By now, you’ve undoubtedly seen at least one of the commercials set to air during the Super Bowl today. Honda, Volkswagen, Mazda, Coke and Chevy are just a few of the companies with ads that were leaked on YouTube and circulated early throughout the Web. One site, Superbowl-Commercials.org, in particular shows them all. So, as one non-football fan friend asked me yesterday, “Why watch the game?” Indeed, what is the purpose of spoiling the surprise? And MOST importantly,with the exposure on the Internet, why would companies continue to pay for air-time slots on television?
To understand this relatively new phenomenon, you have to take a moment to think critically about the purpose of the ads to begin with. Remember, while they are funny and enjoyable mini-movies, they are also designed to sell a product. Plain and simple. That is it. It is not rocket science, but it is something we overlook for the sheer entertainment factor associated with viewing.
Why the Internet? It is simple. Perhaps the biggest reason is that it has a broader reach, particularly for younger demographics. Secondly, it is not restricted by time or broadcast regulations. Where Super Bowl ads on television are sold in 30 or 60 second spots, an ad on the Web could run longer. Thirdly, when audiences can watch on their own terms and in their own time frame, it allows for flexibility in viewing. And finally, it can generate consumer involvement which is a powerful tool for sales. In short, companies get all the benefits of more types of screens and more exposure.
Which works for them and has been proven effective in getting you the consumer to buy. Unfortunately, for you, it also means you are now surrounded by more subliminal demands on your wallet than ever before. So, how can you protect yourself? First, hide your wallet! Then, while you are eating those nachos, taking a bite of that chili, or sipping your favorite beverage and a commercial comes on that makes you laugh, just pause…look away from the television/ Internet and take a moment to reflect. Then, ask yourself and those around you this simple question, “What are they trying to get me/us to buy?” Think it through and then take the time to come up with at least one answer. That simple act will put you back in control. Good luck and enjoy the game!