As seen in USA Today on Section B1, Monday, November 13, 2006 and on the web at:
Super Bowl ads may be downright amateurish
Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY
Alka-Seltzer, Frito-Lay (PEP), Chevrolet (GM) and the National Football League have asked amateurs to submit ad ideas. Winners will be made into commercials for one of the year's most widely watched telecasts.
For example, Alka-Seltzer on Monday will invite contestants to rewrite the Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is jingle and audition for the chance to perform it in a national pre-game ad. It will hold live auditions as well as accept entries online and through the mail.
"We're looking for any kind of interpretation ... whether it's rock, classic or rap," says Jay Kolpon, head of consumer marketing for Bayer Consumer Care.
There's a risk in giving up so much creative control for an annual event that attracted more than 140 million viewers this past February and that costs advertisers about $2.5 million for a 30-second spot.
"It's great way to build buzz, but a debatable way to build a brand," says Harvard Business School consumer marketing professor Stephen Greyser.
Yet marketers say the risk will pay off if it strengthens ties to customers.
And such early attention to Super Bowl ads "is unusual," says Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan.
They've already excited some people:
•NFL. About 1,700 people pre-registered to pitch ideas this week at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. League representatives will pick 12 finalists and post them online for fan input. The NFL had to double its pre-registration limit to 2,000 to meet demand.
Another 1,000 people contacted the NFL to propose ads at similar events to take place at Dallas' Texas Stadium and Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High.
•Chevy. Hundreds of college students submitted ideas for 60-second spots in response to ads in campus newspapers and websites including MySpace and Facebook, Rhadigan says.
"If we can get them in our cars now, and then keep them for life, that's a perfect scenario for us," he says.
Chevy picked the winning concept in late October and has begun producing the ad.
•Frito-Lay. In mid-September the company asked consumers to promote Doritos in fully produced 30-second ads. It has received more than 60 homemade videos including one that shows a candlelight dinner shared by a man and a Doritos bag propped in a chair.
The company will nix videos that are offensive, or that disparage the brand, and post five finalists online. Visitors will pick the winner. "It's a reality-driven world," says Doritos marketing head Ann Mukherjee. "We aren't editing a bit of content."
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