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30-second spots: Kraft dinner, PETA and secret stitching

Kraft Dinner, the old standby.


1 Passengers on a Horizon Air flight from Seattle to Portland this week received something you almost never see these days - free food. Boxes stuffed with pita chips, pretzels and Hershey's chocolate were passed out by flight attendants, along with a perky announcement that the snacks were courtesy of electronics company Creative Labs. It's the work of Air Advertainment, a West Palm Beach, Fla., marketer that links brands and advertisers with airlines and passengers. The Seattle-Portland route was chosen for the Creative campaign because passengers are considered tech savvy. How about a Boston-Providence route sponsored by Legal Sea Foods? A Pittsburgh flight sponsored by Primanti Brothers? We have ideas.

2 Keeping with air travel - and food - for a moment, PETA's latest ad was banned from Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine for being "too provocative." Yawn. What else is new? Has a PETA ad ever been accused of being elegant? The ad promoting a vegan diet depicts an airport security X-ray scan of a fit woman in a bra and frilly underwear and the words: "Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan." PETA thinks it was snubbed because Southwest is based in Dallas, the hub of the beef belt but, really, anyone who uses Pamela Anderson as a spokesmodel is just trying to stir things up.

3 To that we say bring on the cheese - the orange, gooey, non-vegan kind, and the more old-school the better. Kraft Foods is tuning into the nostalgia it has discovered adults feel about their tasty mac-and-cheese in a box. This week during the season finale of American Idol, Kraft debuted a new campaign focused on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, a 73-year-old product long targeted more at kids than grownups. Kraft will pour $50-million (U.S.) this year into the playful, multiplatform campaign that riffs off the guilty pleasure we have about "the taste adults have grown to love."

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4 OMG! It turns out Louis Vuitton bags aren't handmade! The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week banned two print ads that leave that impression. In the ads, artisans fold leather and hand-stitch a handbag handle as the ad asks, "What secret little gestures do our craftsmen discreetly pass on? Let's allow these mysteries to hang in the air. Time will provide the answers." Indeed. The ASA said the ads breaches its "truthfulness code." The luxury brand, which boasts $6-billion in global sales annually, couldn't provide proof that machines weren't used in the manufacturing process. Henry Cuir it is not.

5 God and advertising don't mix. The ASA released its complaint figures this week, and the recent atheist-vs.-Christian skirmishes that broke out on the sides of buses really piled on the work in the past year. An ad that proclaimed "There definitely is a God" was the third-most complained about its history. The one that started the ruckus, from the British Humanist Association which said, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," was the sixth-most complained about ad ever. Overall, ad complaints rose 36 per cent in the U.K. Last month in Toronto, a Christian group pulled its "Does God care if I'm gay?" ads from the TTC after numerous complaints.

Shawna Richer

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