Who Spent $3.8 Million Well?

“Those ads unquestionably worked. They ran the first one in 2004, with no idea if it’d be brilliant or a colossal waste of money. But the company was paying for it out of cash flow, not venture capital, so why not? Go Daddy had 16 percent marketshare at that point, and the week after the ad, it jumped to 25 percent — and stayed there until the next year. The next Super Bowl ad got it to 28 percent share and the next one got it to 32 percent share. Even when one of the racy ads was preempted by the station, the numbers just kept growing.”

We probably broke a viewing record yesterday for the Super Bowl. Half of us watched purely for the game, around 30 percent only tuned in to see the commercials and the remaining 20 percent gathered for the social experience, probably enjoying a few of the 1.25 billion chicken wings that were consumed.

But regardless of why we watched, 73 percent of us found the Super Bowl ads entertaining and 40 percent of us probably even shared an ad or two.

As for the advertiser, what a choice—spend $3.8 million on one spot? Well, yes, if the situation is right.

The Super Bowl is the closest opportunity marketers have to speak to everyone in America. Everyone. Is our message large and relevant enough to tell everyone?

If it is, then there are three reasons that probably make the Super Bowl a good media choice.

Reason #1: Launch

A new thing that many will find value in.

The key is that it’s new. (And it’s often convenient that the game happens at the beginning of the year.) The history of Super Bowl-Ad-As-Event started with Apple launching Macintosh. Monster used the stage in the same way when it launched itself in the online jobs category in 1999 with their classic. This year movies studios, Samsung and SodaStream all took advantage of this reason.

Reason #2. Expand

A household name that wants to expand the way people think about them.

Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, has said about Las Vegas acts, “I don’t care how many tricks you can do, how can I come away from the show feeling differently?” The Super Bowl is the biggest stage. If a brand wants to expand the way people think about them they must make it worthy of that limelight, and believable. Chrysler did it last year. Yesterday, Chrysler did it again, but this time with Dodge and Jeep.

Reason #3 Gain Share

A household name who simply wants to gain more market share and mind share.

This is the most common reason and is for products that show well when we’re in our football-watching mindset: social, fun and enjoyable. Great spots of the past include McDonald’s and Coke. This year M&M’s and the Budweiser Clydesdales did it well.

Last year when M&M’s previous effort won the Ad Blitz, Debra Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer of Mars Chocolate of North America had this to say about her ad:

“You had a new character added to the mix, which consumers asked us to add. We did a fair amount of teasing leading up to it, to build anticipation. And fundamentally it was a fun ad. The music didn’t hurt, with the LMFAO song. That certainly helped to contemporize it. And I think BBDO just came through with a really entertaining spot. I think it brought a smile to your face, and you really want to share it with someone else.”

Well said.

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