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US advertisers make big bets on the Super Bowl

Published: 10:22AM Monday February 04, 2013 Source: ONE News

When the Ravens and the 49ers square off in the Super Bowl later today, it is not just the biggest stage for American football, but ad executives as well.

Kicking off at around 12pm NZT today, the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year for advertisers, drawing more than 100 million viewers in the United States.

However, it seems advertising is more expensive this year than ever before, with exposure costing as much as US$4 million for a mere 30 seconds of air time.

According to CNBC , last year's game drew a record 111 million viewers, and brought in an average of US$3.5 million per ad spot, up 60% from a decade ago.

This year, CBS, the network broadcasting the game, is charging an average of US$3.8 million per 30 second ad spot, with an estimated $350 million total revenue from ads during the game as well as pre and post-game coverage.

But with promoters willing to spend millions of dollars year after year, the investment must be paying off.

Contagion's Creative Director, Bridget Taylor, told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning that the Super Bowl advertising is "guaranteed eyeballs".

"I think its 111 million people watching your ad and seeing your brand. So its really used strongly by iconic brands who want to become more iconic, and brands who are maybe changing their positioning.

"Or brands who are launching into the market for the first time, and want to make a big bang," she said.

But with advertisers keen to create a buzz with pre-game teasers, some promoters have already been accused of being too provocative .

"It's almost a game around the game," online brand and marketing expert Ammiel Kamon told Reuters .

And the controversy caused by some adverts does not always flatter big-name brands.

Last week, Arab-American groups complained about the content of a Coca-Cola teaser which they said was too stereotypical.

Coca-Cola released an online teaser of the commercial last week, showing the Arab walking through a desert. He soon sees cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls and a motley crew fashioned after the marauders of the apocalyptic Mad Max film race by him to reach a gigantic bottle of Coke.

"What message is Coke sending with this?" asked Abed Ayoub, ADC's director of legal and policy affairs told Reuters.

"By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial," he said.

The soft drink company soon apologised, but said it would still show the ad.

Also causing controversy is a teaser produced for domain registering website Go Daddy, which depicts a hard to watch kiss between model Bar Rafaeli and an unnamed "nerd".

"When sexy meets smart, your small business scores," a voiceover states.

Similarly, Mercedes-Benz made a pitch for younger viewers in a teaser which shows swimsuit model Kate Upton washing a car, with the camera slowing panning her bikini-clad body.

The car maker released the video online, and Upton tweeted it to her 697,000 followers, generating headlines and a rebuke by the Parents Television Council.

"We knew it would be polarising," said Mercedes USA spokeswoman Donna Boland. "If it's not polarising then people aren't going to talk about it."

And although Super Bowl fans will be counting down to the first touchdown, no doubt Anheuser Buch InBev executives will be nervously hoping for a positive reaction towards their adverts.

Over the past five years, the Belgian-Brazilian brewer of Budweiser beer has been one of the Super Bowl's biggest advertisers, spending about US$250 million on producing campaigns alone.

This year, the company will have the first commercial of the game, and has already purchased four and a half minutes of air time.