Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Superbowl 50 Commercials - Back to the Future

Do not adjust your set!  Following last year’s failed social experiment where the Superbowl proved to be a bully pulpit for all kinds of social ills and issues, I am pleased to announce fun and frivolity have returned to your living room.  And for good cause.  The superbowl is about escaping from the real world for just a little while.  It is Americas party, we have been prepping for this since summer camp opened.  So why not have a little fun.

This year’s ads have returned to two themes, fun and humor and oh, let’s sell something along the way.  A National Retail Federation survey last year found that 77% of Americans view superbowl ads as entertainment and only 10% say they are influenced to buy.  Those aren’t numbers that support the cost of a 30 second superbowl ad.  The Budweiser puppies are awfully cute but do they really evoke a thirst for beer.  The Clydesdales on the other hand…well, tune in. 
I always judged a successful ad by three criteria: entertainment, engagement and relevance. Certainly entertainment is expected in this venue and humor, animals, children and, I dare say sex, engage us.  Not every product is relevant to every viewer but that’s ok, you still have a huge target audience.  So entertain and engage us and just maybe, we’ll buy what you’re selling. 

Is it worth it?  Let’s look at the numbers.  30 seconds.  5 million dollars. $166,667 dollars per second.  Oh, don’t forget to add in production costs of a measly couple hundred thou up to a couple mil.  And Alec Baldwin and Dan Marino and Helen Mirren?  They don’t work for Doritos.  And one last number-189 million eyeballs.

Yes, it is a huge investment for a brand and many people question the return to shareholders.  One argument is that with so many different advertising outlets from 500 cable channels to huge buildings to bridges, is television still worth the premium.  The simple answer is yes.  

Precisely because we are bombarded with so many channels of advertising, television remains the one place where you can deliver your message to the masses all at once.  And this year, add to the party recipe; 50th anniversary, a favorite son in Peyton Manning who may be riding off into the sunset, the brash new gen QB in Cam Newton, and John Elway’s electric smile.  And that’s before we start totaling up millions of YouTube views that come absolutely free.  There was a time when we had to actually watch the game to see the commercials and we might, or might not, see them again.  Now we will have studied them for a week prior and do a complete postmortem for a week to come.  Yea, it’s worth it.

Have fun America!  And go Peyton!

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