Super Bowl a missed opportunity for HD DVD

Super Bowl commercials are now an event almost completely separate from football. While sports addicts see the game as the main attraction, advertisers and marketers see the game as just an interruption for the most expensive commercial spots of the year.

I’m sure that entire marketing teams – particularly those behind beer commercials – prep for the Super Bowl just like any other athlete. And that’s exactly what it was a little disappointing to see what Toshiba did with its 30-second spot to promote HD DVD.

Days before the game, tech news sites ran stories about Toshiba’s purchase of a commercial spot during the Super Bowl. Some may call Toshiba’s purchase of Super Bowl ad time as an act of desperation to help make up for the loss of Warner Bros. Mind you, Toshiba purchased an ad last year, when things were still mostly in HD DVD’s favor.

Toshiba’s decision to purchase another ad spot was likely made before Warner Bros. announced that it would go Blu-ray Disc exclusive, but surely the intent to promote HD DVD became much more important after CES. Click here to view the commercial spot.

Overall, the Toshiba HD DVD ad was a disappointment for those looking for something revelatory in the ongoing high-definition format war. The commercial didn’t even air nationwide, but only in select markets. To be fair, it’s very difficult to advertise the concept of high-definition to viewers who are still most likely watching the game on a standard definition television.

HD DVD’s best advantage over Blu-ray Disc right now is its lower price – a fact that Toshiba should know, but didn’t push hard enough during its Super Bowl ad. Only at the end of the ad did the $149 price show up. Those mildly interested in jumping on the HD DVD bandwagon won’t be swayed by anything presented during the commercial up until the last five seconds of it.

It’s not that HD DVD would be an instant victor in the war had it made a more compelling commercial, but if you’re going to spend millions on an advertising opportunity, well, you need to make it a hit.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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