The Super Bowl is the world’s biggest marketing stage, so it’s always educational to see how brands place their bets.
The stakes are high, with $5.6 million for the 30-second media buy alone in 2020. In the most recent Super Bowl advertising study from Communicus (2017), they found that 80% of Super Bowl ads failed to significant impact for the brand. And in a more telling statistic, 64% of Super Bowl viewers couldn’t connect a memorable ad to the brand it was advertising.
To try to break through the clutter, Fast Company reported that more brands in 2020 are investing in elaborate teaser campaigns — essentially commercials for the commercials.
As Wieden+Kennedy Ad Director Christine Gignac put it last week:
“If we want people to consume ads as entertainment, I think it makes sense to treat it like the entertainment world does, by creating trailers—or teasers, in our case—to get people into the idea.
“Ultimately, people only want to watch content that’s interesting to them, so the teaser needs to be as good and as engaging as the ad itself.”
This touches on a central tension of advertising in general — balancing entertainment with effectiveness. In the pursuit of ads as entertainment, what too often gets lost is the brand behind the ad.
Here are some of the Super Bowl advertising cartoons I’ve drawn over the years, starting with one from 2003: