How advertisers blew the Super Bowl

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty

The Rams failed to score a single touchdown in Super Bowl LIII. They’ll live to play another day. Imagine being one of 20 massive brands that, under the scrutiny of some 98 million eyeballs, flushed away $5 million each for 30 seconds of unmemorable advertising. Forget about blown calls. What’s the penalty for $100 million squandered on blown Super Bowl spots?

Having toiled as an ad guy for years, I say farewell to yet another Super Bowl with the usual mixture of relief, embarrassment, and revulsion. Does this circus really still need to exist? Was that bowl really super? Not…


Navigating the high-tech dystopia of CES

Photo: David McNew/AFP/Getty

Most folks go to Las Vegas to gamble. Others go to party, get married, or see Cher. I visited Vegas last week to check out a fully functional A.I.-enabled laundry folding machine.

I speak, of course, of the FoldiMate — a real thing, Ms. Kondo — perhaps the most compassionate of the shiny objects I fondled so you didn’t have to at the 52nd annual Consumer Electronics Show, aka CES 2019. For those who don’t know, CES is the enormous goat rodeo that every January finds some 180,000 international nerd pilgrims descending on Sin City to ooh and occasionally aah…


The New New

Companies spent billions crafting powerful stories around their consumer products. Then came Alexa.

Illustration: Jacob Rochester

Around this time last year, just as most of us were tucking into Thanksgiving turkey, the sleepy world of consumer packaged goods was stunned by the news of Procter & Gamble’s $100 million cash acquisition of Native, a venture-backed natural deodorant company based in San Francisco. Why was the company that gave the world such iconic brands as Ivory soap and Scope mouthwash interested in a tiny armpit of a startup whose claim to fame was a pumpkin spice SKU and a slogan that beseeched users to “take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”?

Andrew Essex

ceo Plan A/former ceo droga5/tribeca enterprises

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