The SB is THE Mecca for the NFL and for TV ads. Yearly, the SB draws the largest TV audience (with 100M+ viewers in recent yrs). The result is the most expensive & unique ads that we see each yr. (Yes, it is the SB of advertising, too!) By this time each yr, SB ads have been “SOLD OUT” ± for wks. SB 2015 is a diff game as SB ad sales have been atypically sluggish. We wonder HOW CAN THIS BE?

It has been suggested that the ad jump from $4M to $4 ½M (30 sec ad) is the reason but, the % increase is less than in recent yrs (though $4 ½M is formidable). It’s also been suggested that advertisers are much more likely to buy DIGITAL ADS, today. Variety says the current ad slowdown can be attributed to advertisers’ STREAMING videos (on mobile devices) and using the SOCIAL MEDIA (Stienberg 11/10/14), STREAMING & the SOCIAL MEDIA engage viewers like no ad possibly can! Simply put, they also give much more bang for the proverbial buck. While one can’t argue the extraordinary reach & social impact of the SB, the same is true for the SOCIAL MEDIA & it is 100% free, FREE!!

Autos aside, we shall see such SB veterans as An-Busch/InBev, Coca Cola, Doritos, Go Daddy, McD (trying to restart its tired domestic biz) & Pepsi in SBXLIX. Playing SB 2015 we shall also see rookies Loctite (Super Glue maker, spending the equal of its ANNUAL BUDGET in the SB.), Mophie a marketer of smartphone charging accessories, Skittles and Wix.com (a website creator for small biz).


That DIGITAL ad, STREAMING, & The SOCIAL MEDIA stuff are all well and good for advertising in gen’l but, the SB’s foundation for many years has been the autos.  The autos are staples of the economy, advertising and SB advertising. Surely, the above gobbletyguk DOES NOT apply to auto ads? The answer comes from Diego Vazquez. For the 1st time in auto history online ad spending is more than ½ of its budget! (See Vasquez, Media Life, 11/15/14). Is it even possible that many autos will stay garaged for SBXLIX b/c of the extraordinary value of online ads? PLEASE! THIS SOUNDS RIDICULOUS!!!

SB 2014 drew 15 min of auto airtime touting 11 brands from 8 different auto makers. As of this writing, ONLY Mercedes, Nissan and Toyota have “committed.” Over the last 5 to 10 yrs not ONLY have autos dominated the SB but Chrysler, Gen’l Mtrs & Hyundai have been in the TOP 5-10 of ad spending. Chrysler said it will continue its “America’s Import” theme IF it can create a worthy message. Mercedes will likely do a 1min comm’l with Nissan playing SB Sun (after an absence of 17 yrs). We like Nissan’s return b/c it nicely compliments its presence on NBC’s hit (The Voice), the future NCAA ftbll champ game & the NFL playoffs. It is expected to have a 60 sec spot emphasizing its “positioning of specific products” (Forbes, Dale Buss, 12/2/14). Toyota will promote its new Camry. Neither Jaguar nor VW will have any new launches. (VW is also troubled with a drop in 2014 sales). Other retailers have recall issues (GM’s infamous ignition switches, Lincoln’s Crossover has had problems & then there are ALL those faulty Takata air bags).

We return to our earlier question, is it even possible that any/some/many autos are not buying SB ads b/c increasingly they are unsure of its value. We may even ask the ultimate question, do SB ads really provide stronger sales/revenues? (This question is exceptionally relevant for the autos.) SB 2015’s ad foot dragging may be an EARLY SCHOOL BELL on where the future of SB ads and SB auto ads are going. While SB ads can be augmented by DIGITAL ads & the SOCIAL MEDIA, that is not the current question. The question is whether SB ads can really compete with free & effective. While SOCIAL MEDIA/DIGITAL ADS will NEVER destroy the SB ad market as such, some of SB ad shrine may well be less glossy for SBXLIX.



We know that TV ads do NOT connect well with Millennials. According to AutoNews, ½± of Millennials use a smartphone to shop online. More specifically, many Millennials START “car shopping” with online research. They spend 17.6 hrs+ on “shopping” vs 15.5 hrs for other buyers (AutoTrader.com).

Additionally, we know that the DIGITAL AGE is & SOCIAL MEDIA “ads” are all the rage as firms scramble to make their presence felt. According to Accenture (2013), 28% of Millennials will make a purchase b/c of a SOCIAL MEDIA recommendation. WOW!! This % doesn’t even include the total exposure and the reach a firm can achieve from the SOCIAL MEDIA. We know that Millennials cherish innovation in their firms, making SOCIAL MEDIA something that is both effective and all but mandatory if sellers are going to connect with them (Deloitte’s 3rd Annual Millennial Survey).

4 of the Nielsen’s “Top 10(T-1) as rated by Millennials were for tech products (Activision: Call of Duty, Kuerig, Microsoft & Nintendo.)  Another 4 were food related. (Burger King, Hunt’s, IHOP & Taco Bell.) The remaining 2 were NFL’s breast cancer ads (Rated #1) with Dodge being #10.

T-1: Nielsen Top 10 Ads Among Millennials – October 2014
Rank Brand Ad Description Ad Length (sec) Branded Memorability
1 NFL (Breast Cancer) A Crucial Catch 30 241*
2 KEURIG (Single-Cup Bre Sys) Brew for one Brew for all 30 188
3 Activision: Call of Duty First to Fight 15 171
4 Microsoft Tablet 30 165
5 Hunt’s Farmers Market 30 159
6 IHOP Scary Face Pancakes 15 159
7 Burger King Chicken Nuggets 15 147
8 Taco Bell A.M. Crunchwrap 15 141
9 Nintendo Super Smash Bros 30 135
10 Dodge Dodge Bros. 30 129**
* Normal Brand Memorability is 100, which means the NFL breast cancer ad is very memorable.

** Dodges 129 is clearly is not a barnburner of memorability

With ONLY 1 auto ad in the TOP 10 of Millennial TV ads and Millennials being more likely to do online research (CNBC) than anyone else, it’s a safe assumption that Auto Makers/Dealers will increasingly target Millennials using the Internet and the SOCIAL MEDIA. The bottom line is that the Autos whether part of the SB ad menu or not MUST Millennial connect using the SOCIAL MEDIA. Involvement & Engagement are the “New World Order” for all MEANINGFUL MILLENIAL MESSAGING!

Given that digital ad stuff, the social media revolution, no new models, recalls etc as reasons NOT to advertise in SB 2015, we still have yet to mention the NFL’s 800lb gorilla that is NOT in the closet or in a lonely corner. It is of course, the NFL’s “Domestic Violence” mess. According to the Am Assn of Ad Agencies (11/17/14), roughly ½ of the ad pros polled said they believe that the NFL’s recent domestic violence scandals will impact SB advertising “a little,” vs 42% of the gen’l public. Despite everything, 67% of the gen’l pop and 82% of ad pros said people should enjoy the SB as usual. STAY TUNED FOOTBALL & ADVERTISING FANS! STAY TUNED!!!


Wouldn’t it be great if a home products maker such as P&G or An-Busch OR an auto maker OR even the NFL had a very, very, very strong Anti Domestic Violence ad. If the NFL did it, it would require proper admission and contribution on its part with a firm amendment to take the LEAD on this issue forevermore. How about ALL of THE ABOVE! We shall see!! We shall see!!


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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