When British business maverick Richard Branson (shown here) rode into New York's Times Square last week atop a tank touting the U.S. launch of his Virgin Cola brand, he had a message for rival Coke: "Watch out!"
The ghost writers behind a Branson note tacked onto the side of the tank for Coca-Cola president and chief executive Douglas Ivester were the crew at Ground Zero, the cola's new U.S. ad agency.
The letter read, "Sorry for blocking traffic. In case you didn't notice, Virgin Cola is here. Please take this white flag, hold it above your head and wave it from side to side. Otherwise, we'll have no choice but to become a really big pain in your butt."
"We thought it was a humorous way to get some attention," said Court Crandall, the Santa Monica, Calif., agency's creative partner.
By the way, Crandall's 3-year-old son, Chase, appears on 12-pack cartons of Virgin Cola, now available in New York, New England, Washington, D.C., and California. Online and traditional advertising, estimated in the $10-15 million range, is in the works. --Angela Dawson