The Southeast Missourian ran an interesting Super Bowl article earlier this week.
The story is about Amber Seyer, a local Missouri woman who is apparently featured in the Super Bowl spot for Coke’s PowerAde. You can read the article here:
The story is, as one might expect, light on details. Coke doesn’t want to ruin the surprise. But, I think there are two items of note:
First, PowerAde will apparently be running a rather racy spot. This is a bit of a change for PowerAde and very unusual for the Super Bowl. Ever since 2004’s unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, the Super Bowl broadcast has been very tame. GoDaddy has tried to push the envelope, but their efforts to be controversial have been feeble. Victoria’s Secret ran a very modest and demure spot last year. Overall, the Super Bowl in recent years has been about as titillating as reading Newsweek. This might be about to change.
For advertisers, sex is certainly one way to break through, and that is probably the driving factor behind PowerAde’s move. It is a risky approach; however, the Super Bowl has such a broad audience that it is very easy to offend people. The challenge is to be captivating while still in good taste. This is a very difficult balance to strike.
Second, Coke was apparently shooting the spot on December 19. This is just over a month before the Super Bowl and right in the middle of the holiday season. While it is possible to shoot a TV spot and have it on air in a few hours, most commercials take months to shoot, edit and finish. December 19 seems like fairly tight timing indeed.
Both of these points suggest that at least one advertiser is scrambling to craft a message that will work in this year’s rather challenging environment. I think other advertisers are scrambling, too. This is a year when the tried and true approach to Super Bowl advertising (big laughs and big production) may not be the best approach.
– Tim Calkins