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.
Naama Bloom has made taboo subjects funny with videos about girls and menstruation to sell period starter kits as founder of HelloFlo. Now, as part of SheKnows, she's turned to something maybe even more uncomfortable, creating a sort of vagina dialogue in a "Sex and the City" spoof for Combe's Vagisil.
"For us it was a combination of the prolific media reach that they have, an ability for them to say things we might not be able to say on national TV, and the fact that they get what we're trying to do," said Combe co-CEO Keech Combe Shetty, who came to the family business after working as a marketer at Estee Lauder. Combe has spent more than $10 million on TV the past year, per iSpot.tv, but there's plenty the brand just can't say there, Ms. Combe said. "A lot of it is trying to normalize the conversation around vaginal health and intimate dryness." Hence, a conversation among four women in the desert about a "dehydrated vagina." The 120-second-plus video for Vagisil Prohydrate Natural Feel makes the case for an anti-aging regimen for "intimate skin," sort of combining the benefits of Olay and a daily Cialis for women. "Like every part of your body, skin ages, it gets older," says one of the cartoon women.
Shifting to self-regulatory news: Kimberly-Clark Corp., marketer of Scott and Viva, has won one for the paper towel industry in a challenge before the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus over Dyson's "Paper Towels Aren't as Clean as You Think," video. K-C took issue with claims in the video and on Dyson.com that paper towels have "a dirty secret," which includes a significant percentage of them in public restrooms being contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. This was part of Dyson's case for its Airblade forced-air hand dryers. The NAD said nothing in its decision precludes Dyson talking about benefits of its technology, provided it doesn't communicate superiority to drying hands with paper towels. Dyson, in its statement, said it took issue with the NAD decision, but would comply. As of Wednesday, a version of the video could still be found on YouTube, but the page making claims about paper towels had been removed from Dyson.com. This is the second favorable NAD ruling in as many weeks for K-C taking on marketers disparaging entire industries with their ads, after a ruling earlier this month that led Honest Co. to end attacks on the safety of other marketers' diapers and wipes.
Some sad news to report from the fast food beat: The man who created the Big Mac has died. Michael "Jim" Delligatti passed away on Monday at the age of 98. As a McDonald's franchisee, Mr. Delligatti introduced the Big Mac in his Uniontown, Penn. restaurant in 1967. The sandwich -- two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame-seed bun -- became a core item on McDonald's menu and has gone on to be served in more than 100 countries. According to a family obituary shared by McDonald's, Mr. Delligatti also developed the Hotcakes and Sausage meal "to feed hungry steel workers on their way home from overnight shifts in the mills."
He opened his first McDonald's in 1957 and went on to own and operate 47 additional locations in Pennsylvania, the family obituary said. Mr. Delligatti also co-founded Pittsburgh's Ronald McDonald House in 1979. "We will remember Jim as an insightful franchisee, a knowledgeable businessman, and an honorable gentleman who left a legacy of four generations of family members running great restaurants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina," McDonald's said in a statement.
Onto the business of running restaurants in 2017: Restaurant industry tracking firm Technomic has trimmed its expectations for the sector for this year and next. The lowered forecasts come as visits to U.S. restaurants, most notably Chipotle locations, have declined. For full-service restaurants, Technomic now anticipates 3.5% growth in 2016 and 2017. Growth after inflation would be just 0.8%, it said. In May, its full-service forecasts were 1.4 and 0.8 percentage points higher for 2016 and 2017, respectively. Limited-service restaurants are expected to grow 4.5% in 2016 and 4.9% in 2017, down from earlier forecasts of 5.5% and 5.7%, respectively. "Menu prices at some fast-casual restaurants have risen to a level where the perceived value for a typical consumer has eroded," said Technomic Principal Erik Thoresen. "Add to that the struggles of Chipotle, which represents a sizeable share of the fast-casual industry, and it was evident that forecast revisions in for 2016 and 2017 were necessary." Still, Technomic said fast casual remains one of the fast growing sectors in foodservice. For hotel foodservice, Technomic now expects 2016 growth of 5.3%, down from 7.3%. It reduced its 2017 forecast to 5.1% from from 6.8%.
From the booze beat: Crown Royal Canadian Whisky was created in 1939 when a Canadian spirits entrepreneur welcomed the visiting King and Queen of England by giving them a blend of 50 fine whiskeys held in decanter and packaged in a purple bag. That spirit of giving is fueling a new campaign for the brand called "Live Generously and Life Will
The Ember Mug, a high-tech coffee vessel with a star-studded investor base, has launched in time for the holidays, with Starbucks as its exclusive brick-and-mortar retailer. For a mere $149.95, the mug, with 70 patents, allows users to maintain a digitally custom-controlled temperature for their coffee, even cooling it rapidly for those who don't want to keep it warm. In a video backing the launch, a slinky British actress makes the case for people preserving their $1,000-a-year investment in coffee. Among investors in Ember are singer Demi Lovato, Jonas brothers Joe and Nick; and NFL players Ndamukong Suh and Prince Amukamara.
Finally, a note about a sponsorship renewal: Snickers is getting back in the ring with WWE. The Mars candy brand renewed its partnership as exclusive presenting partner of WrestleMania 33 after this year's inaugural run. Additions to the deal this time around include WWE producing custom TV creative for Snickers, featuring WWE stars and the candy's "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign. Snickers will also have a complete brand takeover of WWE's popular YouTube channel the day of WrestleMania, April 2, 2017. The Snickers creative work from WWE will be integrated into various WWE platforms leading up to the event, including custom content such as a Snapchat live story. WWE and Snickers said the brand's presenting partnership for WrestleMania 32 resulted in more than 1.5 billion impressions for Snickers across WWE's and NBCUniversal's global platforms.
Contributing: Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz