Man 2 apps in one week! AdBowl was mentioned by Advertising guru, Stuart Elliott. Here’s the full story.
An Advocacy Ad Elevates Interest in All the Ads
By STUART ELLIOTTPublished: February 4, 2010
VIEWERS look forward to the commercials shown during a Super Bowl because they know the spots will almost always be different from — and better than — the everyday ads they typically deride or ignore. For Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, the anticipation may be more keen than usual.
“I can’t wait to watch,” said Steve McKee, president at McKee Wallwork Cleveland, an agency in Albuquerque, N.M., that for the 10th year is sponsoring a Web site, adbowl.com, where consumers can vote for their favorite commercials. For 2010, the agency is adding an Adbowl application for the iPhone.
There are several reasons for the additional interest in the spots that CBS will broadcast on Sunday. The biggest is the inclusion of what is being called the first advocacy ad to ever appear in a Super Bowl, a commercial from Focus on the Family, an evangelical organization that is opposed to abortion.
The spot, featuring the college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, has been the subject of one of the most intense tugs-of-war over an ad in many years. CBS is not disclosing beforehand the contents of the commercial or when during the game it will run, but that has not stopped advocates on both sides of the abortion issue from rallying supporters for or against the spot.
For example, two organizations opposed to abortion, Americans United for Life Action and LifeNews.com, started a page on Facebook called Support Tebow’s Super Bowl Ad; as of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 168,100 fans.
Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights, introduced on Wednesday an online commercial featuring two athletes — Sean James, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, and Al Joyner, an Olympic gold medalist — endorsing the right of a woman to make her own “decision about her health and her family.”
Surveys by companies like Alterian, Nielsen and Zeta Interactive have reported that the Focus on the Family spot is the most-discussed of all potential Super Bowl commercials in online places like blogs and message boards. They also found extensive conversations about spots planned from other advertisers like Anheuser-Busch,Coca-Cola, Doritos, Taco Bell and Universal Pictures.
The buzz suggests “there’ll be great dialogue about the commercials” after the game as well, said Nelson Marchioli, chief executive at Denny’s, which is buying three commercials in the game compared with one during the 2009 Super Bowl.
“Last year, we got such a wonderful response, not only from customers but also from employees and franchisees,” Mr. Marchioli said. So “we wanted to plus it up” with additional spots, he added, as well as start a promotion on dennys.com to win free breakfasts earlier than it began last year. The Denny’s spots are being created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a unit of the Omnicom Group.
Another reason for the growing curiosity about the Super Bowl XLIV commercials is that the presence of the Focus on the Family spot is shining a brighter light on the contents of all the ads.
For instance, a decision by CBS this week that Electronic Arts change the ending of its Super Bowl spot, promoting the new Dante’s Inferno video game, drew national attention. The company and its agency, Wieden & Kennedy, wanted to end the spot with the words “Go to hell,” but CBS said the phrase did not meet its broadcast standards; the wording was changed to “Hell awaits.”
Likewise, decisions by CBS to reject commercials submitted by other advertisers were extensively covered, although such refusals are commonplace before most Super Bowls. CareerBuilder.com, GoDaddy.com and KGB, a text-message information service, were told some spots they sought to run did not meet standards for broadcast; all three replaced those spots with others that were accepted.
And there were thousands of articles devoted to the refusal of CBS to accept a commercial from ManCrunch.com, a new gay dating Web site. CBS said the spot — depicting two men in a passionate clinch that resembled dirty dancing without the dancing — did not meet its broadcast standards. The network also said it was worried about the ability of the Web site to pay for the commercial.
Executives at ManCrunch.com said they had the money and called the refusal discriminatory.
Despite the interest in commercials that will not appear, advertisers say they are confident the spots they intend to run will be noticed.
“I think we’re getting our fair share of attention,” said Rudy Wilson, vice president for marketing at Frito-Lay in Plano, Tex., a division of PepsiCo. Frito-Lay is back with another Crash the Super Bowl contest, asking consumers to create commercials for Doritos snacks.
Three consumer-produced spots, from more than 4,000 entries, will run during the game; based on their performance in the Super Bowl Ad Meter conducted by USA Today, Frito-Lay could give away as much as $5 million in prize money. Last year, a Doritos commercial created by two brothers from Batesville, Ind., won $1 million.
The Pepsi-Cola division of PepsiCo raised eyebrows when it said it would skip Super Bowl XLIV after more than two decades of sponsorship. “I can’t really speak for Pepsi’s decision,” Mr. Wilson said, adding, “At Doritos we’re happy and excited” about returning to the Super Bowl.
“We’re the biggest, baddest, boldest chip out there, and we needed the biggest, baddest, boldest stage out there,” he added. “That platform is the Super Bowl.”