ProfNet Experts Available on Super Bowl Ads, Online Lending, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Feb 01, 2016, 15:55 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • Super Bowl 50 Commercials: 2016 Ad Trends, Data, Spending and Analysis
  • Integrated Communication Strategy for Super Bowl Ads
  • Online Lending and the Housing Market
  • Prospective Annuity Buyers Need to Balance New Mortality Tables With Rising Interest Rates


  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)


  • Broadcast Journalists and Social Media: The Rules of Engagement
  • 6 Ways to Localize 2016 Presidential Campaign Coverage for Your Audience
  • Journalist Spotlight: Alex Kasprak, BuzzFeed


Super Bowl 50 Commercials: 2016 Ad Trends, Data, Spending and Analysis
Ken Wheaton
Advertising Age
"The last couple of years, it felt that marketers were getting a little heavy -- whether they were being sentimental or preachy. We expect things will swing back to the lighter side this year with more comedy and celebrities. And we're already seeing a lot of new brands shelling out for ads. Sadly, though, we might not get as many puppies or horses as in years past. And we also just might see more marketers keep their ads under wraps until the game."
Based in New York, Wheaton became Advertising Age editor in 2015, after serving in a variety of roles over the course of his 15 years. In addition to steering the publication's editorial operations, Wheaton brings his years covering the advertising industry to bear as a regular columnist and ad reviewer. His unique sense of humor, Cajun sensibility and sharp observations have made him a sought-after guest. His commentary has been featured on CBS, ABC, Yahoo! Finance and NPR, among other outlets.
Contact: Nettie Boivin,

Integrated Communication Strategy for Super Bowl Ads
Johnny V. Sparks
Associate Professor of Advertising
Central Michigan University
"The owned and earned media promote the ad -- before, during and after its airing," he said. "The Super Bowl audience has long included the ad-focused viewers, but the actual role of the ad airing during the Super Bowl in the modern integrated marketing communication context is continuously evolving. True success depends on generating engagement with the ad through owned media and earned news coverage."
Sparks can speak about integrated communication strategy in relation to the Super Bowl. He researches the influence of strategic communication's content and structure on human emotion and cognition. His entire analysis is available at
Contact: Rachel Esterline Perkins,

Online Lending and the Housing Market
Doug Lebda
Founder and CEO
"The fourth quarter marked another period of housing market improvement, where home values continued to rise for most markets, enabling more consumers to tap into the equity in their homes. Along with higher home prices, down payment amounts increased quarter over quarter, although down payment percentages remained relatively flat. In 2016, we expect to see the housing market to continue to rebound, and current homeowners who may have been postponing a move may be more inclined to sell now that home prices are higher than in prior months. This, in turn, would create housing inventory for buyers across different price distributions, hopefully attracting millennial first-time homebuyers."
Lebda is available to comment on online lending, the housing market, person finance and other credit-related topics. He started LendingTree in 1996, which became part of IAC in 2003. He served as president of IAC from 2005-2008 before returning to his role as CEO of LendingTree. He can also provide a wide range of unique and interesting customized LendingTree data, ranging from consumer credit scores to loan-level information like interest rates and closing fees.
Contact: Megan Greuling,

Prospective Annuity Buyers Need to Balance New Mortality Tables With Rising Interest Rates
Andrew Murdoch
Somerset Wealth Strategies
2016 is a particularly tricky year to buy an annuity. The decision of when to buy one and what type -- usually pretty clear-cut -- is murky. This reflects two new developments: 1) Insurance companies have begun reducing payouts, as much as 10 percent, because of the growing adoption of new mortality tables showing that people are living longer. Insurance companies have to trim payouts to remain profitable. 2) These increases may be reversed, at least in part, because the Federal Reserve has begun increasing interest rates, which ultimately help insurance companies because they constantly buy new bonds. They're likely to use additional interest income to increase annuity payouts to stimulate already sluggish annuity sales. This would occur with a lag, however. What should prospective annuity buyers do in the interim? Somerset Wealth Strategies suggests they buy a ladder of fixed annuities, which are purchased for relatively short timeframes and provide respectable income. This positions buyers to purchase lifetime income annuities later, when rates are higher.
Says Murdoch: "Prospective annuity buyers should know that they are facing a headwind this year – falling payout rates because of new mortality tables. But if they're flexible, they can work around this. For the first time in more than a decade, they should think hard about positioning an annuity portfolio to benefit from rising interest rates – and hence likely payout increases – down the road."
Contact: Steve Kaufman,

Voting Machine Technology
Suzanne Mello-Stark, Ph.D.
Computer Science Faculty
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
"Each election, voters rely on machines from proprietary vendors to carry out democracy. We cast our vote and walk away with little to no evidence that our vote has been counted. In my opinion, this is an exciting problem that has yet to be solved."
Based in Worcester, Mass., Mello-Stark is available to discuss voting machine technology; voting machine vulnerability; election auditing (forensics); digital and cyber security of voting machines and their data; public trust in elections; voting security and privacy; trends in and concerns with new and old voting technology; cybersecurity training; and the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program. Mello-Stark has served as a technical advisor to various election board.
Contact: Alison Duffy,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • BROADCAST JOURNALISTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Anchors, reporters, producers and photographers in television newsrooms across the country increasingly rely on social media in rather innovative ways to engage with viewers and gather elements for stories. We recently hosted a Twitter Q&A with Emmy Award-winning anchor Michelle Li of WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisc. Li shared her insight on how broadcasters use the tools on the job and offered tips on using social media platforms:
  • 6 WAYS TO LOCALIZE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COVERAGE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. It's an all too common tale for today's media. Newsrooms are changing. Technology is being pushed to the forefront. All the while budgets are tightening. So for those covering the 2016 election, finding the funds to send front-line staff may be out of the question – especially for smaller news organizations. But just because you're not on the campaign trail doesn't mean you don't have an interesting story to tell. If anything, telling the untold stories of your community may be the most distinctive – and most relevant – to your audience. Here are six ways to give your audience smart and meaningful coverage from your home seat:
  • JOURNALIST SPOTLIGHT: ALEX KASPRAK, BUZZFEED. For this month's Journalist Spotlight feature, we caught up with Alex Kasprak, a science writer with BuzzFeed, who gave us some insight into his daily work life:


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