Media Musings

I was a guest on Digital Madvertising, Episode 16. We talked about the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen in my marketing career. It’s 49 minutes of Mad Man fun and nostalgia.


In April 2014 I wrote a post about Ozarka water being bottled in Texas, and proudly branded as such right here in Arkansas, where my intuition always (and incorrectly) told me Ozarka came from Arkansas, land of the Ozarks.

Click here to see the original post.

The post is likely to reach 600 views in 2022, breaking the annual record of 592 set in 2016. Like Lionel Messi and Tom Brady, this old boy keeps on scoring, year after year.

Blog content doesn’t die. Sometimes it keeps getting more popular. Who knows, maybe “Ozarka is made in Texas” will hit 700 in 2023.

The high school graduates of May 2018 are about to move into their college dorm rooms, and many won’t be taking a TV with them. This year’s university freshmen don’t watch TV and don’t use TVs. Instead, they watch prepackaged video content, on demand, and on their laptops and phones.

In my survey of 36 new freshmen, all who are recent high school graduates ready to move into college community housing without their snoopy parents, 39% said they do not expect a TV in their college housing room. Fifty-six percent of female students surveyed won’t have a TV in their room. In a world of big high-definition televisions, these sharp-eyed young adults gravitate to the small screen. More than three fourths (77%) expect to spend most of their video-watching time on a laptop or desktop computer. Another 20% prefer their mobile phone, and only 3% rely primarily on a traditional or smart TV. Nobody watches video on their tablet or iPad.

We’re seeing a major shift not only in device preference, but in content selection as well. The new collegians are not watching live or same-day video. Eight-six percent of all surveyed and 94% of females say more than three-fourths of what they watch is not live and did not just become available that day. A study of viewing habits from 2017 showed teens spent 34% of their video time watching YouTube, 27% watching Netflix, and 14% watching live TV. Young people spend about twice as much time watching Netflix as live TV, and even more time on YouTube

They’re watching YouTube and Netflix on their laptops.  

Broadcast and cable networks rely heavily on live sports to capture a real-time audience, especially during October when Major League Baseball reaches its crescendo and all forms of football are at full throttle. But only half of the rising college freshmen surveyed said they expect to watch 3 or more hours of live sports during the whole month of October. That’s not even one full college game. Whoa, Nellie, Keith Jackson, what happened to the young’uns?

There are big differences between men and women in this narrow age group. Seventy-eight percent of males plan to watch at least three hours of live sports in October, whereas only 22% of females expect to spend this much time viewing live games. And don’t forget about the game consoles like Xbox and PS4. None of the 18 females surveyed expect to have a game box in their room, while half the young men are planning to squeeze in some Fortnite or FIFA between study sessions. As a side note, those game consoles can also stream video services like Netflix, if you don’t mind using the clunky controller that’s better suited for Madden NFL 19.

The pipelines of content aren’t what they used to be. Only 23% of those surveyed expect to plug a cable into their TV.  Only 11% of males and no females will have a Blu-ray or DVD player. When they actually use “a real TV,” these young adults rely on smart TVs and over-the-top streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. With wall-to-wall WiFi on modern college campuses, we don’t need no stinkin’ cable.

I didn’t ask if anyone planned to use a TV antenna. I wonder if they know what one is.

Blair Paris Connor

A vision of TV’s future? The college class of 2022. They were born in 1999 and 2000.  They’re changing the face of a medium we used to call Television, which we ought to start calling Video.

Survey Response Stats

Total Respondents: 36

Females: 18

Males: 18

All data collected August 9-11, 2018


TV or Not TV?

Will have a TV in their room 61% (78% of males; 44% of females)

Won’t have a TV in their room 39%


Device Most Used for Watching Video

Laptop or Desktop Computer 77% (82% of females; 72% of males)

Mobile Phone 20% (22% of males; 18% of females)

Traditional or Smart TV 3% (6% of males; 0% of females)

Tablet or iPad 0%


Content Delivery Device Expectations (Multiple Responses Allowed)

Smart TV Apps 46% (56% of males; 35% of females)

Streaming Device 43% (53% of females; 33% of males)

Game Console 26% (50% of males; 0% of females)

Cable  23% (29% of females; 17% of males)

Blu-ray or DVD player 6% (11% of males; 0% of females)


Live/Same Day Content

More than 75% of what I watch is NOT live and did NOT just become available that day  86% (94% of females; 78% of males)

25-50% of what I watch is NOT live and did NOT just become available that day   9%

Less than 25% of what I watch is NOT live and did NOT just become available that day  6%


Live Sports October 2018 Viewing Expectations

3+ Hours 50% (78% of males; 22% of females)

Less than 3 Hours 50%


© Paul Sage – Sage Advice, LLC – 11 August 2018


If you don’t live in Arkansas (and there’s a good chance you don’t) you’re missing the fun of Arkansas advertising.  Today in my fair city of Little Rock I was listening to a local radio station and the spokesman for a Chevrolet dealership pitched the Impala as “the car for the man who’s not trying to impress anybody.”

I doubt that’s what the folks in Detroit had in mind for copy, but you have to admit it’s unique. Not unique in the way Rosser Reeves intended for a USP.  I’d bet nobody else positions it the way we do in Arkansas.  The 2014 Impala. Shown here in Razorback Red.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It's nothing special, and that's what's special about it.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It’s nothing special, and that’s what’s special about it.


This spot ran on Texas Rangers baseball last night on Fox Sports Southwest, an English-language network.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 11.21.38 AM








The story is performed in Spanish, but the action is so clear, so universal, that language doesn’t matter.  We’ve all been there, and we understand.

The tag at the end, both on-screen and voiceover, is all English.

It breaks through.  Unlike the Rangers.  They lost.  Again.

Baseball and advertising have always been partners.  Long before NASCAR and the Barclays Premier League brought us sports figures decked in suits of many logos, the outfield walls of Major League Baseball stadiums were checkered with a panorama of ads.  Outfield WallAll those ads probably made it harder for players to see the ball.
Outfield Wall 2But they gave the fans something to read between innings.  Remember, they didn’t have smartphones back then.  Now we just check our email when the teams are changing sides.Outfield Wall 3

Podcasts are to media what Trefoils are to Girl Scout Cookies.  Most of us know they’re there, and most of us never order them.  Unless you’re like me.  I love podcasts.

It all started back in twenty-aught-six when I got my first iPod – a 1-gigabyte Nano.  I thought I was a hepcat.  I got on iTunes and quickly learned there’s more than music to play on a music player.  I discovered a whole world of podcasts.  And they were free.  Free is good.

Podcasts are advertiser-supported but not advertiser-heavy.  Advertising on podcasts could work for your brand.  Your ad runs in an uncluttered environment to an opted-in audience. Toyota advertises on “Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know,” a video podcast that delves into pop conspiracy theories.  Shari’s Berries is a regular on the hilarious “This Week with Larry Miller.”

I highly recommend “Manager Tools” and its companion “Career Tools,” two energetic weekly podcasts that provide detailed direction on how to work effectively inside a corporation.  “Manager Tools” host Mark Horstman is brilliant and full of tough-love advice, such as “You’re not paid to be you, you’re paid to be effective,” “You’re not that smart; they’re not that dumb,” and “It’s all about behavior.”


Check it out for yourself.  Next time you’re on the iTunes Store search for whatever topic, title or person that interests you.  We all know “there’s an app for that.”  There’s also a podcast for that.

I feel like it’s December 23rd and the Christmas presents have already been opened. So much for anticipating what advertisers have in store for us during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Most, if not all, released their spots online this week. Coca-Cola and Volkswagen are already defending their work, which some say is defamatory.

Even if an ad is brilliant and stands up to initial scrutiny, do you think its impact is lessened by a Wednesday afternoon preview on your laptop instead of a Super Bowl Sunday debut on your big screen?

Advertisers clearly want to generate early buzz instead of waiting for the Monday morning recap. But as Kenny Rogers sang, “There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”


Christmas gifts and Super Bowl ads should stay wrapped until their day has arrived.  And cats should never be put in bags to begin with.


With the college national championship behind us and only eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs, followers of American football are now fixing their eyes on February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday. 

CBS has already sold out its inventory at an average price of around $3.7 million per 30-second spot (is that net or gross, might I ask?).   That’s right – over $7 million a minute.

Is it worth it?  In an era of retweeting, rehashing and reality imitating art ad nauseam, perhaps it is worth it now more than ever.  As long as the advertiser gives us something to tweet or Facebook or LinkIn about.  When done right, a Super Bowl ad can generate endless “free” repetition, replay on cable news, podcast chatter and social media buzz.

Remember the irreverent, unleashed wildness of the 2000 Super Bowl ads at the height of the dot-com boom, when E-Trade’s spot with a cha-cha-ing chimp boasted “We just wasted two million dollars.  What are you doing with your money?”

E-Trade chimp

Thirteen years later the price of a Super Bowl spot has nearly doubled and the opportunities for exposure through social media have gone from zero to everybody.   I’m expecting some killer work from big brands on February 3rd.  If you’re like me, you’ll get up to get your favorite food and beverage only at certain moments of the game – when they’re actually playing football.