It’s been said that “any publicity is good publicity.” The corollary, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” is in good company with other variations. Some TV ads during the Super Bowl stretched that concept, perhaps to the breaking point.
Why the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is perhaps unique in sports in that many people watching the game on TV don’t even like football. They actually ignore the game and focus on the commercials. Between the football lovers and the ad lovers, there is an enormous audience available to advertisers who are willing to spend an enormous amount of money to make a quick pitch. (In 2013, “enormous money” meant nearly $4 Million per ad.)
Some advertisers pitch their product pretty directly (beer companies being an obvious example). Some are pitching an idea as much as a product. (Car companies fit nicely in that category.) Regardless of their tactics, they want to make a lasting impression in those 30 seconds.
Many of these ads took it to the next level, with videos made available via social media before the game. They are still available on YouTube and other sites, leveraging that “30 second” expenditure many times over.
Isn’t Marketing about Getting Peoples’ Attention?
Certainly they want to get my attention, but does it matter what kind of attention? Will I want to do business with a company that inspires the yuck factor in me through their ads? Do I want to continue doing business with a company that seems to be out of touch with my sensibilities, and is perhaps even intentionally abusing my senses? This is a serious marketing quandary: How to attract the attention of a client or potential client in such a way that they will remember you and want to do business with you.
After watching some questionable marketing in those ads, I had to wonder:
It’s been said that any publicity is good publicity – Does that apply to @superbowl ads too?
— Steve Case (@JoeBugBuster) February 4, 2013
Where the Rubber Hits the Road
What comes to your mind when you think of objectionable advertising – and has it ever changed your mind about who you do business with? Tell us in the comments section below!