INDIANAPOLIS (MainStreet) -- Super Bowl commercial time is sold out, but there are still some companies out there that could benefit from some big-game ad spending.
Earlier this month, well before the final matchup was decided, Super Bowl XLVI broadcaster NBC (Stock Quote: CMCSA) announced that all of this year's game day ad space had been bought up. The network claims it fetched $3.5 million per 30-second ad this year, with NFL sponsors such as Pepsi (Stock Quote: PEP), General Motors (Stock Quote: GM) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (Stock Quote: BUD) buying up huge blocks and mainstays such as GoDaddy and halftime show sponsor Bridgestone returning to the fold.
That didn't mean there wasn't room for newcomers this year. The amount of Super Bowl commercial time has increased from 74 ads at 36 minutes, 45 seconds in 2002 to 96 ads at 46 minutes, 10 seconds last year after peaking at 104 spots at 47 minutes, 50 seconds in 2010, according to Kantar Media. The number of first-timers willing to take that expensive plunge in tough economic times has dwindled from seven companies and 23% of Super Bowl commercial buyers in 2007 to just four (Best Buy (Stock Quote: BBY), CarMax (Stock Quote: KMX), Groupon (Stock Quote: GRPN) and Salesforce.com (Stock Quote: CRM)) that made up 14% of big game ad sales last year.
Considering that more than 30% of Super Bowl ad buyers during the past two years dedicated more than 10% of their annual advertising budget to spots aired during the game, newcomers are taking a huge leap by plunking down that $3.5 million per ad. If they follow the example of companies that splurged on the 10 to 13 60-second ads that have run during the game in each of the past four years, they're just doubling down on that risk.
Only three companies are taking the plunge for the first time this year. Well-established brands such as yogurt-peddling Dannon and home seller Century 21 make their first appearance on the big stage, while movie studio Relativity Media made perhaps the biggest splash by buying four 30-second spots for its upcoming war film Act of Valor. They shouldn't be alone. We took a look around the marketplace and found 10 companies that could use a Super Bowl-sized boost in business: