Super Bowl a sign sponsors shifting away from traditional advertising

It's been known for some time that sponsors are looking to be more careful—and creative—with their advertising dollars. This year's Super Bowl appears to be a big real-life example of that as many past advertisers are choosing not to produce an ad for this game. This story has been discussed a bit over the past few weeks but The Boston Globe has a good article summarizing the trend today.

The most interesting point: Pepsi, was the biggest advertiser in 2009, and other companies are looking online instead. When the cost of one 30-second Super Bowl ad ranges from $2.5-3 million and then production can cost up to a million more, it's easy to see why advertisers are looking to other more engaging outlets.

The aforementioned Globe article has a bit more insight on what Pepsi has planned along with indications the web is a better investment for advertisers.

PepsiCo, the biggest advertiser during the 2009 Super Bowl, with five commercials, said that instead of a flashy TV spot, it is pouring its marketing dollars online to promote Pepsi Refresh Project, a social responsibility grant program that will award $20 million to groups over the next year.

Beginning Jan. 13, the beverage company’s website for the project will go live so people can suggest cause-related projects and then vote on them.

So far, only one Boston ad agency, Mullen, is involved in producing a Super Bowl ad - albeit an online ad.

The agency said it is exploring using the social networking site Twitter to market one of its client during the football matchup, but Mullen would not name the client or elaborate on the ad.

“Suffice to say that many clients are likely to explore social-media platforms as either primary or supplementary distribution channels for their Super Bowl advertising this year,’’ said David Swaebe, senior vice president of agency communications at Mullen.

Over the past few years it seems as though there was an increase in ads with an online counterpart. So many seemed to have some social media or at least web-based side to them. Now companies are skipping the tv-side of that duo.

It will be interesting to see if this is a temporary lapse caused by a down economy or a gradual shift away from old-school advertising.