January 24, 2009 Leave a comment
The plot has thickened for Super Bowl ads in 2009. The economy is hurting, skepticism of advertising is in no short supply, and the price is $3 million for a 30-second spot.
Go for it? Or run for the hills? Moreover, if you do take the plunge, what can you do to maximize your return on investment? Is past prologue, or are there new variables to consider?
Super Bowl spots today need to pass two distinct tests — one measurable and traditional, and the other based on unique dynamics of cross-platform engagement, most notably buzz and conversation.
Lets start with more-familiar turf. On a pure impression basis, one could well argue that the Super Bowl — the one special day when we actually “celebrate” advertising — is such an unusual magnet for consumer attention and recall that it is worth every penny.
Indeed, curiosity, anticipation, guessing and nostalgia come into play big time. Consumers want to see the ads; theyre akin to entertainment. In the past three years, Nielsen IAG research disclosure: Nielsen cuts my check found that Super Bowl spots achieved 31% higher breakthrough and 93% higher likability than the typical TV ad. On top of that, the spots typically receive an unusually generous layer of free media and other buzz before the game.
But its not that simple. Timing is also a factor, according to IAG. First- and second-quarter spots yield better recall than second-half spots. And fourth-quarter spots are roughly comparable to a “normal” TV buy. Viewers ability to associate the correct brand with the ad and reported likability levels similarly wane over the course of the game.
But the other critical variable, increasingly relevant today, is how this much-anticipated creative performs beyond commonly accepted TV metrics.
Indeed, TV can no longer be viewed in a vacuum, and the Super Bowl involves a far more complicated mix of marketing activity and user engagement. Great copy finds life in other places, from the water cooler to YouTube. Moreover, if managed properly and holistically, Super Bowl ads can benefit from a “latency” effect that rewards the brand in perpetuity via search results.