More Super Bowl ad rookies will be trying to score a touchdown this Sunday.
There will be 15 new Super Bowl advertisers this year, the most since 2000, before the economy fell into what would be the first of two recessions since. Advertising experts say the rookie interest in Super Bowl ads is a positive sign that companies are feeling good in the most recent economic recovery.
New advertisers like Carnival cruises and Skittles candy are hoping to capitalize on the massive size of the Super Bowl audience: The game Bowl is advertising’s greatest showcase, with more than 110 million people expected to tune in to watch to the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. And more than the sheer size of the audience, ad experts say new advertisers also are hoping to draw from the goodwill people feel toward Super Bowl ads.
But at about $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, advertising during the Super Bowl is a huge gamble too. Some first time advertisers succeed in becoming a household name: Godaddy.com established itself with a racy Super Bowl spot 11 years ago. But others misfire: Groupon’s first and only Super Bowl effort in 2011 aimed to be a tongue-in-cheek take on public service announcements, but was criticized for being insensitive.
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To capitalize on their investment, many advertisers use celebrities to “help insure the success of their creative investment,” said Devra Prywes, vice president of marketing for research firm Unruly.
But it doesn’t always work. In order for an ad to go viral, it needs to connect emotionally or give the audience multiple reasons to share, Prywes said: “A celebrity can’t save an ad that doesn’t do those things, but the right celebrity can help amplify it.”
This year, advertisers are choosing quirkier celebrities and poking fun at bigger names. For instance, Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble make fun of their inability to understand the Internet in 1994 in a BMW ad. And character actors Steve Buscemi and Danny Trejo star in a Snickers spot.
“If you need go get a huge audience you can get it here,” said Kelly O'Keefe, a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Va. “There will be more losers than winners as there are every year. But for the brands who manage it well it can be a great place to reach consumers.”
Here some of what you’ll see on Sunday:
CRUISING AHEAD : Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company, is trying to boost the image of cruises with its first ever Super Bowl ad after several years of bad publicity from illnesses on cruise ships and the Costa Concordia wreck in 2012.
“We want to start a new conversation about cruising,” said Ken Jones, vice president of corporate marketing for Carnival.
The company created six ads and let people vote on them online. One ad shows the fairytale moments that happen during a cruise and features “cruise virgins” talking about their first time on a cruise. Only one will air on Super Bowl Sunday, but the company isn’t saying which one.an
Ad contest: carnivalmarketingchallenge.com
A SWEET DEAL: Skittles has had a major presence at NFL games thanks to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s professed love of the candy. Lynch has been a fan of the chewy candies since he was a kid playing sports, and fans throw Skittles candy on the field when Lynch makes a big touchdown run. Skittles became an official NFL sponsor this season, and decided to advertise during the big game for the first time – even before they knew the Seahawks would be playing in the big game, said Matt Montei, senior marketing director for confections at Wrigley. The 30-second ad focuses on how Skittles settles differences.
Teaser ad: youtu.be/tqvSTAZRbCk
STICKING LIKE GLUE : Chances are, the name Loctite doesn’t spring to mind when you think of glue. Loctite, part of consumer products group Henkel, will try to change that in its Super Bowl spot.
Henkel started an ad campaign for Loctite in May with the theme, “Win at Glue,” including an ad featuring people dancing around in Loctite-branded fanny packs.
Loctite’s 30-second Super Bowl ad could expand on that theme. Pierre Tannoux, Loctite’s director of marketing, said the company wanted to break out of the way the category is normally advertised “in a very expected, boring way, in expected places.”
BRINGING LIFE TO BATTERIES: Mophie, which makes phone cases that hold extra batteries, says its 30-second Super Bowl ad focuses on raising awareness that everyone faces the same issue with too-short battery life on the smartphone rather than beating the brand name into people’s heads.
Ross Howe, Mophie vice president of marketing, said while the company is the dominant battery case player, they have hit a plateau after several years of growth and thought it was time to expand awareness of the brand.
FUNNY BUSINESS: Wix.com, which hosts customizable web sites, said its 30-second Super Bowl is right for the company right now: it went public in 2013 and has been growing its user base. Now it’s ready to reach a broader audience. The ad shows retired NFL players like Terrell Owens and Brett Farve starting humorous fictional businesses post NFL– Owens, for example, starts a pie company.
Extended version of the spot:youtube.com/watch?vP5SB1Ypy1EM&featureyoutube
SQUARESPACE: The website publisher isn’t releasing its full 30-second “Dreaming With Jeff” spot until game time, but a teaser ad shows a bearded The Big Lebowski actor Jeff Bridges recording relaxing sounds for an album called “Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes.” The company plans to sell the resulting tapes in cassette tape and vinyl form and the tracks are free to stream online. Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena said the idea is that any idea can be presented via a Squarespace platform.
T-MOBILE: T-Mobile hired Kim Kardashian for a 30-second “(hash)KimsDataStash” spoof on public service announcements. It pokes fun at Kardashian’s constant online presence. She makes a plea to save people’s unused data taken back by wireless carriers. She laments that the data could have been used to see Kardashian’s makeup, vacations and outfits. “Please help save the data,” she pleads. The ad promotes T-Mobile’s service that lets users keep their unused data for a year.
BMW: In order to promote its new all-electric BMW i3 in a 60-second spot, BMW enlisted former Today show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel to recreate a 1994 on-air conversation when they tried to figure out what the (at) symbol in an email address meant. “Alison,” Couric says to an off camera producer in the 1994 clip, “Can you explain what Internet is?” The ad flashes forward to today, when the duo are in a BMW’s i3 similarly confused. “Big ideas take a little getting used to,” copy states.
SNICKERS: In keeping with its 5-year-old “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry,” campaign that shows hungry people resembling humorous celebrities, Snickers 30-second ad recreates the famous Brady Bunch episode in which the oldest daughter, Marcia, gets hit in the nose with a football. Florence Henderson and action movie “Machete” star Danny Trejo also make appearances.
KIA: Kia’s ad spoofs Pierce Brosnan’s action-movie persona. In the ad, an agent describes a perfect part for Brosnan, who once played James Bond. Brosnan keeps expecting evil villains or explosions, but actually the agent describes Kia ad in which Brosnan drives to a snowy cabin in a 2016 Sorento. The tagline is “The perfect getaway vehicle.”