The Super Bowl’s Sophomore Advertisers

It isn’t easy being a first-time advertiser at the Super Bowl. This year’s big game will feature 15 newbies trying to introduce themselves while entertaining the captive audience, the most since 2000′s “Dot Com Super Bowl,” as The Wall Street Journal reported.

In the weeks and months after the telecast, this year’s freshmen marketers like glue maker Loctite and do-it-yourself website creator will have to determine whether or not the Super Bowl was worth the price — $4.5 million for a 30 second spot.

Many companies really find their marketing mojo when they come back for a second year. This year’s sophomore class includes the likes of Squarespace, WeatherTech, and TurboTax.

“Unless you have consistency with any kind of advertising you do, it won’t sustain,” said Squarespace Chief Executive Anthony Casalena.

Last year, Mr. Casalena says, the company faced the difficulty of introducing itself while sandwiched between Super Bowl stalwarts. “Squarespace is not as well known as Budweiser or Honda,” he said. “You have to explain a bit.”

In its sophomore season, Squarespace plans to focus more on pure, crowd-pleasing entertainment. The Super Bowl drew in 111.5 million viewers last year, according to Nielsen. Ads are subject to artistic scrutiny from an audience happy to either commend or ridicule brands in real time on social media.

Squarespace plans to spend around $60 million on marketing this year, up from about $40 million in 2014, Mr. Casalena said.

Another sophomore marketer will be WeatherTech, which makes car floor mats and other auto accessories. The company will, for the second straight year, use its spot to promote a made-in-America ethos.

WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil said the company, which Kantar Media estimates spent $102 million in advertising over the first nine months of 2014, regularly seeks to capture car enthusiasts through ads in trade magazines. But the Super Bowl could win a would-be consumer buying a car three years down the road – a return-on-investment more difficult to measure.

“It’s national branding,” Mr. MacNeil said. “The return on my investment won’t happen in minutes or days, but years.”

Many Super Bowl newbies tend to be one-and-done advertisers, dutifully replaced the next year by a fresh crop of rookies, according to Kantar Media North America Chief Research Officer Jon Swallen. Which, if any, of this year’s freshmen will come back as sophomores remains to be seen.