Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

To my friend Vladimir Lenin

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By Charles Platiau

When I arrived in Donetsk, southern Ukraine, two weeks ago I didn't think you would be one of the best friends I made during my stay. Nobody speaks English here, even if my hotel is called "the Liverpool hotel" and plays Beatles music all day long everywhere except, thoughtfully, in my room. I don’t speak Russian either, but I soon learned Vladimir Ilyich is how locals fondly refer to you, Mr Lenin. Your statue dominates the landscape of this city's downtown. You remain in full view in contrast to the advertising you stand opposite; maybe people even remember what you stand for.

It's hard to judge a place in such a short time but I wonder what Donetsk looks like when there isn't such a big event in town. The city is quiet, very clean and there are more advertising boards than in most western countries. All the ugliest buildings are now covered with banners to advertise Japanese goods or to hide the worst aspects of the city.

Later I saw this big car advertisement had gone and residents behind it could walk on their balconies again.

You watch this all with admirable stillness, but nobody glances at you any more. The Soviet system is gone, then came the adverts, and now football has come, if only for a little while.

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: PepsiCo offers up to $5 million for amateur Super Bowl ads

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Check out how you can earn $1 million by wearing an electric dog collar.

Okay, not exactly. That was the punch line of a successful amateur ad this year created for PepsiCo's Super Bowl commercial contest, which the food and beverage company is running again for the 2011 Super Bowl with a prize pool of up to $5 million.

Makers of the best ads for zero-calorie Pepsi Max soda and Doritos chips can win $1 million for an ad that scores No. 1 on a USA Today ad poll, $600,000 for No. 2 and $400,000 for the third spot. A sweep of all three spots earns a $1 million bonus for each winner.

from Shop Talk:

Olympic Gold for Coke, McDonald’s and Visa

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rings1When is Olympic sponsorship money well spent? A Performance Research poll shows it may depend on how the funds are used.

Coke, McDonald's and Visa dominate consumer awareness when it comes to the Olympics, according to a study by the Rhode Island-based research firm that evaluates the sponsorship industry.

from MediaFile:

No Super Bowl blues; expect big TV ratings

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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."

from Shop Talk:

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

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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."

from Raw Japan:

Japan’s Tiger in the tank?

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What goes up must at some point come down.

The world of sports is full of examples of bright lights who shone briefly before crashing back down to earth.

Tennis burnout used to grind teenage sensations into the dust with alarming regularity, with even all-time greats such as Bjorn Borg stressed into premature retirement, albeit the Swede was 26 when he made his shock decision to quit.

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