Manchester United Lands Richest Kit Deal Ever Lions Owner William Clay Ford Passes Away Sights & Sounds From SXSW FiveThirtyEight Website To Launch March 17 ESPN To Air Series On U.S.' Prep For World Cup Cowboys Mount Huge AT&T Letters On Stadium Concussion-In-Sports Doc Makes U.S. Debut Stars Attend UNC-Duke Game Briefs Ganassi Salutes Target For 25-Year Relationship
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Clydesdales Not Appearing In Anheuser-Busch's
Super Bowl Ads For First Time In Years
MORE DETAILS OF THE ADS: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott noted "don't look" for Bud Light's ads "to be centered on 'drinkability,' an attribute the beer brand has spent more than a year promoting." Bud Light's five spots instead are "scheduled to be devoted to unveiling a new theme for Bud Light, 'Here we go.'" However, Levy "played down the significance of the disappearance of the drinkability theme." Levy: "It's sort of a planned evolution." Elliott noted neither of the two Budweiser spots are "laugh-out loud funny, but one is more light-hearted than the other." Meanwhile, A-B's ad for Michelob Ultra comes via Palm & Havas, Chicago, and will feature cyclist Lance Armstrong (NYTIMES.com, 1/26).
CHANGE OF DIRECTION: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica writes A-B's new direction for Bud Light "comes as sales of the brand are sputtering." The brand had its "worst year in 2009, suffering its first annual decline in volume since its launch in 1982." A-B's Super Bowl push also is "likely to come under extra scrutiny because this will be the first round created without" former Exec VP/Global Industry Development & CCO Bob Lachky, a "20-year marketing veteran" who left the company last year (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27). The AP's Emily Fredrix noted A-B "shifted away a bit from one of its main agencies, DDB, which last year did all but one" of the brewer's Super Bowl ads. The agency this year was only responsible for the two Budweiser ads. Meanwhile, Fredrix noted A-B each year "films more Super Bowl commercials than it can use and then airs the ones that do best in consumer testing." However, the company "still may change its lineup at the last minute before the game" (AP, 1/26).
Hyundai Scheduled To Run Six Spots
During CBS' Super Bowl Coverage
PANTS ON THE GROUND: USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz writes under the header, "Super Bowl To Show More Ads With People In Their Underwear." Dockers' in-game ad will features "about 30 men marching in unison in their undies while singing the song 'I Wear No Pants.'" Meanwhile, one of two finalists for CareerBuilder.com's consumer-generated Super Bowl ad "takes place in an office where 'casual Friday' attire means a workforce that's decked out in nothing but underwear." Also, a Bud Light spot posted on the brand's Facebook fan page "features an office full of folks who are only too eager to strip down to their briefs -- or less -- so they can donate their duds to a clothing drive in exchange for free Bud Light." Horovitz writes the commercials are "less about being sexy and more about showing everyday -- very everyday in some cases -- people in their undies" (USA TODAY, 1/27).
SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT: In Boston, Tenley Woodman reported former Patriots cheerleader Elizabeth Hanson is a "finalist in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl commercial competition." Hanson's team is "vying with five others to get the most votes for her original commercial at crashthesuperbowl.com" by Sunday. The winning ad "will air during Super Bowl XLIV and earn a cool" $1M (BOSTON HERALD, 1/26).
A POLARIZING ISSUE: National Organization for Women Action VP Erin Matson yesterday said that "abortion is an incredibly complex issue that cannot be condensed into a 30-second commercial, and running the ad is not a smart thing to do for either viewpoint." However, Matson noted that her organization, which has joined Women's Media Center's campaign, has "no plants to buy a Super Bowl spot or specifically rebut" the Tebow ad. Focus on the Family VP/Media Relations Gary Schneeberger said that he is "surprised at the outrage over the content of the commercial considering the fact that the ad has not been seen." Schneeberger: "To comment on an ad that you haven't seen seems difficult to do" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/27). Schneeberger would not disclose details about the ad, which he called "refreshing and very inspiring." When asked if Focus on the Family would protest a pro-choice Super Bowl ad, he said, "It's hard to speculate. It would depend upon the details" (EW.com, 1/26).
OPENING PANDORA'S BOX? USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the Focus on the Family ad "might pave the way for controversial spots to regularly pop up on marquee TV -- giving broadcasters new sideshows to generate buzz." CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus declined to comment on the network's ad policy, but said, "As far as generating interest and curiosity, (Super Bowl ads) are part of the game" (USA TODAY, 1/27). Ad Age columnist Bob Garfield said, "I'm stunned that any of the networks would risk one of the few, last great franchises of broadcast television for an ad that could polarize viewers." He added, "This is a multi-hundred-million-dollar franchise that networks have historically protected by avoiding controversy, especially in the ads. I'm surprised that anybody's going to take a risk by accepting an ad with an explicit religious message" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27). In St. Petersburg, Eric Deggans wrote it "seems odd" that CBS would accept an ad that "might be construed as anti-choice from an organization known for controversial views opposing abortion rights and homosexuality." Is a Super Bowl commercial an "appropriate place to spark a discussion about abortion?" (TAMPABAY.com, 1/26).
Tebow Receiving Mixed Response For Taking
Part In Focus On The Family's Ad
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN: L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "Whether you agree or disagree with the message, in my mind I admire Tim Tebow for doing this. We always rip athletes for not taking social stands. We always rip athletes for hiding behind their sports" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/26). ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "If anyone thinks Tebow is going to compromise his beliefs for marketers, they're badly mistaken" (TWITTER.com, 1/25). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "I defend his right to be involved in a commercial to say whatever he wants to say. But it's a wildly passionate issue in an area he's venturing into, and this could open up Pandora's Box. ... I don't think anybody of (his) age can accurately assess the passion that's going to come back at them" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/26).
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? YAHOO SPORTS' Matt Hinton wrote, "I've been writing about Tebow for more than four years, and the odds of him associating with anything remotely controversial or politically incorrect enough to justify the reactions to the Super Bowl ad are about as good as him becoming the next clown killer." The ad is "guaranteed to be generic and inoffensive -- in other words, for those of us more interested in the spectacle and sideshow than the politics, a letdown" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/26).
Infiniti M Sedan Will Get Its First Advertising In
Spot To Air During Championship-Game Tipoff
Miccosukee Could Pull NASCAR
Sponsorships Following February 4 Vote
DOLLARS & SENSE: In Orlando, Tania Ganguli writes while other Nationwide Series teams "struggled last season," JR Motorsports "made more money than expected." JR Motorsports will "use that profit to keep the No. 88 team running throughout 2010, regardless of sponsorship issues." The team "only has about one third of the season's races sponsored for Kelly Bires No. 5 Chevrolet at the moment, but will be able to keep that going, too." JR Motorsports co-Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the team "didn't want to downsize the company any more like the year before." He added the addition of Danica Patrick for a select number of races "really justified having two programs and keeping our employee count. That was awesome to have that" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/27).
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: ESPN.com's Terry Blount profiled JR Motorsports co-Owner & GM Kelley Earnhardt, who also "runs the show for Junior's numerous other endeavors." She "handles the day-to-day decisions" of the team along with "making sure all of her brother's other businesses run properly." Kelley Earnhardt was "instrumental in bringing Danica Patrick to the program." When asked if "dealing with the hype around Patrick" is different than dealing with her brother, Earnhardt said, "Oh no. It's totally the same. We definitely can handle that. We have that part figured out" (ESPN.com, 1/26).
CRUISE CONTROL: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Sponsor Services Manager Byron Goggin said all of JGR's sponsors "are valuable" because the team "can't go racing without them." Goggin said sponsorships are "important enough that we have to get those guys in here, get their photo shoots done, get the new talking points." Goggin: "All year, these companies have things they want to get across to their consumers, and the drivers need to learn what those things are and take ownership of those things themselves. ... Every sponsor has a reason they're on the race cars. The drivers convey that to the consumers." JGR sponsor Interstate Batteries Senior Art Dir Brenda Lyon said of working with JGR drivers, "All the drivers are very professional. They just come right in when we're doing the photo shoot and get to work" ("Countdown to Daytona," Speed, 1/24).
Waltrip Talks To CEOs Of Companies He
Sponsors To Discuss Business Plans
THE LAND DOWN UNDER: SCENEDAILY.com's Jeff Owens reported NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has started his own marketing company in Australia named Pacific Pond "to help introduce Australian companies to NASCAR, and vice versa." Ambrose: "That is a huge growth for us, but on the flip side, there is even more opportunity for American sponsors and NASCAR in Australia." There are "plans to work on potential cross promotions between American and Australian sports as well" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/25).