Now, ad­ver­tis­ers are go­ing for the Hail Mary

To stand out at Su­per Bowl LI, ads are go­ing for stunts

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTING LIFE - MAE ANDERSON

Lady Gaga is re­port­edly en­ter­tain­ing an un­usual twist on her Su­per Bowl half­time show, which — though it’s not con­firmed — she could per­form from the roof of the sta­dium. If that comes to pass, she won’t be the only one mak­ing a big play for at­ten­tion this year. Ad­ver­tis­ers from first timer 84 Lum­ber to vet­eran Hyundai are ramp­ing up the mar­ket­ing stunts in or­der to stand out from the crowd dur­ing the big game. Some will air live ads, or at least teasers for their cam­paigns; one will even shoot its com­mer­cial dur­ing the game. Oth­ers are de­lib­er­ately court­ing con­tro­versy. Su­per Bowl LI, in which the At­lanta Fal­cons will take on the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, is ex­pected to be the big­gest live TV event of the year.

THE WAR FOR YOUR AT­TEN­TION

Ev­ery year, more than 30 ad­ver­tis­ers vie to cre­ate the most-re­mem­bered 30 to 90 sec­onds of the Su­per Bowl by stuff­ing com­mer­cials with celebri­ties, slap­stick hu­mour and cute an­i­mals. But now that so many ads get pre-re­leased on­line or teased ahead of the game, ad­ver­tis­ers have a harder time mak­ing a last­ing im­pres­sion. And with more than 110 mil­lion peo­ple ex­pected to tune in on Feb. 5 and 30 sec­ond spots go­ing for around $5 mil­lion, they need to scram­ble hard. So this year, mar­keters are turn­ing to stunts. “It used to be, ‘We need a Su­per Bowl spot.’ Then, it was, ‘We need a Su­per Bowl spot and pro­gram,’” said Mark DiMas­simo, CEO of ad agency DiMas­simo Gold­stein in New York. “Now, it’s we need a Su­per Bowl stunt or event. It needs to be news­wor­thy, so­cial and sur­pris­ing — and it needs to be much big­ger than 30 sec­onds.”

GO­ING LIVE

Snick­ers said it will air a live Su­per Bowl ad in the third quar­ter star­ring Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens”). The Mars brand will also live stream the set of the com­mer­cial for 36 hours ahead of the spot. “The ac­tual ad is only part of the equa­tion,” said Al­li­son Mi­azga-Bedrick, a Snick­ers brand di­rec­tor, who prom­ises “over 30 hours of orig­i­nal con­tent” streamed live lead­ing up to the game. Sim­i­larly, Wix — an Is­raeli web­site host­ing ser­vice — turned to Face­book Live and YouTube Live on Jan. 17 to de­but teasers for its Su­per Bowl ad. The teaser — which was pre­re­corded and only streamed live — starred Is­raeli ac­tress and model Gal Gadot, who plays Won­der Woman in her own film later this year, and the English ac­tor Ja­son Statham (“The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous”). The com­pany said it’s the first time a Su­per Bowl cam­paign has been launched live.

BETTING ON RE­JEC­TION

First-time Su­per Bowl ad­ver­tiser 84 Lum­ber pulled a vin­tage ad stunt when the com­pany went pub­lic with claims that Fox re­jected its orig­i­nal ad be­cause it was too “con­tro­ver­sial.” The Penn­syl­va­nia build­ing ma­te­ri­als sup­plier bought a 90 sec­ond ad dur­ing the game — a huge com­mit­ment for a re­gional brand. But Amy Smi­ley, the com­pany’s di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing, said its first ad was re­jected be­cause some of its im­agery, in­clud­ing a bor­der wall that sup­pos­edly pre­vented peo­ple from work­ing in the U.S., steered too close to po­lit­i­cal rhetoric about the Mex­i­can bor­der from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

SHOOT­ING ON THE FLY

In per­haps the big­gest gam­ble, Hyundai is team­ing with di­rec­tor Peter Berg (“Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon”) to ac­tu­ally film a 90-sec­ond ad while the Su­per Bowl is un­der­way. Hyundai said the ad will show “off the field” mo­ments cap­tured dur­ing the game, and will air right af­ter the con­test ends. “The chal­lenge for all of these com­pa­nies is, ‘How do you stand out?’” said Tim Calkins, a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sor at North­west­ern Univer­sity. “As a re­sult we’re go­ing to see some very cu­ri­ous ap­proaches.”

MARK VON HOLDEN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mr. C’s Sexy Dream Team and #TheNex­tMrClean Mike Jack­son, cen­tre, clean up Times Square to cel­e­brate the de­but of Mr. Clean’s Su­per Bowl ad.

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