Super Bowl Advertising Drops Due to the Economy

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, 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.

“Sex in the City,” the Marketing Super Bowl for Women.

Snapshot 2008-08-04 15-36-12
Sorry this is such a long post but Sex in the City will launch in Japan next week and the marketers have really taken full advantage of the hype of the film to sell their brands and new products so I had to write about it.

From Manolo Blahnik high heels to designer dresses, the materialism of the characters in television’s “Sex and the City” has made the movie version a marketing dream that some companies are paying for dearly and at least one is getting for free.

The film about the glamorous lives of writer Carrie, publicist Samantha, lawyer Miranda and curator Charlotte, whose friendships, loves and fashion sense in Manhattan captivated millions of viewers during six seasons on HBO, opens in theaters worldwide this month.

Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo became household names thanks to Carrie’s love of designer shoes. Now some corporations are hoping her influence will reach beyond fashion and that fans will covet products ranging from luxury cars to designer handbags. In Japan designer brands do very well in fact the luxury brands usually have leading sales in their Tokyo outlets.

New Line Cinema has reportedly dubbed it “the Super Bowl for women” in reference to the U.S. football championship that sees companies pay millions of dollars for television ads.

The movie has “promotional partnerships” with at least eight companies whose products appear in the film. Vogue magazine is the leader in promotion for the Japan launch.
Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie and produced the movie, said it could not have been made without these deals.

“It’s a huge part of making a movie now, it’s a huge part of financing and marketing in foreign territories and it would have been impossible, unfortunately, for us to make this movie without some partnerships,” Parker told reporters.

“The challenge is … when is product distracting and when does it fit into a story? Fortuitously, these women are material people,” she said. The ad at the top of my blog is a good example. the Carrie Mac book is in the show and is an integral part of her character and the plot.

Parker said the partnerships often do not involve companies paying to have their products in the film. Instead, businesses spend heavily to promote their ties to the movie.

While Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte travel in New York’s signature yellow cabs, Carrie’s love interest, “Mr. Big,” cruises around in a black Mercedes-Benz.

Meanwhile, Samantha is living on the U.S. West Coast and drives a white Mercedes-Benz SUV that is unavailable in the United States until January.

Steve Cannon of Mercedes-Benz said the company does not pay for product placement but has its own media campaign promoting its involvement in the film and the product used.

“Given the built-in fan base, it’s pretty certain regardless of what the initial reviews say that it’s going to be a solid success,” Cannon said. “We decided that this was one of these projects we would spend extra money activating.”

Japan shows the TV series on satellite and it is the number one rental DVD is shops across the country. The young women demographic here aspires to the NYC lifestyle and Parker certainly is a great poster girls for their fashion tastes.

The designer handbag-renting Web site, Bag Borrow or Steal, was approached by New Line to be a partner after it was written into the story by writer/director Michael Patrick King.

“It was really a Cinderella story for us,” said Jodi Watson of the bag rental firm. “It’s instant credibility for our concept and our brand.”

She said the company did not pay to be included in the movie. But it has spent more money to tout its connection to the movie than it has on any other promotional campaign


Does product placement really work?
“There’s quite a bit of research that suggests it works in different ways and for different reasons,” said S. Shyam Sundar, director of the Media Effects Research Lab at Penn State University.

Elayne Rapping, professor of American Studies at The State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, said “Sex and the City” tapped into some women’s dreams.

“The selling of lifestyles and clothes was a major factor in the success of that show,” she said. “It’s very much a female fantasy of what working women wish they had, but we all know we don’t have.”

Some unlikely companies found themselves unexpectedly caught up in “Sex and the City.”

In one scene, Carrie and Miranda eat lunch in a park with paper bags from British sandwich chain Pret A Manger placed on their laps in what appears to be an obvious case of product placement. But that was not the case.

Sacha Turner, the company’s New York business development manager, said Parker regularly buys lunch from Pret and had requested the sandwiches for the scene simply because she likes them.

“We donated it,” Turner said. “It’s fantastic advertising for us, but we were just really (pleased) that she had requested us.”

The Entertainment Age for Marketers

Are we no longer in the Information Age?_Are we destined to be “gamers”? Whether you’re in marketing particularly the digital side or just looking for a job in marketing and related fields, you may have noticed the growing emphasis on entertainment. Entertainment activities becoming more the focus of our digital and offline lives.

And, as you’d expect, entertainment marketing seems to be following that growth. I don’t mean entertainment marketing as in promoting movies, actors and actresses. I’m talking about entertainment marketing for the sake of having fun with a brand wrapped around that fun.

The traditional, age-old tactics of marketing to customers and prospects via one-way communications is falling by the wayside. Ads of all types direct mail and mass-distributed news releases will always have a place but those tactics of marketing communications are becoming a smaller part of the total marketing effort.

Today’s successful marketing is individually-focused and better targeted to people’s own interests. Mass marketing is slowing going the way of the dinosaur.

The strong potential of wrapping marketing around entertainment first hit me a few years ago, After reading an article in BusinessWeek I was convinced that this was the wave of the future, here is an excerpt from that article,

“Plenty of advertisers…have been putting their products in video games for several years now. But marketers and game-makers successfully pushed Nielsen Entertainment in 2005 to start measuring the impact of in-game product placement, where there had been none before. This in turn is drawing more ad dollars and making game-makers as eager as TV networks, perhaps more so, to open up their stories to the highest bidders.” In-game product placement is targeted and part of the users’ activities. It’s immersed in what the marketplace members do. It involves marketers in prospects and customers’ lifestyle and interests.
We’ve all read a lot about viral videos and how to create them. Of course, the main aspect of viral videos is their entertainment value. No one will share a commercial with friends and family unless they see it as entertaining first and foremost. Any marketing push in the video must be secondary and indirect.

There is even a web site with the most popular viral videos, here is a great example….

But, a successful viral video is not easy to develop and is not right for marketing every company, product or service. The trick in the entertainment and marketing combination is to develop some level of connection with your audience. Create tools, services and experiences that complement your company, products or services while being part of your customers and prospects’ entertainment habits and interests.

Here is a great example with over 300 million views! John West salmon.

There are other ways to connect marketing messages with customers and prospects’ lifestyle. One is video – and not on TV. The use of online video is becoming more and more popular. And, video is being used for entertainment purposes more and more, according to a June 25, 2008, eMarketer article.

Based on a study it conducted, Solutions Research Group “predicted that total hours with video-based entertainment would grow by nearly one-third to an average of about eight hours per day by early 2013.”

Another key stat from the eMarketer article is the trend to online rather than offline video:
“Key research from Deloitte Development signifies the shift away from TV to the Internet, with 69% of respondents in the firm’s second annual ‘The State of the Media Democracy’ survey saying their computer has become more of an entertainment device than their TV.” That same Deloitte study also found that 36% of all respondents use their “cellphone as an entertainment device.” That percentage soared to 62% for the Millenials (13-24 age group) – who will be the future targeted prospects for many of us as they age.

Marketing is evolving to have companies become connected with their audience much more so than just communicating to them. And, as more of the audience members are focusing on entertainment, it’s up to the marketers and communicators for companies to develop ways to connect brands with their audience around their entertainment preferences.

Seven Reasons to Have a Career in Advertising

Matt Weiss of McCann Erickson Worldwide wrote this…I worked at McCann Worldwide for 17 years and with McCann I traveled the world literally so I added my two cents to his article.

Everyone loves to hate the advertising industry. The TV show “Mad Men” portrays the heyday of advertising as a men’s club of gin-swilling, secretary-exploiting, self-satisfied white men who live in Connecticut and work in a bubble surrounded by dim-witted, loyal clients. My mother loves this show.

Matt works for and I worked for the agency which produces work for Intel, MasterCard, the U.S. Army, Verizon Wireless, L’Oreal, Staples, Weight Watchers and other leading global advertisers.

Advertising might not be as exciting as Man vs. Wild or the NFL playoffs, but it does provide a career path that is more stimulating than Wall Street or the law or many white collar professions.

I love advertising because it is a unique combination of art, creativity, mathematics, industrial psychology, marketing, media and a host of other disciplines.

Here are seven reasons to jump into a career in advertising:

1) You can get a film deal. OK, we are both exaggerating here, but only slightly. The creative environment of advertising does provide a career path to Hollywood for dozens of writers and directors every year, from Michael Bay to the guys who directed the “Cavemen” spots for Geico. Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, my ex boss Phil Dusenberry who wrote the Natural all were great advertising directors.

Fincher Coke TVC when I first came to Japan

I think the best advertising is better than most of the movies and TV shows out there, and you can get paid accordingly. Until you can write screenplays for Steve Carrell or create the next “South Park,” you’ll be having more fun than should be legal.

2) Be the next Steve Jobs. The crazy-ass idea you have for faxing burgers or filling up your car online might just happen tomorrow. The world of advertising, media, the Internet and technology is changing so fast that no one can predict what will happen next month, let alone 10 years from now. You can change the world. (And it beats changing diapers.)

3) Be an outlaw. Renegade thinking and behavior is rewarded. Are you quirky and full of weird ideas? Are you innovative, prone to breaking rules, and feel you always see the world differently than your friends and colleagues? You’ll fit in perfectly at an ad agency.
Lee Clow of TBWA
4) This is not your parents’ career. Advertising is a youthful business, for people in their 20s and 30s. Your youth is valuable because you are talking to your peers. You can text your friends in a meeting and it will be cool. Well almost lee Clow is close to 65 and he is still creating great work…perhaps in his head he is 20?

5) You’ll never be bored. You actually get paid to surf the net, look at YouTube, talk about “the Office,” diss Britney and Paris, and discuss “American Idol.” You’re involved in every aspect of popular culture. You’ll think on your feet. Your lawyer friends will be sick with envy. You will never have to attend a conference in Brussels.

6) Leave the suits at your parents’ house. The uniform for creatives is t-shirt and jeans. Even the “suits”—the account people—don’t wear suits any more, because they are expected to be an integral part of the creative process. In the summer, you can even wear sandals or flip flops. And there are keg parties on Fridays. Seriously.

7) You’ll be on TV. Your work will be in the world. Your Mom, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your posse, your kids, they will all see what you do. If it’s good work, people will be talking about your work on the subway, on blogs, on TV, in USA Today.. Advertising isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, but it makes an impact. You can be a player. And you’ll never have to wear plaid pants or go near a golf course.

Lee Clow is one of my favorite Ad Men…his agency is TBWA and their office is every ad man’s dream. Conference rooms with surf boards for tables. a real basketball court in the lobby and they do creative work for clients like Apple.

Vertical Fashion Show

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.