Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Does a $3 million Super Bowl spot make sense in such a down economy?

It's that time of year again - the advertising trades and their pundits are gabbing about the Super Bowl - the big one, in terms of audience and cost-per-30 sec spot.

So, the obvious question is - at $3 million per spot, does it seem crazy for corporate America to go there - with the economy in the dumper? 

A Super Bowl ad is always a biggy- reach the biggest audience. Make a splash. Get the buzz going around the water coolers. Great. Even in a bad economy, and some might say especially in a bad economy, a Super Bowl ad could work well. Especially one that is carefully developed, with sensitivity, sophistication and funny in a light way, without the mean-spiritedness that permeates some of today's advertising.

It's a big showcase for big ideas.

On the other hand, it's not surprising to see some big name advertisers, like FedEx and GM, backing away from the big game. A Super Bowl ad might send the wrong message to employees, customers and stakeholders. And it could, of course, create negative backlash if the company's just made a bunch of layoffs. I have to admit that I would feel pretty bad if my employer was spending that kind of money after giving me and a few hundred of my cohorts the boot.

If more advertisers stay away, will the cost go down? If more of the big guys stay out of the game, will some new up-and-comers emerge and win Rookie of the Year honors?

Stay tuned!

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