There’s one day out of the year where advertisers suit up and trot out their best work… the Superbowl. This is where the advertiser ponies up Big Bucks (a 30 second ad during the 2010 Superbowl cost over $3 million… and that doesn’t include production costs) to reach the 90 million plus viewers who gather to watch the final game of the NFL season. Even when the football isn’t great – the commercials usually are. (One exception was Superbowl XLII when Superbowl advertisers literally phoned in their performance.)
Over the past decade, more often than not, the ads have generated more buzz than the teams competing. Commercials during the Superbowl are expected to be creative and entertaining. The goal is to generate buzz – not sales in most cases. As a matter of fact, the pre-game buzz generated when a smaller player steps up and buys time on the Superbowl may actually justify the cost of the one time airing of a single ad.
However – this year – the buzz is not over a small player betting it all on a single 30 minute ad – but rather the biggest search engine of all decided to join the Superbowl party and air an ad… Parisian Love.
I’m not going to feature the ad on this post because – quite honestly – it’s a turd. There – I said it. The spot was created to air on YouTube – and it shows. IMHO – shared by others who were watching the ad – the ad fell flat.
Oh – I know – everywhere online there are those lined up to tell you how powerful the ad was. One blogger even said it made him cry. The “real” people I was watching with – were not impressed with the first ad ever aired by Google.
The reason the ad fell flat – it didn’t SELL at all. As competitor BING continues to beat the drum of how “traditional search” (a.k.a. Google Search) is “broken”…. and offering their product Bing.com as a solution – Google spends millions to air an ad created for YouTube.
While Google’s ad didn’t land in the “bottom 5” – it definitely didn’t perform well when it came to the USA TODAY’s Ad Meter, which tracks the second-by-second responses of a panel of viewers to ads during the Super Bowl and ranks them from best to worst.
What did work when it came to the Superbowl 2010 ads? The Snickers Betty White commercial:
and this Doritos Commercial:
What made these two ads great? They were entertaining, memorable and fun to watch. Both did a GREAT job of capturing your attention and holding it while delivering a subtle message.
What made the Google Ad a snooze fest? It didn’t engage – it didn’t pull viewers in. The Google ad was definitely a “fish out of water” – created for a different audience – a different medium.
The REAL question when it comes to the Google Superbowl ad is this: Did it make you WANT to use Google for search.
I have to admit – when I watched the Doritos ad – I was happy to have chosen that product as one of the snacks for the guests at my Superbowl party – and I wished I had provided Snickers for “dessert”. By stark contrast – my guests commented that the Google ad did NOT make them want to use Google for search after that ad aired.
Fortunately – Google doesn’t NEED their Superbowl ad to “work” for them. They are noted for their resistance to traditional media marketing for their products and services.
If you’re a small business owner – you don’t have that luxury. You NEED your advertising dollars to work hard for your business. You need your advertising to work harder at building your business than you do – and that’s saying something.
Some day – if you do it right now – you too may have a super advertising budget that can accommodate a super ad airing during the Superbowl.