Think this years’s Super Bowl ads were great?
Averaging over three million dollars for one 30-second spot, the majority of this year’s Super Bowl advertisers demonstrated a knack for humor and entertainment, but set a money-wasting example for struggling small business owners trying to make their own cash registers ring, a study found.
California-based advertising consultant Drew Eric Whitman, author of CA$HVERTISING (Career Press), said nearly all of this year’s Super Bowl commercials ignored all three of the foundational principles of creating effective advertising: 1) highlighting the product’s benefits, 2) distinguishing it from the competition, and 3) driving people to act.
In a nationwide survey of 525 small business owners, 94 percent said they would benefit if they patterned their own local ads after those shown during the Super Bowl. “Wrong!,” exclaimed Whitman. “Instead of giving strong reasons to buy, those commercials subordinated their product to irrelevant and often downright stupid humor. Unfortunately, small businesses owners often take their cues from what the big boys are doing. It’s a disastrous recipe to follow.
For example, CareerBuilder runs a great website offering an invaluable service to millions,” he said. “And with today’s high national unemployment rate, finding work is more important than ever. But to spend 60 seconds showing nothing more than ad nauseam repetition of underwear-clad office workers without one second on how CareerBuilder actually helps viewers find satisfying and rewarding work is an advertising disgrace. It might generate laughs, but showing out-of-shape people in underwear gives no motivation to visit the site and use their service.
Citing another example, he said, “Volkswagen burns millions of dollars in just 60 seconds showing people playing ‘Punch Dub,’ hitting your friend or family member in the arm whenever you see a Volkswagen drive by. Rather than entertainingly giving reasons to buy their products,focusing on quality, safety, fun, or performance, they bore viewers for a full minute with an archaic child game and say nothing about the car!”
This is especially interesting since VW’s vice president of marketing, Tim Ellis, announced prior to the game, ‘There is a bigger story to tell about our brand.”
“Think about this. They had over 107 million people glued to their TVs during the game,” exclaimed Whitman, so why the heck didn’t they tell it?
Whitman explained that the classic advertising-success formula, “AIDA,” (get Attention… stimulate Interest… build Desire… and ask for Action) was largely ignored by Super Bowl advertisers, and is unknown to most independent business owners struggling to stay afloat.
“Your goal is not to get people saying, ‘Wow… what a clever ad!’ Instead, you want them to ask, “Hey… where can I buy one?
“Advertising is selling, first and foremost,” said Whitman, and with the economy mercilessly battering businesses in most every industry, ads need to focus on sales, not entertainment. “Taking cues from Super Bowl commercials to create your own campaigns,” he added, “might be a fun way to exercise your creativity, but it’s a sure-fire way to flush your ad dollars down the toilet.”