Super Bowl

Pedigree Buys First Super Bowl Spot

Plans to Run One 30-Second Ad in This Year's Game

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NEW YORK ( -- This year's Super Bowl menu calls for buffalo wings, nachos and ... kibble? Mars' Pedigree dog food will advertise its canine cuisine in the gridiron classic in a first for the brand, and in what may be a first for the dog-food category.
Sales of Pedigree dry dog food lag behind Purina and private-label brands, but the brand's wet dog food is the champion of the category.
Sales of Pedigree dry dog food lag behind Purina and private-label brands, but the brand's wet dog food is the champion of the category.

Pedigree will run one 30-second ad during the game, said Jody Menaker, a spokeswoman for the brand, and Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, which has served as ad agency for the product for several years, will create the commercial. Ms. Menaker declined to offer information about when the ad would run during the contest or what would be featured in the commercial itself. A Pedigree executive is expected to talk to media in coming weeks about the marketer's aim.

Repeat spenders
Pedigree's bark, however, would insert a different type of advertiser into the event, which is typically dominated by ads for beer, soda, cars, chips and movies. Between 1988 and 2007, for example, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, General Motors, Time Warner and Walt Disney sunk around $659 million into Super Bowl advertising, accounting for 36% of total ad dollars spent, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Each year, TNS said, "about 62% of the network TV ad money invested in the game comes from incumbent marketers who ran commercials the previous year." The most recent Super Bowl included 50 minutes and 50 seconds of commercial time, according to Nielsen Media Research. The event featured 84 ads for 52 different brands.

Sales of Pedigree dry dog food lag behind those sold by Nestle's Purina brand, not to mention those of private-label dog food, according to 52-week statistics ended Nov. 2 provided by Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based market-research firm that measures product sales at supermarkets, drugstores and mass-market retailers excluding Wal-Mart. On the other hand, Pedigree dominated sales of wet dog food for the period, according to IRI.

Vast reach, if you can afford it
Set to air Feb. 1 from Tampa Bay on NBC, the Super Bowl remains the biggest ad draw in media. This year's telecast reached an average audience of 97.5 million people in the U.S., according to Nielsen Media Research, a record level.

NBC has sold most of its inventory, with a person familiar with the network and one media buyer saying the General Electric network has less than 10 spots left to sell. Other media buyers suggest the current economic downturn has crimped marketers' desire for a 30-second spot in the big game, and that NBC could have as many as 12 to 14 left. NBC has sought between $2.8 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot, buyers said.
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