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Jan. 24, 2013

Two-thirds of Detroit’s Big Three super bowling

Most of the major auto companies are once again motoring into the Super Bowl ad wars this year. One exception: General Motors, which will be on the sidelines.

Filling that vacuum, said Robert Kolt, a Michigan State University advertising instructor who monitors and rates Super Bowl TV commercials, will be Ford’s introduction of the new Lincoln line.

In the past, Super Bowl commercials have meant a lot to the car companies. Example: Chrysler’s 2011 ad featuring rapper Eminem that launched the “imported from Detroit” campaign.

“Car company executives said that ad turned around the image of Chrysler,” Kolt said, “and generated immediate sales for the car company.”

In addition to the car companies, some of this year’s bigger players include soft-drink leaders Pepsi and Coke, Frito-Lay Doritos’ fan-made spots and dotcoms such as GoDaddy. And, of course, beer.

“Beer is the king of the Super Bowl,” Kolt said. “Beer always buys the most spots promoting a variety of brands. Beer also dominates the best creativity in ads.”

What makes for a good Super Bowl commercial? Animation, animals, women in bikinis and lots of humor are a good start.

“To me, the commercials that are the top performers always tend to fall into one of two categories,” said Jef Richards, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing. “Either they make you cry in your beer, or they make you laugh until beer shoots out your nose. It’s usually the latter.”

This year it’s costing advertisers about $4 million for 30 seconds of air time. Money, said Kolt, well spent.

“The audience estimate is more than 150 million worldwide,” he said. “The game will deliver the biggest audience across all demographic groups than any other show on TV.”

For the 16th consecutive year, MSU advertising faculty will gather on Super Bowl Sunday to watch and rate the ads. Using a five-point grading scale, the voting faculty members will rate each commercial on creativity, production and overall quality.

Last year’s winner was a Skecher’s ad featuring reality show queen Kim Kardashian.

This year’s Super Bowl is Feb. 3, featuring the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

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By: Tom Oswald

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