Super Bowl XLVI

February 8, 2012

The Super Bowl set a US television ratings record for the third year running on Sunday night, with an average of 111.3 million viewers watching the New York Giants victory over the New England Patriots. This beat last year’s audience by 300,000.

Whilst the Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year, it seems that the ads are becoming more and more popular than the sport itself! Many of my friends on social networks (who don’t work in advertising!), were commenting on the fact that the ads were the best part of the Super Bowl! Attracting such a large audience, means that the minutage available is becoming more and more precious. A 30” spot is estimated to cost around $3.5m. That’s a serious blow to the advertising budget if you’re not stimulating sales or at least generating a social share with your ad. Viewers expect to be entertained, and they will tell you if they’re not. Unlike any other sporting event I know, Super Bowl Sunday has power! Power to draw viewers; power to capture attention; power to make consumers sit up and watch commercials.

Like Christmas, the build up to the Super Bowl starts earlier every year, with teaser ads being released in the weeks leading up to the event. A good example of this is the Ferris Bueller Honda ad that appeared initially as a 10” youtube teaser. People questioned whether or not a second film was being released whilst others started guessing what brand he might be endorsing on Super Bowl day. When the ad was finally aired, it was clear that it was for Honda, with multiple film references in it.  However, with so many advertisers releasing their ads early and often in longer versions, you have to wonder if they’re giving away too much too soon?

Building up competition among consumers is another strategy that is becoming popular. Doritos ads have been known to inspire a lot of feedback from viewers, and they continue to run their annual contest crashthesuperbowl, which pits consumer-created spots for the brand against each other for the chance to have one air during the event itself. There’s a nice lump sum of $1m dollars for the winner too.

During the SuperBowl, Chevrolet gave away 20 Chevys and thousands of other prizes with the Chevy Game time app. Viewers were encouraged to download the app and play along during the game. Watching the ads on TV is no longer enough. Now more and more companies are choosing mobile marketing to augment their ad campaigns. Companies like Subway, Coca Cola and Pepsi have either sponsored apps, created apps or tied in with existing apps to extend their campaigns into viewers hands.

Finally, in a measure of evaluating effectiveness of the ads, the SuperBowl Ad Meter has been paramount for advertisers since 1989. In a move away from solely using traditional focus groups, the power has been shifted towards consumers, giving them the opportunity to vote on Facebook. This is a logical evolution given the importance of social media, but it’s interesting to note that the results aren’t always the same.

Focus groups chose mansbestfriend as their favourite ad, whilst the public chose slingbaby.

Have a look and see what you think-  admeter



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