Super Bowl advertisers finally making noise

January 27 04:31 2015

Some Super Bowl advertisers are finally — finally — starting to show their cards. Over the past week, a handful of advertisers unveiled their Super Bowl spots, sketched out some details or at least announced that they were in the game. Until now, many advertisers — in contrast the trend in recent years — have kept unusually mum.

Super Bowl advertising is all about strategy — much like the game itself. This year at least a half-dozen new advertisers have yet to even publicly announce they’re in the game. And even some longtime advertisers now say they won’t reveal their Super Bowl ads at all until they air in the game.

One marketing expert says this strategy, more common before social media, can implode. “One would expect marketers to be doing more to draw attention to their Super Bowl ads and leverage the $4 million-plus investment,” says George Belch, professor of sports marketing at San Diego State University. “The past few years have shown that advertisers who are more active prior to the game … generally generate more online attention and engagement.”

Tuesday’s news, however, was the release by Unilever’s Dove Men+Care line of an extended version of what will be its 30-second Super Bowl commercial. It attempts to answer the question: “What makes a man strong?” By even posing the question, Dove might seem to be reacting to National Football League problems last year over two big-name players accused of physical abuse. Baltimore Raven Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely for an altercation with a woman now his wife, and Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson was arrested and suspended for allegedly hitting his young child with a tree branch.

Dove says there is no connection. “We’ve been talking about dads and a modern take on masculinity for some time,” says Jennifer Bremner, director of marketing for Dove’s Men+Care. The ad is based on a video Dove posted last Father’s Day that went viral, she says.