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Throwback Thursdays

Prince Harry: Still America’s Favorite Royal Prince

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I am a regular viewer of ‘The Royals’ on E! and recently binged seasons one and two of ‘The Crown’ on Netflix. In elementary school, my friends and I woke up one morning at dawn to watch Lady Diana marry Prince Charles. I also sat glued to the coverage of her funeral a few years later. Given that viewing history, perhaps it’s no surprise that I also woke up silly early a few weekends ago to watch the Royal Wedding. But could my viewing be so on trend as to account for the other 29.2 million people who tuned in?

By any measure, airing something that 29.2 million Americans (according to Nielsen), want to watch – on a Saturday morning at 7am Eastern – is impressive. Sure, the wedding’s numbers were dwarfed by the Super Bowl (103 million) but it was watched by more viewers than the Oscars (26 million) and it did double the season finale of one of last year’s highest-rated shows, the viewing phenom “Game of Thrones” (12 million). Read More

Cinco de Mayo: More than a Reason to Drink Corona

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Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and you are likely to be one of many who have a few Coronas to mark the occasion. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (not Mexican Independence Day, as many in the US still believe).

In the States, Cinco de Mayo has become a retail pillar for many brands. In 2014, Cinco de Mayo took the mantle as the biggest drinking day of the year outside of the winter holidays, and one of the top five drinking holidays in general, based on consumption. In 2013, over $600M dollars’ worth of beer was sold, more than is sold on St. Patrick’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday. And most of the beer sold on May 5 is imported from Mexico, allowing Mexican import beer to prosper among US beer drinkers. In fact, its growth is second only to the growth of American craft beer. Read More

Sugar-Coating Easter with Lots of Peanut Butter and Chocolate

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Easter eggs come in all sorts of sizes, and of course, colors. My favorites are the ones that are chocolate on the outside and peanut butter on the inside. And it turns out I am not alone, with the first and fourth best-selling Easter candies being Reese’s and Hershey’s chocolate covered peanut butter eggs.

Typically, Halloween is the holiday associated with candy. However, the week before Easter actually beats out the one leading up to Halloween as the most lucrative week of the year for candy retailers. Read More

Wheaties: The Gold Medal Standard

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The bright orange box. The proud athlete on the front. One brand has been the dominant symbol of American triumph in sports: Wheaties.

Wheaties, then called Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes, hit store shelves in 1921. From a marketing and advertising view, it was a pioneer from the start. Many claim Wheaties even had the first ever jingle in a commercial, in a spot from 1926. Read More

Cindy Crawford Poised to Make a Super Bowl Comeback

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For only the second time in its 52-year history, the 2018 Super Bowl will be played in Minneapolis. The last and only other time Minnesota hosted, it was Super Bowl XXVI, on January 26, 1992: The Redskins played the Bills on CBS. John Madden and Pat Summerall called the game, which the Redskins won 37-24. The game’s rating was a 40.3. A :30 spot cost just $850,000.

One of the breakout stars of the 1992 game was Cindy Crawford, a 26-year old model. In an ad for Pepsi, Crawford pulled into a gas station in a Lamborghini to buy a can of soda. A pair of young boys watched the model step out of her car and gulp down a can of the soda and said, awestruck, “Is that a great new Pepsi can or what?” Read More

Rudolph, the Most-Enduring Reindeer

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For those of you still humming Christmas jingles and eagerly waiting until next year when you can belt them out again, here’s a little history about your favorite good-hearted reindeer. Did you know that the most famous reindeer of all is a 1939 creation of an advertising copywriter?

The idea for Rudolph took flight one foggy winter’s night in 1939, after the New Year. Retailer Montgomery Ward had a tradition of giving away children’s books as a holiday promotion, but for the 1939 Christmas season, the company decided to create one in-house to save money. Robert May, a 33 year old copywriter for the retailer’s catalogs, was known for sharing rhymes at the holiday party. This year, he was tasked by management to create a story about a lovable animal. Read More

Sesame Street: Sweeping the Clouds Away for 48 Years

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On November 10, 1969, television viewers were introduced to “Sesame Street”. In the almost 50 years since, the series has become one of television’s most-watched and most iconic programs, and not just for kids. With 90 million graduates in the US alone, adults and parents love it too. And it has won more Emmys (159) than any other show in history.

The series began in 1969 as a revolutionary idea: use TV to help kids learn. At the time, an estimated 97% of American homes had a television set, and preschoolers were watching on average 27 hours of TV each week. Television producer Joan Ganz Cooney set out to create a show for kids that would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them” – such as prepare them for school. Read More

The Great Halloween TV Tradition

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After a long, hot summer, we look forward to sweater weather, splurging on their favorite candy, costumes, and decorating for the Halloween season. And of course, bingeing on some good Halloween-themed TV.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), American consumer spending for this Halloween is forecast to reach a record $9.1B, up from $8.4 billion in 2016. Seven out of ten plan to celebrate Halloween this year by dressing up, handing out candy, and decorating our homes and offices.

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Hurricane Season: Wreaking Havoc on Land, Sea, and TV

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The unprecedented fury of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria caused power outages, flooding, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. While this season’s aggressive hurricane season has broken weather-related records left and right, it’s also impacted something a little closer to our industry: television.

When Irma struck Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, it left 6 million people without power in Florida and drove others towards watching the weather news. The Weather Channel kicked into “severe mode,” broadcasting live around the clock for several days around each of the back-too-back storms. It was the only network to do so, which was reflected in its ratings. Read More

The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Muppetational Show Ever

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“The Muppet Show.” The original one, from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Only the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational show ever. I did not come up with that myself. Those are lyrics from the opening credits of the show.

The original “Muppet Show” premiered in September 1976 in the UK. Creator Jim Henson took his idea to the US TV networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. US network executives unanimously praised his work, but were not convinced a puppet show could pull ratings in prime time. Henson created two pilots, which aired on ABC. Neither brought in good ratings, so ABC passed on the series. Read More