What To Expect From Super Bowl Commercials On Sunday

By Kristena Hansen
Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 4:51pm
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(Photo courtesy of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee)
Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee 2015 logo.

For many viewers, the Super Bowl is just as much about the commercials as it is football.

During this year’s big game at Glendale's University of Phoenix stadium on Sunday, some advertisers will stick with tried-and-true approaches for commercials, using humor, puppies and babies to captivate audiences and elevate their brands.

But other advertisers will try some newer approaches.

Viewers should expect more commercials with meaningful messages and fewer with sexy models in skimpy clothing, a trend that has generated increasing public backlash as the Super Bowl attracts more female viewers, said Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president and general manager of the Phoenix office of Cramer-Krasselt, one of the nation’s largest independent ad agencies.

But Bloomquist said taking a new approach is always tricky with such a broad audience.

“It’s part of the risk you take,” she said. "I mean, as I said before, it’s a big stage that has the potential to garner you a lot of new friends and new engagement, but it’s also a stage where you can fall flat.”

An example of falling flat was RadioShack’s Super Bowl ad last year, which showed a group of ‘80s pop-culture icons storming in and raiding a store of archaic electronics such as VCRs and boom boxes.

By poking fun at itself, RadioShack hoped to show off its new and improved brand. Instead, it only helped reinforce its outdated image. One year later, the company is facing bankruptcy.

But regardless of approach, this year more advertisers across the board are aiming to leverage the Super Bowl well before their commercials air.

“There’s money being spent pre the game and during the game in terms of teaser ads, social media time and effort so that the brands can leverage the exposure and the way to engage with consumers in multiple different ways,” Bloomquist said. “So it’s less about a one-shot deal, it’s more about interaction, interaction, interaction.”

She said that’s largely because advertisers are trying to get the most bang for their buck as game-day ad costs hit another record this year: $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.

Bloomquist said that’s up about 7 percent from last year and more than twice the cost 16 years ago. It also doesn’t include production costs.

But with more than 100 million people watching the big game, many companies say that level of exposure and attention, positive or not, is worth it.

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