Sunday, February 25, 2007

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Teamwork is essential in the world of PR. It's especially important before a major event. For Toyota and driver Micheal Waltrip, the event is Toyota's debut in the Nextel Cup. Toyota was the first Japanese carmaker to compete regularly in NASCAR's top circuit. Participating in the Daytona 500, the kick-off race of the NASCAR Nextel Cup series and the “Great American Race,” was supposed to be their moment of glory. Instead they were scandalized on Wednesday when NASCAR announced that a performance-enhancing substance was found in their car, placed there by one of their own teammates.

Toyota had hopes of making major progress in the American car market by competing in the top American car race, but instead, the actions of one person ruined the respect for the team and cast aspersions on Toyota. In a sport where corporate sponsorship is essential, this major black mark on Waltrip's team's record creates an uncertain future. They have made strides over the past few days to recover lost trust by having all three remaining Micheal Waltrip Racing cars in the race. Waltrip also made sure to accept full responsibility when the news broke. "You can't be skeptical of Toyota," Waltrip said. "You just have to look straight at me."

NASCAR, on the other hand, is using the publicity to its advantage . In a sport where minor cheating is rampant, they are making an example of Waltrip's team and their major infraction. David Hyder, Waltrip's crew chief, and Bobby Kennedy, Waltrip's Director of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing, were ejected from Daytona International Speedway and suspended indefinitely. Hyder was also fined $100,000 and fired. Michael Waltrip was docked 100 driver points and 100 owner points.

What does this all boil down to? NASCAR and the Nextel cup are reaching a wider audience than usual due to the coverage of the scandal. The grandstand seats were sold out at the Daytona 500, but TV viewership was down 10% from 2006. Waltrip finished in 30th place out of 43. Was all the stress and heartache worth it for the publicity? Is there really no such thing as bad publicity?,1,6808207.story?coll=sns-ap-racing-headlines

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Super Bowl Sees Changing Media

The evolution of media is inevitable. Jukebox-sized radios have turned into flat-panel televisions and extinct cassette tapes have been replaced by compact discs and now MP3s. In an age of high-tech ‘this’ and wireless ‘thats’, it’s no wonder why advertisers are reorganizing their budgets to include interactive media, like the Internet.

A study conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found that the 2006 third-quarter Internet advertising revenues reached an all-time high – a record-setting $4.2 billion and 33 percent higher than last year during the same period. The study’s results reflect the continual growth of Internet advertising budgets and advertisers’ craze over the versatile medium.

Each year, the Super Bowl attracts millions of viewers – some for the gridiron football, others for the 30 second, $2.5 million commercials. For companies that choose to participate in the three-hour extravaganza, the advertising possibilities are endless. Some companies opt for half-time show sponsorships, promotional events or digitally-imposed banners that appear on viewers’ screens. Still, some continue with the traditional commercial, which takes on a Cinderella-type transformation from an annoying program interruption to water cooler and blogger hot topics.

Increased focus on the Super Bowl’s highly anticipated commercials appeal to more than just pig-skin lovers and lead advertisers to do the same. Anheuser-Busch, who usually purchases most of the Super Bowl’s ad spots, launched “BUD.TV” ( The web-based entertainment network featured the company’s Super Bowl beer ads alongside sporting events, user-generated content, and other consumer-customized entertainment. This year, Anheuser-Busch allocated 10 percent of its $600 million annual advertising budget to online advertising. Other online video streamers, like “” (, made Super Bowl commercials available at the click of a mouse shortly after their premier.

Even some of the biggest advertising spenders used the Internet to aid their advertising efforts. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division held a contest asking people to submit their amateur Super Bowl commercials online, the best of which was aired during the game. In addition, there is a growing trend of companies using commercial ads as springboards to direct viewers online. VH-1’s “V-spot” ( and Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken” ( and the “Whopperettes” ( offer entertainment long after the program or commercial is over.

So, as you log onto “BUD.TV”, here’s some food for thought…….
Was there a noticeable transition from television to Internet in the 2007 Super Bowl? How do companies use the Internet to their advantage/disadvantage?
How do you think the exorbitant costs of airtime and increased interest in interactive media will affect advertising meccas like the Super Bowl?
Will online advertising take over, or is the commercial still king of Super Bowls to come?

See Frito-Lay YouTube Commercial -

Reference Articles -
Internet Advertising Revenues Surpass $4 Billion for Q3 -
Anheuser-Busch to launch Bud.TV -