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Pr Stunts

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Why Do New Yorkers Live Longer? Flavored, Sugared Water!

New Yorkers live longer than other Americans, and in last week's New York cover story, Clive Thompson tried to explain why. We walk more than most Americans, he pointed out, we climb more stairs than most Americans, and many fewer of us die young of onetime urban plagues like murder and AIDS. We have great hospitals and lots of healthy-eating options, and, as he noted, people who are ambitious and hard-working and appearance-focused can be just as Type-A about their health as about everything else. But leave it to a marketer to isolate the mysterious X factor, the key reason New Yorkers live longer than everyone else. It came in a press release this morning, and it's beautiful in its simplicity: "Life Expectancy for New Yorkers Increases as Snapple Grows in Popularity." Why didn't Clive think of that? Oh, the press release was, of course, from Snapple.

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Big Pussy Wants to Send a Little Pussy to School

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Simply airing TV commercials featuring an insidiously catchy jingle is apparently no longer an adequate way to sell cat food, and so the Meow Mix people yesterday opened the "Meow Mix Acatemy" (Get it? A-cat-emy? Hilarious) in the Daryl Roth Theater on Union Square. For the next week, New Yorkers will be invited to "learn to think like a cat" by taking seminars with titles like “Feline Freud,” “Understanding Your Cat’s Meow,” and “What Is My Cat Doing and Why.” For the opening-night festivities last night, a fifteen-piece marching band from St. John’s University played that dastardly tune, accompanied by cheerleaders chanting “LETS … GO … COOL … CATS!”

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The Cutest Jailbird We Ever Did See

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And how does New York commemorate Lindsay Lohan's latest meltdown, which took place on the other coast? By dressing the Lohan wax sculpture at the Times Square Madame Tussauds in prison stripes. We kind of wish they'd redone the face, too, to match that crazy mug shot. Oh, well.

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Flick Marty in the Face!

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You know what toy we've always wanted? A Marty Markowitz bobblehead. Well, that's not quite true; what we've really wanted was a talking Marty doll. (Pull the string and it'd say, "You're leaving Brooklyn? Oy vey!" or "How about a nice slice of cheesecake?") But a bobblehead is pretty damned cool, too. And according to a press release we received yesterday from the Brooklyn Cyclones, the team will be giving out Marty bobbleheads at their Sunday, August 5, game, against the Aberdeen Ironbirds. The first 2,500 fans to arrive will get one, and now we're tempted to go. The bobblehead currently on our shelf is Noah, and he (of all people!) is feeling lonely. Minor-League Options [NYM] Brooklyn Cyclones [Official site]

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Little Britain: Peace in Our Time!

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This is what we came home last night to find waiting with our doorman. (We have never, for the record, mentioned our name to the Tea & Sympathy people, nor said exactly where we live.) It was tasty, we were charmed, and now, we confess, we think we've reached acceptance. We're Daily Intel, and we live in Little Britain. God save the queen! Earlier: Daily Intel's coverage of Little Britain

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Little Britain: We'll Close Our Eyes and Think of Cake

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Oh, thank God. Turns out our little conversation with the Little Britain people didn't end yesterday afternoon, as we feared it would. Not at all. They still like us, they assured us last night. They really still like us! And now they're offering us cake (and using fun Britishisms):
From: info@ campaignforlittlebritain.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:26:25 PM
To: intel
Subject: Tally-ho! Intel, You know we love you. You'd definitely have a point if all the business on the block hadn't signed individual letters of support, if we hadn't collected over 1,000 signatures in person in the stores, if we hadn't received over 90 letters of thanks from community groups we've supported over the last year, if a fine, upstanding pillar of the community hadn't spoken in support at the Community Board 2 meeting. But they all did.

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Correction: The British Are Bemused! The British Are Bemused!

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If anthropomorphization is when human characteristics are applied to things not human, what's the opposite? Because we got another letter today from the Campaign for Little Britain, which writes very much as though it's one human being but signs its notes as though it's an intangible entity. In any event, our new pen pal Campaign takes issue with both our response to his (her?) letter yesterday, and with our (punning) headline description of the Brits as angry. Here's London calling, from a far-too-close place:
From: info@campaignforlittlebritain.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 1:11:08 PM
To: intel
Subject: Angry? Me? Dearest Intel Not remotely angry. Bemused, perhaps.

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The British Are Angry! The British Are Angry!

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Earlier this afternoon we noted our disgust with the PR-driven plan to rename a block of Greenwich Avenue as "Little Britain," a ploy by the proprietors of two British-ish businesses on that block to get themselves onto the city's official street map. We objected to many things, among them the attempt to liken this designation to Chinatown or Little Italy, which, we argued, organically developed because of the immigrant populations who clustered in the area, not because a tea shop got a few bucks from Richard Branson to hire a PR firm. The Campaign for Little Britain responded, refuting some of our claim and charmingly using the words "recognised" and "cheers":
From: info@campaignforlittlebritain.com
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 2:20:24 PM
To: intel Hi Got to take issue with your article, it is in the tradition of already recognised neighborhoods, check out Little Brazil, Koreatown, or Little India — they were started by businesses, too.

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Defy British Imperialism: A Belated Call for a New York Tea Party

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So did you notice in yesterday's City section that little article about the proposal to rename a stretch of Greenwich Avenue in the West Village as "Little Britain"? Yeah, we almost missed it, too — but it reminded us about this insipid idea, first announced a few months ago, about just much how we object to it, and that we ought to explain why. See, here's the thing: It's all a marketing gimmick. For a private business. The couple behind the plan own Tea & Sympathy and A Salt and Battery, respectively a tea shop and a fish-and-chippery, on that stretch of Greenwich. And they want the name of the street changed simply to boost their own business. (Hey, great idea: Let's rename Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th "Magazine Avenue!")

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A Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar Had Given Them the Call

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The House of Malcontents, the guerrilla-art group that turned an F-train car into a living room a few months ago, struck again in Central Park Saturday, transforming Cherry Hill into a scene from Alice in Wonderland, complete with croquet and Lewis Carroll–themed works from a dozen local artists. The group didn't get a permit for the frabjous event, which started just before brillig, but, unlike last time, there wasn't a frumious police officer to be seen. Here, Cheshire Cat Angela Brown, Mad Hatter Gabriella Ripoll, and Queen of Hearts Carol Tessitore play a (non-lethal) game of croquet. —Michael Y. Park Earlier: A Subway Car of One's Own

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‘America's Next Top (Spokes)Model’ Comes to Chelsea

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Most reality/ talent-show contestants have earned their spots on TV by waiting on line for hours, doing their thing for some judges, and schlepping out to Los Angeles. But when Smartwater ("Hydration you can feel!") sponsored an America's Next Top Model audition in a Chelsea club last night, there was one more step: The eight tri-state finalists gathered at Stereo also had to flack the product — even posing with a bottle of the stuff — in hopes being sent west. They'd arrived at eleven in the morning for hair, makeup, and, one assumes, some Smartwater brainwashing. And it took. By the time the event started at 8 p.m., nearly every word from the girls touted the water's substance and style.

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Who Needs the Kwik-e-Mart? (We Do.)

It's funny. Some buzz-building marketing campaigns just irritate us. (Yes, yes, even as we sometimes, inevitably become part of them.) But others, for whatever reason, we think are kind of cute. Here's the 7-Eleven adjacent to Port Authority on 42nd Street, decked out in promotional gimmick for the Simpsons movie. We're going to stop for a Squishee on our way home from work.

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The Hard Life of a Party Reporter: Choppering Upstate for Lunch

We're not going to say we weren't tempted when the Champagne company offered to fly us by helicopter for a lobster lunch in the courtyard of an old Vanderbilt mansion upstate, but we also remembered that we are reporters. We only gave in to temptation when we were promised there would also be plenty of socialites in attendance for us to make fun ofreport on. This proved not to be true: We counted just Valesca Guerrand- Hermès, Genevieve Jones, and floral designer/man- about-town Antony Todd, though Olivia Palermo was perpetually supposed to be on the next helicopter over. Still, we got the lunch.

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Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big Shilling

A flyer that recently turned up in the in-box:

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It's all you need to know about New York in the aughts: luxury condos (in east midtown!), Jay McInerney, and "his favorite summer wines." We'd make a joke, but then, wouldn't that be redundant?

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These Goofs Are Made for Walkin'

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Matt Green is back! Who? He's the dude who with a college friend last summer got improbably enormous amounts of media coverage for riding every subway line in the city in under 24 hours. (If the idea sounds familiar, it's the drunken bet that comes up at roughly every third rooftop keg party.) This year, he's tanned, rested, and teamed up with a new partner, a different college buddy, for a new feat of pointless publicity inspirational endurance: In a Napoleon Dynamite take on David Blaine, the duo will embark on a five-day, 150-mile walk over the five boroughs, doing Wacky Things as they go. According to Metro New York's Amy Zimmer — apparently Green's Boswell — said wackiness includes riding a Bronx Zoo camel, using the bathroom in each of the five Borough Halls, and reading a list of jokey demands from the City Hall steps. Hilarious! We wincingly predict a cluster of reality-TV producers at the finish line, checkbooks in hand. Burning Some Dust in NYC [Metro NY]

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Jon Bon Jovi Goes to Brooklyn, Does Not Build a House

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Yesterday we schlepped out to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn because we were promised Jon Bon Jovi working on a Habitat for Humanity house. "Delta Air Lines joins Jon Bon Jovi and members of the Philadelphia Soul arena football team on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. to participate in a build with Habitat for Humanity-New York City," said the press release (the emphasis is ours), which seemed pretty clear. Bon Jovi! Brooklyn! Together! Yay! But then we got there and discovered the dude merely giving a press conference. Wasn't Jon going to "participate" in that "build"? "You really don't want to see me grabbing a hammer," he said. (Actually, we did, which is why we spent an hour on the D.) "But I'll be happy to purchase them." Sigh. How about Marty Markowitz, also on the scene — was he excited to have a genuine rock star purchasing hammers for Brooklyn? "I can't really tell you I know his stuff," the usually indefatigable borough president said, "but I know people are crazy about him." We should have stayed in midtown. —Jonah Green

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Free Heather Mills's Leg!

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We've been gripped lately with a harrowing fascination that shames us to the core. Someone we love to hate has given us something we love to love, and the resulting struggle to reconcile the contradiction has left us feeling a little, well, dirty. We're referring, of course, to our dark obsession with Heather Mills's fake leg.

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