Monday, July 26, 2010

Club Provocative refuses to have Carl Weatherstripping

Philadelphia, PA--Is actor Carl Weathers, who also played briefly in the NFL, desperate for cash? The 62-year-old actor, who has appeared in such hit films as Predator, The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang, the Rocky series and Happy Gilmore, says no and that his latest career move is aimed to help the environment. Help the environment? How can Carl Weathers stripping help the environment?

"No, no, no! Eliminate the space between Weathers and stripping, drop an 's' and you have your answer," Weathers said, laughing hysterically. "I will not, under any circumstances, be removing my clothes in front of an audience of ladies for marketing, charity or any other reason."

Carl Weatherstripping, Inc is the name of the actor's newest venture and aims to better protect homes and businesses from the elements, save energy, and, more importantly during the current financial crisis, reduce climate control bills for families and businesses. A reference to Weather's character in the Rocky movies, the product, which comes in multiple sizes, is lined with small caricatures of Apollo Creed punching the air with the slogan: "Punch out that cold or hot air."

The company will be based out of New Orleans, LA and will produce door and window insulation lining that can be used either during the construction phase or, for older structures, to close existing breaches in airy entryways.

"This stuff is great," said Weathers in a very serious tone, standing in front of posters showing the lab coat-wearing actor standing next to six scientists examining a piece of his weatherstripping, beakers boiling in the foreground with a blue substance spilling over the rims. "My home heating bills have plummeted since installing this stuff. My film viewing room has a lot of windows and was always very drafty. No more! Carl Weatherstripping has shut down the drafts. Punched them right out."

In town this week to promote this new brand of insulation, Weathers was spotted at a popular gentlemen's club, and rumors began to swirl that a special ladies night would be held as the main marketing event of the visit. The night, according to sources, would be called: Carl Weathers stripping for Carl Weatherstripping.

The owners of the region's "most important gentlemen's club" have issued a statement regarding Carl Weathers stripping. These owners felt the confusion that ensued after the club sighting of the star from the 1988 action film Action Jackson needed to be addressed.

"Carl WILL NOT be stripping to promote his new product at Club Provocative for a special ladies night," Roger Clifton said, one of the co-owners of the company. "Carl Weatherstripping is a fantastic product, however, Carl Weathers stripping is not. He signed autographs and gave the staff here a thorough demonstration of how effective the product is for sealing a home or business and reducing heating and cooling bills."

All Club Provocatives, the actual structures, have been going green in recent months. Three of the five sites have installed solar power, while two clubs, the Northeast not included, have reinsulated using the latest spray foam technology. All of the clubs have instituted strict recycling programs, even saving plastic #'s 3,4,5,6 and 7, materials not collected by the city or surrounding counties.

"Yes, we're committed to creating greener, more environmentally friendly clubs," said Dave Courtwright, manager of the Club Provocative in the city's Northeast section. "But, that being said, I'm not installing Carl weatherstripping here because its not good for business. It's just ... flat out not good for business. We will insulate with a generic, but top quality, brand of weatherstripping. I mean no disrespect to Carl, he's a great guy."

One club senior manager, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the actor's brand of weatherstripping was the best he had ever seen and that if the product was called, for example, Scantily Clad Ladies Weatherstripping, Club Provocative would be airtight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BP's images of capped leak coming from set of Water World

Above: Crowds gather on the set of Water World to watch the Gulf "oil leak" be capped. The "capping" is repeated every half-hour for groups of tourists on the Universal Studio tour.

Universal City, CA--Every 30 minutes, tours at Universal Studios break into raucous cheers soon after settling into the cramped grandstand seats of Lot 21A, the set of Water World, the 1995 film starring Kevin Costner. The leftover, rusted metal in this fictional, floating world--a post-polar ice cap melting world-- is just as popular a destination today as it was 15 years ago.

Why the cheers? No, they're not for a half-naked, catamaran-riding Costner stunt double. They are for something much less steamy, yet much more relevant.

On cue, set crew members release a small amount of petroleum from an underwater "oil well," which quickly bubbles to the surface and dirties the already-dingy water. Crowds erupt with applause when the oil leak stops and a voice over the arena's intercom system announces: "The leak is fixed. Please, watch your step as you exit the theater at the bottom right. Universal Studios thanks you for visiting. Donations to help pay for the making of Water World are much appreciated."

BP began leasing the set of Water World only two days before the leak was "capped" last week, to film images of the "Gulf oil spill," which the company then released to the media and posted on its own website.

The company acknowledged that the 24-hour camera, positioned on the Deep Horizon oil spill, to keep the public up-to-date of the catastrophe, is actually being broadcast from the set of one of the most expensive (and disastrous) movies ever made--fitting for one of the most expensive oil disasters.

So serious is the company about putting the public at ease with encouraging, pleasing images, that they have purchased a movie clapboard in order to film multiple takes of the 'leak.' The capped well scenes are being captured by Moon Landing Productions, the same film company, that, you guessed it, shot the moon landing.

"It's a lot easier to film the leak here in sunny California on a set than in the deep, murky waters of the Gulf of Mexico," one BP official said. "Recreating and filming the 'leak' here has made it much, much easier to fix. I am much more relaxed when I watch the video of the 'spill' online now. We hope to have a permanent solution by early August ... that is, for the California 'leak.'"

"There are no storms to deal with or pesky wildlife. I think I may stay in California after this is all over," said Roger S., a deep sea diver with the Iowa Diving Company, one of the diving contractors originally working off the coast of Louisiana. "Though the Gulf oil leak is too deep for divers, the studio 'well' is only two feet below the surface. As a result, we had to make some adjustments to create a deep sea setting."

Among those adjustments were making the water a bit murkier, to prevent light from passing through easily, a common characteristic of deep ocean water.

Why all the effort to move to southern California? The energy company was looking to cut costs on the cleanup, and, by moving the repair operations to Universal Studios, will save nearly one billion dollars. The studio is also paying BP a small fee for simulating an oil spill for each tour group.

"I told BP that even though they were leasing the set--actually, only a small underwater space--it would still be part of Universal Studio tours," said Dana Gilbright, a Universal spokeswoman. "That's when BP came up with the idea of staging a fixed oil leak every half-hour. The tourists seem to really love it."

Above: A "leaked" photo from the set of a California movie studio where crews are recreating the Gulf oil spill. "My mind is much more at ease knowing that the well images are coming from a studio," said one BP official.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lebron's 'Decision' show to become part of ABC's fall lineup

New York, NY--The Walt Disney Company, which owns both ABC and ESPN television networks, was thrilled with the ratings for NBA superstar LeBron James' hour-long free agency decision show. So much so that ABC has signed the show to a long-term deal--at least, long-term for a new show.

It has been estimated, by Philadelphia based Cooper-Sinclair Ratings, Inc, that for every 10 households watching tv last Thursday, 8.7 were tuned in to ESPN to learn of the "King's" future team.

The show will become part of the network's Thursday night lineup in an effort to challenge NBC's current dominance over one of tv's most popular viewing nights. LeBron's Decision, as the show will be called, will be an hour-long program focusing on one or two choices, large or small, facing mega-star.

"What will LeBron have for dinner on the flight home from Salt Lake City?" asked ABC executive Paul Lizmore. "I don't know, but I'm certainly going to tune in on Thursdays at 9 PM to find out. He has to make a decision about what in-flight meal he'll have and ABC will be there when does. Will he put the tray table down or decide to leave it up? But it's not just a show on what food he'll eat or how far back he'll put his seat."

Lizmore confirmed that this is an all-access show. There are no limits, as the network will have 24-hour access to James five days a week. If James is unavailable, however, a friend or family member will be the subject of the show for that particular week.

It's possible that one episode could be entirely about what type of orthodics the small forward chooses to wear, if he chooses to wear any at all. When a buddy calls and asks for a ride, will LeBron choose to go pick up the friend, who may or may not be waiting in the rain somewhere, or will he continue to play Wii for another hour or so?

"I thought the show last Thursday went really well," said a goggle-wearing James, while taking a break from riding the Miami Heat's team swamp boat in Everglade National Park. "ABC approached me about possibly continuing the show in the fall. I decided to make a 20 episode commitment. This is going to be a blast. So, tune in America. Will I put mustard or ketchup on that hot dog? Gotta tune in to find out."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World Cup: Wawa regretting World Cup ad campaign

Wawa, PA--A year ago, six Wawa executives sat in a sun-drenched conference room inside the convenience store's headquarters and pondered a very risky move for the privately owned company. Only weeks before, the ambitious marketing department presented to the executives the idea of advertising Wawa at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"I remembered reading an article in the New York Times about how the World Cup has billions of viewers over the course of the tournament," said Sally Hollins, a Wawa marketing representative. "I remember thinking, 'That many people like soccer? Isn't that the one where you can't use your hands?' With viewership like that, we should advertise there."

Five of the six big wigs that day were thoroughly impressed with the idea of international exposure, which was enough for approval. "Wawa is a Mid-Atlantic convenience and gasoline store," said board member Reese Johnson, sitting, arms folded, with a ham and turkey shorti hoagie before him. "We don't operate internationally. These ads were, for the most part, directed at people who don't even have access to Wawa's. They couldn't shop there even if they wanted to. I was adamant that advertising at the World Cup was not fiscally wise. Let's expand in the U.S. before overseas."

The company paid $57 million to have a midfield, sideline electronic billboard advertisement appear during each of the 64 globally televised matches played all across South Africa's packed stadiums. During the final match alone, between Spain and the Netherlands, the Wawa ad was seen by an estimated 750 million people worldwide.

"After we sent the order form in, along with the $57 million check, we get a call from the marketing organizers in South Africa asking who we were and what our company did," laughed Ron Dempster, Wawa's head of marketing. "They had no idea who we were. The guy didn't even know what a hoagie was. I had to spell hoagie for him. But, damn it, I told him the whole world will soon know what a hoagie is. By God, if it's the last thing I do, the world will know what a hoagie is."

Wawa currently operates hundreds of stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. With the massive-scale exposure that the World Cup provides, the company was forging plans to open a food-only store in Durban, South Africa and a yet-to-be-determined site in Ghana.

"The World Cup only occurs every 3 or 4 years," said Dempster. "This was a golden opportunity for Wawa. I feel like we can now set our sights on big markets, such as Paris, London or Berlin to open our first international store that serves gas. Europeans love their cars, I would say, even more so than Americans. There is a love affair with big, oversized cars on that continent."

Wawa has been aggressively closing its stores that do not sell gasoline, usually located in cities or towns where space is limited, in favor of wide open suburbia, where some mega-stores offer parking for fifty or more cars and feature 40 fuel pumps.

Marketing directors for the World Cup, based in Johannesburg, reported little outside interest in the convenience store company as the ads appeared at the edge of the pitch through group play. This changed dramatically, however, once the elimination round commenced.

"The phone didn't stop ringing during the round of 16," said Scott Van Silj, the South African director of marketing for FIFA, about Wawa inquiries. "People wanted to know what Wawa was. What did they do? Did they have a field office in Mumbai? Do they deliver whatever they make or do to Bolivia? What language was Wawa? How do you spell Wawa? Do they design buildings? Did you say hoagie? The Wawa website has been blocked in my county, what can I do?"

Before the ads began showing in South Africa, most of the company's higher-ups felt this campaign would be the best thing for the business since touch screen ordering arrived in 1999. "Perhaps that $57 million could have been better utilized. Like, maybe, reintroducing mini Pizza Huts and Taco Bells into all of our stores," said one anonymous store manager.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

World Cup: FIFA to fine player for sleeveless shirt

Above: Spain's Andres Iniesta celebrates the most important goal in the nation's history, which secured a 1-0 win over the Netherlands to capture the FIFA World Cup on Sunday. The celebration, however, will cost the midfielder. After scoring the goal, Iniesta removed his jersey, thereby exposing a sleeveless shirt beneath with the message: "This Shirt Has No Sleeves." FIFA, soccer's governing body, has a strict no sleeveless shirt policy for all players involved in international competition. It is likely that Iniesta will receive a yellow card for the stunt and be forced to pay a sizable fine. "I wanted to show FIFA that shirts with no sleeves are really not all that bad. I guess I pushed it a bit by taunting them with a written message," said a quiet Iniesta.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

World Cup: Spain's Prime Minister promises to release bulls into streets if team wins ... or loses

Madrid, Spain--Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stood before a throng of Spanish soccer supporters on Saturday morning in famous Plaza Mayor and sarcastically pleaded with the crowds to celebrate responsibly should the country capture the coveted golden trophy on Sunday night.

"Hey, Coors Light wants me to remind you guys to drink responsibly," said a smiling Zapatero, wearing a David Villa jersey, to the estimated 25,000 backers, who all laughed at the idea of thinking before drinking. "Yeah, Spain's had a designated driver since June 11."

From the coast of the Mediterranean to the Bay of Biscay, this soccer-mad country has come to a halt since the national team beat Germany on Wednesday to advance to their first-ever World Cup Final--a fact difficult to fathom given the rich football tradition in this Iberian peninsula nation.

"This has been a wonderful time for Spain," said Prime Minister Zapatero. "We are one win away from complete pandemonium. I mean, crazy, serious pandemonium. I mean scary pandemonium."

Plazas all over the country from Alicante to A Coruna have turned into massive viewing areas for each game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. These plazas and connecting, often winding streets could become even more rowdy--if that is even possible--in the next few days.

The Spanish leader explained: "I had this idea the other night. It's kind of crazy, but hear me out. What if we round up thousands of sharp-horned, massive bulls and, stay with me, released them into the streets of Spain's cities and towns. People would have to dodge them and run from them and it could be a really great time or a really terrible time. I don't know if it's ever been done, but let's give it a try. It sounds fun. It could become a tradition or something. I promise to let bulls run wild through the streets whether we win or lose on Sunday."

Spain is widely known for bull fighting, but has never let these same red-seeking bulls run haphazardly through the streets of any of the nation's picturesque towns.

"Letting bulls run through the streets unsupervised could have deadly repercussions," said Juan Hernandez, one of Spain's most well-known bull fighters who retired in 1999. "It's never been done before. It's an idea that is a little bit ludicrous."

World Cup: Japan, North Korea, South Korea, offended by yellow cards

Sleepy's finally yields to pressure, changes ad jingle by bitter ex-husband

Bethpage, NY--Apparently, the Mattress Professionals are not marketing professionals. Sleepy's mattress and bedding store launched a radio and television ad campaign that included the controversial musical slogan: "Trust the Mattress Professionals doing it right. Trust Sleepy's, but don't trust your wife."

The jingle caused a major public outcry demanding the ads be altered or removed from the airwaves. The chain, with stores in the northeast, has experienced an increase in sales since first airing the commercials, which, the company denies, is the reason behind the delays in implementing changes.

Several organizations launched retaliatory words in response to the radio spots. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) called the ads "despicable." Daughters Against Drunk Driving (DADD) said, "We feel the same way that MADD feels about the ads. What did MADD say about the ads?"

"Wow! We screwed up. We, er, I, take full responsibility and have corrected the situation. I was upset, I guess," said Bill Hagers, the Sleepy's marketing executive responsible for the tune, who, admittedly, recently went through a nasty divorce. "I will get to see the kids on weekends, though. I really didn't want the Hampton house. Oh, who am I kidding, I loved that house. That house had the best mattresses."

The new jingle, "Trust the Mattress Professionals doing it right. Trust Sleepy's: ba da ba ba ba, I'm lovin' this comfortable thing," should replace the old ads by Thanksgiving.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Report: Cast of Diff'rent Strokes bullied Gooch into attending Coleman funeral

Provo, UT--At the funeral last month for Gary Coleman, the actor best known for his role as Arnold Jackson on the hit television show Diff'rent Strokes, former cast members of the sitcom gathered to pay their respects to the one-time child star.

One cast member that decided to make an appearance, however, had the gathered masses in absolute shock.

Arnold Jackson's former nemesis on the show, the local school's bully, known as the Gooch, decided to finally make peace with Coleman by traveling across the country to Utah. It was the first public appearance for the Gooch since the show ended in 1986.

The Gooch, who never appeared on screen, was played by Steven Gooch (pictured below, right) of Athens, GA. Off camera the two were as unfriendly to each other as their characters on the show.

"It's no secret," said the Gooch. "Gary and I didn't get along in front of or behind the camera. It was what it was. But, I will say this: I always respected his energy on the show."

Asked to comment on reports that the two had attempted a reconciliation in the past, the Gooch, as he prefers to be called, said there was talk of a truce in 1996, but it never materialized.

"They were supposed to meet under the Arch in St Louis, in the middle of the country, you know, neutral territory," recalled actor Conrad Bain, who played Phillip Drummond on the show. "To my knowledge, Gary never showed up. Or maybe neither of them showed. I don't know. This onion dip is fantastic, though."

At the conclusion of the funeral, the Gooch, who owns and operates 5 Denny's Restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina, made no effort to talk with the very cast members that pressured him into coming to Utah in the first place. Instead, the small screen bully, donning dark sunglasses and a white leather trench coat, was whisked away by his own private security entourage and into a waiting limousine.

Todd Bridges, who played Diff'rent Strokes' Willis Jackson, was pleased to see that the Gooch showed up to the funeral and that "apparently he got Conrad's and my message." Bridges would not go into detail about the message, but said that a horse's head was involved.