Local Advertising Was Also On Display During Super Bowl XLIX

Most of the discussion and attention about the TV commercials in Super Bowl XLIX has focused on the national ads. However, a second tranche of brands also participated in the game by purchasing time in local markets from NBC affiliate stations. Each station received an allotment of approximately 7 minutes of commercial time, creating an additional opportunity for advertisers to reach Super Bowl viewers. Kantar Media has examined all of the local ads airing in the Top 100 markets during the Super Bowl game – over 1,200 spots - to gain insight into the types of sponsors accessing the event and to identify some of the noteworthy strategies.

Leading Ad Categories

Automotive advertising was prevalent across the Top 100 markets, with factory-sponsored messages more common in large markets and dealer commercials more numerous outside the Top 50 markets. The two most active nameplates locally were Ford and Honda, neither of which purchased network air time in any of NBC’s Super Bowl programming. Pursuing local ad buys can be a highly cost-effective strategy for these brands: Many consumers may not even realize local stations are able to sell ads separately, providing the halo effect of being a “Super Bowl advertiser” in select markets for a fraction of the cost of a national ad.

Restaurants were also a mainstay category, with spots appearing in 66 of the Top 100 markets from 39 different brands. Arbys had a presence in 15 markets and Jack InThe Box was in 17.

Outside the Top 50 markets, where the price of ad time diminishes, a more eclectic and localized group of advertisers stepped forward. Medical service providers and attorneys had a significant footprint in these geographies.

Notable Regional Campaigns

With each local NBC station only receiving approximately 7 minutes during the game, it takes a concerted effort to execute a multi-market Super Bowl strategy. Every year we observe marketers that pull it off at scale and 2015 offers several interesting and diverse examples.

Church of Scientology – For the third consecutive year, the religious movement promoted its philosophy in a 30 second unit that cleared in 16 markets, including several where it has major centers.

SAB Miller – Best known for its beer brands, SAB Miller also owns Redds Apple Ale and Smith & Forge Hard Cider, a pair of fermented, fruit-based alternatives to traditional beer. The company bought 30 seconds of local air time in 23 Midwest markets stretching from Kentucky to Minnesota and split it into a pair of 15 second units, one for each brand. The two spots always ran in the same ad break and always in non-consecutive positons, indicating a deliberate strategy of message separation for the brands.

American Petroleum Institute – The lobbying group maintains multiple campaigns focused on themes relating to energy independence and job creation. For the Super Bowl, the API aired three varieties of a pro-hydraulic fracturing message in four states plus the District of Columbia.

In Colorado, Michigan and Ohio, where the political currents have been shifting in favor of fracking, viewers saw an ad encouraging a balance between energy independence and protecting the environment. In western Pennsylvania, a region that sits atop the energy-rich Marcellus Shale and where fracking is being fiercely debated, the message points were economic benefits to local communities and the industry’s safety record. For the Beltway insiders of Washington D.C., the TV spot lauded fracking for “supporting millions of new jobs, billions in tax revenue and a new century of American energy security”.


Ecuador Tourism –
The government of Ecuador cleared a 30 second spot in thirteen of the top twenty markets to promote the country as a tourist destination. With the music soundtrack of “All You Need Is Love” playing in the background, the ad built to its suggestive tagline, “All You Need Is Ecuador”.

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse –
With 1,200-plus local Super Bowl commercials airing in the 100 markets we examined, oddities are sure to emerge. This year, the audience in St. Louis had arguably the most uncomfortable viewing party moment.

The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse ran a very dark, 60 second ad showing a teenage boy dying in his bedroom from a heroin overdose. Yes, a dead kid during the Super Bowl. Which means Nationwide Insurance wasn’t the only Super Bowl advertiser using this motif – although its commercial received more notoriety because it played on the national stage.

Another bizarre element of the NCADA commercial was the choice of a folk music melody for the soundtrack. The song lyrics described how the addiction started with prescription painkillers and culminated fatally after a $10 purchase of heroin.

NCADA Commercial

While the topic of drug abuse merits serious attention, the combination of this creative execution and its media placement was – unusual.

Michael & Son Services
This family-owned business provides plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical services in the Washington DC area. It may not be a glamorous line of work but it undoubtedly provides essential and skilled services to customers in their time of need. And that cuts to the heart of the marketing challenge: how do you achieve high, top of mind awareness in a low-interest product category? After all, many prospective customers will only need these services infrequently or may hope they never need them at all, as in the case of emergency repairs.

Michael & Sons’ chosen approach is to make quirky TV ads that are built on offbeat humor, in an effort to build durable name recognition. The ads typically start by showing a character unsuccessfully trying to complete a do-it-yourself project and end with a Michael & Sons technician unexpectedly and humorously stepping into the scene and completing the job.

For the Super Bowl, the company bought a 30 second spot in Washington DC and showed an ad that started with gravitas about mankind’s discovery and mastery of fire, progressed to a scene with a caveman unsuccessfully trying to build a fire and giving up in frustration, and ended with a Michael & Sons employee arriving with a blow torch. Problem solved.


About Kantar Media

Kantar Media provides critical information that helps our clients make better decisions about communications. We enable the world’s leading brands, publishers, agencies and industry bodies to navigate and succeed in a rapidly evolving media industry. Our services and data include analysis of paid media opportunities; counsel on brand reputation, corporate management and consumer engagement through owned media; and evaluating consumers’ reactions in earned media. As the global house of expertise in media and marketing information, Kantar Media provides clients with a broad range of insights, from audience research, competitive intelligence, vital consumer behavior and digital insights, marketing and advertising effectiveness to social media monitoring. Our experts currently work with 22,000 companies tracking over 4 million brands in 50 countries. For further information, please visit us at www.KantarMedia.US.

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