Reflecting the caution that marketers will exercise in spending their marketing dollars in 2004, only a few b-to-b advertisers are lining up for Super Bowl XXXVIII.
With less than two months to go before the Super Bowl broadcast Feb. 1 on CBS, Monster.com and FedEx Corp. are the only confirmed b-to-b advertisers.
CBS declined to disclose advertisers that have signed up so far.
Monster.com rival Yahoo! HotJobs.com was still evaluating its media plans and had not made a decision about the Super Bowl broadcast at press time, a spokeswoman said. HotJobs.com has been a Super Bowl advertiser the past five years.
At a cost of about $2.3 million for a 30-second spot, many b-to-b advertisers are choosing to sit out the game, opting instead for more targeted media.
"For a true b-to-b advertiser with a narrow focus, it is very difficult to justify the expenditure," said Chris Lenge, VP-associate media director at b-to-b agency Doremus, whose clients include ITT Industries, United Technologies and ACE Insurance. None of Doremusâ clients will advertise during Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Lenge, who was previously a media buyer at BBDO, placing Super Bowl ads for clients including FedEx Corp., PepsiCo and Visa, said there are pros and cons to the Super Bowl as a b-to-b vehicle.
"I believe the Super Bowl is probably one of the most powerful forms of media that can be used, as long as the spill can help other divisions," Lenge said.
For example, FedEx and Monster.com both target consumers as well as business users, so the buy can be justified by the spotâs reach into those audiences, he said.
The game is expected to reach approximately 130 million viewers worldwide.
"Many of the advertisers that have used it successfully ran multiple units with an entertaining type of creative, and locked in their position early in the game," Lenge said.
FedEx locks in
FedEx has locked in position 1-B, the second spot during the first commercial break, as well as a spot during the pregame show.
"The Super Bowl reaches a critical demographicâkey decision-makers at Fortune 500 companies, as well as small and medium businesses," said Howard Clabo, a FedEx spokesman. "It really puts a crown jewel cap on our overall NFL marketing strategy."
FedEx is the official shipping company of the NFL, sponsors FedEx Field in Washington and has several events tied to NFL games.
FedExâs Super Bowl spot will be a new one, developed by BBDO New York. The creative is still being evaluated, but "it will be classic FedEx humor, going along with slice-of-office-life type of humor," Clabo said.
Monster.com, which has advertised on the Super Bowl for six consecutive years, will run two spots during the game broadcast and another during the pregame show. The spots are being developed by Deutsche, New York.
"Weâve had great success in the years weâve run advertising, both in reaching new people who are looking for jobs, and in bringing in employers who are posting new positions," said Carole Johnson, senior VP-marketing at Mon-ster.com. "Itâs a proven way to reach the audience."