What to REALLY watch for during this year’s Super Bowl…

football helmetYou’d think because my profession is marketing that the Super Bowl would be my favorite time of the year. That’s not exactly the case.

While it is always interesting to see how these organizations develop huge productions that do indeed grab the eye, may entertain, and may have us buzzing about some of them around the water cooler Monday morning, that does NOT mean that what we’re seeing is good marketing.  Good marketing gets RESULTS, and don’t let the experts in advertising who tell you that getting people “buzzing” about the brand is good because it generates favorable associations to the brand. If you love the commercial you’ll love the product, they argue, so much so that you might be willing to buzz about it. However, all that buzz is just a means to an end.

The commercial should be part of an overall strategy that will ultimately pay for itself. And it had better pay for itself! A 30 second Super Bowl spot costs $3.7 million bucks these days. That’s a lot of dough to spend on on spots that are fun, clever, humorous, warm and fuzzy, whatever, an we’re supposed to believe that if we all chatter about them afterward they represent “good marketing.” If we’re still “buzzing” about some of these commercials after they originally air is noteworthy, but that’s not the ultimate measure of their success.

My friends, it’s only good marketing if it gets results, and typically the result we’re after is sales. Good marketing is an investment that will yield a return. Good marketing pays for itself many times over.  Good marketing sells product! When the impact of these ads moves from water cooler chatter to the bottom line, then they’re worth celebrating.

Explore this on your own. As you’re watching this year’s commercials, ask yourself these questions:

1. Who is the target market for this message? (And is this ad really reaching them?)

2. Will this message ultimately help sell product?

For as the legendary marketer David Ogilvy once said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

With that in mind, the AMAOKC has its annual Superbowl Showdown coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m eager to hear what this year’s panel has to say about 2013’s Super Bowl commercial offerings.