Super Bowl Ads – Trends And Lessons

Hate the Giants? Over the Patriots? Unless “your team” is in it, a lot of people tune in to the Super Bowl simply to watch the ads. Here is a list of this year’s Super Bowl advertisers.

What can Guerrilla Marketers learn from watching Super Bowl ads? Plenty. I’ve already blogged what the NFL can teach us about marketing (and it’s a lot). I believe the ads give a serious indication about the state of our country, and the current marketing trends. Let’s face it… if you are going to spend over $3M per half minute to spread your message, you are going to try to get the most creative minds in the industry to help you tell your story in 30 seconds. Sometimes they win and, a lot of the time, they lose.

What can the ads tell us about the country and our culture? It certainly paints a picture of what we like (food, beer, cars, etc.), but it also tells us what is happening. Ten years ago? The Dot Com companies ruled the night. The last couple of years, during the recession? Soda, chips, candy bars and fast food – inexpensive comfort items – took prevalence. I guess the real question is… How many candy bars do you need to sell to recoup the $3+ million spent in advertising?

Most of us don’t have the budget to get the publicity the Super Bowl brings. So, what should the crafty Guerrilla Marketer do? Watch and take notes.

What is the message?

Is there a common theme running this year? In other words, who do the big agencies think they are targeting? (think Dot Coms versus comfort items)

Will we see the classical brand advertising, trying to build loyalty to their products?

Or, will they use the most watched television event of the year to direct viewers to their websites, text a code or to download their app?

Are we swaying from branding (traditionally national ads) to call-to-action (traditionally local ads), thanks to the digital age?

This year, I’m curious how the Coca-Cola Polar Bears will react in “real time” to the game. This new campaign was designed to encourage viewers to check out Coke’s online presence, including Facebook, Twitter and mobile apps. The idea is to be wherever your target audience is; on our televisions, laptops, tablets and smart phones.

As a Guerrilla marketer, don’t forget to watch the reactions from your fellow viewers. What made them stop, look and listen? What did they talk about after the game, or at the water cooler the next day? Which could they recall… and, which made them laugh, but couldn’t tell you who the company was? Who will be the winners and losers?

Your Guerrila Marketer,
Rick Verbanas

2 thoughts on “Super Bowl Ads – Trends And Lessons

  1. Personal opinion, I wouldn’t buy a Super Bowl spot unless one thing was certain – that I had stellar creative.

    Unless I had a can’t miss, this-one-will-be-talked-about ad, I’d shy away.

    The reasoning is that the expectations are so high on the part of the viewer that if I have a ho-hum spot, I get a ho-hum reaction from millions and millions of prospects. You never want your prospect to have a ho-hum reaction or emotion about your product or service.

    I can always buy the same number of eyeballs that are tuned into the game, and I won’t have to pay the premium that a SB spot commands over the price of a normal :15 or :30 spot in prime time. Translation: more efficiency = more effectiveness for my dollar.
    That’s my two cents (which would buy approximately .00000000000000000000001 of a Super Bowl spot 🙂


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