I wouldn’t say I hate the Super Bowl commercials, I’m just confused by them.
I’ll start by saying that, like many Americans, I kind of look forward to the commercials during the Super Bowl. The hype is just too much for me to take seriously. Or maybe I’m just better at tuning it out. Last year felt like it hit an all time peak, with every brand releasing their commercial on the internet before hand and publications discussing it ad nauseam. So here I stand, as the head of what some might call an agency, raising my hand out of the crowd to say, I just don’t get it.
The most expensive advertising buy during the Super Bowl this year is said to cost $5 million dollars, and that’s just to buy the air time, it doesn’t include production costs which can reach into the hundreds of thousands. NBC will net around $2.2 billion dollars from the sales of air time. $2.2 BILLION. That is an insane figure, one that I’m sure is eaten into by the cost of production and the rights to even show the game, but still, that’s an unfathomable number of dollars.
What determines the success of a commercial? Are we watching these spots, that you and I both know was created by a third party, and thinking “oh man! I didn’t know about that, but now I’m going to buy it!” Maybe once in a great while there is some sort of surprise that comes out of the commercials, a movie trailer, for example. But that’s mostly not the way it works, brands spending millions for air time are only the big boys, so you know of their products and what they have to offer.
It’s sometimes a launching point for a new direction a brand might be taking with their communications and marketing strategy, and there’s always good publicity to being on the “funniest commercials during the Super Bowl” list the next day. You could spend hours trying to read all of the publications that rerun that gag.
It’s mostly a status symbol. I think large brands feel that in order to continue their status at the top, it’s just automatically assumed that each year will include a Super Bowl ad in their budget. I feel like advertisers still believe that by being in front of your face, they’re somehow hitting you on a subconscious level of which you aren’t aware.
I believe very strongly that this isn’t true. Humans aren’t consumers and they don’t react like monkeys to someone attempting to shill their products during the Super Bowl. That money would be better spent being open and honest and communicating who you are and why you do what you do. And allowing your like minded community to find you and connect.
But that doesn’t include wings, nachos, and beer. So, maybe I should just shut up.