On February 6, 2011, Super Bowl XLV, the 41st ever NFL championship game, will be held at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The most exciting part? The big-budget advertisements.
Super Bowl advertisements are big business for networks. Super Bowl ad time is up 27% since 2001. Last year, commercials made up about 48 minutes worth of total game time in total, and by June 2010, a full 80% of Fox Network’s slots had already been sold — and cost an estimated $3 million each, at that. So what does the playing field look like now? Take a look:
Who’s Buying What
Anheuser Busch, which has spent the most of any business on Super Bowl ads ($235 million over the last decade) is planning on eight thirty-second ads, with a focus on Bud and Bud Lite. Best Buy is making its first ever appearance this year with one , claiming that its message will “revolutionize” retailing. Careerbuilder is bringing back its infamous chimpanzees after five years. Rumors also circulate that Pizza Hut’s first-half spot will focus rather straightforwardly on its brand rather than go for entertainment value. And expect supersized movie trailers from Disney Studios (Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment of the hugely popular franchise) and Universal Studios (Cowboys and Aliens).
Though advertisers are focusing squarely on television ads during the big SuperBowl season, social media is still on the radar for some. The biggest pre-game campaigns, from Audi and Mercedes-Benz, are generating heavy buzz around the net. Mercedes has launched the “World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race,” a contest that will eventually award two cars to the duo that generates the most Twitter followers and Facebook “likes.” And Audi will award various prizes and trips to the ten fans that have the most “active” and interesting social media presence.
Cars Stealing The Show
Fox’s broadcast will have a record number of ads for carmakers; a full one-third of their 63 advertising spots will showcase brands like Hyundai, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and Chrysler. General Motors’ participation is particularly surprising, given their recession-fueled budget and spending cuts (it has about six spots for Chevrolet alone.) Mercedes-Benz is making its Super Bowl debut this year, while the BMW is making its first appearance since 2000. Ford will return after a temporary absence from last year, while last year marked Chrysler’s first ad since 2004.
Celebrities can make a mediocre advertisement explode out of obscurity and into the limelight — and this year, women are taking the cake. Reality TV star and socialite Kim Kardashian will star in a Skechers Shape-Up commercial (in which she “breaks someone’s heart.”) Country-crossover star Faith Hill will star in a the floral delivery service Teleflora’s commercial, wherein she coaches a sound tech through a love dilemma, and “Biggest Loser” star Jillian Michaels, along with auto racer Danica Patrick, will star in two GoDaddy.com ads: one in which they’ll play a superduo that “crashes through walls” to locate and aid small businesses that don’t have their own websites , and one in which they’ll reveal a mysterious new GoDaddy poster girl.
The Reject Pile
Fox Network rejected the marital-affairs service website AshleyMadison.com’s bid for an advertising spot in February. Porn star Savanna Samson starred in the somewhat benign ad, which did not mention the site’s purpose, and its founder, Noel Biderman, calls discrimination on behalf of the network. AshleyMadison.com’s 2009 bid was also rejected — that time by NBC — and instead aired locally in Houston, Texas. And a hot entry for PepsiCo’s “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest was nixed after Catholics deemed it offensive: In the ad, entitled “Feed Your Flock,” a priest prays for inspiration due to shrinking church attendance. Later, instead of serving the normal communion fare of wine and wafers, the priest serves Pepsi and Doritos to an eager crowd.