Tag Archives: TV ads

Five ways for Montrealers to watch U.S. Super Bowl ads

Note: This post has been updated for the 2011 Super Bowl. For the latest on Super Bowl ads on Canadian cable and satellite, click here.

For 364 days a year, Canadians don’t care about what the CRTC calls “simultaneous substitution” – the policy whereby cable and satellite providers replace a U.S. channel with a Canadian one when both are running the same program. (The logic behind this is so the Canadian station gets all the Canadian viewers and can charge higher advertising rates.)

For Montrealers especially, the U.S. ads are pretty forgettable. Local ads for Burlington businesses or ads for products and services that Canadians don’t get. Besides, commercials in general are meant to be ignored. Nobody really cares whether the Ford ad lists prices in Canadian or U.S. dollars.

But then there’s Super Bowl Sunday. And while two teams fight for the National Football League’s championship trophy, many television viewers will be looking at the full experience, which includes a halftime show and insanely-expensive commercials. Advertisers turn Super Bowl commercials into events, building up hype and spending through the nose on celebrities and special effects to justify the through-the-nose spending they’re doing just to get the airtime.

So if you’re a Montrealer watching the Super Bowl and want the U.S. commercials, what can you do?

Here are your options:

  1. Watch the U.S. network over the air. As much as the CRTC would like, it can’t stop U.S. stations from transmitting across the border. So you can hook up an antenna and watch it that way. The U.S. network affiliates in Vermont and New York have good coverage in Montreal if you have a good antenna. The catch is that since 2009 they broadcast only in digital, which means you need a television with a digital tuner (most recent HDTVs have this) or a converter box (like this one or this one). Elias Makos has more details for Montrealers wanting to watch U.S. stations over the air.
  2. Watch west-coast feeds. This method has mixed success. The cable and satellite companies are supposed to replace all feeds they’re asked to, but some forget (or aren’t asked?) to do this for west coast feeds, which carry the Super Bowl live at the same time as the east-coast stations do. There’s no guarantee of success with this.
  3. Watch the ads online. These advertisers aren’t about to sue people who put their ads online, and they’re more than welcome to you watching them as many times as you want after the game. YouTube and Spike TV have special sites setup with Super Bowl commercials. The latter includes an archive of past Super Bowl ads. Adweek has a section on Super Bowl ads too
  4. Get the feed illegally. If you subscribe to DirecTV or other U.S.-based satellite services, this whole post is moot and you’ll get the U.S. feeds. You can also try hunting for website streaming the Super Bowl from a U.S. location, but the NFL works diligently to shut those down, and if the entire point is to watch the ads, then you might as well just go to YouTube and see them there legally.
  5. Go to a friend’s house or bar that has done one of the above. Of course, the harder it is for you to get the feed, the harder it is for them too.

Ways that no longer work:

  1. Watch the U.S. network in HD on Videotron Illico digital TV. Videotron made a point of announcing in the past that they would have the U.S. feed untouched in HD. They can no longer do this for customers in the Montreal area with the setup of CFCF-DT in 2011.
  2. Watch the game on Bell TV. The CRTC closed a loophole in 2009 that would have allowed Bell to give most of its subscribers access to the U.S. Super Bowl feed. If you use Bell TV satellite service, you’re out of luck.

Super Bowl commercials FTW

The Gazette’s Denise Duguay reports that Videotron did not, in fact, substitute its NBC HD channel for CTV HD as CTV’s press release suggested it would, meaning she was one of the few Canadians to watch NBC’s Super Bowl commercials without having to hook up an antenna.

Of course, for those who want to see them, they’re all over the place online: Just for Laughs, Spike, NFL, FanHouse, YouTube, MySpace. Some include so-called “banned ads” and other attention-grabbers.

Dominic Arpin provides some of his favourite ads. But really, they all suck.

Oh, and that was a good game today, even if I could pay only half attention to it.

CTV ruins Super Bowl ad fun

This blog post is from 2009. For the latest details, click here.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and for those of you who have no idea which NFL teams are playing in the big game, you’ll probably want to avoid CTV.

The national television network is carrying over 10 hours of Super Bowl coverage on the main network, plus a bunch of stuff on TSN and even MuchMusic and Space (convergence marketing yay!)

We’ll remind you at this point that the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League, wasn’t carried on CTV but rather CTV-owned TSN.

In case you’re more interested in the commercials than the show (CTV News says it’s one of the big reasons to watch, without a hint of irony), well there’s bad news for you. CTV has ensured that as many loopholes are closed as possible to prevent Canadian viewers from seeing any non-CTV commercials. Bell TV is being forced to simultaneously substitute CTV for NBC nationwide, and Videotron has apparentl agreed to do the same across the province, according to the CTV press release I’ve pasted below.

CTV is planning on giving Canadians access to the commercials online (assuming I’m reading this correctly) at the Just for Laughs website. But I don’t think that’ll satisfy viewers.

So during the broadcast, we’ll be stuck with whatever CTV has to offer (assuming they even fill all their spots). We don’t even get the privilege of a spousal cheating ad.

Those of you who want to (legally) watch NBC’s Super Bowl commercials live have one remaining option: Hook up an antenna to your TV and tune in to WPTZ.

CTV blocks commercials yay!

CTV Delivers SUPER BOWL XLIII in Stunning High Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound to Quebec Viewers

– Bruce Springsteen highlights half-time show on CTV –

Toronto, ON (January 30, 2009) – CTV confirmed today that viewers in Quebec will be able to see complete coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII in stunning High Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound on CTV HD. Despite suggestions otherwise, CTV’s presentation of SUPER BOWL XLII will feature “spectacular image and sound quality” on CTV HD, available to Videotron, Bell TV, Star Choice and Cogeco subscribers.

CTV’s exclusive Canadian coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Arizona Cardinals, begins at 12 noon ET from Tampa, FL, with six hours of pre-game programming (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times). The CTV HD broadcast will include the greatly-anticipated half-time show featuring Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band.

CTV encourages viewers interested in SUPER BOWL commercials to visit www.justforlaughs.com/superbowl, where many of this year’s advertisements have already been posted.

Calling the SUPER BOWL on CTV is the NFL broadcast team of Emmy Award-winners Al Michaels (play-by-play) and John Madden (colour analyst), while reporters Andrea Kremer and Alex Flanagan patrol the sidelines. Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas hosts the pre-game, post-game and halftime shows alongside co-hosts Cris Collinsworth, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, studio analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis, reporter Peter King, and special guests – and SUPER BOWL champions – Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren and Matt Millen. The SUPER BOWL halftime show, sponsored in Canada by Diet Pepsi, features Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, while Faith Hill sings ‘America the Beautiful’ and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson sings the national anthem prior to kickoff.

For more information on CTV’s extensive multi-platform coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII, click here.

More retro STCUM ads: “Vous connaissez pas Telbus?”

I actually remember this ad from 1994, when the then-STCUM introduced and publicized its seemingly revolutionary system where you could call a phone number and get the arrival time of the next bus.

The Telbus system (in which each stop for each route had a phone number attached to it) was eventually replaced with the current AUTOBUS, which has a single phone number and a five-digit code for each stop.

A second ad returns to a dry, if accurate, talking point for public transit: It’s cheaper and more reliable than a car in the long run.

Plenty of other (non-transit-related) retro Quebec ads uploaded recently too, including some related to the 1994 Quebec election, a station ID for Musique Plus and a French ad for CHOM FM.

Fast. Finally.

Dear FinallyFast.com,

I understand computers are hard, and that filming a commercial with people you found off the street can be difficult.

FinallyFast.com is for PC Computers Only

FinallyFast.com is for PC Computers Only

But when you say your product is for PCs only,

This iMac is apparently supposed to be a PC in the magic fairytale land of FinallyFast.com commercials

This iMac is apparently supposed to be a PC in the magic fairytale land of FinallyFast.com commercials

perhaps you shouldn’t show people using what are obviously Macs (albeit with the logos covered up).

BSOD on an iBook.. err, PC laptop

BSOD on an iBook.. err, PC laptop

I can’t tell you how often I’ve gotten a blue screen of death on my iBook. Oh wait, yes I can. It’s never.