CHURCH AND STATE: New York Times media columnist David Carr wrote Monday about how NBC is dealing with a world where consumers increasingly choose how to watch television and can often skip commercials: It’s offering its own episode downloads with unskippable ads. Reading that column in print, however, meant unfolding a flap coincidentally emblazoned with, of all things, the NBC logo and, in giant font, “TONIGHT,” advertising the premieres of the network’s fall lineup. “Whether what lay under the ad was worth fighting through it to see, I leave to the reader,” Carr told WWD. The NBC ads wrapped every section of the Monday Times except the front A one, but only the business section’s layout resulted in the total obscuring of an article. Carr, who couldn’t recall any precedent for the ad format (which he called “tenacious”), saw the irony: “My column about ad-supported media was obscured by an ad supporting our media.” — Irin Carmon
FROM ITALY TO MADAGASCAR: Bobby Shriver got some family support Monday at the lunch honoring him as 2007 Advertising Person of the Year for his work with (Product) Red — his cousin, Caroline Kennedy, and his brother-in-law, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger was spotted with his arm around Russell Simmons at the lunch at the Metropolitan Club in New York. “We mostly like to make fun of him,” said Simmons of Shriver. The two have worked together on several projects, including several Christmas albums. “He reminds me that I have my Green [campaign] because he has his Red.”
Sales from (Product) Red-branded items, such as Gap T-shirts and Apple iPods, have generated more than $45 million for the Global Fund, which supports AIDS programs in Africa. (Product) Red also works with Giorgio Armani, and Shriver said Emporio Armani is currently developing new (Product) Red products to be released in the spring.
“Italians are running around Madagascar applying their know-how and quality control to make goods normally made in Italy,” the honoree said, a statement that probably didn’t please any of the Italian manufacturers in the audience. Shriver also let slip that a new line of Converse items to support (Product) Red are coming soon. “They are planning a big announcement,” he added, perhaps to the chagrin of David Maddocks, who serves as a consultant to Converse and was sitting a few seats away from Shriver. — Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the September 25, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
ON TIME: Hollywood types aren’t always known for their punctuality, but they certainly seem to like watches — at least the contracts they get to advertise them.
Nicole Kidman will appear in Omega’s ads in the U.S. for the first time after being a global brand ambassador since 2005. She was photographed by Brigitte Lacombe wearing the Omega De Ville co-axial chronograph. The ads bow on Monday on billboards and in the November issues of Vanity Fair, W and Gourmet. Other Omega ambassadors include Cindy Crawford and Olympian Michael Phelps.
But Kidman isn’t alone in the jewelry world. Catherine Zeta-Jones has scored herself a deal to be the new face of six-year-old jewelry brand DiModolo. Zeta-Jones, who is also the face of Elizabeth Arden and T-Mobile, will be feted on Oct. 4 with a cocktail party at the New York-based brand’s Madison Avenue flagship. Benny Shabtai, president and chief executive of the brand, also will launch DiModolo’s first timepiece collection that evening. The brand is slated to launch a Couture collection incorporating precious gemstones by the end of the year. Zeta-Jones, who succeeds Téa Leoni, was shot by Rankin for the campaign. The new ads will begin appearing in November issues of W, Vogue and In Style.
Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diana Krall, Meg Ryan, Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Basinger are among other celebrities who recently have been featured in watch and jewelry campaigns. — Sophia Chabbott