1. It's the most wonderful time of the year – Shark Week. For this week's 25th anniversary of the Discovery Channel institution, presenting sponsor Volkswagen of America Inc. spotted an uncluttered advertising canvas: the ocean floor. It built a shark observation cage to be used by divers, in the shape of a stripped-down VW Beetle. The project was catalogued online and shown in one-minute segments during the broadcast, featuring marine biologist (and Shark Week regular guest) Luke Tipple. The auto maker even tweaked its safety messages on the unconventional model: "Sharks in mirror are closer than they appear."
2. Ad agencies are quick to point out that they are more than ad agencies. And now the annual industry gathering wants to be seen as more than Advertising Week. The Institute of Communication Agencies on Friday will unveil the event's rebranding, now known as FFWD: Advertising and Marketing Week, with a new logo modelled on a fast-forward button. The ICA is hoping to market the event to a larger audience and show the impact of advertising on business across industries. Publicis Canada was responsible for the rebranding. "Our content has broad relevance well beyond our industry and we wanted to capture that sense of energy and urgency that comes from being inspired by all that's happening within the ever expanding world of marketing and communications," said event chair and Publicis chief operating officer Andrew Bruce.
3. Bring on the Minority Report references: Nashville-based ad agency Redpepper is promoting Facedeals, a product in development that would install cameras in the doorways of cafés, bars and other businesses, using facial recognition to offer customers deals personalized to their tastes. The product would only recognize the faces of people who approved it via Facebook, scanning things they have said they like on the site and sending coupons to their mobile phones for deals on products they might enjoy. Facedeals is designed to solve a problem common for check-in applications such as Foursquare: People download those apps, but do not always check in themselves. So far it is only a prototype, but it could raise serious concerns; privacy advocates have sounded the alarm over Facebook'sfacial recognition technology.
4. Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch, who died in May, continued making news last week when it was revealed his will stipulated none of his songs or other artwork are to be used in advertising. The first battleground on that issue? Alberta. The Beastie Boys and Mr. Yauch's widow, now in charge of his estate, are suing energy drink maker Monster Energy Co., claiming the company used the band's music without permission in a promotional video for a party and snowboard competition called "Ruckus in the Rockies," held in Lake Louise in May. The video also made available a 23-minute medley featuring excerpts of the group's songs for free download, court documents claim.