Did 2012 live up the political hype? Yes!

As we are currently in the first political window of 2013 in Las Vegas and dealing with make-goods and LUR’s (lowest unit rate)….let’s review 2012.  We were all warned going into 2012 that it was going to be a strong year politically, with record breaking spend, etc.  Did it live up to the hype?

Short answer: Yes.  Additionally, both presidential campaigns spent heavily on advertising in Nevada and Colorado with Las Vegas and Denver media markets seeing the most presidential political advertising. According to the Washington Post and Kantar Media, Nevada as a whole saw $55 million in total TV political ad spend with Las Vegas (ranked #40 Nielsen TV market) accounting for $46 million. Colorado reached $73 million total TV ad dollars, with Denver (ranked #17) racking up $59 million of that take. See political TV advertising spend broken down by state and by candidate for the 2012 election with this interactive map!

The Wesleyan Media Project reports that in 2012, TV viewers were bombarded with more than 3 million ads related to the presidential and congressional elections.  Overall, there was a 33% increase in the number of ads and 81% increase in spend compared to the 2008 election.  While local news is always impacted heavily by political advertising and is the main focus, the Obama campaign also focused on talk and reality shows and niche cable networks more so than the Romney campaign. This explains why the Obama campaign was able to spend $4 million less in TV ad dollars in the Las Vegas market than his counterpart Romney, yet receive five thousand more total ads. This could very well have proved a critical strategy in Obama’s win of the crucial swing state of Nevada.

The TVB reports that local TV stations captured over 80% of total television spending in the political category during the 2012 season.  “Television stations total political revenue, in the face of increased competition, from new and social media, continues to boast a high growth rate: $1.5 billion in 2008, $2.1 billion in 2010 (+35%) and $2.9 billion in 2012 (+38%).”

Obama spent more on social campaigning than his counterpart by 10 to 1.  Obama spent a whopping 47 million dollars to target key constituents nationwide.

It was clear that the focus was much more important for the Obama campaign for driving voters to influence and create actions. Building this community proved vital as President Obama had more Facebook fans, more Twitter followers and more YouTube views than Romney.

So it appears that in the political TV and new/social media advertising game during the 2012 election, the Obama Campaign clearly had the smarter strategies. However both party lines continue to show the same trend with increasing their advertising spend each election year.

Pamela Payne and Cameron Partridge contributed to this article.

The Big Game gets social

Advertisers spend a lot of money each year during, before and after the big game, especially for the expensive in-game TV spots. Now that we have had almost 24 hours to digest the plethora of creative ideas, the ones that we are talking about took place on social media channels.

Twitter is the unofficial king of the big game, where 24.1 million Tweets were sent out about the game and/or halftime show (this is without counting the ads as well).

The power outage alone generated around 231,500 TPM (tweets per minute), which is more than any other topic, including a 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones at 185,000 TPM.

Brands saw an opportunity to take advantage of a situation that was unexpected. Oreo, Duracell and Tide all capitalized on one of the important pieces of social, which is timeliness.

Oreo managed to engage users with the following tweet:

Very impressive numbers, with 15,260 retweets and 5,428 favorites on tweet that probably took no more than 15 minutes to push live on its social channels.

And Duracell managed to score an “extra point” when the lights were out as well.

Just 45 minutes after Dodge ran its “Farmer” spot, there were a total of 402k social media comments about the spot. Dodge led the crowd in sheer numbers, but Tide, Taco Bell and Doritos led the pack with the most positive sentiments out of the ads that ran during the game.

With the exponential growth in social and how it relates to campaigns, it makes you wonder what next year will have in store.

Nearly all of the spots were available on YouTube days before the game even aired, and engagement campaigns started well before that.

One thing is for certain – social will continue to grow. Brands need to figure out how to embrace it or they could very well be left behind. Also important to note – 45 percent of the TV audience was female. Advertisers and packaged goods, such as Oreo, took advantage; Calvin Klein did, too.

Randy’s Top 10 of ’12

Again, if for no other reason than my own amusement, it’s time to produce my Ten Best Movies of the Year list. This year I’m approaching it a little differently.  Instead of the ten best films, I’ve decided on the ten that had the biggest impact on me.  A good number of them, like Argo, Moonrise Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook, would have made a best list anyway.  But as I look back on the year, there are some films that stick in my head that probably weren’t among the “best “I saw.  Yet there they are, stuck in my head.  So this year a small, but exceedingly creepy, horror film like Sinister and a 90-minute trip into insanity like Killer Joe make the list. To make room for them, really good films like Lincoln and The Sessions had to go.  To fans of those films, I’m sorry.  They’re great.  By all means, see them if you haven’t already.  If it’s any consolation, they’re both on my Close-But-No-Cigar list.

Finally, remember that this list comes from films that I have actually seen.  Sounds obvious.  But in case you’re wondering why movies like Zero Dark Thirty or Amour aren’t here, it’s because I haven’t seen them yet.  No other reason.  But I will say they’d have to be pretty great to knock Killer Joe off the list.

On that note, and in no specific order, here we go.

Moonrise Kingdom – I’ll admit it.  Any time I walk into a Wes Anderson movie, I’m biased.  I already expect it to be great.  Great in that, you know,  “Wes Anderson” kind of way.  A film that is quirky, funny, has a perfect soundtrack and an attention to visual detail and composition unlike any other director’s work out there.  There’s usually nothing in a good Wes Anderson film that will remind you in any way of the real world.  He creates worlds of his own that are wonderful places to inhabit for a couple of hours. For all of those reasons, and more, Moonrise Kingdom might be my favorite Wes Anderson movie so far. Where else will you find a cast that includes Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jason Schwarzman, Bob Balaban and Tilda Swinton in roles supporting the two love-struck teenagers at the center of the film?  The story is small and sweet, the laughs come at a steady rate, the plot twists are wonderfully absurd and the whole thing looks beautiful from the first shot to the last.  Every frame is composed like a painting.  Nothing is left to chance, with every detail considered and respected.  See it twice.  The first time, see it for the story.  Then again, just to enjoy all those little visual touches.

Django UnchainedDjango Unchained – This film is just too much.  It’s too long, too violent and too talky.  Makes much too much use of the n-word.  It has too many scenes that are hard to watch.  It plays way too fast and loose with historical accuracy.  All of which is why it’s so damn good.  Because Quentin Tarantino doesn’t care.  Of course he could have cut it to less 2 hours, 45 minutes.  Sure, he could have splattered less blood, cut down on some of the dialogue, been more historically accurate and made the whole enterprise just a little more comfortable. But that’s not why we go to his films.  He makes the films he wants to make and as an audience, we can judge for ourselves whether or not we like them.  I’m going to guess there will be a fair number of people who don’t like Django Unchained, for all the reasons listed above. To them I say, “It’s Quentin Tarantino.  Did you not know what you were getting into?  Have you not seen Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds? What did you expect?”  The crowd I saw it with on Christmas Day knew what to expect, and they loved it. It’s a great glorious mash-up of the Wild West and the Plantation South that goes over the top early and often.  And the last thirty minutes are not unlike watching a cartoon (albeit an exceedingly violent one).  I mean that as the highest compliment. Jamie Foxx and Samuel Jackson are perfect, one as the hero, the other a villain.  And Christoph Walz, who won the Oscar playing Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, may be even better in this one. Tarantino’s movies aren’t for everyone, and he’s fine with that.  But if you’re a fan, Django Unchained is essential.


Headhunters – Sometimes I will go an entire year and not see a single scene in a single film that makes me say, “Whoa, I’ve never seen anything like that before.”  On the other hand, Headhunters had at least three of them all by itself. Not to give too much away, but if you’ve never seen a guy covered in human excrement being chased by a Norwegian Special Forces agent while driving a farm tractor with a pit bull impaled on the front of it, then you need to see Headhunters. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Norwegian film from a novel by Jo Nesbo, one of that country’s most popular mystery/suspense authors.  It’s about a small, unassuming guy who works as an executive search consultant (hence the film’s title).  Because he also has a very beautiful wife who has become accustomed to a very lavish lifestyle, he supplements his income moonlighting as an art thief. Anyway, the movie really gets going when he steals the wrong painting from the wrong guy and everything jumps the rails from there.  There’s lots of action, plenty of violence and an incredibly serpentine plot that is all neatly resolved in the end. It’s Scandinavian crime fiction at its best, without being a lame imitation of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s also a lot of fun.

21 Jump Street/Pitch Perfect – These are on the list as one entry, because I came to see both of them in much the same way. Based on the trailers and, admittedly, a certain amount of film snobbishness, I had decided not to see either of them. And not once, but twice, a person who is a bigger film snob than I am said, “Trust me, it’s really funny and surprisingly good.  Just see it and tell me I’m wrong.” He wasn’t wrong. In fact, 21 Jump Street and Pitch Perfect were (along with Silver Linings Playbook) my favorite comedies of the year.  Much better than anything Will Farrell, Jud Apatow or Adam Sandler threw at me. Of course, 21 Jump Street is the re-make, or “re-imagining” of the 80’s television show that launched a young actor named Johnny Depp.  In the 2012 version, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum (who is a very talented comedic actor) are the cops who go undercover into a high school world where the tech geeks are the cool kids and the jocks are the outcasts.  It’s smart and funny the whole way through.  And though I admit I am somewhat hit and miss with Jonah Hill, he’s excellent in this. Pitch Perfect plays on the natural absurdity within the world of college a cappella singing competitions.  Who knew this stuff had gotten so big?  Good thing, because it’s naturally hilarious and the perfect vehicle for a really enjoyable ensemble comedy.  The a cappella renditions of the songs are strangely infectious as well.  And Rebel Wilson is on her way to being a star. I guess the moral of the story is not to judge a film too severely based on trailers or subject matter.  I did, and would have missed two really good times if I hadn’t given these movies a chance.

Sinister – Had this been a ten best list, Sinister wouldn’t be on it. It was just a small horror film that came and went quietly in the late summer without a lot of fanfare.  I think it did okay at the box office, but it certainly didn’t set the world on fire. But there was something about it (a few things actually) that made it different from standard horror fare and managed to plant the film into my brain for some time. Briefly, it’s about a true crime writer who, hoping to research and write a best-seller, moves his family into the house where a horrific crime took place.  An entire family was found hanging dead from a tree in the backyard.  All except a little girl, who disappeared and had not been seen since. Granted, a pretty gruesome crime, but pretty standard modern horror movie stuff.  Where Sinister became different for me was in the way the crime, and others like it, were portrayed. In exploring the house, the author finds a box containing an old projector and four or five reels of vintage Super 8 film. Of course he watches the films and discovers, as we do, that each reel chronicles the murder of an entire family.  We see the hanging.  Another group is drowned and a third family is literally lawn mowered to death.  I don’t know about you, but for me there is something very creepy about seeing these things in grainy Super 8 home movies.  Tends to makes them much more real and less cinematic.  Sent a chill up my spine.  Anyway, the movie gets more supernatural as we discover the evil spirit behind and the actual perpetrators of the crimes, culminating in one of the darkest, most pessimistic and bleak endings to a film I’ve ever seen.  Which, naturally, I loved.  I admired Sinister, because it was able to do what every horror film aspires to, but few achieve – it creeped me out.  And it wasn’t afraid to end on a decidedly down note.  Another positive.  If you like horror, seek it out.

The ImposterThe Imposter – This is the only documentary on the list, but it’s a good one. It’s a story that starts out very strangely, and gets weird from there.  You spend the first half of the movie following the story of a young boy who vanished without a trace from his home in a small Texas town.  Nothing is seen or heard of him for years until he miraculously “reappears” one night, cold and shivering, in a phone booth in Spain.  A few problems arise, however. He is now of Algerian descent, his blond hair has turned black and he speaks with a French accent.  Of course, he’s the imposter of the film’s title.  He admits as much on camera. Still, incredibly, he was able to convince the US State Department and members of the missing kid’s family that he was the missing boy.  Much of the film’s first half is spent listening to his explanation of how he did it.  It is fascinating and absurd at the same time.  A testament to the notion that people can be made to believe anything if they really want to.  From there, the second half follows our young Algerian to Texas to “reunite” with his family.  That’s when it turns from a documentary about a total deception into a mystery that asks what really happened to the missing kid. The question is never completely answered, but you do leave the film with some strong opinions. In addition to being a riveting story, the film is done is a style I haven’t seen before in documentaries, combining first person interviews and voice-overs from many of the actual people involved with well-shot re-creations of events, sometimes placing the spoken words of the real people into the mouths of the actors portraying them. It sounds odd, but it works incredibly well. The Imposter is one of those documentaries that remind us that real life can be much crazier than the most fanciful fiction.

Safety Not Guaranteed – The film begins with a classified ad.  A man in a small town in the Pacific Northwest is advertising for someone to join him in time travel.  The ad goes on to state that since his time travel technique is still experimental, their safety is “not guaranteed.” A writer for a current events/pop culture magazine sees the ad and convinces his editor that he and a couple of interns need to get up there immediately to build a story around this loon who is looking for a time traveling companion.  And so they do. And that’s about it, really.  This is one of those small independent films that doesn’t have the budget for big stars and immense special effects, so it has to entertain you with interesting characters, believable dialogue and an engaging story.  Safety Not Guaranteed has them all, as well as Mark Duplass, who plays the time traveler who isn’t nearly as crazy as we expect him to be, and Aubrey Plaza as the intern who develops a relationship with him.  It’s funny without trying to be hilarious and thoughtful without trying to be profound.  It’s a film that understands its limits and doesn’t try to exceed them.  And in doing so, succeeds completely.

Killer JoeKiller Joe – First, a note of warning.  Killer Joe is not for everyone.  I’m not even sure I would rate it a “good” film, but I’m not going to forget it any time soon either. It is rated NC-17, with good reason.  So if you find it and you dive in, only to discover you really don’t like where you’ve wound up, don’t blame me.  I warned you.  But for those who do possess a taste for the unconventional, Killer Joe provides quite a journey. It’s set deep in the heart of Trailer Park Texas where the rain never stops falling and the average adult IQ seems to hover around 60. Emile Hirsch is a young, inept drug dealer who has somehow lost a stash of drugs and is now being pursued by more dangerous, less inept drug dealers.  He needs money fast and so shows up at the trailer where his father, stepmother (Gina Gershon) and younger sister live.  Naturally they have no money, but the son and his moronic dad (wonderfully played by Thomas Haden Church) devise a brilliant plan to kill his ex-wife (who is also the boy’s mother), collect her life insurance and thus,  solve all their problems.  All they need is someone to do it.  Enter Killer Joe, played to perfection by Matthew McConaughey.  Joe is a detective in the Dallas Police Department who, naturally, moonlights as a hit man. But first there is the matter of Joe’s fee, which of course the two plotters don’t have.  After much discussion, Joe agrees to take the kid’s 18-year-old sister as collateral until the insurance money is collected.  Yep.  Like I said, it’s not a film for everyone. At any rate, it all goes horribly and hilariously wrong from there until the grand finale with all of them together in the father’s trailer.  It is then that Gina Gershon performs the scene with Joe and a drumstick of chicken that surely earned the movie its NC-17 rating. It’s twenty minutes of film unlike any I’ve ever seen.  Before you reject it as exploitive trash, be aware that Killer Joe is directed by William Friedkin ,of Exorcist fame,  and is filled with first-rate actors who are clearly having the time of their lives. Especially McConaughey, who, with his solid performances here and in Bernie and Magic Mike, has had a really strong year.  It is a legitimate film… that just doesn’t happen to be for everyone.

Silver Linings Playbook – In real life, people aren’t perfect. In the movies, they are often very close.  Not the people in this movie.  They are as far from perfect as you and me and all the rest of us who occupy the real world. And Silver Linings Playbook proves that the lives, loves, trials, quirks, ticks and other assorted baggage belonging to a group of less-than-perfect people can make for an enjoyable and funny film. Bradley Cooper is the damaged soul of the movie.  He’s a manic-depressive who has been institutionalized after finding his wife and another man in a “delicate” situation and nearly beating the guy to death.  But as the film begins, he’s on his meds, doing better and going home to live with his mother and father in Philadelphia.  Remember, I said he was doing better.  I didn’t say he was cured.  The film is primarily his story as he tries as hard as he can, fighting his demons the whole way, to work his way back into a life that is something close to normal. It’s a funny and touching journey, with some really fine performances.  Like Robert De Niro, who plays his father – a crazed fan of the Philadelphia Eagles whose obsessive-compulsive, ritualistic behavior in support of the team makes him just slightly less unhinged than his son.  Or Jackie Weaver who, as his mom, does her best to keep the men in her life on something approaching an even keel.  And of course, there’s Jennifer Lawrence. She is the young widow who has dealt with the death of her husband in some highly inappropriate ways and is also trying to find her way back to a normal life. Her vehicle is a ballroom dance competition, which she convinces Cooper’s character to join her in preparing for and competing in. Her performance is ridiculously good.  At the age of 22, she is on the verge of her second Best Actress nomination in three years.  The movie is filled with great side characters and some very funny situations.  And though the ending is very pat, very sweet and very predictable, it’s okay.  Because it’s nice to see something good happen to characters you’ve really come to like and who could really use a good break.


Argo – This is just an exciting, interesting, well-made film.  It has plenty of suspense and more than a few laughs.  Any film that can combine a view of the ridiculousness of Hollywood with the dead seriousness of extracting Americans from revolutionary Iran is walking a fine line.  Argo walks it perfectly.  The fact that all of it (well, almost all of it) really happened makes it that much better.  For me, the Hollywood stuff was the best part of the film.  John Goodman’s character describing, with biting accuracy, the roles of various people involved in a film production was hilarious.  His claim that a rhesus monkey could be trained to be a director was an audience favorite. Alan Arkin was perfect as the crusty producer who knows exactly how to navigate all of the Hollywood nonsense and get the ball rolling on an imaginary movie.  That was the funny stuff.  The serious stuff took place in Iran, and it was good too. Well acted, well paced and even though I knew how it would turn out, pretty suspenseful. The feel was real, and I appreciated that the Iranian guards and revolutionaries were not treated as cartoon bad guys, but as actual people who felt they had a legitimate beef.  It made them feel more dangerous.  Finally, I know that the final chase through the airport and down the runway in Tehran didn’t really happen. So?  This is a movie!  It’s supposed to be entertaining.  I was on the edge of my seat.  Laugh at me if you want. At any rate, Argo had a lot of fun poking fun at Hollywood while at the same time showing us that Hollywood played a part in a pretty heroic achievement. I had fun watching it.

The Close-But-No-Cigar List

I see a lot of movies.  And each year there are a lot more than ten that I really like.  The following is a list of some of them from 2012.

Lincoln – It’s a good as everyone says.  Especially Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones.  It’ll probably win the Oscar for Best Film.  I’d be fine with that.

The Sessions – It’s a true story.  Writer with polio hires a sex surrogate.  John Hawkes plays the writer.  Even though he’s limited to moving nothing but his eyes, he’s great.  Helen Hunt plays the surrogate.  Even though she spends about half of her screen time completely naked, she’s great too.

Bernie – Jack Black is funny again!  It’s his best performance in years.  Also features Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey in full Texas smoothie mode.  And the story is true.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – It’s visually stunning and has some great acting from people who had never acted before.  Uplifting story too.

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Scary movie about a scary kid, and the mother who tried (and failed) to control him.  Consider that this film was released more than a year before the Newtown shootings and feel the hair rise on the back of your neck.

The Cabin in the Woods – You think it’s a typical attractive-but-dumb-teenagers-being-stalked-in- the-woods film, until you realize it isn’t.

Dark Knight Rises – I like “Dark Knight Christopher Nolan” more than “Inception Christopher Nolan.” Looking forward to Joseph Gordon Levitt as Robin.

Skyfall – Any film that features Javier Bardem as a crazy villain with bad hair (warning: gratuitous Anton Chigur reference) is okay by me.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi – Almost made the Top Ten list.  Even if you don’t like, don’t eat and don’t care about sushi, this is a fascinating film.  It’s as much about obsession and a lifelong dedication to one’s craft as it is about raw tuna.

Jimmy Kimmel is ready to rumble

This week, Jimmy Kimmel is moving from his midnight time slot to 11:35 pm, entering the ring with the late-night heavy-hitters of Letterman and Leno. ABC is hoping that the 25 minute difference will help boost their ratings, because simply put, many people decide to go to bed around midnight. There are a lot more people still watching TV at 11:35 pm than at midnight. This shift is historic because it will be this first time that all three of the major broadcast networks will have late-night talk shows all competing at 11:35 pm.

Jimmy KimmelThe arrival of Kimmel in the 11:35 time slot means a younger generation is starting to plant its flag there. At 44, Kimmel is younger and edgier than Leno and Letterman, both in their 60s, and brings the highly coveted 18-49 demographic. Kimmel will also have a head start on Jimmy Fallon, who has been rumored to be the heir apparent for Leno at NBC.

It’s no coincidence that the time shift comes at a time when Kimmel’s audience is steadily growing, while his rivals’ ratings are slipping. This past year, Kimmel was well-received hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and hosting the Emmy Awards.  Jimmy Kimmel Live! is also coming off its most-watched season in five years, growing 3 percent in total viewers and proving the only broadcast late night show to register an uptick this year according to ABC.

Although the Kimmel show still lags far behind Jay and Dave in the ratings, with a viewership of only 1.9 million, compared to Leno’s and Letterman’s viewership of around 3 million each, Kimmel is a legitimate threat to the current late-night landscape and should prove to be a solid move for ABC.

Super Bowl Ads for 2012 – Poop-less Baby Time Machine Edition


Chrysler “It’s Halftime, America”

OK, I have to start with Clint. I mean, he is Clint after all. First off, he is walking around in some really dark places in Detroit, or was he at the game? Looked kind of like Detroit. I know he could probably go all Dirty Harry on any trouble, but still I worried about him in that tunnel. Equating Detroit with the rest of America makes sense since the rest of America bailed out Detroit. And I do believe it is halftime in America. One of the most TRUE things Clint says is, “All that matters now is what’s ahead.” And that is very TRUE at halftime. One of the weirdest things he says is, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch.” One punch? One punch really puts a false spin on years of greed; mismanagement by those very car companies; and the very real budget, unemployment and housing issues this country still faces. But I guess America is a lot like Clint – faced with adversity, we always seem to have one last bullet. “So you’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

VW “The Dog Strikes Back”

As soon as I saw this fat dog, I was in. Come on. Everyone has a fat dog. I have a fat dog and I love him. And America is fat. And it’s halftime, America. Get off your asses and get in shape. Then chase a VW into the future where there’s a Star Wars’ bar and Darth Vader. OK, that’s where I got a little lost. So I went right back to thinking about the fat dog trying to get through the dog door and I laughed.

Camry “Reinvented”

This is the kind of concept spot I have always liked. They don’t show a thing that has been reinvented for the Camry, but you get the feeling that they’re always looking for innovation. And innovation is full of lofty dreams like poop-less babies and rain that makes you thin. Hopefully, Toyota will back it up with some cool stuff like heated cup holders or cars that run on baby poop.

Chevy “Mayan Apocalypse”

This ad looks fantastic. If you’re going to do the end of the world, you should spend the coin to do it right. And the song is great. But poor Dave. He drove a Ford. You always take a chance when you go straight at a competitor. Especially a competitor that has the money to come back at you like Ford, but I think in this case it was worth it. And even if Ford does retaliate with Dave ruling the Tunnel People in his Ford X-150 or whatever, a Twinkie will make it all better.

Honda “Matthew’s Day Off”

There was a lot of chatter among ad folks that this ad sucked. I liked it. One of the main things ads do is to capture an emotion that can be attributed to your product. Revisiting Ferris Bueller brings back a host of emotions if you’re a fan of the film. Even though the ad didn’t live up to the movie, I still felt like taking the day off and finding some crazy stuff to do instead. If an ad can infuse a sense of whimsy and freedom to your product – you win even if it is a mini-SUV with a somewhat stunted personality.

Doritos “Man’s Best Friend”

I thought the ad was fun but not really great. However, I did enjoy the edge of it. Dogs whacking cats works for me and obviously for America. And it seems it is worth $1 million from Doritos. So that makes it good. Doritos has found a great identity for their Super Bowl spots and has really grabbed the attention away from BEERS.

Seinfeld “Acura Transactions”

Seinfeld is funny, but it’s very inside funny. If you love the show, you probably loved the ad. But I don’t love Leno and I’m not really digging the premise of the spot. So others worked better for me. Still, the ad got a ton of play before the Super Bowl so it probably worked.


Samsung’s “Thing Called Love” seems like a phone with a pen. At least they are trying and the ad was kind of fun.

Bridgestone’s “Performance Ads” were interesting, but I feel like they have done better. I want one of those tire footballs though.

“Happy Grad” for Chevy was a funny performance, but I have to agree with a friend of mine who said, “The client could have directed that. They love it when someone in the ad is screaming for their product.” It looks like crowd sourcing is really helping clients get the ads that appeal to them that they may not be getting from agencies.

KIA “Dream Car” was a pretty good ad. It was fun to watch and I will remember the girl waving the flag. But sometimes, ads are just missing something. I felt this last year with KIA. But this year was better.

M&M’s “Naked” was a big fan favorite. It was good, but I wasn’t thinking of it as much of a Super Bowl spot. It just lacked import. It was funny, but just a good ad.

Bud’s “Wego” was a fun dog-gets-us-beer spot again. I feel like I have seen a lot of dog-getting-us-beers spots. But the dog was fantastic.

Pepsi and Elton. It just didn’t live up to my expectations for Elton.


Century 21. I am biased here but I think they really blew it. I see the point they are trying to make with their agents, but they did it in a way that couldn’t be more phony. People are still in a tough spot with their homes in America. Sure, they are looking for superheroes to help them. But instead of looking like superheroes, the agents tended to look like cartoons, especially when helping Trump and Sanders. Also, the way the ads are shot is just way too slick. There isn’t a home in America that can live up to the color alone in those ads much less anything else. The tone of the ads is all wrong. It’s matter of fact and carefree when consumers are still anything but. They don’t take the Century 21 brand seriously, so why should we.

E*TRADE has been a winner for years in the Super Bowl. They have a rich history of bringing home the bacon in the big game. This year was their worst performance ever in my opinion. It would have been better if they had skipped the competition. They lost face.

Bud’s “Prohibition” was a nice idea but it was so boring. History lessons are not good commercials unless someone gets killed Boardwalk Empire style. They should have whacked the Coors guy trying to move in on their territory from Denver.


Go Daddy. Wow, they just get more and more idiotic as time passes. But it seems to work in the big game. The ads are not good though. It’s hard to tell what they’re even communicating other than – please come to the website. I love beautiful women but have never been to the website – ever.

Teleflora’s “Give and Receive.” I hate to tell them this, but she is going to need far more than flowers. She looks really high-maintenance. Flowers and a car may do it. Flowers and a summer home. Flowers and a 20-carat diamond. You get the picture. Still, the ad was memorable for obvious reasons.

H&M’s “David Beckham.” Women watch the game too. And this would be the part they actually watched. So good job David Peckham, I mean Beckham.


“Baby Sling” was shown to me by the director in a sound-editing suite along with some other ads he was entering. There was another ad I thought was much better called “Dog Heist.” I still like it better although it looks like “Baby Sling” has a great chance to win the USA TODAY AD METER and a prize of 1 million bucks. I don’t know why though. I could see that baby coming from a mile away. He would never get my Doritos.


There are those who didn’t like the fact that Super Bowl ads were put out early on YouTube and corporate Web pages. The companies that do this are smart. The ads need time to get press and social momentum. With the price of a Super Bowl spot and the money it takes to produce one, buy rights to songs, pay celebrities and put together any other parts of a program that may be needed, it’s important to get as much play as you possibly can. The day of the game and the three days after are not near enough.



After attending ad:tech and seeing a series on innovation, I was inspired to think outside the proverbial box.  Many of the examples that were shown were interesting, but the ones I found most impactful were the ones that paired medias that you wouldn’t traditionally think would work together.  The following are just a few examples of how advertisers who have produced innovative campaigns and tactics that were attention grabbing and buzz worthy.

Showtime’s “The Franchise” & Foursquare

To promote the July 15 premiere of reality series “The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants,” Showtime partnered with the Major League Baseball to create a billboard display that dispensed baseballs, some signed by Giants, when people checked in on Foursquare at the MLB Fan Cave storefront in Manhattan. For those who automatically shared their Foursquare posts to either Twitter or Facebook or both — roughly a quarter of people on Foursquare — a “Franchise” ad and tune-in message was automatically sent to those social-media accounts.  I liked this execution for its simplicity – traditional OOH paired with Foursquare’s check-in.

Coca-Cola’s “Chok”

In Hong Kong, Coke was trying to target teens, which they learned were spending more time on their phones than watching TV.  They created an app that allowed teens to play a game called “Chok” when a specific Coke commercial aired.  Just 15 hours after the campaign launched, the “Chok” app had become the number 1 free app at the Apple store. It remained number 1 for another week and by the end of the third week, there were more than 300,000 unique downloads.

:15 Promo Spot:

:30 Interactive TV Spot:

Converse Domaination

Converse used a fairly common paid media, SEM, but in a very unique way allowing them to engage with their teenage audience in a manner that was personal to them.