One of the more fun things I do as proprietor of this weblog is to have a commentary on the Super Bowl advertising strategy. This usually goes up an hour or two after the game. This year, we're going to do it a little different: we are going to comment on the ads AS THEY HAPPEN. At the end of each break (or "pod", as they're sometimes called), we'll recap each of the commercials in that pod and discuss notable features of the ads, whether or not they were funny, whether or not they were intended to be funny, and like that. Now, to just familiarize you all with the ground rules:
1. This is my biggest pet peeve. Any commercial that shows an imposskible stunt with a big disclaimer DO NOT ATTEMPT on the screen will be given an immediate F without further discussion. Ad agencies make commercials, not lawyers.
2. Movie creative will not be considered for letter grades, as there is a set formula to movie ads, and we consider them to be a breed apart. We will miss the tobacco-soaked voice of Don LaFontaine this year.
The NBC traffic department as of a week ago had stated that the 67 30-second avails are at 90% sellout. The spots this year are going for as much as $3 million dollars for each of those avails. Imagine that scheduling headache! Even with my decade plus of experience doing radio and television traffic, I don't think I could do it.
Who's in and who's out: According to various press reports...
IN: Anheuser-Busch InBev (of course) with up to five minutes of creative for Bud Light, Budweiser (more Clydesdale spots), Bud Light Lime and Budweiser American Ale; Audi (:60 1Q, vehicle TBD); Bridgestone (also sponsoring the halftime performance by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band); CareerBuilder (:30 2Q and :30 3Q, this time, without the monkeys); Cars.com (:60 2Q); Coca-Cola (multiple); Denny's (:30 3Q); DreamWorks Animation (:60 end 2Q for "Monsters vs. Aliens"); E-Trade (:30 TBD with the talking baby); Frito-Lay/Doritos (:30 TBD with homemade ads being solicited; prize of $1,000,000 to be awarded if this ad ranks #1 on the USA Today Ad Meter); GE (one spot TBD); GoDaddy (:30 TBD and perhaps maybe another, featuring Danica Patrick); H&R Block (:30 2H, part of the "You've Got People" campaign, first Supes ad for the company in 5 years); Hyundai (two spots for the Genesis coupe); Monster (:30); The NFL (:60 halftime to be directed by ad legend Joe Pytka); Pedigree (:30, first Supes appearance for the pet food maker); Pepsi (various); SoBe (:30 end 2Q to be podded with the DreamWorks ad); Teleflora (:30 2Q); Universal (TBD)
OUT: FedEx, General Motors.