Watch the Top Five Super Bowl Commercials from the past fifteen years (yes, Feb. 3 marks the 16th anniversary of our coverage of your favorite Super Bowl Commercials – SuperBowl-ads.com)
Watch the Top Five Super Bowl Commercials from the past fifteen years (yes, Feb. 3 marks the 16th anniversary of our coverage of your favorite Super Bowl Commercials – SuperBowl-ads.com)
Historical Advertising Data Showcases Super Bowl’s Leading Spenders, Quadrupled Ad Rates and More Cluttered Air Time
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The escalating chatter surrounding Super Bowl XLIV is not just about the teams competing for the 2010 championship. The TV commercials that will appear during the game are also the subject of discussion and speculation. And participating advertisers will once again be confronted with the difficult question of whether the Super Bowl is a smart marketing investment or a wasted use of the budget.
TNS Media Intelligence has again combed through its extensive database to report on the past 20 years of Super Bowl advertising. From 1990 thru 2009, the Super Bowl game has generated $2.17 billion of network sales from a total of 210 different advertisers and more than 1,400 commercial messages.
“The Super Bowl remains a singular event for engaging the broadest number of consumers at one time,” said Mark Nesbitt, President, TNS Media Intelligence. “Because it is viewed live and experienced by a majority of the country at the same time, a commercial presence on the broadcast has great significance and impact for a brand, making each not so much a brand message as a brand event. It is why a presence on the broadcast lends itself so effectively to an integrated marketing effort.”
“As an advertising event, the Super Bowl has evolved beyond a vehicle for presenting expensive, stand-alone commercial spots that seek to entertain viewers and generate awareness,” said Jon Swallen, SVP Research for TNS Media Intelligence. “Increasingly, in-game spots are being supplemented by elaborate integrated communications programs that attempt to drive traffic online or in-store, generate positive social media discussion, incorporate public relations effort and ultimately achieve a strong ROI.”
Top Five Super Bowl Advertisers
The top five Super Bowl advertisers of the past 20 years have spent $783 million on advertising during the game, accounting for 36 percent of total advertising revenue. Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo, which have appeared in every game during this period, lead the pack, followed by General Motors, Walt Disney and Time Warner.
|TOP 5 SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS
# of Years With
|Top 5 Total||$||783.0|
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
Although Pepsi soft drinks will not be advertised in this year’s game, ending a 23-year streak, the PepsiCo parent company will still be represented by its Frito-Lay snack food division. General Motors will be absent from the game for the second year in a row. Prior to dropping out in 2009, GM had advertised in 11 of the previous 12 Super Bowls.
The Price of Advertising
The cost of a 30-second advertisement in the Super Bowl has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years and reached $3 million in 2009. The recessionary environment is expected to yield lower pricing for the 2010 game, with CBS reportedly selling 30-second units for between $2.5 and $2.8 million.
The amount paid by individual marketers will vary depending on where the ad runs in the game, how much commercial time is purchased and whether the advertiser opts for a larger package that includes spots in the pre-game and/or post-game coverage.
|SUPER BOWL ADVERTISING:
RATES AND REVENUE 1990-2009
Cost :30 Unit
Total Ad Revenue
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
First Time Advertisers
Since 2005, the annual Super Bowl ad lineup has had between 30 and 35 different companies. First-time advertisers are accounting for 20-25 percent of the ad roster. The ad time vacated by such long-time sponsors as FedEx, General Motors and Pepsi is being taken over by other companies eager for the recognition and brand-building opportunity of the Super Bowl stage.
The first-time advertisers in the 2009 game were Cash4Gold.com, Castrol, Denny’s, Teleflora and Vizio. For the 2010 contest, the rookie lineup is expected to include Electronic Arts and HomeAway, among others.
|NUMBER OF SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS BY YEAR|
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
More Advertising, More Clutter
Over the past ten years, the volume of commercial time in the game has been edging upwards even as the price of advertising has become more expensive. The NBC telecast of the 2009 Super Bowl contained a record 45 minutes, 5 seconds of network ads. This included paying sponsors, commercial messages from the NFL, plus “house ads” aired by CBS to promote its own shows.
Source: TNS Media Intelligence
Top Super Bowl Advertising Categories
What kinds of products are most frequently advertised on the Super Bowl? The popular perception is that beer, soft drinks and autos are the prime ad categories, given their annual presence in the game.
Actually, the leader by dollar value is promotional advertising from the network itself. In a typical Super Bowl, 15-20 percent of all commercial time is a plug by the network for its own programming. In 2009, the value of this air time exceeded $42 million.
|Network Promotions In The Super Bowl|
% of All Ad
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
“The Super Bowl offers the host network an attractive platform to promote its upcoming programming and try to build an audience,” added Swallen. “In deciding how much ad time to keep for itself, the network has to assess the trade-off between giving up current revenue in the game versus building future revenue from its other programming.”
Over the past decade, the Super Bowl has attracted a bevy of different movie studio, automotive and dot-com companies, making them the most populous and competitive ad categories.
Number of Super Bowl Advertisers By Category
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
How Big is the Super Bowl Versus Other Sport Franchises?
The Major League Baseball’s World Series and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship are two other high profile sporting events that attract significant interest from TV advertisers. But how do these compare to the Super Bowl in terms of ad spend?
The World Series is four to seven games. March Madness peaks with the semi-finals and championship on its final weekend, a total of three games. The Super Bowl, of course, is a single telecast. In recent years, the Super Bowl and World Series have been running neck and neck in total ad spending. In 2009, baseball pulled slightly ahead as the Fall Classic went to a sixth game for the first time since 2003.
|MAJOR SPORTING CHAMPIONSHIPS
NETWORK TV AD REVENUE ($ MILLIONS)
|2005||$158.4||$146.9 (4)||$142.2 (3)|
|2006||$162.5||$160.8 (5)||$154.7 (3)|
|2007||$151.5||$156.6 (4)||$168.4 (3)|
|2008||$182.3||$176.2 (5)||$177.9 (3)|
|2009||$213.0||$223.6 (6)||$163.2 (3)|
|Source: TNS Media Intelligence|
About TNS Media
Established in more than 30 countries, TNS Media explores all media – print, radio, TV, Internet, social media, cinema and outdoor worldwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a full range of insights, analyses and audience measurement services.
TNS Media combines the deepest expertise in the industry to provide media and marketing intelligence including advertising expenditure monitoring, advertising creation monitoring, audience measurement, market influence analytics, online consumer behavior tracking, news monitoring, sports sponsorship evaluation and more. The TNS Media companies track more than 3 million brands and provide vital market intelligence to 16,000 customers around the world. For further information, please visit www.tnsmediagroup.com.
Kantar is one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 95 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.
For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com.
Ali Landry’s 1999 Doritos spot had just the right crunch.
The 1973 Super Bowl has become a frequent point of reference this year because Super Bowl VII, played Jan. 14 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, was the game in which the Miami Dolphins became the first team in modern pro football history to finish a season undefeated.
Their 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins, despite placekicker Garo Yepremian throwing the worst pass in Super Bowl History, gave them a 17-0 record – the record being challenged Sunday by the New England Patriots, who would with a victory over the Giants finish 19-0.
But the 1973 Super Bowl also marked another historic milestone: the commercial that many feel planted the seed for what Super Bowl ads have become today.
Today, with ad time tagged at $2.7 million for 30 seconds, the Super Bowl telecast has become the world’s premiere showcase for new television advertisements.
But that mystique didn’t come from nowhere. It came, at least in large part, from the 1973 Noxzema commercial in which Joe Namath, then still an NFL star, had his face lathered with shaving cream by Farrah Fawcett, then still a TV star.
Sounds simple enough. But then, simple is good in advertisements, when you have 30 seconds to establish your characters and your storyline and sell your product.
So over those ensuing XXXV years, what have been the best ads? That’s not quite as hard a call as it might sound because while many among those hundreds of ads have been good, only a handful have been great. (See some of the classics below.)
Before we get to our list, though, it’s worth explaining why a few well-remembered ads didn’t make our list.
The multi-year series of “Bud Bowl” spots aren’t here because in the end, the idea was better than the execution.
And the 2002 Clydesdale “Tribute” spot, in which the famous team of Budweiser horses stops across from Lower Manhattan to genuflect, isn’t here because putting it on a list with spots that are built on jokes feels like trivializing it.
So here’s our list, in no particular order – and at the end, we’d love to hear yours.
1. “1984″ (Apple, 1984). It’s not only the ad biz that still talks about this ad, wherein a lone runner with a sledgehammer declared the era of the IBM computer monolith over and a new era of personal computer freedom about to begin. Perhaps ironically, Apple’s own Mac computer is still a niche product. But the rest of the message was prophetic.
2. Ali Landry, Doritos (1998). Every filmmaker should study this ad for a lesson in how to make maximum use of 30 seconds. Landry and her Doritos walk through a crowded room and radiate such heat the sprinkler system is set off. So, by the way, was Landry’s career.
3. “Monks” (Xerox, 1977). Brother Dominic, faced with a lifetime of painstaking hand transcription, slips over to a Xerox machine and gets his copies in minutes. His superior declares it a “miracle.” Note to the easily offended: This is how you made a religion joke without joking about religion.
4. The Bud Lizards. (Budweiser, 1997) The Bud Lizards grew out of the Bud Frogs, who first croaked “Bud . . . wei … ser” in 1995. Personally, I always thought the frogs were a little flat and that the storyline didn’t take off until Frankie and Louie the lizards joined the game a couple of years later.
5. “Hitchhiker” (Bud Light, 2007). Bud’s done a lot of clever spots, and others that try too hard. This one gets funnier every time – the guy who picks up a hitchhiker with an ax and a demented gleam in his eye because the guy has Bud Light. A little way down the road, he stops for another guy with a chain saw because he also has Bud Light. What clinches the ad’s greatness is that when he stops for chain saw guy, even ax guy is worried.
6. “The Showdown” (McDonald’s, 1993). This is the one where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan play a game of H-O-R-S-E, trading increasingly preposterous shots that all end with “nothing but net.” No ad, and not a lot of other stories in any medium, have captured so vividly the joy, beauty and subtext of sports. I’d personally argue this is the best ad ever.
7. “Clydesdales Play Ball” (Budweiser, 1996). The horses break into two football teams and one kicks an extra point. A guy standing at the fence watching asks the guy next to him if he’s surprised. Sure, says the second guy. “They usually go for two.”
8. “When I Grow Up” (Monster.com, 1999). A bunch of kids saying that when they grow up, they want to be, like, a mindless corporate tool. Sarcasm is risky in ads, but in this one it makes the point. It makes a lot of points.
9. “Bad Cheetah” (Mountain Dew, 2000). Guy on a bicycle runs down a cheetah that has swallowed his Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew has a whole strong series with this theme, and this one may be the best.
10. “Security Camera” (Pepsi, 1996). A lot of people remember other Pepsi spots, like the 1987 “Apartment 10G” spot where Michael J. Fox goes into battle to get a cute girl her Pepsi. But I like this one, where the Coke deliveryman tries to surreptitiously grab himself a Pepsi from the Pepsi case and a hundred cans spill out on the floor. I like it because, among other things, no other ad has ever used music better, or more reverently. The only audio here is 30 seconds of Hank Williams‘ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
If you look at the Super Bowl advertisement hype, which seems to triple each year, it almost makes the 30-second spots seem worth the 40 bajillion dollars that companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi will be paying for them in 2008.
And with so many iconic moments in the past 3 1/2 decades, it’s becoming more socially acceptable to admit you prefer the commercials to the game – especially the 52-10 blowout between the New England Patriots and New York Giants that we’re about to watch on Sunday afternoon. Have we reached the point where popular culture has become part of American history? And if so, should Super Bowl ads be taught in every classroom?
Probably not, but in case that ever does happen, here are some crib notes for your first exam: The 13 most important moments in Super Bowl ad history – plus a few lists of Super Bowl obscurities that you can use to impress your friends between commercials featuring flatulent horses and corpses dancing with household appliances.
The quarterback and the angel (1973): Farrah Fawcett lovingly spreads Noxzema shaving cream across Joe Namath’s face in the first high-profile Super Bowl ad. This being the 1970s, nobody protests the obvious sexual innuendos.
Before “Mythbusters,” we watched Master Lock commercials (1974): Someone shoots a bullet into a Master Lock … and the lock still holds! It sounds lame now, but in the mid-1970s this was the only good thing on TV other than “The Rockford Files.”
“Mean” Joe Greene drinks Coke … and the world cries (1980): After a tough game, the limping Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman tosses his jersey to a kid who gives him a Coke – the only Super Bowl commercial to inspire a feature-length TV movie, “The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid.” Seriously. We didn’t make that up.
Apple gets serious (1984): After years of Super Bowl commercials that looked as if they were filmed in a storage locker, Apple hires Ridley Scott for this big-budget play off George Orwell’s “1984,” which upped the ante for Super Bowl ads.
Apple gets a little too serious (1985): The Apple people follow one of the best ads of all time with one of the worst. “Lemmings” features creepy music and the disturbing image of hundreds of people jumping off a cliff.
Find Herb the Nerd (1986): Burger King implores the world to “Find Herb the Nerd” for cash. No one cares. Marketing professors are still talking to their students about how stupid this idea was.
Recyclables play football (1989): Anheuser-Busch unveils the first of eight Bud Bowls, where anthropomorphic bottles and cans compete in their own mini football game. Smart bettors took Bud Light and the spread.
“Over the second rafter, off the floor, nothing but net …” (1993): Larry Bird and Michael Jordan play an increasingly difficult game of Horse for a Big Mac. Each athlete had enough money to buy 10 million Big Macs, but it’s still a great ad.
Frogs and iguanas and weasels – oh my! (1995): The Budweiser frogs (“Bud … Weis … Errrr”) make their first of many Super Bowl appearances, later joined by two iguanas who sound a lot like Billy Crystal and Brad Garrett.
Fred Astaire is alive! (1997): For idiotic reasons that we’ll never know, the grave robbers at Red Devil use special effects to bring Fred Astaire back to life so he can dance with their vacuums.
Spending like there’s no tomorrow (2000): Seventeen dot-coms advertise during this Super Bowl, with entertaining results – including cat-herding cowboys and the ETrade monkey. “We just wasted 2 million bucks” ad.
A nation reflects … and the commercials suffer (2002): The Sept. 11 attacks ensure that almost all of the 2002 ads will be boring. Having the Budweiser Clydesdales kneel in front of the fallen twin towers was a nice idea, though.
Flatulent horses and wardrobe malfunctions (2004): The sleaziest Super Bowl ads arrive, coincidentally, in the exact same year that Janet Jackson exposes herself on national TV. (Mike Ditka’s erectile dysfunction ad, where he throws a ball through a tire, was much dirtier, though.)
On Sunday: Go to the Culture Blog during the game to post your comments on the Super Bowl commercials.
A farting horse, money out the wazoo, and — of course — GoDaddy.com
By Peter Hartlaub
When it comes to Super Bowl advertisements, sleaze sells. This Sunday will likely feature sexual innuendos, bodily functions, crotch injuries, erectile dysfunction talk and various combinations of the four.
Tawdry commercials have been around from the beginning — the first memorable Super Bowl ad featured Farrah Fawcett making love to Joe Namath’s face with Noxzema shaving cream — but the risk-taking definitely increased beginning in the mid-1990s. The sleaziest Super Bowl by far was in 2004, which was also the year that Janet Jackson’s right breast made an unfortunate halftime appearance.
Below are the Top 10 sleaziest advertisements in Super Bowl history. We’re taking the broadest definition of the word, including all forms of vulgarity, from splattering bird poop to mud-wrestling bimbos.
You can decide whether sleaziness in Super Bowl commercials is a good or bad thing. It’s worth noting that most of these ads drew the ire of critics — but were very well-received by the public.
E*Trade “Money out the Wazoo” (2000): The ad consists of a man being wheeled through a busy emergency room, in obvious pain, as various physicians and nurses stare up his rectal cavity and say thing like “Doctor, I think you should see this … he has money coming out of the wazoo!”
Was it funny? Actually, it was pretty hilarious. Imagine if the “South Park” guys directed an episode of “ER.”
Norwegian “There is No Law” (1994): This humorless cruise line ad may have been shot in classy black and white, but the content looked like a “Sex and the City” episode. “There is no law that says you can’t make love at 4 in the afternoon on a Tuesday,” the commercial begins. From there, a naked dude climbs in a hammock. A second ad features people in the shower making out.
Was it funny? Your employer’s sexual harassment training video was funnier than this spot.
Noxzema “Joe Namath” (1973): The New York Jets quarterback looks at the camera and exclaims, “I’m so excited, I’m going to get creamed,” before Farrah Fawcett spreads Noxzema shaving lotion across his face with near-pornographic passion. The word “creamed” is repeated twice more for effect.
Was it funny? No, but this was filmed in 1973, when people still thought Jerry Lewis was amusing.
Nissan “Pigeons” (1997): A squadron of pigeons sets its sights on a Nissan sedan, hoping to pelt it with bird droppings. As “Danger Zone” from the “Top Gun” soundtrack plays, they defecate on everything in sight, but miss their intended target.
Bonus sleaze points: For having the birds ruin a wedding, with a very clear shot of white poop landing in a punch bowl.
Was it funny? Bird feces or no bird feces, this was still one of the more amusing ads of the year — if not the decade.
Victoria’s Secret “Fashion Show” (1999): Advertising for a web-only lingerie fashion show, scores of scantily-clad models traipse in front of the camera. “The Broncos won’t be there. The Falcons won’t be there,” the text scrolling by says. “You won’t care.” Victoria’s Secret later claims 1.2 million visitors to its web site. (A 30-second ad in 1999 cost $1.6 million.)
Was it funny? Not even remotely, although to be fair it wasn’t trying to be.
GoDaddy.com “Proceedings” (2005): One year after Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, “Go Daddy Girl” Nikki Cappelli appears before a shocked Congress, as her tank top strap keeps breaking. One politician has to reach for his oxygen.
Bonus sleaze points: For the pandering GoDaddy executives, who are probably mad that this entry didn’t rank higher on the list.
Was it funny? Not very. The whole GoDaddy “look at us, we’re controversial!” shtick was tired from the beginning.
Cialis “Will You Be Ready?” (2004): The visuals in this advertisement for erectile dysfunction medicine weren’t especially racy, but it featured the 10 most shocking words in the history of the Super Bowl: “Erections lasting longer than four hours may require medical help.”
Bonus sleaze points: The ad was followed by a spot from competitor Levitra, which featured the not-so-subtle sexually-charged image of Mike Ditka throwing a football through a tire.
Was it funny? It probably wasn’t intentional, but these were the funniest ads of the year.
Budweiser “Upside Down Clown” (2003): A man in an inverted clown suit walks in a bar, orders a beer and drinks it through a hole in the costume’s crotch. To the bar patrons (and viewers at home) he appears to be pouring the beverage into his rectum.
Bonus sleaze points: For letting the guy order a hot dog after the beer is gone.
Was it funny? Yes. Did it make people want to drink Budweiser, or much of anything for the next few days? Doubtful.
Anheiser-buschIt’s one thing to steal from Seinfeld, but it’s another thing to be so gross about it.
Bud Light “Sleigh” (2004): A man and woman are riding in a Hansom cab. When the man lights a candle for mood, the horse lifts its tail and farts, torching the girlfriend. In a year where sleazy ads were scrutinized by critics, this was one was almost always mentioned first.
Bonus sleaze points: For giving the boyfriend the one-liner, “Do you smell barbecue?”
Was it funny? It depends if you saw the “Seinfeld” episode where the idea was borrowed from.
By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY
On Sunday, National Basketball Association All-Star guard Dwyane Wade will try to lure Super Bowl viewers into becoming T-Mobile cellphone subscribers.
The ad extends a current series in which Wade tries to get into the “MyFaves” list of former NBA star Charles Barkley. With the “MyFaves” service, T-Mobile subscribers can select five favorite contacts — T-Mobile subscribers or not — and get unlimited calling to them.
Wade says he’s “pumped” to be on the world’s largest advertising stage: “Everyone knows that it’s one of the biggest days to be on TV.”
Last year, T-Mobile bought into the Super Bowl at the last minute and ran an existing ad featuring Barkley and Wade. This year, the wireless provider created a humorous ad just for the game, as well as a 60-second video featuring Wade and Barkley that it seeded on websites such as Google Video.
Wade’s T-Mobile connection is just one enterprise for his expanding brand name. The 26-year-old Miami Heat player, who’s been a GQ magazine cover model, also endorses Converse and Gatorade. His name is on sneakers (such as the Wade 3 from Converse), a mobile handset (the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 D-Wade Edition) and restaurants (D. Wade’s Sports Grills).
Even with his brand ambition, Wade says his immediate focus is to “concentrate on basketball and get my team on the right track.”
That’s a good thing for the Heat — winner of the 2006 NBA championship, but now struggling — and for Wade’s marketability.
The Heat’s slim chance of making this year’s playoffs, “puts a damper somewhat on (Wade’s) endorsement potential,” says Jim Andrews, editorial director at IEG Sponsorship Report. But if the Heat start winning again, Wade “can really take off.”
How Wade’s brand has expanded:
•T-Mobile ads. When T-Mobile launched its Barkley/Wade ads in 2006, it had to put Wade’s full name into the script so non-NBA fans would recognize him, says Bob Moore, chief creative officer at T-Mobile ad agency Publicis USA.
Now Wade stands on his own, Moore says. “He’s won his (NBA championship) ring already. Most people know who Dwyane Wade is now.”
•T-Mobile Sidekick. Wade took a personal interest in designing the D-Wade Sidekick. The white-and-gold mobile device is “our most popular limited-edition Sidekick,” says T-Mobile director of marketing Mike Belcher.
•Restaurants. The D. Wade’s Sports Grills in Florida will have “a lot of TVs around to watch the games, and big murals of me and other athletes,” Wade says. “Hopefully my fans — and people who aren’t my fans — will come out and enjoy the atmosphere.”
•Video game. Wade appeared on the cover packaging for EA Sports’ NBA Live 2006 game.
•DVD. Earlier this month, Warner Home Video released Undeniable: The Rise of Dwyane Wade, which chronicles Wade’s life. “The day it came out I had a signing at Wal-Mart and there were more people than I expected there,” Wade says. “It was great.”
•Gatorade ad. Wade will star in an ad for the new low-calorie Gatorade, G2, that will air during the Feb. 17 NBA All-Star Game.
NEW & NOTABLE
Give me a flat-screen and a big recliner.
The biggest winner out of Sunday’s Super Bowl might not be the New England Patriots or New York Giants. It might be the makers of TV sets and recliners.
Consumers plan to buy 3.9 million TVs to have a new screen for Super Sunday, up more than 50% from last year’s 2.5 million, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association’s 2008 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. The online survey of 8,447 consumers by BIGresearch also found that game viewers plan to buy 1.8 million new pieces of furniture, up from 1.3 million last year.
Super Bowl marketers hoping to amuse game viewers may have to do a tough end-zone dance to make both men and women laugh. That’s a key issue because the audience’s gender split is about 60% male and 40% female. It’s hard to craft humor that appeals equally to both genders, says Carol Davies, partner at marketing consultants Fletcher Knight. “Men prefer one-liner jokes with a clear punch line,” says Davies, while women prefer subtler storylines that can be hard to tell in 15 to 30 seconds.
Some Ad-itude from Wasola, Mo.
The Ad Team is asking readers to weigh in on their favorite Big Game ads by e-mailing reporter Laura Petrecca.
Cindy Weldon of Wasola, Mo., says two Super Bowl ads stand out for her. Her top pick: a 2000 ad for tech giant EDS that showed cowboys trying to herd a horde of cats. “It was a hoot,” Weldon says. (Watch it at the link above, or click here.)
Her other favorite: Anheuser-Busch’s emotional Super Bowl 2005 salute to the troops. The ad showed travelers spontaneously applauding as military personnel walked through an airport terminal. “The look on the soldiers’ faces was amazing. They were appreciated, and everybody was behind them 100%,” she says.
The best years for spots are ones where economy, country is thriving
Strong economic times can result in a bounty of good Super Bowl ads. Janet Jackson’s exposed breast is a Super Bowl commercial killer. And venture capitalist money equals offbeat and funny — at least when it comes to the memorable dot-com advertisements of the late 1990s and 2000.
That was arguably the best era for Super Bowl ads, but there were other boom times as well — which, coincidence or not, often seem to come when confidence in the economy is rising. The landmark Apple “1984” commercial highlighted one of the best Super Bowls for ad-watchers, and the Reaganomics-fueled years that followed were stocked with plenty of clever spots as well.
There’s no formula to determine for sure whether this year’s Super Bowl ads will be hilarious or horrible. But if you look at what’s going on in the country right now, you might get at least part of your answer.
“Every year it really does mirror the biggest trends that year — what’s happening in the economy and what’s happening in the culture,” said Barbara Lippert, an Adweek advertising critic. “(During) one of the years that seemed to be a recession year in the 1990s, there were suddenly lots of commercials about home offices. Staples and others joined the pack, because suddenly everyone was a consultant from home.”
In terms of quality, history shows that morally and socially cautious times seem to be bad for viewers. Arguably the worst ads in recent years came during Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, the year following Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, the year after the Sept. 11 attacks, was also forgettable — except for a spot where the Budweiser Clydesdales knelt down facing the empty space where the Twin Towers stood.
The first dotcom boom was anything but cautious, and the results were creative, often self-deprecating (the E*Trade “Well we just wasted $2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money” ad) and occasionally very funny.
“There were a couple of years there — 1998, 1999 and 2000 — where the landscape of ads were unlike any we have ever seen before, or have seen since,” said Steve Hall, an advertising and marketing veteran who founded Adrants.com. “You had advertisers like Cisco and other high technology companies that you would never imagine would spend that kind of money. You had advertisers on there who no longer exist.”
Below are arguably the five best years for Super Bowl ads — based on popularity of the advertisements with audiences, not the success of the companies that paid for them.
5. The year: 1984
Highlights include: Apple “1984”; McDonalds “Meat N’ Potatoes”
The breakdown: Employment numbers were finally on the rise again, and so was the quality of these ads. Viewers remember the Ridley Scott-directed “1984” ad for the Apple MacIntosh, but there were other fun entries — including a couple of clever McDonald’s ads plus an always reliable Master Lock bullet spot. Celebrity appearances were particularly interesting this year, with Bill Bixby shilling for Radio Shack and Alan Alda selling game consoles for Atari.
4. The year 1999
Highlights include: Monster.com “When I Grow Up”; Budweiser “Dalmatians Separated at Birth”
The breakdown: As the dotcom money started pouring in, Monster.com’s hilarious kid-themed spot (“When I grow up, I want to be forced into early retirement …”) made everyone forget bad entries by HotJobs and Buy.com. Anheuser Busch also had one of its best years, featuring a doomed lobster that holds a bottle of Bud Light hostage and a simple-yet-effective checkout aisle spot featuring two slackers who have to choose between toilet paper and a six-pack. The Victoria Secret Web-only fashion show was a success of sorts — the site crashed because of too much traffic.
3. The year: 1995
Highlights include: Budweiser “Frogs”; Pepsi “Diner”; Pepsi “Sucked In”
The breakdown: The “Bud … wise … errrrr” frog ads were the audience favorite in this solid lineup from the heart of the Clinton era. But there were other successes as well, including a clever Doritos spot playing off Texas Gov. Ann Richards and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s political differences (“Mmmm. These are so good, I think I’ll eat them liberally”). Pepsi had a great lineup, with a Pepsi and Coke distributor who try to find peace in a diner, a boy who gets sucked into a Pepsi bottle and a clever spot with a frustrating vending machine bill changer.
2. The year: 2003
Highlights include: Reebok “Terry Tate Office Linebacker”; FedEx “Castaway”; Budweiser “Horse Football Instant Replay.”
The breakdown: A year and a half removed from the Sept. 11 attacks and a year before the “Nipplegate” fiasco, advertisers were having fun again. “Terry Tate Office Linebacker” and the FedEx lampoon of the Tom Hanks film “Castaway” got the biggest laughs, and there were many effective celebrity ads – including Willie Nelson for H&R Block, a surprisingly humorous Yao Ming for Visa and several increasingly funny Pepsi Twist spots with Ozzy Osbourne and his family – who move in next to the Osmonds.
1. The year: 2000
Highlights include: EDS “Cat Herders”; E*Trade “Wasted $2 Million”; Mountain Dew “Bad Cheetah”
The breakdown: Irrational exuberance has its advantages. Emboldened by the success of Monster.com’s 1999 ad, more than 15 dot-commers participated – and they were willing to go places that traditional Super Bowl ad powerhouses such as Budweiser and Pepsi would never venture. E*Trade’s famous “We just wasted $2 million bucks …” ad was a keeper, but even the bad ones this year were pretty interesting. (Remember that trippy Pets.com hand puppet-themed “If You Leave Me Now” spot?) “Cat Herders” from EDS was another classic.
Super Bowl viewers will be on the lookout for rookie mistakes — and not just on the field.
Advertising at the big game is a gamble for newcomers not just because of the rising cost of buying the ads — advertisers are paying up to $2.7 million for a 30-second spot this year, up from $2.6 million in 2007 — but also the risk to their reputations if the commercials fall flat or offend.
Under Armour’s Super Bowl spot may feature Nascar driver Carl Edwards.
As of yesterday, all but one of the 63 spots for the Feb. 3 Super Bowl XLII had been sold. In recent years, the lineup has typically included between six and 10 new advertisers, and News Corp.‘s Fox is expecting around 10 this year, according to a person familiar with the matter. Among the first-timers joining perennial Super Bowl marketers like PepsiCo Inc. and FedEx Corp. this year are athletic-apparel maker Under Armour Inc., online car sales site Cars.com and Unilever‘s hair-care brand Sunsilk, Procter & Gamble Co.’s Tide and Bridgestone Corp.’s Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire unit.
This year’s newbies, three of whom are using the event to launch campaigns, say they have a few tricks up their sleeves. Cars.com, for example, is using an ad team from Omnicom Group Inc.’s DDB Chicago that was behind many of the wildly popular Bud Light commercials. Under Armour’s 60-second spot, meanwhile, will feature sports personalities in extreme-training conditions, the company says. While the ad isn’t completed yet, images may include National Football League player Vernon Davis dragging a tractor tire, figure skater Kimmie Meissner leaping over exhaust pipes, or Nascar driver Carl Edwards doing lunges holding a cement block.
While the Super Bowl ads are inevitably rated on their creativity and cool factor, some marketers say those elements are less important to them than getting out their message clearly.However, over the years, plenty of companies have fumbled their Super Bowl advertising debuts. A 1999 spot for Just for Feet, a now-defunct athletic shoe and sportswear retailer, featured a band of mostly white commandos in a Humvee chasing a barefoot African man in the jungle and forcing him to wear Nike sneakers. The ad was labeled racist, and Just for Feet later sued the agency that created the spot, Saatchi & Saatchi. The next year, financial-services company John Nuveen ran a spot that, with the help of digital photography, showed paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve walking — an ad many viewers found unsettling.
Those ads came during the dot-com boom, when advertisers hungering to take their companies public were desperate to get Wall Street’s attention. One of the biggest years for new marketers in the Super Bowl was 2000, known in ad circles as the “dot-com bowl.” Among the rookies that year were AutoTrader, OnMoney.com, OurBeginning.com, Computer.com and Kforce.com. While many first-time Super Bowl advertisers return, many of the companies in the class of 2000 eventually went bust.
Today, fallout from an ill-conceived ad can be magnified by the growing number of polls that survey the public about ads and Web sites that critique commercials. That heightened scrutiny causes some advertisers to think twice about taking the Super Bowl plunge. “There are a lot of polls out there now, and advertisers don’t want bad press,” says Andy Donchin, director for national broadcast at Carat USA, a media-buying firm owned by Aegis Group PLC.
Another hazard for first-timers: being outshone by the veterans. Only a fraction of the dozens of ads that will air during the game will get any significant buzz the next day, and companies like Cars.com and Under Armour are competing against regulars like Anheuser-Busch Cos., who have Super Bowl ads down to a science. The brewer features 10 different spots during the game, all of which it tests via focus groups.
“It’s hard to outdo Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi,” says Bruce Vanden Bergh, an advertising professor at Michigan State University.
Still the big game is tempting to advertisers looking to launch products, kick off ad campaigns or introduce a new company name. It is the single biggest television event of the year, with 90 million viewers in the U.S., plus large numbers of people in 230 other countries and territories. In an age of audience fragmentation, companies have few such opportunities to reach large numbers of viewers in a single venue.
Some companies decide to advertise in the Super Bowl for the first time because they’re overshadowed by bigger players in their industry and want to address that imbalance. Others are diversifying and want to draw attention to that foray. Baltimore-based Under Armour made a name for itself in 1996 with its line of sweat-wicking performance apparel. Now it’s taking another shot at established companies like Nike and Adidas with its ad campaign announcing its entry into the cross-training shoe market.
Under Armour’s spot this year, which will air in the first quarter of the game, represents a sizable chunk of the company’s advertising budget, which was $16 million last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
“There is no bigger opportunity” than the Super Bowl, says Under Armour’s Chief Executive Kevin Plank. “This is a defining time for our brand,” he adds. “We are now ready to compete in footwear.”
Cars.com will use the Super Bowl to kick off an ad campaign that introduces the tagline “Confidence comes standard.” Its spot shows consumers going to a car dealership armed with research from Cars.com. The ads have a humorous surprise ending showing what the consumer would have done if he hadn’t had the Cars.com research.
Bridgestone, which is also sponsoring the game’s halftime show, had its agency come up with concepts for 140 different commercials, which Bridgestone narrowed down to three now being produced. The tire maker will select two spots to air during the game. The company says it is using ad formulas that have worked for other companies in the past: animals, humor and celebrities — in this case, Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons.
Tide is considering airing an old ad for its Tide to Go pen that shows a man interviewing for a job who is repeatedly interrupted by a talking stain on his shirt, according to people familiar with the matter. The spot won a Silver Lion Award last year at the annual International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France.
Meanwhile, Sunsilk is betting on Madonna, Shakira and Marilyn Monroe, showing images of the women while their music plays. The screen reads: “Some girls can’t wait to make life happen. Their hair tells their story.” After the Super Bowl, the company’s high-energy spot will be rolled out in 14 countries.
Some Super Bowl first timers have scored big. Monster.com debuted in 1999 with a hit ad featuring kids talking about what they wanted to be when they grow up. In 2006 Unilever ran an ad for Dove showing young girls talking about their looks that was widely praised for its emotional depth.
One of last year’s newcomers, Garmin Ltd., the maker of GPS devices, is coming back this year despite coming in low on some ad poll lists with an ad featuring a map that turned into a Godzilla-inspired monster. Reaction “was a mixed bag but it was still a success,” says Ted Gartner, media relations manager at Garmin. “As long as people are spelling our name right and still purchasing the Garmin units, it’s all good.”
By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com editor at large
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Indianapolis? Chicago? Who cares? For many, the battle between Anheuser-Busch, FedEx and CareerBuilder for funniest commercial is what matters on Super Bowl Sunday.
The hype around Super Bowl spots has reached a fever pitch this year.
(Charts), which will be broadcasting Super Bowl XLI from Miami on Sunday, is said to be charging as much as a record $2.6 million for a 30-second commercial, up slightly from the $2.5 million Walt Disney (Charts)-owned ABC got for an ad last year.
But it wasn’t that long ago that a 30-second Super Bowl ad cost “just” $1.2 million. That was the going rate for a spot in 1997, according to figures from research firm TNS Media Intelligence. And 10 years earlier, Super Bowl ads cost just $600,000. So the price of a commercial has more than quadrupled in the past twenty years.
And guess what? It’s likely to get even crazier next year with Super Bowl XLII. That’s just the way it is.
“I can’t imagine the ad rates will ever go down,” said Walter Guarino, an advertising professor at Seton Hall University. “The ads are a fall-back, a fail-safe to keep up the entertainment value going if the game is a bomb. They’ve now taken front and center stage.”
What’s more, the networks are milking more and more ad money from the Super Bowl by showing even more commercials. According to TNS, there was over 47 minutes of commercials (including house ads for ABC programs) on last year’s telecast, up from 37 minutes just five years ago.
But you probably won’t hear Super Bowl-watchers complain. The game is arguably now more about the ads than the action on the gridiron.
Michael Pavone, president of Pavone, a brand consulting firm in Harrisburg, Pa. that runs Spotbowl, a Web site where viewers can vote for their favorite commercials, said Apple’s (Charts) famous “1984″ ad for the Macintosh changed everything.
It raised the bar for how lavish a Super Bowl ad could be and since then hype about the ads has been so intense that the discussion of the commercials leading up to the game often overshadows the game itself.
“People anticipate the Super Bowl commercials like they do movie premiers,” said Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising, an agency that runs Adbowl, another site that tracks opinions about Super Bowl commercials.
To that end, Pavone cited a 2005 survey by consulting firm Penn, Schoen and Berland that showed just how much interest there is in the game compared to the commercials. According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents said they’d rather miss some of the game than any of the ads.
What’s more, 58 percent also said they talk about the commercials at work on Monday compared to just 47 percent who talk about the game.
And people don’t just have interest in this year’s commercials. There is a sense of nostalgia for “classic” Super Bowl ads. Go to YouTube, the popular video site owned by Google (Charts), and you’ll find that several users have posted the Apple 1984 commercial and that those posts have been viewed by more than 200,000 people in the past year.
CBS is even running a prime-time special on Friday called “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” which will showcase ads such as the Apple spot, the Michael Jordan versus Larry Bird “Nothing but net” commercial for McDonald’s (Charts) in 1993 and EDS’ “Cat herder” spot from 2000.
The network aired a similar show last year (even though it wasn’t broadcasting the game) that was watched by more than 9 million viewers. The program’s executive producer said that even though there isn’t much new in this year’s show, there is still heavy interest in it.
“The success of our show is pretty amazing in that you are not dealing with a lot of new material. By and large, it’s the same commercials. But you want to see them again. It’s like reliving those great TV moments and people don’t mind seeing them year-in and year-out,” said Bob Horowitz, executive producer for “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials.”
Still, the question begs to be asked. Do Super Bowl commercials really work?
It’s one thing to be able to vividly remember last year’s popular spot from Anheuser-Busch (Charts) featuring a lamb streaking during one of the Clydesdale horses’ football games or even the famous 1973 Joe Namath-Farrah Fawcett Noxzema shaving cream ad. But do the commercials actually make you more likely to drink Bud and shave with Noxzema?
One marketing executive says too many Super Bowl advertisers these days think more about making people laugh instead of making people want to buy your product.
“An ad can be entertaining with sophomoric humor as long as it gives you an idea of what the commercial is selling,” said Spyro Kourtis, president of the Hacker Group, an ad agency in Bellevue, Wash. “A million viewers are not as valuable in my mind as 100,000 customers and that’s the perspective that more advertisers should have.”
But even if there is a debate about how effective a Super Bowl ad really is, there is no question that without the commercials, Sunday’s game would lose a lot of its allure to the many people who are only familiar with Peyton Manning because they’ve seen him in a commercial.
“There are no shows on network TV that if you took the commercials out, the ratings would go down,” said Horowitz. “It’s the opposite with the Super Bowl. Here, if you took the commercials away, you’d probably lose 25 percent of the audience.”
Article updated for 2008 msnbc.msn.com
Thirty-four years ago this month, Farrah Fawcett sensuously applied Noxzema to Joe Namath’s manly chin — touching off an escalating arms race of expensive Super Bowl commercials that have frequently been more entertaining than the games.
Last year, advertisers weren’t shy about spending $2.5 million on a 30-second commercial, but only the Budweiser “Magic Fridge” commercial came within striking distance of our Top 10 list.
Below are the best Super Bowl commercials of all time, the keys to their success and the prospects of the company after the spot aired. As you can see, just because people are still talking about an ad more than 20 years later doesn’t mean the product changed the world:
10. Budweiser “Frogs” (1995):
Three frogs, perched on a log outside a bar, croaking, “Bud … Weis … Errrrrr.”
What worked: The fact that Budweiser milks every commercial concept to death – does anyone doubt there will be a “Magic Fridge 2” this year? — makes it easy to forget how cool this ad was when you first heard it. The buildup was great, with an oddly infectious catchphrase.
The results: For better or worse, the frog ads and the spin-off lizard commercials made Budweiser — which was starting to become an old-guy drink — cool again for younger partiers.
9. Xerox “Monks” (1977): Faced with a hopelessly mundane copying job, Brother Dominic puts down his quill pen and turns to a Xerox 9200 duplicating system.
What worked: “Monks” seems a bit dated now, like watching NBA video from the early 1950s. But this was the George Mikan of early Super Bowl commercials, with a narrative style and series of punch lines that set the pioneering tone for hundreds of ads that followed.
The results: The promise to reproduce documents “at an incredible two pages per second” may not seem impressive now, but Xerox is now used as both a noun and a verb – the definition of a successful brand.
8. Tabasco “Mosquito” (1998): A mosquito tries to draw blood from a Tabasco-loving yokel — with explosive results.
What worked: The commercial was simple, funny and violent. With no dialogue, no music and only two characters (including the exploding insect), Tabasco memorably promoted its brand.
The results: Tabasco still hasn’t replaced ketchup in the condiment market, and probably never will. With its huge loyal following, does Tabasco even need commercials?
7. Electronic Data Systems “Herding Cats” (2000): A “Bonanza”-like family of cat herders talk about life on the range.
What worked: Kitties and cowboys made this a favorite for both kids and adults, but the near-seamless special effects were the real MVP. Advertiser EDS came back a year later with a similar formula, featuring the “Running of the Squirrels.”
The results: We still don’t know what EDS does, but it has 117,000 employees and just signed a $1.27 billion contract extension with the British Ministry of Defense — so the ad certainly didn’t hurt the company.
6. McDonald’s “The Showdown” (1993): Michael Jordan and Larry Bird engage in a physics-defying hoops-shooting contest for a Big Mac and fries.
What worked: Every basketball fan knows that Bird would win this contest 10 out of 10 times, but it was still a clever idea with a catchphrase that continues to pop up in “Horse” games. (“Over the second rafter, off the floor … nothing but net.”)
The results: This commercial seems to have blessed everyone involved. Jordan won three more championships and Bird transitioned into a solid career as a coach. And while salads and chicken products have been killing off the rest of the menu, the cholesterol-heavy Big Mac value meal remains an untouchable fast-food staple.
5. Monster.com “When I Grow Up …” (1999): A group of kids stare at the camera and declare their desire to “have a brown nose,” “be a yes man” and “claw my way up to middle management.”
What worked: Kids are cute, and even cuter when reciting lines such as, “When I grow up … I want to be forced into early retirement.” It was great brand recognition for the new company.
The results: Monster survived the dot-com implosion and despite a stock controversy in 2006 has become a prosperous company that employs close to 5,000 people worldwide.
4. Reebok “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” (2003): To boost productivity, a CEO recruits a linebacker from Reebok to slam into a series of “Office Space”-style cubicle drones.
What worked: A series of brutal hits, punctuated by lines such as, “Break was over 15 minutes ago, Mitch!” made this the best Super Bowl ad of the last five years.
The results: Terry Tate got people talking about Reebok for something other than sweatshop controversies. The company provides shoes for all the major sports and hosts clothing lines for rappers Jay-Z and 50 Cent.
3. E*Trade “Monkey” (2000): Two dim-witted guys and a monkey clap to some cha-cha music in a garage, followed by the punch line: “Well we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?”
What worked: Easily the cheapest ad of the year to produce, it was an instant classic —remaining self-deprecating about dot-com excess while lampooning the well-publicized cost of Super Bowl ad time.
The results: The marketing Gods have a way of punishing tech companies that blow too much money on flashy ads. (See: Pets.com. Or don’t. They haven’t been around since 2000.) E*Trade lost hundreds of millions of dollars in 2001 and 2002, and the company’s shares — once trading at more than $60 — dropped below $3 in 2002. The company has since bounced back to profitability.
2. Coke “Mean Joe Greene” (1979): A kid offers his Coca-Cola to a battle-weary “Mean Joe” Greene — who softens up enough to toss his jersey as a reward.
What worked: A cute kid with a soft drink was the perfect foil for the surly Greene. Grown men still burst into tears when thinking about “Mean Joe” throwing that jersey.
The results: The ad became an instant pop culture classic, boosting Greene’s career. Among the offshoots was the inspiring “The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid” — perhaps the first hourlong TV movie in history to be based on a one-minute commercial.
1. Apple “1984” (1984): A jogger representing Apple throws a sledgehammer into a giant Big Brother image representing IBM — promising a populist shift in the future of personal computers.
What worked: With “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott in charge, the ad generated more hype — and post-game water cooler talk — than any television commercial in history. Do you even remember who played in the Super Bowl in 1984? (L.A. Raiders and Washington.) You almost certainly remember the biggest Super Bowl ad of the year.
The results: The most storied Super Bowl ad of all time might have boosted sales of George Orwell books, hot red running shorts and sledgehammers. But it didn’t do much for the Macintosh — Apple continues to be the Reform Party of computer manufacturers. Maybe there was a storage locker filled with iPhones behind that huge video screen?
Honorable mentions: Pepsi “Apartment 10G” (1987); Pepsi “Diner” (1995); Pepsi “Sucked in” (1995); Mountain Dew “Bad Cheetah” (2000); Budweiser “Magic Fridge” (2006).
“The Super Bowl ads are better than the game.”
No doubt you’ve heard at least one friend or relative make that statement, usually after a few drinks, a large gambling loss or a horrible set of Super Bowl events that mock the sports gods — such as Washington quarterback Mark Rypien being named MVP.
But have we really reached the point where commercials have become more entertaining than the sporting event that surrounds them?
Football purists will say they hate the ads, but they still seem to talk about them as much as the game itself. A good Super Bowl might get lost in your memory, but a good Super Bowl ad will be embedded in your brain for years to come. Chances are you remember every line and camera angle from Coke’s famous “Mean Joe Greene” commercial from 1979. But can you name the two teams that played the same year?
The rise in publicity for Super Bowl ads, big halftime shows and other off-field stunts are no accident. Although the Nielsen ratings for the Super Bowl have fallen over the decades, the game-watching demographic has widened to include more women and men who don’t like the sport.
“Originally it was just a football game, and guys who liked football were the ones who watched it,” says Don Bruzzone of Alameda’s Bruzzone Research Co., which has been measuring the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials since 1992. “And then all of a sudden it grew into an extravaganza that would appeal to almost everybody.”
Super Bowl advertisements will cost about $2.6 million for a 30-second spot this year. (They cost a “mere” $324,000 when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982.)
Bruzzone’s Paul Shellenberg says in terms of who’s advertising, 2007 is looking a lot like 2006 — with regulars such as Budweiser and Pepsi returning with several spots. As of Monday afternoon, there were fewer movie spots scheduled than usual, although Shellenberg said the studios often wait until the last minute.
The ads are a huge gamble for advertisers. Bruzzone’s research shows that a successful commercial gives a buyer eight times the impact of an ad that doesn’t resonate.
The price for an ad has become a punch line, which has even been used in the commercials themselves. When all the figures are added up, though, Bruzzone says research shows that advertisers aren’t throwing away their money.
“There are a lot of intelligent people making decisions about this sort of thing,” Bruzzone says. “They’re priced at just about what they’re worth.”
Bruzzone doesn’t keep track of which are “good years” and “bad years” for Super Bowl advertisers. Fortunately, we do. What surrounds this article is a sincere and enthusiastic — while not especially objective — attempt to determine whether the ads are, in fact, more entertaining than the game.
My methodology was simple, if not scientific: I’ve already watched every game for the past 10 years, and I spent several afternoons last week watching Super Bowl ads archived on YouTube and the very helpful Superbowl-ads.com Web site.
You can decide whether it’s worth your time to add up my winners and losers to find out who’s ahead — but I will reveal that it’s close. Look for a Monday morning SFGate.com Culture Blog entry that determines whether Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials were better than the game.
The game: Green Bay 35, New England 21
The ads: Fred Astaire dances with a Dirt Devil vacuum and Holiday Inn promotes their renovations by joking about a guy who has undergone a sex change.
Final score: Neither side wanted to win. The game was predictably one-sided — Brett Favre (left) and the Packers were favored by 14 points and won by 14 points — but the ads were worse, including a digitally enhanced Astaire corpse and Holiday Inn’s big “screw you” to the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Football 9, commercials 2
The ads: Louie the Lizard tries killing off the Budweiser frogs, while a guy eating a lot of Tabasco spells doom for a mosquito that tries to suck his blood.
Final score: Terrell Davis running over the heavily favored Packers was cool, as was the sight of John Elway receiving his first Super Bowl ring. But it’s hard to beat an exploding bug. Commercials 31, football 24
The ads: The Monster.com “When I Grow Up” ads spoof corporate culture, Budweiser has a firehouse dalmatian puppy spot and Victoria’s Secret’s sexy ad proves that horny men are still the primary Super Bowl demographic.
Final score: Not sure what was more annoying — Just for Feet’s semi-racist ad that appeared to feature white guys tranquilizing a black runner from Kenya or the Atlanta Falcons’ stupid “dirty bird” dance. The ads gain the edge when Falcons safety Eugene Robinson gets arrested for solicitation of prostitution the night before the game. Commercials 14, football 10
The ads: E-Trade unveils its classic dancing monkey/”We just wasted 2 million bucks” commercial and EDS features its memorable spot about cat herders.
Final score: This is why TiVo was invented. The 2000 Super Bowl and commercial-fest were both so entertaining that there was literally no time to urinate. With arguably the most entertaining Super Bowl of all time and the best commercials falling on the same year, there can be no losers. Commercials 42, football 42 (tie)
The ads: Cedric the Entertainer shills for Budweiser, Bob Dole shills for Pepsi and EDS features the “running of the squirrels.”
Final score: Not a great year for commercials — does anyone even know what EDS sells? But the ads were still way better than this defense-oriented game, which featured the coma-inducing combination of Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins as starting quarterbacks. Commercials 15, football 6
The ads: Charles Schwab features Barry Bonds, the Coen brothers direct an H&R Block commercial and several ads feature 9/11 tributes.
Final score: The post-9/11 commercials were classy, but became repetitive — and in retrospect, the Barry Bonds/Hank Aaron home run goof looks like something that should be turned over to the grand jury. The football game was a lot better, with Adam Vinatieri (above) kicking a last-minute field goal to seal the win. Football 28, commercials 17
The ads: Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, the “Cast Away” movie spoof and a Clydesdale football instant replay commercial all generate big laughs.
Final score: The only thing uglier than Budweiser’s crude “Upside Down Clown” ad was the Raiders’ game plan, which gave up 34 unanswered points to former Oakland coach Jon Gruden’s Buccaneers. The refs almost had to invoke the mercy rule in this contest. Commercials 72, football 0
The ads: A Sierra Mist commercial featuring a bagpiper getting cold air blown up his kilt looks like a Jane Austen film next to Budweiser’s flatulent horse. The 78 other ads seem to be focused on erectile dysfunction.
Final score: Everything went right during the game — a great contest between the Panthers and Patriots — and everything went wrong between plays. Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” (above) highlighted the crude and unoriginal commercials, which led to audience outrage and FCC action. Football 41, commercials minus 212
The ads: Diddy arrives at the red carpet in a Pepsi truck, Budweiser introduces a trash-talking cockatiel, and Ameriquest has a couple of decent-but-forgettable mistaken-identity ads.
Final score: Even though we didn’t have to see Mickey Rooney’s bare bottom (it was banned by the fun police), this was definitely a rebuilding year for the ad industry. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, linebacker Mike Vrabel (left) and the Patriots held off the Eagles and Terrell Owens, who stopped acting crazy for a few hours and added some drama by playing hurt. Football 35, commercials 3
The ads: A caveman gets chided for not using FedEx (it hasn’t been invented yet), Jim Henson’s Muppets are everywhere and the “magic fridge” gets Budweiser back on track.
Final score: The Seahawks didn’t come to play and neither did many of the advertisers, but at least we got to see a prehistoric dude get stomped on by a brontosaurus. Commercials 10, football 9
On the matter of Super Bowl ad clutter. And, yes, it does matter, hurting recall with viewers
By Diego Vasquez
Clutter is a headache for media people under any circumstances, making it harder for an advertiser’s message to stand out. And when you’re paying a record $2.6 million to deliver that message, as are those advertisers with spots in this year’s Super Bowl on CBS, it’s even more of a concern. According to a report released late last week by TNS Media Intelligence, the Super Bowl has become more cluttered than ever. Last year’s game on ABC contained a record 47.2 minutes of ads, nearly four more minutes than Fox had the previous year. That includes promotions for the Super Bowl carrier’s own shows, a category that has exploded over the past five years. In 2001, the Super Bowl carrier ran 5 minutes and 55 seconds of self-promotion. Last year that soared to 10 minutes and 25 seconds. TNS also found that over the past 20 years, the Super Bowl has run more than 11 full hours of commercials for 221 advertisers, representing an investment of $1.72 billion. But such clutter may be less of a worry to veteran advertisers who have gotten used to the Super Bowl environment. TNS projects nearly two-thirds of this year’s Super Bowl ad spending will be by advertisers who also participated in last year’s big game. Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS Media Intelligence, talks with Media Life about Super Bowl clutter, how the game stacks up against other sporting events, and the hot ad category the past few years.
You found that last year’s Super Bowl had a record amount of clutter. How much of a concern is this for media people?
I think clutter’s a concern for all advertisers because it does impact consumer’s recall. Arguably it’s probably less of a concern for Super Bowl than for normal programming, but still, all those commercials competing and advertisers paying what they’re paying–it still remains an issue when they have to justify what they’re paying.
How cluttered do you think the game will get before we finally start to see it sink or plateau?
I don’t know. I was surprised when I saw the statistics from last year, because it had stabilized before for a couple years at around 41 or 42 minutes, and last year it jumped to over 47 minutes.
Part of the issue here is the rights the networks pay to broadcast the games. To recoup those fees the network has to be able to sell ads and generate revenue. So I think what puts pressure on the clutter level is the rights fees and the networks’ desire to turn a profit on the event. I think as rights fees rise, we’ll continue to see clutter on the rise as well.
How valuable is the promotional platform that the Super Bowl carrier receives to advertise its own shows?
I think it’s extremely valuable. The commercials you run on your own airtime is the primary mechanism to promote your own programming, and it’s a large captive audience, so it’s a great way to promote your own shows. It won’t guarantee people will watch them, but they’ll be aware of them.
There’s also kind of new a tradition now of a network running one of its programs in the slot immediately after the Super Bowl, using it as a terrific lead-in. The choice the network makes is another promotional benefit the Super Bowl represents for them.
Have you noticed any trends in advertising spending over the past few years for the Super Bowl? Why are they important?
The rates continue to creep upwards, and clutter does too, and those two together keep pushing revenue higher and higher each year.
One of the things that’s changed over the last decade is the composition of advertisers.
Beer and car companies are always there, but what other categories fill out the Super Bowl? That’s where you see some of the trends in the industry. In ‘99 and 2000, there was huge volume of dot.com ads. There’s still those now, but not nearly the level it was at six or seven years ago.
In the past several years one of the strong categories has been movies. For the movie category the Super Bowl is a great opportunity because of the huge audience, so it’s the fringes that kind of reflect the trends in advertising.
In-game ads receive most of the attention, but there’s a lot spent on network pre and post-game ads as well. What is the value of spending on these programs for advertisers? Are there reasons advertisers prefer these spots to in-game ads other than the obvious pricing considerations?
I think a good chunk of it is you have to look at the target audience, who’s watching. The game itself attracts a significant female audience, but the pregame stuff is skewed more toward males, the regular-season football demographic. If you’re an advertiser trying to reach upscale males, the pregame shows are a good venue.
But how much does it cost? Less than the game because audience is smaller. But because the pregame telecasts consume a lot of airtime, it creates sponsorship opportunities for advertisers who don’t want to pay the rates of Super Bowl but still want to target that demographic.
So I think the pregame show in particular can be used very strategically as an alternate to in-game spots.
You find that retention rate of incumbent advertiser money is 62 percent, which is actually lower than the Academy Awards and World Series. Why is that and what does it mean?
I think it’s first the unit rate. Paying upwards of $2 million for a 30-second spot is a pricey proposition and one that’s always under scrutiny. So that works against a retention rate. By comparison, a spot in the World Series, while pricey, doesn’t come any where close to the Super Bowl.
The second thing is, particularly with Academy Awards, it has been called the Super Bowl for women, it’s the single largest female audience outside of Super Bowl itself.
By contrast, on the sports audience side if Super Bowl is too pricey, there are more alternatives, so I think that makes the Academy Awards sponsors more eager to renew their commitment as opposed to the male-targeted advertisers.
The TNS report also examines ad revenue for the World Series and Final Four events, and it finds that Final Four revenue has grown the most over the past five years. Why is that?
I think the Final Four has become–the whole March Madness, the whole tournament–arguably the second or third marquee sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl is No. 1, and then you can make a choice of the World Series or the college basketball tournament for No. 2 and No. 3.
I think the timing. The end of the first quarter, beginning of the second works well for basketball. There’re not a lot of other events, so the timing is in its favor. And fan and viewer interest in the event has grown enormously over the past decade. So that helps prop up the viewership level and lets the network increase the rates. The Final Four is the culmination of a two- or three-week event, whereas the Super Bowl is just a one-day event, so it builds to a conclusion.
Diego Vasquez is a staff writer for Media Life.
By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY
Super Bowl viewers with high-definition TVs this year will see every bead of sweat on Bud Light bottles as clearly as those on the players.
The game has aired in ultrasharp HD since 2000, but Super Bowl XL on ABC will be the first in which the number of HD ads crosses the 50-yard line.
“We expect more than half the ads to run in HD,” says Ed Erhardt, ABC head of sports ad sales. Last year, 10 of the more than 30 minutes of ads were HD.
Among this year’s are the first HD Super Bowl ads from Anheuser-Busch, the largest advertiser, with five minutes.
As more consumers snap up HDTV sets, advertisers are adopting often more costly and complex HD. “High-def continues to grow in popularity, and we want our consumers to see our … ads in the highest-quality format,” says Marlene Coulis, A-B head of brand management.
At the end of 2005, about 16 million U.S. households had at least one HD-capable TV, according to Leichtman Research Group. Many more are being sold this month. “In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, there’s a lot of promotions,” says NPD Group electronics analyst Ross Rubin.
Advertisers know a lot of viewers will be gathered in front of those fancy new TVs. “Our research shows that for events like the Super Bowl, (groups) are often gathering in the home of an HDTV owner,” says Brian Woods, chief marketing officer for Ameriquest Mortgage, which will have two HD ads for the second year.
Super Bowl regular FedEx is switching to HD this year to ensure a “seamless transition” from the game to commercials, says ad director Steve Pacheco.
“When you’re watching a high-def broadcast, and you see a (standard) commercial come on, it looks like someone put a sheet over your television,” says commercial producer Dave Morrison. They also rarely fill the wide HD screen, leaving bands on each side.
On the other hand, “When you look at HD ads on regular TV, they still look terrific,” says Pat Portela of post-production firm Nice Shoes.
But even with all the HD hype, there are still obstacles. Depending on the filming and post-production techniques, the ads can cost up to 15% more to produce.
And in HD, flaws are also supersharp. “In high-def, you see every detail: every wrinkle, every pimple and every blemish,” Portela says. Makeup artists have to be more precise with their work, and set designers have to fix every paint chip.
For the Super Bowl, where advertisers are spending an average of $2.4 million for a 30-second slot, the added costs are worth it, Pacheco says. “The Super Bowl is one of the few programming choices where people watch the commercials.”
At $4.8 million a minute, obscure advertisers hope to score big
By Martin Wolk MSNBC
Tune in to the Super Bowl Sunday and you can be certain of seeing the usual quota of slick and humorous ads from mainstays of the game including Budweiser, Pepsi-Cola, Subway and Frito-Lay.
But you might be surprised by little-known newcomers who hope to make a big first impression, including makers of snack nuts, contact lenses and kitchen countertops.
Countertops at the Super Bowl? It’s a natural fit, said Gina Covell, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Cosentino USA, a distributor of quartz countertops that ranks among this year’s crop of lesser-known Super Bowl sponsors.
“Home remodeling has been the rage for the past few years, and kitchens are probably the No. 1 room that is remodeled in the house,” said Covell. “What bigger way to break out than in the Super Bowl?”
With about $1 billion in revenue last year, Cosentino is no startup, but the Super Bowl plunge still represents a big risk. The company, which has never produced a television ad before, is paying top dollar for its debut: $2.4 million for 30 seconds of air time, plus $1 million in production costs for a spot featuring sports celebrities Dennis Rodman and Mike Ditka. The one-day spending spree is more than double last year’s entire advertising budget, which mainly was spent on print spots in publications like Better Homes and Gardens, Covell said.
Cosentino might strike paydirt with its humorous ad, which portrays macho athletes arguing over who is “Diana Pearl,” one of the company’s whimsically named countertop colors. But inexperienced advertisers need to make the Super Bowl part of a complete marketing campaign or risk fading quickly into obscurity as so many one-timers have done, experts say.
Just think back to the “dot-com bowl” of 2000, which featured 17 dot-com advertisers, many of them obscure names that quickly disappeared from view, like OurBeginning.com, LifeMinders.com and Epidemic.com.
“You really need to have a strong company, have a strong product and be a really good marketer before you consider the Super Bowl,” said Chuck Tomkovick, a professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
What were they thinking? Stories are legion of one-time wonders who botched their only Super Bowl appearance and never returned. One memorable failure was a 1999 Just For Feet spot that was so bad that the now-defunct shoe store chain actually sued its ad agency. The ad depicted a squad of white militiamen tracking down a barefoot black African runner, knocking him out with a drug-laced beverage and forcing him into Nikes.
Even well-established companies have fumbled their only Super Bowl appearance. A series of 2001 spots from Accenture, a business consulting company, was widely panned as incomprehensible.
“It was absolutely horrible,” said John Antil, a business professor at the University of Delaware who studies Super Bowl advertising.
Of course some companies have hidden motives for wanting to be part of the advertising industry’s biggest event of the year, even if they don’t fit the typical Super Bowl mold of food, drink and entertainment.
In Accenture’s case, Antil said, the company formerly known as Andersen Consulting was desperate to gets its new name in front of a large audience that included CEOs and other high-ranking executives.
Advertisers frequently have a secondary target beyond the estimated 130 million U.S. consumers who tune in for at least part of the game.
For example MasterLock, which famously has blown much of its annual advertising budget on past Super Bowl commercials, uses the big game appearance as leverage to entertain buyers and distributors who are crucial to its fortunes. Similarly, car company commercials in the Super Bowl are rarely memorable but may go a long way toward boosting manufacturer relations with key dealers.
130 million armchair reviewers Super Bowl commercials offer some unique fringe benefit, including a few tickets to the game that advertisers can use to entertain clients or partners. A Super Bowl also stokes employee morale, and advertisers generate an unusual amount of free media attention, like this article.
But by far the biggest attraction for advertisers is that Super Bowl Sunday is just about the only day of the year when the advertising commands as much attention as the programming. At a typical Super Bowl party, everyone becomes an armchair ad reviewer, and a substantial minority say the ads are the main reason they tune in.
“There are very few venues where the advertisements are as much of an ingrained experience as the content of the event itself,” said Richard Castellini, vice president, consumer marketing at CareerBuilder.com, a job postings Web site that is rolling out a major national ad push with two Super Bowl spots.
Castellini took great pains to distance his company from the dot-com failures of a few years back, as did Bob Parsons, founder and president of GoDaddy.com, which will kick off a $19 million national marketing campaign in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.
“It’s not a gamble,” said Parsons, who is the sole stockholder in GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar.
“We have been the leader in our market for three years,” he said. “If this year’s marketing budget does not produce one dollar in additional sales, we’ll still throw off $14 million in cash. I’ll still be supersizing it at McDonald’s.”
Ingredients for success Conventional wisdom – and some market research – holds that Super Bowl advertisers need humor, animals, celebrities or some combination to be well-liked and effective. Categories that fit in well with the day’s partying mood do well, experts say. Sober subjects like financial services and pharmaceuticals typically get the thumbs-down.
So CIBA Vision will be bucking the odds when it makes its Super Bowl debut — an atmospheric spot promoting the benefits of its new O2 contact lenses.
Karen Gough, CIBA Vision’s president for the Americas, makes no apologies for the straightforward approach. The ad is chiefly targeted at women, who constitute about half the Super Bowl audience but two-thirds of contact lens wearers, she said.
“I think it’s important to note that we didn’t develop the campaign with the Super Bowl in mind,” Gough said. “We developed the campaign to communicate to our core audience. We just picked the Super Bowl as a way to get that campaign across to a broad range of viewers.”
While the Super Bowl is a great place to reach a lot of eyeballs, including those that need corrective lenses, it only works in the context of an integrated marketing campaign, she and others agreed.
“If you’re going to spend the money, you need to leverage it beyond the 30 seconds,” said Sandy McBride, marketing vice president of Emerald Nuts, another first-timer.
The snack-nut maker, a new brand developed by a 93-year-old walnut farmers’ cooperative, will promote its Super Bowl spot with a full-page newspaper ad before the game. And viewers will be encouraged to log on to a clever Web site after the game to continue the story begun in its commercial, which features Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and a unicorn.
With humor, mythical animals, a mythical celebrity and snack food, the ad has all the ingredients of a potential Super Bowl classic.
GoDaddy.com, on the other hand, is courting controversy with an ad that appears to portray an attractive young woman losing her blouse at a hearing on broadcast censorship. Parsons, the GoDaddy founder, promised that the spot would be “in extremely good taste.”
“It’s fun and it’s not tawdry,” he said.
And how will we know whether the ad succeeded?
“Watch the 2006 Super Bowl,” he said. “If I’m back in it, it worked.”
The Galveston County Daily News
By Daniel Huron
A lock taking a bullet and surviving. Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing a superhuman game of horse. A herd of Clydesdales playing a fierce game of football.
To the millions of people who have watched the Super Bowl through the years, these words may conjure familiar images.
The commercials that air during the National Football League’s championship game are, to some people, just as popular as the game itself. Some take on a life of their own.
Carl Boudoin of Texas City isn’t even a football fan, but he watches the big game for the commercials.
‘I sit there and watch the whole game, but if it wasn’t for the ads, I’d probably flip back and forth,’ he said. ‘I hate to change channels because you could miss one of the commercials.’
Greg Clausen, the executive director of the Cramer-Kasselt ad agency in Chicago, says the Super Bowl is ‘really the last remaining mass media event and probably the only TV event were people look forward to the ads.’
On a dusty plain, under a blistering sun, a group of cowboys herds a pack of cats towards an unknown destination.
When Stuart Larson, an assistant professor of graphics design at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, thinks of Super Bowl advertisements, this commercial for Electronic Data Systems that aired during the 2000 game immediately comes to mind. He finds the wittiness and creativity of the spot appealing.
The Budweiser commercials ‘ which often contain edgy, if not borderline offensive humor ‘ are also among viewers’ favorites.
Boudoin remembers the ‘Bud-weis-er’ frogs and loves commercials that feature animals and cartoons. Ads that feature celebrities are fine, he said, but usually not the best ones.
This is no surprise to Rama Yelkur, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin.
‘Humor and animals make a winning combination,’ she said. ‘People want to laugh when they’re seeing the Super Bowl. It’s a party atmosphere. They don’t want to see a serious commercial.’
Yelkur and her colleague, Chuck Tomkovick, have published two major studies on Super Bowl advertising.
Analyzing more than 450 Super Bowl commercials aired between 1990 and 1999, the researchers discovered that, besides humor and animals, other factors influence ad likability scores.
Their findings indicate the length of the ad (30 to 60 seconds is the ideal length), the type of products advertised (food, beverages and entertainment work best) and the presence of celebrities are instrumental in the success of a Super Bowl commercial.
Although Chris John Mallios of League City doesn’t eat at the fast food restaurant, the McDonald’s showdown between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird during the 1993 Super Bowl is one ad that’s hard for him to forget.
A little sentimentality never hurts, though.
One of Mallios’ favorite ads was the 1979 spot with Pittsburgh Steelers legend ‘Mean’ Joe Green and a generous boy who gave him his Coke.
The ad actually made its debut a few months earlier but, like Mallios, many people still remember this classic as a Super Bowl ad.
‘(Green) had a reputation for being mean,’ Mallios said. ‘Here was this larger than life character that nobody would approach and here was this kid.’
Clausen, of the Cramer-Kasselt ad agency, which produced three commercials for CareerBuilder.com for this year’s Super Bowl, said one of the commercials that has stuck in his mind throughout the years is the famous Master Lock spot.
In that ad, one of the company’s products is shot with a rifle and stays latched together.
He said he admired the advertisement for many years, even before he started working at the Chicago-based Cramer-Kasselt, the firm that created it.
The Master Lock ad ‘ which aired on 21 Super Sundays beginning in 1974 ‘ was a dramatic demonstration of a product’s durability.
Its strength, Clausen said, derived from the advertiser’s ability to present a clear message.
All the rules of advertising apply when creating an ad for the Super Bowl, Clausen said. The customers and viewers, however, expect more.
It is widely believed in the advertising industry that one commercial is responsible for raising the creative bar during the Super Bowl.
The commercial, called ’1984,’ was an Orwellian vision of a bleak future that was aired during the 1984 Super Bowl and not shown again.
The ad introduced Apple Computer’s Macintosh computer to the world, cost $1 million to produce and was directed by Ridley Scott, who has also directed such movies as ‘Aliens’ and ‘Gladiator.’
‘Apple took a whole year’s budget on that one spot, on one show, and no one had ever done that before,’ said Louis Sawyer, a partner in the Sawyer Riley Compton ad firm. ‘That made it newsworthy.’
‘All advertising needs to have some entertainment value,’ Sawyer said. ‘What people are looking for is a talk factor. The ads that break through have some newsworthy, entertainment aspect to them.’
Marc Havican of Space City Films in the Clear Lake area describes ’1984′ as ‘a watershed event in the way advertisers looked at the Super Bowl.’
The success of ’1984′ showed the industry the reach advertising during the Super Bowl could have.
It’s not by chance that the following year the cost of 60 seconds of advertising time went past the $1 million mark.
This year, Fox is reportedly charging a record $2.4 million for 30 seconds of ad time.
Getting It Right
Some advertisers get so bogged down in being creative and clever that they forget to get a message across to the viewers, industry insiders say.
Clausen remembers a commercial that aired a few years ago that involved a gerbil being shot out of a cannon. He still doesn’t know what it was promoting.
Allan Steinmetz, CEO of Inward Strategic Consulting in Newton, Mass., stresses clients and their agencies need to find a balance between relevance and resonance.
‘All too often, the ad agencies and their clients get caught up in the hoopla of making an impact alone and overproduce a spot to the point where the production value of the spot is more important than the message,’ he said. ‘On the other hand, too much emphasis on the message, without the benefit of a creative idea, is also a big mistake.’
In The Year 2005
Following last year’s infamous wardrobe malfunction, many advertisers are expected to shy away from risqu’e ads.
The Cialis commercial promoting the erectile dysfunction drug could raise some objections because of its subject matter. But otherwise, advertisers are not expected to cross the line of good taste.
This year’s commercials will feature a lot of familiar faces. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and other Muppets will promote Pizza Hut in one spot, while the Pillsbury Doughboy, Count Chocula and Mr. Clean endorse MasterCard in another.
A commercial featuring a priest who covets a Lincoln Mark LT truck was pulled earlier this week after a group supporting the victims of sex abuse by priests complained the advertisement was inappropriate.
The popularity of the commercials is such that online polls and online betting will draw viewers from their TV sets to their computer screens.
America Online and USA Today will offer Super Bowl enthusiasts a chance to vote for their favorite commercials.
Bud’s ‘Donkey’ spot won first place last year among 3.5 million people who cast their votes on the AOL site.
BETonSports.com, an online and telephone sports book and casino operator, also scored a touchdown with consumers. The site received more than 450,000 wagers in 2004.
The company estimates this number will increase more than 15 percent in 2005, with about 75 percent of those who bet on the outcome of the Super Bowl game also betting on ‘special propositions.’ Such propositions include picking the highest rated Super Bowl TV commercials.
When the post-game show ends, the bowls of chips are empty and the trashcans are left overflowing with beer cans, the excitement generated by the Super Bowl will, as it does every year, carry over to the next day.
Bob Senter, a football fan from Texas City, said he always looks forward to the discussion after the Super Bowl.
‘The creativity that comes out is what makes the ads great,’ he said. ‘The fact that on Monday morning there’s people talking about which ads they like the best is something unique to the Super Bowl.’
Lifestyle Editor Carolina Amengual, reporter Nathan Smith and the Associated Press contributed to this article.