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Super Bowl draws big increase in first-time advertisers

| Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, 9:48 p.m.
Franco Harris starts a business called Immaculate Receptions in this Wix.com ad.
YouTube
Franco Harris starts a business called Immaculate Receptions in this Wix.com ad.
Carnival Cruise Lines is running its first Super Bowl ad, letting online voters choose which one of six spots will air.
Carnival Cruise Lines is running its first Super Bowl ad, letting online voters choose which one of six spots will air.

NEW YORK — More Super Bowl ad rookies will be trying to score a touchdown this Sunday.

There will be 15 new Super Bowl advertisers this year, the most since 2000, before the economy fell into what would be the first of two recessions since. Advertising experts say the rookie interest in Super Bowl ads is a positive sign that companies are feeling good in the most recent economic recovery.

New advertisers such as Carnival cruises and Skittles candy are hoping to capitalize on the incredible size of the Super Bowl audience: The game is advertising's greatest showcase, with more than 110 million people expected to tune in to watch the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. And more than the sheer size of the audience, ad experts say new advertisers are hoping to draw from the goodwill people feel toward Super Bowl ads.

But at about $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, advertising during the Super Bowl is a huge gamble, too. Some first-time advertisers succeed in becoming a household name: Godaddy.com established itself with a racy Super Bowl spot 11 years ago. But others misfire: Groupon's first and only Super Bowl effort in 2011 aimed to be a tongue-in-cheek take on public service announcements but was criticized for being insensitive

“If you need go get a huge audience, you can get it here,” said Kelly O'Keefe, a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Va. “There will be more losers than winners, as there are every year. But for the brands who manage it well, it can be a great place to reach consumers.”

Here some Super Bowl rookies you'll see on Sunday:

A sweet deal

Skittles has had a major presence at NFL games thanks to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's professed love of the candy. Lynch has been a fan of the chewy candies since he was a kid playing sports, and fans throw Skittles candy on the field when Lynch makes a big touchdown run. Skittles became an official NFL sponsor this season, and decided to advertise during the big game for the first time — even before they knew the Seahawks would be playing in the big game, said Matt Montei, senior marketing director for confections at Wrigley. The 30-second ad focuses on how Skittles settles differences.

Teaser ad: youtu.be/tqvSTAZRbCk

Cruising ahead

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise company, is trying to boost the image of cruises with its first Super Bowl ad after several years of bad publicity from illnesses on cruise ships and the Costa Concordia wreck in 2012.

“We want to start a new conversation about cruising,” said Ken Jones, vice president of corporate marketing for Carnival.

The company created six ads and let people vote on them online. One ad shows the fairy-tale moments that happen during a cruise and features “cruise virgins” talking about their first time on a cruise. Only one will air on Super Bowl Sunday, but the company isn't saying which one.

Ad contest: carnivalmarketingchallenge.com

Sticking like glue

Chances are, the name Loctite doesn't spring to mind when you think of glue. Loctite, part of consumer products group Henkel, will try to change that in its Super Bowl spot.

Henkel started an ad campaign for Loctite in May with the theme “Win at Glue,” including an ad featuring people dancing around in Loctite-branded fanny packs.

Loctite's 30-second Super Bowl ad could expand on that theme. Pierre Tannoux, Loctite's director of marketing, said the company wanted to break out of the way the category is normally advertised “in a very expected, boring way, in expected places.”

Online: youtube.com/watch?v=sMMr9EMZX7U

Bringing life to batteries

Mophie, which makes phone cases that hold extra batteries, says its 30-second Super Bowl ad focuses on raising awareness that everyone faces the same issue with too-short battery life on the smartphone rather than beating the brand name into people's heads.

Ross Howe, Mophie vice president of marketing, said while the company is the dominant battery case player, they have hit a plateau after several years of growth and thought it was time to expand awareness of the brand.

Online: mophie.com

Funny business

Wix.com, which hosts customizable websites, said its 30-second Super Bowl spot is right for the company right now: It went public in 2013 and has been growing its user base. Now it's ready to reach a broader audience. The ad shows retired NFL players such as Franco Harris, Terrell Owens and Brett Favre starting humorous fictional businesses post-NFL. Owens, for example, starts a pie company.

Extended version of the spot: youtube.com/watch?v=P5SB1Ypy1EM&feature=youtube

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