SBD/Issue 100/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Super Bowl Ads: Advertisers Aim To Drive Traffic To Digital Content

ETrade Offering Application That Allows
People To Create Talking Baby Messages
Super Bowl XLIV advertisers are giving the game "a serious run on the hype-o-meter," as the nearly 40 advertisers that "bought ad time in the CBS broadcast are serving up supersized self-promotion," according to a Money section cover story by Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Advertisers are "sensing glimmers of hope for the economy," and as a result there is "almost nothing they aren't trying to get the game's massive audience to watch their Super Bowl ad -- then click on the brand's website and share the brand's message on ... social networks." Super Bowl advertisers "no longer rely on day-after-the-game office banter for buzz," as Sunday's game will be the Super Bowl "where everyone measures everything to see if they got their money's worth." Advertisers "will count tweets" and the "number of folks who visit their Facebook pages." They also will "count visits to the brand, with some adding extra incentive to come with the lure of free stuff." ETrade, "in addition to its spokesbaby ads, will offer an application that lets folks create talking-baby messages to share." Meanwhile, Teleflora "expects gobs of folks to go to its site after the game not just to again watch the ad ... but also to send an e-card" with comedian Don Rickles' voice to a friend (USA TODAY, 2/5).

GETTING POLITICAL: In Atlanta, Bob Keefe reports the U.S. Census Bureau "plans to spend an estimated $2.5[M] for a Super Bowl package that includes three pre-game spots, a 30-second third-quarter commercial and on-air mentions" by CBS' James Brown. But some U.S. congressmen disagree with the government "spending millions of taxpayer dollars on Super Bowl ads" in the current economy. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Thursday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Census Bureau Dir Robert Groves "asking for a strict accounting." Isakson wrote, "I am very concerned with the amount of money spent by the Census Bureau for the production and airing of these commercials." Census Bureau spokesperson Shelly Lowe said that the expense is "justified, adding that past Super Bowl spots have actually saved taxpayer money by encouraging people to mail back census forms" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/5).

Monster.com's Super Bowl Ad Features Beaver
To Signify Company's Industriousness, Eagerness
NEW MASCOT: In Boston, Johnny Diaz reports Monster.com in its Super Bowl ad "will feature a beaver merrily fiddling as fellow workers build a dam and gnaw on trees along a river." Monster.com officials said that they "used the beaver as the star because it personifies 'industriousness and eagerness' at a time when people are struggling to find jobs." Monster.com has advertised in the Super Bowl "four times since 1999 including last year," and the beaver spot is the "second ad in Monster.com's 'Get a Monster Advantage' campaign aimed at helping employers and job hunters better connect" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/5).

BOX OFFICE BUST: Go Daddy is pulling its "Movies" ad from the Super Bowl due to issues related to licensing arrangements with several film studios. Go Daddy was not able to reach a suitable agreement with each studio, and instead will air an ad titled "Spa" in the first quarter (Go Daddy).

DIAMOND AND PEARLS: Diamond Foods is airing a spot in the fourth quarter promoting both its Pop Secret and Emerald Nuts brands, and PBS' Tom Hudson asked Diamond President & CEO Michael Mendes, "You got to sell a lot of snacks, though, to come up with the almost $3(M) that it takes for the 30-seconds of advertising, don't you?" Mendes: "We're a high-growth business and the things that we're trying to achieve with our Super Bowl program is we're building up permanent distribution with our retail partners at retailers throughout the country. By us having a Super Bowl campaign, (it) helps encourage our retailers to place those products on the shelf. In 2007 when we had a Super Bowl commercial, we saw a 68% lift in sales in that four-week period that we had the campaign." He said the company expects “a nice bump” from the ad. Mendes: “We do know that we've been able to get a lot more permanent distribution of our new products at retail and we're going to enjoy that benefit on the period going forward" ("Nightly Business Report," PBS, 2/4).

PAPA IS IN THE HOUSE: Papa John’s is the official pizza of Super Bowl XLIV and the chain has its first Super Bowl ad airing in the second quarter of the game. Papa John's President & COO Jude Thompson said of whether the return on investment will be worth it, “We sure hope so.” He noted Papa John’s sells around 750,000 pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, so “we think this will be our biggest day in our history.” Thompson added, “We're going to do toppings for touchdowns. On the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday after the Super Bowl, if there's five touchdowns you get five free toppings on a $9 cheese pizza” ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 2/5).

BIG RISK, BIG REWARD: Digital media and branding company Big Spaceship Founder & CEO Michael Lebowitz said the "companies that really have an opportunity to benefit" by advertising during the Super Bowl "are companies in low consideration categories where they get tremendous benefit from being top of mind.” Lebowitz: “It comes back down to an individual business' goals and whether it's appropriate to spend such a premium to be in front of a broad audience for a short spike of time rather than investing that money in a program that might give them a year's worth of conversation in the digital world." CNBC’s Darren Rovell said the Super Bowl for larger companies is “about winning the ad meter,” but for smaller companies, it “really is about building their brand" ("Worldwide Exchange," CNBC, 2/5).

PEPSI MISSING OUT: Association of Independent Commercial Producers President & CEO Matt Miller noted PepsiCo is not advertising its beverages during the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years, and the company has "left the door open for Coke to own" the Super Bowl territory. Miller: "They've been battling it out for a couple of years, both of them in the game, and now Coke's there with three spots this year and they're going to own it" ("Today," NBC, 2/5). Ries & Ries President Laura Ries said it was a "big mistake" for PepsiCo not to advertise. Ries: "Pepsi is giving its biggest competitor (Coca-Cola) a chance to get in the game. Long term, they're going to look back and say, 'Gee, we should have stayed in the game'" ("Varney & Company," Fox Business, 2/4). 

Watch The HomeAway Teaser
For Its Super Bowl Spot

FULL OF POTENTIAL: In L.A., Diane Pucin writes, "Here's hoping the ad for HomeAway ... will make its Super Bowl debut as funny as it ought to be with Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their turn as the wacky Griswolds from the 'National Lampoon's Vacation' movies." Meanwhile, a blurb for Snickers' ad featuring Betty White and Abe Vigoda indicated that the spot "will remind people that Snickers helps with food cravings." Pucin: "Betty White in anything has to make you laugh" (L.A. TIMES, 2/5). MEDIA LIFE MAGAZINE's Diego Vasquez noted the finalist ads in the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" challenge are "available online and have been getting mixed reviews," but Vasquez believes the ads "will do very well this year." Meanwhile, HomeAway's spot "looks promising, especially because it's backed by a very smart social media campaign" (MEDIALIFEMAGAZINE.com, 2/4).

BRAND BOWL: In Boston, Donna Goodison reports Boston-based ad firm Mullen has partnered with Radian6 to create BrandBowl 2010, an online ad-review site that "collects and analyzes all worldwide tweets mentioning Super Bowl commercials and translates them into a near-real-time, top-10 ranking of each brand's popularity." Mullen will "publish the results in a blog on its Web site on Monday and offer the last-place brand some 'free ideas' for next year" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/5).

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