Hype for Super Bowl commercials remains high

MCT Campus Photo: Thirty seconds of airtime for a Super Bowl commercial can cost an average of $4 million.

MCT Campus Photo:
Thirty seconds of airtime for a Super Bowl commercial can cost an average of $4 million.

This Sunday a new champion will be crowned in the NFL. For advertisers and everybody else, will a commercial be crowned champion?

No doubt you can expect some remarkable entertainment from this year’s Super Bowl ads, being that it is the most expensive 30 seconds on television. Thirty seconds of airtime cost an average of $4 million, plus the cost of producing the commercial. The pressure for brands to make their commercial stand out is higher than ever.

Reaching 108 million viewers without offending them can be a challenge, said Tom Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

For companies participating in the big game, it is about “can I win the Super Bowl before it begins?” Calkins said.

Many advertisers like Bud Light, M&M and Toyota are using social media presence and dedicated websites to show teaser videos for the upcoming ads. In other words, they are building up anticipation by showing a commercial for a commercial, Calkins explained.

Teasers include Arnold Schwarzenegger gearing up to play Ping Pong and Don Cheadle standing next to a llama for Bud Light. The yellow M&M gets kidnapped and ex-NFL player Terry Crews meets the Muppets in his Toyota Highlander.

Even though teasers seem to be the trend this year, many full ads are already up for viewing and you can expect to see more as we near Super Bowl Sunday.

An important question: Is it worth the price? Mentioned in a recent Forbes article, past research has shown that viewers like commercials that are least effective at selling. Too many companies blow their opportunity by focusing on entertainment rather than making a selling point. Most ideas have been used in commercials in past years, such as the use of celebrities, cute dogs and babies.

Rather than using a celebrity, telling a story or creating a funny idea, the key ingredient to a successful commercial is writing, said Michael Learmonth of Advertising Age in a recent interview with 3TV. Great writing will help recognize the brand the next day and months to come, said Learmonth.

Learmonth described many recent memorable ads as “mini movies.”

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