Super Bowl advertisers will benefit from female viewers, YouTube effect

Friday, February 1, 2008

You know the Super Bowl Sunday drill. When the game airs this Sunday, Feb. 3, you will watch the pre-game, post-game and halftime shows and of course the big game itself. But will you probably talk about with others on Monday morning? The commercials.

Sheri Broyles, University of North Texas associate professor of advertising and a former advertising agency account executive, says this year some advertisers are working to capture the attention of the growing number of female Super Bowl viewers and that many will benefit from a growing phenomenon -- the YouTube effect.

"More and more women are watching major sporting events like the Super Bowl," Broyles says. "Advertisers know that and are tailoring spots for female viewers. Dove did a spot during the Super Bowl a few years ago as part of its Campaign for Real Beauty, and this year, Victoria's Secret is airing a spot for the first time since 1999."

In 2006, the same year the Dove ad aired during Super Bowl XL, Unilever aired a spot for Slimfast Optima aimed at women viewers. The following year, during Super Bowl XLI, General Motors aired a spot for the Chevrolet HHR with women viewers as their target audience.

Broyles calls commercials tailored for women "a fast growing trend that I think we'll see more and more of."

"The Super Bowl isn't just for male viewers any more," she says.

In addition to more advertising geared toward women, Broyles says this year's Super Bowl will again feature commercial staples that watchers have come to know and love.

"There is guaranteed to be sophomoric humor from Bud Light," Broyles says, recalling a past spot featuring flatulent horses. She points out, however, that Bud Light ads aren't limited to low-brow humor.

"I think the magic refrigerator spot was really clever," she says.

She notes that Anheuser Busch buys about 10 spots for the Super Bowl and splits them between Budweiser and Bud Light.

"The Budweiser spots are a little classier and sophisticated, featuring the Clydesdales. Bud Light is geared more to the 21-34 male beer demographic," she says.

Frito Lay's Doritos usually has a commercial as well, with last year's spot the result of a nationwide ad contest, Broyles says. The winning ad was produced by a new production company for self-promotion.

"The cost to produce the piece was $12, which included the price of the bags of chips," Broyles says. "The reason it was so cheap is that they didn't have to pay for any of the production and editing costs. They made a last minute decision to enter and got their entry in just two hours before the deadline."

This year, Doritos launched its Crash the Super Bowl campaign allowing bands to submit recordings for consideration by music industry judges and popular vote by web site visitors. The winning band gets an Interscope Records contract, and the band's 60-second video will air during the Super Bowl.

With 92.3 million potential viewers sitting down for the Super Bowl and 30-second spots selling for $2.6 to $3 million (or roughly $100,000 per second), the stakes are high, and advertisers want to get the biggest bang for their many bucks.

Enter YouTube and viewing on demand.

"The idea used to be you see the commercial during the Super Bowl and only during the Super Bowl," Broyles says. "For example, the famous 1984 Mac commercial never aired anywhere but the Super Bowl.  Now with YouTube, you can see them all year long, over and over again, so advertisers' messages keep getting delivered. You see things that you might have missed the first time you saw an ad."

But no one will visit YouTube to see a spot again and again if it isn't clever and entertaining.

"Around the water cooler the day after, the talk is often about the ads because the game is over and done with," Broyles says, adding that everyone is "an expert" on the commercials and has his or her favorites to discuss.

"And if you missed a spot during the game, now you can go on YouTube and view it so you can participate in the dialogue," she says.

With the advent of TiVo and digital video recording, advertisers battle viewers habit of skipping past ads to get back to their recorded programming. But Broyles says the Super Bowl is immune to the TiVo effect because most viewers want to watch the game in real time.

"Trade publications talk about buying into the Super Bowl because it's immune to the Tivo effect," Broyles says.

Other advertisers in the Super Bowl commercial lineup this year include Audi, which is running ads for the first time in 20 years; Bridgestone, the sponsor of the halftime show; Planters, making its first appearance in about 10 years; Coca-Cola; FedEx; Pepsi; Disney-Pixar; General Motors; Hershey; Sony Pictures; Toyota; Universal Pictures; Paramount; and Proctor and Gamble.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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