Monday, February 08, 2010

Superbowl à la CTV - What a Downer

It's a perpetual theme this time of year in Canada that CRTC rules force Canadians watching the Superbowl on cable or by Canadian satellite to watch the commercials that the Canadian carrier has negotiated.
This has a profound effect on the experience of the viewer; when you watch the game in the US nobody leaves the room for commercials; they are the highlight of the US advertising year and they reflect the unleashing of the creative year for advertising agencies.  I last experienced this two years ago when the Giants upset the Patriots and I was at a party with family in California; then we saw the first of the Clydesdale ads where they bond with other animals, and the first of the E*Trade babies.  The atmosphere was electric and the ads got almost as much in cheering as some of the play.
Last year I watched the game in Canada, and it was a great game but that electricity was gone.
And last night I watched the game largely alone on CTV.
It was pathetic.  There were some standard boring car ads and not much more I recall except ....
90% of the ads seemed to be for their coverage of the upcoming boring Olympics; and this alone made me wonder about a lot of things.
a) Do they need to advertise so heavily for fear we won't watch much of what is likely their expensive coverage (I expect to watch a lot of curling and nothing else)?
b) Or do they think that advertising will inspire us to watch more of the Olympics?  It turned me off so badly I plan to minimize my Olympic watching after last night.
c) Are Canadians so uninterested in the Superbowl that that is the best CTV could sell - 90% of the ads to themselves?
I heard interesting related comments on the CBC this morning about this.  Jian Ghomeishi was frustrated that many in his Twitter community were seeing the US ads and he had nothing to say as he had not seen them.  Bruce Dowbiggin commented (CRTC take note! as did I) that he had watched the game on his laptop from a US feed and so had seen all the ads sitting, I assume, in Calgary.
This is truly a silly and pathetic little country.


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