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June, 2010:

Orangina Goes Furry… Again

After blowing everyone’s mind with this commercial a couple of years ago, the French advert campaign for the beverage known as Oragina has done it again. That is, created a commercial with an amazing amount of sexy, anthropomorphic appeal.  Only now it’s an entire set of short commercials, each with a different species. Taking off on the assertion that Oragina is “all natural” with no artificial ingredients, the ad campaign spoofs ads for various other “all natural” products, with Orangina standing in. Among them are: Orangina as a hair care product (featuring a lady afghan hound), Orangina as a deodorant (featuring an athletic bear), and Orangina as a feminine hygiene product (featuring a naked lady panda).  An ad for Orangina as an aftershave lotion (featuring a male cougar and his… friend) is raising quite a few eyebrows. In fact, some nations in Europe have already banned it from TV. (If you can’t follow the links here, just go to and search on “Orangina”. You’ll find all of this and more.)

Berona’s War: The Field Guide

And now for something rather different: Cute and cuddly wars! Berona’s War: The Field Guide comes to us from the minds of Jesse Labbe and Anthony Coffey. According to Previews it’s “an epic tale of two adorable, fur-covered races doomed by their own escalating violence”. Whew. The Ele-Alta and the Cropones are soft and fuzzy on the outside, but hard as nails on the inside. When both tribes lay claim to Berona Island’s most valuable real estate — a land known as Amity — the result can only be bloody war. This full-color hardcover graphic novel is available now from Archaia Comics. This winter, look for the sequel, Berona’s War: Fight for Amity. And check this out for a preview of the whole series.

New Hollywood Hopefuls…

Last week, Jim Hill’s daily blog presented his review of the recent Licensing International Expo, held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. This is the annual show where t-shirt, candy, toy and a zillion other manufacturers look for “the next big thing” to put on their products before they get sold to the rest of us. And of course Hollywood studios are there in force, promoting their new upcoming movies and TV series to all the makers of tie-in merchandise. Among the interesting new items being presented: Dreamworks Animation was there advertising their new 3D Shrek spin-off movie that tells the origin of Puss in Boots; as well as Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, the new sequel which features (along with the original voice cast) newcomer Gary Oldman as “a peacock who is far more than he seems”.  20th Century Fox was there advertising the 4th film in the Ice Age series, Continental Drift; as well as the upcoming “three-quel” for Alvin and the Chipmunks called Chip-Wrecked.  Before that new Ice Age film though comes Rio, Blue Sky’s next 3D project coming out next April. (If you haven’t heard of it, the film is about a nerdy macaw who can’t fly — but who gets a chance to escape when he visits his species’ native Brazil. It stars the voices of Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx, and Will-I-Am. Check out the trailer on YouTube.) Illumination Entertainment (the same house that animated this year’s film Despicable Me for Universal) is hard at work on an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ environmental fable The Lorax, scheduled for release in March of 2012 (also from Universal). And of course (as we’ve reported before) this December Fox will be releasing Walden Media’s long-awaited third entry in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And then, there’s the live-action Smurfs movie coming from Sony in 2011… but let’s not go there, shall we?

Re-Booting Winnie the Pooh

Evidently picking up on the fact that their attempts to take the world of Winnie the Pooh and make it ‘hip and happening’ (hel-loooo My Friends Tigger and Pooh) didn’t quite achieve the heights they had hoped, the Walt Disney Company is going back to the drawing board — literally — with A.A. Milne’s famous franchise. To that end, Disney has announced that a brand-new 2D feature-length animated film, titled simply Winnie the Pooh, is scheduled for release in July of 2011. And Disney is bringing out the big guns for this project: Among the animators working on the film are Mark Henn (“Princess Tiana”) for Pooh, Andreas Deja (“Scar”) for Tigger, Glen Keane (“The Beast”) for Christopher Robin, and Tony Bancroft (“Pumbaa”) for Eeyore. Burny Mattinson, who was actually an animator on the original 1960’s Winnie the Pooh shorts, will serve as the film’s lead story artist. And here’s an amusing note: The songs for the new film were written by Robert Lopez, who wrote the lyrics for Avenue Q.