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Media brands on grocery-store shelves typically take forms such as Dora the Explorer fruit snacks or SpongeBob SquarePants GoGurt -- products using TV shows to reel in kids. But now there's an effort to use a magazine brand to win adult shoppers: Planters Nut-rition Men's Health Recommended Mix.
The nut mix grew out of men's changing attitudes toward food, according to Scott Marcus, senior brand manager for Planters, which is part of Kraft Foods. "What's really relevant to Planters is their interest in eating healthier," Mr. Marcus said. "For that reason we've been talking with Men's Health for years about how men are behaving, what men are looking for."
"This was really a natural evolution," he added. "We've seen what men are looking for and felt there was a real need for health snacks for men."
Men's Health has previously teamed up with Carl's Jr. on a turkey burger and licensed its name to a Microsoft Kinect video game. It also publishes books such as "Eat This, Not That!" and "The Men's Health Diet." But it's picky about where it deploys its brand, according to Ronan Gardiner, publisher of Men's Health.
"We're approached pretty regularly by companies across all categories to put our name on products," Mr. Gardiner said. "It can be shoes, sunglasses, gym equipment, you name it. But this seemed very natural and synergistic."
How much pull magazine brands can have on grocery shoppers remains to be seen, said David Diamond, a consultant who focuses on packaged goods, retail and marketing services.
"It's done with kids all the time, because with kids it can really matter," Mr. Diamond said. "You put your 3-year-old in the cart and pass by the mac and cheese with SpongeBob on it and he goes, 'Get me that, get me that, get me that.' But magazine brands aren't big or powerful enough, and the connections to specific food products are too tangential."
Planters' promotional effort includes an ad on the back cover of the May issue of Men's Health and a commercial slated to run on networks including ESPN, Fox News, MSNBC and TBS.
Just months after 4-year-old music startup Spotify partnered with Facebook to goose new-user signups and reach new audiences, it's turning to a behemoth of an entirely other type: Coca-Cola.
Spotify and the Coca-Cola Co.have forged a strategic partnership to promote the music-streaming service as it launches in new countries. In turn, Coca-Cola will feature Spotify in a campaign as the beverage giant looks to double revenue by 2020.
Spotify will be the centerpiece of Coca-Cola's "Year of Music" campaign in 2013, said Joe Belliotti, director-global entertainment marketing at the soft-drink marketer. Music has been central to Coca-Cola's efforts to reach teens, a demographic group projected to comprise one-third of the world's population by 2020. By then, the U.S., China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan are expected to house half of the teen population.
As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola has committed to promote Spotify in paid media and through its massive distribution network. Spotify is now available in the U.S. and a dozen European countries and more than 10 million users stream its library of 16 million songs accompanied by advertising. Another 3 million subscribers pay for ad-free access. While no details have been finalized, Coca-Cola says Spotify promotions could include access codes on packaging, TV or billboard advertising or in McDonald's restaurants as the music service launches in new countries later this year and into 2013.
The partnership will entail human-resources and marketing investment, Mr. Belliotti said. "We'll use our scale and our campaigns to help expand Spotify's brand, too," he said.
"One of our big challenges is: How do we reach people? How do we have our voice heard?" said Daniel Ek, founder-CEO of Spotify. "We want music to be like water, everywhere. But when you think about it, we want music to be like Coke, which really is everywhere."
Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, opens Wednesday's programming with a presentation at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York.
Spotify Launches Brand AppsApps Coming Soon From AT&T, McDonald's, Intel and Reebok
In the near term, Coca-Cola plans to integrate Spotify into its Facebook timeline, which, as one of the biggest brands on the social network, has more than 40 million followers. Spotify is already heavily integrated into Facebook; the two companies partnered in September. For the Olympics, Coca-Cola will also launch an application on Spotify to surface new music for users. Last week, Spotify launched similar brand apps for marketers such as AT&T, McDonald's and Intel.
Both the brand apps and the Coke partnership demonstrate Spotify's commitment to adland as it looks to advertisers to help underwrite the substantial costs of licensing music from record labels.While the brand apps are free for marketers to develop, some, such as Intel, have said they'll look to drive traffic through paid advertising on Spotify.
"We're trying to get [Coke] to invest more into creating the next generation of branded advertising," Mr. Ek said. "I don't even like the word 'advertising,' I want to get rid of that: The next generation of brand experience is content."
"To bring people free music while being sustainable so artists can make a living, someone has to pay for it," he said.
ATLANTA (AP) -- The world's largest aquarium is expecting the pitter patter of giant fins. The Georgia Aquarium has a rare beluga whale pregnancy, the first mammal to conceive at the downtown Atlanta attraction since it opened in 2005.
The mother, Maris, got pregnant naturally -- not through insemination -- which is rare for belugas in captivity.
Maris, whose midsection is bulging and sometimes ripples as the baby moves in her womb, is being monitored round-the-clock as she gets closer to the end of her 14-month pregnancy. She is expected to give birth by June to a calf that could be up to 50 pounds.
Newborn calves often don't survive with first-time mothers, but aquarium officials are working to train Maris on how to nurse and care for the baby.
"It's all in an effort to desensitize her so when the birth is ongoing, it's nothing out of the ordinary for her," said William Hurley, chief animal officer at the aquarium.
They've plopped divers in the cold-water tank at 3 a.m. to help get her accustomed to visitors in the middle of the night in case she goes into labor after hours. They've begun leaving dim lights on in the tank at night so that Maris, who is used to darkness, isn't bothered by the change.
Hurley said they're training her to present her mammary glands to different objects so that she's more likely to nurse the baby.
On Wednesday morning, trainers worked with Maris on presenting her large belly, which is useful in conducting ultrasounds and doing other medical checkups. She swam from one side of the large tank to the other, playing games with the trainers and chirping happily as they gave her treats.
Just six North American facilities house belugas, and just a handful are born each year. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago also has a pregnant beluga whale.
The number of successful births has increased in the last decade as aquariums and other facilities learn more about the whale pregnancies, Hurley said. The Georgia calf's father is Beethoven, the first beluga whale to be born in captivity.
"We can learn half of what we need to know about dolphins and whales by studying them in the wild," Hurley said. "But the other half the puzzle...we can only do those things here."
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A cathedral made from cardboard.
The idea may sound flimsy, particularly given that cathedrals tend to be known for their solid presence: the flying buttresses, the soaring domes, the Gothic grandeur. But in the earthquake-devastated city of Christchurch, Anglican leaders believe it will deliver both a temporary solution and a statement about the city's recovery.
On Monday, they announced plans to build a 25-meter (82-foot) high cathedral constructed with 104 tubes of cardboard. The structure will be a temporary replacement for the iconic stone ChristChurch Cathedral, which was ruined last year in an earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed much of the downtown.
The Rev. Craig Dixon, a church spokesman, said the temporary cathedral would seat 700 people, cost up to 5 million New Zealand dollars ($4.1 million), and would be used for 10 years while a permanent replacement is designed and built.
The Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, has used cardboard as a material for other temporary buildings, including a "paper church" which used as a community center after the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan.
Dixon said he hopes construction can begin within about six weeks and be completed by the end of the year.
"I think this building has the potential to become an icon in its own right," he said. "I think it will be greatly loved for a long time."
Dixon said the structure would be weatherproof and fire-resistant. He said the plan is to use traditional materials like concrete, steel and wood to provide structural support to the A-frame-style cathedral and an attached annex. Up to two dozen shipping containers inside would provide space for offices, a kitchen and storage, he added, while the roof would be made of an opaque polycarbonate material.
Richard Gray, the chairman of a church group that has been driving the project, said the cathedral will make a statement that Christchurch is moving forward, and that people are finding solutions that are not only innovative but also environmentally friendly -- after all, he points out, the cathedral would be recyclable.
Anglican leaders in Christchurch have chosen a site in Latimer Square, about 300 meters (yards) from the ruins of the current cathedral and near where 115 people died when the Canterbury Television (CTV) building collapsed.
"It's very symbolic that it's across the road from the CTV building. It's very poignant," Gray said.
Anglican leaders have yet to submit their final plans to city officials, who would need to approve them before construction could begin. City officials did not respond to requests for comment Monday, although Gray said he's confident the church has done its due diligence and the project will be approved.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Filmmakers are calling DogTV a new breed of television -- an eight-hour block of on-demand cable TV programming designed to keep your dog relaxed, stimulated and entertained while you are at work.
To get the right footage, cameramen got on their knees and shot low and long. "I shot from the point of view of the dog," said Gilad Neumann, chief executive officer of DogTV.
In production, they had to mute colors, alter sound and add music specially written for dogs.
There will be no commercials, no ratings and no reruns, although some might argue that watching a slug crawl is hardly exciting new programming.
One million subscribers with two cable companies have access to DogTV in San Diego. It is doing so well that parent company PTV Media plans to offer it nationally in the next several months, Neumann said.
It will cost about $4.99 a month, Neumann said. If you figure more than 46 million U.S. households have dogs (according to the American Pet Products Association) and 97 percent of U.S. homes have televisions, the future looks promising.
Bleu, a year-old French bulldog, has been watching for a month and snorts and grunts his approval, owner Mary Catania of San Diego said. He used to perk up when "Family Guy" came on, Catania said, but he seems more intrigued by DogTV.
"I always feel guilty leaving him alone all day when I'm at work," Catania said. "He's like my kid. I don't have any children so I really treat him like my child. Anything that makes him happy makes me happy."
For years, pet owners have been leaving a television or radio on when they go out so their pets have company, said Dr. Nick Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic in Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
But Dodman said that according to research on the canine brain, with analog television, dogs could only see a flickering screen. New technologies like digital TV, high-definition cameras, and enhanced production have changed the way dogs perceive the images, while big screens allow them to see from anywhere in a room, Neumann said.
Do dogs really understand what they're watching? Dodman said research is ongoing, but it appears that dogs not only recognize other dogs on TV, they may even respond differently to their own breed.
They definitely recognize sounds, though, whether it's barking or sirens, and audio on DogTV has been tailored accordingly. Because high frequency sounds can be very irritating to dogs, they've been removed. And music is written and tailored for their hearing, though it sounds like elevator music to humans.
What you won't find on DogTV are the sounds that blare on regular TV: no gunshots, no explosions, no heavy metal music, Neumann said.
Dogs can see blue and yellow, but not red or green, Neumann said, so colors are altered for DogTV too.
Based on dog sleeping pattern studies, programmers alternate footage and soundtracks designed for stimulation, relaxation and exposure throughout the eight hours.
Exposure is designed to acquaint dogs with things they will see each day. "There are studies that show when young puppies are exposed to video images of other dogs, it acts as a form of socialization," Dodman said. Sights and sounds during this part of the programming expose the animals to things like traffic, babies, other pets and doorbells.
Relaxation segments feature sleeping dogs and nature scenes -- like the slugs -- accompanied by dog lullabies.
Stimulation includes dogs running, playing and surfing, animation and a lot of panting. The idea behind this part of DogTV is to get a dog moving, even if it is home alone.
Shows are "refreshed" daily for variety.
There has been a lot of feedback from viewers saying their cats like the show as well as their dogs, Neumann said. CatTV may be added later, but DogTV is strictly for the dogs, he said.
The Escondido Humane Society, on the outskirts of San Diego County, isn't wired for cable yet, but DogTV offered to give them relaxation-only test videos.
"We handle 5,000 animals a year. We get high-energy, big dogs that need to calm down. When we plugged it in, we saw almost immediate results," said development director Jean Loo-Russo.
If an extremely active dog is confined for long periods of time, a chemical imbalance can occur and it can go kennel crazy, Loo-Russo said.
You can prevent that with DogTV and 20-minute walks twice a day, she said.
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