SBD/Issue 102/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Super Bowl Ads: Focus On The Family Sees Online Traffic Increase

    Watch The Focus On The Family Spot
    Focus on the Family "achieved its goal" with its Super Bowl XLIV ad featuring former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow and his mother, as the group has received a "torrent of new attention for its website and its brand in social media land," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Focus on the Family "beefed up its servers in anticipation" of the increased attention from the ad, and after the spot aired during the first quarter of Sunday's game, the Web site's traffic "ballooned to 40 times its normal volume -- with 50,000 unique visitors and 500,000 hits." The spot only ranked 54th out of the games 65 ads in USA Today's Ad Meter, but the "enormous attention that the ad received before, during and after the game could become a case study for marketers." Focus on the Family President & CEO Jim Daly: "We won long before the ad ever ran." Horovitz reports between December 1 and yesterday at 3:00am ET, Focus on the Family "generated more Super Bowl advertising-related social-media conversations than any other advertiser or brand" (USA TODAY, 2/9). In Denver, Electa Draper notes there was speculation that the Focus on the Family ad would carry a pro-life message, but once it aired, some reviews deemed it "anticlimactic." Focus on the Family VP/Media Relations Gary Schneeberger said that the group "never intended to make a hard-core political ad -- CBS parameters would not have permitted it." Schneeberger: "We knew what was in the ad. We never said it was anti-anything" (DENVER POST, 2/9).

    TONE DOWN THE VIOLENCE: In L.A., T.J. Simers wonders why there is "no outrage today with Sunday's violence-filled commercial messages, in some cases the message loud and clear that people just cannot go on unless they have their beer?" The ads were "funny in some cases," such as a "guy crashing a women's book club" in a Bud Light spot. However, Simers writes of another Bud Light ad, "When some guy runs into a restaurant screaming about the bridge being out, no one reacts. But when he mentions the beer truck is on the other side, it's as if he's told everyone a child is hanging from a cliff, or they have discovered gold." Simers: "The beer commercials left a sour taste here, but I'm guessing they spent $2.7[M] for every 30 seconds knowing they were going to hit the mark" (L.A. TIMES, 2/9). ESPN's Jim Rome said, "Sex sells and so does violence and the two together are unbeatable, and that clearly was the message that you received if you checked out this year's Super Bowl commercials. You want football fans to buy your product, then shock them. ... The commercials should not be more violent than the game itself" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 2/8). Meanwhile,'s Mary Elizabeth Williams said, "The ads this year were beyond sexist. ... The thing that was disturbing this year was the level of hostility toward women, the anger in the ads" ("Nightly News," NBC, 2/8).

    Watch The Spot

    NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: In Miami, Glenn Garvin reports a TiVo study of the most-replayed Super Bowl commercials showed that "sex and the Super Bowl don't mix." None of the "cheesecake-flavored ads (notably two GoDaddy commercials featuring busty exhibitionists and a Motorola ad with Megan Fox shooting photos of herself in the bathtub) made the top 10 list." The "most nudity in any of the top-10 ads came in a commercial that showed overstuffed employees wandering the office in their underwear on Casual Friday" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/9). TiVo did not include the 15-second promo for CBS' "Late Show" in its commercials category, "but if it had, it would have been No. 2" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/9).

    AGE AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A NUMBER: Snickers' ad featuring actors Betty White and Abe Vigoda won USA Today's Ad Meter poll, and the positive reviews of the spot continued to roll in yesterday. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Michael Slezak wrote, "I had to rewind my DVR four times before I could finally stop howling over the sight of the erstwhile 'Golden Girls' star getting sacked hard -- and landing with a thud in a puddle of mud" (, 2/8). TV host Billy Bush said, "Who could not love the Betty White Super Bowl commercial? Boom, down goes Betty! That's a no-brainer" ("Access Hollywood," 2/8). ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck added, "Anytime you have Betty White getting tackled, that's pretty good" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 2/8).'s Jay Mariotti called the ad "terrific stuff" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/8). McKee Wallwork Cleveland Creative Dir & Partner Bart Cleveland: “I’m sure there will be complaints, but the fact is Snickers told a funny story that anyone could understand while expertly weaving their product’s benefit into the story. It was my favorite spot in a dismal overall showing” (, 2/9). However, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I did not like the Abe Vigoda and Betty White ad. I thought it was too weird for me" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/8).

    KEEPING THINGS TOO OLD SCHOOL? CNBC's Melissa Lee said Google's Super Bowl ad "didn't highlight any of Google's latest/greatest new technologies," as it was "an old-fashioned search at an old-fashioned PC." Lee: "It wasn't even a mobile search. That was just staggering to me that they could spend that money and highlight their old technology." But former Neuberger Berman Managing Dir Gary Kaminsky noted, "This is Google trying to maintain the dominance in their core business, because they're concerned" ("Fast Money," CNBC, 2/8). Meanwhile,'s J.A. Adande said Google's ad was "wonderfully understated, telling a love story through a series of searches" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/8). Baker Street Partners VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman noted the spot "cut through the clutter" ("Chronicle Live," CSN Bay Area, 2/8).

    Watch truTV's "Punxsutawny Polamalu" Spot

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS: In Atlanta, Jeremiah McWilliams reports truTV's ad ranked 21st in USA Today's Ad Meter, and Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin said, "We did really well." Koonin: "The clarity of the message -- six more weeks of football -- played really well." Koonin said that truTV "wanted to get the Groundhog Day-themed ad out onto the Web before the game" to promote its new show, "NFL Full Contact." Koonin: "We had the perfect storm of opportunity. People get bummed when there's no more football" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/9). truTV Exec VP & GM Marc Juris in a statement said the net is "still a young brand," and "one of the major goals in purchasing a spot during the game was to raise the network's profile" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/9).

    BIG GAME LOSING LUSTER? AD AGE's Brian Steinberg writes under the header, "Why The Super Bowl Doesn't Loom So Large Any More." Super Bowl ads are "for marketers who need to generate awareness or require a sense of legitimacy, less and less for those who already have such things." Steinberg: "Did you ever think you'd watch a Super Bowl with just a handful of well-established brands? With FedEx, General Motors and Pepsi beverages out of the contest ... we're starting to see an event that is increasingly tapped by smaller marketers who have dreams of growing big." Companies like HomeAway and Skechers are "upstart brands," and the Super Bowl "gets their names out to the masses, prompting consumers to move to the web and social media to find out more and talk about what they saw" (AD AGE, 2/8 issue). Consumer visits to HomeAway's Web site increased 500% yesterday following the company's first Super Bowl ad Sunday (HomeAway).

    Watch Doritos' "House Rules" Spot

    AGENCIES LOSING TOUCH? In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports many of the ads "consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about" during the Super Bowl were "created or suggested by consumers -- or produced internally by the sponsors -- rather than the work of agency professionals." Most notable were a "couple of commercials for Doritos," along with a spot for the "search-engine services provided by Google." The Doritos ads were "created by consumers and the Google spot was created internally." Northwestern Univ.'s Kellogg School of Management marketing professor Tim Calkins: "The Super Bowl this year says consumer-generated content really can work" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/9).

    RANKING THE BEST: In Minneapolis, David Phelps reports Minneapolis-based ad agency Colle + McVoy "tracked viewers Twitter comments via a proprietary Web tool called Squawq," which indicated that "more tweets accompanied [Doritos] ads than any other product, including Budweiser." Twitter users "enjoyed the Doritos ad called 'House Rules' in which a sixish-year-old admonishes his mom's new boyfriend." Doritos earned 21% of the Twitter "chatter on game day," ranking No. 1 among Super Bowl advertisers. The survey "identified more than 185,000 tweets about Super Bowl ads on game day, tracking 36 advertisers with a total of 56 spots among them" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/9). MARKETING DAILY's Karl Greenberg reports Allen & Gerritsen's Meaningful Messages Super Bowl Ad Survey, which ranks ads "by performance, rather than popularity," identified Snickers' ad as the top spot. The survey asks the question, "Will the ad make you buy the product or consider buying it?" Denny's ranked No. 2 in the survey behind Snickers, followed by Anheuser-Busch's Clydesdale ad, HomeAway and Hyundai's spot featuring Vikings QB Brett Favre receiving a future MVP award (MARKETING DAILY, 2/9 issue).

    BREAKING IT DOWN: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare reports "more time was devoted to advertising this year than ever." A Kantar Media analysis indicated that total ad time for Super Bowl XLIV was 47 minutes, 50 seconds, including 39:25 devoted to brand advertising and 8:25 dedicated to CBS promos. The total is "nearly three minutes more" than last year's 45:05 of total ad time (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/9). The past five Super Bowls "have each set records for most ad time ever, dating back to the 44 minutes and 15 seconds” for Super Bowl XL in ’06 (, 2/9). Meanwhile, L.A.-based consultancy GreenLight's Ad Gauge indicated that 41% of this year's Super Bowl ads featured celebrities or pop music, a similar amount to the past two years. Thirty-four percent of the spots boasted celebrity endorsements, while 20% featured pop music (GreenLight).

  • Super Bowl Ads: NFL Not Pleased With Vegas Cameo In Kia Spot

    Watch The Kia Sorento Spot
    MGM Mirage "pulled off an end run around the NFL’s ban on Las Vegas advertising during Sunday’s Super Bowl thanks to a Kia Motors ad -- and the NFL is not pleased," according to Steve Friess of PORTFOLIO. The NFL in December loosened its rules on Las Vegas advertisements to "allow commercials for the destination as long as it didn’t show the Strip, casinos, drinking, or sexual activity." The NFL policy still prohibits "any gambling references -- audio or video -- or any gambling imagery." But Kia's 60-second Super Bowl spot showed sock puppets "cruising down Las Vegas boulevard" and walking "into the Monte Carlo Hotel-Casino," which is owned by the MGM Mirage. NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy in an e-mail said, "CBS sells the ads that appear in the game. We did not see this ad before it aired. The shots of the casinos did violate our policy, and we have since addressed the matter with CBS." Kia spokesperson Jay Joyer said that ad agency David & Goliath, L.A., "submitted the commercial two weeks ago" for approval from CBS, and it "sailed through without any pushback." Joyer: "We were aware of the sensitivity over Las Vegas and gambling and the NFL, but in terms of the creative of the ad, the intention was always to film that part of it in Las Vegas." MGM Mirage VP/Public Affairs Gordon Absher said, "This still sounds like an issue between the NFL and CBS" (, 2/8). Meanwhile, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority VP/Public Affairs Vince Alberta said that the group was "unaware that the ad was airing but pleased with the result." Alberta: "We ended up getting international exposure without having to make an investment. I think it demonstrates the strength of the Las Vegas brand" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/8).

  • Super Bowl Ads: Letterman, Leno Describe Making "Late Show" Spot

    Watch The "Late Show" Spot
    CBS’ David Letterman during last night’s “Late Show” described how the promo for the program that aired during Super Bowl XLIV and featured NBC’s Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey came together. Letterman said, “A couple of weeks ago, CBS came to me … and they said, 'Dave, we want you to put together a little Super Bowl promotional announcement for your program, and we'll run it during the Super Bowl.' We had done one three years ago when CBS had the Super Bowl, and it featured Oprah and it was very well-received because who doesn't love Oprah? … We put some thought into it and we decided maybe it would be entertaining (if) we get Oprah back here and we're like at a Super Bowl party the way we were before. And this time we'll invite Jay Leno to be on the show because nobody will expect that.” He added, “I just want to take a second here now to thank the actors who played Oprah, and also Jay Leno. They did a tremendous job" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/8). Leno also discussed the promo on his self-titled show last night, where he said his producer received a call from Letterman’s producer proposing the 15-second teaser. Leno: “He tells me the idea -- and this is Dave's idea -- and I thought, 'That's great.' Because no matter what animosity there is among comedians, a good joke is a good joke, and I thought, 'You know, it just makes it all go away.'” After sneaking into Letterman’s studios wearing a disguise, Leno said, “I walk in, I see Dave, he puts his hand out, I shake hands and you know, whatever happened in the last 18 years disappeared. It was great to see my old friend again. It was wonderful. He was very gracious” ("The Jay Leno Show," NBC, 2/8).

    WHAT A SURPRISE: AdWeek's Barbara Lippert said of the promo, "It was so unexpected. It just snuck in there among all the beer and the car ads. No one expected to see the three of them together" ("Inside Edition," 2/8). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "I don't understand why NBC would allow Jay Leno to go on television to help sell CBS rival David Letterman" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/8). Actor Harry Shearer said as he was watching the promo, he "didn't think that was actually the three of them in one set.” Shearer: “I thought it was some computer-generated magic and I was waiting for Space Ghost to move in” ("Countdown With Keith Olbermann," MSNBC, 2/8).

  • Saints Super Bowl Merchandise Flying Off Shelves In Louisiana

    Several Louisiana Retailers Garnering
    More Business Than Ever For Saints Gear
    Saints fans yesterday were "clamoring like never before for Saints merchandise, anything they could get their hands on to show their support" of the team's Super Bowl victory, according to Brandon Richards of KPLC-NBC. The most popular items were the "official NFL championship shirts that fans bought hot off the presses Sunday night." L&G Concession vendor Jim Hicks, whose booth is located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, said, "I imagine we're going to be out here for the next three or four weeks. We'll keep getting shipments of new products in, things the fans are going to want." Lake Charles-based retailer The Perfect Gift Owner Carol Henry said that "anything with the Saints famous emblem is selling quickly." Similarly, C.J. Lejeume, who works at Brousse's A Child's World in Lake Charles, said, "This is the most popular week we've had for Saints merchandise" (, 2/8). In Louisiana, Jeff Matthews reports the Academy Sports & Outdoors store in Alexandria had a "special opening to start selling Super Bowl merchandise after the game, but some fans started lining up before it was even over." Academy Manager Dustin Puckett said that the store "sold out of their first shipment of Super Bowl merchandise in about three hours." Another shipment of shirts and caps arrived yesterday, and "two additional styles of shirts are expected to be available today" (Alexandria TOWN TALK, 2/9). Ed Billingsley, Manager of the Academy store in Shreveport, yesterday said, "We had our merchandise out 10 minutes after the game was over. We sold out last night and got another shipment (Monday) morning." He estimated that Academy "probably had close to 5,000 people in their parking lot throughout" Sunday night (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 2/9).

    ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM? In Indianapolis, Dana Hunsinger reports pre-order sales for Saints Super Bowl merchandise was "quadruple that" of the Colts at the adidas Group plant in Indianapolis, which has the contract to "manufacture licensed gear for all NFL teams" on behalf of Reebok. The plant will "ship out 130,000 shirts a day, compared with a typical 65,000 to 70,000." Hunsinger: "It's a fact that the Saints sell. Maybe it's boy-next-door quarterback Drew Brees or the revival story of a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina." Regardless, "much of America wanted to see them win -- and buy their stuff" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/9). adidas Sports Licensed Division VP/Operations Joe Cripe said that the number of shirts ordered for the Saints numbers in the "hundreds of thousands." Cripe expects that the Indianapolis plant will "be producing Saints gear nonstop at least until Friday, with rotating 12-hour shifts" (, 2/8).

    DAT'S GREAT: Louisiana state Sen. A.G. Crowe yesterday said that he will "promote the concept of a new specialty vehicle license tag at the spring legislative session to honor" the Saints' Super Bowl win. Crowe said that "tentative plans for the plate's design will use the fleur-de-lis, the state seal and the phrase 'Who Dat Nation.'" He added that he plans to talk to NFL and Saints officials "about final designs to avert problems with copyright laws." Crowe indicated that a "share of the license tag fees would be donated to 'a worthy cause' designated by the Legislature in conjunction" with the Saints (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 2/9).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Lakers F Lamar Odom will appear in a new 30-second spot for PowerBar to promote the company’s new Energy Blasts chews. Odom in the ad jumps off the basketball court and uses the Energy Blasts to navigate his way through space to slam dunk on the moon. The spot, via Publicis Mid-America, Dallas, is scheduled to begin airing this month and will run through March (PowerBar).

    U.S. Rep. Meek Promoting Senate Race
    With Sponsorship Of Nationwide Car
    POLITICAL RACE: U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) is promoting his candidacy for the U.S. Senate by sponsoring Mike Wallace’s No. 01 Chevy during Saturday’s Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Florida Atlantic Univ. political science professor Martin Sweet said, “While in years past the NASCAR crowd might not have been fertile ground for Democrats, the sport’s rapid expansion in popularity coupled with no obvious Republican candidate connection makes the Meeks strategy here pretty smart” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/8). Meanwhile, will be the primary sponsor of Braun Racing’s No. 11 Toyota driven by Brian Scott for Daytona and the February 27 Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Braun Racing).

    LENDING A HANA: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Jon Show reports Hana Financial Group "has agreed to a three-year deal to continue as title sponsor of the LPGA tournament in South Korea." The event "was already listed on the LPGA's calendar of 25 events in 2010." The LPGA Hana Bank Championship will take place October 29-31 at a "course near Seoul that will be announced at a later date." Prize money for the 54-hole event will be $1.8M (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/8 issue).

    HOOKED ON NEW LOOK: YAHOO SPORTS’ Jeff Eisenberg noted the Univ. of Texas’ men’s basketball team last night debuted new Nike HyperElite jerseys during their game against the Univ. of Kansas. Among the graphics that appear on the new jerseys are the “Longhorn logo, the school motto, the state of Texas, a basketball and the school’s most prominent campus landmark, the UT tower” (, 2/8). The jerseys are “dramatically lighter” than the old ones and they “pay tribute to the basketball program and heritage” of the school (, 2/8).

    KICKED OUT OF THE GAME: In Cleveland, Michael McIntyre reported an ad for adult dating Web site aired on Dish Network last Tuesday during FS Ohio’s coverage of Grizzlies-Cavaliers. Cavaliers Senior VP/Communications Tad Carper said that the team “wouldn’t approve of such an ad,” and FS Ohio “said emphatically that it did not sell ad time to the Web site.” But the net “does not control all commercials on each broadcast,” as cable and satellite systems are “free to sell two minutes of commercial time per hour.” Dish Network Corporate Communications Specialist Robin Zimmerman said that the ad “would be pulled” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/8).

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