NEW & NOTABLE
Say cheese. Condom brand LifeStyles has come up with an updated version of the old drugstore photo booth with a suggestive twist. Its so-called Make-Out Booth dispenses free black-and-white photos of the person (or couple) in the booth — along with condoms.
The more than 6-foot-tall stall had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January. Now, LifeStyles says it wants to produce more booths to place in bars and clubs in big cities such as New York, Chicago and Washington.
How much food do you want to fork down for less than $5? Lots, figures Taco Bell. It now sells the "Big Bell Box Meal" for $4.99. Inside: a Bacon Club Chalupa, Beef Crunchy Taco, Bean Burrito and Cinnamon Twists. Oh, and a large drink on the side. "The Big Bell Box will satisfy even the biggest hunger," brags Taco Bell marketing chief David Owens.
The TV ad tag line: "Eat like a man." The Ad Team's suggested alternative: "Snort."
Cats need better branding.
Cat Fancy magazine is teaming with adoption database Petfinder.com for an online ad contest to promote kitty adoption from shelters, where more than 70% end up euthanized, according to the magazine's website, CatChannel.com.
"Throughout history, cats have been the victims of superstition and misunderstanding," the site says. And it adds: "Unlike their canine counterparts, cats don't have a cool slogan like, 'Dogs are man's best friend.' "
Feline fans are asked to create and submit by e-mail a 7 inch-by-10 inch ad for the "value" of cats. Finalists will be posted for online voting, and the winner will be published in the magazine. For information, go to CatChannel.com and click on the "contests" tab.
Naturally sweet dreams.
To get kids at least thinking about healthy food, pajama maker New Jammies is selling sleepwear dotted in fruit and veggie patterns. Specifically: tangerines, apples, peas, carrots, blueberries or bananas. The garb is made with organic cotton, and coordinated bibs and blankets also are available.
To nail the point home, the PJs come with story books teaching the benefits of nutritious eating. "It just seemed to make sense," says founder Nicole Weinberger, who combined her experience as an organic chemist and a designer. Yet, some might lose some sleep at the PJs' price tag: $35.
Press your luck.
Retailers such as Sears and Home Depot have launched campaigns to get part of consumers' tax rebates. Now, Las Vegas casinos want a piece of the action. The Venetian and The Palazzo, both owned by Las Vegas Sands, have sent out a mailing offering hotel guests who "cash your tax refund or stimulus check" on site "an extra 25% in slot credits."
Ad giant Interpublic Group and its agency network McCann Worldgroup last week agreed to pay $12 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission accounting probe dating to 2002. The SEC complaints included allegations of misstated financial results.
More than ratings are down for Fox's American Idol, which has drawn an average audience of 29 million for regular episodes, down about 7% from last year. Fewer people are buzzing about it, too — 40% fewer, according to a study by Keller Fay Group.
The researcher, which tracks pop culture conversation on the Web, in blogs and at home, reports 5.9 million people talk about the show daily, down from 9.9 million last year. But if Paula Abdul keeps judging songs Jason Castro hasn't sung, as she did last Tuesday, look for the Idol chatter meter to light up.
ASK THE AD TEAM
Q: There is a Home Depot commercial with Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins and several other athletes. Who is the guy who plays the basketball player that gets "scanned" at the register? Ironically, he's wearing a jersey from the NCAA champion Kansas Jayhawks.
— Mike Noblet, Parkland, Fla.
A: The man being scanned is actor Reggie Britts. The ad started airing in the fall to promote Home Depot's Team Colors paint line.
It features many pro athletes including Taylor, soccer player Kenny Cooper of FC Dallas and hockey player Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks. NCAA rules ban college athletes from ads, so agency The Richards Group hired Britts and chose a Kansas jersey for no special reason.
College team mascots are not covered by the rule, so that's Brutus Buckeye, Ohio State's mascot, who appears at the end of the ad.