Reel changes for Oscar ads

— -- For the first time in more than 30 years, the Feb. 22 Oscar broadcast will allow commercials for motion pictures. In the past, film ads were banned to keep "a clear line between the awards process and the advertisers that pay for the show," says Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spokeswoman Leslie Unger.

But last week, the academy's board of governors voted to lift the restriction — with a lengthy list of conditions for studios that do advertise films. Among them: No ads for movies that open earlier than the last week of April (more than two months later than the Feb. 22 telecast) and no mention of "Academy Award" or "Oscar" in commercials.

The academy can do this because its deal with ABC gives it veto power over ads in the telecast.

In other Oscar news: ABC has found a replacement carmaker after longtime sponsor General Motors pulled out. Hyundai has taken GM's six ad slots. Hyundai would not offer any specifics on what it will advertise or whether it paid, as GM did, to be the exclusive auto advertiser for the Oscars.

A 3 a.m. sales call

The ghost of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid is alive, well and snoring at 3 a.m. SnoreStop's new TV commercial spoofs the Clinton ad that questioned whether Barack Obama had the experience to handle a 3 a.m. call about a national crisis.

The new spot opens with a camera pan of the White House at night, followed by the sound of a ringing phone and very loud snoring. "It's 3 a.m. Who do you want answering that phone?" asks a narrator. As the snoring drowns out the ringing, another off-camera voice asks: "How about someone who can hear it?"

The ad, which began airing around 3 a.m. on CNN, ends with: "Vote for SnoreStop. Your wife approves of this message."

In case you have any money left

Sure, we need to get some green back into the economy — but given recent events, the Ad Team thinks bank customers may be more focused on the monetary kind than the environmental kind.

But that didn't keep Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank from last week launching ads for its "Green$ense" rewards for customers who go paperless.

The payoff? Customers get 10 cents — up to $10 per month or $120 per year — for each electronic transaction. The bank says it will save 700,000 pounds of paper and nearly 7 million gallons of water in the first year.

As for timing, spokesman Mike Jones says, "Citizens Bank is responding to customer needs and is in a position of strength to offer this program."

Bogged down in Manhattan

Juice maker Ocean Spray last week created a cranberry bog at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the first stop in a three-city tour. Knee-deep in the 1,500-square-foot bog with a ton of glistening berries were real growers, including Irene Sorenson, and affable actors Justin Hagan and Henry Strozier, who play growers in Ocean Spray ads.

Jocks beat docs

NBC's Sunday Night Football has passed ABC's Grey's Anatomy to claim bragging rights for most expensive network ad time this season, according to a poll of media-buying firms by trade journal Advertising Age. Football's average take is $434,792 for a 30-second commercial vs. last year's No. 1, Grey's at $326,685.

Marketing matters

The slate of speakers at this week's Association of National Advertisers conference reads like a Who's Who of marketing chiefs: Procter & Gamble's Jim Stengel, Coca-Cola's Joe Tripodi, General Mills' Mark Addicks, American Express' John Hayes and Hewlett-Packard's Mike Mendenhall. And for good measure, Anne Finucane, marketing chief at Bank of America, will weigh in on the bank's branding challenges in tough times.

The on-the-mark conference theme in this year of shrinking ad budgets: new growth strategies.


I have listened to these annoying (Coca-Cola) ko commercials during college football and basketball games, but there is one in which I cannot make out the words. It's a radio commercial in which the two guys are tailgating only to realize it's an away game. … It's driving me insane.

— Ileene Giering, Western Springs, Ill.


Ad Team got it, listened and double-checked the script with Coke and the ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy. Here goes:

First guy: "I'm tailgating at my home football stadium with my friend, Pete." Pete: "Hey." First guy: "We've got our lawn chairs and grill out. We've got our cooler full of Coke, and we've just realized it's an away game." Pete sings: "Can anybody hear us? Is anybody there? This parking lot is empty. We've got a Coke of 12 to spare." First guy: "At least we're early for next week's game. Right, Pete?" Pete: "Hey," followed by a sing-song, "The Coke Side of Life."

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By Laura Petrecca, Bruce Horovitz and Theresa Howard