Ramping up for the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is coming. It's in Miami. It's a big event ... for advertisers. And, well, while the costs are high - to the tune of $2.6M for 30 seconds - the build up and after-game buzz can help make or break an ad.

Granted, this is no longer the age of the dotcom ad buy, where every crappy company bought an ad with no real thought to name recognition or creativity. Besides GoDaddy, those days are over. Ha, I partially kid.

But, think about it. The value of the press can help get a brand name in the popular lexicon, help reach consumers - all because a good number of people watch the Super Bowl more for the advertisements than the game itself. Well, let's be honest, the game usually sucks.

The largest purchaser of ads turns out to be Anheuser-Busch, who bought 10 ads this year (or one of the largest - it's not clear, but they do like their Super Bowl ads). And, in a way to work the social network, they have posted snippets of the ads already online - on YouTube, so you can see some of the ads that are going to be out there this year.

This is my favorite - that and the ax murderer, but that's because I am a horror film fan.

This is a creative way to get the word out about the ads, and to build pre-game buzz about which commercial is your favorite. And, it's working with social media (or whatever term you want to use) by reaching out to bloggers to let them know about the clips. They get that - and I know they get that, because I know the smart peeps that reached out to me (Tom Biro, Chris Thilk).

A company that does not get it, but somehow got it, is my least favorite company (because they don't support local ad or PR firms): GoDaddy. Once again, they are probably going for the T&A ad - well, it sounds like that - but this time, they are also bringing in some of the bigger names in vidcasting, like Diggnation and Cali from Geekbrief.tv. What the final commercial is going to be like is anyone's guess, but the article makes it seem interesting enough that I will check out their ads.

Yes, the Super Bowl is a big day for advertising, but the reality is that it's a bigger day for PR. PR runs with the ball (ha! football pun!) and gets the clips out there, works with the vertical trades prior to the game, and works with the mainstream press after the game. The PR component is huge, and the opportunities are huge.

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  1. An avid football fan, I always turn on the game to watch what the score is. I have found in the past couple of years that the best football of the year is rarely the Super Bowl game. There is too much hype and no homefield advantage so you don't get the benefit of all those crazy home fans and those "nasty" opposing visitors. I also don't watch the game as intently becasue I am a die hard Colts fan, and lately, they haven't been making an appearance in the Super Bowl. So now that I have read your blog and have finished watching ALL the Youtube commercial previews, I am more excited to see the ends of all these commercials than to hopefully watch my Colts beat the Bears. I guess this form of PR is working and I hope next Sunday I can see that cute little dog find the beer I assume he is looking for.

  2. Christopher R.1/25/2007 07:43:00 PM

    Not the typical male football fan, I could care less about the Super Bowl. However, I think that all of the commercials during halftime are totally hype, and they carry zero actual long term PR for the companies. The 30 seconds during the super bowl aren't any different than a typical 30 seconds during Family Guy. Although now I plan to tune in to atleast see the halftime show, and commercials since I too want to find out if the cute little dog finds the beer. I can also add, that just because of this 2.3 million dollar spot, I will NOT be buying any beer.

  3. JP,
    I have a reasonable understanding of AB's reasoning with their ad buys. How do I know this?
    1. I grew up in St. Louis
    2. I have high school buddies who control brand budgets at AB
    3. I played softball on the Budweiser brand team when I lived there after getting out of college
    4. I happen to love the beer (least important reason)

    AB (for all their brands) averages $850 million annually for their overall marketing/advertising/sponsorship budget. All of it geared at a very specific, sports-related, quantifiable demographic. They own a relatively fixed percentage of the domestic beer market. So let's say their goal for 2007 is to move the meter 1/2 of one percent for overall case sales across the US...or $8.3 million incremental dollars in beer sales...1/2 of one percent...with 850 million to spend in order to actually create that incremental spike.

    Meeting of marcom team at AB (including brand managers for Budweiswer, Bud Select, Bud Light, and all the ancilliary brands that no one cares about anymore...Busch, Busch Light, Michelob Ultra, etc.)to plan budgets for year.

    "I need 20 million this year to announce our 100 million sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics."

    "I need 40 million to sponsor MLB this year."

    "I need 100 million to sponsor NFL this year."

    "I need a couple extra to do some funny Super Bowl ads that our creative team over at Busch Creative have come up with...can I please have it, please oh please oh please?"

    "I've got it for you...ABC sports went with an "Outback" blimp instead of our blimp so I have about 10 million you can have.

    Ridiculous? Maybe. True? Oh yeah. Hard to spend that much money stragetically? Indeed.

    Let's hope those ads are damn funny because truly they're designed to move incremental percentage points in beer market domination.

  4. Jeremy,
    It's interesting that you point out how big of a role PR plays in promoting these ads, especially in the area of social media. YouTube (and other social media tools) turns out to be a very clever way of promoting ads now that we all must have "inside info" on the next big event. It may also turn out to be a great cliffhanger-creator because before the game YouTuber's already have time invested in these commercials. It's like a sitcom, we gotta know what happens next. We may be reaching a point where social media has stomachs tied in knots counting down until the Commercial Bowl.

  5. Jeremy,
    It's amazing to me how fast different industries are beginning to see the value of using various forms of social media. I assume it is because they realize how many people you can reach, and how fast the information can travel. Followers of YouTube are already gearing up for the game, atleast for the commercials during the game, because they have seen a blip and now can't resist seeing the rest. Advertisers obviously have a huge stake in the Super Bowl, and getting viewers to tune in is invaluable. Using sites like YouTube to reel the viewers in seems like a successful way to do this. I know I will be watching.

  6. Jeremy,
    I find this new form of public relations fascinating. It's interesting to see that video sites such as Youtube are now being used by public relations for advertisements. I never thought our society would need advertisement for advertisements, but I guess with the explosion of social media this now makes sense. With the invention of Tivo and other programs that cut out television advertisements, using Youtube for promotion sounds like a smart idea. By only showing a clip of commercials, the viewers curiousity is sparked. They will not only tune in to the Super Bowl, but also pay closer attention to these commercials, creating a greater sense of brand awareness. I think this new merge of public relations and advertisement is ingenious.

  7. Jeremy-
    It is strange to see how much advertising relies on PR to promote ads. I'm more into college football than pro so I am more interested in the commercials at the Super Bowl rather than the game itself. I know there are many people that feel the same as I do and perhaps that is why YouTube and others are promoting ads and getting the public interested in the commercials that will be played during the game. This is a creative way to get the public into certain commercials and anxious to see their follow-ups.

  8. I am a huge football fan, and I actually look forward to watching the football game more than the commercials, along with every other guy that I know. Not all Superbowls "suck", and it is a historical event because football is the dominant sport in America. I think that people make a big hype over the advertisements to attract more viewers. These viewers in my opinion are mostly females. It is interesting to see what commercials are played, but in my opinion the commercials are what never live up to the expected hype.

  9. As I watched the Super Bowl tonight, I found myself much more interested in the commercials this year. I am more of a college football fan and do not really follow professional football throughout the season. However, I always tune in to the Super Bowl, primarily for the commercials. Aside from the fact that this is the only time of year when I actually look forward to the commercial breaks, this year I was waiting to see what happened in the commercials from the clips I had seen on You Tube. I paid closer attention to the commercials I had seeen clips of, wanting to see how the story ended.
    The use of social media to increase viewers and pre-game buzz was a very smart move for the advertisers. It is so interesting to me that this new form of media is transforming the way advertisers reach the public as well.

  10. If corporations really want to make consumers happy, they should forego costly Super Bowl ads and instead invest in a Chief Customer Officer, a single person of power charged with putting him or herself in the customers’ mind.

    But instead they spend their time and money making sure their ad is funny and entertaining, which doesn’t mean it sells more products. A good marketer surprises consumers by giving them new ideas on how and why to use a particular product. Ads developed by typical people or starring famous celebrities may get laughs, but are unlikely to generate sales. For every dollar you spend you should be seeing a dollar back and I sincerely doubt that these companies are generating an additional $2.6 million due to these Super Bowl ads.

    Marketers need to stop thinking that marketing HAS to be creative. It HAS to sell goods and services. Sometimes the least creative marketing is the most effective.

    Mark Stevens
    CEO of MSCO