The Pitch: Advertising + marketing news

The Pitch is Richmond BizSense’s monthly advertising digest. Tell us about your new accounts and campaigns by emailing [email protected].

Elevation created an “anti-mascot” to help promote Virginia529’s suite of college savings plans. The “Tuition Monster” is a manifestation of the anxiety, fear and pressure parents face as they start to consider their children’s futures.

Of course, the Tuition Monster is easy to tame — if you’re prepared with a Virginia529 plan. Look for the Tuition Monster to begin making live appearances across the state soon.

Big River has been retained by Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. (HDL), one of Richmond’s fastest-growing new companies, to create a marketing video. The video will showcase HDL’s ability to provide the sophisticated blood analyses that are the foundation of highly customized health and wellness programs.

The Martin Agency has a number of campaigns under way. It launched a campaign with Norwegian Cruise Line to debut the line’s New York City-themed ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, which will arrive in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in May. Martin partnered with award-winning animation house Psyop to bring “New York’s Ship” to life in the 30-second digitally-animated TV spot for the campaign, which will run throughout winter in key Northeast markets. Martin has been Norwegian Cruise Line’s agency of record since March 2011, and this is the agency’s second campaign for the brand.

The agency also has launched a new series of commercials starring the famed GEICO Gecko, beginning with “Behind the Scenes,” in which the Gecko provides viewers a sneak peek at what goes on backstage. Seven spots will roll out over the next few months.

The series gives the Gecko more “off-screen attitude” than previous campaigns did. Since 1999, there have been more than 10 Geico campaigns featuring the Gecko in over 65 TV commercials and hundreds of radio spots.

The Martin Agency also was selected by Timberland PRO to develop strategy and ads for its industrial work boot, the Hyperion. The selection came after a two-month review, and the first creative work is slated for fall. Martin was previously the brand’s agency of record from 1997 to 2001.

And Oreo recently chose Martin to handle creative work in the United States. The move comes as part of the cookie brand’s new multi-agency model within Interpublic Group.

Commonwealth Partnerships Group received a 2012 Platinum MarCom Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for its work creating and promoting the Virginia Real Estate Blog.

The blog, which tracks real estate news and developments across Virginia, won a platinum award in the website element/blog category for its innovation and content. The blog also was recognized at the 2012 Virginia Public Relations Awards, with the Capital Award of Merit for Blog/Bloggers. Commonwealth Partnerships Group works exclusively with the real estate, professional services and nonprofit sectors.

The group also was recently hired to handle social media and public relations for HHHunt Communities, a division of HHHunt, a diversified real estate development and management company with master-planned residential communities in Virginia.

CRT/tanaka is the agency of record for the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). The agency will work with HAB to provide strategic public relations programs focused on communicating the health benefits of avocados and driving avocado consumption in the United States.

“While the Hass Avocado Board is a new client for us, supporting the produce industry, commodity boards and USDA check-off programs are not,” said Ellen LaNicca Albanese, CRT/tanaka executive vice president. “We have one of the strongest, most experienced teams of food professionals, including food experts, writers and publicists and registered dietitians who will enable us to address the needs of the avocado industry.”

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