I don't like sports. I don't like team sports, especially. My idea of spectator sports is to go on YouTube and watch street fights. I just want to watch people beat the shit out of each other. In my opinion, football should involve two groups of people on a field, drunk, and beating the holy crap out of each other with deflated footballs, until the cops arrive. No knives, no guns, just drunk morons arguing about Tom Brady.
But I did agree to do something like a live blog during the game, about Super Bowl ads, which means I have to watch the game this Sunday. The only good thing about that is that it's at a bar, so maybe I'll see a couple of drunks beat each other with longnecks over whether the water-boy tampered with the Gatorade. I'm thinking about getting stoned before I do it. I'm thinking of being Hunter Thompson-like. If I had some ether in a tank I'd combine it with the pot and whatever they're buying me at the bar, and then blog about the ads, completely canned. "Tom Petty, the quarterback for the Boston Lakers, just threw a camel."
Anyway, people watch the Super Bowl to eat Cheetos and drink. Or if they're healthy, they'll eat Terra chips and celery and drink rum and Metamucil. Watching the Super Bowl sober is like going to Argentina to eat tofu. It isn't done. For good reason. Without the ads and the half-time, the game itself is 10 minutes of anesthesia. You could plop a guy in front of a TV during the Stupor Bowl and replace his alimentary canal with a Schwinn bicycle tire. He'd never catch wise. The least NBC could do is put Lady Gaga in for color commentary.
On to the real reason for watching. The marketing. I have talked to analysts and seen the reports, I've seen more studies than I can possibly stomach. I'm bleeding statistics, predictions, and demographics. The sheep I counted myself to sleep with last night were all branded with percent signs. No, the Super Bowl marketing war has nothing whatever on the Super Bowl market research war. What are Millennials watching? Will they multi-screen? Will they tweet, buzz, share, post? Will they watch it alone, together, on a waterbed, on a tarp? Will they wake up on Monday wondering what they're doing in a Motel 6 on I-95? Will they watch it on a couch, will they watch it in the can, will they watch it from a tree, will you watch it, Sam I Am?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe people really do care about the game. Do people care about the game? The reports say "yes." The others say "no." One says "maybe." And really, who gives a shit about the reports? The advertisers have already spent their millions, and whether they do it again next year has to do with the people counting the beans. The people who will knock on the CMO's door this Tuesday, asking for just one kind of percent: if it's a CPG or drinks company, we're talking sales volume. And you can be damned sure someone better be buying lots and lots of soda and chips on Sunday, and things that end in "'itos" or "eetos" or there will be lots of bios on Monday that read "Formerly, something-or-other of marketing at PepsiCo/Coca-Cola/Unilever/P&G/Inbev'/MillerCoors/Kraft.
I'm biased but the auto marketers have it way easier. They're dealing with pretty amorphous results, with no immediate expectations, so they can spin it 10 million ways to Sunday (so to speak). They really can talk about KPIs from an "eyeballs" perspective because it ain't a NASCAR race: it's not punt on Sunday, buy on Monday.
And, god knows, lots of people will be wringing their hands to see the numbers. Any numbers. "Just give us something, data, some data. My kingdom for data." And, quoth Rosalind, "I'd rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad."