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Super Bowl XLVI – All the World is a Stage

Judging the Commercials

On February 5, 2012, at 6:28 pm the Super Bowl kicks off.  This global event is a peak moment where careers are made and broken.  Decades of effort, blood, sweat and tears have been poured into the journey to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on the world’s stage.

Of course, I’m talking about the Super Bowl commercials.

I hear that there is a football game scheduled for the same time period, but who cares about football?

Here is what’s flying around the rumor mill in the semi-super-secret world of Super Bowl ad competition:

  • This year’s game is the first one to be streamed.  That’s online and mobile.  This expands the viewing audience even further.
  • The $3.5 million dollar “advertising package” is the minimum buy in.  Last year, you could buy a 30-second spot for just $2.5M.  No a la carte purchasing this year.  The packaged buy is a whopping 40% increase over a la carte.
  • There will be more 60-second spots than last year.  Companies want to take more time to tell their brand story.  The 60-second package is twice the price of the 30-second package.

Five Steps to Judging the Commercials
I want to share with you my strategy to maximize the fun of watching the Super Bowl commercial breaks.  You get to be the judge!

Follow these simple steps to analyze the value and effectiveness of the Super Bowl commercials.

  1. Watch, listen and absorb the complete commercial break which may be 4-7 commercials long.
  2. After the break, ask yourself, “Which commercials do I remember?”  If you remember them, this means that those commercials connected with you in some emotional way.  They made you laugh, you thought it was cool, or it filled a need for you.
  3. Of the commercials that you remember, ask yourself, “What was the name of the product?”  Just because a spot made you laugh, doesn’t mean that it made a positive brand impression on you.  If you can’t remember the product or the name, what good was the spot?
  4. Make special note of the commercials that make no sense to you.  These spots are not targeted at the demographic that you represent.  If you didn’t get the point, then ask someone younger or older than you or of the opposite gender for insight.
  5. Keep a special eye out for the “Stinker Award” nominees. These commercials leave you asking yourself, “What were they thinking?”  Last year’s Groupon commercial gave the organization a black eye when they made fun of the difficult circumstances of the Tibetan people.  The dark humor theme in this spot had worked well for Groupon in the selective markets where it had been tested, but the world’s stage is different. Watch this stinker. It’s not surprising that Groupon is sitting out this year’s big game.

This judging experience teaches you several lessons about marketing your own business:

  1. There is a lot of commercial noise in the market.
  2. It’s not easy to create a message that stands out.
  3. Being memorable often requires an emotional connection.
  4. Your message might make sense to you, but not to your target market.
  5. Companies can spend a ton of money on a commercial and don’t realize that they have a stinker.

Be sure to watch your email in the days following the game for Hot Marketing Tip’s review of the Super Bowl commercials.

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