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Five marketers who better bring it big on Super Bowl Sunday

Call it the Ad Bowl. Or the Buzz Bowl. Or the BS Bowl. Doesn’t matter, it all boils down to this: Sunday’s Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertisers, some of which dished out $3 million for the chance to reach an audience of 100 million consumers for 30 seconds. At that price — $100,000 a second — the stakes are high. A good commercial can be a triumph, creating just the kind of water-cooler talk that propels a brand to a new level with consumers. A bad commercial? Well, those behind it better start dusting off the old resume.

Still, like anything else, the risks are greater for some more than others. So here is our list of… Five Marketers Who Better Bring It Big On Sunday.

1). General Motors. Almost the entire auto industrycould be included in this one, since Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Audi are among those who will help the category account for roughly a quarter of all the commercial time during the game. It’s a turnout that reflects the improving fortunes of the U.S. auto industry, which snapped a four-year sales decline in 2010. GM, however, stands out because of the sheer number of ads it bought, five in all, after a two year absence. Can it strike the right tone with consumers? Can it differentiate its lineup? Will it play it safe — flags waving, trucks pulling 100 million tons of load, some catchy tune from an All-American rocker? Or will it try to liven things up, like Audi and Volkswagen have sought to do? (see below)

2). Groupon. Admit it, you were a little taken aback by reports that Google tried to take over Groupon with a $6 billion bid. “You mean that coupon site? $6 billion?”  Since then, Groupon has become a big buzz wordin the world of finance and media. And sure, it’s got 50 million users, so it’s not exactly coming out of nowhere. But the Super Bowl is a heckuva big stage. Can Groupon pull off what would be a huge brand building exercise? Can they take a page fromHulu, which aired a very well-received spot two years ago?

3). Motorola Mobility. The company split in two in January, and since then has already posted disappointing smartphone sales for the fourth quarter and warned that sales would suffer an unusually steep drop in the first quarter. The problem is that Motorola’s biggest customer, Verizon Wireless, is starting to sell an iPhone. And who really wants to compete for shelf space with Apple these days?  So now it’s bought a 60-second spot in the Super Bowl to trumpet XOOM, its effort to break into the tablet market. It has even called the ad “Goodbye 1984″ (talk about setting the bar high).

Palm Chief promises “hits” for HP

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Six months after Hewlett-Packard announced it was buying smartphone pionners Palm  for $1 billion, technology watchers are still waiting to see just what emerges from the high-profile marriage.

Palm chief Jon Rubinstein still isn’t tipping his hand on any details around smartphones and tablets that are due next year from the new HP unit. But he certainly made no effort to manage expectations on Tuesday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

“It’s absolutely a hits business…We have several products that will clearly be hits when they come out,” said Rubinstein, who predicted “tremendous growth” in devices based on webOS, the Palm platform that HP acquired when it bought the company this year for roughly $1 billion.

Apple’s Jobs goes after Google, tablet rivals

It’s not often Steve Jobs shows up on a routine earnings call. And when he showed up on Monday’s, he made a splash.

Coincidentally showing up right after the company’s shares racked up their largest post-earnings fall in recent memory, Jobs thrashed Google’s Android mobile operating system and a clutch of competitors rushing to stake out territory in the explosive tablet market he helped create.

Tablets with 7-inch screens are too small for adult-sized hands and would flop with consumers, he argued.

Dell says it won’t chase Apple in tablet race

dellstreakThe iPad is officially on the market, and here come its rivals. Dell and HP, among many others, are planning to bring their own touchscreen tablets to consumers some time this year.

Dell will launch a 5-inch tablet (said to be called “Streak,” although the company has not officially bestowed a name) in the next three to six months with a yet-to-be-named wireless carrier (AT&T would make a lot of sense, given that it will carry Dell’s first U.S. smartphone later this year).

Neeraj Choubey, general manager of Dell’s tablet division, said the company deliberately stayed clear of the iPad launch so as not to be too closely associated with the device.  The iPad, at 9.7 inches, is nearly twice the size of Dell’s tablet.

What’s an IPad? HP tries to drum up buzz for its “slate”

hpblahWith iPad hysteria perhaps starting to fade — or at least come back down from the stratosphere — Hewlett-Packard chimed in Monday to remind everybody in the media that, hey, we’ve also got a tablet on the way.

HP is the world’s largest PC maker and is not used to playing second fiddle to anyone in that space. So it will be interesting to see what kind of excitement the company can generate for its still unnamed touchscreen “slate device,” which is headed to consumers later this year.

Here’s a quick preview: YouTube Preview Image

HP’s tablet, which runs on Windows, seems to be emphasizing what the iPad lacks, namely flash compatibility and the ability to expand storage.

And the first iPad goes to…

ipad launch…this guy in the hat. Sitting among Saturday strollers on New York’s Fifth Ave. He’s one of the 10 or so sitting in front of the Apple Store more than 18 hours before it will open for the first day of iPad sales. Oops, it looks like the dot.com ad on his hat is not the only surprise of the day. Sorry MediaFile readers, we only report the news. Sorry it wasn’t the cute kid on the left.

Check out out live blog from the iPad launch today, which includes reports from Apple stores and a teardown of the tablet computer.

But this is not unusual for this store. People love to wait in line for these devices. This picture is from the same store in 2007. Is that the same guy? And yes, that a human in a bear suit.

Apple blocks iPad shipment info, report says

ipadpicApple is apparently leaving nothing to chance when it comes to protecting information about its soon-to-be-released iPad tablet computer.

According to a new report by Trade Privacy LLC, a trade data protection company, Apple has blocked all of its ocean freight import records from public view as the company prepares for the much bally-hooed launch of the iPad.  Apple’s trade data is inaccessible from U.S. Customs, the group said.

“As the arrival of Apple’s new iPad approaches, industry competitors as well as the media will be unable to acquire early intelligence on arriving Apple products from overseas manufacturers,” Trade Privacy said in a press release.

Apple’s tablet: No time for a flop

With Wednesday’s expected unveiling of the Apple tablet, the tech world is bracing for a device that could revolutionize everything from mobile computing to the newspaper industry. But what if the tablet doesn’t live up to expectations?

While Apple is known for its golden touch, the company has had its share of flops. The five products below represent some of Apple’s biggest disappointments; but theyNewton also provide important lessons that can be found in its smash hits.

Newton: First released in 1993, the Newton represented one of the first attempts at a mass-market, touchscreen-based handheld computer. But the brick-sized Message Pad family of devices that ran the Newton operating system were too big and, at $700-plus, too pricey. And the mixed results of the initial version of the handwriting recognition made Newtons an easy target for criticism.

Apple: AT&T a “great” partner (but will they get the tablet?)

appleiphoneFew relationships in the technology world are as closely scrutinized as that between iPhone maker Apple and its exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T. Complaints about AT&T and its network have reached a crescendo in recent months, and most analysts believe it is only a matter of time before rival Verizon Wireless gets the iPhone, perhaps as early as this June.

When Apple executive were asked about AT&T on a conference call Monday — following its strong December quarter results — Apple executives played nice, to no one’s surprise

“AT&T is a great partner,” said Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.  He continued: “in the vast majority of locations we think that iPhone customers are having a great experience, from the research that we have done. As you know, AT&T has acknowledged that they are having some issues in a few cities and they have very detailed plans to address these. We have reviewed these plans and we have very high confidence they will make significant progress towards fixing them.”

CES: Palm’s webOS could maybe work for a tablet but…

rubinsteinandpre

Since everybody else seems to be doing it, Palm chief Jon Rubinstein was asked if he might add tablets to the company’s line of smartphones based on webOS.

We were left us a little bit wiser, but not that much, after his response from the question from Kara Swisher of All Things Digital on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Rubinstein’s first reaction to the tablet question was this:

“We’re a very small company so we’ve limited resources and need to stay focused.”