Super Bowl XL Advertising…Big Money (Budweiser) and More Controversy (GoDaddy)

Greg Ness  |  February 1, 2006

It’s that time again as the big game rolls around. SuperBowl XL will soon be bringing people together for football, parties, and for the advertising. If previous Super Bowls are any indication, this is as close to a mass media event as you can get on television. According to a Harris poll, about two out of three adult Americans will watch the game. That fact is what draws advertisers to the Super Bowl. The Harris Poll also shows that the advertising is a vital part of the event. Of people watching, 92 percent say they like the ads and, for many, it is a primary reason they watch the game.

Here are some notable advertisers in Super Bowl XL:

• Budweiser has purchased five minutes of airtime worth about 25 million. They are also very serious about winning the post Super Bowl advertising polls.

• GoDaddy will be back (or maybe not) with their controversial Super Bowl TV ads and their Web only versions of the same. GoDaddy recently had its 10th submission for an ad rejected by ABC. They love that because the controversy, and subsequent press hubbub it receives, drives all the more people to their Web site (free advertising). Well, that controvesy revolves around actress Candice Michelle and her onscreen antics. See the 2005 Super Bowl ad that started it all here in the TV version or the longer Web format.

• Gillette will be showing off its five blade Fusion razor with optional power and a microchip thereby accelerating the war with rival Schick’s Quattro razor. At this rate, we will have a 10-blade razor by Super Bowl L.

• Pepsi has purchased 10 million worth of airtime and one commercial will feature a new song by Sean (P. Diddy) Combs called “Brown and Bubbly.” You can find out more about what Pepsi and other advertisers are doing at (free signup required).

Big advertisers will be extending their TV buys online for the large number of people who will simultaneously be on the Web for the Super Bowl. You’ll see many of these advertisers on the official Super Bowl site, plus most will be extending viewership and interaction on their own company Web sites as well.

You can see the commericals many different ways this year (story here). You’ll see them during the game on ABC. You can see them following the game on You can also watch a Super Bowl advertising program post-game on the NFL’s video-on-demand cable channel. You can even view them on your cell phone if you are part of Sprint’s mobile network.

Although some high definition (HD) Super Bowl ads have been around since 2000, this is the first year that over 50 percent of the ads will be in HD format (see USA Today story here). Gee, if I was one of the advertisers shelling out 2.5 million per 30-second spot, I wouldn’t want an old technology (non-HDTV) commercial to play in-between the football game in HD, or other commercials in HD. True, you won’t be able to tell much of a difference on traditional sets. However, this is the Super Bowl and the parties are probably happening at the homes that have the biggest, clearest TV on the block.

Another reason Super Bowl advertising is hot this year is that the 20th Olympic Winter Games start just a few days later in Turin, Italy. You’ll, no doubt, see many of these same Super Bowl advertisers active in the Games.

Posted in: Media Strategy, Online Marketing, Targeted Marketing Programs