We are just outside of 3 weeks since the Super Bowl and already some people have to take a minute and think about where it was played (despite NBC saying Lucas Oil Stadium what felt like over 200x throughout the day) who played in the game, who won the game, who won MVP and salsa dancing, there is salsa dancing in football? We know this to be true and we also know that beneath this lies the media buzz, the chitter chatter and pretty much any unaided recall of the commercials. Ouch! That is tough to swallow for any marketer, let alone those that advertised during the game.
Although, those that advertise during the Super Bowl know that these ads are different and while the purpose of advertising is to sell, the purpose of Super Bowl advertising is more about receiving that coveted best ad, worst ad (they receive a lot of free media time that does not always damage their brand) and those that just rounded out the top 10 to get the media buzz via TV, radio and the web. The amount of free mentions that the best ads and the worst ads receive is almost incomprehensible. That $2.5M investment suddenly is now worth $15M or so. When we say it this way, we have to think why on earth does any big brand not jump in feet first? This takes ROI to new levels.
Purpose of Super Bowl Advertising
Is the purpose of advertising during the Super Bowl to sell? Yes … well. Yes. … well. If you are like me instinctively you say YES! But then there is that little voice inside that says, well – they really want to be named the winner of the best ad but why would they spend millions to just be named the best ad? Well, let’s break this down a bit. Every big brand has a media budget well into the millions. Year after year they spend millions to create and place ads on television so why is there a big deal made about the cost of advertising during the Super Bowl?
Is it because some are spending what would be their monthly budget in 1 day? Ok but then we have to look at the mentions and calculate how much all that coverage would have cost and … Wait, can we say that the mentions are measurable in ad spending dollars? Ads are ads, mentions come with opinions/trust from the person mentioning and sometimes discussion. This can influence the viewer either in a positive or negative way and that cannot be calculated. Saying that increase or decrease in sales would be a good gauge is not practical. There are too many variables. Which brings us back to the purpose of Super Bowl advertising. It is not only to sell. It is to get favorable brand mentions over and over and over again across various mediums as the more mentions the more people are listening and the more people are listening, the more they are compelled to hear what people are saying and hearing so many people favorably speak about a brand does make people look over and consider. With the Super Bowl ads and all the media coverage, it does make us watch many of them again which has us spending time exclusively focusing on the ad and the brand. We know who and what product the spot is for. We see if our thoughts align with what others are saying. If so there are some who are compelled to buy to protect our own self image. Not sure self image plays a role? Talk to someone who has a dinosaur phone and what they say when you pull out your iphone 4G. They immediately try and protect their own image by making the excuses of having a flip phone still.
Super Bowl Ads Mentions Shelf Life
We have become so trained to view, semi-process (enough to hold a conversation) and move on to the next best thing. The next best thing is something remarkable or that beautiful disaster where we shake our heads but rush to the keyboard to burn plastic in getting our comments, shares and blog articles out about it. Do we ever think about how this remarkable or catastrophic ad/action will only have a shelf life of less than 2/3 weeks? Overall, the Super Bowl ads were a bit lackluster this year but there were some really good ads (someone had to win best ad) that we are not talking about anymore. Did the mentions create enough of an impact upon customers for them to put the product/brand into self image so that it translates into sales? Could we ever really know? Maybe this could answer as to why not every single big brand is not advertising during the game. Yes, the free mentions and the buzz around the commercial/product/brand is enormous and cannot ever be replicated (the amount of mentions nationwide at one time/short period) but it could be too much of a risk to rely upon the positive mentions to influence people who are not customers to become customers based upon what people in the media are saying.
Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Advertising
The winners we think would be the best ads that people are mentioning over and over. The Super Bowl is a lot about the game but also a lot about the ads. We wait for them each year and boy are we quite elated when a brand we purchase regularly or just love has a really great ad. That makes us feel really good as we have associated ourselves with the brand in purchasing or loving them and a good ad reinforces our image of them and also our own self image and the image of us to others. Image. That is who the winner and losers are in Super Bowl Advertising. If having the iPhone was connected to something extremely negative then we know people in drones would run and get something else. Have to protect our image. Some would be individualists and gleefully get into discussion/debate/argument with anyone who challenges them on keep in the iPhone.
In the end, the winners and losers of the Super Bowl advertising is the image that we as consumers have for the brand and how image in purchasing that brand is viewed upon in the eyes of others. I guess in many ways that keeping up with the Jones’ does exist, when it comes to our self image of course. It is our own little piece of fame that we have when we are associated with something great and recognized for that association.
Thoughts – is it as simple as image being the winner and loser of really any advertising?