November 7, 2014: Taco Bell to Create College Football Play-Off Section, Changes to CMAs Fall Flat, Is the A.F.I. Fest Opening Gala Jinxed?

By Beth Kormanik November 7, 2014, 8:21 AM EST

1. TACO BELL TO CREATE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAY-OFF SECTION: Partnering with ESPN, Taco Bell will create a “student section” at the first College Football Playoff named after its “Live Mas” campaign. Advertising Age: “The move is clearly one to appeal to the chain's core demographic: men in their late teens and early 20s. Taco Bell and the College Football Playoff will offer 3,000 seats—for 500 students from each of the schools represented at all three games. Once teams are announced, each school will handle ticket distribution. The school athletic departments will work with Taco Bell and ESPN to select the ticket winners. Taco Bell and ESPN will also reserve 60 seats—10 per school, per game—for the ‘most dedicated fans.’”

2. CHANGES TO CMAS FALL FLAT: Adding pop stars Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande to the performance lineup at the 48th annual Country Music Association Awards Wednesday did not fill the void left by Taylor Swift, who is focusing on her pop career and didn’t attend the awards. Los Angeles Times: “It was hard to detect anything beyond opportunism at work in Trainor’s and Grande’s messy, chemistry-free performances, both clear attempts to satisfy viewers accustomed to seeing Swift on the CMAs. Then again, at least the interlopers brought some energy to this mostly charmless production.”

3. IS THE A.F.I. FEST OPENING GALA JINXED?: In a mostly tongue-in-cheek observation, the Los Angeles Times notes that the films screening at the A.F.I. Fest opening-night gala seem to be jinxed when it comes to award season. “Consider the quartet of movies that have christened the Hollywood film festival the last four years—'Love & Other Drugs,' 'J. Edgar,' 'Hitchcock' and 'Saving Mr. Banks.' Each movie owned Oscar ambitions—the last three had designs on a best picture nomination—that ultimately went unrealized.”


BOSTON:  Experience marketing agency George P. Johnson announced the United States launch of an invitation-only event series on data-driven marketing called “Morning Premiere.” The lineup for the November 12 event includes speakers from I.B.M., Reebok, and the Boston Celtics.

CHICAGO:  Tasting Table’s Open Market returns to Chicago on December 6. The holiday retail experience features small-batch food, gifts, and snacks from more than 40 local chefs, pastry chefs, and artisan producers. There’s also a “Beers and Cheers” area with wine, beer, and cocktails.

LAS VEGAS:  The Neon Museum's Boneyard collection of more than 150 vintage neon signs will be illuminated with a holiday-inspired palette of lights—red, green, gold, blue, and white—November 28-January 1.

The Mob Museum will host a Repeal Day party on December 5.

LOS ANGELES:  Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event honored Salma Hayek Pinault and Gloria Steinem and was hosted by Kathy Griffin Monday at the Montage.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The Smart  Ride 11, a 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West, is November 13-14. The event benefits seven Florida nonprofits that provide support and services for individuals with H.I.V. or AIDS. Organizers hope to raise more than $1 million.

NEW YORK:  The International Rescue Committee raised more than $4.5 million at its annual Freedom Award Dinner Wednesday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Harry Connick Jr. hosted the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund's 20th anniversary Legends Gala on Wednesday at the Pierre in New York.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

SAN FRANCISCO:  SF Beer Week 2015 is scheduled for February 6-15 and will include more than 600 events hosted by the region's breweries, restaurants, bars, and retailers. It kicks off with an opening gala at the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason.

TORONTO:  The Writers’ Trust of Canada will celebrate Canadian author Margaret Atwood, who turns 75 this year, at its 29th annual gala on November 25.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Comedian Robert Mac will perform at a benefit show November 14 at the Winery at Bull Run, with partial proceeds supporting the Meant 2 Live Foundation.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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