Why Super Bowl advertising is a ripoff. Or not.
This issue has been debated in media for decades, and the debate goes on
January 25, 2016
There are certain issues that everyone takes a stand on.
Chocolate vs. vanilla.
Whether toilet paper rolls under or over.
If syrup is pronounced “seer-up” or “sir-up.”
And the one that divides the media community every time at this year: Is Super Bowl advertising worth it?
“According to the data, 80 percent of Super Bowl ads are not effective,” says Ira Kalb, assistant professor of clinical marketing at USC Marshall School of Business. “But many continue to advertise because they can reach a large audience.”
Clearly there’s no one right answer – it depends on the client, the target audience, the pricing and dozens of other things. Yet media people debate the worthiness of Super Bowl advertising each year with a fervor usually reserved for discussions involving politics or religion.
With that in mind, Media Life has put together a list of the five best arguments for and against Super Bowl advertising.
Will this change any minds? Maybe not, but at least it gives you ammunition to counter your co-worker who thinks he’s right about Super Bowl advertising.
The case FOR Super Bowl advertising
1. It’s reasonably priced
There’s much made of the high pricetag – a reported $5 million this year – for Super Bowl advertising. But you’re also reaching an audience 10 times bigger than almost anything else airing regularly on broadcast, and by that measure, the CPM isn’t so outrageous.
2. It’s great for branding
Everyone knows the name of the Super Bowl advertisers, and for small companies trying to build a reputation, that alone is worth the money.
3. It’s a great way to get attention
You will read about little else over the next two weeks but Super Bowl ads. Advertisers are suddenly treated like Kardashian sisters. They hog the spotlight and become hot on social media.
4. It’s YouTube gold
With most advertisers releasing ads online before games, they get millions of extra viewers before the game has even kicked off.
5. It’s a great way to reach men
It’s become harder and harder to reach young men en masse as they migrate to other media. But the vast majority of them watch the Super Bowl, and for clients who target this group, it’s a great chance to reach them.
The case AGAINST Super Bowl advertising
1. It’s too pricey
No matter how many people you reach, $5 million for a 30-second ad is ridiculous. You could reach twice as many people through smart planning and buying of other platforms.
2. It’s about entertainment, not advertising
The talk after the game isn’t about products being sold. It’s about whether an ad was funny, which hardly justifies the investment.
3. It’s rare to see a sales return
When people aren’t talking about your product, they aren’t buying it – most Super Bowl advertisers see no correlating sales increases.
4. It’s easy to mess up
Super Bowl ads are not meant to convince people to buy your product. They’re meant to convince people your company is cool, and if you make a bad commercial, people think the opposite. They suddenly believe your company is lame.
5. It’s gotten too cluttered
The past three years have featured the largest amount of ad time ever in the Super Bowl, which makes it harder for an advertiser to stand out.
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