There's already a buzz for the Superbowl ads this year. Not because of rumors or leaked video on YouTube, but because the ads are already out. The dogs are already barking "Darth Vader's Theme" for Volkswagen, a very basic search via Google gives me links to the 2013 Lexus ads, as well as Red Bull, and Hulu shows us Will Arnet trying to get into the hidden Hulu Hollywood sign entrance in a teaser for their Superbowl ad. Yes, most of the these ads are teasers, meant to stir your curiosity to watch on game day.
Something better make me watch Sunday, 'cause it sure as hell ain't the game.
One wonders if the ad agencies didn't pressure NBC for some bonus time once they learned the game would feature teams that have little fan base west of the Alleghenies. Sure, a Giants/Patriots rematch has a certain storied passion about it, and an East Coast rivalry ensures blanket media attention in certain major markets such as New York City, Boston, to some extent Philly and Washington DC, and for snowbirds in the Florida markets and the ski bunnies in Denver. But this year's Superbowl is a gigundomous non-event in major markets with teams that ended up bridesmaids this season like Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Atlanta. Add to that majors who were out of the loop altogether like Los Angles, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Diego, Cleveland, locals in Miami and Tampa Bay, and St. Louis and you have a Superbowl that matters to only the thirteen original colonies. But the real deal breaker had to be when the Packers lost. As a media market, Green Bay is a sneeze that makes Cincinnati look like Tokyo, but the Cheese Head Nation fan base stretches around the globe reaching levels of popularity that rivals Manchester United. When the Packers lost, the phones at NBC started ringing with ad agencies; we want bonus runs.
It doesn't help that this year's big game is on NBC, a network that isn't exactly renowned for extreme levels of testosterone. The halftime show is Madonna. NBC's big premier show promoted during the Superbowl is Steven Spielberg's Chorus Line/Fame/Glee so-you-wanna-be-a-star fantasy "Smash." The network's logo is a peacock. You know every other promo Sunday night will be for "The Voice." Why don't we just out this whole thing and get it over with? That would be fine with me, but the Midwest still holds some sway with the network - although apparently not enough to keep "Friday Night Lights" on the air - and the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL, whose license is held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, could become a very influential affiliate as 2012 progresses. I understand the decision to fly stealth for now.
Anyway, NBC has an image problem when it comes to sports. Advertisers are jittery, especially with an unstable economy, and the Superbowl commercial isn't quite the event it used to be. The stakes are so ridiculously high these days, it's made advertisers turn a bit creatively conservative in their approach. It's hard to imagine Apple, for example, approving their "1984" ad in today's economic climate. The Budweiser Clydesdales will remain majestic and beautiful, CGI animals will rule the day, some guy will take a shot to the crotch, and Go Daddy will do something aimed at 12 year-old geeks.
My prediction for the 2012 Superbowl ads: the big winner this year will be...
Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Just up I-69 from Indy, Fort Wayne TV is pretty much just translators for Indianoplace stations. And all this weekend, the three major Indy stations will be camping out with live remote special programming from Lucas Oil Stadium. And all that local programming generates local ad revenue. No need to CGI dogs barking Star Wars music here; just get Joe Client's well-placed, reasonably priced (compared to NBC) spot on the air several times during the weekend, and everybody's happy. Not bad for a Midwest market who's neighboring franchise rolled over and died this season. All a Fort Wayne station has to do this weekend is stay on the air. Sweet.
And speaking of predictions, it'll be the Giants by 7 points. Hey come on, Manning had to smack down the Packers to get here. What's Brady done for you lately?