ADVERTISERS PLAY IT SAFE AS DIGITAL ADVERTISING COSTS SOAR
According to Rucker, there weren’t any evocative breakthrough spots in 2016 that compare with Apple’s acclaimed “1984” spot or even Volkswagen’s ‘Darth Vader Kid.’ In fact, this year’s commercials trended towards humor. Rucker speculates that this stems from last year’s overly serious (Nationwide) and outright offensive (GoDaddy) submissions that turned these brands into lightning rods. “When you get a really bad bruising, it would not be surprising if brands were like, “Well the one thing we don’t want to do this year is offend the consumer. So it seemed safe and that safeness manifested itself in more funny, lighthearted ads.”
Social media also deepened its foothold in Super Bowl advertising. For one, it is a means for viewers to share their immediate feedback – positive and negative – on a particular ad. However, spots have increasingly become either the start or culmination of larger integrated social media marketing campaigns, designed to drive traffic and build buzz. For example, LG Electronics is launching a Twitter sweepstakes where including a #OLEDIsHere hastag can enter users into a drawing to win a television.
For some advertisers, social media has also become a safety net. “Social media can be a way to recover from a deficit in the ADPLAN framework like poor linkage or positioning,” observes Rucker. “They can use their ad to create interest and I use social media to fill in. So at a broad level, social media is one means to prop [the ad] up.”
The popularity of Super Bowl advertising on television has also had a trickle down effect on other mediums. MarketingDive, reports that some advertisers saw a 20%-30% cost increase for social media spots. And that may be just an evening of the scales. Although the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl spot has nearly doubled over the past 10 years according to Advertising Age, the audience using social media has also grown. And such change reveals a inconvenient truth in the industry.
“People sometimes fail to realize that social media is expensive,” Rucker emphasizes. “That’s part of the ad media costs increase in other platforms.” Since advertisers are paying to reach 110 million people on television, they’re also looking into how to reach that same number on social media. “Media people are really smart,” Rucker adds. “They’re strategic. They want to extract the maximum value for their media. So it’s getting more and more expensive.”
In fact, social media is viewed as another tool that’s tacked onto the cost of doing business. “The cost of the Super Bowl is really the price for admission not for a 30-second ad but to be part of that zeitgeist. That zeitgeist has become more interesting and more important and you’re seeing media able to charge more and brands willing to pay for it.
ADPLAN PREPARES STUDENTS TO “PUSH BACK” WHEN THEY DISAGREE
If this year’s Kellogg students are like their predecessors, they’ll probably be part of a Super Bowl ad team soon enough. And their training with ADPLAN framework and the Super Bowl Ad Review gives them two distinct advantages.
For one, it trains them how to impartially scrutinize a concept from a variety of angles. “It gives them a critical skill set to think about, “What questions should I be looking at asking when I look at execution – whether it is my own or a competitors,” Rucker elaborates.
Even more, it prepares students to frame issues to the creative team, who often view their ad like their own child – something special that doesn’t require any improvement. “It gives you not only the questions to ask yourself, but the structure to actually have that communication with your creative partner,” Rucker concludes. “To me, that’s invaluable. I’ve seen it before, especially with people graduating, they don’t have the chops to feel comfortable with pushing back. ADPLAN gives them the tools to do so.