Yearly Archives: 2009

Video of the Week: The Art of Storytelling


Canal Plus, a French TV network much like HBO and Showtime, has launched a new advertisement that showcases the art of storytelling…





This advertisement is a great way of showing viewers how captivating their content is rather than just telling them.

I don’t know about you, but I was certainly convinced. I actually had to watch the video twice before I noticed that there were clothes hanging in the wardrobe…

“Never underestimate the power of a great story…”



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TWEED Flashback


This week’s Flashback shows that Branded Entertainment is catching on like swine flu, you can write a rock opera about nearly anything in the world, and Barbie can have a friend named Janessa:

Highlights from this week’s edition:

Publicis Worldwide Launches Branded-Entertainment Division, AdAge, 10.05.09
The Milk-Focused Rock Opera You’ve Been Waiting For, Creativity Online, 10.06.09
Mattel Introduces Black Barbies, to Mixed Reviews, Associated Press, 10.08.09


Great minds think alike, right? TWEED Flashback is helping minds connect by scouring the web once-a-week for any and all relevant entertainment, branded content and industry stories. Get a heads up and stay in the know with TWEED Flashback.


Publicis Worldwide Launches Branded-Entertainment Division, AdAge, 10.05.09
Publicis Worldwide is launching a branded-entertainment division called Publicis Entertainment, with which focus on connecting marketers with TV, film, and gaming properties. The first Publicis Entertainment office will open in London.

The Milk-Focused Rock Opera You’ve Been Waiting For, Creativity Online, 10.06.09
The latest integrated campaign for the California Milk Processor Board is a 20-minute online rock opera entitled “Battle for Milkquarious.”

Biore reveals “Dirty Little Secret” in Branded Content Initiative,, 10.06.09
Biore has released a series of audio drama via iTunes, which will follow the fortunes of a girl sharing her beauty secrets.


Soon, Bloggers Must Give Full Disclosure, New York Times, 10.05.09
On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission said it would revise rules about endorsements and testimonials requiring bloggers who review products to disclose any connections with advertisers.

Forecasters Again Predict a Less-Grim Holiday Sales Slump, AdAge, 10.06.09
It might not be as terrible as last year, but analysts are saying the coming holiday season might not give too many retailers much to celebrate.

YouTube Eases the Way to More Revenue, New York Times, 10.06.09
Some media companies are no longer fighting unauthorized clips on YouTube, instead letting YouTube sell advertising when people watch and claiming half of the revenue.

Publishers Like Time Inc.’s “Hulu for Magazines” Pitch. What Will Apple and Amazon Say?, All Things Digital, 10.02.09
Time Inc. is looking to partner with other magazine titans to create an online “Hulu for Magazines,” which would make magazines available for download to e-readers.

Google Lures Local Advertisers by Subverting Its Own Search Policies, AdAge, 10.07.09
Google is hoping to attract more local advertisers by offering search ads for a flat fee. This is a drastic break for a company that has traditionally valued keyword auctions.

Coke Didn’t Make America Fat, Wall Street Journal, 10.07.09
The CEO of Coca Cola Muhtar Kent wrote an Op-ed for the WSJ railing against proposed “fat taxes” on food and beverages high in calories. According to Kent, the solution to American’s bulging waistlines is increased exercise, not increased taxes.

Yahoo! to Promote Home Page Apps During Open Hack Day, PC World, 10.09.09
On Friday and Saturday, Yahoo will promote “Open Hack Day” at a conference in New York City. The company will open all its online services, sites, and applications to third party developers in hopes that they will build thousands of programs to be used by Yahoo users.


Gourmet Magazine Closes after 70 Years,, 10.05.09
Following a months-long McKinsey review, Conde Nast shuttered several magazines including Gourmet, Cookie, Elegant Bride, and Modern Bride.

Monday Night Football- Cable’s All-Time Biggest Audience and ESPN’s Highest Rating Ever, TV by the Numbers, 10.06.09
Monday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers- the first game Brett Favre has played against his former team- delivered the biggest audience in the history of cable television.

Amazon Cuts Kindle Price, Adds Global Version, Associated Press, 10.07.09
On Wednesday, Amazon dropped the price of its Kindle by $40 to $259, and announced it will launch an international version of the e-reader.

Mattel Introduces Black Barbies, to Mixed Reviews, Associated Press, 10.08.09
Mattel has launched a new line of black Barbie dolls with fuller lips, a wider nose, and more pronounced cheekbones. The new dolls are called the “So In Style” line, and are named Grace, Kara, Trichelle, Courtney, Janessa, and Kianna.


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Product Placement Flops in “The Invention of Lying”

I had the great misfortune this weekend of sitting through Ricky Gervais’s newest film The Invention of Lying. And perhaps even worse, I was the one encouraging my friends to choose this flick over any of the others at the theater.



“Come ooonnn,” I pleaded, “It’s the guy from The Office going around lying to people. Like saying they’re beautiful when they’re ugly. That sounds like a great, rich, and sustainable premise if ever I heard one!” I also highlighted how attractive his British accent would be, you know, for the sake of the ladies.

Well, as it turns out, not only was this movie an hour and a half of the same joke on replay, but it was also a lesson on how to do product integration in all the wrong ways. To be fair, at the outset, it seemed like the writers were really trying: several products were weaved seamlessly- and cleverly- into the fictional no-one-can-lie world. A bus ad for Coke features the very funny tagline “It is very famous,” and a similar ad for Pepsi reads, “When they don’t have Coke.” True enough, though one has to wonder how Pepsi felt about it.

After the 20-minute mark, the plot- and the product placement along with it- start to get sloppy. Suddenly Gervais’s character is constantly swigging from Budweiser bottles, the labels painfully turned just-so toward the camera, as if yelling, “Look, we paid for this!” Probably the most cringe-worthy moment is when Gervais needs something to write on and, instead of opting for the readily available large sheets of paper at his desk, goes straight for two Pizza Hut boxes, the logo-ed backs of which the audience ends up staring at for about 10 minutes. Oy.

The true mark of integration failure is when audience members walk away feeling insulted. David Ogilvy was fond of saying, “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.” Though I admittedly wonder what Ogilvy would say if I told him my wife was a moron, the real point is this: by talking down to the consumer, you are killing sales- the very opposite of what advertising is about.

If I told you I’d be drinking a Budweiser or eating at Pizza Hut anytime soon, I would be lying for sure.



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Bing integrations on Rachel Zoe are BA-NA-NAHS (Is that a good thing?)

Not all product integrations are created equal. Some blend into program storylines, enhancing both brand and show (while delivering a message that has entertainment value and resonates with the audience). Others—albeit with the best of intentions—are simply inauthentic, and thus fall flat when executed…



Rachel Zoe should stick to fashion. I won’t deny she’s good at it, flawlessly styling A-List stars from Demi Moore to Cameron Diaz. Guest editor for online shoe shop Piperlime? Perfect. Ability to put on a show for integrations during her Bravo reality series, The Rachel Zoe Project? Not so much.

From what I can tell (gauging from the episode I watched), Rachel Zoe is excited by: meeting Giorgio Armani, trying on huge “Kazakstan style hats” at Diane Von Furstenberg’s NYC studio, and 20 minute shopping sprees at vintage clothing stores (“OMG it’s a vintage purple Chloe chiffon [from] when Karl Lagerfeld was designing! I die”). These are all, admittedly, very exciting experiences.

When it comes to Bing, though, Zoe seems entirely underwhelmed—offering a forced, “Let’s Bing it,” before using the self-proclaimed Decision Engine to find sushi restaurants and digital cameras.

It just feels ill conceived to me:




 This is not Bing’s first foray into the product integration arena. In fact, the recently re-branded search engine took quite a bit of flack after its scripted vignette for NBC’s The Philanthropist. Viewers found the bit confusing and competitive with the show’s plot line, leaving executive producer, Peter Horton, with a bad taste in his mouth.

To its credit, Bing is ahead of the curve. For many brands, it’s still a risk to go beyond the traditional 30-second-spot and into the world of entertainment. If executed well, Bing offers the type of service that could easily be integrated into content…just maybe not content featuring fashion stylists cum reality TV stars (at least, not until acting classes are negotiated).



TWEED Flashback


Who has the time to scour the Internet each day reading every little piece of breaking news about entertainment, branded content, and marketing? That’s why we’ve got the Tweed Flashback, bringing you the latest and most pertinent stories from the advertising world! This week we’ve got increasingly desperate housewives, more Barbie DVDs than you can fit in a dream house, and a new Google product that will allow you to never actually speak to someone in person again.

Highlights from this week’s edition:


Mattel Deals for More Barbie DVDs, Playthings, 10.01.09
Get Ready for Google’s New Wave Act, AdAge, 09.29.09
Palin Finishes Memoir, ‘Going Rogue,’ out November 17, Associated Press, 09.29.09



HSN Changes Model, Takes Product Placement Money, DailyFinance, 09.28.09
The Home Shopping Network is now offering product placements in addition to fetching flatware and ceramic Santas.

Mattel Deals for More Barbie DVDs, Playthings, 10.01.09
Mattel has renewed its relationship with Universal for 10 new feature-length DVDs starring Barbie over the next 4 years. Fun fact: Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Desperate Spokeswives: A New Marriage with Ads, AdAge, 09.28.09
A series of shorts entitled “Another Desperate Housewife,” sponsored by Sprint, will air for the next 7 weeks alongside ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” A Sprint Palm Pre features prominently in the shorts. 

Break Media Gains Momentum With Branded Content in 2009, VideoNuze, 09.30.09
Break Media- an online entertainment community- has announced strong yearly results for its branded content campaigns. They have worked with, among others, Levi’s and KFC.

MTV Minisodes Series Valemont Launches- With Cameos by Verizon,, 09.27.09
MTV has launched Valemont, a new minisode series that prominently features a Verizon cell phone as a clue in a murder-mystery plot. It will be available on both MTV’s and Verizon’s VCast Video websites.


Get Ready for Google’s New Wave Act, AdAge, 09.29.09
On September 30, Google launched “Google Wave,” a new product that combines email, instant messaging, media sharing, social networking, and entertainment. There is some risk of your mind exploding.

What Do You Think of Yahoo’s New TV Ad?, AgAge, 09.28.09
Yahoo unveils its newest TV spots- and the yodel is back!

Rate of Decline in Global Ad Spending Slows, Report Shows, New York Times, 09.30.09
The advertising market may be bottoming out as the rate of decline in ad spending slowed in the second quarter of the year.

NBC Universal, Comcast Reportedly in Talks on Joint Venture, MarketWatch, 10.02.09
Comcast and NBC Universal are reportedly in discussions about a deal that would give the cable operator 51% control over the media giant.


David Letterman Reveals Extortion Attempt, New York Times, 10.02.09
On Thursday night, David Letterman said that he had been the victim of an extortion attempt over charges of sexual affairs with staff members. The blackmailer asked for $2 million to keep from going public.

Polanski’s Arrest Could Lead to Extradition, New York Times, 09.27.09
Authorities in the Zurich airport arrested director Roman Polanski, making way for a possible extradition to the U.S. in connection with a 32-year old sex case.

Palin Finishes Memoir, ‘Going Rogue,’ out November 17, Associated Press, 09.29.09
Sarah Palin has finished her memoir only 4 months after her book deal was announced. And not only that…according to Politico, within 2 days it topped Amazon’s and Barnes and Noble’s online bestsellers lists.

SNL News: Jenny Slate Swears Herself In, Darrell Hammond May Be Out, BuzzSugar, 09.28.09
SNL made a memorable debut this season, with new cast member Jenny Slate accidentally swearing on-air (it was a very bad word) and long-time cast member Darrell Hammond conspicuously absent from both the opening credits and the show proper, despite no official announcement of his leaving.


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