This week, our culture’s last real media focused holiday happened, the Super Bowl. The big game represents a unique moment in the US every year. It’s the closest thing we have to a unified cultural moment most years. Every year, headlines in the newspaper talk about how expensive Super Bowl ads are. And this year was no different with most ads costing between $6 and $7 million. On top of that, companies are usually willing to invest millions more in putting together star studded commercials, investing millions more in production. Why? Well, one, prestige. The company feels cool about being in the Super Bowl. It’s a big ticket purchase and one they can brag about to their friends on the golf course. Production companies also view this as an opportunity to show off. So that’s one reason many of the ads are so over the top. Super Bowl ads are so expensive that it also helps showcase a brand’s relev. If you are buying a Super Bowl spot, it’s not because you are struggling as a company. It’s because you are thriving and relevant and investing money to stay relevant as part of the cultural conversation. But the biggest reason is eyeballs.
The Super Bowl is the biggest media event in any given year in our culture. In 2022, the Super Bowl had as many as four times as the viewers of the College National Championship Game. Most every single major TV viewership event in every year is NFL related. And if it’s not NFL, it’s live sports. Why sports? Because sports is the last live event that you want to watch on traditional TV and not catch the highlights of something later on YouTube or catch it streaming. The Super Bowl is also a cultural event in the United States. Not only do we watch the game, but we have a party about it, and some people just watch it for the commercials. But the Super Bowl is unique because of the diversification of media in our lives. Would you guess that the M Ash Show back in the day, the day, the Finale, had more viewers and a bigger percentage of viewers in the United States than the 2022 Super Bowl. Why is that? Because M Ash was basically watched by everyone. Because in 1983, there were a lot less options on what to watch. Instead of having major networks and no data on a phone, let alone having a cell phone at all, people were set up to choose a very limited number of media options.
And people who grew up with that era are still having a hard time of understanding today’s era. In that era, there were household names and actors in TV shows. But I think the last touch point a majority of our culture has, the working adults at least, can go back to is Kelly Clarkson winning American idol in 2002. Since then, because of the ubiquity of the internet, the options have grown to the point where no one can keep up with them. This has tremendous effects on our marketing, but also as a society. I think it has some ramifications that will continue to play out as increasing division in our society because we have less and less cultural common ground to work with. So what is a marketer to do besides convincing clients that this has already happened? You have to take multi channel marketing seriously. Realizing that the media attention is so splintered in our society that it requires businesses to be available in many different places at many different times. For example, radio used to grab everyone in their cars on their way across town, but now you have to compete with satellite radio, podcasts, and streaming services in people’s cars.
This splinterization is only going to continue, and the cost to produce quality content has dropped, and there’s no more gatekeepers to prevent you from making content, and so there will be more and more options for people to find. Now, you can make your way onto all these platforms, but how do you prioritize? Lots of customer research. Evaluating where your customers are putting their attention will give you an opportunity to find the channels where you’re most likely to find your customers. Now, you can be on all these platforms, but how do you prioritize? Lots of customer research. Evaluating where your customers are putting their attention will give you an opportunity to find the channels where you are most likely to find your customers and people like them. We ran a political campaign last year, and part of our planning was to hit as many mediums as we could to reach as many people as possible. But we did have to rely on the mailer as well. Why is the political mailer so popular? The humble mail is still one thing that gets to everyone. They might not watch TV. They may not be on Facebook. They may not even watch YouTube, but they do get mail.
And additionally, when voters register, they give their address and political campaigns can get those. So we should think about the bigger picture here. How can we reuse the media? The Super Bowl has created such a touch point that some companies use their Super Bowl ad as an event within itself. They tease the release of the commercial or like this year, fan duell with its Gronk Kick. They have a whole series of promotions that lead up to the event, including real time things happening in their apps. So we have to think, how can we use the media we create in multiple channels? Can we use it as a radio or podcast commercial when we record it for a video? Can we use it on YouTube and TV? Can we turn it into pictures? Can we use the spot on our website or in a brochure or on a mailer? How can we squeeze every last penny out of the creative we are making to maximize the value of production for our clients? If you’re using positioning as an expert branding, so you’re creating content that has value like a podcast, how can you take the time you are investing to create good content to be used on multiple platforms?
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