Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated at: 2018 Super Bowl Ads.
Super Bowl may be the one time in American TV viewing throughout the year when the public looks forward to the advertisements. Super Bowl ads have fast become part of the Super Bowl Sunday experience as much as the game, the snacks, and the halftime show. In fact, in lieu of a wardrobe malfunction or a bad 2nd down call on the 1 yard line with 26 seconds left to play, the ads are often the most talked about part of the game, especially if you are a fan of any of the 30 NFL teams that were also at home watching the game.
Super Bowl ads may be entertaining, but they are bad marketing examples, especially for small business owners.
- No call to action. Marketing today especially is about eliciting a measurable response. With limited time and resources, small businesses cannot waste any of them on branding. They need to have a call to action that gets prospects in their sales funnel. What is that first step in your sales cycle? What do you want your prospects to do once they find you? Is it subscribing to your email list? Filling out a form on your website? Calling for an appointment? This needs to be very clear in all your marketing. Unfortunately, most Super Bowl ads, do not have a call to action or more specifically a call to action that leads prospects down the path to purchase. The exception this year may be McDonaldâ€™s.
McDonald’s featured an endearing ad with a clear call to action.
- No value to the customer. Super Bowl ads are more about being cute and getting talked about than delivering value to the customer. As a small business, you cannot afford to be cute and not make it clear to your customers what you do. As a society, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter; the most effective marketing is to be direct about whom you serve and how you can help them. A good example from this yearâ€™s Super Bowl ads is Weathertech.
There’s no question what Weathertech does. This is a good clear message.
- No increase in sales. Often the most-loved ads do not improve the sales. Perhaps, the most-loved and favorite Super Bowl ad of all time featuring Mean Joe Greene was pulled after a few months by Coca-Cola because sales did not increase.
Unfortunately, this beloved ad did not help Coke sales.
Small businesses need to make sure there is a positive Return on Investment for every dollar spent marketing. Winning the ads on Super Bowl Sunday does not equate to winning sales. A smart small business owner should not be concerned with winning ad competitions, but rather sales competitions.
So by all means, enjoy the ads and the memes that spring from them. You can view them all here. However, please do NOT model your marketing after Super Bowl ads. Model your marketing with a good solid strategy that focuses on eliciting a measurable response.
Not sure where to start? Read about theÂ 10 Marketing Must Haves for Every Business Owner.