A Social Bowl


Some people JUST watch the Super Bowl for the advertisements.  Well isn’t that a brands creative dream — so much social publicity….that a $4M TV ad just made your company back their money 10 fold.

Over the years, the Super Bowl has traditionally been know for its ads.  These ads are produced by the top agencies in the world, such as TBWA Chiat/Day, CP+B, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Weiden + Kennedy, by the top creative teams.  It’s a race.  A race to be the best creative brand that reaches virality.  So why are Super Bowl ads like this?

Well, there are a few factors that come into play when a company decides to plan, produce, and run a Super Bowl spot.  First, your company must assess whether taking the leap to advertise during the Super Bowl is right business move to make because it’s not for everyone.  A Super Bowl spot can make or break a brand and people are bound to talk about it.

I want to touch on a group I’m going to call the “regulars.”  The “regulars” are made up of big powerhouse brands that are simply expected to run commercials. Could you imagine a Super Bowl without any brand message from key players like GoDaddy, Pepsi, Coke, Budweiser, or a slew of car manufacturers?  These powerhouse brands have the budget and resources to make the most creative ads that they can.  Super Bowl commercials cost between $6 and 10M to plan, produce, and run (source: Ad Age).   Other brands that maybe don’t have the budget to run a Super Bowl ad could also win a spot through certain contests, such as Intuit’s Small Business Big Game competition.  Smaller brands can be hesitant to run Super Bowl spots because of the extremely high stakes.  “The Super Bowl, of course, is more than just a game and a handful of anticipated commercials. It’s a high stakes proving ground where companies succeed and fail and careers are made and lost” (source: adage).  Ridiculously high ad prices, anticipation, and production costs all put pressure on the advertisers to do their absolute best work.  But what are brands really paying for?

Brands are paying for PR.  As Tony Bennett, Global Creative Director at TBWA Chiat/Day said, a successful campaign is when “the advertising becomes part of the social vernacular and lives beyond the messaging put forth.”  So success is really defined by how many people talk, how many people share, and how many people interact with the content.  Social media has been key to effectively measuring one’s global reach.  Within the social landscape, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have been some of the most influential platforms for disseminating content, measuring reactions, and optimizing campaigns to get the best results.  This is why brands need to do something great, something extraordinary.

Content is king.

Good content can really help a company while bad content can destroy a company.  Advertising in the past used to be basically a product promotion where the product would be showcased in its entirety, but now advertising is much more complex.  Content should be fun, engaging, humorous, and out of the box.  Brands must work to connect with the consumer on a personal level and it must be totally memorable.  Bennett also said creative, funny, edgy advertising is very “brave.”  Brands really do not know what the outcome of the “funny” advertising is going to be; they may have projections, but don’t know for sure.  It is adventurous and when done right, it can do worlds for your brand.

Old Spice.

What did you just think of?  Old Spice: the man your man could smell like (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE) and this spot has over 47 million views on YouTube.  Now that is a strong brand.  But, it wasn’t always that way, Old Spice used to be a men’s product company dominated by shaving soap and aftershave lotion predominantly bought by older males.  They needed a new target, so they turned 180 degrees.  It worked. Again, content is king.

So, in the spirit of the Super Bowl drink Bud, eat Tostitos, and enjoy time with those you love.


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