Late News: Red Lobster returns to old tagline in new effort

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[orlando] In an effort to lift soggy sales, Red Lobster this week is unearthing its 20-year-old tagline, "For the seafood lover in you" to front its Jumbo Shrimp promotion that runs through May. The spots mark the debut of creative from new agency Richards Group, Dallas, for the Darden Restaurants chain. Research showed that consumers remembered the old tagline better than recent themes, said a spokeswoman. It's unclear whether the tagline will be permanent. Red Lobster spent $91.5 million in measured media in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Verizon Wireless narrows review to McCann, Arnold

[bedminster, n.j.] Verizon Wireless has given Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, and Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston and New York, an additional assignment as it selects an agency for its $400 million national advertising campaign, according to several knowledgeable executives. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, was eliminated last week after final presentations ended. A decision is expected by late April, according to search consultant Pile & Co. A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment.

GE talks to shops about global Games sponsorship

[new york] General Electric Co. is meeting roster and non-roster agencies to discuss work on its first ever global Olympic sponsorship which runs between 2005 and 2012. A spokesman for the company confirmed it has been meeting with agencies. Omnicom Group's BBDO and OMD have been involved in talks along with other non-roster agencies. General Electric and its NBC unit acquired the rights to the 2010 and 2012 games for $2.2 billion in June 2003. General Electric's sponsorship package is worth between $160 and $200 million.

Pepperidge Farm taps Kressley for Crisps

[norwalk, ct.] Campbell Soup Co.'s Pepperidge Farm unit hopes to attract young adults to its typically kid-targeted Goldfish franchise by enlisting "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" star Carson Kressley to hawk its new thinner, crisper Goldfish Crisps. The 15-second TV ads, which break this week from WPP's Y&R Advertising, New York, play up the endorsement of the well-known trend spotter for the new "style" of Goldfish.

Anheuser-Busch avoids low-carb ad changes

[st. louis] Anheuser-Busch narrowly avoided having to change millions of dollars worth of advertising after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau on Apr. 8 set requirements for using the term "low carb" in marketing for beer and alcohol beverages. The bureau capped the carbohydrate count for "low carb" beers at 7 grams instead of its originally proposed 6 grams, allowing A-B's Bud Light with 6.6 grams to slip under the ceiling. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap52z

Senator: ad deductibles to be yanked as penalty

[washington] The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, which writes tax legislation, proposed eliminating advertising's deductibility in cases of bad behavior, drawing a worried reaction from at least one ad group. Introducing legislation to ease purchase of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, he said he would bar deductibility "only if a company tries to do something illegal and keep drugs from coming in." Dan Jaffe, exec VP for the Association of National Advertisers, said his group is worried that the move could open the door to other attacks on deductibility.

Wal-Mart pulls out of Statue of Liberty effort

[bentonville, ark.] Wal-Mart Stores has withdrawn its sponsorship of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's campaign to reopen the Statue of Liberty, as the non-profit faces a federal investigation. The U.S. Department of Interior has launched a probe of the $7 million campaign, charging the funds have not been used. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman it will re-examine the decision based on the results of the investigation. Wal-Mart's contribution included a donations match of up to $1.5 million. "Our organization can account for every dollar it has ever raised and spent and has done so since its inception 22 years ago," said Foundation President-CEO Stephen A. Briganti. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap53e

Silk Soymilk launches $22 million TV campaign

[boulder, co.] Dean Foods' White Wave Silk Soymilk will launch its first national TV campaign this week, a $22.3 million effort dubbed "Rise and shine" that shows the possibilities in life when you start with a great breakfast. The Silk brand, fast growing in mainstream channels, was awarded to WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell last December. Soymilk competitor 8th Continent, from General Mills, is also likely to bow TV ads, from Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, to take advantage of the surge in soymilk sales and household penetration.

Infomercial marketers start self-reg. program

[washington] Infomercial marketers and home-shopping channels, some of whose ads have been regularly hit with Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions, are joining with the Council of Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Review Council to create a new self regulatory program to resolve complaints about the ads before enforcement agencies step in. The Electronic Retailing Association is to announce the new program at a press conference today that will include Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris. The review, separate from the advertising review conducted by the National Advertising Division of short-format commercials, will include any complaints about infomercials from vitamin and dietary supplement makers who are members of the association.

FYI ...

John Collins, 42, senior VP-marketing and sales at the National Football League has left to become president-chief executive of the Cleveland Browns. ... Sears, Roebuck & Co. has signed entertainment agency Norm Marshall & Associates, Los Angeles, to develop TV and film promotional tie-ins. The retailer has been tinkering with media mix in an effort to lift flagging sales and compete with big-box retailers and stronger competition from department store rivals. ... Hershey Foods will announce a broad deal this week with popular Mexican singer Thalia Sodi, including appearing in Spanish-language ads and taking advantage of her cross-over potential to the general market. Hershey is working with Omnicom's DDB Worldwide and U.S. Hispanic agency Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, a member of Omnicom's Diversified Agency Services division. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap52y

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