Sneak peek at the 2013 Super Bowl lineup (of ads)

After a lackluster first half, they came roaring back to score in the fourth quarter.

No, it’s not any of the NFL teams we’re talking about. It’s CBS, which just announced that more than 90 percent of their advertising availabilities for Super Bowl XLVII are sold – more than 10 percent better than this time last year (but behind the pace Fox set for the 2011 game).

“We have a handful of units left,” John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales at CBS, told USA Today. “We’re pacing well ahead of last time we had the game.”

Not only does CBS have more advertisers than a year ago, but those advertisers are paying more for their 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time – $3.7 to $3.8 million, compared to a mere $3.5 million last Super Bowl.

Here, in alphabetical order, are more than 90 percent of the players:

  • AB InBev, parent company of Budweiser, a perennial Super Bowl advertiser, will be back. In the past, they’ve been among the funniest and most memorable brands in the broadcast, but with this year’s marketing strategy combining hip-hop music and introduction of a new pseudo-craft beer, Black Crown, don’t count on history repeating itself. Not only will hip-hopper Jay-Z be on camera, but he’ll also have a hand in the creartive as well. They’ve also done multi-year deals for the air time, so they won’t be paying the full $3.7 million freight.
  • Audi of America will run one 60-second spot, their six Super Bowl appearance in as many years. Agency Venables, Bell and Partners is still working on the creative and production.
  • Best Buy hired a new agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, to do the television and related social marketing.
  • will return with a :30. “There is no better platform,” marketing vp Linda Bartman told USA Today. That’s good, because at $3.7 million plus production costs, there’s no more expensive one. They, too, have a new agency, having replaced DDB with McGarryBowen in May. Their :30 will probably show how shopping on their website makes car buying a better experience. (Hey, anything that avoids showrooms and car salesmen is an improvement.)
  • Century 21 will run one :30 in the third quarter. Phildelphia agency Red Tettemer and Partners is still working on it.
  • Coke – After years of advertising with computer-generated polar bears in Super Bowl spots and after having printed them on all their soda cans, Coca-Cola has killed off the bears from their three new 30-second commercials. Nobody tell the global warmists.
  • Doritos, for the seventh consecutive year,  will once again be taking the cheap, easy way out, running the best amateur-produced commercial, as determined by USA Today’s Ad Meter consumer poll.
  • Ford, whose sales of the Lincoln nameplate have been in a death spiral (down 63%) since 1990,  will run a 60-second spot (almost $8 million worth of air time) to revive the brand by showing dead people. In the belief that history sells cars, the spot will feature an Abraham Lincoln lookalike stepping out of the mist, vintage Lincolns, and deceased Lincoln owners Clark Gable and Dean Martin leaning against front fender of the new MKZ through the magic of computer imagery. This is supposed to be an attempt to reach out to younger drivers, who probably never saw either Gable or Martin in their lifetimes.
  • GoDaddy‘s actually showing signs of growing up. For the first time ever, their advertising’s being done by a professional agency – Deutsch New York – and will graduate from prepubescent male fantasies of most undressed women to (gasp!) content and product. Indy car driver Danica Patrick, who’s been missing from their rebranding campaign, may or may not return. “We are working on the fourth quarter work now,” Val DiFebo, Deutsch New York’s CEO, told Business Insider, “and exploring that option, if there’s a way to do that.”
  • Hyundai‘s internal agency, Inocean, is working on the advertising. The car manufacturer aired two :30s this year.
  • Kia will be back for the fourth year in a row. “The game has proven to be a powerful tool in our efforts to raise awareness and perception for the Kia brand,” according to marketing evp Michael Sprague.
  • Mercedes-Benz, which advertised in 2011 but skipped this year, will be back with a fourth-quarter commercial of as yet unannounced length.  Hey, when your name’s on the stadium, you kinda have to. Or, as spokeswoman Donna Boland put it more nicely, “It’s a big product year for us next year and the game will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, so all the planets are in alignment.” Rapper Usher is expected to be on-camera talent. Classy.
  • Pepsi is sponsoring the half-time show.
  • Samsung‘s commercial will be created and produced by agency 72andSunny, where the longtime Apple creative director bolted after the disastrous “Genius” campaign.
  • Skechers will be running, but nobody knows what length, which quarter or what message yet.
  • Volkswagen – It must be a bad year for animals. Coke’s killed the polar bears, and VW’s abandoning the dog.