Super Bowl Marketers Must Gauge Sensitivity

Monsters vs. Aliens stuffAt $3 million a shot, it had better work, right? That's what marketers like, Pedigree, and Pepsi will be shelling out for a 30-second Super Bowl spot on Feb. 1. What they get is some 140 million viewers, give or take a few hundred thousand. What else they get depends on how sensitive they are to the economy, and how well they exploit their presence after the game, says Kellogg School of Management Prof. Tim Calkins. 

Calkins is co-leader of the Northwestern University business school's fifth annual Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review, wherein the school's marketing faculty and 30 to 40 students in the Kellogg Marketing Club rate the ads and rank them from least to most successful.

Calkins says two trends he sees for Super Bowl XLIII are the continuation of integrated follow-up campaigns. "That has been increasing every year and that will increase this year," he notes. "What they are really buying is the ability to create a much bigger campaign around [the Super Bowl]."



The other is that marketers will have to respond to the economy. "We will also see a lot of classic formula: humor, and big productions. But the wrinkle in all of this is the shift in the mood of the country and how advertisers will respond. And I think advertisers who try to be too flippant in this environment will miss the mark."

He predicts that Anheuser-Busch will stick to more iconic imagery along the lines of last year's Clydesdale spot. "They have been saying that they won't be quite as focused on humor."

He says three advertisers to watch are Coke's Powerade, reportedly planning a racy spot; Pedigree dog food, a new advertiser that will reportedly be running a spot about adopting pets; and then and, both advertising for the first time during the game. "Given the state of the economy, the question for those advertisers is, what is the right approach? Do you go with light and funny, which is what CareerBuilder has done in the past?"

If the Super Bowl is where advertisers play with concepts, one of the most audacious is Pepsi and DreamWorks' 3-D effort touting "Monsters V. Aliens" and SoBe. Intel made the 125 million viewing glasses that Pepsi will give away at POP displays starting on Jan. 19.

Says Calkins: "I think there's a lot to be said for trying to reach out and engaging people; the Super Bowl is also an advertising film festival, and the more you engage folks the better."

1 comment about "Super Bowl Marketers Must Gauge Sensitivity ".
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  1. Fred Leo from Ad Giants, January 6, 2009 at 7:44 p.m.

    If time + tragedy=comedy, I wouldn't go go for guffaws yet.

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