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It cost $3.8 million to air an ad for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl last Sunday, stated by www.superbowl-commercials.org. The Huffington Post reported this game was seen by 108.7 million people. It was ranked the third-most-watched game in U.S. TV history, and a whopping percentage of those people were only watching for the commercials.
I believe Super Bowl Sunday is its own “Super Bowl” for the advertisement industry in this country. It takes millions of dollars, as well as extensive production and planning, just to come up with something that’s going to get those companies some million-dollar exposure and actually get their money’s worth.
It’s not even just about producing an eye-catching ad; it’s about producing the best ad. There are polls and reviews on which product was presented the most glamorously to the viewers, and social networking sites were tracked for the rise in mentions of a company right after their ads had aired.
They have literally turned the day-to-day tactics of propaganda-filled media into a tournament. While you sat there at home in front of your TV, innocently watching the Ravens take the win with a mouthful of hot wings, you were actually being force-fed the stage of this “battle royale” amongst Corporate America.
There’s no limit to the tactics pulled out of a hat on this day, and the more eccentric, the better. Celebrity cameos are the most classic and easy way to guarantee viewer interest. Supermodel Bar Refaeli making out with a computer geek for GoDaddy, Usher and Kate Upton appearing in fantasy spot for Mercedes, and Lebron James showing up for three seconds on a tablet to pimp Samsung as the “next big thing” were only a few of the celebrity cards played out on the televised poker table of the big night.
Speaking of Kate Upton and fantasies, it was surprising to me that most of the ads trying to work something somewhat sexual as a humor tactic seemed overshadowed by other ads that seemed more creative, sentimental and almost low-budget in comparison. Doritos featured a goat that was a chip junkie and another with men playing tea party to get their hands on a bag in its commercials. Taco Bell reached out to an older demographic, showing that even the elderly can enjoy a “fourth meal” of midnight tacos in between midnight shenanigans.
Hats off to the nation’s flag were in no short supply either, as several ads were targeted to tug at the Americana heartstrings. Jeep saluted the troops with the narrative help of Oprah, and Dodge Ram also gave a surprising salute to American farmers. For two minutes, there was nothing but a slideshow depicting farmers of our land, flashing to the story of why “God made a farmer,” which is apparently to handle all the daily tasks us inner-city folk truly take for granted, and all the trials only a Dodge truck might be able to pull them through. Many of the online reviews for the commercials actually gave this one the No. 1 title, since it emphasized the aforementioned creativity, sentimentality and, most of all, low-budget effectiveness!
Not even the blackout halted advertising, since Oreo took Twitter by storm after tweeting a timely picture memo stating, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
It’s hard to say if these ads are actually as effective as the advertisers hope, or are just 30 seconds of expensive fame to brands that need more likes on their Facebook pages. What can be said is that these ads leave us all with a little something in the afterglow: perhaps a smile in the workplace the next day, a personal reminder of who we can never forget, a moment of awkward discomfort, or maybe even just an intense craving for nacho-cheese chips and dunkable cookies.
Till next time, Corporate America! Prepare your dukes once more, and let’s see if you can’t top those ratings. Please just keep it clean. Limited Dorito dust and computer-genius slobber would be much appreciated.