Companies hope for Super Bowl boost with creative ads

By Aleksandra Michalska

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons face off in Sunday's Super Bowl, it will be one of the most-watched television programs in the United States.

That massive audience, which totaled nearly 112 million viewers last year, makes the Super Bowl a prime spot for advertisers, who are paying 21st Century Fox Inc as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot.

"The price, every year, keeps going up and up and up," Adweek Executive Editor Tony Case told Reuters. "There has always been an assumption that there is going to be high demand for Super Bowl ads, because this is a huge audience, one of the biggest live audiences of the year," Case said.

But, he said, many advertisers are looking for less costly ways to get their products out, by concentrating on social media campaigns that are timed and themed to take advantage of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl.

For example, Kraft Heinz Co came up with a petition to declare the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday.

Case said celebrities, a good story and a well-shot spot are hallmarks of a successful ad.

"Budweiser is telling the immigrant story in its ad, specifically the story of one of its founders, Adolphus Busch, who immigrated to America. The ad is very moving, very poignant," Case said.

"It's a 60-second ad, but also sort of touches on the topic of immigrants, which is a very hot topic now. Budweiser says they did not intend that, but, at the same time, they have their social media team at the ready on Super Bowl on Sunday to answer anything that might happen in the social media sphere," he added.

For the first time ever, posh jeweler Tiffany & Co, the creator of the Super Bowl Vince Lombardi trophy, will place an advertisement during the game featuring singer Lady Gaga.

"As usual, celebrities are big story in this year's Super Bowl. Brands often turn to celebrities because of instant recognition, instant impact," Case said.

Other celebrities making appearances in ads are singer Justin Timberlake and actress Melissa McCarthy.

Four-time winning Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who leads his New England Patriots on the field again this year, will appear during commercial break in a 360-degree ad for Intel Corp.

(Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska in New York; Editing by Melissa Fares and Lisa Shumaker)

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