In case you’ve been living under a rock since the holidays, this Sunday is the Big Game. As the nation’s mega-TV-watching event of the year approaches, the teams involved are most certainly gearing up to see whose reputations will be crushed in agonizing defeat – and whose will be hoisted high on the pillars of victory, fame and even greater fortune.
Oh, and between the commercials there will also be a football game played by two NFL teams whose names escape me at the moment.
Yes, even if you’re not in the advertising industry like I am, the grand and glorious spectacle known as the Super Bowl has become as well-watched and celebrated for the commercials shown during the broadcast as for the football played on the field – sometimes more so. I’m not being original in any way when I say that far too often the commercials are more exciting and memorable than the game itself.
This Sunday’s match up should be no different. The television audience around the world is expected to be so huge that advertisers have spent almost $4 million for each 30 seconds of commercial time during the game. That’s nearly $8 million a minute! These guys should be in Congress, spending money like that.
How important have commercials become to the Super Bowl phenomenon? On Monday’s “Tonight Show” on NBC, host Jay Leno didn’t interview a single player from either team playing this weekend. Instead, his big guest was Donny Deutsch, celebrity ad man and frequent commentator on the network’s “Today” show. Naturally, Deutsch’s own agency created several commercials slated to air during the game, which he duly promoted.
Many Super Bowl advertisers have learned to leak – or tease, if you will – their commercial “spots” weeks before the game itself in hopes of generating the all-important buzz that gets people searching for their spot online and sharing links to them on social media outlets.
From my own extensive experience, I know that many advertisers and the agencies that produce their commercials hope and pray that someone, or even better, some group, finds the spots offensive enough to try to prevent them from airing during the game. When that happens, my friends, it’s marketing nirvana. Already last week, the media was muttering about actress Kate Upton’s supposedly-too-sexy Mercedes commercial that will be exposed during Sunday’s game. I have no doubt the folks at Mercedes are thrilled at the faux controversy.
As I write this, several groups are up-in-tattooed-arms about a leaked Volkswagen spot that features an office worker from Minnesota encouraging grumpy co-workers to cheer up. The joke is that this whiter-than-Wonder-Bread worker has a heavy Jamaican accent. Horrors! I think it’s a brilliantly calculated effort that will have millions of eyeballs glued to the TV screen to see if the commercial runs or if it will replaced by another one the agency already has locked and loaded (pardon the gun-related analogy, Ms. Pelosi) to air in its place.
By the way, as an example of the value of a well-made commercial aired during the annual Super Bowl, I would bet that more people remember Volkswagen’s adorable Darth Vader Kid spot from last year’s game than which team won the game itself. Am I right?
In spite of the highly calculated Internet leakage of many spots, viewers can still expect surprises during the game. From what I hear, many of those surprises will come from the remarkably risqué nature of the ads. Oh joy. Like we don’t get enough of that any other day of the TV-viewing week. Interestingly, and in spite of stratospheric costs, more advertisers than ever will run longer 60- and 90-second spots this year, too.
So who will end up the big winner this weekend? Only time will tell. One thing’s certain – it will be great fun to watch. And with any luck there might even be a decent football game in between.
I’ll see you ’round town.
© 2013 WordChaser, Inc.
Jim Chase is an award- winning advertising copywriter
and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook. Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://jchasemythoughtsexactly.blogspot.com/