The Super Bowl really is an amazing spectacle. This is the ONE event since the last Super Bowl where we didn’t use the DVR because we DID want to watch the commercials. Frankly, I think we all watch the Super Bowl commercials so we don’t look stupid on Monday morning at the water cooler at work. However, while most everyone remembers Beyoncé, I bet few could tell me what brand sponsored the half time show. And, no one remembers more than a few of the commercials and only a few companies were able to build their brand last Sunday.

As a brand marketer, I know you try to justify the expense because the CEO gets invited to some cool parties with celebrities, gets a nice hotel room in New Orleans and some great SWAG, but is it really strategic for your brand? Is $4 million dollars for 30 seconds that isn’t going to change consumer behaviors worth the investment? Unfortunately, more people remember the blackout than the ads.

Don’t get me wrong, I too enjoyed the Clydesdale commercial – so cute and the payoff emotionally was great. I don’t drink Budweiser but I do drink some of their other beers so for me the halo effect makes me feel good about the brand. The Dodge Truck ad created the same type of emotion and recall and Paul Harvey’s voice over was awesome. But, I haven’t ever purchased a Dodge Truck nor do I plan to; but if I were a farmer, it would have made me feel great that Dodge paid tribute to me.

So, while each advertiser justified the enormous spend of about $4 million per 30 seconds to catch 111 million pairs of eyeballs, most of us only remember the top 5 or so and in the next week, I’m betting the recall will be even lower. Why? Clutter, Clutter and more Clutter. Studies show we get over 3,000 brand messages per day and we can only remember a few of them. As marketers, we need to be looking for ways to change consumer behavior. We need to connect with our tribe of consumers emotionally so they will make our brands part of their lives. We all live in a 3 dimensional world but so much of our branding is on flat one dimensional screens.
You need to ask yourself one simple question for each marketing check you write.

  1. Is this expenditure going to enhance my brand’s vitality in the marketplace?

How many advertisers from 2012’s Super Bowl didn’t come back this year?
More than half! I wonder if they felt the hangover of Super Bowl and the CEO realized he could build his brands in other ways this year? Learn from other brands’ experience and find a better way to spend millions of dollars by creating a deep emotional connection to your brand and building on its vitality!