Computers, wrestlers and lingerie
Computers, wrestlers and lingerie
NEW YORK Apple Computer will return after 14 years. The World Wrestling Federation will make mayhem. And lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret will invite viewers to watch its sexy fashion show on the Internet. These are some of the standout commercials at this year’s Super Bowl, the biggest advertising event of the year.
About 30 companies will pay a record average price of $1.6 million for each of the 58 half-minute commercial slots on Sunday’s telecast from Miami. That’s $53,333 per commercial second, and a hefty 23 percent premium over last year’s average. The price is roughly three times the highest-rated TV series in prime time. Despite the cost, the game makes a compelling buy, largely because of the national holiday atmosphere surrounding the game. The research firm Eisner & Associates said its survey of 1,000 adults last weekend indicates about 7 percent of the audience tunes in just to see the ads and more than one-third expect to discuss them Monday morning.
“It’s not just the Super Bowl of football, it’s the Super Bowl of advertising,” said Jerry Solomon, who buys commercial time for clients of SFM Media. “Everybody talks about the commercials.”
Apple Computer Inc. is widely credited for making the Super Bowl a commercial showcase with its 1984 ad that introduced the easy-to-use Macintosh. Apple also advertised the following year, but has been absent since then. Its new ad features the talking computer HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and is set some time in the future. HAL reminds a visitor named Dave that “computers began to misbehave” in the year 2000, creating a “global economic disruption” because they were not programmed to recognize the new millennium. But HAL notes Macintosh models alone worked perfectly and asks, “You like your Macintosh better than me, don’t you, Dave?”
“We are not trying to outdo ourselves or other people,” said Apple spokeswoman Rhona Hamilton. “It’s a very topical message.”
A first-time Super Bowl advertiser, the World Wrestling Federation, gives a look at a “typical” day at its offices’ bodies crashing through windows and office partitions while a couple share an embrace. Amid the chaos, WWF stars like the Undertaker, the Rock, Sable and Stone Cold Steve Austin cooly try to dispel “misperceptions” about violence and sex during WWF matches.
The most surprising newcomer may be Victoria’s Secret, previewing its spring fashion show on the Internet. The ad opens by saying the two Super Bowl teams won’t be there, but “you won’t care.” It then shows several models in revealing outfits from last year’s show. “We want to get women to smile and men to take notice,” said Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for Victoria’s Secret.
Budweiser’s Louie the Lizard, the architect of a failed attempt to electrocute the Bud frogs on last year’s Super Bowl telecast, gets a tongue-lashing from the frogs this year. The St. Louis-based brewer is the single largest advertiser on this year’s Super Bowl with five minutes and 15 seconds. It reportedly paid as much as $2 million per half-minute and will be the only brewer on the telecast. The company has declined to reveal what it paid.
Federal Express has an ad that shows what can happen when you hire a rival courier – hockey crowd screams for the arrival of the Stanley Cup, only to get a box of donkey feed, while a rural town in Bolivia gets the hockey trophy.
Among other regular advertisers, M&Ms will introduce a crispy variety of its famous candy and Frito-Lay will pitch Cracker Jack and new barbecued Doritos.
Pepsi-Cola has scaled back to two half-minute ads after running five last year. Spokesman Jon Harris said the company will debut a new theme for Pepsi closer to the summer season. Coca-Cola Co., the biggest soft drink company, is absent, as are other veterans such as Nike, IBM and McDonald’s. Rookies include two Internet job site operators, HotJobs.com. Ltd. and TMP Worldwide’s Monster.com.
Fox’s pre-game coverage begins more than seven hours ahead of the kickoff. It expects $150 million in revenue.