Freak Week

The most compelling advertising talent we came across last week were the babies photographed in mid-poop for Ogilvy Brazil’s new print ads for Huggies diapers. The tragicomic portraits didn’t need much in the way of accompanying copy. “Anytime. Anywhere,” the ads read. The campaign brought back memories for one AdFreak reader, who wrote: “My guy would toddle up to the coffee table, grab hold of the edge and start emitting this primal growling noise. He even had these big, bulging veins in his neck. It was an especially spectacular event when we had company over.” The photos were reportedly gathered from Flickr-using parents, whose offspring will probably never forgive them.

The week’s most bizarre candy spot was done by Gerry Graf (the erstwhile master of odd Skittles ads) and his team at Saatchi & Saatchi for Fruit by the Foot. The ad shows a couple of kids locked in a duel, magically replacing each other’s possessions and body parts with strands of Fruit by the Foot. One of the kids is clearly more ruthless. First, he replaces the other kid’s bones with Fruit by the Foot, then he does the same with his DNA. “That would be endgame, my friend,” he says, as his buddy is now just a multicolored mess on the floor.

McCann Erickson, New York, also introduced a colorful character last week: a suited executive with a nasty temper whose vocabulary is largely limited to F-bombs — but who miraculously mellows out when he drinks Purity Organic juice. The actor is impressively high-strung (and possibly in need of something stronger than OJ), but some AdFreak readers were unconvinced by his sudden transformation. Wrote one: “I’m a firm believer that humor, however twisted, needs to have some basis in reality. He would never, ever buy the product. And if his poor assistant brought it to him, he’d probably cram it up their ass.”

While Fruit by the Foot was destroying spines, another candy brand, M&Ms, might help to heal them. According to a quirky news story last week, researchers have found that the blue food dye used in blue M&Ms (and other products like certain types of Gatorade) helps rats with injured spines to walk again. (They walked with a limp and temporarily turned blue, but still.) The PR boost was palpable, with “Blue M&Ms” becoming the top trending topic on Twitter early last week. This may be karma smiling on the company, which once voluntarily shelved the red M&M for nine years due to a consumer freak-out over a red dye that the product didn’t even use.

Finally, the week would not have been complete without a totally objectionable infomercial. And we got one-for a product called Doc Bottom’s Aspray, an all-over-body deodorant. The product is questionable enough; the ad’s depiction of one plumber sniffing another’s butt, which has malodorous, cartoony green smoke coming out of it, is more so.

Best of BrandFreak: HBO vampire fans, this blood’s for you

AdFreak’s sister blog, BrandFreak, last week looked at an inspired marketing effort for the HBO series True Blood. The show has always had interesting advertising (it recently got major brands including Geico and Harley-Davidson to whip up spoof ads aimed at vampires). This time it decided to go a step further and bring the fictional “Tru Blood” beverage from the show-a “synthetic blood” served to vampires who are trying to wean themselves off live victims-to actual store shelves. The fictional beverage comes in A, B, O-positive and other appetizing flavors. Speaking at Comic-Con last month, the show’s creator, Alan Ball, said he wanted the non-fictional product to be a heady mix of Vicodin, Viagra, Ecstasy, vodka, cabernet and other happy ingredients. But of course, that would be illegal. So instead, they went with a simple blood-orange soda. The tagline is: “All flavor. No bite.” You can currently pre-order the stuff at the HBO Store. According to a description there, the glass bottle is “stained in a rich red, with raised Tru Blood English lettering and matching Japanese kanji.” The product is said to be “slightly tart, lightly sweet and subtly carbonated.” It also “pours like a regular soda,” but looks “stormy and mysterious” in a glass.