TIME Advertising

Mobile Ads Fuel Facebook’s Growth, Again

Views of The Facebook Inc. Logo Ahead of Earnings
The login page for the Facebook Inc. mobile application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5. Bloomberg—Getty Images

Mobile ads accounted for 69% of the social networking giant’s fourth-quarter ad revenue

Facebook’s sales jumped nearly 50% in the latest quarter, fueled by growing ad revenue from more users connecting through their mobile phones, the company said Wednesday. Here are the key points from Facebook’s fourth quarter earnings report.

What you need to know: The social networking giant continued to ride a strong mobile ad business to $3.85 billion in quarterly revenue — an increase of 49% from $2.6 billion during the same quarter a year earlier. Facebook’s quarterly profits totaled $701 million, or 25 cents per share, representing a 34% year-over-year increase.

Once again, Facebook got a bulk of its revenue from mobile ads as it surpassed analyst expectations of $3.7 billion in revenue. Facebook’s sales have grown by about 60% in each of the previous two quarters with much of those gains attributed to mobile ads. Despite topping analysts’ forecasts, Facebook’s fourth quarter saw the company’s slowest rate of quarterly sales growth since early-2013 and the company’s shares dipped slightly in after-hours trading.

The company also provided full-year financial results, showing a 58% bump in annual revenue, to $12.5 billion, and $2.9 billion in profits — nearly double 2013’s profits.

“We got a lot done in 2014,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Our community continues to grow and we’re making progress towards connecting the world,”

The big number: Facebook ended 2014 with 1.39 billion monthly active users (MAUs), which was up 13% from 2013. Mobile MAUs grew by 26% in 2014, to 1.19 billion.

Facebook’s expanding mobile ad business, which has shown huge gains over the past couple of years, represented nearly 69% of the company’s $3.6 billion in ad revenue. Ad sales were up 53% from last year’s fourth quarter, when mobile ads accounted for only 53% of overall ad revenue.

What you might have missed: In October, Facebook’s tumbled slightly following the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the company announced plans to dramatically increase the company’s spending on hiring and acquisitions in 2015. In the fourth quarter, Facebook said, the company’s capital expenditures rose 7%, to $517 million.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Advertising

This Super Bowl Ad Purposely Wants to Put You to Sleep

Squarespace recruited Jeff Bridges to lull viewers into an REM cycle

The stereotypical Super Bowl commercial involves car chases, celebrities, Victoria’s Secret models, puppies and other tropes that keeps the eyes of viewers eagerly on their screens.

Squarespace, on the other hand, wants its Super Bowl ad to put people to sleep. And it has enlisted Jeff Bridges to help.

The actor launched an album called “Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes” Wednesday that aims to lull listeners into a REM cycle using guided meditations, relaxing sounds and Bridges’ silky smooth voice.

Where does Squarespace come in? Well, Bridges used the website publishing platform to create the album’s website, called DreamingWithJeff.com. Donations for the “pay what you like” tapes goes to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

It’s possible that the prospect of napping with The Dude will be more appealing to big game watchers than taking selfies with Kim Kardashian.

 

TIME Advertising

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad About a Lost Puppy Is An Emotional Roller Coaster

Animal friendship at its finest

Budweiser has done it again.

Despite false rumors that the beer company was nixing its signature Clydesdales for the big game ad, Budweiser has continued its very successful strategy of highlighting the power of animal friendship. In a sequel to its 2014 ad “Puppy Love,” “Lost Dog” tells the story of an 11-week-old golden Lab who gets separated from his best friend — a Clydesdale horse.

What comes next is a minute-long emotional roller coaster that will make you feel like you’re watching Homeward Bound for the very first time.

Budweiser

Eight puppies between 11 and 12.5 weeks old were used in the filming of this ad, directed by RSA’s Jake Scott. The poignant soundtrack is by Sleeping At Last, who offer up an acoustic version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” originally by the Proclaimers.

We won’t spoil the saga — warning: there are wolves!! — but you might want to sit down.

Read next: A Look at Budweiser’s Successful Clydesdale Campaign

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Advertising

Watch Pierce Brosnan Not Play James Bond in This Kia Sorento Super Bowl Ad

Average Joe Bond

Kia’s new extended commercial The Perfect Getaway, in which Pierce Brosnan vaunts the 2016 Sorento, may just be the best Super Bowl ad we’ve seen so far.

Brosnan (aka the last James Bond before Daniel Craig) is being pitched the ad but thinks he’ll be driving high-speed through snipers, dodging fire from missile launchers and braving exploding cabins.

“What’s the mission?” he asks.

Only to discover: “There is no mission,” is the reply.

Instead, Brosnan takes a leisurely drive through snowy mountains to an idyllic wood cabin at the summit.

But being Bond, he still gets the girl at the end.

TIME Advertising

Watch the Chilling New Domestic Violence Ad You’ll See During the Super Bowl

No celebrities here

There’s a new domestic violence public service announcement airing during the Super Bowl, and it’s much scarier than most of the ones you’ve seen before.

The ad is part of the NFL’s “No More” campaign, but you won’t see any earnest-looking football players here. Instead, it’s based on an actual 911 call from a domestic violence victim, who pretends she’s ordering a pizza because her attacker is still in the room with her.

 

MONEY Advertising

5 Ways This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Will Be Like No Other

Victoria's Secret Angels Superbowl ad
Victoria’s Secret Angels Super Bowl Commercial Michael Seto

This year, a Super Bowl ad costs roughly $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time, up $500,000 from 2014. Price isn't the only way this year's ads will be different.

In a few ways, come Sunday, February 1, Super Bowl viewers can expect some of the same-old, same-old during breaks in the game. Unsurprisingly, there will be ads selling beer and tearjerkers featuring lost puppies (one does both at the same time), and there will be at least one commercial flashing a nearly naked woman walking in public, thanks to perennial provocateur Carl’s Jr. Still, in a few interesting ways this year’s Super Bowl commercials make a break from the past.

There won’t be many car ads.
Auto brands are usually big players in the Super Bowl ad games. Not so much this year. As the Detroit News pointed out, 11 automakers aired commercials during the 2014 Super Bowl. This year, only a handful will be paying up for Super Bowl ad time, with Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, General Motors, and Volkswagen among the regular Super Bowl advertisers who aren’t bothering this year.

The latter is known for some of the best and most shared Super Bowl ads ever (everybody remembers the kid Darth Vader from 2011), yet the automaker released a statement explaining, “For 2015, we have opted to not participate due to other priorities and initiatives across all platforms. We hope to rejoin the Super Bowl when we feel it is appropriate for our brand.”

Analysts have also theorized that automakers are skipping Super Bowl ads this year because the timing doesn’t match up with new vehicle launches, and simply because they’ve blown so much money on these commercials in the past. Over the last decade, automakers have dropped $514.6 million on Super Bowl commercials, nearly 25% of the grand total.

Some other big advertisers are passing too.
Like Dannon, which isn’t advertising even though it’s the Official Yogurt Sponsor of the NFL, and even though it’s developed a reputation for memorable Super Bowl ads like last year’s “Full House” reunion spot. Even for brands that seek close ties with the NFL, the thinking can be that advertising in the Super Bowl simply costs too much, and might not provide enough bang for the buck over the long haul.

“The Super Bowl has a huge audience—but with a huge price tag,” Dannon senior director of public relations Michael Neuwirth said in an interview. “We looked at the most efficient way to build awareness and interest in the product across a longer period of time.”

There will be a bunch of brands you never heard of.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Wix.com (a website building company), Loctite (super glue), or Mophie (smartphone cases), and if you are familiar with the likes of Buzzfeed and The Verge, you probably don’t think of them as Super Bowl advertisers. Nonetheless, all of the above have commercials airing during the Super Bowl, the latter two with regional rather than national ads, but impressive and expensive nonetheless.

When a commercial featuring a fairly obscure brand is shown during the most expensive, most watched TV event of the year, it’s going to cause some puzzlement on the behalf of viewers. And that’s why this strategy might be effective and help a brand make an extra big splash.

In a Wall Street Journal article about the roughly 15 companies advertising for the first time in the Super Bowl this year, Chris Lawrence, director of account management at Fallon, the agency that created the Loctite Super Bowl ad, said, “The fact that there is scrutiny and people paying attention is exactly the point … It’s a chance to make a lot of friends very quickly.”

On the other hand, it’s also a chance to alienate and anger millions of viewers. See the ill-conceived effort by first-time Super Bowl advertiser Groupon in 2011, when the coupon site thought it would be funny to mock environmental and political tragedies around the globe.

The ads won’t only be limited to TV screens.
Five years ago, Pepsi skipped the Super Bowl even though ad time started then at $2.5 million—cheap compared with the $4+ million a 30-second slot runs this year. And the reason Pepsi gave in 2010 for not advertising was a decision to focus instead on a social media campaign.

Was the campaign successful? Well, let’s just say that Pepsi is not only advertising in the 2015 Super Bowl, it’s the official sponsor of the halftime show featuring Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz.

Nonetheless, big brands commit so much time and energy to social media during the game that it’s tantamount to its own parallel category of Super Bowl advertising. Remember Oreo’s memorable Tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl at the New Orleans Super Dome, when the masses were reminded, “You can still dunk in the dark”? That extremely timely and effective message kicked up social media efforts to the next level.

This year, the off-TV battle for eyeballs includes a special live-streamed halftime show on YouTube, in addition to YouTube hosting Ad Blitz, where people can view and vote for their favorite ads that actually did air during the Super Bowl. (Last year’s Ad Blitz resulted in 379 million views on YouTube, according to Businessweek.)

Then there’s Facebook, which is “trying to get Super Bowl money even without the Super Bowl,” Horizon Media vice president Brad Adgate said to AdAge, by selling ads to companies that would be shown to Facebook users who post game-related material. “I think it’s part of their strategy to siphon off as many dollars from television as possible.”

Oh, and the network broadcasting the game on TV, NBC, is also allowing everyone to stream the entire Super Bowl online for free, which will perhaps keep some web surfers away from YouTube and Facebook.

Women will (mostly) keep their clothes on.
Super Bowl commercials have a long history of offending women and being declared downright sexist. And yes, the planned Carl’s Jr. ad featuring a seemingly naked Charlotte McKinney is perhaps one of the raciest and most juvenile Super Bowl ads ever.

But the Carl’s Jr. “all natural” commercial, which will only air in the western U.S. during the Super Bowl, is already getting bashed in certain circles. “It’s like porn meets American Pastime,” branding consultant Erika Napoletano said to USA Today. “It makes NFL cheerleaders—underpaid and underclothed—look like nuns in comparison.”

What’s more, in light of nearly half of Super Bowl viewers being women, it seems to be growing more apparent that advertisers should try to appeal to (rather than offend) the ladies. That’s part of why we’ll see ads featuring Mindy Kaling and paralympian Amy Purdy during the game. Heck, even in the Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl commercial encouraging men to buy lingerie for Valentine’s Day, the models are fully clothed (in football uniforms) rather than showing off skin in bikinis or underwear. Have a look here:

MONEY Advertising

Judge Upholds Your Right to Skip TV Commercials

You can also watch TV by sending signals from your TV to a remote device, according to a ruling in Dish-21st Century Fox court case.

TIME Aviation

Why Airlines Don’t Talk About Safety In Their Ads

Airport
People stand in the main terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport is shown October 2, 2014 in Dulles, Virginia. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Fliers don't want to be reminded of the risk

Looking around at modern airlines’ slogans, you might notice a common trend: Few of them stress safety. Not Delta’s “Keep Climbing,” not American Airlines’ “The new American is arriving,” not JetBlue’s “You Above All.”

There was a time when this wasn’t the case. Safety was often mentioned in air travel ads when the aviation industry was still nascent in the 1920s and 1930s — back then, airlines had the tricky task of convincing travelers to try a then-unproven means of getting about.

The trend lasted until the late 1980s, when Pan Am launched reassuring ads amidst terrorist threats targeting American airliners flying across the Atlantic. Those threats, however, eventually took form as that year’s fatal bombing of Pan Am Flight 1o3, which claimed 270 lives in the air and on the ground.

The Pan Am attack, says aviation security expert Glen Winn, is ultimately what convinced airlines to quit bragging about safety.

“Leading up the destruction of Pan Am 103, [Pan Am] had advertised themselves as not only the safest, but also the most secure,” Winn said. “Airlines since then have been really careful how they say what they say.”

Safety has since all but disappeared from airlines’ advertisements. And when airlines are required to discuss safety during on-board safety demonstrations, major brands are trying to make them more fun, revamping their in-flight safety videos to transform mandatory prepare-for-the-worst briefings into informative musicals and short films.

Why the shift? Yes, Worldwide commercial aviation deaths per year have declined. But no airline can guarantee passengers total immunity from harm. And several high-profile disasters over the past few months, like Malaysia Airlines Flights 370 and 17 as well as AirAsia Flight 8501, have put travelers especially on edge. Putting the “S-Word” in slogans or commercials, airlines have found, doesn’t reassure passengers — it just reminds them of the random chance of danger their next trip might bring, however slight it may be.

“When you talk about safety, you bring up a bad taste in people’s mouths,” said Andy Trinchero, executive director of marketing at aviation marketing firm. “It’s something that people don’t even want to hear about, really.”

TIME Opinion

Dove Really, Really Wants These Little Girls to Accept Their Curls

Hair acceptance is the new body acceptance

Dove has moved on from curve-acceptance to curl-acceptance.

The beauty company’s newest campaign continues its body-positive messaging by focusing on curly-haired girls who wish they had straight hair. The little girls in this new ad are sad because they only see straight hair in advertisements and commercials! Dove claims research shows only 4 in 10 girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful. And nobody with un-beautiful hair could possibly have a shred of happiness in their lonely little lives.

Until… they get pulled outside by their curly-haired mommies (who are dancing in public, ugh STOP IT mo-om!) and taken to a top-secret location where they have to cover their eyes for a surprise. No, there’s not a pony in there. Or a private Taylor Swift concert. Instead, when they open their eyes, every single curly-haired person they’ve ever met shouts at them: “We all love our curls!”

MORE: Hey Dove, Don’t ‘Redefine Beauty,’ Just Stop Talking About It

Instead of shrieking in terror, the girls join in and it becomes a big dance party where everybody’s curls are bouncing with a special spring that says “empowerment,” and “acceptance” and “buy Dove products.”

TIME Advertising

Here’s Why Companies Can’t Say ‘Super Bowl’ in Their Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl Trademark Copyright
Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a 35 yard game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Green Bay Packers during the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on Jan. 18, 2015 in Seattle, Wash. Tom Pennington—Getty Images

And how they work around it

By now, you’ve seen plenty of commercials advertising February’s Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. But there’s a second kind of Super Bowl ad you might have seen, too: the kind that isn’t allowed to say “Super Bowl.”

The National Football League, which has trademarked the term “Super Bowl,” isn’t afraid to send cease-and-desist letters to anybody using the term without permission, according to SB Nation. That means brands that aren’t willing to pay the big bucks to use the term have to come up with sometimes strange alternatives instead.

The tight regulations are part of the reason why the NFL’s ad space for the game is so lucrative: In 2010, Budweiser signed a six-year Super Bowl sponsorship deal worth over $1 billion, while 30-second Super Bowl ads — which reach over 100 million viewers — regularly sell for $4 million a pop.

In the past, the rules have led to awkward workarounds like Stephen Colbert’s “Superb Owl,” a tongue-in-cheek joke poking fun at the NFL’s habit of tightly guarding the Super Bowl trademark:

Here’s how some brands are working around the restriction this year:

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