Thursday, June 15, 2006

Some Mid-June Odds-n-Ends



Spielberg has heavy pic for Par
Steven Spielberg is set to defy gravity for Paramount Pictures.

The helmer is attached to direct an untitled sci-fi film for the studio that delves into Caltech physicist Kip Thorne's theories of gravity fields. Although the project is considered embryonic -- there is no screenplay yet and would likely be three to four years away from fruition -- Thorne wrote a treatment with the help of producer and science nut Lynda Obst, prompting Spielberg's involvement. Obst ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") will produce the film through her Paramount-based shingle.

Based on real science, the film will explore the mind-bending territory of black holes and gravity waves and touch on some of the hypotheses that Albert Einstein chased but never could prove. Thorne, a longtime friend of Obst's, is one of the world's leading experts on relativity.

Lloyd Dobler and Pee Wee Herman Vs. Batman?
Actor John Cusack is apparently ardent to play D.A Harvey Dent – the law-abider who eventually becomes the stained Two-Face – in the next “Batman” movie, according to a scooper for

In the film, Dent teams with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) to catch the villainous ‘Joker’.

Though this is the first anyone’s heard of Cusack being interested in the role –Live Schrieber and Hugh Jackman have been rumoured to be in the running for that part – there could be something in this. Maybe. Possibly. For the sake of the news item. The “Con Air” and “Say Anything” star has pretty much cleared most of his schedule for 2007, so he could easily fit the role in.

Should Cusack - who I love by the way, and I think he’d be a treat in the role! - snag the role, he’d be signing for two movies, in essence : The next film, and the one after – in which he’d turn into the abovementioned Two-Face.

And here’s another one to throw on the rumour mound…

TV series, G4, ran a report saying that Paul ‘Pee Wee Herman’ Reubens will be playing The Joker in the next film. Yep, according to the show, he’s the man. The new Clown Prince of Crime. The Smiling assassin.
Anything in that? I doubt it.

I’d say they’ve simply gotten their Paul’s mixed up (Paul Bettany is actually an oft-rumoured candidate for the role), or have been slipped a bogus rumour. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see Reubens being the star catch the sequel so dearly needs. (He actually had a role in one of the ‘other’ “Batman” movies too, “Batman Returns”, playing The Penguin’s father, so I think that would involuntarily rule him out. I believe they don’t want this new series to bare any tie to the original foursome.) EDITOR'S NTOE: OR MAYBE THEY'VE GOT THE RIGHT PAUL, BUT HE'S GOING TO PLAY HARELY QUINN. (HE'S GRACEFUL ENOUGH FOR THE ROLE). AHEM.....

Barbarian Begins
Don’t expect Schwarzenegger (or Grace Jones, not that you ever did) to be swording-up again as Conan the Barbarian, with Variety indicating today that they’re going the “Batman” route and doing a restart of the popular action franchise.

Boaz Yakin has apparently written a script that’s a lot more faithful to the Robert E. Howard created-character, than the Schwarzenegger films. EDITOR'SN OTE: SO IT'LL BE IN ENGLISH THIS TIME? The studio is also considering offering Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) the director’s chair.

John Milius, the man behind the original “Conan”, had written a script called “King Conan”, a couple of years back, which he was trying to entice both the studio and Arnold Schwarzenegger to do (or, if Arnold wasn’t going to be available, Triple H EDITOR'S NOTE: ONLY ONE CUP OF COFFEE SO FAR TODAY, AND I'M NOT TERRIBLY HIP OR CLEVER WHEN I'M FULLY CAFFEINATED...'TRIPLE H'? was apparently in line), but Warner just didn’t show much interest.

SPC hears call of 'Quiet' rights
NEW YORK -- Sony Pictures Classics picked up North American rights to Jamie Babbit's sexually charged dramedy "The Quiet," starring Camilla Belle, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan, Elisha Cuthbert and Shawn Ashmore.

Belle plays an orphaned deaf and mute girl sent to live in the home of her godparents (Falco and Donovan) and their daughter (Cuthbert). Her presence unleashes the dark secrets of their suburban family EDITOR'S NOTE: I GREW UP IN A SUBURBAN FAMLY, AND I'M REALLY BEGINNING TO FEEL CHEATED CAUSE WE HAD NO DARK SECRETS TO UNLEASH. DRAT. (OOO... ANOTHER THING TO BLAME MY PARENTS FOR!)and her love interest (Ashmore).

'Shortbus' has a driver
NEW YORK -- John Cameron Mitchell's comedy-drama "Shortbus," which features scenes in which actors engage in actual sex, EDITOR'S NOTE: FUN FUN FUN FOR THE WHOLLLLLE FAMILY! has parked itself at ThinkFilm.

The indie company has picked up North American rights to the feature, which premiered Out of Competition at last month's Festival de Cannes. The largely improvised film explores the lives of seven straight and gay New Yorkers seeking an emotional connection with one another. The sex is presented as one part of the characters' complex lives, which intersect at the Bohemian salon Shortbus.

ThinkFilm plans to give the $2 million "Shortbus" a platform release in the fall, eventually bringing it to specialty theaters across the country. But the unrated film's several sexually explicit moments present a marketing challenge. EDITOR'S NOTE: UMMM....YA THINK?!


Nielsen ratings digitized

NEW YORK -- Nielsen Media Research said Wednesday that it would integrate TV and Internet measurement, add ratings for viewing on such portable devices as cell phones and iPods, and gave a firm date of 2011 for the end of paper diaries in even the smallest markets.

The scope of Wednesday's news stunned many in the media industry, who had for years told Nielsen that it moved too slow in reacting to the changes in the TV business. It also came months after Nielsen told Arbitron that it wouldn't go ahead with the joint venture involving Arbitron's Portable People Meter technology. While many in the industry wanted to make sure Nielsen could deliver on its new promises, the company was universally praised for its action. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND LET'S ALL HOLD OUR BREATH AND SEE IF THE DEADLINE IS REAL. (NOT TO MENTION, THE INDUSTRY PUSHES AND PUSHES FOR NSI TO SPEED UP, BUT IF THEY DO MAKE THIS DEADLINE, WANNA MAKE A BET THAT IT WILL BE WITH MEASUREMENT TOOLS THAT THE INDUSTRY WILL GRIPE WEREN'T TESTED ENOUGH OR AREN'T ACCURATE ENOUGH?)

Pilots fly from L.A. in '06 season

Los Angeles' share of pilot season production fell 21% this year as producers took advantage of tax breaks and other incentives in Canada and states other than California, the regional film permitting group plans to report Friday.

FilmL.A.'s annual pilot season roundup found that while the overall number of pilots declined 3%, from 124 projects last year to 120 in the recent February-May pilot season, Los Angeles' share decreased from 85% in 2005 to 67% this year. In terms of the actual numbers, the local area accounted for 81 projects this year, compared with 105 last year.

"You have increases in New York and other areas that never saw or rarely saw pilots before, and they happen to be areas that have incentives as well," FilmL.A. president Steve MacDonald said.

Hollywood's spring renewal

While short of a record, the spring boxoffice season bounced back into more respectable territory this year after a dismal performance in 2005.

The rebound was fueled largely by the warm reception given 20th Century Fox's "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which was the season's top-grossing film with nearly $200 million, as well as two other pictures that grossed more than $100 million each: Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible III" and Sony's "The Da Vinci Code."

The national boxoffice tally for spring 2006 was $1.44 billion, up a stout 13% from the relatively tepid $1.28 billion reported the previous year.

Brave new world for summer tie-ins
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -

Big summer films such as "Superman Returns" and "Cars" are looking further afield than traditional marketing partners like McDonald's, Burger King and PepsiCo as they try to reach niche markets -- and figure out how to deal with media attention on junk food and obesity.

"All the studios are aware that childhood obesity is an issue," EDITOR'S NOTE: I MEAN, NOT THEIR KIDS. THEIR KIDS GO TO PILATES 6 TIMES A WEEK. BUT THOSE POOR KIDS, THAT THE EXECS CARE ABOUT WHEN THEY ARE IN THE NEWS. one studio promotions executive said. "They're slowly starting to figure out what they want to do but there hasn't been a shift yet. People are just more aware of it."

More to the point, entertainment marketers and studio executives say they are seeking deals with unconventional brands and nontraditional partners in an attempt to reach as many moviegoers as possible.

Disney/Pixar's June 7 release "Cars" has lined up 17 promotional partners for what is being described as the biggest and broadest campaign in Disney history. More traditional partners include McDonald's, AT&T, Georgia-Pacific, Kellogg's and General Mills' Go-Gurt brand.

The other partners, many of them relatively new to the film business, are State Farm, Hertz, Goodyear, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Energizer, Valvoline, Mack Trucks,, Porsche, Airheads Candy, Intelligent Direct Marketing and NWA World Vacations.

Only four of the 17 tie-in partners for "Cars" sell products or developed promotional programs geared specifically for children as even family movies broaden their reach far beyond traditional kid-targeted brands.

"There are more and more promotions happening with companies that haven't done film tie-ins before as Hollywood reaches out to consumers in new and interesting ways," EDITOR'S NOTE: LOOK! MONEY OVER THERE! said Brett Dicker, marketing executive vp at Disney's Buena Vista Pictures unit.

Disney's July 7 release "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is launching a big promotional program in the summer, though Disney said it was too early to provide specifics. McDonald's, Verizon, MSN and M&M's are on board, along with a number of other partners.

"Superman Returns," which opens June 30, has teamed with such traditional movie partners as Burger King and PepsiCo., whose promotion also includes PepsiCo. brands Tropicana, Quaker, Aquafina and Frito-Lay. Other promotional partners are Duracell, the Got Milk campaign, Samsung,, the Newspaper Association of America and Quaker State Oil, which said "Superman Returns" is its first-ever movie tie-in. EDITOR'S NOTE: WAIT'LL THESE NEW PROMO PARTNERS SEE HOW FAT SUPERBOY'S THIGHS ARE! EEK. THAT CAN'T BE GOOD FOR BIZ.

The increased competition for brand marketing dollars from television, the Internet, music and video games also is leading studios to hook up with a growing number of unconventional promotional partners.

For "Over the Hedge," DreamWorks Animation worked with Wal-Mart to integrate several of the retailer's own suppliers into Wal-Mart's "Hedge" custom-animated TV spots. Hanes Tagless Tees, Diet Pepsi, Frito-Lay Baked Cheetos, Gatorade, Oscar Meyer beef franks, HP digital cameras and Coleman Coolers all were featured in Wal-Mart's summer-themed "Hedge" spots.

Universal Pictures, along with such promotional partners as Anheuser Busch and MasterCard, came up with some intriguing concepts for "The Break-Up," which opened June 2.

Budweiser is hosting a "National Break Up Day" microsite for the Jennifer Anniston film that includes such features as community postings of the worst break-up stories and the best ways to break up; compatibility quizzes, e-cards and other viral tools to facilitate actual breakups and a "photochop" application that allows users to scratch, replace, burn, tear or mark up the faces of their former loves.

MasterCard's promotion includes a special edition Zagat guide incorporating ideal restaurants for breakups that will be inserted into magazines in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

For "The Da Vinci Code," Sony Pictures partnered with the Eurostar train rail system, the tourism boards for the U.K., France and Ireland, Symantec, Cingular, Google, Sony Ericsson and DaimlerChrysler's Smart Car, which was featured in the movie.

Warner Bros. even managed to set up a unique tie-in for "Poseidon," the disaster movie that quickly sank at the box office. EDITOR'S NOTE: IT SANK? BOAT-SINKING JOKES ASIDE, I THOUGHT "POSEIDON" DID WELL AT THE BOX OFFICE. NO? Ike Behar shirts, which were worn by Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell in the movie, ran co-branded print ads in a number of fashion magazines and an in-store promotional program at Nordstom.

93-Minute Italian Film Shot with Cell Phone Camera
A director chose to film his documentary about romance with just a mobile phone -- for its low cost and intimacy.
ROME (AP) -- The theme is familiar to many independent movies -- explicit chat about love and sex -- but the tool used to shoot an Italian feature-length documentary is new: A standard cell phone camera.

Italian directors have completed a 93-minute documentary they say is the first feature film to be entirely shot by such a technique. Called ''New Love Meetings,'' it was filmed in a MPEG4 format with a Nokia N90 -- a regular, higher-end cell phone on sale around the globe, documentary co-director Marcello Mencarini said.

The technique underscores what has become a fixture in today's globalized world: The use of amateur video and cell phone cameras to immortalize moments in people's lives. Also, when news breaks, early footage is often shot with a cell phone, and, in the case of major events, authorities and news outlets have been known to call on amateurs to come forward with video.

''With the widespread availability of cell phones equipped with cameras, anybody could do this,'' Mencarini said in a telephone interview from Milan. ''If you want to say something nowadays, thanks to the new media, you can.'' EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT I BET SPIELBERG OR AARON SORKIN WOULD DO IT BETTER ,HUH?

When it comes to movies, though, cell phone cameras present limits, such as the difficulty to film in darkness or the lack of microphones. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THE FACT THAT ANY BOOB WITH 10 BUCKS CAN WIELD ONE? As a result, the movie mostly features close-ups, and the image, while overall clear, is slightly shaky. EDITOR'S NOTE: DON'T DRINK AND FILM, KIDS! Directors said Tuesday that no post-production manipulation was made on the image. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT?!

Although no professional lightening was needed, a pocket flashlight was used at times, said Milan-based Barbara Seghezzi, the other director of the movie. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO IT LOOKS GREAT....AS LONG AS YOU ALSO WATCH IT ON A PHONE.

The approach offers the advantage of being intimate, leading people to open up a little more easily, directors say. In a documentary about love and eroticism, that doesn't hurt.

For two months last year, the directors interviewed some 700 people across Italy, at bars, open markets, on the beach. About 100 of them ended up in the movie.

The directors' idea was to do a modern version of the 1965 documentary ''Love Meetings'' by Pier Paolo Pasolini, the famed film director and writer found beaten to death 30 years ago. Low costs and greater flexibility were among the reasons why Seghezzi and Mencarini decided to use a cell phone. Now, producers are looking at ways to distribute the film.

In his documentary Pasolini interviewed Italians to find out their views about sex in postwar Italy. Attitudes across the country showed people had taboos and self-censorship was widespread.

'New Love Meetings'' explores subjects ranging from the first time to homosexuality and jealousy, in interviews that include transsexuals and a priest. EDITOR'S NOTE: CLARIFICATION....WERE THE TRANSSEXUALS ALSO PRIESTS? OR IS THIS TWO DIFFERENT GROUPS? (GIGGLE) And it found that not much has changed. EDITOR'S NOTE: CERTAINLY NOT WHEN IT COMES TO TRANSSEXUALS. OR PRIESTS.

''When it comes to sexuality a certain malaise is still there, taboos and problems persist,'' Seghezzi said. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO IT'S NOT JUST ME. HOW NICE TO KNOW.


There's no business like ad business
By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY
NEW YORK — Broadway's biggest stars celebrateD the Great White Way during the 60th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday.

But producers have a different color in mind — green — these days as they team with marketers to add product placements, in-theater sponsorships and even commercials to their stages.

Theater "is the oldest form of entertainment, and it's been taken for granted for a long time," EDITOR'S NOTE: AND HENCE WHY ACTORS ARE OFTEN COMPARED TO THAT OTHER OLDEST FORM OF....UMMM....ENTERTAINMENT. says Nancy Coyne, CEO of Serino Coyne, which specializes in entertainment-related marketing. Companies "are waking up and seeing that there are a lot of affluent people in theaters."

The growing commercialization has some critics turning thumbs down.

"They're trying to turn Broadway into ad-way," says Gary Ruskin of watchdog group Commercial Alert. "People go to Broadway for a moment of solace. This could alienate the audience." EDITOR'S NOTE: IF "LESTAT" AND THE ABBA SHOW DIDN'T SCARE THEM OFF, I DON'T THINK A FEW MARQUEE OR IN--THEATER PROMOS IS GONG TO DO ANY HARM.

But it's hard for marketers to resist the more than 12 million people who saw Broadway shows during the 2005-06 season, as tracked by The League of American Theatres and Producers.

They spent $862 million on tickets in the season that ended on May 28, up 12% from the previous season. Theatergoers' average annual household income the previous season was $96,100. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THERE YOU HAVE WHY I HAVEN'T SEEN A BROADWAY SHOW IN A WHILE; I'M NOWHERE NEAR THE INCOME CUTOFF. (WONDER IF ANY OF THOSE THEATERGOERS ARE SINGLE. AND STRAIGHT....)

There's less data about the millions more who see off-Broadway shows, traveling and regional productions.

Marketers also are interested because theatergoers can't zap through ads the way they do at home with digital video recorders and VCRs. And that audience is usually deeply engaged.

"In the theater, you use all five of your senses," says producer Kevin McCollum, whose shows include Rent, Avenue Q and TheDrowsy Chaperone. "It's not just about the message. It's about how you experience the message."

Costly costumes

Meanwhile, Broadway producers are eager to offset their soaring costs. They spent $165 million on expenses for new productions in the season that ended in May 2005, up 23% from the previous year, according to the League.

"A Broadway musical can cost between $10 million and $15 million to produce," Coyne says. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THE REALLY BAD ONES...WITH ALL THE FX AND NO PLOT...COST EVEN MORE.

That helps to explain why Cablevision Systems just hired a product-integration firm to find corporate partners for its popular annual holiday show at Radio City Music Hall.

"For the first time in its 73-year history, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular will use product placement," says Amy Willstatter, founder of marketing firm Bridge to Hollywood and Broadway. She says she's "aggressively in the marketplace" seeking integration deals for acts such as "Santa's Workshop," where St. Nick prepares for his gift drop-off.

Marketers will probably pay Radio City a fee. But in other cases producers accept free products to offset the costs of play props and opening-night parties.

For example, Shanta Mali, marketing director for off-Broadway's MCC Theater, contacted Evian after she saw that the product was mentioned in the play Some Girl(s), which opened Thursday.

Evian agreed to supply bottles of water for use as props. In return, it gets the onstage exposure as well as credit in Playbill, the pamphlet that theater ushers give to each audience member. EDITOR'S NOTE: YES, IT COULD BE A SLIPPERY SLOPE. (TV PRODUCERS ARE BEING PRESSURED TO MENTION RANDOM PRODUCTS IN THEIR SCRIPTS FOR PAYOLA). BUT THIS SORT OF THING, WHEN HANDLED WISELY, MAKES COMPLETE SENSE. AND ANYTHING TO OFFSET THE COSTS IN A MEDIUM WITH ALMOST NO MARGINS, YES?

While Mali says she'll gladly take the props, "The goal, of course, is for Evian to give us money to offset the cost of production." That can range from $300,000 to $600,000 for an off-Broadway show.

Most companies don't disclose the price of individual sponsorship and product-integration deals.

However, the League says that over the past decade companies such as Visa, Sprint and Continental Airlines paid $125 million in cash and media support for Broadway shows.

The ad's the thing
Among the ways marketers hope to steal the show:

•Live commercials. EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS THE ONE WE ALREADY REPORTED ON.Tourist group Visit London produced four-minute preshow skits for theaters in New York and Pittsburgh that encouraged people to visit the British capital. The payoff: Visit London promoted the participating theaters on its website.

•Product integration. Sprint tied in with the off-Broadway production Burleigh Grime$, about scheming stockbrokers. In a barter deal, Sprint provided cellphones and PDAs as props, while one scene was rewritten to say "No e-mails on this one. Go Sprint-to-Sprint" instead of "Go cell-to-cell."

Spirits marketer Jose Cuervo paid to have 2005's Broadway revival of Sweet Charity promote Gran Centenario tequila. Playwright Neil Simon approved a script change that has a character drink the tequila instead of scotch. Gran Centenario's logo also was incorporated into a dance scene.

The Broadway show has closed, but Gran Centenario will stay in the touring version, which begins in September.

•Theater naming rights. In May, Snapple made its off-Broadway debut with the Snapple Theater Center in Times Square. Others with stage names: American Airlines Theatre and the Cadillac Winter Garden Theatre. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHY NOT?! IBSEN AND O'NEILL ASIDE, ARE WE ANY BETTER THAN FOOTBALL? (I THINK WE MIGHT BE A LITTLE BETTER THAN WRESTLING,....ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER ASIDE.... BUT SURELY NOT THAN FOOTBALL OR BASEBALL).

•Special products. QVC created a Scoundrel Collection of necklaces, earrings and bracelets for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. They sold last year for $36 to $314. Actors wore the QVC-provided jewelry onstage, and the theater concessionaire sold select pieces. EDITOR'S NOTE: OOO...WAY BETTER TCHATKE FROM A SHOW THAN JUST A T-SHIRT AND CD, HUH?!


Neutering the Energizer Bunny/Panasonic Oxyride Batteries Campaign Urges Spaying of Rabbits

Panasonic kicked off a public-awareness effort dubbed "Neuter Your Bunny" to inform the public of the benefits of neutering or spaying rabbits and of the long-lasting power of Panasonic's Oxyride Extreme Power batteries.

If consumers sense some animosity from Panasonic toward one of its main competitors (the very fuzzy, very pink, very energetic Energizer Bunny), well, that's the idea.

With an offbeat rabbit theme of its own, Panasonic's Oxyride batteries brand is taking on the Energizer bunny. EDITOR'S NOTE: I HAVEN'T VISITED THIS WEBSITE YET, BUT THE NAME MAKES ME GIGGLE. SOMEONE GO THERE AND REPORT BACK!

The campaign includes a Web site,, a "Neuter Your Bunny"van and an upcoming TV commercial. A "Neuter Your Bunny Day" is planned forJune 14EDITOR'S NOTE: OH DRAT, I MISSED IT! , when the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in Manhattan willprovide free bunny neuters for selected owners.

In addition, Panasonic will donate $10,000 to the House Rabbit Society -- a group that rescues rabbits and educates the public on rabbit care -- to support the cause.

The public has misconceptions about bunnies and how they should be cared for, just as there are misconceptions about battery technology, said BrianKimberlin, Panasonic Battery Corp. of America's director-consumer marketing.

Erratic behavior

Bunnies are often abandoned or let into the wild because their owners don't understand their erratic behavior, EDITOR'S NOTE: WHICH, IN MY EXPERIENCE WITH MY BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW'S BUNNY, STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT THEY ARE DUMB AS FUZZY CHEW-TOYS. (AND IN FACT, ARE FUZZY CHEW-TOYS IF A SMARTER, HUNGRIER ANIMAL IS IN THE ROOM). which can often be altered by having the rabbit spayed or neutered.

Oxyride is a type of battery technology developed by Panasonic and released last year, Mr. Kimberlin said. To accompany the technological developments,Panasonic is launching a very aggressive marketing campaign.

"We are pushing very fast to become one of the top brands in the marketplace," Mr. Kimberlinsaid.

The battery marketplace is dominated by Duracell and Energizer, with Panasonic winning less than 2% market share. (Compare that to Duracell's 29%and Energizer's 25%.)

Energizer didn't seem amused by the bunny-neutering campaign. EDITOR'S NOTE; GO FIGGER. (THE PINK BUNNY, ON THE OTHER HAND, THINKS IT'S TERRIBLY CLEVER)

"Our concern is that Panasonic is doing nothing more than confusing customers," EDITOR'S NOTE: CONFUSING THEM ABOUT WHAT? BATTERIES? BUNNIES? THE COLOR PINK? OK. NOW I'M CONFUSED. (HEY, AT LEAST THEY ARE SAYING 'NEUTER YOUR BUNNY" AND NOT "FEED YOUR BUNNY TO YOUR CAT")!saidJackie Burwitz, Energizer's VP-investor relations. New product awareness

"We're really proud that we were able to partner with the House Rabbit Society to bring about public awareness of the issue, as well as raisingawareness of our new technology," Mr. Kimberlin said.

"We're hoping that the campaign will raise enough awareness that people will want more information," said Mary Cotter, VP-education director for theInternational House Rabbit Society and director of the organization's NewYork City chapter. "We hope this may ultimately result in less abandonment of rabbits."

But Panasonic, of course, is hoping the campaign gets consumers to abandon one particular bunny.

JC Decaux Turns Airport Posters Into Scent-Stimulating Medium/Hidden Diffusers Spritz Perfume on Business Travelers

Advertising is usually about sights and sounds, visual and aural stimulation.

This campaign adds a different sensory appeal to the marketing palette, smell.

In many other respects it's a pretty standard piece of media activity: A perfume brand buys posters at an airport in the duty-free section -- hit all those high-flyers close to the point of sale as they await their transport home -- together with some generic creative, a handsome male gets his neck sniffed by a glamorous girl. Oh and someone has also taken a picture of the bottle.

However, as with many Cream case studies, it's the twist in the tale that sets this activity apart from the crowd.

That's because fitted inside eightof the 17 panels at Orly Sud and Roissy 2 in Paris are perfume diffusers to ensure that potential consumers not only see the brand's advertising but also experience the new Silver Black fragrance. .

The activity ran for a month in the two airports as part of a launch campaign for the Azzaro brand with the diffusion technology in the poster site spreading the fragrance up to 15 feet in all directions. EDITOR'S NOTE: THAT'S FAIRLY AGRESSIVE SPRAYING. STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO THE POSTER COULD PUT YOU INTO A SCENT-INDUCED COMA!

Thus not only did the perfume house hit the much-desired business traveler in the run-up to Christmas, but it also enabled consumers to sample the product without them having to rip open all those tedious scent strips in glossy magazines.

And they didn't even have to opt in.

JC Decaux Airport claims a media-first for the diffuser/poster display system. ~ ~ ~


Clear Channel Eyes One-Second Radio Spots
'Blinks' Format Explores New Radio Ad Strategies

By Willow Duttge

Clear Channel is discussing the idea of one-second radio spots with marketers and media buyers.


Blinks are one-second commercials.


The real value of the Blinks, as they are being called, may be in the publicity they can generate.

After all, you're already reading an article about them, and the short spots are only in the concept stage. The radio giant, however, says it didn't think up Blinks as a promotional stunt.

"It really is to find new uses of radio for advertisers who are continually asking us to demonstrate that our medium can successfully extend brands, can successfully reach the consumer with touchpoints that are new and surprising" said Jim Cook, senior VP-creative for Clear Channel Radio.

Audio mnemonics

The Blinks could be used in a number of ways. Clear Channel's Creative Services Group crafted a demonstration spot using the McDonald's jingle, minus the "I'm lovin' it" language, and placed it between one hip-hop song and another. The group also created a Blink for BMW's Mini Cooper with a horn honking and man's voice saying "Mini," and placed it before miniaturized news reports. (Neither marketer has a deal with Clear Channel for Blinks.) Other audio mnemonics that could use Blinks are the Intel chime and the NBC bells.

Jim Gaither, director-broadcast at Richards Group, has been in conversation with Clear Channel about three-second spots. "It's not building a brand; it's refreshing a brand," EDITOR'S NOTE: IT'S ABOUT DRIVING THE RADIO LISTENER ,SCREAMING AND WAVING MONEY, INTO THE OPEN ARMS OF THE SATELLITE RADIO PEOPLE. he said, adding: "You can't use a one-second campaign for something that generally has not been advertised before."

Frequency needed

You also need frequency, because if you just hear a sound and nothing else, the message is going to have to be driven into the consumer, Mr. Gaither said. It's also best suited to a marketer's core customer, because those are the people for whom the Blink will have the most impact, he said.

Mr. Gaither said he doesn't think he has a marketer at the moment that perfectly fits the bill. But would marketers want to be so brief?

Andrew Goldstein, instructor of a broadcast-media-writing course at the Miami Ad School and a copywriter at Zimmerman Advertising, isn't convinced national advertisers would want a sound effect thrown into the programming.

"You're not going to know it's connected to the brand, and it's going to lose its value," he said. Lauren Russo, managing director-local radio at Horizon Media, said, "I can't see any advertiser, any agency paying for a spot that's one second." If Clear Channel came to her to buy the ads, she wouldn't be interested. "If they want to throw it in at no charge, I don't think we would say no," she said, but, "I just don't see how you can communicate anything in that little time period." EDITOR'S NOTE: FOR ESTABLISHED BRANDS, WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE THAN THE NAME? OVER AND OVER AND OVER. BUT FOR THE LISTENER, IT'S ADDED CLUTTER, AND COMMERCIAL RADIO IS JUST ABOUT UNLISTENABLE TO AS IT IS, WHAT WITH THE SPOT LOAD IT CURRENTLY CARRIES.

Clear Channel said it hasn't decided on pricing and package information, but Mr. Gaither estimates that the time may be sold at a 200% to 300% increase on what one-thirtieth of a 30-second spot might cost.

Hard to verify

And when it comes to verifying that the spot ran, there could be a problem. TNS Media Intelligence can track broadcast spots that are five-seconds or more in length, with the possibility of tracking three-second spots with some development, said Richard Radzik, VP-broadcast verification services at TNS Media Intelligence.

In the late 1990s, Cramer-Krasselt, a Chicago-based independent ad agency, did a one-second TV spot for Master Lock in which a padlock is shot with a bullet in front of a bull's-eye. The image of a high-powered rifle shooting through a Master Lock padlock had been on the Super Bowl for many years and was an icon before the one-second spot aired. The media buy was small, as most major networks weren't equipped to handle a one-second ad, but the PR and publicity were worth millions of dollars, said John Melamed, exec VP at Cramer-Krasselt. The big PR boon, however, may be for Clear Channel.EDITOR'S NOTE: A RADIO CORP'S DREAM COME TRUE: 200-300% MARK-UP ON A TRADITIONAL :30-SECOND SPOT, AND NO WAY TO PROVE THEY DIDN'T RUN.

"This is a way for Clear Channel to get more news," Mr. Gaither said. "I don't think you're going to see any kind of mass exodus from traditional 30- and 60-second radio advertising to people doing one-second spots. You're going to get a dozen people that it makes a lot of sense for ... and we'll call it a day, and Clear Channel will be the ones that were out there doing it first." EDITOR'S NOTE: OH. SO CYNICAL. AND HERE I THOUGHT CLEAR CHANNEL LOVED US AND JUST WANTED WHAT WAS BEST FOR US.


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