Apparently, some people are going to watch football Sunday.
Everyone else, some commercials.
Not just "some." Starting at 6:25 Sunday, and wrapping about four hours later, there will be a total of just more than 45 minutes of ads, or almost exactly the length of an average prime time drama.
Between 85 and 90 advertisers have bought time Sunday at between $2.5 million and $3 million a pop, representing (roughly) $200 million for CBS. There is no swath of time in the known universe more valuable than these 45-plus minutes - this is the Super Bowl, so hype is perhaps excusable - but what will the sponsors get in return? Instant fame. Instant scorn. Sales. Brand awareness. Notoriety. And absolutely, positively, attention - fleeting or otherwise.
In other words, the usual.
What's in vogue this year? Says Brian Steinberg, Advertising Age's TV editor: "Rather than something that dazzles, a nudge to the ribs."
The dazzlers will still be on display Sunday, but fewer than in year's past. This year, humor's back in, while the lachrymose and emotive are out.
Here are the six major ads to look for this year. These could be winners. Or not. Score cards ready . . .
"Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life": By far the talker of the bunch. This is the ad starring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, who speaks with his mother about how she gave birth to him in 1987 after doctors had urged that she have an abortion because of medical reasons. The ad, paid for by Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo., will air sometime during the first quarter.
Godaddy.com: Yup, the Internet domain name/webhosting company is back with the tack - as in tacky. Racing champion Danica Patrick stars (wrong word, but it'll do) in this series of ads designed explicitly to get people, mostly guys, to pay attention, immediately.
"Dante's Inferno": The new PlayStation 3/Xbox360 game due Tuesday features a wild, CGI-amped commercial, and it too comes with controversy. A tagline reading "Go To Hell" was changed to "Hell Awaits" after network pressure.
Budweiser: The beer giant has a total of five minutes; expect humor, like the scientists who switch to Bud as an earth-destroying asteroid approaches. Lance Armstrong stars in one commercial for Michelob Ultra.
Boost Mobile: The original '85 Bears perform the "Super Bowl Shuffle" - the rap song they performed just before their Super Bowl XX appearance. (William "Refrigerator" Perry apparently does not perform - a great pity.)
Coca-Cola: Mr. Burns of "The Simpsons" stars in one. He loses his fortune, finds true happiness. This could be the most talked about ad of the night - after the "Shuffle," naturally.