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Mighty Taco's Putin ban goes viral

PutinParagon Advertising knew Vladimir Putin was never destined to dine at Mighty Taco when the restaurant banned him from its outlets in an ad last week. But it declared its Mexican fare off limits to the Russian president anyway.

Doing so has put the Buffalo fast food chain on the map. The ad went viral after being picked up by an Associated Press reporter in Albany, making international headlines and appearing everywhere from tiny news outlets in the south and Midwest to The Australian and Britain’s Daily Mail.

“By Friday, it was being translated into Polish, Russian, Ukrainian,” said James Gillan, president of Paragon Advertising, the agency behind the ad. “The Mighty Taco office was getting calls from Germany.”

The ad was published in just one publication--a 30-page guide to Dyngus Day Buffalo called, “From Polonia With Love,” and appeared on its Facebook page when it got picked up internationally. It was later posted in other publications, and an audio version aired on local radio stations.

The print ad bears a picture of Putin with “Mighty Taco Bans Putin!” in large, bold letters.

“You may be ordering around the Crimea, but you won’t be ordering a Super Mighty Taco around here anytime soon,” it reads. “No one likes a bully, so stop picking on people and maybe you will be welcomed back to Mighty Taco."

The ad warns that Putin is banned from all Mighty Taco locations, “All of them – even the one on Delaware and Hertel!”

The taco chain is known for its quirky ads, but none have generated this much play.

“It has been astounding how fast it moved. It just struck a nerve worldwide,” Gillan said. “I think because it was not threatening, it was just reminding the world that no one likes a bully and let’s all behave kindly.”


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Ad raises controversy

Designer Kenneth Cole has taken down a billboard that angered teachers' unions and education advocates.


The ad, for a red blazer and pants, said "Shouldn't everyone be well red?" and included the tagline "Teachers' rights vs. Students' rights" and the web address Those who visited the site were then asked, "Should underperforming teachers be protected?"

It's not the first time an advertisement has ruffled feathers. In fact, this misstep is tame by comparison to plenty of other campaigns that have hit the mainstream.


Remember when Calvin Klein came out with those creepy CK ads featuring half-naked, underaged kids being filmed by a creepy director? Abercrombie & Fitch takes a page out of that book almost annually with its catalog, which could be called "Naked Kids Fall 2013." It's like the teen clothing company banks on the press its controversial ads will get it every year.


But that's nothing compared to what Molson faced after launching a campaign to find the best party school in America. It asked students to upload their pictures to Facebook and said it would award whoever uploaded the most pics with a trip to Mexico. The site was flooded with images of underage drinkers in compromising positions.

Burger King  recently learned a lesson in racial sensitivity when one of its unfinished commercials leaked to the Internet featuring African-American singer Mary J. Blige singing the praises of fried chicken.


Speaking of racism, how about this commercial that aired during the Superbowl? It has pandas selling bamboo furniture, but in uber-offensive, buffoonish Chinese accents. One of them is even named Ching-Ching:


 To wash the bad taste out of your mouth, we'll leave you with a classic commercial that got it right: Apple's classic homage to George Orwell's 1984:







State hanging "open for business" sign


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's $50 million advertising campaign to attract businesses to New York State is set to launch next week. The money will pay for ads around the country letting business owners know that New York is "open for business."

There is debate over whether that is money well spent.

The Manhattan-based agency that landed the contract to handle the campaign, BBDO, is certainly happy about the launch, as are many economic development agencies and other groups.

But not everyone is singing the project's praises.

"If Governor Cuomo really wanted to make New York "open for business," he could do it without spending a dime," writes the Suffolk County Liberal Report. "Just focus on cutting the three New York State business killers--taxes, regulations and eco insanity."

Cuomo has also vowed to pump $1 billion directly into the Buffalo economy in the form of incentives offered to companies willing to build or expand here. In his keynote address at The Buffalo News' Prospectus launch, M&T Bank CEO John R. Koelmel said the money presents the opportunity of a lifetime.

"We as a region need to get behind and help--and be part of what will be and must be a real success. We finally have a road map for sustainable success, and we just need to get after it," he said.

 What do you think? Is this influx of money a good investment in Buffalo and New York State?

Natural gas prices too low?

From Business Today:


With natural gas prices dropping near a 10-year low, National Fuel Gas Co. has decided to pull back on plans to drill in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania until prices come back up. It's the second time it has scaled back in two months. Its natural gas production is still expected to increase significantly during the next fiscal year, and scaling back on this drilling should only have a "modest" effect on production, the Amherst-based company said. Natural gas prices are down 54 percent since June, to $2.25 per 1,000 cubic feet.


The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has put a moratorium on considering hotel renovation projects for tax breaks, but that didn't keep it from approving $275,000 in breaks for a project that fell outside the moratorium. The ECIDA Monday approved sales tax breaks on a $5.5 million renovation project at Cheektowaga's Millennium Hotel. Because the hotel qualified for the breaks under the agency's current guidelines, it decided to approve the breaks rather than risk a lawsuit from the hotel.


You'll soon notice a difference in Canadian currency the next time you cross the border. The money has undergone a redesign to make it more durable and secure and to prevent counterfeiting and fraud. $100 and $50 bills have already gone into circulation, $20 bills will come out later this year, and $10 and $5 bills are due by the end of 2013.


The ECIDA board was taken to task Monday for approving the controversial tax breaks on the Millennium Hotel. Just after the approval, members of the Occupy Buffalo activist group began vocally protesting the board's actions. The board's new chairman, retired Rep. John J. LaFalce, yelled at the protesters and told them they would no longer be able to attend such meetings. Public comment isn't allowed during the ECIDA's monthly board meetings--only during public hearings.


An advertising agency with offices in Buffalo has been recognized by its industry's premier publication. Advertising Age magazine ranked Eric Mower and Associates the 5th best place to work in its 2012 rankings. Winners were chosen through a rigorous process that included surveying employers and employees.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 It's a great day for the Moody Blues:


Super Bowl ads good for local affiliate

From Business Today:


During the Super Bowl, all eyes may be on the national commercials that spend millions of dollars to air their ads in front of the the large, diverse audience the football game brings. But local NBC affiliate WGRZ was much more interested in what local advertisers were doing. That's because they were alloted enough time to air about 15 commercials during the game, selling the slots to local advertisers for an estimated $12,000 to $17,000 apiece.


Home sales increased in December. Sales rose 4.2 percent to 774 in December from 743 during the same month the previous year. Sales were up 10.4 percent from November's 701 sales, making it the largest December number since the glory days of 2006 and 2007. Newly listed sales were up 13 percent. The positive sales results are being attributed to the region's stretch of unseasonably mild weather.    


Profits were up at Astronics Corp. during the fourth quarter.  Profits rose 16 percent to $5.2 million, or 40 cents per share, from $4.5 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago. The increase is attributed to strong growth in the company's aircraft cabin electronics sales. That strength offset losses in the company's test systems business. Astronics Corp. is an East Aurora-based maker of aircraft lighting and electronics products.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here is one of the only local ads local advertising representatives found memorable: