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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

USA Today's annual Ad Meter is taking votes until 6:00pm ET tomorrow afternoon, but a panel of consumers that rated the ads that aired during NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XLVI "gave a clear sign that dogs are still a Super Bowl advertiser's best friend,” according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The panel's top pick was a Doritos spot "featuring a 120-pound Great Dane that casually buries the family cat, then bribes the owner to keep mum by supplying him with Doritos.” The runners-up “also featured canines, including a Volkswagen spot that had a pooch hitting the gym to be able to chase a VW Beetle into a 'Star Wars'-like adventure.” It was followed by “a Skechers spot with a sneaker-wearing, pudgy bulldog winning a race against greyhounds.” Horovitz notes one “serious ad garnered serious attention on the Super Bowl.” A “powerful, two-minute-long Chrysler spot featuring actor Clint Eastwood likened the halftime plans of the two Super Bowl teams to America working to get back on its feet.” The ad could “not be officially rated by the panel because it ran during halftime, not during the game.” In the early online Ad Meter voting “at the end of the game the Doritos dog was running No. 2, while another dog -- the Bud Light rescue dog Weego -- was in the lead.” Dogs had “four of the top five slots” (USA TODAY, 2/6).

Doritos Dog bribes cat owner
Volkswagen Dog gets fit, "Star Wars"
Skechers Dog in sneakers wins road race
Doritos Baby grabs Doritos
M&M/Mars Introduces Ms. Brown
GE Appliance workers like their jobs
Bud Light Platinum New top-shelf beer at work
Cadillac ATS on "Green Hell" track
Century 21 Agents best Donald Trump, others
GE Turbine workers make energy

THE HITS: USA Today's Laura Petrecca noted "dogs ruled" this year. The Doritos ad that topped the USA Today panel “works because it’s fun." Petrecca: "You can break these things down and start to overanalyze, it’s cute" ("Today," NBC, 2/6). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes a “toast is in order” for Anheuser-Busch InBev, as the “frat-boy humor with misogynistic overtones that has long sullied Super Bowl spots for Bud Light beer was refreshingly absent.” Two commercials for General Electric “did something rare for Super Bowl spots” as they “touched on a serious subject, industrial policy, by saluting the workers who make GE appliances and turbines in Kentucky and New York.” Almost any advertiser could have “enticed Matthew Broderick to re-enact his role as the hooky-playing fun-lover in ‘Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.’” But Honda’s spot for the CR-V compact crossover “made sense because the product’s current campaign encourages consumers to take time off from life’s duties” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6). Business consulting firm Jim Stengel Company President & CEO Jim Stengel tweeted, "Love GE's strategy, the execution, well I expected something more remarkable" (, 2/5).  In Chicago, Steve Johnson writes it is “easy to win affection for man's best friend,” but the spots featuring dogs made “doggedness work, and Bud Light even squeezed in an appeal for rescue dogs” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/6). Marketing and PR firm The Geek Factory Founder & CEO Peter Shankman tweeted, “Good job Budweiser for making a special mention of a rescue dog!" (, 2/5). In Cincinnati, John Kiesewetter wrote the “red M&M steals the show stripping off its color at the party, a nude scene everyone will be talking about” today (, 2/5). Accenture Global Digital Advertising Manager Andrea Donatucci tweeted, “Finally the 1st ad that made me laugh. Dancing M&M will get me everytime.”  Media Producer and Host of "What's Trending" Shira Lazar tweeted,“Loved the best buy commercial- although I thought it was just an iPhone commercial. Love real ppl- real stories!” (, 2/5).

CAR & DRIVER: In Detroit, Mekeisha Madden Toby writes Chevy “deserves a gold star for its apocalyptic ad.” In the spot, a man and his dog “are shown in a truck as they're escaping the rubble and chaos left by an apparent attack.” When the man later joins his friends, “all who drive Chevy trucks, he asks about his missing friend” and they “break the bad news: The missing man was driving a Ford. Zing!” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/6). Entertainment Weekly Editor Jess Cagle said the Chevy ad was a “very well-done ad." Cagle: "I just thought a lot of information conveyed in a short amount of time very economically and the end of it was sort of funny. They took a dig at Ford. I love it when one brand takes a dig at another brand” ("GMA," ABC, 2/6).’ Brian Lowry writes Fiat was a good ad, as a man sees a “stunning Italian woman -- but she’s a car!” That is perhaps the “best illustration of the relationship between buying a car and testosterone I’ve seen in a while.” Honda’s “Ferris Bueller" ad actually plays “much better in the long version posted on the web than what it aired” but it still “was OK” (, 2/6). JWT New York Exec Creative Dir Matt MacDonald gave Kia four stars and said, “This was a sleeper hit, pun intended. It was a fresh take on a typical guy’s fantasy, done in a way that women appreciated as well” (N.Y. POST, 2/6). Exact Target VP/Marketing Jeff Rohrs wrote on his Twitter page, “Audi wins! Echo & the Bunnymen PLUS killing off Twilight-esque.” Red Bull Dir of Digital Media Kevin Doohan tweeted, "#solongvampires was pretty good. Love the song choice. Shows off gr8 feature with vampire deaths. Fantastic!” (, 2/5).

THE MISSES: In N.Y., David Hinckley wrote the worst ads were and Bud Light Platinum. There “might be a joke in a guy whose inner voice tells him to buy a car, but this ad never even got into the same zip code with it.” Meanwhile, as a product presentation to the A-B development department, the Bud Light Platinum ad “could have been a winner.” But as a TV ad, it had “a worse first quarter than the Patriots” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/6). On Long Island, Verne Gay writes the ad was “easily the worst of the worst.” A guy’s head “sprouts out of back” and then the “head sings.” And the guy “talks about the signing head on his back. And … Oh, enough. Terrible” (NEWSDAY, 2/6). In California, John Maffei notes the “dumbest segment was for the Chevy Sonic.” In one, a band “was driving down a country road, bumping into stuff placed on a fence.” Maffei writes, “It was just dumb.” Then there was a segment “in which the car was doing flips and bungee jumps” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 2/6).'s Lowry writes working Elton John “into a spot showcasing ‘The X Factor’ winner was lavish but empty, and Coke’s polar bears -- always beautiful to look at -- didn’t deliver much fizz this year.” Meanwhile, he wrote of Acura's spot, “Sorry, you’ll never convince me Jerry Seinfeld -- or Jay Leno, for that matter -- wants to drive an Acura” (, 2/6). Edelman Digital Exec VP David Armano tweeted, “Coke polar bears ad. Wanted to like it. Didn't really get it” (, 2/5). 

CHECK THE WATER: In California, Chuck Barney writes, “We're still trying to figure out how watching a little boy peeing in a pool will compel us to buy software from” (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 2/6). In Miami, Glenn Garvin writes, “I am still trying to figure out what a young boy peeing in a swimming pool has to do with a’s income-tax software.” Other ads were “less opaque, particularly” H&M's ad featuring MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham “strutting and stretching in his tighty whiteys in a way that gave a whole new meaning to ‘bend it like Beckham’” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/6). In Tampa Bay, Eric Deggans writes too many ads during the game “were too hard to figure.” Why would “try to sell software helping you prepare your tax returns with a commercial featuring a little boy who seems to relieve himself in the pool?” And why did Chevy “assume that watching people bungee jump and skydive with its new Sonic subcompact car would make me want to buy it?” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/6). Business and media author Steve Garfield wrote on his Twitter page, “I will never buy TaxACT. Disgusting”

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: The N.Y. TIMES' Elliott writes too many commercials "fell back on tactics that were too familiar from a plethora of Super Bowl spots: anthropomorphic animals, second-class celebrities, slapstick violence and riding the coattails of popular culture.” The “dearth of originality was underlined by multiple appearances of some famous faces,” including model Adriana Lima appearing in a spot for Kia and another for Teleflora, as well as Pro Football HOFer Deion Sanders appearing in both Bridgestone and Century 21 spots (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6). In DC, Hank Stuever writes the commercials “blazed no new creative territory and even verged on dud gags and filed-down ideas.” Go Daddy experienced an “impotence brought on by its own puerility, while the E-trade baby ran out of things to say.” A little boy “urinated in a swimming pool to get you interested in software to do your taxes.” A head popped out of a man’s shoulder “to get you to visit a car sales Web site” (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6). In S.F., Peter Hartlaub in a front-page piece notes it “seemed as if the advertisers were playing it safe.” There were “no horrible missteps like last year’s Groupon commercial, which seemed to make an insensitive joke at the expense of the people of Tibet.” Instead, several “major advertisers went with the old reliable: puppies, violence and half-naked women” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6). In Boston, Raakhee Mirchandani writes it was “hard to be bowled over by last night’s pathetic display." What a "Super snooze.” Even Broderick “channeling Ferris Bueller for Honda and comedy heavy-hitters Jerry Seinfeld with the Soup Nazi and Jay Leno for Acura didn’t deliver any laughs” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/6).

WHAT THE ADS SAY ABOUT US: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes the Super Bowl ads are “a barometer of our culture.” Zurawik: “What they said to me is that we have become a truly dumbed-down, crass, trashy and even cruel society -- and somehow proud of it.” But what was “really sad about most of the ads was how many featured stupid, gross or cruel behavior.” A dog “having killed a cat and trying to cover it up was supposed to be funny in a Doritos ad.” A little kid “urinating in a swimming pool and laughing when his sister jumps in was the punch line for an online tax service.” Zurawik: “The ad that best summarizes how debased our excessive commercialism has made us is the Go Daddy commercial that features two women using another woman's body as a billboard on which to write and draw the Go Daddy brand” (Baltimore SUN, 2/5). The AP’s Mae Anderson writes advertisers “showed a little skin in their Super Bowl.” The Go Daddy ad showed NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and trainer Jillian Michaels “body painting a nude woman,” while Beckham appears “in his undies" (AP, 2/6). UPS Dir of Sponsorships & Events J.W. Cannon tweeted, "Nothing says skank quite like GoDaddy. Why women would belittle themselves to be in those ads is beyond me” (, 2/5).

TO PREVIEW OR NOT TO PREVIEW: EW's Cagle said companies releasing their ads prior to the game “took away a little bit from the joy of being surprised by the ads during the Super Bowl.” But it was smart, because if “you release your ad a week or two before, you’re the only one releasing your Super Bowl ad that day and you get a lot of buzz, you get a lot of conversation” (“GMA,” ABC, 2/6). However, Tivo VP & GM Tara Maitra said Tivo viewers rated the Doritos highly and “ever since Doritos has been doing user-generated content they’ve had real success.” Maitra said the top three ads rated by Tivo “none of those commercials debuted online” prior to the game. Maitra added, “I wouldn’t say that having the previews online beforehand killed them because of course, you did see a bunch in the top 10. ... But if you want to be in the top spot I would save it for the gameday” ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 2/6).

The Super Bowl XLVI ads “were notable for nonstop cameos, most catering to a Generation X entering middle age,” according to a front-page piece by Peter Hartlaub of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Matthew Broderick and Elton John were “headliners on a night when pretty much everyone made a comeback in a commercial -- including the guy who played the Soup Nazi on ‘Seinfeld,’ and the cartoon character Grape Ape” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/6). In California, Chuck Barney writes the “best use of a celebrity” in the Super Bowl ads was Broderick, who “took us on a blissful trip down memory lane by paying homage” to the film “Ferris Bueller.” This time, Broderick “had a blast playing hooky from work.” It was “a fun nod to 1980s nostalgia while still making sense to people who haven't seen the film” (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 2/6). In Chicago, Lori Rackl gives her “MVP” to Honda’s CR-V spot starring Broderick. The “struggling Japanese carmaker is bound to get some bounce off this expertly executed ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ spoof” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6).

STAR-STUDDED AFFAIR: YAHOO SPORTS’ Michael Krumboltz wrote Pepsi “definitely won the award for most bizarre use of celebrity spokespeople.” The soda giant cast Elton John “as a Lewis Carroll-inspired king” who “cruelly denies his subjects Pepsi until Melanie Amaro (winner of the ‘X Factor’) sings her heart out, and casts Elton to a dungeon.” He is forced to “spend the rest of his life” there with rapper Flavor Flav (, 2/5). Arnell Group CEO Sara Arnell gave Pepsi's ad featuring John and Amaro three stars and said, “X Factor wasn’t a hit, it wasn’t a factor in pop culture. I had to Google who she (Amaro) was ... Elton John saved that ad” (N.Y. POST, 2/6). Actor John Stamos starred in Dannon's ad for its Oikos Greek yogurt, and Deutsch L.A. Group Creative Dir Jason Elm wrote, “All I can say is, John Stamos is actually a perfect guy for a yogurt ad. They’re both aged, soft, and women like them more than I do. Win?” (, 2/5). In San Antonio, Jeanne Jakle writes the promo for NBC’s “The Voice” had Betty White “getting physical” and showing up the younger cast. Jakle: “Better was the Howard Stern bit showing America’s Got Talent’s irreverent new judge using a power hose on some stinker acts” (, 2/6). In Milwaukee, Duane Dudek noted some of the celebrities featured in spots included Regis Philbin “shouting ‘I'm back!’ in an ad in which a Coke delivery driver wins a lifetime supply of Pepsi Max; Betty White in a promotional spot for ‘The Voice’; and … Elton John as an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-type despot.” But Dudek wrote this year’s Super Bowl will be “less remembered for the New York Giants’ win than for [Clint] Eastwood making our day with his and Chrysler’s ‘Halftime in America’ message” (, 2/5).

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THAT? Comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno appear in Acura's spot to promote the release of its NSX car, and AdFreak blogger David Gianatasio wrote Seinfeld "worked really hard and his performance made a so-so script much better than it must’ve read on the page." Gianatasio: "A winged Jay Leno is the stuff of nightmares. He’s also unfunny. Just like he is without wings. This ad tried hard to be BIG -- big stars, budget and concept. Sorry, Acura, big doesn’t always = good.” Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Curator of Popular Culture Barbara Lippert wrote, “Seinfeld is just not funny. ... Recycled Soup Nazi jokes, really? I never thought I’d be dazzled by the dynamic comedic stylings of Jay Leno, but his entrance as Rocky the Flying Squirrel was a huge relief” (, 2/5). But Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch said, “You had much fewer celebrities this year and even the ads that had them didn’t work” ("Today," NBC, 2/6). 

COVER UP, BECKS: H&M’s spot featured MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham promoting its new line of underwear, and in California, John Maffei writes, Beckham “in his underwear is not going to make me rush out and purchase whatever product he was pushing.” That “might work in England, but in the U.S., Beckham is just another dude with a beautiful wife” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 2/6). On Long Island, Verne Gay writes Beckham’s underwear ad is an “easy call” as a bad ad. It was “appalling for many good reasons -- an ad for soccer? Or for tattoos? Or for some idiot with tattoos who plays soccer and wears underwear?” (NEWSDAY, 2/6). In Detroit, Mekeisha Madden Toby wrote Beckham is “still a sex symbol but his hotness quota has dipped from five years ago.” This is “one reason his body-revealing ad for a new line of dungarees was easy to overlook and ignore” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/6). Adweek's Andrew McMains wrote, “H&M spot just feels like a print ad in motion. Also very ‘80s with the sepia treatment and use of music. Beckham should give a shoutout to Marky Mark” (, 2/5). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Susan Krashinsky notes Ace Metrix has “released its scores for the most effective U.S. ads from” the Super Bowl, and Beckham’s ad “fell dead last in Ace Metrix’s scoring.” Krashinsky: “Poor Becks. He flexed, he pouted, he gave the camera a come-hither stare, and yet a nation of football fans gave that prince of the other football a distinct thumbs-down” (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/6). But CNBC’s Darren Rovell said the Beckham ad was “smart because it certainly stopped people." Rovell: "I think women buy most men’s underwear. In terms of practical ads that really worked” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 2/6). ABC's John Berman said, “For advertisers, it’s all about making memories that stick and apparently, something sticks about scantily-clad women near bare-naked Beckhams" ("GMA," ABC, 2/6).

Chrysler's two-minute ad that aired during halftime of NBC's Super Bowl XLVI telecast last night featured actor Clint Eastwood "trying to rally Americans,” and for the “second year in a row, the car maker has won over audiences ... with an emotional commercial,” according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Branding firm Landor New York Managing Dir Allen Adamson said, "Powerful and one of the best Super Bowl ads ever." A Wall Street Journal poll found that spots from Volkswagen, Acura and Chevy “also took top honors.” An Acura commercial, which starred Jerry Seinfeld “being one upped by Jay Leno, was a crowd pleaser.” Early results from's ad poll, when “about 36,000 votes were cast, had Acura in the lead for best commercial" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6). In Detroit, Shepardson & Daniels in a front-page piece note Chrysler for a second year “took a chance, skipping traditional auto marketing to focus on a broader message to generate buzz and stand out in a Super Bowl jammed with ads from a dozen automakers.” The halftime ad showed Eastwood “talking about the challenges” the U.S. is facing, and “never mentions Chrysler or any of the automaker’s brands, though their logos are displayed at the end.” Like last year’s Eminem spot, which “sparked a surge of pride in the Motor City, the spot was intended to promote Detroit as much as the car company.” The ad “featured Detroit autoworkers at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, firefighters, the panoramic skyline of Detroit and a struggling family.” Univ. of Detroit-Mercy marketing professor Michael Bernacchi said, “It was a showstopper in many ways” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/6).

: On Long Island, Verne Gay writes of Chrysler’s ad, “A great director and actor pulls off the most interesting -- and compelling -- ad of the entire Super Bowl” (NEWSDAY, 2/6). JWT New York Exec Creative Dir Matt McDonald gave the spot four stars and said, “Chrysler just won the Super Bowl. ... If there was anyone worthy of giving America a halftime speech, it would be Clint -- right from the heart and from the gut” (N.Y. POST, 2/6). Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch said, “Instead of just waving the flag … they’re going at the grit of America, the comeback. Brilliant ad.” Deutsch: “In this political year, you’re going to have a lot of references to that ad. Chrysler’s going through the roof” (“Today,” NBC, 2/6). Former P&G Global Marketing Officer and business author Jim Stengel tweeted, “GAME SET MATCH CHRYSLER! Brilliant, moving, resonant, nothing is close to them" (, 2/5). In Chicago, Steve Johnson writes there may be “too much calculation in linking Chrysler purchases with patriotism” but it still “worked, though -- a surprising, stirring moment that asked us to think about bigger things” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/6).’s Brian Lowry writes it was “shameless” of Chrysler to put a message about the U.S. auto industry in its ad. However, it "will put a lump in a lot of throats -- and it’s sure to be the ad that people debate for its political underpinnings” (, 2/6). But in Chicago, Lori Rackl names Chrysler’s spot among her “fumbles.” Chrysler and Eminem last year “gave us a soul-stirring homage to Detroit.” This year, Chrysler and Eastwood “gave us the advertising equivalent of Ambien with a heavy-handed snoozer that felt twice as long as its two minutes” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6).

AD YANKED OFF YOUTUBE: In Michigan, Jonathan Oosting reports YouTube pulled the Eastwood ad from the official Chrysler channel “early this morning, citing a copyright claim from NFL Properties LLC.” It is “unclear what prompted the claim.” A Chrysler spokesperson said that the company is “investigating the issue, and the NFL has not responded to a request for comment” (, 2/6).

The NFL's “concerted effort over the past two years to market the game and apparel to women is showing signs of paying off, but sales of league merchandise still trail” MLB and collegiate-licensed materials, according to Kristi Dosh of An ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census found that the NFL in terms of female fans “trails only college sports,” and league officials said that “44 percent of all football fans are now women.” Online retailer Fanatics found that NFL merchandise sold to women “jumped significantly over last year.” The ‘11 playoff season “showed a dramatic change: an 85 percent sales increase in December over 2010 and a 125 percent increase in January from the year prior.” A growing female fan base “creates a more marketable NFL for advertisers and sponsors.” NFL VP/Fan Strategy & Marketing Peter O'Reilly said that the league “has done well in this area the last couple of years.” The NFL in ’10 “introduced a clothing line specifically made for women called ‘Fit for You,’ featuring various choices, from junior sizes to maternity clothing.” Building upon the “positive response to that initiative, the league added to the line in 2011 and opened up a new section of its website just for women:” The new site “highlights the women's apparel line and also added NFL Party,” a site that promotes "homegating." In addition, wives of players, coaches and owners “donned gear for advertisements, which appeared in popular magazines.” Fashion and sports website Founder Heather Zeller said, "The NFL has done a really good job realizing wives and daughters of coaches are some of the best ambassadors of the game. They could have used Victoria's Secret models, but these are the women actually watching the game, so they're much more relatable" (, 2/3).

A RARE OCCURANCE: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted there are IndyCars painted for the 32 NFL teams around the city, but he wrote, “It’s extremely rare for the NFL to allow another sports property to utilize its logos.” On the suggestion that IndyCar sell individual pictures of the NFL painted cars, Cavin wrote, “It’s one thing to showcase the NFL teams during the Super Bowl; it’s another to move into retail. I don’t see any way the NFL’s licensing department would permit that” (, 2/2).

EPL club Aston Villa has signed a “record-breaking” US$23.7M kit deal with Italian sportswear manufacturer Macron “to replace current supplier Nike,” according to Mathew Kendrick of the BIRMINGHAM MAIL. Macron will “produce Villa’s playing strip, replica kit, training wear and other clothing merchandise for the next four years.” The deal marks the “most lucrative kit agreement" in the club’s history. The new home kit “will go on sale in June.” Aston Villa Head of Merchandising John Greenfield said, “The design team and range of products on offer to the club was second to none and suited our requirements.” The deal comes as the team’s five-year US$15.8M deal with Nike expires at the end of this season. Macron also produces the kits for Napoli, Bologna, Leeds United, West Ham United, Real Mallorca and Braga (BIRMINGHAM MAIL, 2/6).