Some call it the greatest sporting event in the world. But for me, it is the greatest marketing event in the world! Marketing during the annual event has grown significantly over the years as brands invest millions to reach consumers. A thirty second advertising slot back in 1967 at Super Bowl 1 watched by 51.8 million people would have set you back at mere $42k. Fast-forward to Super bowl 49 in 2015, which was seen by more than 168 million people, the same thirty-second slot was priced at over 5 million dollars.
Advertising at the Super bowl is now bigger and more important than it has ever been and not just from a numbers perspective. In a world where audiences are migrating away from TV, preferring to watch content ad-free or with catch-up services, live sporting fixtures take on even greater significance.
Perhaps one of the most creative big game ads came in 2014 from the agency Droga5, who produced the “If we made it” for the beer manufacturer Newcastle Brown Ale. But technically this ad didn’t even exist! Well, it didn’t find its way into a Super Bowl spot at least. The ad is essentially a self-deprecating look at the advertisement the company would have made if they had enough money to actually advertise during the big game. The ad playfully mocked the marketing industry and the role celebrities play in endorsing products.
The agency released teasers and trailers for the ads they would have made featuring cameos from Hollywood heavyweights Anna Kendrick and Arnold Schwarzenegger. By poking fun in such a unique way, the anti-endorsements of the beer received 10 million views in just two weeks. The campaign received over 600 organic media placements with over 1 billion in total impressions. In fact, the non-ad even trended above the actual game itself for two days on Facebook news!
Not bad for an ad than never made it into one of the 30 second, 5 million dollar timeslots!
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School