And then, walking over to the office, I passed this poster site. Spooky.
Here's what the NYT had to say:
On Aug. 1, a billboard appeared in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan displaying only a date, “08.13.12,” and clues seemed to point to Apple.
Consistent with the style of Apple advertising and packaging, the billboard was black type on a white background and its typeface was a version of Myriad, which Apple uses nearly exclusively. Also noteworthy was the billboard’s location: the intersection of Broome and Thompson streets, 450 yards from the Apple Store on Prince Street.
A SoHo resident, Colin Mackenzie, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 5 that a “big billboard just got put up by my apt with ‘08.13.12’ in what looked like Apple font ... iPhone5 maybe?”
On Aug. 6 on MacRumors, the popular Web site for Apple enthusiasts, “Bendrix” posted a photograph of the billboard and wrote: “What is the meaning of this? Is it Apple related?”
What they were chewing over turns out, appropriately enough, to be gum.
On Monday, the billboard will be replaced by a new one featuring Shaun White, the gold medalist snowboarder, holding a pack of Stride Mintacular, a new flavor that features his likeness on the package.
“Stride Mintacular,” reads the copy, the type treatment again mimicking Apple’s. “Chewing redefined. Again.”
An online video by Stride introducing the Mintacular flavor is shot in the same documentary style as Apple’s product debut videos.
Apple introductory videos, including one for the new MacBook Pro from June that has more than 760,000 views on YouTube, feature designers seated before a white background speaking with awe and wonder about new products. Unlike the Apple videos, Stride uses actors to depict its executives.
“From the moment you pick it up, you instinctively know how to use it,” says an actor in the Stride sendup, as a piece of the gum is shown. “There are no rules at all when it comes to holding it. I don’t need to change who I am to fit the product. It fits me.”
The video and billboards are by the London office of Wieden & Kennedy. The video will be featured in ads on the Web site for The Onion, the satirical publication, on the Stride Facebook page, which has three million followers, and on YouTube.
“A lot of product launches treat each successive variation of their products as if they’re groundbreaking and will change people’s lives,” said Sam Heath, a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy. “They talk about them in this very grand, revelatory, almost religious way, and we thought that it would be fun to take the same approach and make a big hoo-ha over what is essentially a minor thing: a new gum flavor.”
The Stride video is “a great parody and hilarious,” said David Vinjamuri, author of “Accidental Branding” and an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University.
In September 2011, Stride introduced the first flavor attached to Mr. White, Whitemint, featuring his name and likeness prominently on the package. Whitemint now ranks second behind spearmint in sales among more than a dozen Stride flavors, according to Steve Siegal, the senior brand manager for Stride.
The brand, which is owned by Kraft, is aimed primarily to those 18 to 24, and along with being “the most iconic figure in action sports,” Mr. White is “a personality fit for the brand because he’s genuine, authentic and exudes a lot of confidence,” Mr. Siegal said.
On Aug. 21, Mr. White will appear at an event at a 7-Eleven on East 14th Street in Manhattan. The store will be stocked only with packs of Mintacular and Whitemint, and a batch of Mintacular-flavored Slurpees will be served.
From its introduction in 2006 through 2011, Stride marketed itself as “the ridiculously long-lasting gum.” Commercials from JWT, New York, part of WPP, featured misguided Stride marketers who, frustrated that they cannot sell more gum because each piece lasts so long, force consumers to spit theirs out. As the new agency for the brand, Wieden & Kennedy has replaced the slogan with “A little bit epic.” In a commercial introduced in May, a young man at a loss for how to comport himself when he sees a former girlfriend in a coffee shop pops in a piece of Stride and settles on gallantly holding the door for her as she leaves. It has 766,000 views on YouTube.
In advertising parlance, the new campaign signals a shift from emphasizing a functional benefit, persistent flavor, to an emotional one, the feeling of ease and confidence from fresh breath.
“Gum is not going to change your world or get you to win the Olympics,” said Mr. Heath, of Wieden & Kennedy. “But it might just give you a little nudge to be relaxed in a social situation.”