When Crispin Porter + Bogusky generated buzz for its "subservient chicken" campaign for Burger King this year, it served notice that some new creatives had arrived to shake up the ad game. Along with StrawberryFrog and Mother (two young European agencies that opened their doors on Madison Avenue within the past year), they represent a generation in which the creatives rule the roost. Mother and StrawberryFrog, for example, both feature flat structures with constant open dialogue between creatives and clients. StrawberryFrog supplements its staff of 70 with a global network of more than 350 copywriters, filmmakers, and other artists to ensure clients are getting the best talent at the best price

In the same way that "organic" replaced "all natural" as the label that signified a respect for sustainable agriculture and distaste for fillers, hormones, and other nasties, "local" is replacing "organic" as the key signifier to people concerned about how their food is produced. The reason: The mass commercialization of the organic label, thanks to the government standard, has diluted its meaning. High-quality local ingredients have been a selling point for chichi restaurants in places such as San Francisco and New York, but the challenge is to make "local" affordable to the masses. That's why Tod Murphy is creating a sensation with his Farmers Diner in Barre, Vermont, an inexpensive 60-seat eatery that gets about 70% of its food -- including meat -- from organic producers within a 60-mile radius. Murphy's ambitious goal is to open 1,000 diners across America.

Luxury goods are so quickly and deftly ripped off today that it cheapens the exclusivity of owning them. The one thing that can't be knocked off is an experience. Even luxury-goods makers will need to tie their brands to experiences to regain cachet. The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, DC, for example, is offering a special Inauguration Package for next year. For $200,500 a couple, you get four nights in the Presidential Suite, four days' use of a chauffeur-driven Maybach, a visit from Neiman Marcus to outfit you in designer clothes, and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol as a memento.

Joey Reiman, CEO of Atlanta-based consultancy BrightHouse, works with companies to come up with the "Master Idea," an inspirational central theme around which a company operates. He's also a neuromarketing pioneer, teaming with an Emory University neuroscientist to gain consumer insights. BrightHouse just expanded into Denmark, and Reiman's new book, Business at the Speed of Molasses (Crown Business), which encourages better incubation of business ideas, is due in April.

Joel Osteen, the 41-year-old pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, has one of the largest and fastest-growing megacongregations in the United States. This spring, Lakewood Church is moving into Houston's Compaq Center, formerly the city's major events arena, to accommodate its 30,000-plus parishioners. His TV show airs on seven cable networks and his new book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (Warner Books), already hit number one on Wal-Mart.com based on pre-orders. Pastor Joel's message, not surprisingly, is one of hope, self-empowerment, winning the battle of the mind, and holding on to your dreams. And not surprisingly, Osteen's fast-growing empire has made him a controversial figure. Should megacongregations be studied as paragons of "customer service" and creators of "lifestyle brands"? Or should we look askance at them as the Wal-Marts of religion?

Think of it as short-attention-span theater. Micro minimovies, always under three minutes and often as short as one minute, give companies a way to engage viewers through soap-opera style segments instead of ads. It started on cable but is spreading to broadcast television, too, with Monster.com sponsoring a series called "Office Romances," and Match.com doing one for online dating. If done right, it sure beats a 30-second spot.

Ask around in the food business and the message is clear: Low carb is over. So who's next to build a business off of our get-thin-quick desires? Our bet is on Chris Carmichael. Chris who? He's Lance Armstrong's trainer. He believes in a balanced diet. There are no bad foods, only bad times where particular foods don't give you the energy you need to perform at your best. Not only does it sound like a winning formula, but it's kind of a business philosophy too. Carmichael's already got the company, the clinics, the book, the gear, and the deal with PowerBar consulting on a line of energy beverages. As long as some rival fad doesn't race into vogue, look for Carmichael to wear the yellow jersey of health.

What does your brand smell like? (Maybe we shouldn't ask.) Martin Lindstrom, a European branding expert, hits stateside positing the idea that the intersection of brand and the five senses is essential to seducing customers. His new book, Brandsense (Free Press, February 2005), looks at how our senses are manipulated and massaged by brands. Restaurants infuse "natural" smells in some foods, car manufacturers build some noise into performance engines so they can be recognized. Lindstrom, who got his start at age 12 consulting for Lego, says creating a sense memory goes a long way toward forging brand recognition and loyalty. Provocative, but we're not sure this will pass the smell test.

Although the percentage of U.S. households with digital video recorders is a meager 2%, a projected 20%, or 25 million homes, will discover the joys of getting around TV ads by 2008. This impending reality is already spurring advertisers to work their messages into shows in ways that can't be skipped. For example, product placement. Right now, a can of Coke appears in CSI and it's there forever. But digital wizardry may change that: The Coke can may become a Pepsi for the syndicated or DVD version of the show. Or for Chinese audiences, it could become a Chinese cola. Once advertisers embrace these digital product placements and discover the wealth of opportunities for embedded, targeted ads, they'll be thanking TiVo, not cursing it.

Item: Brand-name adjectives. What It Is: Are you part of the iPodic generation? Is your outfit a bit J. Lo-ish today? Personal names and brands get absorbed as shorthand vernacular much more quickly in a text-messaging world. Why It Freaks Us Out: This used to happen once a generation (Xerox, Kleenex). In a speeded-up culture, any short-term benefits for brand managers may have long-term implications for the value of a trademark.

For every brief moment of cachet in the history of the trailer (fun fact: Bing Crosby set up an elite trailer park in Palm Springs), there are 10 hurricanes or tornados that have literally and figuratively obliterated its reputation. Jennifer Siegal is the architect of the new mobile home -- and maybe of another period of trailer chic. Based on a steel frame, her homes use plyboo (a bamboo product) and plastic instead of plywood and glass. To avoid providing great Weather Channel footage during the next storm season, the structures can be easily moved and combined. A current prototype sits in California.

The ad industry's constant struggle is how to find the elusive young male with disposable income. Why aren't they watching more TV? Maybe they'll be reading Giant, a new men's entertainment magazine that launched in the fall and speaks the language of obsession that's made lines from The Simpsons a kind of currency amongst 21- to 34-year-old guys. Unlike a lot of startup magazines, Giant has smart money behind it in Mort Meyerson (bonus points if you remember him as the cover boy of Fast Company issue No. 2) and already has national distribution. Its debut issue, with a targeted rate base of 200,000, had more than 50 ad pages in a tough market, from GM, L'Oreal, Ralph Lauren, and almost every major Hollywood studio. If guys respond to the content, watch out for the media-buyer stampede.

Fast Company

Fast Forward: Marketing

When Crispin Porter + Bogusky generated buzz for its "subservient chicken" campaign for Burger King this year, it served notice that some new creatives had arrived to shake up the ad game. Along with StrawberryFrog and Mother (two young European agencies that opened their doors on Madison Avenue within the past year), they represent a generation in which the creatives rule the roost. Mother and StrawberryFrog, for example, both feature flat structures with constant open dialogue between creatives and clients. StrawberryFrog supplements its staff of 70 with a global network of more than 350 copywriters, filmmakers, and other artists to ensure clients are getting the best talent at the best price

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