Super Bowl Advertisers Not Neccessarily The Smartest In The Room

While everybody’s fawning over the upcoming Super Bowl ads, the business side of me takes an “anti” approach to this.

Do you really want to be one of those advertisers bathing in the glory of having a $4 million ad sandwiched into the Super Bowl?

Do you want to be part of a collection of spots that normally contain kids, animals, talking babies … throw in some sex and B-class celebrities,  in the hope that people may remember the actual product that was featured?

Actually, you’re smarter and richer for not being part of this collection of ads that no one remembers a few weeks down the line – and much shorter if people have been boozing it up during the game – or, the game’s a blow-out and millions have tuned to the Lifetime Movie Channel. Maybe it’s just best not be part of the “smartest in the room.”

Fact is investing $4 million in a 30-second TV commercial (plus the huge production costs) is a bad business decision. Here’s why:

  • Advertisers rarely see a long-term increase in sales as a result of this huge investment.  Pepsi’s commercials, along with their $50 million halftime star-studded Beyonce sponsorship, certainly isn’t going to make any kind of a dent in the current cola wars?
  • After just a week, most of the ads that aired during the game are forgotten and the “buzz” has disappeared.
  • The ads create consumer confusion: Was that Coke or Pepsi? Chevy or Ford? Millers or Coors?
  • Humor and cuteness, which is a big part of the ads, just don’t resonate with everyone. Sometimes gimmicks or characters are remembered – but not the actual product: Which car was that “Vader” ad for?
  • The expense of the ads and even the creative message can leave your company wide open to criticism from various interest groups: Mercedes-Benz is taking a beating with their tasteless ad – and the game hasn’t even started!
  • The dollars spent on the Super Bowl ad can create employee dissention and questions about the company’s priorities with regard to a more effective allocation of funds.

All of this makes me wonder if those who are the smartest in the room, really are the smartest in the room and if they’re leading their businesses in the right direction.

Maybe the businesses not in the room are really the smart ones.


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