Bowled Over – Smarter Thinking Wins Super Bowl XLVIII

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According to the Washington Post, the average cost of a 30-second ad at Super Bowl XLVIII was about $4m , broadly the same as last year. This equates to $133,000 per second and a price only the top brands can afford. As such, all-American favourites like Coca-ColaChevrolet and Budweiser were all vying for the top spot.

Many of these brands build campaigns around this one sporting event. They spend millions on ads dedicated to it, each afraid to lose ground on the opposition or be notable by their absence.

However, the trend in recent years has seen far higher importance attached to a more low-spend / high-impact element – with brands such as Doritos this year and Oreo last year out-thinking, rather than out spending competitors.

Doritos came up with a neat trick to supplement their traditional advertising, with a ‘Doritos Triangle’ appearing in a section of the Denver crowd – using their orange kit to great effect, tying in with the brand identity.

This type of ‘ambush’ marketing has become much more prevalent in recent years, and reflects a way that less established names, or those with lower budgets, can capitalise on such a massive opportunity (a reputed worldwide television audience of 113m).

Social media has become a huge element of this, with an estimated 25 million tweets sent during this year’s game. Biscuit maker Oreo capitalised on this last year with their brilliantly executed ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during the blackout at last year’s game, which was re-tweeted 16,000 times and was the talked about advertising moment of the 2013 game.

This plays to the new rules of brand behaviour, with businesses welcoming engagement and interaction rather than the traditional ‘one-way traffic’ advertising approach.

There’s a sense that sometimes, along with big budgets comes a lack of creativity. This leaves an opportunity for brands with comparatively little (or sometimes no) advertising budget, to be more inventive. As we know from our work with Yorkshire businesses of all sizes, true value lies with smarter thinking, closely aligned to a clear brand strategy.