Fumble! – 2020 Super Bowl Commercials

You hear it every year: “I’m only watching the Super Bowl for the commercials!” Super Bowl commercials used to be the space for brands to be bold, take risks and make a statement to embed their brand into the minds of millions. Now? For roughly $175,000 a second, brands can throw a big pass, yet often miss hitting their intended goal.

The time is always right to make a big play these days – brands don’t wait for this once-a-year event to launch their new campaign. We see Super Bowl-sized productions every other day on social media; so, what’s the point in spending millions on 30 seconds with diminished interest and audiences?

The current digital landscape has made Super Bowl advertising superfluous, and here’s why.


The commercials have lost their ‘punch’ because most companies release them the week prior to the Big Game. Often there are ‘teasers’ for commercials the same way there are for movies or series. No one has enough time to watch advertising about an advertisement! This year, we saw big companies like Amazon Alexa, Cheetos and Planters Peanuts put out teasers for their campaigns only to see the impact of the main attraction – their Super Bowl ad – reduced.


Unlike digital advertising, television adverts must be submitted months in advanced – and you can’t change the air date of the Super Bowl like you can the kickoff of a social media campaign.

Earlier this year, Planters began rolling out their teasers for the big commercial, the death of Mr. Peanut, a week before the game.  Then, they chose to halt the advertising for their upcoming advertisement after Kobe Bryant and eight others tragically died in a helicopter crash. When their ad did air, it was considered a flop.


This year, OLAY launched their #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign, bringing together astronaut Nicole Stott and well-known female celebrities to showcase the company’s support effort to have more women in STEM jobs, offering to donate up to $500,000 for every tweet with the hashtag. Yes, that’s a great cause to advocate for, except wouldn’t the MILLIONS of dollars OLAY spent on this spot have been better spent actually donating to educational initiatives or grassroots campaigns focusing on the issue? Those ad dollars could have made a much bigger difference beyond just touting OLAY. Companies need to stop literally wasting our time, and their money on Super Bowl ads about how much they ‘care,’ put their money where their mouth is and become the change they keep talking about.


Think of a memorable commercial from Super Bowl LIV. Chances are, it follows the common formula of ‘Celebrity X + Product Y,’ sometimes with a dash of ‘Social Message Z.’ These formulaic advertisements do little to advance the issues at hand, and little to advance brand recognition. It’s a lose-lose for everyone involved.


The advertising landscape has changed, as has audience perception. What can your company do to make large-scale advertising worth your while – or is there a better option?

Do you have a customer goal in your sights? Put our team to work on your next marketing campaign. We’ve got the InsiGHts to success.

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