Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To Spend or not to Spend

Some Betty White Super Bowl ad - I think it was
for The Voice - which I didn't watch Sunday. 
As a member of the marketing department at a company that is not the size of your standard advertisers on Super Bowl Sunday, I have a hard time understanding what it's like to be at a company which puts together an ad for the Super Bowl.  From a marketers standpoint, I have to imagine that the process is fun and it has to be exciting to see your hard work on television in a place where you know millions of people will be watching (and judging).  From a business standpoint, I find it hard to imagine that many companies can justify a $3.5 million investment for 30 seconds of air time.

As we debated this very idea at work yesterday (sorry Anub - I saved this one for places other than in the marketing department), the argument came up that it is a great conversation source for the water cooler on the Monday after the Super Bowl.  Okay, but where is the ROI?  For me, one of my favorite commercials was the Dorito's commercial where the dog buried the cat, then bribed his owner with Doritos.  Aside from that one, most of the ads either 1) annoyed me, 2) didn't appeal to me because I didn't need the product, 3) I don't remember 2 days later, or 4) all of the above.

So, let's talk about the one I did like from Doritos, seen here.  I liked the commercial, but that doesn't change the fact that Ruffles taste better than Doritos and my taste didn't magically change because I liked their ad.  But what about the social aspect, I mean, you are blogging about the Super Bowl ad, aren't you Nathan?  Why yes I am, and perhaps this added discussion will bring greater awareness to a product that otherwise might struggle.

My concern is that it seems like a Catch-22 for the usefulness of these ads.  The brands that can afford the high price tag (like Doritos, Coke, Honda, you name them) are probably large enough that the expenditure is fairly meaningless in the long run.  Maybe there is an immediate sales lift - and maybe for a company that large, the lift is even great enough to generate a large enough return that the spend is justified as Tim Arnold claims here.

The brands that I believe could benefit most from an ad on the Super Bowl - lesser known brands trying to grab our attention in a less commoditized industry - likely can't afford the massive investment. Avi Dan writes on Forbes about the many large organizations that chose not to advertise this year after airing an ad last year.

While I'd one day love to be part of the team that develops the ad that everybody loves during the Super Bowl, a part of me would have to question whether our money could be spent in a better way.  Maybe instead I'll be a part of the smaller company that puts all of its eggs in one basket, develops an ad so compelling that all of America just has to rush out and buy the product and becomes the next Apple.  In the meantime, I'll just continue to complain about the crappy Chevy commercials until someone is smart enough to do what has needed to be done for a long time and just fill all of the commercial breaks with the Bud Bowl (although I can't stand Bud beer either and won't be convinced to drink it no matter how good their ads are).

1 comment:

  1. Good work as always, Betty White has worn out her welcome.