Created on: January 27, 2013 Last Updated: January 28, 2013
It’s the most important day on the calendar for men (after Christmas, that is). Just what is it that makes a single sporting event like the Super Bowl and its halftime show and signature commercial interruptions such a big deal? According to 2011 data by the marketing research firm of Penn Schoen Berland, “Male respondents rank…[the Super Bowl as] more important than their wedding anniversaries. It’s a live shared experience of 21st century Americana that celebrates competition, community, pop culture, and consumption.”
It also makes any number of companies a whole lot of money via its commercials, which continue to draw fans (via the Internet) both before and long after the actual event itself is over. For many, this pseudo-holiday follows the post-Christmas and New Year’s letdown, making it reason enough to celebrate. For the advertisers, it’s the biggest audience (last year topping 111 million viewers) they will have at any one time, all focused intently on their commercial (and thus, their product), judging it against its peers, in a sort of contest of the commercials.
Less of a sporting event than television event
The televised event works to the benefit of advertisers. First of all, they have a huge captive audience. While some attending Super Bowl parties (you know who you are) may not be diehard fans of the pigskin, everyone loves a good commercial. In fact, according to Penn Schoen Berland, a full 31 percent of viewers admit to watching the show “more for the commercials than the game.”
According to a panel conducted back in the late 1990s, more than 95 percent of pro-football fans had never seen a professional game in person. According to the “Village Voice,” “Without its multiple camera angles, instant replays and halftime shows that look as if they were directed by Leni Riefenstahl, pro football as we know it wouldn’t exist.”
Then there’s Sportswriter Dan Jenkins, who aptly noted, “Most fans’ passion for the Super Bowl is miles wide and inches deep. It’s a TV special, and most people’s memory of it extends back no further than last year….” Thus, it appears that, when it comes to the Super Bowl itself, it’s more a television event than a sporting event, which works perfectly for those doing the advertising.
Creating memorable moments
Costing millions of dollars for a 30- or 60-second spot, advertisers know that they must come up with their best, most humorous or memorable pitch for the big event. Each year, some of the best commercials that appear on television anywhere are made and shown (and re-shown) via the Super Bowl.
Just a few of the most memorable over the years include the introduction of the E*Trade baby, the Anheuser Busch frogs, and “Mean“ Joe Greene sharing a Coke and a jersey with a young boy. Surely the Super Bowl ads of 2013 will be just as memorable, with sneak peaks of the ads already leaking out into cyberspace well ahead of the big day. For 2013, consumers are already psyching themselves up for Psy’s Gangam-style pistachios pitch, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s superpower antics to sell milk, and Tracy Morgan’s unusual chronicling of American history via sports drinks.
For Super Bowl fans and advertising aficionados alike, every year the audiences, the ads, and the replay only get bigger and better.
Learn more about this author, Christine Zibas.
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