The Super Bowl is a make-or-break night for advertisers

The teams on the field aren’t the only ones with Super Bowl game plans. The companies that will push their products and services from the stage of the world’s largest single-day sporting event have been planning since the final seconds of last year’s game.

Companies have thrived and nose-dived based on Super Bowl viewers’ opinions of their brand — all based on television commercials. Matthew Broderick (above) is even paying homage to one of his most beloved characters, Ferris Bueller, in an ad for Honda this year.

With the countdown clock ticking for advertisers, here are some things to know about Super Bowl commercials:

  • One-minute commercials during Super Bowl I cost $75,000 on NBC and $85,000 on CBS. (Both networks broadcast the game.) One 30-second commercial during the last Super Bowl cost around $3 million (that’s $100,000 a second).
  • The average 30-second commercial price reached $1 million for the first time in 1995. The $2 million mark was first topped in 2000, and commercial costs reached $3 million for the first time in 2009.
  • Commercial slots during the first quarter typically are the most expensive, with slots in the fourth quarter the least expensive.
  • Fifty-one percent of people surveyed by The Nielsen Company in January 2010 said they watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Also, commercials viewed during the first quarter tended to be the most remembered and the most liked.
  • The second-half kickoff of Super Bowl I had to be replayed because NBC was airing a Winston cigarettes commercial when the kickoff took place.
  • Farrah Fawcett and Joe Namath promoted Noxzema in the first high-profile Super Bowl ad, aired in 1973 during Super Bowl VII. The commercial featured Fawcett playfully spreading Noxzema shaving cream across Namath’s face.
  • Budweiser’s Clydesdales first appeared during Super Bowl XX in 1986 and have been in more than a dozen Super Bowl ads.
  • Seventeen “dot-com” companies advertised during Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, making up almost half of the advertisers. But that number dropped to three the following year because of the dot-com bust. One of the three survivors was E*Trade, which featured a monkey riding a horse past failed dot-com companies.
  • AOL was the sponsor of the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” halftime show with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004).
  • In the year after Go Daddy advertised in Super Bowl XXXIX (2005) for the first time, the domain name registrar saw its active sites increase by 136 percent. That boosted Go Daddy to become the world’s largest Web hosting firm.
  • One of the worst-received Super Bowl commercials was Just for Feet’s “Kenya Mission” spot during Super Bowl XXXIII (1999). In the commercial, four white mercenaries in a Humvee chased a Kenyan runner, gave him a drug-laced drink that knocked him unconscious, then put running shoes on him under the motto of “To serve and protect feet.” Just for Feet sued its advertising agency — the suit later was dropped — and filed for bankruptcy later that year.
  • Apple’s groundbreaking, George Orwell-inspired “1984” commercial during Super Bowl XVIII (1984) introduced consumers to the Macintosh personal computer. It also ushered in a new era of Super Bowl commercials and is widely considered the most impacting Super Bowl ad ever.
  • The original plan called for the Apple commercial to run Jan. 1 during college bowl games, but the commercial was pushed back to the Super Bowl because Macintosh’s launch date was scheduled for late January.
  • Apple bought 90 seconds of commercial time for Super Bowl XVIII. But when Apple’s board of directors strongly disliked the “1984” commercial, Apple sold 30 seconds of its slot and, eventually, decided to run the commercial anyway. The commercial cost almost $1 million to produce and ran only one other time on television — early morning on a small Idaho television station so that the commercial would be eligible for advertising awards.
  • Apple sold 72,000 Macintosh computers during the first 100 days the product was available after Super Bowl XVIII — 44 percent above projections.
  • The following year, during Super Bowl XIX, Apple followed up its super “1984” effort with one of the worst ads in Super Bowl history. Sales dropped after the “Lemmings” commercial, Apple suffered through financial difficulties, and the company didn’t advertise in another Super Bowl for more than a decade.
  • New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms (Super Bowl XXI, 1987) was the first player to be filmed on the field after a Super Bowl for an “I’m going to Disney World” commercial.
  • The “Where’s the beef?” line from the Wendy’s commercial during Super Bowl XVIII in 1984 worked its way into the world of politics later that year. Walter Mondale helped gain the Democratic nomination for president by asking, “Where’s the beef?” when criticizing Gary Hart’s campaign platform.
  • Burger King’s Herb the Nerd campaign during Super Bowl XX in 1986 is considered one of the biggest flops in Super Bowl advertising history. Consumers showed little interest in following the campaign’s theme of finding Herb, who had never eaten at Burger King, and the multimillion dollar campaign is still remembered for the wrong reasons.
  • Master Lock is considered one of Super Bowl advertising’s greatest success stories. The small company paid $107,000 for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl VIII in 1974, and the gamble paid off big-time. In that commercial, a sharpshooter shot a bullet from a high-powered rifle into a Master Lock padlock, but the padlock remained locked. Public trust in its products enabled the small company to become the world’s largest manufacturer of padlocks. Although Super Bowl commercials used up most of Master Lock’s annual advertising budget, the company aired commercials in 21 Super Bowls before announcing in 1997 it no longer would advertise during the game.
  • Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light’s official party dog, made his Super Bowl debut in 1987 during Super Bowl XXI. Although a male in commercials, Spuds actually was a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye.
  • The Coca-Cola commercial featuring “Mean Joe” Greene sharing a Coke and a smile with a kid consistently rates as one of the favorite Super Bowl commercials. However, the commercial did not debut during a Super Bowl. The ad first aired during the 1979 regular season, then aired in the following Super Bowl (XIV).
  • “Wassup” became a part of the American vocabulary because of an Anheuser-Busch commercial that first aired on Monday Night Football, but hit it big during Super Bowl XXXIV (2000).
  • The Mean Joe Coke commercial led to a 1981 made-for-TV movie titled “The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid,” in which Greene played himself.
  • The first Bud Bowl was held in 1989, during Super Bowl XXIII. Using stop-action to play out the game, producers needed about 10 hours to shoot two seconds of commercial action.
  • Coca-Cola’s peace-promoting commercial featuring young people from around the world singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing” made its Super Bowl debut in 1972 in Super Bowl VI. The commercial, titled “Hilltop,” aired for six years. The commercial was recreated for Super Bowl XXIV in 1990 and included some of the original commercial’s actors and their children.
  • Louie, one of Budweiser’s lizards that first appeared at Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, made it onto the paint scheme of the car driven by NASCAR’s Ricky Craven.
  • For Super Bowl XXVI, broadcast on CBS in 1992, Frito-Lay sponsored Fox’s “In Living Color Super Halftime Party” that tempted viewers to switch over to the rival network during halftime of the game. The next year, Frito-Lay became the first national sponsor of the Super Bowl’s halftime show, which featured Michael Jackson.
  • MillerCoors aired a one-second commercial for its Miller High Life brand during Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. The ad did not run in all parts of the country. MillerCoors had to purchase the spot through local NBC outlets because Anheuser-Busch held exclusive national alcohol advertising rights for the Super Bowl.
  • McDonald’s reported a sales increase of 22 percent after advertising in Super Bowl III.
  • The Journal of Advertising Research reported in 2004 that movies promoted during a Super Bowl earned twice as much at the box office during their debut week than movies not promoted during a Super Bowl.
  • Researchers at the University of Buffalo tracked 529 Super Bowl commercials from 1989-2005 and found that companies with the 10 most-liked ads each year saw their stock prices increase a quarter of a percent on the Monday after the Super Bowl. With companies that advertise during the Super Bowl having an average market value of about $30 billion, that quarter-percent gain represented about an $80 million increase in one day.
  • Publisher’s Clearing House began announcing its winner on live television during Super Bowl broadcasts in 1995, for Super Bowl XXIX. Nervous that the winner would not be home, a member of the PCH prize patrol posed as a Super Bowl commercial surveyor and called the winner the weekend of the big game to learn whether the winner would be watching at home.
  • At Super Bowl XXVIII (1994), Reebok aired a commercial near the end of the game that was filmed and edited during the game. To promote its InstaPump shoes, Reebok purchased the last spot of the game. The commercial was supposed to be delivered to NBC with five minutes to spare, but instead was turned in a little less than three minutes before air time.
  • TNS Media Intelligence research discovered that from 1990-2009, Anheuser-Busch spent $311.8 million on Super Bowl advertisements. The rest of the top five biggest spenders: PepsiCo ($254.2 million), General Motors ($80.5 million), Walt Disney ($71.6) and Time Warner ($64.8).
  • During that 20-year period, according to TNS, the Super Bowl generated $2.17 billion of network sales, with 210 advertisers and more than 1,400 commercials.

Posted by Tribune News Services

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