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Old-school advertisers break out of the mold

Published Dec. 8, 2006

Two big advertisers known for the traditional ways they marketed products are expanding their efforts to become a little less conventional. General Electric Co., which in May experimented with new media like digital video recorders in a campaign called GE One Second Theater, has introduced GE's Imagination Theater. Four short films, live-action and animated, are intended to illustrate in humorous fashion the idea that imaginative approaches can solve challenging problems. They can be watched free on the video-on-demand service available to customers of Time Warner Cable systems in some major cities. And for the Mountain Dew MDX soft drink, Pepsi-Cola North America has begun offbeat commercials online and on television. The spots feature video clips created by consumers, which have appeared on Web sites like YouTube, as well as excerpts from popular TV series that include Futurama. Everyone on Madison Avenue "is looking to push the envelope, find what is going to be the next big thing," said Jennifer Gordineer, group director for national investment on the Pepsi- Co account at OMD in New York.

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Jim Cramer suggested these stocks on his CNBC show this week:

Under Armour Inc. (UARM): The maker of synthetic-fiber athletic apparel is doing well by developing niche markets in which to sell its products, Cramer said. In the past month, Under Armour unveiled a line of baseball cleats, and within a week, "they had 18 percent market share," Cramer said.

Emerson Electric Co. (EMR): The world's largest maker of power equipment for utilities and oil companies "should have 15 percent growth next year," said Cramer, who likes companies that pay dividends. Emerson Electric in November increased its quarterly dividend 18 percent. During the previous three years, the company increased its dividend by about 3.9 percent each year.