Their ticket to the Super Bowl will cost them super bucks, but advertisers will still line up to play. For a 30-second slot, they'll shell out a cool $3.7 million in 2013. In the past decade, the cost for advertising during the big game has increased by 60 percent. Yet, this enormous price tag has not deterred companies from getting in on the advertising action.
And with good reason. Advertising during the Super Bowl practically guarantees viewership, and it has become as competitive as the game. Throughout the years, Super Bowl commercials have produced some memorable moments, and watching them has evolved into a de facto national pastime.
So, what makes for an effective Super Bowl commercial?
"The most successful ads have lots of creativity and a certain 'shock factor' that leave audiences talking about them for days," says Arthur Comstock, Ph.D., business professor at Marywood University. "There is a whole audience now-a-days that watches the Super Bowl just to see the commercials."
When asked what kind of commercials audiences can expect this year, Christopher Speicher, M.B.A., Ph.D., who teaches along side Dr. Comstock in the Business Department, says two emerging themes this year involve animals and digital interaction.
"More people are watching television with some sort of digital device in their hands," Dr. Speicher explains, "and advertisers are beginning to take advantage of that."
Anheuser-Busch is a case in point. This year, the brewing company—which will have 4 ½ minutes of advertising during the game—is using social media to allow fans to name their new baby Clydesdale horse born earlier this year. According to Dr. Speicher, this strategy is effective, and he predicts it will become more widespread in coming years.
Another company, PepsiCo, which made Super Bowl advertising history in the 90s with its commercials featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford, is trying a different approach. The cola company will showcase one extended ad featuring baby astronauts. This "put-all-of-your-eggs-in-one-basket" approach is risky, according to Dr. Comstock, because it may be difficult to hold the audience's attention for an extended period during the game.
Nevertheless, 111 million viewers are expected to watch this year's game, and one thing is certain: the audience will be given an entertainment spectacle, an experience, that will keep them engaged, or at least, that's what advertisers hope.
"Everything is based around 'the experience'," says Dr. Comstock. "The entire Super Bowl is packaged that way. From the game to the half-time show to the singing of the National Anthem. It's all designed to allow viewers to have an experience."
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