Big Brother is Watching You FaceTime: 30 Years After “1984″

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On January 24thApple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.”

On January 22, 1984, what is widely regarded as one of the greatest television advertisements of all time aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. The one-minute spot is a postmodern representation of George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel, 1984, which depicts a futuristic totalitarian society stripped of all freedom and individualism.

In 1983, Apple and IBM battled for market share as the two giants in the computer industry selling over one billion dollars of PCs that year. In 1983, at his company’s keynote address, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs made clear that IBM is a fierce competitor gunning to dominate the industry.

“Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future…they are increasingly and desperately turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom.”–Steve Jobs, 1983

During his address, Jobs unveiled the ad to an exclusive audience for the first time, to thundering applause. The ad, created by Chiat/Day, ultimately positions Apple and Mac as empowering, liberating, and individualistic, unlike the IBM view that computers are nothing more than tools. IBM is gray, cold, mechanical. Apple is colorful, creative, independent. This ad separated Mac to start the “Mac versus PC debate” that is still relevant today.

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Which of these guys do you picture in an office at IBM?

In 2009, Hunch did a survey to analyze personality traits between Mac and PC users. They found that Mac users are more likely to see the existing world as the same all the time and want to be seen as different and unique. They are more apt to call themselves “verbal”, “conceptual”, and “risk-takers”.  The Mac brand is still as relevant today as it was 30 years ago at its introduction, and its consumer base reflects it.

The “1984” ad has also found itself injected into American culture. In 2007, Phil de Vellis used the visuals from the Macintosh ad and made it into “Vote Different”. It uses sound bites and images of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to put her in the role of “Big Brother”—the role IBM took in the original ad. The woman with the sledgehammer that represented Mac became equated to Barack Obama. The video went viral and is a great example of using appropriation to communicate a message.

From “1984” to “Think different.” to “Get a Mac”, Apple’s advertising for Macintosh has continued to embody the individualism Steve Jobs envisioned for the brand. Now, 30 years after it was introduced, what does the Mac brand mean to you?

-Nathan Evers

The Super Bowl of Advertising

You know what they say – “the best part about the Super Bowl is the commercials”. From the Budweiser frogs, to the GEICO Gecko and even Maxwell (the little piggy who cried “whee whee whee” all the way home) we are constantly receiving messages through creative entertainment. Whether or not you tune in for the game or the ads on Super Bowl Sunday  it’s inarguable that there are only a handful of other events that have the capacity to attract this much attention from such a large audience. Football fan or not, Super Bowl Sunday is all about packing into a room full of friends and family and eating Doritos, Dominos or wings from Buffalo Wild Wings while drinking a nice cold Budweiser. The circumstances surrounding this iconic American tradition combine to create an ideal environment for marketers trying to sell their products. Millions of diverse viewers will tune in and inevitably be bombarded with advertisements targeted to all ages and demographics; an opportunity that advertisers eagerly await all year.

That being said, it is pretty obvious that many big-name brands would benefit by planning huge advertising campaigns strictly designed to run during the Super Bowl. In the past it was imperative that these commercials were kept a secret until their grand unveiling during the big game. However, with the recent explosion in popularity of social media and internet video viewing platforms, things have taken a slight shift. Many of the advertisers supporting this year’s Super Bowl are now releasing “teasers” designed to increase anticipation of the full ad, as if these commercials were full-length feature films… and it doesn’t stop there. Some of the companies released the full edition of their Super Bowl commercial as early as three days before The Big Game. Well… that doesn’t make it much of a Super Bowl commercial, does it?

So now that these companies are releasing their special campaigns pre-Super Bowl, viewers will have the pleasure of seeing ‘Super Bowl’ advertisements running up to a week early. Some of the main sponsors created interactive campaigns in order to pre-determine which of their advertisements would resonate best with viewers. Doritos ran a “Crash the Super Bowl” contest where viewers voted for their favorite fan-submitted video to “win” and be played during the game. Similarly, Coca Cola varied from this strategy by releasing a teaser but letting the fans vote on the ending.

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At the end of the day, there are successes and failures in the Super Bowl advertising process. From a marketing standpoint these ideas are pure genius. Directly involving the audience, either through voting or asking for audience submissions, builds the brand’s relationship with its consumers and brings more attention to their product. So for those of you with a pre-game tradition, you might want to begin by preparing yourselves for the commercial invasion that America likes to call the Super Bowl.

Michael NunesAlexandra Huss, Zach AbramoCallie FenlonDann Williams, Daniel Schaefer Lauren Habig

What’s the Real Show?

During a regulation NFL game there is a 15 minute break between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. This halftime break was originally instituted so the participants of the game could catch their breath and re-energize. During the Super Bowl, halftime lasts for a minimum of 30 minutes. Not only is that plenty of time for a player to catch his breath, that could allow him an opportunity to take a nap and check some emails. The mid-game break is actually long enough that coaches usually alter practices leading up to the big game in order to prepare their players for dealing with the extended down time. Despite this, there has never been a serious motion to shorten the length of the break. On the contrary, every few years halftime will run a little long to better accommodate the length of more extravagant halftime shows.

This presents an interesting phenomenon. The Super Bowl, the game that decides who the best team is in the highest level of the most popular sport in America, is consistently interrupted for at least 15 minutes more than is necessary so an assortment of washed up and unknown artists can perform for a crowd that has paid at least double the average monthly income for a ticket to the game. It is widely known that companies spend millions of dollars for a chance to slip a commercial in between the biggest football game of the year, but this event has become so large that the game itself is being postponed in order to make room for the event that surrounds it. That’s the kind of marketing that is normally reserved for religious holidays and national celebrations.

So what makes the Super Bowl half-time show so special? It is the second most anticipated part of the event, besides of course, who wins the championship.  The hype of who is performing is always a boost for the performers publicity, but what if Madonna blows it like the Black Eyed Peas did last year?  What will that do to her brand as being Madonna, the Queen of pop? There is a lot at stake when involving yourself in the biggest event of the year.  Let’s just hope there are no wardrobe malfunctions or fumbled lyrics this year.

Read more about the halftime show here!

Will The Force Be With You?

      It’s Super Bowl season and we, as viewers, are ready for the stream of entertaining advertisements that keep us occupied between breaks. I’m sure everyone remembers last years buzz worthy Star Wars inspired Volkswagen commercial. How can one not be enamored with a little boy in a movie quality Darth Vader suit that genuinely startles himself by using “the force” to turn on his dad’s new Volkswagen? Beyond all the cuteness, the commercial relays the push-to-start feature that the affordable (and apparently fun) German car has to offer.
     To top its success from the last Super Bowl, Volkswagen has returned with yet another Star Wars inspired ad and the entertainment factor is undeniable. Yet what do barking dogs and Star Wars really have to do with the German automobile company?
     Advertisers take full advantage of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl to create innovative, touching, and entertaining commercials. Companies will pay extraordinary amounts of money to ensure that their commercial is seen by the millions of viewers watching the game. After all, this one time of the year advertisers can assume that almost every single American is tuning in. What company wouldn’t want their product showcased at this time? It’s like a black Friday Christmas sale for advertisers. These companies want to bring attention to their product in anyway possible, even if that means their product isn’t even mentioned until the last three seconds.
     In the Volkswagen ad, the viewer is unaware of the association between Volkswagen and Star Wars until the very end. This proved to be a very strategic move on VW’s part. Last year, companies were able to monitor which commercials made the biggest impact on viewers via Twitter, FaceBook and other popular social platforms. They measured the ad’s success by the number of times it was mentioned in the digital realm and were able to realize what struck a chord with the vast audience. What once seemed to be a hail marry concept of integrating marketing, advertising, and social media, is now an easy field goal for the IMC commercial championship. Volkswagen is betting that we will remember how fond we were of last year’s Star Wars theme and associate those same feelings with their brand this year as well. You can’t go wrong with puppies and kids, right?
-Alexis Kapczynski, Kacy Cox, Sara Kaloudis, Josh Bowman

Academy Awards Entertain in More Ways Than One

The Academy Awards is one of the most glamorous nights on television.  This year at the 2011 Academy Awards there were more than just the fabulous fashions and celebrities that walked the red carpet, or as Justin Timberlake described it in his interview with Tim Gunn, the “fuschia” carpet because it looked more pink than red.  Other than Melissa Leo being the first winner in Oscar history to drop the F-bomb in her speech and the all the British nominees racking up numerous wins with The King’s Speech, aspects of marketing were apparent throughout the night.

Now we all know that the Academy Awards isn’t the Super Bowl, that’s a given.  However, they do have something in common.  Advertisements.  During the commercial breaks there were plenty of new advertisements for ABC network shows such as The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars, and Good Morning America.  ABC revealed that the new cast for this season of Dancing With The Stars would be announced the following night during an episode of The Bachelor.  ABC also showed that Britney Spears had a big announcement that she was going to make on Monday’s airing of Good Morning America.  The network even incorporated the Academy Awards into a commercial for its series Modern Family, having the characters playing a game of Charades acting out the well-known films.  ABC markets how each series of shows, whether it be reality or drama, are integrated with one another as an actual “network”.  Every show has a way of incorporating another.  This may be a way ABC attempts to gain viewers because they are hoping people are interested in finding out the newest DWTS cast and what big news Britney Spears has to share.

Aspects of marketing did not only show up during the commercial breaks.  One example unexpectedly came to attention during Christian Bale’s acceptance speech when he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.  The real-life Dicky Eklund was present at the award show and Christian Bale made sure that everyone knew it.  Bale thanked Eklund in his speech and told him how excited he was to watch the next chapter of his life and that everyone else should too if they want to be a true champion.  He told everyone to check out dickeklund.com for more information on boxing lessons with Eklund.  This got a large laugh from the audience.  Was this a way for Bale to return the favor to Eklund since he won an Oscar for his portrayal?  Maybe, maybe not, but it sure was good publicity.  If you visit the website, one of the first pictures on the site is of Bale and Eklund at the Academy Awards.

-Danielle Dorantich

Super Bowl Mixed With Red and Pink Flowers?

Super Bowl XLV had 111 million viewers throughout the entire game, but it doesn’t stop there.  “A record-breaking 169.2 million people tuned in to the program for at least a portion of the game” according to Fox News.  With this many people, and a majority of the audience being male, what else could be better than reminding men about Valentine’s Day?  The game is played a week before V-day, still allowing the men with crushes, significant others, and spouses to order flowers and various other red and pink gifts.

The Super Bowl submerges men into drinking beer with their buddies, talking about football and, thanks to Go-Daddy commercials, hot chicks.  Teleflora was able to combine all these aspects into an effective, realistic and catchy commercial.  Speaking on behalf of the female population, men are stereotyped into not knowing how to express their feelings, especially around Saint Valentine’s Day.  In the commercial, the guy expresses his feelings for Kim in a not-so-romantic way; “your rack is unreal” doesn’t really scream romance.

Teleflora’s effectiveness of this commercial is outstanding.  Targeting men and illustrating a guys perspective on Valentine’s Day and translating that into the beauty of flowers is what the overall audience of the Super Bowl will enjoy.  Comical, yet true, this commercial and Teleflora as a company, will be remembered.

-Lauren DeHart

Super Brand: Chrysler’s Super Bowl Success

Though the Super Bowl commercials are known for their celebrity appearances and (sometimes) hilarious gimmicks, rarely do the viewers get a look into the heart & identity of a company while also being entertained. Last year, Google’s “Search Stories: Parisian Love” set a new standard for showing Super Bowl viewers what a company’s product actually did while also making a touching commercial that triggered an emotional response.

Google didn’t have a spot in this year’s game, but one company capitalized on using the ad time to set a definition for their brand and that company was Chrysler.  Chrysler’s lengthy 2-minute spot focused on defining the building blocks of their brand’s identity.  Although the commercial was essentially a straight minute of voice-over narration, the use of the urban backdrop of Detroit and celebrity endorser Eminem’s riff for his mega-hit “Lose Yourself” still provided viewers with a chilling emotional response.  Chrysler may have been using the commercial to announce its new 200 model, a “luxury” car, but the ad focused primarily on the American grit and hard work that goes into each and every one of its vehicles.

During a time when America is constantly being classified by how behind we are in the global marketplace, Chrysler chose to define its brand as purely American. Everything from the visuals, to the voice over, to Detroit born & raised celebrity Eminem provided a united identity for Chrysler that culminated in the company’s new tag line: “Imported from Detroit”.

Anna Kate Babnik, Katie Eagle, Deji Adeleke, Tiffany Evans, and Carissa Niederkorn