Just How Super Is The Super Bowl?

Not all programs are right for all brands, even if that program is the Super Bowl. The 7th annual Super Bowl Engagement Survey, conducted by Brand Keys, Inc., reports that upsets are not limited to the playing field when it comes to the return the advertisers will get on their sizeable investments.

Assessments show that Denny's, Hyundai and Budweiser are the three advertisers most likely to get the highest return on their Super Bowl ad investments., E*Trade, Pedigree, and Coke are likely to see far fewer returns.

Setting aside the question of quality creative, the survey brings into harsh relief the question that is being more loudly articulated this year than ever before: does the ad buy actually do anything for the brand? This is more than Monday-morning before, creative quarterbacking. There's a high "Water Cooler Effect" but advertisers should remember that "buzz" comes in two frequencies: positive and negative. "Wasn't that terrible?" and "What were they trying to say?" were never phrases that appeared in the strategic or creative brief.



Clients want to know more than that they were seen. It's been a long time since consumers have been this uniformly aware of the economy, and brands that indulge in conspicuous consumption at $100,000 a second may find viewers tuning out their brand, even as they stay tuned into the game.

The 2009 survey was conducted among a national sample of 1,200 men and women, 18-65 years of age, who indicated that they were going to watch Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday. The research examines most of the brands advertising "on the Super Bowl" and is based on reports in industry publications prior to the survey being fielded last week.

Like the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the Super Bowl Engagement Survey is created to predictively measure respondents' true reactions to brands within the context of the Super Bowl medium. Results correlate highly with respondent behavior in the marketplace and are reliable predictors of future brand purchase.

The ability for a brand and the media to engage is based upon an emotional and rational-based assessment that measures the level of engagement created between the media environment and the advertised brand. Think of it as identifying how the media reinforces--or in some cases, degrades--brand values. What you want to see is a minimum of 7 points added to your brand to ensure that you're getting a return on the investment.

Assessments for this year's Super Bowl XLIII advertisers:

AdvertiserReturn on
AdvertiserReturn on
Hyundai+9Universal Pictures
(Land of the Lost)
Bud Light+6E*Trade-2
Bridgestone Firestone+5Go
(Monsters vs. Aliens)

 Engagement assessments are separate and apart from how many eyeballs were watching and are a "reality check" that lets advertisers know how super their media buys actually are, and they can do it before signing a check. It has nothing to do with "being watched" or of consumers "being aware," and has everything to do with viewers being emotionally engaged with the brand. That's vastly different from being entertained. A laugh is not an acceptable return on an investment of this size, especially in today's economy.

2 comments about "Just How Super Is The Super Bowl? ".
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  1. Monica Bower from TERiX Computer Service, January 29, 2009 at 9:45 a.m.

    GoDaddy runs something just ridiculous every year, but that's what its target audience has come to expect, and even appreciate. If they actually made an 'engaging' ad with broad mass appeal it would completely derail the intent of the advertising, which is to secure that niche. It's hard to appear cheap while spending three million dollars but GoDaddy has essentially perfected it; I get the sense while watching that they paid for the ad with barter to a strip club in Atlantic City. I don't know about engagement but I am interacting on an emotional level with the brand.

  2. Kevin Horne from Verizon, January 29, 2009 at 11:39 a.m.

    This is priceless - a survey of "engagement" before the ads even run. Yeah, as a matter of fact, i was just over at the <i>water cooler</i> and i heard someone tell a colleague "wow, i really liked that Denny's ad i didnt see yet in the Super Bowl."

    If anyone can untangle the seven competing strands of logic in paragraphs 3 thru 8, let me know.

    The date line on this article has to be April 1st.

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