Super Bowl Ads: Worth The Cost?

SB ads

Ad Age, Adweek and other business publications are pulsating with articles about Super Bowl ads. From the cost, to the worth, to the waste, everyone has an opinion. So, why not me?

Companies with deep pockets will ante up an average of $4 million for a 30 second spot. For some, the super bowl buys will be their entire advertising budget for the year.

In our own beloved booze business, we will see ads for Budweiser and Bud Light and I hope they’ll do better than in the past. (See Feb 8, 2011 posting) In addition, there will be ads for new products such as Budweiser Black Crown and Beck’s Sapphire. There may be as many as 3 30-second ads and 3 60-second ads. You do the math.

Aside from great seats at the game and Cheshire cat smiles from the ad agencies, are theses expenditures worth it?

According to a report from Kantar Media, far more viewers “remain riveted” to the tube, even during ads, than generally. (Really? I must be the exception.) Further, last years’ audience reach was reported to have been a record 111 million viewers.

Clearly, as a mass reach vehicle, there is nothing better than the Super Bowl. But is that all there is to advertising and brand building?

I came across a terrific article on the opinion page of Ad Age by Jonathan Salem Baskin, President of Baskin Associates. I don’t know him but his views on the Super Bowl are very similar to my own. But, he says it better.

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Budweiser vs. Murphy’s – The Irish Beer Ad Battle

Ad Age magazine gave the “creativity pick of the day” award (Aug. 30) to Murphy’s Beer for an ad that goes one up on Budweiser.
It seems that Bud released a summer app that lowers the price of beer, as the weather gets hotter. Huh? Obviously Budweiser doesn’t know very much about Irish weather. On our trip there in July, it was cool and raining most of the time. For me at least, that was a wonderful part of being in Ireland.
Murphy’s, on the other hand, knows that summer means lots of rain and, since they are Irish, came up with their own weather-related app. They give you a free pint of stout when it rains.

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What do BlackBerrys and Booze Have in Common?

Too many choices.

Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerrys, is having some problems. Their stock is down, the new line of products has been delayed for a year and there are rumors of corporate sharks looking to take a bite out of them.

In the view of most observers, the problem stems from too many choices. Since 2007, they have introduced 37 models including BlackBerrys that flip, slide, with touch screens, touch screens and keyboards, high and low end products. The product line is too complicated. In a recent NY Times article, a market research firm estimated that their market share slipped from almost half in 2009 to roughly 10 percent in the US.

Compare that to Apple’s iPhone. There have only been four since 2008 and all were the same but differed only in storage or capabilities from earlier models. Apple made it simple and less is more.

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