Ad Track: No 'Crazy Lettuce' on TV, stars sing bread's praises

Advertisers have been lining up early to get into NBC's Feb. 1 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII. The network has sold about 85% of the ad time and has only about 10 of 67 30-second, in-game slots left to sell, NBC Sports spokesman Brian Walker says. Some slots have fetched up to $3 million, but NBC would not reveal its average take. Fox averaged about $2.7 million for this year's game.

A wireless walk in the park

On the road doesn't mean out of reach. That's the message Sheraton wants to convey about the Link At Sheraton Wi-Fi service it will roll out in 300 hotel lobbies by year's end. To showcase the service, Starwood-owned Sheraton Monday will set up a "work lounge" promotion in New York City's Central Park. The 34,000-square-foot space will replicate a hotel lobby set up with free Wi-Fi, 50 PC screens and two 52-inch TVs with live cable TV.

About 600 Starwood associates will work from there with CEO Frits van Paasschen on hand.

By Laura Petrecca, Bruce Horovitz and Theresa Howard

ASK THE AD TEAM

Q: I never heard of Areva until I saw a TV ad recently and don't think I got the message. Just who is Areva and how are they going to influence my future? The commercial is catchy, and the little tune stays running around in your mind, but if people can't understand it, I don't think Areva is getting their money's worth.

— Marty and Judi Batchelor, Lompoc, Calif.

A:Areva wants to power your future. It's a Paris-based industrial giant whose businesses include nuclear power and energy alternatives. It has U.S. operations in 45 locations in 20 states. The ad, which has aired previously, is part of a campaign started in May to make its name better known in the U.S. The animated TV ad, which you can see here, uses the 1980 Lipps Inc. classic Funkytown, a song that's also been in ads for FedEx, Ore-Ida's Funky Fries, Nissan and Volkswagen. Areva uses the opening lyrics for the song, which have a distorted sound through use of a voice box. They speak about moving to a town that's "groovin' with some energy." Areva marketers most care that you get the last few words: "Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it" (which is what they want you to do about them).

Q: Bob Evans restaurants, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, has been running a TV ad in neighboring states which depicts a father (about 75) and his son selling Bob-B-Q ribs, chicken sandwiches, etc. I am wondering if the "father" is Broadway actor/producer Bob Kaliban?

— Jack Homer, Cross Lanes, W. Va.

A:Good eye. He is the father in ads for the family chain. Kaliban, who'll turn 76 in November, first made his mark in commercials as the 1970s Tidy Bowl man and recently was in a Doritos ad. Besides Broadway and ads, he's worked in TV on everything from I Love Lucy to Law & Order and done voiceovers for animation, including Family Circus specials for Easter, Christmas and Valentine's Day.

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