Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Can the BCS help formulate college football playoffs? Yes.

Can the BCS and college football playoffs exist simultaneously? I think so.

Before we get too far down this road, I want you to take a moment and visualize the playoff chart I created. Can you imagine how fun it would be to watch those games this year?!

Done visualizing? Now, let's get on with the massive amounts of logic and creativity I am about to bestow upon you.

Let's face it: the BCS isn't going anywhere...at least any time soon. So what if we use the BCS to determine which teams make the playoffs? Take the top 8 teams (see the chart of 2010 teams above) and have them square off.

Worried about bowl games? Don't be. Take the current BCS bowls and attribute one to each playoff game. For instance, the TCU vs. Ohio State game would be the Capital One bowl, the Oregon vs. Oklahoma game would be the Fiesta Bowl, the Auburn vs. Arkansas game would be the Sugar bowl, and the Stanford vs. Wisconsin game would be the Cotton bowl.

Then, after four teams win, they advance onto the next round of playoffs (obviously) and new bowl games too! The remaining two bowl games (and the last two rounds of playoffs) would be the Rose bowl and the Orange bowl. The National Championship game could either be how it is now (the BCS Championship) or it could go to the highest paying sponsor...Cialis Championship Bowl anyone?

This way the main bowls are still preserved and they are even MORE prestigious than ever before because in order to get to the Orange bowl or the Rose bowl, a team has to win a playoff game first.

Don't feel bad for the other 62 bowl eligible teams...we can still keep the exact same structure we have now with the exact same bowl names. These bowl games are more for the fans and they'll do nicely to serve as a teaser for the main action (the BCS playoffs).

The playoff games should start on the Saturday before the New Year. That way it's even more intense to see if your team gets to play "next year" or if they'll be left behind. The broadcasters, media, and raucous fans would all have fun with that. Then, the second round of playoff games would be played the week after that. Finally, the remaining two teams will each have a bye week to rest and prepare for the title game before squaring off.

While this solution doesn't get rid of the BCS, it does utilize the system to rank and place teams for the playoff. The system is nowhere near perfect and people will still bitch about how their team was screwed from making the Top 8. By taking eight teams instead of two to play for the title, there is much less pressure on the BCS and the voters to "get it right" year after year.

What does my system mean for you as a fan? Well, you will realistically be looking at the potential for a two (maybe three) loss season and your team could still have a shot to sneak in the Top 8 BCS rankings.

So yes, the BCS and college football playoffs can work together to give (most) everyone what they want. It's just a matter of time until this whole damn thing gets reformatted anyway...why not use the model I'm proposing?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Reason for the Season

Let my Christmas present to you be the ability to answer one of the world's foremost million dollar questions: "Who buys cars for other people as a Christmas gift?"

We all see the car commercials set to some cheesy music and they all end the same: with a shiny new car pulled in a driveway with a humongous red bow on top. Everyone in the ad industry, and elsewhere for that matter, wonders the same thing..."who the hell buys a car for someone as a Christmas gift?"

The answer: no one.

Car companies know they're selling a specialty good, and the brands that tout premium quality (Volvo, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.) have a brand reputation to uphold. That being said, the point of these car commercials isn't to entice you to purchase a dazzling new car. These ads are ran to maintain brand prestige because the people that CAN afford these cars buy them just as much for status as they do for the functionality.

You don't see holiday commercials for a Ford Fiesta, that would be laughable. Only the big dogs come to play on the Mother of all Material Holidays.

The car companies know what they're doing. They're selling two things with holiday commercials like these: 1) Brand prestige to prospective buyers, 2) The American dream that one day someone in the middle class (such as myself or perhaps you) will be able to afford a car as a Christmas gift to loved one(s).

So my friends, that is why you see these ads. It isn't because people are buying these cars, it's because people are paying attention to brands.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Brand You'll Ever Work On

Advertising is a wonderful thing. Where else can you be as creative with such a large microphone? By microphone, of course, I'm referring to the whatever medium is used to get your message across. Also, where else can you promote absurd product advantages...things like "drinkability"?

Some people in the industry are perfectly content doing work for local non-profit accounts. Others head to the big cities with the big buildings, aspiring to work on the largest mega-brands in the world.

But I'll let you in on a little secret that most advertising people don't know: the biggest and best brand that you will ever work on during your career is yourself. Think about it. It's the only brand that you have complete control of. You are your own media planner, account director, copywriter, public relations specialist, and owner. You are an agency of one.

Everything you do, from office hallway interactions with colleagues to e-mailing your friends and family, define your personal brand in some way. Every one of your actions influences the public perception of who you are as a person and as a brand.

Some personal brands go through re-branding, and that's okay. Sometimes you need to freshen your look or personal philosophy (think tagline). Just keep your focus on the things you can do today to strengthen your personal brand. Make yourself memorable and make yourself indispensable. But above all else, make sure that at the end of the day you can easily buy into what you're selling to others.