grumpy_old_man1More news about the potential for “subdued” Super Bowl commercials in this year’s game, this time from the San Fransisco Chronicle. Stupid economy.

The Chron reports on the absence of perennial contenders like FedEx and GM, but also quotes Northwestern marketing professor Timothy Calkins, who predicts “a more quiet, serious tone” from this year’s ads. Others, like ad-maker Jeff Goodby, are saying it ain’t so. Goodby’s outlook, with which we agree, is that the Super Bowl will remain an entertainment oasis in an otherwise bleak economic desert and come game time, “people will be ready to drink some beer, eat potato chips and watch a football game and not get too heavy about it.”

Here’s hoping the ad man is right.

Advertising Age also analyzed the wisdom of shelling out $100,000 per second in a down economy. Here’s an excerpt:

There are two types of advertising messages on the Super Bowl: news and bravado. Messages related to news focus on something of note, such as a product launch or even a new benefit. Messages linked purely to bravado focus on entertainment and creative impact alone.

When facing a recession, bravado is a risky approach because the link to the product tends to be weak. Indeed, managers who focus on bravado messages are likely to find themselves walking tightropes of scrutiny, where observers banter about whether the brand is signaling economic strength or financial foolishness.

Whatever the tone or message, one thing is for sure: With so much on the line (this year more than others), marketers and advertisers will be watching the performace of their ads very closely. That makes polls like SpotBowl even more important than ever.

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