Super Bowl Advertisers That Need the Most Help

US News

Most of the companies spending up to $4 million for 30 seconds of ad time during the 2013 Super Bowl can easily afford it. Mercedes-Benz, whom you can thank for bringing Kate Upton to the big game, enjoyed record sales last year. Samsung's smartphones are so popular they're outselling the iPhone. Trendy products like Mio and SodaStream are rare hits in a marketplace of mediocrity.

[PHOTOS: A Brief History of the Super Bowl]

But a few Super Bowl advertisers face the equivalent of third and long, on account of financial losses, customer defections, or competitive pressure they've failed to keep up with. For them, reaching out to a Super Bowl audience of perhaps 120 million people is an effort just to get back in the game. Here are seven Super Bowl advertisers that need to pick up the most yardage:

Best Buy. This electronics retailer has been losing sales to Amazon and big-box competitors like Wal-Mart and Target, while struggling to eke out a profit. The stock has jumped recently on better-than-expected holiday sales, but it's still down 36 percent over the last 12 months. A buzzy Super Bowl ad would relieve some of the gloom over Best Buy's struggles.

BlackBerry. This moribund smartphone maker just threw a Hail Mary pass by introducing the new Z10 phone, its latest and perhaps last effort to catch up to Apple and Android. Reviewers say the new phone has a chance of helping BlackBerry win back millions of lost customers--but it won't be available in the United States until mid-March, which drove down BlackBerry's stock after the Z10's introduction. Critics wonder whether consumers will even remember BlackBerry's Super Bowl ad by the time the phone is available.

[NEWMAN: One Thing BlackBerry Must Do to Reboot]

Century 21. This real-estate firm's parent company, Realogy, got crushed during the housing bust that started in 2006, with seven straight years of losses totaling about $3.6 billion. Like the housing market, Realogy is now starting to rebound, with the stock up 34 percent since the company conducted a public offering last October. That makes it the right time to reach out to home buyers who might be tuning in to the Super Bowl.

E-Trade. That smart-alecky baby in its popular commercials may not know it, but this online brokerage has lost money for five of the last six years and is still struggling, despite a booming stock market. To return to profitability, E-Trade plans to slash costs and redouble efforts to hold onto customers. But skittish investors, a wobbly economy and tough new financial regulations remain risks.

Lincoln. Ford Motor Co. has revived itself under CEO Alan Mulally, with sharply lower costs and hot new models like the Escape crossover and Fusion sedan. But the Lincoln luxury division is a laggard still associated with geezers not daring enough to try a BMW or Lexus. So it's no accident that Lincoln's Super Bowl ad involves Twitter and is meant to appeal to younger buyers.

[READ: Why the Car Industry is Bouncing Back]

Milk producers. Why is milk vying with beer for attention during the Super Bowl? Because per-capital milk consumption has been dropping for years and is close to 30-year lows. Instead of milk, more Americans these days drink soda, bottled water and milk alternatives made from soy or other products deemed to be healthier. The latest "Got milk?" ad aims to change that.

Paramount Pictures. This struggling movie studio is desperate for a hit, which is why its Super Bowl ad for the forthcoming Star Trek movie reaches for a mainstream audience that goes far beyond hardcore Trekkies. The studio's revenue has plunged recently, with middling films such as Jack Reacher and Flight unable to make up for bombs such as Rise of the Guardians. That makes a successful Super Bowl ad a paramount priority.

Rick Newman's latest book is Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Luggage piece found on French island near possible MH370 debris

    Part of a bag was found Thursday on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion not far from plane debris which has fuelled speculation it may be from missing flight MH370. "The piece of luggage was here since yesterday but nobody really paid attention," said Johnny Begue, a member of a local…

  • Chicago man cleared after 17 years in prison shot dead

    CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man who served 17 years in prison for murder before being cleared of the crime has been shot and killed almost three years after being released from prison, police said Wednesday.

    Associated Press
  • Family Pet-Sitter Helps Herself To Homeowner's Possessions

    DEAR ABBY: A trusted and beloved family member who takes care of my cats -- and therefore has a key to my house -- has been stealing things like cleaning supplies, knickknacks, family pictures, etc. Most of them have little monetary value. But imagine my surprise when I spotted some of my missing…

    Dear Abby
  • An American Dentist Killed Zimbabwe’s Famous Lion

    Cecil the lion, a famous black-maned resident of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, died at the hands of an American dentist, conservationists claim. “Mr. Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but this shot didn't kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in…
  • Hidden Security Cameras Are Shocking Surprise For Daughter

    DEAR ABBY: I'm a 19-year-old woman in college who still lives with my parents. I found out something several weeks ago that's bothering me, and I need advice badly. Years ago, after a robbery, my parents installed security cameras outside our house. I knew about them because they were visible. But…

    Dear Abby
  • Taliban disavows Afghan peace talks after leader declared dead

    By Kay Johnson KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban's official spokesman disavowed peace talks with the Afghan government on Thursday, throwing fledgling efforts to negotiate an end to 14 years of war into disarray. The statement came a day after the Afghan government said that Mullah Omar, the elusive…

  • Dashcam catches off-duty cop threatening to put 'hole in head' of driver

    Technically Incorrect: A Massachusetts driver makes a wrong turn. What happens next, all filmed on his dashcam, has led to an investigation. And yes, it's now on YouTube.

  • Play

    Body cam footage from Cincinnati shooting contradicts official story

    A University of Cincinnati police officer has been indicted for murder after body camera footage contradicted his official story outlining the events that led to the shooting death of unarmed Cincinnati driver Samuel Dubose.

    Reuters Videos
  • Trump leads Republicans, but Democrats thump him: poll

    Bombastic US billionaire Donald Trump handily leads all fellow Republicans in the 2016 presidential race, though Hillary Clinton and other Democrats trump him in head-to-head matchups, a poll said Thursday. Trump plunged into the crowded Republican nomination battle last month, and has since…

  • Teens' 6 days adrift verge on limits for survival at sea

    TEQUESTA, Fla. (AP) — Crews pushed the limits of an ever-expanding search zone Wednesday for two teens missing at sea and potentially nearing the boundaries of human survival.

    Associated Press
  • Killer deal: Amazon will pay you $10 to buy a $30 Google Chromecast

    Google’s little Chromecast dongle is pretty awesome. The device plugs into the HDMI port on any HDTV or monitor and instantly gives users access to movies, TV shows, videos, music, photos and more that can be streamed from any Android device. Best of all, perhaps, the Chromecast is wonderfully…

    BGR News
  • How to upgrade to Windows 10: A step-by-step walkthrough

    It's July 29, 2015 or later and Windows 10 is now available as a free update. Here is what you can expect when you say "yes" to the update.

  • Independent media battle on in Putin's Russia

    By Timothy Heritage MOSCOW (Reuters) - Alexei Venediktov, one of Russia's most prominent journalists, does not go out without a bodyguard and does not answer mobile phone calls for fear of being tracked. Such precautions do not seem out of place in a country where at least 17 journalists have been…

  • Kurdish rebels attack Turkish security forces, killing 5

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish rebels have attacked Turkish security forces in two separate assaults in southeast Turkey, killing five people, officials said. One rebel was also killed.

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Custom truck built by father and son stolen in Lemoore

    A Lemoore man is on the hunt for his stolen pick-up truck. The classic custom ride holds significant sentiment to its owner, who built the truck with his late father.

    KFSN – Fresno
  • Internet mauls dentist accused of illegal kill of popular lion

    Technically Incorrect: Walter Palmer, a dentist in Minnesota, has his Yelp entry attacked by those not fond of his allegedly illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

  • Boko Haram 'slits throats of 10 fishermen' near Lake Chad

    Boko Haram Islamists slit the throats of 10 fishermen in villages near Baga on the shores of the Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, a leading fisherman and a resident said Thursday. "On Monday around 4 pm (1500 GMT), Boko Haram attacked three villages on the shores of Lake Chad where they…