Super Bowl Gets a Spike in Newbie Advertisers
Glue maker Loctite will spend more money for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl than it typically allocates on advertising for the entire year— so the message better stick.
Loctite, whose parent Henkel AG also owns Purex detergent and Dial soap, will join a group of about 15 brands advertising for the first time during television’s biggest event. It’s the largest number of newbies at the Super Bowl since the dot-com boom in 2000, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.
An advertisement on NBC’s Feb. 1 broadcast doesn’t come cheap— roughly $4.5 million for 30 seconds. But new advertisers take the plunge every year in order to reach the kind of mammoth live audience only possible at the Super Bowl. Last year, the game was watched by a record 111.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Other advertising newcomers this year include phone-case maker Mophie and Wix.comLtd. , an Israeli company that helps small businesses and individuals create websites with drag-and-drop tools.
A Super Bowl spot is a costly investment for any company, but especially for those with limited marketing dollars to put to work. Loctite’s measured-media spending totaled about $4 million in both 2012 and 2013, according to Kantar Media. By comparison, over the past few years Anheuser-Busch InBev has spent about $275 million per year on its Bud Light brand, a Super Bowl staple.
Loctite aired three national TV ads last year. The company believes it can do better with a single spot in the big game. “We didn’t have the critical mass to deliver a message that would be seen by a majority of the American population,” said Pierre Tannoux, director of marketing at Henkel. “We thought it would be a better bet to try to put all of our dollars in one bucket.”
The Loctite spot will appear during the fourth quarter and continue the brand’s ongoing “#WinAtGlue” campaign, which was created by Fallon, a Minneapolis-based agency owned by Publicis Groupe . One earlier installment featured a dance off between men wearing fanny packs stuffed with Loctite.
Wix.com is a relatively unknown brand, despite having 58 million users, about half of which are in the U.S. The web-services company started advertising on TV in 2013 and bolstered its coffers with an initial public offering that year that raised about $127 million. The Super Bowl spot, which will feature NFL legends Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, and Emmitt Smith, is the next big marketing step.
“We felt that for us, it’s a great time to go to the big league,” said Omer Shai, Wix.com’s chief marketing officer.
Wix.com spent $1.4 million on U.S. advertising in 2013. Mr. Shai declined to say what percentage of this year’s marketing budget would be allocated for the Super Bowl.
Allotting a large ad budget chunk for the Super Bowl isn’t unprecedented. Master Lock for years sank a third of its annual ad budget into Super Bowl commercials that showed one of its padlocks staying shut after being hit by a bullet.
Super Bowl XLIX will carry the most first-timers since the 2000 game, commonly referred to as the “Dot Com Super Bowl.” Companies flush with venture capital spent millions to get their names out and some, like Pets.com and Epidemic Marketing, didn’t stay in business. The game became a symbol of irrational exuberance in the high-tech marketplace of that era.
The challenge for newbies these days is that they have to introduce their products or services to viewers for the first time at a moment when the audience is looking to be entertained. The Super Bowl is the rare TV event when viewers not only see ads, but critique their artistry, humor, sincerity and other attributes.
“The fact that there is scrutiny and people paying attention is exactly the point,” said Chris Lawrence, director of account management at Fallon. “It’s a chance to make a lot of friends very quickly.”
Fireworks erupt over Metlife Stadium ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos last February in East Rutherford, N.J. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Rookies have been able to stand out in the past using humor. In 1999, job search company Monster.com debuted a now-famous spot in which children talked about their career goals. One said he hoped to “claw my way up to middle management.”
The first-timers will have to go up against seasoned Super Bowl veterans like Budweiser and Doritos. “You’re sandwiched between these high-octane celebrities and funny things from brands that don’t need to introduce themselves,” said Anthony Casalena, chief executive of Squarespace, a website-maker that advertised in last year’s Super Bowl and will do so again this time.
Mr. Casalena says Squarespace has focused on dialing up the entertainment factor this time. The Super Bowl provides an opportunity to reach a wide variety of potential consumers who might need to make a website, from art school students to e-commerce businesses, according to Mr. Casalena. Traffic to Squarespace’s site increased seventyfold directly after last year’s ad, the company said.
Newbies also have to be patient, since the Super Bowl payoff can come years later. David MacNeil, chief executive of WeatherTech, a car floor mat maker and sophomore Super Bowl advertiser, said a commercial in the big game can win over a would-be consumer buying a car three years down the road.
“We all love instant gratification, don’t get me wrong, but I was doing it more from a branding standpoint,” Mr. MacNeil said. “It’s a long-term investment in our company’s future.”