by Jason Ferris - 01/25/2006
Now that we know that the Steelers and the Seahawks are going to be in the Super Bowl, let's take a look at what is going to be IN between the game -- the 2006 Super Bowl commercials. The spots for the teams may be locked up, but there is still a fight for the remaining advertisement spots, and let's not kid ourselves -- Super Bowl Commercials are what really matters. I joke, kinda.
Now, for a die fan, this is a great Super Bowl. For anyone in the "Great Northwest" this is a great Super Bowl. For any Steelers fan (including me) this is a great Super Bowl. But for the casual fan, which makes up 65 percent of the 80 million viewers, a blue collar, hard hitting Super Bowl is average at best. So let's talk about what they really want to see, and a little that you want to see in 2006 Super Bowl commercials.
ABC is truly trying to go out with a bang this year in more ways than one. It's the end of an era for football on ABC and they are asking a hefty price to be a part of it. $2.6 million will get you in the game. That is $200,000 more than last year, and you might be thinking, "What is $200,000 when we are talking that kind of loot?". Well to advertisers, it's a lot. Especially considering that the Olympics start less than a week later, and they can possibly get more bang for their buck going in that direction.
Also, what should be known is that $2.6 million is not the price for any commercial, it's just the average. There are expensive spots and very expensive spots. But, bargains are there to be had. For those looking to make a splash, you want the coveted first and last positions. They are the most expensive and most highly sought after. This year the first spot goes to CareerBuilder.com. This is usually set aside for the sponsor putting the largest quantity of advertisement, so look for a lot of their ads, and yes the monkeys will be back.
The last, and most coveted, spot goes to ABC's own hit show "Grey's Anatomy". There is also price positioning inside of each commercial break, or "pod" as it's known in the biz. The first spot costs the most and so on. If that's not enough to give you a headache, there are also pricing changes per quarter. I'll make it short and sweet; the first quarter costs the most, the third quarter is second, the second quarter is third and the fourth quarter is fourth. (Whew, now I have a headache).
Regardless of where you land your spot, you're likely to pay a lot, and get a lot of exposure; however, the smart shopper will find the bargains. The pre-game show, which will feature 10 Pizza Hut ads with Miss Piggy and the newly single Jessica Simpson (placed in IQ order for this article), and post-game show both get good numbers, and are much cheaper.
ABC's hefty price-tag has already scared away Frito-Lay, McDonalds and Visa, three very prominent advertisers. But, as the aged lay to rest, it opens doors for others. Two companies relatively new to Super Bowl advertising, Go-Daddy.com and CareerBuilders.com join staples like Anhueser-Busch and Miller Brewing, to keep the ship afloat.
What should you expect from this years commercials? Well, I see a very average year, with lots of repetition, and lots of censorship. GoDaddy.com has already had their commercial blocked by ABC, but they haven't given up. Budweiser has 10 30-second spots, Pepsi has four, and Cadillac (GM) is sponsoring the game, so they will flood the market. One problem with so many spots from individual companies is that they gain exposure, but lose imagination. Look for those companies that advertise once or twice to be the big bang.
One thing is for sure, the advertisers of today will create quality commercials and a lot of buzz, but they have their work cut out for them if they plan on chipping away at the "best of the best" when it comes to Super Bowl commercials. Let's count them down starting with No. 3 on most "experts" lists:
3. McDonalds - circa 1991, Jordan and Bird shooting crazy shots. The commercial starts with the two shooting from crazy parts of the arena, then outside, and concluding with a shot from on top of a skyscraper through a window, of the rafter, nothing but net, or something like that.
2. Coke - circa 1980, "Mean Joe" Greene comes walking through the tunnel from the field to the locker room, and a little boy offers him a coke, in return, "Mean Joe" gives him his jersey.
1. Apple Computers - circa 1984, The computer age was thrust upon us with a very institutional style commercial that changed our lives forever. This would not even be on my list of "favorite" commercials, but it had the biggest impact.
That's America's view, here's mine:
3. Bud Light -- circa 1998, Budweiser had given us the frogs in recent years, but they topped themselves by overwhelming us with four spots of "Louie the Lizard", which they dropped a reported $16.8 million.
2. GoDaddy.com - circa 2005, GoDaddy.com gave us comedy, sex, politics, controversy, and don't forget they were making fun of the "No Fun League", and we didn't even get to see the second half of it.
1b. Bud v. Bud Light - circa (too many years to note), the football game that compelled audiences for years. If I have to describe it for you, stop reading now.
1a. Reebok - circa 2003, Reebok gave us an icon. His name, Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Terry raced around the office laying hits on coworkers that were underperforming. This is the epitome of what a Super Bowl commercial should be.
Please pardon me as I conclude this article with a bit of a rant. GoDaddy.com is getting overly censored for the "sexiness" depicted in there commercials, but what about Dove Soap. They will be running there ad that includes several "average sized" ladies in underwear, but they don't get censored. Are the censors telling us that "average-sized" ladies aren't sexy, but Go Daddy girls are? Isn't that hypocritical? Shame on you, FCC!