T-Mobile bets big on Super Bowl LI with three minutes of ad time

When it comes to TV advertising in this year's Super Bowl, T-Mobile is going with an all out blitz.

The nation's third-largest wireless carrier is joining rather rarified air when it comes to advertising in one of the largest events of the year, taking out three minutes of in-game air time. The company will have four ads running during Sunday's Patriots-Falcons showdown: one with Justin Bieber, a second with rapper Snoop Dogg and cooking and homemaking star Martha Stewart, plus two with actress and comedian Kristen Schaal.

The Stewart and Snoop Dogg ad, as well as a 30-second version of the Schaal ad, a take on the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, were released online Sunday morning.

A 60-second spot featuring the Schaal will run for the first time during the game itself.

An additional spot from T-Mobile's prepaid subsidiary, MetroPCS, will run during the post-game coverage.

The company wouldn't confirm how much it paid for the spots. However, at a reported $5 million for 30-seconds of Super Bowl airtime per ad, three minutes represents a significant investment. The only other brand to take out that much airtime during the big game is Anheuser-Busch, which will be promoting its Budweiser, Busch and Bud Light beer brands.

"When you're coming to the biggest stage for the most-watched program of the year, you're absolutely looking to do things differently," Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer, said in an interview.

"You can really create not just an ad, but you can create an event," continued Sherrard. The company's ad with Bieber, released Thursday, has already been viewed more than 6.6 million times on T-Mobile's YouTube page and nearly 6 million times on the singer's Instagram.

It's been a busy start to 2017 for the T-Mobile. In January the carrier announced it would redo its wireless plans to only offer "unlimited" data and include the taxes and fees in the advertised pricing, as opposed to having them pop-up separately on the bill. Both announcements are touched on in all four of the ads.

This month the company will also be paying for the taxes on any new devices that are purchased.

"When you think about it, this is the start of the next stage of "Uncarrier,"' says Sherrard, referencing the company's self-given brand to differentiate from its competitors, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. "We want people to come check us out, we want people to try us."

The company faces at least some Super Bowl competition. Rival carrier Sprint will also have a presence, with its own 30-second ad running during the game.

USA TODAY


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