The Lowdown: BK's King Gets Political, Share-A-Coke Returns

Coke Makes Holiday Cans for 'Someone Nice' or 'Someone Naughty'

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The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

Burger King's King -- who has showed up at premier horse races and boxing matches -- is taking a detour into politics. In spots from ad agency David set to begin airing Wednesday, the fast-food chain plays on the numerous presidential race debates we've seen so far. When asked what he can offer that his opponent can't, the King shows off a limited-time offer of 10 nuggets for $1.49 in a poster that unfurls and on a plate he holds at the podium. His opponent's reactions differ in the two :15 spots. A spokeswoman at Alison Brod Public Relations said the two endings were inspired by a few of the many reactions seen during the recent debates. The $1.49 price is one BK has used before, and is the latest signal of value pricing in the sector. Earlier this week, McDonald's announced its upcoming McPick 2 for $2 value play.

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Walton Isaacson, an ad agency whose partners include hoops legend Magic Johnson, will soon launch a new campaign for Spalding featuring NBA stars Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan. The shop, which is headquartered in Los Angeles and Chicago, was just named agency of record for the basketball equipment provider. The campaign, which will break in February, will include hoops stars as well as everyday athletes and seeks to portray how "Spalding products enable athletes to play their best game," the marketer said in a statement.

Dollar Shave Club ad
Dollar Shave Club ad

When it comes to simplicity, Dollar Shave Club is at the top of its game, apparently. The razor subscription service this year pushed Google out of the top spot in a ranking of simplest brand propositions from design and branding firm Siegel & Gale, based on consumer surveys. The study broke out incumbents such as Google from "disruptors" like Dollar Shave in separate lists, but in the combined list, Dollar Shave bested Google, the simplicity champ from prior years. Actually, some other "disruptors" beat Google this year too, including Warby Parker and Seamless. Google came in fourth, followed by GoPro, Netflix, Publix, The Honest Co., Spotify and Amazon.

Pronouncing the word haute, on the other hand, might not be so simple -- at least according to a new ad by flash-sale site HauteLook. The site, which Nordstrom bought four years ago for $270 million, is trying to boost sales with a cheeky new spot from LA-based agency Omelet. The 30-second ad plays on the pronunciations of "haute" versus "hot." It began airing on networks such as E!, Bravo and POP earlier this week. Omelet expects to continue the "Hot Look" campaign through 2016, according to a spokesman.

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Urban Outfitters is hoping that adding some oregano to its assortment of ironic t-shirts and high-waisted jeans might spice up its sales. The Philadelphia-based apparel chain announced earlier this week it will acquire The Vetri Family, a group of restaurants, including a pizza chain. CEO Richard Hayne noted that spending on casual dining is up. Third-quarter sales at Urban, which owns Free People and Anthropologie in addition its namesake brand, were $825 million, up 1.3% over the year-earlier period, while same-store sales increased 1%.

Trident's Kum & Go campaign
Trident's Kum & Go campaign Credit: Strap

If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, chances are you now can win prizes from Trident, at least if you live in the Midwest and mid-South territory of Kum & Go convenience stores. Through a pilot project with Cincinnati-based startup Strap, which specializes in using data from wearable devices for marketing, the Mondelez gum brand has launched Change Health Every Week (C.H.E.W.) Users can share their data, such as steps, through the retailer's app to earn prizes via mobile couponing platform Koupon Media. For example, when a user reaches 10,000 steps, they might get an offer for a free pack of Trident.

Christmas is still more than a month away, but holiday-themed campaigns are seemingly everywhere already. The latest comes from Lexus, which is linking its "December to Remember" campaign to a new partnership with specialty luxury retailer Barneys New York. A Lexus racetrack display will be featured in a Barneys holiday window display. The "chillin' out"-themed window features three penguins surfing atop crystal-encrusted Lexus F model cars. A limited-edition Lexus remote control car is being sold in the Barneys New York holiday mailer. Lexus is also out with a couple new holiday TV ads, including this one:

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is bringing back its "Share a Coke" campaign for the holidays. Bottles and cans will carry seasonal names such as "Santa," "Someone Nice," "Someone Naughty," "Under the Mistletoe," "Elves" and "Secret Santa."

Share-A-Coke Holiday Packages
Share-A-Coke Holiday Packages Credit: Coca Cola

In other news from the beverage giant, Coke-owned Smartwater is coming out with a sparkling line extension that includes "electrolytes for taste and just the right amount of delicate carbonation," the company stated Wednesday. It is for sale at select retailers including upscale dining locations and hotels, online sites and club outlets.

Lastly, here is a look at this week's executive moves:

Kohl's has created its first chief operating officer position and named Sona Chawla, former CMO at Walgreens, to fill the spot. She'll be in charge of supply chain logistics, store operations and ecommerce strategy starting Nov. 30. In a Tuesday announcement, the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based chain said Ms. Chawla is a possible successor to CEO Kevin Mansell. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Michelle Gass is also in the running for the top gig.

Diana LaRocca was promoted to the newly-created post of chief marketing officer at Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants Inc. She was previously VP-Marketing at the growing BBQ chain. Before that, she worked at Capital One, Legacy Texas Bank and Guaranty Bank.

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz

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