what will irritate me for the next few weeks

We’re entering Advertising’s most holy time of year. The Super Bowl (or as their legal hounds would prefer, “the big game”, which also ticks me off) is advertising’s moment in the sun.

For a few weeks in the dead of winter, EVERYONE and their cousin is suddenly an advertising expert. They can tell you which of the extravagant ads from the game was the best one. But the barometer of the “success” of the ads is usually based on which one was the funniest / most controversial / etc. It’s never on which ones were the most effective and caused people to buy the product, increase awareness, or any other quantifiable measure.

Plus, this Solomon-esque judgment of the best ad is a finite phenomenon. Even if you’re in the ad industry, can you name more than one or two Super Bowl ads from last year?

And something that’s worse than the postgame ad analysis is the pregame hoopla that we’ll have to endure over the next few weeks. This company bought 3 spots! A :30 commercial goes for $3 bazillion dollars! And what has become the single most annoying aspect of the ad spotlight during this time of year is the Bob Parsons / GoDaddy ego trip. Do you wake up at night in a cold sweat like me wondering if they can get past the “censors”?

Has your company drunk the Kool-Aid Flavor-Aid and bought time during “the big game”? Since you’ve blown such a large hunk of your budget on placement, let me give you this year’s winning creative pitch for free.

The hooves of flatulent horses dig up the corpse of Robert Goulet who then runs through a CGI generated Orwellian world full of bikini clad college girls. He throws a hammer through a TV screen that has some contest-driven user-generated-content on it. Then the screen fades to black for 15 seconds.

I don’t recommend anything involving your actual product/service or anything that resembles a call-to-action.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an ad guy. I love creative / clever / funny / etc advertising. But what is forgotten during the Super Advertising hoopla is that advertising’s purpose is to sell. The trouble with most Super Ads is that they are heavy on the concept and light on the message.

I have offered postgame Super Bowl ad analysis in the past.

I’ll go ahead and offer my postgame analysis now. In the 2008 Super Bowl, there were several companies who gambled $3 bazillion dollars in the hopes that they could curry the favor of the masses for a moment. There were a few that grabbed some attention for a short time. The rest lost.

(and the Patriots will win)

2 thoughts on “what will irritate me for the next few weeks

  1. chuck

    You raise some great points about people judging ads about content and forgetting about their purpose to sell. However Superbowl ads are different in that is the only time that people ever anticipate ads. People are highly interested and willingly give you their attention and this is extremely valuable and rare. Creating great content builds positive associations with the brand, which may not mean an immediate increase in sales, but will strengthen the brand perceptions for the long term.

  2. Nick Burcher

    Superbowl ads no longer disappear as soon as the game finishes. Web 2.0 video properties like YouTube and MySpace are giving Superbowl ads a longevity and (global) coverage that they haven’t really had before.The Thrillicious / Sobe Life Water ad got 1.4million views and 3000+ comments on YouTube and the MySpace Superbowl ads site got lots of friends – these are ways of extending coverage that haven’t really been available before. These channels are also allowing ads to be seen outside of the US too (the game was broadcast in the UK on a commercial free channel – we saw the ads online!) I am surprised by how few of the ad creatives integrated with online though. Superbowl ads are a great signpost, but only a handful of advertisers properly latched onto this – Thrillicious.com has some great supplementary content and GoDaddy drove 2 million site visits with their strategy this year.Superbowl may be an expensive property to advertise in, but the impact of the ads is now global, and online is now giving ads a longevity far in excess of a passing moment in an ad break.I wrote more about this here: http://www.nickburcher.com/2008/02/superbowl-2008-tv-ads-find-new-life.html

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