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 trend in tequila marketing is to make the liquid itself the star. Stories about how tequila is made are in, while flashy celebrity-filled campaigns are out, as Ad Age recently reported. But how do brands create ads with substance and style? Brown-Forman-owned Herradura tequila achieves this in a new campaign by using sound frequencies to bring its liquid to life. The global campaign, called "Sound of Smoothness," includes a video that shows a glass of Herradura suspended above a speaker. The liquid inside pulsates to the rhythms of the music as sound frequencies cause movement. The custom song was created by Massive Music.
The campaign, by Grey Canada, will include partnerships with Hulu, Spotify and Foursquare, as well as social media engagement via Facebook, according to the brand. "Ultra is a tequila for people who love the nightlife: music, rhythm, light, excitement," Joel Arbez, exec creative director at Grey Canada, said in a statement. "So what we wanted to do was bring that whole vibe together with the product itself, and cymatics was the perfect way to do it." Here is how they did it:
The Los Angeles Rams this week announced a sponsorship deal with Corona Extra. But the franchise --- which is returning to L.A. this year after playing in St. Louis -- will be double-fisted when it comes to beer sponsorships. The Corona deal is exclusive to the imported beer category, leaving the door open to a domestic beer sponsor. Bud Light has previously sponsored the team and is expected to renew this year.
If AB InBev finalizes the deal, that would give it 28 NFL team deals, about half of which are exclusive. The brewer also has the leaguewide sponsorship. MillerCoors has 18 team deals, including four that are exclusive: Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay and Minnesota. Corona's deal with the Rams gives it prominent in-stadium signage, use of Rams logos on packaging and the presenting sponsorship of a "Corona Beach House" party zone experience on the east side of the L.A. Coliseum.
More from the beer beat: After entering the hard soda category in January with the Henry's brand, MillerCoors is giving hard iced tea a go. The brewer this week announced a new brand called Easy Tea Co that is lightly carbonated and checks in at 5% alcohol by volume. While Henry's got a strong national marketing push, the brewer is starting slow with Easy Tea. Availability is limited to Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Turning to soda: An anti-palm oil advocacy group is using the return of Crystal Pepsi to launch a new attack on PepsiCo. SumOfUs, which describes itself as an international consumer group, this week released an ad parodying the marketer's classic Super Bowl ad from 1992 that featured Cindy Crawford. SumOfUs's version shows a woman posing as Ms. Crawford downing a Crystal Pepsi that turns into a yellowish brown sludge, with the kicker: "Crystal Pepsi: New Look. Same Palm Oil Problem."
Pepsi's original ad actually featured regular Pepsi, not Crystal Pepsi. But SumOfUs is tying their spot to PepsiCo's decision to bring back the 1990s-era Crystal Pepsi for a limited time this month. "While PepsiCo makes juicy profits off this product relaunch, Indonesia's rainforest, workers, and endangered animals pay a heavy price. PepsiCo's palm oil policy contains a huge loophole -- it doesn't cover its producer in Indonesia, IndoFood," Katherine Tu, a campaigner for SumOfUs, said in a statement. The parody ad had been viewed more than 423,000 times on YouTube as of Wednesday morning. PepsiCo declined comment. SumOfUs previously went after PepsiCo in early 2015 with a parody ad mocking PepsiCo's Crash the Super Bowl contest for Doritos.
Earlier this summer, Pepsi put a more positive spin on the classic 1992 spot with an updated version that used emojis. Here is the original 1992 spot:
Speed isn't just for Olympic sporting events. Next year, Adidas plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Atlanta that will help the brand get products to consumers faster by shortening the length of production time. It's a move that puts the German athletic brand on the same fast-fashion ground as Zara and H&M, which have had success with quick turnaround cycles in their manufacturing. The 74,000-square-foot site, called SpeedFactory, will also enable Adidas to react faster to consumer trends and demands by sourcing locally. "Speed is far more than a business strategy for us," said group executive board member Glenn Bennett, who heads global operations, in a statement. "Speed is all around us. It's what athletes train for, and it's essential to our consumers who live in a world of immediacy." Adidas also has a SpeedFactory in Germany. The brand is also strengthening its creative strategy with the opening this fall of a "creative farm" design hub in Brooklyn. That space will be run by three former Nike employees.
Blue Bell Creameries has hired Richards/Carlberg as its agency of record. The switch follows the Texas-based ice cream marketer's recall of all of its products last year after the brand was linked to 10 listeria infections, including the deaths of three people in Kansas. Richards/Carlberg will work on strategy and creative work for TV, radio, print, out-of-home, online and social media. Gayl Carlberg, a principal at the agency who worked on Blue Bell's account years ago while at Metzdorf Advertising Agency, will lead the account. "Richards/Carlberg is the right company to preserve and foster the image and mystique that make Blue Bell unique," Ricky Dickson, Blue Bell's VP-sales and marketing, said in a statement. Roger Christian & Co., which previously held the account, was not immediately available to comment.
It took a year and a half, but Coffee-mate has heard the voices of fans of its discontinued Amaretto flavor. Fans started a "Bring Back Amaretto Coffeemate Creamer" Facebook page in February 2015, about a month after Nestle dropped the flavor. Social posts, phone calls and letters to the company followed and Amaretto is now the most requested Coffee-mate flavor, with more than 3,700 requests for its return, according to PR agency Golin. Now, Coffee-mate is using one of the leaders of the charge, a brand fan named Judy, to market the return of the Amaretto-flavored creamer. The brand surprised her with a party late last month, complete with coffee in a heart-shaped mug. Starting Wednesday, it is showing a video of the event, produced by Mosaic, on its YouTube channel and Facebook page, with paid support on Facebook. The flavor has already been spotted in some stores, much to the delight of some of the more than 1,380 people who like the Facebook page. Still, they might have to keep the page up and running - the flavor is only set to be in stores through the end of the year.
SkinnyPop is using the back-to-school season to school its rivals on their use of tough-to-pronounce ingredients. In its first video spots, online beginning Wednesday, the bagged popcorn brand shows kids trying to spell ingredients, such as monosodium glutamate, found in some other salty snacks. Then it has them read the more common words, such as popcorn and salt, found in the SkinnyPop ingredient list. The campaign from Olson Engage is meant to connect with the one-third of snackers who say they are snacking on healthier foods this year versus last year, and the 30% who say they are serving healthier snacks to their kids, according to Mintel data shared by the agency. The videos will be supported by paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.
Hungering for a piece of fast food-inspired art to hang in your home? Checkers & Rally's, with agency Fitzgerald & Co., came up with a way to get the sibling burger chains into the social conversation leading up to and during CraveCon: burger art. The convention, being held Aug. 13 in Texas, will be a place for fans of personalities such as Daym Drops to meet him and other food-focused social media influencers in person. (Well, assuming his flight gets there in time -- his posts on Twitter early Wednesday seemed to match the overall vibe Delta is dealing with after this week's power outage issue.)
At CraveCon, Checkers & Rally's will display art inspired by items on their menu from Matthew Albert, Beardy Glasses, Jon Burgerman, Dr. Dax, Killamari and PaperFrank. Attendees can compete in what one might call an Instagram auction to win a piece of the art. They need to post about the art on Instagram with the hashtags #CravingsCollection and #FastFoodie, and tag Checkers, and the post with the most likes wins the art. There are also smaller prints available to those playing along from home.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli