Ads feature amateurs, play it safe

first_imgNEW YORK – Along with the trademark Clydesdales, talking animals and high-end computer graphics, there was a new entry this year in the annual showdown of advertisers in the Super Bowl: amateurs. Starting in the first quarter, a goofy spot for Doritos showing a hapless driver distracted by a pretty woman passing by marked the first time a purely amateur-created ad aired during the Super Bowl. Frito-Lay, the PepsiCo Inc. division that makes Doritos, ran an online competition to pick the winning spot. Katie Crabb, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, was the winner of a separate contest by General Motors Corp. and had her idea for an ad made into reality by Chevrolet’s marketing division. Despite being made by a newcomer, that ad was true to the tradition of using oddball humor in Super Bowl ads, showing a number of men stripping off their shirts – and some other articles of clothing – at the sight of a new Chevy HHR rolling down the street. Sight gags were back, including one from Bud Light early in the game showing a rather unusual tactic for winning at rock-paper-scissors – throwing an actual rock at the head of your opponent. The gag wasn’t completely new, however, since last year Sprint Nextel Corp. featured a phone with a “crime deterrent” – which turned out to be throwing the phone at someone’s head. FedEx Corp. combined a sight gag with another trademark of big ticket Super Bowl spots, fancy computer graphics, with an other-worldy ad showing an office worker drifting off into space from the world’s first office on the moon, only to be clobbered by a passing meteor. A lot was riding on the ads, and not just because CBS Corp. was charging as much as $2.6million for a 30-second spot during the game. With about 90million people watching, it’s the most-viewed program all year on television, and the ads are subject to intense scrutiny, both by amateurs and the marketing industry. Coca-Cola Co. was back in the game after a long absence, taking on its rival Pepsi with a number of creative ads, including an homage to Black History Month with an understated ad showing the changing shapes of Coke bottles over time as milestones in black history appeared alongside. That ad referred indirectly to the fact that, for the first time, both coaches in the game are black, and at least one other spot also highlighted Black History Month. Some of the uses of humor didn’t resonate well with experts. Stephen Greyser, a professor at Harvard Business School specializing in communications and the business of sports, said the rock-throwing spot by Anheuser-Busch Cos.’ Bud Light was “attention-getting” but also “had a nasty character to it.” Bud Light, which often swings for the fences with wacky jabs at humor, scored better with Greyser with a different spot showing an auctioneer saying wedding vows at hyper-fast speed. Greyser said that spot had a much broader appeal. The job-search company CareerBuilder ditched its longtime office-monkey pitchmen of years past in favor of a jungle combat scene among office workers, where office supplies become weapons. Think of “Dilbert” meets “Lord of the Flies.” Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University who runs a panel of students to rate the ads, called this year’s batch a “mixed bag,” saying advertisers were “being safe,” with no one “pushing the edge of either creativity or taste.” An ad early in the game for Blockbuster Inc. with computer animations of animals trying to push, click and – ouch – drag an actual mouse resonated well with members of his panel, who said it was creative and also delivered the company’s message. The panel found a spot by King Pharmaceuticals Inc. showing a guy dressed up in a giant red heart costume “puzzling,” while Garmin International Inc.’s oddball spot with a showdown between a superhero-like character and a monster made from maps was deemed “hard to follow.” Sight gags back Back in the game Hitchhiking gag Later in the game, Bud Light won laughs with a spot showing a guy clearly losing points with his girlfriend by wanting to pick up a hitchhiker on a dark road, despite the fact that he’s carrying an axe. Everything turns out fine after the hitchhiker reassures the man that it’s actually just a bottle opener. Revlon was one of a rare few to appeal to the female audience, unveiling a spot with scenes of the singer Sheryl Crowe on tour and doing a rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” The NFL itself, meanwhile, got into the “user-generated” theme with a spot near the end of the game whose idea was contributed by a fan, Gino Bona, of Portsmouth, N.H., taking a light look at the anguish fans go through at the end of the NFL season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Man United lack the fluidity of Man City and Spurs, says Huddersfield ace

first_img1 Tom Ince believes Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United not only lacked the passion of Huddersfield but showed they cannot match the fluidity of title rivals Manchester City and Tottenham.The Red Devils left West Yorkshire with a bloody nose after arriving at the John Smith’s Stadium second in the Premier League and unbeaten domestically.Aaron Mooy fired Huddersfield ahead before Victor Lindelof’s mistake allowed Laurent Depoitre to strike a quick-fire second, with David Wagner’s men holding out for a 2-1 win after Marcus Rashford’s late header brought a nervy ending.It was Huddersfield’s first Premier League win for two months and left Mourinho bemoaning his side’s poor attitude.“Listen, the manager knows that toe-to-toe we can’t deal with Manchester United,” said Huddersfield summer signing Ince, son of former United favourite Paul Ince.“They have got superior players who are world-class, elite players. But all we can do is give the attitude and have the right mentality and desire to try and work for each other.“We know that if we can cover the yards on the pitch and make it difficult for teams, make it ugly when they come here, then it gives us half a chance.“We managed to do that, everyone to a man, and we have to continue that now.”Defeat leaves Mourinho’s men five points behind swashbuckling Manchester City, who are the Premier League form side of the moment.Pep Guardiola’s men will arrive at the John Smith’s Stadium next month and may wonder which Huddersfield side to expect. In their previous home match before facing United, the Terriers were swatted aside 4-0 by Tottenham.“When you look at United, they’re obviously a top quality side but they don’t really play with the same fluidity as your Spurs or your Man Citys,” Ince said.“They build up the game quite slow, they like to get it out wide and we felt that if we could win the ball the back and try to exploit the space in behind – the space the full-backs leave because they go so high – then we were able to do that.“Yeah, of course, it’s a shock to the system for them because obviously they’ve come here expecting to win, but we’re happy with the three points and a great day for the town.”It was certainly a blueprint of how to frustrate United, who have got lucky at time in their previous Premier League away games.As for Huddersfield, victory boosts morale ahead of next weekend’s trip to Liverpool – a side coached by Wagner’s close friend and former colleague Jurgen Klopp.“He’ll be happy to beat them,” Ince said of dad Paul, who played for both United and Liverpool. “Obviously to get on the scoresheet would be even better“It’s a great three points and next week will be a different test, a totally different challenge.“But this can only give us confidence, give us a boost, going in the right direction, how we want to move forward.“It is important that we showed a performance after (losing at) Swansea, but no-one expected three points and we’re happy we’ve been able to do that for this club and, this town. It’s another bit in the history books for this town.”Ince added: “I don’t think you can show intimidation to a side like this.“If you show that then they see that you’re weak and they know that you’re in awe of the players they’ve got.“It’s Manchester United – of course the occasion is massive, of course to play against those type of players you sometimes have that real sense of ‘what’s going on here?’.“But we’re 11 men against their 11 men, and we work hard for each other, we show the right attitude.“I thought we managed the game well at times, we slowed it down when we needed to and up the other end we’ve managed to create chances and score goals.” Aaron Mooy scored the first for Huddersfield against Manchester United last_img read more