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!

30 Seconds to Impress.

Super Bowl XLVI, hosted in Indianapolis, Indiana. February 5th, 2012.

As the big game is just days away, people are gearing up for Sunday and preparing themselves for the largest televised game in all of sports. With an estimated 90-100 million people forecasted to watch, Sunday isn’t a big day just for the Giants and the Patriots; Sunday is the day where the nation’s most popular companies spend up to 10% of their yearly advertising budgets.

Projecting an increase in viewership, it is to be expected that an increase in the price of advertising on the nation’s biggest stage, with this year’s price tag for 30 seconds of screen time reaching $3.5 million dollars, an increase from last year’s $3.1 million. Keep in mind that $3.5 million dollars will get you ONE 30-second advertisement, where it will be competing for viewership in an estimated 47 total minutes of commercial time. It’s no surprise that companies like Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo are willing to shell out nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to run upwards of 10 ads, with some lasting over the 60-second mark.

It has also been reported that Swedish company H&M will be airing their first ever Super Bowl advertisement, starring the LA Galaxy and former EPL Soccer star David Beckham. While this isn’t the first time that a global company has advertised during the big game, it is certainly a sign that retailers globally are starting to incorporate the Super Bowl into its scheduling of product launches, as H&M is set to reveal their new line during the ad that will be in stores soon after. It is obvious that while football is an American sport, there is no better way of getting attention during the most watched event of the year.

But when it comes down to it, is it really worth it? Many experts agree that, yes it is. It has been reported that nearly 50% of the audience tunes into watch just the commercials alone. The main draw of these commercials isn’t necessarily for people to go out right after and buy the product, but just to stir up some buzz around the company. Being known is always the first step to great sales. However, selling the products helps a lot too. Think about Snickers buying a $3 million dollar ad, and then think about how many candy bars they would have to sell in order to pay for that ad. Don’t worry. Randle D. Raggio, a professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia already did it. You’d have to sell 6,329,406 bars. If 100+ million people see your ad during the commercials though, you probably have a pretty good shot, I’d say.

Broderick gets another day off thanks to Honda

Honda just released an extended Honda CR-V commercial featuring Matthew Broderick on YouTube. The ad makes dozens of references to what could possibly be one of the greatest movies of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It doesn’t even matter whether you were around when this movie was released, every generation recognizes and can relate to this legendary movie. The Honda CR-V might not be a Ferrari but you have to grow up at some point, right?

It starts off with Broderick calling in sick from a L.A. hotel room. The hotel valet brings around his Honda CR-V, calling out “Broderick….Broderick” instead of economic teacher Ben Stein droning “Bueller…..Bueller.” Broderick is also seen in the stands for a horse race instead of a chicago mets game. He visits the Natural History Museum instead of the Chicago Art Museum. He even ends up in another parade only in China town singing a Mandarin tune rather than Twist & Shout or “Danke Schoen” for the German- American Von Steuben Day parade. Throughout the whole clip you will easily be able to pick out the infamous quotes used in the original movie, ending with “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you’d miss it” as the valet drives off in the CR-V.

Every 80’s movie geek will be able to appreciate the many other movie references they made during this 2 and 1/2 minute long commercial. Honda promises fans there are more than two dozen references to the movie. They are encouraging people to tweet their friends about it and tweet what they have spotted under the hashtag #dayoff. This commercial will run during the Super Bowl for a 60 second slot, which should be costing them around seven million dollars! Thanks to social media outlets like YouTube, we get an extended version to enjoy the throwback even longer. Using a movie as iconic as Ferris Bueller was a smart marketing trick by using something that resonates with millions of viewers and linking it with the new Honda CR-V.

-Mollie Berthold, Dorothy Conley, Laura Simmons, Christina Stevenson

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

The Race to be First

Reporting any new information to the public can be risky, especially when it is a headlining topic.  As any social media expert, one should always make sure that the information they are providing the public is 100% accurate.  Any false information can put you and your company’s reputation at risk.

With overwhelming attention surrounding the football program at Penn State, every tweet, wall post and blog comment brings more and more Internet traffic to the school and community.  In a society that completely thrives and relies on Internet access, acquiring information has never been easier or faster.  Along with the ability to supply millions with information via Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, comes the responsibility to maintain an ethical mindset when sharing information.

Joe Paterno, the recently released Penn State head football coach who served for 42 years, passed away at 9:25 am this past Sunday. On Saturday night, several hours before Paterno’s death, Onward State, a student-run news organization, reported through a tweet that the community icon had passed. The Onward State managing editor, Devon Edwards claims the tweet was based on an email hoax and has since resigned.

It is shocking that a student organization (which presumably is more focused than professional organizations on performing tasks “by the book”) that is tied to an institution which has been so heavily shrouded in controversy recently, would fail to perform such a basic and necessary task as confirming information, especially when dealing with such an emotionally charged topic as the passing of Joe Paterno. Unfortunately, this is just the latest occurrence in what seems to be an ongoing problem with many forms of media.

Managing Editor of Onward State’s Apology

March Madness: The True Underdog Story

Every NCAA Tournament kick starts spring and there is truly nothing like the opening days of tournament basketball. People have put all their time and effort into studying brackets for their office or friendly pool. As the tournament starts we all question whether a 16 seed will finally upset a number 1 seed. Yet again, this year it did not happen. No matter what happens there are always upsets, and this tournament was no different. After the upsets occur the “Cinderella Story” comparisons start to fly around. Marketers and advertisers beg to ask who will wear the glass slipper this year.

For some reason our country loves the underdog story. We love to see Rocky make a courageous comeback and win the fight in the last round after getting beat the entire time. The NCAA Tournament has its fair share of underdog stories this year with Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond, and Butler. Butler is the most ironic of the “Cinderella Stories” because they reached the NCAA Final last year and came narrowly close to beating National Champion Duke. So why do we love to see Butler as the underdog? Reporters continue to ask Butler Head Basketball Coach Brad Stevens about the Cinderella story and he simply responds with “the Cinderella story worked well for us last year so I love to hear it.” The problem is that we are much too quick to forget about Cinderella teams. Marketers and advertisers use these schools and teams to market their underdog story and then after the tournament we quickly forget about them. We don’t hear a word about the universities or their basketball teams until they become the underdog story then marketers pump money to inflate their story. The Butler Bulldogs were not talked about much this regular season yet they find themselves in the Sweet Sixteen again. No matter how successful they were last season Butler will continue to be branded as a Cinderella team because they are a small school that lacks a deep, rich basketball tradition. Teams like Kansas and North Carolina will never be mentioned as an underdog or a Cinderella no matter how much better the opposing team is. These branding techniques seem to always be used during March Madness.

There is a special story for two of the three Cinderella teams previously named. If Richmond and VCU both win it will be the first time in NCAA Tournament history that two teams from the same city or town will have played each other. Let’s hope that both win so we can celebrate two great teams from Richmond making it to the Elite Eight. More importantly, we can cheer for our fellow Colonial Athletic Association partners the VCU Rams. I’m sure CBS and advertisers will hype up the battle of the underdogs and ask whether the glass slipper fits Richmond or VCU. At this point we might be getting ahead of ourselves, but we can all dream. Hey, it worked for Cinderella.

Basketball FREAK?!

March Madness is a time of great success along with upsetting, shocking defeats.  The tournament lasts a month long that will determine the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship team.  So why did it take millions of viewers missing parts of games for decades before the networks realized we ALL want to watch ALL the games?  Well, 2011 is the year!! 

 One network, CBS, and three Turner cable channels, TBS, TNT and truTv will each individually broadcast different Division I Men’s Basketball matches from start to finish so that collectively they will show all the games. Not only are you able to watch one game, you are able to view the continuous scores of all the other games on the other networks from the top of your tv screen so you don’t miss a beat! Viewers now have the ability to flip between channels to the most exciting matches. This brings more coverage to the networks while broadening the audience of viewers.  Not everyone watches basketball, but during March Madness, many more do because of the upbeat competition of the tournament.  These four channels allow all the viewers to keep track of their bracket and join in on the fun!

So far all channels collectively have done an excellent job of keeping fans up to date with coverage and news on the tournament before and after each game. A team of commentators led by Greg Gumbel have kept the conversation going for every match up. The partnership that CBS and Turner has created where the feel and look of each station’s broadcast, including the same graphics and commentators, has convincingly made viewers feel like they are watching the same tournament. As opposed to the tournament being broken down among four different stations with their individual interpretation of how it should look. This ideal broadcast is what March Madness fans have been craving for years.

CBS has owned the rights to March Madness since 1982 and since all that time CBS controlled what games were shown. So in a bold move for making the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament available for all basketball freaks and bracket-fillers, CBS signed a 14 year deal with Time Warner’s Turner cable company for $10.8 billion to own the rights to the tournament. In doing so CBS and Turner have become each a customer-centric organization. They saw what the fans wanted and delivered. “It’s a better programming option for the viewer at home and the basketball fan,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “More work on his or her part to find the game, but they get to decide what game they want to watch. In the past, I think we did a very good job of moving around, but it was our [CBS] decision.” Since CBS and Turner have become customer focused they see the importance for the NCAA tournament to be controlled by the viewers, and to allow the Madness of March to be experienced by the fans. 

The next set of tournament games are this Thursday and Friday, March 24th and 25th, which showcase the remaining Sweet Sixteen. Check www.ncaa.com for a live bracket of the remaining teams and teams whose road to victory has ended.

-Lauren DeHart & JC Salter