Jay-Z’s pot brand targets state borders and Kazakhstan adopts Borat’s catchphrase: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
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Jay-Z may or may not be running for office alongside Kanye West (is anyone sure these days?) but as the election approaches, the celebrity is in the news with a somewhat political message.
Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports that the Jay-Z-backed cannabis brand, Monogram, is seizing on the inconsistency between the legalization of pot in different U.S. states. His campaign involves parking mobile billboards along the borders of states where pot is legal and illegal, respectively, including Oregon/Idaho, Colorado/Wyoming and Colorado/Kansas. People entering illegal states will see “Here cannabis is illegal. Avoid the bookings.”
The campaign launch is timed to the 50th anniversary of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and comes a week before Election Day, when recreational pot legalization is on the ballot in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota.
A Monogram representative says that, while the campaign does not have “an explicit focus on the upcoming elections/legalization ballot measures,” the “election and political climate do make the subject relevant for consumers now.”
The debut of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” on Amazon has generated an unexpected turnaround from Kazakhstan, the native country of the satirical character, which in 2006 banned the first “Borat” movie for being offensive.
As the New York Times reports, the country is now using Borat’s catchphrase, “Very nice,” as the centerpiece for its own tourism campaign. Four twelve-second spots feature people walking around Kazakhstan and using the phrase to describe things such as drinking fermented horse milk.
The campaign was pitched to the Kazakhstan tourist board and produced pro bono by Dennis Keen, an American who lives there and hosts a travel show, and Yermek Utemissov, who helps foreign film companies arrange shoots in Kazakhstan. Utemissov told the Times he wasn’t worried that his fellow citizens would be offended by Borat in 2020. “It’s a newer generation,” he said. “They’ve got Twitter, they’ve got Instagram, they’ve got Reddit, they know English, they know memes. They get it.”
With just days to go before the election, the Lincoln Project is out with its most pro-Biden ad yet—one in which there’s no explicit Trump-bashing.
As Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco reports, the current occupant of the Oval Office isn’t mentioned in the spot, which serves up scenes of a troubled nation (Americans in masks, protesting in the streets) along with historical and contemporary shots of Joe Biden across decades of family life and public service. “This is Joe Biden’s moment—what his life prepared him for,” says the voiceover.
Separately, Axios reports that the Republican-backed group “is looking to beef up its media business after the election” and is weighing offers from TV studios, podcast networks and book publishers.
Over at the Trump campaign, CNBC reports that the president’s team appears to have readied a somewhat bizarre Facebook video that could represent a “victory” ad. It shows the president’s face superimposed on a sun (reminiscent of "Teletubbies") with the words: “It’s morning in America. Donald J. Trump is still president of the United States,” as flowers rise from the ground and open to faces that scream “NOOOO!” as the smiling president, now also a hummingbird, flits around.
The ad is visible in Facebook’s political ads library, says CNBC, despite Facebook saying it does not allow “ads with premature claims of election victory.” Facebook, however, said the ads were allowed because, regardless of the election outcome, the president will continue in his role until January 20.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has slashed its advertising budget in Florida, reports Bloomberg News, relying on the Republican National Committee to carry the message there, as the president’s re-election effort moves resources to the industrial northern states that carried him to victory in 2016.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have become more aware of food waste as shopping habits have been disrupted and more groceries are purchased online. Now comes a big marketing push from Apeel, whose edible-coating product can double the shelf life of fresh produce, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl.
Apeel’s plant-based technology works to keep moisture in and oxygen out, extending the life of produce. Its “food gone good” message will begin appearing in ads by Johannes Leonardo, designed to be part of a broader conversation around food waste and food insecurity.
Omnicom decline: Omnicom Group reported a 11.5% decline in third-quarter worldwide revenue to $3.2 billion from $3.6 billion in the same period last year, reports Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. Chairman and CEO John Wren said on an earnings call that, "as expected," the negative impacts from COVID-19 "peaked in the third quarter."
Multicultural takeaways: In case you missed Ad Age’s Town Hall on multicultural marketing yesterday, a digest of insights on how brands and agencies can do a better job of representing and engaging with increasingly diverse audiences is available here. You can stream the two-hour virtual program here.
Flamin’ hot: Cheetos is aiming to engage its Hispanic fan base by teaming up with Bad Bunny for a campaign centered on the phrase “deja tu huella,” or "leave your mark," writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. Its first spot featuring the Puerto Rican singer (who is reportedly a fan of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos) will debut during the American Music Awards show next month.
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