Overheard “water cooler conversation”: “So, you excited about the big game on Sunday?” “My team isn’t playing, so, no. How about you?” “Nah, I’m really looking more forward to the commercials.”
You may have heard this kind of conversation before or even been in one like it. Statistics show that “nine in 10 viewers are as interested in the commercials as the game.” (Bruce Horovitz, USA Today) So for more than 100 million people watching the Super Bowl this year, that’s a lot of advertising and advertising dollars. That means the ads for the Super Bowl are considered the “Super Bowl of advertising”. What makes them so great and what can we learn from their social experiments?
For 15 years, Charles Tomkovick, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, has tracked companies who advertise in the Super Bowl. He says popular ads use dramatic sound, motion, celebrities as well as humor and surprise endings to get the audience’s attention quickly. “You also want to throw in some animals, if you can find a way to tie in animals with your brand,” Tomkovick says. “About 20 to 25 percent of Super Bowl commercials have animals. It’s like going to the zoo.” http://youtu.be/RP9dmF7WFl8 (Denny’s screaming chickens, 2012) Tomkovick also says to avoid too much discussion of the product or service advertised.
“The more you talk about your product, the less people like it.” (Tomkovick)
There are controversial perspectives about the ads for the Super Bowl as well. Bruce Horovitz of USA Today says, “The commercials for Super Bowl 2013 are so overloaded with eye candy — sexy models, too-cute kids, wacky animals, magical happenings and effects — that by the time folks take them all in, many viewers will feel like they just swallowed the entire bag of Halloween candy in one sitting. No room for the chips and dip.”
In fact, some of the ads have been more and more controversial as the years go on. This year, one particular ad was pulled from the lineup, namely, Sodastream, for using competitor branding without permission (http://youtu.be/68al-o2XSpE), which continues to show the ad online, instigating more interest and attention than if there hadn’t been the controversy. So, the question is: with social media and online marketing at our finger tips, is it worth it to push the envelope, riding that thin line between interest and offensiveness?
“The debates have prompted millions of online views, thousands of social media comments and headlines questioning whether the pitches were offensive – all this before the full audience of 100 million viewers who will watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens have seen the ads,” according to Lisa Richwine and Sue Zeidler of Reuters. “That degree of attention can boost the value for ads beyond the $4 million-plus that agencies pay for some of the 30-second spots. Advance buzz gets people talking and, better yet from a marketer’s perspective, searching for the promotions online.”
Mae Anderson of the Associated Press reported that “Last year, Super Bowl ads released early were watched 600 percent more times — with 9.1 million average views,” clearly outweighing the skeptics who believe in a purist perspective, revealing the ads only on game day.
So what can we learn from the Super Bowl advertisers and their marketing maneuvers? Mix dashes of excitement and surprise with a few splashes of kids, animals, and celebrities and throw in some humor without talking about your product, possibly with some controversy, and you have the magic. Now, somebody pass me the buffalo wings, I’m ready for some Super Bowl commercials! By the way, we’d love to hear which ones are your favorites @ Kroma Marketing.