The Hype, Headlines & Hopes of Super Bowl XLVIII
By: Natalie Mikolich
The first cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history is set to take place in just a few days, and the hype surrounding this year’s Super Bowl Sunday between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks couldn’t be any greater.
As the biggest annual sporting event in the World, the Super Bowl will finally make its debut in the Big Apple and surrounding New Jersey areas this year in what is expected to be the most expensive Super Bowl put on by the NFL Committee in history the past 48 years.
With so many expectations for this year’s big game day, here is a closer look at “the hype, headlines and hopes of Super Bowl XLVIII” and what some of the industry’s top executives and professionals had to say about them.
“The Perfect Storm”
To say that Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman have been making top sports headlines in the weeks leading-up to the Super Bowl would be an understatement. Will Peyton Manning be able to perform in cold weather, will he retire and go out on top if the Denver Broncos win? What would a Broncos win mean for John Elway’s return to Denver? And what about Richard Sherman…WHAT will he say next?
One thing that is for certain though, is that it all seems to be coming together through a perfect storm with the wintery weather in the mix of it all.
“Peyton Manning, in a strange way, has had the luxury the past few seasons of preparing for a cold weather Super Bowl by playing in erratic, and unpredictable conditions in Denver,” said Kris Hughes, Hiring Manager /Senior Writer for RantSports. “While this winter has been a little milder in Denver than the past few, there's little doubt that Peyton can still be just as productive when the weather gets rough as he was playing under the dome when with the Colts.”
With a Broncos win on Sunday, it could also mean that both Peyton Manning and John Elway add Super Bowl rings to their collections further solidifying Elway’s successful return to Denver as a businessman and executive for the Denver Broncos, and Manning having more than enough reason to go out on top and call it a day as a professional NFL quarterback if he becomes the first to win two Super Bowls with two different teams.
“If Manning and the Broncos pick-up a demonstrative victory in which Peyton dominates, someone would have to state a case for me as to why retirement wouldn't be his best option. After all, there's a primary example in the building of how going out on top can be done right in John Elway,” added Hughes. “And, While Elway's personality has a tendency to rub some the wrong way, it's obvious that the relationships he's needed the most are those he has solidified. With the hire of John Fox and the acquisition of Peyton Manning, Elway has proved that his intelligence was a natural transition from his days on the field at Mile High right into the offices even higher above sea level.”
And well, what more is there left to say about Richard Sherman that hasn’t already been said?
“In today's NFL, there's a general expectation that coaches and players be available immediately following the final whistle for questioning from whichever sideline personality belongs to the network who has rights for the contest. More often than not, this results in platitudes spit out by the interviewee, in an effort to get it done as quickly as possible so they can move on to the locker room. Boredom, and a total lack of substance typically ensues,” commented Hughes of RantSports. “This definitely wasn't the case when Richard Sherman rambled about his personal rivalry with 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree, and in a way, that was refreshing.”
“Battle of the Brands”
Like all Super Bowls, some of the biggest brands in the world will be spending millions of dollars on advertising and marketing campaigns whether they are an official Super Bowl sponsor or not. This year in particular though, along with the battle taking place on the field between the two teams and star quarterbacks, there will also be the “battle of the brands” off the field with several big advertisers pre-releasing their game day commercials.
“It comes as no surprise that traditional Super Bowl advertisers, as well as many New York based companies who would otherwise not activate around the game, are leveraging this year’s grand stage to their advantage,” said Jason Belzer, Sports Business Contributor to Forbes.com, in a recent article “New York's Super Bowl XLVIII The Ultimate Sports Marketing Case Study.”
“With well over 100 million viewers expected to be watching the Super Bowl, a 30-second spot during this year’s game will cost buyers over $4 million. Industry skeptics have rightfully been questioning whether a legitimate return-on-investment is even possible at such extraordinary prices, which is why companies committing such huge dollars are being forced to work overtime to prove the benefits they will see outweigh the costs,” added Belzer, also an attorney at GAME Inc.
So, what are a few of the “battles of the brands” taking place? Here are some to keep an eye out for this Super Bowl Sunday:
Battle of the Beers: Budweiser vs. Bud Light
What would the Super Bowl be without a really good beer commercial? This year, Budweiser and Bud Light promise not to disappoint viewers with several celebrity-filled ad commercials.
For Bud Light, one of the biggest ad commercials making headlines this Super Bowl is their slot to promote their new aluminum bottle showcasing closable beer cans. In their celebrity-filled ads, appearances by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and comedian/musician Reggie Watts will be apart of their campaign “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens.”
As for Bud Light’s competitor Budweiser, their commercial ad will bring back the Clydesdale trainer from last year's well-received "Brotherhood" commercial and spotlight a bond between Clydesdale and a puppy.
Battle of the Greek Yogurts: Chobani vs. Oikos
Chobani, the brand widely credited with sparking America's recent obsession with Greek yogurt, will make its first-ever Super Bowl ad appearance this year. The new minute-long ad titled "Ransacked," will depict a nature-loving bear in a supermarket to unveil the brand's new platform, "How Matters," meant to describe the company's mantra of making "nutritious, delicious foods with only natural ingredients accessible to everyone.”
What is the nature-loving Chobani bear is up against this year? A return by big Greek yogurt brand name Dannon Oikos. After sitting out on the sidelines in 2013, Dannon Oikos will return to the Super Bowl this year with their new commercials featuring a reunion of the men from the hit 90s television show Full House.
Depicting their new ”Fuel Your Pleasure” campaign, one of the more sexually charged commercials by Dannon Oikos titled “The Spill” features John Stamos portrayed as a messy eater. His lady friend starts “helping” him clean up the mess he makes…that is until the other two stars of Full House (Bob Saget and Dave Coulier) show up for clean-up duty and kill the mood.
“Brands with Super Bowl commercials need to figure out a way to be seen, get noticed and stand out from the clutter,” said Ben Sturner, President and CEO of the Leverage Agency – a top New York City full-service sports, entertainment and media marketing company. “As internet and social media play a much larger role today, it becomes more of a longer term engagement than a one-time Super Bowl ad because of the viral nature of things. Smart brands will use fan engagement before and after the event so it’s not just a Super Bowl ad, it is much more than that.”
Battle of the Automobiles: Six Car Companies Spending Millions
It almost goes without saying that Super Bowl ads increase brand recognition and “drive” purchase interest amongst consumers, and this year six car companies are looking to capitalize on this opportunity by spending millions on ad commercials. On Super Bowl Sunday, car companies we can expect to see ad commercials by include Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagen (Audi of America) and Chevrolet who are all looking to profit on consumers’ emotions when it comes to “the need for speed.”
Battle of Their Own: H&M ‘s David Beckham Commercial Ending
And, in a “battle of their own” this year, is H&M in the highly anticipated, provocative ad commercial featuring global celebrity athlete icon David Beckham. In the new ad spot which has Beckham on a rooftop locked out of his photo shoot wearing only his H&M briefs, he has to find a way back inside with the ending being determined by fans who have been voting on their website for one of the two possible conclusions to this year’s commercial.
The possible endings to the commercial after Beckham finds a way back in? In one version, Beckham ends up at the photo shoot wearing only his H&M briefs and in the other, more sexually explicit, version Beckham shows up butt-naked. So what’s it going to be Beckham fans?
Location, location, location…
As the saying goes, “location is everything”…or is it “timing is everything?” Well maybe for this year’s Super Bowl it is a combination of both when it comes to the affect that the location, timing and weather will have on the event’s success in 2014. Here’s why:
As the first cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history, how Mother Nature impacts the quality of what should be an epic match-up between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will go a long way in determining whether or not the league will put on another cold-weather Super Bowl moving forward. Will this year’s Super Bowl be the first and last one in a cold weather climate?
“Undoubtedly the weather has affected the demand for Super Bowl tickets,” said Darren Heitner, Partner of Wolfe Law Miami and Sports Business Contributor for Forbes.com. “With the weather forecast changes in the past 24-48 hours, we might see a little bit of a spike in people making travel arrangements since we are so close to the game and unlikely to see another dramatic change in the forecast. As long as the event goes off without a hitch, it may not be the last cold weather Super Bowl we see outdoors.”
Ticket Prices Plummeting
Again, with the uncertainty of Super Bowl Sunday’s frigid weather forecast in the weeks leading up to it, ticket prices dropped and then re-bounding days before the big game. With temperatures first predicted to be near freezing in the 20s and 30s along a chance of snow showers possible, it is now looking like it will be cloudy and somewhere between 30-40 degrees.
Another factor causing a decline in ticket prices and purchase is the distance both teams and their fan bases have to travel in order to get to the new Meadowlands at MetLife Stadium.
“It’s hard to tell about tickets sales this year for the Super Bowl, we might see more people in other states determine that the market has gone down at the last minute and decide they will pick-up tickets on secondary markets to get them at reasonable prices,” added Heitner. “The NFL is not concerned if they don’t get rewards from ticket brokers, their concern is foremost ratings on television. What will be interesting is to see is how the whole story about the weather may positively affect ratings with the general public and football fans tuning-in to see the teams and commercials, along with observers who are covering a potential catastrophe because of the unpredictable weather elements.”
What will the economic impact really be on the New York City area from this year’s Super Bowl? The region is estimated to receive an economic boost somewhere in the range of $500-$600 million, but with the uncertain weather forecast, hotel bookings running behind projections this week and visitors in general preferring to spend their money on NFL sponsored events rather than tourist attractions, experts believe the financial impact will be far less than originally projected.
“Where we will see the most economic impact is in New York City although the game is being played in New Jersey,” commented Heitner. “No single hotel will suffer because of the Super Bowl and the artificial prices they drove up. Even if they are not at full occupancy, there will be an economic benefit it is just hard to tell at what rate.”
So with all “the hype, headlines and hopes of Super Bowl XLVIII,” we will find out this Sunday if it lives up to all that it is expected to be for the NFL organization, the New York/New Jersey area, the fans and all of the sponsors/ad campaigns in between…that and of course we can’t forget the players on the field playing to win that Super Bowl ring prized possession.