Super Bowl ads almost sold out: Only 5 slots remain

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

Advertisers still sitting on the fence about the 2012 Super Bowl may soon find themselves flat on the ground: Only five slots remain.

Never mind that the season hasn’t even started, with the National Football League’s first game scheduled for Thursday. Just five 30-second Super Bowl ad slots — at a record $3.5 million each — are left, says Seth Winter, head of sales for NBC Sports.

“We expect to sell out totally before the end of the year,” says Winter, who insists there will be no price discounts for the remaining ads. Also, he notes, just as NBC did in 2009, it is requiring all Super Bowl advertisers to also buy ad time on other NBC Sports broadcasts.

“It’s not in our best interest to allow someone to just buy the Super Bowl,” Winter says. “We are only selling in combination with our other assets.”

Some 2011 Super Bowl advertisers are starting to reveal 2012 plans:
• The provocative marketer of domain names will be back for its eighth Super Bowl with at least one and possibly two slots, founder Bob Parsons says. Race car driver Danica Patrick stars in the ads for the sixth time. GoDaddy has 12 possible Super Bowl ad scripts and will select from those, he says. “The ads will be fun, edgy and slightly inappropriate.”

•Skechers. The sneaker maker has purchased a 30-second spot to air during the two-minute warning of the first half. The company is undecided if Kim Kardashian will appear again, says Leonard Armato, president of the Skechers fitness group. “We couldn’t use Kim in another ‘break-up’ spot this year because she just got married.”

•Teleflora. The flower delivery service will return to the Super Bowl, spokeswoman Missy Miller says. She declined to say anything else about the plans.

•Kia. The South Korean automaker will return to the Super Bowl for the third-consecutive year, says Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America.

•Pepsi. The cola maker announced last month that it will feature the winner of The X Factor in a 30-second Super Bowl spot.

•Century 21. The real estate giant announced in March that it will make its first Super Bowl appearance with a 30-second spot in the third quarter.

•Mercedes-Benz. The German carmaker, which ran a spot in 2011’s Super Bowl, won’t return in 2012. “The 2011 Super Bowl was a perfect platform from which we could launch five new models,” spokeswoman Sabrina Glavan says. “Not the same scenario for 2012.”…