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Superbowl ads swap politics for Taylor Swift and AI

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Fans can expect celebrities and more lighthearted commercials, along with glimpses of Taylor Swift, during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

It’s a sign that corporate advertisers are avoiding the recent practice of using the big game to promote social causes.

While high-priced Super Bowl commercials often play for laughs in trying to make an impression, the flashy productions can also reflect the national mood.

Brands that previously took stands on issues such as diversity and climate change, are acknowledging that anything seen as political while attempting to market products to all consumers can be “treacherous to navigate,” said Kim Whitler, a professor at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a former marketing executive at Procter & Gamble (PG.N).
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“The pendulum swings. First, it was ‘we don’t do enough,’ and now it’s swinging back,” she said.

Encountering xenophobia

Budweiser in 2017 used the Super Bowl to depict Anheuser-Busch’s (ABI.BR)founder making the journey from Germany to America in 1857, encountering xenophobia and discrimination along the way.

This year, it will bring back the iconic Clydesdale horses to its Super Bowl commercial, while related brands like Michelob Ultra will have a lighthearted ad featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi.

For brands that want to appeal to a younger demographic during the NFL championship clash between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the romance between Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, which has dominated social media, could provide inspiration, said Charles R. Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova University School of Business.

Despite some griping over attention paid to Swift during games she has attended this season, the pop megastar’s appeal has benefited the league and could do the same for brands shelling out millions for a Super Bowl commercial, Taylor said.

The price of a 30-second spot on CBS sold for around $7 million, according to a source familiar with the ad sales, about the same as last year.

Increased viewership

“It’s definitely been good for the NFL. (Swift has) flat out increased viewership,” Taylor said.

One trend emerging in commercials and teaser videos released before the game is ensemble celebrity casts.

Bud Light will introduce the Bud Light Genie, who grants a group of friends wishes that turn a night watching football into a jam-packed adventure.

With the genie’s help, the friends magically appear at rapper Post Malone’s concert, then at an Ultimate Fighting Championship match with UFC President Dana White, and become best friends with Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

The beer brand’s return to raucous humor comes after it endured a damaging conservative boycott for featuring a transgender social media influencer in one of its ads.

“We’re leaning a little bit harder into the humor this year,” said Todd Allen, senior vice president of marketing for Bud Light.

Google (GOOGL.O) will strike a heartwarming tone while promoting its prowess in artificial intelligence (AI), a hot topic in the tech industry.

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NASA confirms Odysseus lunar aircraft tipped over after failed moon landing

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NASA has confirmed that the first privately owned spacecraft to land on the moon, named Odysseus, has tipped over onto its side after a failed landing.

Despite the setback, the spacecraft is reported to be “alive and well.”

Initial data received by Intuitive Machines, the company behind the spacecraft, indicated that Odysseus had successfully landed with all six feet on the lunar surface.

However, subsequent updates revealed that the lander is now laying on its side on the lunar landscape.

According to CEO Steve Altemus, the mishap occurred when one of the lander’s legs became caught, causing it to tip over onto a rock.

This unexpected turn of events occurred a day after what was initially confirmed as a soft landing.

Solar power

While laying on its side has hindered radio transmission and potentially impacted the craft’s ability to receive solar power, Altemus reassured during a press conference that much of Odysseus’ operating abilities remain intact.

“We do have communications with the lander,” Altemus stated, noting that commands are still being sent to the vehicle.

Efforts are underway to obtain the first photo images from the lunar surface at the landing site.

Despite the setback, Intuitive Machines expressed confidence in Odysseus’ overall performance.

Mission director Tim Crain highlighted the spacecraft’s flawless flight to the moon, during which it utilized a propulsion fuel of liquid methane and liquid oxygen for the first time in space.

The journey to the lunar surface was not without its challenges, as a problem with the lander’s navigation system emerged during the final approach and descent. Ground engineers had to implement an untested workaround at the last minute to ensure a safe landing.

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Policeman charged with murdering TV presenter and his boyfriend

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A major update in the disappearance of a Channel 10 presenter and his Qantas flight attendant boyfriend, as a police officer with connections to the missing couple has been charged with two counts of murder.

NSW Police have released footage of constable Beau Lamarre-Condon handing himself in to Bondi police station.

Beau Lemarre, 28, a former celebrity blogger turned NSW Police officer, surrendered to authorities on Friday morning, following a frantic overnight search.

The charges stem from the mysterious disappearance of Lemarre’s ex-boyfriend, Jesse Baird, and Baird’s partner, Luke Davies, who were last seen on Monday.

Jesse Baird and Luke Davies are pictured.

Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty confirmed the charges, stating, “Charges have been submitted for two counts of murder.”

He further added that Lemarre is expected to be formally denied bail and brought before the court.

Jesse Baird on the set of Studio 10

Police weapon

Police allege that Lemarre used his service weapon to fatally shoot Baird and Davies at Baird’s home in Paddington on Monday night.

The bodies have yet to be found, but evidence collected at the crime scene, including bloodstained clothes discovered near a skip-bin in Cronulla, and a projectile matched to a NSW Police firearm, have led investigators to pursue charges against Lemarre.

Beau Lemarre, 28, a NSW Police officer and ex-celebrity blogger

A white van believed to be connected to the disappearance was located on Friday morning, prompting authorities to intensify their search efforts.

However, the whereabouts of Baird and Davies remain unknown.

The couple’s disappearance has sent shockwaves through the community, with friends expressing concern for their safety.

According to reports, Baird had previously voiced fears of being stalked, adding a layer of complexity to the investigation.

Police are searching for a white van (pictured) they believe was being driven by Mr Lamarre. It was captured on CCTV (pictured) driving past the couple in Paddington on Monday night

Major crime scene

Police sealed off a street in Lambton, Newcastle, located 165km away from the Paddington crime scene, on Friday after a white van matching the description of the one being sought was spotted in Karoola Road near Lambton Pool.

Local residents reported a heavy police presence in the area, with streets cordoned off and officers conducting door-to-door inquiries.

“There’s cops everywhere, walking the streets, door knocking,” said one resident.

“Got the road closed past the pool,” they added.

Another resident mentioned, “The park is taped off with police tape up near the bowling club and lots of police are walking the park at the moment.”

It is suspected that Beau Lamarre-Condon, the individual charged in connection with the disappearance, may have driven the van, registered as CW82PM, to a residence in the Newcastle suburb where it was sighted around 10pm the previous night. However, by 2am, the van had vanished again.

Prior to becoming a police officer, Lamarre-Condon was a celebrity blogger

These significant developments occurred after Lamarre-Condon’s phone showed signs of activity shortly before his arrest.

He had evaded authorities following the launch of a manhunt for the missing couple, after it was revealed that he was Jesse Baird’s ex-boyfriend.

Prior to his tenure with the NSW Police, Lamarre-Condon was known as a celebrity blogger, famous for capturing selfies with prominent figures such as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.

His entry into law enforcement in 2019 was not without controversy, as he garnered attention for tasering a man in the face during an arrest, which was captured on camera.

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Generative AI is threatening to kill off original music

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From original sounds to entire songs, generative AI is sparking debates on the future of the music industry.

Generative artificial intelligence can already produce original sounds, lyrics, and entire songs on its own.

So, as the new technology continues to develop, will AI mean the death of original music, or herald a new era of creativity?

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