The 60-year-old Tide, a growing performer at P&G, held an event in New Orleans this week to celebrate its effort in helping to rebuild 10 homes for families impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2004, P&G debuted in the Super Bowl with a spot for Charmin that came after the company launched an internal competition among its agencies to develop the most compelling spot for the game. Charmin's football-themed effort took the cake.
While P&G took a pass on the game over the next three years, it did run spots in 2006 for Gillette, but that came just a few months after P&G acquired the razor giant, and the planning and buying likely had already taken place under the aegis of Gillette.
Fox and P&G declined comment regarding this year's game.
It's likely P&G paid significantly below the bandied-about $2.7 million average per spot this year, due to the heavy load of media it buys and long-time support of networks such as Fox--as broadcasters tend to reward consistency with below-market pricing. P&G is the country's leading advertiser, and uses Saatchi & Saatchi for its Tide account.
Industry observers have marveled at the swift pace by which Fox has nearly sold out the Super Bowl so far in advance of the February kick-off. The network has about 32 minutes of advertising to sell in the game, divided between 30- and 60-second spots.