Advertising aired during the Super Bowl each year creates nearly as much excitement as the big game itself. Why not? It is an event in which 90 million or more viewers are tuned in, and the lore of Super Bowl commercials makes viewers more receptive to commercials than they are the other 364 days of the year. The popularity of the Super Bowl has driven up the price for a 30-second spot to the point that this year’s game will cost advertisers $3 million.
The Super Bowl is as popular as ever, but Super Bowl advertising may be another story. Some longtime advertisers have opted not buy spots this year. Most notable is Pepsi, which announced its intention to focus on a cause-related initiative, The Pepsi Refresh Project. FedEx, another veteran Super Bowl marketer, has indicated that it, too, will not buy commercial time. Escalating ad rates have led Pepsi and FedEx to question whether a Super Bowl ad buy is the best use of resources. Evidently, the answer was “no.”
The Super Bowl is a marquee event, but in today’s highly connected world there are many options for reaching and engaging audiences. The decisions by Pepsi and FedEx in no way suggest that marketing through sports is losing its power or appeal. These companies have audiences to reach beyond what the Super Bowl can deliver. Super Bowl ad sales remain strong as more than 90% of the spots are sold already. Given that we are in the early stages of emerging from a recession, that figure is impressive. Super Bowl advertisers come and go; it would not be surprising to see Pepsi or FedEx step off the sidelines in the future and advertise during the Super Bowl again.
MediaBuyerPlanner – “Pepsi Drops Super Bowl Ads”