Ad Track: P&G's CoverGirl opts for inner beauty with Ellen

— -- You might think Ellen DeGeneres' new spouse Portia de Rossi would've been a more obvious pick as a fresh face for Procter & Gamble's pg CoverGirl makeup. She's 35 and glam; DeGeneres, 50, favors baggy shirts and trousers.

DeGeneres was chosen "because she is smart, confident, natural and beautiful from the inside out," says Esi Eggleston Bracey, vice president of P&G global cosmetics.

She won't be the oldest CoverGirl. The brand has rehired Christie Brinkley, 54, originally a 1976 endorser. "Just like our products are accessible and appeal to women of all ages, so do our spokespeople," says Bracey. Ads launch in January.

Edible friend fishes for sales

Cadbury cby North America's Swedish Fish has launched print ads touting the fish-shaped gummy candy as "a friend that you can eat." The ads include pictures of "friends" you should not eat: a cute kitten between pieces of white bread, a teddy bear crushed in a Panini press and a guy with lettuce and tomato toppings on his head.

Ale for an ailing economy

While we all got poorer last week, Anheuser-Busch bud rolled out a premium craft beer. Budweiser American Ale is $1.50 a six-pack above regular Bud. Bad timing? No, says brand manager Keith Levy: "People still want to indulge themselves, and they can do it for a dollar more with Budweiser American Ale rather than a $30,000 sports car."

Research last week from trend tracker Mintel agreed, saying alcohol, cigarettes and chocolate will remain "recession-proof."

"People might be cutting back or switching to store brands, but they definitely aren't giving up their small, daily indulgences," says senior analyst Marcia Mogelonsky.

Best ad in a non-TV role

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gave a Creative Arts Emmy for best commercial to Bud Light's "Swear Jar." These awards go to TV technical work, behind-the-scenes crafts and ads.

The Academy is open-minded: The ribald ad has shown only online. And in it, f-bombs fly after cubicle-dwellers decide money they must put in an office jar when they curse will go to buy Bud Light.

Dental diversions

It might seem like a new low: ads for captives in the dentist chair. The InChairTV Ad Network offers patients in the chair the view with special "glasses" and an audio video headset.

But among patients who tried it, 75% said it made them more relaxed — and that was before they got the Novocain. The systems cost $499, including a year of programming.

One of the biggest proponents is Mal Braverman, cosmetic-dentist-to-the-stars in Manhattan whose clients include toothsome Mick Jagger. Although Jagger hasn't tried the system, Braverman is sure the Rolling Stone eventually will. Time, after all, is on his side.

Angst on industry week's agenda.

Starting Monday in New York City are the annual Advertising Week festivities, at which ad executives do what they do best: schmooze, drink, expense good meals and debate the state of the industry. Look for the Ad Team there.


Q: I love those AT&T commercials about rollover minutes. The mom, dad and two boys are hilarious. Who are they, and how many commercials are there?

Doug Wochholz, Jacksonville

A: There are two ads in the campaign for AT&T t FamilyTalk minutes, by BBDO, N.Y.

In both, the mom (Geneva Carr) reprimands her husband (Dan Brennan) and two sons for trying to discard unused minutes. The older son is played by Matt Bush, and William Ullrich is the younger son.

In one ad, a son has tossed minutes in the trash because they are old. In the other, the father tries to throw them away because milk was spilled on them.

The twist of putting minutes in the context of wasting food — something moms do yell about — makes the point about the value of AT&T's rollover minutes feature.

Q: What is the song in the McDonald's mcd commercial that shows the winners and losers for a young soccer league?

Trus Thies, Hacienda Heights, Calif.

A: The heartwarming ad features the 1968 song A Minha Menina (Portuguese for "my girl") by Brazilian band Os Mutantes, which is still around and touring. It provides an upbeat track for the ad about a kids soccer championship. The winning team gloats with trophies in hand. The losers suffer the agony of defeat until a parent shows up with Happy Meals that make the winners envious.

Gabe McDonough, senior producer of music and integration for DDB, Chicago, discovered the song in the 1990s on a mix tape made by a friend. He was reminded of it recently when Os Mutantes played in Chicago.

"(The band is) kind of underground, and people in the know knew about them," says McDonough. "The guitar line is taunting, and that's the secret hook to it. "

By Laura Petrecca, Theresa Howard and Bruce Horovitz