The Lowdown: Chester Cheetah For Mayor, A-B Eyes Root Beer

Brewers Continue to Flood Market With Soda-Like Beers

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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.

The New York Jets got a surprising amount of buzz for the preparations around their trip to London last week, which included bringing 350 rolls of their own toilet paper, according to The New York Times. But it remains a mystery which brand was used. Charmin is indeed part of Procter & Gamble Co.'s far-reaching sponsorship deal with the NFL, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee placement in locker rooms either in New Jersey or London. A P&G spokeswoman said Friday she got no response from the Jets regarding which brand they brought to London. The Jets declined to comment. Even so, Charmin did issue a tweet of good luck to the Jets on Sunday.

The move appears a potential loss either way for Kimberly-Clark Corp., which sells Andrex, British sibling of Cottonelle, in the U.K. For the Jets, the idea was to replicate home conditions as much as possible, including using thicker, more potentially loo-clogging American toilet paper rather than the thinner British stuff. The attention to detail may have paid off though. The Jets won 27-14, and the Dolphins lost their head coach on the way home: Joe Philbin was fired Monday after the team's 1-3 start.

Elsewhere overseas, a Russian marketing agency is claiming responsibility for a 10,000-square foot crop circle that "mysteriously" appeared near Rostov-on-Don, a city with a population of about 1 million located near the Black Sea and Ukraine, on Monday. The crop circle -- which depicted an image of the newly announced Samsung Gear S2 -- garnered much news attention in Russia. A video by the agency, Rose Marketing, shows how the giant watch was created. It had just 127 views on YouTube as of Wednesday morning, however. The publicity stunt is similar to a soccer-themed campaign in 2013 where alien-like symbols and cryptic messages were on display across Brazil, the United States, England, Germany and Italy. In that stunt, the South Korean electronics maker was promoting the launch of the Galaxy 11. A Samsung spokeswoman confirmed the Russian stunt, saying it is "part of teaser PR campaign for Samsung Gear S2."

Chester Cheetah
Chester Cheetah Credit: Frito Lay

Back in the states, Cheetos is seeking publicity by putting its Chester Cheetah mascot up to run for mayor of Mayor of Chester, Montana. In a press release today, the Frito-Lay brand said Mr. Cheetah would be "rallying voters to be 'through with the red vs. blue' and instead go orange with the Orange Party." To clarify, the mascot has not actually filed papers to run. "Chester is not a person. He cannot actually run for office," a Frito-Lay spokeswoman told Ad Age. But election paraphernalia -- like t-shirts, buttons and magnets -- are real and available for sale on this microsite. The campaign, which will comprise digital ads, is by Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Further west, in Oregon, fans of cold brew coffee might be sipping with a sigh when they learn that Stumptown, the Portland-based coffee company with 10 shops and a hipster following, is selling out. On Tuesday, Peet's Coffee & Tea announced it plans to buy Stumptown, the latest acquisition as the premium coffee company tries to find new avenues for growth. Peet's, which was acquired three years ago, was quick to stress that Stumptown would still operate independently, just with the boost of having access to Peet's scale and industry resources. Stumptown, founded in 1999 by Duane Sorenson, could give a jolt to Peet's retail business, which centers around bags of beans and K-Cups. Stumptown is currently owned by shareholders including TSG Consumer Partners LLC, which held a majority stake in Stumptown and whose other industry investments have included Vitaminwater, Popchips and Muscle Milk. Peet's hired Cutwater as its agency of record this summer.

Last week, Lowdown reported on plans by A-B InBev to launch a new brand called Best Damn Apple Ale. The brewer is apparently not stopping there. Beer Marketer's Insights reported today that A-B InBev in recent wholesalers meetings previewed "Best Damned Root Beer."

Best Damn Apple Ale
Best Damn Apple Ale

The launch of the hard root beer would follow Not Your Father's Root Beer, which is marketed by specialty beer maker Small Town Brewery and has been a hot seller of late. MillerCoors, meanwhile, is prepping the launch of Henry's Hard Ginger Ale and Henry's Hard Orange sodas. The blurring beer-soda lines prompted a Dallas Observer columnist to ask, "Is sugar the new hops?"

Finally, here are some recent marketing executive moves: StubHub has named Jennifer Betka its new chief marketing officer. Ms. Betka, a former senior vice president at Wikia, will oversee StubHub's global marketing organization and "her team will build its marketing efforts around StubHub's commitment to deliver a more personalized experience to users, and ultimately, moves beyond being purely a transactional company into a more end-to-end platform," according to StubHub. Meanwhile, Crocs promoted VP of global marketing Terence Reilly to the role of senior VP and CMO. He's also getting another title: "Chief Fun Officer" for which Crocs said he will "serve as Crocs' global ambassador of fun."

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, George Slefo

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