Triangle small businesses compete for Super Bowl XLVIII ad

RALEIGH — From cupcake and candle makers to tarot card readers and dog biscuit bakers, many Triangle small-business owners want a piece of the Super Bowl XLVIII action.

The NFL season has just started, but hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations across the state and nation have entered Intuit Small Business Big Game, a contest with prizes that include a 30-second commercial during the Feb. 2 Super Bowl, which is one of the most-watched television broadcasts of the year.

Small-business owners who enter this and other contests that involve public voting need to be strategic about the challenge they choose, ensure they can deliver if success follows, and think about the burden it puts on clients and friends if a company is asking them to vote in a new contest every week, said Jeremy Sisk, president of Xperience4Higher, a marketing and consulting firm in Durham that focuses on small businesses.

Sisk likened participating in too many contests to someone going around asking for a date from every girl in the room.

There are other benefits of participating in such contests, beyond raising the profile of a business, said Margaret Shepard, executive director of Communications and Strategy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In February, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognized 100 small businesses across the nation with its Blue Ribbon Small Business Award. Those businesses were then eligible to compete for the 2013 Community Excellence Award, which is determined by a popular vote.

“We found that this program has allowed these businesses to analyze all aspects of how they are doing business, from the staff and the benefits to their client work, and figure out where they are excelling, where they want to focus more,” Shepard said. “I think that sort of holistic view is really helpful to them.”

Ken Phipps, founder and owner of, a 16-year-old website with Super Bowl commercials and the news surrounding, said that last year a 30-second national spot cost about 3.8 million and was seen on average by 108 million viewers.

Small-business owners who are in the thick of the Small Business Big Game competition expressed different reasons for participating.

Nancy Alinovi, owner of Adore Designer Retail Boutiques in Cary and Raleigh, said the contest is an opportunity to raise awareness about her company and increase franchising opportunities. Sara Fitzpatrick, owner of The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in Raleigh, would like to increase production and celebrate small businesses.

Philip Young, who founded Black Unykorn Astrology and Tarot in Cary, thinks it would be fun to have Super Bowl ad about an astrologer and tarot reader.

“I figure it will be as entertaining as the Janet Jackson (wardrobe malfunction) halftime show,” Young said.

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