Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Week That Was #2

Here we go again with what I think were some of past week’s highlights!

Tacky Tacorama!! No you can’t have your Taco and eat it too.

There’s backlash from the blogosphere this week as a new Taco Bell infomercial leaves viewers with a feeling of a flat Saturday Night Live ad parody. Apparently, the infomercial was meant with "a wink" (or did they mean tongue-in-cheek) to get people talking.

“Winks” or not, the tacky Taco Bell campaign is actually attracting precisely the type of cheap talk the fast food company doesn't want. Positive comments about Taco Bell on blogs and social media have fallen to 67%, compared with 73% positive before the campaign rolled out, Advertising Age reports, citing Zeta Interactive. It seems that you can’t have your taco and eat it after all. (For a glimpse of the advertising community’s distaste about the ad, click here.

As for the poor woman who spent two years on a severe calorie-restricted diet only to lose 54 lbs, what sort of madness is that? Any nutritionist worth their grain in a sodium-free diet will tell you a) that level of weight loss over a 2-year period is not so dramatic as Taco Bell would have us believe, and b) consuming just 1250 calories per day is not healthy. Me? I’d rather stick hot pins in my eyes than live for 2 years on such a diet – only to have lost 54lbs. Heard of the gym? Oh no, you’re too busy sitting on your arse doing the drivethru diet every day.

But my real gripe with Taco Bell is their hokey nutritionist telling us that “if everyone replaced their regular fast food items with items from Taco Bell’s drivethrudiet menu, they would consume less fat and less calories.”

Thanks for the amazing revelation Ruth Carey and BOOOOOO to DraftFCB. Now, where’s the beef?

Berlusconi - oh so pretty - again!

This week, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reappeared without his bandages, nearly a month after a rally in Milan where he was struck in the face with a small replica of the Milan Cathedral by a man with a history of mental illness. Berlusconi suffered a broken nose, fractured teeth and a split lip. Ouch.

Plastic surgeons were called in to repair the damage, performing procedures to which Berlusconi is no stranger having made headlines 5 years ago when he underwent the knife to regain a more youthful appearance. (“Oh vanity! The name is Berlusconi!”) Even at the age of 73, a man can’t feel too pretty, apparently. An Italian newspaper wrote that “as a result of the surgery the prime minister looked half-way between Boris Karloff and a baby.” How dashing!

And despite last month’s attack and resulting injuries, Mr. Berlusconi seemed in a jovial mood and was spotted shopping in the lovely artsy French town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence (home of La Colombe D'or where I had lunch amongst paintings by Matisse, Léger and César, and where Picasso was rumoured to have paid for his meals/board by drawing on napkins). It’s reported that Berlusconi and spent "tens of thousands of euros" on items including “sensual” bronze nudes and a lithograph of President Barack Obama as Superman in one of the lucky galleries.

Although most of Italy despises the man (along with most of Europe), Berlusconi carries on blithely surrounding himself with shiny objects and carrying on like a playboy. Perhaps proving that, as Fernando said, "It's not how you feel, darling - it's how you look!"

Good News/Bad News
The good news is that China overtook the US as the biggest auto market in 2009 (and automakers should see more strong growth this year, according a report in the Associated Press.

Why is this good news you ask? Because it may just force the US auto industry to get its act together – finally – and stop resting on its laurels and build cars that Americans want and need. It’s not too late.

The bad news, however, is that the Chinese are going to pollute our little planet to death. Boosted by Beijing's stimulus, 2009 passenger car sales in China soared to 10.3 million and total vehicle sales are estimated at 13.6 million, the China Passenger Car Association said. That represents growth of about 45 percent from 2008.

What I want to know is what’s going to happen to all the bicycles?

Pirating the Obama Brand
The world fell in love with Michelle Obama’s unique sense of style and fashion last year, modeling outfits from J.Crew to Kors to Claiborne; she was donned our modern day Jackie-O. Now, BHO is getting in on the act, although without his express permission.

In an AP article
it was reported that Barack Obama's rugged, windswept image was taking centre stage in Manhattan's Times Square after The Weatherproof outerwear company had purchased an Associated Press photo of the president at the Great Wall of China, in which, to their great fortune, he was wearing their jacket. And without his permission, they built an ad campaign around it. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

The AP reported that Weatherproof, after being contacted by the White House, pledged to take down the billboard — in about two weeks, leaving them plenty of time to get some more miles out of it. "We need time to create a new ad campaign," explained Freddie Stollmack, president of Weatherproof. "We can't have an empty billboard." In the meantime, he said, the ad campaign had been "absolutely" the right thing to do. Yeah, right. I think what Stollmack meant to say was “We need to recoup our huge cost for the billboard and AP photo, and we also want to make a mint from our unauthorized use of our President’s image – so sod off will you!”

Advertising analyst Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide public relations said “Look, The Obamas are more fashionable than anyone who's been in the White House in years. Right now they're the style setters. Look what he's done for the BlackBerry.’

Obama’s image has been used commercially for everything from ice cream to Chia Pets and he could sue based on laws in many states, including New York (where Weatherproof is based), that protect individuals against the unauthorized commercial use of their image which mislead the public with implied endorsements.

In this case, it’s unlikely to result in a lawsuit as that would only attract still more attention, as was most likely anticipated by Weatherproof.

I’m just waiting for the President to appear in the next Calvin Klein commercial - as part of the President’s full disclosure policy perhaps? After all, his predecessor Clinton was up front with us on whether it was boxers or briefs.

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