Today the NFL posted on Twitter that the New York Jets vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers was the most watched AFC Championship game ever, with an average of 54.8 million viewers. An early read on the Greenbay Packers vs. Chicago Bears put its ratings at 51.9 million average viewers.
These huge numbers bode quite well for a huge audience for the big game on February 6th.
Which means the advertisers who decided to invest in $2.7 million to $3 million per 30 second spot in the telecast, must be quite pleased about their decision.
There's no opportunity for brands to pile into the telecast at the last minute -- Fox sold out all its Super Bowl inventory in October.
General Motors and Pepsi are both returning to the Super Bowl after a hiatus, and they must be breathing a big sigh of relief -- with high ratings their investment is more likely to pay off. It's been three years since General Motors last advertised in the Super Bowl, so the decision to return is a big deal. And GM's global marketing chief says the company's spending more on these ads than back in 2008. GM won't spread out its ads amongst its brands-- it's focusing just on Chevrolet, which it'll promote before, during and after the game.
Pepsi sat out last year's game in favor of an intense online marketing campaign. Called the "Refresh Project" Pepsi asked consumers how the company should give away grand money. This cost Pepsi about $20 million, less than the $33 million Pepsi spent on Super Bowl ads in 2009.
Plenty of the usual suspects will populate the broadcast -- like Anheuser-Busch Inbev and eTrade Financial. And we can expect a slew of movie trailers from Paramount, Universal and Disney.
But a half dozen high-profile brands have decided to sit out this year's game-- it's simply not worth the cost. Papa John's, Intel, Monster, Dr. Pepper, Denny's, Universal Orlando and KGB (a service that texts you answers to questions) will *not* advertise this year after paying for a presence last year.
That doesn't mean that they're not advertising *around* the Super Bowl. Papa John's, which happens to be an NFL sponsor, has a strategy to leverage the game without actually paying up for a 30-second spot. It'll give away a pizza every 45 seconds through the day on Super Bowl Sunday and it's offering a free pizza to every American if the game goes into overtime -- which it's advertising heavily through its Facebook pages. Here's the hitch -- to be eligible for the promotion customers must pre-register for the company's online loyalty program. Papa John's expects to give away 100,000 pizzas, which would have a retail value of about $1 million. That's nothing compared to a Super Bowl campaign. And in exchange the company could establish close regular contact with customers over the web.
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