Sure, Independence Day is the official American holiday, but that only involves heavy drinking and blowing the sky up. The Super Bowl, on the other hand, has:
– Heavy drinking
– Blowing the sky up
– Pop stars (with occasional nudity)
– Instant social media celebrities
– AND capitalism as entertainment
Since its launch in 1967, the Super Bowl has increasingly become the nation’s most-viewed televised event. And where eyeballs go, advertisers follow like paparazzi to a Kardashian booty. We are, of course, referring to the coveted Super Bowl ads – which have become as anticipated and talked about as the big game itself.
One of the first Super Bowl commercials to become a pop-culture marketing sensation was for Noxema in 1973. The uncomfortably awkward commercial starred a pre-Charlie’s Angels Farrah Fawcett as she spread shaving cream on quarterback Joe Namath’s leering face right after he says, “I’m so excited: I’m gonna get creamed!” Gross. #NSFW…I thought I was back on YouPorn for a second. It was meant to contain some kind of flirtatious innuendo, but watching it now just feels creepy. “You got a great pair of hands?” Shudder.
Things have only gotten weirder – and exponentially more expensive – from there. The average cost of a 30-second commercial has gone from $37,500 for Super Bowl I to around $5 million for Super Bowl LII. In fact, the cost of advertising during the Super Bowl has reached a point that most companies won’t be able to recoup their costs from the resulting revenue.
A 2014 study covered in AdAge found that only one out of five Super Bowl commercials spur consumers to actually buy a product or build any purchase interest. That means approximately 80% of Super Bowl commercials are a monumental waste of money. So why bother? Many argue there’s no such thing as bad exposure.
For example, even the most facepalm-inducing, tone-deaf ad of this year has got a lot of people talking about Ram Trucks. The video was somehow meant to inspire the working class citizens of this nation to buy a pickup truck by leveraging one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speeches about the power of selflessness in society. Sure, Ram’s YouTube post has so far received 12K thumbs down compared to 5K thumbs up, along with an avalanche of harsh (and hilarious) comments.
But something tells us Chrysler doesn’t care about digging up our most sacred civil rights leaders and turning them into car salesmen. The name of the game (advertising, not football) is brand awareness, good or bad. So, who fared well in the ad Thunderdome? Well, it depends on who you ask.
You can see which ads were most popular per state with YouTube’s Adblitz map, but according to USA Today’s Ad Meter, it was a tie between “Alexa Loses Her Voice” and “Touchdown Celebrations to Come.” However, according to iSpot.tv, “Doritos Blaze vs Mountain Dew Ice: Battle” barely edged-out the trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War.” And yet, if you ask the folks over at Salesforce, the big winner from the big game was… avocados from Mexico. Which made at least one late night talk show sidekick ponder the reason for an already-popular vegetable fruit to spend millions of dollars to promote its consumption.
There’s only one thing we know for sure: because of the massive ante needed to sit at the table, many advertisers have been promoting their campaigns online leading up to the big game. After all, it doesn’t cost millions of dollars to post a video on YouTube (yet, any ways) and get millions of views. The latest Hitwise data shows that Super Bowl audiences are 17% more likely than average NFL fans to visit social media and networking sites – particularly Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – and engage with these brands.
From our point of view, spending millions of TV dollars to promote a brand in a post-social media world is, putting it politely, antiquated at best. Traditional agencies wait all year for this epic event to show just how bold and original they can be with their brands (“Dilly, dilly” – seriously?). We here at Giant Propeller don’t wait for Super Sunday to go balls-to-the-wall with our creative – we call that, “another day at the office.” The titans of industry can have their special day once a year. We’ll choose to kick ass 365…