Go big or go home! • Orchid

Go big or go home!

Go big or go home!

For this week's blog post, post-production aficionado Mark Wilkinson of ORCHID Digital makes our heads spin with some of the facts and figures behind advertising in American sport- and provides a little inspiration with his selection of some of the finest examples of SuperBowl grand finale ads.

If the SuperBowl had a motto, it would surely be 'Go big or go home!'

I love sport. I especially like American sports - the NFL, baseball, basketball and ice hockey (although in the USA, they drop ice from its title). Ever since I witnessed a dog run 100 yards after a frisbee, jump into the air, catch it in its mouth and land in the end zone for a score I’ve been hooked. Nothing to do with the sport I know, but everything to do with the occasion. That occasion was my first American football game as my adopted team the San Diego Chargers took on the Miami Dolphins, and Dink the dog was the halftime show.

Things have moved on a bit. Beyoncé was the halftime show at this year’s SuperBowl, the NFL’s season-ending grand finale. And it is the power that grand finale has over marketers that impresses me. Face the facts people! Sport sells.

SuperBowl Sunday is the culmination of, for the 2 teams, a grueling 20 game season.  For the host city, it’s the end to a weeklong circus of events hosting the world’s media. New Orleans hosted it in February and it is reported that this circus had an estimated $434 million impact on the city. As they say in Louisiana, that’s a lot of crawfish étouffée!

The SuperBowl 2012 grand finale pulled in a record-breaking average TV audience of 111.3 million viewers and generated advertising revenue for the NFL of $245 million. This year’s game in New Orleans was expecting to see related consumer spending in the U.S toppig $12 billion.  That means the average American consumer would spend around $82 on Super Bowl Sunday! With those sort of numbers, it’s easy to see why television ad breaks have become the battleground where Americas biggest brands fight for consumers hearts and minds while the players ‘take a knee’. As with everything, it has a price, and this one is pretty high. We all know they love hype across the pond, so it is no surprise that this year they dubbed it ‘‘the most expensive 30 seconds in the history of TV’’. The television network CBS who televised this year’s Super Bowl, averaged out the cost to be $4 million per slot. Just in case you were wondering, that doesn’t include the actual production of your commercial…

Now here is a snippet of information that will make you think ‘REALLY?’  Beyoncé wasn’t paid a penny to perform the halftime show. What she got in return for her input was approximately 12 minutes of ultimate airtime on national television. That amount of time would cost Corporate America $96 million. That does not include the worldwide TV exposure. According to the NFL, the game was beamed to 232 countries in 34 different Languages. You can see why it was worth her while!

So because of the crazy amounts of money being charged, the SuperBowl Ad has become something of an event in its own right - a chance for advertisers to bring their creative A-games to the fore.  (Showing an existing commercial is a big no no.)  As a result, it’s the birthplace of the funniest and most memorable ads I have ever seen.

Here are some from the past I remember fondly:

  1. ‘Money coming out of the wazoo’. Dedicated to those with too much money. A creative treatment of its time. Genius last scene.

  2. ‘Cat herding’. Ah, the dot-com boom era, when it was important to spend millions of dollars just to announce your presence, even if you were a company whose services the average consumer would never use. So it was with this IT company. Still, cowboys and cats? What’s not to like.

  3. ‘Terry Tate’. Office linebacker. Every office should have one of these! Come to think of it, maybe that’s something I could do here at ORCHID. Outside the box thinking from Reebok.

  4. Volkswagen ‘the force’. We all know this one. Thankfully, it made its way across the pond. This little dude is a real star. Brilliant.

  5. Being funny is not the only thing that makes a TV commercial memorable. This one stars one of the most iconic brand symbols in America, the ‘Budweiser Clydesdales’. Every year, Anheuser-Busch (who since 2002 have spent around $250 million on TV advertising at the Super Bowl alone), bring out a new ad starring these magnificent creatures and as impact goes, it’s hard to top their 2002 offering. Four months after 9/11, it’s simply titled respect. The only other time this commercial has been shown was on the 10th anniversary.

  6. It’s not just about TV advertising these days. Many of the class of ‘13 ads were posted on the Internet before game day. Doritos went a step further and posted 6 commercials on their website and asked viewers to choose their favoutite. This one topped the poles. Is this what happens when you buy a goat and feed it Doritos?

  7. I’ll finish with this from that most American of American cookies, Oreo. It continues along the theme about which is best- the chocolate biscuit or the cream filling?  It does get ridiculously out of hand though.

  8. And just to show how savvy they are getting these days, Oreo responded almost immediately to the power cut that happened at this year’s game, straight after Beyoncé’s halftime show. The stadium lost power and play was held up for 34 minutes, which gave Oreo the opportunity to tweet this.  Food for thought?