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Purchasing a Super Bowl spot for $5 million is just the beginning of brands ad expenditure– Budweiser went to the effort of hosting a media preview for its Super Bowl Ads, while Ford is opening a demonstration in NYC to coincide with its 90-second Super Bowl buy. Advertisers are veering away from 2-minute ads, instead focusing on digital executions and brands like Tiffany & Co. embrace local ad buys. The Wall Street Journal reports on how today’s polarized political climate is impacting Super Bowl advertisers, especially Budweiser– its “Born the Hard Way” ad may land the brand in hot water with President Trump. Facebook enters the television market, as it develops a video-centric OTT app in hopes of getting more ad dollars. Honda enlists the help of several A-list celebrities in its Super Bowl spot, while Bud Light resurrects Spuds Mackenzie. GNC threatens to sue Fox for rejecting its Super Bowl Ad at the last minute. Both Hulu and National Geographic will air ads promoting their new original series during the Big Game.
GNC has sent Fox Broadcasting Co. a letter of intent, saying it plans to pursue legal action against Fox, claiming it suffered “significant economic and reputational damages, lost opportunities, and consequential damages” because Fox rejected its Super Bowl ad after clearing it.
Super Bowl Online: See the Game, Learn Some New Taunts
By Anick Jesdanun @ Associated Press
You can watch the Super Bowl online for free, but there are a few catches. For starters, you’re out of luck on phones unless you’re a Verizon customer. And if you’re interested in the ads, you may have a surprise in store– a handful of stations may display a static commercial break screen. As far as ads are concerned, you don’t have to wait until Sunday, as many of the ads are already available online on iSpot.tv.
National Geographic, which is 75% owned by 21st Century Fox, will air a 45-second ad directly after Lady Gaga’s halftime show. The spot promotes NatGeo’s first scripted series, Genius, and features Geoffrey Rush dressed as Albert Einstein playing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” on the violin.
Hulu’s first Super Bowl ad will promote the highly-anticipated “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu original series, which Hulu hopes will bring it the same critical praise as Netflix or Amazon.
Michelob Ultra will continue its fitness-themed campaign during the Super Bowl, with a spot that includes more exercising than beer drinking. “We recognized that the social lives and beer-drinking occasions of the Michelob Ultra consumer extend beyond gathering at the bar or at home with friends,” said Azania Andrews, VP-Michelob Ultra.
Reflecting changing cultural norms, there seem to be more ads for healthy snacks during this year’s Super Bowl than in the past– Avocados from Mexico, Bai antioxidant beverages, and Pepsi’s LIFEWTR consumables will all advertise during the Big Game. But brands sitting out the Super Bowl LI ad include Frito-Lay’s Doritos, Butterfinger, Heinz, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box.
Advertisers knew immigration and the wall would be a hot topic when producing their ads months ago, but they didn’t know it would be the topic. 84 Lumber was shocked that Fox made them eliminate the wall from their spot, while Budweiser didn’t expect to attract so much negative attention with its immigrant tale.
Audi’s Super Bowl spot about pay equality titled “Daughter,” is rubbing lots of viewers the wrong way. The spot has over 2 million views on YouTube so far– as of Thursday afternoon there were over 18,000 negative comments compared to 1,110 positive ones. Some viewers were offended by the message, calling it “100% liberal trash propaganda” and “anti-male propaganda.”
Last year was the first year Buick participated in the Super Bowl. Site traffic increased 100% the second day after the game, social sentiment was largely positive and there was a “significant” search lift around the brand. This Sunday, Buick’s media agency Carat, creative agency Engage M-1, PR firm Mbooth and influencer marketing network Storey will gather at Buick’s Detroit headquarters to monitor social conversations in real time.
According to MediaRadar, Ford was the biggest spending advertiser on NFL playoff games this season. No. 2 was AT&T, which was not in the top 10 a year ago. AT&T’s spending was up 281% from a year ago. Rounding out the top 10 were Verizon, General Motors, Anheuser-Busch, GEICO, McDonald’s, Toyota, Yum! Brands and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.
A new study by the Video Advertising Bureau shows that 87% of the trending topics on Twitter were driven by TV during primetime. Ad-supported TV-related topics from more than 47 different networks trended up to the #1 spots on Twitter.
Big brands are trying to navigate a heated political climate, and as Millennials demand transparency it’s becoming impossible for brands to sit on the sidelines– ie: brands pulling their Ryan Lochte sponsorships, or Tic Tacs and Skittles needing to Tweet to distance themselves from Donald Trump. Now Budweiser’s timely “Born the Hard Way” ad with themes of hope, ambition, patriotism, hard work and self-reliance may actually alienate half of the country.
The biggest Super Bowl TV commercial now on the air is “Humpty Fall,” a teaser TV spot for TurboTax with some $4.6 million in estimated national TV media spend, registering 87.9 million total TV impressions — linear, time-shifted, VOD and other networks — according to iSpot.tv.
T-Mobile will air a 60-second Super Bowl spot titled #UnlimitedMoves featuring Justin Bieber and cameos from Rob Gronkowski and Terrell Owens. Beliebers are encouraged to submit their best moves on Twitter with #UnlimitedMoves starting today, and Bieber will retweet them starting February 6th.
Pizza Hut is investing in a pregame commercial starring “Star Trek” actor George Takei, and it’s boosting fan engagement prior to the big event with a sponsored digital game on Yahoo Sports called “Squares Pick’em.” Pizza Hut’s fantasy sports activation includes display, search and email placements designed to drive sign ups for its bracket game on Yahoo Sports.
According to NewsWhip, there’s been a 31% increase in the total number of Super Bowl-related stories shared on social media in January 2017 versus 2016. But the number of engagements with those stories dropped more than 30%. This could be because of the earlier timing of the Super Bowl– meaning more advertising has to happen in January– and that only the Patriots are a big draw.
Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light’s canine mascot who starred in commercials in the ’80s and ’90s, has returned—in ghost form– in the beer’s 90-second Super Bowl LI ad titled “Ghost Spuds.”
Honda‘s Super Bowl spot brings celebrities’ high school yearbook photos to life using their real voices and a little CGI, so Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel, and Viola Davis can urge people follow their dreams.
As of Wednesday, Coca-Cola is planning to run two previously aired 30-second spots, one for Coke and one for Sprite. The brand would only confirm that it’s purchased two 30-second slots, and historically doesn’t tease spots out in advance–so there’s a possibility of surprise.
KFC’s Super Bowl debut will feature Colonel Sanders versus Colonel Sanders in a 15-second spot. Leading up to the ad, KFC released a series of vignettes showing the two Colonel’s competing against each other in arm wrestling and rock, paper, scissors.
Compared to 2016, there was an increase from 48% to 53% of viewers saying they’d be disappointed if the Super Bowl were broadcast commercial-free, according to a survey from Burson-Marsteller’s Fan Experience sports and entertainment specialty group. More than 66% of respondents say they are more favorable toward brands with a good commercial vs. one who sponsors the Super Bowl.
On Wednesday, Nielsen completed its acquisition of Gracenote. Gracenote holds reference information for over 12 million movie and television listings and 200 million music tracks, driving the interfaces of the major streaming digital media services and the infotainment systems in over 75 million automobiles.
Verizon reportedly spent $80 million just on launch marketing for Go90. And it spent much more on the short-form content that has so far failed to hit the mark with a young U.S. target audience. Verizon now needs to risk further losses to attempt to make its investment worthwhile– this looks likely, since Verizon spent $4.4 billion to buy AOL and its ad tech wherewithal in 2015, and another $4.8 billion last year on Yahoo’s internet business.
Facebook has expanded its video offerings in an effort to tap into TV ad dollars. The platform tweaked its algorithm to put more emphasis on longer videos, began testing ads that will run in the middle of videos that are least 90 seconds long, gave marketers tools to compare TV and digital ads, and is reported to be developing a video app for set-top boxes.
Earlier this week, Facebook seemed poised to take on traditional TV and Netflix by reportedly planning to license “long-form, TV-quality programming,” to be housed in its own set-top box app, and on your phone– but now Zuckerberg is describing a vision that looks more like YouTube, with shorter-form content. Facebook’s CFO David Wehner distanced Facebook from Netflix, saying “Our focus is on kickstarting the ecosystem here,” Wehner said. To the extent that Facebook would license any shows, it would only be to seed the ecosystem. Facebook wouldn’t be “doing big deals,” he said. One reason is because Facebook, like YouTube, is committed to a revenue-share model, according to Wehner.
The news that Facebook is planning to launch its own TV app, aimed at actual TV sets via Apple TV, Roku et al., raises more questions than it answers. Where are they getting their programming from? How TV-like will their programming be? What is the timeline? Who is the audience? The list goes on, and Facebook may morph its TV product several times before going to market.
Local video to target local audiences will grow by $5 billion; from $32.6 billion in 2016 to $37.6 billion by 2021 according to a new ad forecast from BIA/Kelsey “Programmatic is Coming to Local TV in 2017.” Key factors that need to be addressed include data-driven audience targeting, household-level targeting, data quality and transparency.
Most marketers are avoiding political topics–especially immigration, climate change, or border control– this year. Even GoDaddy, with a history of pushing the envelope, will play it safe by satirizing internet sensations. But Budweiser has found itself in the limelight since the beer brand created its immigrant-focused ad before Trump took office. Bud’s 60-second ad is already getting lots of attention on social media, while 84 Lumber’s spot featuring a wall was rejected by Fox.
Facebook is developing a video-centric app for television set-top boxes, including Apple TV, giving it a home for video content—as well as a new vehicle for video advertising. The social network hopes this TV app will result in more ad dollars.
Nintendo will run its first-ever Super Bowl commercial for the Switch, its latest home video game console. The 30-second spot will run during the fourth quarter, traditionally the highest-rated quarter, of Super Bowl LI. A longer version of the ad will appear online, and feature more games including Mario Kart, 1-2-Switch and Splatoon 2.
Audi and agency Venables Bell & Partners team up for a Super Bowl spot that ends with the line “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. Progress is for everyone.” Much like Budweiser’s ad, this might not seem particularly politically charged in another year, but this year the message carries extra weight.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will make his second Super Bowl appearance to once again promote video game “Mobile Strike.” Last year’s Super Bowl spot “Arnold’s Fight,” earned more than 103 million views on YouTube, and remains the No. 1 most-watched Super Bowl ad on the video-streaming platform.
Bill Nye the Science Guy will star in Persil’s Super Bowl ad, competing against P&G’s Tide which will also advertise during the Big Game.
In Kia’s Super Bowl spot, Melissa McCarthy goes to great lengths to help environmental causes. Given today’s political climate, the ties of this ad to climate change may carry greater importance than usual.
Hyundai’s 90-second commercial will be filmed beginning after kickoff — and then air in the post-gun slot just after the game ends. A process that usually takes 13-18 weeks will be compressed into an hour and 15 minutes, and will need to receive approval from Fox, the NFL and the military in that time. Hyundai’s message is that the best moments happen off of the field, and Hyundai is throwing a Super Bowl party at an undisclosed location overseas.
Burson-Marsteller’s Fan Experience sports and entertainment specialty group released its annual Super Bowl survey: 55% of all viewers and 77% of millennials reporting that they would be interested in a live streaming option rather than watching the game on cable. 60% of viewers and 87% of “constant social media users” reported being interested in extra social media content beyond brand’s in-game Super Bowl TV advertising.
On January 11, Buick told Adweek that it would be airing a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl but Buick has recently changed it to a 60-second spot. The spot, which will air in the first quarter of Super Bowl LI, features the theme, “That’s a Buick?”
GNC was going to air a 30-second spot during the first half of the Super Bowl as part of a brand overhaul and marketing campaign called One New GNC, following its shutdown of all 4,400 GNC retail stores. The rejection came as a last-minute shock to GNC, as it was rejected based on business relationships (NFL players are banned from endorsing GNC) rather than content. It’s unclear if GNC will receive a $5 million refund.
Fox will air approximately 7 ½ hours of Super Bowl-related programming on Sunday, almost twice as long as the game itself will last. In an attempt to make a dent in ESPN’s ratings, Fox Sports 1 will have aired 51 hours of live coverage from Houston by Sunday night– but ESPN plans on 50 hours of live programming this week. There are even Super Bowl-related programs on the Food Network and Animal Planet.
During the 2016 Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter press tour, NBC’s research president Alan Wurtzel revealed that he was not terribly concerned about the threat of digital competitors– and then cited viewership numbers from Netflix that had never been made to the public before. They were from Symphony Advanced Media’s VideoPulse, which tracks cross-platform viewing. It does so with an integrated app that passively collects audio fingerprints for all programming, both live and playback.The app matches it to a database that ingests all programming content across networks and streaming channels. The startup depends on a diverse panel of users who run the app in the background of mobile devices, TVs, or laptops.
In the past, brands like Fiat and Samsung have succeeded by buying 120-second slots during the Super Bowl. This was a major trend a few Super Bowls ago– according to Kantar Media, 40% of the ads in the 2014 broadcast of the Super Bowl lasted 60 seconds or more. Last year, that was true of just 26%. Advertisers face a politically-charged polarized advertising climate this year, so they don’t want to spend $20 million and risk alienating viewers.
Wix.com, Mr. Clean and TurboTax top a ranking of the most engaging Super Bowl prerelease ads and teasers on social media, while Pepsi has three spots in the top 10 ranking. The list, compiled by analytics company iSpot.tv, looks at “earned online engagement,” made up of online activity, or the digital share of voice compared to other ads; social actions, such as tweets, shares and mentions; and the number of times it has been viewed online via Facebook, YouTube and via iSpot.tv, where someone explicitly requested to see a particular ad.
Tiffany & Co. is running a TV advertisement for the first time in 20 years, advertising during the Super Bowl for the first time ever. The spot will star Lady Gaga and air in the following markets: New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Miami.
Vitamin supplier GNC has several problems, including its stock dipping 65% last year. GNC hoped a Super Bowl ad would help, but the NFL just rejected GNC’s ad– the player’s union inquired about how the NFL could let a brand advertise that’s also on the list of brands that players are prohibited from endorsing.
Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad tells the tale of their immigrant founder, fittingly airing as the nation responds to a controversial immigration action ordered by Trump. The timing of the parallel appears to be coincidental, according to Budweiser’s news release on the ad, which emphasizes that the commercial simply focuses on the universal story of the immigrant.
Kia will air a 60-second ad during the Big Game produced by David & Goliath. But the ad will be teased out beforehand by Kia’s NiroBot on Facebook Messenger, which has generated more than half a million engagements since its launch in November.
King’s Hawaiian will advertise in the Super Bowl for the first time, airing a 30-second spot during the first ad slot of the fourth quarter. King’s Hawaiian joins a list of brands making their Super Bowl ad debut this year, including Busch, Fiji Water, PepsiCo’s Lifewtr and Wendy’s.
Unlike 2016’s Super Bowl on CBS, Fox is selling its digital ad inventory for the Super Bowl separately from broadcast (linear) ad inventory. Compared to $5 million for a TV spot, digital ads are priced at roughly $700,000 for a 30-second national spot. This makes the Big Game more accessible for smaller advertisers, while bigger advertisers can use additional digital buys for interesting executions and repetition.
According to new IAB research, better audience measurement is the number one issue among those in the ad industry. 71% said they expect to spend more on data services in 2017, up from the 67% who said they increased data spending in 2016. “Cross-media measurement and attribution are critical issues that demand focus and significant resources this year and beyond,” said Dennis Buchheim, senior VP of data and ad effectiveness for IAB. More than 57% of respondents said cross-channel measurement and attribution was the issue they’ll be devoting most of their time and resources to this year.
On Friday, Fox admitted that it still had more commercials left than is normal the week before the game– potentially because it’s selling 30-second spots for $5 million. It’s normal for networks to hold a few slots in hopes of getting brands to pay top dollar at the last minute– while the Patriots are one of the NFL’s most popular teams, the Falcons don’t get as many viewers as the Cowboys or Packers would have.
Roku is preparing for its free live stream of Super Bowl LI, which will be available via the Fox Sports Go channel on the OTT platform. Roku’s coverage will include pre-game programming, the half-time show and complementary “sights and sounds” of the stadium. Fox is also offering its live, non-authenticated stream of Super Bowl LI at FoxSportsGo.com, as well as apps for tablets and other connected TV devices. As a first, Fox will work with more than 170 Fox affiliates to deliver local ads via the online video feed of the big game.
Tru Optik, which measures over-the-top audiences, and research company Kantar Millward Brown have partnered to enable advertisers to attribute product sales to OTT ad campaigns. This will allow for deterministic campaign attribution for industries including automotive, consumer packaged goods (CPG), pharma, consumer electronics, retail, travel, hospitality and entertainment.
In an effort to make the most of its Super Bowl ad spend, Budweiser hosted a “media preview” for reporters, including branded folders with details about Bud Light, Budweiser, Busch, and Michelob Ultra ads.
Ford is trying to reposition itself as a transportation solutions provider, not just an automaker. To do this, Ford will air a 90-second Super Bowl ad immediately before kickoff and open a FordHub demonstration exhibit at the Westfield World Trade Center. USA Today estimates that Ford’s commercial between the coin toss and kickoff could cost close to $15 million.
While some advertisers wait to make their big reveal during the game, others tease out spots to maximize their reach. Snickers released a 15-second clip to promote their Super Bowl ad which will be shot live during the game. Intel is enlisting Tom Brady, while Buffalo Wild Wings is teaming up with Brett Favre.
Wendy’s will make its Super Bowl debut with a 30-second ad from VML that satirizes competitors’ use of frozen beef patties. Wendy’s has posted the ad on YouTube, plus it’s embedded on Wendy’s’ Twitter page. Wendy’s is also driving fans to an Othr Guyz site, where they can view another two-minute video that parodies infomercials.
Online ads are broken, especially with fake news and inflated metrics on the rise. But the transition to OTT television could allow the makers of TV start to know who their viewers are as well as Google and Facebook know their users, so advertisers could target TV ads in ways that go both far and wide. At the moment, Norman says advertisers’ demand for such “addressable” TV ads far outstrips the supply.
According to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report, 71% of marketers, media buyers, publishers, and ad tech executives polled say that they expect to increase spending on data and related services this year. The report also found that respondents expect cross-channel measurement and attribution to occupy their time and resources this year, diverging from 2016 when “general audience analytics” demanded the most attention.
According to Nielsen’s Local Watch Report for the third quarter of 2016, working moms watch more early morning and late news, whereas stay-at-home moms watch more mid-day and evening news. On average, stay-at-home moms spend an additional hour with the TV screen each day as compared to working moms. Nielsen also found that they have higher usage of both live TV and TV-connected devices.
Following criticism from TV networks, Nielsen won’t release a syndicated product of its Total Content Ratings as it originally planned on March 1. The syndicated TCR would have shown the public the results of cross-platform measurement for every network that implemented the technology. Instead, Nielsen will give access to the networks and allow them to cherry pick which data they share with ad agencies.
Adweek commissioned Survata to survey 1,000 consumers aged 18-54—who plan to watch the Super Bowl—about their digital consumption around the game. 49% said they planned to use Facebook during the game, followed by Instagram (26%), Snapchat (24%), and Twitter (22%). When asked if they like it when advertisers tease out ads before the Big Game, 28% said they liked it and 36% said no, that they preferred to be surprised during the game. Approximately 80% of respondents said they had never texted a code or used a branded hashtag after an ad told them to.
This year the average cost of a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl costs $5 million this year, up from $4.8 million last year. Brands may spend anywhere from 25% of that cost to the same amount on marketing tied to the ads themselves, according to Mary Scott, a president at UEG, a sports and entertainment marketing agency. The willingness of brands to spend so heavily shows how coveted consumer attention has become in the age of social media and smartphones. For example, this year’s Snickers live commercial will be accompanied by a 36-hour live stream, highlights posted to Facebook and behind-the-scenes footage from two social influencers– these additional efforts will cost several hundred thousand dollars.
According to measurement firm iSpot.tv, marketers shelled out $4.15 billion on NFL advertising this year, up slightly from $4.08 billion last season. Interestingly, the NFL Championship games attracted $2.7 billion, up from $2.6 billion the prior season. The beer category’s spending decreased by 7.5% this year, according to iSpot.tv data, which tracks commercial loads across networks.
Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad titled “Born the Hard Way” will introduce a new marketing message intended to tug at heart strings and resonate with Millennials, as craft beer eats at Budweiser’s profits. The ad is set in the year 1857 and cost $2 – $3 million to produce, in addition to Fox charging $5 million to air it during the Big Game.