Daily Buzz 4-25-11

NBC Expands ‘Loser’ Menu

  • You’d think one product line of The Biggest Loser-themed health bars and shakes would suffice. NBC and Walgreens, it seems, would beg to differ.
  • Like the smart marketers they are, NBC has licensed protein bars and powders emblazoned with the hit show’s title. Now the second helping of branded snacks for the diet conscious is set to hit the shelves of the national drugstore giant April 29.
  • Merchandise marketer Joy Tashjian, who helped broker the Walgreens deal, “It’s important to lose the weight, but it’s more important to live a healthy lifestyle.” National ads roll out soon after the launch, with TV spots airing in May and print continuing through the end of the year.
  • Tashjian says the forthcoming products use natural ingredients, but said she couldn’t make a list available ahead of their release. “If you’re looking for chocolate coating or anything like that, you’re not going to get it,” she said. (www.adweek.com)

Will NHL Win Make Ebersol Lord of the Rings?

  • A day after a newspaper reported that Dick Ebersol was on thin ice with his new bosses, the TV sports veteran scored a hat trick, securing a new deal with the National Hockey League that promises to give NBCUniversal more leverage as it prepares its Olympics bid.
  • Marking Ebersol’s first major sports rights deal since the consummation of the Comcast-NBCU marriage, the 10-year, $2 billion NHL pact can be seen as a dry run for the network’s quest to land the rights for the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer Games in Sochi, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro, respectively.
  • Gary Bettman has said the benefits of global brand exposure don’t offset the revenue losses associated with the 15-day NHL shutdown necessitated when its players participate in the games’ hockey tournament. With the new rights deal in hand, Bettman is likely to change his tune. Already chummy with the International Olympic Committee, anything Ebersol can do to persuade Bettman to join the party in Sochi can only bolster his standing with Lausanne.
  • That influence is considerable. Before the 2008 Beijing Games, Ebersol convinced the IOC to shuffle the men’s swimming schedules, ensuring that Michael Phelps’ heroics would be shown live in prime time on the East Coast. Eight gold medals later, NBC’s ratings were stratospheric. (www.adweek.com)

Brown-Forman’s El Jimador Tequila to Sponsor Soccer

  • Brown-Forman Corp. signed a four-year deal making its El Jimador tequila a major sponsor for U.S. soccer.
  • Under the deal, the tequila will sponsor Major League Soccer, the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams and the annual U.S. tour of the Mexican national soccer team.
  • Financial details weren’t disclosed but it marks the spirits company’s largest marketing investment in its tequila brands since it bought the Casa Herradura Tequila range of brands in 2007. (www.wsj.com)

 In-Store Sales Begin at Home

  • A 2010 campaign for Procter & Gamble Co.’s new CoverGirl “Smoky Eye Look” makeup kit illustrates the more complex route marketers are taking.
  • To drum up hype for the product launch online, P&G, with Saatchi X, shipped the packs of mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow to makeup bloggers before they were available in stores. The “Makeup Master” kit also included application instructions, blogging tips, product photographs and a CoverGirl-emblazoned director’s chair.
  • In the weeks leading up to this year’s Super Bowl, Saatchi X created a campaign to promote PepsiCo Inc.’s Pepsi beverages and Frito-Lay foods at Walgreen Co. stores. Customers received weekly co-branded emails containing Pepsi and Frito-Lay promotions and Walgreens’ coupons. Facebook promotions, online ads and text messages also directed shoppers to the deals, while inside Walgreens stores Pepsi and Frito-Lay products used displays, fliers and in-store radio to tout the specials, too. (www.wsj.com)

The Travel Channel Invests $7.5 Million in Oyster.com

  • The Travel Channel may inspire a viewer to book a weekend on Martha’s Vineyard or a getaway to Monaco. But when that trip is taken, the transaction fees wind up in some other pocket.
  • Now the channel, owned by Scripps Networks, is taking its first step toward changing that, “closing that last mile,” in the words of Laureen Ong, its president.
  • In a deal to be announced on Monday, the Travel Channel has invested $7.5 million in Oyster.com, a start-up that employs professionals to review hotels and takes a cut of all the room reservations it helps to make. It will promote Oyster on television and online, and may incorporate the Web site’s reviewers into future programs.
  • “If we’re going to inspire you, by all means you should be able to get it all done on our site. That’s on our horizon,” Ms. Ong said in an interview last week. (www.nytimes.com)

Ads Suggest Allergy Relief at the Pump

  • If you have a sore throat and runny nose because of allergies, chances are you do not want to spend a lot of time beside a gas pump. But if you find yourself there, a new digital advertising campaign for Halls aims to convince you — with the aid of real-time forecasts — that you should buy its cough drops.
  • Part of the Halls campaign will include using video screens at gas station pumps, where consumers will see an ad for cough drops followed by the day’s pollen count.
  • Lori Mazuro, the senior associate brand manager for Halls, says the company is hoping that consumers who see the ad will want to buy the cough drops at a nearby convenience store. The campaign will focus on cherry, honey-lemon and Mentho-Lyptus flavored cough drops. “We want to solidify our positioning within the allergy space,” she said.
  • Halls worked with Outcast Media, which has PumpTop TV screens at gas stations in cities around the country, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Austin, Tex. The screens are connected to a network that will take pollen count information from AccuWeather.com. (www.nytimes.com)

AutoTrader Journeys Into Heart & Mind In New Campaign

  • Automotive commerce site AutoTrader.com launches a campaign Monday for its new-vehicle channel. A TV spot evolves the site’s “Heart & Mind” campaign by combining elements of the original two ads introduced last year.
  • The effort combines elements from that campaign, which was comprised of two TV spots: one showing cars racing through a guy’s cardiovascular system (”heart”), decreasing in number as the shopper winnows his choices (finally settling on a Chevy Traverse); and a second showing cars racing along a shopper’s neurons (”mind”), as he makes rational choices.
  • The new ad shows vehicles racing along both the shopper’s arteries and cerebral synapses, flashing into non-existence as he narrows his choices to the vehicle he wants. The company says the idea is that shopping for a vehicle involves both the heart and mind, and AutoTrader is the place where the two meet.
  • The spot will appear on NBA Playoff telecasts, plus networks like HGTV, USA, Lifetime, Adult Swim and History. The effort includes original programming and a spotlight called “DVD on FX” about the site’s new car shopping process. (www.mediapost.com)

Whole Foods Kicks Off New Ranking For Cleaners

  • Claiming widespread consumer confusion — even among its green-elite shoppers — Whole Foods Markets says it is introducing Eco-Scale Rating System, a tiered standard for household cleaners that will make it easier for customers to understand which products are best for the environment.
  • The Austin, Tex.-based retailer, which says it is the first national retailer to launch such a ranking for cleaners, is assigning a color ranking of green, yellow, orange and red to products it evaluates. In order to be sold at Whole Foods, a product must at least rate an orange. Red-rated products will no longer be sold there. In addition to ranking its own private-label brands, it is also evaluating such brands as Method, Better for Life, Ecover, and Greenshield. So far, 34 products have been rated. (www.mediapost.com)
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