Five marketers who better bring it big on Super Bowl Sunday

February 4, 2011

Call it the Ad Bowl. Or the Buzz Bowl. Or the BS Bowl. Doesn’t matter, it all boils down to this: Sunday’s Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertisers, some of which dished out $3 million for the chance to reach an audience of 100 million consumers for 30 seconds. At that price — $100,000 a second — the stakes are high. A good commercial can be a triumph, creating just the kind of water-cooler talk that propels a brand to a new level with consumers. A bad commercial? Well, those behind it better start dusting off the old resume.

Still, like anything else, the risks are greater for some more than others. So here is our list of… Five Marketers Who Better Bring It Big On Sunday.

1). General Motors. Almost the entire auto industrycould be included in this one, since Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Audi are among those who will help the category account for roughly a quarter of all the commercial time during the game. It’s a turnout that reflects the improving fortunes of the U.S. auto industry, which snapped a four-year sales decline in 2010. GM, however, stands out because of the sheer number of ads it bought, five in all, after a two year absence. Can it strike the right tone with consumers? Can it differentiate its lineup? Will it play it safe — flags waving, trucks pulling 100 million tons of load, some catchy tune from an All-American rocker? Or will it try to liven things up, like Audi and Volkswagen have sought to do? (see below)

2). Groupon. Admit it, you were a little taken aback by reports that Google tried to take over Groupon with a $6 billion bid. “You mean that coupon site? $6 billion?”  Since then, Groupon has become a big buzz wordin the world of finance and media. And sure, it’s got 50 million users, so it’s not exactly coming out of nowhere. But the Super Bowl is a heckuva big stage. Can Groupon pull off what would be a huge brand building exercise? Can they take a page fromHulu, which aired a very well-received spot two years ago?

3). Motorola Mobility. The company split in two in January, and since then has already posted disappointing smartphone sales for the fourth quarter and warned that sales would suffer an unusually steep drop in the first quarter. The problem is that Motorola’s biggest customer, Verizon Wireless, is starting to sell an iPhone. And who really wants to compete for shelf space with Apple these days?  So now it’s bought a 60-second spot in the Super Bowl to trumpet XOOM, its effort to break into the tablet market. It has even called the ad “Goodbye 1984″ (talk about setting the bar high).

4). Best Buy. Justin Bieber + Ozzy Osbourne = Enough said

5). Mars.  The candy company struck gold last year with its spot featuring Betty White, taking the top spot in several polls. Heck, it did a lot for Betty White, too.  Since the ad she’s landed on Saturday Night Live (which won her an Emmy), Community and 30 Rock along with a full time gig on Hot In Cleveland. Not too shabby. This year, comics Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis will star in the Super Bowl commercial for the chocolate-nougat-peanut-caramel confection. Following a smash hit is never easy, and with that celebrity combination, things could go belly up in a hurry.

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