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The Only Thing Super Is The Spot Price

By now you are probably already exhausted by Super Bowl advertising, and the game isn't for a couple more days. In an effort to squeeze every ROI penny out of the nearly $4 million, 30-second spot cost (not including the creative expenses), advertisers are working overtime to create multiplatform ways to interact with their brands, other than just sitting back and letting their ad interrupt an otherwise perfectly good football game.

We in the business have been obligated to read all about these exploits as if we were tracking the spread of an Ebola virus or witnessing a new kind of marketing arms race. Most of us have already seen the spots, thanks to the claim by (who else?) YouTube that "ads released before the Super Bowl generated more 9.1 million views on average, compared with 1.3 million for those appearing online the day of the game." We have also seen the "rejected" ads designed never to run, but rather to create some sort of viral buzz around the injustice of being "turned down" by CBS.

There are now 12,000 (and counting) ways to vote for your favorite Super Bowl ad, as if the fate of the free world was somehow hanging in the balance. The old-fashioned notion of "if it works, it will move product" seems to have been replaced by "if they like it, we will get some press and maybe win an award."

What had been a three-hour football game has now turned into a week-long media frenzy. The few important or intelligent questions about the game are dispensed with in the first 15 minutes, leaving 167.75 more hours to fill with addled ex-players paired up with sumptuous network eye candy to leaven the dead air with moronic trivia about New Orleans, past games or idiocies about the players slated to perform. Any minute I expect Henry Blodgett to post cell phone photos and a critique of the check-in procedures at the Maison Dupuy Hotel.

Having been to a couple of Super Bowls, I can say with confidence that if you have ever written a check to buy even 10 seconds of network advertising, you will be buried by an avalanche of the most excessive display of food and drink imaginable. Had that same food been smorgasborded during Katrina, everyone living in the Superdome would have left five pounds heavier.

With the possible exception of the 1984 Ridley Scott ad for Apple's Macintosh, I am hard-pressed to recall an ad that premiered on the Super Bowl and ended up in the Madison Avenue Hall of Fame (that Mean Joe Greene jersey in exchange for a Coke ran a few months before the Super Bowl). In fact, I am hard-pressed to remember most of them from last year. Was Betty White last year or the year before? Clint Eastwood? Who knows or cares?

With most of the ads already out there, since 95% of all Super Bowl games have been deathly dull, there is, I suppose, little to no point in even watching it.

Then again, there is that Kaepernick kid.

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2 comments about "The Only Thing Super Is The Spot Price".
  1. Andrew Giangola from New York, NY , February 1, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
    There's certainly disappointment to come after living through any event so massively hyped (including an ad showcase on a television program). In this case, let us not forget the Ray Charles Diet Pepsi "You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-huh! campaign from the early 90's. Swept the USA Today ad meter and will go down as one of the greatest jingle-inspired ad campaigns of all time.
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , February 1, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
    If you don't catch the spots before the game, you can catch up later. No party ? Not interested in the game ? Go shopping. So does the ability for non-sportsters to view the ads elsewhere create a larger niche market for that day somewhere else that hasn't been before ? Probably not.