It turns out that strip clubs aren't the only recession-proof industry associated with the Super Bowl. Despite the rough economic seas, NBC is sailing right along and selling ad space for up to $3 million per 30 seconds. And they aren't having a hard time finding buyers.
Companies like Denny's and Pedigree dog food are ponying up big bucks for the first time, according to Newsday, and multiple companies are spending even more to broadcast their ads in 3-D. Dreamworks is using the technology to promote an animated movie and SoBe, a Pepsi beverage brand, hired three NFL players to star in their own souped-up commercial.
It's hard to argue with the decision. In an age where anything can be uploaded to YouTube and watched for free, it's hard to say that the companies are paying just for the space on the telecast. Sure, there will be millions of eyeballs watching on Sunday, but if you make the right ad and create buzz the payback can grow and grow. There will probably be some who feel its distasteful to throw that kind of cash around while people are getting laid off left and right, but, as they say, it takes money to make it.
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A good bet for an ad that's going to get a lot of publicity is Coca-Cola's spot. It's a remake of the famous "Mean" Joe Greene ad, starring Troy Polamalu of the Steelers in Greene's spot. If Polamalu plays well and the Steelers win, the ad will have even greater resonance.
Not all companies are buying that argument, however. FedEx isn't running a Super Bowl advertisement and someone at General Motors thought better of spending that kind of cash while asking the government for a bailout. Presumably it wasn't the same PR whiz who flew to Washington in a private jet.