The Super Bowl XLVII game has already begun for the auto and retail industry companies that have decided that $125,000 is a small price to pay for every second that your product and brand can be in front of 110 million pairs of eyeballs. After an anticlimactic and largely disappointing collection of auto and retail Super Bowl XLVI commercials in 2012, the question is whether this year's Super Bowl advertisers will do a better job of giving Super Bowl XLVII viewers something to buzz about, and whether Super Bowl commercial fans can be re-engaged at a high level after last year's super blah.
According to a survey conducted by San Francisco advertising firm Venables Bell & Partners, the answer to the questions about the level of participation from Super Bowl XLVII commercial fans is a "super high." The key results from that survey tell us this about 2013 Super Bowl commercials and the fans who love them:
- There will be close to 5 billion possible exposures for Super Bowl Commercials via social media channels
- 50% of Americans will watch Super Bowl ads more than once
- 86% will share Super Bowl commercials via Facebook
- 86% of young adults will be multi-tasking between the TV screen and a computer or mobile screen during the game
- 28% of an estimated 110 million viewers plan to drink heavily and be hungover
- 70% of heavy drinkers will share on social media channels vs. the 40% average
- 60% of heavy drinkers will post onto Facebook vs. 34% light or non-drinkers
- 50% of heavy drinkers will purchase something while watching the game (vs. 10% of light drinkers)
So, putting that together, the Super Bowl advertisers that would get the best sales results would be the ones that catch the attention of a millenial target market with some kind of product or service that could be purchased immediately by drunk people. So where is that winning combination in the Super Bowl XLVII commercial lineup?
Axe is not a retail company, but it is a great example of a brand that is well-positioned for measurable marketing success from Super Bowl XLVII. The men's grooming products company is launching a line of products branded as "Apollo" and its Super Bowl promotion will include a giveaway that drunken millennials will think is sick - a chance to win a trip into outer space - and one they can sign up for immediately..
Actually the campaign is quite long and engaging affair, involving a trip to the Axe global Space camp in Orlando, Florida, a competition there, online voting, and 23 winners who will be awarded a ride on a private Space Expedition Lynx spacecraft. This is a well thought-out campaign in which the best end result is so much more than just Super Bowl commercial popularity. With marketing follow-through this could win Axe brand recognition, long-term social media buzz, customer engagement, and millions of additions to its mailing list.
Isn't that the kind of results you would expect from 5 billion advertising exposures and $3.75 million? You would think so, but seemingly Super Bowl advertisers have gotten lost in the hype Super Bowl advertising along with consumers as if Super Bowl commercial YouTube views, Facebook likes and blog mentions are the win, whether any of that magically transforms into sales or not.
From a Super Bowl hype point of view, Mercedes Benz seems to have already scored big in the Super Bowl commercial advertising game. Being both the first and the most controversial (so far) the Mercedes Benz Kate Upton teaser reveals that the Mercedes marketing team is relying on the time-honored belief that sex sells anything and that an association with a Victoria's Secret lingerie supermodel like Kate Upton can make anything sexy. So far, it seems as if they are right.
How Super Bowl advertisers play the pre-game with the timing of their strategically "leaked" teasers and ads on YouTube and other social media channels is a big part of Super Bowl advertising success. Mercedes marketers have played that game well.
The Mercedes Benz Super Bowl commercial teaser has been viewed more than five million times since it was "leaked" on January 22nd. It has also received more than 2,200 thumbs up votes, more than 6,600 Facebook likes, and lots of headlines because of the controversial level of sexiness that Kate Upton successfully delivers. But I'm not thinking that all that traffic, activity, and attention has anything to do with the Mercedes logo on the front grill of the car that pops onto the screen for 2 seconds.
So, how much does that really matter?
Mercedes marketers are well aware of the demographics. They know that drunk texting tweeting millenials are not going to be buying a Mercedes CLA with their iPhone in between the Gangnam Style pistachio commercial and Amy Poehler's attempt at resuscitating the Best Buy (BBY) chain. They know that even at the "budget" price of $30,000, there are a considerable number of Mercedes CLA's that are going to have to be sold to pay for a 30-second Super Bowl spot, not to mention paychecks for Kate Upton, Usher and the "surprise celebrity" that are also part of the Mercedes Benz Super Bowl advertising effort.
The Mercedes marketing team and leaders have obviously convinced themselves that this is a brand-building investment for a new lower-priced Mercedes model that they want to market to a younger demographic. When you're dealing with intangibles like brand-building, it's always difficult to quantify the tangible results you receive from your brand-building efforts. The millions that Mercedes is wagering that its Super Bowl advertising will pay off is minute compared to the $16.1 billion estimated value of the Mercedes brand in particular or the value of the world's largest retail brands in general.
For retail leaders that believe in the monetary value of branding - some do and some don't - and for the retail companies that are successful in connecting with their audience in a meaningful image-enhancing way with their Super Bowl ads - some will and some won't - resulting sales are neither the point nor the expected outcome of their participation in the 2013 Super Bowl
With all that said, you've just gotta wonder...
Wouldn't it be easier, more measurable, and equally headline-worthy if Mercedes opted out of the elaborate SuperBowl XLVII advertising game and instead put a status update on its Facebook account offering a $10,000 discount to the first 700 purchasers of the Mercedes CLA on the Monday after the Super Bowl?
Sometimes the simplest plays are the ones that catch everybody by surprise.