On Tuesday, we talked about the most obvious element of the Super Bowl, but today we’ll talk about the other reason so many people tune in on one particular Sunday: the commercials!
Advertising on one of the most watched events of television is costly. This year, companies will slap down $3 million for a 30-second spot. There will be various different companies throwing their hat into the ring, hoping to make an impression, many of them being auto companies.
This Volkswagen commercial featuring Darth Vader has leaked and it continues Super Bowl Sunday’s long-held tradition of entertainment, high production values, and hilarity mixed with pop culture references and celebrity spokespersons.
Amid the usual Budweiser commercials, you can also expect to see a Best Buy commercial featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. Snickers is continuing its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign with comics Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis.
Now a tradition, Doritos is in the fifth year of its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. This year, the contest has expanded to include sibling brand Pepsi Max. Consumers will select two spots from the finalists who were submitted online, while PepsiCo execs select the third.
Big movie trailers, usually for big budget summer films, are another annual occurrence. And this year, you can expect to see spots for upcoming films “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Cowboys & Aliens”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, “Rango”, “Super 8″, “Thor”, and “Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon”.
But more than the commercials are marketing and advertising strategy. No company has gone as far out of their way to get customers and attention than the pizza company Papa John’s. Often the little brother to Domino’s and Pizza Hut, Papa John’s is betting that the Super Bowl won’t go into overtime. If it does, people who register online will get a free large, three-topping pizza. No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime and Papa John’s is playing the odds that this one won’t either. But if it does, you have to think other than getting free press and a lot of goodwill, that the company will take a financial hit.
So tune in Sunday and try to avoid the bathroom or a second plate of wings until replays or halftime analysis.
Today is part 1 of 2 where we discuss the unrecognized national holiday this weekend that is Super Bowl Sunday. Today, we’ll talk football and tomorrow we’ll discuss the other reason people tune in — commercials and marketing.
Super Bowl XLV: Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, TX
Favorite: Packers by 3
How They Got Here: The Steelers (14-4) beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-24 in the divisional round before defeating the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game 24-19. The Packers (13-6) beat the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 in the wild card round, then leveled the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round 48-21, and won the NFC Championship by beating the Chicago Bears 21-14.
Impact Players: Steelers — QB Ben Roethlisberger, S Troy Polamalu, LB James Harrison
Packers — QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Matthews, CB Tramon Williams
Review: It goes without saying that not many people had the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year with their starting quarterback coming off a sex scandal and 4-game suspension, and the Green Bay Packers, a team who came into the season with severe questions about their offensive line protecting their QB who had only two season earlier replaced a legend (Brett Favre), making it to Dallas this weekend. But here we are, with a 6-seed wild card team from the NFC that has the aura of defying the odds and a 2-seed from the AFC that many people feel got lucky because they didn’t have to play the New England Patriots.
The way these teams made it here are fairly similar: defense and clutch quarterback play. While many people will refuse to admit it, even the quarterbacks (Pittsburgh’s vilified Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s sudden golden boy Aaron Rodgers) are similar in the way they’ve had to overcome difficulties this season — Roethlisberger faced sexual assault allegations filed by a young woman in Milledgeville, GA that resulted in a four-game suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy (not to mention a PR nightmare) and Rodgers faced public questions about his ability to inherit the Favre throne after struggling in his first season and being eliminated in the wild card round of last year’s playoffs.
Plus, the teams are two of the most storied in NFL history: the Packers building their legacy by winning the first two Super Bowls under Vince Lombardi and the Steelers winning the most Super Bowls in league history (6-1). The teams rely on a fast, physical defense to create turnovers and make big plays which brings back memories of glory days past. With all that take into account, it seems only fitting that these teams should eventually square off when it matters the most.
Who to Watch For: As for the Steelers, that’s easy. It all rests on the shoulders of their QB. He’s big, strong, mobile, and experienced having won two Super Bowls already (beating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL and the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII). If Roethlisberger can stay upright and not make any mistakes, his defense should handle their end and he can have the comfort of no pressure to score.
For the Packers, the answer may surprise you…Tramon Williams. The Louisiana Tech walk-on made a name for himself this post season with three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He put on his big boy pants at the right time of the year and has got the attention of opposing quarterbacks, elite quarterbacks, to throw away from him. Look for Roethlisberger to test him and Williams to rise to the occasion.
Who should win: It’s the old adage of experience versus youth. The Steelers have 25 players on their roster who have played in the biggest game of them all, while the Packers have a mere 2. Both teams have proven they can blow out their opponents, withstand a comeback, and play against adversity. The real X-factor here is momentum. The Packers seem to have it, believing they’re a team of destiny while the Steelers seem nonchalant, almost entitled to be there.
Who WILL Win: In this scenario, I think swagger and experience overwhelms momentum and an underdog mindset. Look for the Steelers to win in a close, defensive game 21-13.
Are you ready…For the noise? “What’s that,” you ask? “Turn up your hearing aid grandpa — THE NOISE!” I say. Because we’re glad to announce the first annual Donnie Bell Design 2010 Air Hockey Tournament.
For any stranger to DBD, we have an air hockey table in our studio. Over time, it has been the setting for post-work stress relief sessions. Well, sometimes those sessions turn into grudge matches. Then the winner gets bragging rights. And that bragging leads to more grudge matches. Vicious circle.
Thusly, we’ve decided to end all official bragging rights with this tournament, featuring four employees: Courtney, Daniel, Matt and Sean. The winner will be able to proudly display the Horseshoe Cup on their desk for everyone to see for the whole year.
The rules are simple — use a single bumper in either hand, or switch hands, and try to knock the puck into the opposing goal. No bare hands. No out of bounds (whoever the puck lands next to is who gets first crack). Knocking the puck into your own goal counts for your opponent.
Games are played for one 5-minute, fast and furious session with a triangular puck of death. What makes it a “puck of death”? The shape puts a ton of backspin on the puck, which makes it almost impossible to predict where it will go once the player touches it with his bumper. See, it is exciting.
The tournament is double elimination, with games being played once a week. The seeds are as follows: 1. Courtney, 2. Matt, 3. Daniel, 4. Sean. The seeds were decided by previous matches, with Courtney deemed the best player and Daniel the second-best. Since Matt was here before Sean, the new gets to be lowest man on the totem pole.
This means Courtney will face off against Sean in the first game and Daniel will play Matt in game number two. The winner of the match between Courtney and Sean will play the winner of the match between Daniel and Matt. That winner advances to the final, the loser moves to the second round of the loser’s bracket.
In the loser’s bracket, the loser of the game between Courtney and Sean will play the loser of the match between Daniel and Matt. Winner of that match will play the loser of the winner’s bracket, with a berth in the final on the line. Whoever emerges from the loser’s bracket will play the winner’s bracket champion in the final and must beat the winner’s bracket champ twice (a la the double elimination). If the loser’s bracket champ loses in the final, he will be eliminated.
Be sure to check back next week for player profiles to you get all hyped up for the opening game — a first round throw down between number-1 ranked Courtney and low-seed Sean.
The Super Bowl? Small potatoes. March Madness? Bleh. The World Series? Who cares?…A new era in sports is here.