Roadside Attractions/Anonymous Content
If ever there were an opportunity for a little film such as Winter's Bone
to come away with a big Oscar upset, it's this year. While The King's Speech
racked up the most nominations, no runaway favorite for Best Picture has emerged.
Despite being the Best Picture nominee with the lowest box office take last year (little more than $7 million, or $13 million less than second-lowest 127 Hours) and having the lowest budget ($2 million, or $1 million less than the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad), Winter's Bone is the kind of film the NFL's audience could get behind: A young woman protecting her home and family by force, wayward kin helping out by kicking the hell out of people and meth dealers in the Ozarks looking to take it all away.
It would be a huge gamble for small production companies and distributors such as Roadside Attractions and Anonymous Content -- one that could bankrupt a company of their size if it goes awry -- but given distinct similarities between this film and the bigger-budget True Grit and the huge war chests Sony's Columbia Pictures, Disney's Pixar, Viacom's Paramount and Time Warner's Warner Brothers have available to campaign for their films, a one-off Super Bowl push potentially with grassroots funding through sites such as Kickstarter could be just the late-game surge a small film such as Winter's Bone needs.
This is the No. 1 appliance maker in the world, but it's relatively faceless to a U.S. Super Bowl audience that still considers the lonely Maytag repairman the face of the "white goods" world. That's a shame, as 12.5% of the world's Super Bowl watchers chill their beer in mini-fridges and keg refrigerator/tap units, and Haier has a commanding 6.1% of the world's overall white goods market, according to Euromoniter International. And even that's up 20% from last year.
The Chinese company's revenue is up 22% since 2006 and, though Americans likely know it best for producing some of the inexpensive options found at Home Depot, Lowe's and Sears, its success comes largely from sales to twentysomething urbanites who snap up their wine refrigerators, portable washers and countertop dishwashers.
Haier doesn't need a Super Bowl ad to be huge, but it wouldn't hurt its chances of becoming a household name in American homes.
They just spun off from the Motorola mothership, their Xoom tablet with sweet Google Honeycomb software just took top honors at the Consumer Electronics Show and their Atrix Android-using, laptop-powering 4G phone took best smartphone honors at the same event. What does this mean to the average American? Not a damned thing. The average NFL fan has been watching Apple iPad ads since Week 1.
Apple, meanwhile, needs an occasion only about as special as a Thursday night rerun of 30 Rock
to throw iPad ads at its target demographic. Couple this with the ads Apple's been running to tout its "two is better than one" partnerships with AT&T and Verizon and Motorola's already been sacked for a loss in its Next iPhone/iPad game. Does Motorola really want to convince the American public that it can stand toe-to-toe with Apple or, at the very least, with Samsung, HTC and LG? It'll have to distinguish itself, shrug off the partners and splurge a bit if it wants to make people forget that its U.S. mobile market share has dropped to 17% from nearly 19% in the past three months, according to ComScore, while Gartner says it's global market share slid to 2.1% from 4.5% between 2009 and last year.
While it's great Motorola Mobility is making products that U.S. critics like, a Super Bowl ad may be one of its last chances to make American consumers care.