Tag Archives: Superbowl

It’s Back – This Time in 3-D

Superbowl XLIII is charging down upon us. We are the worst recession since this annual rite of advertising with football obbligato began. Large advertisers are writing off assets, closing facilities, firing thousands, and reporting record losses. This has caused panic – and panicking executives are even more likely to do the familiar, including the familiar, which has never been shown to work.

In particular, major advertisers have agreed to pay up to $3 million for 30 seconds of air time during the game. Of course with production, not to mention the expense of senior staff “needing” to attend the game, the total cost can be substantially higher. So we’re starting to talk about real money for a marketing expense, whose value remains to be demonstrated. Rather than worrying about the niceties of ROI, PepsiCo and DreamWorks, will try to make their Superbowl ads more memorable, by presenting them in 3-D.

Those of us old enough to remember an earlier generation of 3-D movies and comic books also remember having to wear cardboard glasses, whose right and left lenses were of different colors. The movies tended to be horror movies and westerns, in which the monster or villain, though thought dead, somehow survived to appear in a sequel.

So much for progress, the funky cardboard glasses are back. No glasses – no 3-D. Pepsi is using its considerable retail distribution to try to get 125 million pairs available to the viewing public by game day glasses. The Wall St. Journal(1/23/09, B8) reports that the glasses alone will cost about $7 million. To PepsiCo’s and DreamWorks’ credit they have gotten Intel to pay this.

What Intel gets for this another remains to be seen, but kudos to the deal makers at Pepsi. This challenge has made the commercials themselves news and DreamWorks is even advertising the commercials. Dreamworks new 3-D feature Monsters and Aliens is a major product push. Thus the game gets prime real estate on its animation site (warning – visiting this link will shift your browser to full screen).

In case you didn’t find the glasses at your local supermarket, you can get some by calling Pepsi at 1-800-646-2904.Curiously, Pepsi does not invite consumers to order online. There was no promotion of the event either during the on-hold recording (background music) or when I spoke to an attendant, who indifferently took my shipping information. The promotion is not featured on Pepsi’s or Intel’s web sites.

What does this have to do with selling SoBe Lifewater or microprocessors? Perhaps this would be clearer seen through a pair of 3-D glasses.

Crunchy Time — Will User Generated Commercials make The Superbowl a Winner?

The Superbowl does deliver a mass audience. Nielsen estimates that TV audiences for the Superbowl game have been on the order of 90 million per game for the past decade. As in many other cases, size may not be decisive.

As regular readers of this blog may remember, I have a low opinion of advertising on mass events such as the Superbowl. They are expensive and have not been shown to be effective. Their ROI would be small, if their results were measurable at all. It is more reasonable to look at these campaigns as boondoggles. Corporate execs and key clients have a fun weekend at someone else’s expense.

An interesting case is Doritos, one of Frito-Lay’s chip brands. Not only does Doritos want you to consume more of its junk food, it also invites you to make a commercial.

There are already quite a few do it yourself video contests from Apple’s Insomnia Film Festival to freecreditrepost.com lip synch contest. Doritos differentiates its contest by offering the winning commercial to be shown during the 2009 Super Bowl and with a top prize of $ 1 million – not bad for a user generated 30 second spot. A reading of the contest rules shows that Doritos is likely to pay only $ 25,000 and a trip to the game.

Social media introduce another dimension. Their marginal cost of redirected media, including Superbowl ads, can be very small. With user produced ads, Doritos will save a bundle on creative and production costs and generate a lot of customer input. If the winning campaign goes viral in a significant way it will extend reach and frequency beyond those who saw the game and may or may not have seen the commercial.

ROI or not, the Superbowl and the ads which make it possible, will be around for a while. For those advertisers, going viral and employing user generated content should at least allow for an extra point conversion.