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Entries in Broadcasting (6)


Nike Fails In Bid To Write The Future


Cup Quarters Devoid Of
Stars From Glitzy Mega-Ad

One Great Season

When Nike unveiled its three-minute Alejandro González Iñárritu-helmed World Cup "Write the Future" mega-ad, one thing amidst all the pageantry appeared just slightly out of place: Ronaldinho, prominently featured in the spot, didn't quite make the Brazil squad. It seemed a gross miscalculation on the Swoosh's part, considering the fading Milan maestro hadn't been picked for the Selecao since April 2009. But as the big names rolled out and the cameos piled up, there perhaps grew a sneaking suspicion that this first failure, emulated so pointlessly by Kobe Bryant, would in fact prove a sign of things to come.

And it wasn't just Ronaldinho. Theo Walcott, after all, missed out on a place in the England team, never to be the target of a misplaced Wayne Rooney pass, the most painfully prophetic aspect of the whole video. A week prior to the tournament, Didier Drogba, the first bold-faced superstar we see, suffered a broken elbow in a friendly against Japan, throwing his availability into question and ultimately spiking his influence. And France's Franck Ribery has had a few months to forget: he missed Bayern Munich's Champions League final for a reckless tackle in the previous round; arrived in South Africa under investigation for sleeping with an underaged prostitute (he faces up to 3 years if convicted); reportedly played a key role in locker room divisions and the sad mutiny against coach Raymond Domenech; and did next to nothing on the field.

EXTRA: Complete World Cup Coverage From One Great Season

These players suffered their misfortunes before the commercial ever aired. Others had to wait until they laced up those fancy purple and orange boots.

After a series of geriatric showings led to a group-stage elimination, it's safe to say that Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro won't be getting the C'e Capitano treatment from Bobby Solo and his sequined band of flying figurantes and cartwheeling dudes in wifebeaters.

Patrice Evra was apparently in it, too. But blink and you'll miss him, just like at the World Cup. His most notable contribution was to lead the aforementioned French mutiny against the man who'd named him captain.

Rooney at least made it to the Round of 16, though he failed to score and, I imagine, will fail to be knighted. But let's not bet against him throwing a lager bottle through his bedroom mirror. And while Cristiano Ronaldo did manage to put one run on the board in that 7-0 boxscore over North Korea, the people of Portugal may have to lay that giant statue on the ground if they want to truly commemorate his performance at this World Cup.

Indeed, it looked for a fleeting, glorious moment that Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, awarded a whopping split-second joint cameo, would turn out to be the unlikely success stories of the ad. That is, until a Kevin-Prince Boateng wormburner and some shifty Scouser strumpet killed that dream.

All that's left are three envious Spaniards: Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique. But Cesc might want to pick that paper back up as he'll need something to read while riding the bench. The latter two, however, are enjoying a fantastic World Cup, and have so far emerged as the only players worthy of such glitzy apotheosis.

So go ahead, write the future, fellas. But the way it's going, that future will see Paraguay in the semifinals.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup 2010: ESPN Releases Viewer Ratings


USA-England Match
Most Watched USMNT
Game Since 1994

One Great Season

ESPN released some weekend World Cup ratings details Monday night. Here are a few key takeaways:

+ ABC's telecast of the United States-England match was the most-watched World Cup first-round match among households and viewers, and the most-viewed U.S. Men’s National Team game since 1994. U.S.-England enjoyed a 7.3 rating. The two-hour match window (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET) averaged a 7.3 household rating, 8.4 million households, and almost 13 million viewers.

+ Through eight weekend matches, ESPN and ABC averaged 3 million households and 4.25 million viewers – up 75 percent and 80 percent, respectively, from the first eight games of the 2006 World Cup (1.7 million and 2.4 million viewers).

+ The most-watched game from Sunday was ABC's Germany-Australia debacle – a 2.8 household rating, 3.3 million households, and 4.7 million viewers, while Serbia-Ghana delivered a 2.3 household coverage rating with 2.2 million households and 3 million viewers earlier in the day on ESPN.

Below are the top five most-viewed FIFA World Cup telecasts (1994-present):

1. U.S.-China, Women's World Cup Final (ABC, 7/10/99) – 18 million viewers (11.4 rating)
2. Brazil-Italy, World Cup Final (ABC, 7/17/94) – 14.5 (9.5 rating)
3. Brazil-U.S., World Cup Round of 16 (ABC, 7/4/94) – 13.7 (9.3 rating)
4. Italy-France, World Cup Final (ABC, 7/9/06) – 12.0 (7.0 rating)
5. U.S.-England, World Cup First Round (ABC, 6/12/10) – 10.8 (6.1 rating)

Click here for Mike's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 TV Schedule

NCAA Tournament

One Great Season

Thursday brings more excitement to the living rooms of college basketball fans. It's the first of two nights of third-round action of the NCAA Tournament.

While that might seem like good news to most, there is some bad news: Gus Johnson will not be able to call every game.

But CBS has announced the broadcast teams for the four sites on tap this weekend:

Region: East
Site: Syracuse
Announcers: Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas
+ West Virginia vs. Washington, 7:27 p.m.
+ Kentucky vs. Cornell, 9:57 p.m.
+ Winners play Saturday, Time TBA

Region: West
Site: Salt Lake City
Announcers: Gus Johnson and Len Elmore
+ Syracuse vs. Butler, 7:07 p.m.
+ Kansas State vs. Xavier, 9:37 p.m.
+ Winners play Saturda, Time TBA

Region: South
Site: Houston
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg
+ Baylor vs. St. Mary's, 7:27 p.m.
+ Duke vs. Purdue, 9:57 p.m.
+ Winners play Sunday, Time TBA

Region: Midwest
Site: St. Louis
Announcers: Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery
+ Ohio State vs. Tennessee, 7:07 p.m.
+ Michigan State vs. Northern Iowa, 9:37 p.m.
+ Winners play Sunday, Time TBA


March Adness: Cheers To Dos Equis

If you're like us, you've probably got some opinions on the many commercials you absorbed (or ignored) in front of your television or computer watching the NCAA Tournament all weekend. That's why we thought we'd take a different route today and have once again asked Steve Susi, founder of branding consultancy Brand Spanking New York, to chime in with his thoughts on a few of the ads aired/streamed the most often during those many (oh, so many) timeouts.

Special To One Great Season

Of course, we all know the Super Bowl is the holy grail of football, and — aside from the self-absorbed ad industry itself — probably the only time and place where advertising is legitimately included in the main event. But long after the cocktail flu kept you home that fateful following Monday has faded, the month of March belongs to the high-profile NCAA Basketball Tournament, which has in its own right become a hugely important vehicle on the media calendar. For advertisers with new creative seeking a "captive audience" (if that even exists anymore outside of a jail cell) of college-educated, 18-to-59 year-old men to show it to, these few weeks of Madness represent the first reason to live since Drew Brees shocked the world with his admission that he was going to Disneyworld.

Over the course of this frenetic weekend, here are the five spots which appeared to be in heaviest rotation and their requisite critiques

Dos Equis, "Snow Monkeys", "Lady Luck", "Ice Fishing" (Euro RSCG)
Courtesy of Euro here in New York, the latest ad flight of the “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign from Dos Equis stands as one of the few beacons of creativity remaining, seemingly, on earth. Or at least the American TV ad landscape. His mother has a tattoo that reads "son." How much fun is it to handle this account? Must be great. Excellent scriptwriting (by now a constant), tasteful shooting, and A-plus editing render this marketing push the best in broadcast by far today. And what often goes uncelebrated in rare moments like these is how smart and gutsy the clients are. Talented creatives can be found in agencies all over the country (and world), but it’s only because of great clients that spots like these see the light of day. (Client-side marketing execs, this means you.)

Miller Lite "Love – L-L-Love" (DraftFCB)
In stark contrast to the above, this beer campaign succeeds only in its achievement of greater levels of embarrassment. Someone please tell me what DraftFCB and their clients at Miller Lite are thinking, assuming they are. We all know that it’s been the currency of beermakers for decades to prey on the young single guy’s inability to commit to relationships as fodder for their ads. But what research is showing men are now being forced to choose between the two? Not sure about your college, but in my experience, they were often found together in close quarters. Anyway the campaign isn’t funny, and worse, what the hell kind of alcoholic is your target that he’s ready to sacrifice his dog, mother, and okay-looking girlfriend for a bottle of see-thru beer? Bad, half-brained, insulting.

Southwest Airlines "Battle Cry" (GSD&M)
The Texan discount carrier is betting that the US traveler is so against bag fees that he'll select the friendly airline famous for it’s Cincinnati-Who-concert-bumrush-style seating process. That might be a stretch in my opinion, but whatever. What certainly will be a stretch is the public’s tolerance of seeing this spot 20 times every basketball game. The five-second shelf-life of the humor of outta-shape Joe Sixpacks removing their shirts to reveal “BAGS FLY FREE” painted across their collective chests is so predictable, but not insulting or anything like that. It’s just, now that ad inventory has plummeted throughout the TV world in favor of more digitally focused media budgets, the traditional advertisers left standing see their spots rotating over and over again during any given program, guaranteeing viewer fatigue and annoyance and multiplying exponentially its lack of surprise. This one included.

Capital One, "Ivan Brothers" (DDB Chicago)
“What’s in Your Mullet?” has to be one of the most universally despised campaigns in history. (The “Hands in Your Pocket” spot that ran in Canada is the high point, and the David Spade units were OK, I guess.) For nearly a decade we’ve been treated to nitwit dads and buffoon desert island castaways performing low-quality slapstick before delivering the same rhetorical question/tagline. (I’ll give them that, though — consistency is key to great branding; unfortunately for the world’s largest credit card issuer, so is interesting, relevant creative). But this new “Visigoths” push takes mediocrity to brand new heights of dumb. Our country is so litigious that no one can target anyone as the butt of a joke anymore because the client might be sued or flamed by some watchdog organization, so agencies are left to create stories around fictitious “people.” (See also Geico’s “Cavemen.”) Sure, this alleviates legal risk. But how much longer are we going to be subjected to these idiot Vikings (including Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds") with Cockney accents putting change in their laptop disk drives, sniffing rental bowling shoes, putting a mace through the airport metal detector, bringing goats to the ski slope, and raising bearded children? Who wrote these things, seventh-graders? Enough already. I speak for the world when I beg of thee: please, please stop. With sprinkles on top.

HP, "Let’s Do Amazing" (72andSunny)
I want so badly for this new $40 million campaign for the computer giant from 72andSunny — a departure from HP's agency of record, San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners — to be great, what with the casting of Kiwi comic genius Rhys Darby of "Flight Of the Conchords" and all, but they’ve underwhelmed. Smacking of Cisco’s current campaign, which uses Ellen Page to go around her hometown and explore the awe-inspiration that is Cisco, we see Darby barge in on Dr. Dre during a recording session, bumble with questions at a UPS facility, and touch things he shouldn’t in The Venetian’s security office. That’s it? Come on, guys. When the best bit you write in for a hilarious dude like Rhys is his little beat-boxish noises at the end of the Dre spot (which I do find genuinely funny), you’ve wasted a massive opportunity to separate yourself from other tech concerns like, lo and behold, Ellen and Cisco. I pray we see you flex your comedy-writing muscles (or let Darby do it) soon.

Be sure to give Susi a follow on Twitter. He's at @BrandSpankingNY.


Tournament Takeaways: What The First Weekend Taught Us

Ali Farokhmanesh

One Great Season

One of the best opening weekends in recent NCAA Tournament history drew to a close shortly before 8 p.m. ET Sunday, and if you're anything like me, you've already begun counting down every tenth of a second for Thursday's Sweet 16 round to get here.

What did the first two rounds show us? Besides the fact that I can't fill out a bracket with even the slightest bit of success, plenty:

+ No one is invincible. Kansas, not just a No. 1 seed, but the tournament's top overall seed and heavy favorite to win its second national championship in three years, learned that the hard way. The Jayhawks had a star or a budding star at every spot on the floor, but they might not have taken seriously enough the one thing Northern Iowa seemed to have more of: heart.

+ The Big Ten is back. Isn't that what we said in the first week of January, after the college football bowl season? It is, and the same is true on the hardwood. With No. 1 Kansas and No. 3 Georgetown out of the way, Ohio State is the logical pick to rule the Midwest, though it might need to knock off league foe Michigan State -- gimpy guards and all -- in the Elite Eight. And not enough can be said about Purdue's gutsy overtime defeat of Texas A&M, making the Big Ten the only conference to send three teams into the next round. Gritty Chris Kramer doesn't want his career to end just yet. The Purdue senior is straight ballin'.

+ Cornell is legitimate. So is Xavier. Those are two fine basketball teams. That Cornell-Kentucky matchup will be one of the most interesting Sweet 16 games in recent memory. And the Muskies are no longer a precious little mid-major. The Muskies can beat anybody. I loved that rookie coach and hometown fave Chris Mack jabbed a Minneapolis writer after XU took it to the Golden Gophers Friday.

+ Despite the Big Ten props, I do agree with most analysts -- Len Elmore and Seth Davis, in particular -- who say the best-conference debate is a waste of time. Conferences aren't playing conferences. Individual teams are playing other teams in high-pressure, single-elimination games where personnel matchups are critical. That said, what up with the Big East?

+ Looking ahead, if Kentucky and West Virginia win their third-round games in the East, they'd meet in what would no doubt be the best regional final of the tournament. If those teams do make the Elite Eight, that could very well be a de facto national championship game.

+ On the TV front, CBS once again did an outstanding job showing 48 games over 80 hours, and switching to late-game situations. One complaint I did hear came from a colleague in the Bay Area who was disappointed to have to watch the last minute of Sunday's Duke-Cal yawner instead of being switched to the thrilling Xavier-Pittsburgh and Purdue-Texas A&M finishes that unfolded simultaneously at other locations. But overall, I thought CBS got it right again and I hope The Eye continues to broadcast America's greatest sporting event for as long as I'm alive.

+ The Miller Lite commercials are still awful, the Capital One viking ads have never once been funny, the new Dos Equis spots are just as strong as last year's successes, the girl in the Palm commercial is beautiful, Rhys Darby has already jumped the shark with those bad HP ads and Southwest Airlines appears poised to annoy us with their shirt-lifting baggage handlers for two more weeks. More on that from OGS contributor Steve Susi soon.


Franklin, Davis Lead Excellent Baylor-Kansas Broadcast

Xavier Henry

One Great Season

Good television met up with good basketball on ESPN late in the exciting Baylor-Kansas game Wednesday night.

With about nine minutes left, Hubert Davis did something analysts don't do all that often. He spoke critically of another team, also in the Big 12, saying it had been a disappointment so far this season.

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"I really thought Iowa State was going to be good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament this year," is a pretty close paraphrase to what Davis said.

He continued by naming a couple players in particular who haven't developed the way they should have, and overall, as a team, Iowa State just hasn't gotten it done they way it should be getting it done considering the talent level the Cyclones enjoy.

Then, with about six minutes left, on a possession after Lacederius Dunn drained a contested three to pull Baylor to within seven, a KU player missed the front end of a one-and-one. The rebound quickly got poked back out to Sherron Collins, who didn't waste a moment before launching -- and swishing -- a three. Baylor coach Scott Drew promptly called a timeout.

And during the short break, ESPN play-by-play star Ron Franklin started talking to his stat guy, not knowing his mic was still hot. Franklin thought the broadcast had gone into commercial.

It was hardly the end of the world; I actually thought it might have been interesting for folks curious about the behind-the-scenes of broadcasting.

Then when a producer or someone presumably told him his mic was hot, he offered up an amused chuckle and apologized to his audience while explaining to it what stat he was inquiring about in the first place: turnovers.

As I finished typing the above paragraphs, Baylor ended consecutive possessions with authoritative dunks to tie the game on each occasion.

And a moment later, Franklin asked Davis to evaluate Baylor's Dunn.

"He's a complete guard, and he's also a great defender as well," Davis said. "He's one of the best two guards in the country."

Davis continued by heaping more praise on Dunn's backcourtmate, point guard Tweety Carter, but Kansas got some separation, hit a few late free throws and held off a game group of Bears. KU won at home for the 53rd straight time, 81-75.