Freak Week

The unfriendly skies: Virgin sues Adrants
Virgin America filed suit against the ad blog Adrants last week for posting a parody ad and speculating about its provenance. Adrants noted that its “origins are suspect,” then updated the post to make it clear that it was a spoof from someone outside Virgin. Then they pulled the item entirely. Virgin was unappeased, though, and sued for, among other things, trademark infringement and defamation. (The lawyers Adweek spoke to didn’t seem to think Virgin had much of a case.) Virgin is such an irreverent brand, you’d think it would be able to shrug off something like this. But maybe because of that reputation, they were worried people might actually think this ad came from them.

A wink and a nod: Fallon’s new Cadbury ad
Fallon London raised expectations through the roof with its drumming-gorilla spot for Cadbury. So, all eyes — and eyebrows, as it turned out — were on this follow-up, featuring two kids with uncontrollable brows. Reviews were mixed. The big U.K. ad blog Scamp loved it. We thought it missed the mark.

Super broker shuffle: Worst Super Bowl ad ever?
Every year people come out with a list of the worst Super Bowl commercials of all time. But why not include all Super Bowl-themed ads? That’s a lot bigger field, of course, but it’s hard to imagine anything worse than this “Super Bowl Shuffle” parody by the Southern Food Brokerage. Out of tune, no rhythm, terrible hair, clothing and lighting. “We’re so bad, we know we’re good,” they sing, which is truth in advertising.

Obama overload: BBDO’s ‘Yes we can sale’
Clemenger BBDO of Australia took the prize last week for most cynical ad campaign: the “Yes We Can Sale” for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge cars. The commercial incorporates a fake politician narrator, and copy on the Web site promises “a price change you can believe in!” Completely shameless and embarrassing.

A star is born: Erin Ivey cleans up
The surprise feel-good spot of the year so far: an ad for Reid’s Cleaners of Austin, Texas, starring local musician Erin Ivey. Dry-cleaning ads never seemed so perky. The blog YesButNoButYes last week deemed it “probably better than anything you’ll see on the Super Bowl.”

THE BEST OF THE REST — TOP POSTS FROM OTHER MARKETING BLOGS:

Branding is overrated: Geoffrey James
On his BNET blog, Geoffrey James offered a counterpoint on the value of branding: “Coke’s ‘brand equity’ is the result of a century of providing a higher quality product combined with an efficient distribution methodology with extraordinary reach. Those are far more responsible for the popularity of the Coke ‘brand’ than the marketing, which has frankly been cookie-cutter SPAM just like every other consumer product.” [tinyurl.com/FWjames]

Dissing on Cutwater: Denver Egotist
The Denver Egotist gave a pointed review of the latest Ray-Ban virals from Cutwater. “For the love of God, can someone in San Francisco please walk over to the Cutwater office right now and slap the creative director across the face with the back of your hand?” [tinyurl.com/FWrayban]

Why self-brand? Steffan Postaer
Euro RSCG’s Steffan Postaer offered another counterpoint, this one on the topic of agency self-branding: “An agency doesn’t really need a brand identity. We are people, places and things orbiting around a collection of clients. Each of these systems has gravity. If we are lucky and good, this gravity is strong and, therefore, highly attractive.” [tinyurl.com/FWpostaer]