January, 2015

What’s This Year’s Big Super Bowl Ad Trend? Depends On Which Expert You Ask


When it comes to the biggest question on Americans’ minds this week – what advertising trends we’ll see in the Super Bowl XLIX telecast, the old saying, “Ask six experts, get nine different opinions,” is something of an understatement. Checking with six different experts – Advertising Age writers Jeanine Poggi and Jack Neff, in their January 26 and 27 reports; Adam Padilla, president/CCO of New York ad agency Brandfire; Ted Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management; and his colleague, Marketing Professor Derek Rucker – proved that with a vengeance. “[A]lready trends have emerged that will define this year’s big game for the ad industry,” Poggi writes. The problem is, nobody can agree on exactly what those trends are.

For example, what will the overall tone of this year’s advertising be? Read more →

Another Car Brand Deserts Super Bowl Xlix Advertising


Looks like New England Patriot footballs aren’t the only things being deflated in the run-up to Super Bowl XLIX. So is the number of car brands buying commercial time in the game. Longtime advertiser Hyundai announced plans to sit out the Super Bowl, joining “a growing list of automakers that frequently buy into the big game but are abstaining for 2015,” according to a January 23 Advertising Age report.

Hyundai’s been a steady Super Bowl advertiser, running one or two spots per game since 2007. In 2009, it introduced an “Assurance” program that promised to take back the car if its owner’s job fell victim to the Great Recession. Last year, one of its two Super Bowl commercials showed a father keeping his son from harm over the years and teaching him to drive a Hyundai Genesis with automatic emergency brakes.

The Korean automaker is the seventh brand in its category to bench itself from this year’s Super Bowl. In its decision to sit out the game, Hyundai joins six-year veteran Audi, perennial advertiser General Motors, Lincoln, Jaguar, Acura and Honda. Read more →

Why Nbc Is Streaming 11 Hours Of Super Bowl Programming Free


NBC will be streaming 11 straight hours of Super Bowl Sunday broadcast for free, complete with the game, its commercials in all their glory, the pre-game and half-time shows, prime-time and late-night programming, Advertising Age reported January 20.

Their motives in doing this are as altruistic as the guy who inflates the New England Patriots’ footballs.

One motive is to help justify their inflated advertising rates of a record-high $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time. Ad rates are based on audience size, and streaming the broadcast to desktops, laptops and tablets (though not smartphones, for reasons below) brings in an extra half-million or so viewers to charge sponsors for reaching. Two years ago, an average of 508,000 viewers watched the Super Bowl stream on  CBS, and 528,000 on Fox last year.

Another is to hype their non-Super Bowl programming. Networks usually set aside a certain amount of air time for program promos, but this year NBCUniversal will be getting a little, shall we say, carried away with it. “More than 18 divisions of NBCUniversal will be included in the promotional efforts surrounding the Super Bowl on NBC,” Variety notes. These include not only the expected NBC television divisions – NBC Entertainment (with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers making an appearance during the game), NBC News and NBC Sports – but also six different Universal films, Universal-owned theme parks, and online movie-ticketing service Fandango, which sells tickets to Universal movies playing at theaters from coast to coast and just happens to be owned, since 2007, by – surprise! – NBCU’s owner, Comcast. Even the NBCSN sports cable network, CNBC and NBCU’s Golf Channel will be getting off the bench and into play. “We try to utilize as much of [the game] as we can,” said NBC Sports Group John Miller – with a straight face, no less.

But neither is the main motive. The main motive stems from the fact that NBC is the only television network owned by a cable company – the only one which made the list of America’s Ten Most Hated Companies., by the way

The free streaming is bait, to lure thousands of viewers into forking over $49 a month for Comcast’s Xfinity cable service so they can use its TV Everywhere on-demand feature. On Super Bowl Sunday, you won’t have to log in with pay-tv credentials. But you may have to log in with your email address and other contact information, to let Comcast’s sales force capture hundreds of thousands of new leads. “We are leveraging the massive digital reach of the Super Bowl to help raise overall awareness of TV Everywhere by allowing consumers to explore our vast TVE offering with this special one-day-only access,” Alison Moore, EVP of TV Everywhere for NBCU, told Variety. Beyond “rais[ing] overall awareness,” there’s the hope of reversing the decline in cable and satellite subscription numbers by “attract[ing] younger viewers who have avoided paying for pricey pay-TV packages.” Like Comcast’s.

So if you want to catch the Super Bowl and your sales resistance is low, you have two ways to avoid the whole NBC/Universal/Comcast blitz.

You can watch the game on your smartphone; Verizon has exclusive rights to stream the game through the NFL Mobile app.

Are People Losing Interest In Super Bowl Commercials?



Once upon a time, people watched the Super Bowl telecast more for the commercials than for the game itself. They never knew from year to year whether anything in the game would be  a big surprise, but they were sure many of the ads would be. Now, one piece of research shows consumers may be losing interest in the ads, especially if social sharing of Super Bowl spots is any indication. This metric “has dropped dramatically,” says a January 20 Advertising Age report, and releasing the commercials ahead of time may be the reason.

While social sharing grew 22 percent from 2013 to last year for the average ad overall, social sharing of Super Bowl content decreased 29 percent.

You might very well think that this 51 percent spread resulted from what Ad Age calls “the growing glut” of pre-game ad releases totally destroying the element of surprise, but for Richard Kosinski, US president of the video ad tech firm that anaylzed the 4,000 most-shared videos on social networks, that kind of thinking is naively logical.  Read more →

Guess Who’s Giving H&r Block A Huge Marketing Windfall

Barack Obama, Mona Magnat, Hershey Garner, Richard Evans

Two laws have created a multimillion-dollar opportunity that H&R Block’s marketing department is taking full advantage of. One of these laws is Obamacare (AKA the Patient Protection and Affordable  Care Act), and the other is the Law of Unintended Consequences. January 9, according to a Bloomberg report, the income tax preparation firm launched television and online ads “urging people to check with tax preparers about the potential consequences of Obamacare.”

“…[T]he big Obamacare event of this year will not be the exchange enrollments,” writes economics columnist Megan McArdle, “but tax season, when people who got too much in subsidies find out how much money they owe the government (and [I’ve] been told by a tax preparer that it was even worse than I thought). Tax preparers, to judge from my Twitter feed, have been panicking for months. But now they face the Herculean job of communicating that panic to the public.” Read more →

Got $4.5 Million To Spare? Nbc Still Has Unsold Super Bowl Ad Time


Two months ago, NBC Sports sales evp  Seth Winter was telling the New York Times how satisfied he was with the pace of 2015 Super Bowl ad sales. “We could very well be sold out by the end of December,” he told them. Well, the end of December has come and gone, and guess what? According to a January 7 Advertising Age report, NBC still has unsold Super Bowl ad time on its hands.

Maybe Winter was thinking of last year’s Super Bowl, when Fox, which was airing it, sold out all its ad time the preceding December.

Undaunted, he told Ad Age that “We fully expect to meet or exceed our sales goals,” claiming that his network was pacing ahead of 2012, the last time they carried the game. But they’re not. That year, NBC had sold its last available spot by January 3. This year, as of January 7, they haven’t.

In addition to a supply of unsold commercial time, Winter has a good supply of excuses. Read more →