When the 2011 version of the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I tournament begins in a few weeks, it will have a new format, new marketing partners and new media destinations.
Maybe it was coincidence, but the fact that AOL announced its acquisition of The Huffington Post at midnight ET after the Super Bowl made me think the deal announcement had been timed to compete with water cooler chatter the next morning in offices around the country. Okay, maybe just offices in New York, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, but it did indeed compete for airtime versus the Packers win over the Steelers.
In this sound byte society that we live in, many will embrace flawed methodologies to proclaim victory. But unlike a single football game or the ads within it, victory can't be attributable to a singular 30-second increment. Rather, a championship is the result of a carefully planned, multi-faceted and consistently analyzed campaign. Effective and regular brand perception tracking within a sponsor-blind and natural environment can help sports marketers and property holders know the real score.
Look for ads focused on the consumers and America, with a patriotic feel and/or "green" theme. But with a potential NFL lockout looming, maybe these companies think their Super Bowl ads are worth the price while pro football is still around.