By: Ariel Gruver
$3 million. This was the cost of airing a single 30-second commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl. In addition to the hefty advertising expense, companies looking to get an ad spot during the game had to plan ahead as most time slots were already filled by October of last year.
Despite the inflating costs, Super Bowl XLV documented approximately 111 million viewers, reaching the largest viewership ever recorded for this annual event. Recognizing this as the biggest stage in the world for advertisers many top corporations seized time slots to air during the game with hopes of improving their brand’s overall image and reputation.
Because of the widely recognized effort and expenses put toward productions to fill these spots many people have high expectations of Super Bowl commercial advertising. The commercials themselves attract viewers that would otherwise not watch the game, setting the bar extremely high for a competitive advertising campaign.
Only days after the game and people have already begun rating the best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Benj Epstein didn’t have a stake in either team’s victory, but when discussing the Super Bowl adds, Epstein stated, “I find it entertaining. I stay purposely to see the commercials.” However Epstein found many commercials this year to be disappointing, noting that most of the movie trailers were fairly ineffective. Epstein said, “Some of the commercials just did too much and lost their message.”
Because of such a popular event, many people found themselves watching the game, simply because everyone else seemed to be doing the same. Brittany Miller watched the Super Bowl for the sake of her friend, who grew up in Wisconsin and was highly vested in the game’s outcome. Miller was one of many who stayed attentively tuned in for the game day commercials. Miller said “ I though they were funny at the beginning and then they kind of faded out.” The advertisement that most caught Miller’s attention was the ad for Skechers Shape-Ups featuring Kim Kardashian. “I totally did not expect it to be about shoes. It seemed really sexual to be talking about Shape-Ups” Miller stated.
Whether disappointed, offended, or simply let down, an abundance of negative responses are circulating the internet and other media outlets in response to these highly-anticipated advertisements. Joshua Gherenger, an employee at a Cal Young grocery store, shared similar opinions with the majority of Super Bowl viewers. Joshua said though he was not cheering for a specific team he did watch the Super Bowl for the actual game. In response to game day commercials said that the ads seemed a little overproduced. “I think they’re working on more of a budget for ‘Wow!’ than they are to actually connect to people” Joshua said. Though he did enjoy the E*Trade commercial and some of the automobile ads that aired during the game Joshua felt that the majority of the advertisements were unsuccessful in getting their message across to viewers.
Despite the pessimistic feedback from some of the viewers, the Super Bowl commercials have unquestionably caused people to talk about them and associate the brands with their game day advertisements. While some corporation’s commercials aired successfully and gained popularity with the viewing audience others left company leaders struggling to defend their message and scrambling to issue public apologies. Both the benefits and consequences of the 2011 Super Bowl advertisements have just begun to settle in. However, the effects of good and bad advertising on such a large scale may very well shift public opinion on some of the world’s most established corporations in the near future.