It wouldn't be the Monday after the Superbowl without the analysis of the $2 + million per spot commercials. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for Superbowl ads - especially the more cinematic or humorous advertisements.
A relevant question that none of the analysts seems to ask is - do Superbowl ads work? The answer is: that depends on what you mean by "work".
Do Superbowl Ads Generate Positive Cash Flow?
This question is tough to answer. If I spend $10 million on Superbowl advertising alone do I get a return of at least $10 million + $1? Probably not.
A few years back when venture capitalists were wheeling truckloads of money up to dot-coms, every new dot-com blew their money on pricey ads. Not one of them is still in business today. Pets.com is a prime example - they spent a tons of money on ads including at the Superbowl. They just couldn't sell enough dog food to stay in business.
Do Superbowl Ads Generate Buzz?
This is where expensive advertising such as this pays off. If an ad is good, people will talk about it, post it to web sites, parody it, and give it awards. A good ad will generate buzz and talk for a while.
Another nice thing about the Superbowl is that larger groups of families and friends gather to watch. This can help with word of mouth when people talk about the ads with friends and families.
One of the biggest advertisers on the Superbowl is Bud Light. They had some great ads last night too. Undoubtedly people will be talking about some of their advertising over the next couple of weeks.
If they hadn't advertised on the Superbowl, would it have a negatively impacted their business? It's hard to know for sure. Their Superbowl ads are part of their larger overall marketing which includes comprehensive year-round multi-channel marketing.
One of the secrets of Superbowl advertising is that it's not just about selling beer to individual consumers. Having an ad on the Superbowl also makes Bud Light look like a big deal to its distributors, restaurateurs, liquor store owners, and their own employees. It's as much public relations as it is simple advertising.
What Can Small Businesses Like Yours Learn?
Here are a few of the lessons we can derive from Superbowl advertising:
- Smart businesses market across multiple channels all year round.
- Advertising that's simply cute or funny without developing word of mouth, or customer demand is a waste of your money.
- PR and branding are extremely important aspects of marketing.
- One of marketing's main jobs is to build consumer confidence.
- Don't blow your entire marketing budget on one risky ad or series of ads.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet