Are You Ready for Some Football?

Being a Boston gal, I spent some time on the couch with the heat cranked up watching another snowy football game yesterday.

While all my broadcast friends are cheering in the stands each year, I realize the closest I'll get is next to the big screen TV. Each year I have a bunch of people over to watch the game. To my surprise, most of the room runs to the kitchen during the bulk of the commercials. I'm left virtually alone, (with the exception of a few ad-biz friends) telling them to hush up because I'm watching the ads. If you are reading this I'm probably not alone.

Although this is the first year none of my clients have ads, I'm excited to see the lot of them.

This year, the cost of a 30-second spot will cost approximately $2.25 million, which is up 7% from last year. So who coughed up the dough? Well according to superbowl-ads.com, many did. Be on the look out for:

Announcements from Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and Apple iTunes, H&R Block, General Motors-Cadillac, Dodge, America Online (also sponsoring the halftime show), Monster.com, Gillette "M3 Power," FedEx, Visa, Frito-Lay, Staples, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Charmin toilet paper, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Walt Disney - Touchstone Pictures, American Legacy Foundation, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline - (Levitra), Pfizer Inc. - (Viagra), Eli Lilly and Icos Corp.'s - (Cialis), National Football League - (UnitedWay), Philip Morris USA, Pizza Hut (pre-game), Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation PSA (pre-game), and Subway Restaurants (postgame).

For the past couple of years I've been disappointed by the overall lack of creativity in the ads. Of course I got a lot of flack. Coming from the online world where we have to hoop-jump to get that kind of money then make every dollar pay out, I expect more.

Just think about it for a minute. How many ads to you remember from last year? Now think about your all time favorite Superbowl ads. I still remember the Apple ad from 1984. It seems a lot of other people remember this ad too. According to Adage.com Apple is rumored to be airing a 20th Anniversary Superbowl Advertisement "that would be reminiscent of '1984.'" Not only did the ad win numerous awards and critical acclaim, it is ranked 12th amongst AdAge's Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of the 20th Century. Do enough people remember the ad to run another one?

The AOL division of Time Warner is pulling out all the stops by spending about $10 million on its advertising to promote high speed Internet access. Characters from Discovery's hit show "American Chopper," will be appearing in the ads.

According to the NYTimes Digital, The campaign uses three members of the Teutul family - the cast of the "American Chopper" reality series, the top-rated show on the Discovery Channel cable network, to promote new feature of AOL 9.0 service being branded as AOL Top Speed. The feature is what is known as a Web accelerator - that is, it hastens the slow download times for Web pages, particularly for users of the lagging narrowband AOL dial-up service.

Dial-up speed is so de passé (even to those neophytes). According to the Yankee Group, broadband usage is expected to grow 80% to 29 million homes this year while dial-up shrinks 12% to 48 million. Broadband will pass dial-up in 2006, it says.

While I think AOL is on the money with this feature, are they too late to the race to push speed? I'd also like to see how many of these big advertisers have integrated campaigns. Will anyone be driving traffic to their sites? I guess we'll have to wait 2 weeks and see.

And one more thing, go Pats. Aww, come on, I had to get it in there!