At the other end of the spectrum are repeat customers such as Monster and H&R Block, which join the other advertisers aiming to go down in history with such classics as "Mean" Joe Greene's Coke ad, Noxema's "Take It All Off" and the "Wassup?" ads for Budweiser.
Last year's Willie Nelson bit was so effective that H&R Block turned to the singer with well-known IRS troubles again this year, said Karl Ploeger, vice president of creative and media services at H&R Block.
"He's a great sport and the Super Bowl has become quite a spectacle," Ploeger said. "The game is almost the break now. We always try to interject an element of entertainment and cleverness because you want to capture somebody's attention."
But that may not be enough, Brown warns. "Last year, the day after the Super Bowl, I asked my students to name their favorite ad," she said. "A lot of them named Reebok's 300-pound linebacker who clobbered people who weren't behaving. It was extremely memorable but most students couldn't remember the product or the brand."
This year, Monster allotted more of its $125-million advertising budget to the Super Bowl, buying one pregame spot and two spots during the game because the company's first Super Bowl commercial six years ago "was the defining moment for the Monster brand," said founder Jeff Taylor. More than 22,000 people posted resumes on the website within 48 hours of the commercial's broadcast.
"The Super Bowl has been a great platform for us, because if you look at our business, we are a little less dot-com and a little more Monster now," he said. "People actually go online and go to Monster right after our commercial. It's the only time of year that people watch the commercials as content."