Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the Dieline, via Not Cot:

"Starting today, everyone can have a taste of the LA lifestyle as the world's most iconic vodka introduces ABSOLUT LOS ANGELES, a limited-edition, city-inspired flavor honoring the City of Angels. Celebrating the city's trend-forward ideals, the bold, new flavor is made with an all-natural symphony of blueberry, acai berry, acerola cherry, and fruity notes of pomegranate. ABSOLUT LOS ANGELES will be available beginning in July at bars, restaurants, nightclubs and retailers nationwide.

"Through our 'In An ABSOLUT World' campaign, we challenge consumers to imagine their own ideal, and Los Angeles is one of the most idealistic places on earth," said Tim Murphy, Vice President of Marketing, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. "For this city-inspired flavor, we wanted to capture the opportunity that LA represents to so many - reaching for the stars and recognizing their dreams. ABSOLUT LOS ANGELES will evoke an inimitable new 'taste' that honors all the attributes that makes the City of Angels so exclusive and awe-inspiring - from the stunning packaging to the unique flavor profile, all wrapped inside the iconic ABSOLUT bottle."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thanks to Nigel for this!

From Luxist:

"Delamain Le Voyage Cognac, the latest addition to the Delamain portfolio, recently picked up a new honor, being awarded "Best of the Best" 2008 Spirit by Anthony Dias Blue for Robb Report. Le Voyage is a blend of Grande Champagne cognacs from the Delamain cellars. It has aromas leather, tobacco, coffee and spice with the rich tastes of the grapes from the hillsides of the Grande Champagne region, aged for many years in the Delamain cellars. The cognac is housed in a Baccarat crystal decanter inside a dovetail leather traveling box. Le Voyage sells for $7,000."

Image from Stephen Witherden under Creative Commons

From Luxist:

"Anyone who has walked along the Hollywood Walk of Fame lately knows that certain stars have definitely seen better days. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has taken a new approach to raising funds to restore the Walk. They have created the Friends of the Walk of Fame initiative to restore the Walk of Fame before its 50th anniversary in two years and they've hooked their first big sponsor, Absolut Vodka.

Sponsors won't get an official star but according to the press release "sizable donations from corporate supporters will be acknowledged with a Friend of the Walk of Fame honorary star" which is described as a "new terrazzo piece that will be placed in the sidewalk, on private property, adjacent to the Walk of Fame." The Chamber presented Absolut with the first honorary star which will be located near the entrance to the Kodak Theatre, part of Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard.

Certainly corporate sponsors are a familiar sight on baseball fields and other public landmarks but the LA Times reports that the news of Absolut's pseudo star isn't sitting well with everyone. Some see it as an affront to the tradition of honoring Los Angeles luminaries with their own piece of sidewalk space.

Absolut is also launching a new flavor, Absolut LA, a mix of "blueberry, acai berry, acerola cherry, and fruity notes of pomegranate" which will be available this month."

This follows last year's exciting launch of Absolut New Orleans - the marketing of which was far better than its slightly weird taste!

I wonder what city will come next after LA... maybe they will do a competition where you can submit your ideas for what your favourite city tastes like. e.g. London: the smell of rain on hot tarmac, or Birmingham: the taste of vindaloo.

I am sure we will see plenty more activity around this. The PR has only just begun.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

According to Faris, Carling's iPint / iBeer is the most downloaded free application for the new iPhone.

Very simple and a great talking point!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the Moodie Report:

"The makers of The Famous Grouse have unveiled the first Scotch whisky specially created to be served chilled straight from the freezer. The Snow Grouse will be made exclusively available to international travel retailers for the first six months and distributed through Maxxium Global Travel Retail.

The new addition to The Famous Grouse portfolio is aimed at consumers seeking something new and different.

The Snow Grouse, which carries a recommended duty free retail price of €19.99, represents one of two innovative additions to the range in the past 12 months. The Black Grouse, with its dark, sweet and gently smoky characteristics, was launched in October 2007.

Made from grain spirit and matured in oak casks before being gently chill filtered, the light and vanilla-sweet Snow Grouse whisky has a smooth taste. With a "sweet gloopy mouth-feel, it has a cool taste sensation when served seriously chilled", Maxxium said.

In keeping with The Famous Grouse portfolio, the new whisky is aptly named after another Scottish game bird - the snow grouse or ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus). Living in the highest mountains of the Highlands of Scotland, the snow grouse has been described as “the toughest bird in Britain”. In the summer the snow grouse has a mottled brown plumage, while in winter it takes on an extra layer of white feathers for warmth – becoming completely white – to help it survive in the frozen, snow-covered conditions."

All seems a bit strange to me.

We found an awesome book about cooking with agave nectar on Slashfood and have decided to cook a different recipe each month from it.

The book is called Baking with Agave Nectar and can be bought from Amazon.

Jenny bought the book so had the honour of cooking the first dish from the, now cherished, agave cooking book.

Rather than waffling on, I am just going to let the pictures do the talking...

Sauza agave and blueberry pie

Blueberry pie close up

Slice of Blueberry pie

Ed odd look

Thats it give it a sniff

Slosh on the cream

On a plate

Ed inpressed

Jenny's blueberry pie made with agave nectar was stunningly good. The rest of us have got our work cut out to top Jenny's opening gambit. Another fresh and unexpected use of agave from the Beam team. We are so passionate about our brands we even have brand themed cooking competitions at work!

Who's next guys?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Check out this cool invite for an exclusive screening of a classic film in asscociation with Smirnoff Black, very clever link with the Brand and venue. This sort of event could work really well for Sauza...

Join us at 8 o' clock this Wednesday night, 9 July

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in

Kick off with a classic Smirnoff Black® cocktail and delicious canapés, then sit back and relax in Bluebird's special screening roomTickets £20 per personincluding cocktail and canapés(£5 per person without refreshments)

Enjoy a pre- or post-screening meal in Bluebird Restaurant.Telephone 020 7559 1000 to book a movie or make a restaurant reservation

350 King's Road, London SW3 5UU

A DISTINCTIVELY SMOOTH VODKAMade in the EU. The Smirnoff and Smirnoff Black No. 55 words and associated logos are Trade Marks © The Smirnoff Co. 2008

Check out this fantastic piece of experential marketing from Haagen-Dazs.

Source: Contagious Newsletter
It appears to be experiential week here at Contagious, and in the brief bursts of sunshine punctuating the torrential rain we’ve been out and about investigating how different brands are bringing themselves to life in the real world. First up is Haagen-Dazs’s delightful ‘Sets and the City’ project, which brought a specially created tennis court, a giant screen showing all of the action from the Wimbledon tennis championships, some comfy beanbags, a team of beauticians, some free champagne and lots of limited edition Raspberries and Meringue ice cream to the city of London’s Broadgate Market. When Contagious had recovered from the sugar high induced by scoffing three tubs of the stuff down in as many minutes, we caught up with Abigail Marr, brand manager at Haagen-Dazs, and Gemma Newland, MD of Stream\ who masterminded the event, to get the low down.
Contagious: How does this initiative go beyond mere sampling, and who are you targeting?
Abigail: Sets and the City was all about creating an entertaining experience around the Haagen-Dazs brand. An experience that not only resonated with our consumers but also left them with a great, lasting impression. Haagen-Dazs is known to its advocates as the iconic, indulgent treat and what could be more indulgent than eating the new Limited Edition flavour whilst watching this year’s Wimbledon with a glass of champagne and a complimentary manicure?
Are you pleased with the results?
Such brand experience initiatives allow us to hold a conversation with our consumer that is a lot more relevant and progressive than relying purely on more traditional, one-way channels. It gives us a chance to talk to the consumer about our new news and allows us to listen and understand their take on the brand… and the overwhelming news from Sets and the City was that the new limited edition is the perfect way to indulge this summer. Over 25,000 samples are the tangible testimony but I only had to step into the arena to hear the moans of delight!
From a brand-building perspective, what do you think the benefit is to a client like Haagen-Dazs?
Gemma: For a brand like Haagen-Dazs which is a pleasure product, something you indulge in and treat yourself with, experiential makes complete sense because it’s a way of giving more pleasure to the consumer. If we create an experience for them that they enjoy, want to talk about, share with their friends and will keep as a great memory – what better way to market a product? Good experiential activity turns consumers into brand advocates. As of last week the numbers suggest that over 25,000 people experienced the event. On the basis that in general you tell around 7 people if you have had a great time, that’s 150,000 brand advocates in one week - before we start analysing the impact of the PR, digital activity and above the line press support.
At Stream we believe that if a brand is partnering with a pre existing property like Haagen-Dazs and Wimbledon then the presence of the brand should make the experience a better one for the consumer. It should enhance it, or it shouldn’t be there. So Sets in the City was about giving city workers a better way to watch Wimbledon, a truly pleasurable experience that also allowed us to sample the new flavor in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blogger Relief Pack

A week or so ago I entered the Berocca blogger relief competition and somehow sneaked through and won. They sent me a blogger relief pack which is full of things to clutter up my desk a bit more. All of it themed around stress busting...

Here's the blurb from their site:

"Blogging can be stressful. We live in a world where millions of people
read and demand new content from websites every day.

The Blogger Relief Pack comes to the rescue of those tired minds. Be part of the Blogger Relief campaign to rescue those we rely on to feed our insatiable hunger for the weird wide web.

If you’ve got a blog, fill in your details and you could receive a Blogger Relief Pack from Berocca. Keep on blogging and we’ll feature some of the best blogs we see on this page in the coming weeks."

So in my pack I got:

A tube of Berocca and a branded glass


A stress pen holder

Stress Pen Holder

A stress relief button that triggers an explosion on my computer screen

Stress button


In addition to this was a stress ball that has been causing chaos and a device that makes the sound of popping bubble wrap. Odd. But fun.

It's a great idea and has introduced me to Berocca. Having never tried it before this programme has transformed me into a bit of a brand fan... I've already written about Berocca three times now. Not to mention I have now got Berocca related goodies strewn around my desk.

Importantly, I opted in to this promotion and have been given the chance to opt out. This fits in very well with Seth Godin's marketing principles. I wonder if similar schemes could work for our brands?

Monday, July 07, 2008

So what is the best thing since sliced bread? Click the link below - the debate rages on the 80th anniversary of sliced bread. Contenders anything from the box of wine, to spray on skin - you decide!,,5017303,00.html

Source: The Times online

Friday, July 04, 2008

A while ago Fotorama very kindly invited us all to a private screening of Indiana Jones. They are a fixed fee promotions agency who have handled some of our projects in the past.

They didn't hold back and the whole event from invitations through to the screening itself was fantastic. We even had follow up goodie bags!

Here's a quick snapshot of the Inidana Jones kit that Ed was sent as one of the team leaders...

We all just wanted to say thank you to Fotorama for such an awesome evening.

From Coolhunting:

"Independence Day extravaganzas, election hoopla and Olympic action—'tis the season for Americana and celebration. Joining designers from Milan to Middle America who are touting the red, white and blue as the aesthetic of the moment on and off the runway, Pommery's Pop America Champagne in pint-size packaging makes for a perfect pour and party favor.

Designed with stars streaming across a blue background and red and white stripes leading up to the silver bottleneck, the bottle design (as well as the more candy-apple sweet, less traditional brut taste) is an all-American concept through and through. While it may seem quixotic to appeal to American sentiment, long before the Statue of Liberty, Americans drank the French beverage of celebration. Reportedly, George Washington ordered six baskets of champagne for import during his presidency.

For seasons spent abroad in the French countryside, a visit to Pommery estates is recommended. Beyond the usual vineyards, the fifth annual Pommery Experience showcases L’Art En Contemporain Europe, an exhibition designed to reflect the emerging identity of a changing Europe. The artists created much of the work after they visited the picturesque grounds Domaine Pommery.

Pop America is available at Sherry-Lehmann starting at $15 per mini bottle."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

From Springwise:

"Deciding when and where to go out on a Friday night just got easier for San Francisco consumers with a new, mobile map application that automatically shows where the hotspots are.

Sense Networks' CitySense, which just entered alpha, gives users a real-time view of how busy the city is as well as where the busiest places currently are. There's no need to sign up--users simply download the free application onto their Blackberry (iPhone support is coming soon) and view a "heat" map of activity throughout the area, linking to Yelp or Google to zero in for more information about the hotspots. A billion points of GPS and wifi positioning data from the last few years complement the real-time feeds underpinning the technology, which operates on Sense Networks' Macrosense platform. (Macrosense, which is designed for analyzing massive amounts of aggregate, anonymous location data in real-time, is already being used in the business world for selecting store locations and understanding retail demand, for example.) Focusing on nightlife, the next version of CitySense will be able to tell users not just where the activity is, but where people like them are concentrated. By tracking and comparing users' history and preferences, it will be able to show them where they're most likely to find people with similar tastes at any given moment. As a result, each person's nightlife map will look a little different, and will display a unique top hotspot list. (The personalized feature is optional, however, and any such data can be deleted at any time, the company promises.)

Privacy issues aside, it seems safe to say that this is just the beginning of the mashups made possible by GPS-enabled cellphones. How long before this comes to other cities—and gets ad support?"

It's an evolution of the idea that people only vaguely plan nights out. Gone are the days of organising venues and timings and sticking to them. Socialising is much more flexible now.

In the spirit of Carharrt's brand they have taken the opportunity of having some fun demolishing their old site. Great example of brand behaviour even if the execution isn't mind blowing. Neat idea.

This is the extract from Three Minds where I found it:

"Apparently the Carhartt website has undergone a redesign and they are enlisting their users to help destroy the old site. The implementation of this could have been a little stronger, with more tools to use, but I like the concept of having some fun with the old website to introduce the new one. Once you destroy the old homepage, you get to see the new one."

Next time we update a site, or tear one down and start again this is worth keeping in mind.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

From Three Minds:

"A little-noticed story from Anheuser-Busch last week given the focus on the presumptive InBev takeover: last week A-B announced that it will stop selling alcoholic energy drinks.

Relenting to pressure from anti-underage drinking activists and state attorneys general, they are pulling the plug on the tiny Bud Extra and Tilt brands (shortly after I got married, I used to see this ad every day on my commute). Several brewers are accused of designing and marketing "alcopops" specifically for the under-21 market, and ultimately it seems A-B has decided that the controversy was not worth the minimal gains.

While it will have little effect on A-B's business, it's a big deal for category leader Miller and their Sparks brand. I've tried Sparks and last year I reviewed, which seemed to give an insight into their product strategy:

"Navigating the site definitely feels like stepping into the mind of a teenage boy - air guitar contests, skateboards, doodles - but in a bold move, no shots of attractive girls. Is it specifically targeted at underage drinkers?"

If the Center for Science in the Public Interest and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's case against SAB Miller goes forward, we will soon have our answer."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

From Londonist:

"As of today, giant cinema-style screens have been installed opposite platforms at Piccadilly Circus, Euston, Bank, Liverpool Street and Bond Street stations to bombard you with cutting-edge advertising intended to 'enhance' your journey.

The system, called XTP, is centrally controlled so that advertising folk can decide what you need to see at different times of the day: commute to work with Sky News, get out to lunch with the trailer for Kung-Fu Panda and go home to Sky Movies or Nestle. Clever.

Disingenously, the Marketing Director for CBS Outdoor claims that:

The launch of XTP is about entertaining the three and half million passengers using the Tube each day.

Um. No. It's about pushing advertising in the faces of a captive audience. One that can quite capably choose to zone out the tube poster ads or use them as reading material on the way home but one that would probably prefer to escape from flashing images on a digital screen for half an hour or so each day.

At least they're silent. We're thankful for small mercies."

This certainly isn't opt in. Flashy and innovative it might well be. But a good thing for commuters? Unlikely.


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