Adages: Sticking it to the terrorists one pump at a time

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What to do when you want to take on terrorism, big oil and the SUV scourge on a tight budget? Why, you resort to urban guerilla marketing. Case in point: Citystreets, a New York-based pedestrian rights and advocacy group and its agency Think Tank 3. As a follow-up to their 2002 "AK47-Redux" effort, in which they connected the dots between oil use and terrorism, the duo is now offering ... stickers. They're bright yellow and branded with Arabic-looking reminders that if you're fueling up from a company that imports oil from the Middle East, you're probably funding terrorism. The stickers are free and are meant to be plastered on the pumps at offending gas stations. According to Harris Silver, president-brand awareness at Think Tank 3, 10,000 stickers have been printed and they'll ship the suckers anywhere.

The effort so far has cost less than $5,000 to produce. "If we had the amount of money of the oil companies, we'd use traditional advertising," says Silver.

No word yet on how gas-station owners are reacting to having their pumps labeled as terrorist donation boxes.

Beer babe bares all

Hustler's stirring things up again. According to the magazine, one of Miller Lite's "Catfight" girls will be featured in a photo spread in its July issue. Kitana Baker, the brunette in "Catfight," is by no means new to nudity. She's done numerous shoots for Playboy, was named National Showgirl of the Year in 1999 and has done film work that is, shall we say, just a tad racier than "Catfight." Baker's manager, though, had no comment to make other than that his client in no way posed for Hustler. He's probably right. Hustler often buys pics from third parties and a quick Google cache search shows background text on Hustler sites promising that Baker "bares all as showgirl of the year." If her agent is surprised by the development, we can only wonder what's going on in the executive suites over at SABMiller. While the brewer had to have known about her not-so-secret past, a Hustler spread might come as an unwelcome surprise-especially if Fox News' Bill O'Reilly decides to make an issue out of it. Miller, at press time, had no comment. But we bet there'll be no complaints from Lite's target audience.

The times they are a changin'

Aspiring musicians (and record companies), take note. Someone may have stumbled upon a better way to play for change.

Back on April 2, as the 101st Airborne Division rolled into the Iraqi city of Najaf, one Iraqi man said what everyone else was thinking: "Democracy, whiskey. And sexy!" Inspired by the cry, Dr. Frank, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the punk band The Mr. T. Experience, wrote a tune by that name and it's now available as a free MP3 download through Lookout Records Web site. One listener describes the result as a cross between "Imagine" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

To get the word out, Dr. Frank is pioneering what he calls "cyber busking," which he likens to the digital equivalent of plopping a chair on the sidewalk and putting out the old guitar case. Instead of nickels and dimes, he's taking donations through Pay Pal and Amazon. The biggest difference between cyber and subway busking? Server meltdowns when a popular site links to the song. Dr. Frank likens it to the "unlikely scenario of the city's biggest radio station broadcasting multiple messages saying `there's a guy with a guitar playing over by the Embarcadero BART station-get over there right now!"'

He's yet to tally up his takings; using the highly unreliable Web counter being used to track visitors, Dr. Frank is estimating he's had around 4,000 passers-by. So far, heckler traffic has been light, but he was warned that playing the song in Toronto would cause a riot.

Send spare change to rlinnett@crain.com

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