5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Lewis Lazare


5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Lewis Lazare

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

February 3, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weekveteran marketing journalist maven who covers the local happenings in the Chicago business landscape for the Chicago Sun-Timesa man known for his bow ties and dry withere are 5 Questions withLEWIS LAZARE!"

BIO: Lewis Lazare writes the Media and Marketing Mix column and popular blog for the Chicago Sun-Times and suntimes.com. He previously was a staff writer at the Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly newspaper where he created and wrote a column called Culture Club that covered the business of the arts in Chicago. Lazare also was an associate editor at Crain's Chicago Business, one of the first of the nation's city business newspapers. At Crain's, he covered the media and entertainment industries and wrote a column on advertising. He got his start in business reporting as a Chicago correspondent and critic for Variety, the trade newspaper famously known as the bible of show biz. Lazare graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Master of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

1) CSNChicago.com: Lewis, with the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, the focus isnt always on the game. For millions of viewers and the business world in general, a huge focus will once again be the great anticipation for this years array of Super Bowl ads. In your opinion, is the cost of a reported 2.5-2.8 million to advertise a :30 spot, which is actually down from 3 million a year ago, really worth it reach an audience these days? Longtime Super Bowl sponsor staples such as Pepsi have even declined to participate this year due to that enormously high price tag.

Lazare: It can be worth that much to buy into the Super Bowl, especially if youre a company that doesnt have a particularly high public profile and wants one fast. Another reason to buy in is to give a new product launch a big boost right out of the gate. But established companies like Pepsi that have been to the Super Bowl and done that many times, have decided that they can put the money to use more effectively in other ways.

2) CSNChicago.com: Since youre the man with the inside scoop of the ad world, have you seen any previews of this years batch of Super Bowl ads yet and whats the buzz this year on what we can expect from advertisers (same old, same old, or is there a knockout punch out there that we dont know about yet)?
Lazare: Yes, Ive seen work from several advertisers that will be in the big game this year, and more are being previewed each day now. Unfortunately, I havent seen anything yet that has hugely impressed me. But its still early. I must say, however, that Ive noted a sad decline in the level of creativity in much of the Super Bowl work in recent years. With the economic tough times, advertisers have bee more reluctant to spend big the past year in particular, which may make this yet another Super Bowl when we wont find much to wow us.

3) CSNChicago.com: Whats your personal favorite Super Bowl commercial of all-time? We wont be offended if you dont say its the Thanks Mean Joe Coca-Cola ad from 1979!

Lazare: After a while, even the great Super Bowl ads begin to blur in memory! But if pressed, Id pick two of relatively recent vintage as certainly among the best one deeply moving and another more lighthearted. I think the 2002 Budweiser commercial that showed the iconic Clydesdales bowing in respect to the victims of Sept. 11 was a great example of how advertising, at its best, has the concentrated power to touch us all. Advertising can also make us smile, as did the more recent 2008 Super Bowl spot from Coca-Cola that featured a giant Charlie Brown parade balloon proving victorious in a battle for an inflated Coke balloon floating over the concrete canyons of New York City. Wonderful story line. Great visuals. And most importantly, the perfect musical underscoring to set the tone for the whole delightful escapade.

4) CSNChicago.com: The state of Chicago radio has seen tremendous change over the past two years when it comes to talent-driven stations and shows. Do you think the days of on-air personalities making over a 1 million are officially over and, a follow-up question, what advice do you have for radio station managers in town to hold onto their audience going forward?

Lazare: Absolutely, the days of the 1 million talent are over. Even a lot of the talent that used to make those astronomical sums admit that. The economics of radio no longer allow for that kind of money to be paid. My advice would be for radio managers to make certain they know what they want their station to be and then be very smart about making sure everything about the station reflects and plays to that core essence.

5) CSNChicago.com: Finally, back to the Super Bowl, who are you picking to win the big game?

Lazare: Im going with the Indianapolis Colts. Its always fun to see a team like the New Orleans Saints finally make it to the big game. I know a lot of people will be rooting for them to do in Peyton Manning and the Colts. But when Manning is on, the Colts seem unbeatable. And I dont suspect Manning and his team will be in Miami to do anything but win.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything youd like to promote Lewis? CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Lazare: Just stay tuned for my big post-Super Bowl assessment of the best and worst ads seen during the game.

Lazare LINKS:

Chicago Sun-TimesLewis Lazare columns archive

Chicago Sun-TimesLazare Media and Marketing Mix blog

Lewis Lazare on Facebook

Fast Break Morning Update: Jonathan Toews powers Blackhawks past Canucks

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.