Winners and Losers of Super Bowl Advertising

winners and losers of super bowl advertising 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 winner and loser of super bowl advertisingbut 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?


photo credit: Super Bowl Champs – tedkerwin; photo credit: chess – cogdogblog

Best Super Bowl Commercials 2011 Go Back to the Basics

best superbowl commercials 2011The 2011 Super Bowl is in the books and the Green Bay Packers have won their 4th Championship in franchise history. Congratulations to the players, coaches, fans and city of Green Bay. The other game, The Super Commercials, was played out on television. The Super Bowl commercials have been the academy awards of commercials as the exposure from being deemed the best Super Bowl commercial is highly coveted. This year is no different and a lot was at stake as for returning brands like Pepsi, newcomers like Best Buy and the auto industry as a whole which dominated the field.

The success as well as the failure of a commercial is shared by the brand, the agency as well as the supporters of the brand. The pressure for a brand to perform at the Super Bowl is immense but a risk worth taking as the media exposure is worth upwards of 10x of the cost of the spot. The major news stations coverage, the cable news coverage, newspapers, magazines, radio, blogs, Twitter, Facebook … it is everywhere for people to see, hear, share and comment.

Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2011 – Back to the Basics

The best commercials of all time have certain themes in common. Humor, lifestyle, wow/shock factor, celebrity appearance, animals and kids. This year was no different but the commercials that performed best had a very common theme: lifestyle and WIIFM. The audience was able to relate to the spots by feeling and connecting emotionally. The best commercials did not have a wow factor where we gasped or roared, no, the best spots were ones that we walked away from thinking. We took a piece of it away with us through seeing a bit of us or remembering a time in our lives. They captured the lifestyle of the audience and answered the WIIFM. The brand was not the focus, we, the audience was. This is the basics of advertising and what defines what advertising has been built on. The customer.

Auto Bowl

The automotive industry dominated the advertisers. It was auto spot after auto spot after auto spot. The ones that focused on the car itself, were nothing different than what we see every other day of the week. Imagine spending $3M for a spot that shows the car driving down a deserted road, performing well in the snow, or crashing (because we all think of crashing each time we drive) that has no impact upon the audience. A dud. How can you create a spot that misses the mark? Was this the safe route, as, well, these spots run all year long and cars are sold. Why deviate? Well, the winners of the Auto Bowl are clearly Chrysler with “Imported from Detroit” and Volkswagon Passat with “The Force” which did not focus on the car.

Imported from Detroit

This spot was the most powerful and compelling. The copy writing was spectacular as there are so many lines from this spot that make you think. Two minutes of a city that has struggled but yet is trying to conquer through resilience. Detroit was the automobile manufacturing capital of the United States.The city thrived and employed hundreds of thousands throughout the years. My grandfather was a proud member of the automobile manufacturing family in Detroit prior to being relocated to New Jersey. The spot tells a story of a city and while we see quick segments of the car, the focus is on the city, the people and as they say “… when it comes to luxury, it is as much as where it is from and who it is for …”

The Force

Volkswagon has proven that the force is still within us. This spot had us cheering for this little guy to finally get something to feel his inner force and do something. We saw ourselves, we saw our children, we saw and felt. How many of us wish the washing machine and dryer would do the wash itself, the treadmill would run all day and we would reap the benefits? The looking around when he actually had that force was magical as we have all been there. I did it, I did it! Did I really? Did someone do it for me? It is just so heartwarming and brings out that force within us all.

Crash the Super Bowl

Doritos certainly did not disappoint with Crash the Super Bowl contest where once again the audience flexed their creative juices. The one spot that stood above the rest poked fun at something we all do. We lick our fingers. Generally our own but in this spot humor was incorporated making us fearful of ever eating Doritos at the office. It was one habit that we could relate to through tipping the bag to get every last crumb, the wiping of the orange remnants on our pants and leaving the best part to savor which is on our fingers. We generally enjoy this part ourselves but the incorporation of humor of someone licking our fingers could have backfired but we were not focused on that, we were focused on our own behavior as come on, we all lick our fingers.

Nostalgic NFL Fans American Family

I loved this spot but not a fan of the name. American Family, um they an insurance company that has an established brand. NFL Fans was a better name as it tells the story of the fans of the NFL. The spot says itself says it best almost at the end with  “Best.Fans.Ever.” The branding of the NFL is through the individual teams. Millions come together each week to bleed and cry the colors of their team. They may win or may lose but they are always there. The loyalty to the NFL brand through a team is unreal. I am one of them and while my insane alliance is to my team, I still love the game. Super Bowl is hard as I love advertising and marketing but yet bringing sports and advertising together is not easy. This spot was very nostalgic with a wealth of creativity. We saw old friends though 90210, Sopranos, Friends, Golden Girls, Sesame Street, Alf, Happy Days, South Park and some newer friends in How I Met Your Mother. The flow of the commercial made us remember the shows we watched and were reminded of the cities they were in through the association through the teams. Yes, I am very proud to have seen all the JETS supporters.

These spots have made an impact though giving us something. The something is through the basics of knowing the audience and how they support the brand. Will people run and buy a Passat from the commercial? Probably not but they will remember it and if they are looking for a new car, they may consider it. Will drones of people move to Detroit? No, but they may have a new renowned love for their city and take more of a proactive role to make it better.

The failures of the Super Bowl were great and the tarnishing of the brand image is yet to be seen. Best Buy as a newcomer did quite well through showing us the challenges of the older vs the newer and not knowing the new technology. The Ozzy to Beiber is similar to Aerosmith to Run DMC of bridging the gap through bringing generations young and old together. Going back to the basics.

In the end overall the game was better than the commercials but isn’t that what the Super Bowl is all about?

photo credit: Michael Oh

Banned Super Bowl XLIV Commercials

superbowl commercialsThe Super Bowl is a day away and while the excitement of the game for sports fans is ever so present, the commercials garner the most attention. Drew Brees or Peyton Manning will be going to Disneyland after the game (Brees he has a stop at Mardi Gras first) but the brand who receives the best spot nod is top dog, if even only for a few days.

The Super Bowl has become a place for advertisers to showcase their best stuff to probably one of the biggest television audiences of the year. Television advertising has taken a bit of a hit with funds being used in social media marketing, DVR’s, internet TV and the inability to really reach your set target market without being noise to others that are not your target. But the Super Bowl is different … What other televised event has people getting together with friends, families and other sports fans/friends for 3+ hours and watch the TV so intently?  The talk of the game rolls into an outburst (ohhhh or uuhhhh) for the commercial that just ran and then the comments as to why they liked it or not.  This is an advertisers dream.  Groups and groups of people not leaving the tube to use the restroom until the halftime show (hence a flushing/water/sewer problem in large cities) so they can watch the commercials. Will they buy? This matters but what matters more is the free media coverage that they get for the days after the game.

With all the greatness surrounding the Super Bowl and the commercials,there is always the ads that do not make it.  Booo! CBS has banned spots that they deem not appropriate for game viewers.  For some, this is a blessing as the spots are getting more “eyes” time NOW which is taking the focus away from the spots during the game (with the possibility of comparisons) than they would have if they ran during the game.  Here are the top 4 ads that were banned.

1. Doritos

A man running over a woman for a bag of Doritos is seen as too violent and thus banned.  Domestic violence is very serious and never should be taken lightly but that is not what this ad is really about. While I understand that CBS has to be sure that ads are represent everyone in a positive manner and found this to be too violent, I thought it was funny.

2. GoDaddy

GoDaddy seems to be having a rough time with getting CBS to approve an ad.  5 ads this year were banned. This one does show a woman in the lingerie but it also has the flamboyant Lola who is a lingerie mogul.  Not sure even if the scantly clad dressed woman was out that this would have made it.  Lola may be too happy for CBS.

3. KGB

KGB is a service where you ask a question via text and get an answer. Paid service.  The head in ass is funny.  CBS obviously does not agree with me as found this to be offensive.


Too much happiness and gayness in this one for CBS for sure. In a statement to Mancrunch, CBS wrote: “CBS Standards and Practices has reviewed your proposed Super Bowl ad and concluded that the creative is not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday.” (quote via AgencySpy)

I expect some debate over the banning of this ad will go on as a pro-life spot was approved.  Albeit, it was about Tim Tebow who is a football player (tie-in??).  Nonetheless, I have to agree with John Ciarallo that the exposure that this ad is receiving from being banned is more than they would have received if it ran during the game.

Thoughts. Do you agree that these should have been banned?

photo credit: taberandrew