Super Bowl Sunday Ads: Over Priced or Under Rated?

Not a huge football fan, but in the field of marketing or advertising? Well, then you may still be looking forward to the 52nd annual Super Bowl this Sunday for one main reason: the ads.

In our blog post, “An important variable of marketing to keep in mind for 2018…,” we discuss how using run banner ads, mid-roll YouTube ads, spam texts, running email ads, and/or Pandora ads are not necessarily effective branding because they’ve been so overdone. Likewise, in order to gain customer attention, a company has to think ahead, predict trends, and determine where consumer attention is being focused or could be focused.

The Super Bowl ads tend to be successful for those exact reasons. While notoriously expensive (according to The New York Times, this year’s ads are running for $5 million for 30-seconds of screen time, a jump from last year’s price tag of $4.8 million), Super Bowl ads seem worth the cost if these companies are getting millions of viewers to watch and talk about these commercials by the water coolers at the office the next day.

So, when did this all start? Well, the first Super Bowl took place in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers played the Kansas City Chiefs. Even in the 60s, marketers knew that this televised event would be an opportune time to air their commercials. The American Marketing Association sites that an ad back then ran for $42,000 (according to an online inflation calculator, this is equivalent to $308,200 in 2017). By 1970, that price tag leaped up to $78,000.

Time magazine claims that commercials really hit it off and gained as much anticipation as the football game itself in the 1980s. One of the first majorly popular commercials that aired during a Super Bowl was done by, of course, Apple. Their commercial played a pun on George Orwell’s novel 1984(the year this commercial was aired) and heightened Apple’s importance in the rising computer era, featuring the tagline “You will see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’” at the end of the commercial (which you can view here). This Timesarticle continues explaining the importance of Super Bowl advertising, stating, “[Today] there may be more and more places to see ads (of all kinds), but fewer and fewer places where a mass audience can see the same ads all at once.”

Makes sense, right? Wouldn’t you rather have millions of people see your ad once effectively rather than a few thousand people viewing your ad on Facebook, TV, emails, etc.?

This is why the Super Bowl is important for marketers: it creates a conversation surrounding advertising and advertising methods. Here are some of our favorite Super Bowl ads through the years:

  1. Budweiser — “Puppy Love” 2014 (but really any of their heartfelt commercials with animals).

Budweiser tugs at the heartstrings with their animal-focused, pathos-driven ads. In “Puppy Love,” a golden retriever tries to befriend a Clydesdale (the Bud signature animal) but keeps getting sent away by a farmer. In the end, they reunite and the ad concludes with the hashtag #BestBuds

  1. Career Builder — “Monkeys” 2006

Any 9:00-5:00-er will appreciate this punny commercial, which features a man at an office surrounded by his employees…who are literally monkeys. The commercial ends with the question “Want a new job? A better one awaits.” Funny and effective.

  1. Pepsi — “Pepsi vs. Coke” 1995

In this commercial, two strangers sit in a diner and start chatting. One is drinking a Pepsi and one is drinking a Coke. They decide to swap drinks and then start fighting over who gets to finish the Pepsi can. Bold move to feature a competitor in a commercial, but Pepsi went there.

  1. Volkswagen — The Force (2011)

Volkswagen set up a nostalgic, comedic scene in their “The Force” ad. Here, a young boy dressed as Darth Vader tries to use his “powers” through his costume by moving objects with his hands in the air. He fails until he stands by a Volkswagen and its engine revs (really, from his father in the kitchen with the car keys). Volkswagen takes us on a journey while featuring their product all at once.  

This year, we expect to see more sappy Budweiser ads, funny Doritos spoofs, maybe a monkey or two, along with a popular celebrity in a Twizzlers commercial. What do you think the 2018 Super Bowl ads will bring?

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