SBD/January 24, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Some Super Bowl Advertisers Not Returning Due To Heavy Interest, Lack Of Deals

Papa John's sitting out Super Bowl after advertising last year
Some "formidable advertisers have just said no" to advertising during Fox' broadcast of Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, and "at least seven advertisers from 2010's game aren't returning: Papa John's, Intel, Monster, Dr Pepper, Denny's, Universal Orlando and KGB," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The difference this year is that "coming out of the recession, Super Bowl ad space is hotter than hot." Some who "wanted in have been shut out, even though each 30-second slot fetches up to $3 million this year." Strata Marketing President John Shelton said, "A lot of advertisers got in last year with deals." Shelton said that while a few "got big price breaks from CBS in 2010, some got extra spots on other shows." He noted that "such deals are mostly gone this year." Papa John's CMO Andrew Varga said the company does not "feel the need to make the investment in the game" because it is an NFL sponsor and has been advertising during games throughout the season. The pizza company also today introduced a promo offering a free pizza to anyone in the U.S. if Super Bowl XLV goes into overtime. Text-answering service KGB Chief Communications Officer Amy Wolfcale said the strategic focus for the company "has shifted more toward social media." Intel Media Relations Manager David Dickstein said his company is looking at "different marketing vehicles." Denny's CMO Frances Allen said that the company "has a new ad agency with which it's developing a new 'integrated' marketing program." Monster Worldwide VP/PR Matthew Henson noted that his company is "moving beyond building brand awareness" (USA TODAY, 1/24).

SUPER BOWL GAMEPLAN: Anheuser-Busch Friday formally announced its plans for advertising during the Super Bowl, which include the release of an iAd on Monday, Feb. 7, that will feature behind-the-scenes footage; free iTunes downloads of a song included in the Clydesdales spot; and a 24-hour takeover of all iPhone applications, accessible to adults 25 years of age and older. The brewer's five Super Bowl spots also will be available for immediate online viewing after the game. The Budweiser and Bud Light ads will be available on the websites, Facebook pages, mobile sites and YouTube pages of each brand. The Stella Artois ad will be available on the brand's U.S. website and Facebook page, and its "La Societe" website and Facebook page (A-B).

DRIVEN TO ADVERTISE: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Chris Reiter reports Mercedes-Benz has "enlisted tennis star Serena Williams and a tweeting mom from suburban Chicago to add online buzz to its first appearance at the Super Bowl." Mercedes-Benz USA Manager of Corporate Communications Donna Boland said that the company's spot will "feature a roadster version of the $185,750 SLS supercar, the new C-Class coupe as well as the revamped CLS luxury four-door coupe and SLK hard-top roadster." Mercedes-Benz additionally is "sponsoring a tweet race in which teams driving specially-equipped vehicles need to generate traffic on Twitter to win a C-Class coupe." Reiter notes BMW and Audi "will also air ads" during the Super Bowl, marking the "first time all three German luxury brands are advertising" during the game (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/24).

MISGUIDED COMPLAINTS:'s Phil LeBeau wrote there is a "puzzling line of complaints/digs being hurled at General Motors about its plan to run ads during the Super Bowl." Such criticisms "amount to people thinking GM should not make a big splash or spend large amounts of money because the company was bankrupt not long ago." LeBeau: "If GM is going to thrive and grow, its executives need to spend money, be aggressive and apologize to no one for their strategy. ... Will spending millions during the Super Bowl pay off for GM? Who knows. But I don't see critics bashing Mercedes, Hyundai, BMW or the automakers also running spots during the game" (, 1/21).

SHIELDING ITSELF: In N.Y., Alan Schwarz wrote under the header, "Ad Change Underlines Influence of NFL." Toyota Motor Sales USA Marketing Communications Strategist Zoe Ziegler said that the removal of a helmet-to-helmet hit from a Toyota ad was done "at the NFL's insistence." Ziegler said that the league "had threatened to curtail or end the carmaker's ability to advertise during games." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy: "We felt it was unfair to single out a particular sport. Concussions aren't just a football issue." McCarthy added that the NFL "also had Toyota 'tone down the crunching,' which he described as sounds Saatchi & Saatchi had manufactured and dubbed to enhance the footage of colliding players." McCarthy: "You wouldn't hear that on a football field." Schwarz wrote the demand to change the ad was "evidence of the NFL's delicate dance regarding head injuries, as well as its power to shape its public image." Ad execs described the move as "extraordinarily unusual." N.Y.-based ad agency DiGo Chief Creative Officer Mark DiMassimo: "It's not unheard for a spot to be changed after launch, but it's usually after a portion of the public takes offense to something in it" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/22).
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