We have all seen them. We watch them every year. In 2014, we all gawked at David Beckham’s perfect body as he modeled H&M underwear, “aww”-ed at the cuteness of the Budweiser Clydsedale and puppy on screen together, shared our thoughts on Coke’s rendition of “America the Beautiful”, and probably had commentary for all the other ones that occupied the TV screen for no longer than 30 or 60 seconds. What am I referring to? I bet you answered Super Bowl commercials before you even read that question. Every year companies battle it out for prime commercial placement, spending millions of dollars in the process. That raises the ultimate question of, why? Why spend all that money? Followed by more marketing specific questions such as: Are all spots created equal? What market segment are these commercials targeting? Is it worth it? There must be some effectiveness in these ads or else they wouldn’t have such high price tag and continually loyal occupants.
A Forbes.com from January 2014 stated it well, “The Super Bowl is not for everybody or every brand. . .The Super Bowl also isn’t a good place if you don’t like public scrutiny. . . But if you want to give your brand or product instant notoriety and the buzz of a billion bees, there’s nothing like the Super Bowl.” No, the Super Bowl is not the place for every business in the marketplace, but for those who can handle the post-Bowl criticisms and enjoy publicity on a large scale, not to mention those who can afford to spend a few million in the process, the Super Bowl could be the place for you.
Search the Internet and you will find best and worst lists, forums, and articles written every year about all the commercials. Even those on the “Worst Commercials” list have an advantage over their competitors. Bad press is better than no press if it reaches millions, right? That is a topic to debate. Some may think Hyundai had one of the worst commercial of 2014, but at least you’ll remember the name of the brand. Who knows, maybe out of curiosity you decide to shop for Elantras one day simply because you remember its name from one of the commercials. And yes, that Bud Light commercial from 2014 was anything but attention grabbing, but if any of your friends had plans to go to the package store after watching it, I’m sure you might be inclined to suggest they pick some up for everyone. That is the magic of marketing.
To the average person, millions of dollars on a single ad is difficult to fathom. To the marketers, however, this all makes perfect sense. Think of the millions of viewers that watch the Super Bowl, followed by all the news and sports stations discussing these commercials in the days, sometimes weeks, following the event. And then you have people like myself. The people who can maybe recall watching 10-15 minutes of the Super Bowl every year, and only because I was replacing the chips and salsa for the sports fans in my life. No I cannot recall a single moment from the game, but I remember a commercial or two. I can also say that yes, I did crave a Bud Light after watching their ad, and I went into H&M one day with hopes of seeing David Beckham but ended up buying a scarf instead. So I guess those commercials worked on me.
What do you think? Check out this one website’s opinions of the best and worst commercials of Super Bowl 2014. A bit satirical, but it gets people talking. Can’t wait to see what February 2015 has in store. I’m sure the marketing teams are well under way in creating a memorable 30 seconds for us all.