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Culled by Carrie McLaren.
Originally in Stayfree! Magazine.

 

Contrary to what you may believe, Space Jam wasn't created to sell Nikes. It was created to sell Warner Bros. merchandise.

"This is a merchandising bonanza first and a movie second, " Jim Riswold, the copywriter who dreamed up the original Michael Jordan/Bugs Bunny Nike commercial, told The Wall Street Journal. No need to be shy about it. Discussing the movie's motivation in extremely blunt (even for the business press) terms, Riswold continued, "The idea is to sell lots of product."

Though Space Jam cost nearly $90 million to make, Warner co-chair Robert Daly says it'll be a great return on the investment if it reaches $95 million in domestic ticket sales. But, considering that studios typically receive only half the take from ticket sales (in this case, $47.5 million), how can that be?

"You can make a ton of money" from merchandise, the overseas release, and home-video sales, said Daly. Indeed, the studio plans to turn Space Jam into a huge franchise that will sell as much as $1 billion of its merchandise.

Meanwhile, Warner executives insist the film won't be just another long-form commercial. As proof, they site the fact that an actual comedy director, Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Dave), will produce (mitigating factor: Joe Pytka, the director of the original Nike commercial, will direct). (The Wall Street Journal, 9/24/96)

According to Ground Zero, the advertising agency that produced commercials for Michael Jordan cologne, a silhouette of Jordan's head is more readily recognized than the faces of Madonna or President Clinton. And when shown photographs, 90 percent of consumers correctly identified the back of Jordan's head. No other public figure scored higher than 80 percent, Ground Zero said. (Los Angeles Times, 12/4/96)

Since departing the ABC sitcom Full House, nonanimated children's heroes Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have raked in over $77 million with two series of low-budget videocassettes: The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley and You're Invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's. Scholastic Inc. is distributing a line of 14 children's books based on the shows and two Olsen music CDs have each sold more than 350,000.

The Wall Street Journal attributes the twins' "surefire" success to the lack of competition--the fact that they're among very few TV properties not aimed at boys or families. Plus:

The videos are shamelessly cross-promotional. In exchange for being featured prominently in the shows, companies like Carnival Cruise Lines, Sea World, and U.S. Space Camp cover all lodging, transportation, and catering costs on location.

For The Case of the Hotel Who Done-it," the twins repeatedly plug the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. "This hotel was so cool, they even had someone who parked our bikes," the twins say, adding that the lobby is "so awesome." Just when it seems the only thing left for them to do is list the hotel's amenities, the girls break into a song during which they raid the minibar, watch in-room movies and chant, "Why can't we live in a hotel all the time?" (Wall Street Journal, 3/10/97)

At least 6 million and perhaps as many as 17 million people lost their lives during the Holocaust. Six million--an almost incomprehensible number, so a seventh grade history teacher at one Channel One school came up with a lesson to help students comprehend the incomprehensible and consider the "catastrophic effects of intolerance." His plan: collect six million tabs from soda and juice cans.

"We're not trying to equate a pop tab for a life," Kevin Daugherty, the teacher, is quoted as saying. While he neglects to specify what consuming drinks and collecting their tabs is related to, he maintains that 6 million tabs would fill 300 grocery bags. (Channel One Online, 2/19/97)

"A marketing bonanza." --The Wall Street Journal on the FCC's new requirement that television networks devote three hours a week to educational programming. (The Nation 3/10/97)

Top 10 Educational software titles

1. Barbie Fashion Designer

2. Toy Story Animated Storybook

3. Toy Story Activity Center

4. Barbie Print `N Play

5. Barbie Story Maker

6. Green Eggs & Ham

7. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

8. Donald's Alphabet Chase

9. Elmo's Preschool

10. Mickeys' Runaway Zoo

(Toy Book February 1997, Softtrends November 1996 Top Sellers)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more people died last year on the job in advertising than in petroleum refining, electrical repair shops, and car factories. (Advertising Age, 8/19/96)

The Abundant Life Christian Center in Colorado has found a way to combat the devil's holiday (Halloween) and make money at the same time. For $6, people can enter a Hell House, which is like a traditional haunted house, only "100 percent message oriented."

In the first room, a homosexual who has died of AIDS lies in a casket. "We've got your alternative lifestyle all right . . ." says the "demon tour guide." ". . . in hell!!!"

In the next room, abortionists operate on a young woman writhing in pain. "Killing babies is a wonderful choice," says the demon. "After all, it's so-o-o-o convenient." Then it's on to a party room where a young woman mixes drugs and alcohol and dies. Eventually, visitors arrive in hell itself, which, apparently, smells like crocks of burning Limburger cheese. People wail in eternal torment as Satan brags about killing the unborn.

An angel eventually appears and guides the visitors to the final room, which has soft lighting and music. Where there's potpourri, there's Heaven and God and talk of Jesus.

Abundant Life has sold hundreds of complete Hell House Outreach kits to churches in 35 states. The promotional flyer for the Hell House kits calls it the most "in your face, high-flyin', no denyin', death-defyin', Satan-be-cryin', keep-ya-from fryin', no-holds-barred, cutting-edge evangelism tool of the '90s!"

A recent study by the National Retail Federation found that Halloween generates more revenue than any other holiday on the calendar save Christmas. (New York Times, Oct. 27, 1996)

 

 

Unsatisfied with record numbers of tourists in the Cayman Islands, officials in the British territory decided to sink a Russian ship. The idea was to attract tourists looking for more than just the wonders of nature. Tourist officials in the Bahamas and a few other places have also sunk ships to boost tourism. "It adds attractiveness as a resort destination," says Jed Livingston, an exec with the National Association of Underwater Instructors. (New York Times, 10/14/96)

To help push sales of classical music, marketers are turning to what's known as secondary exploitation (aka "entertainment packaging" or "convincing people to buy something they don't like to begin with").

Recent efforts with secondary exploitation, such as RCA's The Idiot's Guide To Classical Music, have been major hits. Others, like the gay-targeted Out Classics and Sensual Classics Too have achieved considerable press attention, but poor sales (go figure).

Nonetheless, Idiot-inspired compilations keep on coming. London Records has targeted older rock and pop listeners with Exile on Classical Street (featuring works by composers such as Mozart, Gershwin, Debussy, etc. personally selected by Steven Tyler, Elton John, Michael Stipe . . .) and Mr. Holland's Guide to the Classics.

Atlantic Classics is going to try again at the sensual thing with Classic Love, a two-CD set. "If you can think of a way to related music to a nonmusical concept people can identify with, you can make a connection," says Kevin Copps of Atlantic.

In other words, the way to sell classical music is to act like it's not music. (Billboard, 9/79/96)

According to American Demographics, fans of TV sitcoms aren't poor and stupid. In fact, Comedy Central's audience is upscale and educated. Its viewers are 48 percent more likely to have household incomes of $60,000 or more and a college education, and 33 percent more likely to have a head of household who has a professional or managerial job. (Not all comedy fans are the same, however. NBC says Seinfeld viewers make an average of twice as much as the people who watch Fox comedies). Comedy Central's core audience is a demographic coveted by advertisers: 57 percent male and 67 percent 18 to 49 years old. But more important, says network rep Debbie Reichig, they share a clearly delineated psychographic profile. Shows like Dream On, Politically Incorrect, and Absolutely Fabulous "totally fit the psychographic of our viewers. Our audience is looking for intelligent humor, edgy comedy with a hyper reality that gives them reason to pay attention." (American Demographics, Nov. 1996)

 

Surveys by the American Animal Humane Association show that seven out of ten American pet owners think of their pets as children. The cost of caring for critters is rising by as much as 15 percent a year, making the pet industry one of the fastest-growing segments. Sales of premium (i.e., upscale, health-food-type) pet foods now total $2.5 billion a year, or 25 percent of all pet-food sales. By the turn of the century, the premium brands could amount to half of the pet-food business. Pet food is just the beginning for a pet health industry that also includes:

PHARMACEUTICALS--Not only are there pet versions of human drugs but human drugs themselves are used: Zithromax (an antibiotic), antidepressants such as Prozac, skin lotions, drugs to help arthritis, beta blockers, and drugs that help prevent the rejection of transplanted organs.

MEDICAL PROCEDURES--Dogs and cats are routinely given CAT scans and blood transfusions, not to mention open heart surgery, pacemakers, kidney transplants and orthodontic braces to correct overbites.

PET INSURANCE--Just starting to catch on in the U.S., pet insurance is popular in Britain, where pet owners shell out more than $100 million for coverage, and Sweden, where close to 20 percent of all pets are insured. (Barron's, 4/1/96)

The Democratic National Committee has come out with a master plan for taking back the talk radio airwaves. The key instruction for candidates in the eleven-page memo by Jon-Christopher Bua is to "sound dumb." The idea is for candidates to come on at first like Andy or Mayberry with their conservative talk show hosts and then "really unload" with facts and figures later in the interview. Sadly, instructions were not provided on how to sound dumb, not that all candidates would need them. Further tips from the memo: When a host tries to slam you with facts, "change the subject." And if a caller raises a hot topic, answer with "I understand that the president is a very religious man and is a regular churchgoer." (Wall Street Journal 6/20/96, via Newspeak: http://www.scn.org/news/newspeak/)



In their concern over widening income gaps in this country, over a dozen hospitals have responded by opening VIP suites. Now, for $2,000 a day, you can have waiters in tuxedos serving fine cuisine, monogrammed bath robes, mahogany antiques, and even a wet bar in your room. In addition to medical personnel, the hospitals have recruited staff from top hotels to ensure the finest service. This practice has the usual complaints about class inequalities. Critics question whether hospitals reliant upon Medicare should be using public funds to cater to the rich. Jose Nunez, director of the Methodist Hospital in Houston, has an effect answer for these nattering nabobs of negativity; he points to the fundamental human rights of wealthy foreigners. "International patients have higher expectations. Many of these individuals are used to having servants, maids, butlers, and gardeners." Would we want to deprive them? (Wall Street Journal, 9/16/96, via Newspeak)


When MTV and Pocket Books teamed up to to sponsor a writing contest for unknown writers under 24, an underwhelming 200 viewers responded (Story Magazine, by comparison, averages 6,000 entries for each of its twice-a year-fiction contests). MTV would not comment on the quality of the responses, though one network exec told the New York Times Magazine, "Literature is not the most popular art form with our audience." (New York Times Magazine, 10/13/96)

Researchers in Japan have found a high-tech solution to the growing problem of elderly people who become confused and get lost: track them by satellite. While the technology has been used for years to keep track of wild animals and paroled criminals, the Japanese system is the first major application to help old people live outside of institutions.

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 of Japan's elderly will be moved to the Phillipines, where the low cost of labor--about a fifth of that in Japan--makes 24-hour care by actual humans possible. (AP World News via Suckwire, 2/27/97)

 

 

A few of the more than 50 items Spearhead requested to be backstage during the House of Blues Smokin' Grooves Tour: no red meat; turkey: sliced-good quality; no egg salad that stinks up the dressing room; 2 large bags of nuts: cashews and pistachios; lots of ripe fruit, including kiwi and mango; cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter, Oreos; 1 jumbo bag peanut M&M's; 12 bottles Snapple: 6 lemonade, 6 assorted fruit; 24 bottles Heineken (export only); 12 bottles Newcastle Brown Ale or Guiness; 1 bottle Baileys; 1 bottle cognac; 1 good bottle Merlot or Cabernet; 1 good bottle Chablis or Chardonnay; 12 Tylenol tablets. (Vibe, circa summer 1996)

 

For an average fee of $1,800 each, businessman/seer Robert B. Scott Jr. helps accountants get to know themselves by giving them a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The standard personality test helps identify which accountants are among the 30% that are "serious, logical, dependable, thorough, well-organized; the 20% "practical, strong administrators, not much for theory," and "the rest." According to Scott, accountants "can and should be marketed just like soap, luxury cars, and facsimile machines." (Wall Street Journal, 1/24/97)


Corporate Rock Still Sucks Dept.: Martha Byrne isn't just any soap-opera actress turned soft-rock balladress--she's a soap-opera actress turned soft-rock balladress who records for Philip Morris. The world's biggest cigarette company has started its own record label, Woman Thing Music. Bayne's first release, Woman Thing Music Volume 1, is a sort of limited, cigarette-purchasers-only edition, available free with the purchase of two packs of Virginia Slims. According to a Philip Morris events marketer Mary Jo Gennaro, it's all part of Virginia Slims "tradition of providing opportunities for women to showcase their talents and interests."

The series fits other Philip Morris traditions as well, namely, the company's tradition of associating its cigarettes with music. There's the Club Benson & Hedges live-music series at R&B clubs, the Marlboro Music military-base tour, and Marlboro-sponsored concerts at state fairs and outdoor festivals.

Unlike corporate labels such as Disney or MCA (owned by Seagrams), Woman Thing releases will be sold exclusively to cigarette buyers. Says Philip Morris spokesperson Tara Cararo, "If we offered it on radio and TV to everyone, we would be eliminating the added value for smokers." (Wall Street Journal, 1/11/97)

 

 

Nutrition Nuggets from Nabisco's Treat Yourself Well newsletter:

 

"I'm not a flower child or a hippie, but Woodstock was the equivalent of the Civil War for the people who lived through it."

--Jonathan Drapkin, manager of Sullivan Country, on the county's decision to buy the Woodstock site and turn it into a "miniature Tanglewood as well as a museum that would offer multimedia presentation about the concert similar to those that have given distinction to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington." (New York Times, 1/26/97)

 

 

"We don't sell a product, we sell a style of life. I think we have created a movement.... the Diesel concept is everything. It's the way to live, it's the way to wear, it's the way to do something."
-Renzo Rosso, owner of Diesel Jeans in Paper magazine.

 

 

Talk about target markets... According to BBDO's annual Report on Black Television Viewing, the top-rated show in black households, Living Single, ranks 103rd in white households. And that pattern holds true for most of the top 10 shows among black viewers. Blacks are as likely to shun programs that rate high among nonblacks. For instance, Friends ranked No. 4. among total households but No. 103 among blacks. Only one of the top 10 shows among black viewers also turns up on the top 10 list for total households--Monday Night Football--and that's not even a typical program. (Adweek, 3/3/97)

 

 

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company has launched what is believed to be the first U.S. website for a cigarette brand (www.circuitbreak.com); I guess Advertising Age isn't sure because neither the tobacco company nor brand, Lucky Strikes, are mentioned anywhere on the site. San Francisco Nightclub listings, music and book recommendations, internet games, and entertainment happenings, are, however, on what PR manager Tom Fitzgerald calls "a lifestyle site," not "a Lucky Strike site."

The site, called Circuit Breaker, collects information from visitors--name, age, address, etc.--regardless of whether or not they smoke. Initially targeted to the San Francisco area, Brown & Williamson plans to duplicate the plan for other areas by placing ads in local alternative weeklies, establishing a heavy presence on the local club scene, and designing localized Circuit Breaker websites. update (4/9/97): after the Ad Age article critiquing the site, Brown and Williamson started listing their name on it (Advertising Age, 2/24/97).

 

 

Northern Trust Corp. has tapped into a new way to market its banking services: forming literary societies. Society luncheons feature all the trimmings--catered spreads, white linens, tuxedoed waiters, valet parking, bank officers that greet members by name... and, oh yeah, books. Apparently one of the advantages of Northern's club is that doesn't necessitate having an interest in reading. "I don't have time to read the books, but this gives me a place to go," one member is quoted as saying. The Wall Street Journal insists authors do discuss literature at the meeting, though, and the intellectual flavor gives the bank a nice rep. Explains a lit-clubber who pulled a wad of money from a Merrill Lynch account and entrusted it to Northern, "The meetings are run so beautifully, we thought their bank was probably run just as well."

What's more, since membership dues don't flow directly into Northern coffers, the clubs are nonprofit, meaning they qualify for tax-exempt status. Yep, another corporate marketing scheme where tax-payers foot the bill. (Wall Street Journal, 3/6/97)

It may look like just another department store, but American Wilderness Experience promises shoppers something new--a retail-nature hybrid, complete with "animal gated attraction." Created by Ogden Corp.--a New York company better known for catering airplane food and incinerating waste--American Wilderness targets consumers who want the look and feel of nature but don't really have time for it. According to a senior VP at Ogden, an average American Wilderness visit--which averages about an hour--compares favorably to the average Grand Canyon visit, which lasts 22 minutes. A $9.95 adult admission ticket buys a tour of five "biomes" recreating California landscapes (complete with hidden scent canisters emitting a forest fragrance) plus a chance to play in the Wild Ride motion-simulator theater, shop for nature bric-a-brac at the Naturally Untamed Boutique and eat nature-like delicacies at Wilderness Grill. (Wall Street Journal, 7/8/97)

 

Rachel Pendergraft is outraged. "There's a lot of wackos out there that call themselves Klansmen," says the spokesperson for the KKK in Harrison, Arkansas. So the Knights have applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of its official logo--a white diamond and Celtic cross. The Knights sell it on flags and are worried about pirating by unsavory others . . . you know, like all them anti-Christ faggots and Jews. (New York Times Magazine, 7/6/97)

 

"I've gotten a lot of mail saying, `I wish I'd known you were like this. I would have voted for you.'" --Bob Dole, commenting on the success of his "uproariously, dryly funny" American Express commercials (Advertising Age, September 15, 1997)

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, more and more lawyers, disenchanted with their profession, are turning to alternative careers. Among the options cited as preferable to legal work: horse trainer, airline mechanic, talent agent, and psychologist. (Wall Street Journal, 7/15/97)

 

"Sometimes big rock bands get scared of being eaten up by the big corporate machine; we swallowed it before it swallowed us." --Bono of U2, Forbes, 9/22/97, explaining the $100 million marketing budget behind the band's PopMart release.

 

 

"It's okay to wear logos in the '90s if you do it with a sense of irony." --unidentified shopper on E! TV contrasting the '80s, when designers slapped logos over everything, with the more refined approach of the '90s (November 1997)

 

 

USA Today's coverage of Lilith Fair: "Guys Like the Odds at Lilith Fair" (8/5/97): One man feared tar and feathers. Another had to calm his father's nerves. Some immediately announced themselves as heterosexuals and said they were scoping out babes. One guy was hoping to meet his future bride. The men attending Lilith Fair . . . came for great music, they said. And the artists--Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Joan Osbourne--delivered. But the expectations of male concertgoers enjoying the all-female headliners were as diverse as the crowd... Ticket-holder John Baum expected to see mostly women at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. And he did. "Looking around," he said, "I think it's three girls for every guy." "I like those odds," added Matthew Nisenoff, 30. "I don't understand why every single guy in the D.C.-area isn't here," said Michael Wellman, 32 . . . The audience was mostly lesbian when it started, said one concert vendor. Now, halfway through the tour, she estimates, homosexuals make up about half the crowd . . . "Save water. It's precious." --Coke billboard in Zimbabwe, where the Wall Street Journal (8/25/97) reports the product has become a staple in the wake of a water shortage.

 

 

Raj Reddy is fed up with the system, but rather than resting on his laurels, the dean at Carnegie-Melon University is taking action. Reddy has waged a one-man crusade against boot time--the couple of minutes it takes a computer to start up. By Reddy's calculations, the one or two minutes per worker add up to $25 billion down the tube; as much as 1,000 "man years" a day of lost time. "There is absolutely no reason that I should be waiting to see if I have [email] for more than an instant," Mr. Reddy says. (Wall Street Journal, 3/11/97)

 

 

Engineers at ParentNet Inc. have come up with a way to help parents feel closer to their kids--by watching them over the internet. Special video cameras in daycare centers take real-time photos of kids every few seconds and display them on the web. Users of the setup say it offers many advantages, such as providing parents with a sense of security and teaching kids how to act in front of cameras at a young age. Another company, Simplex Knowledge, has similar cameras in Connecticut preschools and is negotiating a partnership with IBM. Guess mom and dad won't be the only ones watching. (Wall Street Journal, 4/3/97)

 

Now that "focus group" has become part of our standard vocabulary, researchers are having an increasingly difficult time eliciting candid responses from their subjects, but not necessarily because they're more media savvy. According to one account in the Wall Street Journal, consumers "display an alarming tendency to regurgitate ad-world language, saying they like a beer because it's full-bodied, for example." To get marketing procedures back on track, researchers are looking for new ways of uncovering unconscious consumer responses. Greenfield Consulting Group, for example, has investigators run into shoppers in stores and mumble, "Gosh, I don't understand, there are so many brands" to try to get them to talk. Another agency, Leo Burnett, has researchers knock on test subjects' doors at sunrise to discover "what drives a dynamic choice at 7:30 a.m." (Wall Street Journal, 5/30/97)

 

 

Could there actually be an unexploited inch of public space in New York City? Well, New York City Council thinks it may have found it. Under a new bill, the Council is considering allowing ads on the hoods of taxicabs. "It's a great idea," Committee Chair Norach Deas said. "I like it, it's cute, it's New York." Under current law, the commission decides case by case whether to allow ads anywhere other than rooftops. So far this year, it has turned down proposals to turn cabs into Batmobiles, giant pocketbooks, and athletic shoes. The holdout: Commissioner Diane McGrath-McKechnie, who believes a yellow cab should look exactly like a yellow cab, without all the "nonsense." Medallion Media, the company that sells the ads on cabs, begs to differ. According to the company's president, "If you're talking about putting a decal on the hood of the car, you're only talking about 15 percent of the taxi. The rest of the car is bright yellow. . . . I think people will be able to figure it out." (New York Times, 11/4/97)

 

 

Praise for What Kids Buy and Why (from the back cover): "Finally there is a thought-provoking, child-development-based approach to marketing to kids! In a systematic, step-by-step process, Drs. Acuff and Reiher lay out the fundamental understandings that today's kid-targeting professional needs to succeed." -- Joan Chiaramonte, PR, Roper Starch Worldwide "Acuff and Reiher know more about the inner working of kids than anyone I know. Their approach to understanding how children behave will give marketers tremendous insight into how to target messages and products." --Joel Ehrlich, Senior VP, DC Comics/Warner Bros. Promotions

 

To drum up publicity for a new Jerry Garcia credit card, Private Issue decorated a 1959 Volkswagen microbus with the card's design and sent it out to tour U.S. concert venues and colleges. Credit card applicants--who are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items (toward what end is unknown)--are enticed with a chance to win the bus. (Advertising Age, 10/27/97)

 

A small sampling of corporation-endowed professorships: Coca-Cola Professor of Marketing, University of Georgia Dow Chemical Co. Research Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University Federal Express Chair of Excellence in Information Technology, University of Memphis Hanes Corporation Foundation Professorship, Duke University La Quinta Motor Inns, Inc. Centennial Professor of Business, University of Texas Lego Professor of Learning Research, MIT McLamore/Burger King Chair of American Enterprise, University of Miami Nissan Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Republic Bank Professor of Finance, Texas A&M Rockwell International Chair of Engineering, UCLA Sears Roebuck Professor of Economics, University of Chicago United Parcel Service Foundation Professor of Logistics, Stanford University (CovertAction Quarterly, Spring 1997, via Harpers)

 

 

Long-declining farming communities have found two new ways to prop up their economies. The New York Times reports the growing prison industry has become "a tool for rural development." Small towns are now competing hard for the once feared "hotels," because, in the words of Mayor Ruth Carter of Canon City, Colorado, "We have a nice nonpolluting, recession-proof industry." At the same time, many family farms are now abandoning growing vegetables for the more lucrative field of "agritainment" or "agritourism." They are opening their farms to city slickers hungry for authentic old time experiences, and charging money for hay rides, petting zoos, u-pick fruits, and corn mazes. Says farmer Rich Hodgson, "Entertainment farming is the wave of the future for small farmers." And it took our country how many years to evolve the concept of "entertainment farming"? (New York Times, 11/2/97, via Newspeak)

 

 

"A lot of authors have gotten smart," says Warner Brothers producer Denise Di Novi. "They're laying out their books like movies." In other words, writing short, visual scenes, and roles for strong male leads. The really smart authors also create their protagonist with a particular star in mind (Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, or Brad Pitt). At least they don't have to worry about selling out. (New York Times, 10/27)

 

 

The first major rock act to sign on with a corporate sponsor sixteen years ago has raised the sponsorship stakes once again. For their Bridges to Babylon tour, the Rolling Stones have aligned with Sprint. The $5 million-plus sponsorship rights gets Sprint dibs on selling Babylon tickets, which the company made available weeks before the show's on-sale date. The catch: Stones fans must be Sprint customers or switch their business to Sprint in order to buy the tickets early. (Rolling Stone, 10/16/97)

 

 

"[Buy Nothing Day is] in opposition to the current economic policy in the United States." --from CBS's letter rejecting the Media Foundation's Buy Nothing Day commercial. All of the Big Three television networks rejected the paid PSA, which calls for a 24-hour shopping moratorium. (Wall Street Journal, 11/19/97)

 

 

The British Film Institute has come up with a clever way to raise funds for its film restoration efforts: add the names of the donors to the credits. The BFI said that $8,500 will get your name on the screen by itself; $850 will get your name added to a group of other donors. Donations will be used as part of matching funds promised by the National Lottery for film restoration. (Film Threat Weekly, 11/24/97)

 

 

Merrill Lynch & Co. is making a market where none has existed before--in PhD theses. The brokerage will sponsor a worldwide competition among new PhDs, seeking dissertations with potentially valuable innovations. "PhD theses are undervalued assets in the knowledge economy," says Michael Schrage of the MIT Media Lab. "What we're doing is creating a new set of incentives" that will encourage PhD students to consider the commercial potentials of their research. (Business Week, 12/8/97)

 

 

 

All babies may look alike, but just wait until they can talk. Western International Media has published a study called "The Nag Factor" to figure out the different "nagging styles" kids use to pressure their parents to buy. Indulgers (29%) give their kids everything they want. Kids' Pals (15%) want to have fun like their offspring. Conflicted (22%) buy out of guilt and contain a high proportion of single or divorced parents. Bare Necessities (32%) have the highest median household income, yet are the least likely to give into kids' pleas. According to the study, it's the quality--not the quantity--of nagging that counts. "Importance nagging," a form of manipulation where a kid argues a need ("I'll die if I can't go on Space Mountain!") increased purchases of food and beverages, CD-ROMs, and visits to theme parks by 42%. (Brandweek, 4/13/98)

 

Super Jockey is a Japanese comedy/game show in which celebrities compete in eating disgusting flavors of ice cream, playing charades, etc. Not terribly unlike American Gladiators except for one thing: the show's unique plan for giving sponsors air time. Instead of paying for commercials, sponsors can earn a spot by bringing bikini-clad women on to be dunked in scaldingly hot water. The longer the women can stay in the water, the longer she is allowed to deliver a commercial. Most women last three or four seconds in the heat, after which they rub ice over themselves or jump up and down in pain as the camera focuses on their reddened breasts and legs. Once they have cooled off, they can advertise whatever product they want for exactly the among of time they were able to stay in the water. (New York Times, 7/14/98)

 

A decade ago, about a quarter of the nation's nursery schools had computers. Now, nearly all do. Child-care giant KinderCare Learning Centers Inc. uses computers for three- and four-year-olds at all of its facilities. Computertots offers computer training for two year olds via 238 franchises around the world. Knowledge Adventures plans to unveil JumpStart Baby in summer 1998. The product is called "lapwear"--meaning an infant may have to sit on a parents lap while playing--and it is geared to those between ages nine months and two years.(Wall Street Journal, 4/2/98)

 

Moms-to-Be Resource Center in Atlanta is but one of several clinics reaching out to teenagers with fun and games. Visitors can play Fetus Bingo (U is for uterus, F is for fetal-alcohol syndrome, S is for Sex . . . FETUS!); watch the "Magical Moments of Birth" video; or coddle fake, finger-sucking fetuses (three sizes available: 10 weeks, 15 week, 20 weeks). For each activity, participants rack up points: 5 for reading a "Teen Esteem" pamphlet, 35 for watching "Smokey Sue Smokes" inhale. Points can be redeemed for Avon products, Winnie-the-Pooh outfits, or other gifts. (Wall Street Journal, 1/26/98)

 

The following memo was sent to magazines that Coca-Cola advertises in. It's from Coke's ad agency, McCann-Erickson, and stipulates where Coke ads may be placed in the mag:

The Coca-Cola Company requires that all insertions are placed adjacent to editorial that is consistent with each brand's marketing strategy/positioning. In general, we believe that positive and upbeat editorial provides a compatible environment in which to communicate the brand's message. We consider the following subjects to be inappropriate and require that our ads placed adjacent to articles discussing the following issues:

If you have a positioning question or if an ad needs to be moved due to inappropriate editorial, you must contact the AOR immediately and provide positioning options. If an appropriate positioning option is not available, we reserve the right to omit our ad from that issue. The Coca-Cola Company also requires a minimum of 6 pages separation between competitive advertising (any non-alcoholic beverage, including water, juice, coffee, milk). If there is more than one Coca-Cola brand running in an issue of your magazine, we require 6 pages of separation.

 

TV news broadcasters in California had a rude awakening when KTLA broadcast a debate between candidates for governor and had their usual morning ratings double. KTLA news director Jeff Wald explained, "We had been caught up in other things and hadn't realized that this is a very interesting race." According to Wald it was "because of the May Sweeps." Wald said the sweeps "discourage political coverage in the month before the primary at all stations." (Washington Post, 5/23/98, via Newspeak)

 

To discourage overzealous collectors, Target employees in the Southwest have punched holes in the packaging of commemorative NASCAR race-car replicas. In the race to acquire these limited-edition cars, collectors have been paying children to locate them. Some of the kids have been lining up before stores open to get first crack at the shelves. Fistfights reportedly have broken out at some places, with kids getting knocked down in scuffles between adults. It's the same sort of mania that has been driving the Beanie Babies market, and the Kenner action-figures market before that. (San Francisco Examiner, 6/13/98)

 

 

What do Shaquille O'Neal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Bolton, Dom DeLuise, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Kirk Douglas, John Travolta, Sarah Ferguson, Carly Simon, and Patrick Ewing have in common? They've all recently authored children's books. From Mr. Bolton's The Secret of the Lost Kingdom:

The prince told him of the mysterious warrior, who was so like himself, and of the many others who fought courageously for what they felt was rightfully theirs. "Father, I've always believed that when I fight for Mentor-ia, I fight for what is right and just. But if we are going to slaughter poorly armed men, then I must leave."

According to a Scholastic spokesman for Patrick Ewing, "He's definitely involved" in his series Patrick's Pals, explaining, "He does write." (Wall Street Journal, 5/4/98)

 

 

When it opens next year, the new Novergies Centre garbage plant will have an artist-in-residence, an exhibition hall, a teak sun deck, a view of the cathedral, even catering facilities for receptions. Unlike the U.S., which enjoys enough space to dump most of its garbage in landfill sites, Europe burns a lot of its waste. No one wants an industrial eyesore in their backyard, so town planners and municipalities are turning to architects and artists. "A community won't accept a site unless it's beautiful. It has to look like a ship or a wave," says Herve Guichaoua, a project director for Foster Wheeler Corp. (Wall Street Journal, 6/10/98)

 

 

Companies that arenıt Coca-Cola but happen to rent office space in the Coke building on New Yorkıs Fifth Avenue are being restricted to a "Coke products only" policy. Allowing "noncompliant" beverages in the building could result in steep fines and possible eviction. Beverage choices are limited to those on a sheet‹which some tenants suggest their employees tote around lest they forget what is and isnıt a Coke brand‹listing the "correct" refreshment for every beverage category, from the classic cola down to bottled water. When food is delivered, orders are checked; if competing brands are discovered theyıre trashed and the offending company and employee are informed. (Brandweek, 3/22/99)

 

 

"Kids who do not eat a presweetened-cereal breakfast donıt get their daily nutrition. Fruit Loops is a very important food."


‹Kellogg spokesperson Anthony Hebron (Wall Street Journal, 2/17/99)

 

 

The college students clad in Nike wear at the Australian Open werenıt just any group of adoring, expensively dressed, photogenic tennis fans‹they were paid for by Nike. The group sat in the official playersı seats on the Melbourne Park center court so they could be easily spotted by television cameras. They made themselves even more visible by standing up and singing during breaks. "Itıs part of our objective to add color and atmosphere to the Aussie Open," said a Nike spokesperson.

Most fans at the Austalian Open said they didnıt know that the chanting supporters in the stands each day were in fact fake. Those tuned in to television did: Nike received enormous free publicity for the practice. (Reuters, 1/25/99)

 

 

Among the offerings left by companies on school grounds after the Columbine shooting:

From Schwinn, a bicycle with a laminated card, emblazoned with the corporate logo and: "The darkness will lift. The ride will go on."

A pair of orange aprons with the Home Depot logo, signed by employees.

A banner on a fence near school: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, faculty, and friends of Columbine High School. From your Littleton Wal-Mart."

A banner posted near a busy park entrance with: "Love and prayers from the employees of U S West." According to a U S spokesperson, the company chose to omit its slogan: "Life is better here." (Wall Street Journal, 5/5/99)

 

 

"Technology Tips for Toddlers," by Dr. Vicki Folds A Tutor Time press release, 2/22/99

Our newest generation are sometimes called "Techno-Toddlers." Some child-development experts are warning parents to be wary and suspicious of letting their toddlers play on the computer. I disagree.

At Tutor Time child care centers, where 35,000 children ages infant to five-years-old are cared for daily, we encourage children as young as two-and-a-half to try the computer.

Face it: the technology age is here! Whether it is at home, in child care, or at school, children are exposed to monitors, keyboards, mouse pads, ATMıs, cell phones and other electronic devices. These devices should be treated as new tools for learning.

0­18 Months: Infants are too young for stimulation from computers. At 18 months, they become attracted to the sounds and colors of software programs, and they can sit in a parentıs lap at the computer and play with the mouse, touch the keyboard, and the screen.

18 Months­2 Years: A child may discover a cause and effect reaction to the computer and become fascinated with the device. Touch screens are very effective at this time since the toddler has not developed the necessary skills to use the mouse. Many toddlers enjoy pressing keyboard keys to see what will happen next.

2­3 Years: At this age, a child has a longer attention span and will be able to interact with a software program. They love to sing along with music and watch events unfold on the screen.

3­5 Years: Children this age adore the independence they have with the computer, turning it off and on, choosing from a desktop selection of software and involving themselves in software programs. The childıs motor ability has developed to the point where the small muscles of fingers and hands are more comfortable using the mouse and keyboard.

 

 

Federal safety regulators have been considering changing a densely worded warning about on sport utility vehicles (SUVıs) with a more eye-catching rendition. In place of a 77-line block of text detailing SUVıs propensity to rollover, the options for the new warning includes: WARNING: HIGH RISK OF ROLLOVER. Automakers have deluged the NHTSA with comments, objecting strongly to phrases such as "high risk" as unduly alarmist. They suggested instead, "THIS VEHICLE HANDLES DIFFERENTLY THAN A CAR." The NHTSA used focus groups to develop the labels. In favor: bright colors and "the little guy flying out the side." Out: small, cluttered graphics and tire-tread marks. One participant didnıt want any label that would leave a sticky residue; another potential SUV driver worried that "abrasive" colors would clash with the interior. (Wall Street Journal, 2/24/99)

 

The following was taken from the website for Edison Elementary School in Minot, North Dakota. The school is one of 51 public schools run by the Edison Project, a for-profit company based in New York. The Edison Projectıs founder and president is Chris Whittle, who also founded Channel One, an ad- industry-funded in-school "news" program. This page, last updated August 1998, was taken down a couple of weeks before Stay Free! went to press.

Hereıs How ANYONE, ANYWHERE Can Help Our School

Sprint long distance customers

Our school will receive 23 points for every dollar that you spend on residential long distance calls each month. Just call 1-800-268-9849 and ask to be registered to the Sprint/A+America program. Provide the customer service person with Edison Schoolıs ID number: 58701-197. If you are not yet a Sprint long distance customer, but would like to become one to help our school, call 1-800-233-6080. You will receive Sprintıs famous dime-a-minute rate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and all weekend, plus 100 minutes of free long distance. We will receive 3,000 bonus points, along with the 23 points per dollar that you spend on residential long distance each month. There are no restrictions on who can participate, no cost to you or our school, no coupons to clip, and no limit to the technology equipment, electronics, computers, or software that we can redeem our points for!

AT&T long distance customers

Our school will receive five Learning Points for each dollar you spend on qualifying AT&T long distance calls each month. Just call 1-800-354-8800 and ask to be registered to the AT&T Learning Points Program and provide the customer service person with Edisonıs Schoolıs account number: 010 500 39. If you are not yet an AT&T long distance residential customer, but would like to become one to help our school, call 1-800-354-8800. We will receive 500 bonus points, along with the five Learning Points per dollar that you spend on residential long distance each month. There are no restrictions on who can participate, no cost to you or our school, no coupons to clip, and no limit to the computers, peripherals, educational software, or services from the AT&T Learning Points Catalogue that we can redeem our points for!

Target Guest Card customers

Through their School Fundraising Made Simple, Target will donate one percent of your total purchases made with your Target Guest Card to our school. Please take a minute to call 1-800-316-6142. There are no restrictions on who can participate, no cost to you or our school, no coupons to clip, and no limit the amount our school can receive to purchase much needed supplies. General Mills Cereal consumers Through the Big G Box Tops for Education program, General Mills will pay us fifteen or ten cents for each GM Box Top we collect. Did you know that this program also includes box tops from other Big G products? Every General Mills fruit snacks, Pop-Secret, Nature Valley Granola Bars, Golden Graham Treats, Sweet Rewards, and Yoplait Yogurt multipack product that carries the 2000 symbol on the box top is eligible.

Hershey Candies, Kodak Film, and Hefty Bag consumers

The Power of Purchasing Program offers our school the opportunity to collect UPC symbols in exchange for free equipment. Qualifying products include all Kodak film cameras, batteries, and videotape; Hershey candies such as Hugs, Kisses, Miniatures, Reeses Pieces, Kit Kat, Nutrageous, Hershey Chocolate USA, and more; all Hefty brand bags, baggies, and One-Zip freezer bags. We encourage you to mail your UPC symbols to us. Campbellıs Soup consumers Campbellıs Labels for Education allows our school to redeem product labels for free educational and athletic equipment. Did you know that this includes more than Campbellıs Soup products? Labels, UPC Symbols, and lids from all the following brands are also collected and redeemed: Prego, Open Pit, Pepperidge Farm, Milwaukee Pickles, Marieıs, Vlasic, Swanson Foods, Pace, V8, Franco American, as well as Campbells . . .

Pepsi Cola consumers

Northern Bottling Company of Minot pays our school ten cents for each twelve-pack carton from Pepsi, Caffeine Free Pepsi, Cherry Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi, and Diet Cherry Pepsi. Drop your cartons off before May 1999.

Miracle Mart shoppers

MarketPlace Foods donates five cents to our school for each ShurFine label redeemed . . .

See??? No Matter Who You Are, Or Where You Are From You Can Make A Big Difference In The Life Of A Child. This Page Is Not Big Enough To Say Thank You!

Baby books are now made to resemble Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, M&Ms, Sun-Maid Raisins, Hershey's Kisses and other snacks. Some of the books-a joint effort between food companies and publishers-suggest kids sort, place, and count using the product. Anne Daniel, a child librarian in Maryland who favors titles such as The M&M's Brand Counting Book explains: The number one criterion for a book, she says, should be that it will "make a child reach her hand out and pull the book off the shelf." The books are quite profitable. More than one million copies of The Cheerios Play Book and The Cheerios Animal Play Book have been sold since 1998, yet many parents avoid commercialized books "like the plague." (Washington Post, 2/15/00)

 

Churches across the country are starting "martial-arts ministries" to lure teenagers to religious services. Emmanuel Baptist Church in Lewistown, Mont., which started teaching karate two years ago, has since baptized 24 of its karate students, and attendance at Sunday services has doubled to 130. According to Jim Garrett, youth pastor at Cathedral of Praise in Ohio, action movies are a big help. "Every time a new karate movie comes out, our class booms," he says. "Kids want to re-create their favorite scene."

Karate does, however, present practical problems for churches. Bryan Hebert, who heads Kicks for Christ Ministry in Archdale, N.C., hashad to dismiss three students for using their Christian karate to beat uppeople. To avoid such conflicts, Sherry Brown at Mount Pleasant ChristianChurch requires her karate students to memorize three Bible verses a month.Other Christian teachers are less concerned with Jesus's lessons ofrestraint. As Ken Jezek, who runs Warriors for Christ in Gilbert, Ariz.,puts it, "When in doubt, take it out."

Dave Sutterfield, whose seven-year-old son studies karate at MountPleasant, has decided to explain Jesus's stand on self-defense at a laterdate in order to avoid confusing the boy. "We just want them to get thebasics about sin and Jesus's love first," he says. (Wall Street Journal, 10/18/99)

 

 

From a press release for "Play-Time, Snack-Time, Tot-Time: TargetingPreschoolers and Their Parents," a conference held at The Helmsley in NewYork City in March.

Creativity! Marketing Power! Brand Recognition! As marketers we strive touse our creativity, and marketing power to create brand recognition andconsumer loyalty. How do we go about this when our products are forchildren age 2-5?

This is certainly a challenge. As we know, if the child doesn'tlike the program he/she won't watch it. If the tot doesn't like the toy,he/she won't play with it. And if the child doesn't like the characterhe/she won't snuggle with it.

Play-Time, Snack-Time, Tot-Time will show how companies have builtproducts that the past five generations have used . . . and loved. Discoverhow newer characters, toys, books and programs have broken into the marketand stole the hearts of our children.

8:45-Opening Remarks by Susan Royer, Sesame Street Research

9:00-Truths About KGOY (Kids Getting Older Younger). As technology takes over toy development, research shows how a child's development is affectedby his/her exposure to education. Families are developing a different wayof life. Also, Preschoolers: The New Marketing Target.

9:45-Defining Today's Mom. "Today's Mom" research, commissioned byParenting Magazine, provides a comprehensive profile of the attitudes heldby moms with children under age 12. You will leave this session withinsight into the motivations behind today's mom's behavior and how you, asmarketers, can capitalize on these motivations.

11:30-Developing A Branded Theme. Be taken through a live Carter's casestudy and learn how you can create fresh excitement through a new theme foran established brand. Learn about the tie-in with John Lennon Art Designand installation of Carter's Imagination shop at Macy's.

1:30-Facilitating Learning Through Play. The concept of electronic learningtoys has evolved as we apply more research about how kids learn throughproducts.

3:15-The Waterbabies ® Story.  Hear how water balloons and condomstransformed into a multi-million dollar baby doll through creativemarketing. Hear about:Not Invented Here Syndrome: Your vision becomes myopic. Stop it!Kissing Frogs: Effective ways to work with the outside creative community.Does Anyone Care About Product Anymore? It is either a hot licensed item orprice, how can you change that? Strategic Planning: Does your companyreally do it? Live it?

4:00-Coloring Outside The Lines; Thinking As Preschoolers Do. Learn how to break the rules. We will manipulate your knowledge andexperience for out-of-box extraordinary results.

1:15-Anthropological Research: Hands-On Training in The Latest Trend inEffective Toddler and Youth Research! Anthropological research is anancient technique to learn the deep needs of individuals from all ages:infant/pre-verbal to elder individuals. This workshop will teach you how touse observational research techniques when trying to find out the desiresof toddler age consumers. Moms, dads, and grandparents are often unaware ofwhat they do and really need.

 

In Beijing, a line of teenage cyclists advertise a furniture company byriding in formation around the city. In a country where billboards rent foras high as $8,000 per month and 15 seconds of airtime on local TV costs$2,800, people are cheap. The riders, all poor, rural migrants are paid theequivalent of $80 month each.(New York Times)

Varsitybooks.com is among a number of companies hiring student armies oncollege campuses. At Florida State, Varsitybooks's students have chalkedthe sidewalks with slogans such as "Smashing Savings." At the University ofCalifornia at Los Angeles, they've greeted returning classmates with applecider and granola bars. According to Robbie Wright, an alien at Texas Techwho oversees VarsityBooks.com marketers, "The most effective thing has beengetting professors to let us speak to students during classes." (WallStreet Journal, 1/31/00)

 

 

On the American Kennel Club's list of the "hottest dogs" of 1999,chihuahuas remain in the top ten, propelled by the popularity of Taco Bellcommercials. Meanwhile dog breeders search fervoursly for the "Next Dog."Tony Scandy, who doubled his sales of Scandifio Cane Corsos over athree-year period, considers the rare Italian mastiff "The Dog of theFuture."  A former car salesman, Mr. Scandy says, "[Corsos] are for peoplewho have owned German shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers, and are readyfor something different."  Another seller promotes its big livestock guarddog the Caucasian Ovcharka as having "the stopping power of a .45-caliberpistol."  On the other end of the fence, backers of the New Guinea singingdog say the dog's high-pitch whine sounds like a tune. (Critics point outthat the "singing" could be mistaken for the whimpering of a woundedanimal.) With so many up and coming breeds, who can choose? Terri Murphy, apart-time breeder in North Carolina., has switched dogs three times in thepast 20 years. "I evolved," she says. (Wall Street Journal, 2/3/00)

 

 

Instead of endorsing products for annual fees, boxing legend George Foremanhas opted to sell his name in perpetuity, thus becoming (eternally) GeorgeForeman's Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. The manufacturer,Salton, paid $137.5 million for Mr. Foreman's name and image after Foremansuccessfully transformed himself from the snarling ogre, who once pummeledJoe Frazier, into a bald, benevolent, burger-chomper. Salton-which alsomakes Juiceman, Breadman and Toastmaster products-has sold 10 millionnonstick grillers since Foreman started endorsing them in 1995. "I'mlearning to accept that the least part of me is about boxing," Foremansaid. (New York Times, 1/21/00)

Due to drastic cutbacks in government funding, schools in Alberta, Canada,are turning to a new way to pay for teaching materials: Casino Night.Spellathons and auctions, citrus fruit and sausage-none of them can match agood night of gambling. Unlike school fundraisers of the past, proceedsaren't for band uniforms. They pay for teaching materials, for mathtextbooks and staff training. "I would much rather parents participated inschool life through helping their kids with reading programs," says RodKostek, the principal at Rio Terrace elementary. "The thought never enteredmy mind that we would be worried about purchasing textbooks. Or that I'd berunning chips." (Globe and Mail, 12/14/99)

 

Every newborn in America can have his or her own free Web site, thanks to anew service by Sesame Street. Sesame Street creator Children's TelevisionWorkshop and its marketing partners hope to establish a new megasite wheresponsors can link up baby Jane's family and friends. "We're in the businessof providing our customers-both hospitals and new moms-with what theywant," said Duane Clement, an alien at Bounty SCA Worldwide, which, alongwith companies such as Blockbuster, Hallmark Cards, and Pizza Hut, arebackers.

TheFirstDay.com is the second major venture for 3Buddies.com,specialists in "lifecycle" (cradle-to-grave) marketing.  Next on theplanning board is a site dedicated to matriculating students:GraduationDay.com. (Interactive Week, 1/17/00)

 

 

Animal Fair is "not for anyone who would be reading Dog Fancy. Dog Fancy isa mass magazine . . . It runs articles about your dog eating your shoes.Animal Fair is about designing a life style with your pet. It's moresophisticated."

-Wendy Diamon, the founder of Animal Fair, a magazine with features such as"Reel Pets" (pets in film) and "Star Pets" (pet astrology) alongsidestories on hero pets, senior pets, luxury kitty cabanas, and four-leggedfashion. (New Yorker, 10/4/99)

 

 

Capitalizing on the urban tradition of preaching from street corners, Nikeunleashed a new ad campaign for the 30th New York City Marathon. Prophetsin flowing robes (and Nike attire), men in sandwich boards warning of"Judgement Day," and gospel choirs helped spread the message. Bus stops andother places were plastered with messages like "The End is Near" and "Keepthe Faith." (New York Times, 11/4/00)

 

 

Psychological segmentation for the brand personalities of the major shavers in France, according to market research:

Wilkinson: The Squire
Traditional nobility
English colonisers
Knights of the Round Table
Experience, know-how
Feeling of belonging to a special caste

Schick: The Sleeping Brand
Lethargy
Vanished civilization
Lost planet
Faceless inhabitants
No soul, no culture

Bic: The Charlatan
Anarchy
A shapeless world
No ideas, no know-how
No figure head and no order

Gillette: The Champion of Civilization
Authority and social order
Dictatorship, tough regime
Clean, controlled world
Official Gillette TV propaganda
Little room for individual differences
(Admap, March 1992)

After moving in a new office suite, workers in the British BroadcastingCorporation's finance department complained of feeling lonely in the hushedatmosphere. The BBC's solution: a special "mutter" machine that plays atape of simulated human conversation punctuated by light laughter. Musicwas ruled out at an early stage because of potential disagreements overtaste. BBC bosses also ruled out turning on a television or radio so thatstaff could listen to their own programs because that might be toodistracting.

Yong Yan, a sound expert and consultant, said that overquietworkplaces were becoming as big a nuisance as noisy ones once were.Double-glazed windows, efficient air conditioning, and computers have madeoffices far too hushed for some, lowering morale and productivity.(Christian Science Monitor, 10/26/99)

Now that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer sponsors Sesame Street, messagescapping off the end of every episode have been replaced. Announcements thatthe show has been brought to you by, say, "the letter Z and the number 2,"have been replaced with "Pfizer brings parents the letter Z-as inZithromax."  Pfizer and Sesame Street's collaboration began in October 1999 with a multimedia promo kit, Sesame Street Goes to the Doctor.  "Therelationship between Pfizer and Sesame Street came about as a naturaloutgrowth of our mutual interest in children's well-being,'' said Pfizer's alien. Pfizer is a global pharmaceutical company whose products includeZithromax, Zoloft, Viagra, Diflucan, Lipitor, and Celebrex. (Company pressrelease, 10/27/99; FAIR press release 3/16/00)

With dozens of new internet start-ups overloading television, radio, andnewsprint with advertising, internet companies are worried consumers won'ttake them seriously. BigStar Entertainment, a start-up that sells videosand DVDs online, has one solution. The company has rented a fleet ofdelivery trucks-and plastered them with the BigStar logo-to give theimpression of being a "brick and mortar" company. The trucks don't carryBigStar movies; it's probably pizza boxes or office equipment inside. ButBigStar figures the fleet gives it a certain gravitas. It trains the truckdrivers to answer questions about BigStar's business-even though they don'twork for the company-and to hand out coupons. (Wall Street Journal,11/11/99)

The rich are different from you and me: they have detailed "incentiveplans" in their wills and trust funds. According to leading estateplanners, incentives are "the new trend for the millennium." Rich peoplewho set up trusts may require that their children pass periodic drug testsor set up prenuptial agreements to get their money. One man has a plan thatwill first give his son half the money. After five years, the son's assetswill be audited and if the equity is the same or greater, he can have therest; if it's less, he gets nothing. One man adds a $10,000 bonus to hischildren's trust each year they don't have a driving violation. Another mangives bonuses if his son marries the person who is the mother of hischildren and they live together in the same house. This form of "financialparenting" is so popular that the premier annual estate-planning conferencefeatured a presentation called "Planning to Influence Behavior: Guiding(Controlling) your Children and Grandchildren." (Wall Street Journal,11/17/99)

Four out of ten top executives are obese, finds a recent Tufts Universitymedical-school study. (Wall Street Journal, 2/23/00)

Taking a tip from Blair Witch, marketers have taken to manufacturinginternet buzz, a.k.a. "viral marketing."  Word of Net in Los Angeles is butone of several companies that hire people to troll Internet chatrooms andnewsgroups posing as clients' fans. In a typical day, a Word of Netemployee switches personae sixteen or so times, transforming from, say, afrat boy talking up Careerpath.com to a 50-year-old movie buff reviewing Being John Malkovich. Sometimes they'll assume two or three personalitiesat once, posting messages andthen replying under a different identity. Purposeful grammatical errors andmisspellings are de rigeur. According to Word of Net, staying undercover isimportant. "People don't trust marketers," says one employee. (Creativity,November 1999)

Recent baby names in Utah: Cola, Tide, Downy, Starbuck, Thermos, Avon,Audi, Lexus, Porsche. (Utah Baby Namer, an online guide "for parentslooking for that distinctivename that says 'I'm a Utah Mormon!")

Selections from Ebay in May 2000:

Elian music theme as played on Miami radio; currently $5,000.

BOTTLE of OCEAN WATER: SAME as ELIAN WAS IN;  currently $19.99. "I look atthe SEA and FEEL for the UN-FREE who give their LIVES in the PURSUIT ofFREEDOM as you will with this TRIBUTE to those who were inthe SEA."

Authentic Elian Drawing in Coloring book; currently $5."Drawn by Elian as he flew on the plane to Maryland. Retrieved for me by astewardess friend. This will go fast!

"Elian type raft-hand made American flag; currently $48."This is a hand made American flag that came off a raft like Elian's thatlanded on Fort Lauderdale beach in the fall of 1999 with 19 Cubanos.

"Innertube From Elian's Raft."Once I heard about Elian, I called my cousin in Florida to try to getanything of Elian's. He couldn't get anything except an innertube from his raft. It's worn out pretty bad, and there is a tear in it (sorry). Checkout my other auctions for a porch light from their house.

"HolyWater of Elian Gonzalez, La agua de Elian; currently $15,099.00. "Thisis the water from Little Havana, Miami, where Elian was staying. The watercomes in a glass bottle and is blessed by a priest.

"SUPER RARE ELIAN GONZALEZ MIAMI SOUND MACHINE LP; no current bids; firstbid $25.00

From the 3 Seasons Marketing web site:

It's Big! It's Bold! It's In Your Face! 3SM is a moving billboard company.We sell advertising space on ice cream trucks. Why ice cream trucks?? Theycombine moving billboards with radio. They play music to draw attention toyour ad!! Traffic must stop for the ice cream truck just as with a schoolbus, giving people time to absorb your copy. Ice cream trucks travel atvery slow speeds and make frequent stops. Ice cream trucks can go wherebillboards are prohibited or unavailable . . . we are never zoned out. Apositive lasting impression creates a need for your product. People love their ice cream man-in most neighborhoods, he/she is the most popularperson in town. Do you remember your favorite ice cream from childhood??Find Out More!"

[I'm] one of the original founders of the Lo Life's Polo Ralph Laurenboosters who stole Ralph Lauren and dominated it as a lifestyle and a sport. . . To me, the fifth element in hip-hop is fashion."-Rawkus Records recording artist Thirstin Howl III