Anheuser-Busch will use its Super Bowl commercial time to launch a direct-to-consumer network called "The Bud Screen." The network will offer all manner of programming, branded content and advertising delivered to the desktop or an iPod. The brewer intends the network to be long-lived and to eventually be named "Bud TV." We've said it before and we'll say it again, the middleman - the networks - just aren't needed any longer. When a brand or program producer can deliver content directly to the consumer, there's no need for the current TV network set up. Oh sure, big changes are years away but it's happening and it will continue to happen faster and faster as more brands and content producers realize they can have their own channel of distribution.
Calling it a first, CBS has announced it will make the hit reality series Survivor available for download from its site for $1.99 per episode. The episodes will only be viewable for a 24 hour period after purchase and we're told CBS will use some sort of digital rights management to prevent a downloaded video from playing after the 24 hour period. While other networks and producers are selling episodes outright for the $1.99 price, CBS, by asking a person to buy something for $2 and then taking it back a day later, isn't quite what we had in mind for this new on-demand world we're in. They'll call it renting. We'll call it a rip off, We'll stick with our ad-skipping DVR and our big screen TV over the laptop and a slow download.
Entertainment site Heavy.com, last night, released 16 banned Super Bowl commercials that were intended (or not) by marketers to appear in this or last year's Super Bowl. Heavy.com Founder and Co-CEO said his site compiled the 16 commercials from the Internet and did not make any agreements with the marketers to show the ads. Have fun but, no doubt, you've seen them all already.
With four days to go before Sunday's Super Bowl, this million dollar homepage idea has to be the dumbest one yet. The page, called Be in A Super Bowl Ad, promises to show six pages of its site for five seconds each during a :30 in the game. That is unless, according to this not insignificant disclaimer on the site, "Because advertisement space for the Big Game is extremely expensive there is a possibility that the football ad can't be purchased. There will be no refunds and the standard advertising terms and conditions will be in effect," things don't work out in the next few days. Can you say scam?
Random Culture points us to the Amazon Fishbowl, an online show launching in June and hosted by Bill Mahr which will feature live musical performances, interviews with authors, directors and actors and a UPS-sponsored "special delivery" to an Amazon customer. According to the site, the show will be streamed beginning at 8PM on June 1 so that it "broadcasts" as does TV. Random Culture notes, and we agree, it might be nice if the show was available to download either as file or as podcast allowing the viewer to watch it on their own time rather than Amazon's time.
In the premier episode, Mahr interviews Stephen King, Paul Rieser makes a UPS delivery and Mahr speaks with screenwriter Armistead Maupin. It could be a nice tie-in for UPS if they hook up with the right celebu-deliverers.
Lending a bit of humor to the daunting tax season and promoting its TaxCut while doing so, H&R Block has launched Deduct-a-Buck, a seventies-style game show-like game hosted by Max Refund. The game consists of five questions relating to the kinds of thing one can deduct when filing taxes. Prizes range from a Dell XPS Notebook, to a $100 GameStop gift certificate to free online tax preparation. Created by Mullen, the game is both humorous and comforting to what's on the mind of everyone as April 15 approaches and we all struggle to please Uncle Sam.
By now, you've all seen those witty images and videos of the Burger King frolicking with the lovely Brooke Burke. Courtesy of The Superficial, we have a couple more images which further the story. It now seems the King and Burke are engaged, if not married in this odd but very cool web saga created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky. While the two did get frisky on the beach with Burke revealing tantalizing hints of her upper body curvaceousness, something tell us, or at least we hope, we won't be seeing the two getting it on in the honeymoon suite.
Our friends over at the Creative Liberation Intelligence Organization are at it again with a promotional music video to, one assumes, drum up more entries for this year's Clio's. Back in early December 2005, the group launched a very spy-like website using all manner of spy metaphor to create awareness of the Clio's. Take a look and let us know what you think.
The NFL has announced it will place all Super Bowl ads airing this weekend on its video on demand NFL Network, on NFL.com and on Sprint phones. Budweiser will optimize its five minutes worth of ads for the iPod and make them downloadable from Budweiser.com. GoDaddy, of course, has been pushing its ads online for years. Pepsi will have BrownandBubbly.com. Burger King will have the Whopperettes. Who needs an actual television anymore?
In the works since last year, tire maker Pirelli will, in March. release The Call, a 10-minute video, created by Leo Burnett and set in the Vatican, starring John Malkovich who plays a priest and Naomi Campbell who plays the devil. Using the power stuggle between good and evil, Pirelli claims the film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, will be a metaphor for the company's "power is nothing without control" tagline. The film will be released exclusively online and receive promotion through online, print and television.
This is Hollywood-style, celebrity-powered ad is sure to give Russell Crowe plenty of ammunition to further castigate celebrities for selling out. That said, if we, as an industry want better ads, we have to tap better talent. Big names bring a sea of eyeballs and getting noticed in today's media environment is becoming an impossible task. Granted, Malkovick, though a superb actor, isn't A-list in terms of popularity and Campbell, while very popular, is no Malkovich in the acting department but together, they just might bring some notoriety and sales to Pirelli and its sleepy, commodity-like category of automotive tires.