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Jan192011

Super Bowl Advertisers To Viewers: Spend Some Time (And $$) With Us

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

January 19, 2011: When viewers tune in to Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, they will see 60 minutes of NFL action but also more than 45 minutes worth of commercials on Fox. In fact, from Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 through Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, Super Bowl telecasts have accounted for 425 minutes – more than seven hours – of commercials, representing more than 850 announcements and $1.62 billion of network advertising sales, according to marketing research and consulting firm Kantar Media, New York.

Super Bowl XLIV on CBS had the most ad time of all Super Bowl telecasts over the past ten years — 47 minutes, 50 seconds — more than two and a half minutes more than each of the previous two games (45 minutes, 10 seconds). There also were a record 104 spots, 20 more than in each of the previous two Super Bowls and the first time that figure had topped 100.

Of that $1.62 billion, the top five Super Bowl advertisers over the past ten years have spent $592 million on advertising during the game, accounting for 36% of total advertising revenue. Anheuser-Busch InBev is far and away the leading spender during Super Bowl telecasts, to the tune of $235 million during the past ten games. Since 1989, Anheuser-Busch has had a deal with Super Bowl networks CBS, NBC and Fox giving it exclusivity in the beer category during national broadcasts, which remains in effect under the current pact through Super Bowl XLIV in 2012.

Anheuser-Busch InBev will again have the largest ad buy in the 2011 game, according to Kantar Media, with at least eight spots and four minutes of air time.

Also among the Top 5 Super Bowl spenders are PepsiCo ($170.8 million), Walt Disney Co. ($70 million), General Motors ($61.1 million) and Coca-Cola ($54.4 million). General Motors will be returning to the Super Bowl stage after a two-year absence, a self-imposed sanction due to the car company's financial situation.

This year, automakers are driving the Super Bowl highway to Cowboys Stadium in North Texas en masse. BMW North America returns after more than a decade. Also running at least one 30-second spot are will be Audi, Chrysler, Kia, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz. In addition, there will be ads from Bridgestone (as well as sponsorship of the half time show), CarMax and Cars.com, and Ford will advertise during the pre-game show (but not in-game).

During Super Bowl XLV, 30-second ads are estimated to cost between $2.7-$3 million, according to industry analysts. However, companies such as Anheuser-Busch that have multiple spots are believed to be paying less per 30 seconds. Estimated spend for 30-second spots has been at or about $3 million in each of the previous two Super Bowls (on NBC and CBS, respectively). Back in 2001, it took an estimated $2.2 million to buy a 30-second spot on CBS.

Despite the plethora of marketers from the car category during Super Bowl XLV, viewers are also expected to see a bevy of messages from movie studios. According to Kantar Media, "Competitive message clutter within the motion picture sector is [intense] because studios habitually use their inventory to promote multiple films." During Super Bowl XLIV there were ads for six different films and during Super Bowl XLIII there were spots for nine different releases.

Universal has already said it would promote Cowboys & Aliens, scheduled to hit theaters July 29 starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. Among the other 2011 releases that could vie for ad time are Rango, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Super 8 (Paramount); Mars Needs Moms, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Cars 2 (Disney); Green Lantern and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Warner Bros.); and X-Men: First Class (Twentieth Century Fox). (See full story on possible Super Bowl XLV movie ads here.)

"Competitive message clutter within the motion picture sector is [intense] because studios habitually use their inventory to promote multiple films."

However, what viewers will really see a lot of are spots from Fox promoting their own shows. According to Kantar Media, "In a typical Super Bowl, 15-20% of all commercial time is a plug by the network for its own programming." In 2010, the value of this air time on CBS exceeded $49 million.

The bottom line is that marketers know that they can expect an audience of between 90-100 million during Super Bowl XLV. According to Kantar Media, in terms of network ad revenue when compared to the high-profile, viewer intense events of MLB's World Series and the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Final Four,  the Super Bowl has been "pulling away from March Madness and exceeds the World Series in years when the Fall Classic last five games or fewer."

During Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, CBS' ad revenue was an estimated $205.2 million, while ad revenue for the World Series on Fox was $191.2 million and the Final Four on CBS was $177.2 million. During Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, NBC's revenue was an estimated $213 million, while  while ad revenue for the World Series on Fox actually topped that with an estimated $223.6 million while the Final Four on CBS was $163.2 million.

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