“Planning your Super Bowl party? How about cooking up a feast that includes N.Y. Giants Quarterback Eli Manning’s Lace Cookies?”
“Which QB do married women want in the sack?”
Not every company can afford $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial, the average price for a spot during Sunday’s game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, according to the trade magazine Advertising Age. So the race to become attached to the Super Bowl — in ways both clever and crass — is a determined, at times desperate one.
“There’s an incredible diversity in Super Bowl advertisers,” said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “You have everybody from Budweiser to GoDaddy.com, or CareerBuilder or TaxAct — and some very small players in there, too. It makes for a really interesting mix. . . . It matters, whether you are an advertiser or you’re a brand that just wants to be part of all the hoopla around it.”
So, even if you’re the self-described “notorious extramarital affair service” Ashley Madison, you might as well conduct a survey that asks women their preference “in the sack,” Manning of the Giants or his counterpart, Tom Brady of the Patriots. Because, as chief executive and founder Noel Biderman said, “there has always been a strong link between professional sports and infidelity.” (Manning, incidentally, took 54 percent of the vote, beating Brady’s 46 percent in what the company hailed as a “surprising upset.”)
Or, if you’re at the other end of the spectrum — say, children’s book author Nick Katsoris — you might as well plug Manning’s cherished childhood cookie recipe (start with 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 cups white sugar) that’s included in the new release “Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook.” It features not only Loukoumi the fluffy lamb but also Super Bowl-appropriate recipes from Beyonce, Jay Leno and others. (There is, disappointingly, no corresponding dish from Brady.)
Niche companies also resort to guerrilla tactics to gain visibility, passing out products on the streets or, in the case of the condom maker NuVo, sending a year’s supply to the NFL quarterback who is sacked most each week during the season. For the Super Bowl, this process starts with a barrage of news releases sent to media organizations large and small, hoping to land a preferred story line anywhere.
Even more prominent brands have updated their marketing strategy. For traditional heavyweight advertisers and those just breaking into the Super Bowl, shelling out millions for a commercial during the TV broadcast has become just part of the puzzle. Those commercials, in the week leading up to the game, now are made available for preview via YouTube.