Pedigree used to do the most boring ads on the planet…this one is cute…
FedEx is punting on the 2009 Super Bowl, and the undisputed king of the Big Game — its agency, my former agency, BBDO — will be a lot more on the sidelines this year.
“Now’s not the time,” Steve Pacheco, ad director at Super Bowl stalwart FedEx, wrote on a company blog that the $3 million for a 30-second spot on NBC’s telecast wasn’t a prudent expenditure in tough economic times. “Make no mistake, our advertising presence in 18 Super Bowls since 1989 has strategically allowed FedEx to establish itself as a household name,” Mr. Pacheco wrote. “As a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide, there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back. … A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time.”
That news — along with the fact that BBDO has lost prolific Super Bowl advertiser Pepsi in the U.S. to fellow Omnicom agencies TBWA/Chiat/Day and Arnell Group — leaves the onetime MVP agency of Super Bowl advertising prepping only half the spots it did last year. BBDO will produce only three commercials for Super Bowl XLIII, down from six commercials produced for the 2008 Super Bowl, seven in 2007 and five in 2006. BBDO’s only spots for the 2009 Super Bowl will be a 60-second commercial for the National Football League, a 30-second for Monster.com, and one more of undetermined length for NBC parent General Electric Co. (The game is being broadcast on NBC on Feb. 1.)
It’s a surprising development for my old agency that over the years has produced a steady stream of memorable Super Bowl ads not only for Pepsi and FedEx, but for Visa, Pizza Hut, Frito-Lay, Gillette, Charles Schwab and more.
A BBDO spokeswoman referred calls to FedEx regarding the shipping company’s decision not to advertise during the Super Bowl. Asked about the agency being down to just three commercials during the game, the spokeswoman declined to comment.
I think it’s a blow to BBDO’s DNA. It’s who they are. BBDO, they were the king of the Super Bowl.
BBDO would be preparing the day after the Super Bowl for next year’s Super Bowl. I wonder if they will be back or has a combination of the economy and interactive web advertising killed the big TV buys forever.
Pepsi ads created by BBDO have won six of the 20 USA Today Ad Meter polls, in which readers judge and critique the Super Bowl’s commercials. But the agency hasn’t won the crown since a 1998 Pepsi spot featuring a sky-surfer and a goose. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser or Bud Light — handled by Omnicom sibling DDB — has won every year since.
BBDO created some eight and a half minutes of spots for the game as recently as Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 for Pepsi, Visa, Pizza Hut and Frito-Lay, which included the rollout of the “Joy of Pepsi” campaign.
In 1997, the agency persuaded Muhammad Ali to appear in a spot for Pizza Hut that would air during the 1998 Super Bowl, introducing the fast-food chain’s new pizza, “The Greatest.” Mr. Ali’s nickname was “The Greatest of All-Time.” The spot was produced with plenty of time to go before the big game, but Pizza Hut officials decided at the eleventh hour to postpone the launch of “The Greatest” and continue marketing “The Edge.” BBDO started on Dec. 15, 1997, to produce a spot featuring “The Edge,” and had it done in time for the Jan. 26, 1998 Super Bowl.
For that same Super Bowl, BBDO produced a spot for FedEx entitled “Apology.” The commercial featured no sound or pictures, only color bars and text — which told viewers they should be seeing an advertisement for a fictional company, but the company’s ad agency used another shipping company, and the ad never arrived.
Gerald Gentemann created Activate Japan in 2004.
No matter who the client is, Activate takes a business-based approach to communications. It starts and executes every assignment with the assumption that there is a tangible business goal to achieve and that communications strategies must align with the business objectives of its clients.
The pressure to produce return on investment on marketing dollars is here to stay and this no longer means just “building awareness.” It means “activating” sales.
Managing The Digital Media Evolution
The ability to influence word of mouth communication is at the forefront of any communications strategy. Once a big idea is identified, Activate leverages the digital media world and extends the creative concept online whether through digital media relations, 3G and mobile development, website development, or social networking.
Activate and its technical partner Sairis have a crystal clear vision of what needs to be done to manage this evolution in the best interest of our clients.
Delivering Big Ideas
The work reflects Activate’s creatively driven mindset. Activate knows that the best communications strategies need to be grounded in creative thinking in order to breakthrough the myriad of options that consumers have today for getting news and information.
More than ever, creativity is a “must have” as opposed to “value-add.” That is also why it is important to approach creative ideation without media parameters. What Activate calls “media and agency neutrality.” The key is to reach the target audience in a memorable way and to ultimately making a business impact.
Current key clients include Exxon Mobil, Japan’s Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, Unesco, Itochu, Excite, MasterCard, Apple, Paramount and Tsutaya.
Omnicom’s 10 DAS Group companies (Diversified Advertising Services ) in Japan, WPP and ADK have all partnered with Activate to help clients go beyond traditional advertising solutions.
Activate will produce this year’s Global Summit for Ecology to be held in Japan in November with key speakers Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio.
This example is a bit old but is a great example of the strength of a great event idea.
Sometimes the PR value from an event is much more powerful and more valuable than any paid advertisement.
Look at this GMR event for Marshall Fields…I think you may agree.