Posted by: Ian Ross | January 26, 2008

Pepsi PR Scores First In Super Bowl Ad Battle

The Super Bowl is still eight days away, but some companies are already scoring public relations touchdowns for their prized commercials. Who can blame them? It would be silly to spend $2.7 million for 30 seconds of air time (plus huge ad production costs) without building excitement through a PR campaign.

Pepsi appears to have scored first. They created tons of buzz and news coverage for their upcoming 60 commercial that will have no sound – only sign language. They’re also getting applause from the National Association for the Deaf and other diversity groups. The idea for the commercial came from a deaf Pepsi employee. He stars in the commercial with two other deaf Pepsi workers. The company just posted it on YouTube (38,000 views in the first 48 hours) in addition to a two minute ‘making of” video.

GoDaddy Internet service is once again getting attention for pushing the boundaries of good taste. It took 10 versions this year before its ad passed the censors. Of course, this conflict plays directly into the company’s objectives. They know it isn’t the actual ad that will drive the majority of new visitors to their website; it will be the media attention about their censorship battles and how to access their racier versions.

Anheuser-Busch (normally the biggest spender, Pepsi is second) has several commercials in the can for Bud and Bud Light. It will be a gametime decision on when and which ones to run. However, their PR folks were smart enough to give some reporters (including Stuart Elliott of the NY Times) an inside peek to build hype.

Bridgestone revealed some details about its humorous ad on its website. Its commerical will include Alice Cooper, Richard Simmons and lots of animals. Ford has already posted their commercial on YouTube. The others appear to be staying quiet for now. Things may change later in the week in the build up to the game. 

Knowledge at Warton cites some interesting research from Cymfony:

“Companies [last year] that showed their actual ad online before the game generated 4.3 times greater post-game coverage.”

“Cymfony also tracked the effect of different types of media on pre- and post-game coverage last year. Traditional media put more emphasis on Super Bowl ads before the game, with 54% of its coverage occurring in advance. Social media was the opposite, with only 24% of the discussion taking place before the game and 76% after. In addition, Cymfony found a link between pre-game coverage and post-game discussion, with the top six advertisers in pre-game mentions all finishing in the top 10 in post-game coverage.”



  1. This is just to let you know that I’ve added your blog to Opinions Canada

    I hope that’s okay


  2. We just posted our 4th annual study of how well super bowl advertisers integrated online and offline advertising – we’ll be writing more about this on our blog, but the preliminary findings are already up on our site:

  3. […] most popular blog by a mile was on PR strategies for Super Bowl ads. That one landed more than 200 views and I still haven’t figured out […]

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