What’s in the Super Bowl?

Are you ready for “The Big Game?” As you may already be aware, marketers are not allowed to use the term “Super Bowl” as it’s trademarked. Hence, the far more generic “Big Game” title is what we’re left with.

All cynicism aside, this is a huge sporting event…at least in North America. And oftentimes, the best part about it isn’t the actual sportsmanship but the television advertisements. In fact, the ads have become such an attraction in their own right that the blogosphere erupts post-game with critiques, commentary and rankings of what each company presented. It’s a sink or swim world; producing a great TV spot for a brand often results in a lot of new eyeballs and viral dissemination, whereas a bad commercial can turn a company into a temporary laughing stock. 

Additionally, as the Super Bowl becomes more and more popular in terms of annual viewership, the ad buys are likewise increasing in price – and we’re taking millions upon millions of dollars for the rights to 30 seconds of airtime. These bids show no signs of leveling off either because of rudimentary supply and demand. In a world where there are thousands of cable channels, ever-shrinking Nielsen ratings and consumers are cord-cutting every day, the Super Bowl is one of the last shops in town where you can broadcast a message to a crowd that is guaranteed to be in the seven digit range or higher.

Knowing the realities of this trend, the obvious question is: Why aren’t hotel chains advertising during this Big Game? There is a palpable lack of hotel advertisements, except for the stellar work from the OTAs, and it is about damn time that changed!

While only the biggest of big chains would have the resources to spend the millions necessary for airtime rights and video production worthy of the waves, the real ‘meat’ of Super Bowl advertisements has now migrated onto the digital world. A good TV concept is merely the core of an extensive pre- and post-game campaign propagated through website, social, PPC, retargeting and other electronic channels. Of course, this should also tie in to an onsite promotion to mix in a tangible, physical aspect to it.

But this confluence of traditional and electronic – no matter the channel distribution – all hinges on great ideas. And who’s to say that you or another team member can’t have a flash of genius instead of such brilliance only existing in plush Madison Avenue corner suites. 

Brief your team on this as a project for 2017 with no expectations for budget or strategy – only brainstorming and the sky’s the limit. Then, on Sunday, rest your eyes during the actual playing time and make sure your tunnel vision is fully set once the commercials come on. This will prime you for what types of concepts work and what will inspire you for the months ahead. Hopefully one or two ideas will click, and then you’ll have plenty of time to craft an excellent campaign come early February next year.

With my beloved local Buffalo Bills (Toronto considers the Bills as our team) not in the running this year, may the best team win.