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Marianne Paskowski

What Does $2.7 Million Buy a Super Bowl Sponsor?

January 30, 2008 1:08 PM

A whole lot of buzz, not much in cash register sales and in some cases a negative stock downgrade.

Take the case of Under Armour, an athletic apparel company that shelled out its $2.7 million to advertise its new cross-trainer sneakers in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. Yep, it got buzz, but bad buzz, as Wachovia instantly downgraded the company’s stock, saying it was an irresponsible move in such an anemic economy.

Ouch. That story now has Wall Street traders saying very few Super Bowl advertisers actually reap sales, only short-lasting buzz, and that the spots do nothing to make the cash register ring.

Yeah, the spots sure make great fodder to fill that sometimes awkward quiet time in long elevator rides on Monday morning, but it’s hard to believe they don’t actually help the brand.

I think Wachovia is a whiner. If I were an advertiser I’d leap to be in the Super Bowl. After all, at what other time of the year do normal people—those not in the business—actually talk about TV commercials?


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Comments (11)

I hate football but I love commercials. I watch the Superbowl every year and I usually host a gathering with friends. They all know that when commercials come, everyone must be quiet.

And on Monday morning when I walk into my office at a Boston social media marketing agency, everyone is talking and blogging about the best and worst ads. While a $2.7 million can build you a online community and a social media strategy to build true relationships with customers and stakeholders, a Super Bowl ad done right is sure to catch my attention.

Marianne Paskowski:


Couldn't agree more with you, love the spots, and so happy to fight someone in this state who hates sports as much as I do.

Thanks for the post,

Your moderator from Cape Cod who could give a flying wallenda about the Pats:}

Andy S.:

Super Bowl hype aside, whether or not buying a spot in the big game is a good move depends on a number of factors, and it's certainly no slam dunk. As a marketer, if you're thinking about it, you have to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you're doing it for the right reasons, and with the right creative. I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that bad experiences advertisers have had with the Super Bowl are due more to their own mistakes than anything else. In some cases they shouldn't have been there in the first place; in others the creative may have been wrong, or the placement unfortunate. As a buy, it has to be analyzed like any other.

Marianne Paskowski:

Super Bowl ads are different, they require more scrutiny because the financial stakes are so high. With Armour, peddling sports shoes, the environment seems perfect.

But I get your drift. As wildly popular at the Cottonelle toilet paper ads are with the little yellow lab, I wouldn't put them in a Super Bowl environment. I'd go to a much cheaper venue like Lifetime or Oxygen.

Thanks for the post,

Chi-town Mike:

Couple of things since the game has passed.

Did Under Armour actually have a commercial during the Super Bowl? I didn't see it. If they did play it, their 2.7 mil didn't reach me.

Moving on...

By far the greatest commercial this year IMO (and I think our host might even agree) was the Gatorade commercial. Watching the BIG DOG drinking out of his bowl and finding out it was a Gatorade commercial was brilliant! The entire commercial I was dying to find out what the commercial was for?
I wasn't alone, many people around me were asking what it was for and laughed afterwards about how great it was.

Now that was money well spent... :)

Dear Marianne,

Toilet paper is much more appropriate for Oxygen than Lifetime, but then, ironically, so are gas masks. In fact, when Oxygen premiered "Campus Ladies" a few years back it advertised the show on toilet paper and then got publicity for its toilet paper advertising in The New York Times.

That's toilet bowl marketing as Mrs. Laybourne perfected first at Nickelodeon, then at Oxygen.

I'm serious about the gas masks.


Chi-town Mike,

I agree. Now that you mention it, the Gatorade ad was brilliant. It was simple, unexpected, and funny. Like the people around you, I kept asking, "OK, what's this for?"

My personal favorite, however, was the Coke "Balloons" ad which ended with Charlie Brown getting the Coke, not Underdog.

Loved it!

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Guys,
I liked the Gatorade spot (remind you of Einstein, Chi?) but I adored the Anheuser Bush spot with the Clysdale horse Hank. And yes the Armour spot ran and it was a big yawn.

For once the game was better than the ads tho. As for the toilet paper Cory, I do remember Oxygen using it to promote the net. Weird.


Marianne Paskowski:

Under Armour got another downgrade today. So much for the Super Bowl buy.

Just for fun we discussed Under Armor in Principles of Advertising today. Half the class though the ad was effective. Half did not. Two students (both girls) said the ad gave them goose bumps. Three students said it reminded them of a Nazi speech. For 70% of the class it evoked the movie 300.

One girl raised her hand and said: "After seeing that ad I now want to buy a pair of their shoes."

"Anybody else?" I asked.

No other takers.

Out of a class of 34, one pair sold.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cory,
Your students are as astute, or probably more so, than the broker who downgraded the company for airing the spot.

Moving forward with the tape. Wow Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, Super Tuesday turned into Red Tuesday for Wall Street. Christ, 270 points down today. Sure Armour got pounded in the massacre.

But I digress, next topic for tomorrow, the presidential race. Did you see Hillary's paid for one hour town hall on of all places the Hallmark channel? Strange media buy, get your students chewing on that one.

Be well,

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