SBD/January 17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Noted Ad Exec Alex Bogusky Returns To Super Bowl With SodaStream Spot

Bogusky (l) calls the ad's depiction of Pepsi and Coke a "head fake"
After several years out of the ad business, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Founder Alex Bogusky is "back in a big way," returning to the "world's biggest marketing stage, the Super Bowl, to chastise the very world of advertisers that made him rich and famous," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Bogusky has created an ad for SodaStream that will "ridicule cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi for all the plastic bottles he says they spew into the environment." Neither SodaStream nor Bogusky will reveal details about the 30-second spot, but Bogusky said that it likely will "feature soda delivery drivers similar to those who have appeared" in past Super Bowl spots for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but with an "environmental twist." Bogusky: "It's a head fake" (USA TODAY, 1/16). Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow noted the ad will be SodaStream's "Super Bowl debut." While SodaStream is advertising on American TV's "biggest stage, it doesn't mean the company and its shareholders should expect a significant return on investment." According to a recent survey by the Retail Advertising Marketing Association, only 8% of consumers say that Super Bowl commercials "affect their buying habits." Horrow: "Four million dollars to change the behavior of 8 percent of your buyers, it's just not enough just to advertise during the game. Companies need an activation plan to capitalize on the large audience. If SodaStream's primary goal is awareness, this could end up being a bad buy for shareholders" (“Nightly Business Report,” PBS, 1/15).

WALKING THE LINE: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg reported at least one actor from AMC's "Walking Dead" will appear in a "short commercial" for Time Warner Cable during Super Bowl XLVII ad time allocated to local stations transmitting the CBS network feed. The move marks the "latest in a series evoking hit cable programs" such as Showtime's "Homeland" to promote TWC. The cable distributor "intends for its ad to run in 44 local markets." TWC Exec VP & CMO/Regional Services Jeffrey Hirsch said that while the company "will use a top hit from cable to make its point on Super Bowl Sunday, Time Warner Cable has not received any pushback from any of the broadcast stations that it has approached." Hirsch added that the ads will "have no tune-in information about the program and will focus on the benefits of subscribing to Time Warner Cable" (ADAGE.com, 1/16).

SCRANTONICITY: AD WEEK's Rebecca Cullers reported Dunder Mifflin, the paper brand from NBC's "The Office," which was "defictionalized in 2011 when NBC teamed up with Quill (part of Staples) to market real Dunder Mifflin paper, is getting its first Super Bowl ad." The ad will "air during the Super Bowl in Scranton, Pa. (where the fictional company is located)" (ADWEEK.com, 1/15).

MOTOWN NO MORE? In Detroit, Eric Lacy reported Chrysler's "popular 'Imported from Detroit' commercials during the past two Super Bowls might not return to the airwaves" for this year's game. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday said that the company is "currently weighing its marketing options." Marchionne: "I don’t know if we’ll be in the Super Bowl, at least not the way we have been in the past. For Chrysler to keep repeating commercials that ultimately have that level of significance, you're already pushing your luck" (MLIVE.com, 1/16).

SOCIAL DISTORTION: AD AGE's Steinberg in a front-page piece noted "beginning as early as this week, many advertisers in the Big Game will tease and reveal details of their Super Bowl creative as a means to generate response through digital and social media." Using social media for added exposure "isn't just an afterthought," as it helps "amortize the cost of the commercial by generating millions of dollars in free publicity." Super Bowl ads for decades "hinged on 'the reveal' or the delivery of something surprising." But this "new era of ads is ... removing a lot of the shock and wonder that were once a big part of the experience." Audi of America GM/Brand Marketing Loren Angelo said, "The value is certainly in the anticipation of the Super Bowl. There's only so much that people are going to talk about at the water cooler on Monday morning." Mercedes-Benz USA President & CEO Steve Cannon said that the company has "held many debates about whether to unveil its advertising ahead of time or keep everything secret." Cannon: "I sort of skew toward that camp that says maximize impact." He said that making the ads available online "tends to attract a smaller audience of diehards." But Cannon added the majority of game-day viewers are "seeing it for the first time and it's a total surprise" (AD AGE, 1/14 issue).
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