MediaFile

So who won the $uper Bowl?

 Who won the Ad Bowl? Who knows?

It really depends on who you listen to. I liked the Pepsi Bob Dylan advertisement, and was a bit turned off by the Teleflora wisecracking box commercial. But when I spoke with Professor Tim Calkins of the Kellogg School of Management, who oversees a Super Bowl advertising review,  he had nothing but good things to say about the spot, calling it “an astonishing piece of advertising.”

Hmmmm.

In fact, Calkins and I were not the only ones at odds over the SuperAds. Just check out the web…

Experts and consumers told the Wall Street Journal they favored the Monster.com site.

Monster’s ad, which starred a low-level worker who shares his cramped office with the backside of a stuffed moose, was among several humorous commercials in the Super Bowl line-up that scored high marks with advertising executives and consumers.
    “Touchdown. This is how a lot of people feel right now.” said Rita Rodriguez, chief executive for the U.S. division of WPP’s Brand Union.
    “Hysterical, maybe the funniest ad of the night,” said Don Weir, a 41-year-old comedian from Media, Pa. Added Jessica Madden, a 29-year-old bank analyst in Chicago: “It appeals to the crowd now, because we are all wondering if we will have a job when we wake up.”  

And they hated the Cash4Gold spot:

A campy spot for Cash4Gold.com, which buys gold jewelry from consumers, involved former late-night TV personality Ed McMahon and rapper MC Hammer ostensibly selling their possessions; it was panned. “Unwatchable,” said Eric David, a creative director at Kaplan Thaler Group, a unit of Publicis Groupe. “They are making a joke out of something that is not a joke in this bad economy.”

Super Bowl Sunday!

The Super Bowl — that little football game that is watched by a few people and attracts a bit of interest from advertisers — has come and gone. Was it a blockbuster year? We’ll let you decide, but clearly companies had more at stake this time around than usual.

Shelling out up to $3 million for a 30-second spot, when each day thousands more people are handed pinkslips, can’t sell their house, can’t stand to open their 401Ks and are in no mood whatsoever to be told by some CMO that they need to rush out and buy some beer or soda or potato chip or whatever is, well, a bit risky.

So how did they do? Take a look at a handful below. Let us know you’re thoughts. After all, you’re the target audience.

Super Bowl Sunday? Try Super Bowl Friday

When you’re spending up to $3 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl time, you really, really want to get your money’s worth. So what do you do? Hold press briefings, drag executives out for interviews, hold contests, and, of course, post the commercials on YouTube even before they air on game day. Gone, mostly, are the days when advertisements would actually debut at the Super Bowl.

Fair enough.

So just pretend it’s Sunday and check out some of the big day’s commercials…

Domino dancing with Conde Nast

April Fool’s Day is still a few months away, giving magazine publisher Conde Nast some time to pull a few practice gags. The latest is its decision to kill Domino magazine — days after appointing a new chief to run it.

Here’s the press release, sent on Wednesday:

Domino magazine will cease publication, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and CEO of Condé Nast. The final issue will be published in March 2009.

“This decision to cease publication of the magazine and its website is driven entirely by the economy,” Mr. Townsend said. “Although readership and advertising response was encouraging in the early years, we have concluded that this economic market will not support our business expectations.”

New York Times — Profit sliding, Red Sox stake up for sale

The New York Times confirmed this morning that it’s looking to get rid of its stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team, something previously reported by a number of news outlets.

The Times could raise at least $200 million selling its stake, analysts have said, though it should be noted that selling anything these days — even part of a first class baseball organization — is no easy task.

Check back to MediaFile for more on the sale shortly.

Meanwhile, here’s a recap of the New York Times decline in quarterly results:

Ad market finds the upside of down

There have been plenty of doomsday forecasts about 2009 advertising spending, brought on by the financial crisis. Especially when online advertising, so long on the rise even as print ad revenue fell, started falling too.

Now, Adweek threatens to mess up the picture:

So far, the first months of 2009 aren’t looking as dire as once predicted for the online ad market, according to buyers and sellers. However, many report that business has slowed down, resulting in intensifying pressure on pricing, particularly in the ad networks space.

But the abysmal first quarter that many anticipated — one in which shell-shocked clients either delayed all decision making or went into budget-slashing mode — hasn’t happened, said many industry insiders.

Picture gets darker for 8,000 Sprint workers

Employees of embattled wireless service Sprint had yet another reason to complain on Monday after the company, which has been losing customers for years, announced 8,000 job cuts.

However, even after they’ve been booted out in the cold, these workers will likely still be reminded of their previous job by the sight of their old boss Dan Hesse, when he moonlights as lead actor in Sprint’s sepia-toned TV commercials on top of his day job as CEO of a struggling wireless company. 
    While Hesse’s dual lead man/CEO role may be saving the company some money, a few experts have wondered whether the commercials are doing more harm than good to Sprint, which has been roundly criticized for its marketing message. 
    Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the company has continued to report steep customer losses since the ads started to run soon after Hesse took on the job just over a year ago.

(Photo: Still shot of Dan Hesse in Sprint ad)

Media is dizzy for inauguration

It’s inauguration day – and that means media will be going all out. From wires to newspapers to TV and radio, correspondents will be covering every possible angle of the event. And they won’t have a problem finding an audience.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that this could be the most widely viewed inauguration in U.S. history, surpassing the 42 million who watched Ronald Reagan’s first swearing in.

Like everything surrounding the 2008 presidential campaign, the inauguration of Barack Obama dawns with broadcast media swinging for the fences. Not only are the usual suspects bringing their A teams, but cablers as diverse as BET, TV One, Al Jazeera and ESPN are offering live coverage of Obama’s swearing-in. MTV will focus on inaugural coverage in the evening.

It’s Super Bowl time and that means beer ads

We recently wrote that advertisers have even more riding on this Super Bowl than usual. There may be no better illustration of this than Anheuser-Busch InBev, brewer of such Super Bowl marketing staples as Bud and Bud Light.

Yesterday, the company gave the press a glimpse of some of its advertising for this year’s big game. The company has purchased 4-1/2 minutes worth of advertising time, once again making it the biggest Super Bowl advertiser.

At first glimpse, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s plans don’t seem that different than other years. It will go for humor in Bud Light spots and emotion in its Budweiser spots, using the Clydesdale horses. (Actually, it will run a record 3 Clydesdale commercials during the game).

CES: TiVo’s Tom Rogers stands up for show

TiVo, the small company with the big brand name and tiny marketing budget, has long used CES as a primary showcase for its new products and initiatives.

This year we caught up with CEO Tom Rogers, where he talked about the pace of business discussions at CES, and how the video industry needs to learn from the mistakes of the music industry regarding “responding to strategic challenges.”