MARKETING: What is Your Super Bowl Moment?

Column by Susan Grattino


The Super Bowl has come and gone. The teams, the fans and the stars are all home now. The parade is over and the hoopla will have to wait for another year.

As I watched the game, the halftime show and, of course, the commercials, I was struck by how bad the commercials were. There were a handful of exceptions, and only one that was memorable on its own. It seemed to me that some companies just stuck regular ad spots into their Super Bowl time slot. What is that all about? Did the marketing departments forget to tell their advertising agencies they needed a new clip suitable for ... the SUPER BOWL?

Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, to be seen by somewhere in the neighborhood of 111 million Super Bowl watchers worldwide, and this is all they bring? That's like showing up for the Academy Awards in dirty jeans and an old T-shirt.

I have to admit, I have forgotten most of the commercials I saw. One notable to mention was the commercial with Clint Eastwood in it. I liked the tone, the look, the feel. It wasn't overstated, or a contender for stupid people/animal tricks, and it sparked conversation. Was this an ad for Chrysler? For Detroit? For the good old USA? Pundits were debating that commercial for days. I'd say Chrysler got its money's worth. If you are going to spend $3.5 million for 30 seconds, you at least want to be remembered.

Other commercials we've come to expect at Super Bowl time include the ever funny Career Builder commercial; so glad the monkeys are still at work. Pepsi, Coke and Doritos didn't disappoint. And Go Daddy -- well, some companies still use sex to sell. While I do admit there is still a place for "booth babes" at trade shows, the Go Daddy ads make me want to go wash. I'm not a prude really ... I can tell you I also don't like the E-Trade baby commercials either. I know that makes me hugely unpopular. Most people I know like that baby. But, yuck.

The point of that rant is this: What are you doing during your Super Bowl moment? If you are spending your company's money on marketing. What do you want to get as a result of those efforts? How do you want to be remembered after prospects see your ad, read your brochure, or see a YouTube video about your company or product? What do you want them to do as a result? How do you know that what you are doing is successful?

I've read reports that most companies advertising during the Super Bowl played it safe this year, developing ads to appeal to a broad audience and not to offend anyone. Maybe that's why they left me lukewarm. What do I expect from a Super Bowl ad? Well, like every consumer, I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it. Perhaps that is why marketing and advertising isn't always a slam-dunk.



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