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K.Mac curates some of the marketing strategy, sports biz, sponsorship news and creative advertising news that catches our attention. Here is a look at some standout business strategy, brand-building and Super Bowl advertising that caught our attention this week.

Super Bowl advertising is dominating the airwaves and will be doing so through Super Sunday and the next week. This is big stakes – products, campaigns, companies, careers are on the line … either hit a home run or fail miserably. Reports indicate that some companies are investing $4 million for a :30 second spot. As a marketer, would you? Some strategic questions … do you release your spots early via social media to generate buzz or do you keep secret until the game itself. Are you ads slotted early in the game or late in the second half? Will it be a good game or a bust. So many parameters to consider. One must take calculated risks to win.

Based on what I’ve viewed to date, here’s what I see trending for ads leading to the Super Bowl:

1. story telling – ads are incorporating the art of story telling to be more interesting, less broadcasting and focus on pure brand benefits;

2. ads are longer ads

3. campaigns are holistic with a strong digital link

4. nostalgia plays a role ie. Downy and Mean Joe Greene (what’s old is new again)

Also, here are 12 ads that changed Super Bowl Marketing and some of the Best Super Bowl Ads (this list is not comprehensive). Enjoy. 

Super Bowl Advertising Sells Out


It is never shocking to hear about the steep cost of Super Bowl commercials or to hear that the network televising the game is doing smashingly well at selling its advertising.

For the Feb. 5 game in Indianapolis, NBC said it sold all of its 30-second ads, at an average of $3.5 million, by Thanksgiving. That’s up from about $3 million last year when Fox carried the game.

At a $3.5 million average, the 70 commercials that run during the game would produce $245 million in gross revenue; subtract ad agency commission, and NBC would receive just over $208 million.

Then, add in the revenue from the six commercials that will run during halftime, and still more in the six hours of pregame programming, and you can see why networks love Super Bowls.

“We should shatter all prior records for that day,” Seth Winter, the senior vice president for sales and marketing for the NBC Sports Group, said last week.

 In 2009, the last time NBC carried the Super Bowl, selling advertising was not so easy, and it had to keep at it through the weekend of the game. NBC left the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing with 85 percent of its Super Bowl advertising sold. Then the economy cratered.

“We really slogged through the last 15 percent,” Winter said. Not so this time. While the economy is not robust, advertising for major sports events is. “I never underestimate luck and timing,” he added.

NBC is also selling advertising on its live streamed broadcast of the game and on Super Bowl-related programming to be shown on the NBC Sports Network.

“Every advertiser in the Super Bowl has some participation across the board of the NBC Sports Group portfolio,” Winter said.

The ability to sell advertising at enormous prices for a game that will reach over 100 million viewers is one reason NBC agreed last month to a nine-year deal that starts in 2014 with the N.F.L. and will cost the network an average of $950 million annually. The contract guarantees NBC three Super Bowl broadcasts.


12 Ads that Changed Super Bowl Marketing – AdAge, Jan 9, 2012

 Save your complaints. We’re not choosing the best or worst ads in Super Bowl history, just the ones that advanced the niche practice of Super Bowl marketing. Whether they pushed the pop-culture envelope, captured consumer attitudes for a moment or forced changes in how the big game’s ads are run, the following represent the commercials we think spurred the most movement. 

Apple, “1984”


WHAT: An athlete hurls a sledgehammer against a “Big Brother” figure in an Orwellian state. The ad suggested revolution was in the air, just asApple introduced its Macintosh computer and prepared to take on the staid IBM.
WHY: Super Bowl ads have always made us laugh. This one made us think.


WHAT: Brother Dominic finishes the arduous task of duplicating an old manuscript when his supervisor tells him to come up with 500 more copies. He finds his way to a secret Xerox shop. Upon his return with a stack of copies, his superior proclaims, “It’s a miracle!” 
WHY: Making fun of a religious order? Irreverent. And a big step toward some of the more ribald humor of today.


WHAT: Bottles of Bud Light square off against bottles of Budweiser in this stop-motion-animation football classic that lasted several more years. 
WHY: Why run a single ad when you can run a commercial that lasts the whole game? While “Bud Bowl” is often satirized today, at the time it showed that an advertiser could devise something bigger around the Super Bowl than a couple of 30-second commercials.



WHAT: MC Hammer and the late Ed McMahon hold forth for the practice of turning in jewelry to get much-needed dinero. 
WHY: The Super Bowl was long thought of as an event reserved for blue-chip advertising. In the middle of a severe recession, however, the appearance of a marketer more traditionally associated with direct-response advertising shattered that convention forever.

Monster, “When I Grow Up…”


WHAT: A series of kids stare at the camera and discuss the shattered dreams that await them in the workplace, including growing up to be a “brown nose,” clawing one’s way to middle management, or being forced into early retirement. 
WHY: Humor tinged with cynicism suggested that Super Bowl audiences were more sophisticated than anyone had dreamed.

Chrysler, “Imported From Detroit”


WHAT: An ad clocking in at a whopping two minutes (!!!) trumpets the return of the U.S. automotive industry (and Chrysler) by introducing the slogan “Imported from Detroit.” 
WHY: A bold maneuver–Fox had to rearrange its ad load for last year’s Super Bowl broadcast because of the length of the spot–showed that, once again, anyone willing to spend big can shake up the typical Super Bowl marketing formula.


WHAT: The brewer’s iconic team of horses journeys to the Hudson River, where they bow in deference to a city that had been struck by the 9/11 terrorist attack just months earlier. 
WHY: The spot offered proof that Super Bowl ads can do more than just sell or make us laugh.


WHAT: A bunch of white men drug a Kenyan runner and shove Nike shoes onto his feet while he lies unconscious. Upon waking, the runner is horrified and tries to shake the sneakers off. 
WHY: Just For Feet was accused of being racist, but the ad appears to have given others leeway to marginalize other cultures during the Super Bowl. Just ask SalesGenie (2008) or Groupon (2011).


WHAT: A marksman takes aim at a Master Lock, which is damaged by the shot but still holds fast. 
WHY: Sometimes, the simplest image is the most effective. This one worked so well for the company that it ran the same spot for nine years..

 EDS, “Herding Cats”


WHAT: A group of cowpokes takes to the plains to herd hundreds of scattered felines. 
WHY: This visually dazzling spot showed the increasing importance of special effects and digital manipulation to Super Bowl advertisers..



WHAT: The marketers behind the cheesy Frito-Lay chip ask amateurs to create Doritos ads for the Super Bowl, and then run them with little gloss. 
WHY: It proved a solid spot could come sans big-production values, special effects and big ad-agency geniuses. (In 2007, Chevy and NFL also bowed user-generated ads.).

CBS, “David Letterman and Surprise Guests”

(2007, 2010)

WHAT: After an infamous gaffe involving Oprah Winfrey’s name at the 1995 Oscars, Mr. Letterman got the talk-show diva to appear with him in a CBS promo during the 2007 game. Three years later, he topped himself, convincing rival Jay Leno to join Ms. Winfrey and him in another spot. 
WHY: TV-network promos used to simply tell us what time a show was coming on. But CBS’s masterful effort proved they can spur as much chatter as some branded Bowl ads..

10 Best Super Bowl Ads of All-Time

Here at Co.Create, we’re firm non-believers in the “things were better back in the day” school of thought. Things, creativity, life, tend to generally get better.

And yet.

It seems as though the hype around Super Bowl advertising has grown in inverse proportion to the quality of the commercials. This is because at some point, someone figured out a Super Bowl formula, and the formula, once a handy guideline, became an overused recipe for winning increasingly meaningless AdMeter status. The broad comedy, the set-up/payoff/kicker structure that advertisers like Budweiser used to such great effect through the years were copied too many times with too few, and too slight, ideas at the core. Spots started to look the same, which is not what you want when you’re spending $3.5 million for media time. Of course there are always exceptions–brands that make the most of the scope of the media venue and the nature of the audience, but don’t forget to be original and entertaining. And there will be this year too.

Here, in anticipation, a rundown of some of the best modern-day Super Bowl spots (i.e., spots from the last several years, so no “Mean Joe Green” here. Those were different times). Use them as a yardstick against which you can measure your disappointment with most of this year’s crop of ads, or as a promise of the inevitable, rare moments of excellence that await us in Super Bowl XLVI.

Tide “Interview”
This 2007 spot from Saatchi & Saatchi New York and director Calle Astrand marked the first time P&G had sent Tide to the Super Bowl. And the brand came ready to play, with a spot that was accessibly hilarious without being vulgar.

Coca Cola “It’s Mine”

A big production number that retains charm, this 2008 spot from Wieden + Kennedy and director Nicolai Fuglsig (who is set to helm the upcoming feature Brass Monkey) is pure Coke.

Coca-Cola bonus entry: “Videogame”

Not as high profile as some of Coke’s other ad efforts, but a treat nonetheless.

Audi “Godfather”

Audi wasn’t afraid to go a little dark with its 2008 Super Bowl entry. The spot, from Venables Bell & Partners and director Noam Murro spoofed one of Hollywood’s most famous movie scenes to introduce the badass R8.

NFL “American Family”

The NFL salutes fans, and the TV families we wish we had in this 2011 spot from Grey New York.

Chrysler “Born of Fire”

This two minute epic from Wieden + Kennedy and director Sam Bayer was an audience favorite when it appeared in last year’s game and went on to win an Emmy for best commercial. The spot introduced the line “Imported From Detroit” and the idea of restored Detroit pride and maybe, possibly, factored in to Chrysler’s more upbeat sales results in 2011.

VW “The Force”

Agency Deutsch released this Lance Acord-directed spot online ahead of Super Bowl XLV, which didn’t deter it from becoming a game-day favorite and going on to 50 million views online. VW is back this year with Acord and with another Star Wars-themed spot. The agency recently launchedthis canine-driven teaser, directed by Keith Schofield.

Google “Parisian Love”

Google’s founders once said it would be a cold day in hell before they’d do TV advertising. Well, things got chilly in 2010 when the company debuted this simple spot (which was created and ran before Super Bowl XLIV) and the cold snap has only continued as Google has gone on to become a major online and TV advertiser.

Pepsi “Refresh Project”

Yes, it’s a trick answer. Because Pepsi didn’t advertise in the 2010 Super Bowl. Instead, it took its $20 million and, with agency TBWAChiatDay L.A., started a campaign to fund grass roots social and environmental ventures. The brand took some heat from Monday morning quarterbacks, but this was a big moment in marketing and one that will continue to influence brands’ media and social priorities.

Hyundai “Assurance”

This spot can’t compete with some of the others here on laughs, but this 2009 spot, from Goodby Silverstein & Partners was one of the best in the game. Coming as it did in the teeth of a poop-your-pants scary recession, the spot offered an era- appropriate message. The Jeff Bridges voice-over told us that if you bought a Hyundai and the lost your job, you could return the car with no hard feelings or hurt credit.

And, oh hell, we can’t resist: Here are some favorites from further back, just because.

ETrade “Monkey”
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners; Director: Bryan Buckley

Budweiser “Wassup”

Agency: DDB, Chicago; Director: Charles Stone III

Monster “When I Grow Up”

Agency: Mullen; Director: Bryan Buckley

EDS “Cat Herders”

Agency: Fallon; Director: John O’Hagan

Apple “1984”

Agency: TBWAChiatDay; Director: Ridley Scott





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