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New Study: Super Bowl Ads Are a Waste of Money

waste of money

New Study: Super Bowl Ads Are a Waste of Money

For years I have been noting the waste of money known as Super Bowl ads (and most TV advertising in general).

Television advertising, especially for something like the Super Bowl, is like blasting your marketing from a shotgun. You need the loudest, dumbest, most watered down version of your message to appeal to as many people as possible.

In addition, the $4 million cost of one 30-second ad can be used to hire and staff an awesome social media department for years. Then you can put out marketing that is targeted, effective and relevant to your audiences.

Study Proves That Super Bowl Ads Aren’t Worth the Money

Buzzworthy Tide Joe Montana commerical
Tide’s buzzy “Miracle Stain” commercial has has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.5 million times, but was one of the least effective Super Bowl ads at influencing sales choices.

Now, a new study by advertising research group Communicus finds that Super Bowl commercials are mostly ineffective.

The study tracked the purchase behaviors of individual consumers over a period of time before and after viewing ads during the 2013 Super Bowl and found that the majority of ads did not actually change those consumers’ buying habits.

The report, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune, notes, “Advertising should make people buy products, or at least build purchase interest. Judged against this standard, four out of five Super Bowl XLVII commercials failed to deliver.

The Tribune article notes that even ads that generated buzz did not show much change in buying habits, noting:

“For example, Tide’s “Miracle Stain” ad, where a man gets worldwide attention for a stain on his 49ers jersey in the shape of Joe Montana’s face, has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.5 million times and yielded generally positive reactions, yet it landed in the 10 least effective ads at influencing sales choices.”

A Yahoo Finance article notes that fifteen percent of all Super Bowl advertisers last year (2012) invested more than 10% of their full-year media budgets in that game, and adds:

“According to Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media, 42% of companies went bankrupt about a year after advertising in the 2000 Super Bowl. Maybe the timing was just off (two months after the game aired the “Tech Bubble” officially crashed).

Don’t Believe the Hype

Super Bowl ads waste of money
Think this $3.5 million ad from the 2013 game boosted pistachio sales? I don’t either.

Some marketers are catching on. GM, for example sat out the 2013 Super Bowl. Despite this, GMs sales were up in 2013.

This year, watch the Super Bowl and play a game. Rather than counting big name companies who DO sponsor the game, make a list of big names that DON’T.

Companies like Amazon and Facebook know that they don’t gain anything from this massive waste of ad bucks. Their products sell themselves by being great. Only crap products like Bud Light have to continue to try to appeal to the masses with bigger, louder and dumber.

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