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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Watching the Super Bowl...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Each year I look forward to watching the Super Bowl.  Even though my favorite team wasn't playing this year, there's just something about seeing one of the year's biggest events.  I suppose the real reason why I've always tuned in to the Super Bowl is because I'm simply interested in the commercials.  In addition to watching the ads, I'm equally curious as to whom the new advertisers are as well as who continues to spend the big bucks year after year.

This year was a combination of movie previews and some new advertisers as well as the traditional advertisers like GoDaddy and Budweiser.  Although I saw more station programming ads than ever before.  I guess the network had a little difficulty selling out all of their ad space!

Is it worth the price of advertising?

I thought a number of this year's commercials were pretty underwhelming (which seems to be more true each year).  Personlly, whether Dockers is showing a bunch of men walking through a pasture without their pants or Careerbuilder gives us an office tour where employees have nothing but their underwear on, I could care less.  From my perspective, most the advertisers just don't get it.  The only exception is perhaps Bud Light where their audience is the exact segment that's watching the game - those who attend or watch sporting events.  Because of their significant presence, I'm sure they got a pretty favorable price for all of their exposure.

Even so, the purpose of advertising is to engage, brand, and create awareness.  Effective advertising is also capable of measuring a result.  Other than GoDaddy, who gives some of their target audience a reason to go online, there was no real direct response vehicle on any of the ads.  Can you say "missed opportunity"?  That is, if you're trying to reach millenials or even thirty-somethings.  Maybe I missed it, but no references to social media (Facebook or Twitter) or even texting.  Although I'm sure that plenty of people were texting during the game.

The Super Bowl is also a decent platform for new product launches from my perspective.  FLO TV was completely new to me and I didn't even realize that such a device existed.  But without any call to action that was personally relevant to me, I'll probably forget about it in morning.

I guess the advertisers who are spending the bucks are so certain of the effectiveness of their ads that they don't need to measure their results-although I find that impossible to believe. If advertising is still based on impressions, and not action, then it still has a very long way to go.  This is why TV advertising continues to slow and more marketers are taking to the web. Not only is it measurable, but many advertisers only pay for action. 

What's the real challenge?
Without direct response, how do these advertisers know if their advertising is generating the result they're looking for?  I wonder if they even thought about the goals of their campaign.  A house made of full cans of Bud Light - cute.. but was it worth the $1M Budweiser had to pay for it?  Personally I like to know if each dollar I spend delivers a positive return.  I guess that's why I spend most of my money on online advertising and little else.

Part of the reason why I don't quite understand Super Bowl advertising is because I don't understand the target market.  It seems to me that everyone from 8 - 80 is probably watching the game.  That's probably why the Who was the half time entertainment.  The Who were big before I was born but I still thought they were pretty good.  I'm just surprised they weren't wearing Pepsi T-shirts, although the drummer's cybals seemed to be painted with Pepsi colors. 

As long as there's TV, on the tube or your computer, there will be advertising.  You wont see any of the companies I consult for advertising on the Super Bowl.  But then again, when everyone is watching TV on their computers, I might not be able to avoid taking the plunge.  And that day is soon upon us.  It's already begun and the next few years will likely complete the transition.  Super Bowl here we come!


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