Austin-based dating and networking app Bumble seeks to score a marketing touchdown February 3 with its first-ever Super Bowl ad.

The TV ad will kick off a year-long campaign called “The Ball Is in Her Court,” designed to empower women to make the first move in life, love, and business. The campaign stars tennis pro Serena Williams, who’s been tapped as global adviser for the woman-centric app “to reinforce the brand’s mission to end misogyny and empower women around the world.”

“Society has taught us as women to kind of sit back and not necessarily be the first one to speak up. We want to take that and flip the story,” Williams told Reuters.

“We are letting people know we are not afraid,” she added. “We no longer want to cower. We want to stand up.”

The spot will air during the first half of CBS’ broadcast of the Super Bowl LIII matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.

Bumble hasn’t divulged how long the ad will be. Whatever the length, the commercial won’t be cheap. This year, the cost of broadcasting a 30-second Super Bowl spot on CBS reportedly exceeds $5 million.

Earlier this month, Bumble posted a video teaser of the Williams ad, which was produced by an all-female creative team and crew. “Partnering with Serena Williams has been a dream of mine since we launched Bumble, as she is one of the most inspiring women in history and a shining example of someone making the first move in all facets of her life,” Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, says in a release. “She is a role model, a mom, an entrepreneur, and a fierce athlete. She is the epitome of strength, integrity, kindness, empowerment, and everything Bumble stands for.”

Williams says she wouldn’t have achieved the success she had if she’d let fear of making the first move hold her back.

“Like Whitney Wolfe Herd, I am a firm believer in striving to achieve greatness, as every single one of us holds the power to write our own stories,” Williams says in a release. “I look at my daughter and know it is my duty to pave a powerful path for her, and as Bumble’s global adviser, I can encourage her and women everywhere to think like a champion, define their lives and, ultimately, embrace the power we have within.”

Matthew McConaughey scores big with Austin newspaper ad to Nick Foles

Lone Star Love

KVUE — Matthew McConaughey had a Texas-sized congratulations ready for Super Bowl MVP — and Austin's own — Nick Foles when he opened up his Sunday morning paper.

On February 11, the Academy Award-winning Texan bought a full-page advertisement in the Austin American-Statesman to show his respect for Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles after they defeated the New England Patriots.

The ad reads: "From one local to another, congratulations Nick Foles. Just keep livin, Matthew McConaughey."

While McConaughey is reportedly an uber Washington football fan [not a Cowboy's fan], he clearly knows where his loyalty lies: the great state of Texas.

Austin American-Statesman managing editor John Bridges called it a "bromance, Austin-style."

The Eagles Super Bowl win on February 4 rocked Central Texas and the Westlake community where Foles grew up. Foles' baby girl also won the hearts of America, as she was apparently the cutest honorary-MVP of the big match up.


To read the full story, head to KVUE.

Photo courtesy of NRG Park

Want to score the ultimate Super Bowl package? It'll cost you $1 million.

Attention Football Fans

Attention well-heeled football fans: Here's a deal for you. Austin-based ticket agency TicketCity is offering a $1 million package for Super Bowl LI in Houston.

We know that sounds like a lot, but it's for 20 people and includes the following:

  • Private plane to and from Houston
  • Police escort to Super Bowl
  • Super Bowl premium seating
  • Courtside Houston Rockets tickets
  • UFC Fight Night VIP package
  • Stay at two luxury homes in the heart of Houston
  • Meals at Damians, Brennan's, Smith & Wollensky
  • Entry to ESPN party, Rolling Stone party, Leather and Laces party, Maxim party, NFL Honors Awards Show
  • Entry to NFL Players Tailgate party

Other perks for the four-night package (February 2-5) include a personal concierge; a spa day at the Houstonian; bourbon tastings; autographed helmets from such stars as Tom Brady, Troy Aikman, and Aaron Rodgers; autographed jerseys from Jerry Jones and the 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect-season team; and a Super Bowl 50 helmet autographed by John Elway and Peyton Manning, along with a $5,000 gift card to shop for NFL merchandise.

"People in Texas want to spend a lot of money on shopping and football," says Shannon McKinley, TicketCity director of PR/communications.

A Super Bowl ticket in the club level at NRG Stadium already is going for more than $11,000, so the package, which averages $50,000 per person, could be considered a bargain in some circles, particularly if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, when it could be the most expensive sports event ever.

McKinley says the agency has two $1 million Super Bowl packages available, with other options available for customized packages. For additional details, contact Shannon@ticketcity.com or call 512-721-1124.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.


The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.