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Hal Licino

Why a Super Bowl Ad Is Well Worth $117,000 a Second

Jan 23 2012, 03:10 PM by

Out of all the possible pairings from the AFC and NFC Championships, the Patriots vs. the Giants seems to be the most compelling. Many veteran football fans will recall the Giants beating the Patriots 17-14 four years ago as the most entertaining Super Bowl of them all, and the anticipation of this epic rematch is exceeding even the cosmic levels that are standard for this colossal annual sports event. Without any way of knowing whether it would be an Apocalyptic shootout between New England’s finest vs. the Big Apple’s leviathans or a meretricious snoozer featuring the bumbling Bucs vs. the ridiculous Rams (zzzz…), the NBC television network sold out most of its ad inventory before the season even started anyway: At the jaw dropping rate of $117,000 per second!

In a world where online engagement marketing is supposed to be the best way to reach out to a consumer base, the stunning success of this traditional advertising medium goes to prove that marketing is still a numbers game, and nothing attracts as many valuable eyeballs as the Super Bowl.
60% Would Rather Go to the Bathroom during the Game than Miss the Ads
The Super Bowl has continued to thumb its nose at the proliferation of digital video recorders and downloaded television programs that can run a deep out pattern around the commercial content. With the score being prominently broadcast in every imaginable medium on the planet, watching the prime NFL game in a time delayed fashion is as pointless as voting for Rick Perry in the New Hampshire Primary. With this live audience of over 100 million Americans, whose only way to escape the commercial spots is to run to the bathroom, the big gun marketers rely on their $3.5 million 30 second ads to gain visibility far beyond spending the same amount of money on a more conventional prime time television commercial campaign. They have succeeded to the point where fully three out of every five Super Bowl viewers would rather go to the bathroom during the game itself than miss the ads!
The Game Analysis Is Dwarfed by the Ad Chatter
The morning-after analysis of the game itself is often dwarfed by the avalanches of chatter about the commercials. It seems that the ads trigger even greater passions than the perfect catch or the boneheaded fumble. For every fan agonizing over whether scooting out of the pocket would have been enough to avoid that tragic sack, there are a dozen debating the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the talking monkey, dancing bunny or sizzling hot semi-nude supermodel seen in the most notorious commercials.
Benefits Disproportionate to the 3 Cents per Viewer Cost
Marketers have not spared any effort in leveraging their expensive Super Bowl ad buy in social media, building anticipation for months with sneak peeks, and fanning the fires of debate over their commercial productions to obtain as much brand recognition for the dollar as humanly possible. The carry-on effect of this online conversation can last well into the spring and summer, providing brands with extremely long-term benefits that are disproportionate to the 3 cent per viewer cost of the ad purchase itself.
The Success of Go Daddy vs. the Abject Failure of Pets.com
Online businesses have lived or died by their Super Bowl ads. Companies such as Go Daddy have been able to carve out a visibility far above all other web hosters through their not-so-thinly veiled lascivious ads, while other internet concerns such as Pets.com have burst their own dot com bubble by sinking massive amounts of venture capital funds into Super Bowl buys that only accelerated their path to bankruptcy court.

When a Super Bowl commercial becomes iconic it leaves an indelible mark on American pop culture, such as Apple’s awe-inspiring 1984, or Coca-Cola’s Mean Joe Greene. Each and every one of the companies ponying up their millions of dollars to take their shot at the Super Bowl sweepstakes is trying to be the next unforgettable commercial, and whether they succeed or not, they can be guaranteed that they will make a profound impact.

Posted in Current Events, Tech Editorial

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