Most Super Bowl Ads From Franchised Companies

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For the 18th time since The American Association of Franchisees & Dealers began surveying the ratio of Super Bowl ads purchased by franchised and non-franchised enterprises, the franchisers continue to dominate - this year by a record margin of 82 to 38. According to AAFD Chairman Robert Purvin, who launched the organization's Advertising Super Bowl survey 19 years ago, "Super Bowl advertising continues to demonstrate the power of franchising. How else can small business owners afford to share their messages with 72 million households at one time?

ABC Network reportedly charged a record top price of $2.5 million per 30-second spot ($83,000 per second). The higher cost did not seem to blunt advertiser demand as the total number of spots was the highest ever recorded, netting ABC an estimated $221 million dollars. Budweiser led all advertisers with 10 spots spread over three brands and a brewers association.

Yet for a single spot of $2.5 million, the advertising cost for a ubiquitous franchise such as Subway breaks down to just $133 when divided between the 22,745 restaurants in the chain. "The collective marketing power among franchised businesses is formidable," adds Purvin.

After Bud, only five advertisers ran more than one or two commercial spots. The National Football League, itself engaged in franchising, ran nine promotional spots. General Motors and Pepsi (both product franchisors) each ran four spots for various brands. Just one cooperative network, Emerald Almond Growers, advertised; in the past cooperatives like Ace Hardware and the California Cheese Association have been active.

ABC (which franchises its network affiliates) ran 31 promotional spots. Even subtracting network promotions, however, franchisor-related ads totaled 58, compared to the 38 non-franchised ads.

Business format franchisors -- those of which consumers traditionally associate with franchising -- accounted for twenty-five commercials (almost three times the previous year) from Burger King, Blockbuster Video, Pizza Hut, ESPN, Westin Hotels and regional entries (on the West Coast where the survey was conducted) from Jack-in-the Box, Outback Steak House, and TGI Fridays. This represented the best showing by business-format franchisers ever surpassing the segments 23 ads in 2002.

The domination by franchise related advertising was even more noticeable during the pre and post game shows. The AAFD survey counted 175 spots during the 4 hours of programming before and after the game presentation. 135 were placed by franchisors, and just 40 by non-franchisors. Between 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, consumers were 'treated' almost 2.5 hours (approximately 295 thirty-second ads), 74% of which were placed by companies engaged in franchising (217 30-second spots, compared to a total of 78 non-franchise sponsored spots).

Motions pictures again dominated the non-franchised segment with 10 ads, the same as last year. Manufacturers also placed 10 ads, down from 14 the previous year. For the first time, there we no traditional retailers counted among advertisers.

During the game approximately 49 advertisers aired 120 spots, including three public service announcements. Pre-game and post-game ads were not considered in this count, but franchisors dominated these shows as well. Pepsi, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Blockbuster, General Motors, Radio Shack, State Farm Insurance, Toyota, and two competing energy drinks Full Throttle and Vault, each sponsored segments of the 4-hour pre or post game show.

As impressive as the numbers sound, there have been many reports that significant advertisers like Coke, Chrysler, General Motors, Subway and McDonalds opted to stay away from the Super Bowl this year, eying the 2006 Winter Olympics as a 14 day bonanza to capture viewers over an extended period at far more attractive ad rates. These defections did not apparently dampen the market.

Overall, this year's crop of ads seemed substantially tamer than recent years. Only GoDaddy.com continued to milk the 'wardrobe malfunction' angle. The next closest 'sexually explicit' ad was a Budweiser commercial featuring a recently shorn sheep 'streaking' through a Clydesdale football game to the amazement of both animal and human onlookers.

The American Association of Franchisees and Dealers is the oldest and largest direct member non-profit trade association representing the interests of franchisees and independent dealer networks throughout the United States. Stressing market solutions and franchisee empowerment through independent franchisee associations, the AAFD has grown to represent more than 12,000 franchised businesses nationwide.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 8-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Research, Super Bowl 2006, Television   

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