Canadian advertisers change up Super Bowl strategies following CRTC case

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TORONTO — Canadian advertisers say Super Bowl marketing is being shaken up after the conclusion of a years-long battle over the precious airtime during the annual football spectacle.

Bell Canada’s broadcast on Sunday — including Canadian commercials — will be the only feed following a Supreme Court decision that overruled a previous decision allowing both Canadian and U.S. signals to air during the big game.

Advertisers say the change has caused many companies to create ads solely for the Canadian market, or choose to run their brands’ American spots in Canada too.

Labatt Canada says beer brand Budweiser will run a Canadian ad in partnership with Uber that encourages people not to drink and drive, but will use different spots in the U.S.

Hyundai Canada says it decided to buy the Canadian rights to the automaker’s U.S. Super Bowl spot starring actors John Krasinski, Chris Evans and Rachel Dratch.

Bell Media says Canadians viewers can expect to also see ads from SkipTheDishes, BMW Canada and Maple Leaf Foods, but senior vice-president of sales Perry MacDonald would not say what brands are paying or whether there are spots still available in its broadcast.

In 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided that in the case of the Super Bowl, the usual practice of substituting U.S. feeds when a Canadian broadcaster owns the rights went against the public interest. The Supreme Court of Canada on Dec. 19 said the regulator did not have the authority to make the decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2020.

The Canadian Press