Posted by Abe Sauer on October 31, 2011 12:00 PM
Puss in Boots is the latest animated children's film to completely eschew in-film product placements. For Puss, this is especially noteworthy as the character is an extension of the Shrek franchise, a movie series loaded with references to Dairy Queen, Starbucks, Old Navy and other brands. That Puss in Boots is a DreamWorks project also confirms our observation that the studio has moved away from product placement in its animated films. Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 29, 2011 06:00 PM
The capitalization on 1980s nostalgia has no equal this year like the live-action version of The Smurfs.
But the original world of the Smurfs was a fantastical land free of consumer concerns. (In fact, conspiracy theorists have suggested its commune focus is nearly Communist, or worse.) So, what better way to inject a little green in all that blue than bring the gang to New York City?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 12, 2011 11:30 AM
You know those funny-looking graphic squares — the ones that appear to be a cross between a bar code and a complicated maze? Those ubiquitous QR codes (short for Quick Response) are popping up just about everywhere these days — on print and television ads, on outdoor billboards, in store windows, and on product packaging.
The appeal is simple: QR codes can embed text, URLs and other data that can be decoded by a camera phone with the appropriate software. Basically, when consumers point an enabled phone at a QR code, they get taken to a special offer, a promotional website, or some other relevant information.
While QR code usage is widespread in Japan, where it was invented, the concept is still gaining traction in the US. But as smartphones proliferate, product marketers like the 99-year old Sun-Maid brand are leveraging the new technology in the hopes of gaining a competitive edge.Continue reading...
license to thrill
Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 28, 2011 01:00 PM
Credit Disney with the first large-scale branding of imaginary characters. The house that Walt built is one of the great branding and licensing machines on the planet, and serves up characters galore as a regular part of its marketing menu.
Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Snow White, Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" and other figments of the imagination are not just characters but perennial revenue producers through merchandise sales and "appearances" at Disneyland, Disney World, and Disney Resorts. They also don't grow up and wind up in the tabloids.
That's why other character rights-holders are following suit, including DreamWorks — which makes perfect sense as it's run by former Disney animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg.Continue reading...
Posted by Caroline Smith on November 15, 2010 04:00 PM
The majority of retailers seem to jump right from Halloween to Christmas with nothing more than a mere nod towards Thanksgiving and a few glittery gourds in the window display. Based purely on the gathering together of family, it is a holiday which does not require much decoration, dressing up or gift-giving.
But this is America, and we cannot let that slide!
Luckily, Macy’s saves the day on Nov. 25 with its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, chock full of tethered (and untethered) commercialism. After all, the retail giant has a Black Friday sale the day after to promote — and holiday shoppers to excite, of course.
Cue its child-oriented marketing machine, including the extended commercial that is Yes, Virginia — its animated special airing on CBS on Dec. 17.Continue reading...
brand of crazy
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 23, 2010 02:30 PM
McDonald's happy meals are making news. No, not because Ronald McDonald is evil. No, not for the massive recall the Golden Arches ordered for its tainted Shrek glasses (a taint that has opened a debate on just how bad the glasses actually are). Instead, the fast food brand is being threatened with a lawsuit accusing its children's meals of contributing to childhood obesity.
The logical leap? The toys given away with the meals are evil lures, drawing parents to bring their screaming children with no choice but to gorge themselves with terrible, evil fast food which, of course, leads to obesity.
Or as the LA Times reports: "Citing toys aimed at promoting the latest Shrek movie, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the plastic promotions lure children into McDonald's restaurants where they are then likely to order food that is too high in calories, fat and salt."
CSPI's litigation director draws an analogy that McDonald's toys are little more than pedopholic bait: "McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children."
Never mind parental free choice, let alone McDonald's efforts to make its Happy Meals more nutritious or its right to market.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 7, 2010 11:00 AM
Summer is a time for ice cream, and Baskin-Robbins is wasting no time scooping the market.
The world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops is launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign in the U.S. featuring animated characters. The first ad, above, promotes its June flavor of the month, Baseball Nut, and introduces the character Humphrey Hound. Four additional animated commercials will run through the end of the year.
Baskin-Robbins keeps a high profile. It has managed to score product placements in movies including Sex and the City and Shrek 2, as well as television shows like The Sopranos and The O.C.
Across the pond, the ice cream maker is going head-to-head in the U.K. with such premium ice creams as Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs by bringing four premium ice cream flavors to Morrisons, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains.Continue reading...