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And Let the Annual Advertising Ritual Begin – The Super Bowl vs. The Super Bowl’s Commercials (Part I)

By Joanne Maly

February 6, 2010


I am one of the millions who look forward to the annual Super Bowl Football Game, but I will confess that I am not a pro football game fan.

I am however, a non-carded-but-nonetheless-still-certified Super Bowl Ad Connoisseur. (now, there’s a cool Twitter #hashtag for you.)

There are numerous statistics out there to prove that the annual Super Bowl ad-watching frenzy has now reached almost epidemic proportions. AdWeek columnist and marketing expert, Pete Blackshaw tweeted this same fact on Thursday, February 4. “Most Super Bowl Viewers Tune in for the Commercials,” he tweeted. Pete (@pblackshaw) used a recent study by Nielsen to back his claim.

There are many of us out here in the arm-chair-watching crowd who feel that the four quarters of football activity Sunday, February 7 are in reality, the necessary skeletal frame on which the guts of the competition are really tested, aka, the awesome, creative annual commercials. My apologies of course to the professional players who will be competing this coming Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV.

Nielsen found in a recent survey that 51% of the (90 million +) Super Bowl viewers “enjoy the game’s ads more than the action on the field.” Source: NielsonWire.com – January 20, 2010.


The Super Bowl night is frankly an advertiser and marketer’s dream. It is like watching the Emmy’s. The Academy Awards. It might even beat the finale of American Idol. Or the last episode of the last Lost.

The cost for one of the Super Bowl ads is no hiccup. According to msnbc.com, the cost of a 30-second spot for Super Bowl I in 1967 was as low as $37,500. Twenty years later, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl was $600,000. This year, it is reported that CBS is asking $2.6 million for a 30-second Super Bowl spot. (Source: www.msnbc.com)

There is no doubt that major corporations have been sequestered behind iron-clad, double-bolted doors creating this year’s blockbuster Super Bowl commercials. And the unveiling is just a little more than 24-hours away.

No doubt too, the post-game viral afterlife of these Super Bowl commercials and the inevitable social media traffic (via blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook posting) can be considered priceless.

And so I ask, “Coke, Pepsi, Annheuser-Busch, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Doritos, Apple, and E*Trade — what will you perennial favorite Super Bowl commercial producers show us this year?”

Given the nation’s economic woes, the world’s focus on the plight of Haiti, and more, I wonder, will we see a litany of comedic 30-second spots — or will advertisers wow us with themes of sentimentality, the outdoors, or the memories of youth. Perhaps we will see a theme in the commercials for high-tech, light-flashing, fast-moving 30-second vignettes (similar to many of last Sunday night’s Grammy Award musical routines.)

Your thoughts? What do you think this year’s Super Bowl XLIV commercials will be like?

Will there be any commercials that make advertising and marketing history?

Yes, advertising history – like the unforgettable, dramatic Apple commercial introducing the MAC computer, against an eerie backdrop of a prison-type setting, the sound of rhythmic, marching feet, and the visuals of bald-headed, blank-staring men and women garbed in grey-prison-type uniforms moving in robotic symmetry?

Apple\’s 1984 Macintosh Introduction Commercial


TV commercials mirror our culture and yet, at the same time, they help sew the very fabric of our culture.

Note: Part II of this blog post will be available Sunday evening, February 7 …. after this Sunday evening’s entertainment.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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2 Responses to “And Let the Annual Advertising Ritual Begin – The Super Bowl vs. The Super Bowl’s Commercials (Part I)”

  1. elaine suess says:

    Neat look at the big bowl Joanne! I always think it’s interesting what sticks for people. The Whassup add, the Etrade ad with the baby (and one of my favorite phrases from the ad “I underestimated the creepiness,” in talking about the clown). The old, old…Where’s the Beef? Got Milk? etc., Make the message simple. People remember.

    • Joanne Maly says:

      Thanks for your comment and your votes for ‘the best’ of this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

      You are so correct about the lines that people remember are the key – when they get to the point of purchase – or the moment of purchase. In fact, there is a Simply Said blog post in the draft mix and on the near horizon about some favorites advertising phrases, like ‘Where’s the Beef?’ as you mentioned. I’m thinking of those inimitable spots and ad lines like ‘Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should’, ‘See the USA in Your Chevrolet’, ‘Good to the Last Drop’. More to come.

      Thanks again for visiting the blog and for your post today.


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