Advertisers win with Super Bowl outage
Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after the San Francisco 49ers couldn't convert a fourth down play to turn the ball over in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLVII. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images
Chrysler's Jeep advertisement featuring a salute to US troops and narration by Oprah Winfrey, an Oreo ad asking viewers to vote cookie or créme, and a scantily clad male Calvin Klein model were among stand-out commercials during last night’s Super Bowl.
The stakes were high for the championship football game's advertising sponsors, who spent as much as $133,333 a second for a half-minute of airtime yesterday, a record marketers say was
justified thanks to expected repeat viewings and the so-called 'buzz' on the Web. Rates for Super Bowl spots have climbed about 60 per cent over the past decade, showing how much marketers value the chance to reach the largest TV audience.
Last year's game had 78 commercials and produced ad sales of $262.5 million, according to Kantar Media. Super Bowl sponsors get a 20 per cent increase in traffic on their websites on the day of the game, and the audience remains higher than average the following week, according to an analysis from Adobe Systems
Ads by Budweiser and PepsiCo's Doritos were less engaging, according to advertising experts, in the game that is annually the largest showcase for US consumers with more than 100 million viewers.
The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 after the 49ers staged a furious comeback following a 34-minute partial blackout of the Superdome in New Orleans.
During the blackout, CBS filled the time with recaps by the network's commentators and did not use any of the ads, but the game broadcaster said it would honor its commitments to advertisers who paid an average of $4 million for a 30-second commercial. As a result of the delay, the game ran until 10.45pm on the East Coast.
"Hands down, the winner was Chrysler because of American pride," said Jim Joseph, president of North America division for Cohn & Wolfe. "Unlike other carmakers, they didn't talk about their features. Instead they showed what they're doing in partnership with USO to bring home troops to their families."
The National Football League's big game started off on a somber note with a rendition of "America the Beautiful" by Jennifer Hudson and the chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed in the December 14th shooting.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including more than 800 mayors led by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, ran an ad in the Washington, DC, area that urged politicians to pass rules requiring background checks on gun buyers.
CBS spokespeople did not elaborate on how they would honour commitments from advertisers. Jim Joseph of Cohn & Wolfe said that by "honouring their commitments," CBS guaranteed that the placement of ads would not be affected, with those in the third and fourth quarter appearing where they had been contracted to appear.
While the game was being played, advertisers offered the kind of humour-laced ads that have annually been a part of the game.
An M&M ad featuring "Glee" star Naya Rivera romancing a red M&M was a crowd pleaser, while an Oreo ad asking viewers to visit the social network Instagram to vote on whether they prefer the cookie or créme of the iconic sandwich cookies was another hit.
"That was brilliant marketing and generated thousands of hits on Instagram within minutes," said Joseph.
Chrysler's salute to US troops was in keeping with patriotic messages that appear to becoming a hallmark of its ads. Last year, Chrysler's commercial featured a surprise guest appearance by Clint Eastwood who proclaimed it "Halftime in America."