This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post. But we got our picture taken at church on Sunday, and I wanted to post it, and hey, this is my blog, so I can do what I want. I love the expression on David’s face.
No, this blog post is about the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl ads, to be precise. All of the buzz around the ads got me thinking, do the Super Bowl ads actually get anyone to buy anything? I know I’m probably not a typical American consumer. I don’t buy Doritos or beer (and if I bought beer, I wouldn’t buy Budweiser.) I’m not in the market for a new car, and I’m not looking to get a new job. I don’t go the movies. I don’t have a lot of gold, and I’m not looking to sell the gold that I have. I already use hulu.com on a regular basis, and I’d be ashamed to tell you how much Diet Coke we buy (and consume) on a weekly basis. Our insides would corrode if we drank any more.
So I’d really be interested in hearing from you about whether you saw any Super Bowl ads that made you want to buy something.
Despite all the hype generated by the Super Bowl ads, the purpose of advertising is to get people to buy stuff. Or get them to buy more stuff they’re already buying. Or take some action that will get them closer to buying your product. (I know, I know, a lot of people went to the GoDaddy.com site to see Danica Patrick, but how many of them were interested in Web hosting? Not many, I’d guess.) Believe me, I know that advertising has a long-term brand-building effect as well. But if all you’re doing is getting people to think more highly of your brand (and I would argue that most of the Super Bowl ads didn’t even do that effectively), then you’re wasting your money.
Do I think that advertising on the Super Bowl is ever a good idea? Sure. I think that if you have a major new product introduction (like something on an iPod scale), it’s a great way to get your product seen by mega-millions of people, both during and following the game. Ditto if you have a major product improvement. If you want to drive people to a Web site to take some kind of action (some kind of action that relates to your actual product or service, that is), I think it makes sense. Or if you have a special, short-term deal you want to announce – like “free breakfast at Denny’s before 2:00”, it can really spread the word.
Or if you have a product that will make my almost 3-year-old use the potty, or get my kids to stop fighting. I’d buy those in a second.