Three Predictions for the 2015 Super Bowl Ads
The 2015 Super Bowl is days away, and the Ad Meter will be in full swing. Though some brands will spend their entire marketing budget on an ad during the big game, these ads are by no means guaranteed to help business. Based on past performances, here are three predictions about Super Bowl ads that may not turn out well for their brands.
Prediction 1 – At least one of the brands that is declared a “winner” by USA Today’s ad meter will be at or near death.
2014’s entrant in this category is Radio Shack. Last year’s “The Phone Call” spot was deemed to be last year’s best loved spot according to Brand Bowl. The ad promised a bold new direction for the company, but the stores failed to deliver on that promise.
Now, Radio Shack is on life support. As I noted in a previous post, the brand’s stock closed below $1 per share on June 20 for the first time in its history. RadioShack is in the process of closing 1,100 underperforming stores.
In September of 2014, the New York Times noted, “In a stark disclosure of its deteriorating financial situation, RadioShack said in a regulatory filing that, absent an external solution, it would be unable to finance its operations ‘beyond the very near term,’ raising doubts about its future in business.”=
This year, another struggling brand will put together a $4 million dollar ad that will be the equivalent of taking an aspirin for cancer – it will make execs feel good, but won’t fix any of the brand’s real problems.
Probable suspects include: JC Penney, Sears and RIM/Blackberry.
Prediction 2 – Well-known brands will continue dumping money in Super Bowl ads. the ads will be praised, but these brands will continue to lose market share.
These are the old guard. Brands that were titans when TV advertising, but that have floundered in the social media era. These brands have been losing market share steadily, but continue to pour more and more money into costly TV ads (including the Super Bowl).
Brands like McDonald’s and Budweiser are regular winners on the ad meter, but continue to come up short in sales. With social media, a good ad isn’t enough to get sales, you have to be a good brand. that’s why Chipotle is flying while McDonald’s stalls. These brands would be much better off investing the millions into social media, improving their reputations with customers.
Meanwhile, Toyota, a perceived loser in last year’s ads, is outpacing the U.S. auto market and seems to be on its way to its best year since 2006 in the country.
Probable suspects include: McDonald’s, Budweiser/Bud Light, Pepsi.
Prediction 3 – A movie that spends heavily on Super Bowl ads will bomb.
A brand like Radio Shack could have learned from this trend. Spending a lot of money to advertise crap to 100 million people doesn’t change the fact that it is still crap. Recent dogs in this category include Battleship, John Carter, The Lone Ranger and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
That’s not to say that successful movies have not bought Super Bowl ads – The Avengers is one Super Bowl advertiser that comes to mind. Rather, it says that buying a Super Bowl ad for $4.5 million is not a good investment in hopes of boosting a film that looks like a turkey. It is just throwing good money after bad.
Probable Suspects: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Jurassic World, Terminator Genisys
What these predictions (and results) really say is that a Super Bowl ad is not a magic bullet. It won’t cure organizational failures, save moribund businesses, or build fan bases. To do those things requires brand introspection and getting to really know a brand’s customers (and their perception of your brand) through social media and other more personal venues. $4.5 million can go a long way toward a brand reviving themselves, but not when it’s spent on TV.