Super Bowl ads sell out may mean more confident companies

Financial Football

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: It's a long way 'til the Super Bowl, six weeks or so. A couple of regular season games and the playoffs yet to go. So it's foolish to try to figure out which teams are going to make it. But it's never too early for a story about Super Bowl ads. That line up was set months ago and says a whole lot about that other big game, the economy.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.


Jennifer Collins: Take Pizza Hut. The chain is buying its first Super Bowl ad this year. In the past, Pizza Hut bought commercials before the game to give consumers a chance think ahead to halftime.

Pizza Hut commercial: Right now any pizza from Pizza Hut is just $10.

Harry Balzer tracks food trends for the NPD Group. He says Americans are ordering a lot more pizza this year. Pizza Hut sees the Super Bowl as a way to stay out front in the pizza wars.

Harry Balzer: Right in the middle of winter comes this one Sunday where everything is different from all of the Sundays before or the Sundays after. And it captures a lot of people's attention to get a share of that consumption that's going to take place on that day.

Best Buy is also buying into the Bowl for the first time. And several car companies, like GM and BMW, are returning after sitting out the game during the recession. Super Bowl ads have been sold out since October.

Tim Calkins: Well it's a huge change from where we've been in recent Super Bowls.

Marketing professor Tim Calkins says ads in the last Super Bowl were still available in January. And he suggests even the Federal Reserve should watch the game -- not just to see who wins.

Calkins: I think the Super Bowl is a wonderful economic indicator because it's really the place where you can see if companies are willing to invest.

And at $3 million an ad?

Calkin: Clearly, this year all the indicators from the Super Bowl would say the economy is doing much better.

Now, the question is: who's playing?

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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