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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is That Soda Killing You?

Is this how you view your day?
That’s right, a coroner in New Zealand ruled that drinking soda contributed to her death. It was revealed at the coroner's inquest that she was drinking two to two and half GALLONS of soda a day. That’s around 21 to 26, 12 oz. cans each day!
That’s even too much water a day to be drinking! I use to drink two cans of soda a day and thought that was a lot. Right now I haven’t had a soda in, I think, nearly four months.
I also can’t help but think about all the parents I’ve seen, or heard of, who let their kids drink all the diet soda they want all day because, well - it’s diet.  And I once had an acquaintance who claimed he drank a case of diet soda A DAY!   I wonder if he is still alive?
But what’s with some people? Soda isn’t cheap, especially compared to free tap water. And there isn’t a single person on the face of the planet who NEEDS to drink soda – EVER!
Don’t get me wrong. I love the taste of soda. Until the last 100 years or so in human history, sugar wasn’t easy to come by. Humans also happen to crave sugar and I'm surely one of them.  So many food manufacturers have taken advantage of our natural craving for sugar by loading up all manner of easy-to-handle, easy-to-consume, and relatively cheap, ‘food’ items with the sweet stuff.
If you are a daily soda drinker, try going a few weeks without having one, and you’ll discover two things. One – you really can live without it. Two – you won’t believe just how good that first taste is after going without it for a long time.
So while many are grabbing another Super Big Gulp or cracking the cap on that two-liter soda bottle, I’ll stick to my unsweetened, freshly brewed green tea to get through the day. Then a nice glass of wine with dinner.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting the Most out of Pricey Super Bowl Ads

I’m sure I’m not the only one who settled down in front of the TV yesterday with the promise of some entertaining commercials. While I wasn’t blown away by any ads in particular, there were a few entertaining ones. My personal favorites were Budweiser’s “Brotherhood,” Coca-Cola’s “Security Camera,” Tide’s “Miracle Stain,” Ram Trucks’ “Farmer,” and Kia’s “Space Babies.” Click here if youmissed any of the ads. 

What I find more fascinating is how the companies are trying to milk the spots for all they’re worth and getting attention for them beyond just Sunday’s screen time. I don’t blame them, since a 30 second spot between kickoff and the final whistle cost an average of $4 million. All advertisers can really hope to do is capture viewers’ attention for 30 to 60 seconds, so it’s interesting to see how they attempt to bridge a single advertisement to a more long-lasting brand experience.

·         Before the big game:

o   Controversy – In the week prior to the game, I heard more about some of the controversial ads set to hit the airwaves than the game itself. Of course, this could be because I never turn on ESPN. But I saw numerous “news” reports and articles debating whether or not Coca-Cola’s “Mirage” and Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” ads were offensive. Both of these companies got loads of free air time leading up to the airing of the actual spot because of this coverage. It makes me wonder if tipping off the debate was part of their release strategies.

o   User-Created Super Bowl Ads – Doritos made a smart move with their user-created Super Bowl ad contest. Not only did they not have to pay anything to come up with the ad concepts themselves, they received an incredible amount of free publicity. Doritos leveraged the opportunity of long-term engagement with their consumer base thanks to the ad creators encouraging people to vote for their submissions on various social media channels.

·         During the Game: While Coca-Cola had one of my favorite ads, they also turned out a big dud with “Mirage.” The concept of bridging from a TV ad to real-time online connection is really interesting, but the ad has to be really awesome to convince people to put down the TV remote and pick up their mobile device to vote. The fact that the power outage trended higher on Twitter than voting for the winner of their race just proves that they missed the mark on this one.

·         Post-game: Again, thanks to the Internet all of the Super Bowl ads will get more screen time for at least another day or two. There are countless rehashes and rankings of all the ads, as well as people watching the ads they missed or their favorites for a second time. What’s more interesting to me is when advertisers have an innovative post-game tactic as part of their release strategy, like what Dodge Ram is doing with “Farmer.” I received an email this morning that included the spot and encouraged me to share the ad with my contact list. For every “share,” Ram will make a donation to FFA, an agriculture leadership organization for young people. This strategy not only guarantees them free publicity but it also ups the good feelings about the brand itself.  

I can’t wait to see what new ideas the ad teams come up with to get the most out of their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads next year.   
~ Nicole

Friday, February 1, 2013

Don't Supersize Yourself During the Super Bowl

Do you ever wonder how many calories all those yummy Super Bowl snacks add up to? Well, I don’t want to put a damper on your celebrating the pinnacle of football this Sunday, but those chips and guacamole and all the other goodies you’ll be reaching for add up to a whole lot more calories than you might imagine.

Just to prove my point, take Huffington Post’s online quiz – “Super Bowl Foods: HOW Many Calories Do Those Add Up To?” – to get an idea of how many calories you are taking in. I know I found some real surprises when I took the test myself. Go to

And always keep in mind that moderation is the best policy. But if that’s not going to be possible this Super Bowl Sunday, maybe you can make up for some of those added calories by being an extremely animated cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers. I know that’s what I’ll be doing. Go 9ers!