It sure looks that way to Kantar Media’s SVP for Research Jon Swallen, who tracks the Super Bowl ad business closely. While other sponsors use the year’s most-watched TV event to showcase their funniest, most interesting, or most touching work, “nobody remembers (movie) commercials,” he says. “That’s because they run the same ads that they run all the time. In the Super Bowl it pales in comparison (to everything else) yet they pay the same money.” Last year no movie ad ranked among the 10 most watched, and re-watched, Super Bowl spots among TiVo owners, the DVR company reported. And the competition probably will be even tougher than usual in this Sunday’s game on NBC between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Swallen says we should see an increase in ads that will run a full minute or more. Madison Ave was impressed by the buzz Chrysler generated last year with its two-minute ode to Detroit featuring Eminem. Last year there were 10 ads lasting at least a minute, and they accounted for about 16% of all the spots, Kantar says.
The researcher makes a sobering point in a year when NBC sold Super Bowl ads for a record average of $3.5M per 30-second spot — about 13% more than Fox charged for the game last year. Hollywood is one of the game’s biggest supporters: Last year there were four studios among the 29 different advertisers, a tally that included six auto makers and six dot-coms. I’m told that NBC didn’t inflate the ad inventory: Like Fox, it sold 35 minutes of ads during this year’s game, not including half time. (The total also doesn’t include the five minutes or so that NBC gets to promote its own shows, and additional time that the NFL reserves to market itself.)
Swallen doesn’t know how many movie spots will run during the game. But films to be promoted will include Disney’s John Carter, Paramount’s The Dictator and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games, Marvel’s The Avengers, Relativity’s Act Of Valor, and Universal’s Battleship.