Friday, December 07, 2007

Superbowl Ads - $2.7 Million A Pop

While ad spending nationally is in the doldrums, Super Bowl ad spending is on a tear.

Super Bowl XLII is nearly two months off, but only two of 63 30-second slots remain available, Fox has confirmed. In recent years, the number of available slots at this point has been two or three times that. And this year, Fox is charging a record $2.7 million for each 30-second slot.

"You used to have choices for mass audiences," says Jim Nail, chief marketer for brand tracker Cymfony. Now, the choices are few. "This is the one event you can reach this kind of audience."

That's why Anheuser-Busch is back. "It is absolutely the best live TV event that money can buy," says Bob Lachky, A-B's ad chief. A-B will be the game's biggest advertiser, with four minutes of ads. Even at a time when many advertisers nationally are shifting ad dollars from TV to the Internet, interest in the Feb. 3 broadcast is huge. Fox already has lined up nearly 30 advertisers for the big game, including Kraft, which hasn't appeared in 10 years, and Audi, which has been absent from the game for 20.

Among major marketers returning to the Super Bowl this year: Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Unilever, General Motors and Sony Pictures. For some, it's about reaching out to that hard-to-reach male. That's who Kraft's Planters peanuts brand is chasing. Planters has never appeared in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is "clearly the place" to talk to men, says Allan Lindsay, Planters' senior director of marketing. "It's a big splash that aligns very well to the consumers we want to reach. And it's a big snacking occasion, as well."

More than 90 million viewers are expected to tune in. The big audience is why GM is in.

"It's become a social event, and the commercials have become as important as the game itself," says Ryndee Carney, a spokeswoman for GM, which will air a Chevy spot.

Also gearing up for game day:

•PepsiCo. The company's snack giant, Frito-Lay, is back in the game with a user-made ad as part of a promotion in which people can submit music videos and original songs. Of the 352 entries, one will win a 60-second appearance in the game and a recording deal with Interscope Records. Also in is Gatorade for its second Super Bowl appearance. And Pepsi-Cola is considering ads for energy drink Amp, Diet Pepsi Max or Pepsi.

• The website company prides itself on the publicity around its Super Bowl ads as much as the ads themselves. Founder Bob Parsons is trying to clear a racy ad that features one of three sexy spokeswomen.

So far, three ads with actor Booth Colman that spoof Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea for disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport restroom have been shot down.

The irony, Parsons says, is that the irreverent Fox network is "saying what is in good taste."

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