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July 23, 2006

CBS Egg-vertising Egg-cellent?

Vincent Price's Egghead would be happy to hear this one!

Last week, news broke...pardon the pun...that CBS would be marketing its upcoming fall lineup in a rather unexpected way--on the shells of eggs. Certainly far from your typical campaign, but CBS believes that its eclectic approach may be of service in helping them as they scramble to line-up viewers for the fall 2006 war of the season launch.

According to a story in The New York Times last week by David S. Joachimin, the network hopes the originality of the campaign will hit viewers as clever rather than contrived and gimmicky.

Joachimin stated that approximately 35 million eggs will appear in grocery stores sporting the CBS eye trademark and a variety of egg-related slogans. (The ones mentioned in the article was a "Crack the Case on CBS" slogan for CSI, "Scramble to Win" for The Amazing Race, "Hardboiled Drama" for Shark, "Shelling Out Laughs" for the comedy line-up, as well as "Funny Side Up" and "Leave the Yolks to Us."

To use a phrase related to a different type of food, the campaign seems a little corny, but even the most hardboiled of critics can't help but crack a smile at the "eggvertising," as the network is calling it. While traditional ad spaces seem so crowded, the plain white space on egg shells are a fruitful place to reach audiences, the network believes.

And, for those who are rallying to keep advertising out of the little crevices of our lives, the campaigns to protect the eggs on our grocers' shelves has probably already begun. There are probably plenty of anti-commercial advocates who believe that this eggvertising is purely deviled. CBS likes the approach for its intrusiveness, using a company called EggFusion to put the messages on the eggs. That intrusiveness is, my intuition tells me, the very reason a lot of people are going to be offended by the campaign, although its cleverness and rarity may help offset some of the negative energy that could be directed toward it.

And, interestingly, the actual purpose for the messages are to assure customers that eggs are not out-of-date by putting the expiration directly on the egg and to give a way to track the egg's origin information, and advertising was the impetus that helped make that possible, since egg producers were willing to allow the expiration dates on for extra profit.

In the meantime, CBS executives are going to be walking on eggshells, hoping they don't get...egg on their face. And one has to wonder if fans, when they get ahold of the CBS-adorned eggs, might try to generate a little user-created content on the eggs' surface as well, altering some of the CBS messages creatively or decorating the CBS eyes. Will the network be thrilled with such textual poaching?

Blame Lynn Liccardo for both alerting me to this story and starting me down the trail of bad puns. But is this approach just the type of new advertising that will generate press and attention and reward the network for its originality? Eggvertising likely isn't going to make a major long-term investment akin to more substantial advertising sites, but it is a unique strategy that should generate even more creative campaigns if it is deemed a success this fall.


After reading this post, I became very ill and believe I may have contracted salmonella poisoning. Evidently, at least one of your puns truly was "bad", expired or otherwise contaminated :-)

Oh, come on careful. You don't want to egg me on.

Posted by: Sam Ford | July 24, 2006 1:00 PM

Don't worry, my yoke isn't heavy and the burden is light!

Kurt, I'm warning you. This could go on forever because I won't give up. You won't get the last word, I promise you. This war of the words won't be over easy.

Posted by: Sam Ford | July 25, 2006 1:39 AM
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