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Super Bowl 52: Anticipated advertisers wait in the wings

Posted by Tom Croft - Head of Marketing at PHMG on

One of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, and the pinnacle of the American Football season, this weekend’s Super Bowl 52 sees the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in what many are calling the most hotly contested game in recent years. But come Sunday, it won’t just be the sporting action that draws millions of viewers from around the world. The Super Bowl commercial breaks are amongst the most highly anticipated of year, with the biggest companies spending months planning campaigns that will see them vie for the biggest slice of this lucrative pie. We’re taking a look at what to expect from the world’s most renowned brands, and how they’ll become this year’s winners.

The cost of airtime has risen by 75% over the last decade, with a 30 second slot during this year’s show valued at a staggering $5 million, so it’s only the industry’s biggest players that can afford to take part in this high stakes campaign game. But what makes the Super Bowl so important that they’re willing to spend such large sums of money? Well, With 2017’s viewing figures of 111.3 million set to rise even higher in 2018, and ratings during ad breaks actually increasing, the exposure alone could be considered priceless – which is why advertisers are willing to spend such staggering amounts of money. Combine this with the anticipation-building teasers released throughout January, and the interest drummed up by these campaigns delivers a real increase in brand awareness and sales.

Keanu Reeves, Danny DeVito, Chris Pratt and former SNL cast member Bill Hader all starring in Big Game ads, illustrating how companies have once again put their faith in the tried and tested celebrity endorsement to generate yet more interest. Mountain Dew and Doritos are set to go head to head with blockbuster ads starring Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage respectively. Pepsi on the other hand are rolling back the years by recreating their iconic 1992 ad starring Cindy Crawford – only this time she’ll be joined by her son, Presley Gerber, kicking off a yearlong ‘Pepsi Generations’ campaign. However, this year, all eyes will be on the new Skittles promotion starring ‘Friends’ favourite David Schwimmer. In an intriguing teaser, they claim that the full ad will only be shown to one lucky fan – building real anticipation as to how this will be possible.

Car brand ads have become a staple of the Super Bowl, and will once again dominate airtime in 2018 – with Honda, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz all going up against each other. Returning for the ninth year in a row, Kia released a 15 second teaser showing Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, preparing to race an as yet unknown, mystery competitor. No commercial break segment is complete without the classic movie tie-in, and this year’s clever partnership between Lexus and Marvel’s new ‘Black Panther’ film fly the flag for the flicks. But the accolade for most anticipated car ad surely belongs to Hyundai. Following last year’s feature which included footage of US troops filmed live during the game, they certainly have a lot to live up to – and are hoping to surprise millions with an ad that again promotes their tagline, ‘Better Drives Us.’

After weeks and months of speculation, teasers and guesswork, it’ll be hard to distinguish between the anticipation for the big game and the big commercials come kick-off on Sunday. The key players are set to get us all talking, using multiple platforms and ingenious ad campaigns to really make an impact. And as the final quarter draws to a close, we’ll have seen who’s fumbled, who’s made the most yards, and who will be crowned champions.

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