January 21, 2021

Creating an Ad Campaign for Oreos, as They Turn 101

The pitfalls of an encore that is considered to have fallen short of its predecessor are many. Ad executives still talk about how the Wendy’s fast-food chain frittered away the huge success of its “Where’s the beef?” campaign in the mid-1980s when it could not develop a next act that measured up until several years had passed.

So it is likely that a new campaign for Oreo cookies, sold by Mondelez International, will be watched with interest. The campaign, scheduled to begin during “Mad Men” on Sunday, carries the theme “Wonderfilled,” in a play on words that mashes up “wonder” with a reference to the creme filling in each Oreo.

The campaign, created by the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, will include television commercials that feature original songs, print advertisements, a robust presence in social media like Facebook and events next week in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

The “Wonderfilled” campaign follows a well-received, yearlong effort for Oreo to commemorate the brand’s 100th birthday. The birthday campaign, created by DraftFCB, also part of Interpublic, carried the theme “Celebrate the kid inside.”

The idea behind that theme was to demonstrate how Oreo could transform everyday occasions in the lives of adults into fun-filled moments. The idea was brought to life in commercials by having children — bearing trays laden with Oreos and glasses of milk — interrupt routine events like commuting to work or taking part in a school board meeting.

The birthday campaign also included an effort, by a team of agencies that included DraftFCB, known as the Daily Twist. The Daily Twist was centered on ads, produced each day for 100 days, that addressed news events like the Emmy Awards and the Mars rover along with calendar milestones like Bastille Day and gay pride.

The birthday campaign concluded on Feb. 3 with two efforts during the Super Bowl. One was a humorous commercial, by Wieden Kennedy, centered on a “whisper fight” over Oreos in a library. The other was a wry comment on the Oreo feed on Twitter about the blackout during the game, advising viewers, “You can still dunk in the dark”; the comment — which perhaps garnered more attention than the commercial — came from another agency that is part of the Oreo team, 360i, part of Dentsu.

Whether all those birthday ads are a tough act to follow is “a great question,” said Janda Lukin, director for Oreo at Mondelez in East Hanover, N.J.

Although “we were delighted” with the response to the birthday campaign, Ms. Lukin said, “we always look to see how we can evolve and engage with our fans.”

“We think the future is just as bright with this new ‘Wonderfilled’ campaign,” she added.

By sharing something “as small as an Oreo,” Ms. Lukin added, it can bring “a positive change.”

That is illustrated in two commercials that help introduce the campaign. One spot, which runs 90 seconds, asks if unpleasant characters like a TV vampire would be transformed for the better if someone shared Oreos with them.

Would the vampire “not act so undead?” the singing narrator in the spot asks. “Would he thirst for milk instead?”

The other commercial, 30 seconds long, asks what would happen if “I gave an Oreo to somebody out there who I didn’t know.” The narrator wonders, “Would they laugh after I’d gone, or would they pass that wonder on?” (The narrator is Adam Young, who performs as Owl City.)

Jorge Calleja, the group creative director at the Martin Agency who serves as the global creative director on the Oreo account, said he believed that the concept of wonder is “something the brand could own.”

“Other brands like to wake up the athlete in you,” Mr. Calleja said. “We want to wake up the inner child in you.”

“The whole dynamic of having an Oreo, eating an Oreo, sharing an Oreo gives you a little feeling like a child again,” he added.

The birthday campaign “set the bar pretty high for us,” Mr. Calleja said. “We’re only here to top it.”

The new campaign is planned to run in the United States and Canada. Depending on the response, it may run in or be adapted for other countries.

Advertising spending for Oreo in the United States has ranged in the last five years from a low of $36.4 million last year to a high of $56.9 million in 2008, according to Kantar Media, a unit of WPP.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/business/media/creating-an-ad-campaign-for-oreos-as-they-turn-101.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

George C. Kern Jr., Expert in Merger Law, Dies at 86

His death was confirmed by H. Rodgin Cohen, the senior chairman of Mr. Kern’s former law firm, Sullivan Cromwell.

Mr. Kern founded the mergers and acquisitions practice at Sullivan Cromwell in the late 1970s. His aim was to compete with two other firms — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen Katz and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom — that had pioneered legal strategies for companies involved in the often bitter fights.

Mr. Kern referred to his team of lawyers, who worked with the firm’s top litigation, tax, antitrust and securities experts, as “a flying squad geared for instant response.” He was at the center of such big battles that he became the firm’s biggest moneymaker in the mid-1980s.

In one of the most celebrated cases, Mr. Kern helped the Gulf Oil Company fend off the colorful corporate raider T. Boone Pickens and merge with Chevron in 1984. The $13.2 billion deal was then the largest merger in United States history, though it has since been surpassed.

Mr. Kern also represented the Carnation Company when it was acquired by Nestlé in 1985 in a $3 billion deal, which was then the largest nonoil acquisition in history.

Mr. Kern himself became the center of controversy in 1987 when the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that he had failed to promptly disclose developments in his defense of the Allied Stores Corporation in a takeover battle in 1986.

Mr. Kern, who was also a director of Allied, denied any wrongdoing, saying that the information involved a possible alternate bid for Allied that was too poorly financed to be taken seriously.

An administrative law judge ruled that he had violated federal disclosure rules. But the judge also declined to impose any sanctions against Mr. Kern, and the commission eventually voted to drop any efforts to penalize him.

Friends said Mr. Kern was gratified that some of his main rivals at Wachtell, Lipton and Skadden, Arps came to his defense in the case, as did his own firm.

George Calvin Kern Jr., who was known for his booming voice and an often disheveled appearance that stood out at the silk-stocking firm, was born on April 19, 1926, in Baltimore, the son of George and the former Alice Gaskins. He graduated from Princeton after serving for two years in the Navy.

From 1947 to 1949, he worked in Germany as the director of the State Department’s information centers in Heidelberg and Mannheim and as deputy director of public information for United States military authorities during the Berlin blockade.

He graduated from Yale Law School and joined Sullivan Cromwell in 1952. He also worked on antitrust issues and became a partner in 1960. He retired from the firm in 1993.

An opera buff, he built a personal collection of record albums that numbered more than 200,000, his daughter, Heath Kern Gibson, said.

Mr. Kern’s wife of 42 years, the former Joan Shorell, died in 2005. Besides his daughter, he is survived by a granddaughter.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/business/george-c-kern-jr-expert-in-merger-law-dies-at-86.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

New Book Recounts Tale of Israeli Agent at Home in Hollywood

Mr. Chernin may have been even more right than he knew.

“Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan,” written by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, and set for publication on July 30 by Gefen Books, now holds that Mr. Milchan — whose credits include “Love and Other Drugs” and “Knight and Day” — at least through the mid-1980s was a full-fledged operative for Israel’s top-secret intelligence agency, Lakam. (The acronym is from the Hebrew for the blandly named Science Liaison Bureau.)

In that capacity, according to the book, Mr. Milchan supervised government-backed accounts and front companies that financed “the special needs of the entirety of Israel’s intelligence operations outside the country.”

The “special needs” serviced by Mr. Milchan, who is now 66 years old, included buying components to build and maintain Israel’s nuclear arsenal. But with the indictment in 1985 of Richard Kelly Smyth, an aerospace executive who had made illegal shipments of nuclear triggers through Milchan companies, Mr. Milchan unexpectedly found his arms-dealing in the news even as he was wrangling with Universal Pictures over the near collapse of a movie, “Brazil,” directed by Terry Gilliam.

Mr. Smyth became a fugitive. He was finally arrested in 2001, convicted and imprisoned. He was released on probation in 2005.

Mr. Milchan was not accused of wrongdoing, but the case drew scrutiny to his activities in the arms business even as he stepped up his film career under deals first at Warner Brothers, then at 20th Century Fox, whose parent company bought a stake in his Regency Enterprises. In the glow of friendships with the likes of Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, speculation about his intrigues seemed to fade — until a pair of unlikely biographers decided to figure out why Israel had been filtering a large part of its military budget through Hollywood hands.

Mr. Doron spoke recently over coffee at a patio cafe here, expressing puzzlement at Israel’s reliance on a middleman to broker deals that seemingly could have been made without the services of his Milchan Brothers umbrella company and affiliates.

He was flanked by Mr. Gelman, who sipped watermelon juice, and joined in explaining how the two — who are brothers-in-law — conceived of writing about Mr. Milchan, who had been vaguely identified in Israel’s press as the “Chuck Norris of the Lakam.” Mr. Gelman, who was born in the United States, had lived in Israel and served as a paratrooper during the 1982 war in Lebanon. Mr. Doron had been a writer and editor specializing in Israeli military issues.

Never having written together, they began culling public records and published accounts. Eventually, they met Mr. Smyth, who was by then living in Lompoc, Calif., and, with his story in hand, cobbled together a draft of their book before approaching Mr. Milchan.

“Should I be concerned?” Mr. Milchan asked during a first conversation by phone in 2009, Mr. Gelman said. A major worry, Mr. Gelman told him, was the impression that he had profited hugely from Israel’s security dilemmas.

“I did it for my country, the money did not go to me,” Mr. Gelman recalled Mr. Milchan explaining, when the three later met, and began a series of sessions that went on for six months.

Mr. Milchan’s disclaimer about profiteering provoked further research into how various companies set up by Mr. Milchan or associated with Milchan Brothers traded in arms for Israel and other countries. While doing so, he set aside money in accounts for use by Israel, allowing that country’s prime minister “to execute decisions beyond Israel’s borders without the need for the formal budgeting, cabinet approvals, petty internal politics, or leaks to the press that might endanger the operation.”

In the end, the book was not authorized by Mr. Milchan. The account was based partly on interviews with the likes of Shimon Peres, the Israeli president who, according to the book, acknowledged having “recruited” Mr. Milchan as a clandestine operative.

“Confidential” was sold to Gefen Publishing by David Kuhn, a literary agent who was previously an editor at Brill’s Content and The New Yorker. Its narrative follows Mr. Milchan through his first acquaintance with the arms business via his father’s company, through his introduction to Israel’s nuclear program by Mr. Peres and the Lakam chief, Benjamin Blumberg.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Mr. Milchan began acquiring both big-ticket conventional weapons and krytrons, devices that can trigger nuclear bombs. In the middle of it all, he was introduced to the film business by Elliott Kastner, now deceased, the American producer with whom he collaborated on a 1977 picture, “The Stick-Up.”

Mr. Milchan thought the movie bad enough to remove his credit but he immediately backed another film, “Black Joy,” that appeared at the Cannes Film Festival. By the early 1980s, Mr. Milchan was a force in Hollywood, with a growing string of credits on films like “The King of Comedy” and “Once Upon a Time in America,” both with Mr. De Niro — and the movies soon became not just convenient cover, but a full-blown second career.

In the late 1990s, the News Corporation, which owns Fox, paid $200 million for a 20 percent stake in Mr. Milchan’s Regency Enterprises. A News Corporation spokeswoman, Teri Everett, had no immediate response to a query about the company’s reason for backing Mr. Milchan, and about any reaction by its chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, to revelations in the new book. (Mr. Milchan’s latest film for Fox, the comedy “Monte Carlo,” opened to soft reviews and modest prospects a few weeks ago.)

Asked whether Mr. Milchan would discuss the book, his executive assistant, Jane Bulmer, said he was traveling and out of reach. But, Ms. Bulmer said in an e-mail, Mr. Milchan had told her “that he has not read the book and does not plan on commenting on any unauthorized books that have been written about him.”

As for Mr. Milchan’s current status with Israeli intelligence, Mr. Gelman and Mr. Doron declined to venture a guess. “We really don’t know with certainty,” Mr. Gelman said.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=21f015cdbc98b5c4f6b5e36a4263bf3a