Adages

By Published on .

Monday morning quarterbacking

The marketing genius who brought us New Coke, Sergio Zyman, was in Manhattan Jan. 29 crowing about his latest Super Bowl "purchase intent" poll. Serge claims his scientific poll counted 2000 heads. A "true winner" of the sweepstakes isn't the most popular spot in the game, but the one that motivates people to buy the brand. Serge's top spot? A perplexing 30-second techno blur for Accenture, which whispered mysteriously about "bacteria." What did Serge's 2000 heads expect to purchase there? Fungicide?

Last year, Serge said Pets.com delivered the most potent commercial. His scientific study gave it a whopping 120% "intent to purchase" rating. We all know what happened to that dog. So what gives, Serge? "The Pets.com spot got consumers to check out the Pets.com site," he said, "And what they found was that buying pet food on the Web was more expensive than in a store." Adages is thus left to ponder the value of measuring "intent to purchase."

Meanwhile, Serge's personal Super Bowl favorite? He loved a singularly mawkish ad featuring a crippled painter, which soft-peddled the mobile phone service Cingular. "Sometimes I like boring things," said Serge. "I even like `Ring around the collar."'

Piranha III

Adages' correspondent in Rio reports that Brazil's TV Globo is outdoing "Survivor: The Australian Outback" with its own show "No Limite," which is just starting its second season as Brazil's most popular TV program. Twelve contestants are marooned in swampy Mato Grosso state sleeping on hammocks; their only nourishment is the food they manage to scrounge in the wilderness. (Last year's contenders had to eat raw sheep's eyes.) On the first show, aired Jan. 29, the plucky contestants were already in tears. Advertisers are far happier than the contestants. Lured by the weekly program's 58% audience share, Italian car company Fiat and local Brazilian beer, bank and shoe companies are ponying up $1 million each to sponsor the ordeal.

Evil twins

Adages readers, test your advertising acumen. Which one of these two fellows is a famous advertising executive and what is his name? Who is the other gentleman? Send in your answers to the e-mail address below. Winners will receive a useless item with the Advertising Age logo.

Mummy's the word

David Verklin, CEO of Carat, also made the rounds Jan. 29. He appeared on WNBC's "Today" in New York punting his Super Bowl best list. Oddly, the well-known advertising executive was identified on screen as an "advertising analyst," and his top spot came from far left field. It was a movie trailer for the Universal flick "The Mummy." Although the "analyst" could not be reached for comment, a few ad observers speculated that Verklin is fixated on Hollywood. After all, Carat is pitching both New Line Cinema and Sony Pictures for their media placement accounts. Together they are worth almost $400 million.

Got an Adage? Tell Richard by phone (212) 210-0243; fax (212) 210-0200 or by e-mail, rlinnett@crain.com.

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