Our CCO, Mitch Bennett, weighs in on the most important part of the big game: the ads.
- Brands will out-Super-Bowl themselves.
This year will feature fewer commercial breaks. But the same number of commercials. So with four breaks per quarter instead of five, that means each will be packed with more commercials than we’re used to. Not to mention this year will set a record price per 30-second commercial at $5.6 million, and that’s before the cost of actually making the commercial and paying celebrity talent, which can easily top $2 million. All of that means advertisers will have to go to further lengths than ever to stand out, as our ad-break attention spans are tested like never before. And if the game action isn’t great (Patriots-Rams, anyone?), more people are in danger of tuning out completely. So look for some of the best – or at least hardest-trying – ads in years.
- The party will get super awkward.
Choose your party guests wisely or the conversation is bound to get heated. Not over the game but over politics. This year, Donald Trump will become the first sitting president to advertise on the big game – and the product? Himself. So brace yourself for 60 seconds of 45. And just when you think it’s safe to dive back into the queso, get ready for Michael Bloomberg’s 60-second rebuttal in the second half. (It’s never too early to start planning your bathroom breaks.) Interestingly, Fox plans to surround each political spot with its own promos, so no brand has to worry about being lost in the presidential debate no one asked for.
- We won’t all see the same commercials.
With cord-cutting on the rise, more Americans are using streaming and over-the-top video services. That means smart advertisers can serve you ads that are more tailored to your interests. If you’re streaming your local Fox affiliate, you should get all the national Super Bowl commercials that are your God-given right. But if you’re streaming through a website or a service not showing the local feed, you may see non-Super-Bowl commercials served up to you as part of a real-time bid exchange. They won’t be slick Super Bowl-level productions. But the good news is they may be right up your alley. This trend will continue in general, and soon you’ll see TV commercials as personalized to your interests as your Instagram feed.
- The best Super Bowl ads will be the ones that aren’t.
The most clever thing a brand can do is skip the Super Bowl altogether and find a creative way around it. Watch for brands to compete for our unpaid attention on social media, like Volvo’s Longest Drive Contest that rewarded people for watching a digital test drive on their phone instead of watching the game. (The winner stared for 9 hours and 47 minutes, poor thing.) Or Frank’s RedHot getting people to “Put that emoji on everything” in tweets about Super Bowl brands. Or Newcastle’s “If We Made It” campaign that showed what their Super Bowl ad would have been – if they had actually coughed up the 5 mil. Avocados from Mexico is already setting up its digital extension of its paid :30 this year, #AvoNetwork, where the biggest fan in social will an avocado tiara. (For some reason that will make sense later, I bet.) All to say, be on the lookout for the fun outside the TV this year.
- That said, the Super Bowl will be totally worth it.
There’s no American audience as big or as hungry to hear brand messages than those of us gathered to watch the Super Bowl. For brands whose currency is cultural relevance, and who can also afford to sit at the table, this is the place to be.