EA's BioWare division bought out an entire commercial pod in Sunday's NFC Championship game on Fox to run a full two-minute trailer touting the highly anticipated "Mass Effect 2" game, hitting the market on Tuesday.
NEW YORK TIMES iPad Blurs Line Between Devices After months of feverish speculation, Steven P. Jobs introduced Wednesday what Apple hopes will be the coolest device on the planet: a slender tablet computer called the iPad. For all the hoopla surrounding it, however, the question is whether the iPad can achieve anything close to the success of the iPhone, which transformed the cellphone and forced the industry to race to catch up. Apple is positioning the device, some versions of which will be available in March, as a pioneer in a new genre of computing, somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone. "The bar is pretty high," Mr. Jobs acknowledged. "It has to be far better at doing some key things." Half an inch thick and weighing 1 1/2 pounds, the device will vividly display books, newspapers, Web sites and videos on a 9.7-inch glass touch screen. Giving media companies another way to sell content, it may herald a new era for publishing. But the iPad, costing $499 to $829, also lacks some features common in laptops and phones, as technology enthusiasts were quick to point out. To its instant critics, it was little more than an oversize iPod Touch. A camera is notably absent, and Flash, the ubiquitous software that handles video and animation on the Web, does not work on the device
ADAGE Toyota Must 'Right the Consumer at Any Cost' Viewpoint: To Keep Its Rep Intact, Automaker Has to Provide Direct Support to Dealers, Customers Toyota is a company that has built its entire franchise on quality and reliability, and today, it faces being discredited at its very core. The carmaker's corporate-communications department has, so far anyway, attempted to make the recall of 2.3 million vehicles sound like a typical single-vehicle recall. But it wasn't -- not by a long shot. You don't have to look any further than the Audi brand between 1978 and 1982 to see how faulty acceleration can put a severe break on sales and trust. Audi had one model affected; Toyota has eight. Further, this was not just a recall of certain cars that could potentially be faulty. What Toyota did was shut down the assembly line for eight vehicles that could potentially put people at risk. In all my years in the automotive-advertising business, I've never witnessed such a thing. What it screams is: "This was not a slip; it is a severe and total breakdown in operational standards." It's hard for Toyota to spin that the recall was an act of good corporate citizenship for the betterment of all. Emperor Toyota, meet Captain Obvious. Toyota had no other choice. How does it expect to have customers safely drive back into the dealership, let alone go to work, drive their kids to school and simply live their lives? Yesterday, the crack marketing team at General Motors announced a new $1,000 incentive program for Toyota owners who are concerned about their vehicles. According to a GM spokesperson they “decided to make this offer after receiving many emails and calls from our dealers, who have been approached by Toyota customers asking for help. We want to be able to provide peace of mind to customers and all of our vehicles are safe.”
USA TODAY Super Bowl to show more ads with people in their underwear I see London. I see France. I see the Super Bowl's underpants. Just six years after Janet Jackson's famous Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" during a halftime show, it's the Super Bowl advertisers - including Dockers, CareerBuilder.com and Bud Light - that seem to be itching to show some skin, again. Or, at least a hint of it. The Super Bowl has always been a catalyst for cultural advertising trends from the sexy to the sophomoric. But these latest commercials are less about being sexy and more about showing everyday - very everyday in some cases - people in their undies. And that, says advertising psychologist Renee White Fraser, is brilliant marketing. "People love to imagine other people in their underwear," she says. "It's a provocative - but safe - way to get viewer attention." Not everyone agrees with that. "I think people just lose their minds when it comes to advertising in or around the Super Bowl - and this is proof of that," says Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology and social theory at Swarthmore College.
Snickers To Return To Super Bowl With Heavily Vetted Ad USA Today Three years after coming under fire from gay activists for a Super Bowl commercial that showed two male mechanics who accidentally kiss, Mars will announce today that it is ready to return to the field, Bruce Horovitz reports. Carole Walker, the company's vp of integrated marketing, says that the new commercial has been vetted by a panel of 1,000 consumers. There's no kissing whatsoever, and "nothing that the gay community would find offensive." Instead, it will use a spot featuring octogenarians Abe Vigoda and Betty White to appeal to its 18-to-49, male target. This we gotta see -- particularly since the only details Mars will release is the tagline: "You're not you when you're hungry." Meanwhile, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spokesman Richard Ferraro says, "We'll be watching all the ads to make sure gay and lesbian stereotypes are not used."
WALL STREET JOURNAL Hopefuls Gird for Gridiron Little-Known Firms Bet on Maximum Super Bowl Impact Buying Super Bowl ads has helped catapult companies like online brokerage E*Trade Financial, Internet job board Monster.com and video site Hulu into the public eye. That's why several little-known advertisers-including mobile pay-TV firm Flo TV, information provider KGB and vacation rental service HomeAway.com-are forking over millions of dollars to appear on this year's Big Game broadcast. Flo TV, which will be pitching a pocket-size device for watching TV on the go, has enlisted CBS Sports commentators James Brown and Jim Nantz to appear in one of its spots that features a man unable to watch the game because he is stuck shopping for bras with his wife. KGB, which answers consumer questions via text message for 99 cents a apiece, is still deciding which ad it will run. One shows actors William Baldwin and Stephen Baldwin jumping out of a plane, while another features two women trying to find a clown to appear at their kids' birthdays. The mom who didn't use KGB ends up with a not-so-lovable clown.
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