Super Bowl Snafu: LA Agency Threatens To Sue NBC

Cesario Migliozzi, the small Los Angeles-based ad agency with an unusual plan to buy a Super Bowl spot, is threatening NBC with legal action.

The agency wants NBC, which is airing this year's Super Bowl, to give a full retraction to statements made in an Adweek article that appeared Dec. 23. The letter to NBC comes from the agency's Los Angeles-based attorney Joseph M. Sofio.

Migliozzi has said it wants to buy one 30-second Super Bowl commercial with eight different advertiser logos that would appear in the complete running of the spot.

In a letter to Seth Winter, senior vice president of sports and Olympics Sales for NBC, Sofio says: "My client has been very forthcoming about its intent to co-brand the advertisements, since Michael Migliozzi of CM [Cesario Migliozzi]'s initial message left on your voicemail on or about Dec. 15, 2008. After which, Mr. Migliozzi received a call from Mr. [Corbin] Snelleman. His discussions and correspondence with Mr. Snelleman were open and frank."



The plan would be unusual, since no TV network has packaged eight different TV marketers into one 30-second commercial. Both NBC and the NFL approve all Super Bowl commercials.

Sofio wants a retraction of two different statements that appeared in the Adweek story. The first statement: "Furthermore, an NBC rep said it was never in the cards." The second: "It's dead," reinforced an NBC rep, who insisted that the agency was never up front about the exact plan until it went public yesterday [Dec. 22]."

Sofio says these statements are "untrue and damaging to my client's professional reputation." He ends the letter: "If we do not receive the above requested items within three (3) business days of the date of this letter [December 24], we shall file for defamation of reputation against you personally and NBC."

Michael Migliozzi told MediaPost ("NBC Won't Play Ball With Novel Super Bowl Ad Approach," Dec. 23) that "NBC has been applauding this [plan]. They are trying to find ways to get inventory sold. They were trying to up-sell us."

Although Migliozzi only wanted to buy one Super Bowl spot for $3 million, NBC came back with two different plans, each amounting to $5 million.

Migliozzi noted that NBC's only concern was with exclusivity of regular 30-second spots bought by other Super Bowl advertisers. For example, if a telecommunications company were to run in a commercial pod where Migliozzi's spot was running, it might be difficult to sign up Virgin Mobile, one of the marketers Migliozzi has contacted.

NBC representatives did not respond by press time.

1 comment about "Super Bowl Snafu: LA Agency Threatens To Sue NBC".
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  1. Robin Yeatman from Tallahassee Democrat, December 28, 2008 at 7:22 p.m.

    I'm on NBC's side on this one. It sounds like the ad agency is trying to represent eight companies for the price of one. I'm curious to see what this ad would look like. Does each company get 3.75 seconds?

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