SBD/January 3, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC Sells Out Of Ad Inventory For Super Bowl XLVI Telecast, With Some Spots Reaching $4M

NBC has sold out of ad inventory for its broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, with some 30-second spots reaching as high as $4M. The net averaged $3.5M for a 30-second commercial, up from the reported $3M Fox earned for ads to last year’s Super Bowl broadcast. There are still some units that could become available, as companies that purchased time decide whether or not to sell what they already have. NBC Senior VP/Sports & Olympic Sales Seth Winter said the automotive category will be “very, very healthy,” as will malt beverages, soft drinks and snacks. Movie studios again will have a heavy presence, though it may be down slightly from the 10 films that were promoted last year. Winter said, “Best case scenario it will be flat. It may be down a little bit.” That is due in part to release dates. “There’s always a few surprises, a few people launching something,” Winter said. “But for the most part, I think if you watch the game you will see a consistency year to year of the categories and those within them that participate.” Super Bowl regulars that have already announced their participation in this year’s telecast include A-B InBev, PepsiCo, Go Daddy and Volkswagen. NBC sold out its ad time right after Thanksgiving. The six-hour block of pregame programming NBC will roll out on Super Bowl Sunday beginning at noon also is seeing strong ad sales. Winter said, “We fully expect this year to break all records previous with respect to revenue for the entire day. I think it will decisively break prior counts.” Some pregame ad inventory is still available, as are a couple presenting sponsorships of the pregame programming blocks (Rick Ellington, THE DAILY).

DIFFERENT ADS ON DIGITAL STREAM: The net expects to sell out of ads on its streaming feed of the game. The ads will be different than those that appear on the television broadcast. Most of the ad packages for the online feed are selling in the six-figure range, though some are reaching the seven-figure mark (Ellington). AD AGE's Brian Steinberg reports the digital stream "will contain fewer ads than the TV broadcast, including just a portion of the game's overall TV ad roster." Winter said, "There are going to be fewer advertisements with less messaging, something that would be more conducive to how you would expect the digital experience to be" (ADAGE.com, 1/3).

GOING LONG: AD AGE's Steinberg reports several advertisers during Super Bowl XLVI "have bought time for commercials longer than the standard 30 seconds." Winter said, "One of the things you'll see this year is an incredibly great amount of longer-form commercials." Steinberg notes Volkswagen is the only company to date that "has said it is running something longer than 30 seconds," as it will run a 60-second spot (ADAGE.com, 1/3). Volkswagen of America Exec VP and Chief Product & Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney said that the company's ad will air in the third quarter and "promotes the 2012 Beetle." GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick said that GM "is back with five slots, including four for Chevy and one for Cadillac." He added that GM "has even talked with other Super Bowl advertisers about its cars showing up in their ads, but no decision has been made on that" (USA TODAY, 1/3). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica notes in addition to Volkswagen and GM, Hyundai and Kia are "among the car companies that have bought ad time this year." A-B InBev "will be one of the biggest advertisers for this year's game with 4 1/2 minutes of ad time" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/3).

SPORTS WORLD FORTUNATE WITH AD MARKET: Winter said the sports world in general has been much more immune from the downturn in the ad market than other industries. He said, “Sports has an immediacy to it that technology has allowed for others to shift other content but to watch sports live. The people that view sports content do it live, they’re much more engaged, and advertisers recognize that. There’s a predictability to it in terms of performance, there’s a level of engagement and passion around the sports advertising, and it’s done live. All the research that we’ve seen shows that there’s very little shifting of this content. Advertisers are investing more heavily in sports content than they ever have” (Ellington). 
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