Ad Track: Marketers relieved now that Oscars are a go

The arrivals hoopla should build buzz for GM's greener offerings, says Dino Bernacchi, director of marketing alliances and branded entertainment. "Half the battle is awareness, just getting people to know what the offerings are."

GM made a similar offer last year, using fewer cars, and among stars who took it up on green-machine rides: Jennifer Hudson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Ferrell and Cate Blanchett.

•Mars. Oscar-themed print ads built pre-show publicity for M&M's. Ads in entertainment magazines such as Star, In Touch and People showed caricatures of singer Joey Fatone and actress Lisa Rinna as M&M characters. They will host a red carpet show on the TV Guide Channel and interview arriving celebrities, and M&M's will run an ad in the show.

NEW & NOTABLE

Pei Wei's big adventure.

Guess who ranks as America's highest-rated "quick service" chain. It's not Wendy's. Not Panera Bread. Not even In-N-Out Burger, the cult favorite from California that had ranked No. 1 for four years running.

It's Pei Wei.

Pei What?

Pei Wei is an Asian quick-service chain that cooks food fresh in woks. The sister company to P.F. Chang's China Bistro is still regional — just 153 units in 21 states — but topped all 137 other fast-food and fast-casual chains in the annual Sandelman & Associates survey of 84,000 quick-service customers, CEO Bob Sandelman says. Consumers view it as a "cut above" other fast-casual restaurants, he says. Some also view it as expensive, however: The average check is $9.

How will Pei Wei celebrate? "Maybe we'll take everyone out — to Pei Wei," says Laura Cherry, spokeswoman for Pei Wei and P.F. Chang's.

Who won't be celebrating: McDonald's and Burger King. They tied for last place.

Makes us green.

Just when you thought it was safe to reach way back in the freezer and pull out something cold to eat, along comes the PickleSickle.

Yup. A frozen treat made from 100% pickle juice. "We realize it is hard to imagine," concedes David Millar, co-founder of PickleSickle. "But once people try them, they are hooked."

The company is even offering PickleSickles flavored with cherry and lemon-lime. Can't wait to pucker up? You can order a pack of 16 for $17.95 at www.picklesickle.com. No, pregnant women don't get a discount.

Isn't it ironic.

Paradoxes abounded at a posh YouTube advertiser event that took place in a gritty New York City neighborhood last week. Some examples:

•The video site wants to be more accessible to blue-chip marketers but set the confab at a difficult-to-access venue on the far west side of Manhattan.

•YouTube wants marketing pros to spend lots of advertising money on its site, but those ads can't look expensive. "The ads that do best share the user-generated look and feel," says Dave Eun, vice president of content partnerships at YouTube parent Google. If the ads are too slick, "It comes off like The Man is trying to sell you something." (Which he is.)

•A sign at the event's entrance read: "Please, no photography or videotaping during event." YouTube acknowledged the incongruity of that ban with a note at the bottom of the sign: "Ironic isn't it."

Here's to beer.

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