Super Bowl XLIV Advertising Sneak Peek

February 4th, 2010


Super Bowl XLIV will be only broadcast digitally – a first.  CBS has reached its goal of selling out the commercial inventory.  Advertisers caught a break this year and paid $2.5 million to $2.8 million per commercial for one 30-second in-game spot compared to a year ago, when NBC sold 30-second spots for around $3 million each.

This year’s ad roster includes Hyundai, Audi, Honda Motor, Chrysler’s Dodge, E-Trade, Go Daddy, Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola, Cars.com, CareerBuilder, Doritos, Bridgestone and Anheuser Busch. Looks like automakers are making a comeback.

New advertisers include Boost Mobile, vacation rental service HomeAway, the U.S. Census Bureau and Christian group Focus on the Family, which is airing a controversial pro-life spot that has drawn protests.

Veteran Super Bowl advertisers not participating this year include:  Fedex, General Motors and PepsiCo’s Pepsi.  In lieu of running in the Super Bowl, Pepsi launched its Pepsi refresh project. At the Pepsi Refresh website you can submit ideas to help and make a positive impact. The ideas with the most votes get cash grants from Pepsi.

Rumored but not “officially” on the committed list is Motorola. Rumors of Motorola advertising during Super Bowl appeared end of 2009. But it’s been very secretive about any Super Bowl 2010 ad plans. Now Motorola has set up a teaser site for their commercial and it features a bath tub.  The preview merely shows a stylish bathroom with a bath tub filled with bubbles. We will see what can happen when the power of Motoblur is unleashed.

In the last few years, many companies have used a strategy of “leaking” Super Bowl ads on the web to create buzz before they actually air.  I had a chance recently to preview some of these ads.

  • New player HomeAway brings back Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as Clark and Ellen Griswold from the 80s movie National Lampoon’s Vacation.  The company is publishing a 15-minute mini movie on their site right after the Super Bowl commercial airs. Many Super Bowl viewers will miss 15 minutes of the game as the HomeAway Hotel Hell Mini Movie promises to be very funny.
  • The Denny’s Super Bowl 2010 commercial is set to be funny again. A new advocate who invites viewers to enjoy a Free Original Grand Slam while warning chickens to get out of town because “it’s going to be a tough week for egg layers.”
  • The “Punch Dub” VW ad is based on the classic game that kids used to play back in the original Beetle’s heyday called “Punch Buggy” (or “Slug Bug”), where the first person to see a Beetle would yell, “Punch Bug” and playfully slug his or her friend. Volkswagen also “found” the creator of the original game, Charlie “Sluggy” Patterson. This is my favorite ad so far.
  • Audi leads up to their Super Bowl 2010 ad with funny Green Police spots.
  • Diamond Foods will be running a whacky Super Bowl commercial for its Pop Secret popcorn and Emerald Nuts.
  • Bridgestone is back at the Super Bowl with two new commercials. The first Bridgestone Super Bowl commercial dubbed “Whale of a Tale” has three guys and a giant Orca whale on a truck. Apparently the guys try to save the whale, but what really happens in the commercial is not revealed yet.
  • The centerpiece of the Boost Mobile ad is an off-beat re-creation of the 1985 music video using most of the players, the editing techniques and the same look as the iconic original. Legendary coach Mike Ditka also makes a special cameo appearance in the spot.
  • kgb agent ads leading up to the kgb Super Bowl ad features two Baldwin brothers.
  • Dove Men+Care features one man’s journey of unsung moments from birth to fatherhood in a montage of scenes set to the ‘William Tell Overture’.