The Harbowl: A Marketer’s Dream (Oh, And Those $3.7 Million Ads!)

As marketers, we’re always looking for the story beyond the story. The one that will draw you in, grab your emotions and make you care. Yes, even for mammoth events like the Super Bowl.

In 2013, the game is full of story lines, but the one grabbing everyone’s attention is the sibling rivalry. For the first time, two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, will lead their teams in the biggest game of the year. Imagine what their parents, Jack and Jackie, are thinking.

Harbowl

Of course, there are other story lines as well. Ray Lewis’ final game in a remarkable career. The overnight sensation Colin Kaepernick has become. With the game on the line, how confident is anyone in David Akers? Including David Akers?

While the game actually looks exciting this year (not always the case), people around the world will tune in for the ads. As I used to ask my training session attendees, what’s the one day of the year that people watch advertising? Yep, the Super Bowl. In fact, an estimated 44% of women and 31% of men admitted to tuning into the game ‘primarily for the commercials,’ according to a 2012 survey by CouponCabin.com.

And at $3.7 million per 30-second spot (according to the Ad Age Data Center), this year’s advertisers will once again be shelling out. Obviously these companies and brands feel like the ROI (return on investment) they generate makes the high price tag worthwhile. It’s hard to believe that when you actually watch some of the spots though.

It has been interesting to see the increase in social media marketing leading up to, during and after the game. Pepsi made quite a splash in 2010 by only utilizing social media for the big game. I’m not saying that’s the right choice for everyone, but it definitely raised some eyebrows around the industry and helped fuel the discussion about social media marketing as a legitimate option, even for larger companies.

Speaking of Super Bowl advertising, what’s your favorite? Immediately, two ads/advertisers come to mind for me. The first is Budweiser, who does a fantastic job every year delivering attention-grabbing ads that tie into their brand. (No, I’m not a customer; I’m more of a liquor fan.) It’s not just that people are still talking about their ads the days following the big game, but they’re also talking about Budweiser. (That’s not always the case with popular commercials.)

One of my favorite Budweiser spots (of many) is Respect, aired during the ’02 game. It was Budweiser’s tribute to New York City after the terrorist attacks the previous fall.

My other favorite is the iconic Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coca-Cola which aired during the 1980 game. Yes, I’m a Steelers fan, but the spot still resonates with viewers today and instantly brings Coca-Cola to mind. (In a tribute to the ad’s popularity and effectiveness, Downy has actually remade the spot for this year’s game.)

Now I’m passing the ball to you. What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial or advertiser?

Oh, and one more question… John or Jim?

Advertising enthusiast & football fanatic,
Jaime

Image credit: marsmet481 on Flickr

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About Jaime Shine

I love to write. While most kids were playing with blocks or dolls, I was publishing magazines and newspapers – feature articles, ads, sports box scores, the whole nine yards. From promotions director to advertising roles to branding projects, I’ve always been interested in all forms of marketing. That interest blossomed into a career path and led me to open my own business, which has always been a dream of mine. And I’d love to work my magic for you. Check out my company's services, discover more about me or chime in on my blog, covering a variety of topics, at http://jaimeshine.com.

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