atlantic
Say it ain’t so! If you wore a duffel coat in my day complete strangers would come up and take the piss!

PI&C Collective Adds Wilmot
Senior creative Logan Wilmot has become a partner at Domenico Vitale’s new strategic and creative collective here known as People Ideas & Culture. Wilmot joins as co-founder and chief idea architect — the same titles that Vitale holds. He’ll be based in London and lead creative efforts at the new shop. “Logan’s unique experience, coupled with his leading our European presence, further proves our commitment to this new era in global communications,” said Vitale. PI&C will offer clients access to a pool of talent in advertising, fashion, music, content and Web creation, blogging, events and public relations. Some of it will be in-house, but PI&C will also tap outsiders when needed. PI&C will partner with New York design shop Bond to service clients. Bond, headed by director of design Joe Doucet, has taken a minority stake in PI&C and PI&C, led by chief idea architect Vitale, has taken a minority stake in Bond. The new operation opened this month.

Starbucks’ Volunteer Push Gets Boost From ‘Oprah Effect’
Starbucks’ campaign to promote volunteerism (and store traffic) got a huge bump today from no less than Oprah Winfrey — and by extension, Barack Obama. The talk-show host talked up the java giant’s “I’m In” campaign, which encourages consumers to pledge five hours of community service before the end of the year. Those who commit to doing so at Starbucks between now and Sunday will be rewarded with a free coffee.

Obama Staff Arrives to White House Stuck in Dark Ages of Technology
After running “the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history,” President Obama’s staffers encountered “a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts” on their first day at their new jobs. “It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Shiner Beats Heinie
The idea came from McGarrah Jessee, Shiner Bock’s agency, which is in Austin, (near Shiner, home of the annual three-day Austin City Limits festival). The festival is sponsored by Heineken, and for those three days only Heineken and a few other are sold. “We were trying to think of inexpensive and cool ways to get into that arena,” says McGarrah’s Beau Hanson. What they came up with were koozies, or can coolers, and they produced 10,000 of them. The koozies looked exactly like cans of Shiner. So when a koozie was slipped over a can of another brand it would look as though that person was drinking a Shiner Bock. As patrons entered the festival, people from the agency were there handing them koozies. “People love koozies, especially when they’re free. They were gone in like four minutes, giant boxes, thousands. ” Standing back, looking at the entire crowd, it looked to the whole world like a lot of people were drinking Shiner Bock.

Audi Pre-Roll Ad has 70 Million Views
Audi, as the exclusive sponsor of the live webcast of Obama Inauguration CBSNews.com, MSNBC.com, ABCNews.com and the WashingtonPost.com, had expected 30 million views of its pre-roll advertisement titled “Progress.” Beet.TV has been told by a spokesperson for Audi USA that the pre-roll has been watched nearly 70 million times. Here’s the breakdown of views of the ad on the various sites provided by Audi: ABCNews.com, 15.9 million, CBSNews.com, 11.4 million; MSNBC.com, 16.3 million;The WashingtonPost, 14 million; Slate, 9 million and the Atlantic.com, 1.7 million.

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Snippets: New Biz, eBoy, Blogs, Design, Ad-Skipping, Kindle, Gen X, The Funnel, Coffee and Voting

The most depressing moments of your working life.
Rory Sutherland wrote a classic post about New business pitches … f’ing funny (and depressingly accurate). “The most depressing moments? No, it’s not when you lose a pitch. The longer you are in this business, the more phlegmatic you become about this kind of thing. No, the worst moments in our business always come six months to a year after you lose a pitch.”

turd

Photo Credit: turdinabox.com (no kidding)

Adam Crowe has made a set of the fantastic eBoy pictures on flickr.
eboy-night
The number of those who read blogs at least once a month has grown 300% in the past four years, and what they read strongly influences their purchase decisions, playing a key role in ushering them to the point of actual purchase, according to a BuzzLogic-sponsored study, reports Retailer Daily.
blogging1
While marketers have appreciated the value of distinctive design for some time now—at least since Apple and Target started making it a key differentiator about a decade ago—design thinking is something else. The premise is that if you tap a designer, or a designer’s problem-solving approach, to tackle standard business problems, you will get game-changing results.
With DVR penetration knocking on 30%, much of America now views the ability to skip ads on TV as something approaching a birthright. While they haven’t had much choice in the matter, the broadcast networks say they’re OK with this, that DVR users watch more TV and disproportionately more shows from ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS. But the networks haven’t given up on the dream of a world of must-see advertising and are quietly attempting to take back that right — let’s call it a privilege — on the next generation of digital platforms. Already, the networks have effectively eliminated ad-skipping on broadband and have made that a prerequisite in deals with online distributors such as Hulu, Joost and Veoh, as well as ABC.com’s full-episode player.
Since Amazon launched the Kindle, its electronic reader, a year ago, it has created a swarm of dedicated customer advocates. But on Oct. 24 it snagged the most important evangelist in Oprah Winfrey, who said, “I’m telling you, it’s absolutely my new favorite thing in the world.” Oprah’s Midas touch when it comes to selling books is well-documented, so it seems reasonable that the same would be true for Kindle. While Amazon doesn’t release sales numbers for the product, it has featured her praise on its home page all week. And if all the search volume, web traffic and blog buzz are anything to go by, she’s going to give Jeff Bezos & Co. a bright holiday.
Recalibrating the marketing funnel (cycle, continuum or decriptor of choice) in the new digital world is a bit of a knotty one. Chris Brogan’s new free e-Book attempts to unravel it.
Dunkin’ Donuts is offering a free doughnut to those who can prove they voted on November 4. And Starbucks is offering a free cup of coffee.
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