:24: Come on Down!

“…You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!”

Those are the words that every American would just love to hear one day. Being high-fived by complete strangers as everyone is screaming and clapping all around you must be the experience of a lifetime.

But what really interests me about The Price is Right is how freakin’ brilliant it is. Ever wonder where CBS gets all of these fabulous prizes? Well, they actually get them for free. That’s right, companies send CBS their products absolutely free of charge just so they can be featured on TV and in front of a live studio audience. In other words, it is an hour-long advertisement sponsored by occasional advertising breaks.

That is precisely the reason why The Price is Right is able to give away such awesome prizes and hang around for such a long time. People love winning prizes and are pretty bad at guessing the retail price of everyday goods.

Although there have been a couple big winners in the shows history. According to The Price is Right  wikipedia entry, in 2006 “Vickyann Sadowski won a Dodge Caravan playing Push Over and $1,000 in cash in the second Showcase Showdown. She also won both showcases, which included a Dodge Viper in her showcase and a Saturn Sky Roadster in her opponent’s, bringing her total winnings for the episode to $147,517, making her the largest single-episode winner in the history of American network daytime game shows.”

Of course, the greatest moments in the show come from absolute luck:

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:23: It’s Time for Dodger Baseball

Sports announcers like the famous Vin Scully do not come around very often, which is an absolute shame because Scully is one of the best in the business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would agree with most people in that watching baseball can be a bit boring, but my view completely changes when watching a Dodger game and listening to Vin Scully. This is because he does his research and is able to tell stories in fascinating ways. Scully will have information about the Dodgers as well as about each player of the opposing team, used only when that player makes an appearance in a 3- or 4-game series.

Scully has been with the Dodgers organization even before they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Even after he announced that he would retire in 2009, he came back in 2010, in 2011 and will be returning for his 63rd season this year. Indeed, the day Vin Scully retires for good will be a sad day in Dodgertown, but since he is 84, I’m sure baseball fans everywhere will understand.

I am eternally grateful for having grown up in at least part of the Vin Scully era. He has been an incredible influence on me in my childhood as well as today as I continue to study journalism.

:11: Hulu, Netflix and ESPN3 = My Life

Being without cable television for the first time in my life has reduced my exposure to whatever is available on Netflix Watch Instantly, Hulu Plus and ESPN3, all via Xbox Live on the Xbox 360. While I thought this would be absolute torture, it has actually turned out to be rather convenient.

Netflix is hands down the best of the three but all are very useful and could forever change the way people watch movies and TV.

First, Netflix provides its content with no commercials and while both Hulu Plus and ESPN3 have commercials, but they are much shorter than standard TV commercial breaks.

Second, there is a wide variety of movies and TV shows available on Netflix including most of my favorites plus a few that I have grown to love such as Lost, Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother. Hulu Plus has some popular TV shows, but still doesn’t come close to the inventory of movies available on Netflix.

 

 

Third, these applications can be used all around the house and even across the country with just one account. While my parents in California are happy renting 2 DVDs at a time from Netlfix, my 4 roommates and I in Oregon can each have our own game systems set up in our rooms with the convenience of Netflix Watch Instantly. Then by paying for Hulu Plus, we are able to watch more shows with that same convenience.

Finally, the best part about these applications is that they will always improve. As the months go by, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and even Xbox all provide updates for a faster, smoother and overall better experience.

If you love watching TV and movies, I would highly recommend buying an Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or a PlayStation 3 and subscribing to Netflix and Hulu Plus because it will free you from the slavery that is programmed television.

:5: Be You.

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:4: Standing Out/Blending In

Ever notice how a lot of logos look similar? Well, that’s because they are. Helvetica is a font that a lot of companies use because it just looks nice.  Of course, they don’t want to look exactly like their competitors so they’ll often bold or italicize their logo in Helvetica.

So just how many companies use Helvetica? Here’s a small fraction of them:

3M

American Apparel

American Airlines

Amtrak

AT&T

Arco

Best Buy

BMW

Crate & Barrel

Dole

Energizer

Facebook

Fed Ex

Gap

GM

Google

Greyhound

JC Penny

Jeep

Jockey

Marlboro

Microsoft

Motorola

Olympus

Oral-B

Panasonic

Post-it

Samsung

Sears

Staples

Target

The North Face

Toyota

Tupperware

plus many more…

Pretty interesting, huh? I mean, in a world where standing out is key, it seems that there is still a formula for good branding. I suppose eventually consumers just get tired of adjusting to different fonts of all the brands they encounter. Helvetica is, afterall, the same font used for other things a lot of people read everyday, such as directions on a product or the common street sign.

Next time you’re bombarded with advertisements – which is actually all the time – take a minute to see how many brands are using Helvetica.  Be warned, though. Once you start it’ll be almost impossible to stop.

This has more on the subject.

:3: Super Ads for the Super Bowl

Once again the Super Bowl is upon us, this time featuring a rematch of the nail-biting 17-14 victory of the New York Giants over the then-perfect New England Patriots back in 2008.  It’s Boston vs. New York. Brady vs. (Eli) Manning. What could be better?

Well, the ads, of course.

While many of us consumers focus our calendars around birthdays, holidays or the first day of summer, advertising agencies revolve around Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s the one day of the year when agencies can be absolutely certain that record-breaking numbers of money-holding consumers, regardless of whether they like or understand football, will be huddled around the television.

As a sports fan, I hope the game is a good one. But as an Ad major, I’m hoping for some inspiring ads.

That being said, here are some of the funniest of all time:

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And here is the price progression of a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

Since the advertising game is always changing, it will be interesting to see what sort of approaches we see from those willing to spend $3.5 mil. and up for 30-60 seconds of your time.

:2: C4

Back in September of 2011, Comedy Central televised the roast of the infamous Hollywood star Charlie Sheen. In case you don’t remember, Charlie had been all over the news regarding his unique lifestyle of drugs, prostitutes and tiger’s blood. Since there weren’t any restrictions set by Charlie, his roast was absolutely brutal.

But after some research, I found this wasn’t the most damaging roast to have been delivered by Comedy Central. That honor, instead, goes to Cornelius Crane “Chevy” Chase (or C4 as I like to call him). C4 was actually roasted twice, once in 1990 and again in 2002. Of course, the second one hurt the most, otherwise he wouldn’t have been willing to do another. The roast was considered so mean, in fact, that it was never aired again. Luckily for us there’s YouTube.

One of the comics roasting C4 was Stephen Colbert, then part of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I didn’t feel Colbert was that harsh on Chevy, but go ahead and see for yourself:

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Meanwhile, here is C4’s response to his roast. Notice how uncomfortable the poor guy is.

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The part that stings for Chevy wasn’t necessarily the jokes about his career or drug abuse, but rather that such words came from what he considered “B-list” celebrities. As he says in his final words, “…traditionally, this is the point when the ‘roastee’ has a chance to get even with all the other comedians…but there just f***kin’ aren’t any.”

Very much unlike his 1990 roast, here Chevy was verbally attacked by people he had never even met, let alone considered friends; something I doubt he was ready for.

Now C4 is featured in one of my favorite shows, Community, where he plays a loony, rich old man trying to fit in with the other loony students of Glendale Community College. He may not be the star, but he does provide some hilarious moments that could only be done by him. This video has some of my favorite scenes with Chevy.

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