The Super Bowl is the Olympics of advertising, with brands limbering up all year for what could be their big moment of glory at an event that is about so much more than mere sport. Amongst the record breaking Twitter statistics revealed post game, 42% of tweets were about the ads, with only a mere 4% about the Giants actual win. Why? Because Super Bowl Sunday is, at its heart, not just a display of sporting prowess – it’s a shared entertainment experience, largely driven by brands.
A sizeable 73% of the 111 million strong audience tuning into the Super Bowl view the ads as a core part of the entertainment spectacle that is the big game. However, it hasn’t always been this way.
Ask anyone about the ads between 1967 (when Super Bowl was born) and 1973 and you’ll be met with blank faces. Google searches are equally unimpressive. It’s almost as if the ads never happened. Why have these ads been cast adrift in time? In truth, they just weren’t very entertaining. They sold product not people. Facts as opposed to escapism.
However, that was to change dramatically in 1973 when Farrah Fawcett teasingly applied Noxzema shaving lotion to the face of New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath. The iconic ad (although tame by today’s standards) brought the glamour and celebrity of TV entertainment crashing into the stoic world of Super Bowl advertising. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since this day Super Bowl ads have been all about entertainment, with big budgets to match the aspirations of brands eager to align with musicians, actors and celebrities in increasingly cinematic scale commercials. The problem, however, is that brands tend to put all their eggs in one very expensive basket, with the vast majority never following through with an entertainment focus during the rest of the year. Which is something of a missed opportunity.
The ads, like they did in 1973, need to move with the times. Consumers have changed their entertainment consumption habits dramatically over the last few years. It’s no longer a passive medium; they want to timeshift it, shape it, control it, share it, reach out and touch it. In short they want to feel and experience entertainment, not just consume it, and here is where the real opportunity lies for brands to strike a real connect with their intended audience.
The challenge for brands in 2012 is how to make a Super Bowl ad live outside of a short term viral spike, to deliver entertainment touch points across digital, social and experiential channels throughout the year. The big game day needs to be seen as a springboard rather than a touchdown, giving brands the right to play in the exciting and rapidly evolving entertainment space.
To find out how your brand can benefit from a long-term entertainment strategy (and to see our pick of the Super Bowl ads) download our ‘Super Bowl XLVI – Exclusive FRUKT Entertainment Insight Report’.