Record Audience to Make Super Bowl Advertisers’ Financial Efforts Worth While

Paying $3 million or more for a Super Bowl ad could be a stretch for automakers, even though the economic climate is slowly improving. However, according to New York advertising executives Peter Gardiner of Deutsch Inc. and Andy Donchin of Carat North America, a record audience is expected for this year’s game, which means that, overall, manufacturers might end up with a bargain.

With recent Super Bowls constantly surpassing forecasts for viewers, advertisers didn’t want to risk last minute premiums and bought their ads from New Corp.’s Fox in October.

“This is something we view as a very smart investment,” Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer of Audi of America, said in an interview. “This is our fourth Super Bowl, and every year has over-delivered.”

Advertisement prices peaked two years ago, when the average cost for a spot was $3 million and was marginally reduced in 2010 to about $2.97 million. For 2011, Fox may have charged more than $3 million for an ad, according to Needham & Co analyst, Laura Martin, who also estimates that the Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers game could generate up to $300 million in advertising sales, well over the $213 million recorded in 2009.

“Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, will be the single highest-revenue generating day in the history of Fox,” Lou D’Ermilio, a spokesman for Fox Sports, said in an e-mail, while declining to comment on the actual rates.

The soaring audience numbers have attracted a record number of six carmakers, ordering airtime for nine brands during the game. Mercedes will be promoting its cars for the first time at the Super Bowl XLV, while BMW is back after a 15-year hiatus. Kia and GM are also on the list and, as a general rule, viewers can expect a plethora of creative, humorous ads, meant to deliver a so-called “cinematic moment”.

“You need to entertain and have some humor,” Keogh said. “You also need to tell a story. It’s a cinematic moment.”

So far, we have covered the efforts of Audi, Chevrolet, Kia and Volkswagen, but you can rest assured that there are plenty more clips to come in the next couple of days.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Bloomberg