Super Bowl Ads: Touchdown or Sack?

Ready your game day snacks and beverages, Super Bowl weekend is fast approaching. And while we tune in to watch two teams battle for pigskin supremacy, marketers are gearing up for the coveted, highly anticipated, Holy Grail of advertising. Stakes are high for players, coaches, and marketers alike.

The cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad spot has increased 75% between 2005 and 2014, now generating a staggering $2.19 billion in ad sales. With 30-seconds now costing $5 million, advertisers are beginning to question whether the investment is still worth it. For the modern ad campaign, engagement is king. Purchasing access to a large pool of viewers for a single commercial may not be enough to reap a ROI that justifies such a hefty price tag. While advertisers will reach over 100 million people in one instance, will consumers be motivated to actively engage in their brand and offerings based solely on a commercial alone?

For me, the most memorable Super Bowl ad was Volkswagen’s: The Force commercial from 2011. Not only was I motivated to learn more about the brand, I shared this commercial through many of my social outlets. Albeit I never purchased a VW, this ad sparked me as a consumer to spread brand awareness. Five years ago this single commercial could potentially have been all that was needed to inspire consumers to engage, but nowadays marketers are held to a higher standard. Measurement, targeting, and the ability to deliver relevant advertising through online and offline media is imperative. Being ahead of the curve and delivering successful campaigns is ever heightened in difficulty, as consumers have become flooded with information and imagery. Super Bowl ads have become a brand appetizer, providing the consumer a taste of what a company has to offer. It is through the utilization of additional marketing outlets (mobile, web, etc.), consumers are served the main course and engage. Upon purchase of a good or service, the dessert.

So, is a Super Bowl ad enough? In my opinion, no. Could it potentially be a successful jump start into an immersive multi-platform campaign? Absolutely.In order for advertisers to gain the edge, they must focus on the marriage of their digital content and ad insertion capabilities. Forward thinking brands must analyze, optimize and expand in order to build effective advertising campaigns. One play in the playbook just isn’t enough, a brand must focus on playing offense and defense, adjusting on the fly and using each of its players to score the game winning touchdown.