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SUPER BOWL ADS MAY BE BIGGER HIT THAN THE GAME ITSELF
Published January 22, 1998
With viewership of Super Bowl XXXII projected at 140 million, the advertising community "is anticipating the big game perhaps as much as" the Broncos and Packers, according to Eleftheria Phillips of ADWEEK. The game "has become a media event like no other. It represents not only the time of year when football fanatics and the sports-challenged can commingle in relative peace, but when the advertising industry, with an estimated 58 spots broadcast during the game, can revel in its own glory" (ADWEEK, 1/19). George Rosenbaum, CEO of IL-based firm Leo J. Shapiro & Assoc: "There's no other way on TV or any other medium in which you can reach a bigger audience. In one day you can make a giant imprint on the nation" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/21). WHAT'S NEW? AD AGE's Judann Pollack reports that packaged foods will "take a bigger bite of the ad time this year" (AD AGE, 1/19 issue). In N.Y., Pat Winters Lauro wrote that the "big trend" this year is "a recognition that many women" watch the Super Bowl, as "traditionally 'female' advertisers [such] as Hormel chili, Tabasco sauce and Heinz ketchup" have bought time (DAILY NEWS, 1/18). Nokia becomes the first wireless marketer to advertise on Super Sunday (BRANDWEEK, 1/19). Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth will appear in the form of clay animation for Pepsi's Lipton Brisk. Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner's voice and made-from-clay image also yells, "Your fired" in the spot (DAILY NEWS, 1/19). USA TODAY's Dottie Enrico writes "One of 1998's biggest surprises could come from an unexpected advertiser: FedEx. Industry insiders say the shipping giant and its agency BBDO New York have cooked up an imaginative way to show why customers should only use FedEx" (USA TODAY, 1/19). On MSNBC's "The Big Show," Enrico added, "Every year I think people want to see what Pepsi Cola is going to do. ... I've previewed most of the ads, and ... I've got to say that Pepsi's got a very interesting round this year" (MSNBC, 1/20). In DC, Eric Fisher wrote that few companies "were willing to go out on a limb" this year, as many ads "will rely on tried-and-true pop culture icons" such as Elvis, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Seinfeld (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/21). In Houston, Greg Hassell reported that the "high price" of $1.3M per 30-second spot "is driving some heavy-hitters out of this year's game." Among them is McDonald's, which has been "among the biggest game-time advertisers in years past." McDonald's execs said that "cost definitely is a factor in their decision" not to advertise this year. The ad roster "has a distinctly high-tech ring to it," and Hassell wrote that the year's "most innovative ad" is from Intel, whose interactive ad allows fans to select the end of the spot via the Internet (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/21). CAN THEY DO THAT? Nike will have one 60-second spot during the game's second quarter. It features athletes such as Michael Johnson, Suzy Hamilton, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Terrell Davis, Ronaldo, Lisa Leslie and Gabrielle Reese -- all in the nude (Nike). NBC execs "requested minor modifications in the commercial, involving shading," and Nike made them. The ad is for Nike athletic apparel, and is "an attempt to dramatize" how it "is designed like an added layer of skin that can help people compete more effectively in a range of sports" (Skip Wollenberg, AP, 1/17). NOT ALL MAKE THE CUT: NBC "rejected a low-key" ad for CA-based Vivus Inc., a male impotence treatment, during the Super Bowl "because it was not 'suitable'" for the network, according to Kenneth Howe of the S.F. CHRONICLE. NBC Sports VP/Information Ed Markey: "The standards people look at every commercial that comes in and determine whether it is suitable for a particular time period and show." Bob Hoffman, President of S.F.-based agency Hoffman/Lewis, which created the spot: "NBC's rationale was that the ad was inappropriate for daytime viewing. But just look at the talk shows and soap operas they air" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/21).