Super Bowl XXXVII Ad Roster Grows With H&R Block Joining Monster, A-B

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The Game

A year ago, advertisers had both the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics as major sports venues to hawk their wares. Now, with Super Bowl XXXVII as the only game in town, the usual superstars are lining up for what arguably will be the biggest single-event marketing day of 2003.

But while many of the traditional brands will fill the screens of ABC on Jan. 26 for the game at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, there will be a number of changes. For one, E*Trade won’t return as sponsor of the halftime show, a role it has embraced since 2000. It has also not yet made a decision as to whether it will air new ads, via agency Goodby, Silverstein, San Francisco.

H&R Block is returning to the big game for the second year in a row after last year’s “Taxman” spot, directed by the Coen Brothers, resulted in record sales for the firm.

This year, H&R will draft a yet-unnamed celebrity for a Super Bowl effort and will run one ad in the first quarter and will sponsor part of the pregame. The celeb will be used in a one-off effort and will not become an H&R spokesperson. During the pregame show, H&R’s logo will also be seen in an onscreen graphic for 30 minutes. Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis, handles.

The Super Bowl ads will tout Double Check Challenge, a new service in which H&R looks over a tax form prepared by another firm, said David Byers, svp/CMO for the Kansas City, Mo., firm. The effort comes as H&R tries to expand its identity beyond tax preparation to become more of a generic financial services entity.

“Most financial services firms don’t go after mainstream America because there’s not enough money to be made,” said Byers. “We want to introduce financial services to mainstream America.”

Charles Schwab, another financial services firm with a similar, albeit more upscale target, is also planning a return, sources said. GSD&M, Austin, Texas, handles. Schwab reps declined comment.

Hotjobs.com is “seriously considering the pros and cons” of advertising this year, said Marc Karasu, dir-advertising for Hotjobs.com, New York. “It’s proven historically that it’s a valuable asset.” Hot-jobs was acquired by Yahoo! this year.

Monster.com will make its fifth straight appearance by airing a 30-second continuation of its existing “Never Settle” campaign, via Arnold, Boston. Unlike prior campaigns, the job site’s 2003 effort will target employers as well as job seekers. “We’re focusing on the common ground by illustrating the job itself in a specific category you might not expect to see from Monster,” said Peter Blacklow, svp-marketing for Monster.com, Maynard, Mass. He mentioned healthcare specifically as a possibility.

Blacklow added the spot will be humorous in nature and that the brand mascot Trumpasaurus will return. Monster.com is also strongly considering signing with the NCAA. “It’s a good fit for us because of the audience we’re going after . . . recent college grads, alumni networks,” he said.

Anheuser-Busch, the Super Bowl’s exclusive malt beverage advertiser for the 15th consecutive year, will reprise the Bud Bowl on retail displays that will cross promote with Procter & Gamble’s Pringles and Torengos snacks. Football-themed POP also will hail ABC Sports “Championship Television” and feature sideline reporter Mellisa Stark. A-B has locked up the equivalent of 10 30-second spots, or five minutes of air time for Bud, Bud Light, a responsible drinking message and possibly Michelob. NFL sponsor Coors Brewing rolls the “Last Team Standing” retail program for Coors Light but has no plans at this time to grab regional spots during the Super Bowl, per a company rep.

PepsiCo’s lemon-lime entry, Sierra Mist, which is launching nationally next month, will likely air more than one ad, via BBDO, New York, using its “Shockingly refreshing” tagline. Cadillac will sponsor the postgame show as the official vehicle of the big game. It will likely have two spots including a 60-second effort that will show off its entire line, including the XLR roadster. Advertisers also include Masterfoods (replacing Hershey) and Campbell Soup.

Southwest Airlines says it isn’t buying any Super Bowl time but it is mulling some kind of promotion-details still being developed-around the game.

-with Mike Beirne, Kenneth Hein and Todd Wasserman

E-mail: [email protected]

— Hilary Cassidy Published: December 02, 2002