Super Bowl advertisers seek buzz on social media

Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:35pm EST
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the age of Twitter and Facebook, many Super Bowl viewers will use the commercial breaks to go online and see what people are saying about the game. This year, advertisers want them to tweet about their favorite commercials as well.

Having spent record-breaking sums to secure the most valuable television slots in advertising, global brands from Coca-Cola to Volkwagen are looking to leverage social media to extend the buzz and reach of their ads.

According to executives from Comcast Corp's NBC television network, which will broadcast the February 5 football game, a 30-second commercial slot cost $3.5 million on average this year, up from $3 million for last year's Super Bowl, which was on News Corp's Fox station.

"The social media conversation has put more value on a Super Bowl ad, fans will discuss your ads on Twitter and Facebook and then go to YouTube to watch it on demand over and over again," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media.

This year's Super Bowl will take place in Indianapolis, with the New York Giants and New England Patriots battling it out for the National Football League Championship. An expected 100 million people will watch the game, which is among a dwindling number of TV programs that still draw big live audiences.

NFL games are so valuable to advertisers that the league recently secured hefty pay increases that will bring in about $6 billion a year from Walt Disney Co's ESPN, broadcast networks and satellite TV provider DirecTV for rights to air games and sell the advertising time.

The average price of Super Bowl ads have risen more than 50 percent in the last 10 years, defying economic downturns and secular industry issues. NBC sold out all 70 spots around this year's game shortly after Thanksgiving weekend in November and reached a new high with one slot selling for around $4 million.

The game, including lower priced halftime slots, could easily generate over a quarter of a billion dollars in ad sales.   Continued...

<p>Wilson footballs await packaging at the Wilson Sporting Good dedicated football factory in Ada, Ohio January 25, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan</p>