Super Bowl ad players: Who’s in the game?

An average of four million pairs of eyes tuned in to last year's Super Bowl Sunday on Global Television. At least one Bowl newbie's taking the mega-audience opportunity to kickstart a campaign.

Global Television raked in 3.9 million viewers for Super Bowl 2006. The media pundits weren’t all too impressed with last year’s marketing plays (click here for MiC‘s coverage), but Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007 is almost upon us, bringing new campaigns to arm-chair critique. Although the pricetag of a Super Bowl spot this year is higher than ever ($2.6 million in the US and almost $100,000 on Global Television), the annual showcase of brands is still thriving.

The days are counting down for the big game’s official sponsors and spot-buyers. Nissan’s got the first quarter, and Labatt’s got the second. Returning sponsor PepsiCo’s got the half-time show. The third quarter is still open to sponsorship. General Motors is sponsoring the fourth quarter, and the marketer’s Pontiac division is staying on as a lead sponsor for the after-game debut of Deal or No Deal‘s Canadian edition. Rogers, while not an official Super Bowl sponsor, is also advertising heavily during the game as a lead-in to the game show, in which the marketer will be noted for connecting the calls between host Howie Mandel and ‘the banker.’

An example of what’s to come? PepsiCo’s Mississauga office revealed details yesterday on its Canada-exclusive Super Bowl spot. The 30-second ‘Make-Out’ is the latest in the Diet Pepsi ‘Forever Young’ campaign, created by BBDO Toronto. The ad depicts a young couple of 30-somethings wishing they could make out like they used to, imagining themselves getting naughty at places like the grocery store and parent-teacher interviews. The climax? They realize they still have Diet Pepsi to keep them feeling youthful.

Coca-Cola’s back in the Super Bowl ad game this year, putting a ‘give a little love’ spin on the violent Grand Theft Auto games. The 60-second spot called ‘Video Game’ opens with car-crunching carnage (watch it here). Mimicking scenes from the game, the main character begins to substitute good deeds – pulling a guy out of his car to give him a Coke with a smile, saving an old lady from a purse snatcher, etc – for the more violent options possible in the game. It ends with a chorus of voices singing happily and the tagline: ‘The Coke side of Life.’

Another notable is Sirius Satellite Radio, the Bowl’s exclusive satellite broadcaster, which bought 10-second ads embedded on scoreboards for the Global broadcast. The Conservative Party has reportedly bought time during the Super Bowl to air the much-discussed anti-Dion ads. However, those hoping for a peek at the controversial Kevin Federline ads for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. will have to look them up on YouTube. Reportedly the spots won’t be shown in Canada.

A newbie to Global’s Super Bowl broadcast this year is LG Electronics Canada. The marketer will debut a TV spot tied to in-store promos, a microsite and a call to action in the form of an interactive online photo contest. The contest, dubbed ‘Show Us Your Set,’ runs from Feb. 5 to March 18 and aims to spark Canadians creativity, inviting photos of their televisions at The TV ad is already posted to YouTube (Watch it here). The contest kickstarts the electronics company’s in-store ‘Complete Your Set’ retail promo, giving consumers a complementary DVD player upgrade with every LG 60-inch plasma screen. Young & Rubicam’s Brand Buzz division partnered with LG Electronics for the debut effort.

Watch MiC for commentary from the media world following the big game this Sunday. And feel free to drop us a line about who you thought spent their time and money well.

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