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January 30, 2009

Super Bowl 2009 � Deconstructing the Tech Advertising

By Richard Grigonis, Executive Editor, IP Communications Group

Traditionally, the Super Bowl is (aside from a strangely ho-hum football game) a nightmare for Gamblers’ Anonymous. Not just the bet-everything-you-own kind of gambler, but the man-in-the-gray-flannel-suit variety too, in that the Super Bowl is the preeminent television time interval where movie studios announce their summer blockbusters on which they’ve waged hundreds of millions of dollars.

Indeed, Dick Ebersol, President of NBC Sports, recently said that despite current economic conditions, the NBC network had just two available Super Bowl spots left and had sold all of rest at prices above $2.4 million.
Unfortunately, telecom industry pundits such as Yours Truly won’t be seeing very many telecom (or even high-tech) ads punctuating football’s annual epic game, this time between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Perhaps the most interesting thing scheduled is that the SoBe LifeWater brand owned by PepsiCo, will run the world’s first 3D Super Bowl ad. Yes, real stereovision 3D, made possible by making and distributing 130 million pairs of 3D glasses sporting Intel (News - Alert) logos (the ad will be a mammoth test of Intel's InTru3D technology). You can pick up a pair of the glasses ate at a LifeWater displays in your friendly local supermarket or big-box retailer.
Then there’s General Electric’s 30-second “Scarecrow” ad about Smart Grid innovation, a vision for a more efficient, sustainable electrical energy grid. The theme is the Scarecrow’s “If I Only Had a Brain” song from the Wizard of Oz. (It’s rapidly becoming Wall Street’s theme song too.) Did I mention that General Electric owns NBC, this year’s broadcaster of the Super Bowl? They probably got a great, off-the-book ad rate.
GoDaddy is back again with two commercials, and there’s going to be a rather racy one on the web. Monster.com and CareerBuilder are back, as well as Cars.com and E-Trade. Indeed, most of the advertisers are back from 2008 (one exception is Garmin (News - Alert)).
Among the usual Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and Pepsi ads, there’s a rather mystifying one scheduled by Hulu, which will “reveal the secret behind” the YouTube (News - Alert) wannabe site, which just happens to be supported by NBC Universal and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. No one at the advertising firm, MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter & Bogusky, will presumably let the secret out before the broadcast. (I hope it isn’t anticlimactic.)
Is there any philosophical or social conclusions we can draw from all of this?
“The convergence of mobile and entertainment is increasingly becoming a reality as large scale events such as the Super Bowl draw tens of millions of viewers, while at the same time, capture the attention of the mobile user for a direct or enhanced experience. The popularity of combining TV programming with a mobile element, such as Deal or No Deal have shown that today’s consumer is utilizing multiple forms of digital entertainment simultaneously and the Super Bowl has become a sweet spot for brands looking to capitalize on consumer engagement,” says Mike Wehrs (News - Alert), President and CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association.
“For example, Johnsonville Sausage is running a text-to-win mobile marketing campaign for this year’s Super Bowl,” says Wehrs, “and has developed an entire interactive tool for consumers to try. Quattro Wireless, which sells ad space in the mobile channel, is seeing an increase in companies advertising around major sporting events, especially during this weekend’s big game. Bottom line, if in these economic times, the mobile marketing industry has attracted such marquis brands such as Land Rover, Visa, Sony HD, KFC, and others to reach today’s digital consumer, I think we are in a great position to continue to help shape how consumers engage with brands as well as spend their time and money via the mobile channel.”

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC (News - Alert)�s IP Communications Group. To read more of Richard’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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