Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Superbowl advertising worth the $$?

Or perhaps I should say, "Is Superbowl advertising worth the $$$$$$$$$$$$$?"

Take a look at this study from Mediapost:

First And Goal: Rookie Marketers Seek Super Bowl Success
As the clock ticks toward Super Bowl XLIV, rookie marketers are looking to get their 15 minutes -- or, in this case, 30 seconds -- of fame by filling the remaining slots on CBS. The list of official first-time advertisers in the Big Game includes such heavy-hitters as Dr Pepper, Electronic Arts and Boost Mobile, in addition to HomeAway, Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting System TruTV and text-messaging answering service KGB. That already surpasses the number of rookies who appeared during NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII last February:, Castrol, Denny's, Teleflora and Vizio.

According to marketing and research firm TNS Media Intelligence, there were a total of 36 first-time Super Bowl advertisers between 2005 and 2009, comprising about 20% of the total ad rosters.

Of the five rookies from Super Bowl XLIII, Denny's and Teleflora have returned for Super Bowl XLIV. But that doesn't mean others didn't get their $3 million worth (NBC's asking rate vs. CBS's $2.5-$2.8 million for 30 seconds this year). According to, whose TV spot, "One-Up," starred former Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon and musician MC Hammer, "Less than 24 hours after its debut, the spot received over one million hits on video-hosting Web sites such as YouTube, MySpace and Yahoo! Video."

Vacation-rental firm HomeAway is said to have put $1 million into upgrading its Web site in anticipation of the added traffic it expects after Super Bowl XLIV.

Denny's said its Super Bowl XLIII spot touting a Grand Slam Breakfast giveaway, attracted "up to 2 million people during the eight-hour promotion." Denny's is said to be offering another such freebee in its Super Bowl XLIV spot.

While rookies are filling slots, some veterans have dropped out. PepsiCo, whose Super Bowl ad spend from 1990-2009 was $253.2 million (second during that period to Anheuser-Busch's $311.8 million), per TNS, will not advertise its flagship Pepsi brand this year and is putting the money behind its cause-related Refresh Project.

"The Super Bowl broadcast can be an amazing stage for advertisers if it aligns with their brand strategy," Frank Cooper, svp-chief consumer engagement officer at PepsiCo Americas Beverages, said in a statement. "However, brands should not blindly anchor themselves to history." FedEx and General Motors dropped out last year for economic reasons and have not yet returned.

A Super Bowl ad can reach 90 million viewers, but that does not guarantee success. Super Bowl XXXIV, which aired on ABC on Jan. 30, 2000, has infamously become known as the "Dot.Com" Bowl due to the 17 mostly rookie online or tech companies that purchased time at more than $2 million for 30 seconds.

The majority were one-and-literally-done with the Super Bowl, including,,,,,, and Netpliance. Two of the 17 are still in the Super Bowl ad mix: and E*Trade, the latter of which paid humorous homage to its fallen dot.comrades in a Super Bowl XXXV ad, complete with the still appropriate tagline, "Invest wisely."

Barry Janoff is executive editor of, a daily sports marketing site. He previously was the executive editor and sports editor at The Nielsen Co., where he wrote a weekly sports marketing column, "The Game." Janoff has been covering sports marketing for more than 25 years and has had articles published in "Entertainment Weekly," "The Sporting News," "Newsday," "San Francisco Chronicle" and in-flight magazines for American Airlines, United, Delta and USAir. Reach him here.

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