Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Kirk Baird

Super Bowl. Super Hype. Not-So-Super Ads

Welcome to the Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

Great game last night. The 2000s have been kind to the NFL and its premiere broadcast with some classic Super Bowls.

But as good as the games have been, the ads have taken a turn for the worse. Like most of you, I watch the commercials almost as intently as I watch the game. And I was disappointed yet again.

Maybe it's the impossible hype for the advertisers who are strutting their best stuff for a hundreds of millions of people worldwide that creates an anticipation the commercials cannot match. Or, perhaps it's the fact that there are so many of these clever commercials vying for our attention, that they blend together.

Or, maybe it's just that the ads really aren't that funny.

It's probably a combination of the three.

I did laugh at the casual day ad for some online career company, but I don't remember the Web site. So much for the millions spent on that ad.

The one that caught my attention the most, though, was a network promo, essentially the equivalent to what we in the newspaper business call a house ad, one that promotes the paper.

It was a promo for David Letterman and it featured Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno. The ad caught me by surprise -- so much so, that I rewound the DVR to watch the commercial again. It had to have been a Leno impersonator. It wasn't.

USA Today has the scoop on the ultra-secret Letterman promo here.

It was a win for Dave, fun for Oprah, and the start of PR surgery for Leno. I would have given a week's salary to have been privy to the entire time the commercial was filmed, and what the room was like with Letterman and Leno sharing a couch, separated only by Winfrey.

Now that, unlike last night's barrage of Bud Light, Coke, Go Daddy, and other advertisers was something to talk about.

So, the newscast ratings between channels 11, 13, 24, and 36 delivered no real shockers. Again, Toledo is a two-station town when it comes to local news, with 11 and 13 slugging it out for No. 1.

What's surprising, though, is the emergence of 36 into the third place. In fact, if you add all the viewers in the prime 25-54 demographic for all of Channel 24's newscasts, that total amount still doesn't equal how many area residents tune in to the 10 p.m. 36 newscast.

Fox's WUPW-TV, Channel 36, may never topple 11 and 13, but it's a big step for the station in the right direction.


So, I got to work today and was greeted by a voice mail from a reader who took me to task for including the ratings for WUPW-TV, Channel 36's, 4 p.m. newscast. She smugly reminded me that 36 no longer has a 4 p.m. newscast and that I was wrong. I think her exact words she left for me were to "get a clue." Naturally, she didn't leave a contact number, in which case I would inform her that she was wrong.

Channel 36 does not have an afternoon newscast anymore. The station dropped the 4-5 p.m. news and replaced it with a 6:30 p.m. half-hour version. In fact, I wrote about it in mid-January.

So, the caller was correct about that.

Where she was misinformed was why the 4 p.m. newscast was in the ratings story. It was included in the article because the newscast was still on in November and this was a story about the November ratings period. That's why I had November sweeps in the lede of the story. I couldn't very well include ratings for a newscast that didn't exist, now could I?

Now, if I reference the ratings for the 4 p.m. newscast for the ongoing February sweeps, then you can blast me. Until then, if you're going to leave an anonymous voice mail telling me, essentially, I'm an idiot, at least make sure you're correct with the facts.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to

or call 419-724-6734.

LINK: For all of Kirk Baird's Culture Shock riffs

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