National Jeweler 10X - Putting Today's Issues Under Full Magnification

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For me, the current NFL season drew to a pitiful close on Dec. 23, when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw the interception that ultimately ended the Steelers season.

Graff,-MichelleOur loss to division rival Cincinnati that day eliminated us from playoff contention, effectively knocking us off the so-called Stairway to Seven and ending my interest in all things NFL for the remainder of the season.

For others, however, football life does go on through this Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, otherwise known as “HarBowl.”

HarBowl is essentially a nightmare for Steelers fans: Do I root for the Ravens and the ensuing rash of media coverage about Ray Lewis going out on top? Or should I pull for the 49ers, with a victory for that organization meaning they would tie the Steelers’ league-leading six Super Bowl victories?

It’s really a no-win situation for me. But it’s a big day for advertisers, with the Super Bowl commercials as popular as the game anymore, perhaps even more so in some areas.

According to the 2013 Super Bowl survey released by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation, 20 percent of survey-takers said the commercials are the most important part of the game for them. The highest percentage of those surveyed, 34 percent, still cite “the game” as the No. 1 reason why they tune in to the Super Bowl. (Interestingly, the second highest percentage of those polled in the Super survey, 25 percent, said they didn’t plan to watch the game at all.)

So, will jewelry get any play between downs? I asked two of the country’s largest specialty jewelers known for investing heavily in TV advertising – Zale and Sterling Jewelers, operator of Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry – if they planned to advertise during the Super Bowl.

A Sterling spokesman told me that the company couldn’t comment on its advertising plans for competitive reasons while Zale’s spokeswoman said no.

I also extended the question to De Beers’ diamond brand, Forevermark, which invested in TV advertising in the U.S. market this past holiday season. Forevermark also said they wouldn’t be buying any airtime during the big game, but did note plans to run an ad in Sports Illustrated’s famous Swimsuit Edition next month.

I remember during Super Bowl XLIII (a much happier occasion for me) in 2009 when the economy was down and Cash4Gold nabbed a Super spot, prompting much bemoaning about how a gold buyback company being the lone jewelry-related company to advertise during the Super Bowl was a sign of just how bad the times were.

But, in reality, has jewelry advertising ever run during the Super Bowl? Both Sterling and Zale said they haven’t ever advertised during the big game.

Industry analyst Ken Gassman said in his memory, he doesn’t recall seeing any national jewelry ads during past Super Bowls because it is simply too expensive. This year, companies are paying an average of $3.8 million for 30 seconds of airtime, according to AdWeek.

Traditional jewelry ads also would have a difficult time standing up next to the ultra-creative spots put together by behemoths such as Coca-Cola and Budweiser expressly for this single game.

Gassman says there is a chance, though, that there may be some regional jewelry advertisements that run, as local stations are allotted a small amount of time to sell in their respective markets.

It also will be interesting to see what jewelry companies do, if anything, in terms of digital advertising or social media during the Super Bowl. Recent studies, including one from National Jeweler parent company Nielsen, have shown that a high percentage of people use digital devices such as their smartphone or tablet computers while watching television. That isn’t expected to change this Sunday, with consumers jumping on social media sites to discuss the game with friends or check statistics online.

As for me, I’ll be watching the game simply for the social aspect of enjoying it among friends (as much as that is possible) and biding my time until the kickoff of the next football season.

Here we go Steelers.

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