Canada’s ad biz bows few new plays for Super Bowl

Even as sponsors like Lay's serve up fresh Super Bowl fare, many advertisers are turning in recycled creative - and two days before the big kickoff, ad spots are yet to be sold out.

It looks like the only way some Canadian viewers are going to see a full game worth of slick, over-produced Super Bowl-exclusive commercial action this Sunday is if they’re HD subscribers who have access to the US telecast. But unlike slumping sales, say experts, this can’t be called a new recessionary phenomenon.

While numerous Canadian sponsors for Sunday’s Canadian Super Bowl broadcast are confirmed and CTV has met its revenue targets, a day before the weekend the network has yet to sell all its ad spots, confirms CTV VP communications, Scott Henderson.

The latest to announce its Super Bowl gameplan, Lay’s is launching its ‘Simply Made. Simply Good’ campaign during Sunday’s broadcast. Created by BBDO Toronto, the three new TV spots feature a proud potato farmer who hosts his own television call-in show and speaks passionately about local, 100% Canadian potatoes. The TV campaign extends after the game, and branches into radio on Feb. 2. Also on the roster is South Korean car manufacturer Kia, which is airing its mysterious 15-second teasers for its new Soul vehicle; Coke, which is carrying on with the Olympic torch ads unveiled earlier this month; and Subway, which will be also be running recycled creative.

‘All our clients who grab spots in the Super Bowl actually have not produced special creative, unless of course you are a major sponsor,’ Florence Ng, VP broadcast and investments, ZenithOptimedia tells MiC. ‘All those Super Bowl-related commercials, most of them are done in the States, I would think.’

Meanwhile, for the first time, Quebecor Media’s Videotron, which has 876,700 Illico digital TV subscribers in Québec, announced it will be relaying NBC’s broadcast with US commercials uncut during the big game. CRTC rules that simultaneous substitution only applies when the quality of the broadcast is equal to or better than the US.

According to Playback Daily, last month the CRTC ruled against Bell ExpressVu for ignoring long-standing simultaneous substitution rules and allowing US commercials to air on its domestic feed of the Super Bowl HD telecast last year. This year, both Shaw and Bell ExpressVu will both have to complete the simultaneous substitution of the 2009 Super Bowl game in high-def, with Shaw employing manual override of its equipment, should it fail again.