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The Oscar for Most Brand Appearances Goes To…

We're still wondering how Crash
beat Brokeback Mountain for best picture. So
we can imagine how Bruce Davis must have felt
to learn that ABC's Oscar Countdown upset
The Price Is
Right
for most “brand appearances” in primetime.

Davis, executive director of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
, was perplexed by a May 31 report
from TNS Media Intelligence measuring
first-quarter ad expenditures.

According to TNS, the one-hour Oscar pre-show contained 31:28 minutes
of brand appearances, or product plugs—a good three minutes more than a
primetime edition of Price (a show that is
unabashedly all about brand appearances).

But Davis insists that the academy goes out of its way to limit
commercial “clutter” and plugs. It even spent $136,000 to avoid any
inadvertent plugs.

“We spend prodigious amounts of money every year covering the
commercial signage at Hollywood and Highland, so that shots from the red carpet
don't become a festival of background product placements,” says Davis.

Turns out TNS counts the nominated films themselves as brand
appearances.

Jon Swallen, TNS' director of
research, says the company uses a consistent metric that includes references to
movie titles and clips featured in montages.

“We are not making a value determination,” Swallen says, “but
taking an objective look at programs and cataloguing where we see brand
appearances.”

At least they don't count the actors.

Family Feud?

Did a family drama erupt in the middle of a Wall Street Journal
article last week?

Luke McCormick, a young staffer at
video-sharing site Bolt.com, was featured in a
June 6 Journal story concerning “Hazy
Monday,” a video that he and Bolt colleague Geoff
Gresh
had produced and posted to the site.

A parody of the “Lazy Sunday” short from Saturday Night Live that went viral
before NBC ordered sites like Bolt and YouTube
to pull it, “Monday” has McCormick and Gresh rapping about downloading
pirated movies.

The article quotes McCormick saying NBC's cease-and-desist orders
show it “doesn't really get it” and that letting its clips go viral was
“the only thing that was going to get anyone our age to watch
Saturday Night Live.”

And by the way, the Journal adds a
line later, McCormick's father, Doug, just happens to be an NBC Universal
executive (the former Lifetime was CEO of
iVillage, a recent NBC U acquisition).

Whoops? Well, no. According to an NBC U spokesperson, McCormick the
Elder left iVillage in May.

And in any case, there's no McCormick feud.

“He's very proud of me,” says McCormick. “My dad's just
pissed off that I got my picture in the Wall Street
Journal
before he did.” (Read the complete interview with
McCormick the Younger at
www.bcbeat.com.)

Waxing idealistic about “a media revolution that's been building
steam for years,” Young Luke says his dad “understands what's going on.
He's part of the revolution in his own way.”

Happy Father's Day!

Stupid TV Tricks

Imagine the pitch meeting: “Boss, we've got it!
Dancing With the
Stars
meets David
Letterman
's 'Stupid Pet Tricks'! That's right! People
dancing with animals—and getting judged! We're rich!”

Yes, the folks at Animal Planet must
be wagging their tails over Dancing Pet Stars, a one-hour special
premiering June 24 at 8 p.m. ET. Hosted by Mario
Lopez
of Saved by the Bell fame
(and here we use “fame” loosely), the show assembles dancing clips from the
network's animal-tricks show Pet Stars and
ranks the top 20 hoofers.

Typically on Pet Stars, a panel of
celebrity judges—including Best
in Show
judge Fred
Willard
and ex-Baywatcher Gena Lee
Nolin
—decides the fates of the beasts and their masters.

An Animal spokeswoman assures us that this isn't just a people
dragging dogs around by the front paws. Remarking on a “jive-dancing”
golden retriever, she says, “The choreography was complicated.”

We reviewed a few clips on the network's Website. We loved the
kilt-wearing, Scottish-jig–dancing German shepherd. But we're setting our
TiVos for the horse, of course, that does the hokey-pokey.

But does the Discovery-owned channel really expect to unleash a
dancing-pet rage? “Well, there is a huge dance craze now,” the spokeswoman
insists. “And it's a fun way to connect with your pet.”

We're sure the pets feel the same way.

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