PR Tips | The Super Bowl of Advertising

PR Tips | The Super Bowl of Advertising

This February, two larger-than-life sports events will engage fans around the world. Both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics will showcase incredible athletics, but for many the appeal isn’t the competition itself.

Indeed, a full 78 percent of Americans look forward to the commercials played during the Super Bowl more than the game itself, according to a new study by ad agency Venables Bell & Partners. That’s up from 59 percent in 2011.

“This is the strongest Super Bowl market that we have ever seen,” says Toby Byrne, president of advertising sales at Fox. This year, 30-seconds of space on the broadcast cost $4 million and slots sold out over a month ago.

And with the Winter Olympics opening just four days later, NBC is also jostling for sponsors. So far, the proximity hasn’t deterred Olympic advertising in the least — ad sales for the 18-day event have already exceeded $800 million.

Nevertheless, marketers and advertisers have had to make savvy decisions about which event to participate in. Century 21, for example, chose to forgo the Super Bowl in favor of the Olympics because of the lengthier time venue and global view. Subway opted for the Winter games because of their family appeal.

For others, the massive investment wasn’t worth it at all. A study in AdAge found that only one in five Super Bowl commercials drive purchasing behaviors. While the super stage can supercharge a brand, it’s difficult to specify a return on investment.

The two events demonstrate the importance of having a custom, strategic outreach plan. With any publicity campaign, it’s critical for businesses to understand both the audience and the costs and benefits of their media efforts. What works for one firm, may not pay dividends for another. Remember to analyze each media opportunity carefully before diving into a new campaign.

Rebecca Wardell