A group of us flew down here to New Zealand for a large commercial shoot. The weather’s nice, the country’s beautiful and the production team is very buttoned up. Which is why we had the afternoon of Super Bowl Monday free to catch the Big Game™ at a local pub (Four Nations, Auckland, NZ). Watching the game on a sunny afternoon certainly changed the experience but not half as much as watching it on an ESPN Live feed where the network fills the commercial breaks exclusively with ESPN promos.
That’s right: no Budweiser ads. No Dockers, no Snickers, no Coke–just promos for rugby and soccer matches. When the commercials came on, the crowd just headed for the rest rooms or the bar for another pint of Kilkenny’s (lovely stuff, that).
Without commercials, the Super Bowl is decidedly less Super. It’s not nearly as engaging. When it ended, people talked about the game for a while before quickly moving on. There were no debates about which spot was best, what was a dumb investment, and who got hosed by unfortunate placement. I’ll probably catch up later by watching them online but it’s not nearly the same as hearing a crowded bar erupt at a good joke or loudly pan a weak execution.
DVR technology allows people to skip past commercials and data shows many do–but they frequently rewind if they see something interesting. And the Super Bowl majors in commercials that at least attempt to be something interesting. Just this past Friday, a page one poll on USA Today claimed that 51% of viewers enjoy the commercials most about watching the Super Bowl on TV. I’d have to agree.
Chalk a big W in the score column for traditional media.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79
PS: Do yourself a favor and read Ross Buchanan’s comment to this post. Frankly, I wish I’d written it.