5 Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl Sunday

Author: Gina Hall | February 6, 2016

A 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl will cost $5 million. That figure is up 11 percent from last year’s $4.5 million, and is representative of a steady trend that has seen the price rise some 75 percent over the last 10 years.

Super Bowl 50 is expected to be the most-viewed program in the history of television. Every brand in America — and around the world, for that matter — would love to reach the billion-plus viewers with their message. But even if you aren’t airing a spot this year, there are lessons that can be gleaned from the big boys.

Don’t Overspend

As prestigious as it may be to reach a broad audience, it is not exactly the smartest move for every brand. Budweiser can spend ridiculous amounts of money because it is trying to reach a wide base of beer drinkers around the world who have come to associate their product with the Big Game. Your brand is more likely to need a laser beam focus rather than a shotgun-style approach. Spend your ad budget wisely.

Tie Your Brand to a Current Event

Ride the coattails of others when you’re able. It’s like drafting in a race, allowing the runner or the cyclist in front of you to take the brunt of the wind while you coast with little resistance, waiting to pounce. Consumer brands have long understood that associating their product with something popular makes them popular by association.

Go Mobile

The Super Bowl will not only be watched on old-fashioned TV sets this year, but on mobile devices, as well. Even for those who are watching TV, they will also be sharing their thoughts and reactions on social media. As has been well-documented, mobile is the fastest-growing market sector for advertisers, so don’t be late to the game. And don’t make the mistake of creating lengthy hashtags, or worse, generic or unrecognizable hashtags that do nothing for your brand.

Free Research

There will be immediate postmortems to determine which commercials succeeded and which failed. Pay attention to both. Understand what audiences want and what they don’t. Let the big spenders test the waters while you sit back and take notes. Is this a year in which audacious risks pay off or is old-fashioned sentimentality winning the day? Are audiences responding better to emotional appeals or factual descriptions? Critically analyze each $5 million attempt to capture a desired demographic.

Go Beyond the Ad

The brands that are willing to spend well over $100,000 per second of airtime certainly are not stopping there. The goal is to initiate a conversation that will continue elsewhere, particularly online. And they’re starting even before kickoff, preparing audiences for what’s coming. These are full-fledged campaigns designed to create engagement that goes well beyond a mere 30 seconds on a Sunday afternoon. Broadcast media love teasing the ads and recapping them afterward. Create something interesting enough and you can take advantage of this 100-percent free advertising, as well.

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