Ad Industry Roundup: Chivas; Taco Bell; Mercedes-Benz; New York

Chivas Launches Video Channel: The Pernod Ricard Scotch whisky brand and MSN recently announced the launch of “This Is The Life,” an online channel dedicated to extending the spirits marketer’s “Chivas Life” campaign. Despite the trouble Anheuser-Busch’s online comedy site has drawn from state law-enforcement officials over age-verification measures that some attorneys general have denounced as insufficient, Chivas’ merely asks what year they were born (A-B asks for extensive information from government-issued IDs). Chivas contends that the brand targets older consumers than beer marketers typically do. Unlike Bud.TV, which offers a good deal of unbranded content, every clip on the Chivas site is heavily branded.

Taco Bell Looks To Cast Avatars For TV Spot: Taco Bell is has issued an online casting call for people to create a digital representation of themselves, through an uploaded photo, then record a 15-second rationale for appearing in the commercial. Three consumer avatars will then “star” a 30-second spot that is scheduled to air during the MTV Music Awards on Sept. 9. Users can craft their submission by customizing their avatar and the background. They can also review other entries and rate them. Taco Bell says entries would be judged on “personality, originality, overall appeal and ability to express oneself.”

Mercedes-Benz Launches Video Channel: DaimlerChrysler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, is set to launch an online video site touting the latest models and features on the company’s history. The site, Mercedes-Benz TV, will feature a weekly 20-minute news magazine and five channels that will each run an hour’s worth of material 24 hours a day with topics on automobile-related lifestyle shorts. It will also showcase Mercedes-Benz events at world auto shows and the premieres of new models live.

— “I Love NY” Expands Web Activities: After retooling its <a href="" title="