Bodog Offers Prop Bets for Super Bowl Commercials
by Trevor Whenham - 01/29/2008
For many people the Super Bowl is all about the commercials. As a Canadian, the commercials have always held extra mystery for me because we usually don't get to see most of them. Maybe that's why one of the Super Bowl props offered by Bodog this year is so intriguing to me. Sure, lots of other books are offering commercial props like which company's ads will play first. None, though, are taking it as seriously as Bodog. On that site you can bet on which company will have the highest rated commercial. The judge will be the USA Today Ad Meter, and there are six options for you to choose from - Budweiser, GoDaddy.com, Pepsi, McDonald's, Victoria Secret and Other. For reasons we will explore in a minute it's no surprise that Budweiser is the heavy favorite at 1/2. Maybe it's just because I am sick of hearing about the Media Day circus that is going on right now, but I think that this prop is worth more exploration.
First, let's look at what happened last year. The runaway leader in the Ad Meter was this year's favorite - Budweiser. Of the top 10 ads in the ratings, seven of them were from the nation's biggest beer company. Those included the top three commercials, and six of the top seven. It wasn't even close. That success comes in large part because of a massive commitment to the commercials, but also due to sheer volume - Budweiser showed nine different Super Bowl commercials. That's by far the most of any company, and it's stunning when you consider that 30 second ads cost as much as $2.6 million last year. The other three commercials in the top 10 were for Doritos (a division of Pepsi, so they are covered in the prop this year), FedEx, and the Snickers commercial that created a firestorm with gay and lesbian groups.
The second favorite this year is GoDaddy.com. To win this year they will have to have a much better year than they did last year. They showed the same commercial twice last year. It wasn't particularly well-loved the first time around, and the reception was downright icy the second time - it was one of the five least popular commercials on the day. Pepsi, next in the odds at 6/1, didn't show any commercials for their flagship brand, but were still well represented. Doritos had two ads, Frito Lay chips had one, and Sierra Mist had two, including the very disturbing beard comb-over spot. Neither Victoria Secret nor McDonald's showed an ad during the big game last year.
Not surprisingly, Budweiser is aggressively attacking the Super Bowl again this year. They have scaled back a bit, though - they have bought four minutes of ad time this year compared to five last year. Their passion for the game comes from a stunning stat - 41 percent of American beer drinkers watch the game. As they do every year, Bud has made more commercials than they will use - 12 in this case - and will choose six 30-second spots and a full minute one based on consumer testing. Several of the ads reportedly feature Will Ferrell. The early favorite for the top spot is an ad featuring a Dalmatian helping one of the Clydesdales get back in shape after he was cut from the beer wagon team. It's one of their highest testing ads ever.
Pepsi is taking a bold risk that could pay off handsomely. Their 60-second spot features two deaf friends looking for a Super Bowl party. The entire ad is silent and features subtitles. It could either be a huge hit, or it could be a disappointment because people aren't looking for subtlety during the big game. At 6/1 it might be worth a gamble. The company will also be heavily promoting their non-carbonated drinks.
Victoria Secret hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl since 1999, but they should make waves with their return. Model Adriana Lima, one of the hottest women on the planet in my modest opinion, sits in a chair tossing a football and flirting in an understated commercial. The appeal for the lingerie company is that more women watch the Super Bowl than the Oscars, so it can be a gigantic boost if the ad delivers.
McDonald's plans aren't quite as well known, but the company is reportedly planning to aggressively promote their chicken offerings. The ghosts of past Super Bowls probably still haunt the fast food giant - they took a couple years off after a disastrous series of ads in 2005 based on an Abe Lincoln french fry. If they are back then they are probably pretty serious.
The 'Other' category includes some strong contenders. Coke will have a strong presence as always. One of their ads sounds like it has real potential - Shaq will play a jockey in an ad for Vitaminwater. Audi is making a splash, too - they not only bought a spot, but they paid Paramount Pictures a small fortune for the right to spoof the horse head scene in the Godfather. I'm guessing that one of the most annoying ads will be the first ever for Bridgestone - it features Richard Simmons.