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Companies compete for consumer attention

By Kim Halpin
On January 31, 2013

The Super Bowl is an advertisers dream. You've got the audience, and you've got their attention. Half the battle is won. Of course advertisers pay dearly for these perfect opportunities, and this year the classic 30 second slot is going for 3.8 million dollars. Prices have been rising steadily over the years, especially after breaking the million-dollar mark in 1995.
There are always people who watch the Super Bowl just to see the ridiculous commercials that companies have made special for the occasion. With so many different advertisements vying for customer attention, salience is king in the marketing arena. The absurd and unexpected are what stands out in consumers' minds, and therefore viewers end up watching commercials like KIA's newest story about babies in space. Does it say anything about the product? Not exactly. It might even make consumers question whether the company knows what they're doing. But anyone who watches television knows and remembers the hamsters driving in KIA cars.
Now a major emerging trend in marketing is to have consumers interact more with the product and the advertisement. In an age of mass customization rather than mass production, companies have to keep up with the growing use of technology. In order to better interact with their consumers and hear what they want to see from the brand, a growing number of companies have been releasing their Super Bowl commercials in whole or in part before the big event. Consumers then have the opportunity to vote on aspects of the commercial using their smart phones or tablets.
A major example of this practice that viewers will see this Sunday is the Coca Cola ad where consumers will have the power to choose between possible endings. Lost in the desert and in need of refreshment, three different groups of people are all racing to get to the giant Coke bottle. Viewers will have an opportunity to vote and then will wait until the end of the game to see which group will win.
Paying attention to interactions between a company's market base and their consumers is an important lesson that some companies are just beginning to fully understand. Taco Bell has heard loud and clear from its customer base that they cannot ignore the vegetable lover population. Taco Bell's add for the Super Bowl had focused on their meaty products and made vegetables inferior. However, according to ABC News, negative public reactions to the ad have forced Taco Bell to pull it.
There has also been a trend toward sitcom or story like advertisements. This is because they will typically be watched by a large group of people at the same time, like at a Super Bowl party. This is evident in the newly released Doritos's ad which, like a sitcom, both involve a typical American family and is humorous.
Icons like Budweiser's Light Beer will still represent the traditional advertising giants. The Super Bowl has provided a playing field for the serious competition between light beer providers for nearly the past thirty years. Beginning with the classic Clydesdale horses campaign in 1982, Bud Light's commercials always prove to be powerful. This year they have gone as far as to create a commercial for their Super Bowl commercial. With simply a lounge chair and a pack of beer, they tell viewers to get ready for what's sure to be another immensely planned out campaign.

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