Losing companies desperately cling to Super Bowl ads

bud puppyCute? Yes. Effective? No.
Cute? Yes. Effective? No.
Cute? Yes. Effective? No.

The TV ad is a stagnant creative form for the most part, and this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads was no exception: lowbrow humor, mawkish sentimentality, and shamelessly pandering nationalism.

The stagnation of the Super Bowl commercial can often be traced to the health of the companies that they are advertising.

Today, “The Wall Street Journal” recapped yesterday’s winners and losers, noting that two of their big winners, Chrysler and Anheuser-Busch “frequently score well with their Super Bowl spots.”

If these ads are effective, why does Budweiser, a supposed ‘winner,’ continue to see erosion of its domestic market share? Bud’s volume in the U.S. has shrunk for 25 consecutive years? From 1999 to 2012, Bud and Bud Light lost 4.3% and 0.7% of their respective shares of the beer market. Does that sound like a winner to you?

Meanwhile, they cling to the same tread worn tropes of Clydesdales (Bud) and wacky “Here We Go” humor (Bud Light). These tired ads, much like the fact that the company spends so much on Super Bowl advertising are, more than anything, admissions of creative bankruptcy. You are looking at a company that does not know how to function in the modern world of marketing.

Meanwhile, sliding market share scares strike the company with fear. “What if we don’t advertise in the Super Bowl? That’s what we do, it’s our tradition.” I would suspect that the Bud bigwigs are scared that making a change will admit defeat and hasten their decline.

Ads Can’t Fix Radio Shack’s Problems

Radio SHack
Radio Shack’s stock performance over the last five years.

The other supposed big winner was Radio Shack. In the chart, you can see that Radio Shack’s shares have been hit hard over the last five years. This is not something that an ad, even a clever one can solve.

One look at the Yelp reviews for Radio Shack tells you where the company’s true problems lie. The consistent complaints: unknowledgeable staff, over priced goods, poor customer service.

No $4 million ad buy will fix the structural problems facing your brand.

If these are the Super Bowl winners, I’d hate to see how the losers fare!

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