Rejected or not, Super Bowl ads generate buzz

Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:12pm EST
 
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By Ben Klayman

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The marketing buzz that a Super Bowl television commercial creates is invaluable to advertisers, whether it gets broadcast or not.

With a national audience that could reach an estimated one-third of 300 million Americans on February 7, the National Football League's championship game is more important than ever for companies and advocacy groups.

With a price tag of almost $3 million for 30 seconds, it can be just as effective for those submitting ads to have a spot rejected as inappropriate and use the attention generated from that to drive visitors and business to their websites.

"A whole cottage industry has grown up out of trying to make use of network turndowns," said Martin Franks, executive vice president of planning, policy and government affairs at CBS Corp, which is televising the NFL game this year. "It can happen in the middle of July, but obviously this is a wonderfully high-profile opportunity."

The commercial approval process has come under heavy scrutiny this year since CBS approved an ad sponsored by a conservative Christian group called Focus on the Family. Some U.S. women's groups have urged the network not to air the ad -- which stars college football star Tim Tebow -- saying it has a strident anti-abortion rights message.

Industry executives and analysts recognize Internet domain company GoDaddy.com, which annually airs several ads during the Super Bowl as the best at attracting attention for its ads. On Thursday, GoDaddy in a press release invited consumers to view its latest rejected ad at the company website.

"GoDaddy was one of the first advertisers who set out to capitalize on the fact that ads get rejected and that there's a PR opportunity in that," said Tim Calkins, marketing professor with Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. GoDaddy is one of the PR masters of the Super Bowl."

Other companies that have had ads rejected as inappropriate this year include online jobs site CareerBuilder.com and gay male dating site Mancrunch.com. Last year, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) garnered the spotlight for an ad General Electric's NBC rejected.   Continued...

 
<p>Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is reflected in the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he answers questions at a news conference in Tampa, Florida, January 30, 2009. REUTERS/Joe Skipper</p>