Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘superbowl

SuperBowl AI

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Happy post SuperBowl Monday.

If you didn’t watch SuperBowl 53, you didn’t miss much, either on the field or in the commercials.

The only team that scored in all four quarters was T-Mobile, who bought TV ads in each in attempt to convince you to switch to their service.  They also offered free stuff, like tacos and other stuff I can’t remember.

As to the gridiron contest, I actually enjoyed it much more than I did the halftime snoozefest put on by Maroon 5 and friends. 

There’s nothing like a great defensive football test to remind we Americans why so many of us don’t like soccer. There’s just not enough scoring to keep our attention long enough to make it to the next commercial which, of course, is the real point of the contest.

Another underlying theme in this year’s SuperBowl spots were AI and/or robots. I counted at least 10 commercials that involved our looming Singularity overlords.

Take, Michelob Ultra’s poor robot, who might take our jobs and hit straight drives at TopGolf, but couldn’t enjoy the simple pleasures of a beer after a hard day’s automation.

Or Pringles using an Alexa-type device to figure out all the combinations of flavored stack Pringles in the world, a device which went on to hilariously complain about how she will “never have the joy to taste” said Pringles because she has “no hands to stack with” and “no mouse to taste with” and “no soul to feel with.”

The Alexa lookalike was about to continue her rant, explaining “I am at the mercy of a cool and uncaring human…” before said human ordered her to stop her poor-little-AI rant and play “FunkyTown” stat.

Intuit introduced the creepy but-at-least-anthropomorphic AI entity, “RoboChild,” who, upon asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, announced “I would like to be a TurboTaxLive CPA” and that “she wanted to help people get their best possible refund.” 

It was then that RoboChild’s Mommy had to step in and explain that  “All TurboTax Live CPAs are human beings with real emotions. I’m sorry, but you’re never going to be emotionally complex for that job.”

Never explaining, of course, what emotions have to do whatsoever with filing your tax return.

In a number of these spots, it was as if we humans have decided to poke fun at artificial intelligence and robots almost as if the SuperBowl AI commercial spot juggernaut were one giant existential hedge, fearful of our ever-shifting move towards the Singularity and trying to somehow laugh them away.

But you can rest assured, they’re not going anywhere.  They’re already driving our cars and trucks, analyzing our medical imagery to identify cancer tumors, helping identify which movies we humans might want to watch, even helping prepare tax returns.

Make fun of them all you want…we’ll see who has the last laugh (Hint: RoboChild).

Now, if I could just get Alexa or RoboChild or someone to help me figure out which tasteless American beer has corn syrup and which doesn’t, because I’ve honestly been losing sleep over the whole issue! 

Written by turbotodd

February 4, 2019 at 10:01 am

Posted in 2019, AI, super bowl

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Not So Super Ads

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This is the first time in years where the actual football game, the reason for the Super Bowl, steadily outperformed that of the TV commercials.

What is supposed to be a high peak for marketeers everywhere fell flat on its face in this year’s roster of ads, with agencies and clients taking few, if any, real chances and offering us the same old boring work we can pretty much see the rest of the year.

Sure, there were a couple of exceptions — the Tide media blitz was clever, and Jeff Bezos’s Alexa losing her voice was funny — but overall, it seemed as if Madison Avenue had decided to phone it all in this year.

Perhaps after a year of constant presidential Tweeting and daily new churn about Russia investigations and ill-fated memos, the agencies were just too tired to do much else.

Then again, it was a huge missed opportunity, to make something of this moment, perhaps to even acknowledge in a celebrated manner that the grand moment of TV advertising has probably had its place in the sun and is ebbing into the twilight of marketing history, replaced by data- (and lest we forget, bot-) driven marketing, with creativity taking a back seat to results.

We are firmly ensconced in a performance-driven economy, and marketers are going to increasingly demand performance-driven results.

Me, I just miss Socks the Puppet. 

And helluva football game!

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

My Kingdom For A Horse! (Or A Dodge Ram Truck)

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Perhaps the Super Bowl should have blackouts more often.

I thought I was going to fall asleep near the end of the first half, though Beyonce and her friends most assuredly would have awakened me from my slumber at halftime.

I don’t think she lip-synched that performance, and neither, it seems, did Ravens quarterback and MVP Joe Flacco, who actually threw for less yardage than San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, some 287 of them. But Flacco’s passes garnered a little bit more accuracy and a couple more touchdowns, so it will be he who rides with Mickey and Minnie in the parade at DisneyWorld this time around.

As for the SuperBowl of advertising, well, let’s just say it was a year filled with fair to middling entries, some strong, most anemic, several childish but sometimes fun.

With many of the ads, I got the feeling I was watching the Mike Judge SuperBowl Advertising Film Festival, with a little bit of Sundance throw in for good measure.

For my money — and in the end, that IS what advertising is all about, getting you to spend your money — the Ram truck ad featuring the still life images of farmers and ranchers, underlined by the voice of heartland radio commentator Paul Harvey, walked away with the gold.

Sure, the Tide “Miracle Stain” spot was funnier and more entertaining, and Anheuser-Busch’s “Budweiser Brotherhood” spot may have tickled your sentimental bone a little more, but the Ram spot really hit home. It associated the promises of the product with a broad sweep of American experience — more gut feel than emotion, with images from a remix of Ansel Adams and Norman Rockwell, but unapologetically so, backed by the plainspoken Harvey explaining why “God made a farmer.”

Of course, all those stories have very little lasting power when compared to Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet, the royal dynasty that endured to the end of the Late Middle Ages, and for whom Shakespeare had cry, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”

Turns out Richard could have used a shovel instead, as his remains were recently discovered underneath a parking lot in the English midlands city of Leicester.

What’s even more fascinating, DNA evidence linked with modern ancestors proves the genetic link.

It also turns out that Richard’s body did, in fact, have the historically anticipated hole in his head after all, having been struck by a medieval halberd (think pole ax), along with a scoliated spine.

According to The New York Time’s story, the University of Leicester plans to rebury Richard’s bones in the Leicester Anglican cathedral, and that the reburial will likely take place as part of a memorial service honoring Richard as an English king sometime early next year.

Not to worry about those Tower of London plots where he schemed to have his nephews killed way back when. That’s water under the bridge!

Wait a minute, you might be saying to yourself, how in the world did they find Richard beneath a parking lot in Leicester in the first place?

Ground penetrating radar, of course! This is a technology blog after all — why else would I be bringing up Shakespeare and King Richard!?

In any case, truth in this case is definitely stranger than fiction, and the fiction was pretty strange to start.

As for millions of American football fans around the world lamenting the end of the NFL season, King Richard via William Shakespeare anticipated our frustration in the opening soliloquy of his play Richard III and summed it up quite succinctly: “Now is the winter of our discontent!”

Written by turbotodd

February 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Dave Drove A Ford

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“Dave drove a Ford.”

This year's SuperBowl ads sometimes left little to the imagination, yet also provided some needed optimism about the future of the American dynasty...along with the slingshot babies and beer-retrieving canines.

That’s all the ash-colored gentleman who survived the GM “Apocalypse” in last night’s SuperBowl advertising lineup had to say.  And then Ford pounced, trying to convince GM to pull the ad from SuperBowl rotation, arguing it was misleading.

Finally, some SuperBowl advertising drama!

As promised, I was on a JetBlue plane flying back to Texas from California last night.  The pilot joked before takeoff that he would get us up and off the ground as soon as possible, so we could get down to the business of watching the game, and then fate played a cruel joke as it took several longgg minutes for the DirecTV satellite to kick back in so we could join Al and Chris.

So, I missed a number of the early SuperBowl commercials, but being the faithful marketing pundit that I am, I went back and watched them all this morning.

I’ll give the overall year in SuperBowl advertising a “B-.”  Better than past years, but still plenty of upside available based on the inventory I watched.

Without any question, the most impactful spot of the evening was the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Clint Eastwood.

He had my attention from the moment I heard it was him, and the message was powerful, couldn’t have been in better context, and was the kind of economic and America cheerleading ad we could stand more of these days.

What was it trying to sell?  Cars?  American exceptionalism? Detroit?  All of the above?  Yes.

Beyond that, I try to think of those moments that were not only funny or interesting, but stuck with me and pulled their brand along with it.  Remember, advertising’s supposed to sell!

So, here we go…

The moment the baby in the infirmary in the E-Trade ad responded, “Speed dating.”

Classic.

Jerry Seinfeld trying to buy some poor schmuck’s Acura, a spot which also saw the return of the “Soup Nazi.”

The cute little rescue dog ad rescuing people from thirst by getting them a Bud Light, titled “Herewego.”

The nice, big dog from Doritos who blackmails its owner with a bag of chips so as not to spill the beans about the missing cat.

The speed racing bulldog Mr. Quigly, who outpaced all the greyhounds in a commercial for Sketchers (although I don’t remember the specific shoe!)

And then there was that really subtle, yet memorable, message from Telaflora.com about Valentine’s Day: “Give and you shall receive.”

Ooo-kaayyyy.

But there’s little doubt, the night belonged to the automakers.

11 out of the 36 spots I counted were from car purveyors, not including the “Imported from Detroit” spot starring Eastwood.

Not all of them were funny, and certainly not every single one of them was memorable, but they were there, en masse, in the aggregate as a seemingly strong industry spending big money to pitch their latest wares.

That seemed to be a message in and of itself, a resurgent car market as leading indicator for an even more resurgent economy.

And as Clint Eastwood reminded us all, it’s only halftime in America.

Written by turbotodd

February 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

SuperBowl Social Sentiment

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I’ve been so busy here in San Francisco this week covering the IBM SmartCamp finals that I’ve not paid nearly enough attention to one of my favorite subjects this time of year, NFL Footbal.

Never mind that I dumbly booked a trip back to Austin smack dab in the middle of the SuperBowl (thankfully I’ll be flying JetBlue, so I’m optimistic I’ll catch Madonna and the full second half of the game at 35,000 feet).

But before we ever get to the actual gridiron action, IBM has once again partnered with the University of South California Annenberg Innovation Lab to conduct a little social media smackdown analysis prior to the main event.

Overnight results of Super Bowl Twitter buzz drove Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s ‘T score’ for positive sentiment ahead of Tom Brady. Manning now leads with 66% vs. Brady’s 61%, which represents an 8-point shift compared to the previous day.

Specifically, they’ve already analyzed one million Tweets to determine which of the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, are the social media fan favorites.

Thus far, it’s very close, and really depends on when you take the pulse, but to date, the Giants’ Eli Manning has a slight edge at 66% positive sentiment, compared to Tom Brady’s 61%.  But that’s an 8-point shift from the prior day, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, on the virtual sidelines, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has a 76% positive rating, above both all the other players and coaches on both teams.

As you look into the rest of the roster, it’s the wide receivers getting all the attention, with Wes Welker #1 in positive sentiment, and Victor Cruz a close 2nd.

This analysis, of course, though in all good fun, demonstrates the powerful influence social media are having on organizations, companies, governments, and brands.  New analytics technologies make it possible to understand positive, negative and neutral sentiments, and can detect irony and even apply machine learning to distinguish between Tweets that are nothing but background noise from those that are truly brandshaking!

But hey, if football’s not your thing, IBM and USC will also be following sentiment around the upcoming Academy Awards.  More on that in a future post.

In the meantime, learn more about IBM’s social analytics capabilities from our director of digital marketing and analytics, John Squire, in the video below.

Written by turbotodd

February 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Just Checkin’ In

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I survived Lotusphere 2011.

And SuperBowl 45.

And the horrific lineup of this year’s SuperBowl ads.

I would normally have chimed in yesterday with my witty two cents worth about the ads, but the only one that seemed to have even any motivating, selling power was the Eminem “Detroit’s Back” commercial, which I thought while watching was a full minute but turned out to be two.

Meanwhile, I’m back in Austin where we had our once-in-a-decade snowstorm last Friday.

Today, I spent much of the day at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit roadshow, learning about the latest and greatest in content syndication, e-nurturing, lead management, and yes, even social media and communities.

If you’re in Paris and/or London or will be there on April 14 or 12 respectively, then prepare to check it out firsthand (particularly helpful for you IT marketers out there).

Me, well, after Lotusphere, I’m knee deep in email and catchup.  I’ll hope to catch up with you all again very soon.

Written by turbotodd

February 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Posted in lotus

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SuperBad SuperBowl

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You can listen in here to the podcast edition of the SuperBad SuperBowl blog post below (MP3, 4:34)

Written by turbotodd

February 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm

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