Super Bowl Ads: Still a High-Stakes Game Super Bowl Sunday remains a day of reckoning for the big dogs of the ad industry. Companies succeed or stumble based on their ads. The process is the subject of college courses and Web sites offering deep analysis and ratings.
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Super Bowl Ads: Still a High-Stakes Game

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Super Bowl Ads: Still a High-Stakes Game

Super Bowl Ads: Still a High-Stakes Game

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Sunday's game has the biggest TV audience of the year, and with TV airtime costing millions, companies have a lot at stake. They're doing whatever they can to get your attention, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD: Unidentified Man #1: Have you seen how easy GoDaddy.com is?

(SOUNDBITE OF SUPER BOWL AD)

ARNOLD: GoDaddy.com is a company that lets you register the names of new Web sites. The ad is full of sexual jokes. Bob Parsons, the company's CEO, says that's why CBS rejected it.

BOB PARSONS: They didn't like the double entendres, and they didn't like the word "pervert."

ARNOLD: Tim Calkins is a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School.

TIM CALKINS: When you buy a spot on the Super Bowl, you're really buying the attention of the nation.

ARNOLD: Calkins analyzes Super Bowl ads with his marketing students. And he says the Super Bowl is a chance to see the advertising industry at its creative best - that is, for some of the ads.

CALKINS: The most interesting part in all of this is how wide the range is. Some people do really, really good advertising on the Super Bowl. Other companies show up and they just miss. So many advertisers run advertising that really doesn't do much. And I think it speaks to the fact that this is actually very tough to do - developing communication that, really, an entire country can look at, gets their intention and delivers a message. Very difficult.

ARNOLD: Chris Arnold, NPR News, Boston.

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