MONEY deals

$2 Margaritas on the Menu This Weekend for National Margarita Day

Margarita with lime garnish
Bob Muschitz—Getty Images

This weekend, you can happily waste away in margaritaville without wasting a ton of money.

Plenty of fake holidays concocted by marketers come and go without much fanfare. February 20, for instance, is supposedly “celebrated” as National Cherry Pie Day and National Love Your Pet Day. But something tells us that people who ate cherry pie on Thursday weren’t doing so because of some random made-up holiday. And presumably, pet owners loved their pets just as much on days other than Love Your Pet Day.

At least National Margarita Day, celebrated February 22, comes with great deals on margaritas, bringing some excitement and savings to what would otherwise probably be another uneventful winter weekend. Individual bars and restaurants in cities such as Chicago, Dallas, and Phoenix are hosting specials like two-for-one margaritas and all-you-can-eat tacos in honor of National Margarita Day, so look for deal listings in your neck of the woods.

Three national restaurant chains have also posted Margarita Day specials, and in two of the cases, you don’t have to wait until National Margarita Day on Sunday to take advantage.

On the Border: 12 oz. margaritas that normally run $4.50 apiece are on the menu for $2 all day on Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the Mexican restaurant chain.

Cheeseburger in Paradise: All day on Sunday, February 22, classic margaritas are priced at $2.22 each at the restaurant chain named for a Jimmy Buffett song other than “Margaritaville.”

Tony Roma’s: Through Saturday, February 21, this rib-and-steak specialty chain is selling classic Romaritas (house margaritas) for $4, before dropping the price down to $2.22 to celebrate National Margarita Day on Sunday.

TIME Infectious Disease

9 Ways Advertisers Think We Could Convince Parents to Vaccinate

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Getty Images

We asked marketing execs how they would sell vaccines—and they dreamed up apps and celebrity cagefights

For decades, science has proven that vaccines work, but they still have a messaging problem among some parents. There are now 102 cases of measles confirmed in 14 states, many of them among people who are unvaccinated.

We asked advertising and marketing executives to share how they would choose to market vaccines, if the struggling medicines were their client.

1. Market them to kids. There’s a reason Saturday morning ads are all about food, toys and games. Getting kids to ask their parents for a product—a strategy called “pester power”—works. And it could work for vaccines too, says Bill Wright, global executive creative director for McCann Worldgroup (the firm behind ads for Verizon FiOS, General Mills and Mucinex).

Wright suggests an ad that says to kids: “Get vaccinated and you won’t get measles. Measles are horrible and hurt. And by the way, when you get a shot it’s customary to eat ice cream and get a small toy.”

2. Make it funny. Imagine an ad with a celebrity cage fight: on one side, anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy, and on the other, pro-vaccine Amanda Peet. That’s the advertising fantasy of Robin Fitzgerald, VP/creative director at CP+B LA, the firm behind ads for Netflix and Burger King. “We have it at Caesar’s Palace and Hillary Clinton and Bill O’Reilly are in front row seats cheering on Peet,” she says. “Just so people really feel the hyperbolic ridiculousness and the level the debate has gone to.”

Alternatively, Fitzgerald sees a sequel to the film Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone, who’s expressed vaccine skepticism. This time, it’s called Still Clueless and Paul Rudd keeps canceling playdates with Silverstone’s kids over vaccines.

Humor is the way to go, agreed folks at The Martin Agency, the company behind the GEICO ads. “A campaign using humor makes the situation much more approachable,” says CCO Joe Alexander. Funny ads appeal to millennials, Alexander says, which is an age demographic more likely to think parents should have a choice when it comes to vaccinating their kids.

One of the most successful campaigns to try this approach was “Dumb Ways to Die,” by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia. In the video (below), animated characters die in “dumb” ways like lighting themselves on fire and poking a grizzly bear with a stick. The goal was to promote train safety, and the campaign went viral. Alexander says the same approach could be used for measles.

3. Try sarcasm. Imagine a somber ad thanking anti-vaxxers for the measles outbreak. Wright says a message like this could work: “We would like to thank you for bringing back archaic diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough. Yay, it’s like 1800 all over again, way to go!”

4. Get personal. We need stories that combat the narrative from loud voices like Jenny McCarthy, says Elizabeth Cleveland, vice president/planning director of The Martin Agency. But instead of hearing from doctors, she says, moms with kids who contracted measles should have the voice. Cleveland asked her own pediatrician for some stories, who supplied the perfect one-liner from a mom: “If my son can’t bring a peanut butter sandwich to school, then you can’t bring your unvaccinated child.”

5. Talk about measles, not vaccines. Go after the disease itself, rather than the vaccine debate, says Pete Harvey, creative director/partner at advertising agency barrettSF. (Harvey worked previously on highly successful “Truth” campaign against tobacco.) His idea? An ad with one simple message: “The measles are back.”

“That way, there is a common enemy that isn’t the person you are trying to convince,” says Harvey. “Everyone will say we have to fight this—no parent would say no to that.”

6. Launch a social media campaign. Find a way for everyone who gets vaccines to raise their hand and say so. Wright suggests creating a shareable graphic on Twitter and Facebook that says: “I got my kids vaccinated, did you?”

The idea is similar to the Human Rights Campaign’s viral campaign that got millions to change their profile pictures to a red equal sign for same sex marriage (see below). “It needs to be a coordinated effort, not a series of biting tweets,” says Patrick Godfrey, managing partner and president of the firm Godfrey Q. “Move [the anti-vaxxers] into a corner.”

Human Rights Campaign

7. Add a little fear. Create a film chronicling the measles outbreak, suggests Fitzgerald, who notes that she’d recruit Danny Boyle, the director behind the post-apocalyptic film 28 Days Later. “We open in Disneyland, we see someone cough, and it takes off from there,” she says. “We market the movie by having big groups of red dotted men, women and children appear flash-mob style in public places dancing to Desmond Dekker’s You Can Get it If You Really Want.”

8. Make it a game. Create an app calculating your risk of getting measles, similar to the app “Am I Going Down?” which determines the chance that your plane is going to crash, suggests Tiffany Coletti Titolo, president of cummins & partners, the firm behind Jeep ads. Parents would input demographic data and get stats about the likelihood of getting measles, plus the unlikelihood that someone has an adverse event from the vaccine. For example, you’re 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine.

9. Whatever you do, don’t preach. The Internet has chastised anti-vaxxers, but simply yelling at them isn’t going to change a parent’s mind. In highly emotional debates, some people get very stuck in their ways—but it’s not impossible to change their minds, says Wright, who also worked on the “Truth” campaign against tobacco. “Before, anti-tobacco was very preachy—we just wanted to present the facts,” he says. “We found that the fact that resonated the most [with teens] was that Big Tobacco was just another preachy adult telling them what to do.”

“It’s all about parents wanting to feel like they have a say in the matter,” Harvey agrees. “If you say they shouldn’t, they dig their heels further.”

TIME marketing

9 Tips to Make Money on Facebook

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Robert Galbraith—Reuters

These marketers have increased their clients' profits by as much as 800 percent

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

With a 13-year track record of helping network marketing organizations and small businesses achieve unprecedented growth, Jim Lupkin decided it was time to share his strategies with the world. He turned to best-selling author, Brian Carter. Carter, trusted by brands like NBC, Microsoft, and PrideStaff, has guided businesses to 800 percent profits and higher with Facebook marketing.

After reading Lupkin’s case study on a network marketing company that grew over seventy-million in sales with his approach, Carter knew it was time for the pair to co-author a book. The authors are quick to mention, however, that Network Marketing For Facebook is not valuable to only the network marketing industry. “We were not surprised to hear that sales professionals and entrepreneurs love the book too,” says Carter. “These techniques will work for your business if your personal brand is part of the sales process.”

Why Facebook you may ask? “Wouldn’t it make sense to join the community with the most people?” says Lupkin. “Facebook has more than one billion users and is five times more popular than the next most popular social network.”

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find inside the cover of Network Marketing For Facebook.

1. Create an appealing Facebook profile.

When someone knows, likes and trusts you, they’re more willing to hear about your business. Your profile gives you this opportunity when you use your profile picture; cover image, and “about” section properly.

Choose a professional profile picture. Use your cover image to give people a snapshot of your personality. A complete “about” section makes you more credible and rounds out your personality.

2. Post publicly on Facebook.

Your goal is to let your friends know what you do for a living and how you can help them. For example, if you’re a realtor:

Hey everybody! As you may know, I love helping people find their dream home. If you know anyone that needs assistance, please message me.

If you’re an insurance rep:

Hey there! As you may know, I love helping families be protected from unforeseen tragedies. If you know anyone that needs life insurance, please message me.

3. Use Facebook Messenger.

It is like email, but better. If you’ve previously conversed with a prospect and you’re getting ready to talk to them again, you can quickly review all your previous talks in one place.

If you haven’t spoken to a friend in a while, make sure to re-establish the relationship first. You don’t want them to feel like you are only reaching out for business. You can say, “Hey! We haven’t spoken in a while. How have you been?” Only chat about your products if they ask what you do.

4. Send messages based on past conversations and what you know about a friend.

A realtor example:

Hey Tom! I know you love houses with a view, and I seem to remember you were looking for a house. Well, check out this amazing lake view property! Do you want to come see it with me?

An insurance rep:

Hey Alicia! I know we’re both family people, and it’s been awesome to see yours grow up on Facebook. I was super glad to find out about this new life insurance option our company just created. It provides for families like no other policy I’ve seen. Do you want to hear more about it?

5. Keep the conversation going.

It’s exciting to have someone respond to your messages! Thank them for the response, give them additional information: pictures, videos and details of your offering, and then let them know what is the next step.

If you don’t hear back, send them a message once a week asking if they wanted to take the next step. Be patient. Not everyone checks Facebook daily.

6. Stay in touch.

It’s only a matter of time until friends want your product. Stay in touch on Facebook by posting quality content and interacting with your friends’ posts. Posting quality content is a balance between business and personal: Too much of either can result inf ailure. Be personal 80% of the time. People do business with those they have the best relationship with; so post about what’s on your mind. Post about business the other 20%.

The more you interact with your friend’s posts, the more your business posts appear in their newsfeed. Your friends will also see you as a true friend, not someone just trying to sell them products. When you comment on a friend’s post, write from the heart. Treat it the same as when you talk face to face.

7. Grow your friends to grow your income.

With over a billion users, Facebook offers an unlimited amount of people to talk to if you take the time to build relationships. Facebook’s Graph Search solves the new prospect obstacle by opening up their entire database to you. All you need to do is take the time to reach out and build relationships.

8. Create a group for support and inspiring sales teams.

Whether you’re a manager motivating a team, or have a group of industry peers who want to support each other, Facebook Groups are the answer. You can move mountains when you belong to a group of passionate people working toward the same goals, supporting each other every day.

Once you start your group, post at least a few times a week. It could be a question, words of motivation, pictures, or videos. Always like and comment on what others are posting as well. Groups are like live events happening 24 hours a day. When run correctly, it will become the cornerstone of your success.

9. Remember, Facebook is part of the strategy, not the whole strategy.

Facebook connects you to new people and helps you develop relationships. However, you still need to talk with people face to face, over the phone, and at events. They also need to experience a “taste” of your offering.

TIME Social Networking

Soon You’ll See Twitter Ads in Places Other Than Twitter

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Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images The logo of the social networking website 'Twitter' is displayed on a computer screen in London on September 11, 2013.

Twitter is bringing its ads to other platforms

Twitter announced a partnership with two other websites Tuesday that will extend promotional tweets far beyond the Twittersphere.

Twitter’s advertisers, eager to reach audiences outside of the social network, can now pay a little extra to embed promotional tweets on the mobile news app Flipboard or next to an article on Yahoo! Japan. The two participating sites have agreed to share revenue from the ads with Twitter.

“For the thousands of brands already advertising on Twitter, these new partnerships open a significant opportunity to extend the reach of their message to a larger audience,” wrote Twitter’s Ameet Ranadive on the company’s official blog, which included an example of what the embedded promotional tweets might look like:

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Twitter has faced relentless pressure from shareholders to expand its user base ever since the company went public in 2013, but Tuesday’s deal suggests that Twitter doesn’t necessarily have to bring users to its ads — it can just bring ads to non-users.

TIME Advertising

The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads of 2015

TIME grades all the ads of Super Bowl XLIX

  • Toyota

    Toyota pays tribute to Paralympian snowboarder and Dancing with the Stars competitor Amy Purdy crosscuts intensely between Purdy’s boarding and ballroom dancing with a classic Muhammad Ali rhyming boast. She’s cool. Ali’s cool. But making the eternally sensible Camry seem “bold” is beyond Ali and Purdy’s powers combined. Awesome ad for snowboards and prostheses, though!

    Grade: C

  • TurboTax

    The tax-preparation giant builds a dramatic re-creation of the Boston Tea Party, then suggests that all it would have taken to end the American Revolution would have been for the Redcoats to offer free tax filing. Bit of a flat punchline, topped by the suggestion–in a game involving the Patriots–that the Founding Fathers could have been bought off cheap? As the ad’s refrain says, “All right then!”

    Grade: C-

  • Game of War: Fire Age

    A warrior princess rises from a bath and dons strategically bust-baring armor to ride off against her enemies. Doesn’t look like anyone was out to overturn anyone’s ideas about how women are portrayed in video games, but–truth in advertising, I guess.

    Grade: D-

  • Tomorrowland

    Disney’s been showing trailers for this George Clooney futuristic adventure for a while now, but this quick, visually enchanting cutdown is at least enough to make you wish for tomorrow to come a little faster.

    Grade: B-

  • BMW

    Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel prove good sports by journeying back to 1994, when e-mail addresses were still news and the pair still hosted a morning show on the television machine. (“What is Internet?” Gumbel wonders on air. “Do you write to it, like mail?”) Cut to 2015–when Couric does the news on Yahoo–and the two are tooling around in an electric car made in a wind-powered factory. Message: the I3 is the future–so points off for ending on a twerking joke, which expired sometime in 2013.

    Grade: C

  • Minions

    First wardrobe malfunction of the game comes well before the halftime show, as the fun-sized Despicable Me sidekicks tout their sequel. Bonus points for theming an ad around the game rather than going with a movie-trailer cutdown, and as always, the guys are little yellow pills.

    Grade: B

  • Snickers

    Like a layer of rich caramel, the “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign gets chewed over and over without losing its flavor. In possibly the most bizarre and funniest take yet, Danny Trejo plays an axe-wielding Marcia and Steve Buscemi a pouty Jan in a surreal episode of The Brady Bunch. A couple Super Bowls from now, the Snickers ad will just be an extended version of “Too Many Cooks,” and I’m fine with that.

    Grade: A-

  • Budweiser

    Have a soul? This ad is for you. “Lost Dog” is about an 11-week old golden lab puppy who accidentally gets separated from his Clydesdale best friend. The emotional rollercoaster of an ad is essentially Homeward Bound condensed into a 60-second spot.

    Grade: A

  • Nationwide

    Inattentive insurance providers have apparently made Mindy Kaling feel invisible. So takes advantage by eating ice cream right out of the frozen food aisle, walking through a car wash (sans vehicle), and nuzzling up to Matt Damon in a restaurant. The ad trades on Kaling’s charm but undercuts its central point (insurance is a good thing?).

    Grade: B+

  • Coca-Cola

    It’s the good kind of hack. When Coke spills in a data center, it sends a message of hope and anti-bullying around the world.

    Grade: A

  • Avocados from Mexico

    It’s hard to know what exactly is going on in this ad starring: a caveman, two sportscasters, high fiving koalas and kangaroos, a fainting Dodo Bird, a polar bear in a sombrero, and… an avocado. Too much. Too confusing. But the sloth was kind of cute?

    Grade: C

  • Dove Men

    Dove compiled a series of home videos (or clips which look like home video) of children calling out for “Dad” in all the word’s permutations. It’s an almost perfect, emotional tour de force—aside from the pitch for the product with its AM-radio-esque announcer which seems beside the point.

    Grade: A

  • Doritos

    This spot stars a bro on an airplane playing the recorder, clipping his toenails, hacking up mucus, and doing other gross stuff to prevent people from taking the free seat next to him. Until, that is, an attractive woman appears. He pulls out a bag of Doritos to lure her just as—womp, womp—it turns out she has a baby in her arms. Bummer, brah! The joke doesn’t land. Probably because it’s not funny.

    Grade: F

  • Nissan

    Super Bowl 2015 appears to be the the year of the dadvertising. Nissan’s 90-second ad is the Boyhood of spots, following a family over the course of a boy’s childhood as he watches his Dad compete on the NASCAR circuit. The cinematography is good, it’s pretty heartwarming, but the story-telling is only so-so.

    Grade: B+

  • Nationwide

    Remember all the adorable father-son bonding? Nationwide’s “Boy Can’t Grow” ad might ruin all your warm and fuzzies. A little boy tells Super Bowl viewers that he’ll never get the cooties, get married or travel the world with his best friend—because he died from a preventable accident. Wrenching.

    Grade: B

  • Weight Watchers

    For starters, some food porn. Pizza as far as the eye can see. Onion rings raining from above. Crème burlee cracking. Steak sizzling. And then—an empty plate with the text “It’s Time To Take Back Control.” Weight watchers is here to tackle this nightmare (though it looked pretty delicious) and help regulate your eating habits.

    Grade: B+

  • WeartherTech

    This ad looks very cool and high tech. There are lasers and industriald machinery and American workers wearing protective goggles. Making car mats never looked so…inspiring.

    Grade: B

  • McDonald’s

    McDonald’s has incredible news for America: It will now accept hugs as payment for Chicken McNuggets. The Pay with Lovin’ campaign lets select customers use “Lovin'” as currency. This includes compliments, silly dances, and calling your mom just to say “I love you.” It’s sweet.

    Grade: A-

  • Esurance

    Esurance’s Breaking Bad-themed ad doesn’t quite land the way it would if the show was still on. Despite Bryan Cranston’s pitch-perfect performance, this one doesn’t feel very relevant.

    Grade: C

  • Fiat

    Fiat’s “The Pill” spot trades on old cliches: Italians are randy—even if they need Viagra. The new Italian-made vehicle looks great. This ad on the other hand…

    Grade: C-

  • GoDaddy

    GoDaddy’s paean to the hard-working small business owner who isn’t at your Super Bowl Party right now has a few funny lines but is mostly tinny and uninteresting.

    Grade: D

  • Discover Card

    Discover’s ad is one of the—thankfully—few spots trading on Internet memes this year. Needless to say, the surprise isn’t worth ruining because it’s not very original or funny.

    Grade: D

  • Microsoft

    Microsoft’s “empowering” commercial tells the story of a little boy who hasn’t let the fact that he has two prosthetic legs hold him back. With the help of Microsoft-powered technology, Braylon runs relay races, plays tennis and…warms your heart.

    Grade: A

  • Squarespace

    This may be the only Super Bowl ad that wants to put viewers to sleep. For 30-seconds, we were treated to Jeff “The Dude” Bridges making the lulling sounds of a didgeridoo next to a couple that’s fast asleep in bed. As much as the Dude abides, this ad didn’t quite get the job done.

    Grade: C

  • Toyota

    Another Dad ad. This one isn’t quite as successful as Dove’s but, by the end of the spot, it’ll likely have gotten you there. If by “there,” you mean teary and emotional.

    Grade: A-

  • Sketchers

    If seeing Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot in a halftime performance in 2015 wasn’t retro enough, this Pete Rose ad certainly did the trick. Rose, who was infamously banned from baseball for betting on games, appears surrounded by memorabilia in what looks like it could be the baseball hall of fame.

    But nope, Pete’s not in Cooperstown, he’s just lounging in his own house’s hallway and marveling at the comfort of his Skechers. It’s a decent idea, but Rose’s wooden delivery, the bland background music and a too-on-the-nose reference to his past transgressions at the end of the ad make this spot a clunker.

    Grade: D

  • Always

    Taking a page from Dove’s successful ad campaigns centered on female empowerment, Always offers a clever one-minute spot that deconstructs the common playground insult that someone throws “like a girl.” In the ad we see actual girls throwing, running and fighting with all their might. The resonant message and the cuteness factor combine to make a memorable ad that would make Mo’ne Davis proud.

    Grade: A

  • Clash of Clans

    You know mobile gaming has hit the big-time when one if its biggest titles gets a Super Bowl ad.

    This spot for Clash of Clans starts off predictably enough, but it takes a turn for the bizarre (in the best possible way) when it’s revealed that Liam Neeson (aka “AngryNeeson52”) is playing the game in a coffee shop — and he’s ready to go on a Taken-style warpath to get revenge on those who would dare cross him. It’s Neeson’s icy delivery that really sells the spot, and the clueless barista at the end who mispronounces his name (LIE-am) only adds to the hilarity. Well played.

    Grade: A

  • Sprint

    Sprint takes a page from T-Mobile’s book by calling out competitors Verizon and AT&T by name. The script for this ad is actually rather vulgar, but the curse words dissing the country’s largest wireless carriers are replaced with a bleating goat and a surly-looking donkey. The ad is pretty unexciting overall, and loses points because no one actually wants to hear a goat screaming when they’ve got their TV volume turned way up to watch football.

    Grade: C-

  • Lexus

    Lexus gives a slightly different spin to the typical car ad by using a miniature model of its RC 350 line to show off the vehicle’s slick handling capabilities. The premise is fun and the tiny car definitely could have earned a spot in Tokyo Drift, but we kind of wish the tricks were even more outlandish. How about leaping over a two-foot chasm or something next time?

    Grade: C+

  • Dodge

    Dodge resurfaced its successful 2014 campaign featuring centenarians offering life advice to all us young whippersnappers who weren’t alive for the 20s and 30s. The ad is a clever way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the car company, and presents a set of people that are rarely used to market things that aren’t specifically aimed at the elderly. What’s not to love about hearing a 100-year-old dude yell “Don’t bit*h!” right after he mean-mugs the camera from the driver’s seat of his ride?

    Grade: A

  • Jublia

    I’ll admit that Jublia was facing an uphill battle from the get-go when they decided to try to advertise a medicine for toenail fungus during the Super Bowl. But was an animated, rancid foot dressed as a football player really the best thing they could dream up? The saddest part is the ad’s not even supposed to be a gross-out spot that shocks people into remembering it. This company appears to believe a fungus-ridden toe with a helmet covering its browned toenail is cute.

    Grade: D-

  • Jeep

    This is a bit too solemn and serious — not to mention pretentious — for a car commercial, but it does show some gorgeous parts of the United States, reminding us that the country is beautiful, or whatever. Sadly, many of these remote locations are simply not accessible for the everyday Jeep driver.

    Grade: B-

  • Mophie

    Think of all the scenes from every disaster movie you’ve ever seen and make them all weirder. Then, throw in a dog walking a human on a leash and edit everything together a little too fast, and you have this spot for Mophie. It’s a bit dark for a Super Bowl commercial, but it does capture the inner turmoil you face when your phone battery is nearly depleted. The ad would be better if it had explicitly revealed what Mophie is, and, more importantly, if it had featured Morgan Freeman as God.

    

Grade: B-

  • Loctite

    This ad draws you in immediately, bringing to mind questions like “What the hell is happening?” and “Why do they all have fanny packs?” Soon, you realize they have fanny packs because they’re filled with Loctite glue, which is what this very funny 30-second spot is selling. But it’s also selling joy and great dance moves and the perfect solution to your marriage.

    Grade: A

  • Mercedes

    Props to Mercedes for attempting something whimsical and cute as opposed to austere and chic, but it seems they’re trying just a little too hard to appeal to the youths here. Group selfies? Trash-talking tortoises? Sweet jumps? Bro voices? Sorry, but hip youths simply cannot afford the vehicle being advertised here.

    Grade: C

  • Bud Light

    This ad starts off with too much idle chatter between a bro and his buds, but eventually gets to the point, and that point is: real-life Pac-Man looks super fun. This might not make you want to drink a Bud Light, necessarily, but it will definitely want to make you run around like a human Pac-Man at a sweet rave.

    Grade: B

  • Doritos

    This ad stars a modern-day Jonathan Lipnicki as a kid who will go to great lengths to eat some Doritos. You’ve really got to admire his inventiveness, engineering prowess and his commitment to keeping animals safe and happy, even when he’s using them in somewhat dangerous schemes. But perhaps the best part of this commercial is that a selfish farmer who won’t share with children gets his comeuppance.

    Grade: B+

    Read next: Enjoy These Super Bowl Ads, For Tomorrow You Shall Die

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TIME Sports

How Advertisers Conquered the Super Bowl

Super Bowl II - Green Bay Packers vs Oakland Raiders - January 14, 1968
Fred Roe—NFL/Getty Images Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3) rolls out of the pocket during Super Bowl II, a 33-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.

Advertisers are not just buying time between the plays, but also influence over the entire event

Perhaps the earliest recorded gripe about a Super Bowl commercial ran in TIME Magazine in 1968, shortly after 70 million Americans had tuned into Super Bowl II.

“One ‘promo’ actually ran right through a kickoff,” wrote TIME’s critic. “Paid commercials also got in the way—but it was easy to see why. Commercial time for the Super Bowl telecast sold for an unprecedented $150,000 a minute.”

Cue the gasps.

By 1977, commercial time sold for $250,000 a minute. It cleared the $1 million mark by 1985. Today the going rate is $9 million. At these astronomical sums, advertisers are not just buying time between the plays, but also influence over the entire event. TIME’s earliest Super Bowl critic may have spotted their clout early on, but really he had no idea what was to come.

Advertisers have nudged the game’s location, kick-off times and duration in their favor. Pontiac, Mich., might have seemed like an unlikely location for Super Bowl XVI in 1982. “The Midwestern city (pop. 76,000) is a near disaster area,” wrote a reporter for TIME, but the city had powerful backers; a “full roster of ad-firm chieftains” from Michigan’s automotive sector. They reminded the Super Bowl Committee of their “dedication” to the game, a not so subtle reference to their $1 billion outpouring of ad revenue. “It was like whacking a donkey with a two-by-four,” one Detroit-based ad executive told TIME. “It got their attention.”

By 1986, NBC would pay homage to advertisers with a moment of silence. Halfway through the pre-game show of Super Bowl XX, at 4 p.m., the talking heads would fall silent. “As a clock onscreen ticks off the seconds, viewers will be able to race to the refrigerator or bathroom without missing any of the action — or the commercials,” wrote TIME.

“The medium that once simply covered America’s favorite sports has virtually taken them over,” TIME had opined by 1990. By then, the fusion of sports and commerce was unmistakable. “As the money keeps growing, so does TV’s determination to get the most from its investment by orchestrating the show for maximum viewer appeal…Starting next season, pro football will add two more teams to the play-offs and, by the fall of 1992, two more weeks to the season. That will probably push the Super Bowl into February, which just happens to be a ratings ’sweeps’ period.”

Before long, the commercialization of the Super Bowl had become received wisdom, barely worth arguing. TIME’s writers turned their attention to the commercials themselves as cultural events. The classic Mac ad, in which a woman hurls a sledgehammer through a big screen TV broadcast of a barking dictator, “established the Super Bowl as the unofficial high holiday of capitalism,” wrote TIME’s TV critic James Poniewozik in 2000, “the launch pad for baroque, high-profile ads that today generate more excitement than the game.”

Commercials even launched careers and cottage industries. The original 1970’s choristers who sang Coca-Cola’s blockbuster anthem, ”I’d like to teach the world to sing,” for a $50 fee, reprised their roles at the 1990 Super Bowl. They brought their children in tow, and this time demanded residuals.

Spuds MacKenzie, Budweiser’s canine mascot, spawned a mini craze for bull terriers. Some specimens fetched prices upwards of $1,200. “Inquiries are up 75% at Jerry’s Perfect Pet Shop in Dallas,” TIME reported in 1987. “Customers in St. Louis are so bullish that Petland had to put the dogs on back order.”

TIME’s Jay Chiat imagined the future of advertising for Super Bowl LIV, in 2020, where advertising suffuses every inch of the screen. “The Microsoft Mustangs are playing the GM Generals at Cisco Stadium in a town called Ciscoville–formerly known as Philadelphia,” he wrote. “Corporations will pay big money for the right to digitize logos onto the T shirts of the fans in the stands.”

It may sound far-fetched, but then consider how far commercials have come since TIME’s original 1968 complaint that commercials “got in the way.” Two decades later Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche would urge his team, shortly before they took the field at Super Bowl XXIII, ”Go for that shaving-cream commercial you’ve always wanted.”

MONEY marketing

Uber Is Hoping Cute Puppies Will Convince Everyone It’s Not Evil

Puppy in a box
Sergey Lavrentev—iStock Did somebody say something about background checks? Oh never mind.

Puppy deliveries are the ridesharing service's latest marketing gimmick

We gotta hand it to Uber. When you’re trying to grab yourself some positive headlines, trotting out the puppies is easily the most transparent genuine way to do it.

Yes, Uber has literally played the cute animal card with its newest one-day promotion, a joint venture with Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. On January 28, between the hours of 11 A.M. and 3 P.M., Uber users in 10 cities could order a fuzzy little dog delivered to their workplace, at the price of just $30 for 15 minutes.

If the puppies weren’t enough to make you think fluffy thoughts about the company, Uber also promised to donate all proceeds to canine-friendly organizations like the Humane Society, and every puppy delivered was available for adoption. Hooray!

Well, sort of. Everyone likes puppies, after all, and it is unquestionably a Good Thing that at least some animals will benefit from this four-hour-long publicity stunt. But does anyone really think Uber is doing this because they’re all just a bunch of softy dog-lovers at heart?

No, of course not. It’s so that the next time you hear the company’s name in the press, you’ll think about cute puppies instead of the company’s repeated safety violations and history of spotty background checks. The Puppy Bowl ploy is more reminiscent of a famous National Lampoon cover than a sincere attempt to make the world a better place.

Uber is far from the first company to glom onto an important cause in order to improve its image. And to be fair, it’s promoting the Puppy Bowl angle at least as hard as the charity angle, if not more so. But it does represent the latest in what has become an Uber trend: apparently altruistic acts–from blood donation drives to clothing giveaways–primarily meant to boost the brand. Even when the company finally decides to stop ignoring regulators, it spins the decision as an act of goodwill.

Consumers shouldn’t let this kind of manipulation actually alter their opinion of Uber, or any business that pulls similar stunts. If you love the convenience and aren’t worried about, let’s say, a lack of driver drug testing or insufficient insurance, then by all means keep using the service. But if you just love puppies? Well, then this shouldn’t change your mind about anything.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 28

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. As pressure builds for U.S. military attention to Boko Haram in Nigeria, that nation’s political situation and past abuses complicate planning.

By Kevin Baron and Molly O’Toole at Defense One

2. What was once an “artist” is now a “creative entrepreneur.” Marketing and networking have forever changed art.

By William Deresiewicz in the Atlantic

3. Does the rising danger of digital attacks mean traditional warfare is irrelevant?

By David Barno and Nora Bensahel in War on the Rocks

4. Probability forecasts would take some getting used to, but they are a better way to tell the public about major weather events.

By Graham T. Beck in Time

5. Improving the ‘cold chain’ — how food stays fresh from farm to table — could massively reduce waste and carbon emissions.

By Adam Wernick at Public Radio International

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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.”

MONEY Food & Drink

How Coke Convinced Us to Pay More … for Less Soda

A 7.5-ounce can of Coca-cola, right, is posed next to a 12-ounce can for comparison.
Matt Rourke—AP A 7.5-ounce can of Coca-Cola, right, is posed next to its big brother, the traditional 12-ouncer.

Talk about a brilliant sales concept!

Soda sales may be in a slump, but one sliver of the soft drink market—the segment that comes in smaller than usual sizes, including those adorably tiny 7.5-ounce cans—is booming. What’s especially curious about the trend is that sales have been taking off even though the smaller packages offer far worse value to consumers.

This week, the Associated Press explored this odd scenario, in which consumers are clamoring to buy Coke, Pepsi, and other sodas in unconventionally smaller sized packaging, notably the 7.5-ounce mini can that’s generally sold in eight-packs in stores.

Previously, the Wall Street Journal reported that sales of smaller Coca-Cola packages—including the mini cans, as well as 8-ounce glass bottles and 1.25-liter plastic bottles—were up 9% through the first 10 months of 2014. During the same time period, sales of regular old 12-ounce cans and 2-liter bottles were as flat as a bottle of week-old Coke.

Beyond their nontraditional size, what all of the smaller soda items have in common is that they’re “premium-priced packages.” Yes, the value proposition in the trendy category is that you not only get less product, but you get to pay more for the privilege. Coca-Cola estimates that consumers typically pay 31¢ for each traditional 12-ounce Coke purchased in a 12- or 24-pack at the supermarket. By contrast, the average price per 7.5-ounce mini can breaks down to 40¢ a pop.

And remember, you’re getting a lot less soda in the smaller cans. Tally up all of the soda in one of these eight-packs and it comes to 60 ounces, which is slightly less than the contents of one Double Gulp before 7-Eleven downsized it from 64 ounces to a mere 50. On a per-ounce basis, consumers are effectively paying double for the smaller packages: 5.3¢ per ounce for Coke in mini cans, versus 2.6¢ per ounce for the same beverage in 12-ounce cans.

What explains consumers’ willingness to pay more for less soda? One explanation is that the mini cans are simply “freaking adorable,” as one source put it when speaking to the AP. She’s not the only one to think so. Last year, a marketing campaign deposited adorable mini kiosks—complete with adorable waist-high Coke vending machines selling adorable mini Cokes—in five German cities. Here’s a look:

The result of this experiment, in addition to enough adorableness to make your head explode, was sales that were anything but small. Ogilvy & Mather Berlin, the firm behind the campaign, said that the kiosks averaged 380 cans sold daily, 278% higher than your typical Coke machine.

Mini sodas aren’t selling like crazy just because they’re cute, however. As we’ve pointed out before, consumers are attracted to small sodas—and beer—because they come with fewer calories than the regular sizes. The great (or sad) irony is that research shows that consumers tend to buy (and drink) far more sugary drinks when they’re purchased in smaller packages. Therefore, whatever health benefits may have been gained via the small size is likely outweighed by the fact that you’re consuming as many or more ounces of soda overall.

In other words, as nonsensical as it seems, it may be healthier for you to buy soda in larger sizes. It’s certainly better for your wallet.

Read next: The Soda Industry’s Promises Mean Nothing

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