x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

At $4m a punt, Super Bowl advertisers hope for touchdown on the Web

Super Bowl sponsors paying a record $4m for a 30-second spot are hoping their ads will become hits on the internet as well as TV.

Coca-Cola began streaming the first part of a Super Bowl ad two weeks ago.
Coca-Cola began streaming the first part of a Super Bowl ad two weeks ago.

Super Bowl sponsors are touting a new rationale for the record US$4 million (Dh14.6m) they are spending on some 30-second spots this year: that viewers of American television's most-watched event will turn their advertisements into internet hits.

"That is absolutely a factor in the cost of the ads," said Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, which is televising the game.

"The advertisers expect they'll get a nice bump online, so it's well worth the increase."

Tonight's National Football League championship, which is expected to draw more than 111 million viewers in the United States, offers marketers such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi's Doritos a rare chance to make big leaps online, whether it's increasing Twitter followers or Facebook fans. Super Bowl advertisers bank on an extended online audience to justify and add value to their costly TV buys, said Rob Norman, the chief digital officer of GroupM, the media buying unit of WPP, the world's largest advertising company.

"More than ever, it's mandatory to stretch," Mr Norman said.

Companies are paying CBS an average of $3.75m for 30-second Super Bowl spots, an increase of 7.1 per cent from a year earlier and the most expensive advertising rate in US media, according to WPP Group's Kantar Media, an industry researcher. Some paid more than $4m, Mr Moonves said.

Super Bowl commercials are now almost as popular to watch as the game itself.

This year should be no different, according to the online sports website Bleacher Report.

While dozens of major brands will try to create one of the top commercials of the year, a few already have high expectations. Years of quality advertisements means these companies will have the most anticipated spots.

Few companies have been able to produce as many quality advertisements in recent years as Volkswagen. The most notable one featured a child in a Darth Vader helmet using "The Force" to turn on a car.

Other companies take a different approach. Last year Doritos found a way to make animal murder funny. One of the top commercials of Super Bowl XLVI featured a dog bribing his owner with crisps to keep his mouth shut about killing the family cat.

Mercedes-Benz will show a commercial featuring Kate Upton, a bikini model.

Although it turns from sexy to light-hearted very quickly, Mercedes knows the recipe to a good commercial. If you put an attractive female in it, people will notice. Like Britney Spears and Cindy Crawford in the past, Upton will join the list of celebrities whose sex appeal was used to sell products during the Super Bowl.

* Agencies