Retailers try to make April 15 less taxing

Here's a ground-shaking new drink from the beverage gurus at Sonic drive-in: Sonic Boom. It's an extra shot of espresso, at 50 cents, for any of Sonic's new premium coffee beverages. Guess that extra shot would make the new premium double-espresso coffee a Sonic Boom Boom.

Hot dog!

The economy may be going to the dogs, but in a promotion designed to raise spirits (and, perhaps, indigestion levels) a family of five can chow down for $5 at hot dog chain Wienerschnitzel. A limited-time "5 for $5" deal offers five Original Chili Dogs for five bucks (the dogs usually are $1.35 each). It is a response to "budget-conscious consumers," says Tom Amberger, vice president of marketing. Since the promotion began late last month, sales are up "significantly," he says.

Audi revs up its image

Audi's Super Bowl ad parody of the horse head in the bed scene from The Godfather has driven up its brand awareness. The ad for the $109,000 R8 had more than 2.2 million views online, lured nearly a million people to audiusa.com within 72 hours of airing and made Audi R8 the top Google search term the day after the game.

Audi's Big Game publicity may have given it a few miles' head start as other makers of superluxury cars (that's $100,000 stickers and up) gun for more U.S. sales. Italy's Maserati will roll out its latest super-ride this week, the Gran Turismo S.

Can't decide between the Audi and Maserati? In Manhattan, an Audi showcase and a Ferrari-Maserati dealer are just eight blocks apart on Park Avenue. In the unlikely event that there was no traffic, an R8 could cover that in less than 20 seconds and reach maybe 120 mph before you had to hit the brakes.

ASK THE AD TEAM

Q: Who sings the songs that include the lyrics "Hold on Tight to Your Dreams" in the Honda Accord ads and "I Start the World with You" in a GMC Acadia ad?

— Kenn Hanson, Reno

A: Electric Light Orchestra, also known as ELO, sings the song Hold on Tight that currently is heard in three ads for the newly revamped Accord. The song plays as images of everyday life (walks on the beach, kids soccer games, flowers growing) are projected onto on a wall behind the moving car.

The band, formed in 1970 in Birmingham, England, had numerous Top 10 hits, including Can't Get it Out of My Head, Evil Woman and the song in the Honda ad. In earlier ad work, the band's Mr. Blue Sky was the track in a Volkswagen ad in 2002.

In the Acadia ad, the song is titled Melt With You and includes the lyrics "I'll stop the world and melt with you." The original song is by Modern English, but the ads use a remixed version by Nouvelle Vague. The ads in the series show inspirations such as jeweled necklaces and skylights, that went into the making of an Acadia. They first appeared last year as part of the campaign to launch the new crossover vehicle. The ads still run locally in some markets. A new ad for Acadia was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The comic sported a red vinyl mini dress to promote the 2008 Acadia in a live commercial.

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