Film Ads Shine in Lackluster Super Bowl
added info & links Feb. 9
By Robert Marich
Feb. 8, 2016—Six TV commercials for movies landed in the CBS Television telecast yesterday of the Super Bowl, in what was judged a lackluster year for pricey advertisements placed in the professional football championship game.
A 30-second CBS commercial slot cost $5 million to reach an audience of roughly 112 million persons in the U.S. Besides advertising that didn't turn heads, another trend this year was putting celebrities including movie stars in lots of commercials.
In a year when Super Bowl TV commercials seemed to lack emotion, a movie advertisement almost made the top 10 of “best” commercials in USA Today’s list of memorable spots. That was for Universal Pictures’ humorous commercial for The Secret Life of Pets—an animate movie that ranked #11.
Usually, movie ads would be expected to rank at the bottom of Super Bowl commercials (63 this year) because they simply show clips from movies—not a hamster being shot into a wall, cavorting half-naked women and cute puppies used by other advertisers creating new-from-the-ground-up commercials. Ranking low in memorability doesn’t necessarily mean the film advertisements are ineffective; movie marketers are just limited creatively because they movie clips.
The six movie commercial in-game (excluding pre-game and post-game) were:
Universal/Secret Life of Pets/#11 rank USA Today/10:13 EST air time
Walt Disney Studios/Jungle Book/#26/6:59 EST
Universal Pictures/Jason Borne/#27/7:23 EST
20th Fox/Independence Day Resurgence/#36/8:09 EST
20th Century Fox/X-Men Apocalypse/#42/9:10 EST
Paramount/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/#56/7:37 EST
Besides the aforementioned six movie only ads, Wiz.com plugged Kung Fu Panda 2 in its advertisement. Coca-Cola used Marvel characters in one of its advertisements, though no specific movie was plugged.
Six movie advertisements is a normal crop for a Super Bowl, making theatrical films a leading advertising category along with cars, beer, soft drinks, and financial services. Typically, movies fill four to 10 30-second commercials slots in the Super Bowl (this year, each movie spot was just 30 seconds though in past years film distributors sometimes bought two or three 30-second slots for an extended commercial). “Since 1991, about 130 movie ads have run in the Super Bowl with varying degrees of success,” says the third edition of Marketing To Moviegoers. “The placement really became popular in 1996 with Fox’s Independence Day, whose gripping shot of the White House being blown to smithereens by aliens delighted the male audience.”
Pundits judged this year’s overall crop of special ads for the Super Bowl as not memorable, without strong emotional chords struck by ads in past years. “Advertisers largely played it safe, perhaps still shuddering over last year’s Nationwide Insurance fiasco, when one of the most talked-about commercials was about children dying in accidents,” says a New York Post article by David K. Li.
My favorite movie “ambush marketing” incident is the Secret Life of Pets commercial running on Animal Planet at half time when that cable TV network presented its annual Puppy Bowl program (telecast opposite a music extravaganza filling time durng the mid-game break on CBS Television Super Bowl). Ambush marketing is placing messages around an event without being an official in-game advertiser.
Though not in the game itself, 20th Century Fox ran a commercial for Deadpool and Paramount Pictures placed an ad for 10 Cloverfield Lane just prior to kickoff. Lionsgate said in a press release that it placed a 60-second Gods of Egypt commercial in the pre-game show, though I didn't see it. When the game ended, Turkish Airllines ran a commercial that was a tie-in for Warner Bros. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that got plenty of exposure.
As for the load of celebrities from movies, music, sports and Hollywood as presenters in commercials, “companies shelled out millions more to hire celebrity talent like Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Kevin Hart, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Amy Schumer, Seth Rogen, Helen Mirren, Alec Baldwin, Steven Tyler and the comedy team of Key & Peele,” says the New York Post article.
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