SBD/Issue 94/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Super Bowl Ads: Snickers Returns 3 Years After Controversial Spot

Snickers Returning To Super Bowl
With Spot Featuring Betty White
Mars Chocolate North America today announced plans for Snickers to "return as a Super Bowl telecast advertiser -- three years after it raised the wrath of gay advocates by airing a Super Bowl spot that showed two male mechanics who accidentally kiss, then react with disgust," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The new ad stars actors Betty White and Abe Vigoda and features the tagline, "You're not you when you're hungry." Mars VP/Integrated Marketing Communications Carole Walker said that Snickers' ad for Super Bowl XLIV "has been tested with a focus group of more than 1,000 people and has been approved by the company's CEO." Walker: "It has nothing that the gay community would find offensive." Horovitz notes Snickers' controversial ad during Super Bowl XLI was "yanked less than 24 hours after it aired" (USA TODAY, 1/28).

SPECIAL DELIVERY: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reported Papa John's Int'l "will advertise for the first time during a Super Bowl game" this year, with plans for an ad "that may not look to many viewers like one." The spot, "scheduled to air near the two-minute warning of the first half," will feature Papa John's Founder & Chair John Schnatter "delivering pizzas to the people behind the scenes at Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7 -- the on-field painters, for example." The ad, via Zimmerman Advertising, Ft. Lauderdale, "will be filmed on Sunday during the Pro Bowl by NFL Films for that in-the-game look." Due to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl both being played at Sun Life Stadium, when the "commercial appears during the Super Bowl it may seem as if it is taking place live." Elliott noted the ad is "part of an agreement by Papa John's to become the official pizza sponsor" of the NFL and Super Bowl XLIV. Papa John's "made the deal to run the spot with the NFL rather than with CBS" (NYTIMES.com, 1/27). Papa John's had "hoped to film live on Super Bowl Sunday, but was told it would be impossible, due to game-day security" (ADAGE.com, 1/27).

Watch Denny's Teaser For Its Super Bowl Spot

FREE FALLIN': Denny's will return to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, this time with three ads. A 30-second ad airing in the third quarter will announce the restaurant's free Original Grand Slam breakfast offer on February 9, with a voiceover saying, "It's going to be a tough week for egg layers." The breakfast offer is again highlighted in a second 30-second spot running in the fourth quarter, while a 15-second ad prior to the two-minute warning will re-launch Denny's free Grand Slam birthday offer. The ads come via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, S.F. (Denny's). ADWEEK's Eleftheria Parpis notes Denny's gave away "2 million Grand Slam Breakfasts last year two days after the Super Bowl" following a similar promotion (ADWEEK.com, 1/28).

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH: truTV officials said that the network's decision to advertise during the Super Bowl "for the first time is a sign of growing vigor," as the network is "two years into a rebranding effort." truTV is promoting its new series "NFL Full Contact" and will feature Steelers S Troy Polamalu in the ad. In Atlanta, Jeremiah McWilliams reports the spot "appears to be the network's most expensive advertising buy to date." truTV Exec VP & GM Marc Juris: "This one was a bit of a no-brainer. This would be a great way to reach a very engaged and interested football audience" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/28).

STUCK ON THE SIDELINES: AD AGE's Jeremy Mullman reported Colts QB Peyton Manning, the NFL's "most prolific endorser," could be "sidelined during a Super Bowl in which he'll be playing a starring on-field role ... barring any last-minute reversals." None of Manning's "myriad brand-backers," including MasterCard, Sony and DirecTV, are "currently slated to run any Super Bowl ads." Sprint, despite being an "official sponsor of both the game and the NFL, as well as having active endorsement deals with Mr. Manning and [Saints QB] Drew Brees, is using its only Super Bowl spot for a secondary brand, Boost Mobile." Q Sports Marketing Founder Patrick Quinn: "It has nothing to do with Peyton's desirability, because he's probably the best pitchman going" (ADAGE.com, 1/27).

OPEN BAR? MEDIA magazine's David Goetzl reports InBev's acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in late '08 "has some wondering whether InBev will allow ... MillerCoors to buy coveted Super Bowl time." A-B has "exclusivity in the alcoholic beverage category" for the Super Bowl, but former A-B marketing exec Tony Ponturo "thinks the day is coming" that the brewer will relinquish the exclusivity. Ponturo believes that the brewer "will continue to buy some spots, but won't spend the premiums needed to keep competitors off the stage." Ponturo: "I just think that there's an overall philosophy that it's a lot of money and they can still have a strong presence, but then use that money for other things" (MEDIA, 1/ '10 issue).

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