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Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl’

UPDATE: The Superdome Blackout, MetLife Stadium and PR Karma

UPDATE: We’ve just learned that the account in question was a fake, so as far as we know MetLife Stadium has yet to incur any bad karma. Whew!

PR professionals believe in karma. We just do. It’s part of the job.

As soon as you start believing that everything will go right because you’re prepared and you really mean well, something goes wrong. When the lights went out during the Super Bowl last night, we cringed at the thought of a billion people pointing and laughing at those who would surely lose their jobs. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was a public relations disaster for the Superdome, New Orleans and the NFL. The lights went out… for 34 excruciating minutes.

Admittedly, we laughed with everyone else at the jokes blaming Beyonce’s explosive halftime show for the outage and poking fun at the poignant irony of rich people being trapped in the Superdome. And we admired the brands that made the most of this “people are bored” promotional opportunity on Twitter and elsewhere. But when MetLife Stadium–site of the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey–jumped on the bandwagon, we had to take a step back.

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4 Super Bowl ‘Rebranding’ Reviews: What Worked? What Didn’t?

Since today is officially Review the Super Bowl day, we thought we’d riff on a theme we saw in several of last night’s big-name ads: rebranding. The companies in question aren’t exactly hurting for money (except for one very notable exception), but they wanted to use the Super Bowl as a jumping-off point to refine and re-target their brands. So what worked? What didn’t? Let’s do some before-and-after comparisons, shall we?

Mercedes-Benz

Before: A luxury car brand synonymous with “incredibly rich (and usually evil) people”

After: A premium brand that’s still affordable for those of us a little lower on the social ladder

Did it work? Nice commercial but no. An “economy” model Mercedes is like a subprime mortgage: you can tell us it’s less expensive and convince us that we’ll be able to pay it off in twenty years of installments, but the fact is we still can’t afford it.

But hey, at least we didn’t have to watch Kate Upton try to act.

Click through for the rest:

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Two 49ers Deny Making the ‘It Gets Better’ PSA in Which They Appear

The San Francisco 49ers, who happen to be playing in a certain football game this Sunday, earned a bit of bad press earlier in the week after cornerback Chris Culliver decided to let the world know that he “[doesn't] do the gay guys, man” and that any pro football players who happen to be gay should probably stay in the closet because the whole deal just totally weirds him out, girl. Trust!

Culliver then issued what may be the least effective damage control statement ever, saying that “The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel.”

You’d think the clip below–recorded as part of Dan Savage‘s “It Gets Better” anti-bullying PSA campaign for gay and lesbian youth–might help nip that problem in the bud, right?

No such luck: yesterday two of the very players who appear in the video denied ever making it.

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DOJ Wants to Keep Your Beer Affordable (And Budweiser Clydesdales Make Us Cry)

Beer drinkers of America: the Department of Justice has your back.

The DOJ filed a civil antitrust lawsuit this week to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s $20.1 billion deal to buy the remaining shares of Grupo Modelo, brewers of Corona, saying that merging the largest and third largest beer makers would “substantially lessen competition”. In other words, if this deal went through there would be nothing to keep the cost of your Friday night suds from skyrocketing.

Under the proposed merger, ABI and Modelo would together control about 46 percent of beer sales in the US. Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of DOJ’s antitrust division, said “If ABI fully owned and controlled Modelo, ABI would be able to increase beer prices to American consumers. This lawsuit seeks to prevent ABI from eliminating Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.”

In order to prove ABI’s dubious intentions, the DOJ’s complaint quotes internal company documents that highlight ABI’s plans to maintain its upward price leadership.

But Anheuser-Busch, like so many boozed-up brawlers before it, won’t be going down without a fight. The company said that it plans to “vigorously contest the DOJ’s action in federal court”. Oddly, whoever wrote the release forgot to add “despite the fact that everyone in the world knows that both Budweiser and Corona taste like overpriced, alcohol-flavored water.”

We’ll keep you posted as this story progresses. In the meantime, though, we’ve uncovered Anheuser-Busch’s nefarious plans to interrupt your Super Bowl with this tear-jerker of a commercial (as if trying to raise the price of your beer weren’t bad enough). We may or may not have begun our Friday morning watching this clip, singing along, and blubbering into our housecoats. Dammit, Clydesdales – you get us every time.

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Coca-Cola Insists Its Arab ‘Camel Jockey’ Ad Isn’t Racist

Earlier today we asked whether the new practice of releasing Super Bowl ad spots before the big game was a good PR move. Now further developments make the question seem even more relevant: multiple brands have already attracted accusations of racism based on these teasers.

First Volkswagen faced a racial insensitivity backlash for its “painfully white dude speaks with Jamaican accent, mon” spot:

Now Coke faces the same sort of outrage over its Mad Max-style “crazy desert race” ad, which happens to include some unfortunate footage of a stereotypical Arab man pulling a camel.

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SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Rejected for Picking on Big Soda Brands

We recently told you about SodaStream‘s clever ad being pulled for “denigrating” the bottled drinks market — or, as we saw it, being a little too effective at competing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Now, SodaStream’s newest spot, dubbed “Game Changer” and created specifically for the Super Bowl, has been rejected by CBS for similar reasons.

Because SodaStream is a direct competitor of the Big Soda brands that tend to be omnipresent during the Super Bowl — and because the proposed ad isn’t shy about taking direct aim at those brands — even the company itself isn’t surprised “Game Changer” was rejected.

CMO of SodaStream International Ilan Nacasch said in a release, “We understand that the ‘Game Changer’ ad may be uncomfortable to the Big Soda companies, but we are proud of the ad and the truth that it brings to the American consumer.”

That “truth,” according to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, is that “500 million bottles and cans are manufactured every day in the U.S and less than 50% are recycled, causing untold damage to our environment…Our ad confronts the beverage industry…by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks.”

A cool product with a save-the-world angle? No wonder the big brands are a little nervous. The rejected ad will air internationally beginning next week (but you, lucky readers, can watch it now below).

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Poll: Do Super Bowl Ad Leaks = Good PR Strategy?

Super-Bowl-Commercials-2013Isn’t it interesting how branding and advertising strategies converge around the Super Bowl? No matter how what kind of products they’re promoting, companies and agencies seem to play copycat in the run-up to the big game. This year it’s all about teaser leaks and hashtags.

The game has changed: two days ago NBC already had a post up ranking the leaked clips, and most marketing execs “don’t see any downside” to releasing ads ahead of time, thereby foregoing “the ‘aha’ moment” when viewers see future classic commercials for the first time. Their theory: all buzz is good buzz, and social sharing could make their ads even bigger. Just because people have seen or heard of them before doesn’t mean the public response will be any less positive.

Not everyone agrees, though: a marketing professor tells the New York Times that leaks only work for particularly “dynamic, innovative or exciting” ads, while “old school” ad execs prefer the “element of surprise” that comes from making the public wait. The Bleacher Report blog even theorizes that the leaks will lead to decreased viewership since so many Americans are more interested in watching the commercials than the game itself.

So let us know, readers. Click through for the poll.

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RIM Spends a Ton, Rebrands Itself as…BlackBerry!

BlackBerry rebranding Alicia KeysIn case you aren’t a tech blogger, this morning’s hot story concerned the future of Research in Motion, one of America’s “most hated” brands.

Yes, people still get excited about smartphone companies that have fallen way behind the curve. Need proof? Journalists from every major publication showed up to cover today’s new product roll-out event (while sniggering under their breath). RIM, famous only for producing the BlackBerry, used the event as an opportunity to rebrand itself as…wait for it…BlackBerry.

The public already saw the new BlackBerry 10 before today’s big roll-out thanks to a badly staged PR stunt at a November Lakers game, but right now we’re more interested in the company’s decision to name “longtime Apple userAlicia Keys as its global creative director. What will she do to revitalize the brand? What will she tell her 1.6 million Instagram fans, who still can’t use BlackBerries to follow her account? And won’t she get annoyed when everyone starts comparing her to Beyoncé? We certainly would. She didn’t even play a song this morning, by the way. We feel slightly robbed.

Anyway…

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‘Super Bowl Media Day’ as PR Spectacular

PR challenge of the day: working for a professional sports league (the NFL) that still inspires thousands of fans to pay $25 to sit around and watch its biggest stars act dumb for the camera. Just kidding–”Super Bowl Media Day” is one big, we-know-you-love-us party.

As one player put it, “It’s like Mardi Gras without liquor and with cameras. It’s cool. It’s an exciting time for us”. And it might just be the slickest media relations gig around.

In short, journalists hang on millionaire athletes’ every word as they talk about how they’re the best at anything ever while representatives wonder what could possibly go wrong. Based on this guy’s outfit, we’d say nothing:

What does this event teach us about football players?

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Taco Bell Loves Fun., Old People and Español

When we hear the words “Taco” and “Bell” together, our thoughts don’t turn to retirement homes, native Spanish speakers or the one-hit wonder band Fun..

But America’s biggest rice, corn and beans chain brings the three together in what may be the most amusing way possible for its first Super Bowl commercial.

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