January 3, 2014
On February 2, 2014, a record will likely be set. Almost every year, the Super Bowl breaks its own record from the previous year, as the single most-watched television program in history. Unsurprisingly, the current most-watched television program in history is 2013’s Super Bowl XCVII, clocking in at over 164,000,000 viewers.
While the exact numbers aren’t quite common knowledge, the fact that the Super Bowl is a major national (and increasingly worldwide) event is certainly known to anyone who is paying attention. However, there is something beyond records that is notable about the actual broadcast of the game. The Super Bowl is perhaps the only event where advertising is not simply tolerated, but is actually sought out by viewers. Watchers have become accustomed to advertisers going above and beyond for the Super Bowl and doing things truly groundbreaking, unique, or shocking. In your conversations with people you’ve surely come across those who say they are watching only for the advertisements!
This isn’t news. With a single 30 second advertising spot during the game going for upwards of $4,000,000 (that’s million), the cat has been out of the bag for a long, long time. However, what is news to many potential advertisers is the fact that television ads are not the only way to capture a sizeable chunk of this audience; and certainly not the only (or even best) way to capture that audience in a groundbreaking, unique, or shocking way.
Many people don’t realize this until a Super Bowl is hosted by their hometown, but the game has become much more than a one-day event. It has grown to encompass the entire week prior through the use of special outdoor programs and attractions strategically planned and placed to draw out football fans from both near and far in order to allow them to become part of a game that most of them will likely be unable to attend.
Each year, businesses in the area where the Super Bowl is being hosted experience a surge of millions upon millions of visitors to the area who otherwise would be miles away, beyond their reach. The predictable locations, times, and audiences at these events represent an invaluable opportunity not only to businesses in East Rutherford, New Jersey, but to nationwide advertisers who realize the advantages inherent in being able to specifically target an audience with advertising formulated for that very moment and location.
The challenge, however, is figuring out what to do not only to get your name in front of this audience, but how to do it in a way that will be well-received or even spread virally, and how to avoid the out-of-control costs normally associated with advertising related to the Super Bowl experience. You could put a ground crew in place with materials and training, hoping that they will be able to reach a sizeable portion of the crowd. You could buy print advertising in the area, hoping that it will end up in pockets instead of garbage cans. A company may choose to buy billboard space on the major highways entering and exiting the area, and hope that they don’t get lost as being part of the normal clutter of advertising that people see every day.
However, there is a much better way to reach these crowds and virtually guarantee that your ad will not only be seen, but also remembered. Have you ever seen an airplane banner or skywriting take place? If you have, it’s likely that you remember it fairly well, but recall the entire process. First, a propeller-driven airplane is heard in the distance; basically everyone in the area (you included) immediately looks up to see where the sound is coming from; once the airplane is spotted, people point it out and continue watching it; when people realize the airplane is towing a banner or writing letters in the sky, it becomes an immediate challenge to be the first to announce what it says, or what is being spelled. We see this exact process carried out time and time again, with advertising not simply breaking out of the customarily despised role of an interruption, but instead treated as a novelty and genuinely enjoyed.
Often, the simple fact that there is a low-flying aircraft overhead is enough to ensure the undivided attention of the crowds below. However, combined with strategic advertising ideas and special announcements, these things often go viral almost immediately. When utilizing social networks like Twitter and Facebook through the use of hash tags, or your own website simply by listing the URL, we have seen massive amounts of response in very short time-periods.
Give us a call today to discuss your options for capturing the attention of millions of football fans over the next month, and let us know in the comments if you’ve got any other creative ideas for advertising during the Super Bowl (for less than $8,000,000 per minute), we’d love to hear from you!