Teams Are Unknown, but Super Bowl Spots Line Up

Read More at: NYTimes

Super Bowl viewers are expecting to see — in addition to a football game — a batch of busy, glossy new commercials infused with time-tested entertainment elements like celebrities, animals, attractive young women and yes, babies.

Critics deride such content as corny or predictable., the Web site of the trade publication Advertising Age, mocked conventions of Super Bowl advertising on Thursday by asking readers to “vote for your favorite Super Bowl simian spot” among eight choices.

But commercials that are replete with mainstays or memes are meant to appeal to the mass audience that tunes in each year for the Super Bowl. Last year, 106.5 million people watched the game, according to Nielsen, setting a record for viewership for an American television program.

“I’ve seen the estimates” for Super Bowl XLV, said Nick Utton, chief marketing officer at the New York office of the E*Trade Financial Group, “and 110 million is very definitely within reach.”

So it is not surprising that E*Trade, which has featured “talking” babies in its Super Bowl spots for the last three years, will bring the characters back again.

“We don’t presuppose each year we’ll be in the following year’s Super Bowl,” Mr. Utton said, because the expense and scrutiny mean “it’s not for the faint of heart.”

Still, the game is “the only event of the year where advertising is not the uninvited guest,” he added, and when “commercials come on, people stop talking.”

E*Trade intends to run one commercial in the third quarter of the game and another immediately after the game ends. Plans also call for a baby to “talk” with Fox Sports during a segment of the pregame show.

E*Trade and its agency, Grey New York, are deciding between two commercials for the two slots. One spot features a baby who does well enough investing through that he can afford a tailor — and the tailor is not doing too badly, either. The other spot presents “a very educated baby,” Mr. Utton said, “discussing the merits of E*Trade” with a character that he declined to identify until next week, when the cat may be let out of the bag.