The Advertising Apprentice

February 5, 2010

A Showcase of Great Talent

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 8:30 AM

Super Bowl XLIV, or 44 for those of you that aren’t the greatest with roman numerals, kicks-off in less than 72 hours. The game features the Indianapolis Colts taking on the New Orleans Saints. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you’re probably one of the one in two viewers that will tune into the game that is more excited about seeing the commercials than the action taking place on the field in Miami. (I’m a big sports fan so Sunday will be double the fun for me!) As the Super Bowl is the Mecca for the advertising industry, it’s a topic that must be discussed further.

Just to elaborate further on a phrase in this last sentence, “Mecca for the advertising industry”, the Super Bowl presents an opportunity for advertising people to show the millions upon millions watching the game what they can do. Just like how the players on the field have spent months upon months preparing for this game, so too have the advertising men and women in creating some of the best commercials you’ll see all year. As Bernice Kanner describes in The Super Bowl of Advertising, (an entry on the Super Bowl wouldn’t be complete unless I quoted Ms. Kanner!), the Super Bowl presents “an audience actually willing to be advertised to. They are ready and willing to absorb your brand message as long as the ad gives something back, as long as it entertains.” That’s a “requirement” I’m confident we can say the five Super Bowl ads placed throughout this entry all fulfill. Some of the ads are even to entertain decades after they’ve originally aired.

The Super Bowl is also the one event of the year where an advertiser pays the most amount of money to have their ad aired. Early this week CBS, the American network carrying this year’s game, announced that they had sold-out the 50-60 30-second spots. The cost of a 30-second spot during this year’s game? $2.8 MILLION!! (For those of you unfamiliar with the economics of the advertising industry, the reason for what seems to be an unreasonably high cost for just thirty seconds of airtime is the large audience that will be tuning in to the game. Last year’s game had an average audience of 95.4 million US viewers.) Unfortunately for CBS though this rate is down $200,000 from the $3 million NBC charged advertisers last year.

Part of the reason for this decrease can be attributed to the economy. Companies like Pepsi and GM have decided against spending the huge sum of money required to be seen during the Super Bowl. Pepsi’s absence means that this will be the first time in 24 years that you won’t see a Pepsi ad during the Super Bowl. They’ve decided to invest the money normally allocated for the Super Bowl into online marketing efforts. GM’s backing out of the Super Bowl shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as they’ve been reducing their prominence in sports for over a year now; a trend that the following article explains quite well.

One ad that will be aired that has already drawn quite a bit of controversy despite the fact that it has yet to be publicly released. The ad is for a Christian non-profit organization called Focus on the Family and features 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and his mother. The reason for the controversy is that the ad is expected to have an anti-abortion message.  However as the ad has yet to be released, I’ll reserve judgment until after I see it. But I will say this, some topics should not be discussed in a forum as grand as the Super Bowl, religion and politics in my opinion fall into this category.

As for the game itself, I think it will be a nail-biter that will be decided in the final five minutes. I like the energy and the resilience we’ve seen all year from the Saints, but I think the Colts have the big-game experience from having won the Super Bowl three years ago, and the depth to pull this one out. (I’d offer up a prediction for the score but if you follow In the Game Sports, you know I’m not the greatest at predicting football scores at all!)

Be sure to come back soon as early next week I’ll be writing about which ads I liked and which ones fell short. I’ll also offer up my take on the Tim Tebow, Focus on the Family commercial.


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