As they gear up for Super Bowl XLIII, advertisers are finding themselves in flux about how to advertise and how much to spend. While the Super Bowl of football is generally also viewed as the Super Bowl of the advertising world, a lot may change this year due to the economy. Predictions are that commercials will be understated compared to past years as a reflection of the state of the economy. There will still be entertaining Super Bowl commercials, no doubt, but many advertisers are reportedly shifting their focus more on value. Advertisers like Hyundai will be focusing on their new insurance policy, Hyundai Assurance, which gives car buyers the chance to return their car if they lose their jobs and can’t make their car payments. Cars.com will reinforce a value assurance that customers will get the best deal if they buy a new or used car through Cars.com.
What’s the most interesting is that while the messaging in the ads is changing, the price tags are not. According to the New York Times, it appears that NBC will sell out all 33 ½ minutes of commercial time available during the big game. And that’s even at a record price estimated to average $3 million for each 30-second spot. This poses a challenge for advertisers given today’s economic climate. Since the majority of the Super Bowl ads are placed by retailers and consumer brands – many of which have been struggling due to the significant decline in consumer spending – what does spending $3 million on a 30-second commercial communicate to their target audiences?
It’s true that the economic crisis probably won’t keep most Americans from watching the biggest football game of the year. It’s also true that each year the Super Bowl commercials are a big part of the entertainment. The challenge for advertisers this year is living up the hype while at the same time setting the right tone for viewers impacted by the biggest recession in a generation; that’s a difficult balance to strike. May the best advertiser win.