Super Bowl Ads 2017

An advertising background has its own set of prejudices. One can never enjoy a commercial without getting into the technicalities. So this year, I decided to enjoy the Super Bowl commercials for what they are – branded entertainment. At rates approaching 5 million dollars per 30 sec spot, they better be sufficiently amusing, and at the same time, work some magic for the brand itself.

After all, this is one time of the year when commercials are not skipped. They are watched, and rated. They are deemed the best, and the absolute worst. The halftime show gets a slice of the pie as well. Lady Gaga’s acrobatic performance grabbed many a headline. She was fabulous, wasn’t she?

But do the ads really translate into sales? Actually, they don’t. Especially for established brands like Pepsi and Budweiser. For them, it’s all about maintaining presence and status quo. Surveys have shown that between 80 to 90 percent of Super Bowl ads fail to boost purchase. But as we marketers know, it’s not always about immediate sales, is it?

It’s much more than that. If you want instant gratification, go do a BOGO. Super Bowl commercials are in here for the long haul.

These days, social media adds a continuity factor to the TV spots. You can interact with the brand socially long after the game is over. Super Bowl spots help create a buzz around new movies, resulting in a substantial spike in ticket sales. And as for new companies and products, a 30 sec in the big game can translate into brand awareness, and often, actual sales. Go Daddy and Wix both benefitted in previous years. A slice of the Super Bowl pie grants a certain prestige to newbies, which in turn consolidates their brand share.

Coming on the heels of a tumultuous political season, the 2017 commercials covered the usual array of sentiments and celebrities, ranging from the emotional to the bizarre. The one spot that struck a chord with me was Coca Cola, and it wasn’t even new. The soda company, always a bit of a trend-setter, decided to air their 2014 reel.

For once, I am not going to think of the endless storyboards, language checks, singers, actors, extras, props, clashing schedules, typos, mispronunciations and subsequent corrections, edits, voice recordings, post production madness, or the perfect length and position of the tagline. I am going to sit back and enjoy the rendition.

Did someone say that the ad features voices singing “America the Beautiful” in nine languages? Gulp.

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Esha Samajpati
Esha Samajpati is an advertising professional turned travel writer.
Esha Samajpati

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