Super Bowl ads cost too much and don’t drive sales

Global omnichannel communication company surveyed 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and found 52% thought a Super Bowl ad would be a successful use of a brand’s marketing budget but said the ads do not drive a level of purchasing behavior to warrant the price tag. Ya think?

Despite all the hype around the Super Bowl ads last year, a 30-second spot cost about $7 million, and only 23% of those participating in the study said they were likely to make a purchase based on a Super Bowl ad alone.

While large campaigns may believe that a Super Bowl ad increases overall brand awareness, 41% reported they were more likely to purchase from a brand that communicates with them continuously and personally.

41% of respondents said personalized ongoing communications drive them to purchase, versus 35% for a large campaign. And 55% preferred being approached personally throughout the year over a one-time campaign such as a Super Bowl ad.

So what good is a Super Bowl ad? Awareness of a new product or brand, but the ads aren’t about results. Those of us in marketing know that agencies who recommend the spots often wine and dine sponsors in suites overlooking the game. This year, however, senior executives are more likely to ask, “what di the money we spent on the big game get us?”.

The other issue is that TV viewership tends to decline at the end of the NFL season. HBO has become a shadow of its former glory, and streaming is again picking up new viewers.

So where is the ad money supposed to go? Digital? No way, say my clients, who are tired of all the online ad fraud. I have seen a shift in regional promotional budgets with select retailers. They’re buying end caps in stores and shelf space.

In addition, major retailers, from Target to Whole Foods, are leaning on their suppliers to cut prices, capitalize on cooling inflation, and prevent shoppers from buying less and turning to discount stores.
Retailers usually negotiate prices with vendors at least annually. But this time, the stakes are higher. Many retailers are telling their vendor partners they need to make their case for keeping prices high. Otherwise, they risk discontinued orders or unfavorable placement on shelves.

What I’m also hearing is that retailers are reducing SKU selections. Having eight varieties of pasta sauce is not as profitable as having just a more significant piece of the top brands.

Would I still use TV? It’s hard to say. Some brands will benefit from TV, but many brands will not. One thing is for sure. Wasting $10 million on a Super Bowl ad is a massive waste when budgets are under pressure.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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