Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Superbowl Ads: An Overall Lack of Connection

written by Priyanka Patel

The Super Bowl is the highlight of the season among football fans, but for a lot of people the enjoyment of watching the Superbowl is watching the ads and not the actual game. Many people watch to see how creative the ads will be, and advertisers buy these Superbowl slots to try and connect with the nearly 100 million people watching, hoping that in turn, it will create ROI for their products.

Superbowl XXXVIII had 98 million viewers, 20 % that were 18-24, 8 % of whom were Hispanic, 10 .2 % African American, and 4 % Asian, but I felt that this year advertisers neglected to target the diverse young adult market except for a select few. The 18-24 market spends $122 billion a year, including $24 billion in discretionary spending and the three minority markets (mentioned above) also have considerable spending power - about 2.2 billion , so why would advertisers’ choose to ignore them? I'm confused (as a 23 year old market researcher), as to why advertisers would not try to expand their market in a time where ad budgets are shrinking and they need to get the most “bang for their buck”?

There were a few ads that I thought targeted and connected well with the 18-24 year old demo and they are the following:

CultureLab’s Top Superbowl Spots

1) Cash4Gold
2) Doritos
3) Bud Light (this only should connect with 21-24 year olds! LOL!)
4) Bridgestone
5) GoDaddy.com
6) Toyota*

The reason that I feel these commercials resonated with Gen Y is because of their quirky humor mixed in with their originality which us Gen Y-ers typically like. As with the Bud Light, Doritos and Bridgestone spots there was effective use of humor throughout the commercials. I also believe that they were able to connect to Gen Y because they made use of popular celebrities, such as MC Hammer (Cash4Gold), Danica Patrick (GoDaddy.com), and Conan O’Brien (Bud Light), which in this celebrity obsessed culture, resonates with young people today.

• I also want to give Toyota a BIG shout out for being the ONLY advertiser to display any form of multicultural sophistication. They ran a :30 ad from African American agency, Burrell Communications during game time. Toyota should be commended for using an African American targeted spot as a general market spot. It is frankly surprising that when 22% of the people who watched Superbowl XXXVIII are minorities, this is the only spot done from a multicultural point of view.

So here are the spots that in my view, did not deliver for my 18-24 year old set:

CultureLab’s Worst Five

1) Budweiser (the Clydesdale spots)
2) Coca-Cola
3) Pepsi
4) Hyundai
5) Denny’s

The reason that I chose these as the worst commercials is because they lacked excitement and were not particularly relevant to young people. For example, the Clydesdales did not relate to the product; many Superbowl viewers were too young to recall the older commercials referenced and weren’t able to connect the dots between the Clydesdales and Budweiser. Same thing with PepsiCo, where they tried to connect the past generations with the new generation by using Will.I.Am, but the music and pictures were only somewhat recognizable (I am not sure if anyone of my friends really know who Bob Dylan is), and therefore; hard to connect with me as a Gen Y-er. The Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Denny’s commercials were just plain lackluster.

Overall, I thought the ads this year did a mediocre job at targeting 18-24 year olds, but did an even worse job connecting with multicultural 18-24 year olds. If corporations want to increase their chances for making their revenue targets in this incredibly challenged economic climate then they definitely should aspire to be more inclusive in their messaging and outreach.

To see the ads yourself, check it out at:http:// www.adage.com/article?article_id=134136



MHB said...

while i def. agree w/ the shoutout to Toyota - an intelligent strategic move to engage ignored demos - the advert itself is pretty, but not memorable...

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