FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

With Super Bowl Advertising, Funny is Money

Last year, in the wake of the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe maufunction" of the year before, Super Bowl advertisers went with muted, more respectful commercials. There was just one problem: they weren't that effective.

This year, humor is back in Super Bowl ads, with brewer Anheuser-Busch leading the way. The stakes are high -- not just because of production costs and the $2.5 million price tag for a 30-second spot, but because the Super Bowl represents the last bastion of the mass TV audience (90 million strong) that advertisers crave:

"Water-cooler talk is really important. It's a measure of success," says [Marlene] Coulis, vice president for brand management at Anheuser. "If you can get the commercial to be part of pop culture, it makes the ad more memorable..."

The obsession over one telecast underscores how valuable the Super Bowl has become as a mass-market advertising arena, in an increasingly fragmented media world. The broadcast not only draws an audience roughly four times as big as most popular TV shows, but it also draws an audience that is very likely to be watching the ads and not using TiVo-like devices to skip through commercial breaks.

To be sure, Anheuser-Busch and other Super Bowl advertisers will be sweating every detail of their spots right up until game day. Moreover, the Super Bowl is unique in that its advertisers compete for top ranking in several national polls, such as that conducted by USA Today.

And if you have $2.5 million to drop on a 30-second spot, you're in luck. This year's game still has several available slots.

Source: Wall Street Journal