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Setting the Bar High February 28, 2008

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Match made in heaven.

Brad Richards with 5 assists in his Dallas Stars debut. Nik Hagman hat trick.

HullJack for NHL Execs of the Year!

Live-Blogging Project Runway Season 4 Finale, Pt 1 February 27, 2008

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9:59 – Previously on Project Runway…the reunion show, which I didn’t care about b/c it is not the finale. But this is! At least, it’s part 1.

10:00 – So Christian, Jillian, Rami & Chris get $8K and five months to create awesometown collections. One of Chris & Rami will move on to Fashion Week based on their top three looks. Fierce, yo.

(more…)

Hope Springs Eternal February 24, 2008

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Really loved this “open letter” to Texas Rangers fans by Bryan Curtis in Texas Monthly. Here’s the first paragraph:

“Welcome to the 2008 Texas Rangers season! We’re glad you’ll be joining us for year 36 of our eternal rebuilding project. You’re one of the hardy few who still make the trek out to Arlington, lay down $70 for an infield seat, and by the third pitching change of an error-filled, 12—3 blowout are lying facedown in the Jose Cuervo Gold Club. (An actual stadium club, mind you, not Rangers fans taking the bottle.) We’re writing to salute you, Rangers fan. You have a special psychological condition that has allowed you, in the face of utter hopelessness, to remain, well, slightly hopeful.”

Great stuff, especially I’ve been hearing quite a few overly optimistic statements lately despite the fact that once again, we have done pretty much nothing to improve during the offseason. The Rangers are the worst kind of team too, because they always seem to get monumentally better immediately after there is absolutely no chance of them making the playoffs, causing fans & management to stupidly think, hey! Maybe this thing isn’t as far away as we thought! There’s no need to do anything during the offseason! And then, of course, they come out in the spring & they’re still the same old horrible Rangers they were last year. God, why do I care??

BTW, I especially love that, through all this, ticket prices continue to go up.

Ad Post: The NHL on Versus February 24, 2008

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Okay, so I spend tremendous amounts of time complaining about the NHL being on the former Outdoor Life Network, what kind of coverage they receive, their continued stubbornness in not groveling at the feet of the ESPN sports gods & begging to be given that coveted 4-7 am timeslot on ESPNews. But I do like their commercials this year. Here’s the latest:

The NHL on Versus :30 spot
Agency: Unsure — Young & Rubicam is the AOR for the NHL, but I believe they were responsible for the “Is this the year?” spots, which I didn’t like as much. May just be Versus’s in-house, or they may have their own agency. Any info would be appreciated, I’d be curious who did this series.

Some of the spots in this campaign were beautifully shot. The Danny Briere one from very early in the season (before he took that shiny new $52 million contract & promptly went out & dropped on a -22 rating) was especially exquisite. That grainy, raw black & white photography seems to help tell the story. I also really loved the Mark Recchi one from before he was placed on waivers. “They’ll have to pry the stick from my cold, dead hands.” How very appropriate, since he’s managed to make his 500-goal-scoring self useful in Atlanta since his dismissal from Pittsburgh.

You know, I would love to link to all of these very cool ads, but they are somehow NOT ONLINE ANYWHERE OMG HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE, NHL??? Do you not WANT to be relevent?

…Sorry. I didn’t mean to blog in capital letters. Anyway, I like the new spot for Alex Ovechkin’s quest for 60. I even like the little subconscious dig at the “No Goal,” as Brett Hull’s name appears inside the crease. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

It’s interesting that Versus took this approach, which is artistic & interesting to watch, but probably not as effective as the humorous campaign the league did last year. It is, however, still miles better than the ridiculous post-lockout warrior campaign, which was a series of NHL commercials that failed to feature any NHL players. Seriously, sometimes I wonder why they’ve managed to keep me as a fan.

Live-Blogging Project Runway 4.11 February 13, 2008

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9:59 – Last week on Project Runway…auf wiedersehen, Ricky! Ciao! Adios! Bye bye! We’ll miss you, only, you know, not.

10:00 – All the designers talk about where they are now. We’re really winding down…there’s only five left. (more…)

Live-Blogging Lost 4.2 February 7, 2008

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8:59 – Previously on Lost, the Lost-a-ways are gonna get rescued…or are they??

9:00 – We open under the sea, via some kind of submarine scope. The sub detects something on the ocean bottom. It’s a plane part. Or…the whole plane?!?? The person on the sub, stunned, says they’ve found Oceanic 815. WHAT??

(more…)

Live-Blogging Project Runway 4.10 February 6, 2008

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10:00 – Previously on Project Runway, there was a rerun, which made me angry. But before that, Victorya got eliminated, which she deserved, but not with Chris & Ricky still around. Also Ricky won, which…no. Just, no.

10:02 – Heidi comes on the runway. Are the designers ready for their next challenge? Oh, designers, that should have been your first clue you aren’t going to get it here. Sure enough, Heidi says too bad, Tim will give them their challenge tomorrow. Everyone looks nervous.

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Three Up & Three Down – Super Bowl Second Half Ads February 3, 2008

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First of all, what an unbelievable game. I’m so happy I didn’t care about the outcome. That makes the entire game so much more enjoyable. Anyway, here are my second half ad picks:

THREE UP

  • NFL – Chester Pitts
    “Hi. I’m Chester.” Give them credit, the NFL always makes great spots. And unlike the NHL, they always do a good job of marketing their players. “I play the oboe.” Aw. I almost played the oboe, but I switched to flute at the last minute.
  • Coke – Floats
    Aw. Such a Coke ad, if you know what I mean. Whimsical, witty, likable.
  • Semi-Pro/Bud Light
    I would watch Will Ferrell read a phone book.

THREE DOWN

  • IceBreakers Ice Cubes – Carmen Electra
    I’m having trouble properly expressing the stupidity of this spot. House (next on FOX!! if you didn’t know) showed that you can use Carmen Electra in a clever way. This was not it.
  • Vitamin Water – Shaq Jockey
    You know, considering how clever the copy on their packaging is, it’s surprising how bad the rest of Vitamin Water’s marketing is.
  • CareerBuilder – Spider
    I liked this one even less than the heart. Disappointing showing from CareerBuilder this year. I think they panicked putting their account up after last year. There wasn’t anything wrong with the jungle campaign.

Again, if you missed any of the ads, catch them HERE.

Congrats to the Giants. It was definitely a great show.

Three Up & Three Down – Super Bowl First Half Ads February 3, 2008

Posted by Amy in advertising, sports.
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Overall, still not up to the admittedly raised standard of Super Bowl ads, but vastly better than last year so far. Here are my three up & three down so far…

THREE UP

  • Bud Light – Breathing Fire
    “Do you have a cat?…I’m really sorry.” Oh, LOL. You can always count on Budweiser to have a good showing. Cheese Run was also very funny. “That will go perfect with this baguette.”
  • FedEx – Carrier Pigeons
    Definitely creative. FedEx is also usually pretty consistent.
  • Tide-to-Go – Silence the Stain
    Brilliant. Great messaging, hilarious execution. Too bad it looks like traffic brought down mytalkingstain.com initially after the spot ran.

THREE DOWN

  • G2 – Derek Jeter
    Let’s be real. That was a letdown after the cool teaser campaign.
  • Garmin – Napoleon
    Um. WHAT?
  • CareerBuilder – Follow Your Heart
    Okay, it was better than than I thought it’d be after I saw the teaser, but sorry, I still hate the heart. I don’t think this is any better than the jungle ads from last year (which I actually liked & thought were very funny) & it’s not even close to the monkeys.

If you missed any of the ads, watch them HERE.

“What’s the difference between Vincent Lecavalier & Tom Brady?” February 3, 2008

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Really enjoyed this article on Canada.com on how Brett Hull is doing now that he’s gone from “Ambassador of Fun” to co-general manager of the Stars in the span of about six months. Sure, it’s a little unstable that Hull suddenly went from having responsibilities like appearing in TV commercials to help Mike Modano campaign for the All-Star team to responsibilities like making a serious decision about whether or not to trade the most promising rookie the Stars have seen in years, Matt Niskanen, for a scoring winger for Mike Modano’s line. And you kind of get the feeling that Tom Hicks gave him the job because Brett Hull is the only name he recognized on the payroll that he could promote when he fired Doug Armstrong. But you can’t say that it hasn’t worked out so far.

I liked this bit from Hull. Good to see he can still talk about nothing at all when he feels like it:

“My God, you drink a lot of coffee in this job. I mean, you practically can’t function without a venti latte from Starbucks to start the day. On the road, there must be 40 ounces of coffee going in a day. You get up, you have coffee, you go to the rink, you have coffee, you want to meet with someone, you say ‘let’s have a coffee.’ You’re in the press box, you drink coffee. Game’s close, you drink more coffee.

“That’s a lot of coffee.”

The article also talks about one of the things that kills me the most about the NHL…Hully agrees with me:

“For the life of him, Hull can’t understand why the league isn’t plugging its talent more aggressively. He’s not alone there. Those commercials a couple years back, Room Service featuring Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, or the Swedish Twins, starring Daniel and Henrik Sedin, were bright, breezy and generated a ton of interest.

More like those, please.

‘We’ve got to bring out the personalities…I mean, look at Lecavalier. Male model looks, six-foot-four, a stud. A marketing dream, right?

‘I turn on the TV or pick up a paper and who do I see? Tom Brady. Why don’t I see Lecavalier everywhere I turn? What’s the difference between Vincent Lecavalier and Tom Brady?’ “

You can’t make marketers use NHL players for endorsements, but you can use the commodities that you’ve got—these players who all have these awesome, selling personalities—and you can use them to market yourself. To be real, there really isn’t much wrong with the commercials they’re running…the problem is, they only run them during hockey games. Preaching to the choir. If you want to reach a wider audience, run ads during football & basketball games. The problem with hockey is, since the national broadcasts are now on a channel that nobody ever just surfs to—I mean, you have to really be looking for it to come across Versus—people never just come across a game & sit down to watch. They just forget about you. You have to remind them you exist & you’re awesome & they should drop in sometime because they’re missing out on a great show.

Maybe Tom Hicks didn’t know what he was doing when he put Hull in a position where people have to listen to him, but regardless, he’s there now & he’s talking, & that’s a start.