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William is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is fascinated by research around how individuals construct and create their social realities, intrigued with the powers of creativity and innovation, and an avid proponent of outstanding service experiences. When not teaching, writing, or researching, he tries to spend time with his family and occasionally paint. He is currently completing his PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl commercials - the proud, the creative, the efficient.

Like many folks, I'm watching the Superbowl tonight.

OK, to be technical, I 'will' be watching the Superbowl just as soon as I'm done this post...no rush or anything.

And like millions of people, I enjoy the game but LOVE the commercials (thanks goes out to @tonyrobbins and his tweet today). Tomorrow morning, we will all gather around at our respective offices or in our social media worlds (or tweeting about it right this second like @garyvee!) critiquing the creative investments that are the annual Superbowl ads.

Cost for a 30 second commercial during the Superbowl
An investment it is too. The average cost for a 30 second spot is somewhere around $2.5 million US dollars. (It costs less in Canadian dollars right now because of our strong dollar, but on the flip side we don't get to see them live.) This investment makes those companies advertising during the Superbowl part of an elite club who can gather together incredible sums of money for promotion. The costs work out roughly to $83,333 per second!

When I bring this up to my students, or cab drivers, or random strangers waiting in the bank machine line up, the comments quickly shift to the ridiculous amount of money spend on advertising. Who in their right mind would spend $83,000+ per second on one commercial. There is no possible way to get your return on investment!

Hold the phone. Let's do the math here. Sure, it costs $83,000+ per second, but this also translates into $0.03 per customer view per commercial, or $0.001 per second of viewing time. It's the Superbowl - people will pee through the game and miss a play before they miss a commercial. (How many of us still kick ourselves for blinking during Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction?)

It is estimated that over 90 million people will be tuned into the Superbowl at any given moment; not watching the games, but TUNED in at any given moment. There is no other time of year in which one advertisement can gain such incredible buzz. Just ask Reebok's 2003 commercial with Terry Tate or Snicker's 2009 advertisement with Betty White (and Abe Vigoda!) On YouTube alone, they have been viewed 8,296,444 and 3,072,625 times respectively, after the Superbowl was over.

So, for all of you watching the game tonight, grab some chips and a cold beverage, root for your favourite team, and remember that we are part of an annual tradition which transcends a simple match up between two massive forces on the gridiron. We are at THE buzz moment for the advertisement world tonight.

Let the elite entertain us for one night =)


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