Top brands get good coverage from CBS' Undercover Boss

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Oct 26 2010

Undercover-boss1 The CBS hit reality show Undercover Boss planted its flag early as a brand showcase, primarily for the incognito honcho's place of employment. So far, that's included a lot of free/positive media exposure for Hooters, Churchill Downs, 7-Eleven, White Castle and DirecTV. But when the top dog works for Nascar—Sunday's episode followed the motor sport's CMO Steve Phelps—a whole mess of marketers got in on the act. Coca-Cola walked away with the most valuable free exposure, $437,390, with more than three minutes of air time. For one of Phelps' challenges, he wore a Coke apron while working in a trackside concession stand. (No, he's not a good fry cook). Other brands that drifted off the Nascar-themed show included Toyota, Gatorade, Sprint, NAPA and Goodyear. According to tracking firm Joyce Julius and Associates, 84 brands got some face time during the episode for nearly 30 minutes of "clear in-focus exposure time, three verbal references and an overall exposure value of $2.7 million." The series, in its second season, is still pulling in sizable audiences that tune in to see the big guy get humiliated and the little guys get rewarded. It seems obvious from brand integration studies like this one, though, who the real winners are in this TV project.

DirecTV ad exposes seamy underbelly of NFL fan rivalries

By Elena Malykhina on Mon Aug 2 2010


It's that time of year again. DirecTV is trying to get football fans to sign up for its "NFL Sunday Ticket" package, which carries a steep price of $299.95. The satellite service provider is reportedly spending $100 million on an ad campaign promoting the plan, which lets fans watch NFL games not available through local affiliates. The TV spots, from Deutsch, New York, center on the fact sports fans can enjoy watching their favorite teams no matter where they reside. One ad, "Cheeseheads," shows a Green Bay Packers fan talking in a Fargo-like accent to a priest on her couch at home. She tells the priest that her husband is upset because the new neighbors from San Francisco have DirecTV and watch the 49ers every week. She reveals that she has sent the neighbor a cheese platter to welcome him. The priest seems to think she's a kind woman, but doesn't know that she spelled out the word "dirt bag" in cheese. In another ad, a trophy wife from Dallas vents her anger at a local Redskins fan by letting her dog chew up his welcome mat, knock over the flowers and pee on the rug. In still another, a pair of "Masshole" Patriots fans sneer at a local follower of the Dolphins and toss some snow at his door. Can't we all get along?

Brands line up for Undercover Boss' kid gloves treatment

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Jul 29 2010
Undercover-boss  Producers of the surprise CBS hit Undercover Boss had an uphill slog in the first season getting CEOs of recognizable companies to agree to expose internal flaws and problems for a national prime-time audience. (The docudrama follows that incognito honcho as he finds out about ills in the system and promises to fix them). Now that the show's a ratings winner, bigwigs are coming out of the woodwork to get their brands featured on the feel-good hour. They've also discovered that it's not actually a warts-and-all look into the corporation. More like a couple warts, followed by a quick resolution. Cue tears! CBS just announced the lineup at Wednesday morning's kickoff of the annual Television Critics Association press tour in L.A. Next season, look for top dogs from NASCAR (Steve Phelps, svp and CMO), DirecTV (Mike White, chairman, president and CEO), Chiquita Brands International (Fernando Aguirre, chairman and CEO) and Great Wolf Resorts (Kimberly K. Schaefer, CEO). And definitely expect more water works.

Dish Network ad rips DirecTV over its pricey celebrity endorsers

Posted on Mon Feb 1 2010

Having the likes of Kim Basinger, LL Cool J, Denis Leary, Charlie Sheen, the Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé and Peyton Manning as hucksters might've cost you, the DirecTV customer, an additional $175 last year. What a rip! At least that's what competitor Dish Network is saying in a new spot that launched last night during the Grammy Awards on CBS. It's a super-stripped-down, non-Hollywood commercial with one thing on its mind: linking a higher DirecTV bill with the marketer's well-known star-powered advertising. Is that even true? Run the numbers out there and report back, please, but I bet DirecTV is already working on that. Could it be the beginning of back-and-forth attack ads? Nobody ever gets tired of those. But I'm in, as long as DirecTV gives us more Hellboy. Via The Live Feed.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Football fans appalled by terrible DirecTV/Black Eyed Peas spot

Posted on Mon Oct 19 2009

I watch a lot of football. Like other football fans, every year I come to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to watch the same stupid commercials over and over throughout the course of the season. After a while, they become so familiar that they completely vanish as I reflect upon important facts during game breaks. You know, like the fact that the Jets may never, ever have a good quarterback. But every year, football fans are faced with another phenomenon: a commercial that sucks so bad that you are forced to pay attention. This year, DirecTV has earned that honor. Let me ask you this question, and it's not one I get to throw out there often: Why in the world are the Black Eyed Peas on the moon with an elephant? I mean, Fergie is nice eye candy and all, but what the hell is the ad supposed to mean? After all, hard-core football fans already have DirecTV because it has the exclusive NFL package. Without it, I'd never be able to watch the lowly Kansas City Chiefs play the rotten Washington Redskins just so I can see how Clinton Portis is doing for my fantasy team. But alas, even when I'm watching the non-local games, there they are, the Black Eyed Peas, in outer fucking space. The bright side is that, just like the misery the Jets bring me annually, this too shall pass.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

DirecTV ads would be better if they picked grim movie scenes

Posted on Fri Mar 13 2009

You know those DirecTV ads that show scenes from famous movies interrupted by a pitch for the service? It's a clever idea, but also one that's fairly easy to parody. CollegeHumor.com, for instance, imagines how the ads (for a brand the site stresses is nothing like DirecTV) might go if they drew on darker material. Hence, we have Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box at the end of Seven bemoaning the fact that, now that she's decapitated, she'll never get to enjoy the service. Then there's Tom Hanks (or a guy who looks vaguely like him) in Philadelphia lodging a similar complaint/pitch. Finally, the piece de resistance, Jennifer Connelly's brutal party scene in Requiem for a Dream, in which she states, "I love heroin, but what I really love is DirectHD's direct recording feature." Incidentally, there's seems to be some debate about who originated that last bit, since this clip from a site called wetcookies.com is a little too, er, close for comfort.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

For guys who are too lazy to have sex, there's the 'Coucha Sutra'

Posted on Mon Feb 9 2009

CouchaSutra

DirecTV had a serious brand problem. How to make the satellite TV service fit in naturally inside the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Saddled with this seeming impossibility, Deutsch L.A. trotted out the "Coucha Sutra." Click here to see a larger image.
  Consider it modern man's Kama Sutra, says the agency. "The ancient Indian spiritual text, composed in the 2nd Century AD and famous for its detailed illustrations of human sexual behavior, has been revolutionized by DirecTV to depict the multitude of 'positions' assumed in the most sensual and spiritual of places in our time … the couch." Included among the not-so-racy illustrations are "the Bogart" (women's feet on top of lap), "the bat cave" (man and woman hanging upside down) and the third wheel (woman draped on man, who shoots daggers at a friend who has overstayed his welcome).
  The ad is either destined for dorm rooms everywhere or the trash.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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