Every year, I look forward to Super Bowl Sunday. Not because of the game, but because of the ads. If you’ve ever watched a Super Bowl ad, you know why. They’re supposed to be the best advertising of the year – pure entertainment, very little sell, and plenty of money poured into production. It’s no secret that companies spend a ton of money creating a Super Bowl ad and that’s before they pay the media cost – up to $3.5 million for a 30 second spot this year.
But, does lots of money really make for a better commercial? Ideally, it should – more money should get you better writing, acting, editing and so on.
For instance, money definitely came in handy with Volkswagen’s “The Force” commercial which featured a tiny Darth Vader and Star Wars music. In addition to the estimated 111 million Super Bowl viewers, the ad received millions of extra views online before the game. And, people kept watching after the game too – the YouTube count is now at almost 50 million views. The ad’s success is undoubtably the reason Volkswagen chose to mention it again in this year’s Super Bowl ad.
However, more money doesn’t always guarantee a great ad. An example of this is the new Acura NXS spot that’s airing Sunday. The commercial features Jerry Seinfeld, one of the funniest men on the planet, and yet the ad falls flat. Sure, there are a few parts that make you laugh but that’s due to Jerry, not the script. The spot uses a cliché scenario – the old ‘I’ll trade you awesome things if you’ll just let me have the sponsor’s product,” and goes on too long. After 20 seconds, I found myself asking, “why isn’t this over yet?”
In the end, Acura spent a ton trying to create something really brilliant and all they got was a mediocre commercial.
The truth is, when it comes to advertising, strategy matters more than budget. A good strategy can shine on a shoestring budget just as a poor strategy can cripple a multi-million dollar campaign. A good ad agency should be able to think creatively whether they’re given $50,000 or $50 million.
Enjoy the game and the ads. If you’re like me and can’t wait until Sunday, you can watch the ads now.