Villing & Company

Super Predictions for 2011 Super Bowl Ads

At the start of this football season, I boldly predicted the Indianapolis Colts would return to the Super Bowl. I know. As the events of the season unfolded and the Super Bowl drew closer, it became clear just how off-the-mark that call was. Proximity is the safeguard of prediction, I suppose.

Which means that nine days away from the biggest game of the year is a great time to predict what we could see from advertisers in this year's Super Bowl. We know the stats – last year's Super Bowl was the most-watched television program in U.S. history. (Yes, thanks in part to my Colts.) The draw for advertisers is obvious, and a 30-second spot in this year's game is going for a cool $3 million.

With so much at stake, it's no wonder marketers try to pull out all the stops in these ads. Here are a few things to watch for as brands try to maximize their dollars this year:

  • Expect greater tie-ins to social media. The most talked-about example will likely be BMW's Facebook contest with a grand prize of a two-year lease on a new vehicle. I would expect other brands to offer clear calls to action to visit their social media platforms as well. At the least, the now-ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter logos will probably be in the last frame of nearly every spot.
  • Expect celebrity spokespersons in abundance (for better or worse). It's interesting that two ads at opposite ends of the "likability" spectrum last year both hinged on celebrity endorsements. Snickers' "Betty White" ad was considered a smash, while Boost Mobile's positively creepy re-make of the Super Bowl Shuffle fell flat.

    Placing a celebrity in an ad doesn't guarantee its success. We'll probably see some hits and misses again this year. There's a lot of buzz surrounding this year's Best Buy ad featuring Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne. It's an odd coupling to say the least, and it will be interesting to see how it fares.

  • Expect marketers to consider the entire audience. One of the most endearing ads last year was Google's "Parisian Love" spot. It was successful in part because it accounted for the large number of female viewers watching the game.

The Super Bowl has become a social event as much as it is a game, bringing together a large cross-section of demographics. So while some marketers will continue to appeal to a young male audience, others (and probably the more successful) will take into account both genders and the various ages watching the game.

Snickers' ad last year bridged those gaps by combining slapstick with star power that appealed to older viewers. If a marketer can get this mix right, they'll have a winner on their hands.

As always, Villing and Company will have our roundup of the 2011 Super Bowl ads the morning after the game. You're invited to visit this blog or our Facebook page to weigh in on your favorites as well. Or just commiserate about the Colts (or any other team that didn't win the big game).

Filed Under: Advertising, Super Bowl

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