1. Talk about a market being targeted: This week, an ad campaign by the Colombian agency Lowe SSP3 won the grand prix at London’s prestigious IPA Effectiveness Awards for – are you ready for this? – reducing terrorism. Launched last December, the unusual effort involved sending soldiers into the jungles occupied by FARC guerrillas and stringing up a bunch of trees with Christmas lights that turned on when someone approached and illuminated a sign that appealed for them to “demobilize.” The case study video viewed by the IPA jury claimed that 331 FARC fighters were inspired in part by the PR operation to give up their weapons. We bet that somewhere in Langley, Va., there’s a CIA agent thinking right now: “Great idea! We should totally do the same thing with al-Qaeda this Christmas!”
2. Or, they could just send them a nice postcard. The community-minded folks at DDB Vancouver have whipped up a website that enables people to send free postcards of the city to friends – by old-fashioned mail, over e-mail, or (yawn) on Facebook. On InviteTheWorld.com, you can choose from a small selection of stock Vancouver images or upload your own pic from Facebook or your computer, and create a postcard that they’ll send off for you. Doing so will automatically enter your name in a draw for prizes that include a trip to the city. We’ve been assured by organizers that nobody’s postcards will be censored. Even those who send a photo of overturned police cars, a screaming mob in Canucks jerseys, and the all-caps appeal: “Come to Vancouver! It’s a riot!”
3. Which we imagine is not unlike the scene lately at the corporate headquarters of Johnson & Johnson Inc. Earlier this week, the advocacy group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report noting the presence of quaternium-15, a formaldehyde-releasing (and therefore potentially cancer-causing) preservative, in the company’s popular No More Tears baby shampoo. J&J already markets a new, non-formaldehyde version of the shampoo in a number of countries, but the U.S., Canada, China, Australia and Indonesia still have the original formulation. J&J prides itself on knowing how to handle a PR crisis (see: the 1982 Tylenol scare), and it tried to pre-empt the CSC report by announcing it was already planning a formaldehyde phase-out. But it didn’t offer a timeline, leaving many anxious mommy and daddy bloggers all, um, lathered up.
4. Of course, it being November, many of those dads won’t be able to use any of that extra lather to shave. For this is the month that a growing number of men grow their facial hair in the name of prostate cancer awareness and the fundraiser known as Movember. This week, it feels like we’ve been inundated with Movember-related marketing: The razor brand Schick Hydro is offering a “license to grow,” with a trio of goofy interactive YouTube ads, and Rickard’s, the Molson-owned craft brand, is also getting in on the action with sponsorship funds, Movember cans, and moral support for 400 increasingly hirsute employees. Here at Report on Business, many of our colleagues are forgoing their razors and baring their bristles. We’re very proud: Some of them already look like Colombian guerrillas.