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Super Bowl 2013 commercials reveal a nostalgic America

What do the Super Bowl 2013 commercials say about the state of our nation? We’re hopeful, and we’re ready to recover from the recession. It’s not all about silly stunts, there is a deeper message here.

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2013 super bowl ads

Super Bowl 2013 commercials: our picks

While some tuned in last night for the epic game of the season, others tuned in for the billions of dollars spent on clever ad spots with 30 second ads starting at $2.8 million, and of course, others tuned for Beyonce, and a handful tuned in to see the drama surrounding half of the stadium losing power after half time, but regardless of the reasons, Super Bowl 2013 was eventful and memorable.

For their 25th year, USA Today’s Ad Meter studied the popularity of each commercial independently, based on 7,619 pre-registered panelists, this year naming the Budweiser Clydesdale horse commercial as the best of the best, as the nation watched a pony raised by its trainer, join the Budweiser Clydesdale tour, and years later become reunited to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.

Meanwhile, Tide came in a close second with their humorous look at a house divided among a 49ers fan who spills salsa onto his jersey in the shape of Joe Montana’s face, becoming a national sensation, only to be washed by his Ravens fan wife.

What the top Super Bowl 2013 commercials say about us

Although there were numerous comedic commercials that stood out from Amy Poehler’s Best Buy commercial to a gang of senior citizens’ partying and eating Taco Bell, there were three commercials that stood out the most, and they say a lot about our nation – the aforementioned emotional Budweiser Clydesdale commercial, Oprah’s USO Jeep commercial as a moving tribute to troops and their families as Oprah says, “We wait. We hope. We pray. Until you’re home again,” and Ram Trucks’ recording of Paul Harvey’s “so God made a farmer” monologue.

All three are featured below, and the reason this year’s stand out commercials are relevant is because not only were so many commercials forgettable in a year of mediocrity, the messages that stood out, that really captured the nation’s attention, that seared themselves into our memory, were that of national pride, love, and hope. Coming out of a horrible recession, our preferences reveal that our nation isn’t broken, and national pride didn’t die after WWII, no, we want to pray for our troops, and we want to praise hard work, and as a nation, we want to rise above, no matter how much it hurts. Click to retweet this sentiment if you agree.

We want to recover, and while watching expensive commercials is a silly way to unite over such a sentiment, it is exactly what the nation did last night as it watched these spots:

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To watch all of the commercials and to judge for yourself, visit USA Today’s Ad Meter.

After nostalgia, Americans love to laugh

Revealing more eternal optimism, many of the most memorable Super Bowl 2013 commercials were comedic in nature, revealing one of our nation’s secret super powers of healing – smiling, laughing, and looking forward after a dark period filled with war and recessions.

Is it ridiculous to watch a commercial about old people raising hell, getting tattoos and eating Taco Bell and feel that our national recovery is under way? Sure. Is it insane to laugh at Amy Poehler saying “dongle,” as if we’re a nation of giggling pre-teens and feel good about the direction of our country? Of course. But it’s reality. We’re recovering.

Aside from Tide, Taco Bell, and Amy Poehler speaking for Best Buy, other brands hit substantial home runs as well, from Toyota’s wish-giving genie to Doritos’ violent goat or cross-dressing dads, to Santa Fe’s super-strength band of children, to Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen going head to head.

While there were many funny commercials, some were substantial flops, predictably GoDaddy’s take on kissing geeks. The following are the commercials we found to be the stand out comedy gems, in no particular order (well, Amy Poehler is on top for a reason…):

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Go to the next page for six more hilarious Super Bowl commercials:

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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