Small Business Takeaways from 3.5 Million Dollar Super Bowl Ad Mistakes

By | Category: Lead Story, Marketing, Mindset, Sales, Strategic Planning

Super Bowl Ad Mistakes

Each year the buildup to the Super Bowl and the ads is bigger and bigger. Companies pay $3.5 million and up for a 30-second spot plus the cost of producing the commercial. But for the small business owner with a much smaller marketing budget, there are a few things to learn from these ads, what to do and what crucial marketing components these ads are missing.

What are they doing right? They are outrageous, this is why these ads get so much attention and people don’t even want to go the bathroom and miss them. Bill Glazer, the author of Outrageous Advertising, recommends this for businesses of any size and in any medium. People and especially businesses are bombarded with offers and advertising competing for their attention and their pocketbook so making your ad outrageous and fun will help your ad stand out and get noticed.

The companies are now getting in front of even more prospects by making their commercials available online and the funnier ones go viral and are passed along through social media. Even though GoDaddy causes outrage for its ads with scantily clad women, they are doing one thing right, driving prospects to their website, but the amount of leads collected and their actual sales are questionable because there is no¬†optin to collect leads and most of the traffic generated is not targeted, buying a website domain name is probably not what is on the mind of the “prospect”.

But even being outrageous and driving traffic to your website is not going to generate leads or sales if not done correctly. Here is where they go wrong and the thing that gets me riled up is that many small business owners copy big companies in their own marketing because they think if the big companies that advertise on the Super Bowl and other expensive media do it then it should work for them as well.

  1. The ads do not use direct response principles. There is no offer to encourage the prospect to take action.
  2. Because there is no offer, there is no good way to track the ad and the Return on Investment that they get. As a small business owner you cannot ignore this and just advertise and not track the results. In fact, the head of one of the major beer companies even admitted that the ads don’t help sell more of their brand of beer they just encourage the viewer to consume the beer they have and boost all of the beer brands’ sales.
  3. The ads are not targeted. Because of the huge viewing audience that the SuperBowl attracts the advertisers know that their demographic will be represented but for a small business owner this could be a costly mistake. You must identify who your ideal clients are and choose marketing methods that will reach them, not just the general population.

I know that you want results from your marketing budget so use the inspiration of the outrageousness of the Super Bowl ads combined with direct response marketing principles (smart marketers watch infomercials to study this) and track your results.

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  1. I say this to my small business clients all the time. Stop trying to copy the big boys. You don’t have the time, money, or market they do. Focus on what you do so well that they can’t compete with you.

    Far too often small biz try to do what big biz is. Most times, what big business is doing won’t work for small business anyway.

  2. So true Chris. Big Business is stuck in their old way of marketing and advertising and lucky for small business owners there are more effective and lower cost ways to grow their businesses plus new methods like social media that didn’t even exist a few years ago.

  3. This is one reason why I like Facebook marketing. You can really target your audience.

    It is often hard to get my small or medium size business customers to target the right audience. They look at what the big ad companies are doing (primarily print, TV, and radio) and try to emulate them. They don’t understand targeted ads and messages, a call to action, testing, and tracking. Unfortunately they feel that something like an ad in the newspaper or a radio ad will give them the traffic they desire. Most often it is a waste of money with no iodea of why it failed.

    Instead, I discuss the power of a targeted list, a strong call to action, and the power of free information in building the list.

  4. I may have a small business now but I have big dreams. Marketing is so important!
    It is a fun part of building and promoting your brand though.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas! I love to watch the Super Bowl ads too!

  5. Hi Mark, Yes Facebook ads can be very good if they have good copy and are targeted. ~ Stacey

  6. MarVeena, I know your small business can definitely help you reach your big dreams if you get out there and DO the marketing. ~ Stacey

  7. I thought that the baby flying from a slingshot was the best. I bet all the babies were crawling out the door to get whatever product it was advertizing.

  8. Exactly the point, whatever it was advertising…..

  9. I think a lot of the ads want to be memorable and become iconic, and their call to action can be more psychological than direct. They want you to get hooked into them emotionally so you’ll buy from them in their next round of less expensive ads. Mind effing, if you will. LOL

    I gotta say, I’m so over the Go Daddy jiggle ads. So 2009.

  10. Nancy, Creating an iconic ad is hard, it is like trying to create something that goes viral on the internet. You can have all of the elements in it as the ones that go viral but one little thing missing and the audience ignores you. Figuring out what that little thing is, is the hard part! I think the GoDaddy ads got people’s attention when they first came out but now are just annoying potential customers and even turning off their existing customers.

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