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Twinkies in the rainforest -- The Lowbrow Lowdown

In the first of her fortnightly columns, The Lowbrow Lowdown's Kate Kaye casts her eye over Stateside marketing and media.

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Preservation stomp -- or -- What's green and wet and tingly all over?

Ancient Roman artefacts, petrified Twinkies snack-cakes: these are easily endangered items that require obsessive care in order to ensure their preservation. That's why if we were concerned for their protection, we'd want as many people as possible to see and handle them, wouldn't we? "Hell no!" might be the way some of us would respond but, then again, some of us aren't affiliated with Greenpeace.

More Rainbow Warriors must be alerted to the plight of the Amazon Rainforest. So, as featured in an August 3 Yahoo! news story, the crunchy crusaders sponsored a four-day rave in the rainforest. The dance and music festival, called Ecosystem 1.0, took place at a recovered mine and was expected to draw a crowd of more than 20,000 fans of techno, house, trance and drum & bass music to Brazil. One-third of the proceeds were donated to Greenpeace.

In keeping with the local flavour, the dances were held in two tents which were constructed of "legally logged timber" and, of course, only non-genetically modified foods were served.

I'd guarantee that this green groove fest would be considered exploitative and disrespectful if any corporation were to sponsor such an event. Man, it's amazing what the thin veneer of non-profit politically correctness and earth-first idealism can afford organisations like Greenpeace. Simply serve up a few tofu wieners and some soy soda in a hut, and everything's hunky dory.

Chances are Greenpeace and its loyal supporters finally got to see their dreams come true through the rainforest rave. That's right: with all of that lovey-dovey ecstasy floatin' about the forest, there was bound to be some actual tree-hugging goin' on.

JC Promiscuity -- or -- Back-to-score shopping

My Mom sewed a lot of my clothes when I was a kid but, as I got older, she had less ability to influence my wardrobe. Thinking back to my mid-teen hippie phase, during which chosen ensembles regularly featured dashikis and fringed moccasins, I may have been better off had Mom had a bit more control over my attire. Still, I don't think she ever could have convinced me to wear clothes from the ultra-lame JC Penney collection.

That's just the attitude that the department store is trying to live down, but JC Penney Co. admits it may have gone a bit too far with its latest ad. So, it's been pulled.

According to an August 15 Ad Week report, the nationwide spot features a girl who is trying on a pair of the revealing hip-hugger style jeans. Soon enough, the kid's mom pipes in with the inevitable cliche, "You're not going to school dressed like that, are you?"

In a risque twist, ad-mom tugs the jeans below the girl's waist "to show how they should be worn". As noted in the story, "the commercial drew complaints to the retailer and on syndicated radio talk shows".

The rub is that in its effort to eschew its stuffy image, JC Penney could alienate its somewhat conservative core demographic. But hey, it's not like they went too overboard with this ad. I mean, just think -- it could have featured an interracial family, a gay couple or, worse yet, rap music. Yikes!

Bucking the Broncos brand -- or -- Petty letter from the editor

These days, a lot of us find ourselves longing for a time when the media did less news creating and more news reporting. So, a recent announcement made by The Denver Post, which was prompted by the actions and opinions of the mile-high citizenry, may come as a welcome surprise.

In January, Denver's Metropolitan Football Stadium District agreed to sell mutual funds firm Invesco Funds Group the naming rights to the newly built Broncos football stadium. The thing is, according to an August 8 Denver Post piece, most people refuse to call the stadium anything but the traditional Mile High Stadium. And now, The Denver Post has jumped on the anti-brand bandwagon by stating that its naming convention for the stadium will be the classic Mile High as opposed to the official Invesco Field at Mile High.

"The community at large thinks of this as 'Mile High', 'new Mile High' or 'the new stadium'," Post editor Glenn Guzzo comments.

Should the opinions of a paper's readership and editors supersede journalistic integrity? Consider a fictitious ice cream parlour which has always been known as Keller's, yet has been bought out recently by the brand-name chain Dairy Queen. Stubborn sentimentalists may insist on calling the new Dairy Queen Keller's -- however, if a robbery occurs there and The Denver Post reports on it, chances are the editors would balk at the lowly staff writer who wants to call it Keller's.

So, what I'm wondering is, what has the Invesco marketing team learned from this fiasco? Next time, rather than sponsoring the stadium, they should go straight to the source of the payoff -- the media -- by advertising in the local newspapers and on local TV stations. After all, it's understood that kow-towing to advertiser wishes is practically guaranteed. Mile High what?

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