Is that Super Bowl Ad a Smart Marketing Strategy?

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Is that Super Bowl Ad a Smart Marketing Strategy?

2015 Super BowlAn estimated 113 million people are expected to watch Sunday’s Super Bowl. That’s why marketers are willing to spend millions for a 30-second ad.

Here’s my annual guide to evaluating the marketing effectiveness of Super Bowl advertising from my viewpoint as a marketing consultant. I’ll be tweeting my observations on Super Bowl ads throughout the game; follow me on Twitter@jeangianfagna

The Super Bowl is marketing nirvana for advertisers. Not only is it the most-viewed TV program of the year, but viewers are almost as interested in the ads as the game.

When the stakes are that high, your ad had better be great. But it’s not enough for an ad to be popular. What makes a Super Bowl ad a smart marketing strategy?

As a marketing consultant, I believe the principles of great advertising are the same whether an ad appears in a mega-event like the Super Bowl or in a small industry trade publication.

Here are seven criteria I use to assess advertising effectiveness. Keep these factors in mind when you’re evaluating Sunday’s Super Bowl ads:

  1. Does the ad connect with the target audience emotionally? The most memorable and engaging ads do more than get your attention — they provoke an emotional response in the audience. Flash does not equal effectiveness.
  2. Is the creative approach a simple one you can grasp immediately? Or do you have to work at it to get it? If it’s the latter, the audience won’t bother.
  3. Does the ad support and exemplify the brand? Lots of ads are clever and creative, but too often, the ad’s premise has little relationship to the marketer’s brand promise or branding strategy.
  4. Is the product essential to the story? Or could you insert any similar product and have the same ad? The best creative concepts integrate the product so deeply into the story that the ad couldn’t work without it.
  5. Does the ad make you feel differently about a product or marketer? Does it change your opinion or cause you to think about a marketer or product in a new and different way that increases your likelihood of buying the product?
  6. Is the ad part of an integrated marketing campaign? Does the ad have “legs” – the ability to carry a full marketing campaign in multiple media? Or is it a one-time message that will be quickly forgotten?
  7. Most important: Do you remember the ad for the creative or the product? Two days after you’ve seen an ad, will you remember its creative approach or the product being advertised? Ideally, you’ll remember both (see #4 above), but if you only remember the creative concept, the ad has failed.

What about Other Ways to Measure Advertising?

Of course, there are many ways to measure advertising – how well an ad is recalled in surveys, the number of views an ad receives on the web before and after the game, the level of social media engagement, or the number of visits to the advertiser’s website.

While all these metrics are important, the bottom line for using advertising in a smart marketing strategy is how well it drives product and service sales. My advice is to look beyond the numbers that gauge immediate marketplace buzz and use the criteria above to evaluate advertising’s long-term strategic value.

Do you agree with my evaluation criteria? How else would you assess the effectiveness of an ad?

1 Comment
  • David Hunter

    Love your criteria.

    I would add two more to the list:

    1. Do they have an offer?
    2. What’s the Call-to-Action (this could go along with your #6)?

    The only commercial I remember from 2014’s SuperBowl is esurance, and their commercial was when the SuperBowl ended.

    For me, why was it memorable? It was a pretty plain commercial, but… they had a great offer (Win $1,500,000) with a CTA (For your chance to win tweet #WhyNotMe).

    Not sure who won, or if anyone ever won, but my Twitter blew up with #WhyNotMe everywhere. That’s a Ad win in my book!

    I can’t wait to see what this year’s SuperBowl brings to the table.

    Rock on!

    January 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm
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