What does the Superbowl teach advertisers?


Well, Superbowl XLVII has come and gone.
The Superbowl is commonly referred to as ‘the greatest show on earth’, and by now there has probably been plenty of chatter about the game and the ads that screened. I haven’t yet had the time to view any of the ads, so I can’t really comment on whether the best of this year’s crop starred clydesdales, babies, monkeys, or attractive girls in revealing singlets.

But what I do find interesting about the Superbowl every year is that it is two advertising ideologies working side by side.

On one hand, we have the interruption model in all its glory – where advertisers pay around $4 million to interrupt the sports game for 30 seconds (source: forbes.com). Indeed, with an audience of over 110 million people, spanning multiple generations, and 40% of them female, the Superbowl is still one of the few places where marketers can overcome today’s diverse media fragmentation.

Then on the other hand, you have the content model where people actually tune in to see the ads. Yes, the ads are as much of the entertainment as the actual game. In this case, the ads aren’t piggybacking on the entertainment; they are the entertainment!

So the obvious question is, ‘why don’t more marketers always make their ads to a Superbowl standard so people will want to see them?’
Well, let’s put it this way: you can either pay lots of money to interrupt ‘the greatest show on earth’, or you can invest the money more directly into your brand and turn it into ‘the greatest show on earth’ (or at least the greatest show in its category).

For many, the latter option is viewed as a lot of hard work, carries a higher level of risk, and takes more time to build (i.e. sometimes longer than a Marketing Director plans on staying in the job).
However, the successful brands of the future will look to become ‘the event’ rather than solely piggybacking on someone else’s. As the Superbowl illustrates, if you make good ads, people will engage with them.

Image: baltimoresun.com

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