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• Saturday’s Wimbledon Ladies’ Championship on ESPN earned a 2.1 overnight rating, up 27% from a 1.7 in 2017 (Garbine Muguruza vs. Venus Williams).  It was ESPN’s highest since 2015 (2.2 for Serena Williams vs. Muguruza).

• Mitsubishi Motors deal to become title sponsor for college football's (Dec 12 on ABC). The game was presented by in '16, but had no sponsor in '17. Currently played in Sam Boyd Stadium, it will move to the new venue, now under construction, in '20.

ESPN’s 14th Annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research has launched on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 18. This year’s auction will feature 80+ experience. Details at


2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby Participants
1. Jesus Aguilar Milwaukee Brewers
2. Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
3. Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Alex Bregman Houston Astros
5. Kyle Schwarzer Chicago Cubs
6. Javier Baez Chicago Cubs
7. Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
8. Rhys Hoskins Philadelphia Phillies
July 16 ESPN



1. Hotel Transylvania 3 $44.1M
2. Ant-Man and the Wasp $28.8M
3. Skyscraper $25.4M
4. Incredibles 2 $16.2M
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom $15.5M
6. The First Purge $9.1M
7. Sorry to Bother You $4.3M
8. Sicario $3.8M
9. Uncle Drew $3.2M
10. Ocean’s 8 $2.9M


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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

NFL, Bridgestone, Pepsi, Visa, Snickers Hit The Gridiron Running For 2017 Season

By Barry Janoff

September 7, 2017: Even as it deals with such serious issues as race relations, player health and safety, domestic violence, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and challenged TV ratings, the NFL knows that bottom-line profits are driven in large part by its marketing partners and how they connect with fans and consumers.

With the 2017 season kicking off this weekend, and with Super Bowl LII the ultimate prize, NFL partners including Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), Bridgestone, Castrol, EA Sports, Hyundai, Papa John’s, Pepsi, Samsung, Snickers, Verizon and Visa, as well as a bevy of brands using NFL players, plan to hit the grid iron running with TV, print, digital, social media, retail and customer activation.

With the urgency of relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Visa, the American Red Cross and the NFL  filmed a spot, "We’re All On The Same Team."

The cause-marketing ad features players including Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), Eli Manning (New York Giants), Julian Edelman (New England Patriots), Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers), NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco 49ers) and Leonard Williams (New York Jets), as well as public figures such as Morgan Freeman.

The spot is a call to action for people to donate to the Red Cross specifically regarding Hurrican Harvey, with each athlete naming his individual team and city but culminating with, "But right now, we’re all on the same team, supporting the recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast."

The NFL itself has unveiled a season-long effort, "Let the Show Begin,” which it says "showcases the unrivaled entertainment experience that is NFL football."

The campaign "depicts how each snap of the ball brings more drama and suspense than any piece of programming that currently airs today.” The first spot, "Hope,” includes Von Miller, Dak Prescott, Earl Thomas, Myles Carrett and DeShaun Watson.

"We wanted to celebrate what makes us the greatest game in the world: the action, the stars, the big moments, the spectacles, and the surprises," Dawn Hudson, NFL CMO, said in a statement. "The thematic, episodic nature of the campaign highlights the emotional arc experienced by football fans and players alike, including the anticipation, excitement, and rush of game day."

Pepsi is celebrating the new season with "The Fun Doesn't End Zone," which "aims to connect fans to the fun all season long through a host of off-the-field moments, promotions and entertaining content," featuring such NFL players as Antonio Brown and Joe Staley

"Everyone loves a good end zone celebration, and I'm excited to be back this year with Pepsi to show fans some new moves on the field and in a new TV spot," said Brown.

Pepsi and sibling Frito-Lay are also launching an on-pack Snapchat sweepstakes, "They Win, You Score."

Bridgestone, the official tire of the NFL, said it is "getting motivation from spirited football coach” and ESPN Monday Night Football NFL analyst Jon Gruden in a season-long initiative that will also feature social content from rookie players.

The anchor spot with Gruden, "Pep Talk," finds him demonstrating the "trusted performance of Bridgestone DriveGuard tires, which allow drivers to go up to 50 miles to safety after a puncture or loss of pressure."

"Okay, tires, if you take a hit you better get back up," Gruden berates the tires after they've been punctured. "You’ve got to take it up a notch. There’s always gong to be nails on the road to victory."

On its social channels, Bridgestone has a video series featuring more than 30 NFL rookies, including Deshaun Watson, Leonard Fournette and Mitchell Trubisky.

Running now through December, the rookies take on fun Performance Challenges, test their Tire Knowledge and share personal thoughts on how they've overcome adversity in their careers.

The first in a series of Bud Light NFL TV spots, "Vendor," breaks during the season opener between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs and Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots.

The game will also see the debut of the interactive Bud Light Touchdown Glass, which will be distributed to fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium prior to kick-off. The glasses will light-up blue for every Patriots scoring play. In reference to the Patriots 35-28 comeback from a 28-3 deficit in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons, people can purchase one of 28,300 Bud Light Touchdown Glasses at (while supplies last).

Now in its third season as an official NFL sponsor and the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Kickoff, Hyundai will feature among its multi-media campaign a series of humorous spots, "Safeties First,” with former all-pro safety Rodney Harrison, who compares the car company’s dedication to safety to the prowess of NFL safeties.

"There is nothing quite like the experience of watching your favorite team play on Sunday,” Dean Evans, CMO for Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement. "Hyundai aims to make the NFL experience even better by connecting with these fans through a shared passion for NFL football."

According to Evans, "Our kickoff initiatives are a way to give the 188 million-plus NFL fans a better and more meaningful way to kick the season off by providing opportunities to celebrate the game and their teams, while showcasing the Hyundai vehicle lineup."

During the season, Hyundai will also air previous ad such as "Duet" for Sonata as well as "D-Gate", "Fishing Trip", and "Choices.”

Papa John’s said it would salute "hardworking people who make Game Day possible" in marketing fronted by TV host Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch). According to Rowe the spotlight will be put on "The people you never hear about who make the game possible: ticket vendors, groundskeepers, equipment managers, Celebrating the folks behind the scenes. The unsung men and one who make the NFL hum."

Snickers is is bringing its "You’re Not You When You’re Hungry" campaign (via BBDO) to the NFL with 26 football-themed bars — such as "Sacked," "Fumbled" and "Penalized — with the tag, "You're off your game when you're hungry.”

Snickers said it plans to support the roll out of the NFL-themed Hunger Bars through a “variety of 360 marketing activities, including two new ads, "Fantasy Night" and "Number One Fantasy," in-store displays and social media.”

According to Michael Italia, senior brand manager for Mars' Snickers, "As we continue to evolve the brand's award-winning 'You're Not You When You're Hungry' campaign and give fans more ways to share how hunger affects them and their friends, our new Snickers NFL Hunger Bars show the effects of hunger on the field – and on their fantasy picks."

The roster of Snickers NFL Hunger Bars also includes Bench Warmer, Benched, Blocked, Defeated, Defensive, Deflected, Denied, Downed, False Start, Flagged, Fumbled, Fumbly, Guarded, Incomplete, Intercepted, Off-Sides, Out of Bounds, Pancaked, Penalized, Punted, Rushed, Sacked, Sidelined, Snappy, Tackled and Winded.

Verizon has Odell Beckham Jr. front-and-center in its humorous spot, "Red Zone," in which he shows the impact of not having a great network during a press conference (and, of course, gets to make one one of his trademark one-handed catches).

Samsung keeps the feud alive between Josh Norman, cornerback for the Washington Redskins, and Dallas Cowboys running back Dez Bryant (real on the field, played for laughs elsewhere), with "Butter," which sees Norman trashing his rival during a press conference via the Samsung Galaxy Note8. Norman says there will be "No more drama" with Bryant this season even as he posts a photo of Bryant with hands of butter. As they face off in games, the faux feud will escalate this season via more ads and social media activation.

EA Sports continues its multi-media support for Madden NFL 18, with a new spot, “This Is The Year,” featuring Marshawn Lynch, who mistakenly thinks his new team, the Oakland Raiders, have a bye week, while gamers proclaim that "This is the year . . .  I make my brother cry . . . we win so much we’ll need a bigger band wagon . . . " and, as the NBA’s James Harden says of new Houston Rockets’ backcourt partner Chris Paul, “This is the year rivals become teammates.”

Castrol said its Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week and Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year Award would return for the third consecutive year, with marketing support.

During each week of the season, four of the five nominees for the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week will be unveiled during the Monday edition of the NFL Network's Total Access program. The final nominee will be announced following the week's Monday Night Football game. People can then vote via on Twitter, Facebook and­‐Edge.

The Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year Award nominees is scheduled to be revealed along with the start of voting on Jan. 19, 2018. The winner will be named during NFL Honors on Feb. 3, 2018 the night before Super Bowl LII. 

"Over the past two seasons we've had a lot of success with the Castrol EdgeClutch Performer program and we're thrilled to announce it will return this season," Renie Anderson, NFL svp-sponsorship and partnership management, said in a statement. "The program's online fan voting platform allows fans a unique opportunity to celebrate the players they support while at the same time gaining valuable exposure to the Castrol brand."

Among other brands activating behind the NFL, Wonderful Pistachios has enlisted Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews for "Put a Smile on Your Snackface," what the brand is calling its "biggest football campaign ever."

In the effort, Sherman and Matthews star in separate humorous commercials featuring "pistachio lovers who may be unlucky in life, but fortunate to discover the perfect game day snack to put a smile on their snack faces."

Petco has launched the latest spot in its "Celebrating Adoption" campaign, this one featuring Ronnie Stanley of the Baltimore Ravens. The effort "affirms Petco's commitment to support pet adoption efforts and encourages anyone looking to add a pet to their family to consider opening their hearts to one of the approximately 6.5 million pets in animal shelters nationwide each year."

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