Super Bowl XLVII, marketing’s biggest event, is less than one month away. This year Kellogg Professor Derek Rucker and I will once again be leading the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review; we will assemble a panel of Kellogg students and evaluate all the advertisers, awarding grades of A, B, C, D and, on occasion, F. This is our ninth year.
The Kellogg rankings are unique because we focus entirely on business impact. While we enjoy watching all the spots, we aren’t interested in humor or creativity. We think about just two main questions: Will the spot build the business? And will it build the brand?
Over the years, the Kellogg panel has given low grades to some advertisers who ran ads that were exceptionally funny but fundamentally flawed; the branding might have been weak, for example, or the spots didn’t convey a benefit. We’re looking forward to seeing what this year will bring.
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At this point it is clear that three big trends we identified last year will continue in 2013:
First, demand continues to grow. Prices are apparently up again this year, to nearly $4 million per thirty-second spot. This is up from about $3.5 million last year and $2.5 million back in 2010. Despite the higher prices, demand is strong. For advertisers, the Super Bowl is unique; it is the only time you can reach a large percentage of the U.S. population at one time. It is also the one time people actually want to watch your ads.
Second, there is more activity before the game. I suspect that every Super Bowl advertiser will be talking about the Super Bowl well in advance of the game. Over the next several weeks we will see promotions, public relations efforts and contests. This makes perfect sense, of course; the best way to justify the price of a Super Bowl ad is to use the spot as one part of a fully integrated marketing campaign spanning several weeks.
Third, online efforts will be an increasingly important part of the mix. If you want to see where the business world is in terms of online promotion and social media marketing follow the Super Bowl advertisers this month. Watch Pepsi, Budweiser, Coke, Audi, Best Buy and all the other advertisers to see how they are using these tactics. One big question: will Facebook be front and center for the savviest marketers? Or will they try to move people from that platform?
It promises to be another remarkable month of marketing activity. Things really get rolling today.
In the weeks leading up to the big game, Derek and I will be blogging about interesting developments related to the 2013 Super Bowl. You can see all the posts on our Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review Blog. I’ll also put the posts on my blog, Building Strong Brands.