What's Wrong With The Miami Heat?

There are two answers to this very simple question: 

One answer is:  "Nothing, Idiot."
If the NBA did a survey of each team and asked them which team they'd least like to face in the play-offs -- I'm pretty sure The Miami Heat would be the overwhelming leader on that list.  The Heat are the Champs and any second-guessing from the media talking heads is only for the purposes of having something to talk about on TV.  The Heat have what it takes to win it all.  Championships are won in June, not in January and February.

The Second Answer is:  "They are tired and lack regular season motivation."
I've been saying for 3 years that the regular season doesn't really matter for the Heat.  For 3 years+, this team has been playing in sold-out arenas and have a huge target on their backs every night.  They've proven over the last 3 years that they aren't really to be questioned.  (Won 11 out of 12 play-off series in the last 3 years).  They're veterans and they really felt the grind of the 27 game win streak last year.  What they're doing could possibly be viewed as "over-correcting" at years end ... but again ... from where I stand they've earned the right to be trusted. 

This said - I do think it''ll be really tough to get through both the Pacers and Thunder (my prediction for West champ) come May/June.  Those teams are STARVING (they were hungry the last 2 seasons) and I'm not sure the Heat are gonna be able to find the extra gear when the time comes.  Nothing about the Heat's regular season performance is the reason why I think that, though.  It's more what I'm seeing from the other teams.  They are deeper and more experienced than the past and they both have players who can shut-down LBJ when he turns into a one-man show.

I still believe the Heat can 3 peat.  That would be the obvious best outcome - especially considering the contract situations of the big 3.  No way any of them walk away from going for a 4th in a row.... 

For now, "nothing is wrong with the Heat."  They're doing what they need to do and I'd prefer not to talk about it until the play-offs begin...


Quality Score for Super Bowl Commercials

Last night I did what 40 million+ other people did.  I sat in front of my TV for 4 straight hours (minus putting kids to bed, etc) and watched the Superbowl.  I thought it was a little overboard that they read the Declaration of Independence at the start of the broadcast (to symbolize how American the Super Bowl is?), but I digress....

The Superbowl ad spots fetched roughly $4MM for a 30 second spot (gulp), and several brands think it's a bargain.  The mere reach and PR value is hard to argue - even from a performance driven marketer like myself....  BUT.... Another reason why I think they're so valuable is because people ACTUALLY watch the ads.  The Superbowl has become the one instance in modern television where people watch BECAUSE of the ads!

The fastest way to change this fact, however, is to have a few years in a row like we did in 2014.  The ads were below average.  There were maybe 3 ads I thought were "great" and every other one was average or worse.  So in order to preserve the "huge amounts of your customers actually watch the ads" belief - I think that the networks (or NFL) should include a "Quality Score" metric, much like Google does.  If ads are clicked on more than any others - Google often rewards advertisers for being of value to it's users, which makes it more likely (and sometimes less costly) for those advertisers with strong quality scores.

How could this be done?  Well - I was thinking that there were 3 possibilities (or more I'm sure):

  1. Network charges advertisers, say, $5MM per spot - and then they give $ back at a sliding scale based upon YouTube AdBlitz or a similar rating system.
  2. They have a panel of "judges" that pre-screens spots to give even either financial discounts OR preferential placement based upon judged "quality."
  3. Many advertisers have a history of commercials in the Superbowl - and I think there could be an "established" score that brands receive over time that gives them (again) discounts or first choice of placements. First time advertisers would receive the "average" slots.

Bottom-line -- I think the ad industry needs to take responsibility for ensuring that quality content meets customers expectations for this special event.  I get that fact that the network only thinks about "selling eyeballs" but if the ad quality is ignored - the value of the time will greatly diminish over time. I'd like to see Quality Score's equivalent show up for the Superbowl in the years to come.