Super Bowl Commercials = Big Bucks in 2007
by Harry Brewer - 01/25/2007
While many fans are anxious for the big game itself, business executives around the world have their attentions turned to Super Bowl commercials. Much of the next week will be focused on the best-known or most-famous commercials that have aired during the history of the game, and everyone will be talking about the big spots that are set to air this year.
With airtime during the game this year being estimated at about $2.6 million for a 30-second spot, this is a venture that only the powerhouses or the truly imperialistic would embark on. But a successful Super Bowl commercial can put a previously unknown company on the map and it can have everyone talking about your brand on Monday morning.
According to CNN, 91 million people watched the game last year. The problem for advertisers is that nobody really knows who watches the commercials. One current school of thought is that the true sports fans could care less about the ads. Other members of these game-watching households however, will be glad to have a diversion from the game and laugh and comment on every commercial. Moreover, it is believed that the group that gets jazzed about the Super Bowl commercials is the group of people that are the main purchasers of goods and services and, for that reason; the commercials are worth the steep price.
If you look at the line-up this year, the biggies are already in -- although CBS has said that there are still spots to be sold. Pepsico (Pepsi) is in the mix big time. Their diet Pepsi logo is all over the official Super Bowl website and they are the halftime sponsor. The artist formerly and currently known as "Prince" will be their feature entertainment.
Coca-Cola is back after ten years with 30 and 60-second commercials slated for the first half. They are most likely showing up so as not to allow Pepsi to dominate our brains with name repetition. Let me ask you this. Is there anyone who will see a Coke or Pepsi commercial and decide to purchase a soda that they would not have purchased otherwise? The value of the ad has to do with product placement and brand recognition. The ad leads to having their product featured at an exclusive section in the store where it is more visible and grandiose.
General Motors is running an ad and also playing a dangerous game. Toyota has surpassed GM in U.S. sales. GM has been closing assembly lines and laying people off left and right. This grotesque advertising expenditure may come with backlash from those laid off as well as those who are retired and are watching their healthcare benefits being reduced.
Anheuser-Busch is weighing in and flexing all kinds of muscle this year. They will be the single largest advertiser with a combined five minutes of airtime. That is over $25 million worth of ad time not to mention the commercial production and star power they will be paying for. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in one of their ads that will feature a hitchhiker scene. Don Shula and Jay Z will be playing some sort of computerized holographic football game against each other and comedian Carlos Mencia is reported to have a spot in one of the Bud ads. I guess we will not have a Bud Bowl to bet on this year.
The pharmaceutical industry would be wise to lay low this year in light of the sensitivity involved with health care and prescription drugs. The cost of prescribed drugs is high and it may be distasteful to spend that kind of money on advertisement. The pharmaceutical companies however, are not known for discretion and may go ahead with the typical erectile dysfunction and cholesterol ads.
CBS has paid a fortune for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Super Bowl. So much so that current commercials are going out of their way to say "Big Game" instead of Super Bowl because of infringement and copyright laws. I don't even know if I should say it. I will depend on "freedom of the press" for this one.
With the fortune that CBS spent, the responsibility falls on the NFL to provide them with a sound marketable product that will draw the amount of interest needed to fulfill the ratings expectation. This year went well in that respect.
The interest in the game was unaffected by the AFC championship game. Payton Manning or Tom Brady and their respective teams are both quite marketable.
The Chicago Bears are also marketable because of the mystique that comes with a defense verses an offense scenario although one has to wonder how big the game could have been pumped if the New Orleans Saints had made the cut.
This year's game and Super Bowl commercials will be a blast. The NFL has lived up to its end of the bargain and it looks like CBS will do the same.