We all know the economy stinks and, according to some, is getting stinkier, but how will that stench affect this year’s Super Bowl ads? Consider these facts:

  • Ailing General Motors, the top sports TV advertiser, announced in November that it will not buy any Super Bowl commercials this season.   GM Director of Media Operations Steve Tihanyi says, “We don’t have any product story to tell, nothing in the pipeline that would warrant spending that type of money.” Others say such a lucrative spending spree by the troubled big three automakers would create too much backlash.
  • Perennial Super Bowl advertiser FedEx has also opted out of the game, stating in a company blog post that “being in the game simply sends the wrong message both to employees and other FedEx constituents. A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time.” FedEx has advertised in the last 12 Super Bowls and in 18 of the last 20 games. 
  • With the U.S. unemployment rate at a 14-year high in October (6.5 percent), two job search websites – and – will be advertising in this year’s Super Bowl.

Now Kellogg School of Management Professor Tim Calkins said perennial jokster Anheuser-Busch will likely stick to iconic imagery rather than slapstick humor due to the changing mood of consumers. Great, so the economy stinks AND we’re not allowed to laugh.



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