Hindsight is often 20-20, but it seems incredible that the folks at Chrysler would give an artist $14 million to help move its Chrysler brand upmarket, given the glaring disconnect between the brand's target audience and her core fan base. While Celine's new CD went double-platinum in short order last spring, lots of Chrysler's inventory sat gathering dust. While the Chrysler brass will honor its three-year pact to sponsor Celine's Vegas show, dealers are relieved that corporate has backpedaled on the ads.
2 Publicis eyes entertainment
After swallowing up Bcom3, Publicis honcho Maurice Levy is ready to be entertained. While Omnicom and Interpublic have more aggressively led the charge in exploring holding company architectures for entertainment plays, Levy is exploring the possibility of creating his own division, eyeing Tinseltown mainstays to help him. The proposed company would create marketing opportunities for clients, which include Coca-Cola and General Motors. With Levy joining the club, all eyes turn to WPP and Sir Martin, who's lying in the weeds. Look for Mr. Sorrell to pounce in 2004.
3 Brands Won't Reload 'Matrix'
What went wrong for the blue chip brands attached to Warner Bros.' "The Matrix Reloaded"? One thing's clear- Hollywood hasn't seen a dustup like this since Reebok sued Sony over "Jerry Maguire." General Motors' Cadillac scrapped a big budget TV campaign pegged to the movie after it couldn't get the talent cooperation or film footage it wanted. Samsung, Heineken, and Coke also groused about poor treatment from the filmmakers. Could the studio have brought the hammer down on the Wachowski brothers? Will this parable of failed convergence make brands gun shy?
4 'Restaurant' tries New Recipe
No one could accuse Rocco DiSpirito of being an unenthusiastic shill for NBC's "The Restaurant." Marketing partners Coors, American Express and Mitsubishi all got more airtime than Rocco's mom and her killer meatballs. It's just a shame that much of the product placement had to be so in-your-face. Despite its clumsy commercialization, the show's producers, Robert Riesenberg of Magna Global and Reveille's Ben Silverman, score points for an innovative financing model, easing much of the risk for the Peacock.
5 ABC, MindShare enter pact
It shouldn't be glossed over that MindShare North America chief Marc Goldstein hammered out this "framework" with programming chief Susan Lyne- not ad sales prez Mike Shaw. Is "open-ended and non-exclusive," code for "ABC has nothing to lose"? Since running Regis's "Millionaire" into the ground, the traditional methods of developing breakout hits sure haven't worked over the past few years. But will MindShare and its clients ultimately have the stomach to play in the money pit that is network TV deficit financing.
6 Omnicom Bests CAA for HP Biz
An unlikely suspect made quite a splash at the dawn of 2003 by pitting best-of-class outfits from Madison Avenue-Omnicom- and the Wilshire Corridor-CAA-, respectively, in a shootout for its entertainment marketing account. Having squashed her detractors in the bruising battle to subsume rival Compaq, HP CEO Carly Fiorina is poised to refashion the dowdy HP brand with a contemporary sheen. After some initial poking around-including some preliminary discussions with Lyor Cohen at Island Def Jam-HP opted for familiarity over glitz.
7 Cola Wars Move Online
Liters of Pepsi could well be flying off the shelves at a greater clip when the soda behemoth's $100 million free music promotion with Apple's iTunes kicks into gear. Starting February 1, 100 million winning codes will be randomly seeded in 20 ounce and 1 liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi. and Sierra Mist. The deal gives scale to branded legal downloads and speaks to the growing notion of the Internet as the primary music retailer of the 21st century. Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola countered with plans to roll out its own online music store in the U.K.
8 Ford's Feature Film Revolution
The car's the star. At least that's the idea behind this deal between Ford and Sony-based Revolution. This tie-up calls for the two outfits to partner from the get-go. Ford will powwow with Revolution filmmakers on getting their vehicles star treatment, while Revolution will get to look under the hood at Ford's research and design centers. The first project is an Ice Cube road comedy called "Are We There Yet?" with a tricked out Lincoln Navigator. Paradigm-shifter or glorified product placement deal?
9 OMD, sci-fi Ink integration deal
OMD's Guy McCarter grabbed headlines when he cut this $3 million integration deal-a virtual OMD monopoly-with the Sci-Fi Channel for its new five-part summer 2004 miniseries, "5 Days to Midnight." A senior exec at Sci-Fi umbrella Universal Television Networks called it the "mother of all integrated deals." Now for the hard part: Weaving a slew of clients into "Survivor" is one thing; scripted integration is another beast altogether. Will Nissan and McDonald's and Visa and FedEx and all the rest be smiling at the end?
10 Reebok signs Jay-Z, 50 Cent
Unlike archrival Nike- which hitches its wagon to the sports world's superstars- and other archrival Adidas-which hitches its wagon to the sports world's superstars-Reebok's going after the street cred. Inking deals with hip-hop stars Jay-Z and 50 Cent, the Canton, Mass.-based company this year gave the two players their own "signature" lines under the Rbk banner. Early returns are good. The Jay-Z shoe called S.Carter sold out the initial half-million run from the spring.