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Analyst Gives Toshiba Positive Mark for Super Bowl Ad

6 Feb, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

It was less than 30 seconds long, cost just under $3 million, reportedly aired just before halftime, and didn't air in some markets at all.

Did Toshiba and HD DVD get their money's worth with their commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3?

According to more than one expert on advertising during the big game, yes.

“Even at a price of up to $2.7 million, a Super Bowl placement may be worth it to an advertiser if they are trying to establish legitimacy, an image of brand dominance, or bring a new product or brand to the attention of vast numbers of consumers,” said Peter Orlik, director of Central Michigan University's School of Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts. “Thus, such a buy makes sense for Toshiba, particularly as more content providers seem to be affiliating with the competing Blu-ray system.”

Chuck Tomkovick, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire marketing professor who's studied the effects of Super Bowl advertising for a decade, said Super Bowl ads are almost always wise investments.

“From movie studios and beverage marketers, to major consumer package goods firms and B-to-B marketers like EDS, our research shows that the composite stocks of super bowl advertisers routinely beat the S&P 500 performance by 1.3% for the two-week period commencing the Monday before to the Friday after the game,” he said.

Shares of Toshiba were trading for around $7 a share Feb. 7, up slightly from before the Super Bowl.

“Super Bowl advertisers routinely benefit three ways: by activating product distribution … and Internet leveraging, there is usually a sales bump; secondly, brand recognition, hipness and relevance is usually heightened; and thirdly, the short-term stock price of participating advertisers is typically rewarded,” he said.

The ad featured several people in a living room cheering during a football game. A narrator tells viewers that after they're done watching the game in high-def, they should watch movies in high-def on HD DVD. Along with clips of Transformers and The Bourne Ultimatum, the ad plugged the hardware's price of just under $150, and pointed to Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart as retailers where the players can be purchased.

“It has always been our strategy to reach HDTV owners, using advertising on football games as just one vehicle,” Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for the Toshiba Digital A/V Group, told Home Media Magazine before the commercial aired. “If you recall, we had advertised on Sunday Night Football all season long.”

The ad aired just after the end of the first half, when many viewers may have been headed to the restroom or fridge, and according to TVPredictions.com, the ad did not air in some markets, and more than one person reported the ad was broadcast in their homes in standard definition.

But the ability to watch the ads online, and the buzz around the high-def format war, gives the ad legs beyond those original 30 seconds. The commercial had nearly 100,000 views on YouTube by Feb. 6, and the Internet can continue to be a place for HD DVD to push advertising, Orlik said,

“They may be able to get substantially more buzz by … seeding a number of Web sites that draw their target audiences, or by investing in a product placement that is highly integrated with the benefit they are trying to establish in the minds of their prime consumers,” he said.

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