Summer Book Club!

Only a few months ago it was cold and gray, and big-platform media events like the Oscars were the primary source of broad excitement and analysis for marketing types.

Now it’s summer, and beautiful outside.  Yes, we are in the last stages of the World Cup, and advertisers hope we’ll watch till the final champions are crowned.  But moving beyond soccer, summer is a perfect time to focus on sun, surf (if you’re lucky enough to be near the water)—and the printed page via Kindle, iPad or an old-fashioned bound-paper book.  Tis the season to kick back and reflect a bit, even in the midst of a busy schedule.

This summer I will be reading and blogging about two books:  “The Open Brand” by Kelly Mooney & Nita Rollins, as well as “Integrity” by Dr. Henry Cloud.   This past week was an opportunity to read the first few chapters of each as a way of introduction.

Come join me as I journey through these books.  Let’s talk about issues tied to marketing and leadership, looking through (and contrasting) the lenses of each.   To keep current, here is a suggested reading schedule.  While both books could be read more quickly, the following is a more leisurely (and perhaps more thoughtful) trip through each:

Integrity The Open Brand
Introduction Chapters 1-3 Chapters 1-2
Week of June 28 Ch. 4-6 Ch. 3
Week of July 5 Ch. 7-8 Ch. 4-6
Week of July 12 Ch. 9 Ch. 7-9
Week of July 19 Ch. 10 Ch. 10-12
Week of July 26 Ch. 11 Ch. 13-15
Week of August 2 Ch. 12 Ch. 16-17
Week of August 9 Ch. 13 Ch. 18

This coming week: kicking off in earnest here with both books.  I will typically blog a few days after each week’s assignment listed above, to allow readers (and myself) a chance to process and ponder on the material.

Meanwhile, if you’ve already begun your reading, do you see linkages between the two books?  How, or for whom, might they be related?


Filed under Dr. Henry Cloud, Leadership, marketing, Summer Book Club, The Open Brand

Hello, Gorgeous!

In less than 24 hours Oscar will  waltz into our lives again, and this year’s big winners will be the newest toast of the industry.

Filmmakers, actors and other industry insiders won’t be the only ones on edge tonight however.   Several advertisers have put millions of dollars on the line, hoping for a significant return from tonight’s big event.


Several major advertisers have paid on average $1.5 million per 30-second spot to advertise on tonight’s telecast.    The price is roughly the same as what was paid to advertise on last year’s telecast—reflecting some skepticism regarding the likelihood that the Academy’s aggressive efforts to increase viewership and impact of the show will yield the hoped-for spike in Nielsen ratings. What has the Academy put into motion?

Structural Changes

  • The number of Best Picture nominees  doubled, from 5 to 10, to increase the likelihood that blockbuster (or at least more populist) films would be nominated.
  • Duo-hosts (Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin) coupled with new producers and others were hired to make the show more lively and entertaining.

Marketing Moves

  • The telecast was given a new tagline: “You’ve Never Seen Oscar Like This.”
  • A revamped website,, with more video, exclusive content from nominees, widgets for Oscar pools, and so on went live.
  • An Oscars iPhone app (e.g., where fans can use it to see how their Oscar predictions stack up against others’) was released.
  • Nominations were streamed live online for the first time at and on the Academy’s Facebook page,

Keep in mind, even if viewership is flat with 2009 the Academy Awards remains one of the few marquee platforms for reaching a very large audience (with more than half being female).  And in addition to providing vast reach, the Academy Awards is a relatively-uncluttered environment.  On an hourly basis, advertising accounts for 8-10 minutes of air time each hour, compared with 13-14 minutes for the Super Bowl and 14-16 minutes for a typical hour of primetime network programming.

Nonetheless, it is in the Academy’s (and Oscar broadcaster ABC’s) best interest to juice viewership and set the stage for better pricing in 2011.  If the social media aspect of the Academy’s strategy works well, it will drive many more viewers to tune in, but will also enhance the experience and continue the conversation afterward.  Advertisers this year will be looking at both measures, as they increasingly include social media metrics in their post-hoc assessments of advertising in marquee settings such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars.


Over the last ten years (2000-2009) slightly over two-thirds (67.3%) of the advertising revenue has come from five industries—financial services (18.9%), beverages (17.2%) automotive (14.8%), department stores (9.6%), and cosmetics & hair care (6.8%) according to Kanter Media.  While over that decade the core lineup of advertisers changed little, we did see a shake-up in 2009 as GM and L’Oreal dropped out completely to cut costs.  Hyundai took advantage of GM’s departure, and has been at the top of the leaderboard in both 2009 and 2010.

1. Hyundai – this year is the leader with 8 commercials (one during the red carpet walk, 7 during the show).  They’re spending about the same as what they spent on the Super Bowl…and counting on reaping the continued benefits of their multi-year marketing blitzkrieg.  One interesting aspect of Hyundai’s advertising tonight will be the absence of their standard voiceover spokesperson (Jeff Bridges).  Since he is nominated for an Academy Award, rules stipulate that he cannot be part of Hyundai’s advertising.  Instead, they are using a lineup of famous actors such as Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, Michael Madsen, Mandy Patinkin and Martin Sheen.

2. Coca-Cola

3. Ameriprise

4. CBS Films

5. The Hershey Company

6. JCPenney (with a significant presence, 7 ads, all leaked ahead of time on their Facebook page)

7. Kimberly-Clark

8. McDonald’s

9. Microsoft

10. Church & Dwight’s OxiClean

11. Samsung

12. Summit Entertainment

13. Sprint

14. Walt Disney Pictures

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TONIGHT (besides Fashion Disasters)

1.    Will the broadcast be truly different—funnier, and more entertaining?

2.    Will Hyundai’s ads seem strange without the usual Jeff Bridges voiceover?

3.    Which advertisers will do the best job,  integrating with social media efforts?

4.    And of course!  THE drama of the evening – will James Cameron or his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, score bigger tonight???


We will be tweeting with others on Twitter in real-time during the Oscars at #oscaradwatch, and hope many more will join us!  For those who still may be unfamiliar with TweetChats, here are the instructions you will need to participate.

(Note, I recommend doing this earlier, before the Oscars, so that you can get acquainted with the speed and general interface.  Particularly once the show begins things can move really fast and become hard to follow if one is inexperienced.)

1. You should use your Twitter login to log on to

2. Enter #oscaradwatch into the search bar up at the top (i.e., in the box that follows the hashtag).

This will get you into the chat.  Then, Happy Tweeting!

Leave a comment

Filed under marketing

In the Rear-View Mirror

One week has passed since Super Bowl XLIV became history.  After waiting a week to let the dust settle, today we look back at Super Bowl XLIV and its aftermath—and ask: What do we know now, that we didn’t know before the game?  Since automotive commercials represented a huge slice of Super Bowl XLIV ads, the metaphor of the “rear view mirror” is apt: What do we see?

FIRST: This was Like Nothing Before

You don’t have to be a Saints fan to be in shock and awe about what this Super Bowl delivered!

  • In terms of “eyeballs,” Super Bowl XLIV is the new “Most-Watched Television Program in U.S. History.”  Ratings indicate that 106.5 million people viewed the game, topping all previous Super Bowls and edging out the previous record held by the 1983 M*A*S*H final episode (which 105.97 million viewers tuned in to see).  Viewership was up 8% from the 2009 Super Bowl, which was seen by a then-record 98.7 viewers.
  • Demographic data on the audience for this Super Bowl showed that men represented almost 55% of viewers. An estimated 48.5 million females watched the game, up 4.3 million from last year’s contest and a total that broke the previous record for female TV viewership set during the 1994 Winter Olympics figure skating competition which featured the U.S. skater Nancy Kerrigan.  (Over the last five years the total number of females watching the game has climbed 17%.)
  • While a record number of viewers tuned in, there was also a record-setting amount of time devoted to advertising during the Game.  According to Kantar Media, 66 pitches from 41 companies as well as promotions for the network televising the game (CBS) added up to 47 minutes and 50 seconds of the telecast.  This compares to 45 minutes and 5 seconds in 2009.

NEXT: Masculinity is the New Sex

More on this in a future blog post.  Suffice it to say, many pundits pointed out that a majority of ads in Super Bowl XLIV reflected a fundamental shift in what advertisers believe will resonate with Today’s Man.  One felt that this year’s ads displayed an all-time high in emasculated rage.

Historically the Super Bowl has reflected the old adage “Sex Sells,” acting as a showcase for hot babes and oodles of sexual imagery (as well as Action Picture-worthy explosions and related excess).  And back in the day, any misogyny in the advertising was served up with a smile.

This year, however, the creative elements used in many ads reflected major anxiety about body image, loss of power and resentment among men.  No less than four commercials had men in various states of undress.  Several ads dealt with men asserting their masculinity, or attempting to assert it.  In addition, and as one of my MBA students pointed out, “The one ad made it clear that for a lot of men they’d rather be alone hiding in a casket than deal with others.”  (The latter refers to the Doritos “Casket” ad.)  Meanwhile, the Dodge Charger commercial and others that referred to what men “suffer” for women (book clubs, vampire TV shows, and so on) barely concealed a simmering contempt.

AND: It’s Easier than Ever to Argue about Winners (and Losers)

This year even before the game was finished it seemed that EVERYONE wanted to weigh in on which Super Bowl ads were the best (and worst).  In some sense this might be expected, since increasingly Americans watch the Big Game primarily to see the ads.  As when viewing entertainment like American Idol or Project Runway, it’s natural to compare and contrast entrants, pick favorites and ridicule those deemed inferior.

But for those firms spending millions of dollars on an investment in Super Bowl advertising, a more telling question is:  was it worth it?  They must ask: “What did we get for what we spent?  Did our advertising succeed or fail?”

A post-game review of pundits, polls and press releases reveals that AT LEAST EIGHT different types of measures could be (and were) used to evaluate the performance of Super Bowl XLIV commercials:

(1) VIEWERSHIPNielsen ratings during the game, by spot, showed how many people saw each ad.

The consumer-generated Doritos spot showing two men attacked in a gym for stealing Doritos was seen by an estimated 116.2 million viewers, making it the most watched television commercial of all time.    At the other extreme, Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow spot tied for the least viewed ad of the Game (92,576,680 estimated viewers).

Of note, the Honda Squirrel commercial was the 4th most viewed ad (114,771,720 viewers) yet scored very poorly on many other measures such as recall.  Similarly, the US Census Bureau ad scored 9th (113,019,480 viewers)—yet relatively speaking was not liked or easily recalled.

(2) RECALL – Nielsen measures the percentage of viewers who can recall the brand of an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing the Super Bowl.  According to Nielsen, three Doritos ads scored the top three slots in recall this year, followed by the Budweiser “Fences” ad depicting a Clydesdale foal and a calf that grow up together.

(3) LIKEABILITY – Several polls assess the likeability of ads.  Perhaps the most famous is the USA TODAY Ad Meter, in which 250 adult volunteers in San Diego and McLean, Virginia register their second-by-second reactions, using handheld meters to indicate how much they liked each ad.   According to the Ad Meter, the most like ad in this year’s Super Bowl was the Snickers “Pick-up Game,” while the least-liked was the GoDaddy commercial “Spa,” starring Danica Patrick.

Nielsen, on the other hand, reports a Likeability Score which indicates the percentage of viewers who say they like “a lot” an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of watching the Super Bowl (among those recalling the brand of the ad).  On this measure, the year’s best ad was Snickers, “Pick-up Game.”

Nielsen also goes one step further and reports a Brand Opinion Index, which indicates the percentage of viewers who report a “greatly improved opinion” of the advertised brand following exposure (among those recalling the brand of the ad). According to this measure, winners this year include Universal Orlando, FloTV, and Denny’s.

(4) REPLAY – TiVo provides a ranking of Super Bowl ads based on the DVR activity of an anonymous sample of about 45,000 of TiVo’s three million subscribers. It is not, strictly speaking, a list of the most-watched commercials.  Rather, it reflects which ads engaged viewers the most, measured in terms of how many times they were rewound and replayed.  The winner of this ranking in 2010 was the Doritos ad “House Rules.”

(Sites such as the FanHouse section of AOL also tally how many times particular Super Bowl ads are replayed as a measure of the ad’s popularity.)

(5) BUZZ and SOCIAL MEDIA – This is an area that has exploded, not only in terms of consumer activity but also in terms of marketers’ attempts to quantify and rank commercials’ performance on key dimensions.  Consider the following:

  • TWEETS: BrandBowl from Mullen and Radian6ranked ads based on tweets during the Game.  Top performers included Doritos and Google.
  • TWEETS: In a monitoring of Twitter by Colle & McVoy using a tool called Squawq, the Doritos “House Rules” commercial emerged as the leader.
  • BLOG POSTS: As reported by Prophesee, this year saw a huge surge in mentions of Super Bowl advertisers. Using social media analytics software, Prophesee assessed the volume of posts and their sentiment, classified according to positive, negative or neutral.
  • BUZZ (amount): Nielsen Buzzmetrics found that Dorito’s was the “most buzzed-about” advertiser during and after the game, followed by Google.
  • BUZZ (amount, valence): Zeta Interactive, using its Zeta Buzz online media mining technology, found that the Google ad drew the most positive rating (at 98%), followed by the “House Rules” Doritos spot at 95%.
  • BUZZ (valence): Skechers Shape-up sneakers drew the most negative chatter on Facebook and Twitter, according to (a social media analysis firm).
  • BUZZ (content in terms of associations): Dove’s ad for Men+Care ranked #11 on Zeta Interactive’s list of the top 15 Super Bowl commercials.  Zeta said that before the Super Bowl the key associations with Dove were “soap,” “Beauty” and “deodorant.”  On Feb 8 (the Monday after the game) these associations changed to “Super Bowl,” “ad” and “men.”

(6) BEHAVIORAL/TRAFFIC – Many would argue that Super Bowl ads are only successful if they drive people to visit a website, go to a bricks-and-mortar store, make a purchase, or yield some other behavioral outcome.  Here are some notable behavioral phenomena, post-Super Bowl:

  • GoDaddy: CEO Bob Parson sent out a press release claiming his ads “drove more Internet traffic than any other advertiser during the game according to Akamai” and “generated more new customers & sales for GoDaddy than any other Super Bowl Sunday campaign in company history.”
  • Denny’s : in response to their Super Bowl advertising the firm gave away 2 million Grand Slam breakfasts.  In addition, 300,000 consumers joined their rewards program.
  • Hyundai and other select automotive advertisers:  As reported by Kelley Blue Book, post-Game visits on Sunday to its website ( to seek information about new cars surged for the Hyundai Sonata, which was promoted in three spots during the game and several before, as well as the Hyundai Tucson, which was not advertised in the game itself.  Three other automotive models promoted during the game that experienced a gain in traffic were the Honda Accord Crosstour, the Kia Sorento, and the Audi A3 with the clean-diesel technology.

(7) HYBRID (“Blended Media”)Nielsen has created a metric that quantifies the blending of “paid media” (e.g., TV ads) and “earned media” (e.g., online buzz).  According to this “Blended Media Score” the top performers for the 2010 Super Bowl were Budweiser, Doritos and Denny’s.  They all managed to perform well across multiple measures such as buzz volume, sentiment, recall and so on.

(8) STRATEGIC (e.g., 4SQUARE™ Super Bowl XLIV Ad Survey)

A systematic, strategic approach to evaluating an ad’s performance asks:

(a) what was this ad’s strategic objective (or objectives)?

(b) did the ad achieve its objective(s), meeting all necessary-but-not sufficient criteria along the way?

The 4SQUARE™ framework addresses these questions, and evaluates ads based on a structured, systematic approach rather than popularity or a subset of criteria (whether cognitive or behavioral).  Here at, 46 Wisconsin MBA students completed the 4SQUARE survey immediately after Tweeting the Super Bowl.  Top scoring ads included  Snickers (“Pick-up Game”), Google (“Parisian Love”), Denny’s (“Chicken Warning”), and Dove Men+Care (“Manthem”).   In each case, the ad and its surrounding efforts (involving social media, sales promotions and/or other tactics) represented a cohesive, winning execution of an integrated marketing communications strategy.

NEXT UP:  Turning Away from the Rear-View Mirror, How Can We Apply What We’ve Learned from Super Bowl XLIV?

1 Comment

Filed under 4-SQUARE™, advertising, Doritos, marketing, super bowl ads, super bowl advertisements, Super Bowl XLIII Ads, Super Bowl XLIV Ads

Best (and Worst) in Show

Best Performance by a Brand:

Everyone saw it, a hush fell over the room.  Some people disparaged it, many more people loved it.  No matter what, an already-Master brand reached the heights during Super Bowl XLIV:

Wake-Up Call for a Brand:

Question: What’s worse than being so boring that no one even knows you were in Super Bowl XLIV?

Answer: Being so tired and boring that EVERYONE knows you were there, and they are all taking about how VERY BORING you’ve become:


Responses are still coming in from the 4SQUARE SUPER BOWL 2010 AD SURVEY.  Folks can’t stop talking about this year’s line-up!  My next post will provide survey results, analysis and more.

Congrats to the Saints, their fans, and all Super Bowl XLIV marketers who today know their money was well spent.

Leave a comment

Filed under 4-SQUARE™, advertising, Best in Show,, Google, marketing, super bowl ads, super bowl advertisements, Super Bowl XLIV Ads

Will Neigh or Won’t Neigh?

Equine Rock Stars

Intrigue is thick on the eve before the Big Game.  Just what exactly does Motorola have up their sleeve?  Will any or all of the Doritos  (consumer-generated) ads make it to a top slot in the USA TODAY Ad Meter rankings, thereby creating a potentially huge windfall for their creators?

And for goodness sake, will we get to see some Clydesdales this year?

Anheuser-Busch has been toying with our emotions for weeks, first saying “No Clydesdales” and then saying, “ok, MAYBE we’ll let you see them…”

Well at least in terms of the last question, we do have an answer.  As those who have recently visited Budweiser’s Facebook fan page already know, the equine rock stars of the advertising world will appear in a new ad during the Game, and you can even get a sneak preview of it here.

So now that we can at least relax on that front, here are some final tips and guidelines for really “getting into” this year’s Super Bowl advertising.  Half the fun is knowing the inside scoop!  In addition, the last section of this blog post explains how to join the upcoming #SBadwatch2010 TweetChat as well as participate in the post-game 4-SQUARE™ Super Bowl 2010 Ad Survey.

Who’s advertising this year?  Are any of the “usual suspects” gone?  Any notable “newbies”?

Expect to see a lot (in seconds on the screen) from Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola.  There may be up to 9 movie trailers combined from Disney, Universal and Paramount.  It will feel like there is a huge amount of automotive advertising, with spots from Hyundai, Kia, Audi, Honda, Volkswagen and Dodge.  (Yes, that’s right.  For the first time since 2005 a Dodge model will be advertised in the Super Bowl. Last time it was the Dodge Magnum; this year it is the Dodge Charger.)

With so many automotive manufacturers showing up for the Super Bowl, it’s notable that Subaru, riding high on their incredible sales performance of 2009, chose the “road less traveled” and opted to advertise on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl instead!

(Subaru led the industry in 2009 with a U.S. sales advance of 5%, increasing market share to 2.1% from 1.4% in 2008—all in an overall market that plunged 21%.)

Advertisers who in years past had a big presence in the Super Bowl yet are gone this year include FedEx, Pepsico and General Motors.  There are no major banks advertising; the only financial services firm will be E-Trade.

“Newbies” include Boost Mobile, HomeAway (for vacation rentals), and the already hotly-debated Focus on the Family.  (Last year newbie Cash4Gold received much attention for seeming like a “brand out of water” amidst all the fancy Super Bowl creative seen from more traditional advertisers.  Which newbie ad this year will raise eyebrows?)

What’s new in consumer-generated content this year?

Two major players have chosen to go with ads created by consumers.  Doritos, continuing with their “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, once again invited people to submit self-made Doritos ads.  They will air the three top winning ads during the Game, and if any of these make it to a top-3 slot in the USA TODAY Ad Meter the creator will win major cash.  There is a potential payout, if somehow all three ads place in the Ad Meter poll, of $5 MILLION DOLLARS.  Over 4,000 ads were submitted to the contest this year.

CareerBuilder, while perhaps not in the same league in terms of financial prizes, will feature with great fanfare the winner of their “Hire My TV Ad” contest.  Three finalist ads, all highlighting how CareerBuilder can help rescue someone from a miserable work environment, were posted online for voting and the final winner will be unveiled at the Super Bowl.

Interesting marketing moves to check out before/after/during the Big Game:

1. Callaway Golf will be the stand-alone sponsor of the 5:00 pm—5:30 pm half hour ahead of kickoff, and will have “product exposure” on the CBS set during the time period. Phil Mickelson (their primary endorser) is slated to appear in an additional segment to run during the sponsored programming.

2. Bridgestone is sponsoring the game’s halftime show (and will have spots during the game as well).

3. Intel is title sponsor of the post-game show.  (They’re running one 30 second spot during the game, then two after the game).

4. Sun Life (a Canadian financial services firm) bought the naming rights to the stadium in which the Super Bowl will be played.  They will leverage in-broadcast name mentions with TV spots that will air during the Super Bowl pre-game and post-game shows.  (Note, this stadium has had many names, including Dolphins Stadium, “Land Shark Stadium” (briefly), Pro Player Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium.)

5. Ford, while missing from the game, has bought spots to run in the pre-game shows.

6. Hyundai plans to run EIGHT COMMERCIALS in total if one counts before, during and after the game.  Plus the brand will sponsor the pre-game kickoff show for the second year in a row. The 2009 Advertising Age Marketer of the Year is determined not to lose any momentum!

7. McDonald’s will show a remake of the famous 1993 Super Bowl commercial “The Showdown.”  The original featured Michael Jordan and Larry Bird competing for a Big Mac.  In the remake LeBron James and Dwight Howard are on the court.  A teaser of this ad can be found here, but the full 60-second spot will air during the pre-game.

How to Join the Super Bowl TweetChat, #SBadwatch2010:

I will be tweeting with others on Twitter in real-time during the game at #SBadwatch2010, and hope you will join us!  For those who may be unfamiliar with TweetChats (including some of my current Marketing 715 students), here are the instructions you will need to participate.

(Note, I recommend doing this earlier, before the game, so that you can get acquainted with the speed and general interface.  Particularly once the game begins things can move really fast and become hard to follow if one is inexperienced.)

1. You should use your Twitter login to log on to

2. Enter SBadwatch2010 into the search bar up at the top (i.e., in the box that follows the hashtag).

This will get you into the chat.  Then, Happy Tweeting!  I can’t wait to find out your reactions to what these advertisers have in store for us.

Finally, instructions for the 4-SQUARE™ Super Bowl 2010 Ad Survey (to be found at

Once the game is over we will need to ask: So how did all of this add up? From a marketing perspective, who were the winners? Losers?

To answer that question, it’s important to ask a more fundamental question: what makes a good Super Bowl ad? Or for that matter, what makes a Super Bowl ad tank? Consider a 4-SQUARE™ assessment. Four conditions that set the stage for success or failure are:

1. Exposure –Were the right people exposed to the ad?

When did it appear? What quarter? Were people actually in the room and able to look at the ad? Or were they zapping to Puppy Bowl, or fighting with the Colts fans in the room, or (really) drunk, or otherwise not available?

2. Attention –Did the right people pay attention to the ad?

Did the ad command and hold attention? Did it break through, and maintain its hold on the viewer, all the way to the end?

3. Comprehension –Did the right people “get” the ad?

Did viewers understand the story or gist of the ad, and take away the key point the marketer was hoping to convey? The point could be anything, from “we’re the best product” to “we’re all-American” to “we’re cool” to “you need to go to our website right now!” But the ad should make the consumer think, feel, say or do something as intended by the marketer. If the ad didn’t make something happen in the consumer, it’s dead-on-arrival.

4. Integration –Did the ad ladder up to, or connect well with, other marketing tactics?

Did the ad connect the consumer with other social media, other consumers, other marketing tactics? In other words, was the ad just one (perhaps major) link in a chain, connecting the consumer with other marketing activities such as going to Facebook, going to the marketer’s website, entering a sweepstakes, redeeming a voucher for a free gift, or just talking to other consumers about the ad (online and/or in person)?

Come back to this website,, shortly after the game (or Monday morning if you prefer your own version of “Monday-Morning Quarterbacking”).  My handy-dandy 4-SQUARE™ Super Bowl 2010 Ad Survey will be live and waiting for you, where you can rate the ads shown during the 2010 Super Bowl on the FOUR KEY SUCCESS CRITERIA listed above.

For those who don’t get a chance to see the ads during the actual Super Bowl, all ads that air can be found at CBS Sports beginning immediately after the completion of the game.

I’ll post the 4-SQUARE™ survey results in this blog soon after, as well as provide more analysis and identify the ads I believe should win 2010 “Best in Show”/“Worst in Show” awards.

And now:  Countdown to SUPER BOWL XLIV on television, and #SBadwatch2010 on Twitter!


Filed under advertising, Budweiser, Doritos, marketing, super bowl ads, super bowl advertisements

What I Learned (about Blogging, the World, and Myself) by Not Blogging

I started this blog one year ago (during Super Bowl Week 2009). A lot can happen in a year! Consider the following three facts:

1. The People are On the Move—Together.

The percentage of Americans who use the internet has been hovering at a roughly steady level, about 70-75%, for the last five years. But what people are doing online is changing rapidly. The number of Americans joining and using online social networking tools has exploded. About one third (35%) of American adult internet users have a profile on an online social network site—four times as many as three years ago. According to The Nielsen Company, the amount of time spent on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter saw an 82% increase from the same time last year. As of this past week, Facebook now has 400 million members.

The blogosphere hasn’t exactly been standing still, either. Blogs as a platform for information and connection are now pervasive, with Technorati’s 2009 “State of the Blogosphere” showing that 77% of active internet users read blogs. Forrester Research reports that 25% of adults publish a blog and upload video/audio they created.

2. Sure, Plenty of Folks Argue that this is a Bad (or Good) Thing.

Yes, you can now use Twitter as a tool in your search for the ideal date or spouse. In general we can now more easily connect with all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons. But academics argue that solitude is fast becoming extinct, and we’re losing our ability to introspect or even commune with a Higher Power. Some say that the word “friend” has lost its primary meaning forever. Such observations are often met with laughter (at best) or (more typically) age-related bias—as in, “That sounds like an old coot talking!” What’s the true state of affairs? Plenty of fodder for debate exists on both sides of the issue. That’s not my primary concern, though. There’s something bigger afoot.

3. But There’s Never Been a More Exciting Time of Disruption and Innovation.

The business world has turned upside down in the last year. The financial sector and the economy as a whole have been transformed—and not necessarily for the better. “The New Frugal,” with accompanying shifts in consumer values and behaviors, has come to the fore. Plus questions of corporate responsibility and accountability are now regularly debated, in the town square and in the blogosphere.

But for marketers, “change been a’comin’ for awhile”—and now it’s happening at an unbelievable pace. How to market, where to market, who must be accountable for marketing—all of it is up for grabs.

For these reasons, and fundamentally because I’m passionate about connecting with—and learning from—you, I’m back and ready to roll here at And what better time than the one year anniversary of when I launched this blog: Super Bowl Week.

So here we go!

Tomorrow’s post will be a tip sheet, a prep guide for what to look for (and what we’re likely to see) in the Big Game.

  • During the game I will be at #SBadwatch2010 on Twitter—please join us in a rousing TweetChat, and weigh in with your reactions and analysis of the ads.
  • Immediately after the game a Super Bowl Advertising Survey will go live at this site. I hope you’ll participate and share your take on the ads.
  • Later I will post with a full analysis, results of the survey, and thoughts looking ahead to the Next Big Thing.

It’s good to be back in the saddle. Let’s talk soon.

Leave a comment

Filed under advertising, super bowl ads

OSCAR UPDATE: Viewership Up 13% from Last Season

While many feared that the 2009 Oscars would have even fewer viewers than last year’s all-time low, preliminary data based on major markets indicate that the telecast averaged 36.3 million viewers and a 12.1 adults 18-49 rating, up 13% from last year. The audience peaked during the 10 pm (Eastern) half-hour, which included Heath Ledger’s posthumous win for his role as the Joker in the film The Dark Knight.

Accessories to Oscar’s big night, such as ABC’s red carpet coverage and the annual telecast of the “Barbara Walters Special” also enjoyed increases in viewership.

For additional details, see and

Leave a comment

Filed under marketing