In Depth

What's 'The L'? The 2016 Super Bowl That the Industry Is Already Circling -- Count on Big Game's 50th Anniversary to Be a Big Deal

By Brian Steinberg
Advertising Age

The teams for 2013's Super Bowl XLVII have yet to emerge, but the media and advertising industries already have their collective eye on Super Bowl 50. The game, to be carried by CBS in 2016, is already being referred to in some quarters as "The L" -- a reference to the Roman numeral it will bear.

"Without question, the League will focus very heavily on the anniversary," said Tom McGovern, managing director of Omnicom Group's Optimum Sports.

NFL sponsors will be the first to get a crack at this promotion, starting in the fall of 2015, suggested Sam Sussman, a senior VP-director at Publicis Groupe's Starcom USA.

It's so early that planners have yet to pick a host city for 2016. Even so, it's interesting to consider what actual Super Bowl advertisers might do with the idea. "Advertisers who have a long tradition of running ads on the Super Bowl would be well advised to emphasize this heritage and appeal to nostalgic feelings," said C. Raymond Taylor, a marketing professor at the Villanova School of Business. "Budweiser and Coca-Cola could run ads demonstrating their long history with the Super Bowl and recalling some of their best advertising," he added.

Others could return to celebrate famous moments.

Might Apple rejoin the ranks of Super Bowl advertisers? Check back in 2016.