Running a small business is a lot of pressure. But, what if 110 million people were watching you everyday like at the Super Bowl? This is the type of stress that businesses face when they advertised last night by spending $2.5M for a 30- second commercial.
For some consumers, the commercials are a very popular part of the event. Super Bowl ads have produced many breakthrough moments in television and many more bombs. There are memorable commercials from the 2010 Super Bowl like Betty White for Snickers and the Old Spice Man. But there have been many more horrible ads like Pets.com sock puppet and this year’s Groupon debacle, displayed below.
So without spending millions of dollars, what can your business learn by watching Super Bowl commercials?
1. Don’t risk everything at once. In small business marketing, it is far safer and more effective to spread your bets by testing many different marketing methods. Homeaway.com took a big risk for a small company running their second Super Bowl ad this year. For your small business, it is far more effective to take patient interim steps. After your company has learned what works and doesn’t work in your marketing campaign, plot the next step. With limited capital, small businesses can’t afford the risk of a “one and done” strategy.
2. Track how the marketing tactic performed. Most companies have a variety of things they do to promote their business. Spending money on marketing is worthless unless your business knows what worked and what did not work. It is essential to get feedback on all aspects of your campaign. It is simple with today’s technology to ask the consumer in the targeted segment to go to your website or use a social media tool to judge results. The Ford Focus commercial encouraged the audience to cheer on their team online and “Watch, Compete, and Win."
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3. Deliver on the promise. Denny’s offered a free meal in a 2010 Super Bowl ad. Not surprisingly, Denny’s was overwhelmed by 2 million people showing up the next day for a free breakfast. The goal of the ad was to get people to try Denny’s and then come back. But if the service was bad on their first visit, why would they return? (Notice there was no free Denny’s breakfast this year!)
4. Interact with the consumer. Getting attention for your ad and getting consumers to perform a specific action are very different. Most Super Bowl commercials are now interactive. For example, GoDaddy asked the viewer to go to the web site to watch the end of the commercial that could not be seen on TV. Chevy and Glee produced a car giveaway commercial that the consumer needs to watch at the conclusion of the next Glee episode. Remember, the majority of people watching anything these days will have smart phones with them and can react immediately.
5. Don’t let the humor or drama distract from the brand. Your commercial may have been entertaining, but did consumers remember the brand or what the company was promoting? Doritos had a commercial in which their product brought a dead relative back to life? What does that have to do with the snack? However, Volkswagon’s Passat commercial struck the perfect balance. It focused on the car, but had a little bit of brand help from Darth Vadar. The Chevrolet Cruze Eco commercial merged seamlessly their new car and the OnStar feature of real-time updates from Facebook.
6. Be careful not to let a celebrity pitchman overshadow your brand. We all remember Ozzie Osbourne’s line “What’s a Bieber?” But who was the commercial for? Could consumers look past Kim Kardashian and remember Skechers?
7. Don’t mix your product with politics. What was Groupon thinking with their commercial that played off the issues of Tibet and their company? If your business wants to give money to charity (like the Citibank Thank You ad), that works, but tackling a political issue in a Super Bowl ad is a big risk. Mini Cooper’s “Cram it in the Boot” ad didn’t translate well for American audiences. The Chrysler commercial with Eminem did a fantastic job of selling their company while focusing on bringing back Detroit.
What did you learn for your business by watching Super Bowl commercials?
Image credit: americanistadechiapas