February 07, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX ad watch

USA Today ran their annual "Ad Watch" of the ads that ran during last night's Super Bowl this morning, and though many commercials were pretty lame to begin with (was I the only one that thought the Subway steamed windows commercial was simply pathetic?), there were some major standouts.

The biggest standout for many was the Anheuser-Busch ad honoring soldiers returning home to spontaneous applause in an airport (View the ad at A-B's "Hero Salute" site). Many leftist blogs are decrying that ad, along with the NFL's salute to the troops prior to the start of the game, and comparing the overall sentiment and feeling to...(c'mon, say it with me)...Nazi Germany in 1936.

Other stand-out ads included the Bud Light ad featuring a skydive instructor tossing a six-pack out of a plane as an enticement to a reluctant diver -- only to have the pilot take off out of the plane after it.

Super Bowl first-time advertiser (and halftime show sponsor) Ameriquest ran two ads, the first featuring a man on a cellphone getting beaten into submission by the proprietors of a convenience store after they mistakenly overhear the man say "You're being robbed." The second featured a man fixing dinner for his wife, and picking up the cat that had knocked over a pot of tomato sauce...while holding a butcher knife in the other hand, as the wife (or girlfriend - it could have been either one) walked into the apartment.

The usual round of upcoming motion picture ads were present, and included new footage for Batman Begins, Sahara, and War of the Worlds. I was surprised that neither Star Wars Episode III nor Fantastic Four were represented last night.

Overall though, the ads were pretty dismal as compared to past years -- good thing there was a fairly exciting game to balance them against.

iFilm has collected all the ads together for you to watch online.

Update: The NY Times slings mud at the A-B troops coming home ad.

A gauzy valentine to American troops, which ended with the Anheuser-Busch corporate logo superimposed on screen, was touching, but some viewers may have wondered whether "Busch" had been misspelled.
Leave it to the Times to let their biases show, even in discussing something as basic as a Super Bowl in a business article.

Update 2:GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons reports on his own blog that Fox yanked their second scheduled ad last night, at the behest of the NFL.

As you may have noticed our Super Bowl ad only appeared during the scheduled first quarter spot. It was scheduled to run also in the second ad position during the final two minute warning. Our ad never ran a second time. Instead, in its place, we saw an advertisement promoting "The Simpsons."

The NFL persuaded FOX to pull our ad.

We immediately contacted Fox to find out what happened. Here's what we were told: After our first ad was aired, the NFL became upset and they, together with Fox, decided to pull the ad from running a second time. Because we purchased two spots, we were also entitled to a "Brought to you by GoDaddy.com" 5 second marquis spot. They also chose to pull the marquis spot.

Their ad can be seen as part of iFilm's Super Bowl ad roundup.

Posted by: mhking at 04:56 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 05, 2005

The LEAGUE plays here!

It's time. All the practice and drills and scrimmages and films have all led to this.

From 32 teams in the hunt back at Canton in August, to two in Jacksonville tomorrow.

Will the New England Patriots cement a dynasty like the Steelers in the 70s, the 49ers in the 80s or the Cowboys in the 90s? Or will the Philadelphia Eagles bring a championship home to a city long wanting?

The Patriots have a 7 point edge, but I'm going to take the Eagles (and the points). I'm a long-time NFC (and NFL before that) fan. Besides -- they beat up on the Falcons two weeks ago, they deserve it.

Enjoy the game everyone; enjoy the commercials, and remember that if you miss 'em, the commercials will be rebroadcast on an NFL Network special tomorrow night, and again both Monday and Tuesday.

I'm almost ready - I'm making homemade pizzas and homemade hot wings. I can justify it - I'll be back on my diet Monday.

Wrong network, but the question always applies: "Are you ready for some football?"

Posted by: mhking at 05:30 PM | Comments (19) | Add Comment
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February 02, 2005

UPN/Paramount finally kills off Star Trek Enterprise

The low-rated fifth series in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek Enterprise will come to an end in May.

UPN and Viacom announced the decision today.

A number of changes had been made in the series ahead of this, the fourth season of the series, but the one thing that didn't change was the low ratings the series earned.

"Star Trek has been an important part of UPN's history, and Enterprise has carried on the tradition of its predecessors with great distinction," UPN Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said. "We'd like to thank Rick Berman, Brannon Braga and an incredibly talented cast for creating an engaging, new dimension to the Star Trek universe on UPN, and we look forward to working with them, and our partners at Paramount Network Television, on a send-off that salutes its contributions to The Network and satisfies its loyal viewers."

Paramount Network Television president David Stapf added, "The creators, stars and crew of Star Trek: Enterprise ambitiously and proudly upheld the fine traditions of the Star Trek franchise. We are grateful for their contributions to the legacy of Trek and commend them on completing nearly 100 exciting, dramatic and visually stunning episodes. All of us at Paramount warmly bid goodbye to Enterprise, and we all look forward to a new chapter of this enduring franchise in the future."

TrekToday sources report that CBS president Les Moonves himself yesterday reached the decision to pull the plug on Enterprise. Most Enterprise crew members only found out about their show's cancellation this morning.

The as-yet-untitled series finale (to be written by series killers creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) will air on May 13.

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CNN honcho enjoys the taste of shoe leather

Eason Jordan, "head honcho what be's in charge" down inside the monolith known as CNN Center, suffered from major foot-in-mouth disease late last week, when he charged that US military forces in Iraq were purposefully targeting US journalists.

Jordan claimed that he personally knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but in fact had been targeted.

During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.

Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park. David Gergen was also clearly disturbed and shocked by the allegation that the U.S. would target journalists, foreign or U.S. He had always seen the U.S. military as the providers of safety and rescue for all reporters.

Eason seemed to backpedal quickly, but his initial statements were backed by other members of the audience (one in particular who represented a worldwide journalist group). The ensuing debate was (for lack of better words) a real "sh--storm". What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd. The other looming shadow on what was going on was the presence of a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator in the middle of some very serious accusations about the U.S. military.

Here's where it gets really bizarre -- the person who finally told Jordan to put up or shut up during the ensuing verbal maelstrom was none other than -- get this -- Congresscritter Barney Frank (Boystown-MA)!

Of course the $64,000 question at this point is whether Jordan will be allowed to stay with CNN or not.

Considering that he has personal relationships with officials across the Middle East, and has been involved in making sure that CNN was front and center, head and shoulders above the other networks in the region in terms of trying to cover the news there, I wouldn't hold my breath.

But in any event, consider this more proof of the downfall of the traditional mainstream media, and more evidence of the rise of the new media. Because without blogs and the internet, this story would be quickly covered up and never see the light of day.

Posted by: mhking at 10:23 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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