Guest blogger: TIM ARNOLD
• Tim Arnold is a principal at Dragonfly and an Adweek columnist.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE NEWEST CONTENT
Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007 — 1:55 p.m.
Here’s why the Super Bowl is the greatest show on earth. In forty years it’s gone from a game to a spectacle, and in the process handed an enormous gift to a bunch of lucky dudes in the media and advertising industries. With every last Super Bowl TV commercial poll and analysis out there measuring nothing more than “favorite,” “best ever,” “funniest” and “most animals,” us ad dogs are off the hook. It’s akin to papal dispensation: apparently we don’t have to sell dick during the big one—just rank in one of these popularity contests. Our clients’ egos get stroked, and we can all congratulate ourselves for a job well done. Thank you very much.
And at ten times the price per :30 in today’s dollars, the host network at best will “only” be able to deliver less than twice the viewership of Super Bowl 1. And this one’s damned near sold out. Thank you very much.
What the heck; polls show that as many people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials as the game itself—and they’re all looking to be entertained. Some genius figured out to call this phenomenon “permission advertising.” Exactly—permission to get away with it. It’s a lot easier to entertain than to sell stuff, so why not? If we entertain, then our commercials will get voted “favorite,” or “funniest” or “best.” And we’ll be unaccountable for the millions of dollars we’ve convinced our clients to spend on all it. Fabulous.
I love this business. Let the spectacle begin.
Industry vets can get all nostalgic at almost any moment.
Me—I’m feeling … cynical.
OK, call it irony.
Can you feel irony?
Two years ago, Fox TV cancels the second airing of the first-ever GoDaddy commercial (which I produced at The Ad Store), scheduled to run in the 2005 Super Bowl 4th quarter, after debuting during the first quarter. You know the story.
Hypocritical outcries from the network, and from the NFL. Unfit for a Super Bowl audience. Yada yada. And inside pressure from a major sponsor to kill it. Out, damned spot!
Funny thing, Friday night CBS does its prime time showcase preview special, themed on the best 15 commercials in the history of the Super Bowl. And here comes the GoDaddy girl, Candice Michelle, sits right down next to co-host Daisy Fuentes and introduces, yep, the original, banned-at-Fox Super Bowl commercial.
Just gets me all … ironic.
Super Bowl Sunday. Cirque DeSouliel, allegedly Cirque DeSouliel, c’est fini. We’ve entered advertising’s red zone.
The crowd’s roaring.
Actually, it’s the stadium PA that’s roaring.
I think the crowd is gasping.
Client’s are holding their breath.
Agencies are well into denial.
The NFL’s marketers are huddled up in the super suites, with the super sponsors. Smuggery, all around.
Time to strut yo stuff.
No more hiding.
Prepare for lift off.
Here we go ...
OK, I’m in: first one to utterly waste every nickle of $2.6 of somebody’s money: salesgenie.com.
Bud Light English Lanuage class.
Wonderful. Honest embrace of diversity; be who you are and have a laugh with it, and us. Great punctuation mark. And guess what, the spot’s about the beer!
To my buddy Cowboy Bob Parsons at GoDaddy: you’re talking to yourself on this one my friend. You’re way past dropping your pants for the simple sake of brand awareness. There’s a fine line with Candace’s character anyway, and she deserves better than getting hosed down in the back room. Peace.
Budweiser - finally, an AB spot with heart. Classy, true to the King of Beers. Reeks of client buzz words: quality, brand leadership. Dramatic contrast to the simplistic humor seen in your earlier spots.
Garmin - #2 spot that’s a total waste of money. And video tape.
CareerBuilder: bring back the monkeys. And I didn’t like the monkeys, either.
When you’re a brand as big as Coke and you can maintain the accessible carriage of a leader, along with a joie de vivre, tempered by a wiff of humility and stoked by great street smarts, or hell, you just give your agency the room to rein you back into that space, you come up with an irresistible invitation into your brand world like the Grand Theft Auto production. Talk about turning a cultural icon on its ear! Yeah, I liked this one, and yeah, I thinkit can move some kind of needle. And I liked your celebration of Black History Month that followed it.
Wow. Is Coke back or what?
I am all in to what I’m seeing - and feeling - from Coke.
You got me.
Magical. A fantasmagormic Coca-Cola wonderland, and I want in.
Pure eye candy.
And much more.
There’s an idea.
There’s even a strategy.
Career Builder redux.
Good news is you were smart enough to walk, ok, knuckle drag, away from the monkeys.
Bad news is, well, sorry.
You’ve buried any chance of an idea in overwrought “production values.”
Note to anybody considering an advertising career: talking animals have no automatiic, built in relevance to anything resembling a real idea. (And it’s still ideas we’re supposed to be about). You’ve seen half the world’s living species so far in this game, and God knows what’s to come.
But do not let the industry’s brilliant ability to re-create these speaking creatures on camera confuse you: you still need an idea, despite the evidence to date. And somebody still has to clean up after them, one way or the other.
There’s at least a couple of campaigns out there that are so exquisitely designed, such orgasmic eye/ear candy that they defy conventional ad wisdom: what you say is more important than how you say it. Target is one. HP is another. Brilliant. They are building a specific and compelling set of brand values for tech gear through beautifully designed advertising.
And Chris, my brother: me thinks thou dost protest a bit much. But here’s what I really think: fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.
Final Super Bowl challenge: screw the polls. Forget the votes. But save your notes.
And say, 60 days from now, let’s get the numbers for all the Super Bowl advertisers.
Let’s pull some numbers, any numbers, against the objectives we assume they all had when they decided to put down 2 point six per. Or even figured out after the fact. Did they move a needle? Any needle? Awareness. Clicks. Better yet, ckicks that led to something? Trial. Consideration. Sales. Measured buzz. Anything? Did the people who voted they liked a commercial best actually respond in some tangible way to ... the marketer?
Because if they didn’t, they pissed their money down the drain.
And yep, here’s what GoDaddy’s 2005 Super Bowl TV spot resulted in: a sustained 50% jump in market share, tens of millions of dollars in incremental revenues from new customers and upsales, $11.7 million in non-paid, measured brand mentions in the week following its broadcast, 5 million web hits in the 48 hours after the game, producing an intereactive data base worth gold to this day. And a notoriety for its CEO that follows him to this day, all the way to the bank. Like it or not.
Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007, 9:12 a.m.
As for the Federline/Nationwide ad:
First of all, what’s up with the grumpy old National Restaurant Association?
They said this spot is a “strong and direct insult to the 12.8 million Americans who work in the restaurant industry?”
And this dude is ... just ... daydreaming, OTJ.
Like, that’s news?
Like, everyone one of us doesn’t drift off into a little fantasy what if during an otherwise scintillating 9 to 5 gig?
If we didn’t we’d be like, well, K-F, in real life.
Hell, guys float off about sex something like 12.5 times per hour.
And that’s not even daydreaming.
It’s wishful thinking.
Me, I think the first 28 seconds of this video is really cool.
Unfortunately it’s not a video.
It’s a commercial.
It’s supposed to be a commercial.
And the only reason it is, is because somebody stuck a tag and logo on the end.
Could have been anybody.
Least of all, an insurance company.
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007, 11:18 a.m.
Here’s what’s interesting to me, a mere 10 days and multimillions of dollars after the Super Bowl: Does anybody out there really give a shit about the commercials that ran back then? Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment; call me crazy, but I’ve just re-read most of the bloggers’ postings, including mine. And man, were we like totally serious or what? And what about you? Here’s my real question: Does anybody else out there give a tinker’s damn about these commercials ... now? I mean, beyond the agencies that produced ’em and the clients who paid for them? And the CBS sales guys?
So, here’s a final Super Bowl challenge:
Screw the polls. Forget the votes.
Let’s get the numbers for all the Super Bowl advertisers.
Let’s pull some numbers, any numbers, against the objectives we assume they all had when they decided to put down 2 point 6 per. Or even figured out after the fact. Did they move a needle? Any needle? Awareness. Clicks. Better yet, clicks that led to something? Trial. Consideration. Sales. Measured buzz. Anything? Did the people who voted they liked a commercial best actually respond in some tangible way to ... the marketer, and what they were selling?
Because if they didn’t, they pissed their money down the drain.
The hype is way stale, or haven’t you noticed?
So, show me the money.
Show us something tangible that came from all this.
Go ahead, make my day.