“Star Trek,” “Lone Ranger” aim for touchdown

Be careful how you answer, because Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures are gambling on it.

The cost to run a 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl is up to $4 million. Granted, a record 111.3 million viewers watched the big game last year, so those 30 seconds could be television’s most valuable real estate.

Last year, “The Avengers,” “The Hunger Games,” and “Battleship” were among the movies studios felt strongly enough about to spend millions on. Universal plans to preview the new “The Fast and the Furious” movie, which they’ve kept under wraps. Paramount will stake their claim with “World War Z” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” trailers, and Disney will feature an “Oz: The Great and Powerful” spot, a 90-second “Lone Ranger” spot, and, the one I’m most excited for, a 60-second “Iron Man 3” spot.

The costs have kept Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox from at least revealing their slate. That means there is a good chance viewers won’t see “Man of Steel,” “The Hangover Part III,” or “The Wolverine” spots. However, some studios might opt to buy commercial time during considerably cheaper pre-game coverage, so there’s still hope.

I can see why studios would be so adverse to ad time. Yeah, more than 100 million viewers is an enticing pitch, but as the Internet continues to dominate advertising, it might be more profitable to debut your trailer on Yahoo. Tweeting a link to a brand new poster can reach millions of followers for FREE. And while people still talk about the commercials the morning after, has anything really created such as a buzz as the 90’s Budweiser frog

$3.8 by the numbers million

commercials? Advertising is much more diverse now, and Super Bowl commercials aren’t often surprises anymore.

Enter Paramount Pictures. Big- time director J.J. Abrams, who recently announced he also would direct the next Star Wars film, will use the Super Bowl to launch a “Star Trek Into Darkness” app. When the film’s brief trailer runs during the game, users will be able to access exclusive content via the app. However, Abrams is famous for his locked lips, so the studio is able to drum up interest without spoilers.

Interactivity isn’t film trailer exclusive, however. Coke will air three different commercials during the Super Bowl. Viewers will then choose which of the three ads was their favorite, and the winner will be shown again during the post-game show.

Mercedes-Benz created controversy when their ad, which features model Kate Upton as she washes a car, showed up online.

Welcome to the new face of advertising. Companies have to justify the $4 million price tag somehow, and that means ads have to last beyond the time slot. If the Kate Upton controversy persists, the marketing department has done their job. Consumers have come to expect interactivity, and with the advent of TiVo viewers must be convinced that your ad has something worth stopping for. If it doesn’t, they’ll simply fast forward.

The Super Bowl will endure. It is a time- honored tradition, as American as apple pie. One could also argue the Super Bowl is TiVo- proof; it could very well be the one time of year when people actually look forward to the commercials. But I don’t think companies will continue to spend as much on ads as their social media options continue to grow — it’s simply not business savvy when they can create buzz cheaper.

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About Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at kburgstahler@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.255.

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