Stars and stunts to stand out at Super Bowl 51
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Lady Gaga is reportedly entertaining an unusual twist on her Super Bowl halftime show. She could perform from the roof of the stadium. This is not yet confirmed. If that comes to pass, she won't be the only one making a big play for attention this year.
Advertisers from first timer 84 Lumber to veteran Hyundai are ramping up the marketing stunts. They want to stand out from the crowd. And they want to do it during the big game. Some will air live ads. Or they might have a tease to their ad campaigns. One will even shoot its commercial during the game. Others are deliberately courting controversy.
In Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons will take on the New England Patriots. The game is expected to be the biggest live TV event of the year.
Every year, more than 30 advertisers vie to create the most-remembered 30 to 90 seconds of the Super Bowl. They stuff their commercials with celebrities, humor and animals.
Now, so many ads get pre-released online or teased ahead of the game. Advertisers have a harder time making a lasting impression. More than 110 million people are expected to tune in. The game is Sunday, Feb. 5. The commercials will cost around $5 million.
This year, marketers are turning to stunts.
"It used to be, 'We need a Super Bowl spot.' Then, it was, 'We need a Super Bowl spot and program.'" So said Mark DiMassimo. He is CEO of ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein. It is in New York. "Now, it's we need a Super Bowl stunt or event. It needs to be newsworthy, social and surprising. And it needs to be much bigger than 30 seconds."
Snickers said it will air a live Super Bowl ad in the third quarter. The ad will feature Adam Driver ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens"). The Mars brand will also live stream the set of the commercial. It will run for 36 hours ahead of the spot.
"The actual ad is only part of the equation," said Allison Miazga-Bedrick. She is a Snickers brand director. Miazga-Bedrick promises "over 30 hours of original content" streamed live leading up to the game.
Wix is an Israeli website hosting service. The company turned to Facebook Live and YouTube Live on Jan. 17 to debut teasers for its Super Bowl ad. The teaser was prerecorded. It only was streamed live. It starred Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot. She plays Wonder Woman in her own film later this year. It also features the English actor Jason Statham ("The Fast and the Furious").
The company said it's the first time a Super Bowl campaign has been launched live.
First-time Super Bowl advertiser 84 Lumber already has pulled a vintage ad stunt. The company went public with claims that Fox rejected its original ad. The company said its ad was rejected because it was too "controversial."
84 Lumber is a building materials supplier. It is based in Pennsylvania. The company bought a 90-second ad during the game. That is a huge commitment for a regional brand. But Amy Smiley, the company's director of marketing, said its first ad was rejected. She said it was because some of its imagery steered too close to political rhetoric about the Mexican border from President Donald Trump.
Fox declined to comment. That ensured 84 Lumber got plenty of press. And the news came well ahead of the game.
In perhaps the biggest gamble, Hyundai is teaming with director Peter Berg ("Deepwater Horizon"). Hyundai will actually film a 90-second ad while the Super Bowl is underway. Hyundai said the ad will show "off the field" moments. These will be captured during the game. The commercial will air right after the contest ends.
Traditionally, ads that air before or after the Super Bowl itself aren't very successful at attracting viewers. But the on-the-fly aspect of this ad could make it hard to ignore.
"The challenge for all of these companies is, 'How do you stand out?'" said Tim Calkins. He is a marketing professor at Northwestern University. "As a result, we're going to see this year people try some very curious approaches."
Dean Evans is Hyundai's chief marketing officer. He said the shoot-during-the-game approach is all about buzz.
"We wanted to test ourselves," Evans said. "We thought we would have to do it in a new and nontraditional way to really show the U.S. public that we're back in the game."
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is there a war for attention?
Write your answers in the comments section below