It’s here. An American Holiday where family and friends come together, break bread and watch ads. Oh, and there’s something about football too. Instead of analysis on the game, however, I asked an ad expert to break down what really matters, SuperBowls Ads. Enter, David Baldwin.
David Baldwin is one of the most awarded copywriters and creative directors working in the advertising business today, David Baldwin is the founder of Baldwin&, Raleigh, named Small Agency of the Year twice in its first five years by Ad Age and the 4A’s. The former Chairman of the One Club in NYC, David was also an executive producer for the Emmy winning film, Art & Copy, He is also the author of The Belief Economy.
Are SuperBowl Ads Too Cliche?
The content of SuperBowl ads have become dangerously cliche at this point Baldwin explains, but some odd factors at play might make them even more worth it.
Consumers largely watch fewer ads than they used to. They have been able to mostly avoid ads as they have cut the cord. And even online ads have seemed to developed adept hand-eye coordination as internet browsers find the “skip ad” button. At the SuperBowl however, Baldwin says to watch your friends. They will talk and interact during the game, but when the ads come on everything gets quiet.
So, will this ad depravation actually play well to the advertisers? Baldwin says some companies are actually spending almost their entire budget on their SuperBowl Ads and he breaks down the themes to watch for this year. “Ads follow culture,” Baldwin says. Make sure to bring these up as you gnaw on a mini weenie — you’ll sound pretty darn intelligent despite that BBQ stain on your Rams shirt.
1. Costs In SuperBowl Ads
This year it costs a whopping five million dollars for a 30-second spot. But that’s just to run the ad one time. Costs not factored into this, and often forgotten are the production costs, music writing, acquiring the rights to that famous Bob Dillan song, celebrity appearances and other costs, which can push the total for one spot easily into the 10-15 million dollar range.
Baldwin explains some companies base their entire year on just this one day. InBev is buying over 5 minutes of advertising. That’s 55 million dollars JUST for the media costs. This means Budweiser could be spending between 75 – 100 million for their SuperBowl Ads.
2. Female Empowerment
In an era of “woke-ness,” Baldwin says nearly half the audience of these SuperBowl Ads are women and Female Empowerment will be a strong theme, both in messaging and actually empowering women in front of and behind the camera.
Women will be featured more in the advertising and even behind the camera in production. This year it looks like it might be 2 to 1 ratio of men vs women in commercials, but last year it was 3 to 1.
Men, however, are likely to be represented better in advertising this year, however. The era of the idiot-dad is over.
3. Robot / AI Stuff
Robots and AI look to be really popular this year. There is a robot that can outperform it’s human counterparts but can’t enjoy a beer with his friends. And Amazon also makes a big play by showing off Alexa concepts… that didn’t work?
“AI features heavily in many commercials,” Baldwin says, “going with the zeitgeist of the times many are about mistrust, failure, and the singularity.”
4. Hacking the Superbowl.
The costs are crazy and not all advertisers can afford Superbowl Ads. Therefore, some brands just hack the SuperBowl. It’s not just about people focusing on the TV, they also share a lot on social media.
Consumers are tweeting and posting about bad calls, and even the SuperBowl Ads and their eyeballs are going to be fixated on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Because of this many brands will be actively participating on social media without paying for any advertising at all.
Be prepared for brands to playfully attack other brands, upload videos, run contests and get a little edgy on their own efforts to hack Superbowl Ads.
5. Causes In SuperBowl Ads
In light of recent ads from Gillette and Nike, cause-related marketing will also be a trend this year. Stella Artois is doing a campaign called Pour It Forward, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges, if you buy the beer, they will actually support people in developing countries with clean water.
Microsoft is also making a beautiful ad showing their adaptive controllers helping kids with disabilities. Baldwin believes that ad will do quite well, but he’s also curious which brands will step in it this year with their SuperBowl Ads.
Baldwin says we all remember last year’s disaster advertising the Dodge RAM. Likely attempting to repeat their success from the 2014 Paul Harvey commercial celebrating the American Farmer, they blended Martin Luther King Jr. with their Dodge Ram and consumers were pretty incensed.
And Baldwin reminds us about the epic disaster that was Nationwide’s Dead Kid Ad. He believes people may have even been fired for.