Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, February 06, 2021

no sale
The game is over, and a good one it was. Pittsburgh and Seattle delivered a most entertaining Super Bowl XL.

Wish I could say the same about the game’s much-lauded commercial lineup.

The rundown reviews abound, including superlative rankings and USA Today’s traditional Ad Meter wrapup. From the media gawking the day after, you’d think the gametime ads actually were worth crowing about.

I really didn’t see anything yesterday to merit the attention. For a bunch of spots that occupy such a priviledged part of the media landscape, they came off as rather ordinary to me. Had you not known that they cost an average of $2.5 million to get into those broadcast slots (on top of however much they cost to actually make), you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish why these commercials deserve any special scrutiny.

I think we’ve reached the point where the price to buy Super Bowl airtime is high enough to preclude the production of truly noteworthy creative commercials. Once the slot is bought, it seems like the ad concept is developed around whatever resources are left over. Even a company like Anheuser-Busch, which bought up multiple adspaces yesterday, didn’t see fit to roll out anything particularly new — they showed off the same old fratboy crap they do every other football Sunday.

Certainly, some of the Super spots stood out more than others. Personally, I relished the chance to glimpse the V For Vendetta teaser (even though I’m expecting the movie to be a disaster). And the Dove spot is getting the acclaim it deserves for being so distinct from the usual sports-centric advertising. But here again, it didn’t represent a new approach: The brand’s Campaign for Real Beauty has been around for months now.

I’m not oblivious to the point: That a Super Bowl ad doesn’t have to be groundbreaking to be effective. Established brands like Pepsi and Burger King only have to flash their colors to reap the benefits of this type of exposure. Still, with all the hype build-up that the ads generate right up until kickoff, I think the audience is entitled to expect more.

I think next year, I’ll change the channel during the breaks.

UPDATE: AdLand’s Caffeinegoddess concurs with my disappointment, taking aim at all the pre-hype and heightened expectations. She even points to a marketing group study by OTX that validates this view:

“We wanted to see if the Super Bowl hype helped ads,” said David Brandt, managing director for OTX’s Marketing Insights division.

“What we found was that respondents took a much more critical view of the ads when they were told they were Super Bowl ads. They hold them to a higher standard than ads in other venues. So not only are advertisers already paying much more, they also have to work much harder to make an impact.”

It seems like the marketers have created a monster, and now the audience expects them to feed it — and feed it filet mignon, instead of regular ol’ meatloaf.

But again, this doesn’t mean an ad must be spectacular to have an impact. Eyeballs are eyeballs, and those 90 million pairs that were glued on Sunday still got exposed to the sales pitches. In a way, the forum was more important than what was displayed within it.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/06/2021 03:00:33 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV, Football | Permalink |

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