on by in Advertising

 Earlier today, I sent the below email to the Hulu team:

Team -

As you all know, I will be departing Hulu at the end of this quarter. I wanted to share the news that Andy Forssell will be stepping up to lead Hulu as acting CEO after I depart later this month.  You know Andy well; he’s been a critical senior executive and has been here from the start of this great adventure. Andy exemplifies the Hulu culture and has been central to Hulu’s journey, helping to grow this company from 2 content partners and no revenue to over 450 content partners and approximately $700 million revenue in 2012. In his role, Andy has built strong relationships with many of our Board members. Andy has the Board’s strong support in leading the team during this important time.

Disney and News Corporation are currently finalizing their forward-looking plans with Hulu, and the senior team has been working closely with them in that process. Once the plans are finalized, a permanent decision will be made regarding the CEO position.

As I mentioned to you all at the beginning of this year, Hulu’s focus remains on delivering a fantastic 2013 for customers and shareholders. Hulu is well on its way, with new records being set in Q1 across both revenue and subscriber additions.  The unwavering focus on delighting Hulu’s customers is clearly showing up in the outputs of the business.

Jason

 

on by in Advertising

Last night’s game was a nail biter, for both football fans and for the advertisers.

At the beginning of the second half, things were looking grim. At 28-6, the game was looking like a blowout (never great for second-half advertisers) when a bizarre blackout threw the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into darkness. If you’re an advertiser waging as much as $4 million for 30 seconds of air time in the second half, the last thing you want is a lopsided game, much less a delay that might cause people to give up, change the channel or go to bed.

So you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief among advertisers when the power came back on and it ignited an improbable 49ers comeback that tied fans to their seats until almost until the very last play. More people watching the game means more people watching the ads, and while the extended break wasn’t ideal, it did mean some Super Bowl advertisers like Audi, Oreos, Tide and Volkswagen could cleverly use the gap to their advantage. And in fact, early Nielsen estimates indicate this year’s game was the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

Advertising Age has been reviewing Super Bowl ads for decades, long before the ads themselves were considered as much a part of the entertainment experience as the game itself. This year, Ad in-house critic Ken Wheaton found a lot to like. Among our faves? Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” brought the Clydesdales and some emotion, back to the Super Bowl. Samsung’s “The Big Pitch,” with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and a cameo from LeBron James solidified the company as the top marketer in tech. Ram Trucks’ homage to the farmer was epic in length for a Super Bowl ad and a worthy follow up to its “Imported From Detroit” ad last year.

 

 

 

Catch up on the ads you missed here at Hulu, or if you really want to nerd out on the advertising, and the strategy behind it, visit us at AdAge.com or follow us on Twitter at @adage.

Happy watching.

 

on by in Advertising, News

Tonight, as football fans gorged on pizza and beer, Superbowl commercial fans gorged on ads, and Hulu was there to serve a heaping helping of this year’s “big game” ads in the Hulu’s Toyota AdZone. As the confetti settles in New Orleans, and junk food settles in our stomachs, let’s take a look at this evening’s most liked ads.

Wild Card: Cars.com: Wolf

A car-buying couple misses the drama they used to have before discovering Cars.com. So their salesman puts them between a wolf cub and its snarling mother. Baby animal trend officially established for 2013.

Wild card: Hyundai: Stuck
A clever ad about how I feel very day on every single road there is.

What? I live in Los Angeles.

Wild Card: NFL: Sandcastle
Just hilarious.

15: Oreo: Whisper Fight
A cowboy-style bar fight breaks out in a library, and everybody whispers. What’s the fighting all about? Whether the cream or the cookie is the best part of the Oreo. We say the cookie. Or do we?

14: Dorito’s: Fashionista Daddy
There were two Dorito’s ads in AdZone, and this one got the most Likes. While not as entertaining, original, funny, or as inventive as the “Goat 4 Sale” ad, this one does have men in women’s clothing. So it’s got that going for it.

13: Grande Papi
This is exactly how I feel when I go out with my 4 month-old son strapped to my chest. We look so awesome. I stalk through the grocery aisles, feeling like a member of some kind of baby SWAT team, with my adorable kid and all my gear. Taco Bell captured the essence of proud daddyhood in this ad, and Hulu viewers rewarded that effort with Likes.

12: Kia: Space Babies
A fantastical super-bowl style ad that has nothing to do with the Kia Sorrento. Beautiful to look at, and babies.
Downside: voice-activated service requires driver to call out its unwieldy name: “Uvo”.
Upside: Baby animal trend perpetuated.

11: Audi: Prom
Dad’s Audi inspires courage in a lonely teenage boy. In this spot, Audi makes being a loner look cool and daring.
The awesome shot of the Audi’s illuminating headlamps as the engine growls to life is now a familiar staple of the Audi Super Bowl ad.

10: Milk: The Rock in Morning Run
An entirely awesome ad, and my personal favorite of 2013. To me, this is a pitch-perfect over-the-top Super Bowl ad. Tons of action and hyperbole, and the product is still front and center.

9: Jeep: America Will Be Whole Again
Continuing their “patriotic” theme from last year (minus the crumbly spokesman), Chrysler hit us with a heavy 2 minute spot about our heroes returning home. Viewers across America responded positively.

8: Skechers GORun 2: Cheetah
A running shoe commercial where a man outruns a cheetah. Nothing groundbreaking (we had a cheetah ad last year), but we all got a kick out of seeing the runner exchange a fist bump with the gazelle at the end.

7: GoDaddy: Perfect Match
A big hit with our software developers (all of whom are more attractive than “Walter”), this ad featured Israeli model Bar Refaeli smooching a nerdy guy… for a long time. Popular (I assume) for shock value, this ad lip-smacked its way into our top 10.

6: World War Z: Big Game Spot
A 30-second condensed version of the trailer, this ad opened World War Z to an audience who may not be familiar with the acclaimed zombie novel. Fans of the zombie genre have been hungry for this one, and this spot whet their appetites even further.

5: Fast & Furious 6 (Fast 6): Trailer
The ad that made me laugh the most this year was oddly enough, not supposed to. This short teaser for the sixth installment of the franchise following a group of street-racing thieves (who apparently become superhuman) grabbed a lot of attention in this year’s AdZone.

4: Budweiser: Brotherhood
So, I cried at a beer commercial tonight. That happened. Every year Anheuser-Busch airs an ad featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales, and quite frankly I’ve always found them to be on the boring side. These are just horses, where’s the beer? But this year, I was moved by the story of a young man raising a Clydesdale, only to send the horse far away to be a part of the famous Budweiser team. Their reunion at the end brought a tear to my eye, and I suspect, to many others. A sentimental ad from Bud comes in at number 4.

3: Volkswagen: Get In. Get Happy.
The always-upbeat tall white guy in the office, made more emphatic by his Jamaican accent, brought laughs to everyone at my Superbowl party. In advertising, happiness is a pretty good thing to sell, and Volkswagen nailed it. They didn’t try to play on the success of last year’s ad, they just went for it. Hulu viewers responded by giving it the 3rd most Likes in this year’s AdZone.

2: Taco Bell: Viva Young
Hauling out an old chestnut of a concept that worked well for Six Flags, Boost Mobile, the movie Cocoon, and the Jackass series, Taco Bell hit a home run with a group of senior citizens partying into the night.

1: Ram Trucks: Farmer
In a two-minute stunner, Dodge changed everything we’ve come to expect from a Super Bowl ad. No music, no explosions, no famous actors, just a somber monologue from radio legend Paul Harvey, accompanied by striking gritty visuals of farmers at work. Dodge extended a hand of respect to its customers with this ad, with its carefully metered pace and honest tone. Resonating with viewers across America, this unique spot grabbed our attention, and the number one slot in this year’s AdZone.

on by in Advertising, Announcements

It’s that time of year again. The smell of nachos is in the air. Grown men will cry…and maybe even paint their faces. Sports fanatics across America will tune in to watch football season go into overdrive on Super Bowl Sunday. But the football field isn’t the only place where there’s a battle going down on game day.

Hulu AdZone, sponsored by Toyota, kicks off today in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday. This is where the commercials of Super Bowl XLVII will face off in real-time on game day, and your votes will crown the winner.

Watch, share and vote for your favorite Super Bowl ads during the big game. As soon as one team takes home the title of Super Bowl champion on Sunday, Feb. 3, we’ll tally the votes and announce your pick for the best ads of Super Bowl 2013 and share our picks for best celebrity cameos, cutest critters and more.

And if you’re craving another wing or grabbing a cold one during the commercial break and miss that ad that will have everyone talking, have no fear – with the Hulu AdZone mobile experience you can visit hulu.com/adzone from your mobile device to pull up that ad and watch, vote, share, Tweet and “like” it to your heart’s content (you’ll just need a Facebook account to cast your vote).

Start getting in the game day spirit now by browsing through the best commercials of Super Bowls past, and your picks for the best ads of 2012. Be sure to check back as we add teaser and preview ads for 2013 between now and game day.

So while you root for your team on the field, remember to cast your vote and watch the scoreboard on Hulu AdZone!

on by in Advertising, Interviews

Nick Kroll’s been a bro, a cartoon, a female publicist, an Ed Hardy boy, and a stand-up comic. He’s now all of those things, especially that last one, on his own show, Kroll Show.

Kroll Show premieres January 16 on Comedy Central, and you can catch the pilot on Hulu right now.

We decided to talk to Kroll about the whole thing, but here’s a quick primer on a few of the characters you’ll be seeing, before we get started.

Kroll and Jon Daly play Rich Dicks Aspen Bruckheimer and Wendy Shawn.

“Basically leisure has bred all the masculinity out of them,” Kroll says.


Then there’s Bobby Bottleservice—one of the Ed Hardy Boyz, along with a guy named Peter Paparazzo (also played by Jon Daly). The duo solves mysteries, gets girls, and of course, rocks Ed Hardy.

There’s also Liz G, a college graduate who expects the best. She’s the driven one, and her business partner, Liz B. (played by Jenny Slate) is trying to have a life. Together, they run a PR firm called PubLIZity. You’re not going to believe this, but it’s based off of their names.

Then there’s Kroll himself, but we’ll let him explain that.

Hulu: So what’s the show gonna look like?

NK: “A hybrid of sketch and longer-format story-telling. It feels more like you’re watching a collection of mini-series that is very character and story driven more than a classic sketch driven.”

Hulu: What’s first?

NK: A little bit of me as me, talking directly to camera, to get a little of the standup out and give the audience a little sense of who I am.

Hulu: Then?

NK: A bunch of characters. They’re all kinda like loveable losers in some capacity.

Hulu: What was it like playing Stu on “The Life and Times of Tim?”

NK: (Show creator) Steve (Dildarian) had established the character, I just auditioned over the phone for that while I was still living in New York. It’s collaborative in that, like “The League,” there are scripts but a ton of room for improv. So, both with Ruxin (on “The League”) and Stu, the creators did a very nice job of establishing the kind of person they are. Then, through collaborating on writing and improvising in the room I was able to add various layers that seemed funny to me to each character.

I love doing animation stuff. One, it’s incredibly easy. It’s really easy to do in that you don’t have to put on makeup or dress nicely or anything but also you can mess around and find new angles and you’re not wasting anybody’s time. Hopefully, if we do Season 2 of Kroll Show, we would be able to tinker around with some animation.

And doing ”The Life and Times of Tim,” I actually met John Levenstein, who ran the show in Season 2. He ended up as one of the executive producers and showrunner for Kroll Show.

Hulu: So tell me a little bit about “The League” season finale.

NK: All I can say is that there will be some very shocking, shocking occurrences that will…I can guarantee there will be some surprises and I can also guarantee that everyone will be miserable.

Hulu: And how’s the show going overall?

NK: The show obviously has resonated and people seem psyched about it. I can just sense that people are enjoying it.

(Note: The day after our interview the season finale premiered. It was indeed very shocking. And FX announced that the show was picked up for a 5th season.)

Hulu: What’re you watching these days?

NK: I do a lot of what I like to call TV tapas, which is flipping through shows for five to ten minutes at a time. I’ll watch five minutes of “Duck Dynasty” and five minutes of a Korean soap opera and then five minutes of “SportsCenter” and then five minutes of Junior, the movie. I’m watching Season 2 of “Breaking Bad” now. I need to catch up with this whole season of “Homeland.” I watch “Parks and Rec.” I enjoy the Steve Brule show (“Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule”). Beyond all my friends’ shows, which I watch, which are like Paul Scheer’s NTSF on Adult Swim (“NTSF:SD:SUV”) and “Childrens Hospital,” I like “American Masters” on PBS a lot. I grew up watching SNL I still watch a good amount of it. I’ll go to Hulu, actually, and watch it.

Want more of Nick Kroll? See him discuss “Kroll Show” and “The League” with buddy and “The League” costar Paul Scheer here.