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Super Bowl Ads: Who's in the Game

Despite the pullback in the adverting dollars and marketer’s shift from traditional media to the Internet, companies are still clamoring to shell out millions for a 30-second Super Bowl spot.

It's no surprise that a couple of major long-time Super Bowl advertisers are sitting the game out. Long time Super Bowl advertiser Pepsi dropped out this year while GM and Fed Ex, which dropped out last year, are continuing to wait on the sidelines.

Carmakers are back in full force — foreign carmakers in particular.

Volkswagen is returning to the game after a nine-year hiatus. Hyundai's Kia is buying into the game for the first time ever, buying two 30-second spots in the first quarter and sponsoring the "Hyundai Kick-Off Show." Audi is returning to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year with a 60 second ad for a diesel hatchback in the fourth quarter of the game. And Chrysler is the only U.S. automaker in the game; back for the first time since 2004 with a 60 second ad in the first half of the game.

Last year in the midst of the financial crisis and U.S. automaker bailout, not a single US carmaker shelled out the cash for the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl ads have more impact if they're promoting products you can consume during the game itself, so look out for plenty of familiar names. Alehouse Busch bought a full five minutes of ads, making it the biggest advertiser of the game. Coca-Cola is reinforcing its brand message with two spots that are part of an integrated online ad campaign and philanthropic push (more on that in my next blog). Consumer products companies recognize that chips and popcorn are popular Super Bowl party snacks and they're hoping to cash in on some hungry couch potatoes. Doritos has three 30-second spots. Diamond Foods' is entering the game for the first time for Pop-Secret and Emerald Nuts. Snapple also jumping into the game for the first time.

The list of new advertisers — a whopping 10 this year — shows that the Game's position as the ultimate ad forum isn't fading.

And this year CBS is opening the doors to two new ad categories for the game. CBS is airing a rare "cause ad," from Focus on the Family. And though the game's broadcaster rarely if ever promotes a rival TV channel, they'll air a channel for TruTV, a cable channel owned by Time Warner . Other newcomers want to make a big splash: In its first-ever Bowl ad Boost Mobile is harkening back to the 1985 Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle."

Jumping into the Super Bowl for the first time can snag an up-and-coming company the spotlight. McCann Erickson's EVP Executive Creative Director says the attention the Super Bowl provides can allow a newcomer become a bona fide player in their category.

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