Adages: Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it's business as usual

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While the world is preoccupied with news of war, here at Adages we struggle mightily to focus on issues of marketing. And it's been tough sledding. Why? The business just seems so banal considering the turmoil out there.

But the show must go on, so let's get on with it.

We were truly inspired last week; a sugar-rush surge of pure patriotism gripped us when a package of patriotic Peeps arrived in the office straight from Bethlehem, Pa., home of Just Born, the candy company. Were these soft, spangled pillows of pure sugar here just in time to celebrate Operation Iraqi Freedom? Not quite. "They will be distributed for the summer holidays, for Fourth of July," said a company spokesperson cheerily.

Coincidentally, another inspiring new product appeared on our horizon: Star Spangled Ice Cream. "Ice cream with a conservative flavor," says the Web site ( It's positioned as an alternative to ice cream with a hippie liberal taste, in other words, Ben & Jerry's, the brand that is pushing an anti-war attitude. Spangled ice cream flavors include: "I Hate the French Vanilla," "Iraqi Road," "Smaller GovernMint" and "Nutty Environmentalist."

Grin and bear it

An item hot off the wire. Conan O'Brien, the late night blabbermouth, recently declared that Unilever's famous fabric softener mascot, Snuggles the bear, has attitude. "Snuggles has got this weird edge now," observed the perspicacious Conan. He's right, for once: The cuddly little fur ball is no longer so cute-he's lascivious. In an ad campaign from Lowe that broke last week, the plush little pooh turns up lounging languorously in a basket of sheets, with bloodshot eyes no less, doing pelvic thrusts with a pro-vocative grin.

Don't forget Shemp

Always on the cutting edge, NBC aired a timely special last week about the Three Stooges. No, not Iggy Pop and the Stooges. We're talking about that irascible black-and-white trio of clowns whose idea of humor of was to bonk each other on the head with ball-peen hammers. That's right, a full hour about these incredibly impertinent knuckleheads. And in the middle of all this merriment what should appear but a commercial for Zoloft, the anti-depressant drug. Talk about highly targeted advertising!

Closing the gate

There was controversy in adland last week as CBS refused to air the "RipBurnRespect" ad from Gateway that promotes legal music downloading using Gateway equipment. "We don't accept advocacy advertising and this particular ad fell under that umbrella," said a CBS spokesman. The network and its parent Viacom have lobbied against music piracy in Washington, helping bring Napster to its knees. The offending ad, meanwhile, has aired on most other networks. The spot is an innocuous tableau of hipsters spouting Internet music jargon, not very threatening. It was created by a company called Dogmatic, and directed by a photographer named Gobi and Laurel Harris, owner of Dogmatic. "It's kind of exciting," says Laurel about the controversy surrounding her work. Check it out for yourself at QwikFIND aao56g.


Fox Sports Net's extreme-sports show "54321" introduced a brand new sport recently: skateboard hockey. The crazy game, aired on a recent episode, was dreamed up by a group of skate freaks in L.A., led by Mike Vallely, who happens to be consultant on the show. How do you play hockey on a skateboard? "You use the board as well as the stick to handle the puck," says Mike. "The trick is to keep one foot on the board and one foot off so that you can change direction." Another group that claims they created the game, the Jaks from Vancouver, use a crushed Fosters Lager can as a puck. Adages suggests the Aussie brewmasters get in touch with these Canucks and work out an embedded branding deal. "The game is really just a lot of drunken fun," observes Brian Peach, a skateboard hockey player from Toronto. "It's not as organized as you might think." Cool, the perfect pastime for beer drinkers and makers.

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