Outside of the teams on the field, one of my favorite Super Bowl matchups is when different advertisers in the same category compete for consumers’ attention and loyalty. There is often a perennial battle between various car companies, with the specific players in the mix rotating from year to year. However, the one matchup I’ve always personally enjoyed seeing is between CareerBuilder and Monster. These two brands both have a foothold in the minds of consumers when it comes to job services, even if not every consumer can tell you the difference between the brands and their respective websites. And, the Super Bowl has been a clear showcase event for each brand.
Let’s face it, when it comes to advertising these two have been heavyhitters. In our annual Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review, they both have had moments of glory, providing executions that not only make us laugh, but that are cemented in an effort to build the brand. CareerBuilder has been a little more turbulent, with a blip related to its “heart-popping” ad a few years back (this ad literally featured a heart popping out of an individual’s chest). However, they have rebounded nicely in their spots in recent years, one of which focused on consumer-generated content as its source for the creative. This year CareerBuilder is back, and they are bringing back the equity of the CareerBuilder chimps – a return to the formula that was successful a few years ago for communicating their brand message.
Unfortunately for my favorite matchup, so far Monster has not announced plans to join the big dance this year. It’s an event I will miss, as I have enjoyed seeing how the two brands use their Super Bowl spots to speak to consumers about the challenges of finding a job and what solutions each brand can offer. From an academic perspective, there are also interesting strategic implications for both companies if Monster does not show up.
Of course, there is the immediate reach and top-of-mind awareness that comes from consumers who are fixated on Super Bowl ads. In addition, another major advantage of advertising in the Super Bowl is that brands can come to acquire what I call, “Super Bowl Equity.” By this I mean that consumers anticipate and expect the brands to appear in the Super Bowl year after year. For example, Budweiser is often the king when it comes to Super Bowl equity, but certainly other brands have it as well. An advantage of this Super Bowl equity is that it makes the brand top of mind and buzzworthy prior to the Super Bowl and in the days after the game. When consumers think about upcoming Super Bowl ads, it activates their repertoire of stored information of the top spots from last year’s game. Perennial advertisers thus get added time in consumers’ minds because of their association with the Super Bowl appearance.
What does it mean for Monster to be absent from advertising this year? It’s a potential opportunity for CareerBuilder to sway more of that coveted Super Bowl equity to themselves. Of course, CareerBuilder still has to deliver on their spot, and I’m excited to see how that goes!