Super Bowl 50 was hyped as a big showdown between top-tier quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. Unfortunately, their performances didn’t live up to the hype. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won the game, but they earned the dubious distinction of worst offensive performance (194 total yards) by any winning team in Super Bowl history. Worse, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers literally fumbled the game away with 4 turnovers and over 100 yards in costly penalties.
However, the Panthers weren’t the only team guilty of fumbling a great opportunity. Many companies who purchased Super Bowl TV commercials fumbled the opportunity to build their brand and increase long-term sales. There were a few excellent ads, which I’ll mention below. But, sloppy advertising was consistent throughout the entire game, especially costly considering the price tag for a 30-second television slot was $4.5 million!
How did advertisers fumble millions in sloppy advertising? Just like the Panthers, marketers committed basic mistakes. By my own count, I watched every commercial and noticed:
- 25% of advertisements never showed the product in use.
- 30% of advertisements were boring and self-indulgent.
- 25% of advertisements were effective – that’s a low number.
The point of Super Bowl advertising seems to be lost on many marketing executives. The goal is not about grabbing immediate sales – that’s an unrealistic expectation. People don’t watch Super Bowl ads and immediately go to a website to purchase. Nor do they hop in their car and hurry to a retailer. Instead, they continue watching the game and move on with their normal life. They forget most of the ads the very next day.
In other words, effective Super Bowl ads must make people remember and consider buying a brand long after the Super Bowl is over…6 weeks from now…6 months from now. But, consumers won’t purchase in the future if they never see what the product is, forget the name of the company, or can’t correctly link the advertising to the brand.
To show the difference, below are three examples of effective commercials during Super Bowl 50:
Here are three of the worst commercials from Super Bowl 50 (boring, no product in use, etc.):
Let’s hope the two teams in next year’s Super Bowl don’t play so sloppy and blow a great opportunity. Let’s also hope that next year’s advertisers don’t waste another $4.5 million dollars on sloppy advertising.
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