What You Can Learn From the Super Bowl Advertisers

The Super Bowl is behind us, but buzz about the brands that bought space to reach the masses during this much-watched event is still buzzing. It’s buzz that can benefit businesses–of any size–that are looking for ways to boost awareness and break through an increasingly cluttered media environment. Small businesses, in particular, can learn from the best of the best (and worst of the worst…). For example:

  • If you pay close attention to the brands and products that advertise, you’ll find that they are primarily those that have a very wide and broad appeal which reflects the audience watching the game. During the Super Bowl, it’s about appealing to the masses; not about niche marketing.
  • Unlike with other types of programming, those advertising during the Super Bowl benefit from the buzz around the ads in general–in what other situations are consumers likely to make an effort to actually watch the ads?
  • Because of the buzz around the ads there is an expectation that they be entertaining–that entertainment (or sometimes shock) value also leads to coverage of the spot before and after its actual airing which adds to the value and reach for advertisers
  • The nature of the Super Bowl programming (e.g. the broad audience, the expectation of entertainment, higher odds that viewers are actually watching) can make this programming especially useful for new product/service launches that are attempting to simply generate awareness–the first step in any advertising campaign. GoDaddy, for instance, did this quite effectively years ago.
Even small businesses can get a piece of the action through spots available to local advertisers. These spots are expensive, though, so unless your product or service is well-aligned with the audience, you’re best to steer clear. Some cautions (about Super Bowl or any other form of advertising):
  • Entertainment does not necessarily = preference or sales. Unless your goal is simply to entertain, make sure your ads are designed to achieve specific goals.
  • The big brands that advertise during the Super Bowl are going for long-term awareness/preference–and they have the budgets to do this. For instance, E*Trade’s ads are popular among even younger audiences that are not yet investing in the stock market. When they are, though, whose name do you think will be top of mind?
Super Bowl ads can work and you can get a good sense of which organizations have broken the code by considering the companies that return year after year. Analyzing what they’re doing–and how they’re doing it–before, during and after the actual Super Bowl can yield some key lessons for all of us.
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