Old School Super Bowl Advertising

Welcome back to a brand new semester of IMC! What a week for us to return, as this Sunday is the biggest advertising day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. This week we will primarily be looking at different aspects of advertising in relation to the Super Bowl.

Today we are looking at the evolution of Super Bowl Commercials. The first Super Bowl was played in 1967, and according to the American Marketing Association, a 30 second spot cost $42,000. For comparison, the same ad at the 2016 Super Bowl would cost a easy $5 million. It seems a viewership and popularity has come up, so has the prices, which obviously makes sense.

Lets look at a few of the commercials that received extremely positive reactions.

Having Coca-Cola put a smile on the face of a guy called ‘mean’ is clever.  You got a cute kid, you got Coke, and you have a happy 250 pound tackling machine. You couldn’t have a more uplifting commercial. And it obviously worked. This commercial has now been spoofed many times, on television, in movies, and even other Super Bowl commercials.  But what separates this commercial for many other Super Bowl commercials? We have a recognizable and popular figure in Mean Joe Green. You also have an already popular product in Coke. What made this so popular was that it continued the identity Coca-Cola had set up for itself. The phrase “have a Coke and a smile” is very similar to other campaigns Coke has run both before and after this commercial.

The second commercial takes a very different approach.

The purpose of this commercial is different than that of Coke. Apple at this point was not a highly established brand. They were not cranking out multiple products, or have the control and influence they have on today’s market. But they were a technologically advanced company trying to win the personalized computer race. This is simply a lead up to the product reveal, and is done so in the way to gain public interest. It was an appropriate time to use the theme of the commercial, and maintaining mystery is smart for what they were planning to do. Apple was using this commercial to establish their brand. It is now considered one of the greatest Superbowl commercials of all time.

Do you think it’s worth the now $5 million approach to establish the brand, knowing it might not work? What can advertisers now learn from some of theses nostalgic commercials in their own campaigns?  Would you rather advertise for a company with already developed brand, or one without?

-John Karcher