They are the commercials that steal the show on Superbowl Sunday, and this year celebrities from Homer Simpson to Jessica Simpson will lead the pack.
Other big stars are also getting paid big bucks to make a pitch during the greatest show on turf. America’s favorite outlaw, Willie Nelson, will appear onscreen on Sunday.
The ads are certainly not cheap. Richard Linnett of Advertising Age says that a 30-second commercial will cost $2.3 million on Super Bowl Sunday. He says, “This is the highest fee in TV history for any kind of show, let alone the Super Bowl.”
The Super Bowl has become as much a competition among the top creative minds in the advertising industry as it is for quarterbacks and linebackers. Here is a preview of some of the contenders for this year’s advertising battle:
Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo Inc., has a slapstick spot showing a pair of barely ambulatory grandparents scrambling over each other for a bag of potato chips. Grandpa gets to the bag first, only to find that Grandma has stolen his dentures.
Anheuser-Busch Cos., a perennial Super Bowl advertiser who brought us the talking frogs and the “Whassssup?” guys, is expected to introduce a donkey who wants to be a Clydesdale horse.
America Online Inc. will be using spots featuring a raucous motorcyle-making family featured in the TV show “American Chopper” to promote its TopSpeed technology for speeding up Internet connections.
Makers of rival erectile dysfunction drugs, Cialis and Levitra, will also be running ads. Levitra, which is an official NFL sponsor, currently features ads with football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.
American Legacy Foundation will be making its second appearance in a Super Bowl with an anti-tobacco spot featuring a fictitious company called “Shards O’Glass.” Hint: They make things that are really bad for you.