Invesco buys Super Bowl ad

By Erika Gonzalez Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

Denver-based Invesco Funds Group Inc. is hitting the advertising big leagues with a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl.

The ad, which features football legend Bill Walsh, represents Invesco’s first Super Bowl spot. Cross-town rival Janus Capital Corp. beat Invesco to the punch when it ran an ad during the 1997 Super Bowl.

Invesco representatives would not reveal what they paid for the air time, but spokeswoman Laura Parsons hinted that it fell below CBS advertised rates of $2.2 million to $2.4 million.

“Our advertising agency always pitches the spot because of the visibility and volume of viewers who watch the game,” Parsons said. “We look at every opportunity, and it looked like a good fit.”

Industry insiders say CBS isn’t fetching top dollar for the Jan. 28 match-up because of diminished demand from dot-coms. As of Jan. 12, CBS had four unsold 30-second commercials in the game, all in the fourth quarter, according to Advertising Age magazine.

Invesco’s ad, created by the Richards Group of Dallas, is designed to build brand awareness for the mutual fund family. The ad is part of the company’s Masters of the Game series, which features innovative sports figures, such as tennis champion Chris Evert and former basketball great Bill Russell. Invesco started airing the series during the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament last year.

Walsh, who led the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl championships and now is general manager of the team, will make his premiere in the Super Bowl ad.

“These sports champions are known for innovation in their field of expertise,” Parsons said. “It’s a good correlation for what we do in managing money.”

Still, Invesco’s investment surprised some in advertising circles.

“It’s think its gutsy,” said Bryan Thomas, founder of the Denver-based advertising agency Thomas & Perkins. “They obviously feel like they can reach a certain audience during that time that is going to make a difference.”

Invesco appears to be the only Colorado company advertising during the big game, which pairs the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants. Qwest International Inc. advertised during the Super Bowl last year, but the ads ran in local markets only.