Ah, the seeds of a salesman! As a college hoopster, Bruce Lefkowitz tried to convince unending skeptics that his underdog University of Pennsylvania team could actually take down the commanding North Carolina Tar Heels. Lefkowitz, now an executive vice president heading sales at FX and the National Geographic Channel, offered an impassioned pre-game breakdown of Penn's chances -- as quixotic as it may have been.
Well into refashioning its morning show, the CBS station in the Windy City still needed a traffic reporter. WBBM-TV had mounted a search through the usual channels. But while candidates were satisfactory, there was nothing too exciting. And the news director grew frustrated. Was there another route?
Direct-response marketers that are unaware of an option offered by the Google TV Ads system may want to give it a look. Since its inception, Google has strived to use the auction-based online market to both simplify the buying-selling process and provide advertisers with superior metrics about how their ads performed. For direct response (DR) marketers, the coveted metric is how many calls a particular spot - one as short as 30 seconds or a longer infomercial -- generates.
Advertisers need sports content, which is mostly consumed live, maybe more than ever. And marketers are unwilling to run afoul of the leagues, which is actually good for the networks carrying their games. The advertisers may be upset about the rash of concussions in football and hockey, but they aren't going anywhere.
Sometimes the right combination of words can wake up the seemingly sleepy panel at a media conference. Or kick-start complaints from a TV pressure group, if you call a show "Good Christian Bitches." Or just get Charlie Sheen to open his tiger-blood mouth and watch the sparks fly.
The crazy-like-a-fox Morgan Spurlock, known best for his McDonald's-assaulting turn in "Super Size Me," dreamed up the idea for a documentary about product placement after pondering a far-too-overt Nissan integration in NBC's "Heroes." He set out to make an exposé about product placement, financed entirely by product placement. It comes out next month and is at once hilarious and maybe a bit scary.
Alcohol marketers and networks owned by Disney, Viacom and News Corp. surely want to find the right balance on alcohol advertising and young people. Maybe the FTC can spark a productive dialogue. Maybe the various players will just engage in one on their own before the bureaucratic wheels churn slowly.
Did LeBron James really start weeping? No way. Not the cocksure Miami Heat dominator. Especially after a basically meaningless, regular-season loss. Sure, his team is struggling, but it wasn't the NBA Finals. Nonetheless, it's enticing to ponder James and waterworks. After Sunday's loss, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra indicated there were tears in the locker room. He didn't name the players welling up, just said a couple of guys were overcome. Then on Monday, the coach said the media made way too much about his comments.
In the 1950s, an actor welcomed audiences to a program with "Good Evening, I am Ronald Reagan, speaking for General Electric." A half-century later, Coke branding became a staple of "American Idol." But throughout that span, the United Kingdom held firm against any form of paid brand integration or product placement on its airwaves. That was even after other European countries allowed it.
A while back, CBS sports chief Sean McManus recounted a conversation with NBCUniversal counterpart Dick Ebersol, where they agreed it would be brutal operating a broadcast network without the NFL. Wow, does the league know it. A judge's ruling this week details how unyielding the NFL can be in pursuing massive rights fees. Then again, sports TV can be a seed for greed -- on both sides of a table.