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Super Bowl Ads 2001: Revenge of the Blue Chipss

Philip Morris and Mastercard are in; the dot-coms are out

by Mike Morrison

The Big Boys Bounce Back

The past year's economic fears have resulted in two things:

  • Most of the dot-coms have been driven out, leaving the companies with the larger marketing budgets to step in and reclaim their usual spots in the ad lineup. Only E-Trade, Hotjobs and Monster.com remain. The Big Boys—companies like Philip Morris, Mastercard, Pepsi and Anheuser Busch—are back on the airwaves.
  • The slowdown and lack of dot-coms has kept a ceiling on the average price of the commercials. This year, the cost of a 30-second ad should remain around the $2.2 million–$2.4 million mark. While this may still seem astronomical to some (in the first Super Bowl, each 30–second spot cost about $42,000), it reflects only a slight increase from last year's average. When all the totals are officially calculated, it may reflect NO increase at all. The last time this happened was in 1992.

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Super Bowl Ads: Revenge of the Blue Chips

No more kforce.com. No more Netpliance.com. No more OurBeginning.com. And certainly, no more sock puppets.

Super Bowl XXXV is Sunday, January 28, 2001, on CBS and once again, much of the public's focus is less on the actual game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens and more on the half-time performances, the national anthem, and of course, those often wacky, occasionally effective, and always expensive commercials.

Super Bowl Sunday has effectively become a national holiday and is perennially the biggest advertising event of the year. "The Super Bowl is a way to instantly reach 130 million viewers in 30 seconds," says Monster.com CEO Jeff Taylor. "It's really the Ad Bowl. It's one of the few venues where people watch commercials."

Last year 17 dot-com companies, eagerly looking to spend their investors' cash to acquire instant name recognition, caused the average price of a 30-second spot to surge a half million dollars to about $2.2 million.

CBS Doubleheader

Don't cry for CBS however. The network will get its money, with revenues for the day estimated in the $150 million range. With the hugely anticipated Survivor II: The Australian Outback following the post-game, CBS is betting that most viewers will tune into the network well into the night. In many Super Bowls, viewership can fall close to 20 percent during the fourth quarter, especially if the game is a blowout. Don't count on much falloff this year. Incidentally, CBS is reportedly charging a cool million for spots during Survivor.

A Sneak Preview

For those of you looking to dazzle your friends and family with your knowledge of the new upcoming ads, here is a sampling of what you can expect on Super Sunday. For you people out there who like to be surprised during the game, look away from your computer screen…now!

Anheuser Busch

For the 13th consecutive year, the company that brought us such memories as the Bud frogs, "I Love You Man" and of course, "Whassup?!" has obtained exclusive rights as "beer advertiser of the Super Bowl," purchasing a total of four minutes of time for an estimated $16 million. This year A-B has even enlisted the help of popular boy-band 'N Sync. The ad is actually an anti-underage drinking public service announcement, so relax parents. Also, be on the lookout for "Dancing Cedric." And no, you haven't seen the last of the "Whassup?!" campaign just yet.

EDS

While last year's "Cat Herder" won awards and rated high in polls, many viewers still don't know who the sponsoring company was. And many still have no idea what EDS actually does. For the record, the company "provides strategy, implementation and hosting for clients managing the complexities of today's digital economy". Um. Yeah right, that's what I thought.

This year, EDS purchased a full minute of time in the first quarter for its ad featuring "Running with the Squirrels," a parody of the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain.

Frito-Lay

Frito-Lay will feature ex-NFL quarterbacks John Elway and Jim Kelly, comedian Drew Carey and for the third consecutive year, model/spokesperson Ali Landry, a.k.a. "The Doritos girl."

M&M/Mars

M&M/Mars will begin promoting its new Snickers Cruncher bar and will ask viewers to vote on-line for the most annoying phrase of 2000.

Hotjobs.com

You know that desk toy with the in-line metal balls that annoyingly clang together in perfect rhythm until someone stops it (or smashes it on the ground)? In the new Hotjobs.com ad, one of the balls breaks free and joins a game of marbles.

Subway

Subway will continue with its Jared Inspired Me campaign, based on the success of Jared Fogle, who went from 425 pounds down to 190 in just under a year while eating nothing but Subway sandwiches.

Reebok

Reebok will feature tennis star Venus Williams in its new "Defy Convention" campaign.

Accenture

Accenture purchased four in-game ads, basically to alert viewers of its new name (changed from Andersen Consulting).

E-Trade

The Dancing Monkey returns!!

Volkswagen

The company is a car-making veteran but a rookie when it comes to Super Bowl advertising. They've jumped into the fray with both feet this year, purchasing at least three in-game spots touting their GTI high performance car and becoming "exclusive in-game car company."

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover began the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” program in March 1950.

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