3 Feb

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto…

Written by Hugo Bennett, Brand Partnerships Director at Ingenuity.

London NFL fans fall into one of two camps on this day every year. The smug: those wise old heads, who took a day off and are comfortably snoozing in their beds. Or, the unprepared: the mere mortals with crusty eyes and double espressos who trudged into work at a snail’s pace after the foremost event in global sport eventually came to a triumphant close at around 6am this morning.


The Super Bowl really is like no other sporting event. From the star-studded 45-minute half time show to the barmy prop bet market! For your information I won the length of Demi Lovato’s national anthem being under 155 seconds but lost it all with the Gatorade bath at the end being orange and not clear, and they say betting is a mug’s game. This is all before we mention, the glitz and glamour of the Super Bowl adverts. Brand after brand, A-list celebrity after global superstar, it’s undoubtedly one of the gaudiest acts of one-upmanship ad-land sees on an annual basis.


So, what’s the deal?


My question would be, in an age where TV very much takes a back seat behind digital. Do you need it? Is it worth it? According to AdAge, the cost of a 30 second commercial slot during the Super Bowl is about $5.6 million. And Fox reportedly sold all their slots by November last year. It’s an absolutely crazy number… Or is it?


Now streaming services are taking the lion’s share of viewers’ time with live TV in undeniable decline, sporting occasions like The Super Bowl seem to be the last bastion for brands wanting to reach massive numbers in one shot.


But, put the pageantry to one side for a minute and take a look at the viewing figures and it all starts to make a lot of sense. Around 100 million viewers. That’s right, 100 million. This makes The Super Bowl audience over 70% bigger than the next largest entertainment show from a US network, which is just staggering – The Oscars come in at 29.6 million for your information. I mean, even politicians are getting in on the act with Trump’s minute long ode to a “Stronger, Safer, More Prosperous” America. And Michael Bloomberg’s campaign on how he plans to tackle the Gun Lobby.


I understand that this post may feel a little U-S-A, and you might be wondering what the correlation is with us in the UK. But you just have to look at how the showpiece of UEFA’s Champions League Final has tried to copy its American cousins to see that change is coming to our sporting screens. Moving to a Saturday night to enhance the pre-game analysis and commentary, huge production at the final and Dua Lipa’s half time show (not even a scratch on J-Lo and Shakira’s epic performance but you have to start somewhere).


It might seem like a leap, but what if I were to tell you that not only does the Champions League Final air in more countries (200 to The Super Bowl’s 180), but the 2018 edition had 380 million viewers globally. I’m just going to let that sit with you for a minute…


But while the internationally complicated broadcasting landscape of the Champions League means you can’t do one advert for all stations, the hugely increased social followings of footballers in comparison to American sports stars, means that you don’t really need to. The potential opportunity for brands with a new style of Champions League Final is huge.


For brands…


For brands, it’s not a bad shout to follow The Super Bowl recipe for the Champions League Final instead serving it up via different channels. Take one football star, sprinkle generously with a comedic script and season well with a great brand message before serving to your target markets while piping hot via social media. Et voila, a larger, more measurable, global reach than The Super Bowl, for a fraction of the price. Bon Appetit.


A no brainer, right? Maybe not quite. You might be able to correlate sales with a social campaign, but everyone remembers a Super Bowl advert. They’re frivolous, iconic pieces of creative work. People talk about them for weeks, months and years afterwards and for brands that is priceless.


PS – Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercial from this year with Bill Murray is hands down my favourite, with Punxsutawney Phil thrown in for good measure.

At Ingenuity we understand the wider agency and brand relationship. With insights gained from years of experience and having worked with the best-of-the-best on both sides of the brand-agency relationship, we can help facilitate viable partnerships that last. If you’d like to learn more from our insights or want to gain a clearer view of the agency-brand ecosystem, contact Duncan on newbusiness@testing.mc-staging.net for more information.