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

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.

WeatherTech

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.

Cheerios

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

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8 thoughts on “Tackling Consumers

  1. Insightful angle to the ads and the expense and justification. The commercial about GoldieBlocks also worked well from a credibility-as-main-goal perspective. That said, Aristotle noted that ethos was the most fragile even as it was the most powerful of the proofs. Thus the Dannon “The Spill” ad that hints at fellatio may work with some and come across as a “wardrobe malfunction” to others. The other strategy that seemed very prevalent and further added to the spend was the credibility by association with key stars and especially stars not prone to and not seen as needing to be on commercials. Bob Dylan?!?!?! Seriously!?!?! I guess Neal Young wasn’t available (and U2 was already taken). That’s a huge get. “So the guy that has generally been against corporate America, likes our corporation enough to be in our commercial. What do you say to that?” Yes, the angle of credibility loomed large this year. Thanks for bringing it to light.

  2. After viewing all of these commercials on Superbowl Sunday and again just now, I still agree that all of these ads deserve the spots they had because they each were entertaining yet still got their point across. Squarespace made it their duty to demonstrate that the company values having the ability to erase all of the mess that the Internet can bring to their customers. Any ad with American pride during the Superbowl is worth a slot because what is not more American than Superbowl Sunday?? WeatherTech used this to their advantage in order to show their company’s worth and for me, it worked. The Cheerios commercial stuck to what is always does because why not? Who doesn’t love seeing the famous little girl and her family being sweet and happy all together while enjoying their cheerios? With how successful the company is, I believe they do deserve their spot. The Bank of America commercial grabs viewers attention through more than just saying “use our company” which is always a better route to take with ads. By having the extras such as U2, the charity (RED) and tapping in on HIV/AIDS, like you said, they really are reinforcing their slogan “Life is better when you’re connected.” Another commercial that really stuck out to me was the Coca-Cola ad. Although there has been some speculation of it being appropriate due to “America the Beautiful” not being completely sung in English, our country is a melting pot and if anything it accurately depicted the numerous cultures and religions who makes our country what we are today.

    • Hi Madi!

      Great observation. I’m sure the reasoning you stated is why Coca-Cola decided to run that ad during the Super Bowl.

      Thanks for the comment! -Caroline Robinson

  3. I think that the first commercial captures the essence of what a 30 second advertisement should be. I waited a few minutes after watching the commercials to post my response and the squarespace commercial is the one that I remembered the best. Therefore, there money was well spent to introduce their brand to the world. The other commercials fit in the categories correctly, but they I think that they were just like any other typical commercial.

    I thought that the Pepsi commercial reinforced their brand very well. Not only is Pepsi a popular brand, they also used several famous people to help promote their brand. That was smart marketing strategy since everyone knows their brand, they needed something to attract peoples attention. I think their strategical placement of using celebrities from different categories ranging from the singer Justin Timberlake, to the comedian, Andy Samburg was very smart. It attracted a larger audience to view their commercial and reminded people to go buy Pepsi. Do you think their commercial was over the top? or do you feel like Pepsi’s advertisement captured the essence of what it set out to do?

  4. I think that the first commercial captures the essence of what a 30 second advertisement should be. I waited a few minutes after watching the commercials to post my response and the squarespace commercial is the one that I remembered the best. Therefore, there money was well spent to introduce their brand to the world. The other commercials fit in the categories correctly, but they I think that they were just like any other typical commercial.

    I thought that the Pepsi commercial reinforced their brand very well. Not only is Pepsi a popular brand, they also used several famous people to help promote their brand. That was smart marketing strategy since everyone knows their brand, they needed something to attract peoples attention. I think their strategical placement of using celebrities from different categories ranging from the singer Justin Timberlake, to the comedian, Andy Samburg was very smart. It attracted a larger audience to view their commercial and reminded people to go buy Pepsi. Do you think their commercial was over the top? or do you feel like Pepsi’s advertisement captured the essence of what it set out to do?

    ~Kayla Eberhardt

  5. I think these commercials were great examples of reasons why it’s worth it to spend such a large amount of money for such a short amount of time. I agree with Madi when she said that the WeatherTech commercial used American pride to their fullest advantage because football and the superbowl are “American” in all aspects. I like how the last commercial with Bank of America uses multiple things to promote itself and to raise awareness. Also while catching viewers attention with the popular band U2 and helps sell their new song. I think that the beer commercials, especially the BudLight ones were important to point out because I feel like they try to reinforce current consumers and sell to new consumers with the beer and its connection to football. Beer company’s often sponsor NFL events and programs, and this sells to a niche market of consumers who are men that watch football. It’s smart to spend money to reinforce the brand and the brands connections.

  6. The use of the phrase ” You Can’t Do That” by Weather Tech as way to tell cooperate America watch us, reinforces its slogan “American Factories, American Raw Materials, and American Workers” and it’s a great way to introduce their brand. Squarespace uses a more comedic way to illustrate the mess we know as the internet and made the brand stand out as memorable to me. So, these two newcomers definitely deserve their spots. Cheerios appeal to family values, is the brands way of saying “we know how important they are to you let us help keep them healthy” this helps reinforce that the brand has been around for a while. Bank of America also reinforces their brand by letting viewers their doing their part to help others by contributing to RED. these brand also deserve their spots in this category.

  7. I agree these commercials would fit into the two categories. The Cheerios commercial really did well with enforcing their brand. They often portray themselves as something good for the whole family, bonding the family. So when a little girl is being told she is getting a baby brother, what else to negotiate over but some Cheerios. Another one I thought was enforcing their brand, was the Coca Cola Commercial. Not only were they displaying the diverse brand of America but they were also enforcing their brand by doing their commercial on America. I feel that because Coca Cola a lot of times is viewed as the soft drink of America, so what better enforcer to use but America.

    -Eva Valle
    emv7877@uncw.edu

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