First Down, Pepsi
Pepsi has gone on the offensive, blocking all softdrinks other non-alcoholic beverages from the Super Bowl through the first half and half time. Coke is pondering a similar move for the third quarter of the game. The category exclusivity was engineered by Omnicom’s OMD, writes AdAge. Pepsi spent $192.8 million on Super Bowl advertising between 1998 and 2007, second only to Anheuser-Busch, which spent $274.2 million, per TNS Media Intelligence. After the 2008 game, Pepsi had more share of voice in blog posts during and after the Super Bowl than any other brand. People familiar with the situation say that Coke is trying to hammer out similar exclusivity in the third quarter, but that nothing has been confirmed. Coke has backed off on its Super Bowl presence in recent years. Super Bowl spots are running for $3 million on average this year. The game will air on NBC on Feb. 1, 2009.
Dunkin’ On the Move
When Nigel Travis takes command of Dunkin’ Brands as CEO next month, he may want a Toyota Yaris as his company car, particularly if it carries a seven-foot-tall iced coffee in the back. Many people at Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, ask for the tricked-out orange or pink cars. But John Giaquinto, manager of field marketing services, isn’t giving up even one of his 20 Yaris. “TV crews really love them,” he points out, “so it’s more likely that we’ll get on TV.” The eye-catching cars are the latest addition to Dunkin’s fleet of vehicles used primarily for sampling at about 1,000 events a year, from the grand opening of a new shop to big-name concerts and festivals. Some of the fleet has been around for several years–and by sampling vehicle standards, they are novel, with steam rising from the top of white coffee cups, for example, in pink cars. Giaquinto says the Canton, Mass.-based company used to send out only large vehicles, but decided to downsize to Yaris after gas prices began to rise. “We’ve made it to Phoenix but not [yet] to the West Coast,” he says.
It just may be the shortest beta testing period of any Google product: After a mere 3.5 months, the search king has taken its Chrome Web browser out of beta. Gmail, for example, has been in beta since April 2004. So, what’s new? “The engineering team has been fixing a lot of bugs and working on stability, working on making the product really rock solid,” Brian Rakowski, product manager for Google Chrome, tells Information Week. He added that Google isn’t putting a lot into the “1.0” tag: “We’re trying, throughout the whole Chrome development process, to release features very quickly, so we have a lot more stuff coming down the pipe. The main point of this is that it’s a rock-solid product that’s ready for anybody to use, not just early adopters.” Is that the same thing as saying that Chrome is both done and still a work in progress? “There’s no question that we have a lot of work to do,” Rakowski conceded. “If you compare it to other projects of this scope, it’s not unusual to have many thousands of open bugs. What we try to do is triage those bugs carefully and make sure that we’re taking care of the most important ones, the ones that are affecting most users. Lots of those bugs have been targeted for this release to close.” Meanwhile, the report says “the most meaningful consequence” of Chrome 1.0 is that distribution partners will now be able to offer Chrome as a finished product. That should help it move beyond the paltry 0.83 percent share of the browser market that Chrome now occupies.
Strangest Media Opportunity of the Week: Origami
We may not think we pay much attention to the receipts we get out of ATM machines, but we do, looking at them as they come out and often sticking them in a wallet or purse to record later. That would seem to make them a great place to put an ad message–and an even better place to engage that bank customer. What an agency in Australia came up with was the ultimate engagement: Origami ads. ATM receipts from Australia’s HSBC bank are now printed with instructions for creating origami sculptures, five in all, a car, a house, a piggy bank, a mouse and a Chinese restaurant takeout container. Each is really an ad for a service the bank offers beyond checking. The car is for insurance, the piggy bank for savings accounts, the house for the mortgages it offers, the mouse for its online banking service and the takeout box for its credit card services. The idea for the origami sculptures emerged from brainstorming sessions in response to a request from the bank to come up with a smart way to promote its other services. “We set ourselves a task to create something people might want to interact and spend time with,” says Richard Apps, creative group head. “We explored quite a few areas, but the origami idea captured our imagination straight away and was the best fit for delivering the product information.”