Super Bowl Marketing Goes Dark

Last night, the Super Bowl turned out to be an incredible game with the Baltimore Ravens holding off a furious rally by the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFL championship 34 – 31. Unfortunately, the entertaining game was interrupted in the 3rd quarter by a 30-minute delay when the New Orleans SuperDome suddenly lost electrical power. The annoying outage sucked a lot of energy out the game and disrupted the rhythm of both teams.

However, the power outage that put the stadium into temporary darkness wasn’t the only annoying interruption. Almost every commercial break also felt like an annoying marketing interruption. Major brands, such as Budweiser, Volkswagen, Doritos, Pepsi, and GoDaddy, displayed TV ads that were pointless and distracting. It seemed as if these companies were marketing in the dark.

I sat through dozens of commercials that never answered the all-important question, “What’s in it for me?” Why should I buy your product? How will it make my life better? Instead, these companies spent over $3 million for each 30-second spot and seemed to think that silly, outrageous scenes or crude comments were the gateway to my wallet. Instead, I felt irritated to sit through such lame advertising.

There is a myth that many advertisers believe, which is generating awareness or getting people’s attention with silly antics is the key to successful marketing. But, that belief is short-sighted. Just because you can make someone laugh or shock them with a provocative image doesn’t mean people will purchase a product. Just because you make someone look doesn’t mean you can make them buy.

People purchase products and services according to the principle of self-interest. So, you can try to make an audience laugh, but those laughs don’t easily translate into money. Banks don’t accept laughs as deposits.

Getting people to remember your product is an important part of any marketing and advertising campaign. But, don’t lose sight of what you want people to remember the most. Make sure someone will remember the value of what you’re offering. Wrap the benefits of what you’re selling within humor and provocative statements so that people remember why they should buy.

If you want to keep the lights on in your business or non-profit, make sure your marketing campaign answers the public’s most important question, “What’s in it for me?” Otherwise, they’ll just view your promotional efforts as another annoying interruption.


About Rob Eagar

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors, businesses, and non-profit organizations spread their message like wildfire. He has consulted with numerous publishing houses, non-profits, and trained over 400 authors, including several New York Times bestsellers. Rob is the author of "Sell Your Book Like Wildfire," which is considered the bible of book marketing. Find out more at: WildFire Marketing. You can follow Rob on Twitter and connect with him at: Google+ or email at:


  1. Rob,

    This totally resonated with me – thank you for sharing so clearly about why I felt this way! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after reading this, you’re spot on. Girl Interrupted, that was me. Your line, “Just because you make someone look doesn’t mean you can make them buy.” – that was priceless.

    Posted this on FB – loved this.


  2. Rob Eagar says:

    Thanks, Becky. I appreciate your comments. Most other people I’ve talked to thought this year’s Super Bowl commercials were really lame. So much money wasted.