The Marketing Eye: With 80 Percent of Ads Sold, Which Films Have Bought Slots
November 24th, 2003
With Super Bowl XXXVIII now less than 70 days away and more than 80 percent of the advertising spots now sold, attention and speculation in the film community turns to which specific films will be broadcasting spots during the big game. For the second year in a row, FilmJerk.com checks in with its sources from the advertising world to find out which film properties are the most likely to be showcased during the February 1 game.
The outlook for in-game advertising appears to be a good one for CBS, who will be broadcasting the game this year: According to The New York Times, the average price for a 30-second spot is $2.35 million, which is about 8 percent higher than 2003’s game. What’s more, when the network last broadcast the game in 2001, only about 70 percent of the spots were sold at this time.
In January, nine films bought time during the game. As I said in my post-game wrap-up for the 2003 Super Bowl, “Those that did well…featured new content previously not seen before, as well as were geared toward the demographics of the game, which is largely male. The impact can be immeasurable to raise awareness of films, although the results for those opening down the road as harder to gauge.”
As Tom McGovern, director for sports marketing at OMD in New York, recently told Stuart Elliot of the Times, “The ability to reach half the population at one time is still there.”
Among the major studios who are buying time or considering buying time:
20th Century Fox: We have received word, albeit unconfirmed, that 20th Century Fox is targeting a purchase for “The Day After Tomorrow,” which is receiving some extremely positive buzz based on the teaser released in theaters recently. If this is indeed true, this would be an extremely good move by the studio; I’d also recommend purchasing time for “Dodgeball: The Movie,” which has a fantastic script (read our review of the “Dodgeball” script here) and features the writer/director from Reebok’s “Terry Tate” commercials from 2002, which was among the highest-rated of the year. If the end result is as good as the script, this would be a perfect opportunity for the film.
Columbia Pictures: Three spots were bought by the studio for 2003’s game. “Spider-Man II” looks to be a good bet at this point, as we have received word from several of our sources that the studio has bought time for the teenage webslinger. We’ll see if this pans out, although it would certainly be a good move by the studio. Although we had heard that it was unlikely that "Hellboy,” would get a spot, SuperheroHype indicates that the film will indeed be unveiling a new 30-second spot there.
DreamWorks Pictures: No word yet on whether they have yet bought a spot for the 2004 game. A very strategic studio in terms of ad buys, the last effort they financed alone to get a spot was 2000’s “Gladiator,” which raised the profile of the film substantially.
MGM: It seems that each year, MGM – like a kid saving up his quarters – ponies up the cash for at least one slot and fails to make an impact. In 2003, it changed its strategy slightly and bought advertising around the game, although not during the game nationally. Although I have yet to hear word from any source as to whether they have gone after a slot for 2004’s Super Bowl, the most likely choice would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Walking Tall.”
Paramount Pictures: We have received unsubstantiated word from sources that CBS’ corporate cousin may purchase a slot for “The World of Tomorrow.” Of what I have read of the project, I’m not sure it would be the best fit here for this audience. If they are to buy time, the best bet for the studio among its near-term 2004 slate, the best fit might be for Denzel Washington’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate.”
Universal Pictures: According to sources, they have bought more than one spot at the 2004 game and most likely the same total as they have over the previous two years: Two. One slot will be reserved for “Van Helsing,” according to our sources, with the other either “Dawn of the Dead” or “The Chronicles of Riddick.” Given the current merger with NBC now occurring, I’d be surprised if they bought additional slots.
Warner Bros. : The studio which bought three advertisements in-game in 2003 has already purchased two-thirds of last year’s sum already, according to our sources, and eyeing a possible third if CBS isn’t able to fill spots closer to the gametime and lowers prices slightly. They aren’t yet ready to commit to any of the pictures being given consideration, a list that includes “Taking Lives,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “Troy,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Catwoman.” One of those sure to take a slot is “Troy,” considering how much the studio is banking on it, and the third “Harry Potter” is an intriguing possibility for the studio in a promotional sense, as the game doesn’t skew exactly to those who they want to hit. They haven’t had this luxury before, as the two earlier installments were released in the fourth quarter. “Catwoman” would be a good match for the game, and, if done correctly, could help dispel the negative hype building around the project.
Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures: The Mouse House is already confirmed as having bought two spots for the Super Bowl, according to a November 10 article in Advertising Age. There, it was suggested that the “The Alamo” might be one of the spots, although that decision hasn't yet been made. Other possibilities include “National Treasure,” “The Village” and “Mr. 3000” (from its Touchstone Pictures banner) and “Around the World in 80 Days” (from its Walt Disney Pictures banner). Of the five listed here, I’d bank most heavily on “The Alamo” and “National Treasure.”
Of course, there is still a long ways to go before the films that will be showcased during the game are locked in; there was even uncertainty by several studios the week before the game. The ads that will be shown need to be delivered to CBS by the Tuesday before the game (January 27) so that its network affiliates have a copy of the spots.
If we get any indication that any of the above films are confirmed or receive further word on ad buys, look for us to update this page. As we get closer to the game, other articles around films advertising during the Super Bowl will also appear.