MediaFile

No Super Bowl blues; expect big TV ratings

colts1The U.S. economy might be weak, but the Super Bowl still scores with consumers.

The CBS broadcast of the National Football League’s championship game on Feb. 7 between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints should draw strong TV ratings, possibly challenging viewer levels not seen since the late 1990s.

“We’re looking at a big rating,” said Neal Pilson, former CBS Sports president and head of his own sports consulting firm. “The fact that the two conference championships got better than usual ratings usually indicates that there’s a lot of public interest.”

The NFC Championship game between New Orleans and the Minnesota Vikings drew 57.9 million viewers, ranking it as the most watched conference championship game since the 1981 contest between Dallas and San Francisco that featured “The Catch.” It was also the most heavily watched TV program, excluding Super Bowls, since the 1998 “Seinfeld” finale.

Meanwhile, the AFC final between Indianapolis and the New York Jets drew 46.9 million viewers, ranking it as the most watched AFC Championship in 24 years.

While a Super Bowl with popular Vikings quarterback Brett Favre might have scored a higher rating than the current matchup, the Saints are an exciting team that received a lot of exposure in the championship, Pilson said. It also helps that it’s the first NFL championship to feature both conferences’ No. 1 seeds since January 1994, when Dallas played Buffalo.

from Shop Talk:

Happy Super Valenbowl!

superbowlTarget spent time talking to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, outlining the multiple ways it will expand its business in the next 10 years.

It will open smaller stores in urban markets. It will add its PFresh food concept into hundreds of stores, boosting customer traffic. It will explore overseas expansion in Canada, Mexico or Latin America.

And it will celebrate the Super Valenbowl!

Michael Francis, Target's chief marketing officer, said the retailer is ready to reclaim seasonal events in a "bolder and more dominant way."

from Shop Talk:

Auto show-Super Bowl TV ads don’t score for Mazda

nfl1Advertising during the Super Bowl doesn't score for Mazda.

While the Japanese automaker plans to boost its marketing budget this year as it launches the Mazda 2 small car, running TV ads during the National Football League's championship game in February won't happen.

"You're never going to see us on Super Bowl," Mazda North American chief Jim O'Sullivan said at the Detroit auto show. "We're not going to spend that kind of money on that kind of property because, yeah, you get a lot of impressions and stuff out there, but the fact of the matter is, do you really get to the target you really wanted? That's more of a feel-good ad for a lot of people."

O'Sullivan said it was a "given" that Mazda's media budget will be up in the first quarter, as well as for the year, although he didn't say by how much. He said Mazda, which expects its U.S. sales to possibly rise faster than the overall market this year, will spend more on social media and digital advertising this year as it tries to reach younger buyers for its late summer launch of the new 2 model.

Advertising works for Hulu, kind of

The jury is out on whether advertising will ever work for online video sites as they strive to become real profit-generating businesses. Well, it’s worked for Hulu, but not in the profit-generating kind of way — at least not right away.

Hulu jumped to become the fourth most-watched video site in the United States last month thanks to a major advertising spot during the Super Bowl, according to Internet audience measurement firm comScore in this Reuters story. Those spots featured Alec Baldwin telling viewers about Hulu’s “evil plot to destroy the world” by turning people’s brains to mush.

Comscore said Hulu’s viewership grew 42 percent to 34.7 million unique visitors watching around 333 million videos.

And a final word from our Super Bowl sponsor

Did you feel like all you saw in the first half of the Super Bowl — well, besides Pittsburgh’s James Harrison taking his interception 100 yards to the house — were commercials? Certainly there were a lot of them. In fact, a record amount of commercial time ran over the entire course of this year’s Super Bowl.

According to a just issued report from TNS Media Intellegence, NBC aired 45 minutes, 10 seconds of advertising messages, including paying sponsors, NFL messages and in-house promotions.

Outside of NBC’s promos, four companies accounted for 40 percent of the total paid ad time: PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Viacom and General Electric, which, of course, is the majority owner of NBC. But TNS warns not to read too much into the big GE ad buy.

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.

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…

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:

Sweating out the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, this is when the anxiety really boils on Madison Avenue. Is our spot going to bomb? Are we too late in the game? Is anyone going to watch Pittsburgh vs. Arizona? Is any of this madness worth it?!!????

Advertising Age puts at least a bit of that fear to rest:

Surely, spending $3 million on a Super Bowl ad in the midst of a crushing economic downturn is a foolish waste when chief marketing officers’ jobs are on the line?

On the contrary, it’s a bargain.

The Super Bowl presents not just a huge platform with astounding audience numbers where consumers actually lean forward to watch your ad. It also pays surprising ancillary dividends in awareness: reams of press coverage that drive word-of-mouth and stampeding traffic to websites. Most importantly, for the right company, it can establish a relationship and sell product.