There are a handful of precious annual rites I hold dear. Taking out the golf clubs for the first round in the spring after a long, cold winter, flipping the switch on my Christmas Tree to enjoy two weeks of hope and wonder, driving up to Lake George each year to officially kick off summer and my favorite as a veteran ad man, the lead up to Super Ad Sunday where the final two teams in football line up against each other just so we can watch the equivalent of a TV commercial talent show. From year to year one of my favorite analyses has always been: who the new advertisers will be, who is staying home, and why.
Super Bowl commercials are always expensive and this year at up to $4 million for a 30 second ride, is no different. But over the years, there has been enough financial upside to keep advertisers wanting to walk up to the wheel and give it a spin. Who can forget Monster.com's first Super Bowl ad in 1999 which catapulted the brand to number one. Children expressing their desire to grow up and get dead-end jobs "When I grow up," one youngster says matter-of-factly, "I want to be a yes man." CareerBuilders' 2005 Super Bowl ad featuring chimpanzees helped the job-listed site move past Monster.com to take the number one spot in the career-listing business. GoDaddy had a similar experience and Super Bowl XVIII 'first-timer Apple Computer's iconic 1984 ad is considered by some to be the most successful Super Bowl ad ever.
The Super Bowl is generally the largest TV audience of any year. Last year more than 111 million watched the game and over 114 million tuned in for the half-time show. Advertisers not only get a large audience, many people actually tune in primarily to watch the TV spots and even more importantly discuss the best ones with their friends. GoDaddy, whose market share has risen to a more than 50 percent since becoming a Super Bowl advertiser, says it picks up about 5 percent market share points within 48 hours of running a Super Bowl ad. It's this kind of opportunity that has created the current queue of first time advertisers: Soda Stream, The Lincoln Motor Company, basic apparel manufacturer Gildan, Oreo cookies and Paramount Brands Wonderful Pistachios. Experts agree that if a company is able to break through the noise and create awareness for their product, deliver a clear benefit and differentiate their brand, there is a good chance that advertising during the Super Bowl can pay almost immediate dividends.
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