SBD/December 5, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cheerios To Make Super Bowl Debut, Marking General Mills' Return After 18 Years

Cheerios "has never been part" of the Super Bowl’s ad lineup, but that will change in '14, when the cereal brand "gets its star turn, marking General Mills’ first appearance in 18 years on the advertising industry’s biggest stage," according to Mike Hughlett of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said that the Cheerios spot "could give the brand and maybe even the whole cereal category a boost." Honey Nut Cheerios is "the bestselling U.S. cereal, though classic 'yellow-box' Cheerios will get the spotlight" in the ad. Details for the spot, which will be produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y., "are under wraps." The ad will be General Mills’ first during the Super Bowl since '96, when Wheaties "basked in the fame" of Basketball HOFer Michael Jordan and Pro Football HOFers Deion Sanders and Steve Young (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/5). General Mills wrote on its company blog, "While Cheerios isn't ready to reveal just yet what the storyline of the commercial will be, who will be in it or precisely when you will see it during the game (in the first 'unscheduled time-out'), we can tell you that Cheerios is quite proud of its message" (, 12/4).

THEY LOVE N.Y.: USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz writes in "a still-wobbly economy," the early sellout of Super Bowl ads by Fox "signals that advertisers not only like the New York market, but are more than willing to invest big-time in an event that guarantees a mass audience -- particularly an event that is so multimedia friendly." Auto brands "will air long-form commercials, including a pair of two-minute ads." Fox Sports Media Group Exec VP/Sales Neil Mulcahy "declined to state who would air the two-minute spots, but Chrysler is expected to air at least one of them." Mulcahy said that there will be "fewer major motion picture advertisers." Mulcahy: "That's the only category where there's anything less." Horovitz notes Fox "may have faced some ad competition" from NBC's Sochi Games coverage, which will "begin just days after the Super Bowl" (USA TODAY, 12/5). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes demand among potential Super Bowl sponsors "did not seem to be affected much by the rates Fox is charging." Early estimates were that the price tag was around $4M for a 30-second spot, "but there are indications that some advertisers are paying in a range" between $4-4.5M. Mulcahy and Fox Sports Digital Senior VP/Sales Marla Newman said that they "believed that the fact the Super Bowl will be played for the first time in the metropolitan New York area may be encouraging ad sales" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/5).

SPACE AVAILABLE? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica writes the "degree to which the game is truly sold out is debatable." Advertisers can "pull out before the game, giving the network a chance to sell the spot at what is usually a higher price than what was charged earlier." Many of the spots were "sold during the 'upfront' ad market in the spring before the game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/5). Newman said that "a few content sponsorship packages are still available." She added that Fox will be "creating original studio content about the Super Bowl that will be housed in the Super Bowl section of" Newman also said that Fox will be "engaging in social media around the game as well, and sponsors will be included in some of its social conversations" (, 12/4).
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