DETROIT BLITZED BY SUPER BOWL 'ADVERTISING ZONES'

Rich Thomaselli Reports From Motor City

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) – There’s no question that the Super Bowl is sponsor heaven.

You can’t turn a corner in Detroit without running into a sign, a billboard, a

Ad Age reporter Rich Thomaselli is reporting from Detroit.
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tent -- even giant images projected onto the side of a downtown building -- that bear the name of a sponsor. Official or otherwise.

'Advertising zones'
In the months leading up to Super Bowl XL, Detroit politicians fought long and hard with the National Football League to create “advertising zones” in the city so that local businesses could make a few dollars. There is a so-called clean zone around Ford Field, the site of the game, in which only advertisements from official NFL or Super Bowl XL sponsors can be shown.

Outside of the “clean zone,” businesses have cut deals with marketers who do not have ties to the NFL, particularly beer companies.

100,000 visitors
But, guerilla marketer or not, it’s a dream for companies. The NFL estimates that 100,000 people will descend on Detroit by today to spend four days in the Motor City. And that doesn’t count residents of the city and its vast suburbia. Most of them -- unless they were the lucky few to win a ticket lottery or have the word “chief” somewhere in their title -- won’t even get into Ford Field on Sunday for the game.

Still, they can attend the NFL Experience, a hands-on extravaganza sponsored by AOL. Or they can go to the Winter Blast, a 14-block outdoor party whose signature piece is a giant football adorned with the General Motors Corp. logo. Or they can check out the music on the Sprint Stage.

Or ... well, you get the picture.

Counting them down
Could be worse, though. Six years ago, during my sports-writing days, I was assigned to cover a key regular-season NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins in suburban D.C. To kill time in the press box, I started counting the references to FedEx inside FedEx Field, Washington’s home stadium.

I stopped at 72. Seventy-two! Everything from small signs over stairwells to big billboards in the end zones.

I guess that was just in case, you know, you missed the giant purple and green FedEx Field sign on the outside of the stadium, or the FedEx messages on the Jumbotron, or the FedEx logo on the press notes.

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