Tackling Consumers

A round of applause for the Seattle Seahawks as the champions of the Super Bowl XLVIII. Even if you were not a fan of either the Broncos or the Seahawks, it almost a sure bet you tuned into the game. Every year over 100 million people observe what is arguably the sporting event of the year.

The Super Bowl, however, is known for more than a fierce round of football – it’s known for the commercials. Here is time where advertisers pull out all the stops. Audiences expect commercials of both artistic and humorous grandeur. Prices for spots annually rise, this year topping at $4 million for a 30 second spot.

Yet companies don’t spend millions for spots merely to entertain viewers. Unlike in decades past, advertisers are no longer in the business of explaining, but in the business of convincing and reinforcing. This is often the purpose of commercials we see every day. So, other than the guaranteed viewership, what is the worth of a Super Bowl spot?

Credibility, claims Joe Glennon, assistant professor of advertising at Temple’s School of Media and Mass Communication. In an article for the Philadelphia Business Journal, Glennon explains that many advertisers walk away from the exorbitant price tag due to the simple financial standpoint that $4 million for 30 seconds is a largely impossible return on investment. He explains that of those who do justify the expense there are two primary advertisers – large, well known, companies who use the spots to reinforce brand propensities among current users, and smaller companies who use the spot as a means to launch into the market by gaining notoriety.

So, in the myriad of last night’s entertainment, we have selected four commercials that beautifully represent the two credibility building categories Glennon noted; some attempting cut into, or further into the market, others reinforcing brand attitudes.


Squarespace created a spot that was a humorous, but accurate depiction of what the Internet is like – cluttered. Personifying memes, obnoxious advertisements, and the “duck face”, Squarespace offered to consumers that when using their services for website building and maintenance, the company could alleviate such distraction. So, why did Squarespace make it onto the list today? Simple, the Squarespace commercial introduced the company values and brand in a creative, weird, funny, and somewhat true way. Justifying the $4 million dollar expenditure seems to working so far – we are talking about – there’s probably a good chance other people are too.


Although the ad was neither humorous nor heart-warming, WeatherTech’s commercial built on a sacred theme in the Super Bowl: American pride. Their slogan, “American Factories, American Raw Materials, and American Workers”, was enough to draw people’s interest and introduce their company as a defying the odds, sticking with their gut, and overcoming obstacles many American companies have faced. During a time when many gripe about US jobs becoming outsourced, it’s hard to say that WeatherTech didn’t prove their credibility with their national pride.


Yes, the adorable little girl is back and this time she is getting a brother. This 30-second ad wraps up what all of us remember of Cheerios and what the Cheerios brand wants us to remember about them; families coming together over love. Here Cheerios is showing how they are continuing to be a hearty and healthy part of growing families.

Bank of America/(RED)/U2

What does this commercial not do? It introduces U2’s new song “Invisible” (there is still time to get your free download if you haven’t done it), it highlights and raises money for the charity (RED), increases knowledge of AIDS/HIV, and shows Bank of America’s humanitarian efforts. Reinforcing their slogan, “Life is better when your connected”, Bank of America is giving a chance for its customers and the world to connect by helping to end an epidemic.

What is your opinion? Do you think these commercials deserve a spot in these categories? What other commercials did you see that introduce the brand or reinforce existing brand propensities?

Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade