Comments:Super Bowl: The most important ad break on the planet

Super Bowl 2012 has just happened. I know you were all glued to your screens, but for those who weren’t, the Giants beat the Patriots 21-17. What they had to do to get those scores, I have no idea. I’ve not taken the time to understand the game and, as a Rugby fan, I’m still at a loss as to why everyone has to wear armour.
Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison

Super Bowl 2012 has just happened. I know you were all glued to your screens, but for those who weren’t, the Giants beat the Patriots 21-17. What they had to do to get those scores, I have no idea. I’ve not taken the time to understand the game and, as a Rugby fan, I’m still at a loss as to why everyone has to wear armour.

But American Football is not the point of this piece. For brands, the Super Bowl

Championship television audience represents the pinnacle of all TV advertising opportunities on the planet.

Super Bowl XLVI (they dress in armour, and number off in Latin?) commanded an average audience of 111.3 million TV viewers. This rose to 114 million at half time when they rolled Madonna out to sing a few ditties.

Previously the biggest rated show on US television was the final episode of the

Korean War Military Hospital series M*A*S*H, which stood unchallenged for 30 years at 106 million tearful viewers.

The cost of airtime in the Super Bowl ad breaks is staggering. Super Bowl XLVI set a record for the price of a Super Bowl advertisement, selling 58 spots during the game generating US $75 million for the network NBC.

The most expensive advertisement sold for $5.84 million. In any African market, that would be a big brand spend for an entire year.

So advertising in Super Bowl is not for everyone. Deep pockets and thrust-out chests are the order of the day. You wont be surprised to know that brewers and car manufacturers lead the charge, and have spent even more millions creating special TV spots to run there.

Nissan and Chrysler are inveterate Super Bowl advertisers. Creating huge budget

TV spots directed by Hollywood greats like Ridley Scott and Clint Eastwood.

Muscly Brewer Anheuser Bush is rarely absent. In 2002 it devoted the spot to paying respect to New York City in the aftermath of 9/11.

Every adman and marketing lady knows that in 1984 the Apple brand launched with an iconic piece of communication that spoofed the plot of the novel 1984.

In it, a woman athlete invades an auditorium of drones, and hurls a huge hammer through a giant screen on which the image of Big Brother is talking. The analogy was not lost on a computer market dominated by giants like IBM. And the ad was only shown once.

In 2010, controversy surrounded an ad funded by the socially conservative organisation Focus on the Family Two 30-second commercials were aired, which included Tim Tebow’s personal story as part of an overall pro-life stance. Tebow is a professional football player of strong evangelistic bent.

During his birth in Makati City in the Philippines his mother made a pro-life decision. Suffering a life-threatening infection from a pathogenic amoeba she was treated with powerful drugs that caused a severe placental abruption. Doctors had expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion, even though illegal in the Phillipines, to protect her life. But she decided not to have one.

Absent from the Super Bowl ad scene for three years, Toyota returned to this year’s championship with a pair of 30-second spots that dramatise the theme of “reinvention.”

Toyota ‘s best-selling Camry model stars in one of the spots, which cleverly integrates bits about friendly house plants and a Department of Motor Vehicles that offers minigolf and free ice cream while customers wait ... and wait.

The Camry is America’s most popular car, and the spot celebrated its redesign.

So, ‘marketing money well-spent ‘would be a fair judgment.

Chris Harrison is Chairman Young & Rubicam Group Africa

 

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