What does $2.6 million sound like when it thuds?

March 3, 2008 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

We’re a month out from Super Bowl Sunday. There were 51 commercials that ran at least once during the broadcast. Quick – what happened in the CareerBuilder.com spots? O.K. How about the Gatorade spot? General Motors? Planter’s Nuts? No luck? How about the spots with celebrities? Those always get a lot of attention and Lord knows they aren’t cheap. Whose spot featured Shaq? Carmen Electra? Carlos Mencia? Justin Timberlake? Charles Barkley? An art directed visage of Marilyn Monroe? Surely you remember the spot featuring Napoleon. You know. For Garmin. Right. Now what do they do?

While this little quiz may seem like an indictment of the creative put up for Super scrutiny, it’s really not. I’m sure there’s nothing more fun than having one of your spots on the Super Bowl. It simply frames the question we all seem to ask ourselves every single year. Is a :30 spot on the Super Bowl really worth $2.6 million? By the numbers, the media sales staff will certainly say yes. This year’s Super Bowl was seen my more than 97 million people. On a cost per thousand basis, $268 isn’t too bad really. And what could be easier than running one spot on one program and reaching a third of America?

But what happens when you pull the trigger on the Super Bowl and nobody remembers your spot? Or worse, what if nobody is moved to purchase your product? What happens when you talk your client into spending half their media budget on two Super Bowl spots and a week later the press starts their incessant crowing about the impending, inevitable recession.

In the best of times, the tenure for Chief Marketing Officers is less than two years. Pile on a national squeeze on consumer spending and suddenly $2.6 million per spot looks a bit crazy no matter how efficient. The truth is, before Super Bowl 43, CMOs will be under greater scrutiny than any time in recent memory to work smarter, get more for less, and in many cases, squeeze sales out of nothing. $2.6 million per spot will be a hard sell this year. But before than decision comes, there will others that are tougher.

Now is the perfect time for agencies who are smart, agile and hungry to make their mark. And size does not matter. Now is the time for breakthrough ideas. For the unconventional. For the unexpected. It’s time to find new and engaging ways for people to interact with our brands. 2008 is going to be a tough year for marketing. But those who sow the seeds of creativity and great thinking now, will be the ones who reap the rewards both now, and when the economy improves.

Great ideas can move the world. Is $2.6 million for one :30 TV spot worth it? Guess that depends.

Does it hit like Michael Strahan?

CMOMedia SpendingSuperbowlTV commercials

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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