Super Bowl ads compete for your attention

DETROIT - Everybody knows the Super Bowl ads are exciting to watch and extremely expensive.

In fact, the total spending on Super Bowl spots has doubled in the last decade from $130 million for the 2003 game to $263 million last year's edition.

"It is very expensive. For each set of eyeballs you're paying for you better, have something worthwhile to say or you're wasting your money." said Matthew McCarthy from Brand Development, Axe.

Knee Deep in the Hoopla

With so many sneak previews of big ads, we've already spent this week, talking about them, analyzing them, and debating whether some of the content is too controversial. A Volkswagen spot featuring a Minnesota businessman who's relaxed like someone from Jamaica ran into criticism this year. Some called it borderline racist. However, the tourism minister in Jamaica says the commercial shows the tremendous appeal of Jamaican hospitality.

As the old saying goes, any publicity may be good publicity. It's getting more and more difficult to stand out in a crowded market place, and that's a huge part of the Super Bowl strategy.

"You've to stand out in some fashion, and if not, you sort of get ignored," said Tim Calkins of the Kellogg School of Management.

Getting Viewers Involved

We've also notice Super Bowl commercials also seem to be much more interactive. Coca-Cola will let viewers choose which characters win a quest for a refreshing drink. While Budweiser is warming hearts with a contest to name the baby Clydesdale in an ad about the bond between a horse andits trainer.

So, how do you tell if the commercials are working?

"Each company has its own way of telling. Do they want exposure and brand recognition? Do they want car sales? Do they want soda sales? There's a lot of techniques and methods that these guys use to figure things out," said Brian Steinberg an Advertising Age TV writer.

Here's a link to almost two dozen Super Bowl TV commercials.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.