Monday, December 08, 2003

Monday Blues & Ad News

The following is a sample of the fads and trends Euro RSCG's global trendspotters have reported in their corners of the world. They're drawn from the agency's newly released white paper, "The Power of Pop Culture."
1. Urban Beaches: These surreal gathering places were all the rage in Europe this summer. In Paris they closed the main roads by the Seine, dumped some 3,000 tons of sand everywhere, placed a few hundred deck chairs and beach umbrellas, and created "Paris-Plage." Urban beaches have also been spotted in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Germany.
2. Child's Play: Enjoying a return to the simple innocence of youth is the new activity of choice for hip adults. In Finland, sing-alongs and sledding are favorites among the grownup set.
3. Flash Picnics: Picnics have become very fashionable and specially designed plastic dishes are selling like hotcakes. "Flash picnics" are also organized: A bunch of people text message each other via their mobiles about a meeting place and time, and gather for picnics anywhere. In France, it's not unusual for more than 50 or 60 people to gather at once.
4. Girls Kissing: Madonna and Britney may have enjoyed greater visibility, but girls (particularly young girls) kissing in public has been a big thing for a while now in Norway. The fad can be seen in music videos, ads, on the dance floor, and at parties.
5. Drum Circles: What used to be relegated to the hippie-anarchist crowd has suddenly become "family friendly." Drum circles are cropping up everywhere from urban clubs and coffee houses to parks and Fortune 500 companies. Beyond sheer fun, practitioners claim that drumming has the power to heal body and mind. Also on the rise, drum circles' second cousin: belly dancing.
6. Pop Culture Exhibits: More and more museums are taking a cue from the Guggenheim's "The Art of the Motorcycle" by creating exhibits that draw upon pop culture themes. Among the options available in the U.S. this past summer: "Monster Trucks: The Science of Extreme Machines" at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and "Chocolate: The Exhibition" at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
7. American 1980s: Retro-'80s style and culture is back and being adopted in countries that never experienced the Technicolor, asymmetrical fashions the first time. Miniskirts, heavy jewelry, and brightly colored shoes are all in right now. Any recent visitor to St.
Petersburg has noticed that leopard-spotted hotpants and high heels are all the rage. And retailers like Express, Bebe, Esprit, and Hennes & Mauritz are stacking shelves with such '80s style icons as off-the-shoulder, belted sweaters and leggings. Plenty of websites have sprung up around the trend, including and
8. Drug culture goes retro: Our trendspotters report that speed is the new old drug on the party scene. In mellower locales, drugs are going organic with the reemergence of mushrooms. And in the most retro move of all: Alcohol is the new black.
9. The natural: Perfect teeth? Perfect nails? Perfect is passe, natural is new. Everyone loves the Cuervo Gold Girl with the big gap in her teeth. Unkempt, disheveled, askew: a clear rebellion against the manicured look we've seen for so long.
10. Russians: Definitely "dirty hot," they are popping up more and more in trendy nightclubs and hot spots in the major capitals of the world, particularly London.
11. Provoke me: T-shirt companies with offensive taglines on the front ("Gettin' lucky in Kentucky" sold out at Urban Outfitters) and very short skirts have people talking. Lingerie boutique Agent Provocateur brings spice and excitement to cities like New York and London.
12. Premium liquors: Now that more people are drinking every night, it stands to reason that they want to be drinking the best. But trendiest is not necessarily priciest: Paris has been invaded by Mantequilla, a green-apple liquor that tastes dangerously good, made by Marie Brizard.
13. Apartment bars: A hot new trend, particularly in Spain, is the act of turning apartments into bars. It's also becoming more common in New York, particularly since the anti-smoking laws went into effect. Apartment bars are also appealing because they are exclusive-like the members-only Milk and Honey bar in New York.
14. Rugby: The sport is huge right now, particularly in countries where it has not had fans in the past (like the U.S. and France). The Six Nations and Tri-Nations are seriously popular events and are becoming more so in the U.S.
15. Total environments: 1, rue du Pont Neuf is the talk of the town in Paris. On the ground floor is Lo Sushi, hipper than thou; then the Kenzo flagship store; on the fourth floor there's Labullekenzo (a spa); and on top Kong, the latest Philippe Starck restaurant, complete with retro-chic Hello Kitty decor.

University researchers hope to debunk the pop-culture image of fathers as incompetent bumblers with the first major national study of male parenting. The $1.6-million study will look at everything from why so few fathers take paternity leave to the differences between straight and gay fathers in a five-year project involving eight universities, 25 community organizations and the federal government's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Nokia tv spot- Not safe for work- (BMN)

P&G enters superbowl for first time with Charmin. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the spot for Charmin will feature the slogan, "Softer and stronger for your end zone."

Killian Advertising, an ad shop in Chicago, lists some exerpts from cover letters they have received. (Found at here.)

Google Bombing! Google "miserable failure" and see what happens. Story at the BBC.

The Ad Age Salary Survey is out...time to break out the hard liquor and start drinking. *sigh*

Global New Products Database Trend Predictions for 2004.

Personalities as brands? "Sounds like a concept that could put Omnimedia out of business, but hardly a new idea. Celebrities were hocking cigars and patent medicines for local businesses as early as 1899. Today, about 20% of all television commercials feature a famous person from sports, TV, movies, or musical entertainment. Marketing people align their brands with celebrities because research has shown that customers are more likely to choose goods and services when they are endorsed by celebrities. Celebrities provide instant awareness and command immediate attention. Not a bad mix in this current world of sound bites, McNewspapers, and channel and web surfing.
The trouble with betting your brand equity on a personality is that they are too unpredictable. For every rock-solid Tiger Woods, there is a Rosie, a Michael, an O.J., or a Martha who can drive your brand into the ground. And there is no guarantee that Tiger won't pull a Kobe next Thursday. Who would have imagined that someone who regularly boffed Elizabeth Hurley and is sought after by 9 out of ten women in the world would get arrested for trying to buy, uh, oral services on the street? (Hugh Grant)"

WTF? "Getting sued was the best thing that could have happened," Lunardelli said in a telephone interview from his company's headquarters near Udine on Italy's border with Austria.

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