Superbowl 2009 Ads

The first of February is an exciting day for video advertisers (and for American Football of course): the most expensive ads of the year are being released. This year's superbowl ads were sold by NBC for a record $3 million per 30 seconds of commercial time - that's $100,000 a second! Compared to last year , that's up 11.1%. Also, last year achieved a CPM of $27.71 - this year's CPM still has to be calculated.

UPDATE (4th Feb): According to Nielsen , the 2009 Superbowl draw a record 98.7M viewers which gives it record a CPM of $30.39.

According to Suite101 , advertising at superbowl is a strategic marketing endeavor for the big companies that is worthwhile. E-Trade for example reported a 32% increase in newly opened and funded brokerage accounts in the week following the debut of the first two talking baby spots last year, and had more than 5 million total online ad viewings and 5 million searches for its ads following the 2008 game. This year, they built again on the talking baby idea, releasing the a superbowl ad and a related ad, but also building social activity around these through a Facebook page , a twitter channel , and their YouTube channel .

In fact, according to the Online Marketer Blog , most of the advertisers decided this year to support their superbowl ad with online social activity - mostly through micro-sites or an additional set of Web pages on their usual Web location, but also some Facebook pages and Twitter channels. All of the ads this year were published to YouTube, some with fully targeted brand channels. Only few ventured into full social advertising activities: "Out of the 54 commercials shown during the actual game, 17 had no online engagement at all - not even a URL. Almost one third = 31.48% - planned for no interactionwith their customers after the game." Here is their analysis for the first and the second half of the game.

It is amazing to see so little online engagement from the advertisers when they already have to spend such a large amount of money on these ads. With more social activities and customer interaction, the effect of the ads could be extended much longer and the huge spend becomes a lot more worthwhile.

At Vquence we started monitoring the ads as published on YouTube and will report on their successes. You can get a good overview of the ads on the YouTube Adblitz channel . Also, here is the panel-based ranking by USA today . We will see if the actual views on YouTube can result in a similar ranking.

Finally, here are some interesting observations about the content of the ads that were aired this year.

As a technical first, the ads from Dreamworks for Monsters vs Alien and from PepsiCo for SoBe lifewater were in 3D . This may be the beginning of a new set of 3D movies for our theatres.

An interesting new advertiser to the field was Ed McMahon's Cash4Gold . This is not a typical advertiser at the Superbowl and the quality of the ad does not compare to your typical special-effects-rich, entertaining superbowl ad. However, it is a mirror of the current financial situation.

Overall, the ads were not as light and fun as in previous years, but had a dominantly violent character . Also, ads with explicit sexual references had been pulled, in particular the ones from PETA on Veggie Sex and Ashley Madison on Married Affairs .

Finally, a large number of the ads were trailers for upcoming movies by Sony Pictures, Disney/Pixar, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, and Paramount as well as several ads for new NBC shows and a rather funny ad for Hulu, the online video site.

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