What Game? Media Sales Lessons from Super Bowl Commercials

Clydesdale horses brand Bud

Anheuser-Busch’s Clydesdale connection to the Budweiser brand traces back to 1933 when August Busch Jr. surprised his father by having the majestic horses parade down a St. Louis street carrying beer to celebrate the end of Prohibition. This 1933 photo shows a six-horse hitch pulling a loaded wagon with the St. Louis stables in the background. (Anheuser-Busch)

We waited for this past weekend all year. The teams won the right to compete, party invitations were sent, chips and dips and snacks prepared. We are all glued to the TV. And the fun begins as we watch the commercials during the Super Bowl (because the game sure was a disaster!).

At $40 million a spot, advertisers have to get it right.

But this year seemed different – less about beer, bros and boobs and more about imaging and product information. Of course there were winners and losers, and not just on the field. American values scored, while disconnects had some of us scratching our heads, saying, “What was THAT?”

So what did we in media sales learn from this year’s Super Bowl spots?

  • Forget the fad. Last year, Psy was selling pistachio nuts Gangnam Style. Even when that commercial aired a year ago, my husband said, “Aren’t they coming in a little late with that?” Much like the stock market, fads are great if you can jump on them at their peak and jump off as they fall. Instead, the pistachio folks were stuck with millions of us hitting the remote when their commercial with the happy dance came on all year long.
  • More product information. While not all products needed more explanation about them (we all know what a cold Budweiser will do), I am betting that even after last year’s 30-second kiss, the average person still couldn’t tell you what GoDaddy is. But with the humor connected with the Tim Tebow T-Mobile campaign and that of Bruce Willis’s Honda, this year’s spots left us with no questions that T-Mobile requires no contracts and Honda has a great safety record.
  • Stay the course. If you have a winner, keep winning. Budweiser’s Clydesdales have very little to do with beer and bros and everything to do with branding. Some critics called it schmaltzy, but it was estimated that this year’s puppy-and-pony show had more than 33 million YouTube hits from social media before it ever aired. Bud has a solid icon, and has built a solid following as everyone waits to see what the horses will do this year, and the next. By the way, this is good advice for those in media sales. Use your CRM to determine your top accounts, analyze what is going right, and keep on with that strategy!
  • Build an image. Chrysler is American made, with a Baby Boomer spokesman in Bob Dylan that caught our attention. Cheerios is for families – all kinds of families. Doritos is fun and fun-loving. And pups, horses, friends, a love story, and rural American scenery, or a serviceman returning home, all equal a cold Budweiser.
  • Creativity counts. In the case of Doritos, it counts for a million bucks in the competition for this year’s Super Bowl spot. How many commercials have we seen and heard that start with a question (Need your carpets cleaned?) – come up with an answer (Just call Bob!) – give all the info (three rooms for $99 and blah blah blah) – and end with nothing (cleaning carpets since 1988). You DO have to answer the target’s needs, but use your time to get attention too. Who could stop watching the guy in the cardboard box as the little kid ate the Doritos while turning said box into a time machine?

Remember that for almost everyone in media sales, your client’s investment on your station is like $40 million to one of these mega advertisers. It causes them the same angst and deserves the same attention. Watch the trends in these national spotlights and advise your local customers accordingly. You will both score!

By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services




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By | 2015-12-24T15:05:52+00:00 February 4th, 2014|Blog, Media Sales|0 Comments