When does spending $5 million on the Super Bowl make sense for brands?

The Super Bowl is a great advertising opportunity.  The 2017 Super Bowl’s audience will be at least 110 million viewers. In terms of cultural reach, football’s championship game is twice the size of the biggest blockbuster. However, surveys of Super Bowl audiences have found that between 80 and 90 percent of the ads wash over audiences and don’t make them any more likely to buy the product on display.

A 2013 study by Wesley R. Hartmann of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Daniel Klapper of Humboldt University Berlin, “Do Superbowl Ads Affect Brand Share?,” found that commercials by beer and soda companies in the big game had a “null and/or insignificant effect” on revenue. The researchers found no relationship between ads and growth in sales per viewing household. Companies were spending millions of dollars for nothing.  Duh.

Make no mistake about it, advertising is supposed to sell your product but there is a serious disconnect between awareness and sales.   If you’re a company like Wix, who is trying to create awareness that you can help companies create websites, the money on a Super Bowl spot may be worth it, but only if you have thought through the “pull” needed to turn prospects into customers.

Think of it as this way: once a consumer has been exposed to your ad what are they likely to do?  If you’re a soft drink or beer the chances are that you’re not going to go online to research the product, but for a service that helps you build a website you’re probably likely to not only go to their website but research what others have to say via social media. In the case of Wix there is both good and bad news as the tweets below indicate.

Now for a brand like Budweiser, who is making a bit of a political statement tonight, the money is wasted.  They probably could have used those dollars for more in store POP or promotions.

Finally, there are brands that trying real hard to stay out of the political debate we currently have around and incompetent President.  I just finished attending some qual research and consumers are noticing which brands support Trump and which ones are trying to stay neutral. A lot of them feel this is a huge mistake and want brand to speak up and be more socially responsible.

The bottom line: If you want to generate awareness rapidly the Super Bowl may be a great investment, but ensure that you have thought through the pull tactics needed to complete your brand promise.

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