Ad Track: The Super Bowl edition

In its first-ever Super Bowl appearance, sportswear maker Under Armour will use the world's biggest advertising stage to introduce Prototype, a cross-trainer shoe, in a bold bid to compete with Adidas and Nike.

Launching pad.

"We're redefining ourselves to the outside world," CEO Kevin Plank says. "We're sticking a flag in the ground."

The ad will direct viewers to underarmour.com to order the shoe, available May 3.

The 60-second ad, developed in-house at Under Armour ua and directed by Ericson Core (director of photography for The Fast and the Furious), features former NFL player and Under Armour employee Eric Ogbogu.

Jeter jitters.

Another new product in the Feb. 3 game will be Gatorade's G2 low-calorie sports drink. One G2 ad will feature New York Yankees player Derek Jeter.

He was at work last week trying to help Gatorade get a head start on getting a bang for its Super Bowl ad buck with a press event in Manhattan's Herald Square.

The Bronx Bomber said he'll first see his finished ad while watching the game on TV in Las Vegas. He said he had no jitters until he heard that other Super Bowl ad celebs include stars such as Madonna and Justin Timberlake.

"Now, I'm nervous," he said. "Maybe I'll get up and go to the bathroom (during his ad) so I won't have to hear any jeers."

We can do that.

Watch out, Madison Avenue, Under Armour isn't the only Super Bowl advertiser that decided it's talented enough to make its own ads. Victoria's Secret and sales-lead website Salesgenie.com also are creating Super Sunday ads in-house.

"I know who the customers are and what resonates with them," says Salesgenie.com founder Vin Gupta, who wrote his company's commercials. "These are not great ads, but they are good enough. Someone who watches the ad(s) will know the service we are promoting."

Super stock performance.

Maybe Super Bowl advertisers will get their money's worth — even at up to $2.7 million this year per 30 seconds of commercial time.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire studied the stock performance of publicly traded companies that aired in-game Super Bowl ads in the last decade.

Their aggregate share price for a four-week window surrounding the game beat the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500 mhp in eight of the last 10 years. The exceptions were 2001 and 2005.

Overall, the stocks outperformed the S&P by 1.2% in the two weeks before and after the 1998-2007 Super Bowls, says Chuck Tomkovick, a marketing professor who has conducted Super Bowl ad research for over a decade. "Wall Street rewards firms that run Super Bowl ads."

Give us some ad-itude.

The Ad Team asked readers to weigh in on their favorite Big Game ads, and New Orleans attorney Lenny Levenson, 56, calls a 1998 Tabasco hot sauce commercial as "one of the best Super Bowl ads ever." In that spot, a mosquito bursts into flames after ingesting the spicy sauce from Louisiana. "It was very humorous and not predictable," says his e-mail. (See the ad at money.usatoday.com.)

A standout for reader Mick Welcher is the 2002 Anheuser-Busch bud spot in which its Clydesdales travel cross-country to bow before Manhattan's skyline and pay respect to World Trade Center victims. "It moved me to tears," Welcher says. (A-B did not make the ad available; see "Budweiser 9/11 Tribute" on YouTube.)

Tell us your pick for best Big Game ad. E-mail Laura Petrecca at lpetrecca@usatoday.com.

Join the chat.

Weigh in on the ads in this year's game in a chat with reporter Laura Petrecca at usatoday.com on Feb. 4. Also, the game ads can be viewed on the site that week, and you can rate them in our online voting.

By Laura Petrecca, Theresa Howard and Bruce Horovitz

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