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Best Super Bowl 45 commercial was Volkswagen

Posted by ZA on February 7, 2011

Overall the commercials in the 2011 Super Bowl were a major disappointment.  The best of the bunch was “The Force” from Volkswagen.  Next best was the NFL promotion that featured numerous television icons over the years.  I also enjoyed Best Buy’s humorous commercial with Ozzy Osborne and Justin Bieber.  I thought the Skechers commercial with Kim Kardashian did a good job of stealing Go Daddy’s thunder (i.e- using sex to sell).

On the other end of the spectrum, I think Coca-Cola lost its mind with the spots its played.  High production spots that lacked any redeeming qualities, aside from the production value.  Salesforce Chatter also seemed to bet on the wrong pitch persons, the Black Eyed Peas, who couldn’t save a dull commercial concept.  Stella Artois spot was boring and went no where, same with Bud’s first spot the “Wild West”.

Overall I didn’t think the 2011 Super Bowl commercials were very memorable, aside from a few.  I also failed to notice much cutting edge in-terms of integration of social media.  I expected someone to push the envelope there.  Madison Avenue – what are you guys waiting on to put out some good television commercials?

“The Force” by Volkswagen was best commercial in 2011 Super Bowl

Posted in CBS, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2011 NCAA Tournament will show all games live

Posted by ZA on April 23, 2010

Every March Madness fan hates when the game they are watching gets switched to some other game that they care nothing about.  It often seems as if the producers at CBS were throwing us around from game to game just to play God with our emotions.  Well no more, because starting in 2011 every college basketball fan will be able to watch all NCAA Tournament games live on basic cable.

The $10.8 billion extension that the NCAA and CBS just reached for broadcast & internet rights also included Turner Broadcasting System.  CBS and Turner’s joint bid will let them air games from all four regions of the tournament on four separate channels.  Starting with the 2011 NCAA Tournament you can tune into CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV to watch games.  Which means that every game will be shown live and available to all college hoops fans with basic cable.  This was a great move by the NCAA and television execs, one that makes me very happy as a fan.

Posted in CBS, College Basketball, College Sports, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buy 1 Super Bowl commercial, get 3 free Final Four spots

Posted by ZA on March 4, 2010

CBS aired back-to-back spots during the 2010 Super Bowl that each featured people in their underwear.  The first TV spot was for CareerBuilder and that was immediately followed by a very similarly themed commercial from Levi’s Dockers brand.  The two spots were similar enough that Dockers claims that TV viewers didn’t all recognize that they were from different advertisers.  To make good with Dockers CBS is giving the pants brand with 3 free commercials during the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

The lesson to be learned here: If you complain loudly enough, then you are likely to get something free.  I’m sure Dockers executives were feeling the heat when their multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercial underperformed.  They turned up the heat on CBS, who then caved and gave Dockers the make goods.  I’d guess that CBS probably also made Dockers commit to additional advertising during the NCAA Tournament, which is what softened the blow of giving away 3 valuable commercial slots.

Personally I think it would be interesting if the TV networks always placed competing brands (or creative, in this case) next to each other during the same commercial break.  Then consumers could decide which spot or brand was clearly better in one-on-one format.  Every time Bud Light airs a spot, Miller Lite follows them up and then the order switches the next time each plays.  Lumping the brands in next to each other would turn up the heat on the companies to produce winning creative each and every time, because no one wants to be responsible for losing the commercial break to their biggest competitor.  I think it would make all of the brands work harder to deliver a better product, because some of them seem to be mailing it in these days (I’m talking to you Taco Bell, on the Charles Barkley spot).

[Assist: Advertising Age]

Posted in CBS, Sports Marketing, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sneak preview: TruTV Super Bowl commercial

Posted by ZA on February 2, 2010

TruTV released a sneak preview of their television commercial that will air during the 2nd quarter of the 2010 Super Bowl.  The commercial is a promotion for TruTV’s new series, NFL FULL CONTACT, which will debut the Monday after the Super Bowl.

It’s appropriate that TruTV released the spot today because the Superbowl commercial has a Groundhog Day theme to it.  It features NFL player Troy Polamalu as Punxsutawney Phil (the famous groundhog), who gets pulled out of his stump by his famous hair and then does see his shadow.

Click here to see the TruTV commercial.

Posted in CBS, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Companies advertising in the 2010 Super Bowl

Posted by ZA on January 29, 2010

CBS sold spots for close to $3 million dollars for 30-seconds for the 2010 Super Bowl.  Did the $3 million dollar price tag deter many advertisers?  Some of the old guard, like General Motors and Pepsi dropped out, but there are still plenty of companies who want their chance in-front of the Super Bowl’s huge television audience.  Homeaway and kgb are two lesser known companies that will advertising during the 2010 Superbowl in hopes to build their brand.

Here are the companies that will be airing television commercials during the 2010 Super Bowl on CBS:

Anheuser-Busch
Audi
Boost Mobile (Sprint)
Bridgstone
CareerBuilder
Cars.com
Coca-Cola
Denny’s Restaurants
Diamond Foods (Pop-Secret popcorn)
Dockers
Dodge (Chrysler Group)
Doritos
E*Trade
Focus on Family (Christian family-help organization)
GoDaddy.com
Homeaway
Honda
Hyundai
kgb (directory assistance)
Kia
Mars (Snickers)
Monster.com
Motorola
Papa John’s Pizza
Teleflora
TruTV (Time Warner)
US Census Bureau
Viacom & Paramount Pictures (“Shutter Island”, “Iron Man 2” and “The Last Airbender”)
Volkswagen

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Who are the best announcers in football?

Posted by ZA on November 20, 2009

The Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily have published their list of the top 25 football announcers for 2009.  The list includes football commentators from both college football and the NFL.  Twelve panelists from the SBJ & SBD rated the announcers to produce the rankings.

Top 25 Best Football Annoucers for 2009:
1. Gary Danielson – CBS
2. Cris Collinsworth – NBC
3. Al Michaels – NBC
4. Phil Simms – CBS
5. Kirk Herbstreit – ABC/ESPN
6. Troy Aikman – Fox
7. Ron Franklin – ABC/ESPN
8. Verne Lundquist – CBS
9. Joe Buck – Fox
10. Jim Nantz – CBS
11. Mike Tirico – ESPN
12. Brad Nessler – ABC/ESPN
13. Brent Musburger – ABC/ESPN
14. Jon Gruden – ESPN
15. Daryl Johnston – Fox
16. Ron Jaworski – ESPN
17. Greg Gumbel – CBS
18. Sean McDonough – ABC/ESPN
19. Todd Blackledge – ABC/ESPN
20. Dan Fouts – CBS
21. Bob Papa – NFL Network
22. Mike Patrick – ABC/ESPN
23. Chris Fowler – ESPN
24. Gus Johnson – CBS
25. Dick Enberg – CBS

Here are the guys that are rated too high:
* Buck – He’s in the top 10 based on his baseball rep.  He’s solidly average in football.
* Gruden – It would be “outstanding” if he could expand his vocabulary.
* Gumbel – Living off his brother’s rep.  He’s okay, but not top shelf.
* Fouts – Top 20, really?  Proves no one is watching those AFC West games on CBS.
* Papa – Who gets to see him broadcast?  Time Warner still doesn’t offer NFL Network.
* Enberg – Great career, but listing him is more of a ‘lifetime achievement award’.

Here are the guys that need to be rated higher on the list:
* Franklin – Could easily be the top college football guy on list.
* Musburger – Polarizing figure, but he’s great for the game.  Getting old, but still comedic gold.
* McDonough – Always solid, would be rated higher if he were more of a “name”.
* Johnson – The panelists not only rate him too low they slight him with “Youtube generation” comment.

Here are some key names that did not make the list:
* Erin Andrews – ESPN (Put a lady on the list)
* Bob Davie – ESPN
* Dan Dierdorf – CBS
* Ian Eagle – CBS
* Bob Griese – ESPN
* Kevin Harlan – CBS  (Should make top 25 in future)
* Craig James – ESPN
* Andrea Kremer – NBC
* Jesse Palmer – ESPN (Should be in top 25 in future)
* Tony Siragusa – Fox
* Dick Stockton – Fox

PS – Could some production assistant at ABC/ESPN do Mike Patrick a favor and get him a better photo?

Posted in CBS, College Football, ESPN, Fox, NBC, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Top sports media sites – August 2009

Posted by ZA on September 21, 2009

Who is the top sports media site on the web today? Yahoo Sports according to ComScore ratings (August 2009) of the top sports sites on the web.  Although a large portion of that traffic is due to Rivals.com which accounts for almost 1/3 of Yahoo Sports 29 million number.  So Yahoo seems to be getting some value from the $100 million they spent to buy the Nashville company in 2007.  Rivals has a strong network of college fan communities, although it could be weakening since the top Rivals brass has now exited stage left.  But for now Yahoo is on top of one key internet category, who are the other top sports sites?

Top 10 Sports Media Sites (August 2009)
1. Yahoo Sports (includes Rivals.com)
2. ESPN
3. NFL Internet Group (includes all team sites)
4. Fox Sports (includes Scout.com)
5. MLB.com (which counts traffic from all team sites)
6. Fantasy Sports Ventures
7. CBS Sportsline
8. Fanhouse
9. Sports Illustrated sites (includes FanNation)
10. Stack Media
Honorable Mention: NBC Sports (includes Pro Football Talk)

Posted in CBS, ESPN, Fox, Internet, NBC, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What is a Super Bowl commercial worth?

Posted by ZA on August 3, 2009

How valuable is a television commercial during the Super Bowl? Apparently a lot less in the current economy.

CBS is reportedly selling spots for the 2010 Super Bowl in the $2-3 million dollar (per spot) range.  That amount is down considerably from the $2.4 million to $3 million per spot that NBC received on the 2009 Super Bowl.  CBS is selling cheaper because they have to given the current economy.  They are also telling potential buyers that they are negotiable on the price, something that NBC was (publicly) inflexible last year until the economy tanked.

Smart move by CBS to get aggressive on working with advertisers to get them involved in the big game.  There are lots of marquee brands that love to get the exposure the Super Bowl audience provides, but many of those have seen their ad budgets slashed.  By working with the potential advertiser to create a program, CBS is going to salvage some deals that might have otherwise walked away.  CBS will probably also benefit from hooking some of these advertisers into packages that include online, radio and other CBS-owned media properties.

I like this move, but if CBS really wanted to make a bold move they would publish the spot schedule with prices.  Imagine if they had a link from their website that showed all of the available commercial inventory during the broadcast.  The link would include all of the spots in order, which each spot having a price tag next to it.  If an advertiser has committed to the spot, then their name would be included (without revealing the price they paid).

I think this would be successful because it would create a buzz around advertisers to lock down the prime spots (which sell at higher prices).  It could also land some new deals from companies who might see a competitor listed and make the bold decision to buy a spot.  Imagine Heineken deciding to buy a spot immediately after (or before) a Budweiser or Miller spot.  Putting the information out there publicly might alienate some brands, but could get other new advertisers to step up to the table.  Because rather than negotiating the deals in backrooms, where favoritism rules the day, it would bring all dealings into the public domain.  Except of course the final agreed upon price should not be disclosed.

I even think CBS could take this strategy one step further by allowing Google & Microsoft (and other large online ad divisions) to each sell spots on their own sites, to earn a commission on the sale.  Maybe a Super Bowl commercial could even be auctioned off by Ebay (with a reserve price, of course).  The buzz alone generated by these moves would help to drive some sales and could even create a new online media property for CBS to sell ads for (i.e.- their web site listing all of the ads for sale on the Super Bowl).

This type of economy is when companies need to be most courageous.  CBS would be taking a big risk, but could also permanently change the way Super Bowl spots (and maybe others) are sold.  The change could have a positive financial impact now and down the road.  And before you remind me of the financial troubles of SpotRunner, I’ll say I think CBS has a few more resources than a 3rd-party site that is selling remnant commercial inventory.

Posted in CBS, NBC, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The randomness of sports: Masters 2009

Posted by ZA on April 13, 2009

I spent Masters Sunday splitting time between entertaining my 8-month old daughter and watching the final round of The Masters.  The final round was an enjoyable one, although I felt the CBS duo of Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo overplayed the greatness of it a bit.  Maybe it was because I was only casually watching since I was babysitting my little girl, but this round wasn’t nearly as exciting as other rounds of golf that I’ve watched.  The best round of golf that I’ve seen was the Sunday round at the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, when the USA overcame a huge deficit to win.

What was amazing to me about the Sunday round of the 2009 Masters was the randomness of the finish. Most of the day was devoted to the epic battle between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.  The eventual playoff participants (Angel Cabrera, Chad Campbell & Kenny Perry) were relegated to a supporting role while Tiger & Phil were on the course.  Once it was obvious that Tiger & Phil were going to fall just short, the storyline turned to Perry.  Nantz waxed poetic about how Perry could become the oldest winner in the history of the Masters.  Then Perry bogeyed the final hole in regulation sending the 2009 Masters into a 3-way playoff.  It is then that the drama really unfolded…

On the first playoff hole Campbell and Perry drove their shots into the middle of the fairway, while Cabrera’s shot was blocked out in the trees to the right.  Naturally you assume that Cabrera’s goose is cooked; it appeared he didn’t even have a shot at the green.  And then it happened.  Then we witnessed one of the luckiest moments in the history of the Masters. Cabrera’s hail mary shot at the green hit a tree and ricocheted out into the 18th fairway.  When I heard the sound of his ball hitting a tree I all but buried Cabrera in my mind.  I had already pretty much written him off with the other two guys in perfect shape in the fairway, but now I was sure he was done.  Until the CBS camera located his shot in the middle of the fairway, then I thought to myself  that maybe El Pato has a chance.

Turns out that Angel Cabrera wasn’t dead; as he tapped in a putt a short time later to win the 2nd playoff hole and the 2009 Masters.  What an amazing turn events, Cabrera went from dead & buried to Masters champion.  I play golf and I’ve struck many trees during my day, so I know that you can catch lucky breaks.  I also know that luck plays a little part in most sports championships.  But what are the odds a guy is going to win the Masters shortly after knocking one off a Georgia Pine?

How random was it that Cabrera’s ball wound up in better position then if he would have just punched out to begin with?  It just goes to show that sports are random.  Cabrera was in terrible shape compared to his opponents, but with one random twist of fate he was still in it.  Yes, it required skill on Angel’s part to get up & down and not choke on the next playoff hole.  But if Cabrera hits that shot off the tree ten more times, I bet none of them turn out as good as his one shot did on Sunday.  It was a random occurrence that helped Angel Cabrera win the Masters.  In my opinion it is “the story” of Sunday at Augusta for the 2009 Masters.

Congrats to Angel “El Pato” Cabrera.  He is a great golfer, who is quite deserving of his Masters championship.  But he needs to go back to Augusta National today and kiss that tree that saved his round.  Like the Eisenhower Tree, we may soon see another tree at Augusta get named for the man who famously struck it.  I just have to figure out what sounds better: Angel’s Tree, Cabrera’s Tree or El Pato’s Pine?

Posted in CBS, Golf | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Watch SEC football live from your computer

Posted by ZA on September 12, 2008

As part of the record television contract that the SEC signed with CBS Sports last month, SEC football games will be simulcast live online.  Viewers can watch the SEC games for free at CBSSports.com.  The ads shown during the live simulcast will be the same ads shown to television viewers of that SEC game.  There will be a pre-roll video ad spot when a viewer first logs on to watch the game.

The current deal with CBS is just to stream 17 football games per year, not every SEC football game.  I imagine that they will expand this in future years to cover more SEC games.  Eventually you will be able to see SEC game being played, although the quality of the broadcasts will be poorer on those where a CBS television crew isn’t doing an on-site broadcast.  They will also have to jump through some hoops to make sure that no games broadcast on the internet have permission from ESPN and other rights holders, who broadcast SEC games.

Posted in CBS, College Football, Sports Television, TV Rights Deals | Leave a Comment »